2D1NKent- A Day At Dover

4-5 April 2015

In an attempt of an early celebration for our April babies(Mama, Ryan and Gillian), we decided to go Kent, South East of England. Although it was already April, Saturday was still a rather wet day for a trip to Dover Castle. The day started off just cold but when we reached our destination, it rained. Bummer.

Dover Castle/Great Tower of Dover

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King Ryan and Princess Gillian got a warm welcome by the jester of Dover Castle. He jokingly(yet it was so honest) called us the servants of these two little creatures. (-_-)”’

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For starters, we went to do some art and craft activity with the children. They were supposed to use the stickers to come up with some pattern on their paper. Stickers are such good time-sink for the kids. They just get so pre-occupied with choosing the colours and pasting away.

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Soon after, we went to explore Great Tower Dover Castle. Actually, the castles pretty much look the same to me. But there is always some element of excitement for Ryan and Gillian when we tell them that we would be visiting a castle. Apparently, what is in their mind is very different from mine. Maybe I am really not as cultured as I would like to be. My senses are pretty much dulled by all these history/literature thing despite me spending 6 years studying all these. (My idea of a vacation is really just being in some beach resort, doing absolutely nothing. Oh dear me….I am such a lazy person.)

Every time I visit such places, I am really impressed how they are always quite crowded with both the young and old. It seems like they are enjoying their time learning more about the place and soaking in the environment. I am in admiration of this trait that they all seem to possess.This is probably why I try to expose them to this ‘museum-castle-english heritage’, in hopes that they will grow to be more cultured than me.

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Over climbing countless flights of stairs with the kids, we did reached to the top of the castle which overlooks the city of Dover and the White Cliffs. Breath-taking scenery!

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Lunch was at the Great Tower Cafe, which serves pretty similar stuff as every other cafes at the English heritage locations. You can imagine having lasagna, pies, sandwiches and a range of cakes and ice creams. We bought lunch for ourselves while the kids had their typical snacks brought from home.

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White Cliffs of Dover

We left Dover Castle around 2ish as it was starting to rain quite heavily and we have our tour of the Great Tower. Initially, we intended to head to Premier Inn, where we were booked for a night of stay. However, somehow, we ended up at the White Cliffs of Dover, which is another tourist attraction of Dover. As you can see from the photo, both of the kids are slightly exhausted from the events in the morning at Dover Castle.

The White Cliffs are high chalk cliffs look out onto the English Channel, giving far-reaching views towards the French coast. Despite the cold and the wind, somehow we convinced ourselves to bring the kids and a stroller to walk along the muddy coastal path towards the South Foreland Lighthouse. (Note to self: Not to push a stroller along the coastal path. Like never do that.)

Being there with unsurpassed views of the English Channel and glimpses of the French coastline, it is the perfect place to pause, reflect and give thanks for the opportunity to be there to enjoy such beauty of nature.

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Me an my beautiful mother. It breaks my heart to think that I will see her like more than a year later. Sighhh…. Counting down to the day when I get home. After all, isn’t there a saying home is where the mother is? My children’s home is with me. My home is with my mom. Heehee.

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Premier Inn’s night stay!

This is actually one of the better hotel stays I had in UK. Hahahaha. I know it sounds really sad but like what I mentioned before, I am not much of those pretty things or along those lines. I like functional. And this is what the hotel provides for me and my family…. It is clean. No huge and cumbersome furniture. Flat screen television. Proper heating. Comfortable beds. Clean toilets and warm water. That is pretty much all I need. Of course, if it was just me and Eugene… I would love for the place to be sexier. But with two young children…. it is all right. Hahahha. I am really happy with functional.

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City Center of Dover/Dover Beach

By the time we got to the city centre, it was already 5pm. Due to the day light savings, it looks really bright still. However, most of the shops were closed then. Anyways, Dover City Center feels like a sleepy town. The children enjoyed their time at the beach though… they loved picking up pebbles, throwing them and crawling all over the pebble beach.

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We had take away from some Italian restaurant for dinner. Allowed the kids to have water play in the bath time with the whole bag of toys they brought from home before we wind down for bed time. Everyone was so tired that we slept soundly till the next morning!

