Review: Chickabiddy UV Steriliser

Back when we were expecting Oliver, we were kinda chillax about getting ready for his arrival. We were sorta the only ones in our generation having kids at that point in time, also one of the first to have kids amongst our friends, so we had no one to fall back on and ask for advice. So when it came to sterilising, I had memories of my maternal grandma standing at the stove, boiling milk bottles in a huge pot of water, tongs in hand. I wasn’t about to do that. An electric steam steriliser was definitely on my shopping list, unfortunately, it wasn’t on Donald’s list. I sure as hell wasn’t going to stand at the stove to watch water boil, so he did most of the sterilising.

are you crazy??

are you crazy??

Pretty crazy if I might say. So it was a godsend when my ex-company contacted me to say they were sending me a hamper and asked if there was anything I would like to choose myself. There was an electric steam steriliser in the catalogue so obviously I chose that! Donald should thank his lucky stars he isn’t still boiling bottles today. Hahaha.

Altho convenient, the steam steriliser was chunky and took up space on the countertop. I didn’t like that there was water dripping whenever I took something out cos of the condensation. Countertop space is prime real estate in the kitchen so not being able to shift it around easily got on my nerves. I then invested in a microwave steam steriliser. It was more compact, could contain lesser bottles but at least I could shift it around!

So, the deal about UV Sterilisers…..

Now, when a friend recommended me to try out the Chickabiddy UV steriliser, I was a little hesitant. Firstly, I didn’t know much about the technology. I mean, how did it actually work? Secondly, I already have a steam steriliser. We know that heat kills bacteria, so how much more fancy schmancy does it have to be when it came to sterilising?

look at the storage!

look at the storage!

How does it work?

Firstly, we know about UV light. The ones we are most familiar with is the UV-A and UV-B light that we get from the sun and that is harmful to our skin if we are exposed to it directly on a long term basis. That’s why the doctors tell us to slap on shitloads of sunscreen to protect our skin if we are gonna be under it.

The UV light used in UV sterilisers is UV-C, which is a short-wavelength ultraviolet light, and it is used to ‘kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions’ (Source: Wikipedia).

Waah..nubbad wor. So UV-C light does sterilise. But how do I know if the lamp is legit?

UV-C lit Steriliser

UV-C lit Steriliser

Secondly, Chickabiddy uses the Philips TUV 6W mini lamp.

your humble UV lamp

your humble UV lamp

The lamp emits UV-C light at wavelength of 253.7nm, which is pretty close to the optimum 260nm – 270nm. Screwing up your bacteria DNA? Check. The lifespan of the lamp is also 9,000 hours. For me, I set it to the 30 mins sterilise & dry setting (cos I’m lazy that way) once a day. Press Auto once. You know what that means for me?

Buttons with a memory function!

Buttons with a memory function!

9,000 hours. 30 mins a day. That lamp will last me 750 days before I need to change it. That means I only need to change it about 2 years later. Not a bad deal imho. BUT that is the worst case scenario. For the common bacteria and viruses, 15 mins of sterilising is more than enough. Chickabiddy has a setting which dries for 30-45 mins first, before sterilising for 10 mins. With that setting, that’s gonna extend the lifespan of your lamp by another year or two! Not only that, you reduce the amount of time your plastic milk bottles are exposed to the UV-C light and extend their lifespan too!

Tip: Use your steriliser wisely, and it will serve you well, both on lamp & your milk bottles!

The Philips lamp also has a 1.7W radiation power. What does that mean? It’s the power of the radiation from the light source. So one bulb, 1.7W. I did a quick comparison with the other two UV sterilisers on the market and they use 2 OSRAM 4W UV lamps. On first impression, it does sound awesome. 2 lamps leh! Plus lower wattage summore. Why not?? Dig a little further, and I hope my Physics don’t fail me here..if I didn’t read it wrongly, each lamp is only 0.9W. So don’t get the wrong impression that 2 lamps means better sterilisation ah! Must look at radiation power also. Both are still similar in radiation power lah. Not sure about the lifespan for OSRAM lamps though. I couldn’t find any information on that.

