Monthly Archives: September 2015

Celebrations of Chrysanthemums at Garden by the Bay

Last Saturday, we had a bit of a respite from the hazy weather and spent a lovely time celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by the Bay. In fact, it’s the perfect place to hang out these days. If the PSI goes up suddenly, you can seek refuge in the Flower Dome and admire more than 10,000 pristine chrysanthemums in the latest floral display ‘Celebration of Chrysanthemums’.

Celebration of Chrysanthemums

Celebration of Chrysanthemums

beautiful blooms

beautiful blooms

There are more than 40 varieties of chrysanthemums on display, including magnificent spider chrysanthemums specially brought into Singapore for the very first time. The kids were especially fond of the small round blooms that reminded them of fishballs! Adding to the charming feel of a traditional Chinese garden are bonsai trees that are more than 100 years old and regal maple trees.

a traditional moon gate

a traditional moon gate

how many types can you see?

how many types can you see?

standing in front of a tea house

standing in front of a tea house

their favourite chrysanthemums

their favourite chrysanthemums

With the Mid-Autumn Festival Children’s Promotion, kids aged 12 and below who show up with a lantern at the ticketing counter between 5 and 9 pm from now until 4 October can redeem a free ticket to enter the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest on the same day. Make it a family outing and bring the grandparents too, because local senior citizens aged 60 and above can enter the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest for free while accompanying caretakers enjoy 50% off tickets. This SG50 Seniors Special is valid until 31 December.

kids with a lantern get free entry!

kids with a lantern get free entry!

Anya took this picture of me with her lantern

Anya took this picture of me with her lantern

If the PSI drops to a healthy level, then check out Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay and marvel at the sight of 17 different lantern sets comprising 300 magnificent lanterns. There are lanterns shaped like plants and animals, the zodiac, dinosaurs, dragon boats, and even a majestic sea palace. The lanterns are handmade by master craftsmen from Sichuan, China and will be on display until 4 October.

dinosaurs roaming freely

dinosaurs roaming freely

Year of the Goat

Year of the Goat

Chinese traditions

Chinese traditions and celebrations

dragon boat

dragon boat

sea palace

sea palace

Go on an empty stomach because there’s lots of yummy food for sale at the Food Street. We had Taiwan sausage, fried chicken, muah chee, spiral potato on a stick, and fried Oreo, all washed down with refreshing sugarcane juice.

food street

food street

potato on a stick

potato on a stick

Just a little tip for taking photos with the lanterns. If you’re not using the right type of flash, the background tends to look too bright and doesn’t bring out the warm glow of the lanterns. If you’re not using a flash at all, you’ll appear as a dark shadow in contrast with the brightness of the lantern. We make it a point to pose with our Zodiac lantern every year and we usually try to stand as close to the lantern as possible, turning our face and body towards the lantern so that we are lit up by the light of the lantern as well!

Ox

Ox

Rabbit

Rabbit

Snake

Snake

Every evening from 7 pm, there will be cultural performances at Supertree Grove put up by local music and cultural arts groups such as the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre, Nam Hwa Opera, Dicapella Dizi Ensemble, Malay dance group Azpirasi, and Indian classical dance group Apsaras Arts. The performance schedule is available here. There will even be a fireworks display at Supertree Grove on 3 October at 8pm. Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay provides both indoor and outdoor fun for the family, regardless of the air quality, so check it out while you can!


Celebration of Chrysanthemums
Date: 24 September to 10 November
Time: 9 am to 9 pm
Details: Admission charges to Flower Dome apply, with special promotions for children and local senior citizens (read above)

Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay
Date: 25 September to 4 October
Time: 7 pm to 11 pm
Details: Free entry

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Saturday Night Fever

I’ve got a fever! I’m hot! I can’t be stopped! And it’s a… Saturday Night Fever!! Didn’t know what to expect from this production based on the highly popular movie of the same name, but we were highly entertained and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The songs have been stuck in my head since and I’m listening to them on repeat.

