Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Singapore/Korea Holiday - Singapore Part I, the basics

Yikes! I'm still catching my breath after our three-weeker away. The purpose of the trip was to show off the Master to family still residing in our respective Mother Lands. We discussed doing this trip about a year ago and finally got round to booking it at the start of this year. It was a bit tricky trying to predict what the Master's needs would be at the 20 month mark and the only regret I have is not staying in Korea longer!

We have more family in Singapore so figured a longer stay there was necessary, whereas in Korea, it's just my mum's immediate family and my dad's uncle - also, it's much more densely populated in Seoul, Korea and thought because it's more on the overwhelming side, better to keep it short and sweet at 5 days? Seriously. It was jam-packed. Wish I'd thought that bit out more carefully lol (especially seeing as commuting anywhere is like minimum 20-30 minutes by subway+walking).

Anyway, I'll get to Korea in due time. First up, Singapore!

Getting There and Staying Where

It was around a 10 hour day-flight there and Christchurch has a direct flight (like once a week I think?) that leaves at 11am - which means, fun times trying to amuse a toddler all day in cramped seats!! Since he's under 2, he could fly for free on my lap. We requested a bassinet which ensured we got front row of economy, but more importantly, meant more leg room! And we were incredibly lucky that out of 4 flights, only 1 unlucky passenger ever had to sit in our row; so actually it was like we got a free seat thrown in and we definitely made use of it! 

Be prepared...

We actually didn't use the bassinet on either of our day flights 'cause the Master fell asleep in my arms watching Elmo on the iPad. We were so worried he'd be fretful and screaming on all of the flights that I packed a small baggy of individually-bagged ear plugs to give out to unfortunate fellow passengers - we were so fortunate we didn't need them at all! He slept, watched Elmo and ate his meals happily with no qualms; so much so, we had other passengers complimenting him on his good behaviour! One man even said, "He looks like the sorta kid you can take anywhere!" HAHA. That's right. That tantrum in the middle of Ballantynes neeeeever happened :)

"What happens to the Maui?"

We packed our Phil&Ted's portacot into a large suitcase (along with the hubs's gear) and we carried on our Mountain Buggy Nano stroller in its travel case - no problems fitting into the overhead compartment! Though we did have every single travel desk and gate person question us ("No, we don't want to check it in," "It's a carry-on; it's small," "Yes, it's airline-approved," "This is the travel bag it fits into; it's tiny," grumblegrumble). I bought the small fart a Trunki just prior to leaving (last-minute addition!) and I'm torn between whether it's a blessing or curse; yes, he enjoyed pushing it around and riding it, but maybe a little TOO much - he got mad when it was taken away from him (eg. xray machines).

Singapore - if you're unfamiliar - is EXTREMELY hot. Pack shorts and tank tops and jandals. That is all you can afford to wear in the humidity. Walking out of the airport is like walking straight into a sauna. Walk slowly. Accept the temperature and move sloooowly.

Wear very little

I also had no idea the Master would fare terribly in the extreme heat. I'm told we went at the best time of year and while we were there, the locals all said it was at its most bearable level of hotness. Yet still, the smallest amount of exertion caused the wee one to sweat like crazy. He was very cranky in the heat and we had to make sure he was drinking plenty of water.

We stayed at Raffles Town Club on Plymouth Avenue. It's primary function is as a club for members but it does have a few rooms available to members or members' guests (alternatively, you can stay there if you're a member of a reciprocal club). We chose to stay at this particular place and not closer to say, Orchard Road (where all the fun shopping is!) because we wanted to be as close to family as possible, seeing as that was the reason for us going there in the first place. And luckily for us, this place was a less-than-10-minute walk to the hubs's aunt's house (where his mum was also staying while she was holidaying).

