Cherry Blossoms @ Gardens by the Bay 2017

I told myself during the one-week school holidays that come this new term, I would seek to explore places with the kids more. You see, much of our daily schedule revolves around Faith. Daniel, just tags along. He would be accompanying the sister to her school and enrichment classes and then head back home with me.

And then, guilt sets in. For the mom, that is.

If I could recall correctly, Faith had playdates and ventured out more, much more than Dan at the same age. We would go out to  farms, parks and water playgrounds with her playmates.

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So I want to keep my promise and start to explore more places with him/them and today I brought them to view the cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay.

Okay, granted that it’s actually me who is more interested in the flowers but there is no harm in getting them to start appreciating nature, yea?

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The two got bored but thankfully they had each other as company. The cherry blossoms are really beautiful. Do visit before it’s too late ok?

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😉

Learning about work at Kidzania(SG)

I think we are among the last few people who have not visited Kidzania. It’s not a place that is on my list of places to visit for now because Faith is still so young. What could she learn from the experience? Would she enjoy herself? The entrance fee itself is high and I needed to make sure that we will be spending our $$ wisely. Thankfully, our friend had won passes for the adults and all we needed to spend on was the fee for the girl. So, in the end, we found our way to Kidzania (Sg).

It was the first Saturday of the year-end school holidays and we were expecting great crowd so I had braced myself for such a turnout. Managing expectations is important. Alas, we were taken by surprise that it was not THAT crowded!

It was this empty when we arrived and there was NO queue when we checked in. We were told that there was an event held earlier in the morning and that we should expect the participants to stay on. Okay!

The first thing the kids have to do is to open a bank account so that they could deposit their ‘hard-earned’ money into their account. We have not brought the girl to a bank before and she was clueless as to what to do. (-_Q) I actually found myself shouting to guide her from outside. So unglam.

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Her first job? Post woman! This is a relatively easy task and I think she would enjoy it.

All ready for the job yo! It’s good to visit Kidzania with a friend so that both can help and encourage each other. I suppose if Faith was to come alone, she would take a LONG time to warm up and participate.

Trust me, they had fun.

The next job that she went for was the dentist. It wasn’t her choice, really. We were just looking for the next possible job, one that would not require her to queue for too long. The queue for the dentist was one of the shorter ones because they were ending their previous round and would just need the next round of participants to queue for about 10 minutes which was decent.

So, I’ve learnt that one has to learn to play the waiting game at Kidzania. It’s truly training of patience.

The next job that Faith was willing to queue up for was a doctor in the A & E department. She must really wanted to learn about this role because she waited in line for about 20 minutes then and the whole session would take about 55 minutes. While she was learning about being a doctor, that was the best time for the adults to take a breather and have a bite at the eateries in Kidzania.

Before we could finish our meal, we were alerted that there was an ‘accident’ and had to quickly finish so that we could (ahem) rush to take pictures of our child at work. Faith was just playing the observing doctor throughout and I wasn’t sure what she was thinking about. Was she trying to make sense of the whole thing?

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This was a scene in which a hotel was on fire. And who came to the rescue? Fire fighters! This was interesting but unfortunately, the girl didn’t manage to be one.

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This was at Acting School. We asked Faith to go in since her friend was interested in this and also, it didn’t require us to wait. But, halfway through, she asked to come out because she basically wasn’t interested.

 

She would rather go and play soccer, seriously! In fact, she had requested for this for a few times! I was surprised by her interest!

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Four hours into role-play and I could totally sense the girl’s exhaustion. She had swimming lesson that morning and didn’t get to nap before going for Kidzania and I know she was going to get cranky soon. In the end, she chose a simple activity which was to shop at a supermarket although she wanted to be a cashier (not old enough).

 

The last activity before she got to spend her hard-earned money – kidZos – at the department store was to go on a tour around Kidzania which she needed to pay for. I guess this was a good ending!

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I’m glad we made it for this visit to Kidzania though I wasn’t so keen initially. I feel it is too young for a newly-minted 4YO to understand and fully maximise the time spent in Kidzania. I think it would make more sense for the older kids. Besides, there are other roles that have age and height limits. Nonetheless, it was a good experience. I got to observe how Faith behaved through the various roles and got to know her interests. For her, she learnt dental care from being a dentist (for example) and most importantly, she had fun.

I don’t forsee us going back soon but perhaps once a year? Many of my friends prefer to go to the ones in KL and Bangkok because of the cost. Maybe we could try that option too!

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To understand Kidzania (SG) a little more, I find this guide a comprehensive one.

Christmas feel at the Flower Dome (Gardens by the Bay)

Christmas is approaching and if you want to catch the festive mood in rainy Singapore, there is a place you should go – Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. It’s beautiful, I tell you!

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It was the beginning of the year end school holiday and while the men were at work, the wives decided to bring the kids out to experience Christmas cheer.

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Popo and the grandchildren

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You will get wowed by the display. Simply awesome and magical!

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Cocooned in a giant glass globe, a lovely ballerina beckons visitors to come forward, as a band of toy soldiers and an angelic choir join in the merry medley. (Source: Gardens by the Bay).

I was naturally excited and wanted to take pictures of the kids with the beautiful background. If you have kids, you will know that it is rather impossible to take a picture in which all the kids are smiling and with their eyes open. Oh well…

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To have a decent pic, one must snap quickly or else you risk getting photobombed!

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The whole troop. Remember to visit ya?

A World Full of Stories @ Playeum

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A World Full of Stories. How does that sound to you? This is Playeum’s current hands-on exhibition that is designed for children aged 1 to 12 years old. The exhibition provides environments and installations in which children can create their own stories and is certainly a space where they could let their imagination run wild.

Faith and I went down to take a look and I regretted not bringing Dan along.

Spaces within the exhibition

Story Cubes. From far, this space looks like a maze that is made up of cube-shaped structures. The surfaces or panels are magnetic and this provides for opportunities for story-making using the materials that are found in the boxes. The children could pin the pictures onto the panel and create their own story. At the end of the maze is a book corner that is filled with some of the best story books for children. So, grab a book and let your imagination run wild. There’s even a tent where the children can relax in as they read.

Creative use of the Story Cubes by Faith includes playing peek-a-boo, police and thief and …story-telling.

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Chalk Wall. I personally was enticed by this chalk wall. I mean, how often do you find such a wall nowadays? I got Faith over to draw a thing or two, to add on to the landscape that is drawn by cartoonist Cleo Ding.

 

Story Caves. One is a multi-sensory cave which appeals to younger children and the other is a Listen and Speak cave which encourages children to experiment with sound tubes, speaking cups, and echo-distortion mechanisms. Makes me think of my Science lessons during Primary School days. Faith had fun with the sound tubes and yes, you do need to get down on your feet to enjoy this space with them.

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Sandplay. Kinetic sand seems to be a hit with most children. They spent their time building sandcastles and decorating them with shells and pebbles. Faith was going on for about 30 minutes until I had to urge her to move on.

 

The Story Raft. A hit with boys especially, this space encourages children to play ‘being at sea’ on a bamboo and rope raft with a flag-flying mast and rudder for steering. Children could also craft their own sea creatures and enjoy art activities to create their own marine environment.

Using chalk and water to paint on the glass door. Create a marine environment. Under the sea, under the sea.

Story Writing. So I wish Faith could pen a story. Fact is, she couldn’t. However, that did not stop her from attempting to write and post a letter. She was really focused on her task and spent much time writing letters and posting it in the end, hoping that the recipient would get it soon. Play-pretend at its best.