The Saturday Night Fever movie came out before I was born but I love The Bee Gees and all the songs in the show are so familiar to me. Featuring catchy tunes from the film such as ‘Stayin’ Alive’, ‘Night Fever’, ‘More Than A Woman’, ‘Tragedy’, ‘Disco Inferno’, ‘How Deep is Your Love’, and ‘You Should Be Dancing’, Saturday Night Fever is set in 1976 and follows the story of Tony Manero, a wannabe disco king from a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn. Stuck in a dead-end job, he lives for Saturday night when he rules the dance floor a local discotheque. When Tony meets Stephanie Mangano, an office worker trying to make it in Manhattan, they both train together for a dance competition, and Tony discovers that Stephanie is more than a woman to him.

From start to finish, the fancy footwork and powerful singing kept me moving to the music in my seat. I bet many in the audience wanted to get up on their feet to sing and dance along with the cast! It was especially impressive that they could sing and hit all the high notes while moving so energetically. I thought the sets were very cleverly designed and made excellent use of the space in how they managed to transform a disco to Tony’s home, to a (very convincing) bridge, and everything else in between in a matter of seconds.

Tony Manero

Tony Manero

hanging out with his gang

hanging out with his gang

burning up the dance floor

burning up the dance floor

Staying Alive!

Stayin’ Alive!

with Stephanie Mangano

with Stephanie Mangano

happy ending?

happy ending?

Saturday Night Fever is a must-watch for the the passionate singing, expressive dancing, charismatic actors, and the sizzling chemistry between the leads Brendan Rubendall (as Tony Manero) and Jenna Rubaii (as Stephanie Mangano) who are perfectly cast in their roles. Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, catch the fever while you can!

TICKETING AND SHOW INFORMATION

Season: Fri, 25 Sep – Sun, 4 Oct 2015
Venue: Sands Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
PERFORMANCE TIMES: Tue to Fri 8pm; Sat: 2pm and 8pm; Sun: 1pm and 6pm
TICKET PRICE: From $95
BY PHONE: +65 6688 8826
INTERNET: 
www.BASEentertainmentasia.com, www.MarinaBaySands.com or www.sistic.com.sg
IN PERSON AT: Marina Bay Sands Box Offices (Museum, Theatres, SkyPark, Retail Mall and Hotel Tower 1 Lobby). For more information please log onto – www.MarinaBaySands.com

Disclaimer: We received two complimentary tickets to watch this performance. All opinions are my own. All photos used are from Base Entertainment and ATEG.

Paddy Hills

So the other day we were looking for a place to have breakfast before heading to Children’s Centre for Creativity at Gillman Barracks and a friend of mine suggested Paddy Hills at South Buona Vista Rd. The address sounded really familiar but we couldn’t figure out why until we arrived at our destination – it’s where our favourite duck rice place used to be!

I like that they open at a decent time on weekends because so many cafes only open at 10 or 11 am these days. The place gets lots of natural light and the food is very photogenic and Instagram-able. The menu is interesting, the coffee is good, and the hot chocolate is awesome. They have a good number of high chairs for babies/ kids as well as children plates and cutlery.

However, they are quite expensive. The kids had 3 Little Pillows ($22) and it was pancakes with berry soup, yuzu sorbet, and goodness knows what else. It was so fancy that Adrian remarked that it reminded him of a Balinese spa. We also had Hash Hash ($24) and the beef shank tasted good but wasn’t particularly filling. Adrian wanted his usual hearty big breakfast but there wasn’t anything like that on the menu.

