Celebrate: May babies

kids1kids2kid4Kaiden phonekait&mummyKaitlyn iphoneselfie1selfie2selfie3

Decided to write something since Jon has left for work and Kaiden is still snuggling in the blanket. A rainy morning which is so good for sleep in.

This month marks almost the end of the first half year and in my family, there are two May babies. My sister who is now far away in US and my father-in-law. Could not celebrate for my sister, everyone in the family surprised her with a birthday card. Hope the card travels half the world to arrive at her place safely.

So where did we go for FIL’s birthday celebration? Our favorite restaurant, Wah Lok at Carlton Hotel for Dim Sum cum lunch. We were the first to arrive. The kiddos self entertained with games on the phone while waiting. Smartphones have literally took over our lives. They have became our time fillers. These time should be used more wisely right? I have already put on a ban to use ipad or smartphones on weekdays for the children. I am glad they are slowly living without them.

Love my Samsung EX2F. Though it may not take wonderful pictures like Jon’s Canon 7D, it is so fun taking selfie with the movable screen. It was a light-hearted lunch so Jon and I started taking selfies. The kids then wanted to join in. Kaiden is always teased by Jon being an extra cos he is so sticky to me. LOL. Even our newest member of the family, Ning, joined in the fun by photobombing one of the pics. It was hilarious. No pretty selfies in the end but these photos are the reflections of how much fun we had that day.

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Random Monday: Thankful and Happy Thoughts

A few months ago, a friend asked why I have not been updating my blog? Kinda of happy cos there is someone who reads it. :) But in true fact, I have not had the time to post any of it even though I have folders of pictures that I have edited and were all ready to post up. I have been kinda of asking, what I have done over almost half a year when my last post was My Obsession with The Heirs in December.

Looking back, son started Primary 1 and girl moved on to Primary 3 this year. With one in the morning and the other in the afternoon session, I was happy that I do not have to put up with their endless squabbles and fights. Oh mine, I was wrong. I am actually busier than expected with the sending, picking and the preparation. I am always the first to wake up and the last to be on bed. I am not complaining but in actual fact, I enjoy every process of it.

I enjoy waking up in the morning, preparing Kaitlyn for school, making sure she gets enough food and take my time to tie the neatest plaits, holding her hands to stroll to school. I enjoy waking the deep asleep Kaiden up, taking time to see his smiles in his sleep, walking the longest walk to school cos he wants to spend a longer time with me. I enjoy having breakfast with hubby in the morning cos he is so busy providing for the family, spending little time at home. Though frustrated that I have to keep on nagging at the children to complete certain tasks and not being able to see hubby almost the whole day, I am still glad I have them with me.

That’s for home. Work wise, setting, vetting and editing of worksheets is a weekly thing. Never ending, never stop. I have to find pockets of time in between to clear my work. Mostly in the morning before Kaiden wakes up or late at night when the children are asleep. I am glad I have a job, providing little help to ease the household. Not only that, I have really nice colleagues who share and help one another. I really enjoy what I am doing now. The only sad thing is I really do not have much time to create more pretty accessories. I miss crafting time.

With this random post, I am going to throwback to my days in December in 2013 when I have my children at home and a break from work when we took a short getaway to Avillion Port Dickson to attend Jon’s cousin wedding. Desperately need some sun, water and sand.  Children on Kiddy rides 1 Sunset at Avillion Resort Sunset2 Group1
selfie

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My Obsession with The Heirs

Seriously, I have never been so obsessed with a Korean drama. I am sad that today has came to an end and will be having a Heirs withdrawal.

To be honest, the storyline is a normal romantic love story but the casts are super with my favourite Lee Min Ho (as Kim Tan), whom I never miss his drama. Park Shin Hye(as Cha Eun Sang), who acted in He’s Beautiful and Heartstrings. Of course there are other interesting characters in the story that we can take days to talk about them.

theheirs

The Heirs was aired  every Wednesday and Thursday for the past 10 weeks. Being in Singapore, I do not get to watch the show until the next day with the subtitles. In fact, I can live without watching the show cause I have turned myself into a reader. Thanks to Joonni from joonni.com, I got first hand news of the drama via reading. She types while she watches every episode so every Wednesday and Thursday, joonni fans including me would gather at her website waiting patiently for her recaps. Hilariously, readers would be busy sending virtual pop-corns, greeting each other from different parts of the world and especially in episode 16, giving out tissue papers and wheezing together.

Together with other commenters, we grow with the characters in the story as commenters shared their views on the characters’ actions and feelings from their point of views. Some very insightful while some with bias critics. Nevertheless, their perspectives have given me a deeper understanding of the way the characters behaved and why the story was written in that way. Comments even shot up to 800 over in episode 16 when the ending of the story became very bleak. All forecasting how the story should flow, ranting for the heartbreaking and nerve wreaking scenes.

