Mama, it's okay...

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 18, 2018
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Dear Mama,

You are the best Mama in the world, we mean it when we say it. We see how hard you work for our family, we see how exhausted you are from taking care of us, we see how your tears fall quietly and you wipe them off when things get a little too much to bear, we see how you try best to put on a smile so that you don't make us worry for you, we see how tough it gets when the chores are so demanding and your hands are never enough, we see how difficult it gets when Papa is often away and you have to face us around the clock, we see, we hear, we feel, we know and we understand it ain't easy being you.

That is why we hope you will know that when we say you are the best Mama, we don't expect you to be the perfect mum, if there is such a thing in the first place. Just like how we have our classic tantrums and extra whiny days, you have your bad moments too and you know what, it is TOTALLY okay. Don't beat yourself so much over the little things you do wrong because the truth is they don't bother us more than they bother you and us being kids means we forgive and forget easily. We don't mind and don't remember the 'bad' things you think you did but we do know how hard you try to be a good mum for us. You love us so much that it hurts you at times, you are willing to give up everything for us and you are the one who keeps our world spinning. That is the reason why, in our eyes, you will always be the best.

So Mama, please know that it's really okay and don't feel guilty over the things that don't matter the next day or things that only make you human. You are not a saint, you are not a robot, you are just our very ordinary yet somewhat extraordinary Mummy. Guilt is not an emotion we am familiar with so we don't you hanging out with it too often too, yeah?

******

It's okay that you decide to watch Netflix after we go to bed instead of catching up on your rest. We know you need your downtime and it's the only time you can enjoy some peace and quiet in the house. Even though it makes you more tired when you wake up in the morning, you always make sure we have our breakfasts and that we get to school on time. So Mama, it's really okay.

It's okay that you don't cook for us every day and that we need to eat out or have takeaways. We see how much effort goes into each simple meal you prepare and that cleaning up can be a real hassle. We know some days, you feel more tired than usual and you just don't have the motivation to cook. Anyway, we love dining out with you and a little more salt and flavouring isn't a big deal. So Mama, it's really okay.

It's okay that our house is messy on most, if not all, days. We know we contribute to the bulk of the mess and we don't expect you to clean up after us too. Yes, we know your constant nagging for us to learn to be responsible will do us good someday and we are aware that we need to do our part to help too, so please don't take it all upon yourself. It takes time and we are okay with living with unmopped floors, dirty windows and bedsheets which haven't been changed for weeks. So Mama, it's really okay.

It's okay that you don't have much time to teach us or do art and craft with us nowadays even though we know you earnestly wish to. Life was much easier when the number of kids was not more than your number of hands and you had more pockets of free time with us. You don't have to feel envious by seeing how some of the amazing mums out there seem to hold it all together and have time to teach, homeschool or craft with their kids. You teach us all about life and what it means to be a good person in your own ways and we don't ask you for more too. So Mama, it's really okay.

It's okay that we don't travel as much as before or that we don't go on long family vacations nowadays. We know that these holidays cost you and Papa a bomb and actually, we have never complained that you don't bring us to see more of the world. It was you who felt bad that as more kids came, the travels reduced but you know what, we are happy to go anywhere as long as we are together. Even a trip to Sentosa is good enough for us and means more than you know. So Mama, it's really okay. 

It's okay that you don't have much one-on-one time with us because we are always together and it's hard for you to find a caretaker so you can whizz one of us away for a quick date. It will likely get better when we get older and more independent but for now, let's just enjoy the time we have to spend together, especially during our mum-and-kids outings. We love being together with our siblings too (even though we get into fights and arguments so often). So Mama, it's really okay. 

It's okay that you can't be absolutely fair to us all the time, even if you try to. Like how only big sister has a scrapbook with her baby pictures, how little sister gets a massage from you every night on her scar, how didi gets to be breastfed for the longest period of time etc. It's also okay for you to ask us to give in sometimes just because you want the fighting to stop. Oh by the way, the bickering only serves to bond us closer to each other at the end of the day so don't worry so much about it, yeah? We promise to love and take care of each other, and we know that you try your best to be impartial and that your love for us is all the same. So Mama, it's really okay.

It's okay that you lose your cool at times and that you shout at us, reprimand us and punish us more than you intended to. We know it's hard to discipline young kids like us and even if we might talk back or refuse to listen to you, deep down in our hearts, we still know you did it for us. Sure, we don't like you to shout at us so much but we know that we are usually the root cause of your emotional turbulence and that we take turns to upset you. You know, it's okay to let it go, to tear, to cry, to bawl, to scream, to punch a pillow, to shout it out, to have an ice cream (or two), to walk away to calm yourself down. You are just like us, Mama, and we don't want you to bottle up all your negative emotions too. So Mama, it's really okay.

