Happiness is... believing in yourself

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 15, 2018
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In the blink of an eye, we've come to the last quarter of 2018. How amazing does time pass us by, right? The year end is always a very busy time for me and this time, not only do I have to coach the firstborn for her year end exams, I also have to settle the school admin stuff for the secondborn who is going to Primary 1 and the youngest who will be going into nursery next year, and all these go on top of having to plan for their birthday parties.

Nonetheless, I still wish to keep these "Happiness is..." posts coming because they help me to remember the things we've done and keep my life in perspective too. Looking back, we did a whole lot of things in September and I think one of the messages I kept getting was the importance of believing in yourself.

It's one of the values I hope to inculcate in the kids and also one that I have to keep reminding myself of, as I tread this journey of being a stay-at-home-mum who might not always be understood by others and who might lose faith in herself every once in a while when the going gets too tough. Nowadays, I keep telling the girls to stop saying the words "I cannot", "I don't know how" or "Mama, help!" but instead, practise saying "I can", "I'll try my best" and "I will find a way myself".

After all, when we believe in ourselves, anything becomes possible.

I was so glad that we managed to find a day to go back to Clip 'n Climb at HomeTeamNS in Tampines Hub again! This was because I lost all our precious pics and vids when my phone got stolen on our first visit and that was definitely a bummer because first experiences are always so precious. Still, it was awesome to go back again to make more memories and the best thing was by a stroke of luck, the hubby happened to be able to take leave and join in the fun with us and our friends too! Woohoo!

What I love most about this rock climbing session is seeing how it pushes the little ones, and even myself, to scale greater heights, persevere and show our grit when there are obstacles ahead of us. I saw how the girls got stuck yet tried to hang on while thinking of other ways to get around, I saw how they would at times whine and tear and eventually give up, I saw how they would pluck up enough courage to try the same course again, I saw that priceless look of achievement on their faces when they conquered all odds to press the button at the top of the wall. It was such a great way to build up their self esteem, strengthen their determination and remind them that when they believe in themselves, they don't just climb rocks but move mountains too.

We made time on a weekend to go back to our old neighbourhood and also visit our old house (thanks to the new owners who are such a friendly couple!) and send our congratulations to our previous neighbour who just gave birth to their second child too. The girls were just happy to be able to go to one of our favourite hangouts last time and it's this seemingly small, simple yet fun playground that we loved to visit.

All of them did something new that day and for the toddler, he learnt to climb up a ladder - which took him quite a while to get over his fear because this boy is quite hesitant and nervous when it comes to trying new things. As for the girls, they were just happy to climb up all the pull up bars (by themselves!) and even did new tricks like hanging on without hands or moving across all the bars (like monkeys lor) without falling. Guess what? The firstborn did so much of it that she ended up with blisters all over her fingers - and she was going to take her compo exams in a couple of days.

I wanted to let her learn that it was her choice and probably a small price to pay for that sense of accomplishment that she gained. If time could rewind, I believe that she would have chosen to do it again even though she knows that she might get hurt. That's the kind of spirit that I don't wish to dampen but instead, encourage her to keep going.

We've been scooting around in our neighbour so much in the last month and it's a joy for me to witness how each of them have progressed. The big girl has taken over my adult scooter (because we only got two kids' ones lar), the little girl has moved on to a bigger two-wheeled scooter while the boy now scoots confidently on his own and doesn't need me to hold his handle or push him along anymore. He took a while to learn this and I remember being a little worried about why he was learning things much slower than his sisters when they were his age but time and again, he has shown me that when the time is ready, he will blossom in his own unique ways. I just have to be patient and wait and learn not to compare.

Anyway, we scoot out to eat on some days so usually, we have to cross quite a few roads - and some of them are busy cross junctions. If we are scooting, it means the hubby is not with us and that also means I am all alone with the three kids. We've kind of gotten so used to it after so many sessions and they now know they need to stop a few steps behind every yellow line or road crossing, they have to wait for everyone to gather before moving off again and they have to listen to all my instructions if they wish to keep scooting. Haha. I still have to nag aplenty and shout at them if I see any sign of danger, but so far, I still find it an enjoyable experience to bring them out - even though it means I have to walk fast to keep up most of the time - and I hope these outdoor sessions make them feel happy too.

