Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beach Bum For A Day At The Lazarus Island

It's the school holidays and the kids were restless. Have read about and seen many photos about the beautiful untouched 'blue lagoon' at the Lazarus Island shared on the social media; didn't quite make any arrangements to visit this place since hearing about it.

We were so glad to have made a trip to the charming beach of Lazarus Island today! This place is completely unspoilt, clean and totally serene. I did a little digging on google about the Lazarus Island and discovered that there was a GRAND PLAN behind this place (and the surrounding islets) which was named the Southern Island Development (read more about it here). For some it might be a pity the grand plan didn't move forward but for those who love nature that's undisturbed it's great news!

It was really easy to find our way to this lovely island. We rode on the MRT to Marina South Pier station (take exit B) and bought our ferry tickets at the Singapore Island Cruise Services counter (see ferry schedule and ticket pricing here), got ourselves to St. John's island before taking a 15-20mins walk to the Lazarus Island.
Since we knew that there weren't any amenities in the St John's and Lazarus Island, we made preparations of our own food, snacks, drinks and all the necessities for a day of being a beach bum (ie. prepare sunshades, sun block lotion, mosquito patch/insect repellent, Mopiko, wet wipes, tissues, picnic mats, picnic umbrellas, beach/sand toys for the kids etc).
There weren't any coast guard around so if you are bringing your little kiddos along, please be watchful.
We found a pavilion in the middle of the beach area and settled down to have our day of fun. Not far from this pavilion was a jetty where privately chartered yacht can come right into the island; in this jetty, there is ONE washroom that's for common use, it's about 10mins walking distance away from the pavilion so it's not that bad now that there's a washroom accessible within the island itself *smile*.
The kids soaked up all the sun this afternoon at the beach and caught so many hermit crabs(which was later all released back to their home), made a few new friends and had an absolutely whale of a good time!
So glad they didn't ask for the electronic gadgets and simply enjoyed the day of fun by the beach with no toys, no fastfood, no fancy entertainment but just the sun, sand and the sea!
This place is definitely worth checking out if you want a quiet getaway from the mainland's hustle and bustle; though I cannot say if it's going to be as tranquil as it is during the weekends because this island has gained popularity of late.
We know for sure we will be back to this charming place again!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sum of Fun at Underwater World Singapore

**Media Invite** 

It was a pleasant surprise when I received an invite to visit the Underwater World Singapore (UWS) recently. It's been such a loooooong time since I last stepped foot in this place that I cannot even remember when that was. This place was touted the "granddaddy of marine attractions" and I must say it's true as it's been around since 1991 (a grand 24 years!).
The place didn't really change much except for the addition of the Dolphin Lagoon. Nonetheless it was a place I'd say that had an appeal on my two kiddos (especially Little Man). I was amazed at Little Man's enthusiasm about marine and sea creatures that were in the UWS.
At every corner of the UWS whether outdoor or indoor, we'd spend at least 10-15mins checking out the animals/creatures, reading up about them a little while Little Man would tell us stories about what he has learned about these animals from the Bindi books he's read.

While UWS has been outshine by the latest and largest oceanarium, the S.E.A. Aquarium within the same island, it still has its merits. The place is smaller, cosier, it certainly has the drawing power of its own (I am speaking based on my children's reaction), I feel there's less distraction and we can really focus on learning and reading up more about the sea creatures, touching, feeding and observing them.

We've been to S.E.A. Aquarium a few times not too long ago, the place was too crowded. Often there were long queues at the Discovery Touch Pool that we didn't want to spend time waiting; the kids spent more time zipping around than truly slowing down to learn/read about the sea creatures and exhibits, simply because the place was too big.

The highlight for the day was really the Pink Dolphin and Fur Seal show at the Dolphin Lagoon. The gasps I heard from Missy as the dolphins performed the many difficult manoeuvres and the wide-eyed Little Man who shouted in excitement occasionally during the show, I was sure they both have had great fun.

After the visit at UWS, we headed straight to the Island Cuisine cafe for a buffet dinner. It's a convenient stop-over if you want to have a meal with your family. I'll be honest and fest up that the food was no gourmet standard but if you have young kids and you are there with your family, it'll be a suitable place to have a meal. Choose a nice window seat as this cafe has a nice sea view.

We ended our evening of visit to the UWS with a pleasant family time seated by the side line of the sea (which is right outside of the Island Cuisine cafe) enjoying the light sea breeze and view. The kids and their daddy had a stone throwing competition - was a good time of bonding for the family!

A big thanks to UWS for this invite, this was a surprise school holiday activity that was added into our long list of activities to do and we are certainly not complaining! *smile*

From 30th May to 28th June 2015, Underwater World Singapore will be hosting a special Sum of Fun bundle deal. Enjoy up to 65% off the bundle deal (see photo below). For more details please go to this link.

Terms & Conditions apply. 
*This contest is open to all local residents of Singapore

Contest has now ended! CONGRATULATIONS to the following 5 WINNERS!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Froyo at Frozen By A Thousand Blessings

We were very happy to be invited to have a taste of this organic Froyo (Frozen Yogurt) at Frozen By A Thousand Blessings.
Located right smack in the middle of an up and coming heartland corner in Toa Payoh, we are not surprise why this is a hip place amongst the younger generation of heartlanders.