Raffles Town Club

Pretty much everyday started the same way: the Master would awake around 5-6, we'd watch Elmo in bed for a bit, then the hubs would take the wee one in the stroller and walk to his aunt's house. I'd sleep-in, play on my phone, order room service and eat in silence while reading the news. They'd return at around 11 for the Master's minimum-2-hour nap. And let me tell ya; THAT made my holiday. I didn't care what I did for the rest of the day, it always started out awesome lol. Any other mother would agree that that's a dream holiday right there hahaha. I'm just completely ignoring the couple of days where the time-difference took a while getting used to eg. having the Master wake at 3.30am, 4am etc. (we just stayed firm with the 7-8pm bedtime and midday naps and we eventually came right). 

Brushin' teeth at the crack of dawn
A happy morning with room service and no one to disturb me ;)

After the fabulous morning, we'd either go for a swim or go out shopping (my only requirement being 'somewhere air-conditioned') and for dinner we'd either go to the aunt's house or go to a food court.

A bit more about the hotel part of Raffles: we booked the Straits Suite (large floor area is now a prerequisite to any accommodation for us after a particularly stressful stay in a small hotel room half a year ago). They have a couple of different rooms available and overall, we were super pleased with our room. It was spacious and kept cool by the AC; the decor was a little old-fashioned but I think that's intentional and a huge part of the charm. The maids were incredibly friendly and accommodating - I felt bad because I hardly ever left the room so often their window of opportunity to turn down our room was like... two hours tops just after lunch lol. 

The bathroom

The bedroom
View of the bathroom from the bedroom
View of the bathroom from the entrance - commode is separated!

Wee living area
View of living area from entrance
Where the Master slumbered - door separating us from him was KEY. 

I only ate at the restaurant for breakfast a handful of times; the servers are friendly and helpful. But I much preferred lazing in bed on my own once the boys had left and then eating on my own too hehehe. 

'American Breakfast'
Mee Goreng
Nasi Lamak
Roti Prata (and chicken curry)
Kaya Toast (and soft boiled eggs)
Croissants and Muesli

The pools are lovely - there's a more grown-up pool area with gazebo's and loungers etc. but further down there's a kiddie pool (shallowest point is around 58cm deep) with two little hydro-slides. There's a height restriction for the slides (1.5m tops) but I went down it anyway with the little munch and it was awesome fun hahaha. No lifeguards so I unleashed my inner rebel :P

Spying on my boys from our room

There's also another middle pool that has jets/bubbles you can turn on (I never figured out where from) but the wee one much preferred the kiddie area or the really shallow bit near the bridge. 

There's a bowling lane on the other side of Raffles and a mini-arcade. We went bowling last time we were here but not this time cos... hahaha can you imagine with a toddler!? Sliding down the gutters?? We also used the gym there last time but again, it wasn't really the sort of thing on our agenda with the Master about! 

Next post will have a few more details about what we actually got up to while we were away.

::breathes out::

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Photo Dump: Recent Obsessions

Update: We've just come back from a holiday so I've got a lot of catching up to do... sound like a broken record? Yup. Grizzlegrizzle. For the time being, here's a not-too-out-of-date post that I was meant to hit, 'publish' on before we left but ran out of time inbetween packing enough nappies and pyjamas for the Master. 

Obsessions of Late~

Obsession 1: Hair cut and colour 

I went much shorter and lighter for this coming spring/summer - my inspiration pics that I took to the hairdresser were of long bobs with some subtle balayage/ombre work. I had to go back and get the fringe bits darkened but overall I'm super happy with it. 

BONUS - the Master got his first pro hair cut. $10 seemed very reasonable considering I was there for about an hour to get my fringe darkened as well. 

Obsession 2: DBZ Capsule Corp tank top

I went to watch the new Dragonball Z movie 'Battle of the Gods' with my brother at the end of August (and I won the Season 1 DVD - omg!). To celebrate I ordered my first DBZ tank top from Red Bubble. It was uber overpriced for what it was but I'm at least thrilled that I've worn it a million times already (with washes in between yo). What I love about this particular piece of DBZ merchandise is that it sticks out as fan-merch to fans only and to the non-fan it's just some logo-T. Could be from Cotton On for all they know!

