Happiness is... showing your support

Posted by ~Summer~ on August 14, 2019
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“If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, 
you don’t have much at all.” 
~ Morrie Schwartz

It wasn't easy to get our engines started again after the intensive, fun-filled school holidays. Seeing how the big girl has homework to do on every school day, I make it a point to bring her out on weekends so that she has ample time to rest, relax and just enjoy. Never mind that we have not done much revision this year or that the assessment books I bought are still untouched after six months, I want her to understand that academics and grades are not everything and will never be anything more than a small part of her life. I want her to know how much more important it is to be with your family, to do the things that you enjoy, to play and bond with your siblings, and to learn to be a good, kind, honest and down-to-earth individual. I want her to know that she is never alone in this world and that she will always have our troop by her side to back her up.

I might be long-winded and naggy at times because hey, I'm a mum after all and I swear sometimes the kids just don't listen. Nonetheless, no matter what happens, I hope my kids know that I will always support them in every way I can, be it cheering them for them in competitions, encouraging them to chase after their dreams or just being here when they need me. In July's "Happiness is...", it's about showing your support.


Supporting someone doesn't mean you don't let them try conquering their obstacles on their own, but it does mean that you lend a helping hand when he/she is stuck or on the verge of falling. We were at the rock wall in Westgate and despite the scorching heat and burning handholds,  the kids still wanted to try climbing. Why not, right?

While the girls could scale the wall easily with minimal effort, the boy could barely climb to the middle because the footholds were spaced too far apart for him. It was a heartwarming sight for me to see the two sisters jumping off from where they were, springing up to him and said "Didi, come, I'll help you." The firstborn held him up and gave him a lift when he needed while the secondborn patiently guided him where to place his hands and feet next. Awww, this boy is definitely so lucky to have two sisters who dote on him so much. My hope as a mum is that no matter how they might get into arguments from time to time, they will always remember to help, protect and care for each other.


We will be going for our second Skechers Friendship Walk on 31 August! Yup, we might be going as a family instead of with friends but the way I see it, my hubby is my best friend and my kids will also grow up to be my best buddies (I hope). We've been supporting Skechers over the years because it's a name we love and trust and I'm thankful to have built up an amiable working relationship with the people behind the brand. All my kids have been wearing Skechers shoes since they could walk because they also love how comfortable it feels and how the we keep seeing trendy, stylish designs to choose from.


To the hubby and kids, big thanks for supporting Mama's photoshoots and for playing huge roles in every one of it too. I wouldn't be able to continue doing what I do without your help and cooperation all this while so thank you for putting up with my endless requests without (too many) complaints. I know, right? It really isn't easy being a blogger's kid and sometimes I think you wish you needn't have to take any photos at all and that Mama could put down her camera and join you wholeheartedly in playing. It's something I'm working on and reminding myself from time to time too, so let's make sure we only take on projects that we really love and would like to support.



One of the things that we will always love is a spectacular circus show! KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities took our breath away (read my review here) and left me dumbfounded when I saw what the superhumans in the cast were capable of. Cirque du Soleil is simply awesome! We will always support their shows because not only do they entertain and amaze us, they also constantly inspire us to reach greater heights in our daily lives too.




Being 'friends' with our local attractions is our way of showing our support too. Let's see, we are Friends of the Gardens and we have the 4-park passes under Wildlife Reserves Singapore which means we are free to hop by any of these parks on weekends. Woohoo! We made an impromptu trip to the Flower Dome one day and brought our sketch books along so that the kids could make drawings of their favourite flowers too. It was the first time we did and I wondered why we didn't do it earlier! The kids felt relaxed and were free to choose which flowers to draw and it was a good way to encourage them to keep on loving and making art too.



Another attraction that we totally love and have visited several times is Jewel Changi Airport! Since we came for the preview, we've subsequently made many more trips here, be it to catch a movie, grab some food, admire the Rain Vortex or check out new offerings like Canopy Park and Changi Experience Studio. I've always loved our Changi Airport and now because of Jewel, I love it even more. One thing's for sure, we will be back soon again!



The big girl took part in her first dance competition and we were all so excited for her! On the day of the event, we had to wait patiently for nearly three hours at the venue before it was her turn to perform. Yup, three long hours! Plus, in order to chope a spot with a good view, that meant we couldn't move around but had to stay put. The hubby took away our lunch so we could sit down there and eat while waiting. My mum had come with us and I kept telling her to go and find a seat and I would call her over when it was the girl's turn. However, she insisted it was okay and ended up standing for so many hours too. Awww, all out of love for this girl and a desire to support and cheer her on. Even though they didn't emerge as the champion, it was still a great effort put in by the team and we are so proud of all of them.

On the topic of support, I've been in the Parent Support Group committee for nearly two years in the girls' primary school. Currently, we are working on the Teacher's Day gifts after completing our biggest event - Family Day - earlier this month which made it to the news and saw over thousands of participants. Yup, there's always so much work to do and somebody has to do it eventually. I'm glad to be a part of my kampong or factory production line, knowing that I've done the best in my capacity to contribute and support the school.


We made a trip to the Animal Resort this month because it's been too long since we last visited. My in-laws had a chat with the owners and they talked about the rent and how it's not easy to keep the place going. I'm hoping that we can continue to support local businesses like this which doesn't seek to earn much profit but more of to provide a safe haven for the animals and a kid-friendly spot for families in Singapore.




I know I know, we are so very blessed to be able to watch the NDP previews or NE shows year after year. Thank you, RSN! That's also because the hubby does his utmost to protect our nation and a little privilege we get to enjoy in return. Would I sacrifice watching NDP just so to have a hubby who doesn't need to sail and can come home for dinner with us? Yes, I would. Still, that doesn't mean we are not proud of his job. On the contrary, we are very proud of him being a submariner and me holding the fort at home while he battles out in the sea is best way I can support him. Read more about the truths of being a navy wife here.

It's nice to have kids who tell me they love my cooking even though I only cook simple dishes and keep repeating them over and over again. Haha. These three are my biggest fans and my little helpers in the kitchen too. Thank you for all your support, my dears! It's one of my biggest motivation to continue being a SAHM, seeing how they can feel the love from our homecooked meals and being able to sit down and eat together for every meal (even though Papa is always missing). Now, kids, shall we do something about our super messy living room at the back? Hee.



This boy tells me that I must call him 'Baby' instead of Didi or Asher. Haha. Yup, he's the only one who still talks and behaves like a baby, I guess, even though he's also growing out of it too quickly for my liking. Can't these cuties remain tiny, huggable and easy to carry for a while longer? Anyway, we went on a school excursion and visited Lee Kong Chian Musuem for the first time ever. It's obvious how much my presence means to my little man and I love how we will sit side by side on the bus, how he holds my hand tightly and how he lies on my lap when he's tired. I will definitely support and go on every excursion we can because we only have a couple of years left before he moves on to primary school too.  Haiyoh, time flies too, too fast sometimes.


This art piece was done by the big girl at heART Studio, which is also her only paid enrichment class outside of school. Right, we are still trying to stay on the no-tuition and minimal-enrichment-classes route because I want us to have more free time to play, to bond and to enjoy the simple joys in life. Art is something she loves to do and helps her to feel free and creative, so if she wishes to stick to it, we'll try our best to support her too. So far, all the three kids are loving their classes at heART because the teachers are really awesome and caring too.


The little sister made this for me and told me the three words I love the most in this world - "I love you". Awwwww. It's moments like this that remind me for all the wrongs I did, hurtful words I've said, punishments I've executed, these kids still love me to the moon and back and I must have done something right in my past life to have them in this life. 拥有你们是我这一生最大的幸福, I can only hope to be a better mum, a trusted friend and your most supportive cheerleader in the years to come. Thank you for being my best motivation to keep on doing what I do too.

Till more updates in August!


Shiny, Shimmery and absolutely SPLENDID {Review of Aladdin The Musical}

Posted by ~Summer~ on August 12, 2019
in

We are no strangers to the story of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. The kids and I have read the story book umpteen times, watched the classic 1992 film and also caught the latest movie starring Will Smith as the Genie earlier this year.

When I heard that Aladdin The Hit Broadway Musical was making its stop in Singapore, I was feeling a little skeptical about whether the kids would enjoy it as much as they did for the films. I mean, after all, one was a cute animated 'cartoon' movie that all kids love and the other was a Hollywood one which boasted mind-blowing CGI and special effects. A live musical with lots of dancing and singing, would they really enjoy it as much?

Nonetheless, I decided to give it a go and the girls and I went on a mother-and-daughters date on National Day at the martinee of Aladdin. Gosh, barely after the show started, I realised my doubts couldn't be more unfounded because the first scene of the Thieves Market in Agrabah and the "Arabian Nights" performance already took our breaths, especially mine, away.

W-O-W.




Facts you might not know about Aladdin:

- Singapore is the only stop in Asia and the final stop for the tour
- This spectacular production boasts 337 glittering costumes which feature 1,225 different fabrics, 712 different styles of beads and almost 500,000 Swarovski crystals
- 40 tonnes of exotic flying scenery and 60 tonnes of automation and staging has been transferred to Singapore in more than 30, 40’ sea containers to recreate the fantasy city of Agrabah
- 120 pieces of gold come together to form the Cave of Wonders
- The cast consists of 34 people between 20 –50 years of age who are primarily from Australia, New Zealand, United States of America and Canada

Take a look behind the scene and see how everything was set up to perfection.



Now talking about the cast, the principal cast features Gareth Jacobs as Genie, Graeme Isaako as Aladdin and Shubshri Kandiah as Jasmine. While my girls unanimously said that their favourite was Princess Jasmine because she "sang well, looked very pretty and wore beautiful dresses", I was more impressed by Aladdin and the Genie who were both so natural in their roles and had great camaraderie between them. Aladdin displayed great vocals, danced well and portrayed the role of the quick-witted, smart and caring protagonist perfectly. As for the Genie, he was the highlight of the show and everyone in the audience was utterly impressed by him and looked forward to his scenes. I kind of suppose he had the highest bars set before him, after all, the previous Genies we know of are none other than Robin Williams and Will Smith - both are highly acclaimed, professional and top-notch actors. So, it was indeed impressive to see how Gareth Jacobs managed to match, or even surpass, those bars and he did a truly fabulous job at capturing our hearts. You guys are phenomenal!



Credit: BASE Entertainment Asia
Credit: BASE Entertainment Asia
We were truly awed by the magnificent sets, extensive props and lavish costumes at every scene. I can only imagine how much work has been put in for all this magic to come alive with our eyes. The level of detail is truly amazing and impressive. The backdrops were exquisite and beautiful, the cast was skilled and efficient in changing into their costumes within seconds, and there were even special effects that made everyone gasp - yup, the best one had to be the magic carpet, which actually FLIES.

If I had to choose my two favourite scenes, it would be the glittery Cave of Wonders which was filled with everything shiny and gold, and the Magic Carpet which rose up and flew into the twinkly stars right before our eyes. The Genie was superb in delivering the song "Friend Like Me" which was highly entertaining and made the audience guffaw - there were even magic tricks too, much to the kids' delight. The one song that brought tears to my eyes was "A Whole New World" and I didn't think I would feel this touched, but I did. That scene was pure magic. I've always loved gazing at stars in the moonlit sky and this was the closest, most realistic set I've seen in any show so far. Coupled with the romance in the air and the wondrous magic carpet, so many of my childhood memories were evoked at that very moment and I couldn't help but feel so sentimental for those few minutes.

Credit: BASE Entertainment Asia


Credit: BASE Entertainment Asia


The show is held in Sands Theatre in MBS which consists of three levels - the Stalls, Dress Circle and Grand Circle. I would recommend that you get the Stall seats - even the side ones are okay too - so that you can get a good view of the effects and look at the cast straight on rather than top down. We've tried sitting in the Grand Circle before for previous shows and this time round, we were seated in the B reserves (light purple) in the Stalls which makes a HUGE difference in the view and subsequently the enjoyment level of the entire musical.


The duration of the show is approximately 150 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission. It is recommended for children above 6 years of age and all guests will require a ticket to enter, regardless of age. I was quite glad that I didn't bring the 3-year-old along because I don't think he would have enjoyed it as much as we did, plus the show is quite long so he would likely get fidgety in the midst too. As for my 6-year-old and 9-year-old, they totally loved the show! Okay, we had an incident where the little sister dropped her central incisor halfway and started bleeding. Yup, such a 'good' timing. Still, it didn't deter us from watching the whole show and enjoying every moment of it. We cheered so loudly when it ended and part of me wished that it could go on even longer.



There are a couple of phototaking spots outside the theatre so don't miss them when you are there. It was so crowded and the queues were long before the show so my advice is for you to take pictures during the interval instead. Don't wait till the show ends because the queues would be even longer! Did I mention that the theatre was almost full at our show? Yup, that's how popular Aladdin is and now that everyone is raving about it, you have to hurry if you still wish to get the tickets and catch it before the tour ends for good.



Don't just take my word for it, watch some snippets of the show below and hear what celebrities have to say about it too.



This was such a memorable and highly enjoyable mother-and-daughters date we had and I'm so thankful we had the chance to watch this spectacular show together. The girls can't stop singing "A Whole New World" - they know the lyrics of the whole song already! - and I know we will look back upon this day and remember all these fond memories of this epic musical. It's definitely a great entertainer suitable for both the young and old. Go catch it before it ends and let me know if you love it as much as we do!

Aladdin

Event Date
Sun, 21 Jul - Sun, 1 Sep 2019
Tue - Fri: 7.30pm
Sat: 2pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 1pm & 6.30pm

Venue
Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands

Ticket pricing
From $68 onwards
To book your tickets, go to https://ticket.marinabaysands.com/mbs/booking/aladdin0919.
For more show details, go to https://baseentertainment.com.sg/shows/aladdin/.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with BASE Entertainment Asia. We received a pair of complimentary tickets in writing this review. All opinions are my own.


Why we love Canopy Park {Review and Giveaway}

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 25, 2019
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At the preview of Jewel Changi Airport previously, while many others were rushing to check out Pokemon Centre and the wide range of F&B and retail outlets, we practically spent the whole of our day in Canopy Park.

That was quite a surprise considering that the main attractions like the sky nets, mazes and slides were not even opened at that time. All we did was to roll on the grass, admire the blooms, let the Rain Vortex take our breath away and enjoy the simple luxury of feeling close to nature and being transported to a garden paradise - when we are actually in the highest level of a shopping mall.

Fast forward to now, it is not free of charge to visit Canopy Park and while that can be a little disappointing, we discovered why it is still totally worthwhile to fork out the money and the kids are looking forward to our next visit already. After all, an admission ticket to Canopy Park is just S$4.50 for Singaporean residents and you gain access to enough places (Discovery Slides, Foggy Bowls, Petal Garden and Topiary Walk) for you to spend a good afternoon. If you have the cash to spare, then don't miss out on the other unique and fun attractions too. The mazes - Mirror Maze and Hedge Maze - are fun for the kids and we enjoyed them more than I thought we would. For those who are up for thrills or love an adrenaline rush, you must definitely check out the Manulife Sky Nets because we had a ball of a time there.

I'll be sharing more about each attraction with you below and for those who are keen, there's a giveaway at the end too so read on, yeah?

Credit: Life's Tiny Miracles


CANOPY BRIDGE

In addition to being suspended 23 metres above ground and being able to walk on a glass bottom, part of the reason why we were so awestruck by the Canopy Bridge was the amazing vantage point of the Rain Vortex. Each session lasts for 30 minutes and I was initially wondering why would you spend so much time on this rather short bridge. It turned out that this was one of the best photo-taking spots (thanks to David of Life's Tiny Miracles for that gorgeous shot of us) so you would practically spend half of the time trying to take pictures. As for the other half, it would be waiting for the fog to emit at the ends of the bridge so that the kids can dash into it and have a wild, and wet, time while screaming in joy. See my video below for evidence, haha.

Tips: Be on time for your session and wear pants or shorts because as mentioned, the bottom is made of glass. Oh, and don't get mad when the kids get wet! If you can, go with a friend who's also a great photographer (like we did!).





DISCOVERY SLIDES

These look like a work of art or a giant sculpture from far and the first time we walked past them, I didn't realise they were actually slides! There are a total of three slides here: a normal slide which is super slippery, a spiral slide which gets dark at night and a never-seen-before 90 degree slides where kids have to put on helmets and tuck themselves in sleeping bags before they come down.

I tried out the ordinary looking slide only to realise that it was super fast (hear my screams in the video!) and I nearly toppled over my girl on my first try. Haha. We tried to reduce speed using our shoes but the speed was so fast and friction so great that we ended up rubbing off part of the soles. Fwah! Still, I have to say that we had a lot of fun here and the girls kept coming back for more throughout the day. The good thing is you get unlimited tries and can re-enter Canopy Park from 10am to 10pm using the ticket. Worth it!

Tip: The minimum height limit for the slides is 110cm and kids who fall below that will not be allowed to enter. There are benches to sit on so they can watch their older siblings have fun and patiently wait for the day when they can join in (Asher did it for nearly an hour!). It can get quite crowded at the vertical slide because of the need to put on the gear and a safety briefing, so be prepared to queue.








Credit: Life's Tiny Miracles

FOGGY BOWLS

I don't think this will appeal to everyone because after all, it's just an open play area with artificial grass, a few sunken areas and a fog that emits every now and then, right? It turned out that my kids LOVE Foggy Bowls so much and decided that they would just keep rolling in and out, doing forward roll and armstand and just enjoying that feeling of lying down to enjoy the sun rays that shine through the glass ceiling.

Tip: Lay down on the grass with the kids and enjoy that simple moment of doing nothing at all, not just watch them or take photos of them. Right beside Foggy Bowls is the Family Lounge where you can find a mini slide (perfect for those who can't go on the Discovery Slides), kids furniture, a television (it was showing SpongeBob on Cartoon Network when we were there) as well as a huge baby changing room where you can get both hot and cold water for the kids too.






HEDGE MAZE

Even though this is Singapore's largest hedge maze, it didn't take us over ten minutes to complete. I have to say we were not totally impressed by it as we've been to better ones but there were a couple of pretty nice photo-taking spots here. See below. The highlights for the kids were touching the flowers that would 'appear and disappear' and pretending to be magicians, as well as climbing up the tower to get a bird's eye view of the maze.

Tip: Leave your stroller outside if you can and enjoy the walk through the path. Have a game of hide and seek but don't lose the kids hor!








PETAL GARDEN

Those who love blooms will love this beautiful display of seasonal flower in every shape and colour. We loved how this vibrant garden instantly lifted our spirits and made for a pretty awesome backdrop too.

Tip: Don't just walk from the start to the end, ask each of the kids to decide and show you which is their favourite flower and why.



TOPIARY WALK

For those who love to take photos, you will love this creative topiary which consists of stylised plants that resemble animals including orangutans, birds, crocodile and elephant. Our favourite was the see-no-evil and hear-no-evil Ah Mengs who were too cute to resist.

Tip: Try not to touch the topiary and other than that, just take more photos, wefies and selfies!



MIRROR MAZE

When I asked the staff at the entrance how long it would take us to complete the maze, he told me "Five minutes". Well, I guess we definitely made our one-time tickets worthwhile because we were inside for nearly an hour! Haha. Yup, check out my video and IG highlights to see how we danced, played Music Freeze and tried to pose like supermodels before finally letting the kids attempt to lead the way out.

The fun part was using the foam noodles, which were given to us at the start, to find your way around and make sure you don't bump into any mirrors. Think it's easy? Well, think again! It can be a little challenging and two of my three kids failed to find the way out and we kept coming back to the same place. This was our first mirror maze and we definitely enjoyed it tremendously!

Tip: Try out creative poses and not just boring ones. We love this V-shaped corner where you can easily crop away other people in your frame and see a hexagonal reflection effect. Let me know if you can find it!




MANULIFE SKY NETS - BOUNCING

Similar to the slides, the minimum height limit for the Sky Nets is 110cm and kids below that will be strictly denied entry. So while the boy was taking his afternoon nap, I had a one-on-one session with the little sister, thanks to the elder one who agreed to help me look after the brother and even took photos for us. Awww.

Stretching 250 metres long with the highest point at 8 metres above Canopy Park, it was no wonder we felt like we were flying through the sky. We tried to bounce up high and do splits, knee tucks, spin arounds as well as any funny poses we could think of. The highlight for the girl was the slide - also made of a net - which she loved and went on it again and again.

Tip: Complimentary lockers are available for use. You can bring your mobile phone but not cameras or other bulky belongings. Wear proper, comfortable shoes and pants or shorts. Tickets go by timings and each session lasts for one hour so make full use of it!



MANULIFE SKY NETS - WALKING

Lastly, the Manulife Sky Nets - Walking was something that terrified the girls initially but made them fall in love with it soon after. Suspended across a void at 25 metres above ground, the big girl was at first scared to take big steps and told me "Mummy, there's nothing below!". Well, there is a taut web made of ropes and another safety net below, but walking across made us feel like we were doing a balancing act across a tightrope and we definitely felt the adrenaline rush.

The girls and I enjoyed our mum-and-daughters walk under the stars and I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed having the net all to ourselves - for a while - as we admired the magnificent night view of the Rain Vortex and the incredible architecture of Jewel. Special thanks goes out to Julius Crisostomo, the friendly staff who helped us to capture a few shots when my phone went dead and kindly sent them to me thereafter too. It's the wonderful service of you guys who make our airport a world-class one!

Tip: Make sure you have on comfortable, tight shoes for this as loose ones might come off easily in between the ropes and you will risk spraining your ankle. Step onto the rope intersections for better grip and balance. Tickets are for one-time entry only so take your time to walk and cherish it! Don't be afraid to ask the staff to help you take a picture too.



Credit: Life's Tiny Miracles


It's astonishing to say that we ended up spending a total of 13 hours in Jewel Changi Airport that day. Okay, we also had A&W for lunch and went to Five Spices for dinner in between but the majority of our time was spent in Canopy Park, either having fun at the attractions or just enjoying the company of each other. We definitely love this family-friendly place even more now and will be back for more bonding time again soon. Thanks for all the wonderful fun and precious memories, Jewel Changi Airport!

Watch my video to see all the fun we had! Must watch before you join giveaway, okay?



******

GIVEAWAY!

Win a family bundle of FOUR tickets to visit Canopy Park!

Credit: Life's Tiny Miracles


This bundle consists of admission tickets for four to:

- Canopy Park (includes Topiary Walk, Discovery Slides, Foggy Bowls and Petal Garden)
- Hedge Maze
- Mirror Maze
- Manulife Sky Nets - Walking

*Please note that tickets to Canopy Bridge and Manulife Sky Nets - Bouncing are not included in the package due to them being time-sensitive. You can re-enter Canopy Park upon receiving a stamp but for Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze and Manulife Sky Nets - Walking, tickets are valid for one-time entry only.

To join in the giveaway, leave a comment in this post with your name, email address and your favourite attraction in Canopy Park. Indicate in the widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions
This is an international giveaway and open to all Singapore and overseas residents above the age of 18. The giveaway ends on 4 Aug at 2359hours. Winners will be chosen and contacted through email, they are required to respond within 48 hours or replacement winners will be picked. This giveaway is in no means endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook or Instagram.

P.S. For more chances to win, join in the giveaways hosted by fellow bloggers Life's Tiny Miracles and SengkangBabies too!

Best of luck, everyone!

Disclosure: We were invited by Jewel Changi Explore to visit Canopy Park and received complimentary access to the above attractions. All photographs are my own unless credited otherwise. All opinions are mine.


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