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    Exploring the United Kingdom

    This is dedicated to Krisna, who asked me to publish a post about my UK trip. Haha!

    ***

    This post was first published in my old blog, Coffee With Kim. Minor revisions were made on June 26, 2013.

    In 2010, I flew to the United Kingdom for my internship and for a vacation with my grandmother. I stayed at my grandmother’s house for the most part and a few days in a hostel when I started going to farther places.

    British Guard

    In my first month in the UK, I only went around London and neighboring towns. I went to see Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge (more popularly known as London Bridge), Kew Gardens and more. I also visited the countryside where they had their farms and high end villages. Of course, I didn’t just tour the place. I also worked. Then again, it all felt like playing for me.

    British Guard outside Buckingham Palace

    A British Guard outside Buckingham Palace

    Re-enactment in Hampton Court

    Tower Bridge

    My work allowed me to join events that didn’t really feel like work. I helped out in a fashion show, I assisted in the Barrio Fiesta 2010 and I even got the chance to celebrate Philippine Independence Day with the embassy and other Filipinos in London. I was also able to watch the play, Hair, c/o my boss. Unfortunately, aside from Hair, I was only able to watch Wicked. I wanted to watch The Lion King and Les Miserables as well, but I didn’t have enough time to fit everything in.

    Helping out at the Kariktan Fashion Show

    Philippine Independence Day celebration with the various Philippine government agencies based in the UK

    Foxhills

    After my internship, I had a week left to go to farther places. So, I packed my things and booked a ticket to Scotland.

    I spent three days there. I joined a ghost tour on my first night — frightening, but I’d like to try the other ghost tour packages… the scarier ones!

    On my second day, I joined a tour around Scotland. We went to Glasgow then to Aberdeen. We also went to Loch Lomond where the Loch Ness monster was said to have been spotted. Sadly, Nessie was a bit shy that day so we didn’t see here.

    For my last night, I took a stroll around Edinburgh. I walked around Princes Gardens, tried the chocolate soup and exchanged stories with fellow tourists. It was fun!

    The next morning, I boarded a coach going back to London. It took eight hours to get back home, but it was well worth it. In fact, I think Scotland is the most memorable part of my UK trip.

    I’d like to go back to Europe one day, but I have two little ones now so it’s pretty hard to plan an out-of-the-country. Hopefully, though, we can go there as a family!

    CHAMPS Chewable Vitamins

    A few weeks ago, I received an invitation from the awesome people of Chemical Company of Malaysia International Philippines Inc. (CCMIP) to a bloggers get-to-know Champs lunch. Unfortunately, our Little Man was scheduled for a vaccine that day so I had to decline.

    CCM established its office in the Philippines in 2007. It is a public-listed government corporation and is the number 1 generic pharmaceutical company in Malaysia. The company has more than 400 products in over 800 SKUs or forms. CCM has received several citations as attestation of the quality of its products such as cGMP, certificate of manufacturing facility by TGA of Australia and HALAL certification from JAKIM since 1999.

    I really wanted to go to the event since I’m thinking of trying chewable vitamins on The Princess. So when I received a box of samples from Champs last week, I was overjoyed! Nakakatuwa kasi sobrang daming samples ang pinadala nila. In fact, hindi ako makapagdesisyon kung ano ang uunahin kong subukan sa baby girl naming punong-puno ng energy pero tamad kumain!

    Here’s a rundown of Champs chewable vitamins variants:

    CHAMPS Vitamin C  contains 100mg of Vitamin C (50mg in Calcium Ascorbate and 50mg in Sodium Ascorbate), which can protect little ones from common illnesses. It comes in bottles with 100 chew tabs that have natural-tasting orange flavor. I’m pretty sure The Princess will love these because the tabs come in very cute heart-shaped form.

    CHAMPS M has Vitamin C plus nine essential dietary nutrients – so it basically promotes general health. It also comes in bottles with 100 chew tabs. You can get this one in pineapple flavor.

    CHAMPS M with Lysine contains 50mg Lysine, Folic Acid and nine essential multivitamins. It comes in orange-flavored donut shapes. Like the ones above, you can buy it in bottles with 100 chew tabs. I want to try this on The Princess because it can help boost her appetite. It’s been a bit difficult to get her to eat lately eh!

    CHAMPS C plus Lysine has Vitamin C and Lysine. It comes in bottles of 100 donut-shaped tutti-fruitti flavored chew tabs. This is really good for the little ones when they are sick since it enhances appetite and promotes fast recovery.

