Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review - ETutorStar Reading Pen (易笔通)

Product Review : There are a couple of reading pens in the market but one that reads the children's Chinese magazines that most are currently subscribing to and used in Primary schools sounds extremely interesting to me!

The EtutorStar Pen (易笔通), a combination of optical recognition technology and speech synthesis, is Singapore's first learning device that can be used with 好朋友 (Hao Peng You), 识报 (Zhi Shi Bao), 识画报 (Zhi Shi Hua Bao), 新朋友 (New Friends), 新天地 (New World) and 新列车 (New Express), chinese magazines that are published from 2015 and onward. In addition, it can also be used with ETutor Star voice-enhance learning series (Oral, Listening Comprehension, Composition, Reading Comprehension) written based on MOE syllabus requirement.

I thought this is a major plus point with the pen serving as a companion to help children learn Chinese in a more interactive way as they do their exercises in the magazines independently.

Chinese seems to be a subject that many children are having difficulty to cope - including my girl who is in Primary 3. She finds the Chinese characters are harder to write and more challenging to read and speak the language. With the EtutorStar pen, lets see how it will help children in learning the language better.

The EtutorStar pen is light and compact, making it portable and easy to bring along between home and school. It has a build-in speaker, 4GB memory capacity, supporting MP3 audio playback and music player. The ETutorStar box set comes with an earphone and USB cable for downloading purposes. In terms of functionality, it is easy to use with recording, playback and read along features. User manual is available online where instructions are simple and easy to follow.

To start, visit and download the audio file of the relevant Chinese magazine title your child has subscribed to via the USB cable connection to the EtutorStar device. The audio files are in AP4 format, hence you have to copy the downloaded files into the ETutorStar pen's AP4 folder respectively.

ETutorStar audio file download page with a range of titles that are used in Primary Schools
Image Source:

I downloaded all the audio files ( 识画报) in the EtutorStar Pen so that Gladys can use it at her convenience whenever she receives a new magazine. To read along, simply turn on the device, select the read along mode and pick the right audio file matching to the current week's magazine.

A point to note is not all the pages within the magazine will have the reading along capability. Only pages with the play/pause/stop/recording icon at the bottom of the page will be inclusive in the audio file. I thought this works pretty well as children will not be overly relying on the device just to complete their homework, and losing track of the initial intention for them to be expose to more reading and improve their word recognition ability.

Just a simple tap on the printed words and it will read the paragraph. You do not need to move the pen through each words, children have to follow through the wordings as the audio file is played. 

ETutorStar Pen -  Demo 

If you wish to pause or stop the reading, simply tap the reading pen on the respective icon. :)

For years, Gladys has been doing her Chinese homework on 识画报 but missing out many interesting short stories that can be found within the magazine mainly because there are many words that she finds it hard to read. With the EtutorStar pen, I noticed our girl taking the initiative to pick up the reading pen and read along. For a start, she does not find it as daunting and cumbersome to read her magazine as before. As the audio file also comes with quality and accurate pronunciation, it will also help our girl to pick up the correct pronunciation too.

Apart from read along, the ETutorStar pen also has recording function which I find it helpful for my kids to playback and listen to their own speech. Particularly helpful when they are practicing for oral.

I also tried it on ETutorStar audio book where children self-learn by tapping with the ETutorStar reading pen for instant recitation of the questions for listening comprehension to enhance their skill.

Personally, I thought ETutorStar reading pen is a great assistant to children and parents. Working parents may not be able to find time to guide and read with their children consistently, hence it is nice to have a portable companion to help children learn Chinese. However, with every technology, parents involvement in their child's learning is equally important and it will be beneficial and more effective to utilize the tool with parents' monitoring for progress and supervision.

ETutorStar Reading Pen is available for sale at Popular Bookstores. For more demo and information, visit

ETutorStar (易笔通)

Disclosure: Sponsored Review - All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. ETutorStar Reading Pen was provided for review purposes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yogurt indulgence at Milk & Honey (City Square Mall)

Nothing beats a refreshing and cooling cup of yogurt after a meal. Milk & Honey - artisan yogurt & dessert bar serves delicious yogurt parfaits decorated with their handcrafted toppings. Alternatively, you can also design your own parfait choosing your favourite flavour and toppings to make your day a special one. 

