Review: Ebates Rebates!

Have you heard of Ebates? They have just recently launched their Singapore platform, but they are apparently very well established in the States. So when they approached me to see if I would been keen to review their website, I was a little apprehensive because I’d never heard of it before, and I thought that it might be similar to other websites, some of which are apparently franchise modelled.

I am now quite the online shopper, having converted over since I became a mum and a have a lot less time on my hands to head out shopping, and a lot more time home bound than before. So I decided it would be rather interesting to learn about Ebates. And to be honest, after the meeting, I was more convinced, but still had some of my doubts about the whole system.

Until I actually tried it.

It was super easy, and I didn’t even need to do anything extra, save for logging into the ebates website.

eBates step by step

What you do is, first create an Ebates account. Then, log in to the Ebates website, and from there, select the vendor you want to buy from. They have MANY MANY US-based vendors, but lately I am quite lazy to have the hassle of going through a third party shipper, so I buy mostly stuff that’s free to ship from Amazon, or I don’t buy at all. I’m Singaporean so I’m cheapskate right?? Although comGateway is also one of the Ebates partners so you can get rebates from using their service too.

ebates US retailers

ebates US retailers

Ebates also has quite a number of local sites and the choice is growing, including Redmart, Expedia, Zalora, Groupon, Expedia, Food Panda, Muji, Deal Ensogo, Zuji, Smart Buy Glasses, Honestbee and Rakuten. I have recently discovered the secret to mothers’ sanity which is Honestbee, a delivery service which can pick up groceries, food, etc from several vendors and have it delivered to you within the day. Sometimes they deliver WITHIN A FEW HOURS!! Great for people like me who can’t decide what they need to cook for mealtimes. Or suddenly run out of something but can’t literally run out to get it. So I decided to try it through Ebates and it was super easy! I had cash back credited to my account after the delivery of my goods (in case there are things that are OOS, or something like that), and I didn’t even need to do anything extra!

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 4.23.52 pm

You don’t get the rebates straight away, since the vendor still needs to confirm shipment, etc. But it is very seamless and painless. You have the option to choose whether you want this credited to your PayPal account, credit card or receive it by cheque. I chose the latter so that I can shop more! YAY! The rebates are paid out quarterly, but you can see it credited to your account very quickly.

(This is a dummy dashboard and not MY dashboard, just in case you were being kaypoh)

(This is a dummy dashboard and not MY dashboard, just in case you were being kaypoh)

There are also seasonal offers, with increased rebates, so do look out for those! Currently there is even a promotion if you activate your VISA card with Ebates!

If you’re going to buy something online, and you can get cash back by signing up for free with ebates, why not right?

Click here to sign up and be referred by me, and receive an extra $10 sign up bonus for your first transaction of $25 or more! The usual sign up bonus is $5.


Disclaimer: I was also given a sign up bonus, as what you’d get if you sign up with the link above. All shopping was entirely my own doing.

Animation for kids – not just cartoons.

In my last post I talked about going backstage to see SRT’s Treasure Island actors at work. I really enjoyed the tour because I have been talking to the kids about actors, CGI, voices behind animation, etc. So the tour really added a different dimension to our learning.

Like many families, we enjoy going to the movies. While movies are very entertaining, I think it’s also important that children know that it’s just entertainment, and that it’s not real.

My favorite introduction to the concept of actors is a Bubble guppies episode where they talk about actors, and easy for kids to understand. I couldn’t find it on YouTube though, sorry! These days I am often telling the kids about other movies a particular actor might have starred in, or show them clips of actors recording voices for animation. I like this one showing all the actors from Despicable Me, and this other one just showing Steve Carell as Dr. Dru. Most recently we saw Bedtime Stories on HBO (lovely movie!), and Mittens was a bit in disbelief that Adam Sandler was also Drac from Hotel Transylvania. I like this clip that matches the voices with the animation from Hotel Transyvania 2.

