#ohmymats

About

#ohmymats are reusable colouring and dining place mats for children and children at heart. The mats are manufactured from food grade premium platinum silicone in a factory in Korea and has been lab tested as safe according to EU toy safety standards. The drawings in the current launch are designed by a team of four people from various walks of life, including a teacher and a pair of siblings on the Autism spectrum. There are designs which cater to children’s interests like dinosaurs, fairies, animals, educational designs like one with life cycles and insects (designed by a former MOE Science teacher) and Christian-themed designs (God’s Promise, Noah’s Ark).

Audrey, the creator of #ohmymats , took five years to bring the project to life as she wanted to be involved in the entire process from idea conceptualisation to manufacturing to make sure that the product was safe and suitable for children. As such, she spent time sourcing for suppliers, eventually settling on a factory in Korea that she had a long working relationship with. She invested in professional software to transfer the drawings from paper into a digital medium to be suitable for printing. Terming it as a “personal give back project”, she intends to assist struggling or new artists, persons with special needs and and other disadvantaged members of the community. 

I saw a pre-order sale for #ohmymats  and purchased three mats with a set of markers. I bought Vroom Vroom, Dino Land and Animal List, coincidentally all drawn by the same artist. The mats are packaged in clear plastic boxes and when I sniffed the mats, there was no odour. The mats come in two different sizes, small (38cm x 24cm) and large (48cm x 24cm).  

The mats are well made – the edges are rounded neatly with no jagged edges. You can roll the mat up like a wafer or fold it into quarters (cannot fold origami, sorry). When unfurled, there are no creases or fold marks. 

I tried scratching the black outline to see if the ink could be scratched off and no, it doesn’t come off even when I use my fingernail.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpHYCsyhuND/

Any dry erase marker can be used with #ohmymats  but you can purchase the mats with a set of 12 Java antimicrobial markers from Korea. The colours stay on until you want to start over again. 

View this post on Instagram

Baby shark doo doo doo doo #ohmymats @ohmymats_sg

A post shared by Bibimbubs (@bibimbubs) on

The colours can be wiped off with wet wipes. I wet a piece of tissue for this video so there’re some black specks at the end. I was pleased at how the colours came off easily without staining the mat. 

View this post on Instagram

Cleans off easily too! @ohmymats_sg #ohmymats

A post shared by Bibimbubs (@bibimbubs) on

Time to put the mats to the test! The kids are in this Dino craze where they are enthralled by the ancient creatures. They play with the dinosaur figurines and flip through their Dinosaur encyclopedias (used to be mine, decades ago) every single day. Elise even learnt the word “prehistoric” from a Blippi song about dinosaurs. The mats have accompanying names and we happen to have a number of matching dinosaur figurines. She sat down and started colouring the dinosaurs, even remembering to cap the markers after she was done. 

Ta-da! Her creation. She chose the colours to use without any prompting from us. My husband wanted to clean up the colouring so it would be within the lines, but I think it’s neat enough for a 3 year old and it’s important that we recognise their achievements and not diminish their confidence by expecting them to meet our standards of colouring within the lines too early. 

The mats can be reused over and over and packed into bags for some quiet time during meals or flights. Many parents dread plane flights. It makes the non-religious pray (to whom?!) that their kids will not make a ruckus and get tsk-tsked by irritated passengers who are unable to escape from the plane. Out come the tablets and phones. “Shush, watch your Frozen”. OhMyMats were created to reduce reliance on gadgets and direct kids to a more wholesome and simpler activity. 

Since #ohmymats  can be used as dining placemats, your kids can colour while having their meals and everything can be popped into the dishwasher to be cleaned. It’s definitely worth buying since it can be easily washed off when stained with food.

Click here to purchase. 

GIVEAWAY

Win #ohmymats! Join the giveaway on Facebook and Instagram.

*** I made a special request for my order to be sent to me earlier for the purpose of this review. The actual stock will arrive in Mid November 2018. All the products were purchased during the pre-order sale and I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Nuts & Bolts

About

Nuts & Bolts is a quaint little standalone shop in Balestier Road specialising in open ended toys sourced from all over the world.

Open ended toys are toys which can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the child’s creativity and imagination. For example, a curved wooden board can be a rocker or flipped over to become a tunnel. It can be propped up against a sofa and used as a slide. Open ended toys are kept simple and as natural looking as possible.