Puppet Making. There is a large space devoted to play making. Here, children are encouraged to create puppets using found and recycled materials. Children could make their own hand-puppets, finger puppets, spoon puppets, whatever, and after completing it, could even use them in a puppet show.

Faith loves craftwork and we really did spend quite a lot of time here, from choosing materials to working on a puppet. While the kid works, take a breather and be amazed by what they can create.

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We didn’t manage to play ‘dress up’ even though we have been in Playeum for two hours. I reckoned it would be a tad challenging for a 4YO to make her own costume for a fantasy character and discarded the idea. I could only imagine the fun older kids could have with the sewing machines and the hot glue gun in creating their own unique costumes.

We didn’t manage to listen to stories read by some of Singapore’s finest storytellers at The Dark Space. This space showcases a specially commissioned storytelling film, where each of the five storytellers will be orating a story from a specific culture. Faith was in it for a few minutes and went out, obviously attracted by the other stations.

A World Full of Stories exhibition opens to the public from 15 November 2016 until 30 April 2017. For a list of holiday programmes, please refer to this.

Playeum
Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444

That magical night

Daniel turned 10 months old last week but I was too tired to record anything concerning him then.

For 10 months, I was sleep deprived. As a newborn, he woke up every 3 hours and we thought his sleep pattern would change for the better as he grew older. But we were kidding ourselves. We didn’t sleep train him since we didn’t want the sister to be interrupted in her sleep. Every night, da man would do night duty but I also gave him the comfort suck that he wanted, thereby creating this habit of having me to soothe himself back to sleep. This persisted for months and the past couple of months had been terrible with him waking up every 2 hours, then 1 hour and towards the end of September, every half an hour. Both da man and I were near fatigue and in the end, we decided to do something about it because if nothing was done to improve the situation, our health, both physical and mental,  will deteriorate.

We kept the cot and lay the mattresses on the floor. Co-sleeping? Yes. As suggested by the man in the family, I was to bring Faith to my mom’s and stay overnight. He would be with Daniel to let him learn to soothe himself to sleep.

That was last Saturday. I lay on the bed at my mom’s, wondering how Dan was doing. Would he be hungry? Would he need me? Would da man be too frustrated with him? There was no return message from him that night and I was worried. Faith was fast asleep, thank God for this ability to sleep anywhere.

The next morning, we returned and da man, upon seeing us enter the house, exclaimed,”Yay, we are alive!”

Jokes aside, all was well indeed. Dan just needed to pat himself back to sleep and the next few nights, it was really blissful. Da man turned in with him at night and I could use whatever time that was left to do some reading or work with Faith.

Huh? Just like that? So easy? I should have done so earlier! But I tend to think this is timely because he has had experienced enough discomfort during these few months of teething to overcome any similar-type of pain. He has eight teeth now for the record.

His appetite returned and increased in leaps and bounds. From mere breastmilk, now he needs more solids to fill his stomach. He’s no longer a picky eater and all these changed in just this week!

Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would adopt what Maria Montessori advocated. Please do read up for yourself if you are interested. I would still be using the Montessori method in bringing Dan and Faith up. I’m not a purist though.


Now that I could sleep 5 hours in one shot which is truly a luxury, I could appreciate what this wonderful Makura Health and Neck Support pillow does to me. I woke up refreshed and ready to meet the demands of the day.

Because both he and I have enough rest for the night, we could do more things in the morning when the sister is in school.

On Wednesday, I was in the mood to hang out with him and after dropping Faith in school, packed the hauck Viper and zipped to Gardens by the Bay for a slow morning run.

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For once, life as a SAHM is so attractive. While others are working, I could have the luxury to enjoy these beautiful sights and the lovely orchids in the Flower Dome.

It was also quite coincidental that my friend had taken leave from work that day and could meet me for good old local-styled breakfast at the gardens.

Ok, I need to mention that this is really rare and that’s why I am recording it. But after 10 months, I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! So much joy! I’m waiting for the boy to turn 1YO because that’s when things get better (hopefully). It happened to me when Faith turned 1YO so I hope this time round, things would not be drastically different.

After the visit to the Gardens, I could still pop by Pip’s PLAYbox at the Esplanade for Dan to have some stimulation. What a wonderful morning eh? Taking care of young ones can be fun if they cooperate!

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Would you stay this way please?

Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers over Daniel. We truly appreciate it and it’s exciting to see the Lord at work in our lives.

Family Day Out @ City Square Mall 

[Media invite]

Thinking of places to dine? Why not head to City Square Mall, especially during this month (July) as it welcomes back the always popular Food Festival. This year, City Square Mall’s Food Festival 2016 will tantalise foodies with new restaurant openings, exciting F&B promotions and attractive gifts with purchase including mall vouchers and exclusive canvas tote bags. Besides the food, the mall offers a slew of fun activities and facilities for the kids too. Truly a family-friendly mall, I say!

13557816_10156918605900478_8486180769404040063_nWith courtesy of City Square Mall.

I won’t beat about the bush but these $9.90 weekday lunch deals are so attractive. Just look at the eleven lunch sets –  you are spoilt for choices! And if you are driving there, I believe you will be pleased to know that there is complimentary weekday parking worth $3, in addition to free weekday lunchtime parking for the first one and a half hour between 12 and 2pm (exclude public holidays), with minimum $60 spent. More information can be found on their website. #goodthingsmustshare

Food aside, City Square Mall is truly a place where families could hang out the whole day! I’ll tell you why.

Our family was invited to a Family Day Out at City Square Mall last week and it was indeed a fun-filled one, not forgetting the filling of the stomach of course.

 

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The kids had their share of fun at The Petite Park. We usually don’t frequent indoor playgrounds so you could imagine their joy when the Queklings were told to explore this space for a good one hour. Their eyes lit up!

So I thought Dan would not be suitable to play in there but no, he had his playtime too!

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We were famished after that one hour of playtime and we proceeded to Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant. I’m one happy lady because Japanese cuisine will, more often than not, be my first choice when it comes to dining out.

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This Pork Cutlet with Scrambled Egg Sauce Set is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets and is truly satisfying.

We were also treated to the Wafu pizza, meat skewers and salad while Faith had her Junior’s Sushi Set. All were so good (okay, I’m just generally biased towards Japanese cuisine ya?)!

We had such a full lunch that it makes sense for us to do a bit of exercise at its revamped outdoor playground which is located just next to the MRT.

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Alas, it was hot at 1.30pm and while we wished to spend more time at this playground, we had to seek a more cooling environment to rest. Perhaps the next time we come, we will have our go at this outdoor playground first.

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You’ve guessed it! We proceeded to another makan (eating) place soon after and it’s The Manhattan Fish MarketThe Manhattan Fish Market we went!

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For your info, the Grilled Glory Dory Set with soup of the day is one of the $9.90 weekday lunch sets. The rice tastes rather garlicky so if you are a fan of garlic, this is absolutely for you! For me, I love the dory!

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The Manhattan Fish Market has a menu for children too so you don’t have to share with the kids. Kekeke..We were recommended to a very refreshing drink – cala cala – a cooling and citrusy combination of Calamansi with lemon fizzle. It’s an absolutely must-drink!

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The friendly server gifted Faith with a pack of card game – Happy Family. Those of you who are born in my era, do you remember that game? He told us that they are doing their part to encourage family members to play together as opposed to having kids glued to their ipads or phones. Thumbs up for this initiative!

By 3pm, we were exhausted but there are still so many stores available at City Square Mall! Bookstores, apparels, salons… If I had the energy, I would have done my grocery at the supermarket. Oh well!

