Holiday Villa Pantai Indah in Bintan, Review

While many families were off to far and exotic travel destinations for the June school holidays, we decided to head somewhere much closer and went to Bintan. Escaping to Bintan for a beach holiday is a mere 60 minutes ferry ride from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and the best part are the growing options of beach resorts you get to pick from.

Holiday Villa, Bintan

For this trip, we stayed at Holiday Villa Pantai Indah which opened a year ago and simply loved it because we had our very own private pool! #pooltimeanytime #pooltimeallday

For our family of 3, the one bedroom villa fitted us nicely. For larger families, they also offer 2 bedroom options.

Here’s tour of our villa.

The living area

Don’t you feel like diving in?

Outdoor dining area

The pool measures 2.8 x 6.15m with a height of 1.4m. There are steps before entering the pool but pool safety is important especially if you’re planning to go with younger kids.

The open air dining area was equipped with a microwave, coffee maker, kettle and regular sized fridge with an ice compartment. We brought along a bag full of cup noodles, snacks and even buns, to stuff ourselves as we heard about the limited choice of food within the resort.

The bathroom was huge and comes fitted with a shower and a bathtub. Love that they have double sinks, so we don’t have to fight when brushing our teeth. This minimal and clean bathroom look is really calling out to me and I’m thinking of giving my own bathroom a do over with the same look.

Soak your worries away

We enjoyed fantastic weather every day and were so glad that we brought along our floats instead of paying $10/hour for rental.

In fact, we brought along two floats and I’m glad there was no one to judge us when we balanced precariously on Sophie’s aeroplane float, firing away with the water gun. And the best part was snagging the float when it was on offer at Toys R Us at $15, a whooping 60% off! #gooddealmustshare

The mattress float was a hot commodity too and I got so tanned from floating around despite slathering sunblock on myself.

Needless to say, we were in the pool most of the time and soaked till we looked like prunes every day. #purebliss

Can was unopened cause you’re not allowed to have any drinks or food in the pool.

In the evenings, we were spoilt for choice as they have cable TV for so many cable channels, FOX, HBO, AXN, Nat Geo, Cartoon Network,etc… Sophie’s only gripe was that Disney channel and Disney Junior was in Bahasa. We binged on cable TV every night and Sophie was so thrilled to be on a winning streak when we played games like Rat A Tat Cat and Spot it which she brought along.

Even though we were not in Singapore when the momentous Trump-Kim summit took place, we followed the news closely on CNA and rejoiced when they signed on the denuclearisation agreement. One step closer to world peace.

Activities in Resorts

In comparison with the more established resorts, Holiday Villa had a limited list of activities. This could be intentional since most guests would be frolicking in their villas’ private pool anyway. There’s a spa within the resort that provides massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, and you can even opt for in-room massage.

Their modest list of activities included archery, ATV, kayaking, stand up paddling, biking and trampoline.

Alexis and Sophie went for the ATV 100cc where they were guided by a staff into a small jungle area and rode along the beach where they spotted monkeys too.

The ATV ride was meant to be a single rider, but they made an exception if the kid is young like Sophie. We paid $30 for the activity and if you go for the 150cc ride, it’s $120 for 30 minutes According to the staff, this one takes you on a more rugged terrain.

In the mornings, we also saw some guests kayaking when there was a high tide.

Alternatively, you can also head to other resorts like Bintan Lagoon Resort, Nirwana Resorts or Treasure Bay where non-staying guests can enjoy activities for a slightly higher fees. The hotel can arrange for a taxi or you can book your own taxi.

READ ALSO: Our glamping experience in Canopi, Bintan

These were the prices charged for 2 way transport to Bintan Lagoon Resort ($30) , Nirwana Resorts ($30) by the hotel.

We explored Bintan Lagoon Resort and told Sophie that she was here 9 years ago, when she was still in my tummy during my babymoon 🙂 Precious memories.

Dining in the Resort

Our stay came with buffet breakfast at The Legenda Café and I highly recommend sitting outdoors where you get a welcome view of the beach.

Food standards definitely have room for improvement. We were expecting a wider spread as well as higher standards of food quality for a more premium resort.

The breakfast spread was decent with an egg cooking station, and staples such as cereal, pastries, noodles, etc. Asian options like mee soto, porridge, nasi lemak and roti prata were also available on different days.

On one of the evenings, we also called for room service and ordered Ayam Penyat and Chicken burger. Between both choices, we felt that they do Asian dishes better and the chicken was nicely grilled though it was drier than I liked.

