Celebrating 33 : Bangkok with Husb

August 26, 2015 in shopping / travel

The 33rd birthday had come and gone. There was no fancy celebration BUT I managed to spend some quality time with the husb, kids and myself (individually!) in the name of my birthday, which was pretty awesome!

Depending on our schedules and when we can get the gramps to babysit the kids, my birthday treat to Bangkok usually happens in July/August. It is sale season in Bangkok at this time of the year – excellent time to update the inner wear wardrobe. This trip, we found more to buy with the stronger SGD.

In our typical child-free-travel fashion (read: RUSHED), we maxed out our 3-days-2-nights in Bangkok with lots of food, shopping and massages. Because we were traveling for the first time with the husb’s JC mates, we got to check out a couple of new places.

FOOD

While waiting for the rest of the troop to arrive (on a later flight), we finally got to try out the much-raved-about Nara Thai at Central World. Nara Thai was one of the restaurants we wanted to check out during our Bangkok trip last year but did not get to because it was wayyyy too crowded during the peak hours of dinner time then.

Lunch time crowd was okay though. Then again, we were there early around 11ish and it was a public holiday in Bangkok that day. So the crowds might only be streaming in later.

The food was unfortunately, nothing to shout about. Not that they didn’t taste good. It was pretty decent but for the price tag, I would expect a bit more oomph! It felt more like paying for a better ambience to enjoy Thai food as compared to having my paad thai by the roadside.

Laem Cha-roen Seafood at Central World is something like a high-class tze-char restaurant with more interesting dishes. Here are some that we like:

Top-left: Deep-Fried Marinated Snapper with Sweet Fish Sauce; Top-right: Spicy Small Fish (Anchovy) Salad
Bottom-left: Prawns Salad with Sweet Lemon Dressing in Taro Basket; Bottom-right: some curry with putu mayam (my own interpretation)

And of course, there are the good ol’ roadside stalls outside Central World for the real deal of authentic Thai food. Our favourite food to get from the roadside stalls is fruits. They are fresh, sweet and at such affordable prices!

Can’t believe we missed out on this place all these years! Our first time checking out Soi 19 Pratunam for the famous wanton noodles and pork leg stew. Be prepared to queue at peak hours with fellow tourists though! The locals, it seem, do not eat there.

Verdict: we prefer the pork leg rice as compared to the wanton noodles. The portions are very small, as compared to what we get here in Singapore.

T&K Seafood at Chinatown was another new food place the Husb’s friends brought us to. This is Bangkok tze-char in dai-pai-dong (大排档) style. Food tasted great! Again, be prepared to queue with fellow tourists by the roadside.

SHOPPING

Sale Season + Strong SGD = SHOP-TILL-YOU-DROP!

Inner wear is a must-get from the Bangkok malls. Like I’ve mentioned on the blog before, they have a much wider variety with prettier designs than what we can get here in Singapore. Plus, they are SO MUCH cheaper! The familiar brands like Wacoal and Triumph are about 30-50% cheaper and these are prices before promotions/discounts/VAT refunds!

Only gripe is the common sizes are sold out very quickly!

The bigger labels have pretty good deals during this sale season too. Coupled with the strong SGD, there was little reason not to buy.

My love for masak-masak play when I was a kid had evolved into tendency to hoard home ware. Thanks to girlfriends who share where to get cute stuff for home, I managed to find these enamel ware shops in the markets of Bangkok!

Bought them as gifts but forgot to take pics before I gave them away!

MASSAGE

Massage places are sprouting like mushrooms in the city, so standards are not quite as before in some of the newer setups. Thanks to our friends’ recommendation, we stayed at GLOW Pratunam this time. There are massage places available at the lobby level and at a lower floor in the same building. This worked out great for us as we could return to our rooms right after the massage!

There, the gift of couple time with the Husb. :)

Flip for Joy!

August 1, 2015 in giveaway / reviews

The kids have been missing out on reading Chinese books because I can’t seem to find fun and interesting books for them. I tried searching but faced challenges as I soon realized many of these Chinese books either have their meaning lost in translation or they are simply not engaging enough for the kids to want to continue exploring the book.

After looking in the wrong places for so long, I was delighted to learn about Flip for Joy! They have a good selection of bilingual books, which includes many bestsellers and award-winning titles.

