First family run for 2016 at The Music Run by AIA

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Just 2 weekends ago, I clocked my first 10km run for the year with my group of girlfriends.

But how could I leave my family out of the running action when we’re all working towards a healthier lifestyle. So last week, the whole family got into our running gear where we did our first family run at the Music Run by AIA at Sentosa.

The Music Run by AIA

The weather couldn’t have been more prefect that day even though there were light showers earlier in the afternoon. As we approached the music village from the beach station, the music from the live band filled the air and certainly put us all in a groovin mood :)

Sam Willows was on stage and got the crowd on their feet, but what caught Sophie’s attention was the inflatable slide …

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Sam Willows at the Music Run

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I wasn’t planning to go on it but the staff there said that adults are welcome to take it too and it was such a thrill! Haha Alexis was still reminding me, please don’t scream when you slide down 😛

Sophie had a go on the life sized keyboard that played a tune when she stepped on each note that literally puts a beat to her steps.

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If you’re wondering what the Music Run is about, it’s a run where it’s touted to be the world’s loudest 5K, where different genre of music is played for this non-competitive run that’s suitable for runners of all ages.

First up was the Rock Zone for the first 1km. Sophie was in high spirits as she sprinted and skipped to the tunes. To be honest, she didn’t prepare for the run and I was worried that she may whine and complain. But she kept going and occasionally told me that she had to slow down and walk, which was absolutely fine by me.

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Next up was the Pop zone and her eye lit up when she saw runners throwing the balls as they took selfies, wefies and groupfies and of course, she went straight for them too.

As we approached the 3km mark, Alexis decided to give his little princess some assistance where he hoisted her up his shoulders and Sophie was so relived that she didn’t have to go up slope through the nature trail for about half a kilometer before she got on her feet again for the Old School zone where to my horror of horrors learnt that Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have been relegated to the Old School genre! #stillindenialthatimnotthatold

 

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These dancers at the Hip Hop zone were so spontaneous and sneakily gathered around us when we posed for a photo. We also got our hands on the inflatable boom box and tried to channel our Hip “sey” as we danced our way at the last 1km.

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At the last 1km, Sophie saw runners giving high fives and thought she’ll do likewise as well. It was so amusing to see this little girl waving her foam palm as she shouted, HIGH FIVE, HIGH FIVE to the fellow runners. I even overheard someone say to his friend, when a kid wants to high five you, you better give her a high five!

It was so heartening to see Sophie enjoying herself and having such a exuberant time at the run. To be honest, her enthusiasm took me by surprise but I suppose there’s nothing that she can’t overcome with her sprightly character where she put a smile to many of the runner’s face some who were struggling in the last leg of the run.

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At the finishing line!!!

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With our Music Run medals!

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My dear Sophie,

You totally outdid yourself by completing your first 5km run with mummy and daddy at the Music Run! I’m so so proud of you , not just for completing the run but doing it without a single complaint. We may have taken an hour to complete the run, but you sure proved that there’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it and tackle it with positivity! You go my little champion and here’s to more family runs for us :)

PS: Sophie said she’ll be back at the Music Run next year!

 

I survived my first 10km run!

One of my New Year resolution for 2016 is to get healthier and fitter. I know it’s such a typical and expected New Year resolution that everyone makes after all the pigging out and feasting over the year end holiday season. But unlike the past few years where I’ve had little success keeping to it, I’m darn proud to say that this year is totally different and I’m making progress.

Not only have I started on regular home workouts which are very do-able for mums, I also joined the gym and got started on my personal training. And 2 weekends ago, I completed my first 10km run and survived it!

Honestly, I don’t think I’m the running kind and would usually clock 2,3 km on average for my runs. So when my group of mummy friends choi-ed me to join them to take on the 10km run, I was hesitant if I could do it. But they have been such a supportive bunch and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and just do it, so I gamely signed up with them for the NTUC 350Run.