On the spur of the moment while shopping at the wet market, I bought home 2.5kg of soybeans (it cost me $10!) and set up this sensory play corner for the kids - complete with trays, buckets, shovels, cups, sifts, bowls, and even a spiral slide from our Play-Doh stash. I'm not sure to call it a smart move or not because no matter how much I tell them to be careful, I still end up having to tidy all the beans at least once a day. It's better now that I bought a shower curtain from Daiso to place underneath and I try to contain everything in our tent, but still, I find the beans all over my living room and even in weird places like the boy's diaper! Lol.

But guess what? The smiles on their faces definitely make things worthwhile and I'm proud to say that one month on, we are still going strong on this and the corner is still very active and has become one of their favourite places to play. I just have to believe in myself that I can continue to do this without going insane at seeing the mess made by thousands of beans and to be on the positive side, it's actually quite therapeutic having to scoop them up and place them all together too.

I took my daughters out on our much anticipated girly date where we went to watch The Lion King musical! It was one of the best shows we've even seen even though I bought one of the cheapest category and we were seated high up. I've always loved the story of how Simba lost faith and forgot who he was but went on a journey of self discovery and eventually found the courage and strength to face his fears, take back what was his and become the king that he was meant to be. Yup, believe in yourself and never forget who you truly are, my dears. I am so glad the three of us enjoyed the show tremendously and I think we need to plan for our next girls date soon!

Thanks to Dads for Life, the hubby and the big girl went for their first ever father-and-daughter kayaking session! She was initially apprehensive and worried if she would be able to help in the rowing, and even though it did turn out to be hard as the paddle was heavy for her to hold, I was just happy to see that she tried her best and enjoyed it too! If only it didn't start to rain halfway and they could have finished the entire session, but oh well, safety comes first. I'm looking forward to letting these kids experience more firsts and remind them that they are able to achieve more than what they imagine.

We went for our first family night at Kidzania and it was mad awesome (read about our experience here)! Although some might deem Kidzania to be a place that offers more bad than good for the little ones because of all the branding association and commercialised activities, we still love visiting this big city just because it gives the kids a chance to be anyone they want - chef, pilot, doctor, firefighter, photographer, dancer, actor, policeman and more. I do wish they had more in depth learning opportunities where the kids get to gain more practical skills and knowledge, but seeing how bustling and crowded it can get, I guess we are very contented already and it just means we have a reason to visit again! I hear the kids talking about their ambitions every now and then and I think it's a good way for them to be exposed to more occupations and a reminder for me to remember to encourage and support them, regardless of what they choose to do or where they choose to go when they are all grown up.

It was my dad's birthday so we treated him to a nice Peranakan meal in East Coast and had a simple cake cutting ceremony too, before the kids proceeded for some fun at the Marine Cove playground. I let the girls compete against each other on the spider web structure where they would race to climb up to the very top and then race to come back down after. There was this auntie next to me who asked "Your girls are so brave! See lar, my granddaughter don't dare to climb up. How do you teach them?" Actually, I don't teach. I just let them try, let them fall and make sure they don't give up but try again the next time. It was also interesting to see how her granddaughter, who is the same age as Ariel, was motivated to go higher when she saw the girls climbing up at such a swift speed. It goes to show how kids can be influenced by one another and that peer pressure is real! Haha.

For our Mid Autumn celebration, we invited the hubby's brother's family over for dinner and together with the in-laws, all 12 of us went out for a night walk with our lanterns! I was surprised to see how the kids still loved our DIY lanterns from four years back and I actually prefer them to have lanterns that use real candles instead of the battery operated ones. Why? Got more feel, can see the light flicker, and need to do some work by taking out the old candles to replace with new ones mah. That is where the fun lies in, isn't it? It's also a reminder to me that whenever we feel burnt out in life, we just need to take a break, recharge, rejuvenate, regain our energy and we'll be ready to take on the world again.

This was a golden tree which we saw when we were at Gardens by the Bay and it was said to make your wishes come true. Do you believe in this or in stuff like wishing fountains? I am not very sure, even though I do make use of any opportunity to wish for good health for my loved ones. Most of the time, I still believe that dreams come true only if you work hard for it. Yup, so once again, the key is to believe in yourself and to push yourself to attain the impossible.

