Hit Musical Mamma Mia! Returns to Singapore November 2018

In the spirit of keeping romance alive, I went on a date night with my Super Trouper hubby to catch Mamma Mia! this week.

I almost can’t believe that it’s been 14 years since we last caught this musical. Back then, it was performing at the Esplanade and I invited Alexis to watch this acclaimed musical.

And here we are 14 years later, where I’m still the one taking the initiative for our dates. But I’m glad I did because hubby has been so busy at work lately and this was such an uplifting and feel-good musical that it chased the work blues away for him.

Mamma Mia in Singapore

The story is set on a Greek island paradise where Sophie goes on a quest to find the identity of her father. Unknown to her mum, Sophie has invited three men who are likely candidates to be her dad on the eve of her wedding and it turned out to be a wedding they’ll never forget.

The magic of Mamma Mia! was without a doubt the timeless songs from ABBA that were brilliantly weaved into the story which had us humming along and tapping our feet.

 

You can expect lots of witty and funny dialogue in the story which ultimately celebrates family, friendship, companionship and the search for identity. There were also tender moments between Sophie and her mum Donna as they got ready for the wedding and I can just imagine myself being the mother of a bride to my little Sophie in years to time.

Compared to other musicals, I find the stage set up was more minimalistic but the singing and dance chorography shone with its infectious energy and vibrancy.

The ladies who played Donna and her Dynamos were the powerhouses that evening especially when they danced and grooved in their retrolicious blinged out costumes especially to the tune of Super Trouper,  Dancing Queen and of course Mamma Mia.

Towards the end, some of the audience even got on to their feet to sing and dance along and it felt like one big party with feel good vibes all around.

 

Here’s a fun fact too, the couple, Sophie and Sky played by Lucy May Barker and Phillip Ryan, are real life lovers who are engaged and plans to get married soon. It’s no wonder they share an irresistible chemistry on stage.

Having wow over 60 million people worldwide, Mamma Mia! is one musical not to be missed and is a perfect date night idea this November. Book your tickets before the musical ends their run on 18 November 2018.

 

Get Your Mamma Mia! Tickets Today 

Dates: 3 November to 18 November 2018

Show times: Tue – Fri: 8pm, Sat: 2pm & 8pm, Sun: 1pm & 6pm

Venue: Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

Duration: Approximately 150 minutes (including 20 mins interval)

Ticket Pricing: Prices start from S$58

Book through Sistic website here.

 

 

*A Juggling Mom received complimentary tickets to watch Mamma Mia! to write this review. NAll opinions are honest and are my own. Photos are used with credits to Base Entertainment.

Magical Christmas Family Moments with Disney Tsum Tsum at Gardens by the Bay

If you have a tradition of taking family photos at Christmas, why not make them extra magical at Gardens by the Bay’s first ever Disney Tsum Tsum flora display in the Flower Dome.

And the best part, you don’t even need to engage a professional photographer because these adorable Disney stackable characters will lend their magic and cuteness to all your photos.

Disney Tsum Tsum at Gardens by the Bay

If you’re planning to get some precious family photos taken for the holiday season, gather up your family, dress them up in Christmas coloured outfits and don’t forget to bring along appropriate props for that added Christmas feels when you come to the Gardens.

Need some ideas?

Then read on and get some inspirations.

 

Poinsettia Wishes featuring Disney Tsum Tsum

Props to up your Instagram game

1.Mickey/ Minnie ears

If you own a pair of adorable Mickey/ Minnie ears from your Disneyland visits, this is the perfect chance to showcase them.  I even came appropriately dressed in matching polka dot prints.

 

2.Tsum tsum plushie or soft toys

Since Sophie owns an Olaf Tsum Tsum plushie, we brought him along for our pictures. And to top the cuteness quotient, we even added a Santa hat. We heard ladies squealing, so cute, so cute when we were taking this series of photos and I have to agree too!