Thank you, City Square Mall, for your invitation. We truly had a great family day out!

Masak Masak 2016

Are we among the few who only got to visit the National Museum’s Masak Masak at the last moment, before school reopened? I was browsing my FB feed and it seemed like many of my mommy friends have already visited.

We made our way down on the last Thursday of the June holidays. It seems almost like a yearly ‘must-visit’ during the Children’s Season and this year is no exception. This year is our third year of Masak Masak. I think there were fewer interactive installations but it’s the year I enjoyed the most, mainly because Faith was at an age when she could explore the stations on her own and be engaged by them.

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Mandatory shot

It’s free admission and the museum opens from 10am so as you would have guessed, we were there at 10am. There weren’t a lot of people then which was great = less chance of queuing to play at the different stations.

The first area that attracted Faith was this space where the kids could colour. I don’t think this is part of Masak Masak but the girl and her older friend spent 20 minutes on it. Maybe she’s into colouring, that’s why.

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Remember Snake & Ladder? I bought one set of this board game for Faith to play at home and when she saw this setup at Let’s Play!, she was excited. According to the website, this space is supposed to depict a magical forest but I couldn’t tell. Hah.

I love the slides though. Whee!! There is supposed to be another board game called Ludo but I didn’t recognise it or perhaps it’s because I don’t know what Ludo is. #ihavenochildhood. I do think board games are good forms of entertainment for the kids. They really do “encourage patience and promote the development of social, communication and motor skills, and impart important life lessons such as overcoming challenges as well as victory and loss.” [Source]

Clumsy Dumpty on the Wall is an interactive installation inspired by the familiar shape sorter play toy that has encouraged bonding and teamwork among generations of children in the past and present.Faith was really into this and concentrated so hard on finding the shapes. But I’m not sure if the older kids would find this installation interesting?

I would think that the older ones would find Funcycling fun (for the lack of words). There is an age limit and height restriction so our friend couldn’t join in the activity.

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No worries! Enter Le Bestiaire which is about an imaginary zoo of unexpected, abstract and hyper-realistic animals. For a minimal donation of $2, one could go into the ‘studio’ and design his/her own costume.

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What a simple but lovely space!

Just look at how engrossed she was and I’m still considering if I should send her to art class because every other day she would ask, “Are we going to the art class?”

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So, yea. This year seems to have fewer stuff but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It’s until 31 July so make your way down if you haven’t done so.

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ACM | Finding the Missing Mouse

The plan is this. We would meet up with Faith’s playmates to visit Asian Civilisations Museum since there is a Children’s Season Programme going on – Once Upon a time in Asia: The Missing Mouse. The mummies would read the story to the kids and perhaps attempt to work on some craft with them.

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It didn’t happen that way. Not at all. In fact, when the kids met up, they were so happy to see one another they just played, in their own ways. It’s not the setting that’s important; it’s the company that counts.

Faith was so happy when she saw N and Mummy Ade that she rushed to meet them. From then now, the two kids were inseparable, holding hands as they walked towards ACM. The last picture? Faith was frightened by the millipede and N gor gor reached out to protect her. Awwwww…

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Young tourists

Singaporeans enter the museum free and once they were in this hall, took off their shoes and went running into the maze. It happened really fast and we, the moms, had not much time to react. However, since it is a small space, we thought the kids would be fine on their own playing and exploring and we ended up chatting at the bench.

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The kids really had a jolly good time just running around in the maze. Kids at this age are so easy to please! They had so much energy that we didn’t bother to read them the story. Just let them have fun!

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Although this is a small space, the kids were entertained for 1.5 hours. Apparently, there are story-telling sessions in the afternoon and Fridays seem to be the best day to go! So if you haven’t been there, do drop by! Good for young kids, IMHO.

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We were all famished by noon. Thankfully, there is a cafe within ACM and ‘Kids eat for free’ yo! It didn’t take us long to settle for this place because…

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…there is a play area for kids within the cafe. Awwwwesome!

 Faith had her spaghetti while I had my overpriced laksa. The kids’ meal comes with dessert which was brownie and vanilla ice-cream for Faith and a vanilla milkshake for her drink. Not bad a deal at all. You just need to order a main and the kids could dine for free yo.

Such a playdate is soooo satisfying. The kids had their fun and the mummies got their rest. I need more of such outings.

If you still have the energy to go on, do pop by the National Gallery (Keppel Centre for Art Education) and have some fun in there too!

PS. Thank you Mummy F for the wonderful pictures!

Over the ocean, Under the sea @ SAM at 8Q

I have been wanting to work on art with the girl for the longest time. However, such an attempt does require time and a peaceful environment and heart. On normal days, after the girl comes back from school, has lunch and nap, it would be evening and I would have to prepare dinner. Gah… so I’m taking every opportunity during the June holidays to have her immerse in some form of art. ✌️


First up, these sea creatures. Don’t be mistaken. She couldn’t draw these animals yet but I could definitely get her to paint using acrylic and poster colours. Her grip of the paintbrush has improved and could do a decent job in painting. We had instrumental music in the background and this created a perfect environment to work on her art piece. I love it when I saw the sparkle in her eyes as we mixed the different colours.

“Mom, why the blue and yellow turn to green?” That night, I read Little blue and little yellow to her.

In the afternoon, we joined Mrs Eio to the Singapore Art Museum for some Over the ocean, under the sea experience, hence my artwork with Faith in the morning.

I won’t elaborate on what’s in store at the museum since one can easily check it up on its website. I would just review it based on how enthusiastic the kids were.


I like this exhibition (Where is Mogus?) at level 1 the best. Maybe it’s the colourful installation that are mainly made by knitted yarn. Or perhaps it’s the tactile sculptures which encourage play, imagination and exploration among the kids. I was just wowed by the display. Reminded me of the beautiful underwater world when we went diving. I also love it that there is one particular coral patch that was completely white. Why? The coral has been bleached as explained by the guide.


At the Submaroom, the kids could try their hands on the origami. There are step-by-step guide for them to follow.


Aren’t they beautiful? Now, if only I could fold them successfully…


I personally felt that the Plastic Ocean which is an installation with plastic, nylon string, wooden pedestals (or waste materials, to me) spoke to me. I told the kids to imagine themselves as creatures living in the sea. How would they feel if they find their environment filled with all these trash? I felt suffocated and wanted to share with them the meaning of pollution. Faith is obviously a little too young to understand. But it’s always good to just share knowledge with her.


The other installations are non-interactive and I think the kids didn’t know what to do. They looked and went off. Hah…


Faith was obviously scared by this shark. Just look at the body language.


At the Suara Muara, posing with this Javanese old couple.


Back home, I got Faith to finish up her artwork and read her a story on pollution and tried to help her relate to what she had seen at the museum.


First art piece that is 90% done by her. It will be displayed in her room. ✌️

Hideaways – Creating With Nature @ Playeum

[Media invite]

Playeum, Singapore’s first Children’s Centre for Creativity opens its second hands-on exhibition for children on 16 April until 30 October. Entitled Hideaways – Creating With Nature, the exhibition and accompanying programmes offer an immersive environment for children to explore, observe, construct, reflect, innovate and engage with nature and natural materials through hands-on exhibits and interactive artists’ installations.

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Hideaways – Creating With Nature features six installations which provide an interdisciplinary and engaging experience for the children and adults alike.

Creature Cave

This cave structure features animal sound pads and a range of textures and lights.Infants and toddlers will revel in exploring this multi-sensory cave through using their whole bodies, eyes and ears.