 

Training for my first 10km

To prep myself for the run, I started to incorporate running to my weekly workouts and would aim to hit 5km. I would usually run in the late evening after work around my estate once I get home so that I don’t have a chance to gives any excuses. Morning runs on weekends are so much tougher as they are the only rare chances that I get to sleep in these days.

In fact, I even hit the gym to run when I was on my holiday and Alexis was so surprised at my discipline and determination. But part of my was just so scared I have to end up walking the last 2,3 km of the run.

3 weeks prior the run, I was running twice a week but so far I only managed to clock 7km once and I started to wonder why I even signed up in the first place >.<

So the goal that I set for my simple, just finish the run and not be too far behind my friends since we made a pact to go for breakfast after that.

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Before the 10km flag off!

On the day of the run, I jumped out of bed at 4.30am as I had a nightmare that my cab driver took me to the wrong place! Talk about nerves I tell you. Thankfully, I managed to go back to sleep and arrived at the F1 pit on time.

I wasn’t used to run so early in the morning (The flag off was 6.30am) and I was getting butterflies in my stomach. But once the run started, it was literally no turning back.

To run 10km, I had to pace myself to ensure that I could last the whole way. I turned on my run tracker and it gave me a good gauge of how fast I was going which was helpful as there signage for the distance clocked were not placed at every km.

There were moments in the run when my ankles and knees started to hurt and I had to slowed down. But once it felt better, I was off again. After the 6km mark, I alternated between walking and running but the toughest part was pushing myself mentally to finish strong.

When I finished the run, I was mighty proud of myself and my timing of 1hr and 16 mins was also much better that I expected. In fact, all of us finished before 8am and we had our breakfast as planned :)

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First 10km run in 2016!

NTUC Income RUN 350 Result

After the race, my knees hurt for a few days but I recovered well enough to start exercising again. And that was perhaps the biggest testament of a better fitness level and I was even looking forward to my workouts as it’s become so much a part of my lifestyle now.

So what’s next?

This weekend, I’ll be running in the Music Run by AIA at Sentosa together with Alexis and now 5km sounds like a breeze. We did the run together last year and it was such a fun party run along Palawan beach where we ran to different genre of music at the various zones like pop, rock, hip rock, etc. You can read more about our experience here.

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My friends are already making plans to join another race this year and this time we’re looking at a 15km run! Perhaps, one day, I may even attempt a half marathon.

Some day, some day…

 

Cafe Hopping in Johor Bahru

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Street art at Jalan Trus, JB

After I shared photos of the cafes and places we visited in Johor Bahru some weeks ago, many of my friends were surprised that JB is not as boring as they thought. In fact, they were surprised that the cafe culture in Singapore has spilled across the causeway.

So here are the cafes we stumbled upon around Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Jalan Ibrahim, Jalan Trus and Jalan Dhoby. Some of them even have Instagramable desserts that come with recommendations by popular food bloggers!

 

Cafe hopping in JB

From our hotel at  Puteri Pacific, we walked to Ehhe Art Cafe which is at the junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee for breakfast. The cafe had a very unique interior, where rustic meets nature with a pop of art everywhere you turn.

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The reason why we came was because I was hoping to try their famous Hainanese Chicken Chop or Hainanese Chinese Rice. But it turns out we were way to early and these are only served during lunch after 12pm.

For breakfast, they have options like Nasi Lemak, eggs and hotdogs, toast and curry chicken and mee siam. I ordered mee siam expecting vermicelli in a spicy and sour gravy but when it came, it was a dish of dry and fried mee siam pretty like our breakfast bee hoon. Their coffee was good though and it’s really aromatic and strong.

Ehhe Art Cafe
No. 1, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru 80000, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
Junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee (just beside Hiap Joo Bakery)

 

Around the corner, we spotted these street art on the walls of the building. Interestingly,  Jalan Tan Hiok Nee is the cultural district of JB. But I’m guessing that these modern art has brought street culture and a new character to the area.

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Street art at Jalan Trus

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How nostalgic are these!