******

You see, Mama, no matter what you do, it doesn't change who you are and we know that you LOVE us with every breath you take and every beat of your heart. No matter how tough a day we've had together, how many wrong things we did or how many tears we've shed, we will always remember to hug and kiss each other good night and say "I love you". Because love is the one constant in our family and we want you to know that we love you so much, no matter what happens.

So yes Mama, you are more than enough, you are more than what you think you are and you will always be the best Mama in our hearts. We love you to the moon and back a million times.

With hugs and kisses,
Your adorable kids


Happiness is... taking a step back

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 10, 2018
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It's a little ironic that in our pursuit of happiness and all the good things in life for ourselves and loved ones, we tend to lose sight of the things that truly matter along the way. We think so much about the destination that we forget to admire the scenery along the journey. We hurry through our daily lives, stick to our routines and sometimes, everything becomes a frenzy that we wonder what we've achieved at the end of it. We think far ahead but fail to cherish the present, the today, the now. We forget that that each day is a gift, a gift for us to treasure, to laugh, to love, to live.

The month of April has been an exciting, reflective and meaningful one for me.  I turned a year older, I celebrated a decade of marriage and most importantly, I decided to stop in my tracks, take a look at things from a bigger perspective, think about the things I am doing too much/not enough of, and to remind myself of what truly matters to me in my life now.

In this month's "Happiness is...", it's all about taking a step back in order to move forward.




It's easy to forget but I tell myself that while my kids are still young, I wanna let them take priority over other things in my life. That includes blogging, scrolling through social media feeds, trying to read a novel I started on last year, Netflix, couple dates, couple holidays, and so on. That means nowadays, I try my best to not let myself be distracted by the phone or any other matter when I am around them. I want to be fully present, not just with my body but my soul and heart too, when they are beside me. To give them the full attention and undivided love they need, and deserve.

We've been keeping up with our mum-and-kids date nights since the hubby works late nearly every weekday. We watch movies, we visit playgrounds, we go for ice cream treats, we have Sunday breakfast at McDonalds when the hubby is out playing football, and we just enjoy each other's company - provided they are being cooperative and not throwing tantrums or fighting when we are out. Lol. It won't be long before they start wanting to hang out with friends more than mums, right?

I've also been yearning to take them on one-on-one dates and have been thinking of the things I can do with each of them, based on their interests and loves in life (which can be quite different). It's going to be hard because I will need the hubby to look after the other two (good luck, dear!) but let's hope that we can try it out soon.







Weekends, as always, are very precious for us because it is the time when we get together as a family. I have been nagging at the hubby to put away his phone more because the kids don't get much time to interact with him all week so they have been asking me why Daddy has to work such long hours and why does he still use his phone on weekends on they are around him. Oh well, it's gotten us into arguments but I guess he will see things from our perspective somehow.

It's also a reminder that work should never take importance over family and no matter how bogged down he gets at work (I can tell he suffers from high levels of stress daily), it shouldn't affect the relationship with the kids. Likewise for me, chores are my 'work' and part of my daily life as a SAHM, they are never ending, they are tedious and they wear me out. But it should never seem like these so-called tasks are more crucial than me being with the kids. You know what I mean?

I am relieved that we still make time to go outdoors and we had a good Sunday at East Coast Park eating at the food centre, fishing at Bedok Jetty and going on a one-hour ride on the family bike where we just pedaled, pretended we were on a roller coaster ride and sang our hearts out to familiar pop song tunes. That was definitely a moment when we took a step back from the hustle and bustle of life, together as a family.



Talking about taking a step back, it's always awesome to go on a family staycation in Singapore and we haven't done that for a long time. Thanks to kind folks at Shangri-La, we were granted a weekend stay on my actual birthday and the kids had the chance to play at the new Buds playground (read my review here). I can't say I totally rested during that trip because truth be told, any blog collaboration means that I am always running around with my camera in hand, trying my best to capture every moment be it in pictures or on video clips. The worse thing is since I'm not a very good photographer, I try my best to take as many pictures as I can just so I have a huge selection to choose from. Yup, I went home with hundreds of photos and dozens of clips so I could work on that one review post. Not easy as it looks, yeah?







