Happiness is... finding the silver lining

Posted by ~Summer~ on 1.9.14
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It's not always about rainbows, unicorns and pots of gold. Not in anyone's life, not in mine too. Well, I do try to pen down more of my happy experiences and positive thoughts, but that doesn't mean I don't go through the downs that every of you go through. In fact, I think it is important to have both ups and downs in our lives so that we can better appreciate the good things that surround us.

I contemplated some time about writing this post but I think having the willingness to pour out my heartfelt thoughts was what made me struck a chord with many of you in the first place. August has been a bumpy month for me and while I stumble my way along the rock-strewn paths of marriage, motherhood and life itself, I look up and try my best to find that silver lining that lies in every cloud.

So in today's "Happiness is...", it's going to be a little less full of joy but nonetheless filled with hope. 


There were times when I looked at my reflection and wondered if I was a good mum. Sure, I cook, bathe and put the kids to sleep. But am I doing enough in developing and nurturing them? There just seems to be so much more I can do as a teacher, yet there seems so little time I can fork out each day.

There were moments when I tried to find myself on my map of life but couldn't really pinpoint where I was or where I was heading towards. Yes, the feeling of being lost. I wish I could be more sure of my direction but the truth is, I am only taking things one step at a time and see where life brings me.

Then there were situations where I felt stuck. Should I do this or that? Is this the right or wrong thing to do? Does this make me a better or worse mum?

Many a time, I find myself trying so hard to maintain a balance. To balance my roles as a wife, daughter, friend and mother. Sometimes I find myself falling onto one side and overlooking my other roles, and that is when I have to pull myself back onto the right track and think about the people and things that matter in my life.

I don't know if all mums do it, but sometimes when I see my child crying, I can't help but shed a tear or two. Actually, I don't know if it is because of empathy, pain or guilt. Or maybe a bit of everything. Or maybe, it is just another way to let out some emotions.

On some days, the world just seems a little more black and white and for some reason, these days are just duller than the rest.

Sometimes, it feels like I'm alone in the world and the only one who walks beside me is my shadow. This month, our love hit a rock bottom and while we try to work out the rough patches and rebuild the trust we lost, the hubby and I realise we have a need to rekindle the spark we once had.

Then there are the days where I feel in need of a superhero in my life. Days when I realise that much as I try to depend on me and just me for everything in life, sometimes it feels good to have a shoulder to lean on.

But despite the setbacks and shivering cold days that I may encounter in love, life and motherhood, I discover that there is something that is not so hard to be warmed. A heart. And when your heart is warmed, you are better able to spot the silver lining and feel more than ready to take up all the challenges that lie ahead.


So what are the things that warm my heart and give me hope?

They are the simplest things in life that I sometimes overlook when I get too blinded by frustration, despair or impatience.

I am reminded by the tiny fingers that stroke my face, pull my hair and hold my hand that my kids will only be young this once.

The sweet smiles on their faces when we are out that tells me the kids are happy and nothing else matters more than being together as a family.

The way she calls me "Mama" every morning or runs over to give me a hug and kiss out of the blue lets me know that I am truly loved.

When I look at the pictures of the kids growing up day by day, it just tells me that while I may not be doing all the right things as a mum, but I've gotta be doing some things right.

When I look at them fast asleep in my arms, it feels good to know that I can protect them and give more warmth and love than I had ever imagined.

I may not be the best teacher but hearing her many first words like "Cold", "Girl" and "Hot" and "Flower" this month just tells me that I need not be the most disciplined person and that every mother has her own unique ways to teach her children. No good or bad, right or wrong.

We may not be the perfect wife or husband or the perfect parents and we have so much to learn about loving relationships. But for now, I can safely say we are the best parents for our girls just because there isn't anyone who loves them, or needs them, half as much.

While I may not be able to protect my kids 100% of the time, in the first place I don't think there is a need to, at least when they fall, cry or get hurt, I let them be assured in the knowing that they are constantly wrapped in a mother's love.

When life takes a swing at you, I discover the most important thing is to keep calm and believe. With faith, hope and poise, it is possible to overcome any setback and through it all, you learn a precious lesson about life that makes you a better person.

I decided that while I may not be able to see a clear future, the best I can do is to treasure every moment of my present and as I live on with my loved ones beside me, I know I can write a beautiful life story in my twilight years.

