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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finally moved into our place.

Over the weekend, we finally moved.

And even though it's moving to a new apartment in Singapore, it still takes quite abit to adjust !!! Some misadventures (like a broken washing machine on the 3rd day of staying in) and perpetually unpacking and cleaning.  It's tiring.

I am still unpacking by the way.  Not done yet.  I don't know where all my time goes to.  But there are tonnes of work to be done and admin as well.  which i usually don't have time to do till after Kaira sleeps. 

Wish i am working.  Then someone else can deal with all these things at home :D Nah.  It has to be ME. heehee.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Another milestone!

This week, kaira surprised me by reading a chapter story book independently. 

I wasn't expecting that. I half expected to be the one reading the story out to her ;p 

But she actually read appx 100 pages by herself with some adult help when she encountered difficult words.

Now she is asking me to get more books from the same series - Geronimo Stilton adventures! Hope I can find them at the library.

Glad she enjoys reading! I remember that I loved Enid blyton's books when I was in primary school ... Wonder if she will like them too..... For now it's geronimo Stilton!! :)


Monday, November 04, 2013

Bali in August 2013

I realise i did not post anything about out trip to Bali in August?!?! What happened??? ;p

Rice planting experience
I hope i will have the time to blog about it later on.... but here's a picture that is the highlight of our trip -- rice planting experience for the kids (and adults!).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang

This is a very beautiful hotel -- full of old world charm - and the common areas are very well maintained.  Loved the colonial feel and one does feel being transported back in time when one steps in here.

As it is UNLIKELY that we will have the chance to stay in Raffles Hotel (another grand dame!) in Singapore -- i thought why not then the EO hotel in Penang -- it will be cheaper! heehee.  One of the things on my bucket list is to take a journey on the Eastern Oriental Express (fr singapore to bangkok) -- but that is EXPENSIVE and i am not sure if kaira will appreciate such a journey at her age.  Actually it will be better if it's only the 2 of us taking the EO express!! haha! but i think kaira, at this moment, expects to be part of our travel plans ;p

So, let's just experience the EO Hotel in Penang first! (note : don't think they are under the same mgt! Juz that they both exude old world charm to me ;p) 

Unfortunately for the hotel they were let down by its service.  For the price one pays for a night's stay and the expectations that has been set, it was disappointing to say the least.  If the experience is just about the rooms and ambience, it is very very very lovely.  But, the hotel staff are the soul of the hotel and here it is lacking.  Hopefully they will improve over time.  I shall not rattle on here about our not so great experience (i have already provided that on tripadvisor), and will instead just focus on sharing with you the lovely property.  You can decide for yourself whether you want to experience it too.  You may be luckier than us, in that service will be better! :)





Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Penang - 4D3N getaway

We went to Penang for a short 4D3N getaway - primarily motivated becos of the tigerair promotion. Air tickets were on promotion and cost us S$350+ for 3 of us all in. Quite cheap I tot so we decided at the last minute to just go!

The last time I was in Penang I was in my teens!!! Yes, that long ago! Haha! So I guess it is about time that I visit it! 

What's good in Penang?? 

Well, food definitely came to mind! And it did not disappoint. The street art by various artists was also very good and made exploring the town more interesting!

The colonial architecture and peranakan culture and history adds colors to the place. 

People go tere for the beach as well.

But other than these 3, I generally find Penang quite boring ;p I don't think I will be visiting any time soon and it doesn't seem like a place that I will want to visit again and again ;p heehee

The highlight of our trip was probably the hotel we stayed in!!! Hahaha. 

Will write more the next time! :)


Friday, October 25, 2013

Renovation almost complete!

After almost 5 months... Finally the  renovation is coming to an end ... There is only 1 outstanding item (and as with all ironies... This is something that I tot was straightforward and should not need a lot of attention... And I was wrong! This is the one thing that I had to ask to redo and it is the last item to be completed! Guess what it is??? The door to our bath!! -- Something as basic as a door I really didn't think should cause us any  grief ... But o well!! Instead of thinking about what went wrong with door, i think I should thank God that all the other major items went rather smoothly... So what if there is this 'little' problem with the door? Yes! Thankful that it was a rather smooth process although it did take a little long ;p 

We have moved one batch  of boxes in - mostly kitchen stuff as these were stored unopened in my parents' place! We will have a second move later part of November so that we will be ready to stay in by year end and start the new year there :))

A glimpse of our renovated apartment:
Looking forward to having a place to call our own again! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Travels

When we returned to Singapore, we kind of agreed that our holidays shall be Asia-focused, more specifically south east Asia .... Realising that we have not seen much of our neighbours ;p 

Plus it would be a cheaper option and less travelling time will be required (although nothing beats getting into a car and driving to our holiday destination!! ) 

So, our progress so far has been on track ,,, KL, Bali, central vietnam, staycation on Sentosa and of course HKG.  