Birthdays, in recent years, are celebrated with the kids, the hubby and my parents. I guess they are the ones closest to me and it's nice to just know that they look forward to celebrating this day with me. The kids give me the sweetest cards and I always look forward to seeing what they will draw for me. For now, they always love to draw our happy family, which I hope means a lot because it shows that they are happy to have me as their mum, just like how I know I am blessed to call them my own too.




It's been a while since I went on a live interview but given how this topic of kids being addicted to smartphones is one close to my heart, I decided to take it on when the editor at "狮城有约 Hello Singapore" rang me up. I've rejected a few requests in the past few years because I didn't feel strongly about the topics and it's hard for me to get a babysitter or get the hubby to take leave last minute. This time round, the good folks at MediaCorp offered to help me keep an eye on the kids in the waiting room while I was in the recording studio, which would take around 40minutes at most. I really wanted to share my views in this matter and in my heart, I knew this was an opportunity that would not come by easily again. Therefore, armed with the big sister's homework for the day, as well as biscuits and candy as distractions for the younger ones, the four of us made our way to the new MediaCorp campus all the way across the island. You can watch a recap of the interview conducted in Chinese at https://bit.ly/2Ha90AY.


In the home, I've been trying to cut down a little on the chores that I have to get through each day and besides closing one eye to dusty floors and messy rooms, another way is for me to outsource them to the kids. Haha. Yup, the 5-year-old was excited to help me prepare our meals and that she got to handle a sharp knife and peeler for the first time. I do think these are important life skills which they pick up in the process and these should matter more than getting full marks in spelling tests, shouldn't they?





We also went to carnivals and had fun at the game stalls, for instance the girls were so thrilled to go into a big bubble in the water and laughed non-stop as they rolled around, the toddler went into a bouncy castle and was the gentlest jumper there, he then played a game of fishing and caught the biggest prize which was a Nemo stuffed toy, and we also tried our luck at this Thunderbolt game which has 36 squares and using 18 tiles of your choice, you have to form at least one straight line (be it horizontal or vertical). It wasn't really about winning for me, it was about playing and having fun together as a family, and making all these priceless memories with my kids during their growing up years.





You probably can also sense that I'm taking a step back when it comes to blogging, even though I know that I won't be able to give it up because writing all my heartfelt stories is a way to keep me sane, to remember and be able to get through those trying moments and to connect with so many of you like-minded mums out there. So, I guess my posts might not come as regularly as before but they will still keep coming whenever I get inspired (and find pockets of time to be able to sit in front of my computer), yeah?

That said, I've taken on another role and that is as a committee member in the Parents Volunteer group in the big girl's new primary school. I was already active in her previous school but this time round, I decided to just roll with it and might as well join the committee. Haha, as if I am not busy enough with three kids and blog, right? I guess I just need a change in lifestyle and a challenge for myself too. Anyway, that means I now need to go for regular meetings with the Principal, Vice Principal, Teachers in charge and fellow members (and I have to bring along a 2yo to the meeting, which I'm very thankful that they allow me to). Real adult interaction for the first time in a long time. Haha. I even had to do a Powerpoint presentation for Teacher's Day because I'm in charge of coming up with  gifts for a total of 150 staff. That saw me running around to places like Art Friend and Popular in Bras Basah, Spotlight in Plaza Singapura and a few other places for inspiration - which the kids always saw as an adventure since I have to lug them with me, even on weekday nights.

We have this huge family event coming up soon and as the props I/C, I've been spending my weekday mornings at her school just doing lots of cutting, pasting, sticking, and coming up with all kinds of props needed for the actual day. It is tiring yet fulfilling to be part of a team of committed parents who have the heart to serve (not in order to get our kids into the school because all our kids are already in lor) and I've been inspired by them to put in my best effort for these events. Yup, so Asher goes with me every day and it's nice to see him interacting with other adults and their kids too (who always come and look for us at recess time and they will play with him). The biggest reward is knowing that the firstborn is proud to see Mama putting in so much effort for her school and there is this sense of indescribable joy that we both feel and I think it's something that will bond us too.





Last but not least, the hubby and I celebrated our 10th year of wedding anniversary in April 2018. It's a huge milestone, isn't it? We went for the earliest showing of Avengers at the movie theatres (at 820am!) after dropping the girls in school and getting the in-laws to look after Asher, then made it back in time to pick Ariel before noon.

At night, we went for a nice dinner at House of Crab, who so happened to be celebrating their 10th anniversary too and there was a special promotion ongoing - 2 crabs for just $52!! It was a yummy dinner filled with lots of love - and noise - because the kids were all with us. But, I guess that was the best way to celebrate our special day. The kids and I went to IKEA to get this surprise magnetic board for the hubby and we printed some of our photos onto magnetic paper from Canon too. Each of them also drew a little something on shrinky dink paper which we turned into magnets too.






