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We celebrated Father's Day in Singapore yesterday (*^▽^)/

It was a simple affair. The boy was working, and I was out most of the day taking my Singapore National Climbing Standards Level 1 Cert {more on that later} so we only went out for a family dinner to celebrate at night. 

No need for fancy restaurants or expensive food for a wholesome family meal. The boy was happy to go to our neighbourhood's Mookata {Thai BBQ & steamboat} stall to have a scrumptious, high-protein dinner at a really affordable price heh...

Our whole dinner for 3 pax came up to only S$45+!! And that is after we ordered at least 2-3 each of beef, chicken, pork, salmon, oyster, Chinese sausage, quail eggs, spinach, shisamo, crabsticks etc.

It was a really hot day, and the poor ventilation plus steam from the Mookata grill pan made us perspire more and feel even stickier.. but that didn't stop us from having a good time ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ

Even Lil Pumpkin had fun cooking her own food with chopsticks.. I must say, she's getting pretty proficient in it nowadays. When she was younger, we did it all for her, but now, we're happy to let her experiment, learn the different cooking times required for different types of food, observe the colour changes when the food is cooked, and dish it out for herself.

The protective part of me is scared that she'd burn or scald herself, of course.. but then, she's old enough to know how to handle herself and learn from her mistakes if she does anyway. We can't protect and pamper her forever, right??

Happy Father’s Day 2018 Mookata Dinner | Sakuraharuka.com - YouTube
Just a simple video at the start of our dinner with our first round of dishes... after that we ordered some more because it wasn't enough haha!

Lil Pumpkin painted a wonderful Father's Day card for the boy again this year but I forgot to take a pic. Will update this post with it later.

Facebook reminded me of the Father's Day card Lil Pumpkin made when she was 3 years old in 2012 though. Aww my heart just melted when I saw it! Such innocent and frivolous drawings.. That big blob of colour is meant to be a cat as her daddy dearest loves cats.

Happy Father's Day, Poogeo!! Thanks for being such a wonderful and hands-on dad with Lil Pumpkin. Your girls love you very much!! ❤

And Happy Father's Day to my own daddy dearest too!! Even though we don't meet or talk as much nowadays, still appreciate you for all the sacrifices you made taking care of all of us growing up (⌒▽⌒)☆

Hope you'd be able to slow down at work soon and learn to relax and enjoy life now that you're older.. Love you, daddy!!


Thank you for reading Sakura Haruka. You can LIKE my FB page @ http://facebook.com/LoveSakuraHaruka or follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/aisakuraharuka
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I'm back from my solo birthday trip to Gold Coast, Australia and as with any other long holidays, I'm feeling pretty lazy haha...

No time to waste at home though as I dived straight back to reality with mundane household chores like vacuuming, clearing the laundry {apparently they waited until I returned to fold all the clothes!!!}, re-organising Lil Pumpkin's study area etc. while on the office front, I've been kept busy clearing my pile of work and emails too.

Figured I should do some "blog work" too but since I'm too lazy to actually write about my trip now, I made 2 shopping haul vlogs instead because 1) I'm really, really excited about my recent purchases from Gold Coast haha, and 2) it motivates me to clear my luggage and unpack ( ᐛ )و

It's been a very long time since I last vlogged {latest one was my Bangkok Shopping Haul video in 2016 haha} so I stumbled a lot in the beginning. Was kinda conscious talking in front of the camera and made many bloopers so I had to restart a few times.

For you OG folks who have been supporting me and my blog since it started, you'd know that I do minimal video editing for my vlogs. Very raw, unscripted and #nofilter.. Each vlog video is done in one take and so sorry if there's too much awkward silences, mispronunciations, uptalking or speech fillers.. #oops

I hope to do more vlogs again {and get better at them!!} as Lil Pumpkin has expressed interest in doing so herself haha and I guess it's an interesting way to get her to creatively express her opinions about various things too. Possibly get her more confident in speaking aloud too.. one of the feedback we received from her language teachers is that she isn't too confident during the oral exams, which I find strange since she is a vocal child but maybe she just isn't used to having in-depth conversations or having to answer questions about certain topics. 