There are quite a few other places that I wanna go and I hope that we will be able to visit a couple of them sometime next year... Sabah, Yogyakarta, chiang mai and chiang rai, siem reap....

Let's see how things go! :) 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Pulau Ubin

Guess what.... I don't remember having been to Ubin in my 41 years!! 😝 

This island, which means granite island, is a 10 minute bum boat ride from mainland Singapore and is a rustic place which seems to have stood still in time even as the rest of Singapore progresses. 


But I guess we need a place like this ... To get away and be back to nature. 

 We had a 2 hour guided walk tour of the village -- to expose the kids to kampong aka village life.  Interesting to catch a glimpse of the old world....and a reminder how much of a city gal i am! 😜

O and Thank God for good weather !! was worried it will be wet again today!

Kaira has asked to go back ! So I think I will be visiting it again ..... Heehee

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Driving and Me

-- we don't go together :P  LOLOLOL.

it's been almost a year since i got my driving licence!! and whilst i can say that i am better @ driving now, i still don't like it very much.

in fact, if i have a choice, i avoid driving :D i would rather take a bus/train or taxi!!! they are so much more convenient and less stressful :P hahahahaha ..... i can see some people shaking their heads -_-

actually driving itself is not so bad -- but for me -- there this psychological barrier -- the "thought" of driving -- puts me off!!! don't ask me why.  i always say there is a reason why i didn't learn to drive earlier -- i am just not the driver type ;p

if not for the fact that there is a possibility of moving overseas again and i may need a driving licence especially if we relocate to Europe or US, i seriously wouldn't even consider the idea of learning to drive!

 anyway, i haven't progressed very far in the 1 year since i got my driving licence.  i try to drive at least once a week -- to practice (if you know what i mean.....) so that my licence do not become a white elephant here (in fact, i think in singapore, one doesn't really need to drive.  the public transport network has served me well on MOST occasions and when i am tired or prefer a shorter ride i will take the taxi. while i think the public transport system can be improved, i think it is quite OK .... anyway, i digress.

so i was saying i haven't progressed very far -- that is the truth -- i have become like some that i used "laugh" at -- those who only drive to certain destinations :P  i always wonder why ??? NOW i understand..... LOLOLOLOLOL .... i prefer to drive to destinations that i am familiar with ...the route and parking ..... *tsk tsk* 

what can i do to "improve" and help myself i wonder??????

i wonder if another year helps??? :D



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What kind of a parent do I want to be?

I guess since i had kaira this is a question that is always on my mind.  Of course I have sought to enlighten myself and broaden my perspective through books and of course prayers and seeking the Lord.

But many a times I find myself falling short. I find myself doing things that I know I should not. Saying things that hurt. And sometimes just trying to assert myself as a parent. 

Whilst I try my best, I find myself really needing te grace of God to help me. It is a humbling experience. I thank God for the many moments that I have had the opportunity to self-reflect and examine my heart and actions.  Although very often i fall back into old habits and undesirable behavior :(

I find myself modelling negative behaviour - most of the time subconsciously - based on my own experience as a child. Although there are times i catch myself and remind myself to choose NOT to be ......... Because its exactly the kind of behaviour I don't want to see in myself as a parent. 

I wished I had better role models. Maybe then I will not struggle so much. But this is my lot and I do not have a choice so I can only ask for the Lord's grace and wisdom. And  I should not put the blame on others - after all I am able to make a conscious choice and I have responsibility for that. 

Recently, due to some struggles and challenges I m going, I have been self reflecting once again. And one of the topics that have been on my mind is - what kind fo parent I don't want to be. I felt that I needed such markers. Of course I also know what kind of parent I WANT to be... But sometimes having negative markers put things in perspective. 

So here are some points to remind myself in future :

1) I do not want to be the kind of parent who impose on their children just so to be considerate to others. I have seen this before and totally cannot comprehend why people do such things??

2) I do not want to be a 'bo-chap' a parent. Not sure how to explain it in simple English ... Whilst its important to nurture independent kids, kids who can fend for themselves and who exercises good judgement, I  not going to let it to be an excuse to be less involved in my child's live. Even if I have to make sacrifices, I want to be tere for my child, especially during the growing years.  Of course i do not wish to be over protective of my child either. i guess there is a fine line to thread.  But i definitely do not want to be a parent who takes pride that their "live" didn't change with the arrival of kids and that the kids have to be the one who adjust to the parents lifestyle.   I don't see the logic in this as a child is a child with different needs at different stages and as the parent (who decided to bring the child to life) entrusted with nurturing the child -- adjustments/sacrifices in some form will be required.  When the child is ready to be an adult, i am sure he/she will embrace the adult lifestyle ... parents not needed (!) LOL.  So i'd rather treasure the phases where i can be more involved in my child's life, for there will come a time when i need to let go............

