Car Free Sunday returns to the Civic District this June

I can’t believe that four weeks of the June School Holidays are ending this weekend. Hands up if you’re not looking forward to waking up early when next Monday comes. I know I’ll be having some massive blues on Sunday night.

But before we get there, I intend to make the best of the remaining days to take Sophie out for the next few days. We’ve planned a day for ice skating, a day for some splashing fun at the pool and on Sunday, we’ll be at the Civic District for Car Free Sunday. We missed the first few Car Free Sundays but heard good things about it from friends who went with their family.

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Good Bye Elmo!

And I guess this initiative really strikes a chord with us as we’ve made a big decision to sell our wheels whom we nicknamed Elmo to go car free this year. Though there have been a few inconveniences, our public transport system has served us well so far and we’ll like to think we’re doing our bid to save the earth and also towards our retirement dreams :)

Anyway, I’m especially looking forward to it as the Arts are taking center stage where there’s lots of fun activities for the whole family.Here’s what in store.

Car Free Sunday at the Civic District

Breakfast Concert at the Lawn

Picnic

Image credit: A Bullseye View,

Roll out your picnic mats and enjoy the live performance by the Philharmonic Winds, a wind orchestra that will serenade you with enjoyable tunes along with the Community Drumming Network made up of drumming enthusiasts from all over Singapore with their high energy rousing beats at the Empress Lawn.

Groove along with Converge Studios dance workout where they’ll be showing off moves that everyone from the young to the young at heart can do as a family!

Community Drumming Network

Community Drumming Network

Timing: 8.30am – 9.15am and 9.30am – 10.15am

Get Crafty 

Check out the craft activities offered at the Civic District where they’ll be lots of fun for free hands-on activities for fun for the whole family.

Messymsxi

Paint and post, from me to you!

Paint and Post, from me to you by Messymsxi

Artist Messymxi invites you to paint a postcard, write a message and share it with a friend or two by posting it right away! All postcards are readily illustrated with paints prepared for visitors to drop by anytime.

Monster Gallery

DIY Tote Bag Printing

DIY Tote Bag Printing by Monster Gallery

Grab one of our exclusive tote bags and get creative by customising your bag with silkscreen printing. The team from the Young Printmakers League will also be on-hand to guide you along.

Creative Hub

Make a paper cacti

Make a Paper Cacti

Join Creative Hub as they bring you through an interactive workshop to make paper cacti! I’m sure these will surely survive at my hands since I have no green fingers at all.

Colours in Motion

Colours in Motion

Colours in Motion

I never frown upon messy art and you shouldn’t too. Learn how to use your body as a brush to express yourself through dance and painting

It takes Balls

It Takes Balls

It Takes Balls

Try your hand at knitting on a giant loom and you may just discover a new love for knitting yourself!

Pop-Up Breakfast Bar & a Giveaway

And while you’re there, why not enjoy delicious café bites from Tiong Bahru Bakery, Kombi Rocks, The Lokal, The Chief, and  Ji Xiang Confectionery! I like the sound of it already as cafe hopping is literally just a hop from one cafe to the another at the Empress Lawn :)

Enjoying Breakfast Picnic on Empress Lawn

Image credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority

Win a $5 Breakfast Bar voucher!

And to make it even better, be among the first 150 visitors to the Breakfast Concert to win a $5 Breakfast Bar voucher!

Here’s how:

1. Like Civic District Singapore on Facebook; or follow them on Instagram

2. Collect one $5 Breakfast Bar voucher at the Information Booth between 8am to 10am at Empress Lawn. While stocks last, limited to one voucher per person.

 

So leave your car at home this Sunday and take public transport or maybe even cycle or scoot to the venue with your family. Don’t forget to take your picnic mat, hats and sunnies for this event! See you there.

Arts at Civic District

Arts @ Civic District is a part of the June Edition of Car Free Sunday happening on 26 June 2016.
Venue: Empress Lawn (in front of Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall)

 

 

2016 June School Holidays in Melbourne – Day 1

For the first half of 2016, we’ve kept our travel plans close to home and went across the causeway to Johor Bahru and Malacca. But unlike previous years where we’ll drive up in our car, we hired a driver and took a coach which not only relieved us of the driving but also freed our minds from car safety worries.

So when it came to the June school holidays, I wanted to scoot off a little further. Well you probably know the story by now that we returned to Melbourne, the city where we honeymooned 10 years ago for our 10th wedding anniversary. Plus, we really wanted to get away from sunny Singapore and spending winter in Australia sounds a brilliant plan.

Flight to Melbourne
We booked our flight with Scoot in early May and snagged a good deal of S$1,100 for 2 Adults and 1 Child. I only wished that the timing could have been better as it can sometimes be a hit or miss for red eye flights.