It would probably be a lie to say that I wasn't at all sad to know that the hubby didn't get anything for me at all. It's not that I needed anything and I have told him before that flowers and lavish gifts are not my kind of thing, but I was still hoping for a handwritten card or just a little something for keepsake since we made it through a decade of love after all.

I guess he got the hint so he did say he will make me a card, which might jolly well arrive a year later, but we'll see how that turns out. Haha. He did point to himself and said he is my best present which is annoying yet true. Yup, I guess as long as that we are together in love, willing and able to work through our differences hand in hand, that we never forget why we got married in the first place, that we both have a desire to keep this family happy and closely-knitted, that we remind ourselves just how rare true love is in this world, that is more than what I can ask for. Till more thoughts on happiness next month!


Always my baby - Asher turns 2

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 07, 2018
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Hello! I might be blogging a little less recently but just so you know, I will definitely keep it going because this passion remains strong. However, I've been trying hard to prioritise the things I should/need to/want to do and although there is a long list of stuff I wanna check off my to-do list, the fact remains is that I only have 24 hours a day and the bulk of it is already dedicated to looking after and just being with the kids.

Anyway, I still haven't given up on making their growing up videos though I have quite a few years of memories to catch up on. Haha, yes you read right, having three kids now means I have years of video clips and photos to go through and this will take me a long time, but I am gonna do it. This is because we love to sit together and watch all these precious clips and they never fail to bring huge smiles, and sometimes secret tears, on my face. The kids enjoy watching themselves a great deal, especially when they see the younger versions of them that they can barely recognise. Yup, where does all the time go??

Here's the latest compilation for dear Asher, who is now my two-year-old boy that talks a lot (of gibberish sometimes), loves cars and balls, is a darling to the big sisters and is a joy to wake up to every morning (and every middle of the night cos yes, this boy still wants Mama's milk). Love you so much, my baby boy!

******



Dear Asher,

Happy turning TWO! I hope you had a blast at your Dory party! You know why Mama thought of this theme for you? That is because you won this giant Dory stuffed toy at LEGOLAND during our last visit and it reminded me of what a lucky boy you are and how blessed I am to have you. Moreover, since you love to splash around so much, I thought a pool side party would be a perfect idea for you and while you play games with your sisters and cousins, the adults could tuck into BBQ food! It's such a simple but wonderful day to celebrate your big day, isn't it? I am so glad everyone enjoyed it!

On your actual birthday, Papa took leave and the five of us made our way to Jurong Bird Park. That is because you are also fascinated by birds (and we wanted to make use of our annual passes before they expire) so I knew you would totally enjoy this. It was the first time we were in Lory Loft and even though there were not many birds, we still had such a fun time feeding the handful of them and boy, they looked so beautiful with their vibrant and colourful feathers! You were a brave boy and weren't really scared of them even though you might not be as daring as your big sisters too.

Talking about being bold, we took you to Universal Studios recently and you were so afraid during the Madagascar Crate Adventure, even though it wasn't your first time already. You insisted on sitting on my lap, which isn't allowed, so I had a hard time trying to calm you down when you started to cry and thankfully, we still managed to make it through the ride. The funny thing is you came out saying that you wanna go again! Haha. Yup, that's my boy. I hope that you will slowly but surely learn to be adventurous, to take risks at times, to be resilient and be able to conquer your fears.

Mummy is so happy that we have so much time to spend with each other every morning after sending your sisters to school. Such one-on-one moments are precious to me and even though I feel guilty that I haven't been crafting or teaching you much during those periods, I know we are just happy to be in each other's company. Thanks for being a gem when it comes to waking up early so we can walk your Jiejies to school and for being my best companion when it comes to grocery shopping. Haha.

It's nice to see how you've been trying to feed yourself independently and you've even started using chopsticks too, much to the amazement of many people around you. Many passers-by come up to me saying they are impressed by how you can eat on your own, and a handful of them are taken aback when they see how you can gobble up the xiao long baos when we go to Ding Tai Fung. Lol. Yup, you have joined in our xiao long bao lovers gang, which both your sisters are part of, so it seems like 10 baos are no longer enough for us to share. Haha, oh well.

