How to Cope with Homesickness

Neither of us is German. If we stay on long enough and be good at German, we may become “semi-locals”. If we DO stay long enough, Theo might be the most German person in our household. Germany might just very well be home for him even though he has a British passport.

Well, for us adults who grew up in a different country, living away from home can be fun and exciting. It’s thrilling to be thrown in a different culture (if you appreciate different cultures and way of life). However, every expat will at some point get homesick regardless of how fulfilling, rewarding and exciting their expatriate lifestyle is. So here are some ways to cope with homesickness.

1. Get on social media

Facebook will be a good one to start. There are so many groups initiated by fellow expats who were lonely individuals. In Frankfurt, here are a few common ones -

  1. Frankfurt English Speakers
  2. ExpatBabies.com in Frankfurt
  3. Singaporeans in Frankfurt
  4. Singaporeans in Germany

I can’t guarantee that your new friends will be fabulous, but it’s so important to put yourself out there to meet new people. These people were once new so they know exactly how being new and foreign in a country feels like.

2. Technology IS your friend

I was a little slow to accept the iPhone (or any smart phone) when I was living in the UK. That meant not being able to Whatsapp or FaceTime anyone. There was good old Skype but the call quality was often rubbish for me. Whatsapp just changed the way I communicate with family and friends back home. The best of course is FaceTime. I know it’s not the same as having the physical person in front of you, but being able to see faces is great. 

3. Stop comparing everything to home

Every so often we compare (and complain) about how stupid something is done in Frankfurt. How does that help apart from making you miss home even more?

I’m not saying we worship all practices and norms in Germany. However if we try NOT to see everything back home as superior to what’s in our host countries, we’re doing ourselves a big favour. Life will be easier. 

4. Give local culture a chance

Hence I started this blog! I wanted to make sure that I visit local markets, cities, fairs etc. I wanted to learn more about Germany. 

If you’re in Frankfurt and you want to know what the upcoming events are, follow Feste and Events in Frankfurt on Facebook.

5. Seek comfort in home food

Fortunately for me, Singaporean food and Malaysian food are similar. Therefore Frankfurt has a lot to offer in terms of food that reminds me of home. 

Usually at these restaurants, you’ll get to meet a fellow countryman and get to speak your local language to the waitresses. Every time I visit a Chinese restaurant, it feels like I’ve left Germamy temporarily. 

If your local cuisine is too exotic for your host country, you might want to learn to cook and invite some friends over for a small party. 

I think the best way to cope with homesickness is to put yourself out there and make friends. It will not be easy if you’re a little shy but don’t give up trying to network. There were people I just can’t seem to carry a conversation with (so we stopped wasting each other’s time); but I’ve found friends in Frankfurt to just be silly with and share a few good laughs. 

How did you cope with homesickness and loneliness when you moved abroad? 

Thai Lao Restaurant, Frankfurt

I’m super excited to share another hidden gem in Frankfurt - Thai Lao restaurant. A couple of friends recommended the place to me so we tried it out (finally!!!) after storytime. 

The interior deco may look unimpressive but any foodie should know that it’s the quality of the dishes that count. The lady boss (who’s from Hong Kong) was ever so friendly and pleasant. 

We ordered a good selection of mouth-watering dishes to share.

Thai Morning Glory

  

Fried fish with vegetables – A fish with its head still attached!!! It has been a long time since I last dig into something like this! I know this will sound disgusting to some people, but I helped myself to the head. YUMMY! 

  

Fried rice – This plate of rice didn’t have msg in it. It tasted just like homecooked fried rice. Usually I’ll be super thirsty after eating fried rice elsewhere (even if they’re super tasty), but not this time. 

  

As we were out with 3 tired kids (yup, we were really pushing our luck this evening), we had to be quick. I wasn’t going to be evil and stop a kid from having his noodles just so I could blog about it. We actually had a wider spread than what’s actually shown here.

Thai Lao does dim sum too and I heard that the chef makes them. I’ll be up for trying it out soon and I’ll let you know if it’s any good. 