Make-believe Hideaway

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This installation invites children to experience playing with clay and building imaginary habitats inspired by nature, resulting in a collaborative installation.

At this juncture, I would like to comment about the facilitators who help to guide the children through the various installations. Faith was really shy when she first stepped into the exhibition area. She was befriended by one of these kind and caring facilitators who walked her through the various stations. In the end, she warmed up and could really enjoy the whole experience.

Welcome to my World

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At this station, children can imagine a world where they are as small as an insect in an immersive installation that presents the insect environment on a giant scale. Kids are encouraged to construct shelters, which will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, while exploring sights and sounds through the eyes and ears of insects.

Faith skipped this installation after being inducted to it for a mere few minutes. Perhaps, she couldn’t imagine herself to be a small insect or maybe she doesn’t know how to construct using the materials involved? She lost interest quite quickly.

Knock, Knock! Who lives there?

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This has got to be our favourite station. We were introduced to the artist – Isabelle Desjeux – who created this installation and she shared with us her concept. Here, children can view insects and other creatures in their natural habitats through special surveillance screens.

They could also examine the creepy crawlies using a microscope and perhaps unleash their talents in drawing by sketching the creatures on the materials provided.

Science lesson in progress. It’s such a delight to see Faith observing the animals and plants in their natural habitats and because we were not limited by time constraint, she could have the time and space to learn about and understand the fascinating lives of ants, worms and other creatures. This station certainly appeals to me as well and I thought the older kids would benefit much from this as well.

Sounds of Earth – Nature’s Ensemble

This is an interactive sound installation where children can create and build musical instruments with natural materials. These will be attached to a skeletal structure that will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, culminating in an immersive musical extravaganza.

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This baby boy was engaged by these natural materials too. Sensory play in action.

The last station is The Dark Space which is a sound web installation. Children can enjoy kinetic artwork and exciting hands-on activities int his changing space. However, this space is really dark and Faith was a tad frightened as she entered it.

The recommended duration for Hideaways- Creating with Nature is about 2 hours but we went beyond that and left after 2 1/2 hours. We could have stayed longer but dark clouds were looming and it was threatening to rain. I was surprised that the kids could be engaged throughout and went about exploring on their own (together with the facilitator). Granted that Faith wasn’t interested in every of the stations but she was totally captivated by three of them and that was sufficient.

Hideaways-Creating with Nature has done well in inviting children to play with nature, based on our experience, and hopefully it has helped the little ones to appreciate the natural world.

The best time to visit Playeum, IMHO, is during noon time or in the afternoon. We were told that the peak period is in the morning since there could be school visits. So, do drop by if you want to spend more time at Playeum.

Playeum is suitable for children ages between 1 and 12 years old. The admission prices is $20 per child/parent pair but additional adult will have to pay $10 per person. Playeum charges for entry to ensure the sustainability of the centre’s operations. It does not receive any core funding and is reliant on a funding mix from admissions, grants, sponsorship and donations. This collective income enables the organisation to continue to engage artists, involve quality facilitators and provide innovative programmes to all families and children.

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Playeum | Children’s Centre for Creativity
Blk 47, Gillman Barracks
Singapore 109444

Opening Times
Tuesday – Sunday
10am-6pm

For full line-up of programmes, do visit http://www.playeum.com/#!programmes/ckx1

The Trehaus Kids Atelier

Once upon a time, when I was still carrying Faith in the womb, I thought it would be wonderful if I could work and be present for Faith at the same time. I mean, it’s fine if I have to be away from her for a few hours each day but if it’s 8 to 10 hours daily, then it can get unbearable. I’m quite certain that this is the constant struggle for working parents so when I read about Trehaus, I couldn’t help but beam with delight. Now, parents with flexible working arrangements can  bring their children along and while they work, they could have the assurance that their kids are well taken care of and be engaged with play at The Kids Atelier. All these, under one roof.

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I had the opportunity to visit Trehaus during the March holiday. After a brief tour of the work spaces, we spent the next two hours at the Kids Atelier. There was an instant sense of calm and tranquility as we stepped in.

The space is divided into different zones where kids are encouraged to explore the materials on their own and with others. These materials are selected for their aesthetic, sensorial and functional qualities and are safe and truly attractive to both the parents (like me) and the children.

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The children present were first gathered (despite the different age groups) for Circle Time. It was Faith’s first time at the Kids Atelier and it was obvious that she felt a little out of place. The teachers caught that and made her feel welcomed and she quickly felt at ease with the rest of the group. Thumbs up for experienced and caring teachers.

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While the older kids were engaged, I continued the tour of the place. There was a quiet and cosy corner where kids could take a rest and nap.

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And our little friend decided to try out this bean bag. So comfy!

This is a private space for breastfeeding moms – the nursing room. It certainly feels like home – so cosy and and with such tasteful decor!

Faith was thoroughly engaged with the materials in each zone and there was little facilitation from the teachers themselves, as far as I observed. The children moved from zones to zones on their own accord and worked with the materials provided. It was indeed a pleasant sight for me, as an onlooker. They were involved in open-ended play and it seemed like they were satisfying their curiosity as they played!

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This little man here was not neglected as his older sister had her mind stimulated. He was working on his muscles too and enjoying every minute of it.

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I left Trehaus feeling hopeful. It is Singapore’s first co-working space equipped with child-minding facilities and I certainly hope this will pave the way for more companies to consider and adopt such a concept. Many women decided to leave the workforce upon having kids because they wanted to spend the early formation years with them and didn’t want to be apart from them for long period of time daily if they work, amongst other reasons. To many, it is a struggle to have to leave their career in order to look after the children. It is about priorities, for sure, but if there are options such as this and other flexible working arrangements, perhaps we could retain more women in the workforce?

If you are curious about Trehaus, you could book a 30-minute tour with them and find out more about their vision and membership plans. They organise events (such as this upcoming Baby Playgroup) every now and then so do keep yourselves updated via their facebook page.

Drop off is available at the Trehaus Kids Atelier too!

12990952_10153565375674677_3426234976137802183_nFaith and N, her playmate for that day

Trehaus Cowork
Claymore Connect
442 Orchard Road, #03-01
Singapore 238879
Tel: 9843 8077
Email: enquiries@trehauscowork.com
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 9a.m. – 6p.m.

Disclaimer: We were invited to Trehaus and all opinions are mine.

Sakura in Singapore

My mother has always wanted to visit Japan to witness the bloom of cherry blossoms. So when Papa told her that there are currently cherry blossoms at Gardens by the Bay, she told him that we had to go! Please pardon my mama for she is not always updated with current affairs since she’s too busy looking after us.

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Guess where we went earlier today? Mama said we must avoid the crowd and made sure that we reached the site at 9am.

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It’s very cold in the flower dome but my folks were well prepared and brought along cardigans.

My mama likes to admire flowers though she doesn’t like to receive flowers as gifts.

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She was all enthusiastic about today’s outing only to realise that none of us were interested in flowers. See, my sister didn’t even want to pose in front of the camera.

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She’s quite a poor thing eh? So I think I shall oblige and pose properly. Then I fell asleep because the environment was so shiok (awesome) to sleep in. All was quiet and there weren’t a lot of people. We found out later that the crowd came in at around 10am. So, if you want good photos, go and visit at 9am.

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Actually, the cherry blossoms are really pretty, eh? Sugoi desu!

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I think the cherry blossoms won’t last long so you should really go down and take a look for yourself.

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We had a decent family photo and I think Mama was secretly pleased with that. She reckoned that she wouldn’t need to visit Japan during that period anymore. One thing off her bucket list.