I also would like to compliment the writer, Kim Eun-sook for bringing me on a roller coaster ride feelings thrown in the story. Even though I mentioned the storyline was not that fantastic but it will be a show that I would keep watching again and again. I love how the writer brings in literature and facts to blend the story together. There are many read between the lines scenes.

“According to British Council, the most beautiful word is Mother, followed by Passion, Smile, Love and Eternity” – Kim Tan lecturer

In fact the ending of the story is already decided in episode 2. To me, I would just think that the statement made by the lecturer would just be a statement. Through the comments, I realized that story has been revolving around these five beautiful words.

“If I end up kneeling, I kneel. But then I can get back up. If I keep getting up, then the day will come when I don’t fall.” – Kim Tan

I feel more courageous when I heard this statement made by KT, so determined and so not afraid to fall.

“I’ve come far from home, it’s night, and you came. So I am escaping into a dream. Just for one more day a midsummer night’s dream.” -Eun Sang (midsummer night’s dream from Shakespeare)

The dreamcatcher which appeared in the story ties in a lot with Shakespeare’s MidSummer Night’s Dream. It is said that a dreamcatcher would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear.

I love the OST especially when you know that each song is tagged to the scene and feelings of that episode. Some are sang by the casts themselves and especially love ‘Love Hurts’ by Lee Min Ho who sang on behalf of Kim Tan, expressing his painful love when he lost his family, brother and Eun Sang.

I also love the little cute scenes that Kim Tan have with Eun Sang.

theheirs donuttheheirs shoestheheirs3

I typed this while Joonni is still tidying up the details of the final episode, go on and read her recaps now. Joonni, a big thank you for bringing me into your journey, riding together with many other readers. You never fail to give your insightful thoughts and comments at the start and end of each episode. Love the commenters who shared your laughter, sadness and joy in this channel. The Heirs is a success judging at its viewers ratings for Nationwide and Korea. What I consider more successful is how one drama can bring everyone from different parts of the world, be it UK, USA, Asia or South East Asia gathered at the same place, same time (despite difference in time zone) voicing out thoughts, ideas and discussions for a show. Everyone is feeling a bit down now cause it is also time to part and say good bye. Till then….

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Disneyland Paris cos it’s MM’s Birthday Today!

It is Mickey Mouse’s birthday today thus I decided to dedicate a blog post on my day at Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland while I was in Paris. We did not reach the parks very early. We first lost our way at the train stations, then decided to visit the Premium Outlets for some shopping before dropping by the parks. Though late, we still enjoyed ourselves for the rest of the day.

Even though, my children were not with us on this trip, I still wanted to visit Disneyland. It is one off my bucket list and I am left with the last to visit, Disneyland Florida, for now and another upcoming one in Shanghai (opening in 2015).

Walt Disney Studios Hot Balloon caught at a train station before reaching DisneylandA must to take a picture just after the entrance.Walt Disney Studios Animation102 Dalmantian's car which Devil rode inMore vehicles that appeared in Walt Disney movies. Can you spot any familiar ones?A foot rester and a quick breakToy Story Land is in Walt Disney Studios in Paris while ToyStory Land is in DisneyLand Park in Hong KongJon said he wants to take a picture. Finally.....Leaving the park and setting foot into Disneyland Paris Park

We missed most of the shows and parades but it is all right. Pictures taken and place visited. I bought a 2 parks 1 day hopper tickets. So off we go to Disneyland park.

Entrance are all the same in the different DisneylandsDisneyland Paris is celebrating 20th anniversary thus the more I wanted to step inThe must have couple pictureThe Main Street While waiting for the parade to start. I bought a caramelized apple. It was very tasty.Camwhore without knowing that my camera is running out of batt. :(This gal was standing right in front of us and she can't wait for the parade to start too. :) Isn't she gorgeous?Fairy Godmothers appearance first in the parade.Sleeping Beauty PrincessSnow White princessand the rest of the princessesPooh Bearand their gangToyStory charactersFinally.... Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the Disney charactersMickey, Minnie and the rest of the charactersMickey Mouse... everyone seems to be crazy now. Frantically waving, especially the childrenOur feet by now are really tired. After sitting for so long, we were quite reluctant to move our butts.Making our way to the front of the castle to grab a seat for the Night parade. The only Sleeping Beauty castle which is pink

There is always something magical about Disneyland whether is nearer in Hong Kong or further away in Paris. Jonathan said, this is the only place with so many princesses (with the little girls dressed in their favorite princesses costumes). We seemed to be teleported into a fairytale land and for a moment, we were detached from the reality world, away from worries and stress. To children, this is a place where dreams come true and for adults like us, it is a place where we can live our dreams (even for the slightest moment). I love the Small, Small World rides, so vibrant. By placing the different countries’ culture in one place shows that everyone can live in harmony. The exciting and ‘life-threatening’ rides are no longer my cup of tea. Maybe I have grown older and became less brave. So glad that Kaitlyn is not here with us else, we would be forced to ride with her.