True enough, we had a crying toddler seated right behind us and I barely got any sleep. Lucky for my travel companions, Alexis and Sophie slept through the bawling with occasional stirring.

Good for me, I only need coffee and lots of it to get me going and Melbourne is the perfect city for it #alwayslookonthebrightside

June Holidays in Melbourne – Day One

Getting to our apartment was just a bus ride away on the Sky Express and we arranged for hotel transfer that took us to the door step of Citadines at Bourke Street. This was recommended by Mummy Ed and the location was very convenient too with the tram station right at our door step.

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Queen Victoria Market

We wasted no time after checking in and headed to the Queen Victoria Market via the tram from our apartment. I was in two minds about visiting QVM market many people have said that it’s lost its charm and became very touristy and tacky.

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Melbourne 08

Melbourne 01

And I hate to admit it but boy are they right. What I remembered to be a bustling market resembled a dead town on a Friday afternoon especially at the retail section where there was hardly any people and the stalls were pretty boring with some even starting to wrap up for the day at 4pm (they are usually open till 5pm on Fridays).

The fresh produce section was more lively and even though I didn’t buy any food to cook back at the apartment, we bought strawberries and cherry tomatoes for just $2 each!

We didn’t managed to hunt down the oysters but we did find the famous doughnut van and caved in to our sweet tooth desires with these piping hot doughnuts with jam filings and sugar coating! Super comforting to sink our teeth into them on a cold winter day!


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Melbourne 07

I stumbled upon Market Lane Coffee and boy do they have great best coffee!

We also spotted a van selling mussels and ordered the grilled mussels with garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs. Sophie was quite game when I asked if she’ll like to try it and she gave it the thumbs up for her first taste of crustacean goodness.

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Heh notice the “wings” on top of the van?

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I wonder where she learnt that from

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By 4.30pm, the stores started to pack up and we called it a day at the market too before heading for our lovely dinner at the Rare Steakhouse to celebrate our anniversary!

 

Wedding Anniversary Dinner at Rare Steakhouse Uptown

For the special occasion, we chose to dine at Rare Steakhouse Uptown after reading glowing reviews about them online and they certainly didn’t disappoint. We don’t usually order wine but hey why hold back when we’ve made it to such a milestone :)

I ordered a Angus Beef Porterhouse and Alexis had the Eye Fillet and they were cooked to perfection, still tender and juicy. The starters were pretty good and mash potato that accompanied our steak was so so good ! But most of all the service was fantastic where the waitress patiently explained the menu and was all smiles each time she came around to check if we needed anything.

Although we don’t notice any kids around, they were accommodating to have a young kid around :)

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Melbourne 11

Cheers to making it to our 10th year!

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Melbourne 12

Alexis is usually not a steak guy at all, so I do feel special when he takes me to a place where he thinks I’ll like. And I’ll like to think that I open up possibilities for him by getting him to step out of his comfort zone. Guess that’s how we complement each other over these years.

Rare Steakhouse Uptown
Address: 6/61 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

 

We spent a total of 9 days in Melbourne where we did a free and easy trip and I’ll be sharing more about the places we visited soon :) Stick around.

 

Melbourne again after 10 years

2016 marks our tenth wedding anniversary.

That sounds like a milestone to celebrate but between Alexis and I, we’ve grown to be a very practical couple where gifts and presents don’t matter all that much (though my disclaimer is it never hurts to be surprised).

Over the years we’ve been together, and that’s 15 years, including the years of courtship, I’ve come to realise that gifts are not Alexis’s love language and it’s a painful affair for him to wreak his brains on finding the perfect gift. Now, I’ll like to think I’m very easy to please but I’m sure he has his side of  story to tell.

And because I’m hardly the competitive sort, I have to admit that he’s sprung a few surprises on me over the years and they are some of my best memories to date. One of which was when he filled my entire room with helium balloons and made me find my present.

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This was way back in 2003! The balloon filled my whole room suprise

It’s very out of character for Alexis to make a big fuss out of birthdays and anniversaries so when he does, he always outdo himself each and every time, which makes it hard for me to beat. Not that I mind losing, seriously.

Back to Melbourne after 10 years

Anyway for our tenth wedding anniversary, I had this grand plan of revisiting Melbourne, the place where we went on our honeymoon as a newly wedded couple all bubbling with love and excitement of building our future together. Besides going away on holidays is a much better way to build memories than just stuffs don’t you agree?

The plan almost didn’t materialise as the mister was away climbing the Great Wall of China and he wasn’t keen to travel so soon after his trip. But after some convincing, he got sold and so we booked our tickets!