    CHAMPS Omega 3 also comes in bottles with 100 heart-shaped tutti-fruitti flavored chew tabs. It contains nine essential dietary nutrients such as Vitamin C, B-complexes and Omega-3. This will aid in boosting the little ones’ brain development and performance.

    All of them sound awesome, right? But since I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of Omega-3, I decided to let The Princess try that first. She loves the fruity flavor and kept asking me for more!

    Mom’s Verdict: CHAMPS chewables are nutritious, delicious and oh so cute! It’s not hard to get the kids to take the tabs daily because they think it’s candy — so no habulan needed! ;) In the one week that she has been taking Omega 3, I noticed that she now has an increased appetite. I’m hoping that these vitamins will also protect her from illnesses, especially now that the rainy season has arrived.

    How We Prepare Financially for Celebrations

    Originally posted in my old blog, Coffee With Kim, on October 13, 2012.
    Minor revisions were done on June 26, 2013.

    I think the problem of being dubbed as the favorite is that people automatically assume that you don’t have to work for anything because whatever you want will be given to you – no explanations needed. I’d know because there are people who think that I am my grandmother’s favorite. And believe me, I’ve heard a good amount of harsh statements because of that.

    In my defense, I don’t really feel like I’m the favorite. It’s just that I’m the kind of person who would find ways to get what I want to get… on my own.

    Of course, no matter how many times I tell them that I don’t get anything from my grandmother, they still believe that I do.

    What they don’t know is…

    That I worked two jobs online so we can save for our civil wedding and Kelly’s birth.

    That Daddy A biked from Cainta to Makati when he used to go to work there because it’s less expensive.

    That we stopped eating out, watching movies and going out altogether for months to save for Kelly’s birth.

    That after Daddy A’s duty at the fire station, he’d work online for extra money.

    Which brings me to the real topic of this post (sorry for the rant): How do we prepare (financially) for celebrations?

    The latest big event that we prepared for is Kelly’s first birthday party. We initially planned a party with a budget of P30,000, but since we felt that we should make it extra special for the little girl, we went over the previously agreed budget. Parents, learn from us. Stick to your budget! You can make your kid’s party special without having to spend twice the money you are willing to burn. What’s done is done so I’m moving on. :D

    We celebrated Kelly’s first birthday at Club Manila East. We paid for the entrance and food (from Shakey’s) for 100 guests. Plus, we rented one of the pavilions from 7 in the morning to 10 in the evening since we also hired a magician and a clown for entertainment and we wanted the guests to have a place to leave their things while they enjoy the resort. The end result? We were P75,000 poorer. It’s not what we had planned. Again, learn from our mistake! The good thing is that we put away enough money to pay for such a big celebration.

    How did we do it?

    1. Kelly’s birthday is in the month of May. However, we started preparing for it financially five months before. The holiday season is a good opportunity to gather the funds. Why? This is when we get our bonuses and the kids get presents and cash gifts. Instead of spending our bonuses and the money that Kelly received, we put it away for her birthday.
    2. To make saving encouraging, we decorated a glass container with Kelly’s photo with a label “Kelly’s Bday” below it. Daddy A and I were required to deposit P500 per week each for Kelly’s birthday. Since it looks really cute and Kelly likes walking around with it (the sound of the coins amaze her), other people – especially her grandparents – would find it adorable and deposit money as well. From January to March, Kelly saved roughly P13,000 just from her makeshift piggy bank.
    3. We also turned to our automatic savings account for extra funds. Thank you, BPI Save-up and AFPSLAI!

     

    Come May, we had more than enough for Kelly’s birthday party. Of course, I should thank my parents for sponsoring the giveaways, my cousin for getting us a discount at Club Manila East and my best bud, N, for hosting the party for us. Their help really made the preparations less stressful!

    That’s how we prepare financially for celebrations. Next time, though, I promise to stick to the budget!

    Human Heart Nature 100% Natural Sunflower Beauty Oil

    Ants and mosquitoes — they are everywhere! A few days ago, I found myself in a really bad situation with these little bugs. I hate it when my kids get bitten by insects. Aside from the nasty marks the bites leave, I hate seeing my kids red and itching all over.

    However, no matter how often we clean the house, we still keep seeing new bite marks on the little ones. The good thing is I bought a bottle of Human Heart Nature’s Sunflower Oil a few weeks ago. It was actually out of curiosity. I saw a blog post about it (I’m very sorry, but I forgot to take note of which blog) and bought myself a bottle when I passed by their store in Cainta.