Obsession 3: Cafe Corner for the Master

After getting him a table and chair set, the wall that it rested along seemed too bare so I came up with this brilliant idea to turn it into a cutesy cafe-style gallery wall. There's still some art I need to finish up for it but the corner itself is coming along nicely. I want to make a slip-cover for that Kmart flip-out sofa eventually to fit the 'cafe' theme but it's tolerable as is for now. How cute is the wee artificial hydrangea in the cute bottle? Both are from The Warehouse. The placemat and doilies are from Spotlight. 

The Superheroes Alphabet chart took me forever and in hindsight I kind of wish I'd just done it digitally and then have it printed. Too late now! 

Excuse the mess....

Obsession 4: Froyo, Pasta and Cheese - Oh my!

I dunno why, but I've digging food lately. I'm not much of a foodie. Not at all actually. To be honest, if I could just take a pill that filled me up for the whole day and provided me with all the necessary nutrients, I'd take it. I hate cooking, cleaning up after and the whole process of sitting down to eat and drink etc. Ugh. BUT LATELY, I've been gorging on buckets of froyo, actually enjoying making a simple pasta bake, inhaling double-cream camembert like it's nectar of the gods, and sweets. Everyone keeps buying me sweets. It was my birthday not too long ago so people have been fattening spoiling me with sweets. Stahp it. No keep going. But really you should stahp...

No one digs the froyo more than this man... I just get him the plain or fruit flavour (though my vice is the coffee one...) and load up on the fruit and maybe some fruit pearls. No more sour worms or rainbow belts for me either :(

Simple pasta bake... I wanted wine so I gave the Master a disposable wine glass of water. I think he felt posh. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Toddler Update: 18 months

Hi-ho! Where have I been? Holed up at home, with a teething toddler: 5 new teeth with a 6th one that's inevitably gonna pop up in the next few days. Winter is depressing, early starts in the dark are depressing, and general out-of-the-norm circumstances are depressing. No point dwelling on it though. A change in attitude is what I need and I choose to focus on good things to come such as:

  • holiday in September overseas
  • Zumba classes (haven't started yet, but I'm ready - just have to wait for the hubs to recover from (minor) surgery)
  • frickin' Spring around the corner, hello!? Our camellias are blooming!!

All my moaning and griping aside though, this post is just gonna be a run-down of the average day-in-the-life-of-a-mama-with-one-toddler thing, so for all those considering becoming a parent can run the other way get a grasp of what it can be like. 

Disclaimer: I'm no expert, I do what I do to survive, I'm the opposite of whatever a nurturing person is, I had an exceptionally difficult baby but strangely, I LOVE THIS GIG. Here's my take on it. 

Disclaimer no.2: I began writing this post when he was going through a momentary good patch... but here's what it's like when things are NORMAL. 

7-8am: wide window, but this is roughly when the Master has awaken from his slumber and calls for me from his room. Our monitor's sound is off but since the nursery door literally faces our door, I hear him LOUD AND CLEAR. I'm up. 

7.30 (or 8.30): cup of milk and some brekkie; toast and some cheerios (I eat what he doesn't), fruit and either yoghurt or cheese. Change out of pj's and a nappy change.


9am: this is when he normally experiences a bit of thunder-down-under. Lately, he goes and gets me a nappy if he's done a doody. I hear it's around this stage that you have a small window to potty-train them. But I'm not ready to ask every 20mins if he needs to potty and clean up after mistakes. I hear potty-training is more about the parent being ready. And I'm NOT ready. Nappies for a while longer yet!

10am: the Master has a snack (muesli bar or crackers or fruit)

10.30am: normally by this stage I've drawn on my face and we're ready to head out for the day. Today we head to the library for some Baby Time (songs), but sometimes we'll go to the mall for some shopping, sometimes the supermarket across the road, other times a little further to the museum or the city park. I normally only pack his sippy cup (water), wet wipes, a sachet (puree), a soft muesli bar, crackers and/or raisins. I have nappies and spare clothes and toys in the car, so generally it's a small bag for me. 

Not feelin' the grooves today

11am: time to think about what the heck we're gonna eat for lunch. We head to the mall since it's not far from the library and we have sushi - he loves the omelette baby rolls but today they only have a rice ball with some egg on it (close enough). Frozen yoghurt after. 