The staff could have had a bit more initiative. I walked in with three kids (Adrian was parking) and there were only a couple of tables occupied at that time. They saw me coming in but didn’t get me a table so I dragged two tables together by myself while carrying the baby. They also didn’t offer us children’s cutlery until we asked if they had any. Since my kids just need boring old pancakes with maple syrup, Adrian wants his Big Breakfast, and I’m after Eggs Ben, we probably won’t be going back there for breakfast again. Still open to trying lunch or dinner there though!

fooling around while waiting for food

fooling around while waiting for food

hot chocolate

hot chocolate

Hash Hash

Hash Hash

3 Little Pillows

3 Little Pillows

secret message that appears midway

secret message that appears midway

murdering the pancakes

murdering the pancakes

great light in the cafe

great light in the cafe

posing outside

posing outside


Paddy Hills
38 South Buona Vista Rd
6479 0800
contact@paddyhills.com.sg
Weekday 10.30 am – 5 pm; Weekend 9 am – 5 pm; Dinner 6 – 9.30 pm daily

Imperial Ice Stars – Sleeping Beauty on Ice

Given enough room, I could probably skate a couple of rounds around a rink without falling down on my face. But that would be the extent of my limited ice-skating abilities. The Imperial Ice Stars are on the absolute opposite end of the scale and watching them in action in Sleeping Beauty on Ice was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I was entranced from beginning to end.

The mesmerising production features a 18-strong cast of Olympic, World, European and National Championship level skaters, with choreography by the award-winning Tony Mercer, widely regarded as the world’s leading creator of theatre on ice. The performers moved with such grace and ease even when attempting the most complicated manoeuvres and flourishes that we simply could not take our eyes off them for even an instance.

Set to the grand and familiar music of Tchaikovsky, Sleeping Beauty on Ice tells the classic fairytale love story through sublime world class skating, breathtaking high speed lifts and throws, awe-inspiring aerial acrobatics and pyrotechnics. Not a single word was uttered during the performance and yet every emotion could be felt palpably and every nuance understood. Anya was able to follow the story-line easily and was keep entertained throughout the 2½ hours performance

the king and queen

the king and queen

good versus evil

good versus evil

nm

Sleeping Beauty under the effects of a spell

jhj

very impressive fire effects

bn

floating effortlessly 

jh

Sleeping Beauty and her prince

hj

I have no words!

hj

happily ever after!

The Imperial Ice Stars in Sleeping Beauty is a spectacular performance that will entranced all ages. I simply adored the bit at the end when all the performers have taken their bow and start showing off to the oohs and ahhs of the audience. Don’t miss this show!


TICKETING AND SHOW INFORMATION

Season: 24-27 September 2015
Venue:  Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands
PERFORMANCE TIMES: Fri 7.30pm; Sat: 1:30pm and 7:30pm; Sun: 1:30pm and 6.30pm
TICKET PRICE: From $75
INTERNET: www.BASEentertainmentasia.com, www.MarinaBaySands.com or www.sistic.com.sg
BY PHONE: +65 6688 8826
IN PERSON AT: Marina Bay Sands Box Offices (Museum, Theatres, SkyPark, Retail Mall and Hotel Tower 1 Lobby)

Disclaimer: We received two complimentary tickets to watch this performance. All opinions are my own. All photos used are from Base Entertainment and The Imperial Ice Stars.

Playeum Children’s Centre for Creativity

I’m getting pretty sick of the haze but since we can’t do much about it, here’s another indoor activity for the public holiday and weekend. We checked out The Art of Speed at the brand new Children’s Centre for Creativity by Playeum at Gillman Barracks and the kids had a blast! Details on location, opening hours and admission charges are right at the end of the post.

look for the pink elephant

look for the pink elephant

Near the entrance is Vroom!, a section suitable for toddlers. I tried to get David to hang around within that space so I could chill a little and he spent some time there but was eventually more interested in the rest of the activities. It’s a small but interesting area for the younger kids with blocks, wooden vehicles, cushioned ramps, and a peg board of objects of different shapes, sizes, and textures to explore.

toddler area

Vroom!

lots of different sounds and textures to explore

lots of different sounds and textures to see, touch and hear

Anya and Adam headed for The Dark Space for some Shadow Play. They experimented with how the shadows of the shapes shifted and changed as they pulled on a rope with a light source attached to it. They then put on headlamps and walked around the space to create their own moving shadows.