A colourful and tempting selection of handcrafted toppings which you can select from. 

It was difficult to make our pick as we browse through the menu. The yogurt selection looked awesomely delicious! We could not make up our minds!! Eeny, meeny, miny, moe surely did not work either.

This is what made our decision making hard - doesn't this look super tempting? After much pondering, we finally settled on our orders.
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Royal Honey ($8.80)

(Honey Parfait, White Chocolate Stick, Orange Chip, Honey Popcorn, Honey Crystal Jello, Crunchy Crumble)

A combination of sweetness and crunch. I love the orange chip which I thought was one of the main highlight for this yogurt cup. Nice delight for my boy especially one who love caramel popcorn.

Tropical Zest ($8.80)

(Lychee, Apple Chip, White Chocolate Stick, Raspberry Sauce, Fresh Banana, Crunchy Crumble)

My personal favourite as I love raspberry. A lovely mixture of fresh banana with crunchy crumble compliments the smooth texture of the frozen yogurt.

Mango Passionfruit ($8.80)

(Mango Parfait, Passionfruit Chocolate Stick, Passionfruit Sauce, Passionfruit Marshmellow, Crunchy Crumble, Fresh Mango)

Ran out of fresh mango and we have to pick oreo mix for our girl. Nevertheless, our girl is not complaining as both are her favourite! Not forgetting the marshmellow toppings which she adores!

Healthy Mix ($7.80)

(Green Tea Meringue, White Chocolate Ring, Raspberry Sauce, Fresh Blueberries, Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Mango)

Hubby's pick as it is a healthier mix with fresh fruits. This yogurt cup also looks prettiest among all.

Apart from yogurt, Milk & Honey also serves a nice selection of cakes, macaron and drinks.

Ice Milk Tea 

It was a restful and relaxing afternoon where our family sat down and enjoy our froyo. I love the frozen yogurt texture and it does not taste overly sour or milky. If you like to be creative and unique, you can also design your own parfait.

Regular - $9.80 (Choose 6 Toppings)
Petite - $5.80 (Choose 3 Toppings)
Mini - $4.00 (Choose 1 Stick)

Milk & Honey
Address: 180 Kitchener Road, #02-K14, City Square Mall, Singapore 208539
Telephone: +65 6834 3040


Disclosure: As part of Mother's Day celebration, our family was invited to Milk & Honey for some desserts, courtesy of City Square Mall. All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lovely Mother's Day Gift - Far East Flora

Mother's Day is only 2 weeks away! Thanks to Far East Flora, I received an early Mother's Day present - a lovely floral arrangement, which brightens my day whenever I see the flowers sitting in the living room when I reached home. ^_^

Gladys is helping to water the flowers daily and so far the flowers are still in blossom.

Memorable Childhood - Collection from Far East Floral

It has been ages since anyone has sent me flowers and it definitely feels good to receive one on a special occasion. *Hint..Hint to whoever is reading. ^_^

Are you planning to get a lovely bouquet to thank your Mother this Mother's Day? 

Good News for BPDGTravels readers! 

When you when you purchase your bouquet online -, quote "BPDGMday15" during checkout (Shopping Cart) and receive an additional 10% off purchase of Far East Flora's Mother's Day catalog items! It is also applicable for walk in customers. Just provide the promo code to the retail staff on-site  and they will assist accordingly.

Promotion code is valid from 28th April - 9th May 2015

~ Promotion code is not valid in conjunction with other promotions, discounts, coupons or privileges. 
~ Promotion code is applicable on top of current sale prices on's website.
~ Promotion code is not applicable for the early bird 15% discount for purchases of 2 bouquets and above.
~ Delivery charges and other T&Cs apply.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fun N Laughter at City Square Mall

I must say it has been a long time since we brought the children to an indoor playground. There aren't many established play areas when Denver and Gladys were younger and it is amazing over a short span of a few years, more one stop indoor playgrounds have sprouted within the malls. Parents now have more options where their little ones can enjoy hours of fun-filled activities!

Thanks to City Square Mall, who have invited our family for a day of fun-filled activities in celebration of Mother's Day, I was able to bring the kiddos to FUN N Laughter - the latest addition to Singapore's indoor playground. Located in City Square mall, Basement 2, the play area is equipped with retail, play, nursing room and party facilities.