 

3. Santa hats

If you find Santa hats too tacky and they are not your thing, pass them to your kids since they can pretty much get away wearing anything because they are so cute!

To get another perspective for your photos, try sitting down to capture the Tsum Tsums. We had to wait patiently for the crowd to disperse before plonking ourselves on the ground and quickly snapped these photos.

4. Bauble

I adore this photo of Sophie looking into the bauble which has all the right feels for a dreamy and magical moment with the Christmas tree and Tsum Tsum characters behind her.  When I took this photo on portrait mode with my iPhone, I kept gushing that it’s so fairytale like.

And the best part, it only cost me $2 from Daiso 🙂

5. Mistletoe

When I was looking for inspiration on Christmas photos poses, I came across this mistletoe idea and showed Alexis the photo that we were going to recreate. He was so reluctant initially because there were so many people and he had to plant a kiss on me.

But there is nothing my dear hubby wouldn’t do for me even though he was so embarrassed. In the end,  we got ourselves such a sweet photo especially since it was taken by Sophie. Though hubby is not always this affectionate, I still get butterflies in my stomach when he hugs my waist and leans in close.

While we posed for some photos, the candid ones were also so precious!

Like this one of Alexis and Sophie which shows an impish side of cheeky Sophie.

This of the two of them taking a selfie.

Experiment with different angels

Instead of always taking frontal photos, I wanted to experiment with different angels and these are what I got from a side or bottom up angle.

We had so much fun at the Flower Dome and Alexis and Sophie were such good sport that afternoon posing and take photos.

I joked that it must be the magic in the air at Gardens by the Bay where Disney theme songs were played creating an immersive enchanting Disney experience. Being a Disney fan, this flora display makes it one of my favorite theme displays and it’s not to be missed for all Disney fans!

 

Poinsettia Wishes Featuring Disney Tsum Tsum” floral display

Venue: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Dates: 2 November 2018 –  6 January 2019
Time: 9.00am – 9.00pm | 9.00am – 10.00pm (30 Nov – 26 Dec 2018)
Admission charge to Flower Dome applies
Singapore residents get 10% off tickets for online bookings.

For more information, do check Gardens by the Bay facebook page here.

We can’t wait for Christmas Wonderland 2018!

 

 

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Cafes that are kids’ heaven in Bali

Now that the holiday season is right around the corner, this is the best time to pack up and explore the beautiful world with your family. One family-friendly destination that is perfect if you’re looking for a chillax vacation is Bali, Indonesia. Look forward to beautiful sceneries and peaceful beaches that will rejuvenate and recharge your soul as you busk in the beauty of nature.

But there is always that risk of traveling overseas, where your kids might not take to foreign food. Fret not as here are some cafés with little kids in mind making them a total kiddie heaven.

 

La Casita Bali

La Casita Bali is one of the island’s most kid-friendly restaurants. Not only is it one of Bali most treasured café that comes with a beautiful garden complete rustic décor, it serves up a delicious menu of hearty Peruvian comfort food that is perfect for the whole family.

There is an outdoor playground and mini-market where kids can enjoy outdoor fun and pretend play in between their meals.

 

Image credit from littleislandlife

Photo via La Casita Bali

Berawa’s Kitchen

Berawa Kitchen is Bali’s largest tropical alfresco foodcourt in the hip neighbourhood of Canggu. Kids will love the playground in the courtyard and the sprawling grounds where they can run around.

As for the adults, you can chillax with live music as you take your pick from different food stalls offering cuisines from all over the world.

Image credit from from_bali_to_buderim

Image credit to Berawa’s Kitchen

The Joglo

If you are looking for the perfect Friday date night with your other half but have no one to watch your kids, then The Joglo has got you covered. Thanks to their Friday Night Kids Movie Club, you can get to enjoy your date night while your little ones get comfortable in a bean bag for the perfect outdoor cinema experience with popcorn and fruit punch.

Once the kids get settled, you can make your escape indoors with your other half as you dig into their delicious Mediterranean and Indonesian dishes.

