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Thursday, 8 November 2018


To many of us, pets are family. While it is considered fine to be around most of these furry family members while pregnant, there are also some safety measures that you need to be careful of. Here are some of the important points and the reasons behind them.


• You do need to be very careful about cleaning the litter box. If possible, have someone else do it. The reason is, cat faeces (also soil or sand where they have been) may carry Toxoplasma; a parasite transmissible to human. Serious birth defects such as eye and brain damage may occur if you get Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy or even a few months prior to conception. Touching the cat faecal material and accidentally putting the contaminated hand into your mouth could result in infection as the parasite is transmitted via the oral route.

• Toxoplasma does not become infectious for one to five days. So if you are the only one at home who is available to clean the cat’s litter box, do change the litter daily, and remember to use disposable gloves. Remove and throw the disposable gloves after each use and wash both your hands thoroughly with soap and water straight away.

• Stay away from stray cats.

• If you have an outdoor cat or a free-roaming cat that does its business in the garden, you need to take the same precautions during gardening. Wear gloves and wash your hands immediately because you can be exposed to Toxoplasmosis just as easily.

• If you have been around cats for a while, you may have already developed immunity to the disease. A blood test will be able to check this.

• You also can get Toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked meat, especially pork, lamb or deer meat. For this reason, avoid giving your cat undercooked meat.


No matter the size and breed, keep yourself safe during pregnancy by taking these steps:

• Make sure your dog is up-to-date with vaccination. Complete them before your baby is born.

• If your dog has bad habits like biting or jumping, train him to stop doing these behaviours before you have your baby.

• Avoid getting bitten by a dog and do not let your dog jump up on your belly.

• Your baby will take much of your time and attention. So if you and your dog are especially close, ask your partner or a family member to spend more time with the pet. Developing relationship with others can help prepare your dog for changes to come once your baby is born.

If you have pet rodents (guinea pigs, mice and hamsters), be extra careful with these pocket pets. They may carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis, that can cause severe birth defects and miscarriage. The virus can be transmitted from a bite of an infected animal, and by contact with an infected animal’s urine, blood, saliva, droppings or nesting materials. You can also get the virus by breathing in dust or droplets while sweeping up droppings or cleaning out a cage of an infected animal.

Guinea pigs and hamsters can get infected with the virus from being in direct contact with wild mice at a breeder, in a pet shop, or even in your home. The house mouse (a wild mouse found near and inside houses) is the main source of the virus. These are some tips to help keep you safe from this virus when you are pregnant.

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching pet rodents.

• Ask help from other family members to care for the pet and clean its cage. The cage cleaning must be performed outside or in a well-ventilated area. Cages must be kept clean and any dirty bedding must be removed.

• Keep the pet rodents in a separate part of your home.

• Avoid contact with wild rodents, and talk to your healthcare provider before using any pest control chemicals in your home.

If you have exotic pets and reptiles (snakes, turtles, tortoises and lizards), you need to know that some of these animals can carry microorganisms that infect and cause serious disease to human, such as Salmonellosis (an infection from a bacteria called Salmonella spp.). Most Salmonellosis cases are caused by ingestion of contaminated and raw food sources, such as poultry, meat and eggs. But it can also be carried by reptiles. If you are pregnant, keep away any pet reptile from your home before your baby is born.

As a conclusion, when you are pregnant, bear in mind that not all pets are OK to be around due to the zoonotic or communicable diseases. Pregnant women have to be careful about the kinds of animals they keep in their home and know how to handle and care for them safely.

Written by Dr. Cecilia Boklin 
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine | Kinabalu Animal Clinic

For more information about caring for your pets during pregnancy, kindly contact Dr. Cecilia Boklin at Kinabalu Animal Clinic. To book an appointment for your pets, visit

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Featured Wellness: INDAH BEAUTY & WELLNESS

The weekend is here! Between juggling your social lives, work, family commitments and responsibilities, you’re probably in need of a little R & R! Where else to relax, restore and rejuvenate yourselves other than Indah Beauty & Wellness! Comfortably tucked away at Plaza 333, Indah Beauty & Wellness was founded by two sisters, Ms. Yoshi A. Robert and Ms. Lyindah A. Robert and began as of March 2018. Entering the establishment, you’re welcomed by hospitable staff and shortly served hot ginger tea, with soothing music playing in the background and featuring beautiful interior with rustic Kadazan decorative influences, it’s the right place to loosen up and temporarily forget life’s worries.