When it comes to special effects, I think the Lights! Camera! Action! show at Universal Studios Singapore is a wonderful way to show how a scene can be created in a controlled environment. I made it a point to explain that the people who work on movie sets are experts at their jobs and while some elements might be dangerous, like fire or bombs, they know precisely what they are doing, if not they will rehearse it first, more specifically this is to drive the point that we do not try this at home!!

dreamworks animation MBS

We also really enjoyed the Dreamworks Animation exhibition that was recently on at the Marina Bay Sands Art Science Museum. We got to see 3D clay figurines and models that animators based their drawings on, and the kids got to try their hand at using computers to quickly change a scene, e.g. the colour of the frame. They showed story boarding, and there were computers where you could draw your own short clip frame by frame. My favorite was the Dragon Flight – a 180 degree screen which showed a How To Train A Dragon clip which built up slowly from line drawings to the final finish that we see on screen, but also the screen and the animation made it almost like a 3D ride! You can see more of the Dreamworks technology in this clip.

dreamworks animation

There were also hands on activities such as making your own flip book, which although his actually much harder to make than just tearing out the little squares, was a great way to show them how animation used to be, and ties in with using the computer to draw frame by frame. This Disney classic clip shows how flip books/pages create animation.

Of course computers can do a lot more these days, and I like this clip that shows how the Hulk was created based on Mark Ruffalo’s facial expressions for Marvel’s Avengers. We also watched several other making of clips such as this one from Avengers, where we could see the green background to be filled later with CGI, and this that shows how the computer fills in the backgrounds and other CGI. This Disney Tangled clip shows a scene that is slowly built up.

I’ve told them about how sometimes the animators will have the actors peform the lines first and animate based on their performance. Or getting their inspiration from real life objects, such as a Norwegian town for Frozen. And about orchestras recording scores while “watching” the movie, such as this Frozen one.

To see a history of animation, do watch this clip about Disney Animation from 1938.

I hope that the kids don’t lose the magic, but rather are more inspired and creative!



SRT’s Treasure Island


We were invited to a sneak peek at rehearsals for the Singapore Repratory Theatre’s The Little Company’s upcoming Treasure Island production, and I was super excited! I thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids to see what goes on behind a performance, and I wasn’t disappointed.

SRT TLC Treasure Island

First, we were able to watch the actors in rehearsal. The producer explained to us that they might only rehearse the more difficult parts and not rehearse the play in its entirety. Then they also explained that they were using some props like a retail clothes hanger as a tree. I took some photos and hope to help them draw the connection between the props in rehearsal and during the actual performance.

Next we were brought to the dressing room where we saw the costumes, and the artwork they did as inspiration of the costumes.

SRT TLC Treasure Island

Finally we saw the stage crew hard at work at preparing the stage.

We can’t wait for the production! If you haven’t already caught it, you have from now until 13 Dec to do so, you can buy tickets from SISTIC here.

Review & Discount Code: Eco-friendly NooTrees Bamboo Tissue products

NootreesAs I mentioned in my previous post, the haze has made so many of us sit up and pay attention to environmental issues. So when I was asked if I was keen to review NooTrees products, and I was told that NooTrees products are sustainable and biodegradable bamboo-based wet-wipes and tissue paper products, I was in!

I have not noticed bamboo household paper products before, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn from NooTrees some things about bamboo as a sustainable alternative to paper made from trees:

  • Bamboo is a grass not a hardwood
  • It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.
  • Unlike trees, which can take up to 30 years to grow back and mature, bamboo will grow back as quickly as 3-4 months and can be re-harvested in 1-2 years without replanting.
  • Using products made from bamboo will reduce over-logging and deforestation.
  • The planting of mono tree forests, which will take 30 plus years to mature, and destroy the local biosphere
  • 20% of all carbon emissions in the atmosphere come directly from this deforestation, this is more than all the cars of the world combined.
  • Bamboo can grow in environments with depleted soil and little water and actually returns nutrients to the soil, which improves degraded areas. Trees require grade A arable land to grow
  • Bamboo doesn’t require fertilisers, insecticides or pesticides to grow.
  • Bamboo is more eco-friendly than recycled paper as it is virgin pulp, so no possibilities of BPA’s being present on top of all the above sustainability reasons why bamboo beats wood.
  • It is believed that if bamboo were planted on a mass basis it could completely reverse the effects of global warming in just 6 years, while providing a renewable source of food, building material, and erosion prevention.
  • Trees used for wood pulp take 30 to 50 years to generate to their full mass, whereas one bamboo plant can be harvested every 3 to 7 years and will produce 5 to 6 times the volume of raw material during the period of grow of a industry selected tree (Fir) per hectare.

