Weekend Wandering in Singapore – ArchiFest 2016

Weekends are the perfect time to sleep in but it’s a luxury we haven’t been able to enjoy with Sophie’s enrichment classes happening before 9am on Saturday mornings. I know I shouldn’t be complaining since we’re the ones who decided that it’s better to get the classes over and done with by Saturday morning so that we can have the rest of the weekend to ourselves.

When a space finally opened up for a weekday class after almost a year’s wait, (I’m not even joking) I was ecstatic and accepted it without hesitation. With our Saturday mornings freed up, I suddenly seemed to have gained extra hours on weekends to spend with my family and I’m simply loving it.

Weekend Wanderings

Needless to say, I made plans for our glorious weekends and last week, we headed to Raffles Place on Saturday. The CDB is usually a place I never step foot in on weekends since I’m already there 5 days a week plus I really wasn’t keen on being reminded about work at all, thank you very much.

But I went and brought my family along because the technicolour urban structure at Raffles Place Park was finally unveiled for ArchiFest 2016.

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About Archifest 2016

Archifest 2016, an annual public festival for Singapore to celebrate architecture and the built environment.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the 2016 theme is titled “Exhale”. ‘Exhale’ examines the rapid pace of life that is often associated with a dense city. ‘Exhale’ questions the city’s ability to accommodate people who are searching for a different tempo. ‘Exhale’ challenges the inhabitants of the city to dictate their own rhythm of life.

Our 10th anniversary edition starts 23 Sep to 9 Oct 2016, all are welcome!

Taken from ArchiFest Singapore facebook page

The intention for Archifest is to get the public to see architecture in in a new light and they certainly caught my attention when I saw the steel scaffolding going higher and higher day by day whenever I went for lunch. Plus it’s really hard to ignore it when the kaleidoscope of colours transformed the whole facade with the rainbow netting.

The end result? A striking Instagram worthy backdrop.

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Step into the Archifest Pavilion

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Processed with Snapseed.

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Filling up on happiness

It’s certainly not everyday where I’m this exuberant to be in CDB and who can resist this joy inducing colour therapy? They certainly work wonders in lifting our mood and I heard one of the activities for Archifest is #FlipTable where you can literally flip table when your boss makes you do shi*** work AGAIN. It happens today on 27 September and 3 October.

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Chillaxing in an Airmock

Singapore’s first travelling book swap by Books & Beers at Archifest last Saturday that encourages a culture of sharing and recycling their favourite titles with others and bonding over beer.

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The exterior of the scaffolding looked equally if not even more mesmerising against the background of an urban jungle surrounded by skyscrappers and tall buildings in the middle of CDB.

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Silly poses with mummy

Sophie also caught sight of the swings and giant coloured pencils on the lawn and she went off for some fun.

It’s funny how a child makes you appreciate these little things that often go unnoticed when you’re one of the many office workers getting around in Raffles Place with our hurried footsteps from Monday to Friday.

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Putting her beam work at gymnastic class to practice

Besides lots of photo opportunity, there are also activities held on weekends at the Archifest and here’s what’s suited for families. Do check out the listing on Archifest’s Facebook too.

ArKIDtecture Children Workshop

The workshop at Archifest Pavilion on Oct 7 and 8 will provide children with a hands-on design interactive experience where they can use their imagination to create their own musical instruments, which are inspired by the rhythm and tempo of Singapore.

Suitable for kids aged 6-12 years old. Complimentary session, Registration required.

#COLORARCHIFEST Coloring Contest on INSTAGRAM

1. Pick up a copy of the Archifest Festival Guide or Paper Fan at the Archifest Pavilion@Raffles Place Park.
2. Color it (either on ur own or use our coloring stations!)
3. Post your favorite colored section to Instagram with the #COLORARCHIFEST hashtag.
4. The most number of LIKES wins S$500 cash!

Entry Period: 23 Sep (Fri) to 9 Oct (Sun)
Online Voting: 23 Sep (Fri) to 9 Oct (Sun)
Suitable for all ages :)

How to take Kicka** architectural photos on Instagram

Yafiq Yusman takes amazing photos on Instagram (@_yafiqyusman_), just check his account and you’ll want a crash course from him on taking beautiful Instagram photos.

