Birthday Lunch at Salt Grill and Sky Bar

Alexis birthday often goes unmentioned on my blog because he doesn’t like to get reminded that he’s getting older no matter what I tell him about men aging like fine wine. But since I took him somewhere fancy last year to celebrate his birthday, I have to make sure this goes on the blog so he’ll remember that he’s not the only one who can pull off birthday surprises. And the venue I chose, Salt Grill and Sky Bar at Ion Orchard for a sky high treat.

Located on the 55th floor of Ion, the Salt Grill and Sky Bar makes a choice location for gastronomic celebrations with a view, even with kids in tow. I was initially hesitant to have Sophie join us for lunch because the restaurant didn’t give me the impression that they were family-friendly and welcome kids. In fact, I hardly came across any blogs that did a review on a family dining experience too. But after I did my research on their website, I was delighted to find out that they have a kids menu. So yeah, Sophie gets to join in Daddy’s birthday celebration with us!

While I heard that the night scenery is breath taking, we opted for lunch because how romantic can it get when you have your daughter along, plus they serve set lunch at S$49 ++. 

To ensure we secure a window seat by the restaurant, I made an advance reservation and am so glad I did because the bird’s eye view from above was simply magnificent. 

 

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Enjoying an unparalleled view at Salt Grill and Sky Bar

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The birthday boy!

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We were promptly ushered to our table once we arrived at the restaurant and after we had our orders taken, we enjoyed some chips and bread with olive oil and dukkah.

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Sophie making herself a chip sandwich there

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The kids menu was pretty simple with just 4 options (S$25 each), and one of them was spaghetti bolognese which Sophie ordered.

For our entree, Alexis ordered the ‘glass’ Sydney crab omelette in miso mustard broth while I had the seared scallop accompanied by cauliflower puree in XO sauce, broccolini, topped with pork crackling.

I enjoyed every mouthful of this as the scallops were seared to perfection and the flavours were so rich and delightful.

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Alexis dish was quite the opposite as the omelette was so light and fluffy. A simple yet well executed dish.

For our main course, Alexis choice was pan-roasted Snapper with roasted eggplant in “Sydney “spice, coconut and pickled ginger. To be honest, it didn’t sound that exciting to me but I stand corrected as I tried to get him to share his dish with me. 
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I had the kurobuta pork grilled loin with cabbage a and market greens, topped with crispy skin and roasted pear. Since pork loin has less fat, I found it a little too dry though taste wise it was still a winner.

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To end our meal, we had dessert and chose the orange sherbet with berries. I usually avoid ordering anything with orange but this had a nice balance of citrus tangy sweetness and I was hoping for more.

In between our meal, we tried to look for key landmarks in Singapore and even observed how the rain clouds shifted from one part of the island and slowly had the building enveloped in heavy rain as the grey clouds loomed over us. What a sight and it was the perfect opportunity for a teachable moment.

While Alexis’s birthday celebration was not as romantic as I envisioned with our little lightblub, we sure had a good time with her company. Her funny antics like here where she insisted on having a piece of bread in the mouth for the photo had us rolling our eyes at her after that but I know she’s secretly happy to do silly things when we’re not looking.
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After you’re done your meal, don’t forget to walk up to the 56th floor where you can see another view from the restaurant as well.

I told Alexis that we should come back another time for dinner, and this time without Sophie. Let’s hope our little lightbulb didn’t hear that and gives us a night off from our parenting duties to have more couple time 🙂

Salt Grill and Sky Bar
2 Orchard Turn, #55-01 & #56-01 ION Orchard, 238801
Tel: +65 65925118
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaltGrillSkybar/

Year in Review for 2016

With just a few days more to the end of 2016, it’s only fitting to take things a notch slower and find time to reflect about the year gone by and do a review.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’m big on being intentional and purposeful especially when it comes to my parenting journey. However, I find that I wasn’t as intentional as I hoped to be as I was often pulled in so many different directions by the demands of juggling between work and family life.