Sounds good so far right? Find out more about bamboo on the NooTrees website.

So they might be environmentally-friendly, but are they any good? Well, let me tell you why my friend Xavvy-licious and I have been raving about them.


NooTrees® Facial Tissue, made from highly absorbent, 100% biodegradable, sustainable and BPA-free virgin bamboo pulp. To be frank, the tissue wouldn’t be my first choice if I had a sinus infection, which I actually did 2 weeks ago. But, it was the first time in my life I’d ever had a sinus infection, and although the tissues are only 2 ply, i actually don’t mind it because kids are so fond of using far too much tissue, for example if they need to blow their nose they sometimes take 2-3 pieces AT ONE GO for their tiny noses?! Or one piece to wipe up the tiniest thing?! So most of the time we will use 2 ply tissue at home anyway.

NooTrees Eco-Luxe© Facial Tissues 1NooTrees® Toilet Tissue, similar to facial tissues, but made from higher quality BPA-free virgin bamboo Eco-Luxe pulp;


NooTrees® Bamboo Face and Hand Wet Wipes, comes in three sizes. the NooTrees wet wipes have a nice fragrance to it and are soft to the touch. I am not picky about the wet wipes that we use for our hands, but I do like ones that don’t have too many chemicals. These wet wipes are able to degrade in landfills at around 45 days! Compared to years for conventional wipes. So awesome right??


Bamboosa baby wipes, is a USA brand and are 100% bamboo.

Eco Dot Wet Wipes

NooTrees® Self-spa Treatment Wipes with Eco-Dot© Technology, a range of three textured wipes with special biodegradable exfoliating dots. The Dots are very cute leh! And the pastel colours are gorgeous! And the matte-lamination finishing of the packaging! Sorry, that last one was so not relevant, but I love that anyway!

o Aqua Skin© moisturising wipes with added hyaluronic acid, Vitamins A & E and Omega 3 & 6;
o Spa Skin©  with added essential oils for relaxation;
o Age Impact© anti-ageing wipes with added Q10, peptides and antioxidants.

All of the wipes in this range can be used for makeup removal. I was quite skeptical about how different facial wipes could be, I mean wipes are wipes right? But WOW! The Wipes have special dots, and if you don’t like the feel of the dots, you can also use the other side of the wipe which has SUCH a luxury feel to it. And coupled with the luxurious fragrance of it, no wonder they call them spa wipes! It’s like a little slice (or sheet) of heaven. Seriously. I usually use an X brand of make up cleansing wipes, but I will probably never buy those again because the size of those wipes are tiny and not all that much cheaper than NooTrees! AND they biodegrade in 45 days? Win-win for all, right?


Who can resist this lovely shade of purple?

What I do like best is that the NooTrees products that are made of bamboo are far more environmentally-friendly than regular products, and if the prices are comparable to that of other traditional paper products, and you can decrease your carbon footprint, do some good, reduce deforestation, why not? Because God knows, with the weather changes that we’ve been able to see in our own lifetimes, with animal species dwindling, with the kind of haze we’ve been getting, our planet sure needs all the help she can get right now. And if it doesn’t start with you and me, then who does it start with?


Buy NooTrees product on their online store and at several leading supermarkets. NooTrees is offering a 20% discount for your purchases if you key in the promo code: MUMMYGREEN upon checking out. You will still be entitled for FREE SHIPPING if your total purchase exceeds SGD $50 after utilising the discount. The discount code will be valid for a month from the date of this posting. 


Disclaimer: NooTrees sent me several products for review, but did in no way co-erce or pay me to write a review for them. Although they have offered me a rebate for anyone who uses my discount code, I think the only person making use of it would probably be myself :D


Ways to beat the haze. Well, actually just one – sustainability.

Are you loving the haze? Yes, I think NO ONE is.

In my last post, I wrote about caring for the environment.

Ever since the start of the haze this year, I have been reading more about palm oil. My interest in it started when we drove up to Trengganu, Malaysia in June for a holiday. I have not been to Trengganu for maybe 15 years, and I was surprised to see that rubber plantations have been overtaken by palm oil plantations for miles. And miles.