Cappuccino and Pear Cake

It was bitterly cold on Friday compared to Wednesday’s summer-like afternoon. I felt the wind in my bones and wished I could hide under my snug duvet forever. But of course, Theo had other plans. 

To help me feel like the weekend wasn’t too far off, I met up with a couple of friends at the park with our babies. Meeting friends during the week has helped me maintain my sanity.

After my calorie-burning session at the park (because pushing Theo on the swing requires gazillion effort!), I went to Schiffer Cafe for a slice of cake. 

 

It was exactly what I needed after a tiring week! Don’t be put off by the cream because it was light, and not too sweet. It’s not very often that I find pears in cakes (apples are more commonly used?). And this was with cappuccino. I thought it was rather unique. The cake turned out really delicious. 

Sushimoto – Chirashi Don

 

It has been a year since I went to Sushimoto in Frankfurt.  I was pregnant with Theo so I stayed away from sashimi and ordered the Yakiniku set instead. I remember being envious of those around me who were digging into their sashimi sets and Chirashi Don. 

A year on, a friend suggested meeting up for lunch at Sushimoto and recommended their Chirashi Don. I did have second thoughts about ordering it as it was €20, but decided to satisfy my craving. It’s not everyday that I get to eat a proper lunch and I figured that I need whatever Omega-3 I can get from the sashimi! 

I was the happiest person in the restaurant I bet. What have I been missing out? Great, fresh sashimi in Frankfurt! It’s a shame that it’s NOT what I can have regularly since it comes with a rather extravagant price tag. 

Storytime in Frankfurt

Looking for something to do on Saturday afternoon for the kids? Come join Amy of The London Assembly and myself for an afternoon of storytelling and play! 



Venue: The London Assembly

               Kirchnerstrasse 6-8, Frankfurt

Here’s how to book yourself a place:

1. RSVP here OR

2. Sign up for the event via Facebook here

Looking forward to seeing you there! 





Schnitzel Please

Without fail, we’re woken up between 6.30 and 7am everyday. It’s as though I’ve set Theo to go off just like an alarm clock. He’s a pretty reliable one. 

Our Saturday mornings are spent at music class. It’s a class for babies and young children to sing songs, play instruments and dance around. Very fun but I’ll blog about it another time for parents in Frankfurt looking for music activities to attend with their children. So anyway, we were famished from the dancing and singing. Dan couldn’t wait to get home for lunch and I really couldn’t be bothered to cook after throwing my son in the air during class time and bouncing him on my legs. So we headed to Textor Cafe for lunch.

After the calorie-burning workout at music class, we needed a substantial lunch. We weren’t let down.

American Style Schnitzel – comes with bacon and onions.



Schwarzwald Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce



You know what?  Blogging about this is making me very hungry. The portion size is quite generous by my standards but it’s considered NORMAL in Germany. I’ve not been to a restaurant in Germany that serves a pathetic portion of Schnitzel. 

The pan-fried potatoes were perfect – crisp on the outside, creamy within. They weren’t too salty or oily either. The Schnitzels were amazing! 

I prefer the mushroom sauce at Textor Cafe to the one at Paulaner am Dom. The fact that it was lighter and not as salty won my vote. 



It wasn’t all meat for us. The meal came with a plate of mixed salad which was a meal by itself. 

Service was excellent too! I was feeding Theo some mashed banana I brought from home and bread. The chef came out with some sliced melon and grapes for Theo as snacks. Free! When a lady at the opposite dropped her cutlery, the chef immediately brought her clean cutlery before she even asked for it. How attentive is he, right? 

Here’s the challenge – how do I stop Dan from wanting to have a Schnitzel every Saturday afternoon?! 



Iimori Restaurant, Frankfurt

Iimori is popular for its French-Japanese fusion cafe in Frankfurt. Its cakes are delicate, beautiful and scrumptious. The atmosphere is top notch given its stylish furniture. You can read more about the cafe here

On Friday, I craved for some interaction with an adult so I met up with a friend at Iimori Restaurant for lunch. Fortunately we arrived before 12 as the place got packed rather quickly at lunch time. 