When Sophie started Pri 1, we had to make adjustments to our lives. My mum came over to stay with us on weekdays, we had to wake up early (to prepare Sophie for school), I had to be extra efficient at work so that I can knock off on time to spend time with Sophie, revise her school work before tucking her to bed. And even then it’s not the end of my day with chores waiting to be done and I’ll try to make an effort to catch up with my mum, my hubby and also squeeze out time for myself before repeating the cycle all over again from Mondays to Fridays.

I don’t know how other mums with 2 more kids do it, but it felt so exhausting and it was mentally draining, which explains why I cut down on blogging and prefer to have solitude time whenever I can.

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Teaching Sophie to play badminton, at Sophie’s Chinese drama performance in school and Music Run as a family

Work wise, even though my initial plans to work part-time this year didn’t go through as planned, I soldiered on as a full-time working mum with a mind set on making positive changes whenever and where ever I can. So despite some challenging times, work was more interesting as I felt stretched and learnt so much by being more curious and taking more initiatives to make things happen. Though work was busy with a few launch campaigns, I finally saw my work out on the streets and our work even won a couple of awards which I’m so proud to be a part of.

But more than anything, the friendship between colleagues deepened and we even went on a Malacca trip together where lil Sophie tagged along for our girly trip. She certainly brought extra vibrancy and sunshine to our getaway and she’s since been a regular at mama’s office during the school holidays too.

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Sophie tagged along for our girly trip to Malacca

This year, Alexis and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and as a walk down memory lane,  we went to Melbourne where we honeymooned. The past 10 years has been anything but easy. I told Alexis that he’s no longer the same man that I married but for good reasons as I see a more dependable, responsible man whose love speaks louder in actions than with words. 10 years later, I still do.

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Back to where we honeymooned 10 year ago and this time with Sophie in tow

This year I focused on self care by reading more, going to the gym and got settled into a cell group in church. So while some parts of me still feels like I’m in the middle of a whirlwind at times, these things helped to feed my mind, body and soul, which I will certainly continue in the new year.
Going forward into 2017, I know there are some things I’ll need to cut back and even cull from my life so that I can advance. My health is certainly no longer what it used to be as well and I can’t make it for granted so blogging will take a back seat and another reason is to give Sophie more privacy as she gets older.
And yes, it’s back to more mindful and intentional living for me  in 2017 and another one I’m adding to the list is simplifying my life.
Feeling reflective?
Here’s a list of 50 questions to help you reflect, reflect and get excited about in the new year.
Here’s a list of resources to how to be more intentional in the new year which I hope you find them helpful.

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours

Christmas Fund Raising for Angel Gowns Singapore

Christmas-the season for giving and spreading the festive cheer is just round the corner.

This year I’m making Christmas cards to support Angel Gowns Singapore started by a dear friend of mine, Rosalind.

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Repurposed bridal gowns transformed into Angel Gowns

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Volunteers from Angel Gowns Singapore learning to sew

Angel Gowns Singapore

The tireless group of volunteers have been featured in the press where they have been blessing bereaved families whose babies sadly never make it home from the hospital.

These ladies have been repurposing donated gowns to make angel gowns or burial gowns for babies last journey to bring closure to the grieving families. It’s absolutely heart breaking for any family to go through the loss of their loved one and a baby no less.

The financial support will help them to cover their supplies cost so that they can continue to distribute the angel gowns to where it’s needed. So far, these gowns have been distributed to NUH, SGH and will be reaching more hospitals around Singapore.

You may read more about the work that they do at these links.

Angel gowns’ for grieving parents who lost their child young

Angel Gowns Singapore Helps Clothe Babies for Their Final Journey

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Do drop me a message if you’re interested to buy these cards at $5 each and I’ll send them out as soon as I can. Normal postage will be free for your generous support.

I’ll be updating my Facebook page for more designs, so hop over to view more designs at this link.

Thanks in advance for your support and have a very blessed Christmas.with your family and loved ones.