Keppel Centre for Art Education

How do you spend your March holidays?

For us, there would be no overseas travel or staycation. Instead, we would just be tourists in our country and try to explore as many places as we could. These days, we opt for places that the kids could enjoy and our first stop is the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery Singapore.

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Since we are citizens, we do not have to pay for the admission fees. Hooray! #FunforFreeSG

We went straight to the Keppel Centre but before we went in, we got to explore some of the art pieces by our local students.

Maybe our little one will be inspired after admiring these artwork? I can always hope.

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We proceeded to the Art Playscape which houses the magical forest and it provides great fun for the kids. Faith took some time to warm up to the environment and after 5 minutes or so, she could be seen running up and down the stairs and exploring the space. Oh, fellow parents, you do have to be with the kids lest they got too excited and hurt themselves in the process. This forest somewhat resembles the Trick Eye Museum and personally I had fun taking pictures.

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There is great avenue for pretend play here. Let’s imagine us crossing the river. Oh, look, there’s Mr Crocodile! Be careful!

Our next stop is the Project Gallery where we explore future homes and cities. Here, children think about how different our homes and the way we live will be and they translate their thinking into drawing and writing .

Spend $4 and you could work on this artwork with your child.

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A random child’s thoughts

After about 20 minutes in the Project Gallery, we proceeded to the Children’s Museum Workshop where the kids could write a postcard to the artist. Obviously, the girl couldn’t write it but she did doddle something on it before posting it.

So we spent slightly more than an hour in the three art spaces and when we popped by the Children’s Museum where kids could create some craftwork, the girl was visibly tired and asked to skip this.

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Children’s Museum

We didn’t stay long at the National Gallery. I would love to but the kids were exhausted and da man had to carry the older one around. We did enjoy the architecture of the supreme court though.

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Perhaps, next time?

To avoid the crowd during the school holidays, consider going there early?
😉

Pip’s PLAYbox

We don’t usually do this.

Nap time is important and I make sure that the kids have sufficient rest before going for outdoor play in the evening. Today was an exception because our dear neighbour was doing some drilling work and the noise was so deafening that it terrified the kids.

I had two wailing kids and to maintain my sanity, I had to leave the house.

Thankfully, the hubs took the afternoon off to relieve me and off we went to Pip’s* Playbox.

*Pip is Esplanade’s colourful mascot for its children’s programmes.

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We reached Pip’s PLAYbox around 2.30pm and we were the only ones present. The area has just been cleaned and all was quiet. Perfect for a peaceful afternoon!

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There are parking lots for prams and I’m thankful for a clean nursing room and two children’s toilets that are so children-friendly. Faith was telling me not to help her in anything because she could manage it all by herself (she is not that tall).

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Meet Pip!

This is the activity zone where children can busy themselves with craft work. The themes and materials vary throughout the year.

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Do you remember the Overhead Projector??? I was so thrilled to see this because it reminded me of my school days and early teaching years. However, the girl was none too impressed and after playing with it for a moment, she was distracted by…

these magnetic blocks and train tracks (from Ikea). She was working on them for a good amount of time and even invited the Papa to join her.

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I personally love it that they stock books written by local writers and illustrators and this place is really an inviting space for parents to read to their children. How about a storytelling session?

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There are little nook crannies within the PLAYbox for children to grab a book to read and in this case, having some cosy moment with the baby.

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An hour later and the crowd streamed in slowly. This is indeed a good meeting place for mothers and children alike. It’s a safe place for young kids to have fun together. I thought Pip’s PLAYbox might appeal to toddlers and preschoolers more.

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PIP’s PLAYbox
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Level 4
Opening Hours: 11 am to 6pm
Free Admission
Join Pip’s Club!

Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay

The weekends’ here!

If you haven’t visited the Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay, perhaps you might want to visit it before it ends on 19th July. Our family went down during the June holidays and I must say the floral display was beautiful. I bore an ulterior motive, of course, and that was to get the little one to learn more about the nursery rhymes that she has been learning both at home and in school.

Pardon me for the many photos posted in this post. They are for memory. 😉

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Be sure to bring along a jacket because it is cold in the flower dome. I found myself shivering!

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Please don’t ask me what nursery rhymes these refer to. I have forgotten!

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Gigantic bees! Flee!

IMG_3139The old lady in her shoes?

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Which is the picture that belongs to Mary and her little lamb?

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Tis I know! It’s Humpty Dumpty! Even Faith could identify…

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gardensbythebay

If you are not into floral display, erm… like da man, maybe you won’t enjoy that much. But there are 
 other things to do in Gardens by the Bay. The water play area will be an exciting play area for the children! Have a good weekend!

15 Stations at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

I’ve only taken train rides from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station twice and both times, it’s a deliberate choice over the other modes of transport because I wanted to experience how it was like to take the KTM trains into Malaysia.

I recalled that the railway station wasn’t as crowded or vibrant as the other stations that I have been to in other countries. There weren’t many locals and most of them were made up of Malaysian passengers. There weren’t many train services available and thus it was a hassle-free experience travelling up north.

Railway station_malvina tanPhoto courtesy of Malvina Tan

Unfortunately, railway operations at the station ceased from 1 July 2011 and the station became a national monument of Singapore and is only open to the public on public holidays in the hope that more people will use the opportunity to visit the historical monument for strolls, take photos or to partake in its history.

Now, for a limited period (17 June through 4 July 2015), the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is open to the public as one of the O.P.E.N.‘s Augmented Reality Memory Tour Project which provides visitors the opportunity to experience a unique and interactive memory tour of the station.

15 Stations, as it is called, allows visitors to meet the people – from the past and the future – whose lives were connected by the railway line through a downloadable application on their smartphones. There are three curated routes – Reflect, Connect and Imagine –  and they draw on archival materials and animation to weave their own stories about the relationship between the station and those who have passed and will pass through its doors.

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Our family turned up at 7pm and we started off at Route #1 with the PROLOGUE, along with 5 other stations.

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Some of the videos at the stations come with audio so visitors are advised to bring along their earphones. Take your time to slowly wander, view the videos, reflect upon what was shared and connect with the people and stories in the videos. On top of that, enjoy the architecture of the building which is in a richly ornamented Art Deco style. The exterior of the building, for infomation’s sake, are four marble statues, allegories of Agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Transport.

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You might think these visitors were all taking pictures of the ticket counters but nope, they were actually viewing and listening to the videos. At this point, my girl was getting restless and started to tour the main hall. How I wish she was older so that we could learn and share historical facts together.

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So, she might not be able to fully appreciate the exhibition but we sure could create some wonderful memories of the place as a family!

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We proceeded to Route #2 (my favourite) where five stories would emerge from scanning the different QR codes displayed on the stands. At this point, the little girl got a tad interested in the stories and listened to them intently.

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But her attention span was just too short and minutes later, she went to disturb her Papa and they went onto the tracks for some fun while I stayed on at the departure platform to complete the stories.

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F was excited to be walking on the tracks but she saw no trains!

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Route #3 consists of three stations which envision a future created by NTU students who never had the chance to set foot in the station during its heyday.

Each memory route is in English and takes about 30 minutes and in all, one would spend about 90 minutes at the railway station. The O.P.E.N. will provide 30 sets of Samsung Note 4 and 20 sets of Samsung Tab S, with earphones, on site. Alternatively, you may want to download the 15 Stations app (downloadable for free from 16 June to 4 July 2015) on your smartphones and enjoy the audio commentary with your personal earphones.