exploring shadows

exploring light and shadow

shadow play

shadow play at The Dark Space

The main attraction for all three kids was Create for Speed. Several race tracks were laid out in a row and the children manipulated the tracks around cardboard tubes and over ramps and wooden stools to create a race track with unique curves and loops before testing the track with little toy cars. But the kids really just wanted to build their own LEGO cars and fling them down the communal ramp to see which car would make it down the ramp and over the gap in one piece!

create for speed

Create for Speed

having a go

having a go

building LEGO cars

building LEGO cars

trying to get cars over the gap in the ramp

trying to get cars over the gap in the ramp

Finally, the Play Maker Space allows kids (and adults) to use their imagination to make their own vehicle out of an assortment of recycled materials. We’re not talking about the boring stuff we hoard at home in the form of toilet rolls and random plastic containers! There are also cardboard tubes of varying thickness and length, wooden sticks, plastic washers, different types of wires and tapes, etc.

The older ones worked on building a ramp for marbles on the peg board wall while David and I tested vehicles on a ramp made from a plastic sheet. We found one made from Yakult bottles and plastic washers that worked very well and he played happily with that for some time.

play maker space

play maker space

trying out a toy he found lying around

trying out a toy he found lying around

the older ones building a track for marbles

the older ones building a track for marbles

The Children’s Centre for Creativity encourages children to play and to create based on their imagination and provides them with some of the tools to do so. To be perfectly honest, it’s not an indoor playground where you can dump your kids while you hide in a corner and fiddle with your phone. Your kids will want you to play with them and to look at their clever creations or even build something big and amazing together and you’ll enjoy being engaged in their play. In fact, you may even get a bit competitive when it comes to building the best LEGO car that will make it down the ramp and across the gap without breaking apart.


Children’s Centre for Creativity
Blk 47, Malan Road
Gillman Barracks #01-23
Singapore 109444
6262 0750
share@playeum.com

Opening hours:
Tue to Sun, 10 am – 6 pm

Admission charges:
Child (aged 1–12): $20
Accompanying adult: Free
Additional accompanying adult: $10

AIR+ Smart Mask Review

The haze is back and ‘Smoke Gets in My Eyes’ keeps playing in my head. The PSI has gotten better the last couple of days but the PM 2.5 is still at an unhealthy level. When the haze started getting really bad last week, every one was rushing to buy N95 masks and the masks were flying off the shelves! We were really regretting not stocking up the last time the haze struck.

Fortunately, we were given some AIR+ Smart Mask to review. The Smart Mask is the first mask that is ergonomically designed with three mask sizes, nose cushions, and adjustable headstraps to achieve a close fit for protection and comfort. They really are a lot more comfortable to wear than the other brands available on the market, especially when you attach the AIR+ micro ventilator to the mask.

With the AIR+ attached, you get enhanced protection with the quick removal of heat, moisture and carbon dioxide and can experience greater breathability and cooler airflow when wearing the mask over an extended period of time. This is particularly important for children who may resist wearing a mask because of discomfort.

3 different sizes

3 different sizes

L, M, S

L, M, S

The AIR+ micro ventilator gives the AIR+ Smart Mask an edge over the other masks available out there. It is light-weight and fits onto any size of the Smart Mask. The AIR+ is powered by a built-in rechargeable lithium-polymer battery and charging is done via USB or power adaptor. With each charge, the AIR+ can be used for 2 hours and the average shelf life of the AIR+ is up to 1000 battery hours (or can be used 500 times on a 2 hour/ use basis).

On its own, the Smart Mask offers wearers adequate protection against airborne contaminants. But the AIR+ is highly recommended for children, as it removes accumulated carbon dioxide that may result in physiological impact such as giddiness or headache.

the system

the system

why AIR+ Smart Mask is better

why AIR+ Smart Mask is better

The Small, Medium, and Large sizes are based on digital scans and tests performed on Asian facial profiles. The Smart Mask Small size is suitable for a 7 year-old child with a typical Asian facial profile.

To determine the right mask size to purchase, you can use the measurement gauge found on the product packaging to match the distance from the eye to the bottom of the chin. Anya is an S, while I fit an M and the husband, an L.

finding the right size

finding the right size

AIR+ Smart Mask is available at Watsons, Guardian and Unity stores island-wide. It makes sense to stock up on some for every one in the family because we know the haze will inevitably be back to terrorise us again.