3) I don't want to be the kind parent who do not have the courage to face up to challenges, mistakes or other trying situations.  Who may choose to ignore the situation in the hope that it will pass and they do not have to address it.  Nor do i want to be like those who keep quiet, assuming that that's the way to keep peace in the family --  who condone and accept undesirable habits/behaviour in some -- to make up for some lack -- such that others may feel unjustified.  i remember entertaining this thought  -- that maybe it will be better for me if i am not so sensible, bright, "mature" .... then maybe it will be acceptable for me to exhibit immature behaviour and get away with it.  Why always be the sensible one??? especially when people do not appreciate it or reciprocate it, taking it for granted.

So these are 3 major negative markers i am grappling with now.  I hope there won't be more.  But if there is, i will blog about them so that i can remind myself in future.............





Friday, August 02, 2013

Another Milestone! ~~ Primary 1 registration

Beginning July is the "registration" season for those who are going to Primary 1 in 2014 - and that means little kaira!

Knowing how the system works and knowing the "stress" some parents go through to get their kids into their preferred school, i have always held the notion that i want it to be as non-event as possible.

So yes, i am not one who will parent volunteer to increase my chances, or join grassroots or change church membership or what have you.  even buying my apartment, we did not buy our apartment with the intention of "Targeting' the primary school nearby. Serious.  even if u don't believe it ;p heehee  i honestly felt that if i did any of these, i am simply perpetuating a system i don't believe in.

My plan was simple -- since hubbie's primary school is still around and we will have priority as alumnus in the registration process, simply register there and not be perturbed by all the balloting nonsense and what nots that accompany the later phases.

Grand plan failed. All because MGS is located within 1km of our apartment which we bought last year.

i didn't think of sending kaira there because i know MGS is  popular school and it has a large alumni network which means that chances of balloting when we register in the later phase will be VERY HIGH. in fact, there has been balloting for those who stay within 1km of the school for the last few years....   there's also Pei Hwa - another popular school - and that school being co-ed - chances of getting in are even slimmer. I honestly didn't want to go through the stress of balloting and not knowing if we have a place.

however, as the registration day approached .... it seems so silly that there's a school (within 5-10 min walking distance) at our place that we don't want to apply for and yet send kaira to one that takes about 25mins by car (one way)!! even the alumni school admin told me that likely there will be no school bus service as our address is a little far from the school.

what a struggle.  i prayed very hard for God's wisdom and grace.  Seriously, what is a the right choice?


but to give up a "guaranteed" place in a rather good school to take a chance??? what if we get balloted out?  then we will be "stranded".

so, like what some traders say, take care of the downside and let the upside take care of itself!

i started thinking and researching on the options available to us should we decide to apply for MGS and yet do not get a place.  The end result is quite bleak - as there will be few schools left with vacancies.... but thank God there is a school not too far from our place that may have vacancies after P2C i.e. P2CS.  and so it boiled down to whether i was OK with kaira attending Bukit Timah Primary school which is 1-2km from our place.  From the past few years results, it seemed like the likelihood of us getting a place in P2CS (after P2C) is quite high -- so i can stop worrying about being posted a far away school and so forth.

I told hubbie -- let's apply for MGS only if we are able to acept that as the back-up. otherwise, we will just stick to his alumni. And so i went on the net trying to get information about the school and we drove to the school during its open house.  it looked quite promising honestly.  so much so i as toying with the idea that maybe instead of MGS (if it was too hot), maybe we can directly apply at BTPS since it's nearer than hubbie's school!!!

anywayz, back to the prayer closet.  O, how difficult it is to hear the Lord when our desires/emotions are all mixed in!! so difficult to calm our hearts, to surrender and be at peace.

as the registration day approaches, and after much prayers, i guess both of us felt that the "choice" was MGS.   and since we have prayed and asked for God's peace, we decided that instead of waiting till the last day of registration (which was 1 Aug), we will just go on the first day 30th July. call it exercising our faith or what have you.  i guess the point was since we have come to the decision and we are prepared to face the consequences, there is no need to delay and be swayed by circumstances.

so on the 29th Jul i went to withdraw Kaira from hubbie's alumni.  no turning back now !!! it was one of those moments for me -- am i doing the right thing????