 

KidsFest 2017 – Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson Giveaway

KidsFest 2017 returns bigger and better this coming January 2017, showcasing a total of NINE world-class productions adapted from best-selling children’s books including the brand-new Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts show.

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Having ignited the imagination of young children worldwide, the talented Julia Donaldson graces the stage to perform at a brand-new show, Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts.

With a delightful combination of the most iconic characters from five of her best-selling books – The Gruffalo; What the Ladybird Heard; Zog; A Squash and a Squeeze; Jack and the Flumflum Tree – this stage production is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

But what makes the show so much more special is the five-member cast which includes Julia herself, Malcolm Donaldson, her husband who plays the guitar and Julia’s sister, Mary Moore. After the hour-long show peppered with sing-alongs and audience participation, audience can look forward to meeting Julia in person at the book-signing session.

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In addition to the brand-new Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts, not to be missed are three other classics by Julia Donaldson – The Gruffalo, The Snail and the Whale and Stick Man which are suited for young theatre goers ages 3 and up.

 

Where to Buy Tickets?

Tickets are now available at any SISTIC outlet, the official SISTIC website at, or at the hotline 6348 5555. Prices range from $42 to $62.

Please visit the KidsFest website or the official Facebook page for more information on the festival and productions.

 

 – – – – – – – -– – – – – GIVEAWAY FOR A JUGGLING MUM READERS – – – – – – – – – – – –

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Thanks to KidFest, here’s your chance to win a Family Package of 4 Category  1 tickets to Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson (worth $248) to a lucky reader.

Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson is recommended for children aged 4 to 10.

Date    : 20 January 2017(Friday)
Time   :
 6pm
Venue :
Victoria Theatre (Address: 9 Empress Place, Singapore 179556)

To take part in the giveaway, simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note:

  • Giveaway ends on 17 Dec at 23:59pm
  • Only readers residing in Singapore is eligible for this giveaway
  • Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond to email otherwise a new winner will be drawn
  • Tickets are non-transferable and date/time of show cannot be changed
  • All false FB accounts will be disqualified from the giveaway

 

*A Juggling Mom received complimentary tickets to Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson. Photos are used with credits to ABA Productions.

 

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Johor Bahru, Review

Whenever we head up to Johor Bahru, our hotel choice is always Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.  This 4-star hotel ticks all the boxes for us as a family friendly hotel for us, which explains why we’ve been a loyal fan and have even been recommending them to our family and friends.

You may have remembered that in my earlier post, I mentioned that we’ve gone carless, so a centralised and assessible accommodation is one of our top priorities. Conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the Customs in JB, Doubletree is in a ideal location even if you’re making your way to the hotel on foot. Plus, the hotel is just a stone’s throw away to Johor Bahru City Square Mall and Komtar Mall, two of my must visit malls whenever I’m in JB.

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Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Johor Bahru

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If you’re there to shop you wouldn’t be disappointed as both malls have lots of options for shopping like Pandini, FOS, Jelly Bunny, Uniqlo, H&M, Popular, Royal Sporting House, Dorothy Perkins and many other brands at more wallet friendly prices. The two malls also have a wide selection of food choices like Old Town, Papa Rich, Seasons (like our Swensons), Kim Gary Dragon-I (think DTF) , Sushi King and many more to fill your tummies.

For those thinking that it’s unsafe to go to JB, I’ld say that you need to always exercise caution whereever you are. Always stick to places that you’re familiar with, avoid leaving your valuables exposed and don’t stay out too late especially with kids. So far, we always feel very safe especially in the two malls that I’ve mentioned and we’ve also gone further to KSL and Aeon Mall in Bukit Indah, which is closer to Legoland and Little Big Club.

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At the hotel lobby at Doubletree by Hilton

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Doubletree by Hilton late chip cookie

The signature chocolate chip cookie upon check in

We’ve always received professional and great service from the staff at Doubletree and we have no complains on all our past stays. Upon check in, you’ll be delighted by their famous warm chocolate chip cookie which is so comforting and inviting. The best kind of reception that definitely scores with any chocolate fan.