The lady behind Flip for Joy, Meiru, is an ex-junior-college Chinese language teacher and very passionate about teaching the language to her 6-year-old. That means I can be assured of high quality standards when it comes to educational resources for children. She sources for the best books from all over the world (UK, US, Europe, Korea, Japan, China, etc) so that children can not only have fun, but gain insights and learn important values of life from reading.

Parents who are not as strong in the Chinese language and do not know what books to get, do not fret! Meiru reads the books she sourced for Flip for Joy to her 6-year-old before writing the synopsis and recommendations in BOTH Chinese and English so as to help parents choose the best for their children.

Here are some new books from Flip for Joy to share:

长大我要做什么

‘What will I be when I grow up?” is a book that many kids will enjoy because it’s interactive and allow the kids lots of hands-on as they learn about different occupations. It is easier to make an impression on them as they get to dress up the cardboard figurines with different uniforms and learn about the sounds relating to certain occupations from the audio effects. For example, the camera clicking sound is linked to the photographer.

轱辘转玩具书(4册)

A set of four books on different construction vehicles. This is a sure-hit with the boys. Actually, even my daughter 也对这几本书爱不释手 because they get to have lots of fun pretending to construct  with the parts in the books as well!

Bonus? Parents get to learn the Chinese names of these heavy vehicles too! I know I did.

A drawback of the above two recommended book and set of books would be parents need to set aside more time for reading before bedtime. I had a hard time convincing the kids to put away the uniforms and putting the little construction parts back into the books! 😉

如果地球被我们吃掉了

I personally liked this book a lot because it gets the kids thinking about the consequences of not conserving resources and how we can help save the world we live in.

Was pleased to see the cub shaking his head away in dismay when we got to the page that read 到最后只剩下钱,可是钱又不能吃 and I asked him “怎么办?”.

经典童话系列(一):小红帽, 白雪公主, 木偶奇遇记, 皇帝新衣, 渔夫和金鱼

If you are looking for some classics (example, Little Red Riding Hood, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Pinocchio, etc) to retell in Chinese, here are some you might like to consider. Hanyu pinyin is available and the moral-of-the-story in Chinese is provided as well! Great for parents who need familiar stories to start practising their reading of Chinese books.

黄色的……是蝴蝶!

This book is suited for the littler children. There are cut-outs on every other page showing bits of yellow for kids to imagine the possibilities of what the yellow object might be on the next page. Excellent way to engage young readers!

100层的房子

Something very new to the kids – this story has been written vertically just like how it is traditionally with Chinese literature. (Think 琼瑶 novels!) Gotta admit that it took me longer to read top-down, right-to-left! And it’s not just the words that go vertical. The book opens up vertically as well! So the kids flip the pages as if they are climbing up together with the boy and meeting different creatures along the way.

Surprise takeaway – the cub learned to count the bigger numbers as we moved towards the higher floors! 😉

In GOOD THINGS MUST SHARE:

We have 2 copies of 《长大我要做什么》to give away to 2 readers! All you have to do is:

Terms & Conditions :
This giveaway ends at 5pm on Thursday, 6 August 2015 and is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this giveaway and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake social media accounts (eg. Facebook accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

In more GOOD THINGS MUST SHARE:

To celebrate SG50, Flip for Joy is offering the following promotions that are valid for the month of August:

  • Special SG50 book bundles at S$50, inclusive of complimentary courier delivery. (While stocks last!)
  • First 50 customers who shop with Flip for Joy in the month of August and spend a minimum of $50 will receive a free book treat (chosen by Flip for Joy!), worth at least $10.

Remember to like Flip for Joy on Facebook to get updates on their latest happenings, promotions, and benefit from the many articles and resources shared on the teaching of the Chinese language and ways to encourage your child to read!

Bedtime and chatters

July 27, 2015 in parenting

I’m a big fan of co-sleeping with children. My kids think Mommy is doing them a favour by allowing them to sleep by her side.

Little do they know how much comfort they bring to me when I get to smell them, hear them breathing, or hold their little hands as I drift off to sleep.

They make excellent companions especially during solo-parenting days. Yes, even when they kick and punch in their sleep.

During our bedtime chats, the cub loves sharing about his time in school – what he did with his friends, where did some of his friends go for holidays, who got scolded by the teachers, who didn’t want to play with him, etc. On weekends, he would share random stuff he had observed and we would be quietly amazed by how much he’s grown and learned.

Recently, we discovered his growing sense of humor and ability to pick up our underlying messages.