After making use of a promotion to renew our GBTB annual passes (2 years for the price of 1!), we were delighted to be able to visit the domes again! I must say I don't have green fingers in the least and I also don't really like to receive flowers because I know that they will wilt in a matter of days - which means a waste of money in my view. That said, I do love to take photos of my kids with lots and lots of beautiful flowers! Haha. These memories are lasting, you know, and that is precious in my dictionary.

The Sunflower Surprise exhibition is one of my favourite ones so far and I love seeing the field of pretty, yellow, striking sunflowers in full bloom - each of them unique and unlike another. The story of the Wizard of Oz was also seamlessly weaved into it and we walked down the yellow 'brick' road, visited the Wizard's Castle and also came up close with characters such as Lion, Tin Man, Dorothy and Scarecrow too. What would you wish for if you could pay a visit to the Wizard too?

In wanting to fulfill my promise of having one-on-one dates with the kiddos, I also made sure I forked out one morning to take the little sister out for her favourite 鸡蛋面包 breakfast, went to the playground and had fun at the arcade in the hope of filling up her love tank. I used to think that it was kind of impossible for me to leave two kids aside and bring just one out but as time passed by, I started to realise that sometimes, it's not so much about whether it's feasible or not but if I'm willing to do it in the first place. In any case, the hubby is usually around on weekends and all I have to do is ask him to look after two kids for a couple of hours while I take the third out for an one-on-one date. After doing a round of dates with each of the kids, I know that all of us enjoyed the sessions lots and it's actually for the good of everyone to continue with such precious one-on-one time. It might be just once in half a year or even less, but at least we are onto a start and I'm thankful for that.

During the September holidays, I also challenged myself by bringing the brood out for a chalet getaway! Armed with two luggages, a stroller, a diaper bag and a few bags of snacks, the four of us took a taxi to D'Resort at Downtown East in Pasir Ris and we were very excited as it was our first time staying there. The only problem was.... the kids are a little sick, especially the boy who couldn't stop coughing, had plenty of phlegm, didn't have a good appetite and just basically seemed lethargic most of the time.

I did have a choice of whether to continue with the staycation or not and perhaps it's for selfish reasons, but I really didn't want to waste the money and I pretty much assumed that everything would be fine and I would be able to take care of them while still letting them have as much fun as possible.

So, we still made our way to Tayo Station for some indoor playground fun and yup, it was nice to see their smiles as they explored the place and were especially fond of the road circuit which allowed them to drive their own 'cars'!

It was also a relief for me at night because the hubby would come and join us after his work and at least I had another pair of hands to help me out with the sick kids. We would snack in the room, watch a movie together and just enjoy each other's company - which is precisely what a staycation should be about too.

On the second day, we visited Wild Wild Wet and I was so happy that I managed to get my mum to join us on this fun day out! Haha, okay, I admit it was also because I knew I needed someone to accompany the girls for some of the rides since I would probably be stuck with the toddler the whole day. Still, it was an awesome decision because the girls could spend time with their grandma and make lasting memories too!

We had dinner with my parents and they were really worried about Asher - who had two previous cases of pneumonia - and were anxious to see that he couldn't stop coughing. They gave me advice on how I should feed him medication or even bring him to KK hospital for a check up. Perhaps I was too chill but I kept telling them that it would be fine, that medication was not necessary yet, that we would continue with the staycation but I promised to keep an eye on him and make sure he recovered soon. I guess, sometimes, we just need to believe more in ourselves and our mother's instinct. Thankfully, this boy was strong enough and he was much better by the time we checked out, phew!

Anyway, back at Wild Wild Wet, the Kids' Zone and Shiok River were fun and the kids had tremendous fun going down the slides, climbing onto the tubes and winding through the river. Even though it was drizzling, we decided not to spoil the fun for the girls and let them continue since the rides were not closed. I tried to keep the toddler, who was fussy and didn't want to let go of me or play with anything, by my side at all times and stayed under the shelter or covered him with a towel whenever we had to be out in the rain.