Anyway, if you haven't yet, do subscribe to my YouTube channel and I've posted some trip pics & vids to Instagram and saved them on my Stories Highlights {see folder named "Australia"}... so follow me on Instagram and check them out too! (*⌒▽⌒*)θ~♪

Gold Coast, Australia 2018 Kids Shopping Haul | Sakuraharuka.com - YouTube
The first vlog is about the stuff I bought for Lil Pumpkin during my trip. Maybe it's mummy's guilt for being away so long, but I reckon 80% of my shopping there was for her haha.. mainly craft kits, undergarments for school, accessories and casual wear.

I really enjoy shopping in Australia, especially at retailers like Kmart, Target, Big W, Best & Less etc. Such a wide variety of products and they are all priced very reasonably too, especially for their house brands!

For my first visit into Kmart this trip, I literally spent 3hrs there going through everything and probably would have stayed longer if they didn't have to close #truestory   

If you can't open the video, please watch on my YouTube channel here.

Gold Coast, Australia 2018 Shopping Haul for Adults Buying From Kids Section | Sakuraharuka.com - YouTube
For my second vlog, I talked about the stuff I found for myself at the kids section hehe. Yup, I do like to shop at the kids section too because of the different variety {sometimes they have waaaaaaay cuter stuff} and they are usually cheaper too. And also since I'm already there looking for things for Lil Pumpkin, I might as well keep an eye out for things I might fancy too haha.

For reference, I'm an Australian ladies size XS or S / 8 or 10, and can fit into girls size 14 or 16.

If you can't open the video, please watch on my YouTube channel here.

In case you're wondering, I didn't spend all my time shopping (•ᵕᴗᵕ•)⁾⁾ᵖᵉᵏᵒ

Although I checked out the stores and my fave local markets at Eumundi, Carrara and Surfers Paradise, most of my time was spent relaxing at the beautiful beaches and I even went out of my comfort zone to try new things like jet-skiing and also fishing!!

Total noob but yup, I managed to put on live bait {eeeeks!!}, hook and reel in a few fish by myself haha. Yay me!

I loved being back in Australia and certainly feel re-energised by my time away, but it's good to be back home again too. Thanks once again to the boy for making this all happen ❤ 

Other Shopping Haul videos:


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New month, new beginnings... new fitness challenge set by Superman.

I'm not a full-time athlete nor do I have the luxury of keeping my training as number 1 on my priority list. I mean, being fit and healthy is important to me but since I'm just a normal human being with a full-time job, mummy duties, and other personal commitments, life does get in the way of training and there's no way I can put in 100%. Honestly, I'm not that sure I want to either as we gotta have a little fun and balance in life, right?

Some days I have to lessen my load because I'm just too tired. Some days I have to skip training because I need to help Lil Pumpkin with her work. Some days I don't sleep much because I'm feeling kinda stressed. Some days I overeat because I'm such a piggy and cannot resist good food.

Not to mention my chronic back pain and list of random injuries that pop up every now and then.

Anyway, I'm not trying to justify my lack of dedication but that's just the way life is and I get by with accepting that if I can put in at least 80% effort, I'm happy with whatever results I get. Even if it takes a long time to reach the goals I set.

You can't be upset with the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do.

But then, what if I could put in 100%?

What if I followed Superman's programming to a T? What if I gave my all for every session? What if I made sure I had enough sleep to recover properly? What if I ate clean and kept to my daily calories intake every freaking day?

What would my results be? And that's Superman's challenge to me.

For the next two months, I'm to {try to} put in my 100% and see where it brings me. To really push my boundaries and make sure I don't falter even when I feel lazy, exhausted or just plain hungry. I haven't thought of any "reward" if I do complete the challenge, but I guess knowing that I did it to the best of my abilities would be good enough for me..

I was supposed to have done this earlier in the year but then there was one thing or another holding me back from truly committing to this challenge.

But now, I'm back from my birthday trip refreshed, relatively injuries-free with no major events at home or work happening for the next two months so I'm good to go and will updating the blog with my fitness updates regularly again during this period to keep myself accountable.

So stay tuned and feel free to kick me in my butt if I start to slack!! haha.. 

No excuses. Mind over matter. Just suck it up and do it.