You know how your laughter and smiles have the power to brighten up my day, right? It's so nice to see how happy you are each day and you remind me that happiness can be all around us and if we just open our hearts to it, we will find it. A pretend kiddy ride on my tummy, a nursery rhyme, a game of hide and seek, splashing water on each other, blowing raspberries are the things that can make you laugh non-stop and I really love how life is so simple when you are with me. 

I hope you know how awesome it is to have not one, but two big sisters who dote on you and run to you every time you cry or whimper. Yup, these two girls really spoil you and even though sometimes you become unreasonable and will snatch things away from them or even bully them, I have no doubt they will continue to shower you with lots and lots of love and care. Just because you are their one and only didi and they love you so very, very much.

Seeing that your vocabulary has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few months and that you've suddenly picked up dozens of new words, it's a relief because though we try hard not to compare, both Papa and I realise that your sisters were speaking in strings of sentences when they were your age. Nonetheless, we know that each of you has your own unique strengths so as long as you are healthy and growing up well, that is more than what I can already ask for. But, it's still nice to know that we can talk so much more nowadays and you can greet everyone in the family, say out numbers and colours, and you say the funniest things that make all of us burst out in laughter too. My favourite is when you say "I love you", in your own endearing way with your cute little pout, to me every night because that is what makes motherhood so fulfilling.

Thanks for being such a wonderful addition to my life and I am so, so happy that I decided to go for three. Haha. You make a huge difference and you've only changed our lives for the better. We love you so much, dear Asher, may you stay healthy, bubbly and loving always! Happy turning TWO, my baby boy!

With lots of love,
Mummy


十年的爱情

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 28, 2018
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四月二十六日。一个对我来说特别有意义的日子。

十年前的我,有点懵懵懂懂,凭着对爱情的执着,对未来抱着满怀的憧憬。我向往着童话故事,虽然不贪图荣华富贵,不奢求住在皇宫里,更不敢期待自己会像公主一样,暗地里却期待能和自己的白马王子,谈一场轰轰烈烈的爱情。

遇见了你,从相知到相爱,就是童话的开始。



我们的爱情并非一帆风顺,在漂浮的过程中也经历了许多风风雨雨。有好几次,我们这艘船差一点儿就被惊涛骇浪给打翻了,但庆幸的是,我们始终紧握着彼此的手,说好怎么样都要在一起。

真爱实在很难寻,当你拥有它的时候,千万不要让它给溜走了。



十年前的今日,从相惜到相连,我们结婚了。
 
我们承诺要白头偕老, 一起度过我们的下半辈子。

在这漫长的岁月里,我们一同笑过、也一同哭过,我们争吵过、也和好过, 我们坚持过、我们也松懈过, 我们一起犯错、也一起成长。但是,我们从来也没有放弃过。




我想我们人生最大的转捩点就是晋升人父人母,建立了我们的幸福家庭。说真的,在那么遥远的国家产下了我们的第一个宝宝,那种心情是即兴奋又恐慌,只担心自己什么都不会,怎么能照顾好那宝贵的女儿呢?

所幸的是,我们俩互相扶持,并肩作战,一步一脚印从零开始。



渐渐的,我们的小家庭从一家三口变成四口,再到五口。现在的我们,虽然每一天都忙得喘不过气,但是有着家庭的动力,有着对孩子的爱,我们一点儿也不觉得辛苦,因为我们堪称是世界上最幸福的人啊。呵呵。



最近和朋友去吃饭时,她提起了近日她有好几位朋友都在闹离婚,自己听了也百感交集。有人说婚姻变得单调了,有人渴望轰轰烈烈的爱情,有人寻求刺激,有人不知何故就是失去那份爱的感觉。

我们的爱,会经得起时间的考验吧?

曾经那向往童话故事的我,已经谈了一场轰轰烈烈的爱情了。那段甜蜜的两人时光,那尽兴享受人生的我们,那年少疯狂的日子,我经历了,也将永远珍惜那些和你共编织的美好回忆。




现在的我,十年后的我,所追求的是一段安安稳稳、长长久久的爱情。

我希望我们白发苍苍的时候,还是能紧握彼此满是皱纹的手。我希望到时我们的孩子都长大成人了,我们就能享尽久违了的二人世界。我希望每一天早晨起来的时候,你都会在我的身边陪伴着我。我希望我们从相许到相守,能明白爱情的真谛并把它紧紧抓牢。我希望我们七老八十的时候,还是不忘天天说声“我爱你”,不要把周围一切美好的事当成理所当然的。




谢谢你,让我成了我们的童话故事里的女主角。谢谢你,让我看清楚自己的人生目标。谢谢你,让我懂得了真爱,并找到了我的 happily ever after。

祝福我们结婚十周年快乐,但愿我们的爱情道路还有很多的十年能一起走下去。


Happy 10th Anniversary, my dear!