Thank God the next day (which is the first day of P2C registration) when we went to MGS for registration, i felt alot more at peace.  in fact the numbers of the first and second day of registration was quite OK not too overwhelming but i did to try prep myself mentally to accept that there could be a frenzy on the last day and yup, it turned out that the afternoon of the last day was where alot of action took place.

i didn't think of going down to the school to check out the registration proceedings - so the last 2 hours in the afternoon was quite nail-biting as a friend messaged that he understood that there are MANY people in MGS doing last minute registrations. GULP.

surfed the online forum -- but there wasn't any "live" reporting too. so the last update i had was at 340pm : 31 singapore citizens within 1 km applying for 38 vacancies.  I couldn't wait for 430pm to come!!!!  to find out our fate !

geeez, so much for trying to keep myself out of the system -- so sucked into it!!!! aaaargh, total dislike!!

i managed to get through to the school @ 440pm.  when the school staff told me over the phone that there were 38 Singapore Citizens applying for 38 vacancies -- i couldn't believe it!!! so i asked him if it's confirmed that there's no balloting? and he said YES! ***PHEW** what a great relief!!! after i put down the phone i actually had a moment of doubt -- did he get the figures correct?  was there a mistake?   this was the result i want and yet i find it difficult to accept!!! hahahaha !! finally my daughter has a place in the school of our choice which is near our home!! Yipppppeeeee !!! but i kept wondering if he told me the correct stats??!?!! hahahah.

so now, i wait patiently for the official documentation to arrive :)

and once again, i want to say Thank you Lord Jesus for your grace and mercy! 






Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Photobook

Just got my FIRST photobook and i am so pleased with it!!! (despite the not so cheap price ;p)

i have thought of compiling a photobook before but for some reason or other, i never got down to doing it .... and since i have time on my hands now - i revisited the idea a few weeks back and i am very happy that i went ahead with it :)

whilst i know i wanted a photobook, i wasn't sure which service provider to turn to.  a search on the internet turned up a few names and i tried to find feedback/reviews on these. 

i narrowed it down to 2 : just1book and photobook.com.sg .... but in the end, i did my first photobook with p;log!! which wasn't even in my shortlist in the first place. why?  all because they had a coupon in the NDP 2013 coupon booklet.  i was flipping through the booklet and saw the $20 coupon so decided that OK, p;log shall be it!!

Geeee, all the research beforehand for nothing?!?! LOLOL.

anywayz, i placed my order last friday and the book was delivered to me on Tuesday! and i am very pleased with it!! i am now inspired to compile more photobooks .... heehee.

and because this experience has been very smooth and painless, i am thinking of trying out another service provider! i shall let u know how that turns out when i am done with that!!






Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thank God for Clear Blue Skies!

Beautiful Singapore

And haze free air :)

Really must learn to count our blessings.  And with the recent haze experience, its makes me treasure clear blue skies and haze free air even more!!!

If you have not been to singapore, come visit this Garden City soon :))  If you had visited before, come again soon too!! :))

Monday, July 08, 2013

Renovation Learning - Toilet Bowls

I am such an ignoramus -- i didn't even realise there are 2 different types of toilet bowls.  I must have been walking around with my eyes closed.

1 - the wall-hung (in other words suspended) kind  -- typically used in hotels, malls and other establishments
2 - the floor connected type - the kind that i have been using since i was young -_-

only when my fren mentioned about the difference............ i had an epiphany!!! LOLOLOLOL. toilet bowls are toilet bowls you know -- i just use them i don't scrutinise them ....

so it opened my eyes and i began to notice the different toilet bowls wherever i went :D

if like me you are walking around your eyes closed -- please encourage me by sharing your moment of epiphany! hehehehe.

just for fun, here's a picture of the wall hung bowl. 

WALL HUNG Toilet HET
this toilet bowl picture i got from http://www.cheviotproducts.com/bathroom-toilets/wall-hung-toilet-het

and here is a picture of a typical toilet bowl we often see :
Bathroom Toilets, Petitell Round Front Toilet Bowl / Tank - White



i got this picture from : http://www.weismanhomeoutlets.com/pitetell-round-front-toilet-bowl-white/pedestal-sinks-toilets/

The things we learn every day!!! Even if its as mundane as about toilet bowls!!!!

 Choosing toilet bowls was really not easy. i had initially thought that it was about which brand.  then i realise i had to decide which type first! before the brand -_-

in the end, we got our thrones from Ideal Bathroom  - they were having a sale for selected toilet seats. i had initially chosen TOTO ones but they were more expensive so i settled for Ideal. Keeping fingers crossed!!