 

Exploring Kranji Countryside

It’s the September holidays so we decided to explore Kranji Countryside with the kids! Our first stop was Hay Dairies where we watched the goats being milked, walked around the farm, and then drank some goat’s milk on the spot. The goats are milked before 10.30 am every morning so it’s best to drop by between 9 am and 10.30 am.

The kids didn’t mind the smell all that much and were quite fascinated with the milking process. They have seen cows being milked by hand when we were in Taiwan last year and even had a go at milking, but this was their first time seeing a mechanical process of milking.

watching the milking

watching the milking

leaving the milking area

leaving the milking area

walking around

walking around

what's up, kid?

what’s up, kid?

enjoying some goat's milk

enjoying some goat’s milk

the kids

the kids

If you have less than 20 people in your group, you can visit the farm anytime during the operating hours without prior booking and enjoy a free & easy tour. Groups of 20 or more will be charged an entrance fee that includes an educational tour package.

Hay Dairies
Contact: 6792 0931
Email: order@haydairies.com.sg
Address: 3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4 Singapore 718859
Operating Hours: 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Tues)


Next up was Jurong Frog Farm. We fed some frogs and took a good look at the frogs in all their various stages from tadpoles to adults. The frogs there are really well-fed! I love the colourful murals that add to the charm of the place and the kids had a good time feeding the frogs.

Jurong Frog Farm

Jurong Frog Farm

feeding the frogs

feeding the frogs

so fat!

so fat!

looking for my prince

looking for my prince

checking out the tadpoles

checking out the tadpoles

pretending to be tadpoles and frogs

pretending to be tadpoles and frogs

You can buy frog meat, frog legs, crocodile meat, hashima, fish, and even frog-themed souvenirs like raincoats and hairbands from the Royal Frog Shop located on the premises.

Jurong Frog Farm
Contact: 6791 7229
Email: events@jurongfrogfarm.com.sg
Address: 51 (Plot 56) Lim Chu Kang Lane 6 Singapore 718864
Operation Hours: 9 am – 5.30 pm (Sat, Sun & PH; closed on Mon; Tue – Fri by appointment)


After feeding frogs, we needed to feed ourselves and we headed to Poison Ivy bistro at Bollywood Veggies for lunch. The food there is pretty good and prices are reasonable. It was the Teacher’s Day weekend and the fabulous people at Poison Ivy had prepared special gifts for teachers who dine there and that was a pleasant surprise for me.

Bollywood Veggies

Bollywood Veggies

Warrior's Platter

Warrior’s Platter

plotting to steal bananas

plotting to steal bananas

a painful tree to climb!

a painful tree to climb!

lookout point

lookout point

family photo at Bollywood Veggies

family photo at Bollywood Veggies

After lunch, we took a walk around the place and admired the various fruits and vegetables being grown there. It was rather warm by then so it didn’t take long before the kids started whining about the heat and the walking. We decided to head back home, but not before buying a lime plant for me to feed to my Common Lime caterpillars. All in all, it was a successful and enjoyable jaunt around Kranji Countryside!

Bollywood Veggies
Contact: 6898 5001
Email: enquiries@bollywoodveggies.com
Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road Singapore 719026
Operation Hours: 9.30 am – 6.30 pm, Wed – Fri; 8 am – 6.30 pm, Sat, Sun & PH (closed on Mon & Tue, except public holidays)


Kranji Countryside is a lovely place to visit and is very different from the rest of Singapore. If you don’t drive, there’s a shuttle bus service that runs daily. The bus fare is $3 per head for a round trip. You will need to retain your ticket to hop on and off if you are planning to visit several farms using the bus within a day.

If you want to see more than just farms, you can consider doing a self-guided Heritage Trail of the area. The trail covers 14 historical and agricultural trail markers including Kranji War Memorial, World War II First Landing Site, and the farms mentioned above.