A new kid-friendly play space in the heart of the city {Review and Giveaway of Buds by Shangri-La}

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 21, 2018
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On our first family staycation at Shangri-La Hotel, while we did enjoy the opulent room, posh surroundings, exquisite high tea and delectable food, we left this luxurious hotel feeling that it wasn't the most kid-friendly one in town. No doubt we loved the pool and the lush gardens, but it still seemed like there was a lack of facilities designed with the little ones in mind and if I had to pick a family-friendly hotel to recommend to my friends, this likely wouldn't have been it.

Well, guess how much has changed within the short span of less than two years? We were stoked to hear that Shangri-La Hotel has become the first hotel on Orchard Road to design and build an interactive play space for children, catering to both hotel guests and the public. Yes, Buds by Shangri-La officially opened at the start of this year and the kids and I were very much looking forward to exploring it for the first time.

It was a wish came true when we made the staycation happen on my birthday weekend and the best part was that the hubby managed to join us at the last minute so we could enjoy some family bonding time, which was the only thing I would have wanted. Here's sharing with you all about Buds by Shangri-La and for those of you who are keen to check it out too, I am giving away passes at the end of the post, so read on!



FAMILY THEMED SUITES AND DELUXE FAMILY ROOMS

In addition to providing family-friendly restaurant menus and extensive childcare amenities, Shangri-La has gone all out to create a new, exciting experience for families - the 9th floor of the hotel's newly revamped Tower Wing is now dedicated to family travellers and comes complete with five brand new Family Themed Suites and 19 Deluxe Family Rooms.

Occupying a space of 72sqm, each family themed suite includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms and kids can enjoy their own tunnel access between adjoining parent’s room. The five themes are namely Castle, Space, Underwater, Safari and Treetop. Each suite can also be connected to a Family Deluxe Room to provide for larger families.


See how awesome the Castle Suite looks? Yes, it would definitely feel like a dream to stay here some day! We did hear that these are very popular with the hotel guests even though one night's stay can cost around S$1k. Yes, that also means we didn't get to stay in a themed suite because they are so high in demand, which was a pity for the kids as I know they would have gone crazy over it. Nonetheless, we were treated to the comfort of two connecting Family Deluxe Rooms which I will show you more below.

The Deluxe Family Room offers 38sqm of luxury and you can choose to have twin beds or a double bed in the room. What delighted us most was the window alcove which can be converted from a kids’ play area to a decent sized bed for the younger ones. In fact, I think two of my kids could fit there easily so our family of five would be comfortable just staying in one room.




It was a heartwarming gesture to see that there were three cute bears neatly laid out beside three kid-sized poncho towels on the alcove, and they had even set it up as a bed for us prior to our arrival. In fact, everything felt so cosy that we just snuggled together in the alcove to watch TV, snack and play card games. You wouldn't believe it but eventually, we didn't even go out for our meals at all but instead settled for in-room dining so that we could idle around, do what we like to do and simply enjoy our private time together in the room.





Talking about in-room dining, there is a wide range of options for you to choose from, including western, international, asian and local delights. Prices are not cheap but still generally affordable as compared to the high-end or fine dining restaurants. For both our lunch and dinner, we didn't have to wait for more than half an hour so I thought the staff was really efficient. The service was also excellent as we had our food laid out neatly and swiftly on a room service table, plus they were also quick to clear everything after our meal too. As for the taste wise, it wasn't the best but we still gave it a pass. The hubby was not impressed by the Chicken Rice and found the meat too tough but I did enjoy my Laksa, which even came with a lobster claw, to the very last mouthful.




Coming back to the room amenities, each Deluxe Family Room comes with an adjustable desk that is suitable for both adults and kids, a minibar counter, a large refrigerator which even comes with a freezer, and more than enough storage space for the whole family.




Even though there wasn't a bathtub, the kids still loved playing with their water toys in the shower area and it was convenient for us that we could keep an eye on them from the room. See how these windows could slide open from the outside? Yes, that means no privacy at all. Haha. But it also means the hubby and I could try to catch some snippets from a movie while the kids bathed and played together.