The most exhihilarating ride in Wild Wild Wet has to be Free Fall where you literally drop down a vertical slide from a height of six stories! A little crazy, right? It was even crazier to hear my firstborn say that she wanted to give it a go and to hear the secondborn whine about not being tall enough so she wasn't allowed to try. Gosh, these daredevils of mine! I don't know where they get their confidence from when it comes to going on roller coaster rides or heart-pumping rides like this but I'm just happy to see that they are willing to try and that they dig that adrenaline rush as well as the sense of achievement after. To Angel, I'm so proud you did the free fall even though you said you only wanted to do it once, haha. I'm also so thankful that you were brave enough to do some of the rides yourself when Popo was tired to climb up the stairs! Soon, your Meimei will be able to join you on all of them and you girls can have a ball of a time together!

As for my mum, I would most definitely give her the Coolest Grandma of the Day award! I mean, seriously, which grandma at the age of 65 goes on superman rides at such swift speeds that water splashes into her face umpteen times, sits under the giant tipping bucket and loves the 'waterfall' feeling, climbs up countless stairs just to accompany the granddaughters for ride after ride, tries again and again to climb and sit on the float in the lazy river before she finally succeeds? Yup, that's my mum - the person who inspires me to be a better person in more ways than one. I hope I can be as cool as you are when I become a grandma someday too.

That wraps up our busy month of September and I hope it is a reminder to my kids and myself that we must always believe in ourselves and never be afraid to reach for the stars. Till more updates in October!

A rustic farmstay at UK Farm Agro Resort

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 01, 2018

When I think about farmstays, countries like New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan naturally come to mind. These are the places I would love to bring my kids because they are such animal lovers and love to spend time interacting with every kind of creature. Alas, travelling with the brood means that every vacation for us is like spending a bomb so in order to cut down on such luxury expenses, we try to visit nearby countries whenever possible.

So there I was, looking for a possible farmstay experience for the kids which would allow us to have a somewhat rustic experience yet not having to spend a fortune just to get there. You bet I was thrilled when I came across UK Farm Agro Resort, which, read this, is situated in Kluang, Malaysia and merely a 2-hour drive away!

Just so you know, this wasn't a sponsored trip and I didn't go through the hassle of trying to negotiate for a collaboration too because I wanted it to be a trip where I could just relax with the kids and focus on bonding as a family. Of course, I couldn't help it but take lots of pictures and videos (I think it's in my blood!) because I really wanted to capture these memories for us to look back on and thus, to share with you in today's post too. If you are looking for a quick family getaway and wish to do something more laid back and experience a rural lifestyle, this might interest you too so read on!

The Journey 

Since it was just going to be a short 2D1N stay for us, I had planned on arriving early because I thought it would give us more time to explore the place and make the most of our limited time. It turned out that we took pretty long to get the kids up and ready, the hubby only started packing his stuff late that very morning and we barely managed to get on the road when it was nearing 11am.

It was estimated to be a two-hour drive from our home but considering we had to stop for fuel, light snacks and then got stuck in a jam on the causeway, it took us slightly longer to get to the farm and it was almost 2pm when we arrived.

Was it easy finding our way? Yes it was, with GPS nowadays, you can pretty such go anywhere and it helped that there were plenty of directional signs along the way to guide us. Once we made a left turn, we had to go along a gravel road for a good 10-15 minutes or so before we could get to the farm, so be sure to drive slowly and safely when you are here.

Checking In

It was a Friday but there was already a small crowd forming at the reception when we arrived. We did try to get a weekend slot but it was all fully booked so I do have to tell you that this place seems like a pretty popular attraction even though it might be quite out of the way for some. There are also tour buses that bring a bunch of tourists here every day and students come here for school field trips too.

The reception that greeted us was totally unlike the posh hotels we stayed in just a couple of days prior (think the opulent Oriental Residence, Bangkok) yet it was warm and inviting and the staff was friendly and quick in helping to check us in too.

On the reception desk, you can find a list of the activities available and the pricing too. I was drawn to the pictures about the farm tour and it made me pretty excited for us to start ours too! We were told that our tour would commence at 4pm which gave us ample time to settle down, unpack our stuff and since our package was all-inclusive, afternoon tea was provided for us too and it was much appreciated because we were kind of starving by then! For those of you who are asking, we paid slightly over SGD200 for the entire 2D1N family package (which includes accommodation, meals and farm tour), which I thought was a pretty decent price considering that it was during the June school holidays.

I did top up a small sum of money when I knew that we could upgrade to a horse carting farm tour (more details below) instead of taking the bus with everyone else. Yup, the horse cart would solely cater to one family so it was like we had our own private tour - which I totally loved and found it so worthwhile!

