Monday, 31 August 2009

>>> Good Bye Singapore!<<<

So it's our last day in Singapore today! Our flight happens to be in the wee hrs on the 1st day of September hence, we have to be at the airport tonite. Can't believe our stay here is almost over. Time has passed way too quickly.

I certainly had a good break, from household chores, cooking and looking after the boys. My parents helped out a lot and I thanked them from the bottom of my heart. I had a great time here too, meeting up with old friends, and making new ones too. Hubs and I had a lot of couple time together too as we were able to go out together sans the boys (something we can't do easily in the UK).

The last day was spent shopping again, this time for my skin products and meeting a friend. The afternoon was dedicated to packing. Had to swiped a bag from my mom as I ran out of space so in the end, ended up with 7 checked-in luggages and 4 hand-carried ones. I thanked Emirates for increasing the baggage allowance to 30kg per person! Thank goodness for that!

Gonna miss my dad greatly. He thoroughly enjoyed having his grandsons around him and thoroughly pampered them.

Another 11 months of waiting before I come back here again. Will look forward to it. In the meantime, back to routines... TTFN!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

>>> Last Minute Shopping! <<<

The weekend was spent doing last minute shopping (why I always leave it to the last minutes is beyond comprehension but I do!) So hubs and I was rushing about getting food stuff and whatever!

We even found time to look at flats as my bro is thinking of getting one and we tagged along with him to view some flats. So now we have an idea about the housing issue in Singapore. Might explore that option further.

Dad cooked my fav dish, pepper crabs. He's a fab cook and he went out to get 2 huge crabs. The boys had fun playing with them (with supervision) before he killed them for cooking. Crabs have to be killed just before cooking so their fresh is perfect for eating.

The boys having a good look at live crabs.

Pepper crabs. Man, they were finger licking good! It will be a while before I eat this dish again!

Did a bit of packing. I shudder to think how much luggage we are gonna be bringing home....TTFN!

Friday, 28 August 2009

>>> Scrap Buddies! <<<

Went over to Jaz' place today to meet a bunch of Singaporean scrapping buddies. Oh boy, was a great time I had. Firstly, it was lovely to meet up with like-minded gals who share the same passion, scrapbooking but even better when makan (meal) is included and boy did we feast and chat. None of us scrap but we certainly did exercise our gobs a lot more! LOL! What I luv about this hobby is when online friends transcends into real life ones and that's what it should be about! I certainly enjoyed the afternoon with them and look forward to seeing them next year.

My first meeting with most of these scrappers and hopefully not the last!

Glad to finally meet Emeline (middle) as we are both on the Banana Frog team and it's always fab to meet someone you know online. Jaz is the hostess who kindly open her apartment for this meeting. Thanx gal!

Knew Edleen when we were on Asian Dares a while back and again, it was great to meet face to face with someone you work with before!

I've got only 3 more days in Singapore before I leave! Feeling kinda sad that the summer hols are almost over. Back to routine and the chores! Well, at least I did have a good rest for 7 weeks. Feeling kinda refreshed and I think that's important! I have a lot to do to when I return, namely, clear out my excessive, unworn clothes and re-sort my craft room. Hubs has already done his part in clearing his side of the wardrobe so it's my turn now. I need to completely overhaul my craft room as well so will need to tackle that task in the first week of Sept. Wondering if I should even think about the loft??? Nah.... TTFN!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

>>> Sentosa! <<<

My dad persuaded us to visit Sentosa as there has been a lot of changes. So we did. We bought a package ticket which allowed us to visit 3 activities and 1 attraction. Typical, the boys couldn't agree which ones so each chose their own. Thankfully there was only 1 different activity between them so each adult accompanied each child.

We went on the first activity which was Sedway ride. Basically it was an equipment with 2 large wheels. To move it depended upon body movement. After a few tries, we were off. Zac was helped as he found it hard to manoeuvre the equipment. Oliver merely zipped away rather quickly! It was really fun!

Then Zac & I headed to the Merlion where we somehow managed our way to the top of the merlion head and mouth. Zac managed to persuade me to get him a stuff merlion toy. Then all of us visited Images of Singapore, a museum which told the history of Singapore.

We then tried the attraction called Luge. Basically a go-kart like activity with a slight difference. You move the kart using the handle only. Again, Zac couldn't manage it so I sat with him. At the end of it, we took the Skyward up which was basically a ski-cable.

Finally ended up at Siloso Beach where my dad, Zac and I sat down and enjoyed the sea breeze while hubs and Oliver visited their last activity. Later both boys occupied themselves, playing with the sand. Unfortunately we had to rush them home but we promised the boys to return the next day. TTFN!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

>>> Sunday! <<<

Talk about chilling out! Didn't do anything nor go out. Hubs did go out to meet with his friends from Uni. Instead, I spent the day eating! My favourite fruit is now in season so I'm buying and eating it everyday!