He's not eating off the table - there is gladwrap under that rice ball!

1pm: NAP TIME - he normally lets me know when he's tired by grabbing his swaddle and pacifier and then cuddling (either me or a stuffed animal). If I say the magic words ("Sleepy time?"), he will head to his room. 

Heading to the nursery for a nap

2.30pm: the Master beckons. Time for cuddles since he's just woken so we sit in front of the tv for a moment, snuggle and let him unwind in his own time. Nappy change and a cup of milk.

Watching one his fave shows, "Sheriff Callie's Wild West" - yes I know all the words to all these Disney show intro's

3pm: afternoon tea for the Master. I offer either fruit, or cheese, or maybe a biscuit if he's a little sadder than normal and refuses the first two options. 

3.30pm: either we play with his toys or I read him some stories. If he seems agitated, I take him out  side for some fresh air. 

4pm: Daddy's home!!!!!! Maui the Faux Dog is usually the first to alert us all to the fact that Daddy's home, by barking and running to the door. The Master soon follows after and waits by the door to greet "DADA!" 

4.20pm: the boys head out either for a walk or to the park. I'm left in peace for 40mins. ::happy tear::

Off for a walk - SO LONG!!! 

5pm: time to prepare dinner... normally it's Daddy in the kitchen as he is a proper foodie and I'm apparently an uncultured swine that thinks rice and kimchi make a perfectly acceptable meal. On the chance that Daddy is tired, it's me in there with my fried rice or noodles or pasta bake. I will endeavour to expand that very limited repertoire. 

5.30-6pm: time for noms.  

6.20pm: Daddy plays with the Master (either toys or books). They Tango Grandma and Granddad in Tauranga while I clean up in the kitchen.

7pm: the Master is at his most cheerful around this time, running around hyper and laughing. Time to try and calm him down with cuddles and songs. 

7.30pm: shower with either me or Daddy, brush teeth, moisturise. Begin the wrestling match that is trying to get his nakey butt clothed. 

7.40pm: kissies, sleeping bag on, in bed, strapped in, monitor on, swaddle, pacifier, hold hands, wave bye. "Goodnight monkey, Mummy love you" "BAH. BAH. mmmmmwa." (bye-bye. mwa.)


10pm: BED.

Rinse and repeat. 


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Photo Dump Part 3: Caught Up

This be the last photo dump of today. From the camera roll, here we go. 

A very belated Mother's Day gift - Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC in camel (ordered from the Iconic - still on sale at 30% off)

OOTD: River Island camo top, Trenery cardigan, Rebecca Minkoff bag, ASOS jeans, Country Road flats, Lovisa necklace, Marc Jacobs bracelet

Those darned Countdown DreamWorks Action Heroes Cards (take that Dr Seuss)

Embroidery floss from the mother-in-law - best kind of hand-me-downs, I say

Embroidery - a family portrait

Sitting by the fire in winter - much needed for my chilblain-prone tootsies

Waiting in Drexels for our table

Mini haul from Witchery Kids and Kikki.K - I plan on making my own version of that bunny bag (SQUEE!)

Mango T, Wish blazer, ASOS jeans, Lovisa necklace, MK watch, Marcs booties, Rebecca Minkoff

We just got this Bugaboo footmuff for our Donkey cos a blankie was just not cutting it for winter - this is the regular footmuff (you can also get the waterproof 'High Performance' version but we figured we wouldn't be walking him in wet weather without the rain cover anyway)

Accessories shot: RM bag, Lovisa necklace, MJ bracelet, MK watch, Lovisa midi rings, wedding rings

My wonderful, stoic father-in-law insists on washing our cars even when it's freezing outside. He loves us so and shows it via acts of service #lovelanguages

Watching Pentatonix on Halmoni's phone

Drinking a fluffy - the quaint lil Italian espresso cup and saucer are from Ceramiche Italia <3 (super affordable, 50% off at Briscoes atm)

And I do believe, we are now all caught up. Now I'm going to go collapse in bed. Stay warm and well this winter, or if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy that sunshine!!