For RM5 per person (which is less than SGD2), I also signed us up for this night tour which is available for stay-in guests only. I mean, an adventurous night tour that lasts for over half an hour and gives you at least a chance to spot owls and fireflies, how can I resist, right?

Exploring the surroundings

There isn't much sightseeing to do around the reception area - which, by the way, is a short distance away from the accommodation area and you have to drive to and fro to get from one to the other - but we did walk around a little to see what we could find.

Right outside the dining area, there is an empty grass patch which the kids were happy to run around and chase after birds and also a pavilion that acts like a stage if your kids are into pretend play.

UK Farm's mascot is the Lucky Aries, also called Etawah Aries, which supposedly helped farmers in Indonesia to survive a volcanic eruption back in 1956 and it is said to bring good fortune to anyone who visits. Well, it's definitely an eye-catching statue from afar and makes for a pretty good photo opportunity for visitors too.

It's not easy to find traditional wooden swings in Singapore anymore so we were happy to go on these swings whenever we had the spare time. Yup, having sand beneath our feet also made it feel so much more authentic than rubber flooring, you know what I mean?


Now, let's show you our room! Before that, here's a quick look at the options you can take up when you visit the farm.

1) Dormitory Package
- 9 air-conditioned blocks with 20 shared toilets and max capacity of 218 pax

2) Camping Package
- 100 tents with max capacity of 400 pax

3) Chalet Package
- Long-house style, 21 units with max 5 people in an air-conditioned room, capacity of 105 pax

Though we were feeling adventurous, considering we were with kids who might kick up a row every five minutes, we decided to stick to the option of self-containing ourselves in a room and went for the most expensive chalet option.

See our long common corridor with wooden boards, vintage chairs, ceiling fans and hanging CDs? For the first time in a long while, we had to use a real key to open our room door and not by tapping a keycard.

Once we entered, the kids went "Oh, our room is just like this only?" which was perfectly why I wanted them to come on trips like this and have a more rustic experience every once in a while. While the room might be spartan, it still provided everything we need - including the beds with pillows and blankets, a wall fan and air conditioning, a kettle and some packets of instant coffee and tea, a small bar fridge with bottled water, a hairdryer and a television too. Yes, I think it's pretty decent and much better than what I had expected already.

The toilet was nothing to boast about with just a sink, toilet bowl and shower area. Well, at least there was a water heater and you can also use a red bucket and water scoop to help conserve water. Every drop counts, right? There were a couple of steps leading down to the toilet and since it can get quite slippery, be sure to ask the kids to be cautious when they go in and out. You can also make use of the 'ah pek' slippers found outside the toilet to make sure that you don't slip and fall too.

We got one of the bigger rooms and this came with a queen bed and three single beds. Knowing how my kids love to roll about in the middle of their sleep, it was such a good thing that we managed to combine all the kids together so we ended up with a super king sized bed for everyone. Haha. Once we settled down, the kids actually started to enjoy the beds - along with their snacks - while the hubby was happy to be able to watch his football game too. Happiness for everyone!

Farm Tour

Now let's move on to the highlight of our trip - the farm tour!  Here are the activities you can look forward to at the tour though some of them might be dependent on the season. We saw many tourists who came here just for a day trip only instead of spending the night so you can opt for that too though I would suggest that you at least stay for a night so as to get the most out of the experience.

When we checked in at the reception, they handed us a big bag of animal feed - including pellets, corn, hay - which were neatly packed for all the different creatures we would see along the way. Don't forget to bring this bag with you for the tour or the kids would be sorely disappointed!

Remember I mentioned that the farm tour mostly brings people around in a bus? Well, this is the bus I am talking about. It might be a little old looking but it is comes with a shelter and is open at the sides so that tourists can get a good view of the surroundings and enjoy the breeze (while helping to save on air conditioning) too.

Still, I much preferred our horse cart and we were very excited when we saw it arriving! The horse was handsome and tame and while our coachman couldn't speak much English, he was definitely very patient and kind with us, for instance he let us take our time to explore, helped us take family photos and didn't mind when we kept switching places as to who would sit in front with him too.

