Furniture Shopping 101

August 2017

Like what I mentioned in my earlier posts, I would love to continue blogging more- to share about my life since it is something I have been doing since I was 16. Wow! Has it been 17 years? But also, I will be blogging lesser on the kids- just in case they hate what I write about them. Ha! I would be horrified to read what my mother have to say about me at 5! So, yes, you get my drift right?

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This new home for us is going to be the 8th place that we are moving to. So Ryan, being our eldest have lived in 8th places since his birth! Oh dear. What a nomadic life! We bought our new place when we were in London, entirely based on the floor plan and the fact that it is a ground unit with a patio. This way, I don’t need to think about installing invisible window grills at the balcony. What I liked about the place was that it is near a playground and my kids love the outdoors. I always wanted to be able to have some sort of space for gardening for like chili, pandan leaves and those useful stuff for cooking. Let’s see how that works out and if I actually have proper green fingers.

When E and I first discussed about interior design for our place- we talked about having a fabric sofa since it is so popular these days. Almost every new house that we visit has some fancy looking grey sofa, which we agreed was aesthetically pleasant. I mean, it looks so classy and grown-up right?

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I even thought of the colour palette that I would like to have in my house- white, cream with shades of grey. I wanted a transitional look, which meant having the right balance of contemporary colours and traditional style.  Grey fabric sofa- Yay! Grey framed kitchen doors- Yay! Island kitchen- Yay! I wanted this. I wanted that.

In then end, after shopping for weeks(two weeks to be exact, which is ‘hasty’ by some standards but ‘considered’ by ours), combing through the furniture shops at Changi with Megan in tow, we ended up purchasing a leather sofa in burnt orange from Cellini. This is how it looks like-

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Very different from what we wanted. But we liked it just as much and it is so comfortable! We also bought a dining set(white quartz top with black metal legs) from the same company, entirely different from what we thought we would get. Here’s a picture of it-

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Oh! Oh! Oh! Island kitchen is not possible as we have a structural wall between the kitchen and the dining. Ohwells.

Amidst these fantastic shopping, there is also a nagging reminder that I have 90 boxes of shipment(many of which contains toys- all those colourful things that hurt my sensibilities) coming from London in October when the house is ready. Hmm… At least 3/5 people in the family will be happy to see their books and toys!

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Gratitude

August 2017

For far too long I have intentionally ignored blogging, even though it was the platform that allowed me to gain some sort of perspective in my life, to share my views with friends and strangers and also to be thankful.

I love social media. I love Facebook. I love how this tool has allowed me to gain insight into the lives of my friends and even people I don’t know about. From these random snippets, I form incredulous ideas of how their days went and what their beliefs are about. Sometimes, I get inspired. Admittedly, there are occasions where I get demoralised, envious and (insert any negative feelings), which is why I decided to take a hiatus from blogging.

It is not that I do not have anything happy to share about! I have so much to be thankful for but I chose to pay no attention to them. Writing gives me clarity. Not writing also meant my days were spent in a sort of haze.  There are incidents that I want to pen down but I disregarded my feelings because I felt that blogging/writing was just too self-indulgent and to some extent, curated. As compared to my older posts, I was much more careful in sharing, especially with regards to my children. I was very begrudging of my writing. There is a part of me that prides myself for being authentic. If I cannot have that element in my writing, then why even bother? I opened up WordPress several times and left too many drafts. I wrote on a few pages on a couple of notebooks and left them aside. I constantly questioned my purpose of writing- why do I even want to blog or write?

Today, I blog because it is a space for me to take count of what I have, to realise that I have many to be grateful for, to share my laments but also remember that God has a plan for me and my family. To bear in mind that I am not alone.