Frozen By A Thousand Blessings here is a franchise outlet. It's originally from Melbourne Australia. I love the decor of this place, it's brightly lit, clean and minimalist; definitely a comfortable place to spend time relaxing with family and friends.

The owner, Mr Mervyn Lee, a friendly and chatty chap who said, he enjoyed his daily interactions with his patrons whom he called as friends after a few rounds of chit chats. He preferred such opportunities to mingle and get to know the people who entered his shop which he felt would be hard if his shop was in the malls.
We love that this is a self-serve parlour where we can decide the amount of yogurt we want to have on our tub. Charges are based on the weight of yogurt & toppings so you pay for how heavy your tub weighed.
There are 6 different yogurt flavours and I am big fan of anything coconut, so naturally I picked the coconut yogurt. I was impressed by the fact that all yogurt except the Mango&Soy are made with Biodynamic unhomogonised full cream milk and two of the flavours are sweetened with Stevia instead of sugar, which makes them suitable for diabetics and people who are conscious about calorie counts.
The place also made available handy nutrition information cards for each of their flavours, so if you are conscious about the amount of calories you are consuming do check out these cards.
There are approximately over 30 different toppings on offer. Of the toppings there are cakes in bite size available, chia seeds, a variety of nuts, granola and so much more one could choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice just as we did. But one thing that was lacking in the topping which I wish they would consider adding and that will be a variety of fruits. Yogurt always goes well with fruit toppings in my opinion, that would have made this dessert a perfect healthy choice over any ice creams! *wink*
It cost $3.80/100gms of Froyo with topping. On average, one would spend approximately S$7-8 (yogurt + toppings) per tub of Froyo. So if you are trying to keep a budget while enjoying your dessert, take note to fill the tub with not beyond the half tub mark of yogurt and choose your topping carefully *grin* but if you are feeling a little extravagant then there's no need for such a concern!
We were also pleasantly surprise to learn that the owner, has opened up the upstairs of the shop space as a place for mini parties or private function. The cosy little space upstairs can host up to 20pax for a nice gathering amongst friends or family. All that's required to book the space up for your private function is to spend over $120 within Frozen By A Thousand Blessings, on the day of your event.

Frozen By A Thousand Blessings
Blk 126 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
#01-551 Singapore 310126
Tel: +65 6259 8028

Operating Hours
Sunday - Thursday 11.30am - 10.00pm
Friday - Saturday 11.30am - 11.00pm

Disclosure: We were invited for a complimentary Froyo tasting. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions and photos are my own.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Here's Our June Holiday Activities

Contrary to school holidays MUST BE spent out of the country, I've always look within our homeland for fun activities that can expend all the kids' energy, as well as learn a thing or two on my own as we go along.

This year's activities would allow more time for the kids and I to do discussion and sharing more stories. I cannot promise that it'll be the same kind of fun in theme parks but I am sure it will leave them some fond memories to recollect some years down the road.

Heritage Trails
This has been an activity I have wanted to do for a while now. With this year being SG50 we have more reasons to learn about Singapore than before! We will begin with our own town and the surrounding towns around us. As I researched, I didn't realize there are so much information to gather about our estate here. In addition, I could add a few anecdotes of my own being a student in this vicinity in my primary and secondary school years.
Photo Credit Link
So much information is available on the internet and ready suggested trails you can take to just learn about the different towns in Singapore. See the links below for details -
National Heritage Board
Explore Heritage
Your Singapore

More details of our trail in a later post, so stay tuned!

Singapore Pinacothêque de Paris Museum
Photo Credit Link
This is a new museum (located at Fort Canning Park) which is slated to open at the end of May 2015. I learned about it only recently through a friend and since the kids and I have been reading about some of the world renown artists, it'd be a great experience and opportunity of discussions for us to go visit this museum.
Photo credit link
Follow-up activities after this visit would be some art fun pulled out from this art book by Mary Ann Kohl

If you are interested in introducing art to your children of any age, check out this list of great books that you and your children can explore together.

Vacation Bible School 2015

This is the fourth year I am sending my kids to this program. It has proven to be a great program to put the kids in. Year-on-year the kids would request to go back to VBS and I have definitely no qualms signing them up (ppssst that means I'd have some me-time *smile*)

VBS runs on a different theme each year and this year, it's about Obedience to Jesus Christ! Which incidentally, is my one word focus for year 2015!!! (ok! I hear God loud and clear about keeping to my promise of obedience)

See more details about this program here. If you'd like to sign up too check out this link.

Omni-Theatre (Media Invite - *Updated)
We were in awe as we were presented with the "live" show of cosmic surfing. The audience were "transported" from Singapore all the way through the milky way.

With the aid of satellites activities around the galaxy was made clearer to us. It's simply fascinating!
For more information do check out this link here.

