IKEA FADO Lamp Hack for Children’s Room

You may have noticed that I’ve been blogging lesser this year and the main reason is because I’ve neglected my health and subjected it to a lot lesser rest that it needed and deserved last year. And my friends, I just want to say that we should never take our health for granted, so please take care of yourself and get sufficient rest, exercise and eat well.

So while I’ve turned down numerous opportunities for collaborations, I jumped at the chance when I was approached by IKEA for their blogger engagement as this is a brand that I truly am a fan of. So over the next 4 months, I’ll be sharing with you some of the projects I’ll be doing with IKEA and I hope they give you fresh inspirations :)

For my first project, I want to share about how I did a super cute IKEA FADO Lamp Hack for Sophie’s room.

IKEA Fado Lamp 01

Here’s what you need:

  • FADO table lamp
  • Sharpie markers (I used black and yellow)
  • Ink stamp in pink
  • small piece of sponge

Here’s the BEFORE look at the table lamp on Sophie’s side table. While it’s functional, I just wished it was more welcoming especially before she goes to sleep at night.

IKEA Fado Lamp 02

IKEA Fado Lamp 03

Before I jumped into drawing freehand on the lamp directly, I thought of a few ideas. Since one of her favourite animal is the bunny from her favorite story book, Guess How Much I Love You, I decided to go on Pinterest to get some inspirations of illustrated rabbits.

Once I chose my design, I printed the picture on my colour printer at about 3/4 of an A4. You’ll want to use Sharpie markers for this project, which can be easily purchased from bookshops like Popular, Art Friend or the local craft stores.

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IKEA Fado Lamp 05

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to just have a wipe down of the lamp and make sure that you work on dry surface.

While Sharpie markers are supposed to be permanent markers, you’ll be relived to know that they are surprisingly very forgiving on shaking hands and I managed to wipe off my mistakes effortlessly. But that also means you’ll have to be careful not to get the ink smudged.

At first, I was contemplating using acrylic paint for the rabbit’s ears and cheeks but since I couldn’t find any in my stash of art supply, I substituted it with my versa ink stamp and it was perfect! Plus the shade of pink was simply too adorable.

The ink stamping was so simple that even Sophie chipped in to lend a helping hand.

Here’s a tip: As you want to only ink a small surface area, do cut your sponge to a smaller size to avoid smudging and use gentle dabbing motions for a soft, gentle effect.

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Since this was going to be Sophie’s night lamp, she suggested to add stars.

As a final finishing touch, I added the words, Good Night, honey bunny and her night lamp is complete.

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IKEA Fado Lamp 10

 

Sophie was over the moon with the new look of her table lamp and I was secretly very satisfied with the end result myself!  And if you’re thinking of giving it a go, rest assured that it takes no more than half an hour to complete and it could even be a cool June holiday bonding activity for you and your child.

 

Here are more inspirations from around the web.on how you can DIY the FADO table lamp.

FADO lamp

  1. Panda Lamp
  2. Mr Moon Lamp
  3. Spiderman Lamp
  4. Miffy Lamp

 

 

Here’s a project I did last year on how you can transform a $1.50 wall clock to a princess clock. Read on here.

Small-Spaces-Girls-Room-011

 

Did I spark a creative light bulb in you with this post? If so, head over to IKEA website and explore the many other wonderful things you can create with their products.

 

 

 

* This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Splashing good time at Legoland Water Park, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

For my birthday this year we headed up to JB and let me tell you, the one who was most excited was not me the birthday girl but rather little Sophie as she was looking forward to Legoland Water Park. Makes me wonder whose birthday we were really celebrating here. But hey, I’m up for anything fun as long as the family is happy :)

This was our second visit to Legoland Water Park and the first time we went was last year on our wedding anniversary.  I’m seriously beginning to see a pattern here and it’s a sure sign that we’re 100% parents when kids rule your holiday plans.