Iimori has a good selection of lunch-time bentos which range between €15 to €29. The Special Lunch sets include miso soup, green tea, salad, dessert and coffee. 

I ordered Katsu (Pork) Don for myself.



Here’s the great thing – the waitress offered to upgrade it to a set lunch that included miso soup, green tea, salad and dessert for an additional €5,50. Therefore the entire meal costs €16,50.

The Katsu Don actually tasted quite good. I wasn’t too sure about Iimori Restaurant initially as I was rather disappointed with their buffet a couple of years ago. I’m glad the ala carte dish turned out delicious.



Storytelling Time in Frankfurt



I’ll be co-hosting with Amy of The London Assembly an afternoon of storytime and play. It will take place on 10th March (Tuesday) from 2 to 3.30pm. 

There will be fun songs for the kids to boogie away, healthy snacks for them too and for mums, there’ll be wine for you! Amy has also put in lots of effort to make her cosy little boutique baby-friendly.

The London Assembly is currently expanding their kids’ range so be sure to check out the colourful and excellent quality clothes and toys that Amy has selected! 

If you’re in Frankfurt or live nearby and want an afternoon of fun and to make new friends, do join us. 

How to join us?

  1. You could RSVP a here
  2. Comment below this post and let me know OR
  3. Visit my Facebook Page and let me know

Storytelling Time in Frankfurt



Join me for an afternoon of Barefoot Books stories and songs on 10th March 2015! There will be healthy snacks for kids and The London Assembly (tLA) boutique is baby-friendly so  you don’t have to worry about where to change those dirty nappies.

I can’t wait to put on my storytelling hat to entertain the little ones!

As this is a joint event with Amy of tLA, you’ll also get the chance to see her expanding children’s section. She has such great taste so rest assured that you’ll find really cool outfits and toys on site too. 

Looking forward to see you there!

A Little DIY Fun For Babies

Theo is a very fortunate child. He is not short of toys. I’m really happy that he has plenty to play with. As he has so many toys, I find that he goes through them really quickly – like 30 seconds with a toy before moving on to another. Therefore I do try to create opportunities for him to sit down and “focus” on one activity.

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On Sunday, I put him in a cardboard box. To ensure that he doesn’t cut himself, I used masking tape to cover all the edges. I also placed a blanket in the box before putting him in. I then used a knife to cut three squares on a flap (of course this step was done before I put him in the box!). Theo had so much fun (thank you Amazon!!!). He enjoyed opening and closing the flaps, and pulling part of the blanket through the square holes.

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On Monday, I mixed flour, water and food dye to create “paint”. It’s not so much art and craft time, but rather just for him to feel the bag and see what happens when he uses his fingers to press on it etc.

I don’t expect him to sit still for 30 minutes to concentrate of the “task” but I think it’s fun for him to explore new materials. It’s also handy that the bag is taped to the table. I don’t have to bend over a million times to pick up a toy! Yay! Hopefully when he learns to stop putting everything in his mouth, we can then move on to crayons. 

Homemade Kaya (Coconut Jam)

It’s Chinese New Year but somehow it feels a little ordinary. Two years ago, I’ve experimented with homemade Bak Kwa and Pineapple Tarts. Last year I even steamed a fish for the very first time in my life. Due to my lack of planning, I didn’t organise anything special. Thankfully, there are 15 days of Chinese New Year to celebrate! Better get my act together!

The first thing I did was Homemade Kaya (Coconut Jam). It’s not exactly a Chinese New Year must-have, but it reminds me of home so I went ahead with it. It’s a popular spread in Singapore and Malaysia that’s made of coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan juice. Whenever I’m home, I’ll order Kaya Toast at a coffeeshop for breakfast with two half-boiled eggs. That’s good old breakfast for me.