Pokemon hunting at MBS

We went for Archifest in the late afternoon on Saturday and stayed till the evening where we took a short stroll to MBFC for dinner at Iciban. So pleased that there was no queue on a Saturday evening because Din Tai Fung was just as crowded as usual.

Since we heard how MBS is such a hot spot for catching Pokemons, we headed there after dinner and was not disappointed as I caught my first  Kadabra, Charmeleon and Kabuto! We also caught jynx, Grimer and Rhyhorn amongst many others. A good spot to park yourself is near the fountain where the light show is as that’s between 2 Pokestops. A tip I have for you, when in doubt, just follow and crowd when you see an exodus of people moving.

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And so I digress and may have made an afternoon at Raffles Place sound more enticing than it usually is with Pokemon hunting as part of the weekend plan.

 

Archifest’s 10th anniversary edition ends on 9 Oct 2016, so do pop by the technicolour pavilion before it end.

Festival Period: 23 Sep (Fri) – 9 Oct 2016 (Sun)
Location: Archifest Pavilion@Raffles Place Park
Address: 5 Raffles Place, Singapore 048618
Opening Hours: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm daily

DIY Pokemon Lanterns

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Pokemon Go fever hit Singapore last month and since then it’s been the hottest topic among family and friends. I was hesitant to download it initially because just how fun can it be to catch virtual creatures?

But after a while, I felt so left out when colleagues around me were playing it at lunch time and I just couldn’t phantom hubby’s excitement each time he caught a new Pokemon or when he leveled up with an ‘evolved’ Pokemon.

 

If you can’t beat them, join them. 

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Meet Paw Patrol at City Square Mall this September School holidays

At seven, I would have thought that Sophie has outgrown her interest for cartoon character live show as well as meet at greet at the shopping malls which we used to take her when she was much younger. But boy was I wrong when it came to the Paw Patrol who were in town for their first ever live show at City Square Mall for the September school holidays.

This animated series by Nickelodeon is about a boy named Ryder and his pack of rescue pups who goes on rescue mission to save the day. For little fans of Chase, Marshall and Ryder, they’ll certainly be in for a treat as the trio will be on stage to sing, dance and groove as they answer Mayor Goodway’s call for help to save the Adventure Bay Talent Show.

As this was the Paw Patrol’s first ever live show in Asia, we were expecting a huge crowd and went to grab a seat in front of the stage an hour before the show started.

Sounds like typical kiasu behaviour? Don’t laugh, because this was the crowd that turned up on a Saturday afternoon.

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But I’ve no complains about being one of the parents who was seated on the ground and waiting for the show as I know it will be very soon before Sophie decides that she’s too old and sophisticated for such shows. Plus it’s such a joy to see Sophie enjoy every minute watching her favourite rescue pups on stage and I gotta admit they do look kinda cute and charming too. (more…)

Democratic Design at IKEA – Design for everyone

If you have been following me on the blog, you’ll notice that I did a number of posts with IKEA in the past few months. Partnering with IKEA has been such a delight as we ‘re personally huge fans of their products as they never fail to deliver on value, quality and functional furniture and home furnishing.

And for my last post, it’s all about IKEA’s Democratic Design which you’ll be seeing a lot more in their stores this year. It’s a philosophy that everyone should be able to own high quality, cutting-edge and functional designs at affordable prices.

So what exactly defines this Democratic Design?

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Democratic Design at IKEA

Well, the 5 dimensions of Democratic Design are Form, Quality, Function,  Sustainability and my favourite of them all, Low Price! I know I’m #OnmywaytoAuntiedom, but hey which Singaporean doesn’t like a good value?

So allow me to take you on a tour around my home to see the IKEA items that ticks all these boxes for me. (more…)

Singapore to JB in 5 minutes by the KTM Shuttle

Some friends have been asking why we’ve been going to Johor Bahru (JB) so often this year. Besides the strong S$ that is on our favour where the exchange rate is close to 1SGD to 3MYR, another reason is because transportation is so convenient ever since we got a driver contact from a friend where he’ll drive us from our home to the hotel. This worked out well for us since we’ve sold our car and hubby need not get frustrated by the long jam at the causeway.

