Friday, 28 August 2015

Merlion Park and More~~~

Show and Tell.  I am sure most parents with children in schools will know what that is.  But, today, I am not teaching you how to ace one.  Instead, I am sharing about how one show and tell preparation led to a couple of hours of fun for the family.

D had a show and tell and the theme was about "Many Stories… One Singapore".  The children were asked to present one significant part of the history by visiting and showing a photo of historical places, museums, heritage trails or historical figures that helped shape Singapore's future.  We were given a few examples.  One of them was the Merlion and D chose to talk about it.

To be frank, if not for this Show and Tell, I do not know when I will be there.  Can you imagine the last time I went to the Merlion Park was at least 10 years ago when I had an overseas visitor?  What about you? 


Crowded with foreigners and tourists, we felt like we were one too!  Taking photographs, reading the origins of the Merlion Park and explaining to the little ones.

"The Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion's head and the body of a fish.  The lion head symbolizes the "Lion City".  According to Sejarah Malayu (Malay Annals) written in the 15th century, Prince Sang Nila Utama of the Srivijaya Empire renamed the island Singapura or "Lion City", after spotting a lion here.  The body of a fish symbolizes the ancient Temasek or 'Sea Town', which was Singapore's early name."

Must take a welfie with the iconic Merlion, right?
There is also a baby Merlion that does not sprout water and you will not get wet.  The surrounding area near the original Merlion is pretty wet so be careful when you are near it.


We decided to take a little "adventure" since it was a Sunday.  From the Merlion, we walked to the Fullerton Waterboat House (1) and realized that it housed the 100th Starbucks Store.  


(2) Walking towards The Fullerton Hotel and around it, we saw a few sculptures near Cavenagh Bridge such as that of the children jumping into the Singapore River.

A hot day with some ice-cream to cool down.  Enjoying a cheap thrill - ice-cream from the mobile ice-cream vendors.  It is now more expensive at $1.20 but it has all that familiar ice-cream flavors we ate since young - chocolate, attap seed, corn - in a cup, cone or between a slice of bread.


Glad that it was a Sunday with no crowd.  No working executives and people jostling around.  The boys had such a fun time on the swings at the open spaces near Chevron House (3).  There are 3 swings in total and some photo-taking opportunities.  Some benches and tables are available but one could always sit by the surrounding steps.

Happiness 
Touching moments
Crossing the bridge near Chevron House / The Arcade, we were greeted by The Fullerton Bay Hotel.  With no crowd (Sunday yea…), there are some children scooting around.

(4) As we walked along to the way back to One Fullerton, we spotted a place with an awesome view for photo-taking.  Would have been much better if the sky was clear.

Presenting to you, 1 of the 10 Modified Social Benches created by Danish artist, Jeppe Hein.  You may find the other 9 around the area and have fun taking photos.  


I am the Queen… Ha ha ha
The next time there is a Show and Tell, we tell ourselves to embrace it.  Who knows what adventure it will bring.  Till then!

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

{Media Invite} Jewels in the Tale

Intrigued by the dragon on the brochure, the boys were very enthusiastic to watch Jewels in the Tale.   Although the title does not sound like any usual theatre plays they have watched (read The Gingerbread Man), they were looking forward to watch it because they enjoy theatre plays, the stories told, the music played, the songs sung and the use of the different props.


Devised and performed by just four performers, Jewels in the Tale by I Theatre is a production featuring a selection of folk tales.  Folk tales from the region - stories you may have read about, stories you may have heard about.

Photo Credit : I Theatre
Using masks and puppetry, entertaining theatre play and music, a total of eight stories were presented.

Photo Credit : I Theatre

Mat Jenin and the Coconuts from Malaysia
The Hermit and Two Words from Philippines
The Crane's Gratitude from Japan
Si Kabayan from Indonesia
Half a Loaf from Korea
The Princess Who Liked Cats from Singapore
Tenali Raman and the Three Thieves from South India
The Four Dragons from China

From the dramatic Mat Jenin and the Coconuts to the touching The Crane's Gratitude, all stories highlight interesting morals and questions.  Questions that even I, as an adult, ponder.  

Photo Credit : I Theatre
Remember to pass on the stories and pass on the morals as the play ends on a high note with The Four Dragons.  What better way than to discover some of this region's colorful heritage of folk tales in a fun form.

Photo Credit : I Theatre

Yes, I Theatre does not cease to amaze us each time.




Perfect for anyone 4 years old and above, Jewels in the Tale runs till 30 August 2015 at Alliance Fran├žaise Theatre.  Buy your tickets at Sistic now!