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Thankfully, I discovered Grace from Nyonya Cooking last Saturday at Markt im Hof. Using her simple Kaya recipe as a guide, I made my own coconutty Kaya! Wondering why the Kaya isn’t brown? That’s because this is typical Nyonya Kaya.

So, to have a taste of home, I had Kaya Toast for dinner on Chinese New Year. Probably sounds pathetic to those who have had a feast back home. However, it’s amazing how the familiar taste of Kaya brings back fond memories.

Oh yes, I had to dig in first before Daniel does as he apparently LOVES Kaya!

Markt im Hof

It’s the third time I’ve succumbed to whatever virus that’s spreading since we got back to Frankfurt in January. Being sick with a child isn’t fun at all because there’s just no rest time until Dan gets back from work. It’s definitely not fun when the child falls ill too thanks to his Mama!

Oh well, but we try to make the weekends filled with fun. After all, it’s the highly sought after family time together!

A friend recommended me to visit Markt im Hof which is at Wallstrasse 11 in Sachsenhausen. It’s a lot less crowded than the Bauernmarkt in town but very welcoming.

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The main reason for visiting Markt im Hof was to support Grace from Nyonya Cooking. She is actively trying to raise awareness of Malaysian food by making YouTube videos. On Saturday, she was selling chicken satays, teh tarik and Kaya toasts! Definitely comfort food for me.

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She’s such a lovely person to chat with – very warm, cheerful and sweet. And her food was yummilicious too! Hopefully she received lots of compliments from Saturday and will be motivated to sell more often in Frankfurt.

I also tried some deep-fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Minced Meat from another stall.

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Thumbs up too! Crispy on the outside and really juicy fillings. So many people were queuing for them. As it was my first visit, I wonder if the stall sellers are regulars there or if they change each week.

It only shows that I still have a lot to learn about Frankfurt!

5 Things To Know About Giving Birth In Germany

As if having your first child isn’t nerve-wrecking enough, giving birth in a foreign land without sufficient knowledge of the local language can only add on to the stress. Occasionally I receive a couple of emails from readers in Singapore who chance upon this blog asking me about what it’s like to have a baby in Germany. I thought it would be thus useful to summarise the main things we should know about giving birth here. Of course, if you have any more questions, do contact me and I’ll try my best to answer.

1. Gynaecologists don’t deliver babies
Once you see that positive sign on the stick, make an appointment with your gynaecologist. If you live in the city (I live in Frankfurt, thank goodness!), there are many who speak English. I know many people who are conversational in German but when it comes to medical issues, they’d still prefer to speak their native language.

Unlike in Singapore, your gynaecologist (Frauenartz) in Germany won’t be the one delivering your baby. He/she is responsible for the routine checks throughout your pregnancy, but no way is he/she be the one encouraging you to push when the time comes. Once labour starts, the OB/GYN and midwives at the hospital take over.

Usually, midwives (Hebamme)are the ones who deliver babies in hospitals. You can choose your midwife if you’d like to and she’ll work with you during your pregnancy till childbirth. When choosing a hospital, make sure your midwife is authorised to work there if you’d like her to be the one delivering the baby.

2. The Mutterpass is your best friend
You’ll be given a pregnancy health booklet at your gynaecologist clinic. It’s a book that has all the details of each tests and check up. Bring it everywhere you go! It was very helpful as I had to see my own gynaecologist and the ones at the hospital too.

It kind of ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding your wellbeing and the baby’s.

3. Book an after-birth midwife ASAP
This midwife is responsible for visiting you and your baby at your home for the first 8 weeks. German Health Insurance covers this service which I think I couldn’t have done without. I can’t praise this system enough – I had so much support from my midwife, and I needed it. You could ask for recommendations online (Facebook or Google) as to which midwives to choose. If you’re breastfeeding, you can have access to your midwife for the first year as long as you have a doctor’s note. From my experience, it’s not difficult at all to get either your gynaecologist or padeatrician to prescribe you more midwife visits.