After breakfast, we decided to explore around the area. But what do you know, cafes in JB don’t open so early. #sogoodlife

So for early risers, you’re better off having local breakfast at traditional coffeeshops like Hua Mui Coffeeshop where you can sink your teeth into charcoal grilled toast with kaya and butter,  soft boil eggs, French Toast, as well as Nasi Lemak.

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At 11:30am, most of the cafe were still not opened for business. So all I managed was photos of them with their shutters down.

 

Koone
Address: 30, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 1pm – 10pm; Fri-Sun 1pm – 12am

According to Miss Tam Chiak, their specialty is soft serves with liquid nitrogen that can last for approximately 30 seconds in pink pastel cups!

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Sangkaya
Address: 14, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 1–11PM

Specializes in coconut ice cream!

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The Replacement – Lodge & Kitchen
Address: 33, 34, Jalan Dhoby, 80000, Johor Bahru, Johor, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 8am – 7pm

This cafe is one of your best bets for breakfast and brunch and we heard they’ve got pretty awesome salted egg churros too!

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We chanced upon this container cafe, Chaiwalla & CO, beside Maco Vintage cafe. Just how hippie is this seriously?!

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We tried their iced flavoured fruit tea and thai ice tea but as much as I would love to say that the drinks are as good as their marketing, they were just not what we expected. The fruit tea was too sweet and the thai tea was not sweet enough.

But Phoebe did say their fruit tea with yogurt pop toppings was pretty good and I’m planning to try that another time.

There were only make shift seats at this cafe, but I’ll advise against baking yourself under the sun especially with the recent heatwave that has hit Malaysia. So just buy and go.

Chaiwalla & Co. Container Café
Address: Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 10.30pm

 

Our last stop for the day was Maco Vintage Cafe where Sophie spotted cakes on display and exclaimed, there’s aircon here!

Maco Vintage Cafe’s specialty are their Mille crepe and they have lots of options to satisfy every sweet tooth. We choose their 3-in-1 Mille crepe after all why settle for one flavour when you can enjoy 3?
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Mille crepe cake with coffee, the perfect ending for our cafe hunt in JB that afternoon :) Besides cake, they also serve dishes like pizza, pasta, chicken chop and quiche if you’re looking to have lunch or dinner.

Maco Vintage Cafe
Address: Jalan Ibrahim, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm

 

There were too many cafes that we wanted to try on this JB trip but I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities in the near future. In fact, we’ve planned another weekend trip for my birthday :)

If you missed it, here’s Part 1 of our weekend getaway to Johor Bahru and I hope I don’t take too long to complete part 3 on to share about our stay at DoubleTree by Hilton.

Weekend Getaway to Johor Bahru

March was a busy busy month at work for me. Though I made initial plans to take Sophie out during the March school holidays, these got shelved and she had to spend her holiday at both grandmas place.
Thankfully, I did managed to take a day off during the mid-week and we went to the  Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. It was really fascinating to learn that we had our very own Natural History Museum to boast of and that ought to deserve a blog post of its own, which I need to get down to soon I promise.
Anyway, Alexis and I felt bad that we didn’t get to spend much time with Sophie during the March school holidays and decided to go on a weekend getaway to Johor Bahru over the Good Friday weekend. Unlike  the other trips where we made the mandatory visit to Legoland, we decided to explore the other places in JB this time.

Getting to JB

Since we sold off our car early this year, we got a driver to drive us in and out of JB. This was a contact shared by a friend and the MPV was more than enough for the three of us, including our luggage. We anticipated long jams to JB, since it was a long weekend. But it wasn’t too bad as the whole journey took 3 hours from our home to hotel in JB. And when you’re not doing the driving, the jam becomes that much more bearable too.

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Stuck in a jam to JB


Stay in JB

We stayed in two hotels for our 3D2N trip and the first hotel we stayed was the Puteri Pacific, a 4 star hotel with a very convenient location in the city centre, just across City Square.