Dining outside the resort

We also had two meals at Warung Yeah which was highly raved on Trip Advisor for more appetizing meals at a fraction of the price at the resorts. Judging from the crowds, they were certainly popular among locals and tourists alike and we loved it so much!


Our list of recommended dishes, tahu telur, ayam bakar (way better than ayam peyet), nasi bakar yeah and satay. Not to worry if you’ve got young kids, Sophie had mami mee goreng and chicken burger which were some of the non-spicy options.

We headed out to other resorts for our meals as we grew tired of cup noodles and had pizza and pasta at Dino Bistro in Nirwana Resort Hotel. We also had dinner at Nelayan in Bintan Lagoon Resort which had a nice sea view. But the service was rather slow given that there were not more than 10 tables occupied. No complains about the food though and we went back with happy tummies.

Pizza and pasta at Dino Bistro


After spending such a relaxing 5 day in Bintan, we were so reluctant to head back to Singapore. It was funny how Sophie kept telling us that we must swim every single day and treasure the time we have the luxury of having the pool at our door step. I’m so looking forward to our next beach holiday where it’s as rejuvenating as this one.

Holiday Villa is certainly top on my list if we were to come back for another short get away with the family. But if your family prefers more activities, then you’ve got to try Canopi for a fun glamping experience.


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Blissed out for our wedding anniversary in Bintan

June is always a special month for us because of our wedding anniversary. Plus with the June school
holidays, it’s the perfect excuse for the family to get away from the country.

Unlike our usual vacations where it’s jam-packed with activities, we decided to take it easy this time and headed to Bintan for a laid back holiday. It’s not exactly the kind of vacation that Alexis enjoys but hubby was worried that a more taxing holiday may be too strenuous for me since I just recovered from my surgery.

So appreciative of how thoughtful my dear husband is and even more reason for me to keep loving him.

The best part of our idle holiday was

Not rushing from one place to another.

Not worrying what time we get out of bed or turn in.

And certainly not caring if we got to eat at that must try café that everyone raves about.


We didn’t do much on this holiday except to sleep, swim, eat, watch cable TV, read, swim, eat and repeat.

Private pool in Holiday Villa, Bintan

We filled the villa with our laughter when we fought over who gets the floats, when we got shot by the water guns or when we attempted to be synchronised swimmers. That’s a real bonus of having your very own private pool where you’ll not be judged for your noisy shenanigans.

Sophie was ecstatic when she could feast on guilty pleasures like cup noodles, titbits and ice cream because a clean diet is thrown out of the window when we’re on vacation.

On one of the evenings, we saw the most beautiful sunset when we climbed up a hill that overlooked the beach and how my heart was filled with gratitude for these two in my life.

I love how obliging they were when I asked for photos as mementos of our holiday and love love love these photos taken at the captivating golden hour.

Happy Wife, Happy Life

That’s pretty much how we celebrated our wedding anniversary in Bintan to mark our 12 years of marriage. When I asked hubby the secret for staying in love for the past 17 years of courtship and marriage, he replied in jest, marry a good wife.

He sure knows the mantra, happy wife, happy life.

Despite my insecurities and doubts, I’m so thankful for his steadfast and unwavering support towards me. This was especially so after my operation where I literally had to lean on him for support whenever I had to get up and off bed. And not to forget the tremendous emotional support he gave when I was going through a low point in life.

Many have commented that I was brave to do what feels right for this season and be a homemaker. But honestly, hubby deserves more credit for being the braver one, for allowing me to quit my job and giving me time to rest and recuperate while I care for our family.

Our 12 years of marriage have its fair share of ups and down, quarrels and fights, but through the years, we’ve learnt that we’re a team and we’re in it for the long haul. Forgiving and forgetting goes a long way and so is learning to set aside our differences which is still a work in progress after being together for 17 years. Our marriage is far from perfect, but we remember that love is choice, every single day that keeps our love and commitment for each other strong.  

We started serving together in church and I’m so glad that we’re growing together in so many ways- growing old, growing fat, growing closer and growing spiritually.

Disconnecting to connect is the way to go for vacations and I’m glad we did that (though I was still guilty of scrolling on Instagram). It was certainly a winning recipe for a blissed out holiday and I’m looking forward to the next one 🙂

I will write a proper review of our villa, Holiday Villa Bintan in my next entry since there was so much interest from the photos I posted. It’s certainly a resort I will recommend especially for couples, plus who can’t say no to having a private pool in their villa?


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Learning Chinese with Comics {June Holidays Giveaway}

Chinese comics by Marshall Cavendish Education

Chinese is one of those subjects in school that children either love or hate. I remembered reading the importance of making the language interesting for children and was determined not to make Mandarin dreadful for Sophie.