The whole tour lasted over three hours for us and since you had to travel from place to place to visit the different animals, we had plenty of time to enjoy our horse cart ride and it was indeed a treat for the kids. I was so thankful that the weather was great that day and everything went on so smoothly during our tour. Let's see, so what exactly did we do along the way?

Firstly, we came up close with the GOATS! Not only did we feed hay to the goats and were able to stroke the tamer ones, we were also allowed to feed the kids (the goats', not mine) with milk from the special milk bottles. They would use quite a bit of force to suck so make sure that your kid holds onto the bottle well and tilts it properly, if not they will not be able to drink up the entire bottle.

Then we had the chance to carry this tiny and absolutely adorable newborn, much to our joy! How cute, right? This was definitely a first for the kids and they were so in love with this very endearing and very cooperative baby goat!

After that, we were also given a live demonstration on how goat milk is collected and it was quite an eye opener for the kids, who were surprised to see how much milk each mother goat could pump out each time.

We took a short break and the kids were given fresh cups of goat's milk and yoghurt to try. I didn't think they would love it much because I kind of think goat's milk has a strong smell to it, but surprisingly they loved the chocolate flavoured milk and couldn't get enough of the yoghurt too! For those who would love to, you can order bottles of these to bring home when you check out and they would pack them for you in a polystyrene box which can hold up to 18 hours. There are also other goat's milk products such as soap, body wash and lotion that you can check out too.

For our second stop, we came to the DUCK pond. Here, we saw dozens of ducks and the interesting thing was you had to drop the corn feed down the bamboo poles so that it could reach them, which was pretty fun for the kids. We also saw some ducks which would gather at dry spot just over the railing so if you would like to toss the feed directly to them, you could too.

There was also a sign saying that tourists were able to buy back live ducks and pay a small fee to have them slaughtered too, which sounded a little cruel to me at that point after we just fattened them up. Oh well, the reality of life.

Just a short walking distance away from the duck pond was the CHICKEN coop, and not just any chicken but Kampong Chicken.

It was a pretty long stretch and there were holes in the fence so that you could stick your hand in and drop them the pellets.

See how many chickens there were? There must have been at least hundreds of them! No wonder they made such a din!

After that, we went on our horse cart again and this time, we made our way to the DEER. This was one of our favourites because we would feed them the pellets right from our palms, which was kind of ticklish but yet so precious to feel too.

The fawns were really tame and they seemed pretty excited to see us too, which made the kids happy and couldn't stop feeding them again and again till we ran out of food.

Nearby the deer, you can find the OSTRICHES. Now, we were told by our guide that you could feed the ostriches off your palm too and the hubby was the first to try that. Yup, thankfully he was because it cracked us up when he gave that painful expression from the peck which made the girls decide not to try. Haha. The guide was so nice to then get some fresh grass for us and the girls then plucked up courage to use these to feed the big birds instead, who seemed to like it much too.

The last animal we were going to see for the day was also our favourite among the lot - the RABBITS. This was the part that the girls had been looking forward to all day and I was hoping that we could spend a bit more time here. The good thing about being on the horse cart ride was that we were given more time than others to explore and in fact, we came here only when the tour group had already left since we had taken our own sweet time at the previous stops too. This meant that there was more privacy and more interaction opportunities for the kids, which made everything so much more enjoyable for them. Once we saw the cute rabbits in the rabbit hunch, the girls couldn't help it but dash towards them and say "Awww, so cute!"

I thought that the most we could do was to open the cage, pat them a little and then give them the remaining food we had left. It turned out that we did all those and more, because the guide actually asked us if we would like to carry any of them.

And they didn't just let us do it once, we carried so many different rabbits which totally delighted the girls! Yup, just the girls because the boy was too timid to try too though he would stroke their fur. No wonder this was our favourite part of the tour! The hubby and I used to have rabbits for pets before we had kids so this was a good way for us to reminisce those good old days too.

Moving on from the animals, we also had a chance to visit the Jakun Village and be introduced to some interesting features and hunting techniques.

For instance, the villager led the hubby and the girls into this trap, which was meant to catch wild animals. A bait would be placed at the far end near a metal catch and when the animal steps on it, the 'door' comes down and it will be trapped. You should have seen the expressions on the girls when they saw that they couldn't come out, haha.

Since it was a weekday when we came, the village was very quiet though we reckoned that there might be a crowd and stage performances during the peak season and weekends. Nonetheless, we were pretty happy to go on a quick exploration and enjoy our private tour.