P.S. These photos were taken at Southport Spit, Gold Coast, Australia in the golden hour. Loved being back. The sun, surf and sand really did wonders to my soul xox

*****

One-on-On Personal Training Updates:

Genesis Gym Personal Training Updates:
The Beginning - Signing Up for Personal Training
 

Thank you for reading Sakura Haruka. You can LIKE my FB page @ http://facebook.com/LoveSakuraHaruka or follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/aisakuraharuka
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Finally managed to get a little hair trim last weekend!! Nothing too drastic as I'm trying to grow my hair out... but just wanted to trim and neaten my wild mane a bit before my birthday hehehe..

It's been a rather hectic time recently at work, with Lil Pumpkin's exams and celebrating a few birthdays {Lil Pumpkin's, hubby's and my daddy's!} and Mother's Day the past weekend.

I'm all for fun family time, good food and company, but as an extroverted introvert {yes, I believe that's a thing..}, I also have moments where I long for quiet time to recharge, refresh and reflect alone.

And that's what I intend to get. We carry so much love in our heart for others, we must not be afraid to give some to ourselves too and as per my past birthdays, I'm "getting off the grid" and heading on a solo birthday trip.


"If you want to give light to others, you must glow yourself."

I'm going away to chillax & find my glow again... and I think I know just the perfect place to bask in lots of happiness & golden sunshine get it. See you all when I return a year older, a little wiser and hopefully a lot brighter! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

P.S. Special thanks to the boy for understanding and being such a loving, hands-on dad with Lil Pumpkin so that I can travel without worries (♥ω♥ ) ~♪



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When I saw My Baby Gift's new gender-neutral white & black collection, I screamed with delight and immediately thought of my sister and niece #auntylovesyou

Let's be honest. Not every parent like the traditional pink or blue for their little girls/ boys because it may seem too "loud" or too stereotypical. My sister is one of them and prefers muted, cool neutrals like white and grey when shopping for my niece.

I'm usually more of a "vibrant colours" kinda person but I must admit that a neutral palette makes everything seem more stylish, chic and contemporary. Plus, when you do add bright colours as accents, it makes the colour more dramatic & pop even more!

Unfortunately though, when searching for newborn or baby gifts, a lot of them come in those colours.

Even My Baby Gift started out with personalised newborn & baby gift hampers for girls and boys in pink and blue, which we did get for Baby J {girl} and Baby R {boy} previously to welcome them to the world, but I'm glad they've added this new white & black unisex collection to their online boutique.

It will certainly appeal to parents like my sister, or even to those that wish to gift a hamper to would-be parents who do not know the gender of their kids yet!

Oh, Alissa told me that sometimes she personalises baby gifts with the family name, rather than the name of the child, so that it may be kept as a family heirloom and future siblings can use it too. I think it's a brilliant idea and would certainly work well with this classic, gender-neutral white & black collection!

Lil J isn't a newborn or a baby {although she always will be to my sister like how Lil Pumpkin is to me?! heh} but a cute little toddler coming to 3 years of age.

She will be attending preschool childcare full-time soon and I reckon that getting her some personalised gifts with her name from My Baby Gift will come in handy because of, you know, lost prevention... hahaha (⌒▽⌒ゞ

Every parent knows to label their child's personal items once they start going to school. Stick-on labels can get torn off or drop off after some time, and even permanent ink smudges or fade, but with My Baby Gift personalised items, the child's name {maximum 10 characters} is carefully embroidered on the gifts, and not just "printed" or "embossed" on as some personalised gifts are... which in turn makes them more long-lasting especially after multiple washes.

Note: The default embroidery thread colour for the gender-neutral collection is black. However, if you'd like to have the child's name embroidered in another colour, it is possible. Just let the shop know... I'm not sure if there's extra charge though. 

Her specially-curated hamper came with the award-winning personalised Multi-Stars Blanket, a matching personalised Multi-Stars Pillow, a personalised Towel Bib, and another of their best seller - the Birthday Bunny with Lil J's name and birth date!

Yes, the Birthday Bunny now comes in chic white & grey as well to match the gender-neutral collection. I hope that this sweet, fluffy friend will keep my niece company and provide comfort for her in the new environment ❤

If you remember, Lil Pumpkin has one as well and was quick to snuggle up to Lil J's bunny when I opened to check the hamper. The bright girl was also quick to point out that this new bunny's ears didn't squeak when pressed like the earlier version she has. Didn't notice until she mentioned hehe.. 