On our recent trip last month, we decided to take the Shuttle Tebrau, which is is operated by Malaysia’s Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) and to my utmost surprise, it takes only a grand total of 5 minutes!

Yes, you heard me right. Just 5 minutes from Singapore to JB.

No more frustrating traffic jams at the checkpoints and causeways where you have to deal with another, Mummy, are we there yet?!

Well, how did the journey go? Here’s our experience on how the train ride to JB went.
Tickets for the KTM Shuttle
Tickets for the KTM Shuttle can be bought online. And because we were planning to get tickets for a Friday morning, we had to purchase them one month in advance online, here. Alternatively, you can also purchase your tickets directly at the KTM office at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint building.
I’ve heard that since the shuttle service opened, it’s been popular to commuters who need to make their daily commute from Singapore to JB which is faster than the bus which can take anything from half an hour to 2 hours.

Train Schedule

Woodlands to JB: 8:00am, 10:00am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:00pm, 6:45pm, 8:00pm, 8:45pm, 10:00pm and 11:15pm

JB to Woodlands: 5:30am, 6:00am, 6:30am, 7:00am, 8:30am,  9:00am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm, 9:00pm and 10:15pm

We choose the 10am train as the timing would be just nice for us to drop our luggage at the hotel and head out for lunch. Just in case you’re wondering, we stayed at Doubletree by Hilton which is close to JB Sentral and just across Komtar Mall and a mere 5 minutes walk away from City Square Mall.
We’ve been staying there on our past few visits and have enjoyed our stay very much. Their pool and gym facilities are great and this time we even got upgraded with access to the Executive Lounge.

Comparing ticket prices
Tickets for KTM – $5  from Singapore to JB and $5 from JB to Singapore.
Tickets for bus – $2 from Singapore to JB
Hired car – $150 return trip from Singapore to JB

The marked savings we enjoyed on our transport means more shopping for my JB trip. More assessment story books for Sophie from Popular!

Journey to JB on the KTM Shuttle

The KTM has a very strict no photography policy and we saw multiple notices that photography is prohibited. We didn’t want to risk flouting any rules so no photos on the blog to walk you through the experience.

To get to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, we took an Uber from our home as we had luggage with us. It’s recommended that you arrive at Woodlands checkpoint 30 mins before your designated boarding time.

There was a jam due to heavy traffic in the morning and we nearly wanted to get off the cab and get there by foot. Thankfully, we still had 10 minutes before boarding and the queue moved pretty fast after a short wait.

After we presented our tickets and passport for boarding, we had to go through immigration for both Singapore and Malaysia as well as Customs at Woodlands Train Checkpoint. This is how they speed up the clearance for passengers on the KTM so you don’t have to repeat it once you’re in JB.

There were about 5 lanes opened and we were onto the train platform in about 20 minutes. I also found out from the officer that Sophie can start using the automated line after she turns 7 years old, so I’m definitely making a new passport for her soon.

It’s all free seating but if you want to get out of the train fast, then go for the middle cabin. On our journey there, our cabin was the ‘older’ and more run down section and the seats looked rather shabby. Which gives it a very retro and nostalgic vibe. I’m just thankful that the train ride is no more than 5 minutes.

Thankfully on our journey back, we managed to get seats in the revamped section of the train which didn’t look so grubby. Anyway, photos are okay inside the train so we decided to snap some photos while waiting for the rest of the passengers to board.
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Fooling around while waiting for other passengers to board

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Return trip with nicer looking seats

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Sun setting as we headed back home

As promised, we arrived in JB Sentral in 5 minutes without any long jams and it was all over too soon. Overall we were satisfied by the pleasant journey via the KTM Shuttle and would definitely take it again especially if we plan to put up at Doubletree by Hilton given the proximity to the train station.

Anyway the reason for us taking a trip up this time was to celebrate Sophie’s birthday. But the poor birthday girl fell ill on the first night and we didn’t go to many places which we planned.

 Thankfully the little tropper was still in good spirits and we managed to go to the malls where she got to buy more Geronimo Stilton story books when it was going at a good discount at Harris bookshop’s relocation sale in Jusco Tebrau City Shopping Center.


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If you’re planning to head to Johor Bahru, here are some of my recommendations on where to stay, eat and shop.