This is duku. It has a hard skin and when peeled, the fruit consist of several freshy pulps, some with seeds within. Very sweet but can be sourish at times too.

The mooncake is also in season too so I had to indulge as well. Got a few at Bengawan Solo where they had mooncakes in different varieties such as durian, green tea etc. Normally comes in lotus paste or redbean. Not so keen on the salted egg yolk so usually avoid those with it. I adore the durian mooncake. You can get mooncake in the UK but only the normal ones i.e lotus with yolk and they are costly! Here in Singapore, you do find a lot of unusual ones, even snow-skin kinds. However, not so keen on them

A typical mooncake. (image from net)

Not forgetting durian, the actual fruit itself. Surprisingly, hubs like it as most foreigners can't take the smell let alone taste it! There are various grades of durians, i.e. D24 being the best.

This is how the fruit looks like. (image from net) However, it's usually sold these days in a styrofoam box as it's much easier to carry about as opposed to carrying the fruit as it's thorny and you can't board a public transport with it and certain hotels do ban the fruit (due to the smell I guess). Somehow, in a styrofoam box, the smell is less evident. You can find it in a Chinese supermart in the UK but it's a Thai durian and usually smell-less. Don't really like the taste of it either.

Gonna be busy on the last week here. Got activities plan and stuff to get. Gonna make the most of it as well... TTFN!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

>>> More Great Food! <<<

So we indulged in more great food when I met up with my usual good friends with their spouses. We went to Mellben in Toa Payoh. That place is well-known for its food and usually has large queues if you don't book in advance for a table. We had a large feast consisting of guiness bbq pork ribs, prawns, chicken wings, tofu in claypot, scallop in a yam basket and their famous crab noodle dish. Gosh, the food was really good!

Their well-known crab noodle dish. It was certainly mouthwatering and finger-licking good!

Ex-colleagues and now best of friends. Never fail to seek them out each time I'm here.

The gang!


Friday, 21 August 2009

>>> Tanjong Pinang, Indonesia <<<

(NB: photo intensive page!)

So we got back from Tanjong Pinang, Indonesia today. This place is our yearly pilgrimage each time we visit Singapore. We stayed 4 days, 3 nites at Kelong Trikora. All we did was fish, fish and more fish! I can't say I fished a lot as I did a lot of chilling out. It was just so lovely to be out in the open sea and to feel the sea breeze and hear the waves lapping. Sheer bliss. Also managed to have 2 days of massage session. She certainly soothed the aches in my body!
The stretch of chalets on stilts

The area where we have our meals.

On the opposite side is where individuals rent the space, built their own little chalets and use it as holiday homes.

This stretch allows you to fish on either sides.

The boys had a fabulous time, fishing and catching fish. All the caught fishes were freshly cooked for our meals. Makes a change from eating frozen fish in the UK! Among other creatures caught were sting-rays and a tiny shark fish. We threw them back into the sea. Have to say that this time's catch was a little disappointing. Not a lot of big fishes, a few little ones and lots of patient waiting for them! Still we had a great time and will be back again. Here are some highlights of our trip.

Ollie caught a decent size fish after a few attempts. He was so proud that he contributed to one of our meals.

My dad caught a stingray. One had to be careful with its tail as it can sting you. It's best grilled with chilli. But since we didn't fancy eating it, we threw it back into the sea. In fact, the guys caught quite a few of them throughout the trip.

Hubs caught a little shark but since we don't eat it, we threw it back into the sea.

And so they waited patiently!

The boys did indulge in a bit of crab catching. That bucket held 4 crabs they caught and mistakenly thought they could bring it back home with them. Yeah rite!

Hubs and boys had a little swim outside the kelong. Ollie doing his jump.

Zac doing his jump.

My feeble attempt at fishing. I only enjoyed throwing and reeling it in. Not surprising I didn't catch any!

A family portrait. As usual, can never get the boys to cooperate esp Zac!

On our way to the ferry, we stopped by a salat plantation, a fruit that is native to Indonesia. Also known as snake-skin fruit (dunno why). It's akin to garlic but much larger and sweeter and no smell! Knew never how it was grown so this was an eye-opener. The plant looks quite similar to a palm tree.

Here's a closer view of it. It actually has pine-like needles on the fruit, presumable as a form of protection. Be interesting to know how it is harvested as the fruit on sale is without any needles on them!

We got back in the evening and hubs and I were out again for dinner with friends. Had dinner at Keppel Club and then proceeded to Villa Bali for drinks. The latter was a great place to unwnd. It had a Balinese ambience and no loud band to drown any chats!

My brother's friends and us.