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I AM THIRTY!

October 2014

BIRTHDAY EVE’S LUNCH AT GOODMAN!

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Went to steak heaven when I took my first bite. Oh so so so good.

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Thank you, Lao Gong for the yearly steak meal!
ilu!

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Thirty. That is pretty old right? When I was in my twenties, I always thought that being thirty was old. Maturity, responsibilities, parenthood and maybe being relatively wiser and more awesome are just some keywords and phrases that I associate with being thirty. Now that I am 30, I suppose all these thoughts are ridiculous. I definitely have lesser expectations from me when I turn 40 in ten years time.

I recall having a list when I was in my mid twenties. The list, which was written on some random notebook consisted of the things that I would have achieve when I reached 30. It was probably written on one of those occasions when I felt incredibly inspired by god-knows-what. On the top of the list, I was going to be a published author of two books. Not one  but two! Like wow! What was I thinking? Guess what? I am 30 and I have not even started on a draft of anything. I was so deluded. Gosh. What was I thinking? Like seriously. There is an apparent huge gap of what I think I am versus what I am truly. Thankfully, I have a sense of humor.

And I am NOT going to write another list to achieve before 40.

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For the past week, I kept thinking of my 30th birthday and reflecting the small little events in my life prior to me turning 30.


Me, and my family on Baby Gillian’s Man Yue! OMG! Why was I so fat after giving birth to Gillian!

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Kimberly would usually prepare birthday cards for everyone and we would write very mushy and ridiculous stuff in everyone’s cards!


(Totally missed my mother this year. 😦 This photo was taken on my wedding day when E and I returned to my parents’ place for the tea ceremony. When this photo was taken, my Mummy was laughing really hard and telling me, “Don’t be so drama! Is MediaCorp here?” No kidding. She always tells me that I am overly dramatic.)

Life as kid was simple then but I could not wait to grow older. When I was in primary school, I usually got an allowance of $0.50-$1 per day, depending on whether I needed to stay in school for lunch. Having so little pocket money was frustrating. It would probably be enough for a meal but I could not splurge on having an ice-cold drink or get an occasional snack from the MaMa(provision) store. Money was tight at home. We usually had home cooked meals. Thankfully, Mummy is a great cook and I love everything that she prepared. Maybe minus the vegetables. Occasionally, we do go out to eat at the coffee shops for birthday celebrations, we were allowed to spend on only food and quench out thirst with the water from our bottles brought from home. What would I give to have a glass of ice cold Coke while eating the chi-char then! Even when we went on holidays, it was on a shoe string budget. My father worked with an airline company, so the air tickets were free for the family. Despite that, we tried to be as frugal as possible. We rented holiday apartments with kitchenettes. Instead of dining out at the fancy, cool restaurants like how everyone did in movies, we prepared all our meals at the apartments and a significant percentage of shopping was done at the dollar stores. (-_-)”’ I remembered telling myself that I must grow up quick so that I get to spend the money that I earn. I wanted to spend freely. On hindsight, those were one of the most carefree days. Despite me feeling like a “poor” person, I had everything that I needed. I had my afternoon siestas. I could watch an hour of television from 7pm to 8pm. My meals were delicious and hardly was asked to do household chores. My main worry should only be on my studies. My parents were great. They celebrated every single of our birthdays with a proper cake and a dinner. They stinged and saved on their personal expenditure for our tuition and piano fees. (Sadly, I turned out to be really bad at piano. What a waste of money!) I enjoyed playing Monopoly and Nintendo with my siblings and was hardly lonely. Occasionally, my older brother made me happy by “letting me win” games because I was/am a sore loser.


Hai Sing Oldies! They are the precious ones who have been with me throughout the many stages of my life and I am unimaginably blessed by friendship. Everyone of them is genuinely nice and non-judgmental. It is because of them, I learn to be a better person and friend.


Ham Hams and Bananagrams! #nerds

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My Greenwich Mummies Kakis at Mandarin Kitchen.

