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

 

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more family friendly travel updates. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts.

Why we don’t like the school holidays 

While most school going kid look forward to the year end school holidays, my little girl has quite a different opinion about it. As a matter of fact, she even went as far as to use the word hate.

I’ve told Sophie that hate is too strong a word to use but she insists it’s the most appropriate term about how she feels about it and she’s not one to mince her words.

Just before the school year ended, I asked Sophie if she was happy to have a long break from school where she can indulge in all the reading and favourite cartoons she wants. But she told me she would much rather it be the school days as it would mean she gets to see us every single day.

The struggle for working mums is real

You see as a working mum, I have no choice but to have her at my mum’s or in laws place while I’m at work. Being a weekend parent is far from what I imagined myself to be during the school holidays and I know Sophie shares the same sentiments too.

Even though my mum is at our place on weekdays during the school term, I know she rather be in the comfort of her own at home where she can do her own things. I did consider sending Sophie to holiday programs or camps but the commute may not be so convenient for the gramps and I don’t wish to impose any of our plans on them too.

Since we don’t have any travel plans this school holidays, Alexis and I try to take a day off in a week so that we can take Sophie home earlier to spend more time with her. So far, Alexis has taken her to River Safari and she’s gone to my office last week but there still a month, a grand 4 weeks to go before school reopens.

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At River Safari with Daddy

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I’ll be lying if I said I don’t feel bad for sending her away and the weight of mummy’s guilt can be hard to bear especially when we bid her goodbye on Sunday nights.

Last weekend, we were on our way home when I got shoved with a pamphlet from a flyer distributor. Sophie’s eye widen when she took it from me and read that I could work part time and earn an high income and pleaded with me to call the number.

“Mummy you can call the number and tell them you want to work part time. If you work part time, then you can pick me after school and take care of me at home.

I was so tickled at how gullible my daughter can be to believe such a claim and I told her there’s no such job around. I saw her look of despondent and she absolutely crushed because I know deep inside she just longs for mummy to take care of her at home.

You may think it gets easier when they get older and go to primary school but it doesn’t.

At least not for me or for Sophie.

Now I’m beginning to hate the school holidays without Sophie around too….

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Someone came to mummy’s office last Friday

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Finally reunited on Thursday!!!

Playeum A World Full of Stories exhibition

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Playeum’s latest exhibition, A World Full of Stories

The school holidays are officially here! While the kids are rejoicing at the long-awaited break from school, you can keep keep them busy in a good way at Playeum’s third and latest exhibition, A World Full of Stories that launched on 15 November 2016 at Gillman Barracks.

A World Full of Stories’ offers a series of interactive and open-ended spaces for young minds from the ages of 1-12 to feed their creative imagination through role play, storymaking, illustration, writing, drama and puppetry. Here there are no rules and kids can thinker about with that appeals most to their sense and interests.

Story Cubes

Here kids are encouraged to get lost in a good book or two with some of the world’s best story books in the book corner. I really liked the idea of an open display of titles with their vibrant book covers in the wooden shelves that’s just calling out to be read.


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Or perhaps your kids prefer making up their own stories. Here children are encouraged to spin their own tale using the magnetic surfaces of these cube shaped structures with visuals of places, characters and objects which can take them from a fantasy or an adventure story.

Story Caves

Who doesn’t like hiding in a cave? Sophie went wild running in and out of these immersive and multisensory cardboard caves with the little friends that she made at day.

One of them had a glowing magical environment where it lit up by luminous objects and the other had cups, funnels and tubes running through it that allowed kids to experiment with sound. Plus I think they really liked that it was kid sized which sends an unofficial signal for parents to keep out of their play zones.

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Story Raft

Another of Sophie’s favourite spot was the story raft.  This centerpiece right in the middle of the space at Playeum just calls out to every kids to jump onboard and pretend they are out at sea on a raft.

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While it may be simple in setup, there are lots of possibilities where kids can take turns being the Captain on the steering wheel or paddle away as a member of the crew. They can also have a time of art and craft and create their own jelly fish with recycled materials or play with kinetic sand, something which Sophie never gets tired of playing.

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Chalk painting

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Another activity that was a hit with Sophie was chalk painting. I was surprised to learn that you can make chalk paint simply by mixing chalk powder that’s been crushed up with water and they’re ready to go on glass panels.

There’s something just so therapeutic when you allow the paint brush to take over as you watch the colours appear on the glass door. I’ve been told that it can be easily wiped away as well, so give it a shot as an indoor rain activity at home in the bathroom 🙂

Fantasy Dress Up

Kids can dress up to be who they want to be at this space with plenty of materials to choose from. The idea is so simple but I can foresee endless possibilities for both little boys and girls and it sure makes a fantastic play date idea too!

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The Story Booth

Still in line with their story telling theme, this interactive story booth invites children to share their stories in a purpose-built space, enabling them to document their creations through photography and video.

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Play Making Space

I liked the open area at the back of the space where kids are welcome to get hands on and make puppets and toys from upcycled materials, from cardboard to cloth, pipe cleaners and much more.


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Children can also stage their own puppet show and be the little budding directors they always wanted to be behind the screens complete with sound and lighting effect.