The owner of Nuts & Bolts is Wei Xuan, a lovely homeschooling mama of two. Her children are her main priority and the opening hours of the store actually revolves around their schedule. As such, the store is not open daily but about twice a week. To maintain a comfortable experience for visitors, the store runs on an appointment-only basis.

Her children came up with the name Nuts and Bolts, as they used this term instead of “pins and needles”. Both children helped to set up the store by painting signs, fixing shelves, cleaning up… the entire store is a product of love by their family.

We had the pleasure of visiting the store twice and it was such fun for the children! The store has large glass windows to let natural sunlight shine through. The store itself is not large by any account, but it is well-designed and doesn’t feel claustrophobic. There are various corners where children can play at indoors. Behind the store is a grassy slope where children can run up and down and outside the store are climbing frames, large hollow blocks and a sand corner. These activities will be changed from time to time.

The first time we went there, the kids got to paint on seashells and spray coloured water on a piece of paper using a spray bottle while they painted on a mirror the next visit. 

Most of the products which are on sale are available for children to test out. Although there is no obligation to purchase, it is close to impossible to leave empty handed. The products are decently priced, taking into consideration the overheads required to maintain such a place. Play objects which promote gross motor skills such as the Wobbel board, Confidence Triangle, Large Hollow Blocks and the Step-up-step-down Rocking Boat can be placed in the home in place of electronic toys. 

A multitude of smaller toys promoting sensory development and creativity line the walls of the store. There are treasure blocks, which are wooden hollow blocks with acrylic centres that can be filled with anything from beads to feathers and buttons. Baby percussion instruments, mirrors, light pads with colourful acrylic paddles and geometric shapes… there are simply too many to list. 

Mirrors are an integral part of the Reggio Emilia approach because it adds depth and structure to a child’s learning when he is able to see the object from all angles. The mirrors sold are child safe and do not contain glass.

Wei Xuan mentioned that she likes observing how each child uses the play objects and behaves. Some are confident, some are shy, some need help while others don’t.

The children couldn’t keep themselves away from the sand area. Didi loved it so much, he put it in his mouth. Pro-tip: bring a bottle of powder if you’re intending to let your children play with sand so you can dust the sand off easily. There are no washrooms in the store so it may be wise to bring some water for washing hands too. 

It is a unique concept where children are allowed and encouraged to do what they want with the toys. There is no stress unlike in some stores where you feel like the salesperson is trailing you and guilt-tripping you into buying the products.

Over at Nuts & Bolts, it feels more like a playdate at a friend’s house. That said, it is still a store so please don’t bring your children there to play for hours without at least making a purchase to show your support!


Like Nuts & Bolts on Facebook to be eligible for a 5% discount!

Only cash or PayLah accepted.

*** This is not a sponsored review and no compensation was received in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

PramWash – Pram Cleaning Specialist

ABOUT

PramWash is Singapore’s first professional stroller cleaning service which handles car seats, bassinets, baby carriers, playpens and rockers as well. They can clean most baby gear and toys, so you can ask them if you’re unsure.

Baby strollers and car seats get dirtied quickly, from shoe prints when you take baby in and out, food crumbs, milk spit-up, vomit and the dreaded poo-namis. How often do you clean your stroller? Do you clean it after every use or when there are visible stains? Do you do a quick vacuum or remove the entire fabric to wash? Even if there are no visible stains, there will be bits of dirt nestled in the grooves of the fabric. 

PramWash takes the tedious task of cleaning your stroller off your hands. The products they use to clean items are non-toxic, chemical-free and entirely safe for children. The type of service you should select depends on the frequency of use and upkeep of your stroller/car seat. 

All packages include vacuuming, frame wipe, steam cleaning and sanitising. Steam cleaning under high temperature ensures that bed bugs lurking in deep corners will be killed off.

Other than the main cleaning service, fringe services include retail pop-up stations and the newly launched house call service, where multiple strollers can be cleaned at a single location, on-the-spot. 

Placing an order via the website is easy. Once payment has been made, an email confirmation will be sent. You can drop off your items at their customer space which is opened 24/7 or opt for pick-up via courier. I chose the second option because it was more convenient for me. 