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Sg people at Gu Yuan, some private Chinese dining establishment at South Kensington.

Developing friendships was not easy as a teenager because I tend to over-think of the situation. Eventually, I did learn that friendships is one of the most natural thing to happen if you are being sincere and honest about the relationship. Many of my best friendships were made in secondary school, college and university days. The people you know from the old are gold. I am inconsistent, flighty and vain but friends just accept me for who I am. They are usually kind to my temperaments, my emotions and drama. When I was in Secondary 3, we used to go to Peiying’s house almost weekly for some “Flour Party” where we played with flour and water bombs. No kidding. I recall mugging my SATs with Ivan at Mac Donald’s only to end up at some arcade playing Photo Hunt and the many food adventures that I went with the V_gang. Suppers at Simpang were classic! Even now, I am so blessed to meet incredible people/mothers in London who are so willing to share on childcare tips, holiday ideas and plan playdates together. While not every relationship that I have is a hit(I can tell you, I met some really weird and disturbingly wicked people! Don’t get me started on such depressing stuff!), I am thankful that I am generally surrounded with good people.

I thought I found love at the age of 19/20. It took me sometime to realise that I am more in love with the notion of being in love than the person. It took me 24 years to finally meet the love of my life. I knew I was going to marry him the day I met him. (You can ask Weili!) 24 years was far too long. I always told E that he should have looked for me and dated me when we were younger. We would have more time together, traveled more, saved more and married younger. E thinks everything happens for a reason. (Strangely, both of us were hanging out at almost the same places when we were dating other people.) Bad relationships just made you realise better about what you want and need in your partner. Like both of us knew that we needed a partner who enjoyed a good steak. This point made it to the top ten in consideration of a husband/wife, along with the qualities of being kind, family-oriented and having a good sense of humor.


(Trying to look like a yummy mummy, 2 weeks after birth of Ryan. There is this trend of how mothers always looked so fabulous immediately after pregnancy and the onset of motherhood. Trust me, whatever you see on my blog is NOT real. I definitely look terrible on a normal day. I suck in my tummy and strategically pose for most of my photos. That is how tricky I am!)

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My fabulous duo! Baby Ryan and Baby Gillian! My babies!

The fact that life is a miracle becomes undeniable when the babies came along. The phrase of “the days are long but years are short” is so apt in describing raising children. I hardly have enough sleep(partly due to watching drama late into the night after the kids sleep) but the feeling is so nice when you see their smiles, or when you realise they they have indeed grown heavier or taller or when they unexpectedly plant a kiss on your face. The affection that they have is so unconditional (sometimes, it can be conditional when they are asking for a packet of chocolate milkshake). I am not a very good and attentive mother but in the eyes of the children, I am the best (or maybe they are just very young and naive). I love it when they call me, “Mummy” in their child like way. But still, Ryan and Gillian are definitely God’s blessings. Ryan, at 3.5 year old is able to say nightly prayers with Gillian (who is 1.5 year old) who ends every prayer with a loud, “Amen!” There are frustrating moments when there is food spillage, bad behaviour, tears, vomit and poop but the good outweighs the bad.

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This birthday, I am in London. Funny how life takes me but it is an interesting journey. The architecture, surroundings and weather are vastly different from what we have back home. Sometimes, when I stare at what I have in front of me, I find it really unbelievable that I am here, with my husband and children. It is almost like I somehow imagine that in another dimension, I could be living in Singapore, stuck in a mind numbing job. It could totally be possible!


Us, looking probably in the shapes of our lives! Each of us have put on at least 5-10kg since!


Babymoon, whilst being pregnant with Baby Gillian!

I am turning 30 in less than 12 hours’ time. My birthday present is a 4 day 3 night trip to Bangkok, Thailand. It would be another trip, without the kids. The last one was our babymoon to Paris, France. After almost a whole year of caring for the kids, without very little time to ourselves, I cannot wait for the short vacation where we get to enjoy shopping, good massages and also the oh-so yummy street food. Just like our Bali honeymoon, except this time round, it will be Bangkok style. 555!