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Monday, 17 August 2015

Luxurious Gift Wrapping Papercraft and Bow Making by Jane Means


A couple of weeks ago (time flies!), I attended a luxurious gift wrapping, papercraft and bow making workshop by the very talented and lovely Jane Means who has wrapped for luxury brands, celebrities and royalty.  Author, Presenter and Designer Jane also conducts workshops based around the UK and Singapore.  She recently launched her global book "Giftwrapped" - with plenty of gift wrapping ideas and techniques.  

Conducted in the city of Singapore, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, there were only 9 of us in this intimate and fun filled workshop.  Drinks and finger sandwiches were provided as well.  Of course, not forgetting all the materials needed for transforming basic wrappers and ribbons into stunning creations.


Just 3 items and they can be used in many different creations.  As an embellishment, part of a gift box, or even as something fun during a party!


Just one of the ways to use the pinwheel on a gift box.

Won't this make a good party favor?  Or a decoration for parties? 
You know what?  This is my favourite.  The Japanese pleats on the box!  Without any bows, I think it looks gorgeous on its own.  If you realize that there is some mismatch for some of the papercraft and bows, you are right.  We were making full use of the boxes we wrapped (wrapping perfect boxes is a skill too!) and then using them as "props" for our bows, ribbons and papercraft.


Sometimes, you find bits and pieces of papers here and there.  Maybe, like this old music score sheets that you are thinking whether to throw or not.  Well, now you can make use of them and transform them into pretty little embellishments.  


This is just so sweet.  A tailored bow for that present that you want to gift.


I thoroughly enjoyed myself as Jane is a very engaging trainer.  She shares her ideas and knowledge openly during the workshop.   And yes, she will be back in Spring 2016 to run more events so, put yourself on the mailing list by emailing Jane and her team at info@janemeans.co.uk.

Meanwhile, her creations can be found on her blog, Instagram and Twitter.  

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the workshop.  No monetary compensation was received.  Unless otherwise stated, all opinions and photos are true to my own.



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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Prawn and Pork Wantans / Wontons / Dumplings - Whichever You May Know It As

On National Day, we had steamboat for dinner while watching the National Day Parade.


Apart from the usual items, I decided to make wantans.  I could not exactly remember when was the last time I made them - probably long ago as a kid.  And I do not know why I wanted to make them this time.  Haha….

Sometimes, things just happen and it so happened that I found the recipe for wantan / wonton / dumpling in a recipe book that I have.  


The happiest moment is when the boys exclaim that it is like the "Xiao Long Bao" they like from restaurants.  

Prawn and Pork Wantans / Wontons / Dumplings
(adapted from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair)

Ingredients:
250g ground pork
4 stalks spring onion, finely minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp grated ginger
100g prawns, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 packet of wantan wrappers

Cornstarch slurry: 1 tbsp cornstarch in 65ml cool water

Directions:
1. Combine the pork, spring onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and mix well.  Set aside.
2. Squeeze the grated ginger, extracting the juice into a bowl.  Discard the ginger.
3. Add the prawn meat, salt, pepper and sesame oil into the ginger juice and stir gently to mix.
4. When ready to wrap, add the prawn mixture to the bowl of pork mixture.  Mix gently and this forms the filling of the wantan.
5. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper.  
6. Dab some cornstarch slurry with your finger and apply some along the edges. 
7. Fold over to form a triangle and press to secure.  
8. Dab some of the cornstarch slurry on one tip of the triangle.
9. Bring two corners together and secure.
10. Place on plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

That's it,  You may boil it, drain and eat them just as it is, with chilli or you may use it as an ingredient with your favourite noodle soup.  I think I will make my own wantans from now on - I know what goes in, ah huh!  :)


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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

What Singapore Means to Me

"There was a time when people said 
That Singapore won't make it, but we did
There was a time when troubles seemed too much
For us to take, but we did
We built a nation, strong and free, reaching out together
For peace and harmony"

On 8 August 2015, I took this photo and posted on Instagram with the caption "The sun sets.  When it rises tomorrow, it will be the Nation's birthday.  Happy Birthday Singapore!"   

Looking at this photo, do you feel a sense of peace?  50 years of hardship, 50 years of courage and dreams came true of many that we are able to enjoy such peace and harmony.  
When the sun sets, we can still be on the road.  Peace and harmony - very important aspects for considering a place to live in.

"This is my country, this is my flag
This is my future, this is my life
This is my family, these are my friends
We are Singapore, Singaporeans"

We used to play at such playgrounds.  We used to eat at hawker centers and markets.  We used to have steamboat on happy occassions.  This Golden Jubilee, we did all of these, with family.