What’s so special about Indah Beauty & Wellness you may ask? Well, firstly they create their unique treatments following their own steps while seeking to cater to the distinctive needs of different customers. The full range of services they offer covers facial relaxing, body relaxing, traditional massage and sports massage. “After many years of being in the wellness industry, we came up with the treatments and services to meet the needs of our customers. Our signature massage, the sports massage, is what makes us stand out against competing beauty and wellness spas. It’s what makes us different.” They mentioned proudly.

As both Ms. Yoshi and Ms. Lyindah have been in the beauty and wellness industry for numerous years, we ask them why massages are important for our overall health and what benefits can we reap from it? “Everyone can benefit from a massage, society is very fast paced and as a consequence, everyone faces high levels of stress daily.“ Rightfully said, it’s amazing how having a regular massage can work wonders and it helps everyone from all walks of life. “Massage is a key part of our health maintenance. It also doubles as a prevention plan and helps in reducing or eliminating muscle or joint related pain, improve joint mobility and lymphatic drainage and reducing muscular tension and stress.” They stated. “It’s better than spending lots of money on holidays, to be honest.” They quipped.

One of their more popular service is, the Sports Massage. Lasting for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, this massage is great for individuals leading active lifestyles and sports athletes. There are many advantages to this massage; it improves relaxation, minimizes muscle tension, promotes higher range of motion, scar tissue improvement and better recovery by raising blood circulation to the affected area. “Many patients suffer from aching and, or sole muscles and sports massage can help alleviate these issue so they can return to training.”

They mentioned. “It’s also crucial for post-activity and injury prevention as stiff muscles are more prone to injury.” The sisters shared. The best part of this service is, it’s inclusive to everyone! There’s no need to be a trained professional sportsman or woman to pamper yourself with this massage.

Another special treatment Indah Beauty & Wellness offers is the Indah Special Lady Treatment. It lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes and is tailored specifically for mothers after natural birth. This massage provides relaxation, increases flexibility of muscles and stretched nerves, stimulates blood circulation, boosts lactation for nursing mothers, induces good sleep and lightens stretch marks. It’s also proven beneficial in reducing fluid retention, or bloatiness and reduces stress hormones. Indeed, incorporating post-partum massage is in your post-delivery after care has shown to improve a mother’s recovery and health while continually adjusting to motherhood.

“Usual feedback from customers are instant pain relief, even after one session. They feel much more relaxed and stress-free. We take pride in the quality of our services.” They said. Any last messages to readers contemplating on getting a massage? “Stop thinking and delaying! Come and give us a try. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Book your appointment with us today!” Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s give it a go! Stress mode off and relaxation mode on!

For more information or to book an appointment, you may reach them at 0125623601. Opening hours Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm and Sunday: 2pm to 8pm at Plaza 333.

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Written by Eve Bandusena
As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine
Issue No.13 October to December 2018

Sunday, 7 October 2018





Almost every pregnant woman will experience early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. In twin pregnancy, these symptoms can be excessive. The size of the pregnant uterus in twin pregnancy is expected to be larger than the pregnancy age during examination. Ultimately, the twin pregnancy can be confirmed through ultrasound scan by visualizing presence of two foetuses.


There are certain risk factors which are associated with higher risk of conceiving twin pregnancy such as previous history of twin pregnancy, family history of twins, advanced maternal age and usage of medications to stimulate ovulation.

A higher chance of conceiving twin pregnancy can be achieved via in-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) whereby transfer of 2 embryos can be performed during the process. However this may or may not result in twin pregnancy.


Definitely. This is because, in the early pregnancy, there is presence of higher level pregnancy hormones. This leads to an aggravated early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This sometimes causes severe dehydration which may require admission to hospital for fluid administration and supportive therapy.

When the pregnancy is advanced, the uterine size will be larger than usual and this may press on the surrounding structures causing more maternal discomfort such as shortness of breath, difficulty to ambulate and mobilize.


Twin pregnancy can be easily classified as identical and non identical twin. The identical twin develops from a single zygote which divides during its development giving rise to two embryos and later on develop two babies.

For non identical twin, it occurs as a result of fertilization of two different ova by two different sperms giving rise to two foetuses independently.


This may be true especially in identical twin as they share similar genetic makeup.


During pregnancy, there are certain signs the doctor will look for during ultrasound scan to determine the types of twin pregnancy. Among the easiest way to differentiate are the twin pregnancies which share same placenta will result in identical twin and twin pregnancy with different gender fetuses will result in non-identical twin.


