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Exercise, Constructive use of mummy time

How much time do you waste a day?

And so I decided to put my time to good use today.

I’ve been rather upset with myself for spending countless hours after the kids sleep, at the iPad. Mostly reading gossip online, or gaming. (And no, thankfully online shopping is not my thing. Maybe not yet.) nothing constructive. And I even justified that by reading articles that encouraged mummies to continue to do so as part of their ME time end of day routine.

I’ve also been rather upset that despite losing quite some weight past few months, I’ve been binging so much that I put back double the pounds. I just couldn’t find the right time, gear, type of exercise for my weak knees, and weather to exercise. Oh yes, you can’t believe how much struggles i have when it comes to exercise. I mean, to many people, it’s lame. But to me, it’s so legit. I hate perspiring in the day and having to shower means wet hair which will take hours to dry, and killing my rebonded hair. (Don’t laugh, I know many of you have this concern too..) my weak knees meant no aerobic type of exercises… I couldn’t manage those squats and lunges I saw in those home-exercise videos, plus I couldn’t bear exercising at home cos you know.. I have neighbors at all directions and I don’t think they like hearing a hippo pounding away on their walls).

After mulling the above two issues, I decided to marry them and solve the problem.

I put on my battle torn Asics, heel rubber all dropped off from the last 3 Macritchie hikes over the past 3 years (record of ONE hike per year…pathetic..) and headed out for my walk-jog-see-snap at 11.15pm today.


I Started out by checking carousel for the iPhone lightning earphones which I only realized I didn’t have them after taking out my 3.5mm jack earphones and trying to locate the jack in my iPhone 7. Ahh.. pathetic again. So, there was a seller just 700m down the road. And I jogged there, paid him a good $20 for USED ear pieces, sterilized it immediately with my alcohol swabs and put on my Spotify. What is a jog without some heavy thumping music to groove you along?!

If you are starting out to jog, let me introduce you two useful apps. First, as mentioned, Spotify. Maybe I’m really techno geek, don’t u dare laugh at me again! I only just discovered Spotify, a wonderful music player that can run in the background, unlike YouTube.


Then, we have runkeeper, an app by Asics. It tracks the map of your run, measures the distance, calories, speed, and frequency of your runs. I liked the calorie part. Very rewarding to see those numbers. I didn’t know I could clock 8km?! (Started the app late)


And lastly, I decided to do a neighborhood scan during my job to satisfy that window shopaholic in me. I checked out the “Chef-in-box food dispensers at blk 302C Anchorvale. Really cool place and I liked that they had eu yang sang! Hahah not bad! Prices are reasonable too! And check out their neat dining area if you choose to dine there. Not bad at all! I didn’t try the food but I think I will Dabao one day to try.

So all those zig zag lines you see on my runkeeper map are really my neighborhood shop scan in action. It’s so woman … shopping, you had me and hello?


By the end of my run, I popped into Ntuc Fairprice at my void deck for that air con to cool down. And did some grocery.

In exchange for 2 hours of sedentary iPad time, I unlocked several achievements:

– spun the most number of pokestops ever (hahaha, bet you didn’t see that coming!)

– bought my iPhone lightning earpods at 11.30pm…

– researched YouTube on unclogging toilet bowl chokes to prepare myself for the battle tomorrow at the workplace toilet bowl

– mapped out some resources in anchorvale area

– burnt 600 calories (I think it’s barely a third of my sinful curry chicken dinner meal…but hey! I won’t ever get that with 2 hours on the iPad on the bed!)

– did grocery shopping for tomorrow

So, what do you think and say about the hours you have wasted? Let’s just hope whichever way we put it to constructive use, we are able to keep up with it.

For now, my hair is about 70% dry, and I’ll go to bed thinking about the new Asics shoes, and Philips $150 hairdryer…and how my legs would ache (or not) in a few hours when I wake up…

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Farms in Singapore for kids

Farms in North-East for kids

The past two days were just so hot. Apparently temperature spiked and we had a little heatwave (nothing compared to the real heatwave in other countries). When I visited a nursery, I realized the blue berry leaves had been burnt. Indeed they are not made out for our weather, but yet we have people trying to acclimatize them.
Anyway, temperature cooled off a little today afternoon. It was finally time to play!

There are many interesting farms in the Seletar area.

We dropped by Sun Pets and Aquarium where little boy tried hard to engage that huge dog ( no joke.. that dog was about twice his height if it stood up, or perhaps even more?!) while I had to keep restraining him. Yea, restrain my child from the dog and not the other way round…


At Sun Pets, they specialize in aquarium fish. They have special fishes like discus and crayfish. It’s also a one stop pet supply shop for other pets like dogs, cats, etc. That said, the only pets sold there were aquarium ones and cats. Not a big area, but it’s air conditioned…. aaahhhh….that’s a huge relief.