Of all the Disneylands that I have gone to, I love Tokyo Disneyland best maybe it bought back the most memories. I enjoyed that most even though I do not understand their language. It was my first time travelling with my first  and last batch of Primary 6 graduands (a graduation cum exchange programme to Japan). I recalled the planning of rides the night before looking at all the excited faces. I took the dangerous and lungs-breaking rides with them while they watched the calm and ‘lame’ (to them) Electric Night parade with me. :) So is there any Disneyland trips that leave you with the deepest memories?

In this post, I hereby once again wish Mickey Mouse a very

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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Moulin Rouge at Montmartre, Paris

Moulin Rouge in the dayMoulin Rouge CoupleJonathan in front of Moulin RougeMoulin Rouge 1Moulin RougeJonathan at the entranceAt the entranceThe long queue to get into Moulin RougeOn the wallsMoulin Rouge programme listWhile queuing to go into the show areaJust ended the showMoulin Rouge at night 

Moulin Rouge, I first heard of in 2001 in the movie cast by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. The touching story is about the love of a poet and a terminally-ill cabaret star of Moulin Rouge. Extravagant costumes displays and lovely use of popular music inter-twined into the story of the movie.

Cabaret is not one if without females dancers, high kicks, flamboyant costumes and some tasteful nudity. We are talking about culture and good behavior. If you think about getting into Moulin Rouge and look at a bunch of females with boobs, :) you are in for the wrong reason. :)

Could  not decide on the River Seine cruise or the Moulin Rouge + Feerie show dinner, we booked the tickets only the night before the show. Jon called Moulin Rouge and was glad to secure two seats as I heard of the place being full house all the time, particularly popular with tourists. We decided to have a good dinner followed by the show.

Just ten minutes walk from our hotel, Moulin Rouge is just opposite Blanche metro station. Dinner was to start at 7pm but there was a already a queue forming when we reached at 6.30pm.

Dinner was awesome. Though a three-course dinner (appetizer, main, desserts), it lasted about two hours and was fulfilling. Why so long??? LOL, Food was served in slow pace, giving us a chance to really enjoy the food, soaked in the atmosphere and to have our casual conversations. We were given 2 set menus to choose from and we decided on Belle Epoque, with Sirloin steak as main. Jon had the Lobster thin Pie à la Parisienne, while I had the Duck foie gras with sea salt for appetizer. Waiter said all desserts were good and were Moulin Rouge’s specialties, so we just chose any on the list. In between meals, we sipped champagne while enjoying the live band music on stage before the real show started. The ambience was immaculately chic with lowly-lit red table lamps beside us. The only sad thing was that we were not allowed to take pictures the moment we set foot in the dinner cum show area. There were photographers around to take pictures for a price. :)

Show started at 9pm and ended at 11pm. There were two shows. The one that started at 11pm would end at 1am but if you are thinking of having dinner, you can only take the earlier show. The show, “Feerie” was exceptional good. Look at the  picture above with the long queue waiting to enter for second show after the first show ended and you will know. The show featured a troupe of eighty performers dressed in spectacular costumes, a jaw-dropping experience especially for me who likes musical. The frequent changing sets and vibrant use of lightings refreshed my senses with the colorful backdrops. Most amazed me was the gigantic aquarium which rose slowly in middle of the stage and the moving staircases which was lowered towards the end of the show.

I was so glad that I actually chose to experience Paris in such way. I would say not cheap for the dinner + show but for once in a lifetime experience. Worth it!.

Since there were no pictures, I would include a short video clip of what to expect from the show. Enjoy! :)

Price: €210.00 per person

which include Belle Epoque dinner + 1/2 bottle champagne and Feerie show

82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France ‎

+33 1 53 09 82 82

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Montmartre – Bohemia, Cabaret, Modern Art?

Montmartre StreetMontmartre street 1Montmartre Street2Theatre De L'AtelierMontmartre street 4 Montmartre Street 3Montmartre Street 6 Montmartre Street 5Musical BoxMusical Box1Notre-Dame ChocolateChoco_shipchoco_red_carChocolate_pink_car

Montmartre is an interesting area. I stayed in Pigalle (famous for its nightlife and a red-light district similar to Singapore’s Geylang) which houses rows and rows of night-clubs, bistros and sex stores. Main reason for choosing the area is the convenient of metro to airport, Moulin Rouge (cabaret) which I had wanted to visit since the movie in 2001 and Sacre-Coeur, the majestic church.