We were totally surprised to find three sets of brand new toothbrushes, a brand new toothpaste and three plastic cups all arranged neatly inside the toilet. It was amazing that the hotel staff had even bothered to get toothbrushes that were personalised according to the ages of my three kids, how thoughtful, right? There was also a set of Mustela cleansing gel and body lotion available for the kids to use too, in addition to a stepping stool and an alligator-shaped anti-slip mat inside the toilet. Such attention to details goes a long way in making our stay a pleasant one and we greatly appreciated this sweet gesture from Shangri-La, which we rarely encountered in other hotels.




In knowing that it was my actual birthday, I was also treated to a delicious cheesecake after dinner and we held an intimate cake ceremony right in our own room. See? It must be the first time I blew out candles and made a birthday wish while being clad in a bathrobe. Haha. Much thanks to Life's Tiny Miracles who also sent me a birthday cheesecake and guess what, we finished every bit of both of these yummy cakes the next day!



In understanding the needs of families with young kids, all guests on the 9th floor can also enjoy access to a shared pantry which provides a washing machine, dryer, iron, induction heater, microwave and hot/cold filtered water dispenser. What impressed me was when I saw the extensive range of amenities that guests can request for during their stay - these include baby diapers, baby monitors, thermometers, sterilisers, board games, travel cots, strollers, bouncers, car seats and Stokke products such as the Sleepi cot, babycarrier, bathtub and high chairs too.





BUDS BY SHANGRI-LA

Now for the highlight of our stay! I was half expecting Buds by Shangri-La to be like any other ordinary playground. It turned out that things exceeded my expectations and we ended up enjoying ourselves more than I thought we would. The kids fell in love with all the facilities within the playground and to make things more exciting, there was also a range of fun-filled activities which they could choose to participate in too. I'll share more about the activities later on, for now, let's go on a tour inside the playground!




Occupying a vast space of over 2,150sqm in total - 850sqm indoors and 1,300sqm outdoors, Buds by Shangri-La is an immersive play space that lets children learn through play in a creative, self directed and experiential environment. Guests can look forward to embarking on a journey of discovery through four key aspects: embracing nature, adventure, camaraderie and independence.

INDOOR PLAY

The indoor play area is a welcoming space and the first thing that greeted us was this giant ball pit filled with lots of blue and white balls.




It wasn't deep enough to cover up the girls when they laid down but still deep enough to let them have fun jumping in over and over again. In the middle of the pit stands this towering net structure that allows the kids to climb up to a second tier which is made of a netted mesh.





As one might expect, adults are not allowed on the nets no matter how lightweight you may be. The staff is pretty strict about this rule so do note that the kids need to be big enough to climb up and play on their own. If you have a toddler like I do, you will not be able to climb up together with him if he wants to go up and play. Hooray for elder siblings? Haha.





I never thought that nets can make good slides too but apparently, this one does and the girls loved it!


If you haven't heard of it yet, cassia seeds playgrounds are all the rage in recent years. These seeds look dark brown like soil, are coarser than sand grains yet fine enough such that they run through your fingers easily. The cassia seeds section in Buds is one of our favourite highlights and the kids spent a good amount of time here scooping, shoveling and letting the seeds fall down over and over again using the plastic toys provided.





We were told that the seeds are organic, non-toxic and will not pose any harm even if accidentally swallowed - that makes a safe and reassuring play environment for our little ones. You will see the cleaners having to sweep and clean up the surrounding area every once in a while and don't be surprised if you end up finding seeds in your pockets when you go back to your room too! I was totally awed by the wall backdrop which consists of a calming scenery with a cascading waterfall, tall mountains and three-dimensional trees. It was really quite therapeutic just hanging out here with the kids, I must say.




I asked the kids where they loved most about the indoor playground. Angel's favourite was climbing over the rope obstacles, going down the tall slides and swinging on the big balls.







She was also intrigued by this learning corner on the second tier (these pics are taken by her!) where you can learn about planets and their characteristics.



As for Ariel, her ultimate favourite was the curved trampoline but she also enjoyed going down the fireman's pole and climbing up the rock wall using a rope.








As for the two-year-old Asher, his favourite was this ball play area at the opposite end of the playground which comes with ball blasters for the kids to aim and shoot foam balls into the 'windows'. It can be tricky trying to differentiate the blue foam balls from the plastic ones (which won't fit into the blasters) but all that fun he had definitely made the effort worthwhile.







-> Toddler zone

For parents of toddlers, you will be glad to hear that this is a separate play space specially designed for our little ones. They can go on kiddy car rides, have fun on the gentle slides, step onto the floor piano, play with soft blocks and watch balls float in the air by pressing a button.






