Saturday, 20 February 2010

Holiday Fun in Thailand, 9-14 Dec 09

More photos in my Facebook, don't think I have the energy to upload more pictures here.

[I know this is a very very late entry, since Jan, my work is getting heavier by the hour...]

We had a splendid year-end vacation with the Poh Family. Started off with a good flight by SQ, we took our 3-hour transfer to Hua Hin. This was our second visit but the first for the Pohs. he happiest people in this vacation had to be the kids for they had great company, all 5 active boys!

We checked into AKA Resort's 2-bedroom villa that comes with our very own private pool and cabana! That's what I called "life". The boys were so excited they changed into your swimwear and jumped into the pool! AKA is a good resort, the welcome snacks were a surprise and the breakfast spread was heavenly! As the occupancy rate was low on our first 2 mornings, we actually had ala carte brekkie buffet, which includes impressive menu such as egg benedict - WOW - it was very well done, the poached egg oozed out succulent sunny yolk that literally shouts "GOOD MORNING & WELCOME!"

To cut short the story... we visited the famous floating market and elephant camp where we rode on 4 elephants.

Our next stop was Bangkok and we stayed at a new boutique hotel called Ten Face (kinda weird name if you asked me). The service at Ten Face is not attuned to family groups as they were quite inflexible in certain ways to accommodate us. Imagine they expected us to pay for Raeyen's brekkie and our advanced booking for transfer to airport was not taken, etc.

Anyway, on a happier note, Bangkok was fun as we visited the Oceanarium beneath Siam Paragon - a mammoth shopping mall. We had great food and even foot massage at my favourite Blooming Spa along Sukhumvit Road. We celebrated Ivy's birthday at Jasmin Restaurant on the 4th floor of Times Square (next to Grande Sheraton Sukhumvit) where we had sumptuous Peking duck!

It was overall a FANTASTIC break for us before the new year started. Thanks, Poh Family!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Holiday Fun, 5 Dec 09

Raeyen's favourite character came to town - Thomas the Tank Engine. To surprise him, I took him and Kieran to catch the show at the Indoor Stadium. He was visibly thrilled. I was however surprised that the organiser did not have many souvenir on sale to cash in from zealous kids and generous parents. Unlike many other shows such as Disney On Ice, this one has very limited merchandise for sale, only some tees, light spinners and posters. As usual, seeing other kids having the light spinner, Raeyen wanted one. I explained that it was a waste of money as he would not play after that and it only affect him from watching the show.

To me, the show was OK. While the cast was pretty good, the Fat Controller was unfortunately played by someone lean with the help of a spongy prop as tummy. The storyline was also so-so. The interval was longer than announced, so I think the ticket was on a high side. Nonetheless, it was almost full-house!

Anyway, so long as the kids enjoy, it's still worth it.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Holiday Fun, 23 Nov 09

We applied leave to take our kids to Kids Amaze at SAFRA Jurong. It's huge and the entrance fee is quite all right. It has what looks like a 6-storey high tower made of kid-friendly materials with lots of cushioned pillars and mats. There were "cannons" where kids could shoot foam balls against insect boards. We enjoyed that alot. Kieran loved the long, spiral tubal slide most. Initially Raeyen was skeptical trying it but the thrill soon overcame his fear and he enjoyed the slide tremendously and without us accompanying him.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Garden outing with the kids

The sun was out (finally), we took the great opportunity to bring our kids to visit the long-awaited Jacob Ballas Children's Garden near NUS Bukit Timah campus.

We were greeted by bananas after entering, Raeyen was especially thrilled to see banana flower, not only it's big, beautiful, it's hanging upside down.

There were many plants with interesting and child-friendly signages to explain what they were and purposes. They saw a cotton plant and henna tree. It was hard to explain what is a dye.... anyway, they enjoyed the area where kids could experience what photosynthesis is about.

We also like the section where all spices (rosemary, chilli, mint, basil, etc) can be found. I like the line-up of anti-mozzie plants - citronella, lemon grass and aloe vera; frankly I didn't know aloe can ward mozzies.

We didn't realise there was a waterplay area and so they played the slides at the dry area. Before we left, they visited a maze trying to find each other.

It was fun and educational, and somehow refreshing as it is a garden dedicated to the little ones. I am proud that we have such a garden for them.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Dainty pretty scarves/hankies

The first time I saw pretty scarves and hankies in Japan, I couldn't make up my mind if I should have them.

The second time I saw them, I got to have them and bought four in one go.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Raeyen's favourite tune

10 October 2009 (4 years and 3 months old)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Mom in pain

My mom was admitted to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning due to a second dislocation of her jaw plus the irritating pain on her tailbone caused by a very bad bedsore.