Image credit from the Joglo

 

Alam De Ubud

Happy vibes is what you’ll get at Alam De Ubud. This café is the best location for parents to spend the day with their little ones relaxing under the sun in one of their many colourful bean bags and swings, or cool down in their swimming pool.

Take in the sights of the beautiful rice paddy field while you enjoy a delectable local Indonesian meal while your kids have their fill of fun in the lawn or pool.

 

Image credit from Alam De Ubud

Image credit from Alam De Ubud

Bali awaits you

Now that you’re armed with a list of family-friendly cafes that will interest both you and your kids, why not make a trip to Bali these coming holidays and make precious memories with your family? The best thing about travelling to Bali is that it doesn’t have to break the bank.

You can find cheap tickets on Traveloka, the best online travel platforms for flights from Kuala Lumpur to Bali or even from Singapore itself. Do check out the tickets before it’s too late.

 

Read Also: Review of Bali Safari and Marine Park with a night safari tour 

 

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Why date nights and couple trips matter for parents

 

“It finally came down to this, where I had to pry her fingers from his hand and

tell her firmly that this man is my husband…”

 

As much as I am a mum, I also wear the hat of a wife and the same goes for my husband. But if you’re like me and have been married for over a decade, you could do with a reminder every now and then, as well as our kids.

Recently, I made a deal with Sophie that Daddy and I will go on one overseas trip without her. Of course she wasn’t happy to learn that she’s been excluded from our plans. And to further rub salt to her wound, I added that we’ll have two date nights in a month all in the name of nurturing our marriage.

At 9 years old, Sophie still plays lightbulb and insists that we hold her hand, giving Alexis and I limited opportunities to hold hands like we used to.

It was one of those days, when she squeezed between us and demanded that she holds Daddy’s hand. I had to pry her fingers from his hand and tell her firmly that this man may be her daddy but he’s also my husband.

Like many couples, it’s easy to allow the kids to overtake our marriage. After all, we have a responsibility to love them, care for them and raise them. And so often, this comes at the expense of our spouse who have been side lined while they watch us fuss about the kids while neglecting them.

In other cases, it could be time away from each other as a couple buries themselves in work, building a career and climbing the corporate ladder.

They are all not wrong in themselves, after all we’ve only got a window of opportunity to maximise our earning potential or care for the kids while they are young.

But in reality, I see couples who spend so little time together that they end up looking more like roommates living under the same roof than a couple who are committed to love and honour each other till death do them part.

Plan your dates

I’m a firm believer in making intentional plans for dates to happen. Frankly if left to my unromantic husband, we’ll never go on any dates because Alexis would rather retreat into his man cave after he comes home from work than to plan an evening out. So he’s really no different from most husbands, even though I often sing praises of him on my blog.

But I’ve realised that setting time aside for us may be what my husband needs as well, in order to remember that he’s also my husband, my lover and not just a dad.

 

The greatest gift a dad can give his children is to love their mum.

 

And since we’re on the topic of couple dates, here’s a nearby get away you can plan for your next couple holiday to Bangkok.

Couple trip to Bangkok

Since this was a couple retreat, we booked ourselves into the Hua Chang Heritage Hotel, a luxurious boutique hotel that was elegantly alluring both in terms of ambience and design.

Besides its close proximity to 2 BTS stations (Siam and Ratchathewi station), the hotel is a short distance away from MBK Center, Siam Discover, Siam Centre and Siam Paragon. Despite it being in the centre of all the shopping action, a peaceful retreat awaits you once you step foot into the hotel lobby.

This boutique hotel was highly recommended by many friends and our stay there doesn’t disappoint. To spice things up, we visited a couple of new places in Bangkok and here are our top 3 picks.

1. The Gardens of Dinsor Palace

The Gardens of Dinsor Palace is the perfect place to dine like royalty.  The two storey mansion was once the royal residence of a royal Princess and today, it houses a modern European dining concept, a café and a bakery.