Comfortable Rooms

For our family of 3, we always stay at the King Deluxe room. The room is tastefully design with a contemporary and modern look that so inviting. We like that the room is spacious, well-kept and clean. The bed and pillows are comfy and we always have a good night’s rest.

Though they only have bath tubs in the suites (a major disappointment for Sophie), there is a walk-in rain shower with glass feature wall.

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And what’s a hotel stay without room service while enjoying a cable movie on the large screen TV? In fact, it’s something that Sophie always looks forward to when we go JB as we prefer not to stay out too late for safety reasons.

It’s usually not a problem eating in the room as they have a lounge chair and a side table just beside the bed where we can jump right into bed after dinner.

Food options 

On our last visit, we were upgraded and got to experience their executive lounge where we enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails and breakfast. The service staff was very attentative and promptly ushered us to a table before taking our drink orders. We were busy enjoying the food that I didn’t take any photos but it was certainly a nice experience and what a way to wow their customers 🙂

On our last day, we had our breakfast at Makan Kitchen on level 1 which offers international cuisine, so there’s something that will be right up your alley to fuel your day ahead.

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Though they have a wide selection of food to choose from, there were are hits and misses but I honestly can’t remember which item was good or bad. But it’s certainly a fuss free option to opt for the buffet brekfast especialy if you’re traveling with kids.

However, if you are looking for local options, you can head to Amma, the Indian restaurant across the street for roti prata which is qute popular among the locals.

And if you don’t mind walking, you can take a 10 minutes stroll to Hua Mui Coffeeshop at Jalan Trus where you can sink your teeth into charcoal grilled toast with kaya and butter,  soft boil eggs, as well as Nasi Lemak.

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Digging into roti prata at Amma Indian restaurant

Amenities in hotel

If you’re like me and have a kid who looks forward to pool time, then head to level 13 where both the swimming pool and gym are at.

There is a small pool for kids at the end of the pool but Sophie is usually more keen to jump into the main pool. The size of the pool is pretty decent but I find that it can get chilly even before the sun sets. So we usually try to get out of the pool before 6pm and soak in the indoor whirlpool before dinner time.

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Since I started my workout this year, I’ve also been going to the gym and have made no exceptions even on my vacations. The hotel has a well equipped gym and I was impressed by their core centric training area where they have equipment that helps you work on your core areas. I just hope that they give some suggestions on how to use these equipment for noobs like me sinec they look pretty fun and I’m sure I could use with  some ab workout after all that eating 🙂

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Thread mill with a view of the pool

Review of Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru

Doubletree by Hilton has always been our hotel of choice when we head up to JB because of their convenient location. We have also tried Puteri Pacific, another 4-star hotel that is just across City Square, but it’s a much older hotel where the room are due for refurbishment.

A night stay is usually about S$130, that’s why we prefer heading up to JB instead of a staycation in Singapore where prices easily starts from S$200 a night.

Locstion wise, thought it’s only a 5-7 minutes walk to Komtar, I usually caution friends that there are roadworks along the main road (which has been going on forever) and you’ll have to jay walk to get across. Because of the roadworks, the main road is down to 2 lanes and traffic is usually not too fast. But for those with younger kids, or more than 1 kid, do be extra alert. We usually just hold tight to Sophie and I do my auntie thing to stop traffic while we dash across.

To get to places that are a little further like KSL or AEON Mall Bukit Indah, we usually use Grab taxi as we feel it’s safer than the meter taxis since youll have the record of the taxi driver who picked you and you can check your route via google map.

We’re always very satified with our stay at Doubletree by Hilton and in fact we’ll be back again for another short stay next week.

 

If you’re heading to JB, don’t miss these posts where I share some of my shopping finds and places to go cafe hopping across the causeway as well.

 

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Johor Bahru
No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, Johor Bahru,
80000, Malaysia
Website

 

 

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