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A Film Full of Stories

If your kids prefer listening to stories instead of being their own storyteller, then head here where some of Singapore’s finest storytellers whisk you away with their stories as the walls light up with glowing story icons and motifs on the surrounding walls.

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The Chalk Wall

Don’t forget to get your kids to leave their mark and add their own chalk artwork on the huge chalk walk. It’s literally a canvas waiting to be filled by the creative imagination of kids 🙂

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Holiday Camps

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Do check out the series of Holiday Camps held in November and December 2016 in store at Playeum where kids can learn to be their own flim director, or experiment with sand doodling or coding.

More information can be found on their website here.

A World Full of Stories by Playeum

Dates: 15 November 2016 to 30 April 2017
Location: Children’s Centre for Creativity, Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444
Admission prices: $22 per child/parent pair, additional adults $10
Opening Times : Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm
Visit Playeum’s website for more information or click here.

 

Here’s other’s mums take on A World Full of Stories

 

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more family friendly activities. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts.

 

*A Juggling Mom was invited to the media invite to write this review. All photos and opinions are my own.

Hana Restaurant for Flying Soba and Udon

One thing I love about Instagram and Facebook is how I can easily discover the latest happenings in town. This can be anything from family friend activities, to the newest attractions and of course new eateries and restaurants, especially the oh so Instagram worthy ones.

But like everyone, the big question that usually follows is, is it worth all the hype and does the food taste as good as it looks. 

Lately I’ve been seeing Hana’s Flying Udon and Soba appearing on IG and of course I was intrigued. Just what sorcery is used here for this gravity defying dish of noodles?! 

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Image Credit : http://sethlui.com/

You need to read all the way to the end of the post to know how ingenious this presentation idea is. 

It’s been ages since I’ve gone to Orchard (hands up if you’re like me too!) but since Hana Restaurant is in Orchard Forum, a trip to town is inevitable. 

I’m glad we went because the Christmas decoration in Orchard Road is up which means that Christmas is just round the corner. But the Christmas lighting this year looks very very modest and I don’t see the usual elaborate and extravagant dress up which I’m looking forward to.

But of course that didn’t stop us from snapping some photos for keepsake 🙂

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At the Tiffany and Co Christmas tree

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Snow Globe in Wheelock Place

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At Orchard Forum

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Hana Restaurant

This is the part where most food blog fail to mention but be prepared for crazy queues people! Thankfully, my sister arrived even before they opened and we managed to secure a table along with the rest of the diners who came like half a hour before they opened their doors. So yes, so early and then queue.

My cousin who went last week waited an hour and their food took a while too, so you’ve been warned.

So was the queue worth it at least?

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Hana Restaurant

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Gravity defying noodles!

Gravity defying noodles!

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We ordered their signature Flying Truffle Somen and when it was served, all our jaws dropped and Sophie gave me a wide eyed OMG look.

It was served with sakura ebi, fish roe, crunchy cucumber, seaweed accompanied with a dish of truffle dipping sauce.

I’ve seen this dish introduced on a few blogs and the presentation somehow varies so much. I’ve seen it presented in a two tiered dim sum basket, so Instagrammable right? But mine ….the picture speaks for itself

Another food blogger had quail eggs in theirs but it was certainly missing in mine.

Taste wise it was very underwhelming. The truffle taste was barely there and tasted like soya sauce which you typically have with cha soba and certainly lacked flavour. The roe was it’s saving grace as it gave a burst of flavour with each mouthful of noodles.

Though the flying somen may be mediocre,  the salmon cheese maki and lobster mayo taco won us over!

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You wouldn’t expect to get tacos in a Japanese restaurant because sushi, so it was surprising to find it on the menu. And the formula certainly worked where generous chunks of lobster roll was wrapped in crispy taco, and topped with ebiko, sushi rice and lettuce.

We also had the salmon cheese maki and it was so good. But my grouse, where’s the transparent four tierd drawer that I see on other food blogs?!

But no complains on the food as taste wise the salmon cheese was grilled to perfection with that ever so slight charred taste. And as the ebiko burst in my mouth with each bite, my taste buds did a little dance.

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One last pose before we dig in

We also had the cod fish mentaiko and it was another dish that saved the day. So my advice is to go for their grilled items as the chef certainly knows how to bring out the best in it.

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And for the final reveal of how they made the noodles fly…

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Mystery revealed!


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Tadah!

You didn’t really think it was magic did you? Sorry to burst your bubble.

So while the noodles may be Instagram worthy, it failed to deliver in the taste department. But then again, they have other options like the salted egg skinny udon and flying cha soba, so don’t just take my word for it and try it for yourself.

Go for the grilled items definitely as I felt they were the winning dishes that night. Overall it was a fun experience where all the diners were busy snapping photos of the flying noodles, so they wouldn’t have time to judge you if you did the same. I find that it’s a rather pricey place for a meal and we spend $85 for what we ordered.

Would I return? Probably not… so if you had a better dining experience at Hana, do leave a comment and let me know what you had. I may just give them a second chance.

Hana Restaurant

Address: 83 Orchard Road, #01-17, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884.

Tel: 6737 5525

Nearest MRT: Orchard

Facebook:  Hana Restaurant