Monday, July 01, 2013

honestly ..... not very clever...

sometimes i wish i am not so transparent/real/honest - whatever term that one may like to use. 

i do think i have quite a high level of self awareness - but it ends there. i don't "tamper" with what i know. the brighter/more streetsmart folks will probably "adjust" their behaviour -- for a "more positive" outcome.

I am, unfortunately, an extremely open book.  one key reason i will not go far in the corporate world.

when someone says something that is superfluous, unconstructive, "empty" -- my "displeasure" shows -- it is written all over my face and my eyes especially!!! i can't stop them from rolling!! LOLOLOLOLOL/

corporate world aside -- even in my personal world - i can be too honest.

i know i should just nod my head, smile, make some equally superfluous comment when someone says something that i would like to roll my eyes at.  but i can't bring myself to do it.  i am so irritated by myself at times.  i have told myself to try harder. and i will!! i must practice not to be so literal and real. seriously. being a hypocrite sometimes goes a long way to keeping peace!!!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Budding Baker

Kaira has been bugging me to bring her for baking class for quite a while ..... i think she misses those times in netherlands when we were pottering around in the kitchen.

If there is one thing i am looking forward to in our new place -- is the OVEN!!  i miss baking too!!

since i have time and it's school holidays now (which means more of such classes are available) decided to bring her for a cupcake session today and she was really thrilled.

I think the next time, we will should be baking in our own kitchen :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hazy Singapore

the haze this week is terrible. i have forgotten what it means to be "plagued" by the haze....  until now.
apparently the worst was in 1997 (or was it 1998) when the PSI (pollutant standard index was over 200).  On bad days, it's between 100-150 now .... bad enough. :(

and sadly, we have no "control" over the haze as the cause of it is forest fires in Indonesia.....


If the weather is cool, i can imagine that it is fog.  unfortunately it is hot and humid!!!

Friday, June 07, 2013

WIP - our renovation journey

We bought our place in early 2012  (around 15-year old), a few months after we returned to SG. We bought it with tenancy and when the tenant moved out in Dec, our intention was to start renovation then.  That was when i started asking around for renovation contractor contacts.

However, we had a friend who needed to a place for short-term stay, so we delayed our plans.... but finally, we are starting on this exciting journey (although with much trepidation! since we have heard alot about renovation woes).

Pray that it will be as smooth as it can be! with minimal hiccups!!

to help us in this journey, i have set up the following :
1) renovation budget worksheet
2) renovation worklist
3) photo record -
4) pinterest board - for ideas 

hope things will proceed as planned and that i will not overlook anything!!

Will probably blog a few posts about some of the stuff i have learnt in this journey! e.g. toilet bowls!!! hahahaha.  anyway, this is my FIRST time renovating a place -- so alot to learn!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What did we do during our 4 days in Bangkok?

Honestly, nothing much as my main purpose was for Kaira to spend time with her cousin :) 

But we did make a visit to Asiatique, the night market. The environment is clean and the whole set up very well thought through with lots of dining options.  We took the boat ride there ( quite easy, take the BTS train to Saphan Taksin station on the silom line. The boat piers are a short walk from the station). And took the taxi home. 

The night market is clean and comfortable (unlike chatuchak or rather what i remember about chatuchak!) but also expect higher prices ;) there is a price to pay for comfort ....heeehee. There is also a ferris wheel which  the kids enjoyed that. 

On our last day, we had lunch at Baiyoke Sky tower - tallest building in Bangkok/Thailand.  The buffet lunch was OK but the views were excellent!!  Years back, I remember that we went to the bar at Banyan Tree for the night view - but I think Baiyoke offers something more as it has a revolving ride on the top floor giving me a 360 view of the city.  Only pity is that the restaurant and it's waiting/Bar areas are not well maintained. Felt a little run down. Plus there were many tourist groups so expect a crowded time during lunch! The buffet spread is ok, not overly impressive. 

However, it was again an enjoyable time for the kids as there was a magician and clown to entertain the young at heart and lots of photo opportunity with tuk-tuk, 'hot air balloon', 'garden' etc. 


Baiyoke is near the Platinum fashion mall and there is a local market just across it. In fact, cross the road from the hotel is the local market, walk through it and viola, one is at Platinum FashionMall.  So one can easily make it a one day outing to this area. I didn't - we came on separate days ;)

happy Shopping!!

Bangkok

We were in Bangkok last week.  Seems like a long time ago that I last visited BKK! Think it was in 2005/2006 for biz. I remember in the mid 90s till early 2000s w hubbie and I liked to visit bangkok.  It was cheaper than Singapore - so eating and shopping was a pleasure! Haha.  But after some time, prices became to creep up and it was not as 'value for money' a destination for us any more . Heehee.