Average incidence of twin pregnancy is 15 per 1000 births but great variation seen in certain countries. There are no readily available Malaysian birth registry statistics on twin pregnancy available at the current moment. However twin pregnancy rate is currently increasing in light of fact that women nowadays have a tendency to delay childbearing and decide to conceive at advanced age. Advanced maternal age is one of the risk factor of conceiving twin pregnancy. Higher uptake of assisted reproductive technologies such as in- vitro Fertilisation (IVF) also contribute to more twin pregnancy.


Although the thought of having twin is lovely, the community must understand that twin pregnancy is categorized as high risk pregnancy and it carries more risk of complications towards the mother, fetuses and the babies once they are born. Chances of conceiving twin can be increased by using medication to induce ovulation. However usage of these ovulation agents may give rise to multiple pregnancies which are not only twin but also triplet, quadruplet and higher order pregnancy. The more number of foetuses in a pregnancy, the less chance for it to be successful.

Another way to increase chance of conceiving twin is via IVF, whereby 2 foetuses can be transferred during the process instead of single embryo transfer. But unfortunately, this does not guarantee success of getting twin pregnancy as one of embryo may fail to develop.

For more information about twin pregnancy or other pregnancy related matter, you may kindly contact Dr. Norafidah Ahmad at KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital. Call 088-322000 to make appointment.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Ban on Plastic Straws in Malaysia

The ban on plastic straws will start on 1st of January in 2019 in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

The decision in implementing this ban is yet another move from the Malaysian government as a continuing effort to reduce the overall nationwide usage of plastic. With that said, Malaysians are steadily becoming more plastic conscious as the adoption of plastic ban policies in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Melaka have been enacted as well as Penang’s plan to ban single-use plastics on January 2019.

To ensure the success of the bar on plastic, the Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan Mohd Ikhsan has taken further steps by having businesses’ licensees risk being terminated if they’re found to be using plastic straws in 2019. "Business owners may also be fined, lose their deposits, have their trading items confiscated or even be imprisoned. The ban on plastic straws is in addition to the ban on plastics bags and polystyrene food packaging, which started in September last year (2017).” 

He declared. “The requirements are clearly stated in their business licences, so there is no excuse for the business owners to claim ignorance, local authorities will not hesitate to take action according to its by-laws.” He adds.

Marine bioligists in Costa Rica were horrified to discover an endangered
sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nostril.

It’s unbelievable to think how something so small and harmless such as plastic straws could have far-reaching implications on our environment and marine life. It takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose and they can’t be recycled in most places. Its negative impact is evident in the 100,000 marine life and the 1,000 000 seabirds that die from ingesting plastic each year. 

Still want to use straws after the ban? No problem! There are dozens of other alternatives such as metal, bamboo and even shatter-resistant glass straws in a variety of styles and color. Let’s all do our bit for the greater good of the environment. 

Written by Eve Bandusena | Writer at Parents Avenue

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Sabah's Homegrown Perfumer: Natasha Sharena Idris

Exclusive DUTCH & DUTCHESS - A homegrown fragrance created by Natasha Sharena Idris, local Sabahan mom will set your mood to relax, calm, confidence and beautiful interview.

Q: Nobody would have crossed their mind to be a perfumer. Tell us how this all came to reality.

A: To be honest, me, myself never expect or think I would be one. (ahahaha) And I don’t call myself a perfumer yet as I still in the learning process and need to improve my skills and method. Lucky me, I was choose to be the perfumer R&D team in one of this big factory which supply most of the EO, FO & AO. Here is where my journey started.

Q: Do you have a particular style or method to create fragrance?

A: Our sense of smell is so emotional, so that we need to understand the difference between the fragrance families. Usually I will refer to the fragrance wheel families whenever I want to create new fragrance.

Finding the right fragrance combination is not as easy as mixing your favourite ice cream flavor. For me to create a good smells, I need to “feel” the smells. I preferred to do it when it’s “me time” or when my princesses not around. In that way, I can be more relax and calm in creating new fragrance.

Q: Who are your favourite perfumers and what do you like about their work?

A: My old time favourite perfume is the 5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden. Lilac as one of the top notes, Ylang Ylang and Jasmine as one of the heart notes, and base notes is composed of Amber. Nose behind this luxurious smells is Ann Gottlieb and she is one of my favourite perfumist. Ann Gottlieb is one of major contributor to the perfume industry with over one billion US dollars worth in perfumes sold annually.