Besides bringing her to watch Chinese performances and Chinese cartoons, another great way to spark her enthusiasm for Chinese was immersing her with Chinese books. And no surprises, when I even reached out for comics to make it a fun and interesting read. After all, kids learn best when they are enjoying what they do.

Here are 3 latest titles from Marshall Cavendish Education that are perfect to introduce to primary school students. Do read on to find out how you can win a set of these books!

Nao Nao Comics Street闹闹漫画街

Nao Nao is well-loved character who’s popular among kids. As a cheeky student, his character is relatable to young readers as the stories revolve around every day scenarios about school life, friendship and family. His mischievous antics invariably land him in some kind of trouble from time to time with a huge dose of humour. But at the same time, important moral values are subtly woven into each story, teaching kids valuable lessons which they can apply in real-life situations.

This series is a great introduction to lower primary pupils as they’ll be drawn by the colourful and delightful illustration as well as the relatable story setting. There are three stories in one book, making it an irresistible book to put down.

At the end of each story, a Chinese-English vocabulary list is provided to reinforce the learning of new words in the comics.

Old Master Q Happy Idioms 老夫子 快乐成

I’m sure老夫子  is no stranger to you and it may well have been your favourite comic back in your primary and secondary school days. At least it was for me 🙂

So it gives me great delight to introduce this classic comic to Sophie where she get tickled pink while learning Chinese idioms at the same time. With Sophie in Primary 3 this year, she’s stepped up on her compositions where her teacher have emphasised the importance of using Chinese idioms in her writing.

With this series of Old Master Q Happy Idioms books, Sophie get to learn the meaning of over a 100 idioms presented in true Old Master Q style with humorous and witty interpretation, which can be quite slapstick too.

What I personally liked is how Hanyu Pinyin and English explanation are added to aid understanding of each idiom. In addition, each idiom is supported with an antonym to learn the opposite meaning along with sample sentence for reference.

Le Le Brainwave Comics 乐乐计转弯

Le Le Brainwave Comics is Marshall Cavendish Education’s latest Chinese comics series and one which got us very excited as it weaves the learning of mathematics seamlessly into its stories.

The book brings young readers along the adventures of Le Le and his family where he solves mathematics questions through everyday situations and kids learn maths concept from measurements, distance, fractions and much more.

In book 1, there are hands-on activities like origami folding exercises, which kids can follow along with the characters in these comics as they learn about geometry.

After each story, little readers can get their brain juices flowing and try to solve relevant maths questions in the 想一想 section. At the end of the book, there is a Chinese-English vocabulary list where kids can reinforce their learning of  new words which they come across in their reading. 

An engaging comic title that incorporates mathematics is so hard to come by and it’s great that the content is not too challenging  for kids to understand which may be a put off if they feel too overwhelmed.


– – – – – – – -– – – – – GIVEAWAY FOR A JUGGLING MUM READERS (Closed) – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thanks to our sponsor, Marshall Cavendish Education, we have 2 sets of Chinese comics series to give away to 2 lucky winners. The set of Chinese comics series comprises of

  • Nao Nao Comics Street闹闹漫画街 Book 1
  • Old Master Q Happy Idioms 老夫子 快乐成语 Book 1 & 2
  • Le Le Brainwave Comics 乐乐计转弯 Book 1


All you have to do is:
1) ‘LIKE’ our Facebook Page and ‘FOLLOW US’ to be the first to get notified of our next giveaway.

2)  ‘LIKE” Marshall Cavendish Education​ Facebook page

3) ‘SHARE’ this post and tag another friend whom you wish to share this giveaway with

Complete both steps to be eligible for the giveaway.
ONE lucky winner will be drawn and announced on the blog and Facebook on 14 June, Thursday.


Congratulations to our two lucky winners, Linda Wong and Sylvia Tangugu!
You have each won a set of Chinese comics series for your kids.


Please note:

  • Giveaway ends on 13 June, Wednesday 23:59
  • Only readers residing in Singapore are 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
  • All false FB accounts will be disqualified from the giveaway


Here are some links on Composition Writing that you may be keen too.



A Juggling Mom was sponsored the above titles to write this post. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine. 

To mums who thought you’ll never be a stay home mum

Where and how do I even begin? I guess the title of the post gives you a pretty good hint.

After my recent operation in late April, I’ve been asked when I’m returning to work now that I’m well on the mend. In not so many words, the brief answer is, I’m taking a break.

A career break.