Anyway, I made a rather last minute decision to bring Kaira to BKK to visit my brother and family.  So it was a short trip and coincided with hubbie's biz trip to US - so it was a mum and daughter bonding trip :)) my first time going on a holiday with Kaira without papa! I wasn't so worried about being able to cope more that I may not be used to not having hubbie around during a holiday! Heehee.

True enough, I missed him when  I am packing the luggage and when I was shopping alone!!! LOL.

Kaira had a great time with her cousin and I can see that she was truly enjoying herself and she was happy staying home to play with Samuel. 

While Bangkok has changed quite a bit since I was last there, yet some areas have not changed - one example being the taxis. I absolutely dislike having to check if they would take a metered fare and it gets frustrating that there are many taxis around yet we can't get one.  Plus the traffic jams are terrible!n That's why i try to always take the bts trains ...... However sometimes one cannot help it. Wish this will improve .... O well, juz glad that we are but temporary visitors :) and the train.... If one thinks the Singapore mrt is crowded during peak hour, one hasn't seen the Bangkok trains during peak hours! Granted the population is bigger but whatever it is the crowds are overwhelming..... Can faint! 

Whatever, as long as my brother and family are there, I suppose we will be visiting again some time in the future!




Friday, May 10, 2013

Vietnam Central - Hue


Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam -- so for the ignorant me -- it was a good place to learn about the history of Vietnam.  I honestly didn't know that Chinese influence is so great in Vietnam that it has its own version of the forbidden city ;p See how ignorant i am.

On hindsight, we could have stayed 1 night in Hue-- that would give us more time to explore this city rich in history. But for a 1 day trip i think we covered quite a lot of it, starting from the forbidden city to the pagoda to the "french quarters" (so to speak, as there are many french-inspired colonial buildings there) to the local Dong Ba market -- we caught a glimpse of this ancient capital.

Lunch was good, in one of the garden homes -- it was on my "to visit" list, so i was glad it was included as part of our private tour. 

All in an enjoyable city and outing.  My usual complaint applies -- very hot!! ;)





Sunday, May 05, 2013

Central Vietnam - My Son

I was initially undecided whether I want to visit My Son as i have read that it is not as 'magnificent' as Angkor Wat as most of it were destroyed. But it is actually older than Angkor Wat and I figured it will not be so soon that I can visit Angkor Wat (after this trip, maybe that's no longer true as I am very encouraged by this trip and am keen to explore visiting it next year :p) -- so might as well visit it and see if kaira likes it.

As we didn't want to wake up too early (taking into consideration Kaira's need to have enough sleep) we set off at 8 am - personally if u can make it earlier, that will be better cos it's really very very hot with very little shade.

It was nevertheless an enjoyable outing and with the guide, provided us with greater understanding of Vietnam's history.

No regrets taking the day trip :)) despite having to bear with the glaring sun and heat. Remember to bring insect mosquito, hat, sunglasses and sunblock!!




Saturday, May 04, 2013

Central Vietnam - Hoi An

We visited Hoi An a total of 3 times this trip - so you can imagine that it must be quite a nice place :) plus as its convenient and near to get here from our resort, we visit here for our meals too (in addition to da nang city).

While I don't deny that it's quaint and well preserved and very easy for tourists, somehow by the third visit I felt that it's a little too touristy - maybe I didn't go beyond the main town area which is full of shops selling souvenirs or fabric and tailors.

In fact We did most of our shopping here, buying paintings, pouches, fans, tableware and what nots :p whilst I read somewhere that there isn't much room to 'haggle' on the prices - I felt that shops near the 'Viet Town Garden and Restaurant' (where most of the resort bus shuttles stop) have more room for negotiation - so do some homework before parting with your hard earned $$! :)

Enjoy Hoi An!







Friday, May 03, 2013

Excited!!!

This central Vietnam trip has been so enjoyable that it has gotten me and hubby quite excited about travelling in the region!

For some reason there was initially reservations and I wasn't very motivated to even plan for our holidays.

But now!! Haha we were discussing about the possibility of visiting siem reap with kaira. And juz last night the possibility of Chiang Mai came up as his colleague is moving back home. And when I did some research online Chiang mai seems like such a lovely destination I can't wait to visit it! Haha!

But it will have to wait as our next family hotel is scheduled for August when we will join our friends in club med Bali. I m looking forward to that!! Almost 20yrs ago was my last visit to club med Bali and with the same fren. :)) this time our daughters can have a blast together! Can't wait for August to come! In the meantime I will be being kaira to Bkk for a short trip to visit my brother while hubby is away on biz trip.