I can understand why my 12 year old boy was reluctant to enter seeing that he may be the odd one out among the toddlers and younger ones. But it didn't take long before he settles himself in and finally starting to have FUN!

Taking a quick glance around, FUN N Laughter has a nursing room, a small party room with interactive projector, ball pit, giant snake and ladder floor game and a mini driveway for Tayo - the little bus.

For the older children, check out the 2 storey playground that comes with trampolines. wave slides, ramps and cannon blaster. Unlike some indoor playgrounds, I was able to navigate through with the children easily without much bending. The height is made just right for an adult to join in the fun as well. That definitely helps me to supervise the children easily and spare me from a backache.

The cannon blaster zone triggered the fun spirit in Denver. The children wasted no time loading the air blasters with the foam balls. Soon, they were having a shooting competition to see who can score the highest points.

.... and when all the 'bullets' were exhausted....they went down to the ball pit and collected more shooting foam balls!

Fun factor increased when they meet new friends within the playground and started another round of climb. 

At one glance, I thought it was just a normal wave slide. I was seriously wrong after witnessing how fast Denver and Gladys slide down within a second or two.

Even though it was a smaller play area, we spent more than an hour within the playground.  The children had a good workout and were perspiring. Amazingly, FUN N Laughter did injected a lot of fun and laughter for Denver and Gladys despite their age.

FUN N Laughter Admission Rates

FUN N Laughter
Address: City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road, #B2-32, Singapore 208539
Phone: 6509 9766
Opening Hours: 10.30am - 9.30pm (Daily)

Disclosure: As part of Mother's Day celebration, our family was invited to enjoy family time at Fun N Laughter, courtesy of City Square Mall. All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Remember Dakota Crescent - Block Party

It was an impromptu visit to Dakota Crescent on 12 April 2015 learning that there will be a block party (where everyone is invited). We thought it would be a great opportunity to bring our children to see the 7 storey flats in one of Singapore's oldest estate, and also have a feel of the community spirit decades ago.

It was pouring when we arrived but we waited and our patience paid off when the gloomy clouds finally cleared off. We headed straight to the Dove playground, an icon within the estate. A sight so familiar to us, yet it is going into memory lane soon.

Taking a stroll around the blocks, we spotted Dakota's talented "Tok Tok" man who can twirl the umbrella using a pen and imitate animal sounds beautifully. 

~ Photo exhibition ~

Many photographs were contributed by the residents and it felt like rekindling the good old times once again.

Hubby and the children helped to put the photographs up for display. :)

Have you heard of the Geylang Adventures? Unknown to many, it is a dedicated group of back-alley barbers who offer free haircuts for migrant workers on the weekend. After chatting with the young lady who did a nice trimming for Gladys, I am deeply touched and impressed with the time and effort they dedicated every Sunday morning for the migrants and the needy. Salute!

The back-alley barbers were at the Dakota's block party to give free haircut for the elderly and children. We were privileged and honoured to have the big brother and sister helping our children neaten up their hair.

Many (residents and non-residents) came to take pictures of the pioneering housing estate as it is set to be redeveloped.
Wedding couple's photo shot

Performers taking a group photo before the action begins.

Open sitting area to watch the live performance - felt like the old kampung days. 

Children & adults queuing up for free popcorn and candy floss.

Flea market and Bazaar sale 

We do not get to see block party happening in Singapore and it is amazing how everyone comes together to rekindle the community spirit and make this a memorable moment.

Even though Hubby and I are not residents of Dakota Crescent, the block party brought back many fond memories of our childhood.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Doodling - SG50 Mosaic

I love to engage in projects involving drawings. In celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday, I have been doodling and finding inspirations. There are so many landmarks and icons that represent Singapore and it just gave me the idea to piece them together like a mosaic tile. :)

Found a logo of Singapore written in Chinese and decided to start from there. First picture portrays our transportation, housing units and gardens that are surrounding our homes. ~ Our Garden Home

From the heartlands, we move to the city. Iconic places of interests, museums, gardens, shopping malls and Changi International Airport forms the core and heart of Singapore.

Food is another main icon and attraction in Singapore where we have cuisine and food from different countries and culture. 

Going back into time, it brings back good old memories to see how we began to be where we are now....

Piecing everything together is our Home - Singapore

~ SG50 ~