We were even secretly plotting not to take Sophie along on this trip until she pulled the emotional blackmail card and gave us the, “But don’t you love me mummy! Why don’t you take me along.”

Needless to say she had Daddy changing his mind about making this our long awaited couple only vacation and its back to making it a free and easy family friendly vacation for our family of 3, where I had to incorporate places like Puffing Billy, the zoo and museum into our 9 days free and easy itinerary. Not that I really mind because she completes our family and it’s always fun doing new things as a family.

Melbourne after 10

Back at the Great Ocean Road!

IMG_2003

Drama before the flight

But just before we flew, I had a panic attack when I realised I left my camera at home!

It’s every blogger’s nightmare and I even thought Alexis was joking when he said he didn’t pack it along when he packed in all the batteries and cable. It was a case of everyone assuming someone will bring it and I was really mad at him and myself especially since my mobile phone is from the stone age with problems syncing to iCloud ever so often.

it took me a whole 5 minutes to calm down, collect my thoughts and decide that I will not let this ruin the start of our trip and apologised for my overreaction. So I’m not going to have spectacular photos from this trip but I can live with that because I know that we are going to have great memories on the trip.

And we certainly did.

Melbourne after 10 years

Melbourne after 10 yrs

Luna Park!

Melbourne after 10 years 01
Among us, we all have our different highlights of the trip.

For Sophie, it’s the thrilling tube slide at Enchanted Adventure Garden. For Alexis, it’s helping Sophie conqueror her fears on the tree surfing course which we had to cut short because of the rain. And for me, the view of the Great Ocean Road beats everything hands down as the most memorable part of the trip for me.

Actually, I have to correct myself  For Sophie, the highlight of the trip was spending 9 full days and night with mummy and daddy and she gave us a big big hug after that. How precious that our undivided attention made all the difference to Sophie and to hear that our and presence  was the highlight of this whole trip for her is just so heartwarming.

Melbourne after 10 years 02

On board the Puffing Billy

Melbourne after 10 years 03

There is no lousy coffee in Melbourne

We had so many good memories on this trip and I want to record down the places we visited and things we did on the blog before I forget.

If you’re interested to know my itinerary, do drop me a note or check back on the blog next week :)

 

Switching Gears to be a Why Not Mum

Why must I go to sleep when I’m not tired mummy?
Why must I greet people I don’t know when you tell me not to talk to strangers?
Why can’t I marry Daddy when I love him as much as you?’

As a mum, I don’t know how many “whys” you get asked in a day but I’ve lost count of them myself ever since Sophie started to speak at 3 years old. And at 4 years old, that’s when I got bombarded left, right and centre by all the why this, why that.

There are days when I get innocent questions that makes me chuckle and all fuzzy and warm inside, like why can’t I marry you or Daddy when I love both of you so much?

Then there are some days when her questions fumble me especially when it comes to the unjustice and pain that she sees in the world on the news like why must people die and leave this earth or why are some babies born to be blind?

As a parent, I’ve thrown all sorts of responses at her questions. From the right answers to the wrong answers and sometimes even absurd responses while I can still get away with them when she’s naive and innocent at 6 years.

While some of her questions call for a logical and scientific reply on how things in this world work, I’ve slowly come to recognise that there are why questions that calls for a heart response.

Why can’t I sleep with you in your room anymore?
Why do I get to spend so little time with you in a day?
Why can’t I stay up late to chit chat with you a little more mummy?

 

While the natural responses is to give answers like

“Because you’re a big girl now”
“Mummy, got to work just like Sophie got to study”
“You’ll get tired if you don’t sleep now”

they don’t quite address what her heart is longing for, which is

Attention. Affection. Love. 

 

Why Not Mum 00

And how can I fault her for feeling that way. After all if I were to put myself in her shoes, I’ll feel disappointed to only see mummy for a few hours before bedtime. And I know I can be the worst person to be around if I’m feeling tired after work and will shoot replies like, later, give me 10 minutes when all I want to do is have dinner, shower and sleep instead of being a dutiful mother to revise her homework or catch up on her day.

But each time I turn down her invitation to play, to hear about her day at school or to see a drawing that she did, I’m sending her message that she doesn’t matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about revolving our lives solely around their little one’s lives to the point that they feel entitled and spoilt. But rather it’s being conscious that our responses frames their identity of who they are when we neglect their little hearts.