This year is turning out to be an exciting year for travelling! :))

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Central Vietnam - our 6D5N itinerary

While there are direct flights between Da Nang and Singapore, they are not daily and some flights have a stopover in siem reap.

I wasn't keen on a stopover and wanted direct flights. Initially I wanted to be in Danang for 4 days, max 5 but because of the flight schedule, I ended up having to spend to stay for 5 nights. I was initially concern that it will be abit too long a trip but It turned really great!!

Day 1 - We arrived in the resort 4+ in the afternoon and after checking in etc, we were at the beach by 5pm. We decided to stay in and explored the resort and having dinner in one of the hotel restaurants by the beach

Day 2 - we took the hotel shuttle bus to Hoi An at 10am and returned to the resort ard 330pm, leaving Kaira enough time to go to the beach and pool before we headed into

Day 3 - we booked a private day tour with the hotel to My Son which included Hoi An too. Leaving at 8 am we got back ard 4pm. Again a visit to the pool is a must for Kaira.

Day 4 - we left hotel at 8am for Hue and didn't return till bt 7pm. Long long day.

Day 5 - we were glad to just relax by the pool. Kaira went to camp Hyatt for half a day and after time in the pool we got ready to go to Hoi An at 5pm for our dinner. Took the hotel shuttle there and cabbed back.

Day 6 - as our flight was in the evening we had or rather I had ambitious plans to visit the Cham museum marble mountain in the am or early afternoon. However we decided not to be so hurried and instead spent the day flyin life, enjoying the beach and pool before we leaving at 4pm. Felt totally rested after 2 relaxing days and I am glad we had these 2 days to recover after 2 rather long days of moving about.

Actually there is more to do and see but we decided we will 'keep' them for the next trip ;) heehee. Yes it is likely that we will be back to Central Vietnam, hopefully not too long from now!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Vietnam Central - Scenic drive from Da Nang to Hue

The drive to Hue from our resort was about 3hr 15mins. Considering that we have done longer drives in Europe before we thought this should be a pretty smooth ride and indeed it was! Kaira enjoyed the very scenic drive via Hai Van pass which was essentially a mountain drive. The pit stop provided lovely views :))

After that we drove past idyllic villages and had a glimpse of local life after which Kaira fell asleep and it was a very peaceful and quiet drive all the way into Hue. Definitely worth the time!






Vietnamese Cuisine

Honestly, I am not a great fan of vietnamese cuisine :p

Prior to my trip, my knowledge of vietnamese food = Beef Pho, deep fried spring rolls and rice paper wraps They were pleasant enough and i don't mind having them ocassionally :)

This trip, i had the chance to try more of the local cuisine and i can tell you that vietnamese food do not rank very high on my "must eat" list except maybe for their salads -- those that i tried during this trip were awesome -- light and refreshing!! 


The reason i don't quite like vietnamese food i think is because of the herbs/raw vegetables that are added into their dishes -- some of them taste too strong for my liking ;p

Whatever it is, here are some food pictures to share! Look at the salads -- don't they look awesome ?



Seafood Pomelo Salad


My Quang (Noodles)


Hue specialty - forgot its name!


Beef salad with Young Banana & Starfruit


Hoi An specialty - White Rose Dumpling

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why choose Central Vietnam as a holiday destination with a child?

To be honest Vietnam wasn't on my list of 'preferred' destination for a holiday. As Kaira loves the beach, I was looking for a beach resort and had wanted a 'tried n tested' destination as I wanted it to be a stress free holiday for everyone!! I didn't want to worry about whether there is suitable food for her; whether she will be bored ( and therefore whiny) etc etc

So initially I was considering either Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia) or Hua Hin (Thailand). But along the way I heard a couple of good reviews about Da Nang in Vietnam and out of curiosity googled for more information.

The information found on the web was quite promising and the surrounding areas sounded interesting too! I could use Da Nang as a base and have day trips to Hoi An and Hue. This would be interesting for us adults as we have never toured Vietnam before (although hubby has been to hcmc for biz previously) :) it meant too that we need not change hotels, making it more hassle free for us. Remember I wanted a stress free holiday!??! Heehee! So all in it was a very tempting option!

But!! I was still worried whether it will be child friendly and whether Kaira will take well to the place/food. So I did quite a bit of reading on trip advisor and other online resource. And was very encouraged that accomodation prices seemed fairly reasonable (certainly not cheap but not too pricey either) even for so called 'luxury resorts' - now I was ready to be tempted by Da Nang! Haha!