My Baby Gift personalised blankets, pillow, towels are big enough for toddlers aged 3-4 years old too!  Since Lil J usually wears long pants and socks at her childcare due to her eczema, she doesn't need a very thick blanket... but something lightweight and compact to pack in her sleeping bag daily.

The 100%  cotton Multi-Stars Blanket really is made of a beautiful quality - breathable, light and soft. Very gentle and suitable for Lil J's sensitive skin. I can see why Harper Bazaar raved about it to be super-soft and even gave it an award!

I like that the grey colour will not show dirt or stains easily too. Same goes for her pillow which has a 100% cotton cover that's easy to remove and wash.

This is the 3rd time we've gotten stuff from My Baby's Gift and as usual, I'm pleased and amazed at their fast and efficient service. Just 2 working days from order to delivery of lovely, personalised gifts! 

However, if you require next-day, same-day or weekend deliveries, that is possible too with extra charge.  They also deliver overseas via SingPost and that takes about 7-10 working days. Find out more information about their personlised gifts and hampers from My Baby Gift website. Be sure to check out their sale page for a good deal!! You can use the flash promo code below for extra discounts too.

They just revamped their website to make it more user-friendly, and added new items like personalised jumpsuits, body suits with pants sets, burp cloths etc. to their shop. My Baby Gift really is one of my go-to places when I need to get something unique and memorable for family and friend's dear newborns, babies and toddlers. I just wish I knew of them while Lil Pumpkin was still a wee bub herself!! (*^▽^*)

Promo: Quote "NEWSHOP" for S$10 OFF any purchase from My Baby Gift to celebrate the launch of their new website. Valid even for sale items, until 31 May 2018 only.  


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Last Thursday we bought the Creative HansVision PX2131 Chinese electronic dictionary for Lil Pumpkin. Apparently students in Primary, Secondary and JCs are now allowed to use e-dictionaries during the compo paper for PSLE, GCE N(T), N(A), O and A-Level Examinations so schools allow them for use during class and school exams too.

However, exactly when they can start using them in class and during school exams will depend on the school. Some schools only allow kids to use them from P4/P5 onwards, while others, like Lil Pumpkin's school, lets them use them from P3 onwards.

It is not a necessity. Students are still allowed to use the traditional paper dictionaries to help them write compositions like before, but given this time and age where kids nowadays are more geared towards technology like mobile-phones, tablets and computers, they would probably be more comfortable using e-dictionaries compared to paper dictionaries {which I still personally prefer!} where it is quicker and more convenient to bring around.

However, for paper dictionaries, you have to be precise in knowing the number of strokes or exact hanyu pinyin for each Chinese character. There is no "auto-correct" or any intuitive help that an electronic dictionary provides.

I guess that can be the reason why you would or wouldn't start your child on an electronic dictionary. It doesn't "force" them to count the number of strokes or know the hanyu pinyin before they need to check the meaning of the words. So, it is thus useful for a child who struggles in this area, and yet it provides no motivation for them to improve on them either.

Anyway, I'm not going to discuss whether to get a paper or e-dictionary in this post. Maybe another time.

But since I posted  on my Facebook page & Instagram that we got Lil Pumpkin the PX2131, a few parents requested for a review on this particular model so I'd focus more on that here instead.


Background of Chinese e-dictionaries in Singapore for use in exams
Since 2007, the Ministry of Education {MOE} allowed the use of electronic CL-CL dictionaries during examinations for all levels from PSLE to pre-University starting 2007.

There's a list of approved Chinese e-dictionaries compiled by Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board {SEAB} for PSLE. Approval for use in national examinations is valid only for 5 years for a specific edition/version starting from the examination year following the year of application. Vendors need to apply for an extension of the validity period of the approved dictionaries, which they do so don't be afraid to get one now even if your child's PSLE is after the current approved period.

From this list, you can see that there's only 3 major players in the market - Besta, Creative and ZZ. A quick check online shows that Besta and Creative are the more established brands, while ZZ is a new company and their dictionaries were only added into this list from this year. All 3 are local, Singapore companies {but ZZ originated from China}.