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And so, many of you would have known that my family and I are back in Singapore. It has been 2 month-ish! Wow! How time flies! My children miss London and their Yiyi/God-ma but I have to get them to reflect on what they love about Singapore as well. They love their Gong Gong, Mama, Er Jiu and Isaac. They love swimming! Boy! They love swimming! The older two are water babies! After only 4 lessons, Ryan’s swim coach has recommended him to attend an advanced swim class coming Sunday.  They love the food in Singapore- I mean, who doesn’t? Singapore is a food paradise. Prata, noodles of all sorts- wanton noodles, breakfast beehoon, fishball yellow mee and so on, carrot cake-the Chinese type, chicken rice, sushi at very reasonable prices and of course the list continues. As Ryan is older, his understanding is much better. He misses his classmates and his lifestyle in London. He tells me about how much he misses his old life. On my part, there is pretty much nothing I can do about it except to tell him that being together as a family unit is the most important.                                                       

We are temporarily put up at my parents’. 5 of us are living in my old bedroom and it is as chaotic as you can imagine. It is a a small space and having the older ones adjust to my 3 young rugrats is a challenge. Living together meant everyone have to adjust their lifestyles and expectations- to take the rough with the smooth. E and I appreciate my parents’ kindness of accommodation but we are excited to be moving into our new place. Oh yes, this year has been totally crazy on sale and purchases of houses. Don’t even get me started on that. The new abode is a much bigger space than our previous place in Singapore. E bought me an oven! Yay! I cannot wait to start baking! We will only be getting the keys late August and hopefully, renovations can begin in September.

It is interesting when we go furniture shopping and notice how much our styles and choice of furniture evolved over time. For our first home, we were very into the Teak Minimalist look. Please don’t even judge me for that term- I was just a pretentious 24 year old then.  Simply put, just meant having teak furniture and a Balinese feel. Ha! Now, most of our choice furniture has to be as kid-friendly as possible- no sharp edges or dangerous spots. At our new place, we intend to keep the toys in the kids’ rooms as much as possible! *crossing out fingers* (You can read here on my extensive documentation of our first home. Try your best not to roll your eyes!)

Faith wise, my family and I have sort of settled in church that my parents and brother attend. The church is literally at our door steps and there is no good reason to not attend on that is just located so conveniently for us. While the style of worship is not what we are used to, it is okay as long as God and the Bible is central of the entire worship. Going to church is always a good reminder for me- that what I have now is only possible because of God’s grace and kindness. The children are familiar with the Sunday School routine and we are reasonably pleased with how our Sunday pans out.

In the coming year, I will be moving towards a different career journey, which I hope would be a more flexible choice for my family as well as personal growth. Truth is, I am excited. But just like the worry wart that I am, I have endless concerns. My dear friends and readers, I just hope you keep me and my family in positive thoughts and prayers. 🙂 Gambatte! I will do my best, work hard, by trusting God and always be thankful for His Grace.

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Till we meet again,

May 2017

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Apparently, Project House Move #7 did come two years after #6. For those who do not already know, we are leaving London. And we bought a new place in Singapore just based on floor plan. Yes, it has been at a short notice. E was offered a position back home and we thought there is no better time than now to return. After all, Ryan is due to start formal education in Singapore next year. At this point in time, I feel much calmer about the news. It is a good thing that E planned a series of short trips/vacations before he broke the news to me. For the past one month, we spent alot of time together as a family and it helped in my anxiety.

When E first told me that we would be leaving London, I was heart-broken. This is a place where we called home for the past four years and where I started my whole stint as a stay-at-home mother. London has given us so much during this short time and I recall fondly of many memories of my children growing here and the wonderful relationships forged in this beautiful city.

Some people that London is too busy and Londoners come across disengaged. However, I am thankful that my experience here that speaks otherwise. I am not sure if it is because I am a SAHM in London and hence I have more time to get to know the local community- from fellow SAHMs, to Singaporean mummies living in London, to my local pharmacist and even the postman. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always see a familiar face and we can have a quick catch-up. We managed to travel as much as we could as a family in the UK and Europe. I also managed to lead a semi tai-tai life in London, with the occasional afternoon tea sessions with Kimmie and my friends. My blog was also kept semi-alive because of the blogging opportunities I had. The children were blessed with entries to good schools. The best thing is that as a family, we got baptised together, and we got to know God more. Hopefully, we would be able to find a suitable church when we return Singapore.  My life here is good so it is truly a shame that I have to leave it. However, one thing I know about the life that E and I have- move is always to be expected. Home is not a physical place but where the heart is and wherever we are as a family.

So to my dearest friends in London, I hope that our paths may cross again. I am sorry if I am unable to catch up with you but the packing/decluttering is taking way too much of my time. I won’t say goodbye for now. See you later may be better. And yes, I can’t wait to enjoy my daily Singaporean breakfast! Teh-C please!