One of the highlight activities at the village was how we were each given the chance to shoot balloons! Sounds easy, doesn't it? You should have seen how high in the canopy the balloons were hanging and when I say shoot, I do mean you have to take a deep breath and shoot a sharp wooden stick out of a long bamboo pole. Yup, see what I mean below?

The guide who was with us was a sharpshooter and none of his shots missed. Then it was the hubby's turn who said that he used to be a marksman when he was younger and guess what? He tried not once, not twice but eight times and still....... he failed to even burst a single balloon. Guess it really needs a good aim!

The funny part was I volunteered to try too, I mean, I was after all a darts captain and softball pitcher and captain back in university days. And you know what? I got it on my second try. Woohoo! *victory dance* I probably surprised the hubby but I hope it made him proud of me. Haha.

The nice thing about having a private tour was that each of the kids was given a try too! Now of course, they can't possibly shoot it high up into the trees like we did, so the guide hung some balloons on the stage and helped them to position the pole in a horizontal manner and all they had to do was... blow! It made each of them very proud though, though some of them took more than three tries and I was so thankful that our guides were patient with us. See more in the video below.

Lastly, I think we were brought to this supposedly fruit farm and hydroponic farm but there wasn't much to see, likely because most of it was closed on that day. We did manage to buy some fruits to eat straightaway and the kids were most happy to tuck into their favourite food - ice cream! Yup, and chocolate flavoured goat's milk ice cream somemore. Not bad, not bad at all.

Food and Shopping

I guess you can say we weren't expecting much out of our meals here because they are usually not the highlight of a farmstay. Perhaps it's because we had low expectations, that led to us being pleasantly surprised with what we were served, especially during dinner on the first day. Let's take a look at what we ate, shall we?

The dining area, yes I wouldn't call it a restaurant, is located next to the reception. It is an open air space so don't expect it to have plush chairs, nice table cloths (we had the red plastic ones like you see at zi char places) or air conditioning.

We weren't expecting tea to be served right after we checked in and settled down, so these pandan cupcakes, sandwiches and fried flour cakes along with hot coffee and tea were a delight for us. It was also a good way to fill up our tummies just before we went for the long farm tour too!

The best meal we had was the dinner on our first, and last, night and it was surprisingly delicious! Even the hubby, who is a good chef himself, was pretty amazed by how these homecooked dishes tasted and they might look nothing fanciful yet they were exactly the kind of food we loved to eat.

We had old cucumber with pork ribs soup, sesame oil chicken, beef rendang, sweet and sour fish, tofu with minced pork and stir fried kangkong. The special dish was the freshly barbecued goat's meat which was a highlight and even though I've never been a fan of lamb or goat's meat, this one was quite tasty when dipped in the barbecue sauce. We also had free flow of orange cordial, much to the delight of the kids. It was definitely a satisfying dinner for all of us.

For breakfast the next day, we would have toasted bread with kaya or butter and if you wanted a more fulfilling one, they served us noodle soup and fried rice too. These came in such huge portions that we had to pass some back to them before we began eating because we really didn't want to waste so much food. One complaint we had was when we realised that there were ants in the kids' hot Milo drinks and discovered that this was because there were ants inside the Milo tin they used in the kitchen. Yup, that was after we drank maybe half of it already. Ooops.

Anyway, I wouldn't call this an appetizing or tasty breakfast we had but at least it was something to keep the kids from feeling hungry when we made our way back home after checking out.

For those who would like to get some souvenirs, you can also shop for magnets and keychains in addition to lots of goat's milk related products in the small farm mart located near the reception. We bought home keychains which had engravings of our chinese name characters which I thought was pretty meaningful as a keepsake too.

Night Activities

I love farmstays which provide night activities, for instance like how we did 剉冰 when we were at Flying Cow Ranch in Taiwan. Read more about our farmstay experience here. For UK Farm, the night activity was something that I've been wanting to do with the kids for some time - release our first sky lantern (孔明灯)!

Each family was given one lantern and a marker to let you pen your wishes onto the it. The kids were happy to be able to wish for something for the family and took it quite seriously when their turns came. As always, I really hope for happiness and good health for these people whom I love to the moon and back.