So you see, slowly but surely, I will be overcoming the hurdles that lie ahead in all my interpersonal relationships and in life itself. I know that they will keep on coming and to make the most out of life, I have to keep on trying. That's the hardest yet the most rewarding part of it all, don't you think so?

Not perfect. Not the best. Not even close. But always, a happy and hopeful wife and mum.

How was August like for you? 


What are you HAPPY for this month? 

Happy memories have a special way of touching our hearts every time we think about them. Join in my linky party at the end of every month and let us smile, rejoice and share the simple joys of life. Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. For happiness is all around us.

10 tips for a family visit to Alive Museum Singapore

Posted by ~Summer~ on 28.8.14
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Everybody's talking about it. Be it Alive Museum or Trick Eye Museum, it seems like the 3D interactive illusionary art museum trend from Korea is fast catching up on our shore.

To join in the fun and have a feel of these unique and somewhat unconventional museums, we decided to check out what is touted as Singapore's brand new entertainment destination and the largest 3D visual illusion attraction - Alive Museum.

If you are planning an outing there with your family, here is A Happy Mum's guide including tips on how to make the most out of your visit there.


1) Check out the exhibits outside the entrance

If you happen to be at Suntec City and are unsure of whether your kids will fancy this kind of museum, why not just hop over and let them take a look at the exhibits right outside? This way, they will have a better idea of the offerings and realise that this is not really a museum per se, but more of a fun place with paintings and props for them to do poses and take pictures.

Left: A new candy flavour    Right: Look! Meimei's frozen!

Beautiful wings for a beautiful angel

2) Be dressed in comfortable attire

Due to the need to get low, do weird poses and the presence of reflective surfaces in the museum, some people have advised against wearing dresses. However, as a mum with two girly girls and considering how a visit to Alive Musuem is all about taking pretty pictures, I decided to let them wear dresses and paired them up with leggings. Ensure that you feel comfortable in your choice of clothing and wear shoes that are good for climbing up and down.

Left: The Little Mermaid deep in thoughts   Right: An upside-down kiss for Spidey
Left: Who's that right behind me?    Right: Dancing fun in The Disco Room
The Supermen in her life

3) Take your time to explore

With the 10,000sq feet of space filled with over 80 art pieces, it would take you generally 1.5 hours to finish a tour. That is, not considering the fact that you might have sleepy, hungry, or lively kids who just can't stop running around. For me, I think a safe bet would be to have at least 2 hours to explore so that you do not have to rush through the exhibits and can take it leisurely while having as much fun as possible.

All hail the queen!
Up and over the waves!

We've got a visitor!
4) Choose the right time to visit

Do try to avoid going on weekends as it can get pretty frustrating when you are armed with young kids and have to squeeze with the crowd or queue up for your turn at every photo point. If you can only spare time on weekends, then try to go early in the morning or late at night. Also, plan your visit such that the kids are fed, have had a good nap, are in the mood for action and all set to pose!

Little artists at work

There's nothing more cosy than a mother's womb
You need some really strong muscles to lift me up!

5) Empty your bladder before you enter

Right, this sounds pretty weird but you must understand that there are NO toilets in the museum! The nearest one is located right beside the entrance so do make sure you take the kids there first before you enter. Another weird thing is that Alive Museum does not allow patrons to re-enter once they exit. They are currently working on improving this system so just make sure that you have all you need, or emptied all that you don't want, before you make your way in.

A happy rat in the trap
Now where do these stairs lead to?
A perfect split and an enthusiastic helper who exposed the secret
6) Find the correct angle

At every exhibit, there will be a corresponding arrow that indicates which is the best spot for you to take the picture. Although you can still find your own angles, make sure that the pictures end up looking believable. For instance, in the Singapore Flyer room, we made a mistake of not ensuring that the pole looked completely 'straight' so that made it look much less realistic when we reviewed our pictures. Unless there is not much of a crowd, if not you will have to wait patiently for a second turn to get the right angle. I realised that many of these 3D art effects are only apparent in the photographs, meaning even though you can't really tell on the spot, the pictures can turn out to look really awesome so don't be afraid to take more!

Left: Argghh, help! Whirpool!    Right: Feeling on top of the world

Left: Handstand, easy peasy!    Right: 来人, 看刀!