It’s a good thing we held off going to Legoland when they first opened as we got to enjoy the park without the crazy crowds even though we were there over the long Labour Day weekend. But my friends were quick to point out that it’s because the school going kids were still busy studying for their mid-year exams, so lucky lucky us :)

Though there are many blogs out there that have done a review on Legoland Water Park, we’ve because such fans of the theme park that we felt it should be given more attention compared to it’s counterpart, the Legoland Resort. And yes these are non-sponsored visits, so I’m telling it as it is… which is what I always do anyway :)

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Off to Legoland Water Park

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Extended hours at the Legoland Water Park on Fridays and Saturdays!

What we liked about Legoland Water Park

Everything is Lego themed! As if I needed to tell you that.

But seriously, a water park is fun enough, but throw in Lego everywhere and you get one awesome water park that Sophie kept exclaiming, “This is my BEST DAY EVER!”

We like how suitable the water park is for water loving young kids like Sophie. We’ve been to Adventure Cove in Resorts World Sentosa and though Alexis and I had a very enjoyable time we felt it was more suited for older kids to get the best experience out of it since there was a height limit of 122 cm for the more thrilling rides.

On the other hand, Legoland Waterpark offers more child friendly rides since the height limit even for the most thrilling rides is at 107cm.

Upon arriving at the Water Park, you want to head to the locker area to store your belongings. As the sun can be very unforgiving, don’t forget to slather on sunblock and grab a bottle of water along with you as it can be rather inconvenient to return to the locker area. Plus don’t leave your slippers in the lockers as the ground can be scorching hot especially for the younger ones. We learnt it the painful way as you can literally fry an egg on the ground under the sweltering heat. So you’ve been warned!

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Bird’s eyeview of Legoland Water Park

There are more than 20 slides in the water park and we made a beeline for Red Rush slide as it’s always one of the more popular family rides that can accommodate up to 6!

Oh yes have I mentioned that when you’re in Legoland Water Park, you can expect to get a good leg workout for your thighs, calves and glutes as you’ll be climbing up stairs after stairs to take the slides. Plus you’ll need to carry your own floats for some of the slides so your upper body wouldn’t get neglected too :

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Don’t let the stairs deter you from a splashing good time

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Legoland Water Park 09

This time, Sophie got adventurous and was brave enough to go on the Slide Racer for the first time after I convinced her that it was just like how she always takes a nose dive at the slides in the playground. For this, you have to lay down on mat and slide face down from 3 storeys high!

It was such an exhilarating slide that she went on it thrice much to my surprise as I was worried she wouldn’t like it as the initial part of the slide is covered before the plunge down. I on the other hand contemplated going on it as my adrenaline went into overdrive mode after my first attempt!

The Splash and Swirl was another of our favourite as Sophie and I can go on a double float and I secretly thinks she gets a thrill out of hearing me scream as we plunge down the slide.

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Tried the Slide Racer  for the first time and she LOVED it!

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New Build a Boat area

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At the foot of the slide, there is a new sheltered area for Build a Boat where the kids can get busy building their boat with Lego bricks if they get tired of the slides. Here they can pit their Lego vessels against other kids as they send it off for a race to reach first place. This was such a hit with the kids and I hope they have more of such interactive Lego activities in future.

Lunch at Beach Grill

We settled our lunch at the Beach Grill and choose a table just next to the wave pool allowing us a view of the swimmer as we sought some respite from the blazing heat. We ordered burgers, fries and finger food like calamari and nuggets and I recalled they also have Nasi Lemak if my memory doesn’t fail me.

But my biggest grouse was how inefficient their queue system are or rather a lack of any system as you can only view the menu when you reach the counter which resulted in unnecessary long queues with lots of hangry people. Yes, you got that,  hungry and angry people.

You might have thought this was something so fundamental and after operating for 2 or 3 years they would have gotten it right… But no, anyway end of rant, so yes, be prepared for long queues for your meals…

Moving along to happier thoughts…

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Don’t forget to grab a life jacket for the wave pool

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At the Imagination Station

Since Sophie has outgrown the Dulpo Splash Safari we skipped it this time and jumped right into the Build a Raft River!