On the second day, we checked into Doubletree by Hilton and we loved it even more! Besides the warm reception when we checked in, we were delighted to receive their famous chocolate chip cookie. And that my friend is how you impress your guests. The hotel looks spanking new, clean and modern and the pool and gym was up to mark too. Yes, I actually hit the gym during this trip and my PT even reminded me to train for my upcoming run >.<

 

Shopping and Eating in JB

As the hotel was just across City Square, we headed there after we dropped our luggage since we couldn’t check in yet. Ironically, the first thing we ate was the famous Penang Chendol and Asam Laksa from the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul on level 3.

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Penang Chendol in City Square

This is the very same stall that I’ll hunt down whenever I’m in Penang and on my recent trip there last year, I brought my parents there and they loved it too.

After a satisfying brunch, we did some shopping in City Square and here you can find familiar brands like Cotton On, H&M, Royal Sporting House, Uniqlo, MPH, Popular, etc. And yes, you can even use your local Popular member card to enjoy greater discounts, though I must add that the selection of books was rather disappointing and we bought our books from MPH instead.

With our stronger currency, things naturally seem cheaper here but nevertheless, we’re still discerning shoppers and bargain hunters looking for good value and one place that I enjoy shopping at is Padini. I usually get basics like T-shirts, tights, dresses for Sophie and their range of clothes for adults are not too shabby either. Another place I shop for basics is FOS and Sophie chose a Frozen t-shirt that was retailing at S$10.

Lunch was an easy decision and we settled on Dragon-i as Sophie was looking forward to xiao long bao. But this time some of the dishes were more of a miss than hit, but I don’t think that will stop us from returning.

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But when it comes to food, there are plenty of  options at City Square, like Seasons (like our Swensons), Kim Gary, Sushi King, Old Town, Papa Rich and the list goes on and on.

Angry Bird Activity Park

Since Legoland was not on the agenda for this trip, we decided to take Sophie to the Angry Bird Activity Park in Komtar JBCC, just next to City Square. While most of the blog reviews didn’t seem too promising, we were not deterred by it since Sophie surprised us with how much she enjoyed The Little Big Club on our last visit.

The place isn’t very big and while you pay RM75 per pax for adult and child, you only get to be in the park for 3 hours as they have 3 timeslots for the day, 10am-1pm, 2-5pm and 6-10pm.

Alexis very gamely agreed to accompany Sophie while I continued with my shopping and here are some photos he took while I shopped at Daiso (it’s only RM5.30 here), Padini, and the sports wear shops.

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Angry Bird Activity Park in Komtar

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Hiding among the eggs and on the go kart

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The main attractions are the trampoline and foam pit which Sophie went for again and again. She also rode the go kart but was terrified to try the drop zone.

But the poor thing got ill after 2 hours and was running a high fever, so we cut short our visit and headed back to the hotel for her to rest.

By evening, it started to pour. So I sent Alexis to buy dinner from IT Roo Cafe where they supposedly have the best chicken chop in Malaysia. And not just in JB but in Malaysia.

The cafe is at the junction of Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Pahang and you can’t miss their shop.  We had both the grilled chicken chop and deep fried chicken chop that was accompanied by thick wedges of potatoes, cold slaw and mushroom gravy and both versions were super yummylicious, not too greasy and the batter was just nice too.

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Poor Fifi, only had a soupy noodle and refused to touch any of it because she wanted to recover quickly so that she could go swimming the next day.

Here’s the address for it and do note that they open at noon.

IT Roo Cafe
Address: 17, Jalan Dhoby, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 12-10pm

Besides shopping and checking out the awesome local food, we also went cafe hopping and checked out the street art in JB. Bet you didn’t know about that. So stay tuned for Part 2 :)

 

 

 

A Magical Time at Disney on Ice Magical Ice Festival Review

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It’s been 3 years since the Disney movie Frozen captured the hearts and minds and even vocal chords of children all over the world. Who says they are ever going to Let It Go… And this year, the pair of royal sisters, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna makes their very first appearance on ice at Disney On Ice Magical Ice Festival along with the ever adorable Olaf, Kristoff and his loyal pal, Sven the reindeer.