Moving onto the activities, you can check out the activity schedule for the day itself when you register at the reception counter and receive your wristband. The schedule shows the timings, locations and activities you can sign your child up for. Note that there are limited slots for every session and registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. Some of the activities come at an additional cost on top of the entrance fees so do check with the counter before you sign up.




-> Stage

Stage is a music studio for the young performers and it comes with a piano, drums, cymbals, costumes and wigs, a DJ console, a computer where you can play some of your favourite pop hits and a huge screen for you to watch the music videos and groove along to the beat. Even if you don't sign up for the Jigglybuds activity that takes place here, you can still come into the room whenever it is available and have a good time making your own music.









-> Muddy

Kids can unleash their imagination at Muddy, which is a creative space designated for the budding artists. They will be able to join in a storytelling session first before creating a piece of artwork themed to that storybook. For Ariel, she used recycled materials to create one of her favourite book characters - the Gruffalo. We heard that in some of the art sessions, kids get to paint fluorescent paint onto the walls and make their own graffiti too - which sounds really fun!









-> Bake

With the help of the hotel's chefs. kids will be able to take part in an interactive hands-on baking class at Bake where they will learn simple baking techniques such as mixing, folding, moulding and decorating and make their own bake treats. I have to say the cookies Angel did were so delicious that we were sad when we finished all of it!








-> Other facilities

Parents can enjoy a moment's peace, have a quick bite or enjoy a cuppa at Recharge cafe which is located just behind the reception counter.


For those who wish to host a birthday party for your kid at Buds, you can choose from the basic or premium package and select one of the three themes - Super Star, Wild World and Royal Fiesta. For more information on the party packages, go here.



There is a washroom located within the premises so you don't have to go in and out, which can really be a hassle in some other playgrounds. Oh, and just so you know, the entrance to the playground right after the reception is guarded at all times by the staff. Any kid who wishes to go in and out will need one of the staff to tap their wristbands before the door can be unlocked, so that minimises any worry of the kids running out and getting lost. The toilet also comes with rubber slippers for the guests to use and has a diaper changing station too.





OUTDOOR PLAY

For those who would like to enjoy the sun and splash around in water, Buds by Shangri-La offers an outdoor play area just behind the Garden Wing too! It is a walking distance away from the indoor playground and you will have to cut across the pool and walk along a path before you can get here. Still, since the fees paid include access to both the indoor and outdoor areas, you should definitely make a trip here before leaving.

The outdoor play space consists of two parts - the first is the dry section which has a giant pirate ship structure complete with climbing nets, spiral slides and rock walls.





Kids can take part in the Treasure Hunt activity (check the activity schedule for the timings beforehand) where they have to hunt for the missing parts of Captain Hook which are hidden all over the playground and stick them back in place.


The second part is the wet section which we really enjoyed! It might be a small water play area and comes with the usual tipping buckets, water guns, slide and a small river for the kids to play with but thanks to great weather and no crowd, we spent an entire morning here before we checked out. By the way, these kid-sized poncho towels came in really handy and one size could fit all three of them, haha.







I guess for us, what determines our happiness most is whether the family is together. The kids were happy to play with each other and it was a heartwarming sight seeing how the sisters would protect the brother from getting sprayed in the face.



For me, I will always remember how the kids squealed with joy when the five of us were under the tipping bucket (see it in our video clip) and the water came gushing down on us together. That is definitely a precious, lasting memory for us.

Thanks to Buds by Shangri-La for the wonderful family weekend, the kids absolutely had a blast and we hope to be back for more fun-filled afternoons soon!


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To find out more about Buds by Shangri-La, you can visit www.rediscovernew.shangri-la.com/discover/about-buds/. More information about the location, opening hours and a list of FAQs can also be found. For the ticket pricing, please see below.



Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road, 258350, Singapore
Tel: (65) 6737 3644
Fax: (65) 6737 3257 
www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila

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GIVEAWAY!

Good news, I am giving away two passes to Buds by Shangri-La (worth $48 each) so that you may experience all the fun in this new playground too! Each pass admits ONE ADULT and ONE CHILD, includes three hours of playtime but excludes the activities which come at additional cost. Two winners will be randomly picked in this giveaway. Admission is subject to availability and other terms and conditions set by Shangri-La.



To participate in this giveaway, watch the video above and leave a comment in this blog post with your name, email address and what you love most about Buds by Shangri-La. Indicate below that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. This giveaway is by no means sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram. Best of luck, people!

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Disclosure: We were invited for a 2D1N family stay by Shangri-La which includes all activities at Buds. All opinions are my own.


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