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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Girls' Build-A-Bear Workshop™ Experience!

Build-A-Bear Workshop™

Whilst we are on our recent trip to Singapore, our eldest daughter saw a Build-A-Bear Workshop™ at a local shopping mall close to where we are staying, and reminded us that we told her last year at a local Australian mall that if she was a good girl she could do one this year...

So as a treat we decided to let her and her little sister make a bear each and here is their fun and exciting experience! :)

Step 1: Choose Me!

Choose Me!

Girls get to choose a bear skin to stuff. Eldest chose a white bear, youngest one got a light brown bear chosen by wifey cos she couldn't decide... :)

Step 2: Hear Me!

Optional extra #1: You can put in a little widget to press and it'll say something or play music. There were about 20 to choose from and eldest chose the phrase "I Love You!". We veto'ed any decision from youngest one to put anything in as it'll just go off in her sleep and wake her and everyone else up... :)

Step 3: Stuff Me!

Stuff Me!

Eldest all excited from helping step on a switch to turn stuffing machine on, whilst bear making specialist ensures bear is well stuffed. Bears can be stuffed to different huggable factor, from soft to hard. Eldest chose a soft huggable factor... as did the youngest.

Youngest one's bear is being stuffed in the video... stuffing is inserted via a rather large needle through a slit in the bears back, and girls were reassured that the bears are not harmed in the process and feel no pain...

After the bears were stuffed, the girls got to choose a special heart for their bears and give it special kisses and rubs, and make special wishes that their bears will have a happy and cheerful life. Much like what we all want for our kids eh?

Then the girls put the special heart into the slit in the bear's back, then decide on if they are going to be a girl or boy bear. Both girls decided that their bears are going to be girl bears.

Then the bear making specialist go perform some awesome surgical suturing to stitch the bears up.

Step 4: Fluff Me!

Fluff Me!

Once the bears have had their stitches done, it was off to give them their first 'bath'. It was more like showing the girls how to look after their bears by brushing and fluffing their fur, so it was off to the fluffing station to show the girls how to give the bears a 'bath'.

Step 5: Dress Me!

Dress Me!

Next step was for the girls to choose an outfit for their bears, and believe me there was a huge range of clothing, shoes, hats and accessories... Check out the range that was there, much larger range than most human boutiques... :)

Strangely enough, neither of the girls wanted my choice of outfit for their bears. :) A Darth Vader bear would have been awesome!

After the outfit was selected, it was off to dress our bears!

Bear's all dressed!

Step 6: Name Me!

Name Me!

Next step was for the girls to name their bears. Eldest daughter chose 'Emily' as the name for her bear, and youngest chose 'Bear'... :) So we got the eldest to help pick a nice name for her younger sister and she chose 'Sophie'.

And finally to make it official, the bears get their birth certificate!
Bears all dressed and ready to go home!
Youngest daughter's bear 'Sophie' on left, and eldest daughter's bear 'Emily' on right!

Step 7: Take Me Home!

Take Me Home!

Eldest daughter all smiles! :)

Likewise with youngest daughter! :)

Bears that Daddy wanted to make but wasn't available at the time:

Captain American Bear!

Iron Man Bear!

Hulk Bear!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Best Value Prepaid Mobile Broadband in Singapore for iPhone, iPad

Since I visit my hometown Singapore quite often to see my sister and her family, or stop off when travelling to do the same, I thought I'd do some research for cheapish prepaid mobile broadband plans to use while I'm there for short trips and came across this:

M1 Prepaid Mobile Broadband

Effectively for SGD$18 it gives you:

  • 9 hours or 3 consecutive days of unlimited local data usage

  • Access anywhere within Singapore at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps*

  • Convenience of short-term usage without a contract

This is great as for a short trip to Singapore you get unlimited mobile broadband access for 3 days (or 9 hours total if you connect and disconnect, but I can't see the benefit of this).

Compare this to the prepaid iPad plan for SGD$20 with only 1GB included (30 day expiry), it's better value for short trips 3 days and under, however the $20 iPad prepaid plan will be better value if you have low usage requirements and are on a longer stay.

All you really need is an unlocked mobile broadband USB dongle for your laptop, or an unlocked iPhone (or 3G iPad). However for iPhone 4 upwards, or for iPads you need a MicroSIM rather than a standard SIM that this service provides. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out how to make a standard SIM fit into a MicroSIM slot.

Once you have trimmed the SIM into a MicroSIM format, you just need to configure your iPhone to use an alternate APN(Access Point Name) so that you can access data using the MicroSIM. Most iPhones (that are not jailbroken) you can't change the APN's as it's configured as part of the carrier settings (based on the sim card installed) so you'll have to install a custom file to change the APN. (Note: since all iPad's are effectively carrier unlocked, you can just manually enter the APN in the settings.)

Easiest way is to head to unlockit.co.nz from your iPhone and follow the instructions (choose 'Singapore' as the country, and M1(prepaid) as the carrier Note: seems like the website has the APN incorrectly set as 'prepaiddata' instead of 'prepaid' and I've emailed them to let them know, but in the interim use this file - settings.mobileprovision but note that the certificate for this file will expire on 24/07/2012. I will update instructions if website is updated with correct data), and either download or email yourself the file. It's a settings.mobileprovision file, and if you do not have access to the internet when you first get to Singapore, just be a good boy scout and email yourself the file and check your mail when you have internet access prior to landing in Singapore.

Quick steps for adding custom profile for Singapore M1 APN ʻprepaidbbʼ:

1) Open Email

2) Click on attachment ʻsettings.mobileconfigʼ

3) Click ʻInstallʼ

4) Click ʻInstall Nowʼ

5) Click ʻDoneʼ and enjoy your mobile broadband!

Then when you are leaving Singapore, or just want to switch back to your normal SIM, follow the instructions below to remove the profile installed before.

Quick steps for removing custom profile for Singapore M1 APN ʻprepaidbbʼ:

1) Goto Settings --> General --> Profiles

2) Select ʻAPN Carrier Settingsʼ

3) Click ʻRemoveʼ

4) Click ʻRemoveʼ

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