She also has exceptional creative marketing skills that rate her among the top perfumers worldwide. Ann also the nose behind Marc Jacobs range of perfume besides Avon and Calvin Clien.

Q: Describe your brand to us. Tell us about the types of perfumes that you make as well as your brand’s philosophy.

A: I love to create a combination of fruity and floral fragrances as the soft and calm smells makes me feel relax , calm and soft. Every each combination of flowers and fruity oil have their own meaning of smells. My first creation are combination of strawberry, jasmine and green apple which represent of sweet, stress relieve, purity, sensuality and beauty.

As a local Sabahan, I would love to expand my business, where others will come to know or notice that we also have our own ‘style’ and own luxurious smells of fragrance range with an affordable prices and amazing Borneo style of packaging.

Q: The current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing & marketing your perfume.

A: I preferred to be call ‘Perfume Lover’ instead of perfumer as I still consider myself as a ‘baby’ in this industry. To be honest, with the economic down trend now, it is a bit hard for me. I need to be more ‘outstanding’ as there are a lot of company doing ‘Inspired Perfume’ business which become my main competitor. Some do misunderstand that my perfume range, also an inspired perfume.There you go my biggest challenges is to explain to them that my fragrance range is not an Inspired Perfume by those big names brand, but it is a HOMEMADE FORMULA which I created. Home made with LOVE, Pack with HOPE and deliver it with FAITH. Frankly speaking, I am not a creative person or good in marketing job as well, which make it a bit harder for me also. In terms of manufacturing and distributing, it is quite challenging though since I’m doing it ‘alone’ and ‘hands on’. Times to times, I try to improve in every aspect.

Q: What is the purpose of perfume?

A: Purpose of perfume? Of course to smells good! Women that use seductive perfumes stimulate greater sexual desire in men, and have better self-esteem.

Perfumes emit scents that evoke memories, trigger senses, boost your confidence and make you happy. We all have a favorite perfume that reminds us to something special or special occasion. The best part is perfume relieve stress in people where it have the power to take you in places of calm and serenity. Some women use perfumes to express their seductive and feminine side, elegance and class.

Others use designer perfume for women or men to show class. Regardless of the reasons, for me, perfumes say a lot about who you truly are.

Q: How do you see your perfume brand in 10 years from now?

A: Argh..this is a tough question. :D 10 years from now?? Hurrrmm… with God’s willing, and blessed with a long life, I would like to see my perfume range ‘stand still’ together with the international brand and people know about Borneo Scent Dutch & Dutchess by Avanus Empire is something rare, unique and classy.

Q: How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception on everyday smells?

A: I become more sensitive. Especially to myself, I will make sure I will smell good before I step out from my house. Other than that, if my daughters sweat and smell weird, I will ask them to put perfume which I create for them.

Q: What exciting things can we expect from you in the future?

A: I might resize my packaging and the price of the perfume but not confirm yet. Some perfume scents, I might make it as ‘Limited Edition’ or ‘limited stocks’ and the rest of the plan, let it be a surprise. Hoping that year 2018 will bring more luck and good news.

As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine | Issue No.10 (January to March 2018)
Interview by Stella Matilda | Photo by Nur Aleep 

Sunday, 5 August 2018


Written by Wency Jelson

I am a mother of three wonderful sons. My oldest son Caleb is 6 years old. When Caleb was around 2 years old, we knew something was not right. He didn’t make eye contact, he didn’t respond to his name, sometimes aggressive, hyper, always screaming and often cried nonstop from midnight to dawn. He focused on specific tasks like lining up toys. He also had insensitivity to pain. Long story short, he was referred to a child psychiatric specialist in Hospital Mesra, Bukit Padang. Eventually, at the age of 3, the mystery was solved. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Cayden, my second child is 4 years old and Clement, the youngest, is 2 years old. Having three boys with different personalities and needs, my husband and I sometimes struggle with how to best respond to the needs of the family, all the while assessing the moods, behaviours, and responsibilities of our special boy, but somehow, we survive.

When people ask me what it’s like to raise a child with autism. I somewhat struggle to put it into words. Of course, it’s true that raising a child with autism is not easy. It is challenging, frustrating, heart-wrenching but also joyful and rewarding all jumbled together. I remember, the day my son was diagnosed with autism was devastating. There were days of denial, uncertainty and sadness, but that was 3 years ago. Since then, we have come a long way. This sharing is to give you a glimpse into what one day in our life with a child with autism is like.