Those who have summer babies tend to be a little more stressed out over unavailability of midwives. Many of us love going on summer vacations, so do midwives. I booked mine when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I thought I was early, but apparently not.

4. Al Natura
As much as possible, the Germans love to go all natural. Unless necessary, there’s a lot of encouragement to have a natural birth. Not to scare anyone, but so many other mums have mentioned how slow/reluctant midwives are to give an epidural.

When I visited the hospital (in case I needed an epidural), I freaked out. For legal reasons, the anaesthetist had to explain to me everything that could go wrong if I had an epidural before I signed the papers. What would they do if I refused to sign?!?! It gave me nightmares!

So yes, you’ll be given lots of herbal tea to help with milk production and perhaps be recommended to even try hypnobirthing! I’ve had quark and cheese slapped on my boobs to help with engorgement!

5. Hospital Stay
Unlike hospitals in Singapore, do NOT expect 5 Stars hotel service in hospitals here. You don’t actually fork out a single cent here for the birth, so just make do with it. Depending on where you go, the service and experience will vary. I had Theo at Uniklinik in Frankfurt and was pleased with the ward I stayed at. They tend to not have more than 2 women in a room, unless it’s a busy period then they might have 3 in a room.

For natural births, you can expect to stay for 3 days and 5 days for C-section deliveries. It’s of course more comfortable at home, but staying put in the hospital means the doctors can conduct the U1 and U2 health checks on your baby. You don’t have to then rush to book a paediatrician to get U2 done when you’re still feeling sore and exhausted.

Before you leave the hospital, make sure you’re given the baby’s health booklet – Kinder-Untersuchungsheft.

German Laws

When in Germany, do what the Germans do. Play by the rules and chances are you won’t get into trouble. However, that’s not to say that some rules don’t make you cringe.

1. The Peeing Law

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At the Gynaecologist clinic, Dan pointed out to me that there was a sign telling men to pee sitting down. I’ve now learnt that men who do that are known as “Sitzpinkler” – which basically refers to their unmasculine behaviour. Gawwwd… I only pick up words like Stinkefinger and Sitzpinkler! So useful, right?!

I pointed out that since it’s a women’s clinic, perhaps they didn’t want men spraying everywhere in the loo. I didn’t know that such signs are actually quite common in Germany. I’ve never asked my German male friends how they pee, but why would I? I assume they all do it the “regular” way.

So, what happened recently is that a tenant’s deposit was withheld by his landlord who claimed that the former ruined his marble flooring in the loo by peeing while standing. However, the judge ruled against the landlord thus emphasizing that urinating while standing up is still common practice.

2. Agent Fees

2.38% commission (of Cold Rent) is what renters pay to agents who barely do anything apart from being there when you’re viewing an apartment and signing the contract. No after service whatsoever. Most of the time it’s the existing tenants that answers your questions regarding the flat instead of the agents.

However, landlords will soon be the ones responsible for engaging these agents. Really? They can surely include that expense in your rent. It will be interesting to see what rental prices are like once this rule is enforced (supposedly in Spring).

3. Fine for not paying for public transportation

I haven’t noticed any lately, but there used to be inspectors dressed in plain clothes checking if commuters have purchased valid tickets. It’s quite freaky because you could jolly well be seated next to an inspector and you didn’t know till he stands up and asks for your ticket. If you look back into history (all the spying!!), you would think that Germany would be the last place to have “secret inspectors”!

Anyway, the fine will increase from €40 to €60. Try moaning about the hike – you’ll be told it’s worse in France! Wow! That makes me feel better now.

4. Radio & TV Fee
We have no access to watching TV or listening to the radio. However, the fact that we own a TV for games & DVDs and a computer, we have to pay €17,98 MONTHLY!!! But now, we can save €0,48 each month because the rates have gone down. Every little counts, yah?

The Start of My Barefoot Books Journey

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Apart from being a mum and wife, I wanted to do something of my own. However, I was sure that whatever I was going to do had to benefit Theo. I had to make sure that “work” doesn’t mean having to slog away so someone else earns most of the money AND I don’t get to see my son. He’s growing so fast that I can’t imagine being away from him for 8-10 hours each day and missing out on all the milestones he achieves. Hence, I started my own home-based business as a Barefoot Books Ambassador.