Chickabiddy: Philips TUV 6W FAM lamp with 1.7W radiation power,
Other brands: 2 x OSRAM Puritec HNS 4W G5 lamp 0.9W radiation power.

The third question that came up as I placed the bottles upside down in the holders. Light travels in a straight line doesn’t it? Now, if I were to put the bottles upside down, how do I kill the bacteria inside the bottles? Ah-hah! Now surely that was a big CON for the UV steriliser?

Up-ending the bottles of various sizes

Up-ending the bottles of various sizes

The interior of the Chickabiddy UV Steriliser is stainless steel, which allows the UV-C rays to be reflected into the interior of the bottles. A test by SGS in Taiwan also has proven its effectiveness in sterilisation with a result of >99.9%!

And that’s where the drying function also comes in handy! Don’t just think that the drying function only does the drying. By circulating the air in the steriliser, bacteria moves around, therefore exposing the bacteria to more UV light, breaking the bacteria down. Which is why Chickabiddy doesn’t recommend consumers to stack up the bottle parts in the steriliser so that there is optimum exposure to the UV-C light. Also, by drying the bottles, you are then reducing the instances of mould or scum build up! To be honest, I really enjoyed taking a dry bottle out. So nice feeling! Plus for some reason, feels a little squeaky clean too?

don't stack the parts up!

don’t stack the parts up!

What I liked about the Chickabiddy UV Steriliser (and the Daddy Ting concurs too btw cos he had to do A LOT of bottlefeeding whilst I was away):

– it seemed to take up as much space as a regular steam steriliser would but holds much more. Look at how many bottles & parts I put into the steriliser each time, of various sizes too!

full capacity!

full capacity!

– The UV steriliser can also serve as a storage cabinet. Just leave your bottles inside till you need them. What I used to have was, huge mixing bowl for collecting enough bottles to steriliser, plus steam steriliser, plus Tupperware container to store sterilised bottles. I ended up using MORE kitchen countertop space that just the UV steriliser.

– Now, this plus point of the Chickabiddy steriliser is gonna be a little weird but it is a MAJOR plus point in my opinion. The trays are held by tray handles at the sides. Whilst checking out the other brands, I realised that the trays just sit on a ledge. This means that I actually have to worry about weight distribution if I had to pull the tray out. Given the space in the upper trays for the other brands of sterilisers, I guess you don’t need to pull the tray out but I do quite like to arrange the parts in a more spacious area than having to reach into the steriliser to arrange the parts and in dim conditions too.

– Not only that, I can easily take out the bottle parts without worrying about burning my hands. I mean, how many times have you gotten scalded by the steam? And who so free to use tongs to pick bottles out? Trust me..it never gets picked up the way you want it picked up. (I always drop bottles FML).

– I don’t have to flick the bottles to make sure the excess water is out. Can imagine, each flick you do, you end up introducing fresh bacteria into the bottles again. -_-” The Chickabiddy steriliser also has a 4 hourly cycle where the bottles are sterilised for 5 minutes, which is plenty of time to sterilises most bacteria, so you don’t have to keep worrying about unsterilised bottles. Eh, 4 hourly is pretty good considering most babies feed on a 3-4 hourly basis.

– I don’t need to wash the steriliser. With the heating plate of the regular steam steriliser, I would have to unplug it, give it a little rinse and then worry about the scum / chlorine build up on the heating plate. With the microwave steriliser, lesser things to worry but I would still have to wash it and replace the water in it so there isn’t scum build up. With the UV steriliser, you just…well, just keep using it. The only things you wash is the bottles and bottle parts.

– Easy on your pocket when you are replacing the lamps. You only need to worry about ONE lamp compared to 2 lamps + possibly an infrared lamp. Scenarios like only one lamp goes, so you replace one lamp only to have the other lamp go out a few days later. Then you gotta buy another one again. Yup, coming from personal experience, not with a UV steriliser but with a effing cooker hood lamp. I swear the servicing guy makes money out of making trips to change light bulbs in my cooker hood. Meh.