Singapore, though some may say has only 50 years of independence, has a vast heritage.  Uniquely Singapore, we are a nation with different races, religions and languages.  As the country advances, I hope that our nation's heritage will be preserved and our identity as a multi-racial country protected.


We watched this year's NDP Parade in the comfort of our home and were captivated by the parade and fireworks.  At the same time, thankful for what we have today and thankful to our Founding Prime Minister for what he had put in.  Read here for what I had wrote previously.



Thankful to be able to raise these 2 boys in this safe country.
Singapore, home truly.
As cliche as it may sound, it is indeed where I know how to get around, where I know where to find food, where my family and friends are.
And most importantly, where I know I must be.  :)

Initiated by Finallymama, follow the other 12 mummies by clicking on the image and read about what Singapore means to them.



Finally Mama


Next on the blog train is Waiwai from PeiPei.HaoHao, a full-time-working mother to a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.  She blogs about her parenting journey, DIY crafts, simple cooking and fun activities. 

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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

{Media Invite} Weekend Family Breakfast @ Kakis

The long weekend is almost here!  Hang in there, folks!

And in case you are one of those who are not traveling out of Singapore but yet want to find an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, pop by Kakis Bistro & Bar.


We were recently invited to Kakis Bistro & Bar for their recently launched "Weekend Family Breakfast @ Kakis".  No, this place is not exactly a new kid on the block.  They have been serving dinner since November 2013 with a live band playing on weekends evenings (and I heard they are pretty good).

A hidden gem in the heart of Changi Village (really hidden as many of my friends do not know this place… or maybe we are "mountain tortoises :P), we were greeted with greenery when we reach.

Free parking :)
Loving these quotes.  Really.


The alfresco dining, together with the deco is what makes the place interesting.  Surprisingly, it was pretty cool with just the ceiling fans and the greens around.  The owners of Kakis wanted to make the place cozy and family friendly and that is why you will notice lots of spaces for the children to roam around.  And you know what?  They grow their own salads!





I really like that we are so near to the golf course area.  A very good time for both adults and children to rest our eyes and look far into the greenery, get some Vitamin D from the morning sun and of course, the air is definitely better with all the trees and plants around.


Let us look at the menu for the breakfast, shall we?

Photo credit : Kakis Bistro and Bar


Photo credit : Kakis Bistro and Bar
How interesting is this!  This is really useful if you ever need to order your own coffee at the coffeeshops / hawker centers - it's like an universal coffee-ordering language.
Photo credit : Kakis Bistro and Bar
Here's the Detox Infused Fruit Drinks.  It is all natural.  Real fruits infused drinks with no colorings added.  

Of course, it's approved by D!  


Kiddy Pancakes (S$6) just for kids which D finished everything.  I felt happy looking at this plate of food.  If only the maple syrup was served separately because I can then decide how much of it goes in. Yes, I can be quite fussy at times.




Little Hero Big Breakfast (S$8) which I thought is reasonably priced.  The bread was toasted nicely and look at those cherry tomatoes - not some small little ones lor


Rosti Jumbo Hot Dog (S$11) is not something like what you get outside.  I believe they added onions, which can be a hit or miss with different people.  My boys will shun them but the big guy and I thought it was fine.


An everyone-also-know local delight, Nasi Lemak (S$8) with a chilli that did not disappoint.  B and I thought that the most important components of a Nasi Lemak are the chilli and the chicken.  Chicken was fried nicely and was flavorful which compensated the lack of the ikan bilis that most of us associate Nasi Lemak with.


Can you imagine E actually wanted the Nasi Lemak?!


One of the highlights of the event is the DIY your Super Kakis Hero Costume Contest, using recycled materials.  Materials were provided and we came up with the following:


Can guess who he is trying to be?


It was actually a milestone for the 2 boys.  Hardly those who like going up on stage, they were so keen this time.  Even though they did not win or said anything in the context of the contest, it was okay to us.  At least they willingly went up stage this time.



The children were all so cute!  Their words, their expressions, their gestures - they were all so priceless!

Open from 9.30 am to 1 pm on weekends, I think the best time to go will be in the mornings between 9.30 am to 11.00 am - that's us lah - the morning sun, the possibility of seeing golfers and buggies (children who do not golf will love to see them) and the morning fresh air will entice me to drive all the way to the East.  And if you really hate the heat, that's the period to go. 


Kakis Bistro & Bar

289 Farnborough Road
Singapore 509747
Tel: 62142956

Mon: 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
Wed-Fri: 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sat-Sun: 9:30 am - 1:00 pm; 4:00 pm - 12:00 am


Disclosure: We were invited to the breakfast session at Kakis Bistro & Bar  for review purposes.  No monetary compensation was received.  Unless otherwise stated, all opinions and photos are true to my own.

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