Children's Season 2015 - National Museum
A media invite - More details to be updated soon! Stay tuned!
Photo credit National Museum Singapore
After our media invite at the National Museum for Masak Masak, we decided to take a short walk over to the Imaginarium at 8Q by Singapore Arts Museum. We were really in for great and fun surprises. The children had so much fun, they didn't want to go home! We really could spend the entire day here! If you are a Singapore citizen or a PR, you enter the Imaginarium for free! For more details check out their website here.

Gardens By the Bay - Flowers Fun Time with Nursery Rhymes
(Media Invite - *Updated)
Our recent visit to the Gardens By the Bay was a really pleasant one. We took our time to learn the names of the plants and flowers. We didn't rush through the walk like we did previously. I preempted the children to take time to "smell the roses" and pick up a thing or two instead of running wild.

I was more fascinated than they were. So many beautiful blooms and oh the temperate environment simply made me want to just stay there... forever... lovely place for a family to just spend some time together.

Check out their website on details for their latest exhibits and promotions.

Dinosaurize Me! @ Plaza Singapura
(Media Invite - *Updated)
Little Man is a huge fan of Dinosaurs! We were absolutely delighted to be invited to have a preview of the exhibition co-presented by Plaza Singapura and the Singapore Science Centre, where science is being brought nearer to the people at the mall. This exhibition commences from 29th May - 14th June 2015. The dino exhibit is open to public and if the children wish to participate in any of the hands-on activity a fee of $5 is chargeable. For details please go to this link.

Some other fun but not too expensive or even FOC activities
Family bonding time at Frozen by a Thousand Blessings, an Australian self-serve yogurt bar. Read my update here (Media invite - *Updated).

28th SEA Games Carnival
What great fun we had at the 28th SEA Games Carnival. So much to do, and we could literally spend the entire day here! Happening at the sideline of the 28th SEA Games is this carnival where the entire family is able to enjoy a day out together. For more details check out the website here.

A word of caution though, there will be road diversion and closure on the 5th and 16th June due to the official opening and closing of the SEA Games. In addition, a huge crowd is expected to turn up on these 2 dates.

Visits to the National Library 
I need my kids to be quiet at times, best activity would be to read! hah! What better to do than to visit the library and cart a load-ful of books home and kick up the legs and read!

We really have no lack of places and things to do even when we are in Singapore during the June school holidays! All it takes is some planning and creativity! *wink*

Monday, May 04, 2015

Healthy Living Through Healthy Eating

I have been down with flu which later developed into stomach flu that incapacitated me for almost 2 weeks! I felt weak, breaking out in cold perspiration, feeling nauseated and dizzy most of the time. I threw up my dinner and had the runs so often! It was HORRIBLE! This episode, has once again reminded me the importance of good health, it is after all the temple of our Lord's Holy Spirit, which means it's important how we take care of our body.
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 
I've been diagnosed as a diabetic for almost 2 years now. Diabetes is not unfamiliar to me. My late paternal grandma, dad and uncle all passed on due to complications derived from the chronic disease. For the whole of my 2 pregnancies previously, I had to be on insulin jabs twice a day and I've to test my blood glucose on alternate days 3x a day for the entire gestation period.

Since my late dad's passing, I wanted a life free of jabs and medication, free of being bedridden, free of being a burden to myself and people dear to me, free of being unable to consume this or eat that because my health forbade me to. I felt a nudge to take care of my health, I tried to adjust but wasn't very committed to stick on with a healthier diet. My appetite for desserts, deep fried food and seafood grew so big that I scare myself, literally! I indulge in everything that my appetite desired.
Photo credit link
I heaped up 5kg of weight on myself just within a year and I was desperate to shed them all off. Not for vanity reasons but really, my diabetes condition was a gnawing thought hanging on my mind all the time, it wouldn't let up.

The nudging became a literal push when my dear hubby bought me this book.
My eyes were opened to the truth that it is not God's design for us to be sick. Through "What the Bible says about Healthy Living", I've gained loads of insights on how our diet and habits of food intake have so much impact on our health. It can go either way, much to our own doing.

I am now determined to reverse my diabetes condition and I have set my mind to commit to a healthier dieting habit. I will submit in obedience to only consume what God has created as food for us, minimise the reliance of heavily processed food/ingredients, and will resolve not to indulge or even get addicted to food.

Before I fell ill recently, I've started to go meatless in at least one meal a day and even with meat in our meals, I cut out pork and seafood. I've cut out oily breakfast food such as prata, chwee kueh and I've also cut out sugary and deep fried snacks and have instead snacked on fruits, vegetables, chick peas, seeds and nuts. I've also cut back on the usage of processed condiments/premixed sauces.

I am not surprise how such adjustments have brought me much more energy than before. I feel less sluggish and was able to keep up with the demands as a mom and wife better. Yes, I do get hungry more often but it's also forced me to take multiple smaller meals each day, which in fact is ideal for a diabetic.

From this week onwards, together with my family, we will commit to eating meatless weeknight dinners for the entire month of May. I've come to realised that with a little planning and loads of determination, healthy eating habits can be build up.

I am sharing the principles I based on for our meatless weeknight dinner meal plan and of course recipes in my other blog so do hop over and read in detail.