The first approved Chinese e-dictionary {HansVision PX2051} was a collaboration between Creative and Ministry of Education for our students. Then Besta started their All Pass series targeted for students to bring into exam halls and ZZ was established in 2016 and started selling their versions last year.

Creative HansVision PX2131 Chinese E-Dictionary Review | Sakuraharuka.com - YouTube

Why did we get Creative HansVision Chinese E-Dictionary PX2131?
We bought Lil Pumpkin her Chinese e-dictionary the night we found out that she could use it for her P3 compo exam paper, which was a week later. We wanted to get it fast so that she'd have time to get used to the e-dictionary in time for her exams.

Just so you know, we didn't really have much time to do a comprehensive comparison of all the available models out there. I assume that the internal software {Chinese dictionary, vocabulary bank, Chinese idioms list, hanyu pinyin search functions etc.} is about the same across the board. However, I asked around, read some reviews and we narrowed down to the model we wanted to get her based on some factors that were important to us.

Firstly, the e-dictionary had to have a handwriting input function as that's the main way Lil Pumpkin searches for words in the dictionary app she uses at home. At the moment, she rarely searches for words with hanyu pinyin mainly because 1) most of the times she already doesn't know how to read the characters, that's why she needs to search haha, and 2) it is just quicker to write it out then to type out the hanyu pinyin.

Basically with this factor, it eliminated almost all of the Creative HansVision models except for PX2131 as that's the only one that has a handwriting input function. Even the latest PX2181 model that was released this year does not have a stylus / handwriting input function {see comparison table at end of post}!!

Besta All Pass 3 {the older versions are out of production and not in sale anymore} and ZZ models were still in the game though.

Secondly, we wanted something compact and light for her to bring to and fro school. Creative HansVision PX2181 and Besta All Pass 3 fit this criteria. ZZ e-dictionaries are apparently modified car navigation devices. They are newer, touchscreen, coloured, have bigger writing surfaces, use built-in batteries but are also heavier, bulkier and require frequent charging {and they also didn't have the Wildcard Search function - see below for details}.

Thirdly, we wanted to buy from an established brand because it's for use during exams. I mean, I don't want her to bring it to exams then suddenly it conks out and won't work!

Although I like that ZZ e-dictionaries are touchscreen, coloured & have a bigger writing surface, there is not much track record on how long they can last without charging, how they heat up, how they will hold up against kids bringing them around in their school bags or kids inevitably dropping them from their desk every now and then {fyi, their screens are made of glass, compared to plastic for Creative & Besta} and whether their resolutions will distort or become pixelated over time... like how quite a number of parents complain about Besta All Pass e-dictionaries, even up to recent months for All Pass 3.

{image from a parenting forum}
{image from Besta Facebook page}

Yup, even with the clam-shell case design, some parents complain that their kids' Besta e-dictionary screens crack or have black lines across. And the stylus doesn't have a slot in All Pass 3 e-dictionary itself {it's stored in the provided case} plus the handwriting input function isn't as sensitive as Creative HansVision PX2131...

So with all these in mind, we chose Creative HansVision PX2131 as Lil Pumpkin's first Chinese e-dictionary!! *throws confetti*

I say "first" because I expect to have to buy a few times in the course of her studies haha since parents say these e-dictionaries don't last thaaaaaat long {2 years tops?}, she might lose it and better versions will be out by the time she takes her PSLE. But still, I hope that this e-dictionary will last her a couple of years.


Quick Review
You can see the full specifications in the table above or from Creative HansVision's website. The English and Chinese manual is available here. See comparison between PX2131 and PX2181 {2018 model} below.

1. Box set & accessories
One unit comes with Creative HansVision PX2131 e-dictionary, a retractable stylus, black earphones, a mini paper cleaner, 1-year warranty card and 2x AAA batteries. Cost is S$59.

Hard cover case {black only} can be purchased from Popular bookstore at $6.90 or Creative HansVision at S$5. Additional stylus can be purchased from Creative HansVision at S$3. For purchase from Creative HansVision, you may call to order & have it delivered to you, or buy direct from their service centre: A Genuine Technology, 1 Rochor Canal Road #05-67 Sim Lim Square.