The Bedtime
Around 9 o’clock I announce bedtime. With my instruction and assistance, Caleb goes to the bathroom (He has been diaper-free 100% since January 2018.), he turns on the air conditioner, says a bedtime prayer and gets tucked into bed. Like many other kids with autism, Caleb struggles getting to sleep. He rarely falls asleep on his own and can’t falls asleep without a parent present. He talks, sings, giggles, laughs and cries for no apparent reason, and this can go on for hours. Sometimes, I ignore him, and I pretend to sleep or I order him to stop, pat his back, hug him and let him rub my nose. This nose rubbing behaviour is called ‘stimming’. Sometimes, just having me near helps him relax enough to fall asleep.

The Morning Before School Starts
Caleb usually wakes up at 6.30 in the morning. Sometimes, it can be earlier than that. His morning routine is simple but his morning mood is sometimes unpredictable. He gets up, goes to the living room, and turns on the television. Caleb He has a relaxing morning without having to rush out the door early because he attends preschool in the afternoon. At around 10 o’clock, with my assistance he takes a shower, dresses, puts on his shoes and off to school we go! His mood generally lightens because he loves going to school.

School Time
The hours an autistic child spends at school are crucial, so getting the right school or the right teacher is really important. I am a primary school teacher and the decision to enroll Caleb to the
school I teach at was the best decision ever. His preschool environment is warm and loving. The teacher and the assistant are nothing short of exceptional. Their level of acceptance, understanding, dedication and love is unmatched.

Last year was a heartache. Everything was new for Caleb and that was a disaster for a boy like him. He struggled with communication and some sensory issues. He has echolalia. He hates the sound of crying or screaming kids. He has unusual chewing behaviour. He chews on paper, tissues, cords, pencils, rubbers and many more. In the classroom, he sometimes screamed unexpectedly, or he covered his face and ears during the whole lesson. Tantrums were no stranger. This year has been a little bit better though, Caleb enjoys school so much.

After School and Dinner Time
Caleb finishes school at 4.30 pm but he has to wait until I finish my work. At around 5.50 pm we leave school and we usually drop by the supermarket as per his request, just to buy his favourite drink and favourite chocolate cookies. Sometimes, I ignore his request and drive straight to home. When he does not get what he wants, he might scream or sometimes he sits quietly, which might indicate that he’s tired and sleepy. When we reach home, I bath him and let him have his reading time.

At around 7 o’clock, we have our dinner. However, when it comes to meal time it can be really tricky. Caleb is an extreme picky eater. He eats the same thing, same brand, same colour of food and same flavour for every meal, every single day. He eats the same cookies, every single day. He drinks the same drink using the same glass, every single day.

Therefore, I have to cook the same meal every day. Caleb is also obsessed with being clean. He hates the feeling of stickiness. If anything gets on his chin or hands, he goes hysterical, gets anxiety and it must be cleaned immediately. He is also picks up any bits of food that are on the floor or on the dining table. The idea of spilling food that is messy on himself freaks him out so he refuses to eat on his own. Unfortunately, he is not very skilled with spoon yet, so I have to feed him like he’s a baby. This is one issue that we’re still trying to work out though.

Sibling Love
I firmly believe that siblings have given many benefits to Caleb. Having his siblings has been like inbuilt therapy for him. Through them, he has learned to cope better with noise and crying kids, personal space, sharing and waiting turns. That is invaluable for a child who struggles with learning and social skills. Caleb is very close to his brother, Cayden. Cayden is mature for his age, very independent, protective and is a loud ball of energy. He will be the first person to push his brother’s buttons, but he is also his brother’s biggest supporter. They fight hard, but they love even harder. Watching them interact brings so much joy to our house. Their squeals and laughter as they run through the house prove that love needs no words.

Early Intervention and Therapy
After Caleb was formally evaluated in September 2015, we didn’t hesitate to consider the recommendations put forth after the evaluation. That was the beginning of a long road, one that has involved significant time, effort and of course, money. We believed the best thing we could do was to start treatment right away. The earlier children get help, the greater the chances of a successful treatment. In previous years, Caleb attended occupational therapy and speech therapy session in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, behaviour therapy session in CIEC, Hospital Mesra Bukit Padang and another therapy session in The Therapy Tree, Tanjung Aru.

In 2017, he started to attend a mainstream preschool and that’s when we started to reach the point where we wanted him to begin experiencing life more like a kid, and we wanted to stop overrunning his schedule with therapy sessions. We loosened the reigns on the therapy regimen and began embracing a life still focused on meeting his needs, but not dominated by therapy. Now, he attends a once a week therapy session in The Therapy Tree.