We were also given the fuel cell and a box of matches so the whole process was a pretty much DIY affair. I always thought that once you lit it up, the lantern would fly straight up to the sky but it turned out that we had to hold up the corners and wait for a quite a while so that it would fill up with air before we released it into the night sky.

May all our wishes come true! See more of the lantern release in my video below and how the kids bade farewell to it happily as it floated away.

Besides the sky lantern, we also went for our night tour which was pretty peaceful but the kids were excited to try to follow the flashlight shone by the guides in the search for the nocturnal creatures. And hey, at least we spotted fireflies, an owl and the toddler loved the night breeze and bumpy ride so much that he fell asleep halfway too. Haha.

The Fun Continues on Day 2!

Even though we checked out the next day, there were still a few activities waiting for us after breakfast so the kids were looking forward to more animal interaction opportunities before we departed.

-> Horse Riding

This was an activity that I had to top up for but considering it cost only RM15 for a one kid, I was pretty sure from the start that I wanted each of them to be able to experience it. This was especially so when I asked if there was any age limit, for fear that they wouldn't let the toddler try it out, and was relieved when they said there wasn't, so long as he/she could sit properly and be able to hold on.

Each ride was slightly over five minutes and our friendly guide brought each of the kids for a round trip. He never let go of the reins and didn't walk fast so it was a slow paced and enjoyable ride for the little ones, even for the girls who've done this a few times before.

It was a first for the boy who was brave enough to sit on the horse even though he insisted that he needed to hold our hands for assurance. Haha. The guide was chill about it so we were allowed to walk with our toddler for the whole ride just to make sure that he was okay. It turned out that he loved the ride and nowadays, he keeps asking when he can go 骑马 again lor.

-> Mini Zoo

After that, we explored the mini zoo and even though there wasn't a lot of animal species to admire, my kids loved to spot every animal in every enclosure or just go up to talk to each of them, so we ended up spending a good one hour or so here too.

We saw ducks and ducklings in their pen and the thing was, a couple of ducklings somehow found a way out and made their grand escape! It so happened we were that at the right time so the kids were happy that they helped to save these fluffy yellow ducklings and led them back to their mummies.

Apart from the ducks, we also saw geese, turkeys, boars, monkeys, snakes and peacocks. The turkeys and geese would even follow us as we walked along the trail, hoping that we would give them food. Oh, and we were lucky too because we saw the peacock at its most magnificent moment - 孔雀开屏!

Inside the zoo, there was also a small lavender field which might not boast a lot of flowers in bloom but makes for a nice photo backdrop anyway.

-> Sheep Challenge

Our last activity at the farm was also one of the most memorable ones we would ever have. Yes, it's the sheep challenge! Guess what you are supposed to do? Neh, not race with the sheep, but you are supposed to work as a team and catch a sheep within the time limit of three minutes. 

If you succeed, you will be awarded a special UK medal. This activity was part of our package in the booking but we did read that it would cost RM5.30 per challenge otherwise. I must say that everyone must try this at least once in their lifetime!

We didn't expect it to be easy but we did think that we stood a chance, considering that I have an athletic hubby and the kids are pretty good when it comes to running. I guess we kind of underestimated these sheep because guess what, they were smart, they were fast and they would even make fake moves just to catch us off guard! Yes, I do mean it, one of the sheep shuffled its hooves to the left then to the right before it ran away to the left again, like those moves made by pro basketballers. We were so shocked and amazed!

So did we succeed in the end? Well, nope. We tried our best to split up and corner them and we did come close to touching them but it would have taken more speed, more wit and more guts to actually pounce on them and grab them. I was pretty sure the staff gave us much more than three minutes and the most important thing was, we pretty much enjoyed every moment of it, sheep or no sheep.

The staff did let us carry one of them eventually though and helped us to take our last family shot before we ended our farmstay holiday. We met the boss at the reception before we left, had a good chat and told him that we would be back again next time, perhaps even with our parents too because we think they would enjoy this trip as much as we did. The kids, well, I think they would be the happiest about that and can't wait to come back again soon! To more rustic family farmstay experiences in future!

Check out our video below for more highlights from the trip!

Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat,

86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia.
Tel : +607-759 7555
Fax : +607-759 7991
H/P : 013-778 7235 / 013 - 722 2299
Website: www.ukfarm.com.my
Email: info@ukfarm.com.my

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