2. Design
I was surprised that Creative HansVision PX2131 e-dictionary is so small haha... like a mini calculator? Some say like a BlackBerry phone. But good that it's light and compact for Lil Pumpkin to bring around.

Buttons are pretty small for adults, or those with fat fingers hehe, but for kids like Lil Pumpkin they are reasonably easy to press. For the screen, I would prefer it to be bigger as sometimes the complicated characters seem too cramped and she is not able to distinguish the different strokes properly. However, it is big enough for her to write her characters and read most of the time. Back-light is a hit too.
 
Unfortunately, it does not come with a cover. You have to purchase a hard protective case separately. However, the PX2131 seems pretty hardy and unless the kid is going to sit on it or drop it face down, it doesn't really need the cover for protection. The on/off button is also not protruding like the rest of the buttons so it's not likely to get switched on accidentally too.

There is a stylus slot for the accompanying stylus at the back, and a headphone jack at the side. It's a very simple, no-frills design which I actually like so that Lil Pumpkin won't get distracted when using it to study. With her phone dictionary app, it's easy for her to lose focus and start fiddling around with other apps or games. 

3. User-friendliness
Lil Pumpkin {currently P3 student} spent less than half an hour to learn how to operate the basic functions from her daddy.  She would need more time to practice using it efficiently though.

This is a Chinese-to-Chinese dictionary so there's no English meanings given and even the buttons are labeled in Chinese. It is daunting {even for me!}, but in a way I'm glad as it "forces" Lil Pumpkin to recognise and widen her vocabulary. Basic knowledge of Chinese words like 开关 {on/off}, 目录 {menu}, 说明 {help}, 输入法 {input method} etc. required. There's English help if you press 【说明】.

4. Pronunciation Function
You can check the pronunciations of just the character{s} searched, but the full reading of the meaning{s} or examples of use is not given. It would definitely be useful to have the latter.

The voice is clear, and only works when listened to with earphones though.

5. Search functions
Press 【电子词典】->【输入法】->【拼音】or【部首】or【手写】
a. Hanyu Pinyin Search - Type in hanyu pinyin of the character{s}
b. Initial Consonant Input - Type in first letter for each character e.g. mmhh and 马马虎虎 pops up.
c. Wildcard Search - Type in * for unknown characters e.g. 不*不* and 不慌不忙,etc. pops up
d. Cross-referencing Search - Highlight & search within explanation
e. 部首 {bushou} Search - Use Chinese radicals or strokes to search
f. Polyphonic Character Search *new* - Find all pronunciations & corresponding explanations
g. Handwriting Input Search *new* - Using a stylus to write on the screen surface

Very handy to have so many different ways to search for the Chinese words meanings and readings, for single and multiple characters. However, at her current Chinese language level, Lil Pumpkin will not likely use all now. The Wildcard Search is extremely helpful, but I suspect 部首 Search will be used the least. If it lasts {and hopefully it does!}, this e-dictionary will be even more useful at higher levels and is acceptable for use at O' & A' Levels too. 

6. Special Handwriting Input Feature
The screen is relatively sensitive i.e. you don't need to press too hard for it to pick up your writing & you can write without a stylus. However, Lil Pumpkin still writes her Chinese characters quite big and slow and sometimes she needs to do it a few times to get the correct words because after she finishes writing the radical, pause to check, then write the second part of the word, the dictionary suggestions would have already popped up and may not contain the word she was looking for.

Do note that this e-dictionary does not have a "true touchscreen". It's useful only for writing the characters, but you cannot choose options or navigate by touching the screen. I hope they improve on this for later models though. 

7. Battery Life
Hard to say since we got it just a week ago but since it has just a black & white screen and simple blue back-light, I don't expect it to eat a lot of battery power. The screen will stay lit when it is powered on, and the e-dictionary will automatically power off if there's no activity for 20 mins. 

Anyway,  2 x AAA batteries can be easily changed from the back.

8. Value-for-Money
We paid S$65.21 {S$59 + S$6.90 less 10% for Popular members, no discount on PX2131 as it is NETT price}. It is not terribly expensive as an electronic teaching aid, and with the functions it comes with, plus I expect Lil Pumpkin to use it for at least 2 years, I reckon it is value-for-money.