In order to support Caleb outside of his therapy session, I plan various activities at home by using picture cards, realia and fun games to teach him some important life skills such as toilet training, putting on clothes and picking up his toys. I also include reading time in his routine, since he loves books so much and that’s a good thing, because books help him to focus and are comforting. On top of that, books have also helped him overcome his gadget addiction. He has now been gadget-free for more than a month.

Caleb still repeats words, but he is able to talk in his own way. He still has his “issues” and I am sure he will continue to have them, but he is an amazing boy who loves, laughs and gives the biggest and sweetest hugs one could ever ask for. Autism has make his life more challenging, but it has also made it even more exciting and remarkably interesting. Autism does not define him, rather, it gives him character. People always say, “You’re a strong mom.”. No, I am not, he’s a strong boy.

Written by Wency Jelson 
As Feature in Parents Avenue Magazine 
Issue No.12 July to September 2018

Monday, 30 July 2018

10 Milestones That Will Bring You To Tears

Our daughter's first birthday back in 2015

I sit here, thinking to myself: how on earth do we parents are able to process everything! From our emotions of becoming a new parent, pride and joy when our baby learn something new, feeling afraid and fear of bad incident and uncertain future, unbridled joy when we hear our children laugh and so many other emotions that comes through on daily basis.

All mixed together like waves in the ocean. An ocean of unconditional love. To be a parent is rewarding and witnessing these memorable milestones will bring memories of how much you have achieved. So, here are 10 milestone that you might not realize. But now that you know, maybe you might cry too. Lets take a trip down to memory lane...

Gone are the days when your little bundle of joy seemed to fit in the palm of your hand, that moment when you realise you can’t cradle him or her in the crook of your arm is a moment of profound wonder; where has the time gone, how have they grown so big so fast!

The nostalgic ritual of sorting out their old clothes to make space for the new is sure to bring back a flood of memories. Which events did they wear that special outfit for?

This is one of the earliest signs of love your baby can show you, a little smile of contentment can creep out just from hearing your voice or being surrounded in your comforting scent.

Our second child Noah discover the joy of bath time. He really enjoy splashing the water.

The look of pure joy on your baby’s face when they first learn the joy of water play is sure to be etched upon your hearts.At this point, you will also discover how infectious baby laughter can be. Probably the most beautiful noise you will ever hear.

This one will probably lead you to tears of a different kind... An eye watering experience for sure. Every parents will have their share of diaper accidents.

Your baby is growing every day. Although it will be some time yet before they can be fully weaned, this proud moment is a big achievement for every parents. Baby starting their Stage One solids is a big deal.

Tears of joy are sure to flow from parents whom are able to grab a few more precious hours of sleep. Nothing can prepare you for the sleep deprivation you feel when you have a new baby.

Our recent trip to Kuala Lumpur as a family. Noah smiling widely showing 6 of his baby teeth! Roar!

Baby’s first tooth is an event of mixed emotions, they are growing up but it is a painful process to watch, and say goodbye to those longer sleeping sessions...

Almost nothing compares to that moment when your little baby can finally call you “Mama” or “Dada”, it’s the start of their language journey and a huge emotion filled milestone.

The big one! Your little one is no longer a baby, now they enter the toddler stage; those first staggering, awe inspiring steps will soon turn into running strides, don’t get comfortable you’ll be chasing them alot from now on!

What's your favourite milestones that made you cry? I would love to hear from you. You can email to me at <3 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Global Citizenship: What does it mean for education today?

Written by Mrs Margaret Renshaw
Assistant Principal and Head of Secondary, Kinabalu International School.
Panel of Educational Experts, Parents Avenue Magazine

In ever increasingly connected societies, many educationalists are grappling with the concept of global citizenship and of maximizing its potential to create a better world for everybody. Schools are reviewing their Missions and Values statements to reflect their commitment to developing global citizens.

But what does it mean to be a ‘Global Citizen’? There are many definitions, and if you ask 100 people you may get 100 different statements in their answers. However, you will probably hear some common themes: ‘it involves caring for the planet’, ‘it involves respecting others’, ‘it means understanding other cultures’.