– You don’t need to just steriliser bottles. Done with bottlefeeding? Remove the bottle holder tray, and bring the top rack down, and you now have a HUGE ass space for sterilising anything and everything. Toys, nail clippers, teethers..etc.

Now, the down side to a UV steriliser:

– Yes, the Chickabiddy UV steriliser is more expensive that a steam steriliser. For double the price, you get convenience and a peace of mind. To be honest, having used it for a month, I don’t think I can go back to using a steam steriliser. The not having to use a tissue to get rid of excess water from the bottle is way too attractive for me. That’s what pumping in the middle of the night does to you. I already have to stay awake for 30mins to pump, I still have to waste time to dry some parts?? Bleh. Pumping moms..you know the pain.

– There IS a smell. It smells..like what it would smell in the hospital. Very clinical. Daddy Ting says it smells like the sun (?!?!) hahaha which..wouldn’t be wrong considering the sun DOES emit UV-C rays. But don’t worry! The smell is safe and doesn’t affect any of us, baby or adult.

– It will take up space on my countertop cos I will now have to keep it on the countertop so that I can go on a sterilising spree. OMG. I can now sterilise Lego & Duplo blocks!! High time to wash them seriously.

For all that’s worth, the Chickabiddy UV steriliser is still cheaper than the other two brands on the market! =) It is currently retailing for $309 on Purezza’s website with free shipping! Best buy liao! #bbbmtl

Now, go get one!

Disclaimer: tings.sg received a Chickabiddy Uv Steriliser for review purposes. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible.

Review: Cashback & Online Shopping offers with ShopBack

#throwback

My third trimester was eventful. Like super duper eventful. To the extent, I dunno if I should be happy or unhappy that I was in lockdown with the kids.

Firstly, the boys caught HFMD through a playdate at our place. So..we had like 4 days of incubation and then QT got it first, then Ollie caught it a week later. FOL. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Ollie was suspected to have scabies. Whuuut?? The rest of his scabs from HFMD seemed to be healing save for some spots on his knees and elbows. We went to the nearby GP and he said that it was just some residual spots. When they didn’t go away over the weekend, I figured a trip to KKH was necessary.

So what happens when kiddo has scabies? *sigh* You boil EVERYTHING that he has come into contact with. Well, clothes and bedsheets lar. Cos you don’t know where the mites have been. And not only that, Ollie was prescribed a lotion to kill adult mites, and all of us had to apply it as well once a week. Urgh. And he doesn’t get to go back to school for two weeks. FML again. And when he recovers, it was the Sept school hols.

You can imagine my cabin fever. And as luck would have it…I gave birth shortly after the school reopened. Hahahah. WTH. On one hand, I was bored. It was horrible that I couldn’t go out. On the other hand, I was so huge and walking was a chore..so I guess it was sorta a blessing in disguise. I looked forward to my weekly grocery shopping at the wet market. And cos only one person could leave the house at one time, we couldn’t do major grocery shopping at the supermarket.

So….no time like now to explore online shopping possibilities eh? Shopback invited me to give their services a try. I had been hesitant to be honest. Usually with online grocery shopping, there is a minimum order and a delivery fee. I am limited to shopping via my mobile phone (I never get peace when I take the laptop out), so it meant adding another app to my already cluttered screen.

So how ah? No harm right..give it a shot lor. Desperate times called for desperate measures. I wanted to shop, and we are running out of diapers and toilet paper.

What is Shopback?

In layman’s terms, it’s a shopping platform that allows you to shop at various online stores and receive a rebate (cash) for shopping through Shopback. And this is on top of whatever bonuses/discounts that you are already receiving for your accounts! (different T&Cs apply for each merchants). Shiok right?

Online shopping.

My virgin online shopping experience was on Ebay (which incidentally is one of the merchants on Shopback!). You know that excitement as you bid for the item you want? Omg. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies in my stomach. I bought a MD player. MD player leh!! Good grief. How old is that.

So I signed up for an account on Shopback and realised that NTUC Online was one of their merchants!

#auntiemodeon FairPrice Online leh!