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I must say it’s quite a unique experience learning more about The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station through this augmented reality memory tour. I only wish that we had visited it in the day time so that we could have more beautiful pictures! Oh well…

15 Stations (The O.P.E.N.’s Augmented Reality Memory Tour Project)
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
Opens 18 June through 4 July 2015
Tue-Sat: 12 noon – 10pm
Sun: 12 noon – 6pm
Mon: Closed

FREE ADMISSION with O.P.E.N. Pass
Limited single entry tickets ($11 each) are available at the door

Disclaimer: Our family was invited to tour 15 Stations. No monetary compensation was given. 

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (#junehols2015)

By now, you would have known that I am a great supporter for the outdoors. If our country is blessed with the woods, jungles and mountains, you bet we would have gone for some trekking or camping by now. Thankfully, we have nature reserves, reservoirs and gardens for the children to roam and the next stop for us is Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.

Again, this was not the first time that we visited this garden. It was our third visit and this time round, the hubs was around to explore the garden with Faith. Hopefully, he would enjoy it!

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The garden is really not very big but each time we visited this garden, we couldn’t fully cover it because the weather was basically too hot and in the end, we would end up at the fountains. So, if you intend to visit Jacob Ballas, always bring along your waterplay equipment!

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Experiential learning at the garden!

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When Faith was younger, she was scared stiff with this swinging suspension bridge but now I saw an improvement! She wasn’t rooted to the bridge anymore but gamely walked across it with her Papa.

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Who can forget this treehouse that is fully equipped with slides and ladders. For the previous two occasions, I wouldn’t even think of getting her to go on the slide. She was too young anyway but this time round, she agreed to go on the slide. Could you sense my excitement and pride?

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I know it is really no big deal for many of you but to me, it is. It shows how she has grown and developed over the months and how she is willing to attempt things that are out of her comfort zone. She went on the slide, not just once, but four times and we had to ask her to stop because the adults were bored. Hah!

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Doing the balancing act with Papa

20150606_085512There were really a lot more to explore in this garden but we were just sapped by the heat. We went through the Fantastic Forest, Photosynthesis Exhibit, Sandpit and Sensory Garden with much speed and finally ended up with the water play area which Faith looked forward to.

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With the hubs around, I could rest more and took on the role of the photographer. It’s so wonderful watching both of them spend time and have fun together. We should do more of such activities!

20150606_164824Back home, we worked on some playdough fun. The little girl has been hooked on playdough for the past month and I thought it would be good to have her work on stuff related to the garden. I found the gardening and growing playdough mat via this website and Faith had fun working on them. There are many free printables available so if your child is into playdough, you might want to take a look, print and laminate those mats!

20150531_170417To get her to continue to work on her beginning sounds, I got Faith to use playdough to create the letters (on the mat) and at the same time, practise the sounds together with her. Such activities can take up to one hour when she has the interest. No kidding!

Obviously, you can make your own playdough too but I’m just too lazy.

Some useful resources:

:: For playdough mat for counting to 10, click here.

:: Playdough mats of all sorts, from letters to shapes to numbers. Click here.

Farm visit (#junehols2015)

When I was younger, my ambition was to be a farmer. I like the idea of tending to the farm animals, growing my own crops and living a simple life in a rural setting. The fact that I had just returned from a very relaxing New Zealand trip helped to seal the decision then.

Of course, that didn’t materialise. But that will not stop me from visiting farms, will it?

And so I did. Last week, we brought the little one(s) to have some close encounter with the farm animals and though it was tiring (because of the heat), it was well worth it.

Our first stop was The Animal Resort. It was our second visit to this farm and we love how close we could get to the animals. This time round, I purchased the feed at $2 for 3 assorted packs for different kinds of animals so that the kiddos could get to experience feeding the rabbits, guinea pigs and the birds.

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For the past two terms, Faith has been learning the names and songs related to animals and when she saw this rooster, she instantly told me about that particular song taught by her Chinese teacher. I love how her face was lit up!

20150602_132448 Happy gal!

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For a while, I thought she was just so brave a girl until…

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…these 2-legged creatures came swarming towards us as I fed them and she hid behind me and shouted, “Go away!”

The Animal Resort
T81 Seletar West Farmway 5
Singapore 798061
Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am to 6pm
We stopped by a mushroom farm since it is located near The Animal Resort. Mycofarm is Singapore’s only specialist mushroom grower. Alas, when we were there, we were told by the staff that they have just harvested the mushrooms and all we could see were the logs. They kindly obliged us by having us view the Grow Rooms as they didn’t want to disappoint the kids!

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Faith loves mushrooms A LOT but she definitely didn’t like the smell in this room.

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We were treated to samples of warm mushroom soup and mushroom Bak Kua as we returned to the office. The ladies in the office were so hospitable and we left the farm with a few packets of mushroom soup and a few dollars poorer. ;p
Mycofarm Pte Ltd
9 Seletar West Farmway 5
Singapore 798057
Opens daily
The next day (yes, we spilt our farm visit into two days), we went to the other end of Singapore to visit the Kranji Countryside. There are many farms that we could visit but obviously we had to be selective. We visited the Hay Dairies but we didn’t manage to catch the milking of the goats which is actually the highlight if you are to visit this farm. So, we were out within minutes.
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I had wanted to visit the Jurong Frog Farm because on our last farm outing with Faith’s playmates, we didn’t make a reservation with them and couldn’t tour the farm. This time round, the timing wasn’t good for both parties and in the end, we had to give it a miss as well. But we’ll be back!
Off we went to Bollywood Veggies for some veggies tour and refueling at the bistro. I have personally been here for a few times (for food) but this was my first time touring the farm. I wish the weather was a tad kinder but the sun’s rays were beating on us mercilessly and we had to cut the tour short.
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Managed to pose for me!
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Look, Mama, it’s a banana plant!
Our last stop was Qian Hu Fish Farm because the girl just loves to watch the fish swimming in their habitat and the hubs wanted to try the fish spa. The little girl got to experience fishing (but caught none), feeding the fish and was fascinated by tortoises.
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After a few days of venturing out, the little girl had quite enough of it and wanted to stay at home. The learning journey to the farm would not be complete if there isn’t any follow-up activities! Haha!
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Reading is definitely an activity we cannot do without and I love the Usborne farm storybooks and colouring books. Faith loves to find out what’s under the flaps and I enjoy the information I read from the books too!
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Reinforcing vocabulary words through the colouring book in which she could learn the words of the various farm animals. Obviously, I have to read them out to her.
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Then, I got her to bring out her farm animals set and the word cards which I have made for her when she was younger. Now, she came and asked me what the words were and placed the animals accordingly. Goes to show that she understands that words have meanings attached to them.
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It’s time for some art! I wanted to teach Faith about the hooves of some of these animals and then she went on to pretend play. Oh well…
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The completed work
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We continued to work on the beginning sounds. Using corrugated paper for the letter, Faith was able to trace it using her finger and I searched words with that beginning sound and those that were related to the farm theme.
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We also revised some Chinese words that she has learnt in school lest she forgets all of them during the school holidays!
Hmm… where shall we be heading to next?

Chinese and Japanese Garden

This June holiday, I hope to bring Faith out to enjoy as many outdoor activities as possible. I would love to get her to explore the environment that she is in so that she could stay inquisitive and learn along the way; I just hope I have the patience to share with her! Building sweet memories, that’s part of the plan too. Initially, the family had wanted to go on a trip to Taiwan but that did not materialise in the end. No worries, we will tour our city-state instead!