If you buy in school, or during their roadshows it might be even cheaper. 

Initially, I was surprised that the PX2131 was so low-tech, even though it's one of their latest models #firstworldproblems But then again, the exam e-dictionaries are meant to be low cost, most likely to make them accessible to all students from all family income levels. You can see that all of them are around S$50-100 each and at this price range, so I can't expect a whole lot of applications or functions like how I might be used to with a smartphone.

9. Does the child like it??
As you can see from the video above, Lil Pumpkin likes her new e-dictionary because she finds it helpful, and also because I think it's a novel study toy for her haha.. Yesterday, Lil Pumpkin had her P3 Chinese compo exam and she said that she used it, mainly for checking how to write words using hanyu pinyin input.

Her classmate has the Besta All Pass 3 which she played around with and liked that design too because "it can open and close", and "has a small box at the bottom to write in".

That "small box" is actually smaller than PX2131's writing surface and not as sensitive though, according to some users. I told her that if they improve on their technology & flaws, we can consider getting it next time as I prefer their clam-shell case design too. My old JP-EL e-dictionaries from Casio were like that too.

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary School journey:

For tips on P1 preparation:

P.S.  I heard from some parents that there are no display models at Popular bookstores for Creative HansVision e-dictionaries. Only for Besta e-dictionaries which has their own counters {promoters only work 1pm - 9pm though} in Popular. 

However, we bought ours from Marine Parade Central's Popular and they had display models for customers to play around with for PX2131 and the latest PX2181. From what I gather, main difference is PX2131 has the handwriting input, while PX2181 doesn't but has the newest function of inputting the four tones of classical Chinese phonetics (四声) and non-stress voice (轻声) for a faster search. E.g. cheng2jiu4 will get the result 成就

If you wish to try out all Creative HansVision models, then go to their main office at 63 Hillview Avenue #03-09 Lam Soon Industrial Building. I called their office a few times to ask questions about the products and they seem quite friendly.

*Note: This is not a sponsored post or advertorial. All opinions are my own.


Thank you for reading Sakura Haruka. You can LIKE my FB page @ http://facebook.com/LoveSakuraHaruka or follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/aisakuraharuka
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It is a pain, both literally and figuratively, to be injured. Ever since I aggravated my chronic back problem {due to scoliosis} in late September 2016, my training hasn't been the same and I haven't been the same sportsperson as I used to be.

I know that I'm not alone in getting injured while training. There are tons of articles about it, tons of books written about it, and in the past 2.5+ years since I started gymming regularly, I've probably seen more injuries and known more people to be injured than the 10+ years I spent in competitive swimming... even the boy and Superman have been injured, and still get injured while training nowadays.

I also have people visiting my blog and writing in to me because of their own injuries while training.

As with anything when you have to stop and start over, it is very frustrating and at times, depressing. You question, "why me??!" and start to wonder and think if there was anything you could have done to prevent the injury.

Maybe. Most likely. But then again, the very foundation of muscle-building and strength training is to, very simply put, "damage" and stress your muscles so that they repair and grow back stronger. So, if you think about it, you are in the game to get injured, you just want to make sure that you don't get injured seriously.

Anyway, I digress.. Hindsight is a beautiful thing and I've learnt some positive lessons from being injured which I wish I knew from when I first got badly injured. It probably would have saved me a lot of stress and tears.

This letter is what I would tell my old injured self in 2016, a reminder to myself whenever I get injured now and then, and also to serve as an encouragement to anyone who is currently injured from training at the moment.

Don't give up on your fitness goals, for this too shall pass.

*****

Dear Injured You,

I guess you must be feeling rather sorry and pissed with yourself right now. Sorry that you're in such a sad state and training has to stop or slow down, sorry that you've to stop Muay Thai & CrossFit, sorry that now you might lose your "gains"... and pissed. Oh boy, are you pissed that you ignored the signs and uncomfortable tinges of pain during your workout and now you have to pay for it by being forced to pay attention and stop to rest. Or maybe, you're just pissed because there were no signs.

Yup, sometimes shit just happens and despite taking all the necessary precautions and having the best intentions in the world, you still get injured. C'est la vie.