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There is so much I want to share but you can imagine, it is just crazy. Next up, will be blog posts on our short trips and maybe updates on our renovation stuff in Singapore! Very, very exciting! Guess what? If all things go well, Megan and I will be celebrating our birthdays in our new place! Please keep me and my family in your prayers! x

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Read here about our other house moves:

1. Original homes to love nest, Telok Kurau. (2010)
2. Telok Kurau to Bluwaters,Pasir Ris (2012)
3. Pasir Ris, Singapore to Farringdon, London (2013)
4. Farringdon to Cutty Sark (2013)
5. Cutty Sark to a St Davids’ Square (2014)
6. St Davids’ Square to current place (2015)
7. Current place to Singapore (2017)

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YumBox

March 2017

If you have been following my Instagram, you would have known that I am a Bento Mama. Every morning, I wake up at 6 in the morning to prep Ryan’s lunchbox. It is something that I have a love/hate relationship with. I am not a fan of waking up early in the morning, especially when Baby Megan is having some problems sleeping through the night. On the other hand, I do enjoy the process of making his lunch- it is sort of a creative outlet and Ryan does finish up everything that I prepare and tells me that he has the best lunch in class! Hahahaha.

About two weeks ago, we received a YumBox from Eat Well-UK. So far, I am impressed with the make of Yumbox. It is compact, light-weight and easy to clean. As mothers, as much as we love a good-looking luncbox, we also want our children to be eating from lunchboxes made from food-safe materials. YumBox is BPA-free as well as Phthalates-Free.

YumBox is one of the few lunchboxes on the market is that leakproof. So, it is safe to pack wet food like yogurts and dips like hummus and you can expect no spills in the bag. The fact that Yumbox has four compartments- it promotes balance and portion control. So, Ryan will be expecting some form of fruit/vegetables along with his main dish. Ryan did give very positive reviews for Yumbox. He likes it so much that it is the most frequently used lunchbox.

Let me share some of the lunches that I have prepared for Ryan using Yumbox-

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Eat Well-UK is having a Mother’s Day promotion now and you can save 20% with the code MOTHER. So, why not take this opportunity to stock up on these lovely Yumboxes for your loved ones at home.

Till then, x.

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Disclaimer: We were given one YumBox from Eat Well-UK. Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience. 

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#Wafermoment

February 2017

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(Someone is feeling the love from Kiddylicious!)

Baby Megan is 16 months now and we are still weaning her. Unlike the older two, she is taking to solids very slowly and cautiously. Despite her quirks, one of her favourite snacks is still the wafers from Kiddylicious. Kiddylicious wafers are made with rice flour(with 50% less sugar than reduced sugar rusks, gluten and dairy-free) and have subtle hints of real fruit and vegetables. I like how they are perfect the the little hands and mouths, easy to dissolve in the mouth and are literally mess-free!

I mean what more can we, parents want from a snack? In Megan’s case, Kiddylicious wafers are perfect for her as she has many dietary constraints.

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Kiddylicious wafers come in three yummy flavours. As of now, I don’t think that she has a preferred flavour. These wafers are like a stable in my kitchen cupboards for now. Useful to pack along when we head out or just as a snack in the afternoon. Gillian, my older daughter, is also a fan of these wafers. There are two in a pack- one for Megan and one for Gillian.

If you have a little one starting on her weaning journey, you may want to grab a pack of 10 from any of the major supermarkets. First finger food such as Kiddylicious wafers is essential for:

  • little ones to learn hand to mouth skills to feed themselves using their pincer grip
  • jaw muscle development to aid speech
  • taste-bud development

Kiddylicious is running a social media activity to share your little ones’ #wafermoment. What is your #wafermoment? Is it your chance to relax, feel proud of your little one, put on the washing, check your phone, have a hot drink or even have a wee! Share your photo, video clip or even a real life quote of your #wafermoment on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter and be in the chance to win a giveaway from Kiddylicious! Do check out the website for details and terms and conditions.

Here’s Megan’s #wafermoment

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Afternoon tea at The Ritz

February 2017

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. But in my family, we usually only associate Valentine’s Day as Kimberly’s birthday. As she is usually in Nottingham burying herself in books(*I hope) during weekdays, we could only celebrate her birthday on weekends.