One of those random chats:

Cub: Mommy, you know what’s my favourite thing to do?
Me: Nope, what’s your favourite thing to do?
Cub: Buy a lot of toys!
Me: Oh! Do you know what’s MY favourite thing to do?
Cub: What is it?
Me: Watching you sleep! (which is true!)

Cub grinned and gave me a I-know-where-this-is-leading look and exclaimed, “but Mommy, I don’t want to sleep! I’m not tired!”

One of our bedtime chats:

Cub: Mommy, I’m Super Star. You have to call me Super Star now.
Me: Hmm, okayyyyy. Goodnight, Super MANY Stars! *points to the stars on his PJs*

Cub looked at his PJs and burst into peals of laughter.

Cub: NOOO, I’m Super Star! Call me Super Star!!
Me: Yes, Super-MANY-Star!!

By then, the lil’ dragonlady caught on with the joke and all three of us were laughing our heads off! Bedtime was delayed by about 30 minutes, but this is one of the most precious moments I have with my babies.

LEGO Singapore celebrates SG50

July 26, 2015 in shoutouts

Trust LEGO to come up with some of the best ways to reBUILD your SG50 memories!

Last month, LEGO fans were encouraged to bring to life their fond memories of Singapore by taking part in the LEGO Rebuild Your Memories Competition. 10 winning creations have been selected and are on display from now till 30 July 2015 at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Here are some of them:

Be impressed by the creativity and enjoy the nostalgia!

To further commemorate SG50, LEGO came up with the limited edition Singapore Icons Mini Builds – The Cable Car, Ice Cream Bike, HDB Flat and Dragon Playground, which are OH-SO-CUTE!

The mini builds have been, unfortunately, fully redeemed now. But take heart that you can still take pictures with an 8.5-foot version of the Dragon Playground that was constructed by LEGO Certified Professional, Mr Nicholas Foo.

The cub had contributed to the making of this Singapore icon too!

From now till 30 July, kids (5-12 years) can participate in the LEGO Build and Takeaway at Raffles City Shopping Centre. To qualify for the activity, parent/guardian of the participant has to spend a minimum of $30 in a single receipt at Robinsons Roadshow. Participants can build a creation based on SG50 theme, that is kept within dimensions 7cm (length) by 3cm (width) by 4cm (height). More terms & conditions here.

Singing in the Rain

July 16, 2015 in reviews

So, Good Morning
Good Morning
Sun beams will soon smile through
Good Morning
Good Morning to you and you and you and you
Good Morning
Good Morning
We’ve gabbed the whole night through
Good Morning
Good Morning to you

Yep, I’m still reveling in yesterday’s fun night out with the Husb catching ‘Singing in the Rain’ and singing this to myself all morning. Absolutely love how hilarious and romantic the musical is at the same time!

Presenter and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, James Cundall is right – “this show is a winner because it sends people out of the theatre in the happiest of moods!” The Husb and I were pretty knackered by the time we knocked off from a day’s work but our footsteps were obviously much lighter when we left the theatre. Amazing what a brilliant performance can do for the mind!

(My) Reasons you do NOT want to miss ‘Singing in the Rain’:

1. The set up on stage
The set up for the different scenes is beautiful! Always marveled by how the stage production people can cleverly manipulate the props and furniture to create a perfect scene.

2. The costumes

So in love with the dresses and the vest look on men in the 1920s! How I wish for cool weather in our sunny island so that we get to dress up like that.

3. The music
How can one not love the songs? Especially the catchy ones like Good Morning and Moses Supposes! I actually like them better than Singing in the Rain!

Bethany Dickson who plays Kathy Selden, has such a mesmerizing voice. Almost as if the birds and forest animals are going to come running towards her whenever she sings. *think Disney*

And you CAN’T forget Lina Lamont’s amazing voice – catch the musical to listen for yourself!

4. The dancing (of course!)

Spectacular choreography plus lots of water splashing. Can’t get any more fun than that! Get seats in the first few rows if you want to join in the water play! Don’t worry, ponchos are provided. 😉

‘Singing in the Rain’ runs from 9 to 26 July 2015 at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands
Tuesday – Friday 8:00pm; Saturday: 2:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday: 1:00pm and 6.30pm

Booking can be made through internet at www.BASEentertainmentasia.com, www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing or www.sistic.com.sg; or by phone (MBS Box Office) at +65 6688 8826.

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