When I grow up, I want to be a zookeeper

7) Let your hair down

Well, I refer to it both literally and metaphorically. For those of you who have long hair, do make use of it to make your photos look more real. For instance, in the dancer picture below, the hair made all the difference and made it looked much more natural and believable than if the hair had remained behind the painting.

More importantly, don't be afraid to get crazy with your poses! It's all about being spontaneous and having fun, and people who are inside the museum are there for the same reasons. So just get wild, have fun, don't be shy and have lots of laughter in the trying process!

Stretch, bend and flex

Karate, Kick!

I sense something long and soft, a trunk, of course!

8) Give the kids freedom

I think most of us would wish to capture our kids in that moment where they strike the perfect pose at the perfect angle and blend perfectly into that masterpiece. That moment might probably be one in thousand and once it is gone, it is unlikely to return again. Instead of trying to coerce the kids into doing all the recommended poses or poses that we think look best, I actually feel it is better to let them do their own thing and sometimes, you might just end up with unexpected surprises. That said, I do feel glad that I have two kids who are mostly cooperative when taking pictures and would imitate our poses. Nonetheless, I do think they have their own thought processes and I like to see where their creativity and imagination can take them too!

Left: Hair wash, anyone?    Right: Mama, I thought ya said there are no dragons in the world.
*Ouch* That hurts!
Let's see how long you can hang!

9) Bring only what you need

Due to the tight spaces and the need to go through doors and corridors from zone to zone, it is not advisable to bring a pram or stroller when you visit Alive Museum. If you need to, a baby sling or carrier is more recommended. Also, since you only want people, not belongings, in the pictures, bring all your necessities in just one bag that is hopefully light and easy to carry around. If there is something you must definitely not forget, it is your camera! I find that a handful of the art pieces look good when taken with a phone camera, so don't forget to bring your phone too! Since there is free WiFi access in the museum, you can also upload the pictures and share with your friends on the spot.

Left: Who's in the mood for some ice cream?   Right: RUN! It's the Walking Dead!

I say a little prayer for you
Left: I can do it too, MJ!    Right: Thirsty for a drink?

10) Do what you can and let go if you can't

It's okay if you don't get to take picture with every exhibit. It's okay if there is a crowd and you have passers-by in some of your pictures. It's okay if your child acts up halfway and you have to reluctantly leave. Do what you can and leave the rest for a next time.

If the kids are more interested in the interactive art exhibits and don't exactly feel like posing after you have asked kindly, let them be. If they are just happy running around, taking in the sights and feeling the sculptures, let them be. Shoot what you can and enjoy the time as a family.

For parents with small children, do be warned that there is an exhibit called The Powder Room located near the exit that has a rating PG13. If your child wanders into it alone, well, just be careful that he/she doesn't get a scare.

蓝蓝的天空银河里   有只小白船

Somebody, save the penguins!

The one and only family picture we took at Alive Museum

All in all, we had an awesome time as a family and we hope this set of tips will be useful to you too. Thanks to Alive Museum for the precious memories and fun-filled outing!


Alive Museum

Alive Museum first started in Korea as Trick Art Museum in Seong-eup, Jeju Island, and changed its name to “Alive Museum” in 2012. Since then, there are 15 branches of Alive Museum globally, making it the largest chain of 3D interactive illusionary art museum in the world. Outside South Korea, Alive Museum is also in Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand, China and now, in Singapore.

Currently, Alive Museum Singapore has over 80 artwork exhibits with 3D painting, shading and drawing techniques that create visual illusions. In addition to interactive pieces such as Marilyn Monroe and Mona Lisa, visitors will also see 9 locally themed paintings including Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. As part of their efforts to reinvigorate visitors’ experiences, 30% of paintings will be changed annually.

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard #03-372
Suntec City Mall (between Towers 3 & 4)
Singapore 038983

Ticket pricing: Adults $25, Child (aged 3-12) $20, Family Package $60 (2 adults, 1 child, $10 for each additional child)
*Book your tickets online now and use promotion code "aliveopen" at checkout to enjoy 20% discount. 

Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily (last admission 9pm)

For more information, visit www.alivemuseum.sg.

Disclosure: We were invited to visit Alive Museum Singapore for the purpose of this review. All opinions and images are our own.

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