We usually leave the Build a Raft River and the water playground, Joker Soaker to the 2nd half of the day as it’s always an uphill challenge to try to peel Sophie away from it once she makes her way in there.

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Joker Soaker where your little kids will not want to leave

There are a couple of slides inside and really there’s no stopping adults from joining in the fun and it’s always a thrill to wait for the bucket of water to come splashing down. Marvelous way to cool off in the sweltering heat.

Build a Raft River

We didn’t get much success building a strong enough raft to hold Sophie up as she got bigger and heavier but check out what we built the first time we were there. We saw some pretty impressive rafts that resembled a throne! So go all out and grab as many bricks as you can to build your ultimate raft.

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Toppling over her raft. Yikes!

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Look, mummy I’m floating!

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Much easier to keep Sophie afloat when she was lighter

The river has a very gentle current and the best way to enjoy it  is to grab a large float for adults and imagine your overly enthusiastic kids are not with you as you float away without a care in the world. Look out for Lego figures along the way and avoid getting sprayed by jets of water.

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Legoland Water Park 22
We had such a good splashing time at Legoland Water Park despite getting darker by a shade or two and I’m pretty certain we’ll be back very soon again. But maybe  this time for Sophie’s birthday instead of my birthday 😛 And the next time we come, we want to make sure we secure that Legoland hotel stay too!

Accommodation at Johor Bahru

We usually stay at Hotel Jen, Puteri Harbour whenever we head up to JB. But this time round, we stayed at the newly opened service apartment, Somerset Medini which was highly recommended by my friends and we enjoyed a very good value for our accommodation. Plus, it’s a mere 5 minutes walk to Legoland. Super convenient or what. You can read more about our stay here.

 

For a more comprehensive review of Legoland Water Park, do check out these blogs:

 

You can also read about our experience at Legoland Resort last Christmas where the theme park was dressed up for their Christmas Holiday Extravaganza.

Don’t forget to also check out A Million Little Echo’s current giveaway for combo tickets to Legoland resorts here.

 

Legoland Water Park
Legoland Malaysia Resort
No.7 Jalan Legoland
Bandar Medini Iskandar Malaysia
79250 Nusajaya Johor

 

If you’re heading to JB, then don’t miss these posts where I share some of my shopping finds and places to go cafe hopping across the causeway too.

 

Primary One Diary – Resources for Chinese Oral (Part 1)

We’re finally done with the first half of the year in Primary One. And just like what most experienced parents shared, the first half year in primary one was a rather smooth sailing, honeymoon period in terms of academics.
The biggest adjustment for Sophie was not so much in her studies academic but rather the whole works of waking early, being used to a huge class of 30 compared to just 6, navigating the tricky bit about making friends and choosing your recess company.

But I’ve also heard from friends that their primary ones are struggling with school work as they are either in some elite school or new school where the principal is out to prove their academic muscles. While Sophie comes home with homework 2 or 3 times a week, their kid gets smart work every single day and that includes e-learning and preparing for show on tell on PowerPoint! So if you want to avoid such stress for your kids, choose your primary school carefully!

Chinese Oral Learning Resources

Among Sophie’s subjects at school, I was most concern if she was going to cope well doing Higher Chinese in a SAP school. I would say that Sophie had a relatively good foundation in Chinese, thanks to the drilling from her childcare teachers as well as Berries enrichment classes. No doubt, she got started slightly later than most at 5 years old, it did prove to be beneficial and it made learning Chinese so much more interesting.

Nevertheless, it was surprising that she got selected by her Chinese teacher to be a 小老师 to assist her classmates who are weaker in the subject. She takes great pride in her duty as a 小老师and it shows when she recounts incidents of how she helped her classmates in their reading or clarifying questions they have.

Although Sophie doesn’t have mid year exams at Primary One, they still had a series of mini tests where they are graded for their CAs and according to her teachers, one of the easiest “paper” to score is in their oral. To prepare Sophie for her Chinese oral, I’ll make her read widely and that includes the Chinese dictionary.