One of the best thing that happened this year would be that E and I have accepted Christ a few weeks ago. I have wrote a separate blog post about it. Hopefully, I would be able to post it up soon. I used to think that it is very stressful to attend Church because everyone else seem to be so good and awesome. (I still feel like this!) But, I read something off someone’s Facebook and I think it is quite accurate. Church is not a museum of good people. It is a hospital for the broken. All of us have our skeletons in our closet. It is the same for me as well but I feel being uplifted by God’s grace during sermons. Ever since our course on understanding about Christianity and accepting of Jesus, I feel even more thankful for every day that I have. For me, it is a humbling experience to know that God have never given up on us despite all the mistakes or the terrible things we have done. This birthday, I hope that we grow stronger in our faith and be better followers of God’s words.

Happy Birthday to me!
The year has been good.
Thank God for the bountiful blessings.

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Till we meet again!

November 2013

This was the month of many gatherings. Thank you for planning these meetings and being present for them. It was a pity that we could not meet up with more of you as our schedules were packed.

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Ham Hams

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Surprisingly we managed to meet up twice in November with almost everyone being present for both sessions at Ao Chan and 5 Drunken Rabbits. It has been quite difficult to have suppers/dinners with the Ham Hams especially with the hamlet and hamlings. Hence, I really appreciate how everyone took time off for these meetings. By the time we returned home, the kiddos would be much older and hopefully dinners and suppers could be easier to plan then. Heehee.

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Hai Sing Loves

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My oldest and bestest group of friends. Dinner was at The Thai Table at Simpang.
Good food but the best take away was the awesome company!

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E’s family and BT friends
(and surprise birthday celebration for E!)

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E’s mother planned a gathering at a Tampines RC.
Quite a a good location since there was KTV for the older folks. Heehee.
The kids also got gainfully entertained with the toys from the RC.

And yes, Mister E is my awesome husband! 🙂

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Family gathering at Uncle Darryl and Aunt Linda’s
(and surprise birthday celebration for Papa!)

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Farewell gathering was at Aunt Linda’s where Uncle Darryl and her prepared a hotplate and steamboat dinner for us. Uncle Darryl cooked up fabulous pepper and chilli crabs as well. As usual, the meal at Aunt Linda exceeded expectations. Ever since I was a child, I love going to her house because she stocks up her house with all the most yummy snacks!

The best part of the evening was how she surprised my father with two birthday cakes! Woohoo!
Just a perfect evening with delicious food and awesome company of family.

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It has been a wonderful November and you cannot imagine how loved me and my family feel. It won’t be long before we meet again. Till then, please take good care, may you be in the pink of health, fall in love with life, be in love with your family and partners, have a peaceful heart and mind, look fabulous and be prosperous(for your wallet).

ilu.

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61st!

December 2013

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We celebrated my Papa’s 61st last Friday. Everyone was present except for Leon as he was in Hong Kong for his exchange and Eugene who was busy clearing work in office. It is quite emotional considering how it will be the last time I celebrate the actual birthday of my dad for the next three years. Hopefully, my parents will visit us in London next December so that we can have a post-dated celebration for their birthdays!

Dinner was at Yam Kitchen as usual. My family is pretty much predictable in many ways. People of old habits. Hence, when you are close to people like that, you can imagine how I will miss the familiarity of many things. Currently, my parents and Kimberly are in London with us. The help and their presence are unimaginably helpful in so many ways like how my mother will care for the kiddos in the apartment while we go for our apartment hunting, how they will mind the jet lag kiddos while we catch forty winks. *sigh sigh* What am I supposed to do without them come January.

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My Papa is one awesome dad. When we were younger, while he may be strict and all, he was the one who bought us to playgrounds, played Monopoly with us during weekends and constantly spent time and talked(advising/scolding/lecturing/brain washing) to us. I think time and attention is the best gift to any child and he has done that very well. 🙂

And so, Happy Birthday Papa. I wish you good health, wealth and happiness. You are one awesome father to all of us! Hope that you will look forward to retirement and come and visit us in London with Mummy! You guys are always welcomed!

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Terrific Three!

