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What to do during the June holidays part 2: go for a staycation at Amara Sentosa

June 13, 2015

So there was an offer on Groupon for a staycation at Amara Sanctuary Resort, and we decided to buy two! That works out to a nice 3D2N staycation on Sentosa island.

After our usual morning swim and lunch, we headed there. (By the way, if you’re driving in, don’t forget to print out the confirmation e-mail from the hotel; it gives you free entry to Sentosa. Without it, entry from 7am-5pm costs $7 per car for Sat, Sun and PH, and $3 after 5pm).

Check-in time was officially 3pm, and we arrived around 2.30pm. The lobby was nice and bright (unlike Hard Rock, our last staycation venue), and thankfully, there was no queue at the check-in counter (unlike Hard Rock and Festive Hotel). The whole process was relatively smooth, but we had to wait for the room to be ready. How to while away the time? Head for the snack cart, of course! How thoughtful of them to provide kacang puteh and iced water/tea so we can stuff our faces while waiting.

Kacang puteh man at your service

Kacang puteh man at your service

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Nom nom nom…

And then because the room was still not ready, we spent some time taking pictures since we wore matchy outfits.

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The theme of the day was black/navy/prints.

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I love our matching outfits (my top + MM’s dress); they’re from the Leo Lionni collection at Uniqlo.

Finally, it was time to head to our room! We got a twin-bed deluxe room (each room ranges from 37 to 39 sqm), which was spacious enough. But again, no free Wi-Fi 😦  (Why do all the hotels on Sentosa not have free Wi-Fi?!?)

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Papa wasted no time in lying down to relax…

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… while the kids mucked around.

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There was even a sofa, which Korkor ended up sleeping on.

The kids loved the bathtub, which was sorely missed at our previous RWS staycations.

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Yay bathtub!

And of course, most importantly, Cartoon Network on TV! Too bad no Adventure Time this time around, but we watched lotsa Gumball 🙂

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Yay Gumball!

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Rabbit wants to join in too.

We also checked out the swimming pools. Amara Sanctuary actually has four pools :

  • SkyPool – A stunning rooftop infinity pool boasting impressive views of the South China Sea
  • DreamPool – A splendid pool with waterfall amidst the beauty and comfort of a natural rainforest garden
  • Children Pool – A kiddy pool completes with water slides sits prettily next to DreamPool
  • Larkhill Terrace Pool – An exclusive infinity pool with impeccable view,  just for guests of Larkhill Terrace Suites

(info from http://sentosa.amarahotels.com)

We didn’t manage to go the the Sky Pool, partly because children are apparently not allowed (probably cos it’s too deep for them). And it didn’t help that the weather was rainy.

But we did have some fun at the Children Pool. Although the above description is slightly inaccurate (not to mention ungrammatical!) as there is only ONE water slide. Yes, singular.

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MM in her cute watermelon swimsuit from Cotton On Kids, Korkor in Lifeguard rashguard from Cotton On Kids and Angry Birds swim shorts from H&M Kids

 

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Yes there was just ONE slide, but Korkor still had a splashing good time!

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MM on the other hand absolutely refused to go on the slide.

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A series of steps and tiny pools leads up to the Dream Pool.

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The top deck

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IMG_5145 The Dream Pool: can’t really do laps here though, it’s waaay too short.

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There was also a poolside bar, though it looks closed.

A word of caution if you want to head to the pools: The area is teeming with mosquitoes (and big ones too)! I spent most of my time shooing them off from MM and splashing water on her to chase them away (although she thought I was just playing with her and had a good laugh). I wonder if that was why nobody was at the pools when we were there. Miraculously, we didn’t get bitten at all (must be thanks to the zealous splashing Mummy hehe… and Korkor was probably moving around too much for them to land on him).

More on what we did at the hotel in the next post!

 

 

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The Terrible Twos: Learning to Share (or not)

June 6, 2015

I never used to believe in the zodiac, but looking at the characters of our two little monkeys, it’s sometimes hard not to. Korkor the little rat is the soft and thoughtful one, whereas MM is a little dragon through and through, fierce and fiesty. Woe betide us all if things don’t go her way. Case in point: having to share an ice cream cone.

When Papa was away for work, we went to Ion for lunch one of the Sundays. After finishing “proper” food, it was dessert time. Korkor’s pick that day: an ice cream cone from Yami Yogurt. Of course, I only bought one so they could share it (and so they would each eat less + save money!). So MM was happily slurping away:

Ice cream! Yum!

Ice cream! Yum!

But when it was korkor’s turn…

!!!!

MINE!!!!

She practically screamed her head off, and everyone seated in the vicinity turned around to see what the commotion was about.

Had to scold her and tell her to SHARE with korkor before she finally released her death grip on the poor cone. Then, we made a show of having korkor take a few slurps and returning the cone to her, and telling her “see korkor also share with you” etc etc.

She was slightly appeased…

"Why u do this to me?!?"

Why u do dis to me?!?

But the unhappiness was still written all over her (round) face.

We’ve been trying our best to keep teaching her to share, be it ice cream or toys, and it’s still an uphill task. But I think she’s slowly improving…

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What to do during the June holidays part 1: visit the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

June 4, 2015

It’s the June holidays again! To kick things off, we paid a visit to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which just opened its doors in April this year. According to the ST, it’s “the Republic’s only museum dedicated to showcasing Southeast Asian biodiversity”.