 
Being a Why Not Mum

So these days, I’m learning to tune into my daughter’s feelings and be a more spontaneous mum by responding

why not,  when she asks me to take her to the playground after work

why not, when she requests to take her out during the school holidays

why not, when she asks to stay up for 5 minutes more just to hear about her day

why not, when she asks for movie night where we’ll curl up in front of the TV with chips and popcorn

why not, when she wants to tag along for my girl trip with my colleagues to Malacca last weekend

why not, when she wants to tag along my anniversary trip to Melbourne with hubby

 

Why Not Mum 02

Taking her to the Art Science Museum Imaginarium

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Hunting down wall murals at Waterloo Street

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Why Not Mum 07

Little Miss Sunshine along with my colleagues on our Malacca trip

Why Not Mum 08

 

And before you think well let’s throw schedule and routines out of the window and just give in to our kids in that case, I’d say halt. Schedules and routines are important to keep a child regulated so they know what’s expected of them.

Instead when we surprise our kids when we say why not when they don’t expect it, it makes it even more special and memorable. And that’s how I intend to keep building Sophie’s memory bank, with lots of spontaneous, crazy fun moments.

 

Why Not Mum 09

Why Not Mum

And for me, the greatest affirmation that I’m on the right track was when I received a hand scribbled love letter from Sophie on the last night on our girl trip to Malacca. I promised that I will not reveal the contents of her note to me, but it was filled with thankfulness for all the things we did together.

I was all teary after that and wrote her a note in return too. And she even made me wrote down about her note to me in my diary and remember that day as our very own special day between us…

So mums, for all the whys that our kids throw at us, why not turn the tables and be a why not mum to them :)

 

 

IKEA FADO Lamp Hack for Children’s Room

You may have noticed that I’ve been blogging lesser this year and the main reason is because I’ve neglected my health and subjected it to a lot lesser rest that it needed and deserved last year. And my friends, I just want to say that we should never take our health for granted, so please take care of yourself and get sufficient rest, exercise and eat well.

So while I’ve turned down numerous opportunities for collaborations, I jumped at the chance when I was approached by IKEA for their blogger engagement as this is a brand that I truly am a fan of. So over the next 4 months, I’ll be sharing with you some of the projects I’ll be doing with IKEA and I hope they give you fresh inspirations :)

For my first project, I want to share about how I did a super cute IKEA FADO Lamp Hack for Sophie’s room.

IKEA Fado Lamp 01

Here’s what you need:

  • FADO table lamp
  • Sharpie markers (I used black and yellow)
  • Ink stamp in pink
  • small piece of sponge

Here’s the BEFORE look at the table lamp on Sophie’s side table. While it’s functional, I just wished it was more welcoming especially before she goes to sleep at night.

IKEA Fado Lamp 02

IKEA Fado Lamp 03

Before I jumped into drawing freehand on the lamp directly, I thought of a few ideas. Since one of her favourite animal is the bunny from her favorite story book, Guess How Much I Love You, I decided to go on Pinterest to get some inspirations of illustrated rabbits.

Once I chose my design, I printed the picture on my colour printer at about 3/4 of an A4. You’ll want to use Sharpie markers for this project, which can be easily purchased from bookshops like Popular, Art Friend or the local craft stores.

IKEA Fado Lamp 04

IKEA Fado Lamp 05

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to just have a wipe down of the lamp and make sure that you work on dry surface.

While Sharpie markers are supposed to be permanent markers, you’ll be relived to know that they are surprisingly very forgiving on shaking hands and I managed to wipe off my mistakes effortlessly. But that also means you’ll have to be careful not to get the ink smudged.

At first, I was contemplating using acrylic paint for the rabbit’s ears and cheeks but since I couldn’t find any in my stash of art supply, I substituted it with my versa ink stamp and it was perfect! Plus the shade of pink was simply too adorable.

The ink stamping was so simple that even Sophie chipped in to lend a helping hand.

Here’s a tip: As you want to only ink a small surface area, do cut your sponge to a smaller size to avoid smudging and use gentle dabbing motions for a soft, gentle effect.

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IKEA Fado Lamp 07

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Since this was going to be Sophie’s night lamp, she suggested to add stars.

As a final finishing touch, I added the words, Good Night, honey bunny and her night lamp is complete.

IKEA Fado Lamp 09

IKEA Fado Lamp 10

 

Sophie was over the moon with the new look of her table lamp and I was secretly very satisfied with the end result myself!  And if you’re thinking of giving it a go, rest assured that it takes no more than half an hour to complete and it could even be a cool June holiday bonding activity for you and your child.

 

Here are more inspirations from around the web.on how you can DIY the FADO table lamp.

FADO lamp

  1. Panda Lamp
  2. Mr Moon Lamp
  3. Spiderman Lamp
  4. Miffy Lamp

 

 

Here’s a project I did last year on how you can transform a $1.50 wall clock to a princess clock. Read on here.

Small-Spaces-Girls-Room-011

 

Did I spark a creative light bulb in you with this post? If so, head over to IKEA website and explore the many other wonderful things you can create with their products.

 

 

 

* This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.