If you are into fishes, go to sea view just at the entrance of the whole seletar west farmway. They have far far far (lol their stock is so amazing my eyes couldn’t stop moving) more aquarium supplies compared to sun pets. They do carry fishes too, at a slightly lower cost cos there’s no aircon, and the quality doesn’t appear fantastic. Good for casual aquarist.

Then, there’s always the favorite Animal Resort nearby. Kids get to feed and observe little pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, quails housed in cute farm houses. Then, there’s the aquatic pets like ducks, fishes, geese..

And the exotic ones like crown crane, peacock, marabou stock, cassowary, and horse. It’s a pretty small but neat farm. Lots of fun and learning for little kids or even bigger kids like me!

And of cos, little boy has to have his exercises. Those old skool metal swings, tire swing, monkey bars and obstacle courses just didn’t stop him from flexing his muscles and huge grin!

Animals and farms never fail to bring loads of fun. And wait, did I mention? There’s no cost involved in any of these visits. No entrance fees whatsoever. It’ll be better if you can drive in, as it’s not a really nice walk all the way in due to the gravel road and safety (very narrow roads for cars so it’s pretty dangerous if you have to walk on the road with lots of bends). Just bring lots of water, insect repellant, and some cash for buying feeds for the animals at the animal resort ($2 for 3 types of feeds is really affordable) , or a guppy or two if you fancy.

Hong Kong, Self care for mums

Hong Kong & Shen Zhen 2017

And so my travel adventures begin as I am completely freed from my part time studies. I still have to officially take leave from my full time home based job as a mother.

To celebrate my new found freedom, my home employer said YES, albeit a tad unwilling cos he’s not the kind to leave his family behind and go for a trip on his own.

After countless researching and monitoring of air fares, I decided on HK SZ and booked my flight on scoot. It cost me $200. I factored in additional baggage on my return flight so I could load on those wife biscuits.

A week before the flight, I got really excited. But not becos I had to fly. There was a no.10 typhoon that landed in hk and Macau and caused quite some havoc, particularly for Macau.

As typhoon hako went off, typhoon pakhor came just a few days before I flew. Very exciting indeed. Two days before I flew, the news was still raving about yet another impending typhoon, Mawar. Nobody knew how exciting Mawar was going to be, and that brought about much concern for me. Nonetheless, I went ahead and decided to make the best use of time in hk.

And so it was that I scoured the island for all the Michelin and raved foods, took my first step in china (for more food), and tracked like mad to burn off the loads of food I wolfed. Thankfully, I wasn’t blown away, didn’t run out of food or money, survived in a one star hotel with a really dingy environment, and found my way around rathe successfully.

I had a really good time, and I miss the darlings loads (read as quite some) and I’m ready to go back for some diaper changing and lung exercise (aka screaming at the kids).

What I did:

– stayed at 3D dragon inn hk $220 for four nights

Dingy as the lift and corridors looked… they look exactly like where drug stuff take place in your typical hk movies

Hotel reception… looks like Halloween..
My saving grace in that my room still looks liveable if I choose to ignore what’s outside..

Came with free toiletries that I didn’t dare to use boo Hoo 
I had a corner room with a magic window! Look at that contrasting view of the outside! Looking at that made me feel like I’m living in 5-star….

– visited these restaurants : yat lok for roast goose, kam wah for bo Luo you, xu liu Shan for mango sago, hung kee for porridge, mammy pancake for Michelin egg waffles, lung Jin for street food like curried fish balls and siew mai, had stinky tofu and gong cha, macdonalds, Australian milk company, Yee shun dairy,
Mac

Hung lee for congee on the last day where I had to give my bulging tummy a break

Mammy pancake.. crisp yet soft and vanilla taste was great!

This Chee Cheong fun and siew mai was da bomb at He Yi Tai… worth the queue!

Lots of these skewered stuff everywhere which is affordable and yummy

Yee shun famous for milk pudding and pork chop bun

Australia dairy company famous for milk pudding

Lung Jin street food … all 3 for I think 50hkd. Cheap. But be warned..

Those siew mais and fish balls are nothing but flour… haha

Pizza Hut is 必胜客! holy smoke… hahah

More mac.. Mac is my Reliable partner. Look at this macaroni breakfast lol

Never ever buy 7-12 prepacked food even if you are dying of hunger.. this pork Choo rice and spaghetti taste I cannot forget forever

Cos it’s so yucky..