I have two of such Chinese picture dictionaries and I find them very helpful in learning terms that we usually don’t use. Both. Both versions are bilingual and comes with Hanyu Pinyin where they are categorized by themes like animals, insects, in the playground, school concert, at the supermarket etc.

My Thematic Dictionary by Marshall Cavendish 

Here there are 32 themes and 819 frequently used words and they even explore topics like planets, occupations, transportation, underwater world, just to name a few.

Pictures are neatly arranged in rows with Chinese, English and Hanyu Pinyin, making it easy for systematic reading.

  

My First Picture Dictionary by Scholastic

Another thematic Chinese dictionary  we use is this one version which was recommended by her school teacher. I prefer this latter version as it is filled with colourful and captivating illustration which makes for a more interesting read.

Here there are 38 themes and about 1,000 frequently used words.

A feature that I like is the  知识小百科 in each section like a Did You Know segment that gives little nuggets of general knowledge on the background of the topic like how music was first discovered,  how a coral reef forms, etc. In each theme, there is also a section on unit of measurement, which I find very helpful especially.

  

And since both versions of dictionary are largely picture based, you can use them to practice 看图说话 with your child by prompting them with questions using the 5Ws, 1H. For example,

  • where is the place
  • who are the characters in the picture
  • which part of the day do you think this is in (when)
  • what do you think they are doing
  • why is the person behaving this way
  • how can you be like this person

There are also related short passages in each theme that can act as a guide for oral practice.

 

I’m sure that by now most parents are aware about the changes to the Chinese oral exams made by MOE where they have to use video instead of the picture. I don’t see it as a major change and the picture oral is still the way to build their foundation.

Do look out for Part 2 of this series where I share other helpful resources to prepare your kids for their Chinese oral.

Head over to Beanie N Us blog where she shares other useful guides on preparing for Chinese oral too

Here are some useful links to prepare for Primary One that I wrote earlier this year.

Primary One Diary

Other Links on Learning Chinese 

I’ll love to hear from you. Do share your list of helpful resources to help your kids prepare for their Chinese oral too.

Somerset Medini Nusajaya, Johor, Review

Over the long Labour Day weekends, we headed to Johor Bahru to celebrate my birthday. Hubby scored himself brownie points when he smugly told me how he’s been whisking me away on holidays or staycation for my birthday ever so often. What can I say, I’m very very blessed and am utterly pampered by him :)

Having been to JB a few times now with the family, we realised it’s not as dangerous as some may make it out to be. Of course, you have to exercise caution and common sense so that you’re not making yourself an easy target for crime by like parking in dark and doggy corners in the mall, going to unfamiliar places and taking your own sweet time to load and unload your baggage into the car.

For this trip, we planned to go to Legoland Water Park at Sophie’s request because that’s what mums always do- put our kids first. It was an excellent choice as we had a splashing good time under the sun.

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Somerset Medini Nusajaya Service Residence, Johor

Usually we’ll choose to stay at Hotel Jen when we visit the Legoland themepark but this time, we stayed at Somerset Medini Nusajaya Service Residence, a relatively new accommodation that opened early this year.  A couple of my friends who stayed there recommended it as it is just 5  minutes walk away from Legoland and a mere 15 minutes drive from Tuas Second Link. But the plus point is that it’s a spanking new service apartment where they are eager to impress their guests at very wallet-friendly prices too.

As we anticipated crawling traffic on Saturday, the eve of the long Labour Day weekend, we took leave on Friday and set off at 2pm. It proved to be a wise decision ( no doubt my brilliant idea #notshyatall) and reached JB without any jams at both immigration check points. That’s my tip for you if you’re planning to go on the next long weekend.

We arrived at the service apartment around 3pm and proceeded to the 2nd floor for check-in which took longer than expected as they only have one staff at that time and I’m guessing they probably weren’t expecting many guests on a Friday afternoon.

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View of Legoland Park from the lobby

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Service Apartment Lobby

We were issued our room keys on the 10th floor but our room was not ready as we found the staff still cleaning away when we tried to enter. The staff was quick to apologise and offered us another room next door to drop our luggage, which is a much bigger 2-bedroom apartment!