At Barefoot Books we share captivating stories that stimulate children’s imaginations, curiosity, creativity and that celebrate cultural diversity.

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I love how their books teach children that they are part of the global community. For instance, you don’t just learn to count from 1 to 10. In “We All Went On Safari”, you’ll learn to count in English and Swahili, discover African animals and learn about the Maasai people.

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The books also showcase beautiful illustrations that spark children’s imaginations. “Out Of The Blue” is an example of a wordless book which is sure to get those creative juices flowing!

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One of my favourites (yes, I have many favourites!) is the Singalong series.

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Singing and dancing along to the catchy tunes sure make learning a lot more fun for the children.

If you’re based in the UK, you can shop online at http://yolande-lim.barefootbooks.com/

If you’re in Germany hunting for quality English books for your child, please feel free to contact me to find out more.

If you’re interested in organizing a joint event with your business in Frankfurt (eg. Kids’ boutique), please use the contact form on this website.

Here’s my Facebook Page where you’ll find what we have in stock and any upcoming events/ promotion.

The Sisterhood of Motherhood

If you haven’t watched Similac’s advertisement on the Sisterhood of Motherhood, do watch the video above.

Those who have experienced motherhood knows how tiring it gets but nonetheless says it’s a rewarding and loving experience. That’s what most people think and say motherhood is anyway.

This short video (two and a half minutes long) really sums up what motherhood is like. It has its ugly side. It brings out the ugliness in us. We get all competitive and judgmental of other parents. We think we know their children better when we can’t even figure our own kids out. Just because Parent A isn’t doing what we are doing, we conclude that their parenting skills are incorrect or their children have issues.

Funny enough, this video which was posted on a Facebook page got a mum saying “Continuing to post it gives this company (Similac), which is otherwise taking money from mothers who would be better off in so many ways if they breastfed, FREE ADVERTISING “. Of course, such a comment annoyed another mum. Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to benefit babies and yes, mums should be encouraged to do so IF POSSIBLE. I went through hell the first couple of months with breastfeeding despite all the help I got from my midwife and I can tell you, my C-section wound was NOTHING compared to sore nipples. Don’t even start trying to tell me what possibly was wrong.

That’s precisely why I have a love-hate relationship with mummy groups. Everyone has their own agenda and thinks they know what is best for you. When I asked about which brand of nappy to buy before Theo was born, I was bombarded with comments such as “Why don’t you use reusable nappies? They are more environmentally friendly.” And that thread eventually was about where to buy the cutest reusable nappies in the UK. However, there are genuinely nice people out there who will answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to ask.

I make it a point not to give any parenting tips unless people ask what I’m doing to cope with an issue. It is then up to my friends to try if it works for them. Great if it does. But if it doesn’t, try something else or just let nature run its own course. My way of dealing with Theo is to follow his cues. It works best for the sanity of our family and that’s what matters most. But of course, this is seen as madness for others.

I also make it a point not to tell new parents-to-be what having a baby is like. Everyone was telling me how tired I would be, how tough it would be to do this and that before Theo arrived. I hated those comments for ruining the romanticised idea of motherhood I had. Of course they turned out to be true, but just allow excited parents some last moments of fantasy before the baby arrives, yeah?

We as mothers all want the same thing for our children – we want them to be healthy and happy. I think the video’s great in trying to get mothers to not judge each other. We all do things differently for personal reasons. Motherhood is a steep learning curve for everyone (be it your 5th child or 7th!). It’s not only learning about your child, but also learning to respect other mums’ choices. This is also something I need constant reminder of.

Improving One’s Quality of Life

Are you the sort of person who

1. Goes out immediately to get what you need the moment you’ve identified an issue?

OR

2. Think real hard about it, browse online to see which product is the best, make a cup of tea, browse again to find fault with the best product on the market then have another cup of tea?