Highly raved Jenny biscuits

Yat lok for roasted pork and goose! Yummy!!!

Goh Zai noodles which was Shown in tv show in Singapore. Yummy and I think I tasted tons of lard…

Some Curry and mixed rice for our first lunch at Kimberley street

– visited wet market to get some dried noodles, hang heng and wing wah for traditional wife pastry

Best ever dried noodles I ever eaten.. this got wiped out in 2 days. Now I can’t settle for normal standard anymore!! How u tell me!!


– zero shopping done.

As you can see it’s really all about the food. I put on 5 kg…time for diet.

Some tips for travelers:

Getting around:

HK is well connected by bus, MTR (their subway or mrt) and taxi.

From airport to anywhere, the cheapest option is the Cityflyer bus. Check out their routes and fares via google. I paid hkd 66 (S$13) for two-way from airport to Kowloon.

The only MTR from airport to town is a special MTR known as airport express. One-way costs about S$8-12 via klook.com

Once in town (Kowloon or Hong Kong island, or other islands), the MTR is your best friend. Not only it is well connected, it has convenient exits to the places that you want to go.

Wifi

Most of us can’t live without this for fb, google, gps, watsapp, Skype..

Good news is there’s McDonald’s all around, and you can check into their free wifi almost everywhere! Many malls, and even public areas also offer their free wifi access. Or simply pick up a data sim anywhere in hk telco shops that is compatible with the wifi router if you had one for about hkd50 (S$8+) for 5-7 days.


If you want guaranteed wifi upon reaching hk, Grab a portable wifi router for about S$7/day especially if you are sharing among many people. I’ve learnt that this might be the best option for tech-unsavvy people like me! Hahaha…I had brought my wifi router but failed to use my SIM card from M1 to route or surf.

Street food IS cheap food

Food is available everywhere, but cheap food is only available on the streets. Akin to our old Chang kee, you can get stinky tofu, curry fish balls, siew mais for as cheap as hkd10-15 (S$2-4). McDonald’s will set you back hkd40 (S$7-8). Otherwise, any other typical meal goes for about hkd100 on average. Pretty expensive I will say. Since I was on a budget mission this trip, I relied heavily on street food and mac.

What do Singaporeans do or get cheaply in Hong Kong?

Shopping:

Sneakers: I’m not really into fashion and all, but I think people do go hk to get sneakers (they have a whole street at FA Yuen street dedicated to adidas, nike, etc).

Electronics: hk is tax free. So yea, and apple iPad goes for about S$200 lesser than sgd. just make sure u buy stuff with international warranty.


Food

Roast goose: simply cos geese are banned in Singapore. I wonder how foie grass still exists in sg…hmmmm

Jenny biscuits: i mean.. some of us get jeered for being scammed to buy cookies in a teddy bear tin. But seriously, these cookies are worth a try. Extremely crunchy, buttery and yummy. They go for about hkd100 a tin. An outlet happens to be within mirador mansion where I stayed. Almost everyone comes out with at least 10 tins each. For consumption or resale I’m not sure. They have many outlets so do check them out when you are there

Wife biscuits: there are so many versions and brands of this popular pastry. I prefer the ones from hang heung in a traditional paper box which is more buttery. Most people succumb to wing wah which sells properly packed ones which are available at the airport too.


A regular restaurant that serves decent food for about hkd40-50 is the 大家乐 sort of like our wan chai cafe in Singapore. There’s lots of variety in their menu and taste is not bad.


Sightseeing

Really, sightseeing is for young kids, old folks, and newbies. There’s evergreen Disneyland, Ocean Park, the Peak, etc. i did nothing of those cos really, I was all out for food and street life this round. Heck, I even attended service on Sunday. So much for street life.

But since I was faced with typhoon no.3 MaWa typhoon, I told myself I had to experience it for once, since sg never gets such stuff. So, off to Victoria harbor star ferry terminal we went. No.3 felt like a heavy shower in sg, sans lightning and thunder. Not loud and heavy enough compared to our scary thunderstorms in sg complete with lightning streaks and thunders.


But there must be a reason the little sparrows came in for shelter.


So yes we’ve officially come to the end of this post .. stay tuned to my shenzhen food story after this!

Night fun in Singapore

Singapore Night Festival 2017

Night festival typically occurs in August in Singapore.

It is a showcase of arts and culture joined by local and international artistes.

This year, I finally got to experience the night Festival as it was the day I finished my two-year course and I badly needed to get in touch with reality after losing my sanity for two years.

