Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kids * Play

Komaneko, An Edutainment App Perfect for Kids!

Lucas watching Komaneko
When it comes to the Ipad for my boys, their time on it is pretty limited. There are so many apps catered to children that it's hard to find good ones. So when I came across Komaneko, an adorable whimsical education app, I was pretty excited.  

It is centered around the story of a beloved cat named Komaneko, who happens to be quite popular in Japan. Created eleven years ago by the imaginative Tsuneo Goda, Komaneko has since starred in several films and was even nominated as a finalist for the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the London International Animation Festival and the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival.

But what of the app itself? Does it live up to what Komaneko is about? In my book, it sure does.

The Story
As you enter the world of Komaneko, you are greeted with a simple interface that is ideal for young children. There are several languages you can choose from so if your child is learning Mandarin, like mine is, it is an easy switch. Lucas actually pointed out a few words in Mandarin that he knew!

The all in one edutainment app (because why should learning be boring!) has four areas on its interface that you can enter. The first one is read. Here you can either record your child’s voice reading the story or hear it read to you. I love that you can play the recording back as this helps the child hear how he pronounces words which in turn improves their reading.

Aiden giggling to Komaneko
 But the piece de rĂ©sistance is that this app actually contains the original movie, Komaneko: The First Step. The movie tells the story of Komaneko as she creatively shoots a one stop motion movie all by herself. The graphics and heartwarming story is appealing to young children. Aiden was particularly enthralled with the story and for the first time, he actually sat still to watch something. A rare feat indeed. But it’s not just for toddlers, my preschooler enjoyed it as well.
Our movie creation!

That’s not all, this app also allows your child (ok I played a bit too) to use their imagination by making their own movie! Lucas, the director, and I, his assistant director, made a movie titled The Adventures of Komaneko the Spaceman. It’s easy to do as you drag and drop images you want into a scene and we managed to fill up eight scenes to make our story! After that we can play back and there is entertainment for all. 

Colouring fun!
Komaneko offers more than just movies and stories, Lucas had fun colouring and playing with the puzzles and for older children, there is also the Mission button which encourages hand eye coordination. You have to tilt the Ipad to allow Komaneko to grab things or use your finger to guide her. There is also games like spot the difference and matching game, both encouraging memory use.

Overall, I found this app to be a perfect balance between fun and education. It is easy to explore as my four year old demonstrated and the story of Komaneko is so sweet that even I enjoyed it. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Design * Buy

Pendant Illumination

1. Slamp Creatures Moss, 2. Dorado Pendant Lamp, 3. VIP Lighting ZC1048-1, 4. Slamp Gorcia Fire

7. Cage Grande & Cage Piccola, 8. Chrome & Gold Pendant PL8620, 9. VIP 1113-1, 10. Red & Yellow Pendant PL3006
11. Modo Chandelier, 12. VIP N SB 2717-B, 13. VIP NSB 21434-BY-3  

DIY * Art

Magazine Art Strips

Sometimes we forget how easy making something by hand can be. I absolutely adore this project that I found at Designed By BH. It's fun and a simple project to add some colour to the room. All it takes are magazine strips cut to shape, a board, glue and scissors! Simple outline any shape you want to paste the strips on. I'd probably go for something less girly though.

Click here to see the post.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIY * Ramadhan Kids Activities

Ramadhan Calendar
1. Using cardboard, cut out a desired shape (this mosque design is stunning!), paint it a  lovely green and dress it up with little pouches. 

Happy fasting everyone! Now if you've got a child crying for attention this month, how about making these fun Ramadhan calendars? It'll give them something to do, and for you to have that much needed break. Plus to make it more fulfilling, each little pouch could contain a small candy and a good deed for the child to complete. Here are my top 5 calendar inspirations!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eat * Bake

Citrus Yogurt Muffins

These mouth watering muffins are supposedly 'low fat' but to be honest i'm not too sure if thats the case. Of course, it is way healthier than the average muffin you'd get at most coffee shops and it certainly tastes quite delicious. So give it a try, and if you have any ideas on what to use to replace the sugar, do let me know!


200g plain flour
130g caster sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
225 ml fat free plain yogurt
115 ml sunflower oil
1 lightly beaten egg

1. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, zest, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the yogurt, oil, and egg until well blended. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove tin from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the muffins and serve warm.
4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Events * MPO

A Trip to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra! 

It’s been almost three years since I last listened to classical music and I think four years since I last made a trip to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. I'm quite embarrassed by that actually as I grew up with a mother who played Tchaikovsky on the radio in the morning to Wagner in the evening. So I decided it was time to get back into it, and what better way than Beethoven!

Getting the tickets to see the MPO perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 7 was smooth sailing. I picked up the tickets at the counter without any issue and luckily not much of a queue. But I advise booking online as these tickets can run out pretty fast.

Entering the amazing hall is a trip on its own. I almost forgot how stunning and beautifully designed it was. I was also quite keenly aware at how well the sound carried when I walked in with my shoes. Maybe next time I won't wear wooden clogs.

But nothing could compare to the sound that spread throughout the room which was filled to the brim when the Orchestra started. It was breathtaking. Literally. The fourth symphony perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the space with its liveliness and lightness and the seventh symphony showcased the drama and passion that I've come to love from Beethoven.

By the way, I have to give it to the men and women who work tirelessly throughout the week to bring us such cultured and beautiful music at the MPO. During the performance, I would catch myself nodding my head to the music and there were many others doing the same. This is what classical music is about, where one falls into it and get swept away in its wonder, but it takes a very talented group of musicians to bring us there and I can safely say Claus Peter Flor, the conductor and his orchestra did just that.

So that was my adventure on the weekend and it most definitely won't be my last. I plan on making a trip to the MPO a monthly thing, after all, don't they say music is food for the soul? If you have the chance, do check out what they have in store this season. I can guarantee it will be time and money well spent.

Click here to visit the Malaysian Philharmonic Webpage.