Superman told you this when you first got badly injured, "... once you realise that almost everyone who trains hard is dealing with some sort of injury in one way or another, you begin to understand that it's part and parcel of pushing yourself hard. Look at every professional athlete out there. All of them have injuries. Some even retire because of them. Just accept is as a normal part of the process and it'll be less frustrating. You just have to understand that's usually how it works? And getting upset over these things won't help in the long run too."

Wise words from an experienced trainer, and you're really lucky to have such a patient and caring trainer by your side to help you to deal with the pain, encourage you through the frustrations, manage your expectations, plan your rehabilitation & training, and not to mention give you "tough love" when you're getting all whiny and indulging in self-pity.

Getting injured isn't the end of the world. In fact, it might be a blessing in disguise as you...

1) Appreciate your support system,
It's very easy to stay negative when you're injured, but with a good support system you can bounce back faster. Thank goodness for the boy who is there to motivate you & get you whatever supplements or gear you need to get better, for friends who share their experiences & tips on recuperating, and for Superman who keeps an eye on you during training and never complains about amending or making new programs for you whenever a new or old injury cropped up.

2) Learn not to take a healthy body for granted,
When even a simple movement like squatting or bending over hurts, you learn to be grateful for the times when you were healthy and mobile enough to move without pain, and you become more aware of the way you need to feel, perform and move be be as healthy and mobile again. 

3) Become more aware of the basic movements, techniques and skills,
There's no better time or reason then now, when you are injured, to really take things slow, work on your techniques and build your foundation up again. To go further you have to go slow and not rush the process. Prior to getting injured, you progressed very well and managed to hit many strength PRs in a relatively short amount of time. As you got stronger, you started to be more daring in testing your limits and adding more weight to the bar, and your body probably could not keep up with the intensity especially since you neglected your recovery process and diet. Now that you are forced to step back, you are slowly building up your strength but with an even stronger foundation in knowledge & skills so that no matter how challenging the workout may be, you are able to adapt and focus on your form & techniques, before worrying about the numbers.

4) Take time to improve on your weaknesses,
When you to focus on your form & techniques, you come to recognise and critically analyse your weaknesses both in and outside the gym to improve on them. For example with your bad lower back, you now know that you've to do additional rehabilitating exercises like Reverse Hyperextensions and Back Extensions, stretch that area for at least 30mins daily, work on your core and consciously brace hard to strengthen and protect it from further injuries. Even if doing these extra work takes time away from other exercises or makes the workout even longer than usual, they still must be done and you now understand that.  

5) Focus on the small wins & progress, 
You may not be as strong as you used to be, but the sportsperson that you are is still in there. Progress is progress no matter how small, and you must celebrate the small wins and steps forward that bring you towards being an even better lifter than you were before. You may just be lifting much less than what you are used to, but at least now you are lifting with even better form. You may be going much slower than you are used to, but at least now you are doing so with even better technique. 

6) Remember to leave your ego at the gym door.
You're sometimes tempted to do the same movements and weights that you did pre-injury, but that will only slow down your recovery and stall progress in the long run. Superman always reminds you when you complain about not being about to do some exercises or lift the same weights as before that "you are not weak, you are injured". You've learnt the hard way that while ego lifting with poorer form may let you lift more initially, building from proper form and a strong base is always superior. You've had to change your stances, sharpen your techniques, and open your mind to doing things differently and even though it might feel "weird" or uncomfortable at the beginning, it's just because you are not used to it, not because it is wrong

Nobody doubts what you can achieve in the gym, and you are always willing to give it your all during your workouts. But given the intensity and frequency at which you train, having injuries from time to time is inevitable.

You just have to learn to deal with it, and move with better form to prevent them from flaring up, and also to prevent future injuries.

Most importantly, don't give up. Don't let your injuries stop you from training and progressing further. Don't let your injuries triumph over you. YOU are stronger than that.

Love,
From Someone Who Has Been There

*****

One-on-On Personal Training Updates:

Genesis Gym Personal Training Updates:
The Beginning - Signing Up for Personal Training


Thank you for reading Sakura Haruka. You can LIKE my FB page @ http://facebook.com/LoveSakuraHaruka or follow me on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/aisakuraharuka
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