Street was pretty quiet in the morning when I strolled along on the first day. Shops were not opened and could only view items from the windows. Streets increased in gradient as I walked towards the highest point where Sacre-Coeur was. The walk reminded me of the days I was in San Francisco. I walked passed Sacre-Coeur but did not go in as I wanted to save the visit with hubby.

Montmartre to me, is an area with many artistic feel. It is a place where many artists, including Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh, had studios or worked in. There are many interesting shops selling unique handmade jewelry and quirky items. Pop colours and interesting displays in shopfront attracted my attention. I love the range of blue bracelets displayed in one of the shops. The jewelry designer presented a creative way to create stack without having to put them on one by one. Another shop display was packed with pinks and burgundy to remind me that summer is coming to an end and we should welcome fall. I was intrigued by a shop selling adorable household items which I had seen them for sale in one of the shops in Hong Kong’s Harbour City. All these items can be found along the street of Rue Tardieu.

Walking along Rue de Steinkerque, seems to teleport me back to Bugis Street. The road that leads me to Sacre-Coeur from Anvers metro station, is filled with shops selling Paris souvenir. I love this street. It is filled with tourists and trinkets that can be brought home. Personally, I love the musical box. Usually musical boxes are square but the ones sold here are round and beautifully decorated with significant Paris icons. On the same road, it is a must to visit Maison Georges Larnicol which sells chocolates. Even if you are not a chocolate lover, walk in to view the amazing chocolate artwork of Notre Dame.

Lastly, gonna leave a picture of Chicken Spot. Hubby and I had cravings for fried chicken and apparently, could not find any KFC. We were so glad we found Chicken Spot and went back two days straight for snacks. It was really good.

SAM_4622

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Loving the Trains in Paris

RER at Gare St-LazareRER at Gare St-Lazare 1Looking LostDouble decker RERon a RERAnna on a RER

I can’t help but to share more about my observations and feelings on the RER or metro. I caught the metro every day while in Paris. It was the most important form of transport for us. Every morning before going out, I would pull out the metro map and discussed with hub on which line we should take and changed. There were just so many choices that we could make. Sometimes, we bickered insisting that ours were the shortest way. Sometimes, we blamed ourselves when we realized that we had taken the wrong route. After two days of trial and errors, we decided to ask the information counter before we confirmed our routes.

Metro tickets are at €1.70 per trip. If taken together with RER, it will be wiser to buy from the information counter as the staff will combine the ticket price. As compared to Singapore, the price of the ticket does not account for distance. One ticket allows me to travel to any station at any distance. So even if I plan a longer route, I will only waste my precious time.

The interior of each station is unique to make me slow down my every walk and to see more.  There were different interior designs for each station. It’s like an art gallery! Some days, I would see workers in coveralls holding rolls and rolls of posters, changing the big posters in stations with scraper and pail. At times, there would be street musicians playing in the underground. This sight is quite common in Singapore but to see a group of eight musicians playing and promoting their music with different kinds of big instruments is somehow rare.  :) Stations hardly have escalators too. Every day, we had to walk many flights of stairs to reach and out of the metro. A lot of training on our calves. :) Vending machines for snacks and drinks can be found before boarding the metro so which means food is allowed but the metro remains clean.

The metro is not as long as Singapore’s MRT and they have cabins that do not allow passengers to pass through. The doors are not automated for older metro. Passengers have to push a button or lever to open the doors in order to alight or board. An ingenious idea is the lever chairs near the doors (like our olden days’ cinema chairs). When the metro is not crowded, passengers tend to push down the chairs to rest. There is a rule on the metro that these chairs should not be seated if the metro is crowded.

As the metro passed by many stations, graffiti can be seen almost on every walls in the tunnels, all beautifully drawn. At times, sudden blast of music could be heard in the metro, someone personified as Michael Jackson dancing to his hits or just an old man playing on his button accordion. At the end of their performances, they would go around to collect gratuities.

RER is somehow not as exciting as metro in Paris but a good time to enjoy the scenery. Maybe it travels a longer distance and further out of Paris. Pictures above were all taken in a RER on my way to Disneyland Paris. We took the wrong route and got stranded in Gare St-Lazare, one of the main stations. In the end, we had to seek help from the Metro information counter to direct us the shortest way to reach our destination. It was my first time on a double-decker train. Train was pretty empty and clean. :) Since a long journey, we camwhored!

We are on the RER

Train system in Paris is so complicated and definitely needs time for further investigation. Put aside the inter-twining routes and fifteen color-coded lines, I think I am in love with the train systems in Paris with so much to see and feel.

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