My mom doesn't deserve all these. Not a good person and a loving mom like her. She defended me when I wanted to further my studies after a lousy A levels. She helped with my fees. She got me my first diamond. She took me to my first holiday by plane. Yet, I wasn't there to help her when she is in need. When she needed a listening ear when she was well, we were busy catching up with other siblings. When she complained, we brushed her off. Now, we try to coax her to speak more. But how can she? With the pain she has to endure. It's heartbreaking. Everytime I see her fragile frame shrinks with each passing week, my eyes refuse to stay dry. Yet I can't let her see me weep. I weep in silence.

Her pain must be relieved. But how?

Is there joy in schooling here?

I feel a little emotional whenever I hear news of school-kid committed suicide. Some as young as in primary schools.

What made them do it? What was the motivation pushing a tiny soul to end the journey?

There are many questions in my head. Was it pressure from school, parents, peers or the society? Was there ever any happiness or joy in our educational system? What is our value system - meritocratic or ??? I don't know the answer. What I do know is the stress all of us have today. We have to cope so many things in a day. For me, coaching Kieran in his school work on weekday evenings becomes a chore. It irks me whenever he doesn't understand what I was explaining. My heart aches and my mind goes bonkers. I don't think I can take it. Initially we thought the after-school care could help, but it doesn't, and so did my friends told me.

So what parents to do?

We enrolled him in Singapore's favourite haunting place - tuition centre. Much to my displeasure. But what can we do? Pop goes our weekends of family togetherness and comes chaotic madness of chauffeuring. I don't know if it's good for Kieran or me; but I really don't know which is best.

AGAIN I stress, I DON'T LIKE OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM! There is no balance, kids are stretched, so are parents. It's like a test to our tensile strength, waiting for the breaking point.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Raeyen's performance

Raeyen has been practicing the Malay number - Di Tanjung Katong for weeks.

Yesterday, we caught his performance at his Kindy's year end concert. He wore a nice purple Malay costume, complete with a songkok. So cute.

Kieran was excited as he is part of the audience unlike in the past years when he performed on stage.

Raeyen loves to perform and we were happy that stage fright was never a problem for him.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

All things kawaii and yummy in Japan

Just returned from a business trip in Tokyo. Weather was fantastic, like you are in an air-conditioned room while walking on the streets.

Japan is full of vibrancy and the fashion magazines are always bundled with attractive gifts to lure people like me to buy. I like some of the gifts featured in one of my favourite bloggers' entries but I could not buy in Singapore due to various reasons, besides not able to understand the language:

1. Highly-priced at Kinokuniya
2. Hardly have the chance to hit town to get
3. Am always too slow to catch up on what's newly arrived here

So I scoured many bookstores in the evenings and it was not futile as 2 eMooks (Jill Stuart's 5th Anniversary and Cath Kidston's Thank You Box) were already sold out at Kinokuniya here. Some bookstores in Tokyo have also emptied these popular eMooks. I also managed to get a Jill Stuart tote from CanCam and a Jill by Jill Stuart cosmetic carry pouch from Spring.

I also bought some pretty stationery and small scarves from Burberry, Paul & Joe Sister and Lulu Guinness. Too lazy to take photos of the scarves as I bought them just hours before my return flight.

Next best thing in Japan is the FOOD!!!! Freshest ever, I can't get enough of toro (fatty tuna) sashimi, unagi and all sorts of raw fish (aji is great too)!!!

A huge surprise came at Grand Hyatt hotel lobby at Roppongi Hills where I was staying when I bumped into Jon Voight (Angeline Jolie's dad). He smiled to me and I said, "Hi, you look familiar!" and he replied, "Hi, you look familiar too." Boy, I was floored. He obliged kindly and may I add, fatherly too when I asked for a photo to be taken with him. When his companion apologised for taking the picture a little too far, I said, "No problem, I can always crop it..." and my new found idol said, "Oh, don't crop me out." Isn't he humourous? He is very handsome, no wonder his famous daughter is so pretty, though she looks very much like her mom.

More decades of love

9 October 1999. I got married to a wonderful man who loves me dearly.

9 October 2009. We celebrated our full decade of love in a laid-back fashion, very us, and just us. Had a simple casual lunch at Relish by Wild Rocket. Had wanted to go Wild Rocket at Mount Emily but it was closed for renovation. At Relish, he had a yummy blue cheese beef burger with rucola, poached pear and walnut butter with fries while I had succulent beef cheeks with mashed potato. Desserts were perfect - warm molten chocolate cake and black sesame puree, both with vanilla ice-cream.