This morning, we decided to visit the Chinese and Japanese Garden located at Jurong East. I had been there when I was a kid myself and another time when I was participating in a run while the hubs has not visited these gardens. It would be a good change from the usual gardens that we have visited.

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We reached the Chinese Garden at around 8am as we knew that it would be really killing to stroll in the heat if we had arrived later. We are also early risers so this timing is actually good for us. We had wanted to get Faith to skate-scoot in the garden but were told that that is not allowed. ;(

20150601_082309I’m rather impressed by the interior. It is well-kept and scenic and Faith was really engaged by the things that she saw along the way.

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My only complaint? The heat. But there is nothing we can do about it but to bear with it. Thankfully, the little girl didn’t complain at all.

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Bringing the little one to be in the outdoor as much as possible is something that I would do intentionally. Personally, I’m not one who loves to stay indoors because I believe she could learn more and be stimulated about the environment when she is in the outdoors. Getting her to appreciate nature is something I’m very mindful of and we could talk about God’s creations as we explore. Also, I don’t like her to be sheltered in air-conditioned areas for too long. It’s just not healthy.

20150601_083841The dragon girl with her Papa

20150601_083633And she willingly posed for us.
“Ouch! i’m bitten by the snake!”

IMG-20150601-WA0025We reached the Japanese Garden as we crossed the connecting bridge. There was this area where we saw a girl feed the fish and at that moment, I regretted not bringing some stale bread! Faith was really interested in feeding them but well, we didn’t have any food for them!

20150601_085132Beautifully sculpted plants. So zen…

20150601_085433She spotted squirrels and stayed in this spot for quite a while.
“Squirrels, where are you? Come down…NOW!”

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After walking for an hour, the little one was visibly tired and as she descended from a flight of stairs, she lost her balance and fell down, sustaining bruises and scratches on her right hand and face. Oh, poor girl. My heart ached for her but I have been trained to remain calm because if I had responded in panic, she would too. It must have hurt and she cried out. But thankfully, she was all calm after a minute. I really do think she has a high threshold of pain after all those episodes of falling. 😉

20150601_090740All is well again. No big deal right?

20150601_090817Manja queen.

We departed from the gardens in 2 hours’ time. It was a nice walk, really but I wish that the weather can be cooler. Of course, one shouldn’t compare these gardens with the actual ones in China and Japan. It’s a far cry to be honest but still, these gardens are a refreshing change as compared to the ones in our neighbourhood.

It would be good to pack some snacks along the way and definitely refreshing drinks are essential!

Chinese and Japanese Garden
Main Garden : 6am – 11pm (daily)
Bonsai Garden & Garden of Abundance: 9am – 6pm (daily)
Admission: Admission to main garden free.
Location: 1 Chinese Garden Singapore 619795

Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015 @ National Museum of Singapore

We started our June holiday programme with Masak Masak, the annual Children’s Season at the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) on its opening day. It returns for the second edition from 30 May to 10 August 2015, Last 20150530_211540year, we attended with Faith’s playmates and although she was just 18 months at that time, she had fun going through the various stations. So you can imagine how happy I am that Masak Masak is back!

This year, the exhibition is made up of 10 installations which features playgrounds of the past and offers a host of activities and engaging exhibits by Singapore artists as well as internationally renowned ones.

Allow me to guide you through the various exhibits! And do make sure that you are equipped with this storybook (right) which helps to guide you through Masak Masak as you share some bonding moments with your kids at each installation.

 photo 20150528-MasakMasak-144_zpslmvg0ds8.jpg:: Playgrounds on the Lawn
Photo: National Museum of Singapore Collection

Remember these familiar playgrounds that we used to play when we were younger? Now they are back in the form of bouncy playgrounds on the lawn of NMS and they pay tribute to the familiar mosaic playgrounds designed by the Housing and Development Board for Singapore’s public housing estates in the 1980s. Do note that they are open for play on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-12pm (very hot) & 4pm-6pm.

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:: Spectrum of Paper

As you enter the main entrance of the museum, you will be greeted by a rainbow wonderland at the Rotunda. This colourful origami suspension is an installation by Mademoiselle Maurice who draws inspiration from the ancient Japanese legend that promises to grant the wish of anyone who folds a thousand cranes. As you look up, ask your children if they can spot any boats or planes!

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:: Spectrum of Paper

Mademoiselle Maurice’s Spectrum of Paper continues at The Salon with more intricate origami creations in the form of flowers and animals. It is her response to local artist, Jeanette Aw’s illustration of Sol* holding onto a string tied to a bird in flight.

* Sol is a character in Jeanette Aw’s latest illustrated book, Sol’s World: Somebody to Love. This book is available for sale at $19 at the Museum Label shop at Level 1. 

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I thought this is a good time to pay a minimum sum of $2 for some materials to teach the little ones to appreciate the art of paper folding in this inspiring setting. Erm, of course, I think Faith needs a lot of guidance!

20150530_093000:: Queen of the Forest

As you proceed into the Salon, you will see local artist, Jeremy Hiah’s response to Sol exploring nature with his adaptation of a local children’s folktale, Queen of the Forest. The scheduled performance is presented via specially created puppets. Faith has some fun creating her own puppets too with the materials that she purchased earlier.

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So I think the little girl doesn’t have the concept of how it works but such an exposure should suffice for now. 😉

20150530_093131:: Simple Pleasures in Life

I think kids love this wall mural which is specially created for Masak Masak 2015. Here, they can pick up a crayon and fill the wall with their favourite colours, bringing the drawing to life. Ahh… simple pleasures in life indeed. How often can our kids colour on the wall? ;p

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Our little girl definitely enjoyed this part of the exhibit.

20150530_101134:: Dancing Solar Flowers

At the concourse, the children can be engaged with a few activities. This Dancing Solar Flowers installation is a good platform to question children about our current use of energy and to think about sustainable energy sources for the future since they use solar energy to move. It’s a bit too abstract for Faith, I think .

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::Garden Games: Hello, Hello?; Flag Attack

If you have older kids, this area would be absolutely fun. The giant flower above is inspired by the tin can telephone and challenges us to figure out which cans are connected amid a tangle of coloured strings. And who can forget flag attack? I played this when I was in Primary School and had great fun! So I got Faith to play with me and obviously she didn’t quite get it. Arghh… no fun!

20150530_100743:: Garden Games: Can or Not?
Faith cannot toss a ring around the coloured bottles. No prize!

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:: Garden Games: Tilt
Navigating a ball out of the maze is highly difficult, even for the Mama!

20150530_094201:: Wanderlust

This is Faith’s favourite as she got to enjoy herself in this enchanting forest which is created from simple materials such as crepe paper! Explore this forest with your kids and get down on all fours. This is a good place to play hide-and-seek and imagine the thrill the kids could get as they crawl under overhanging branches and navigate low terrain, burrows and narrow thicket passageways.

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Erm, we definitely could get more adventurous than this. Ahem!

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:: Memory Stations

Another exhibit that Faith enjoyed is this group of 11 stations where one could take a walk down memory lane to learn about life in Singapore in the 1950s and 60s through the prints from woodblock printing. The children could get their hands on creating their own prints with the stamps provided. This is definitely a task that Faith could handle!

Luma-City by Lim Kim and Alfred Lim (National University of Singapore Division of Industrial Design) photo 20150528-MasakMasak-230_zpso4uixltu.jpg:: Luma-City
Photo: National Museum of Singapore Collection

Faith didn’t get to go through this last exhibit because there were too many children inside the Perform @ Play. Also, it was rather dim and the little girl wasn’t too comfortable with it. However, the older kids were having a whale of a time as they got the opportunity to play with the larger-than-life toy vehicles. All they needed to do was to give the toys a little push and they could watch the luminescent trails that appear and gradually fade beneath their feet.