And I am very happy with my decision to visit Da Nang and the choice of Hyatt Regency as our accomodation. This was one of the more relaxing holidays we have ever had (although the day trips can be tiring) but the resort was such a restful place that we were recharged and energised each time we get back!

Here's why
1) the resort had a private beach ( actually all the resorts on this stretch has that) and the expansive fine sandy beach was very inviting and hardly crowded. It was connected to the kids pool area by a few steps making it very convenient and seamless!

2) the resort is quite big and there are at least 3 pools so it was fun exploring the place although Kaira's clear favourite was the children's pool which was also a sand pool making it doubly fun for the kids,

3) Hyatt is a family resort so expect lots of kids and that makes it fun for Kaira as she has company!

4) I chose the club room and on hindsight it was worth every additional $ tat I paid! As there isn't any amenities nearby/outside the resort - this meant that we had to take a cab to the city for our meals. So for water/snacks, best to stock up on some especially for kids. with the club lounge access it took away some of the 'stress' cos on top of the complimentary breakfast there was complimentary drinks (with chips/cake) throughout the day and evening cocktails too. So on days when we had a full lunch we just had the evenings snacks dinner :)) in fact Kaira was very happy with the evening cocktail time as she could nibble away and there was a wide selection which changes daily. That way too, I don't feel like I m hostage to te high restaurant prices! Having said that, I must say the food in the hotel restaurants were excellent! I think we tried all the 3 main restaurants!

In conclusion , I would recommend Da Nang for a family holiday! Really nice and relaxing although it can get very hot sometimes but o well, we can't have it all can we? ;)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hello Central Vietnam!

@ Hoi An Central Vietnam
When we moved back to singapore from Netherlands, I decided that our holidays will be asia-centric with a focus on South East Asia.

Last year we went to Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).  And the first trip this year is to Central Vietnam.

I was initially a little hesitant about visiting vietnam -- i wasn't sure if it was Kaira-friendly (heehee) .... etc etc.

But i am so grateful that everything turned out well and we had a good and relaxing  time ! the Kid was happy, the parents were happy too.

It was however very hot and sunny but thankfully not too humid and it was breezy too.  It was a good experience and i am encouraged by the "success" of this trip with Kaira and even thinking of bringing her to Siem Reap in the near future.  :))

Will post more pictures from our trip and write more. I have not updated my blog for so long but since i have stopped working (since 15 Apr), i think i will have more time to write ! :) stay turned!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Birthday party!

Kaira attended her classmate's birthday celebration today and had a blast!!!

We never did organise a party for her birthday n I m considering going so this year.... After all 'last' year that they will be classmates this year n they will go their separate ways come 2014.

Time to think about what are the options for birthday parties then! ;)


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy lunar new year!

Flowers and plants that are a common sight during Chinese new year here in Singapore.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Y do I torture myself??

I wonder when I will ever feel at 'ease' driving and also driving solo!?!??

I have driven solo a few times since dad got an auto car a few weeks ago. If it was still the old manual car I don't think I would even entertain the thot of driving solo!! Haha !! That's how I dread Driving solo.

But I get really stressed by the driving ... Especially in the expressway ... My palms get sweaty!!!! I honestly hardly ever feel so stressed.

I try to practice by driving the routes with hubbie before I go alone ... Including parking etc ... But like today ... There was an unexpected happening - te car park was closed for some reason and u had to find alternative..... Stress level notched up again!!! Aiyo seriously .... Y did I bother learning to drive?? Heehee.

But knowing myself - I will not 'avoid' driving juz becos I dun like it ... In fact I will most probably 'force' myself to practice more and push myself to do it. Sadist or what ??!??!! Haizzz.

Thank God everything went smoothly today!! Hope it gets better soon....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary!

10th Jan 2013 -- 15 years as a team.

the initial years as we forge the way ahead together were tough. Thank God those days are behind us. the going can still get a lil' rough after 15 years, but it's much better. heehee.




Hubbie likes to remind me that we are a "Team" -- especially when i am giving him a hard time ;p he will remind me that the "enemy" is not within!! hahaha.

Admittedly, i can be a "challenging" team member but i do remind myself (whenever i am rational!!) to be as "supportive" a team member as possible -- and to put the team's interest first so that the team can flourish :)  Of course, i'd like to see myself as a able helper too -- the able assistant that helps leader to succeed and one that the leader cannot do without.

I may not do it as well as i intend to, but i will try. :)

Actions speak louder than words. But i suppose what is written is a commitment, my commitment to the journey ahead of us.  And i am reminded of the verbal commitment which I made 15 years ago.

 "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God."

希望一起走过的15年岁月见证了我所许下的承诺.

Happy 15th Anniversary Dear !!