I’m certainly no Tai Tai ( a Chinese colloquial term for a wealthy married woman who doesn’t have to work and goes for high tea in her perfectly manicured nails) at least not in the conventional definition of a lady of leisure. But hubby and I decided that I will stop working and focus on my family for this season of life.

Transiting from a FTWM to a SAHM

To be honest, staying home was the furthest thought on my mind when the year began as I was switching to a new job. A new career which I was looking forward to as it was a new role in a different industry with an expanded responsibility that was going to stretch me. It ticked all the boxes for a shiny career prospect but things turned out very differently from expectations.

Besides close friends who knew what happened, I wasn’t prepared to tell others that I’ve quit without a job after completing my month probation in March as I was afraid of being judged. I was worried that critics would sneer that I wasn’t made of stronger stuff to pull off this new role and the challenges faced especially after I penned this post about making a career switch for mums.

But for someone who’s soon approaching my 40s, my instincts told me that it’s far better to cut losses now, and change the course I’m on than to continue on a path that wasn’t heading where I want, especially when I was feeling dissatisfied and unhappy.

It may be crystal clear now but back then, I recalled feeling a sense of shame when I was contemplating throwing in the towel because it was uncharacteristic of me to quit so easily. I began questioning myself, my abilities and where my grit and resilience vanished went when I needed them the most. to the point that I was having sleepless nights and bordering on depression as I often came home from work feeling feeling so lousy about myself. I had to remind myself that the job was a bad fit and I shouldn’t allow others perception of my decision to affect what I value and chose in life.

In one particular conversations with a close and wise friend, her words gave me courage to do what was best for me. She said, that there is absolutely no shame if I walk away from this role especially when I know this is not going to work out in the long run.

And so I did.

I’m well aware that my choice to stop working is a privilege in itself because not every household can go from a dual income to a single income family. It was a calculated move in all sense of the word and I’m extremely blessed to have Alexis’s support and understanding which greatly eased my guilt when it seemed like I was dropping the ball at the peak of our working lives. I’m glad we’re aligned on how we define “success” for our family and it’s certainly not based on the type of house we live in, the car we drive (wait, what car?) or exotic holiday destinations we take every year.

After my recent op, it further cemented our decision for me to take time off and focus on myself and my family. The operation happened in a whirlwind and one that had my heart aching and emotionally tired.

During a routine check up, my gynae was alarmed by 2 newly discovered cysts and was worried that they may be cancerous as they were growing rapidly. I was made to do a MRI the next day and was on standby for an operation to have them removed. Though the result was benign, the surgery was arranged swiftly as my gynae didn’t want any unnecessary risks of the cysts rupturing. But in the process, both my fallopian tubes had to be removed as they were entwined with the cysts.

What this means is that I will no longer be able to conceive naturally and she advocated going for IVF quickly if we intend to have more children.

Being there for your growing up years

With Sophie turning 9 this year, we have made peace that she will likely be our only child. But hearing those words again was like reopening old wounds as we’ve been trying for years. I was an emotional wreak for weeks and prayed for God to grant me peace even though I may not see the full picture as He sees.

This made us cherish Sophie all the more and she’s also the reason why I’ll not return to work so soon as I embrace my new role as a stay home mum to spend more time with her before her teenage years. Will I return to work sooner? I guess one should never be too quick to say never.

For now, this juggling mum has got less to juggle as I drop my “work ball” and focus on my family and myself for this season in life.


If you’ve transited from being a working mum to a stay home mum, I’ll love to hear your experience and now I understand why being a SAHM can be a lonely journey. And if you’ve any tips on how to stay sane and relevant as a SAHM, I’ll love to hear from you too.


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Where to stay in Melaka, review of DoubleTree by Hilton

During the March school holidays we headed up to Melaka and stayed at the newly opened DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, Melaka. As a Hilton Honour member, we were alerted of the hotel opening and managed to book our room at less than S$50 a night during their promotion period, which was an exceptional deal.

We’ve never been disappointed with our stay at DoubleTree by Hilton in Johor Bahru and know that we can count on them for an enjoyable family holiday. Plus, we can’t get enough of their lovely chocolate chip cookie welcome.

DoubleTree by Hilton hotel Melaka lobby


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Melaka is in the heart of Hatten City and connected directly to Elements Shopping Mall.

Location wise the hotel may not be so convenient compared to the likes of Hatten hotel, Equatorial or Novotel hotel which are closer to the main malls, but it is nevertheless only a mere 5 minute drive away. Besides, you’ll likely spend most of your time in Jonker Street chowing down their local delights than being in the malls.