Tour of our service apartment

I’m sure you’re keen to see how it looks, so I peeked into the rooms where 1 of the bedroom had a king size bed that comes with an attached bathroom with a bathtub. And in the other bedroom, they have 2 single beds and there’s a common bathroom.

Equipped with 4 seater sofa, dining table for 4 in the living and dining area as well as a kitchen, this is a ideal accommodation especially for larger families. I heard that 3 bedroom accommodation are also available.

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Master Bedroom in a 2 bedroom apartment

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Bathroom with bath tub in the Master Bedroom

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2 single beds in a 2 bedroom apartment

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Mini kitchen equipped with hob and hood, microwave oven, refrigerator, kettle and washing machine with dryer

And here’s what our more humble looking Studio Premier room looks like with a modern and contemporary furnishing. The full length sliding doors at the balcony filled the room with plenty of natural lighting which I liked very much. And if you’re a paranoid mum like me… no, the sliding doors are locked for safety reasons.

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Studio Premier Room with a king size bed

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Study table and a walk in wardrobe with shelving by the side.

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Same kitchen facilities but without the washing machine

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Utensils, pots and pans and you can even loan a rice cooker :P

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Here’s the view from our room, Gleneagles next door.

So a tip I have for you is to ask for a room on the higher floor that faces the Legoland Park if you want to avoid facing the hospital.

We had a very comfortable stay in our apartment, the pillows were plush and the mattress was just right. And oh and remembered how I mentioned our room was not ready when we tried to enter. The hotel staff was so apologetic about it and came to our room with a small token to make up for the inconvenience caused.

Sophie found herself with a colouring book and was of course delighted to have another baby (which she really means a soft toy to add to her growing brood!) whom she affectionately named …SOMERSET :)

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Amenities in Service Apartment

The service apartment has your usual hotel amenities, so if you’re planning to hit the gym or pool, head to level 1.

They have an infinity swimming pool with a wading area for young kids, a fully equipped gym and even a children’s playroom with an under the sea theme complete with TV, Lego table and a mini slide.

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Selfie at the gym :P

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I have a drama queen at home whom I always wonder where she gets it from…

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Bright and airy children’s indoor playground that’s suitable for younger guests and parents can chill out too. The facilities and toys all looked very new and that’s the best part of a fairly new establishment.

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Infinity pool with a view of Legoland Park at the background

Dining options

Our stay came with breakfast that is served  daily from 6:30-10:30 in a function room on level 2. They had a buffet line offering Continental choices like mee goreng, chicken porridge, scrambled eggs, hot dogs, potatoe wedges, bread and pastries, fruits, kuehs, sandwiches, cereal and hot beverages.

I would say that breakfast is fairly decent but nothing very fanciful. A friend who came back in February only a bento box for breakfast back then as their kitchen was not ready, so I kept my expectations real low and got a pleasant surprise.

Though the apartment lacks a cafe or restaurant and in room dining service is also unavailable, you can easily head next door to the Mall of Medini for your meals. They have fast food joints like Burger King and KFC, local delights like Old Town, Secret Recipe, Chicken Rice Shop as well as Absolute Thai, Shi Lin and also a few conveniences stalls. But do take note that most eateries open from  9am to 10pm.

Of course, if you’re prepared to cook, you can always make use of the kitchen facilities and whip up your meals.

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Somerset Medini Nusajaya

Review of Somerset Medini Nusajaya, Johor

We stayed at Somerset Medini for a night and paid S$100 a night before heading to Double Tree by Hilton hotel for the next 2 nights as we wanted to shop at the malls. Price wise, Somerset offered very good value for money given the convenience to Legoland as well as from the 2nd Causeway in Tuas.

Being a fairly new establishment, it always means the staff are generally more attentive and eager to leave a pleasant experience for  guests which can be felt from their warm hospitality. Security wise, we felt safe as there is security guard on patrol as well.