There was a really good promo for Drypers then, so no time like now to give it a shot! Too bad I was already an existing customer, else I would have gotten a 4% rebate. But hey, a 2% rebate wasn’t too bad! This is on top of using my OCBC-NTUC card to make payment for the groceries.

So imagine..use OCBC-NTUC card to pay (up to 12% rebate) + Linkpoints + 2% rebate from Shopback. Hey, that is money I could use!

And then I also discovered honestbee..

honestbee grocery concierge

honestbee grocery concierge

New account discount ($12, sign up via Shopback) + 4% rebate. I stocked up my pantry for that initial order.

I relied on these two merchants heavily during my month of lockdown. I was also slowly checking out the other merchants like iHerb (you can use my code: QOC588 to get 10% off your first order!), and cheap dining deals for days that I was just too tired too cook. hellooooo Foodpanda.

There are definitely heaps merchants on Shopback that I’ve yet to use. You can grab a Groupon promo code and enjoy some of the amazing deals there. Or if you’re looking to get some health and beauty products, you can shop at Guardian online (best part, your Passion card perks still applies!). If you’re looking to buy Christmas presents? Why not save with a Book Depository coupon and take advantage of that free international shipping as well; And before you start shopping or registering for a new account, always view the latest coupons to ensure that you have the best deals! It is a little more than just a shopping platform!

You can really chalk up the rebates easily if you regularly shop from the merchants. I easily chalked up 10 bucks in 2 weeks thanks to grocery shopping. More so if you shop with merchants like Lazada and on taobao. Now…if they could get Amazon & deliveroo onboard..I will be eternally thankful! hahaha.

To get you started, you can use my referral link to get an instant cashback of $5 upon signing up! And yes, I will get $5 in return too.

Now go forth, and start shopping. #auntiemodeoff.

 

Category: Reviews

Review: OSMO Play

Where it all started

Where it all started

Not sure how it all started, but I got to know about the Osmo when they were crowdfunding back in 2014. Oliver was 2.5 yo and we were weaning him off the iPad. I had been reading up about restricting screen time and how it is detrimental to a toddler’s development..(poor brain activity, oh the horrors!). Obviously being a first time mom (Quentin doesn’t count cos he’s not even a year old!), I was getting on the bandwagon on what is ‘right‘ for the kids.

But hey, the Osmo Play is a different. It still uses the iPad, but not by just swiping. It is more than just swiping. It is uses the iPad to get the child to interact and think out of the box. Now THAT, I can accept. I noticed that not a lot of people in Singapore know about the Osmo, so here’s my review on it!

November 2014

November 2014

The Osmo Starter Kit arrived in our home. It came with the base, colourful tangram pieces for the Tangram app and 2 sets of alphabets for the Word app. 2 months shy of turning 3 years, I wondered how Oliver would do with it. I mean, it is meant for 6 – 12 year-olds.

Osmo Starter Kit

Osmo Starter Kit

The iPad sits on the base, with a clip-on mirror attached to the front-facing camera to reflect the image of what is arranged on the surface in front of the iPad. The image is then fed into the camera for the app to process the information.

Tangrams

It didn’t take Oliver long to understand and figure Tangrams out. What I love about it is that there are a few levels of difficulty and that’s where the colours come in. I reckon 3 year olds could give it a shot if they love puzzles. See how the shapes come up in the various colours to guide the child to use those pieces. I would sit next to Oliver to help shift the pieces within the area of detection by the mirror. Once he completed a puzzle, he could choose to move on to another puzzle, or alternatively, if he choose to repeat the puzzle, it would have moved on to the next level of difficulty, where there would no longer be colours, but grayscale pieces displayed on the screen. It would eventually get to the point where the puzzle would be in black, with no outlines and the child would have to figure out how to replicate the exact same puzzle.

November 2015

November 2015 – 1 year on and still loving it! Shapes are now grayscaled.

Words

It was a little trickier with Words as the child would have to know how to spell in order to play with it. It was sorta like an iPad version of the game, Hangman. An image would be projected in the background. The child would need to firstly identify the word based on the image, and based on the number of letters required for the word. They will be able to collect ‘coins’ to use for hints. For starters, there would already be some clues in the word (letters provided). Subsequently, fewer letters would be provided, eventually to the point where no letters are provided.