Our stay in Singapore is slowly running out.... another full whole week before we head back to the UK and back to routine. Gonna make the most of the last week! TTFN!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

>>> Sembawang Park <<<

The boys wanted to visit a beach badly so we brought them to Sembawang Park. However, the beach was disappointing... kinda dirty and polluted. I refused to allow the boys to play, let alone swim in the sea. Place was crowded too, with families having bbq. It was a nice atmosphere, shame about the beach though.

It may look ok here but there were black bits floating about.

Moi indulging in homemade ice-cream on bread for a mere $1! Yum! Can't buy ice-cream for that price in the UK!

My eldest having a major sulk that day! Yes, boys do sulk and they do it as well as gals too!

The wee one having a ball in the playground.

Hubs spied a pizza box near a bin and wanted to surprise the boys and order a pizza while we were there. So we called up a pizza store and asked about delivery charges. They wanted us to order at least $80 worth and it would take 1hr and 1/2 to deliver.... gasp! I guess we were wrong to assume there was a pizza store nearby. So we went to Pizza Hut instead, ordered 2 huge pizzas and spent less than that! Perfect end to lovely day! TTFN!

Friday, 14 August 2009

>>> MacRitchie Reservoir! <<<

Brought the boys for a walk to MacRitchie Reservoir. I used to do my cross country runs many, many years ago. It's still popular with runners these days. They have certainly changed the place a great deal.

Map of the area.

Can't seem to get away from these blighters!

Took a long walk along this stretch of path. Thankfully the boys didn't fall in!

Fav activity of the boys... digging for god knows what!

Certainly had a good exercise! It was lovely to re-discover my running haunt in a new light! TTFN!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

>>> Happy Birthday Dad! <<<

It's my dad's 78th birthday today. I'm so glad we get a chance to celebrate it each time we are in Singapore. This year, he received 2 cakes, one from us and another from my brother, both black forest cakes!

Here he is, celebrating with his grandsons!

In the afternoon, we headed towards Hort Park for a walk. We started from Hort Park and walked all the way to Vivo City. Along the way, we were accosted by some monkeys who wanted to share out titbits. Knowing we couldn't feed them, we kept them in our bags but somehow they smelt it and kept following us, much to our annoyance! At one stage, I was really frightened by them.

This one was particularly aggressive! My dad tried to chase him off but he stood firm and snarled at him!

The boys never complained about the distance. They enjoyed the walk as we took it slow and found that it took much shorter than anticipated!

At Henderson Waves. Typical, so hard to get the boys to cooperate for the camera!

The boys at Mount Faber. They were clamouring to ride on the cable car!

We eventually ended up at Vivo City where we had dinner and had a quick peek at the shopping center. Massive place and a lot of UK labels i.e. Zara, Topshop, River Island etc. Didn't bother shopping as it's impossible to do so with kids around! TTFN!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

>>> Lady Gaga! <<<

So hubs arrived today! Lucky chap got upgraded to business class from Dubai to Singapore as someone arrived with the same seat number as his and since he's a Skyward passenger, he was given priority for upgrade!

Before his arrival, he told me about Lady Gaga playing live in concert and got me to book tickets for it. Kinda surprised me as I didn't expect him to be a fan of hers! Anyway, I did and the concert was held at Fort Canning Park, an open-space venue. The wee lady kept us waiting for slightly over an hour before she appeared. But she did give a good performance, having had a few costume changes in-between. Caught her on my compact camera (although I'm sure I would have had better pics with my DSLR but just didn't fancied bringing it along with me).

This was her second last performance, singing Poker Face as a ballad. Her last song was of course Poker Face. Couldn't get good shots as people were constantly sticking their hands up in the air!

Certainly had a great time at her concert. Worth the experience as it has been years since I've been to one! TTFN!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

>>> Another Fun-Filled Day! <<<

What a day! Spent the afternoon scrapping with friends, Clara & Jaz. I think we indulged more in chats than scrap! Well, we did do a bit of cutting and pasting but nothing concrete materalised! Here we are, capturing the moment, in true scrapper style!

In the evening, brought the boys for a swim in the public pool. Decided to join them and had a fun time, splashing water about and enjoying their company. My dad took some photos of us with the compact camera .

For dinner, brought the boys to Ang Mo Kio Town Centre for prata! Yes, I've been here for nearly a month and have not had my prata yet! Initially ordered a plain prata each for them but that wasn't enough. So another round was ordered. Both boys were brave enough to even dip their prata into the curry sauce. Gotta luv them for that... been trying to get them to eat spicy food... they need to, it's their heritage! They are part Peranakan and need to learn how to eat spicy food! This was then followed by Coffee Bean non-coffee ice-blended double chocolate drink... yum yum!

Been counting down the days and we've got nearly 3 more weeks here....sigh! Why do days pass so quickly when you're having fun? TTFN!