But the star has to be the lovely garden setting with swams in the pond and even a pair of peacocks making every corner so instagrammable.

 Alexis ordered the Seared Scallop & Lemon Risotto (฿530) and I had the Pappardelle Lamb Ragout Pasta (฿360). While Alexis felt that his risotto dish could be more flavourful, I had nothing but praises for my dish with its well seasoned, tender pieces of lamb that melted in my mouth.

For such an exquisite experience with top notch service, we were surprised that prices were not exorbitant and costs a little more than what you would expect to pay at regular restaurants in the malls. In fact, we’ll much rather dine here and enjoy this quiet and relaxed setting than go to any of Bangkok’s sky bar for dinner. The Gardens open as early as 8am for breakfast and close at 11pm, making it ideal for any meal of the day.

We also hear that they are a popular venue in Bangkok for planning a proposal which goes to show that it checks the box for being a romantic spot!

 

The Gardens of Dinsor Palace

Address: Soi Chumbala Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 59 & 61) Wattana, Bangkok

 

2. Burger and Lobster

For a more indulgent meal, we ate at Burger and Lobster, a famous lobster rolls restaurant that hails from London.  Despite its steep prices, it had been highly rated by many food bloggers, so we had to try it for ourselves and see if it’s all just a hype.

We ordered the B&L Thermidor (฿2100) which is a whole cooked lobster cooked in herbed velouté and mushroom sauce, topped with a cheesy crust and served with a salad and toasted garlic bread.

For the second dish, we had the original roll (฿1500) a B&L classic of chilled lobster meat dressed in smooth lemony Japanese mayo. if you want my honest opinion, we enjoyed the lobster roll more than the thermidor as we savoured the freshness and sweetness of the thick lobster chunks.The lemony dressing went very well with the lobster meat and toasted brioche roll and we were utterly satisfied with our meal.

Alexis is hardly impressed by food, but Burgers and Lobster made it a very memorable dining experience for a seafood lover like him and for that it’s worth every dollar.

Burger & Lobster

Address: Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Phloen Chit Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand, Bangkok

 

3. Chocolate Ville
After seeing tons of beautiful photographs of this theme-dining restaurant and themepark on Instagram, I had to persuade Alexis to go to Chocolate ville because:

  • this place was about 45 mins away from Bangkok city
  • its all about taking photos, photos and more photos

We planned on reaching around 4pm when they open their doors and to catch the golden hour to capture the best lighting for photos.  But we got stuck in the infamous Bangkok jam for our Grab ride and there were already hordes of people from tour groups.

Nevertheless, we didn’t allow that to dampen our spirits and went round to explore this photogenic themepark.

This place may not be everyone’s cup of tea and some may find it too tacky, cheesy and touristy but if you enjoying taking photos, you’ll be delighted to find many photo spots with picturesque settings.

Dining options are available and you get to pick from different outdoor seating areas to choose from. We heard that the food was not bad but we had a late lunch, so we gave it a pass.

You can see more photos of Chocolate Ville from Missuschewy’s blog and Eat and Treat’s blog.

Chocolate Ville
Address: 351, Khan Na Yao, Khet Khan Na Yao, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10230, Thailand

 

Being intentional about dating your spouse

Before the year ends, why not make plans to go on a couple date at least once a month? And you can take it one step further and start planning your couple getaway next year.

Fiercely protect your marriage and don’t keep making excuses about not having time for date nights because if it’s important, you’ll carve out time for your partner.

It took us 6 years to finally go for this couple trip to Bangkok and while Sophie missed us like crazy for the first 2 days, it got better and she ended her video calls with us with a broad smile on her face after making us promise we’ll get her a gift.

I was joking with some friends that I’m such a firm believer that couples should set aside time for each other and go on dates that I should look into offering baby sitting services. So you know who to call if you ever need a nanny for your upcoming date night.