These are the 3 items that I sent for cleaning. 

  • Aprica Karoon 

This is our very first stroller that we bought for Elise in 2015. This stroller is well used because it’s light and basic. Elise has had many happy memories going around the neighbourhood in it. It doubles up as a trolley to transport our groceries home from the supermarket. I’ve tried to take it apart once but the buttons were too securely fastened so I gave up halfway and hosed down the fabric. My husband sprays the wheels with water when it gets dirty. I sent this stroller because it was the oldest and dirtiest. 

That’s Elise, not Didi.

PROCESS

The Aprica Karoon had visible mould stains so I chose the Ultimate treatment. These photos are taken by the PramWash team. They took apart the stroller and steam cleaned the chassis, did stain and mould treatment and sanitised the fabric. Spot the small leaves in the 3rd photo! The leaves were trapped in between the seat and the chassis. 

BEFORE & AFTER

How did it turn out? Before I sent the stroller in, I took photos of areas with noticeable stains. After receiving the serviced strollers, I checked the same spots for differences. The stroller was sent back with the straps in their original position. I didn’t realise the shoulder straps weren’t threaded through when I sent it in. 

The largest mould stain was on the right exterior of the seat. Most of the stain was removed, save for a slight smudge. 

The left exterior of the seat was badly stained as well. After treatment, a faint outline remained. 

Over here as well. 

QUESTIONS

I know what you saw and what you’re thinking. I asked PramWash why. 

Certain stains cannot be removed entirely as it depends on how stubborn the stains are. Whether the stains can be removed depends on:

  • How long the stains have been there (stains which have been present for a long time are harder to remove)
  • Treatment of the stain before sending to PramWash (wrong stain treatment may cause the stain to set-in further)

In addition, the fabric may be torn if it is scrubbed too much. PramWash uses a non-toxic solution which is safe for children. As the fabric is in close contact with babies’ skin, this is their topmost priority – safety. 

  • Combi Well Comfort

Purchased second hand off Carousell, this stroller was “only used once”. I bought this because it has a full canopy which the Aprica lacks. It is Didi’s stroller for short strolls. I sent this instead of the Doona for the same reason – because it is a pain to remove the fabric from the chassis. It’s much easier to do so for the Doona. The Combi has been stepped on by Elise with sandals on and its front bar has been chomped on by Didi. As I ran my fingers along the grooves, I felt bits of coarse sand and dirt. Although relatively new, it earned its right to a deep clean session. I purchased the Basic treatment and was given an upgrade to Intensive treatment. 

PROCESS

Like the Aprica, there was a wipe down of the chassis, steam clean, vacuum and stain treatment. 

BEFORE & AFTER

From afar, it appears mostly the same before and after, except for the adjustment of the handlebar cover. 

Up close, you can see that the black mark near the edge has been cleanly removed. 

These stains have been removed without trace too! The wheels were also cleaned up.

  • Tula Blossom FTG

Wrapping a wriggly baby is challenging so I prefer to use a SSC. Again, I contemplated whether to send the Free-To-Grow which we have been using regularly, or a Standard carrier which he has not quite grown into yet. Eventually, I sent this after consulting a friend. My friends have the dubious honour of making such inconsequential decisions. I normally throw my SSCs into a laundry net and straight into the washing machine. 

PROCESS

Yeap, vacuum, steam clean, sanitise. 

BEFORE & AFTER

SANITISER

PramWash uses a non-rinse and non-toxic surface sanitiser that is formulated in Singapore. I purchased this which is meant to be sprayed onto the stroller after each use. 

CONCLUSION

Our babies’ skin come into direct contact with strollers and car seats, but regular maintenance and upkeep is often not done. Leaving it to the professionals ensure that your stroller/car seat is not only clean but safe for your baby to use. 

PramWash advocates regular washing of strollers at least once every 3 months to reduce the accumulation of illness-causing bacteria. Ideally, it should be washed as often as you wash the inside of your car.

The best time to wash your baby gear is when you’re on vacation and do not need to use the gear often (e.g. June/Dec school holidays). 

TRY PRAMWASH

Try PramWash today!

*** I received a stroller and carrier cleaning service from PramWash in exchange for a review and I added on cleaning service for the second stroller and purchased a full-sized sanitiser.