    Human Heart Nature products are 100% free from harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, PEGs, mineral oil and other toxic substances. The Sunflower Oil is said to help lighten dark under eye circles, dark spots, pimple marks, stretchmarks and dark underarms. It can also add shine to dull hair and moisturize the face and body.

    Human Heart Nature Sunflower Beauty Oil

    When I bought a bottle of Sunflower Oil, I used it to moisturize my hands. After washing the dishes, bottles and clothes on a daily basis (hello motherhood!), my hands became dry and flaky. After just a week of applying Sunflower Oil, the change was already visible. My hands are softer, smoother and flake-free.

    Then we had this ant and mosquito problem at home. That’s when I tried the Sunflower Oil on my little ones. Every time I see a new bite, I quickly apply a drop of oil on it. The redness and itchiness disappear in a matter of minutes! And the best thing is that there’s no black mark left on the skin.

    Mom On Duty’s verdict: Human Heart Nature’s 100% Natural Sunflower Beauty Oil is Mom Approved! Aside from being affordable, it really works wonders!

    NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. Everything stated here are from Mom On Duty’s personal experience.

    Tuguegarao, Our Home From Home

    Originally posted on Coffee With Kim on the 12th of September 2011.

    The Princess’ most awaited first plane ride finally came when hubby and I decided to pay his parents a visit in Tuguegarao City. The original plan was to go there during the 4-day weekend; but since there was a strong storm then, we had to move it to another weekend. We stayed in Tuguegarao for three days and two nights. Despite the short time, we were still able to visit some of the famous spots in the area. Of course, I didn’t let the opportunity pass to taste the famous dishes in this paradise in the north.

    Before anything else, though, let me talk about our flight to Tuguegarao. As usual, Cebu Pacific was delayed. It was such a hassle since we had a baby with us, but it has always been that way. Our seat designation was another issue. We booked our flight with a customer representative of Cebu Pacific via their hotline. When we got to the airport, we found out that the seats she booked us are in the emergency exit row despite telling her countless of times that we have an infant with us. We encountered the same issue in our return flight, but both were fixed by the attendants in the airport.

    Anyway. We arrived an hour late in Tuguegarao City. We were greeted by the little girl’s very excited grandparents and were brought to their house. Since it’s my first time there, Daddy A’s parents volunteered to take care of Kelly so we can go around. I’m extra curious about the famous pansit in Tuguegarao so I asked hubby to take me to his favorite pansitan. He took me to Budyok’s and we ordered a plate of Pansit Cabagan. Before leaving Tuguegarao, though, Daddy A’s dad brought us to Felicita’s where the pansit is apparently better — I agree. He said I can’t miss the chance to try it. :D

    On our second day, Daddy A’s parents brought us to the nearest tourist spots. There are a lot more that we could have visited if we had more time, but we didn’t so we had limited choices.

    Our first stop was the Tuguegarao City Hall and the Capitol. I have to say that the city hall is rather grand, which surprised me because I was expecting a small building in a place like that. I guess the city’s income is enough to build such a structure?

    After taking photos of the government buildings, we went on to the famous Callao Cave. I was hoping to have a photo-op with Andoy (the boy featured in Maalala Mo Kaya -lol-), but he wasn’t there. Instead, we chose James as our tour guide.

     

    It took us a while to get to the entrance of Callao Cave since we had to hike going up. All the effort paid off, though, since the view from the top is spectacular!

    Once at the top, we took the chance to take more photos of the place. I’d post shots from inside the cave. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at taking photos in dark places yet so the outcome wasn’t so nice. No worries, though. We will definitely come back another time.

    After our tour inside Callao Cave, James asked us if we’d like to take a boat ride to see bats fly out of a nearby cave. The boat rental costs P500 so we thought it’s too much for only three of us. We decided to postpone the ride until our next visit.

    Before the sun set, my in-laws brought us to Calvary Hills where St. James Church stood. Beside the church is a four century-old well and huge statues depicting the stations of the cross.

    That capped off our looooong day. On our last night, hubby’s dad prepared Ginataang Alimango for us. It’s super delicious and it’s something I’ve been craving for already! If I knew I could buy seafood there and bring it home in an ice chest, I would have done that.

    On our last day, we attended mass, ate Pansit Cabagan in Felicita’s, then went on to the airport. As expected, our flight was delayed by an hour again. Aside from the delayed flights, our whole trip is a success. We’re surely going back for more!