19 June 2013

And so, this year marks our third year of marriage. It is not a long time but sure felt that we have done too many things in a mere 3 years.

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19 June 2010– Our wedding day!

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19 June 2011– Lunch at Salt Grill and Sky Bar

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19 June 2012– Dinner at Ao-Chan

When I first met Mister E at Azzucar at a salsa party on 21 August 2008, I sure did not know that I was going to marry him. My first impression of him was that he looked really cute! Plus he stayed really near me! Ours was definitely a whirlwind romance, considering how he proposed in less than a year! Of course, maybe to the rest of the world, he probably gained abit more weight(just like me), but to me, he looks exactly how he looked like 5 years ago. ♥♥♥

Anyway, there are much more about him than just being cute. Like he cooks fantastic Italian cuisine(his lasagna is the bomb!) . Like how he is usually quick to apologise. Like how he always tries his best to make sure that I get things that I really want. Like how he tells me that I am so beautiful despite my additional weight. Like how he wants to hug me almost all the time. Like how he will offer to peel the prawn shells for me. Like how he loves my family and friends. Like how he promises me that our future together will be better… Well, there are bad days but most days are usually good.

Here we are, on our third journey, with two beautiful children. Fancy dinners and late night movies are much lesser. We watch much more children programs and cater our days to entertaining the kids. It is a different type of happiness compared to our dating days. It feels much more fulfilling even though there are real exhausting and exasperating moments.

So, here we are, with Lil’ Ryan and Baby Gillian:

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DSC04887-1(As you can see, it is amazingly difficult to get a family photo taken. Kids….)

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We went for a buffet dinner at Olive Tree. This time round, we decided to bring Baby Ryan Lil’ Ryan along and leave Baby Gillian with my parents. The buffet spread was fantastic! The drunken prawns were so huge and juicy! And I got the privilege of E peeling the prawns for me.

Our lil Ryan had an awesome time running around the restaurant. Thankfully there were not too many patrons around that evening. (Note to self: Never wear heels every when I need to carry a 15kg baby around Bugis.)

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So, to my dearest Mister E, Happy Number 3!
ilu.

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Mama and Ryan’s Pre-Birthday Celebration

April 2013

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It was the weekend before 10 April, and we decided to have an early birthday celebration for Mummy and Baby Ryan. Sunday lunch was at Changi Village Hotel where they served a buffet spread of hawker fare- teh terik, rojak, roasted meat, prata…

Food was a-okay. Nothing really spectacular. Am sure the Changi Hawker Centre serves much more delicious dishes. However, the company, air-conditioning and the ambiance make up for the mediocre food. Birthdays are pretty much the occasions that brings everyone together, if not someone is always missing because of work/studies/examinations/projects/baby commitments and whatnot.

I suppose everyone had a good time. Come the same time next year, it will be Baby Gillian’s first year birthday bash- hmm… wondering where it will be. Heehee. Any ideas?

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10 April babies
Happy Birthday Mummy and Baby Ryan!
Love them so much!

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Vgang CNY Steamboat

February 2013

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There are many parts of my life when I met really good people and the Vgang is a group of people I am very fond of. I met all these people towards the final year of my junior college life. We were aquaintances(some of us were History lecture mates) before a school trip to Vietnam. During the 14 days of travelling, we got to know each other better- we ate local delicacy- fried worms when we were in Sapa, spent the night playing cards while we were on the overnight train, we went shopping for tailors to get our clothes done, shared many nights at each other’s hotel rooms eating cup noodles and talking about life and joking about random stuff. Since that trip, some of us became really tight friends- like being able to be there for each other during difficult episodes of life.

Initially after the trip, we often meet up with each other for steamboat sessions at Marina South. The frequency lessened when everyone started university, going for National Service, got attached and so on. However, we still meet up occasionally for gatherings- like baby showers and weddings. This Chinese New Year, some of us managed to find some time to meet up for a steamboat session. Many of us started work in different fields but it feels awesome that these people just feel like the same old people I knew in Vietnam.

Dinner with them was good. And I suppose the next time when we do meet again, Baby Gillian will be out! Till then!

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