Oxfam [2015] sees the global citizen as someone who:

• is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
• respects and values diversity
• has an understanding of how the world works
• is passionately committed to social justice
• participates in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global
• works with others to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place
• takes responsibility for their actions

If we hope for a better world for our children, it makes sense that education and schools should be at the forefront of promoting the ideas surrounding global citizenship. It would be fair to say that ideas of respect, understanding and caring have always been central to parental and educational philosophies; global citizenship ties these together in a strong and coherent way to maximise benefits to children, and ultimately to the world in which we all live.

Boyd Roberts, author of Educating for Global Citizenship: A Practical Guide for Schools asserts that a global citizen also has a sense of connectedness with and responsibility to others, other species and the environment, understands interconnectedness and complexity, can see the world through the eyes of others, and most positively, views the future with hope.

Some might think that a school cannot actively nurture global citizenship unless it is an international school with students and staff from a range of different cultures. This is a misunderstanding; there are many schools around the world that are mono-cultural and are doing great things in nurturing and developing students with all the appropriate qualities that make them global citizens. Others believe that you cannot be a global citizen unless you can and have travelled to other countries to experience other cultures directly. Again, not true.

At Kinabalu International School we are fortunate in having over thirty different nationalities within the student body. We celebrate and respect all cultures, and this can be seen in the special occasions that we organize, including our annual International Day celebrations, Chinese New Year celebrations, and the recent Kaamatan celebration. Whilst these wonderful events are important and cannot be undervalued, we know that building global citizenship goes deeper.

At KIS we are in the process of developing our own definition of global citizenship. This work has been carried forward over the last eight months by a cross-phase group of staff that has been reviewing our philosophy and objectives. In the coming year we plan to finalise our definitions and then embed them into the life of the school in all its aspects, not a small job by any means! In this we are supported by the Council of International Schools (CIS).

KIS is an CIS accredited school and we are already looking ahead to the next two years when we will be using the framework of the new CIS International Protocol to structure our development in global citizenship and intercultural and intracultural education.

At a CIS organized symposium on intercultural education [Hong Kong March 2018] educators from around the world came together to share expertise and ideas in two parallel forums: Strand A: Whole school global citizenship: Designing and implementing effective strategy and Strand B: Moving beyond international mindedness: Teaching and learning strategies for global citizenship.

Professor Michael Young from the Institute of Education, the University of London, spoke about starting from the ‘end product’ and ‘working backwards’, his advice being that we start by looking at the kind of young people that we would like to see, what kind of qualities would we like them to have, and then thinking in practical terms how we can develop those in schools.

Another speaker stated firmly that children are already global citizens and we shouldn’t imagine that even very young children can’t develop in these areas. We saw wonderful video evidence of global citizenship projects that three year olds are working on in a school in America. Jim Reese, from Washington International School and Project Zero emphasised the importance of developing critical thinking skills in young people as essential to global citizenship.

There are many exciting developments in the field of global citizenship and education. Understanding is growing. All parents, when searching for a school for their child, should look carefully at what the institution says it does, as indicated by its mission statement, and at its stated values. Schools that are developing global citizens will emphasize caring, empathy and respect for and understanding of other cultures. In these schools students will be actively encouraged to learn about the way the world works and to participate actively within it, to make things better for humanity and for the global environment.

Find out more about KIS, kindly visit or call 088 - 224526 to make an appointment with Ms Tina Koroh, Admissions Officer.

As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine Issue No.12 July to September 2018

Sabah's First All Women Kids-Friendly Gym


Comfort Zone is an all Women and Kids-Friendly Gym located in Kota Kinabalu. Their passion for empowering mothers and children to live fit and healthy lives are reflected in everything that they do.

The creators of Comfort Zone are mothers and they quickly realize the need of such facilities to cater to mothers with young children. Here, mothers can bring their baby and children to the gym and workout at your own pace, get the inspiration and support you need to achieve your best every day.

Their goal is to provide a child-friendly gym to mothers that allow you to thrive. So whether you’re looking to get your fitness and health back on track, start fresh or simply not sure where to start, you are always welcomed. At Comfort Zone, they are a community of mothers with the same mission. To lead a healthy life with our children and be a role model.

Consist of 12 equipment to choose from cardio exercises to strength training is available.

A wide range of fitness classes ranging from Yoga, Zumba and Mix Martial Arts conducted by experienced and qualified instructors.

(Kindly follow their Facebook for latest schedule)

Comes with a Safety Baby Seat at the shower so both mother and baby can have a little fun splash together.

An Infrared Sauna is available at the Shower Room and fits up to 5 people at a time.