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Waiting for the Magical Ice festival to start

The 2 hour show kicked off with an energetic and colourful opening by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy with a very lively team of ice skaters, where their high energy routine got the audience anticipating for more.

The show featured 4 of Disney’s well loved movies, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, and of course Frozen.

Just like the movie, there was an upbeat atmosphere for The Little Mermaid where the ice skating rink was transformed into a sensory feast for the senses when it came to, Under the Sea , led by Sebastian. The ice skaters came dressed as various sea creatures and crustaceans, from sea stars, to fishes to sea horses and sea rays.

But the most impressive performance that had the audience spell bound was when Ariel got her wish and transformed her tail for legs and did an aerial performance while being suspended on rope! That was some world class act!

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The floating lanterns were of course was the highlight in Rapunzel as the spirited teenager goes on a journey to discover that she’s the lost princess after all these years of being locked away in the tower by the evil Gothel. Her rendition of Mother knows best had me winking my eye at Sophie… subtle hint..not! haha.

Her beau Flint Ryder was both charming and annoying and I found his protrayal most realistic and true to character as he flirted and tried to get Rapunzel to return his stolen loot.

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Specially selected kids who got to take part in the performance

The oversized Maximus with 2 ice skaters maneuvering it displayed great coordination as they brought the character to life and took centre stage here with the rest oft the ice skaters.

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This year, Belle and the Beast finally makes an appearance with their own segment. The segment opened with the scene at the town square where Belle was introduced as the one that Gaston has his eyes on for marriage with song and dance by the villagers.

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When it was Be our Guests, the little ones belted alongside with gusto where the stage burst with a dazzling display of colour, songs and dance.

Delightful characters like Lefou,  Lumiere, as well as the motherly Mrs Potts and Chip also lent their charm to the whole segment as they tried to get Belle to fall in love with the Beast to break the spell. The transformation of the Beast into the prince had us holding on to our breathe and of course it was a happily ever after ending for him and Belle.

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Finally when it was Frozen, the whole place screamed with excitement! A true testament that these  little fans have not Let It Go after all these years since the movie became such a phenomenal hit at the box office.

Olfa was so adorable and the part where his head was knocked off had us all in shock because…  well you’ve got to watch it to catch the surprise yourself. And we all awww at the part where he said the famous line, “because some people are worth melting for”.

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Queen Elsa and Princess Anna at the coronation

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We especially liked that they kept most of the special effects for the Frozen grand finale where there was pyrotechnics and special snow effect when Elsa ran from Arendelle up into the mountains to build her ice palace.

The whole place was like a huge concert when kids and adults alike swayed and sang to the song of Let It Go. I took a look over at Sophie and she was absolutely beaming as she sang her heart out with the other kids.

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Olaf’s In Summer Song was another hit where he sang about what he’ll like to experience in Summer along with bustling and cheerful looking butterflies, birds and bees in a array of colours with fancy dance moves!

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Overall it was a sensational show and I must say that while the princeses all have their fans, it was Frozen that stole the limelight that evening!

Every segment follows the movie closely and each story can move quite fast to keep it within 20 mins or so. But it’s injected with lots of songs and dance in between so there is never a dull moment.

Our show at 7pm started promptly, so do grab an early dinner. There are plenty of food options at Kallang Wave Mall or Leisure Park next door. Don’t forget to check out the merchandise available from stuff toys, T-shirts, balloons and more! There are also popcorn, ice slushies that are in limited edition cups and buckets.

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Olaf ice slushie

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Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival runs till 20 March. So hurry and buy your tickets soon!

 

Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

Date: 11 March 2016 to 20 March 2016

Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

To book your tickets for Disney On Ice’s Magical Ice Festival , you may purchase them online at www.sportshubtix.sg.