I wore a LBD from Guess Jeans, which my little angels helped pick. I love it and the 10th wedding anniversary was a perfect occasion to wear it.

I insisted of getting a cake to complete the celebration with our little ones. They were thrilled, involving them is a natural thing to do for a mommy.

After 10 years of marriage, our love is like an unspoken relationship, at least for him (hence no flowers, very pragmatic). I am very expressive and I like to be told that someone cares, etc. Hubby on the other hand, is more reserved and he always thinks I should know what he is thinking without him saying it.

I asked him why didn't he ask me to call him every time I travel on business to know if I have landed or reached my hotel safely. He said it's because I used to call him so it's understood that I would call and there was no need to remind me to call him, and of course he cared about my safety when am overseas. But this is not the point. Men..... most men are like him, I guess.

Whenever my male colleague told me about where he would be going for short vacation because, "my wife likes it" or where they will dine because, "my wife likes to eat that", I can't help but have pangs of envy. Deep down, I know my hubby does things my way in an unspoken way. BUT, I still like it if he tells and says so.

I have to accept for what he is; afterall he gave me 2 beautiful boys because I wanted kids (though a little princess will complete the picture).

To more decades of love!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I wish Jill was here...

I mean Jill Stuart, my favourite cosmetic brand. An American brand made good debut in Japan, now it has counters in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Seoul. It has a stream of followers who scour around Asia to get any of its oh-so-romantic products. My favourites are Mix Blush Compact and Eye Palette.

It launches limited edition products from time to time. There are even special coffret sets available only in Taiwan in conjunction with the Republic's famous annual department stores' anniversary sale! Taiwan is also my favourite place to buy Jill Stuart stuff, not only there's 5% VAT refund, the prices in Taiwan are relatively cheaper from the rest of the world, except for a few items in Hong Kong.

Check out Jill Stuart's Christmas 2009 LE set here.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival & Children's Day Party by the Park

Raeyen's Kindy organised a party yesterday to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival-cum-Children's Day at a park near our place and families were invited. That, was a very nice gesture and a great opportunity for family bonding.

Kids were thrilled, took their Transformers lanterns, picnic mats and snacks. Kieran got to see his ex-classmates and teachers. It was a cloudy day and the moon was not visible, as a result.

During registration, Raeyen saw his favourite teacher, Mrs Rai and took a photo with her. He also joined his schoolmates at the "stage" singing songs that they learned. He really loves performing. Now he and Kieran are into the Wonder Girls' Nobody!

There was a walkabout around the park and some games. Raeyen was busy playing catch with his buddies while Kieran played ball. Both were drenched with sweat in the unbelievable heat! And, I was attacked by the irritating mozzies, arrgh!

We didn't win the make-your-own-lantern by parent-and-child contest and Raeyen could not understand why he didn't get a prize. He persistently asked, "Why Mommy, why I don't have a prize? Where is my prize?"

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Raeyen's Lantern Project

This is part of his kindy's parent-and-child project in conjunction with the Mooncake Festival. It is also part of a competition that will be held on 1 October to celebrate Children's Day & the Mooncake Festival.

He helped in sticking the glittering and colourful adhesives while I did the rest. Those little furry balls depict the moon, and yes, many moons. I used 3 different patterned origami papers to "wrap" the orange cylinder and clear plastic strips with the furry balls as frills. All items were bought from Daiso, a great place to hunt for such knick-knacks.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Mini break at Sentosa

We spent this one-week September school holiday at Rasa Sentosa Resort for a night. It was our first and will be the last. Simply because it was not value-for-money and the whole place is rather run-down.

First of. Our room wasn't ready, so we took the kids to the Kids' Club to kill time. BUT, it was closed for lunch - can you believe this? The toddler playroom was pathetically boring for Raeyen. The arcade rooms were lingered with stale air. When the Kids' Club was finally opened, we were told only kids above 5 are allowed! Kieran went in, but came out after 5 minutes because it was "boring". He was expecting at least somewhere along the same standard as what he had experienced at The Westin Bali.

Our so-called half-price package of S$217++ per room per night rate does not come with breakfast. When we got in after collecting our key, we were surprised that the carpet has stains.

When we went to the pool the next morning, the pool bar was not opened even through the afternoon! The sea-sport centre was also not opened until either late morning or noon.

Anyhow, despite all these unpleasantness, we had a blast riding 2-3 times on the luge in the day and night. The kids were happy that we spent some time with them. They blew bubbles at the hotel balcony and were excited when we saw a monitor lizard wondering near the pool. The only thing they were thrilled at the hotel was the kiddie rides by the waddle pool.