With CCTV monitoring every corner of the ACTIVE PLAYROOM and the BABY ROOM, you can exercise at peace. Additional Baby Monitoring System is also available for rent. Friendly and helpful staffs to ensure you have a safe and comfortable exercise with your child.

Dedicated baby and children play room consist of Baby Crawler Corner, Sandpit Corner and the Soft Playground. Recommended age up to 12 years old only.

This cozy room is specially made for your sleepy baby to rest. You are also welcome to use this room for breastfeeding and nappy changing.

As an all Women and Kids Gym, Comfort Zone is also available for Private Functions. Be it your children’s birthday or a get-together with your girly friends.

At Comfort Zone, you can ensure getting your exercise done and 
your child gets theirs too in a safe and comfortable environment. 
How to get started? You can contact 012-805 4880 or 
visit their Front Desk located at T1@Bundusan.

Their current promotion >>>

Written by Stella Matilda, Editor of Parents Avenue Magazine
As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine Issue No.12 July to September 2018

Sunday, 22 July 2018

What Are You Grateful For Today?


Written by Davelynn Benggon-Rampas

There is always a pang of jealousy after seeing photos of our friends enjoying their vacations posted on Facebook or Instagram. It is actually a normal 'negative' reaction of what we referred to as cycle of wishing for what we do not have. Before we even realized it, we would ask our spouse to bring us for a vacation or we started to talk negatively about what we saw just because we do not have it right now. Whether we like it or not, we are living in the world of comparison – We forget to be grateful.

Oprah Winfrey gives this advice: “Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” In fact, gratefulness is a unique way of celebrating the blessings that we have as well as those delightful things we experience each day. Gratitude is regarded as the ability to notice positive occurrences in our life and to enjoy them.

What would happen when we do not practice gratitude? A heart that is not thankful is an isolated heart – a lonely heart that thinks it can live and do things by itself, and it has no other way but to be unhappy. A day without saying 'Thank You' always lead to a bad day because it can be a sign that we are quite self-immersed. Most studies have shown that the critical reason for living life gratefully is to counter and halt the all-too-human tendency to slide into negativity because humans often over-emphasize negative and downplay the positive events.

There are always good reasons to be grateful even when saddled with an imperfect self, a difficult life, and a complicated world. Being grateful does not only decreases negative effects in life but also increase the frequency of positive ones. However, gratitude should never be forced because it would lose its authenticity.

Can you find gratitude in your heart when you don't get what you want? Do you feel grateful when your spouse cannot bring you to a candle-light dinner on Valentine's Day? Truth is we have to be thankful always regardless of the circumstances we may be in right now. Someone wise once said, “Circumstances do not determine character – they reveal it.” How we deal with our life is revealed most clearly during times of struggle, hardship, pain, and suffering. Gratitude is not a fair weather virtue because pure gratitude means to stay thankful even when the times get tough.

It feels good to be grateful and even better to sow this attitude among others without expecting something in return. Being such kind of person, we become a medium to spread blessing to other people around us. There are lots of reasons for being grateful. We can always change our life because we have the power to think and talk about gratefulness that bring everything good in life to everyone. Never set the mind that life is unfair because if life were perfectly fair then we would be less ambitious, live with fewer goals, and get fewer opportunities in life. Although life is supposed to end, we should be grateful because we have the freedom to choose the choices in life.

Charles Dickens wrote, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” A grateful attitude restrains us from being envious of other people. We learn to be content with what we have and not obsessed with what we lack. We all face adversity in our life but what is more important is how we react to it. It almost sounds too simple to say it but when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance blessing that is presence, we have everything and because we are meant to have an amazing life!

How Can We Be More Grateful

1.     Always start your morning by reading thanksgiving message.
2.     Recall the gifts you have at the start of the new day, such as the life you behold and the family you have.
3.     Always be thankful in advance for the blessings that will come your way.
4.     Think of one or two concrete deeds of kindness you can do for others.
5.     Put reminders for counting your blessings.
6.     Recall something that you are grateful for.
7.     Write gratitude notes or letter, or send messages to people you owe a great deal, especially to your spouse, parents, siblings, relatives, and dear friends.
8.     Start with a gratitude blog or journal.
9.     Read this book - Rhonda Byrne's The Magic, if you haven't read it yet.
10.  Pray for blessings for your benefactors and those who need blessings the most.
11.  Give back to the community through a volunteer work of your choice.
12.  Share gratitude messages via social media.
13.  Always end your day giving thanks to God.

As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine | Issue No. 12 July to September 2018