Two sets of alphabets are provided for Words, which meant that Oliver could play with a friend and compete! That takes sharing the iPad to another level, and making learning even more fun!

On one hand, I liked that Oliver would be able to learn how to spell and I could guide him to learn how to spell phonetically. On the other hand, because Osmo is based in the USA, it is hard to guess the word based on the image which could give a different meaning to what we would guess it to be. Even I had difficulty figuring out what the word was. However, these images are rare and few. Most of them are pretty standard.

Was the Osmo a good buy? For the price that I was paying then (USD$89, I think), I honestly felt it was and still think it is a great buy. It helps that I am interested in it, and it makes me sit next to him to guide him, rather than him just watching videos on the iPad! I felt that it really stimulated him to think a lot. And it really helps that he enjoys the challenges of the tangram puzzles.

Fast forward to 2015, Osmo came up with Newton, Masterpiece, & NumbersIf you already bought the Starter Kit, you only need to download the apps for Newton & Masterpiece. I personally felt that Newton & Masterpiece were suitable for older kids.

Newton

Newton

Newton required a lot more logical thinking and finer motor skills for writing/drawing in order to fully be able to be engaged. I totally suck at it, cos I failed my Physics hahaha. Daddy Ting would probably fair better at it than me.

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines to hit the target

Masterpiece required a lot of finer eye-hand coordination and finer motor skills for writing/drawing as it involves tracing on paper by looking at the image on the iPad. The tracing (hand movement) is mirrored on the iPad as well. This would be good to develop eye-hand coordination. No demo of this one..cos we haven’t ventured on it yet.

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

We love Numbers tho! I love that the pieces comes in both numerals and dots like that of the dice, so that the child can understand value via numerals or quantity. It comes in a game where by the child is required to burst water bubbles to fill a fish tank. And in order to burst these water bubbles, they would have to select tiles that would add up to the value stated on the water bubbles (addition only). Sometimes there would already be a ’tile’ that indicates ‘-n’ on the screen so the child would have to factor that in when selecting the tiles (addition & subtraction). The reward? Sometimes the fish tank is filled with a special fish or food for the fish! Oliver gets really excited when there is special food for the fish haha.

Using numbers to add and subtract

Using numbers to add and subtract

This year, Osmo released Coding, Monster Pizza Co. 

Again, I felt that Coding was for older kids so I didn’t get that, and also I felt that I didn’t see much educational value in it? I don’t know much about Coding, and based on the video, it was more of pressing buttons to ‘create’ a computer game. I could be wrong! There could be more than meets the eye haha just that this momma doesn’t know how to appreciate it. =P

Now Monster, I could appreciate! Both Oliver and Quentin loved it! Mo, the monster, interacts with the kids by asking them to help him out by drawing.

Monster Creative Set

Monster Creative Set

The boys would giggle and laugh when Mo would use what Oliver drew on the creative board which came with this set. And yes, it is a board designed to fit snugly against the Osmo base. The Creative set also came with markers, and a pencil case which doubled up as a cloth to wipe the marks off the board, so you don’t have to worry about bringing wipes along to wipe the board!

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Pizza Co. is Osmo’s latest offering. I..was tempted to buy this only cos I am been a huge fan of Osmo and we are still enjoying what Osmo has to offer. I am hesitant only because we already have what they are offering, or rather, it is a game that can be easily replicated by us, in various methods (using Lego to teach fractions, teaching the value of money in real life scenarios, to name a few). Having said that, it does look fun tho! (If you are the type to play Diner Dash on your phone, come on, Pizza Co would be that for the kids! =P )

Pizza Co Game

Pizza Co Game

If you are planning to get the Osmo, get them via Amazon because it is eligible for free shipping to Singapore (min purchase of USD$125). Prices are the same in USD for both Amazon & the Osmo website, however you would have to pay for shipping on the Osmo website if you spend less than SGD$220 (I think about USD$150?). Links to the Osmo sets on Amazon have been provided throughout this review, so hopefully it will make it easier for you to find it!