Stumped for ideas? Here are some ideas for 100 great dates!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share about marriage and travel.

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The day my husband asked for my forgiveness

Elton John was right when he penned the song, sorry seems to be the hardest word. I may not come across as being stubborn but Alexis would tell you otherwise especially when it’s crystal clear that I’m at fault and yet refuse to budge and apologise.

Like every married couple, Alexis and I have our share of disagreements and quarrels. We’ve gone through the full spectrum of conflicts from petty squabbles to epic fights where chairs where flung and even broke.

Till this day, Sophie remembers the incident like it happened yesterday and told me she was terrified when I hurled a chair across the room which broke just inches away from her. She tells me that she never wants to see me turn into a monster when I get mad and I felt so ashamed that my daughter had to witness my outrage.

I know we’re not supposed to fight in front of our kids and I’m not proud of it. However, I’m thankful that we’ve moved on from that angry period in our lives where every quarrel was a potential eruption of tempers.

When opposites cause sparks

Relationship experts say that opposites attract but at the same time, it’s a recipe for sparks and friction too. When a couple quarrels, the wife always hopes that her husband will break the tension by giving her a firm embrace and say, “Let’s not fight anymore because I love you and care about us.” Yea, that only happens in Korean drama ladies…

With my clearly too logical, right brain husband, emotions are thrown out of the window and he’ll be happy to prove me wrong like a lawyer interrogating the accused. When we’re in the middle of an argument, he wouldn’t back down until I concede defeat and I always wondered in those moments just why did I even marry such a heartless man. #truestory

The day my husband asked for my forgiveness

On the other hand, Alexis has little problem apologising when he makes a mistake and often hints that I should learn from him.

But last Sunday I was taken aback when he held my hand, looked me in the eye and asked for my forgiveness.

He said he was sorry for

  • Not being attentive to my feelings
  • Not placing my needs above his
  • For failing to be patient as he ought to
  • Wanting to be right and win all the time
  • Venting his frustration on me when he’s had a hard day at work
  • Not giving me more affirmation for my new SAHM role

I was taken aback by his list of “confession” . In my head I was thinking, “Wow I never knew that Alexis would even considered these things significant enough to apologise for. And that’s how most of us would think, isn’t it?

 

In Songs of Solomon 2:15, the Shulammite says,

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”

And these are precisely the “little foxes” that have the potential to ruin a marriage, like

  • an unkind word
  • a snappy response
  • giving each other the silent treatment
  • taking each other for granted

Over time, the accumulated hurts and disappointment festers and slowly develops into resentment, bitterness and even anger towards our spouse.

A good marriage is made up of two good forgivers

After Alexis asked for forgiveness, it was my turn to humble myself to seek his forgiveness. The pastor who led the time of repentance and reconciliation between husbands and wives at the prayer meeting, ended with a renewal of marriage vows as we turned to God to help us keep our lifelong commitment to each other.

It was a touching sight to see so many couples holding hands and rededicating their love, some with their children beside them.

Our family at Pray Singapore 2018

 

Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who have learnt how to forgive
and not to give up on each other.

 

Asking for forgiveness and extending forgiveness is never easy especially when trust has been destroyed and faith has been lost. It’s tempting to get mad, get even and  perhaps even seek revenge.

But we have a God who is in the business of restoring marriages and He has shown us the perfect example of grace. Grace that is undeserving, which we received so freely from Him, so that we can extend that same grace to our spouse.

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Be reconciled and restore your marriage 

What are the little foxes in your marriage today? It’s easy to sweep them under the carpet but one day these issues, like a ticking time bomb will eventually blow up and lost trust may be too late to salvage.

In fact, don’t even minimise the seemingly small “offences” and endeavor to right every wrong quickly. Humble yourself, ask for forgiveness and remember to wipe the wrongdoings from your memory and keep no records of wrong. Remember your marriage vows and don’t forget that your marriage is worth protecting and fighting for.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about marriage and relationship.

 

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