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Besides these exhibits, there are also some special programmes such as the shadow puppetry workshop which is held on every Saturday in June at 10.30am (note that this workshop requires ticket) and puppetry performance by Singaporean artist, Jeremy Hiah (selected Saturdays). Oh, yes, don’t miss the Momolato at the Front Lawn every Saturday and Sunday from 30 May to 28 June (10am to 6pm). We missed that and it’s such a bummer. I’m sure the special gelato flavour will be a hit with most and do try their award-winning SG50 flavour, Good Old days, as well as other exciting ice cream and popsicle flavours!

Oh, wait! I think we are going back again. 😉

National Museum of Singapore
Children’s Season: Masak Masak 2015
Saturday 30 May to Monday 10 August
Daily, 10am to 6pm
Free Admission

Disclaimer: Our family was invited to the media preview of Masak Masak 2015 on its opening Day. No monetary compensation was given. 

Fun for Free Fridays: Pasir Ris Park

Somewhere in the eastern part of Singapore lies a wonderful park that appeals to the young and old alike. There, children could enjoy the various kinds of playground, a pony ride or simply spend the time building sandcastles while the older folks could have a relaxing time picnicking. The place I’m referring to is the Pasir Ris Park.

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Kids under the age of 13 years old could enjoy a pony ride at the Gallop Stable. Faith was too young to ride the pony but she could still admire it from a near distance! Alternatively, you may purchase pony feed packets and get up close to these ponies by feeding them.

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There is a bicycle kiosk nearby and you could rent the bike for an hour but you could ride for two hours! Not bad a deal eh? The park was a tad quiet even though we went on a weekend. So the ride turned out to be a very leisurely one for us and the little one sure loved the breeze!

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We rode to the main playground area and stopped for Faith to have a little workout. There are really a lot of activities to choose from!

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Swing just for the little one!

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Getting lost in the maze

Walking along the suspension bridge

Walking along the suspension bridge

Enjoying the ride!

Enjoying the ride!

Gearing up for rock climbing

Gearing up for rock wall climbing

Making melody!

Making melody!

Rock wall climbing!

Rock wall climbing!

These are but just SOME of the activities that are available at the big playground and we have not included some of the activities that are suitable for older kids like the flying fox!

The one thing that this park lacks is a decent cafe or eating place. We wanted to continue to chill out at the beach but we didn’t bring a mat or any food. So we had to bid farewell to the park in search of a eatery to satisfy our empty stomachs.

I believe you can spend the whole morning or an afternoon in the park itself if you go with a group. Savour the moment with loved ones and have the children enjoy themselves at the playground. You could also bring along a volleyball or a soccer ball and have a kicking good time! Do visit the Pasir Ris Park if you haven’t!

Fun For Free Friday: Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

The weather these days hasn’t been too good. Hazy, to be precise but the little girl desperately wants to go out and play. So, when the PSI shows an OKAY level, I will normally bring her out and just recently, we went over to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden to have a little bit of fun and be close to nature.

Jacob Ballas is Asia’s first children’s garden and it aims to provide a place for children to play, explore and be happy in. The two-hectare garden is open to children up to 12 years old. Admission is free though the children have to be accompanied by an adult.

Faith and Belle spent about two hours in the garden and we learnt about the magic of photosynthesis and the Epiphytes and spent some time in the Fantastic Forest.

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So, oxygen is given out during photosynthesis…

 

Plucking up the courage to walk across the suspension bridge

Plucking up the courage to walk across the suspension bridge

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Water plants!

Whoah! The enchanted forest!

Whoah! The enchanted forest!

Sandplay at the Treehouse

Sandplay at the Treehouse

Of course, waterplay is very much part of the package when I go out these days. Faith kept chanting ‘waterplay’, ‘waterplay’ and well they had fun with the water all right.

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Since Food for Thought is just round the corner, we popped by for lunch. By then the kids were getting a tad restless but we did have a good meal. I recommend Chicken Laksa, Slow Roasted Pulled Pork and Laksa Leaf Mushroom Risotto. Yummy!

Note: There are a few more areas in the Garden that we haven’t explored! Oh my!
Nicer photos taken by my mommy friend, Trisa!

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
1 Cluny Road
Singapore Botanic Gardens (Bukit Timah entrance)
Bukit Timah, Central
S259569

Fun For Free SG: The Animal Resort

This post is part of the FUN FOR FREE SG series of blog posts, brought to you by a group of mum bloggers. We’re sharing on one fun and free venue a day in the month of August, just for you. For the complete list of venues, please scroll right to the bottom of this blog post.

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Fancy the idea of farm animals roaming near you? There is one such place in Singapore and you don’t have to pay a fee to visit it. I’m referring to The Animal Resort which is located near Jalan Kayu.

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Sprawling over 5 acres of rural land, the Animal Resort resembles that of a kampong and you can get up close and personal with various birds such as the geese, peacocks, parrot, hens, roosters, Marabou stork, ducks. For a minimal sum (optional), you can purchase feeds for the animals and this certainly adds more fun for both the adults and children alike. At this simple store and cafe, you can purchase mosquito repellent (very essential to bring along!) and enjoy some simple snacks.

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Look how free the birds roam! The children are sure to squeal in delight!

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I personally feel that this visit makes a great opportunity to learn about farm animals.

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Some birds, such as these beautiful peacocks and the roosters, are in the cages though. This actually gives more courage for the little ones to get close to them, knowing that they are protected by a fence.

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What is this strange-looking bird? It’s the Marabou stork!

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Besides the birds, there are also furry animals to adore. However, these animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, skinny pigs) are caged up.

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Young children get awed by these animals and I dare say the same goes for the adults too.

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If you want to try your luck and have fun catching fish in the small stream, you can pay a small sum of $5 and get a small fish tank to keep the fishes you catch.

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As you spend time at the ‘resort’, you will see dogs being walked. That’s because there is a dog training and grooming school in the premise. You can also see the cute puppies at the kennel.

There is also one lonely horse for you to admire! Say hi!

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The Animal Resort is a wonderful place for urban dwellers like us to be close to nature. We brought our kids on our last visit and the children were thrilled to be among the animals and that lasted for close to 2 hours.

 

The Animal Resort
T81 Seletar West Farmway 5 ScienceCentre Road20140715_104454
Singapore798061
Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Contact
 Tel: (+65) 6338-7665
Fax: (+65) 6234-1360
Email: ricted@singnet.com.sg

Getting There
The Farm Animal is not easily accessible by bus or the train so the best way to get to the location is by car or taxi. There are ample parking facilities in the premise.

Nearest MRT: Sengkang (NEL), Yio Chu Kang (NSL)
Bus 86, 103 (off Jalan Kayu)
Landmark: Ju Eng Home along Seletar West Farmway 4. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the main road.

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Who’s next?

The next mom, Jiahui, who blogs at Mum’s the Word [link: http://www.mumseword.com] will be sharing about times at one of the most iconic parks in Singapore—Botanic Gardens! Jiahui is a full-time working mum of three who still feels she’s a new parent because of the many new things that she learns about her kids each day as they grow. Join her tomorrow to find out kids fun at Botanic Gardens!

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Here’s the whole list – 31 days of free fun in Singapore! This list will be updated regularly; you will be able to click on the location to be brought directly to the blog post when it goes “live”.
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum’s The Word
19 Aug: A surprise! by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: MacRitchie trail by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children’s Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade + Punggol Waterway by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious