Creativity 521 #69 - A photo made of pearls

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.5.15
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The first time I walked into the craft shop in Sweden and laid my eyes on this photo pearls set, I knew by hook or by crook, I had to get it. It was those kind of crafts that I love - unique, personalised, not too complex to make yet not overly straightforward such that it gets mundane.

So I bought a set, started making bead patterns out of digital images like our wedding photo, Angel's baby photo and made them as gifts for birthdays too. The word soon got around and friends started getting curious about how this was done. Soon enough, a handful of them got into the frenzy, bought the sets and started making their own patterns too. Really, anyone can do it as long as you have the starter kit and necessary supplies.

In today's Creativity 521 post, I'm sharing with you how I made Ariel a special present -  
A Personalised Photo made of Pearls!

To begin, you will need this starter kit. Now, this brilliant product is made in Sweden so that was where I got mine in the first place. The good news is that they now have stores in several countries in Europe, including Norway, France, Germany and United Kingdom (see here for the list). The bad news is for those living in Asia, you will still need to purchase this online and pay for the shipping fees (see here for list of online stores).

The starter kit comes with 15,000 beads (in 30 assorted colors), 4 pegboards, 8 adhesive sheets and a CD-Rom. Once you download the software into your computer and enter the activation code, you can start making your patterns!

Firstly, you have to upload a clear digital image, select the area that you wish to use and also the size of your final product, which can vary from 1 pegboard to as many as you wish. I usually like to keep my patterns to a square shape of 4 pegboards (2 x 2) which is perfect for a portrait and uses a total of 3,600 beads (30 x 30 per pegboard).

Next, you have to 'pearlify' your image. If you run out of certain colour of beads or like to omit some of them, you can always do so in your selection. Brightness and contrast of the image can also be adjusted according to your preference.

Once you have done so, you can still continue to make minor edits such as change the colour of a few beads here and there so that you are satisfied with the final look.

The image will be automatically switched to a mirrored one when you are done so that it will be facing the right way eventually. You can then save and print your bead patterns, as well as view and print your shopping list. The project can also be saved in your computer too in case you need to refer or print it again.

This is how the bead patterns will look like. Every pegboard pattern will be printed on one piece of A4 paper and the row and columns are indicated so that you can piece the boards accordingly when they are done.

This is how the shopping list looks like and it not only shows you the final pattern, it also indicates the colours of beads and a breakdown of how many beads you need for every colour.

Next, it's time to bead! Lay the pegboard on the bead pattern, making sure that the protruding parts match accordingly. I find it much easier to print out a coloured pattern (you can choose B&W too) so that it is easier to differentiate the colours. The pattern also indicates the colour number code (ranging from 1-30) to help you determine the correct colours.

So, all you have to do is to patiently bead by placing the right bead on the right colour code. This is how a finished pegboard with 900 beads looks like!

To make the beads stay in place, use the adhesive sheets which should fit the pegboards nicely. You might need to trim a little on the sides if you find that they overlap when pieced together.

Turn the pattern around by flipping it while pressing the beads to the board so that they do not fall out altogether. Repeat the same for all the rest of the pegboards.

So, what happens when you run out of beads or adhesive sheets? Yes, I ran into that problem which was what took me so long to start beading again ever since I returned to Singapore. The good thing is I finally managed to order the beads online from Clever Crafts which helped to ship the above over from New Zealand at a reasonable shipping fee. You can also go through the list of online stores to find a suitable supplier if you need one.

Piece all your completed pegboards together and this is how it will look.

Turn over to the back and peel off the back of the adhesive sheets carefully. Yes, they are essentially just big square pieces of double-sided tape.

Stick the beads onto a vanguard sheet, backing or any thick paper that you wish to use for your photo frame. I got my frame (40cm x 50cm) from IKEA at only $14.90! For me, I find it easier to stick them onto a big piece of vanguard, ensure that the final pattern is straight, then measure and trim the paper to fit the frame accordingly. Otherwise, I always find that my beads end up looking a little crooked.

Ta-dah! Do you like how Ariel's final gift looks? You can choose to add more decorations around your beaded pattern or leave it as it is. Now, display it in the house and let it amaze your family and friends! I'm so happy that the girls finally have one each and they now stand proudly in our living room. Never fails to make me smile when I look at them!

Do you think you will like making your own photo of pearls too?

For more DIY tutorials and craft inspiration, visit my gallery here.


To fellow bloggers who have a fun craft session, DIY tip or creative idea to share, come join in the party! Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. I will be hosting Creativity 521 on the 5th and 21st of every month, do hop over for more inspiration. Remember: The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity!

12 tips to travelling on public transport with young children

Posted by ~Summer~ on 15.5.15
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So, I've been asked a fair bit about how I travel on the public transport with two small kids in tow. Even my mother tells my granny that when the hubby is out sailing, I often take the kids outdoors and we go to many places by bus, train or foot. They are often surprised when we tell them of our adventures and I know, sometimes they just wanna tell me to 'stop doing it', 'just take cab', 'don't you think it is tiring and dangerous' and so on.

My parents will offer me money to take a cab while my father-in-law will offer to drive us around if the hubby leaves his car at home. By the way, laugh all you want but I don't drive even though I have a driving license. Why? Because I am so much more confident of navigating the public transport and looking after my kids than using GPS to find my way around and having to parallel park when the kids are screaming their lungs out.

Anyway, since I became a mum, it has become a tendency for me to reject their goodwill and assure them that we will be safe and sound on the public transport. I like to let the parents know that they can count on me to take care of their grandchildren, that things are not as difficult as they seem, that with more practice, we can actually do it and do it well.

The good news is the kids now love taking the bus and the MRT so much so that they will sometimes rejoice when I tell them that Daddy is not around and we have to travel by public transport. That's comforting to know, right? Being able to enjoy the ride makes it so much more bearable for them and manageable for me. Today, I'm sharing with you 12 tips to travelling on public transport with young kids and hopefully this might come in handy for some of you.

1) Plan your route in advance

I used to love taking the bus to nowhere. By that, I mean I liked to surprise myself by taking random buses and going on an unexplored route, leaving my destination to fate. Even with the kids, I still like to remain spontaneous at times and we will just get out of the house not knowing where to head to and let ourselves be inspired when we reach the bus-stop or MRT station. That said, it only happens one out of 10 times and for the rest, I prefer to plan in advance so that we will know which bus to board, which station to alight, where to change trains or buses etc. It definitely makes things easier knowing your destination and you can also prepare the kids in advance by exciting them about where you are going, what you are going to do, how you are going to get there and so on.

2) Take it slow

You know how the majority of Singaporeans are always rushing to and fro and seem to be running instead of walking? When you have small kids with you, you do the opposite. You saunter, you stroll, you stop from time to time. You plan such that you have ample time to get to your destination without having to hurry. If your kids like to dilly dally, run around and need you to keep pulling them back onto the route, make sure you have even more time so that it doesn't become a rushed affair that ends up frustrating everyone.

3) Avoid peak hours

I think this is pretty obvious if you have been on a bus or train at the peak hour and realised that you can barely even squeeze two feet in. That is when you were without kids, a stroller or a bulky diaper bag. It can be a real challenge to jostle with the crowd and can be dangerous for the kids as they might not be clearly visible to many of the commuters. So, we do try to avoid the peak hours if we can but I have realised that there are times when this cannot be avoided, especially on the return journey. When that occurs, I will choose the train over the bus anytime (thankfully we now stay near to a LRT station) simply because it doesn't require me to fold up the stroller in order to board, which brings me to the next point. 

4) If you have to, bring a light, portable stroller

Now that Ariel is big enough to walk for a considerable distance on her own, we try to minimise our belongings and we do not bring out the stroller for short trips. That means either we go out earlier in the day so that she can come back for her nap or we go out in the late afternoon when she wakes. In that way, she will have enough stamina and energy to last for the entire trip without demanding to sit or be carried. However, when it comes to a full day trip which will likely leave me with two exhausted kids somewhere in the middle of the day, I know jolly well that I do need a stroller. So, I will bring along a light, portable one which is easy to fold (just in case) yet sturdy enough to hold the kid, sometimes kids, and all the bags.

5) Be prepared with snacks and drinks

This helps to keep the kids occupied and happy during the waiting. It is also a reward for their good behaviour when they behave well on the bus or train. Instead of tidbits or junk food, you can also opt for cut fruits, multivitamins or healthy biscuits. 

6) Keep an eye on your belongings

It can be easier said than done considering how we have to multitask whenever we are on the road. Always remember that the kids are of top priority so never let them go out of sight. I also make sure that the girls hold my hand, hold each other's hand or hold onto the stroller. As for the rest of the valuables, make sure they are safely kept in a bag and strapped onto you all the time or if you hang it on the stroller, tie or hook the straps in such a way that the bag can't be grabbed and gone in an instant.

7) Familiarize the kids with how it works

Train the kids such that they know how the whole system works. Every time we are out, I will hand the EZ link cards to the girls when we reach the bus stop or train station. They are in charge of tapping their own cards (technically, Ariel taps mine as she is still under 90cm tall) and passing them back to me to keep. The big sister helps to keep an eye out for the bus or train and when we are inside, they know that they are not supposed to run amok and fool around but to stay seated as much as possible. When we are about to alight, I tell them in advance so that they know they have to follow closely beside or in front of me, never behind me.

8) Emphasize on safety and make it a habit

Since we started taking public transport, I try to teach them about the importance of safety, for example staying behind the yellow line at all times, minding the gap, not going close to the road, flagging the bus in advance, sitting properly on the bus and train and so on. At the MRT gantry (which I once got caught in as a kid), they know that they have to cross swiftly once they tap their cards. They also help me to press the elevator buttons and if we have to take the escalator, they know they are supposed to keep left all the time and to stay still instead of climbing up and down. When it gets crowded, we also make sure we huddle together and keep an eye out for each other always.

9) Play games when the ride gets boring

Not being able to run around in the train or bus doesn't mean that you can't play at all. I disallow the use of electronic devices when we are on the go but we do like to sing nursery rhymes or play games (actually, these are my childhood games) like Chop Chilli Chop, Scissors Paper Stone, 青苹果, 鸡蛋鸡蛋看谁的鸡蛋先破 and so on. The good thing about having small kids is that they are usually very intrigued by these games and can be entertained for the whole trip. Sometimes, they just like to gaze out of the window and they even make up their own songs or games too.

10) Have your necessities on standby

These include wet wipes, water bottles, a change of clothes, snacks, sunscreen, raincoats or umbrellas. I like to keep my wipes easily accessible because I never know when one of the kids might sneeze or get her hands or mouth dirty. We also don't wish to be deterred by the weather so we do like to brave the rain at times.

11) Let the children help

I like to involve the kids by letting them play a part in pushing the stroller, carrying the groceries, taking care of the belongings and so on. On occasions when we do not bring out the stroller and have to take along quite a bit of stuff (for instance when we go swimming or water playgrounds and take with us swimsuits, towels, toiletries and water toys), I let them carry their own backpacks to help with the load. I like to think that they see it as a sense of accomplishment in helping Mama instead of being a burden.

12) Be flexible 

Lastly, we try to be flexible in our plans because there might be days that plans will change due to weather, place closure, tantrums, last minute hiccups and so on. Angel is now pretty understanding about this and knows that some things are beyond our control. As for Ariel, for a two-year-old, she is slowly but surely learning. No matter what, I let the kids know that they can't kick up a fuss when plans change but instead, we just have to go with the flow and make the most of what we can.

So, this makes the list of tips that have worked for us so far. Whether they work for you or not, I hope we will always be confident enough to travel on the public transport and not be hesitant to go outdoors because I find that kids have so much to learn from the world out there.

Happy exploring, everyone!

The Incredible Book Eating Boy {Flash Giveaway: 4 x Category 1 tickets}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 13.5.15

So we are back from our getaway and I will love to share with you about what we did in LEGOLAND and Hello Kitty Town! But before that, here's a flash giveaway for those of you who might be keen to watch The Incredible Book Eating Boy. I have a family package of 4 Category 1 tickets (worth S$232) to give away!

Henry loves books. No, he doesn't like to read books, he likes to eat them. Big books, picture books, reference books - if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows (red ones are his favourite). The more he eats, the smarter he gets and he's on his way to being the smartest boy in the world. One day he feels sick to his stomach, the information is so jumbled up inside and he can't find a way to digest it!

Find out how Henry, with a little help from his parents, eventually found a way to enjoy books without using his teeth. A captivating story that encourages reading, finding success through hard work and not taking the easy way out, this show is recommended for children aged 3 to 8 and their families. Watch how a cast of three from Australia uses song, movement and puppetry to bring Oliver Jeffers’ quirky, beautiful and much loved story to life.

Special opening show on 20 May and drama workshop on 23 May
All seats in the house for the opening show on May 20 (Wed) at 9.45am are priced at $38 only (excluding SISTIC fee). Limited seats are available for this ‘Parent and Toddler’ promotion!

A highly popular drama workshop will also be held on May 23 (Sat). Led by an experienced Faust Leader, children will be exposed to a variety of games and drama techniques designed to encourage imaginative young minds to explore and bring the story alive before they catch the show on stage. The drama workshop is at $80 per child, inclusive of show ticket. Email for more information and to register.

Event details
May 20 (Wed) – 9.45am (Promotional rate of $38* for all seats in the house)
May 22 (Fri) – 4.30pm
May 23 (Sat) – 11am and 2pm
May 24 (Sun) – 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm

Show duration:
55mins (with no interval)

Ticket pricing:
CAT 1 - $58
CAT 2 - $48
CAT 3 - $38
*Prices excludes SISTIC booking fee. 10% discount is available for groups of ten or more. There is no minimum age for this performance and all audience members must have their own ticket. Tickets can be purchased SISTIC's website here or through the hotline 6348 5555.

For more information, check out this production via ABA Productions official website here or their Facebook page.


Now, here's your chance to win tickets to this incredible show! This giveaway is open to all readers who can make it for the show, please make sure you are able to turn up! To participate, leave a comment in this blog post with your name and email address. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have commented and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We were invited to watch The Incredible Book Eating Boy and received complimentary tickets. All opinions are our own.

For we are all the same - Happy Mother's Day 2015

Posted by ~Summer~ on 8.5.15
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We know that one of the best miracles is to be able to feel a life growing within us and there is no word to describe that kind of magic.

We never realised the strength and power we possessed until the day we gave birth.

We cradle our newborn and can't help but smile, feeling thankful to be blessed with this gem and wondering what we did to deserve all this luck. Or if we deserve it in the first place.

We discover that we can laugh and cry at the same time. Like when she burped and puked her milk or when he squirted poo all over us.

For all the worldly possessions that we once felt were so important, we can give them all up with the snap of a finger just for the happiness, healthy and safety of that one tiny being.

We smile when we see advertisements depicting a happy mother and her happy child. Or a frustrated mother with her frustrated child. Because we know how real both of these are. 

No matter where we go or how far apart we are, even if it's a few minutes of separation, we always leave a part of our hearts with them.

We give knowing nods and empathetic smiles to fellow mums who can't seem to find a seat on the train, who are handling a meltdown in a shopping mall or chasing after a running toddler in the supermarket.

We treasure those golden moments of peace, even if they last for seconds, and sometimes we hide in the loo a little longer to play Candy Crush, read blogs or catch up on e-mails.

Even when we are driven up the wall and our sanity goes to near zero, we tell ourselves "This day will pass and tomorrow will be a better day". Because in this journey, giving up just isn't an option we give ourselves.

We tell ourselves not to compare yet can't help but feel a little inferior when we read about mums who cook everyday, bake for their kids, find time to craft with them, keep the house spick and span, be able to homeschool and frequently go on family outings.

We know there is no magic number and it isn't always the case of the more the merrier. Yet, when we see big families and realise how siblings have an amazing way to bond with each other, we ask ourselves "Maybe, just maybe, we should have one more before we get too old?"

We seem to have this supernatural ability to detect lies, hear cries, multi-task, scream through the roof and we will dash with supersonic speed whenever we are needed.

It's ironic but we have more courage yet more fear in our hearts. We want to be brave in order to protect our loved ones but we are also scared that one day something undesirable might happen to them.

We realise how easily our hearts melt. Like when she called "Mama" for the first time, when he whispered in our ears "I miss you, Mummy" or when we received a handmade birthday card for the first time.

We say words that we don't mean when we get mad, like "It's so hard being your mum", "Why are you such a bad child?" and "Go away and leave me alone", only to bite our tongues too late and slap ourselves after.

We may forget to celebrate wedding anniversaries or Valentine's Day, but we will always remember to do something special on our child's birthday.

As they grow bigger and as we grow wiser, we learn that life is not about having all the 'what's, it's about being with the 'who's.

We always love our mothers but we didn't know what it truly meant to be one till we became one. 


You see, it doesn't matter if we are a mum of one or half a dozen kids. It doesn't matter the colour of our skin, which continent we live in or what language we speak. It doesn't matter if we choose to stay home, work part-time or full-time. It doesn't matter that we show our love for our kids in a million different ways.

Because at the end of the day, all of us are connected in this journey called motherhood in more ways than one. To celebrate this Mother's Day, here's a heartwarming video of the everyday life of some Singapore Mom Bloggers. No matter what happens, remember that we are always the same. 是的, 天下的妈妈都是一样的.

天下的妈妈都是一样的 哦~ 天下的妈妈都是一样的
天下的妈妈都是一样的 哦~ 天下的妈妈都是一样的

不管风吹雨打 不管星期或例假
我的妈妈从来不放假 工作为了家
厨房是她的天下 狮子头还有红烧鸭
样样她都精通不会假 她是我妈妈

从小常常挨骂 那是因为我不听话
不要以为这是种惩罚 她只要我长大
妈妈我感谢妳 没有把我跟他比
虽然我考试没有得第一 她说只要你尽了力

天下的妈妈都是一样的 哦~ 天下的妈妈都是一样的
天下的妈妈都是一样的 哦~ 天下的妈妈都是一样的

不管太阳升起 不管夕阳它又落西
为了我们妳牺牲了自己 我永远不会忘记
将来有那么一天 我把太阳高高升起
挂在妳永远满足的笑意里 妈妈我爱妳~



Before I end, here's a small touching story to share. Some of my friends were circulating this Mother's Day video and since I watched it with Ariel on my lap, I thought that it was probably very hard to get emotional with this fidgety toddler on me.

I was wrong. This short, simple 3-min video was so impactful that it left me with two wet sleeves as the tissue box was out of reach. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's not that this video was particularly sad or stirring, but what struck me was how raw and how real those emotions were.

I can feel the child who says "Mummy, thanks for taking care of me". I can feel the mum who says "Unconditional love is a mother's instinct". I can feel the child who says "I love you" in an awkward , sheepish manner. I can feel the mum who says "Are you crying? Don't be silly."

Yes, it's probably that I am both a child and a mum that I can identify with so many of the emotions portrayed in this video. Of course, the fact that it is so Singaporean also makes it resonate with me deeply. If you haven't watched it, you really should.

Anyway, I was really moved by this video so I forwarded the link to my mum and asked her to view it. Of course, I told her 妈妈, 我爱你 (Mummy, I love you) too.

Now, my mum is a very strong person and not that kind of sentimental, dewy-eyed mum. I was expecting her to reply but I thought it might be something along the lines of "Thank you" or "Same to you". The thing is, when I got her swift reply, I broke down at the void deck of our flat. It's something that you can't control it when it comes and this one, I really had no control over.

"我也爱你. 要照顾好自己, 不要只记得照顾你女儿, 也要照顾好我女儿."
(I love you too. Take care of yourself, don't just remember to take care of your daughters, take care of my daughter too.)

At that moment, all I wanted was to run into her arms and give her a tight hug. She knows, she knows. Here I am, trying my best to be a good mum to my two girls every day but the truth is I'm also a child who still needs her tender loving care. We might live far apart, we might see each other fortnightly, we might not talk on the phone as much as before. But she is my mum and she is probably the only one who will understand, care for and protect me in that motherly way for all my life. Thank you, Mummy.

So I guess this Mother's Day is going to be quite a teary one for me. The good news is I think that these are tears of joy and I'm feeling more thankful than ever to have an awesome mum and to be a happy mum.

Wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there.

Sunday Garden Party at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

Posted by ~Summer~ on 7.5.15
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Come every Sunday, we will be thinking of family-friendly places to visit and activities that will delight the kids.

Now, imagine how it would be like to be able to sit in an idyllic setting of lush gardens, enjoy a panoramic waterfront view, indulge in a luxurious seafood buffet while the kids are being entertained, followed by an afternoon dip in one of the most pristine pools? Yes, heavenly.

We were invited to the Atmosphere by the sea's Sunday Garden Party at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, which I must say felt like one of our most deluxe weekends ever. The Sunday Garden Party is a fun-filled, family-friendly dining package which includes a seafood buffet spread coupled with a children’s buffet corner and activities to occupy the little ones. In addition, diners enjoy complimentary access to the resort’s natural water swimming pool, children’s slides and splash pad, and free parking on a first come, first served basis.

Now, when it comes to occasions like this, a picture speaks a thousand words so let me show you.

Appetisers, soups, pasta, meat carvings, seafood, you name it, you have it. In fact, even for the gourmet cheese alone, you get a selection of over 12 types of them imported from France.

There is also a colourful corner for kids who can feast on pasta, nuggets, french fries and even jellybeans!

At the meat section, the roasted beef was highly recommended so we had to give it a try though I eventually decided that I preferred the Peking duck. You can also find grilled prawns, lamb and even satay too!

Now if you are a seafood lover, then this will definitely be your highlight of the day! Yes, this seafood corner steals the limelight with its multitude of fresh catches such as prawns, lobsters and king crab legs, oysters, scallops and mussels! Seriously, who can resist this? Even though I am not a seafood fan, I was also blown away by how fresh, juicy and delicious they were. Ok, I gave the oysters a pass because even the best in Europe didn't seem to make me fall in love with them. But the rest of the catches, yum yum

In case you are wondering, the hubby said it was such a pity I missed out on the oysters. He's the one who can differentiate good from bad or average tasting seafood, so if he says it's delectable, you bet you can trust his word for that.

I have to tell you that the kids didn't really eat that much because they were too distracted! Live singing, balloon sculpting, magic shows, I guess that accounted for why the hubby and I were able to enjoy our meal in peace while knowing that the kids were safe and happy.

But guess what they were most looking forward to? Why, desserts, of course! I totally enjoyed them too and wished I had the capacity for more because I was so spoilt for choice. Yes, I have a sweet tooth!

Anyway, a downpour came shortly after we finished our meal, much to the dismay of the kids who were eager to go for a splash after they had a caught a glimpse of the pool. Not wanting to disappoint them, we decided to hang around in the Children's Club - Cool Zone, which is the largest children's club you can find in a hotel in Singapore. An hour later, the skies cleared up and you bet these two were jumping for joy even though they had skipped their naps!

The kids totally adored the slides and went on them dozens of times. Ariel found the courage to ride alone and Angel was brave to finally try going down in 'superman' style! Now, it was all good to see them enjoying themselves but what was even more comforting to know was that all the swimming pools adopt a particle physics based water management system which maintains water in a natural and healthy form. This reduces chemical backwash and significantly minimises undesirable chlorine-related health side effects including dry skin and sore eyes.

Now, that's something I appreciate about the hotel doing its best to ensure the comfort of all guests. Even the three water slides had canopies to protect the little ones from the sun!

Not surprisingly, the kids were so delighted that they couldn't really bear to bid farewell when we had to leave. Well, we could only promise them that we will be back someday so that we could have another awesome Sunday Garden Party again!

The Sunday Garden Party at Atmosphere by the sea is available from noon to 3 p.m. at S$138++ per adult. One child below 12 years dines free with every paying adult, and S$28++ applies for each additional child (including free-flowing soft drinks and juices).

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, Atmosphere by the sea
101 Siloso Road, Sentosa
Singapore 098970
Tel: (65) 6275 0100  

Disclosure: We were invited by Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort to experience the Sunday Garden Party at Atmosphere by the sea. All opinions are our own.

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