I tend to be number 2. And I know it’s annoying because I can’t make up my mind about buying something at times. In my head I wonder “Really? Do I need it? Will it be money well spent? Seriously? Is it worth it?”

Therefore, in 2015, we decided that one of our family values is to improve our quality of life by making everyday life simpler and easier.

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Source

One of the first things I bought in 2015 was a Slow Cooker. #Auntiealert

I’ve lost count of the number of headaches I suffered from having late dinners (as I waited till Dan came home before cooking). It was very stressful to rush through cooking and eating just so we can put Theo down to sleep at a reasonable time. As much as I love Bolognese, it got boring after having it a couple of times each week. Don’t even mention batch cooking because we have the tiniest freezer ever. Towards the end of last year, we were having kebabs and pizzas far too often for my liking.

After two weeks of using my new slow cooker, I can proudly say, “My life has improved!” No more stressful evenings wondering when to start cooking. Even when Dan gets home past 7pm, all we need to do is dish dinner up and dig in S-L-O-W-L-Y.

As food is usually ready by 5pm (I throw all ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning before 9am), it means Theo’s dinner is ready too. The boy eats whatever we eat, so no salt, no stock cubes. If I want the stew or soup to taste more flavoursome, I use more vegetables.

Ever since I started using the slow cooker, I have more time in the early evenings to give Theo a slow and relaxing bath, read to him, and play with him. He gets the attention he deserves without me having to chop vegetables or stand in the kitchen. It is brilliant!

Here are some of the benefits I’ve reaped from slow cooking:
1. Delicious and nutritious meals – flavours of meat and vegetables are retained. Meat is way much more tender than cooking on the stove.
2. Time saver – put all the ingredients in and let the slow cooker do the rest.
3. Easy to clean – food does not stick to the cooker and since everything is cooked in one pot, there’s only that to wash up.
4. So quick – it takes ages to cook but I don’t have to stand around in the kitchen or time the cooking. Dinner just needs to be dished when everyone’s home!

Should Boys Play with Kitchen Sets?

When we found out we were having a boy, I freaked out. I hate football culture (men getting drunk, cursing and swearing, players pretending to be in great pain etc), I know close to nothing about Chess, I can’t even differentiate between a Porsche and a Lamborghini, and I don’t think I can name more than 5 different types of dinosaurs (ok, 3 actually). Thank goodness Theodore has a Papa who’s slightly more knowledgable than me in those areas.

I’m convinced raising a boy requires a lot of energy. Or maybe it’s just Theo’s constant need for thrill and excitement. Or there’s a worm in his bum because he wriggles so much. Anyway, having a boy got me thinking – should boys play with toys which are stereotypically girls’ toys? In this case I’m referring to a kitchen set.

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I assume most people will not hesitate to agree that it is not a problem. After all, famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay (just to name a few) are men!

I’m saying a boy should own a kitchen play set. One day, boys grow up to be men and they’ll have to cook for themselves (or their families). If they’re going to own the real thing in the future, what’s wrong with starting them young with a kitchen set? A set like this helps children build motor skills, communicate, take turns by sharing and so on. They learn skills which both boys and girls need to have in life.

Similarly, girls should be given the opportunity to play with a toy tools set. Let’s be realistic – one day, they’ll leave home with a tight budget and end up buying cheap IKEA furniture for their first rented place.

The kitchen set is great! When I’m in the kitchen with Theo “supervising” me (bless this boy for not letting me out of his sight!), I do a pretty good commentary of whatever I’m doing. During playtime, I “remind” (since he probably doesn’t really remember me doing any of it) him of what Mama does in the kitchen using his kitchen play set. It has opened up a whole new world of conversations!

I definitely do not think that a kitchen set is too girly for Theo. Neither do I think it’s going to make him gay or less manly.

Do you let your child play with toys that stereotypically are associated with the opposite gender? Why?

A blog on my three greatest loves – family, food & travels

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