If you’re planning to go to Puteri Harbour for Little Big Club and Thomas Town or AEON Mall Bukit Indah where they have a cinema, Popular, Toys R Us, Watsons, Daiso and a huge supermarket, you can hop on the shuttle bus that departs 4 times a day.

And yes, they have complimentary Wi-Fi too :)

Would we return for another stay if we are planning to Legoland? You bet and I hope this review has been useful :)

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This is our second visit to Legoland Water Park and this time Sophie got to try a new ride, the Lego Slide Racer which made her declare it as the best slide EVER!!!! See I told you, she’s one drama queen.

There’s so much to love about the Legoland Water Park and you’ve got to read it for yourself to know why we’re back for more this year.

 

If you’re heading to JB, then don’t miss these posts where I share some of my shopping finds and places to go cafe hopping across the causeway as well.

 

Somerset Medini Nusajaya, Johor
Address: Lot 5 Jalan Medini Utara 4, Medini Iskandar Malaysia
79200 Nusajaya Johor, Malaysia

First family run for 2016 at The Music Run by AIA

Music Run 2016 01

Just 2 weekends ago, I clocked my first 10km run for the year with my group of girlfriends.

But how could I leave my family out of the running action when we’re all working towards a healthier lifestyle. So last week, the whole family got into our running gear where we did our first family run at the Music Run by AIA at Sentosa.

The Music Run by AIA

The weather couldn’t have been more prefect that day even though there were light showers earlier in the afternoon. As we approached the music village from the beach station, the music from the live band filled the air and certainly put us all in a groovin mood :)

Sam Willows was on stage and got the crowd on their feet, but what caught Sophie’s attention was the inflatable slide …

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Sam Willows at the Music Run

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I wasn’t planning to go on it but the staff there said that adults are welcome to take it too and it was such a thrill! Haha Alexis was still reminding me, please don’t scream when you slide down 😛

Sophie had a go on the life sized keyboard that played a tune when she stepped on each note that literally puts a beat to her steps.

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If you’re wondering what the Music Run is about, it’s a run where it’s touted to be the world’s loudest 5K, where different genre of music is played for this non-competitive run that’s suitable for runners of all ages.

First up was the Rock Zone for the first 1km. Sophie was in high spirits as she sprinted and skipped to the tunes. To be honest, she didn’t prepare for the run and I was worried that she may whine and complain. But she kept going and occasionally told me that she had to slow down and walk, which was absolutely fine by me.

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Next up was the Pop zone and her eye lit up when she saw runners throwing the balls as they took selfies, wefies and groupfies and of course, she went straight for them too.

As we approached the 3km mark, Alexis decided to give his little princess some assistance where he hoisted her up his shoulders and Sophie was so relived that she didn’t have to go up slope through the nature trail for about half a kilometer before she got on her feet again for the Old School zone where to my horror of horrors learnt that Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have been relegated to the Old School genre! #stillindenialthatimnotthatold

 

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These dancers at the Hip Hop zone were so spontaneous and sneakily gathered around us when we posed for a photo. We also got our hands on the inflatable boom box and tried to channel our Hip “sey” as we danced our way at the last 1km.

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At the last 1km, Sophie saw runners giving high fives and thought she’ll do likewise as well. It was so amusing to see this little girl waving her foam palm as she shouted, HIGH FIVE, HIGH FIVE to the fellow runners. I even overheard someone say to his friend, when a kid wants to high five you, you better give her a high five!

It was so heartening to see Sophie enjoying herself and having such a exuberant time at the run. To be honest, her enthusiasm took me by surprise but I suppose there’s nothing that she can’t overcome with her sprightly character where she put a smile to many of the runner’s face some who were struggling in the last leg of the run.

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At the finishing line!!!

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With our Music Run medals!

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My dear Sophie,

You totally outdid yourself by completing your first 5km run with mummy and daddy at the Music Run! I’m so so proud of you , not just for completing the run but doing it without a single complaint. We may have taken an hour to complete the run, but you sure proved that there’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it and tackle it with positivity! You go my little champion and here’s to more family runs for us :)

PS: Sophie said she’ll be back at the Music Run next year!