I brought big boy and grandma along, the two who would be more game to brave the mad crowd and humid weather.

Honestly, whoever decided to hold such an event at night is a genius. There was breeze all through the night, and we felt so relaxed and cool to want to visit most of the sites.

The festival spans a huge area from Singapore Art Museum to Singapore Management University, to the areas around Raffles city and the areas near Middle Road.

I did some homework and researched on the items I wanted to see. But goodness, it was hard to locate those places. Yes, they do put up a bit big lighted ball outside those places, but you had to source for the place if it was a huge building. For example, big boy wanted to play some kampong games, and we spent about 15 minutes locating the shop within Waterloo centre. So, NO to the lack of directions. The exact locations of the exhibits or performances are not detailed anywhere sadly in their beautiful map and schedule. At the National Design Centre, there were 3 ongoing performances. But we had no idea where to go for what once in the building.

Nonetheless, whichever place we ended up at, we got to view some performances. At SMU, the central stage area, we managed to grab some bites at the food stalls put up and watched a funny wrestling show. Not my type of arts or culture. They had four or five men and a lady put up a mock wrestling fight, slamming each other about in public. I don’t know where the art of culture bit is. We left off after finishing my sio bak (yea u read right.. they sold roasted pork belly here). Much to my astonishment, I think there were some blur families who probably didn’t know that that was not all to it for the night festival and I could see the mummies trying to conceal their shock from exposing their really young kids (like 3-6) to what I felt was rather violent and awkwardly unbefitting performance. Actually, when I looked around, I didn’t think anyone knew how to appreciate, but people were just too kind and didn’t want to appear rude, or rather they wanted to act like they knew that was art and culture. Sorry, not my cup of tea. Haha. I wouldn’t mind a sumo performance but this…. seriously? Mocked wrestling??

Not a good start to the night. But the breeze saved it.

Next performance was drums at 8Q at SAM. Sounded good, but I couldn’t see a thing cos of the crowd. We moved on to Singapore Arts Museum and saw some light and sound installation. Not too bad considering they are colorful and interactive. You put your hands over the black sensors and record your voice. When all voices play at the same time, it sounds like an interesting chorus.

Then to a light and music show where this artiste (I think from jap) tried to play music with light waves. Interesting, but damn loud….my ears hurt…

We moved to “when I was four” at Waterloo centre. And this was the highlight of my day, except for getting lost for about 15 minutes in a signless building to look for the shop selling old school stuff. We had some fun retro games which all 3 of us really enjoyed. Worth the hassle! Big boy played many games and won some toys. He also got some toys from this toy machine.

I had planned to continue at philatelic museum for some magic and juggling show but big boy and grandma were too tired and hungry. So our last stop was at National Design Centre. We had Prata and left for home.

To sum up my experience, I would say it’s overall just good for a relaxing night out. Don’t plan too much perhaps, cos u end up walking all about and tiring yourself out. Just choose one or two places to focus on. Do some research so u save some time. One of the exhibits at National Design centre had an hour’s queue. Too much for people with kids.

Verdict? 5/10. Nothing too fancy that you must go for. But like I mentioned, if you don’t mind some urban breeze and night walk, it’s a good option.

Kelong

Kelong dining (near Palau Ubin)

I came across some articles written about Kelong dining near Ubin and made a reservation for little boy's birthday.

To get there, we had to take a chartered bum boat from Changi Point a Ferry Terminal.

It was the first such Kelong dining and visit for all 13 of us. Imagine getting a boat ride, checking out what a Kelong really looks like, enjoying sea breeze, eating on swaying platforms, chasing after kids who were fearlessly dashing about those planks which were like obstacle courses for the adults.


Toilet was the most rustic…

We had a little fun trying our hands at fishing with some lines and hooks we brought along. Of cos we didn't catch anything haha..

The words I have for this experience will be rustic, authentic, and fun. It's not for those who easily get sea sick though.

For our guts to try this, we were pleasantly rewarded with some beautifully home cooked delicacies. Nothing near restaurant standard, but definitely tasted like the dishes our Grandma used to cook. Every seafood has such a sweet taste of the sea.


TherE were more but I was too busy chasing the kids to take any. Didn't do justice to those sweet prawns that came much later.

Everyone agreed it was an out of the ordinary experience. Way before the trip, everyone was rather excited and we had to contain the excitement. By the end of the trip, we still thought it was a wonderful get together. But if you would to ask me, I really worried about the kids dropping into a shark infested sea. Sigh…

Goodbye Kelong..see you again!