We bought the tickets online a few weeks ago as you can’t get tickets at the door; you can only get them online or at Sistic counters ($15 for an adult and $8 for a child for Singaporeans and permanent residents, but kids under 3 get in for free. Plus, there’s an additional charge of $1 Sistic booking fee per ticket). And they are sold in six 1.5-hour slots (to avoid overcrowding). We went for the earliest slot (10am-11.30am). So we woke up bright and early (as usual, the kids woke up at 7am even though it was a holiday…), and drove down to Clementi to the museum. When we got there, we were horrified to see a snaking queue! To our immense relief, the queue was only there because the museum was still closed. In fact, once the doors opened, the line moved pretty quickly. But first, a family picture while waiting in the queue:

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Upon entry, the first thing you see are the three dinosaurs Prince, Apollonia and Twinky, ostensibly the main draw of the museum. And I must say, they are rather impressive! Just look at all the bones:

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According to the sign, “Dinosaur experts that the museum have consulted are still undecided what the correct genus and species of our three dinosaurs are”. This sentence, by the way, irritates me to no end (occupational hazard, sorry). You’d think that after spending millions of dollars on acquiring the dino bones, the least they could do was to pay someone a little to sub the text. But I digress. So all we know is that “they belong to the family Diplodocidae”. Wonder if we’ll ever find out what they really are…
There’s also a dino light show at half hour intervals starting from 1030am. Tristan was rather excited about it, but it turned out to be nothing much, just some flashing lights and roaring sounds. He did notice one thing though: “Mummy, why is the dinosaur head so small?” LOL…
There were flying dinos too:
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 And even a triceratops leg (yes, just one leg):
Nice legs: triceratops vs elephant

Nice legs: triceratops vs elephant

The dinos were just one small part of the exhibits. There were tons of other interesting creatures, from tiny insects to giant crocs.
We were all creeped out by the spiders and snakes:
Check out the size of that tarantula!

Check out the size of that tarantula!

ssssscary!

Sssssscary!

The butterflies and beetles were gorgeous:

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But we didn’t linger as Tristan couldn’t wait to go upstairs to explore. So up we went… which took a while because MM went up and down the stairs (this was probably her favourite part of the museum).

Up and down...

Up and down…

The first thing that greeted us upstairs was this giant marlin (which makes me think of Captain Haddock), and of course we had to take this requisite shot:

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Catch of the day!

And more cool creatures:

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Elbow crab says “hi”!

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Don’t forget to open up the drawers, the names of the creatures are all there.

Then back downstairs for another look.

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And some mucking around:

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Tristan met some of his friends too:

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Before we left, MM had to stop by the museum shop to say “hi” to her friends:

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All in all, it was an enjoyable visit and we had a good time.

Pros: Air-con! And it wasn’t too crowded (despite the initial queue); the timed ticket system really works! And I read somewhere that they don’t chase you out even if you’ve exceeded your time. And there was lots to see, I just wished we had more time to slowly read all the signs, but Tristan was too impatient. It’s probably better (and more educational) for older kids. Oh, and did I mention the air-con??

Cons: Location is a bit ulu (it’s in Clementi at NUS) and nothing of interest nearby, we had to drive somewhere else for lunch. And the upstairs toilet only has 1 cubicle. ONE. We spent a good 15 minutes just waiting for everyone to be done.

Will probably try and go again when the kids are a bit older.

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The Phua Family Checks Into Pan Pacific Hotel

April 24, 2010

Been a long time since I posted on the blog but seeing as how I’ve been on the move so much it’s no real surprise.

Well, now’s as good a time as any other since it’s tristan’s second birthday!!

Trying out mobile blogging since everyone’s asleep in the room right now.

View at the front desk as we were checking in this morning hehe.

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Project MiniMe: Entry 0072

October 15, 2009

Spotted at the mall one day:

Look Ma, A New Friend!

It’s not every day that you meet a mannequin dressed like you.

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Fruit Paradise

October 12, 2009

Synn and I have actually tried quite a few of their tarts till date, but I just never got round to posting pictures of these yummy treats.

Located at the by-now-not-so-new Tampines 1, these tarts often sell out quickly when they hit the shelves, which is surprising since these things don’t come cheap.

Priced at (I think) $7.50 a slice, it’s a lot to pay for a unhealthy dose of fresh cream (I see dead carbs, they’re everywhere!), a sliver of sponge and a generous enough topping.

Having tried almost their whole range, I think it’s safe to say that our unanimous favourite has got to be the Grapefruit and Orange flavour, teehee.

Yummies

Precision handcut with a hot knife (see to believe), the look of concentration on the staff doing the deed is almost comical. They dip the knife in hot water, do a mental count (of god knows what) and cut. The serving staff even do a nice syrup art on the plate before you get it. Kewl.

Coming in a distant second, would have to be the Mango flavour.

Not As Yum

Honestly, I don’t see why there’s even a craze over these tarts. Yes, they’re good, but they’re not great. I would say if these had more sponge in them, it be a lot better. They’ve got everything else down pat: presentation, portions, taste, etc.

The irony is that the sponge is nice and fluffy, and should feature more instead of the cream.

3.5/5 in my opinion.

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Project MiniMe: Entry 0071

October 10, 2009

Ten things my 17 month old son has taught me:

1. Subway meal > Big Breakfast > fish porridge.

2. The Eensy Weensy Spider looks like two index fingers touching each other.

3. When dragged in a direction not to liking, lie on the floor. Really still. And enable Poker Face Mode.

4. Water-skiing Floor-skiing is hilarious.

5. Strawberry toothpaste is yummy.

6. So is Daddy’s finger.

7. Successfully getting rubbish into the chute calls for self-applause.

8. So does succesfully getting the lift buttons to light up.

9. A toddler learning to jump resembles a chicken trying to take flight. (Yes, Synn and I are hard at work trying to capture a video of said flying jumping.)

10. A handphone is literally that. (Yes, we need a video of this as well.)