Not long after, on a flight descending into Changi International Airport, I was surprised to see remote pieces of land along the coast (I think it was Malaysia) with rows and rows of neatly planted palm oil. Everywhere. So I started to read up more.

And since there are many blog posts on how to beat the haze, which actually are more about how to avoid the haze, here’s a post on how really to get to the root of the problem.

To get an overview on the haze and palm oil, you can read about it on Wikipedia, head to the WWF (that’s World Wildlife Fund), or this website albeit written by a 19 year old boy. There is also the People’s Movement to Stop the Haze, which is full of information as well.

After you’ve read that, now you know that palm oil is not the problem, since it is a high yield product that makes better use of the land than other products. So boycotting products with palm oil in them, which ranges from toothpaste to food to furniture, isn’t a viable option.

The problem, rather, is the way that palm oil is being managed by humans. Unscrupulous deforestation for commercial profit and poor management of land has resulted in the worst haze for Singapore in history, but this is not just a problem that affects us. With rapid deforestation, the biodiversity and ecosystems are affected. You can read more about worldwide deforestation here, and more specifically regarding Indonesia, here.

Some people ask, why don’t farmers just stop the burning? Well, because it’s not as simple as that? Imagine yourself as a poor farmer, struggling to feed your family. Would you be interested in ensuring the habitat of orangutans, or finding money for food? Or even an official who relies on kickbacks?

So then what can we do? The Union of Concerned Scientists have also published their more American-centric 2015 Palm Oil Scorecard. They show clearly whether companies have a strong commitment to sustainable palm oil, or not, to help you make more informed choices.

For example,

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.57.34 pm

Nestle has been one of the highest rated packaged food manufacturers with a strong commitment to sustainable palm oil, so that means you can continue buying your Kit Kat, Milo, Maggi, and other Nestle products with peace of mind. Except this scoring has nothing to do with preservatives and too much sugar, so you’re on your own for that! :D

WWF also work with RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, is a certification body setting the standard of sustainable palm oil, and regularly publish scorecards of organisations. You can see the latest 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard here. RSPO have detractors, but I find their scorecards a simple way for consumers to understand which companies are headed in the right direction.

With knowledge comes power, and now that the people are more aware of sustainable palm oil, we are able to put pressure on manufacturers to move toward sustainable palm oil. The recent news of all the large supermarkets pulling products from a less responsible producer off their shelves is certainly a move in the right direction, and I hope to see more organisations following in the footsteps.

As for the farmers, well, money talks. If organisations insist and are willing to pay farmers to grow in a more sustainable manner, then slowly we will get there. In the meantime, keep calm and mask on. Literally!



P.s. As with everything you see on the Internet, please read everything with a pinch of salt. I read this article “Getting the facts right on Indonesia’s haze problems” with a little amusement. Perhaps he is right on the facts, but the author’s solutions, even from my very layman point of view, lack an understanding of local customs. Erecting billboards to counter corruption? Totally made me laugh :)

How can we save baby puffins, and save the world?

Late last year, the Straits Times reprinted this article “Something is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast – and It’s Killing All The Baby Puffins.” It was a moving article, so much so that a group of us were discussing the read.

One friend commented, “But what can we do? We are only one in several million billion people”.

Sadly it is true that in some ways we are rather insignificant as individuals. However as a collective, there is a plenty that we can do. I’m pretty sure each of us, in our own way, are already trying to conserve resources – by not wasting water and electricity, etc. Perhaps, we just need to be that little bit more conscious, and put in just that little bit more effort, into what we do and what we can do.

And what exactly can we do?

We can be more informed about what is happening, and our choices. We can choose to complain about the haze, or we can choose to understand what is going on and make our choices accordingly, instead of waiting for someone else (or the gahmen) to do something.

We can teach our children about recycling and caring for the environment. I find it worrying that in my own lifetime I have been able to see climate changes, who knows what the future might hold for us? One of my favourites is the “Plus 5 Degrees” Immersion Projection (a little more interactive version of a video) at the Gardens By The Bay‘s Cloud Forest, which clearly and scarily illustrates how the earth will respond with just a very minor increase in temperature. It’s a great video for kids to watch and “feel”. Click the link to see the video.