Since we took the coach up to Melaka, we relied on Grab and Uber as our mode of transport to get around, so getting a data sim card was essential. Oh wait, data IS always essential for the hubby. We never had to wait too long to get a ride and fares don’t cost too much either.

In fact, I know of friends who rely on Grab despite driving up to Melaka so they don’t have to deal with parking woes.

Room Tour

We booked the King Guest Room for our 4 day stay and were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a Junior Suite. They sure scored a WOW factor for their customer service with us. Sophie was ecstatic that we had a bathtub for some bubbly bath time.

The spacious Junior Suite had a living area with a sofa and coffee table as well as a desk area where it was often filled with food that we packed back for supper.

I love how bright and airy the room was with its full length window panels where we had a partial view of the Straits of Melaka.

View of swimming pool from our room


Our stay included daily breakfast at the Makan Kitchen which offered a diverse offering of Asian and Western cuisine.  There were also several cooking stations where you can have your eggs done in the way you fancy, as well as noodles, prata, waffles, etc.

To be very honest, the food standard is pretty average and even local dishes like nasi lemak and prata were disappointing and mediocre as they lacked flavour. It’s okay as fuel for the morning but if you’re expecting a satisfying start of the day, my suggestion is to head out for more authentic breakfast options.

Another grouse I have was the long wait for seats at breakfast. We tend to sleep in on holidays and make our way down for breakfast around 9am, which is also the peak hour since breakfast ends at 11am. And a hungry mum is an angry mum… My advice, head down for breakfast earlier or simply go out for breakfast where you’ll be less disappointed.

READ ALSO: Where to eat in Melaka

Besides Makan Kitchen, there’s also an Italian restaurant, Tosca, where you can dine indoors or outdoors beside the pool. Since we didn’t have a chance to dine at Tosca, so I’ll withhold my comments about it.


Hotel Amenities

One thing we were looking forward to check out was the Kids Club within the hotel and you can guess who was the most excited. The Kids Club is located on the same floor as the swimming pool and gym at level 13 and you certainly can’t miss it.

To ensure the safety of their little guests, all visitors have to sign in before entering. Once you step into the Kids Club, you’ll feel so welcome by the bright and colourful space.

The room is divided into different areas with a TV room for screening of cartoons and kids program, video games corner, book corner and an arts and craft area.

When we were there, there was only one staff around, so I doubt they conduct any hands on activities with the kids in the Kids Club, which probably means you can’t leave them to any minders.

I would say that the activities in the Kids Club are more suited for younger children under 7 years old. Sophie who’s already 8 year old felt that the Kid Club was too childish for her and wanted to go for a dip in the swimming pool instead.

The Kids Club is at the end of the infinity swimming pool which is 1.2 meters deep as well as a waddling pool for little kids. At the edge of the pool, there is a step down so kids can sit on the edge before going directly into the pool. I find it helpful if the kids are not confident to enter the pool but they can still play at the edge.

If you feel guilty for overindulging in too much Peranakan and Nyoya food (because who wouldn’t), you can hit the gym. Unlike most hotel gyms, I like that they have a very spacious area where it was well equipped with cardio and weight machines as well as free weights.

For our stay, we were also given complimentary access to the Skydeck where it gives visitors the highest 360 degree panoramic view of Melaka. Tickets are priced at RM 30 nett for adults and children.

Is it worth it? No.

Frankly, it’s just a tourist trap and the views are not impressive. Some have commented that it looks better in the evenings, but I doubt so as the buildings and architecture are so random in the city of Melaka where there are mostly low buildings  Just take a look at my photos, and you’ll see why.


As mentioned, a plus point of DoubleTree by Hilton is that it’s directly linked to Elements Mall which is touted as Melaka’s largest mall. Though it may be large, there were just a few shops worth stepping into. But with a cinema just next door, you could go for a late night movie or maybe even archery or karaoke.

If you’re going with kids, then you must not miss Jumpers Land Indoor Playground. Spanning, 17,000 square feet, this is the largest indoor playground in Melaka and promises lots of fun for kids of all ages. Parents get to enter free with one paying kid and playtime is unlimited too!

READ ALSO: Melaka for Kids


We definitely see ourselves returning to DoubleTree by Hilton Meleka for future road trips to Malacca as we enjoy your time there very much. Plus, their unexpected upgrade to a Junior Suite certainly scored points that made us very satisfied guests. But my advice is, don’t pin too much hopes on their breakfast and just head out for your meals.

If you’re heading to Meleka, don’t miss these posts where I share about where we ate and attractions just for kids.


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