Kimberly wanted to go for a sisters-only afternoon tea and we short-listed a number of places that served afternoon tea. The Ritz, Claridges, Fortnum and Mason’s, Berkeleys, Harrods and so on. We tried calling two weeks prior to the date and everyday was booked. Apparently, at The Ritz, if you call now(in February), the next available slot would be in May. (-_-)”’

Anyways, I managed to get a Sunday afternoon tea reservation at The Ritz after a last minute cancellation! Yay!

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I have been in London for three years and experienced his finer part of British traditions before. So in this light, I was happy to be able to cross this off my to-do list with Kimberly. (E is certainly not into baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.)

The food was good- sandwiches were tasty and the cakes were beautiful. My favourite would be the strawberry macaroons! I had two servings of it! Sinful! Could we be getting similar or better range of food from somewhere else at a lower price? Very likely. But, I suppose what we are paying for is the entire experience- to be able to sit in the spectacular looking Palm Court, sipping tea, enjoying the exquisite tea cakes, listening  and having superb service from the staff. There was even a harpist playing to complete the elegant ambience. People seated around me were just busy taking photos themselves, of the place and the food. So yes, we are paying for the experience. 🙂

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My takeaway from this experience would be:

  1. Make your reservation early. If not, keep calling to check if there is any cancelled reservations. You might just get lucky!
  2. Get to your afternoon tea slot 5-10 minutes earlier so that you can possibly get better seating? I like to be seated at the corner of the room so that I can take photos freely without people staring. Ha!
  3. Because the afternoon tea comes with unlimited(*not sure about unlimited but the servers kept refilling out plates) servings of the sandwiches and cakes, it would be good to go on a less filled tummy? By the time we finished our tea at 5pm, we were so stuff that we skipped dinner.

That’s all for me now. Looking forward to my next afternoon tea session with Kimmie/E! Have a lovely weekend, y’all!

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Ice Skating at Luminocity

December 2016

And so you will be reading on some back-dated posts these days. Sometimes, I wonder why do I still blog. I mean there are tonnes of information that can be found online- on blogs, on those information sites, review pages and whatnots. However, when I get emails from readers asking for more information or recommendation on stuff, I think in some minute way, I am making an impact on some random stranger’s life. Also, this blog continues to serve as a family diary for our adventures. (I really hope my children will not hate me for blogging about them. Hmm…) This blog also a place where I lament about my life and it’s challenges and also take some time to give thanks for what I have.

We spent our December 2016 in London and did a number of those typical winter stuff that families do during the Christmas season. Ice skating is one of London’s favourite winter pastimes. Ryan went for his first ice skating session with Kimberly at Ice Rink Canary Wharf. It opens from 4th November 2016 to 25th February 2017. So, it is still open! We went there during those in-between Christmas-New Year holiday period. So that is considered the peak season and ticket prices was £16.95 per adult and £10.95 per child. The skate aid that we rented for Ryan costed £5.00 on a first come first serve basis.

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Thankfully, there was Kimberly(who is actually one of the best skaters in our family! So pro that she legit own her personal skates back in Singapore!) to help Ryan. They had fun going round the skating rink but because it was so crowded during that session, they had limited space to move about. We did encourage Gillian to try skating but she was not keen on it. Maybe 11 months from now, she will be braver then. 🙂

After our experience at Luminocity, here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Book tickets online and go for the earliest session. That will cost £9.95 and it is significant savings.
  2. During peak periods(ala Christmas season), it would be advisable for families with young children to go like 30 minutes before their session to book their skate aids. They have limited availability for the skate aids and honestly, I imagine it to be far easier for first timers to use them.
  3. If possible, just skip the peak period and enjoy skating during the non-peak period. One of my Mummy friends told me that the rink is so empty during non-peak period that they could actually skate for as long as the wanted, and not keep to the one our duration.

There are several permanent indoor ice skating rinks in London, but in winter there are usually more indoor and outdoor ice rinks popping up across the capital. Maybe the next Christmas, we should bring the little ones skating at iconic London locations such historic Hampton Court Palace, the beautiful Somerset House and the majestic Natural History Museum, just to have a comparison.

Till then, x

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