If you’re at a loss as to where to start, my friend The Gingerbread Mum, has a list of 60 small impactful changes anyone can make, starting today! Green Issues by Agy has lots of recycling, upcycling, tips, tricks and ideas.

And if you need a little inspiration, I previously wrote about a touching video, in which oceanographer Sylvia Earle talked about World Ocean Day, marine conservation, urging us to choose the right companies, and how we are also in a “sweet spot in time” to make a difference.

Maybe what each of us does will have but only a small impact on making the world a better place, but I’ll be damned if I don’t die trying.

A heart story (and a new hospital for all our children)

Now that we have been plagued with days of haze, I have been actively and unabashedly wearing my mask everywhere, because I’m tired of having a niggling cough that’s lasted for over a month, and I’m not asthmatic but too long out there and I feel my lungs getting tight. So while I’m starting to get a sense of what it’s like being a bubble boy, I don’t care if I might look silly, and I’m actually surprised more people don’t don their masks.

But enough about the haze (and I haven’t even gotten started on sustainable palm oil). They always say that smell triggers memories easily, and every time I put on a mask, the distinct smell of it reminds me of the hospital. More specifically, the time that Abacus spent in the hospital when he was in the PICU. For us they are happy memories, and always reminds me to hug him a little extra tighter.

If you’re new to the blog, let me just summarize it briefly for you: after a very easy pregnancy, and a very quick and easy delivery, at around 16 hours old, the nurses at the nursery noticed he was a little blue, so he was sent to the PICU (and this is why I will always discourage home births!). By his 48th hour after birth, it felt as if he was on the edge of life; then we had him transferred from Mt Alvernia to the National University Hospital, NUH. By around 53 hours after birth (funny how I can remember this?), he was finally stabilized. The bad news? The diagnosis was Total Anomalous Pulmonary Vein Condition. Ssurgery was the only option. And, in the cardiologists own words,

In infracardiac TAPVC, it will be most unusual to survive beyond a week if not diagnosed and treated.

The good news?  They were confident they had one of the best teams in the country (and, in many parts of the world) to do the surgery.

So we put our faith in them, and before his 72nd hour of life, he’d just been wheeled out of open-heart surgery.

The days that followed were worrying, but at the same time I always felt assured that they were doing their best, and that the rest was really up to the boy. Just after 10 days in PICU, he has not looked back, ever. Today, he is good as new, and doing everything any other little boy can do.

And that is the story of how I came to know and love NUH. Even today, 5 years later, the smell of the masks, or the antiseptic sanitiser they use in the NUH hallways, always brings me back to those days.

We have counted our blessings many times over. To have the facilities and access to facilities, as well as the skill set here is no mean feat. We have little doubt that in a case as urgent as his, his chance of survival would have been dramatically reduced if we lived elsewhere. What if we lived hours from the nearest hospital and airports and another few hours from a hospital with the facilities required? Here in Singapore, anything is at most a 45 minute drive away. Most recently, we received fantastic news that the government’s CPF board will continue to cover him including his congenital condition, under Medishield Life, with no increase in premium. I am grateful beyond words.

And the best part is? At a restructured hospital like NUH, treatment like his is available to any child in Singapore from all walks of life, regardless of income level.

The Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children’s Medical Institute (KTP-NUCMI) is the paediatric arm of the National University Hospital, Singapore, and I was really excited to hear that they are building a new paediatric centre, because I have seen first hand the dedication and passion that the doctors, nurses, and even the valets and the people directing traffic have.

I am forever indebted to the doctors, nurses and staff of NUH and our medical system for giving kids like my son a second chance at life. And I can only imagine that they will be doing even more amazing life-giving work with the new centre.

NUH are looking for funds for their new paediatric centre (which I think is yet to be named!) so they can continue the amazing dedicated and life-giving work that they do, for patients from all walks of life, regardless of income level.

Please let me know if you or your organization are keen to donate, or you can also make a contribution through the SG Gives portal (remember to select or put in the notes NUHKids), or you can contact the NUHkids representatives, Ms Vanessa Chen at  6772 6711 or Ms Shirley Ooi at 6772 5465. Donations until the end of 2015 also receive a 300% tax deduction.

Your contribution will go a long way in helping many many wonderful children of our future. I leave you with a heart-warming video (literally!) of the NUH Heart Stories.