Family night out at Asiatique The Riverfront

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 10, 2019
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I've been wanting to write about this place that we visited and fell in love with when we were in Bangkok. Yup, I know I know, that took place last year and it's taken me far too long to write this piece. Well, it really takes a lot of effort to do up a travel post, from the sorting, compiling, editing and uploading of photos to the research and actual writing, so kudos to all the family bloggers out there who are still keeping up with documenting each and every of their travel experiences.

If you have not read our family-friendly Bangkok itinerary, go here. We visited popular tourist attractions such as KidZania, Sea Life and Safari World and also braved the crowd with three young kids in tow to go to places like Chatuchak and Central World night market. Would we bring the kids to Bangkok again? Yes, without a doubt, we would love to visit again.

In this post, I'm sharing more about Asiatique The Riverfront, which I first read about online and thought the husband might be interested in this place. It turned out that despite we only spent four nights in Bangkok, we made our way here not once, but twice. That says pretty much everything, right? Asiatique is basically a night market and outdoor shopping mall which sits by the river, and its vibes reminds me somewhat of our Clarke Quay and Bugis street.

I remember that the moment I stepped down from the boat and walked near, I could hear Jay Chou's song blasting from one of the pubs. Yup, Mandopop fan here! It made me feel instantly at home and I knew we chose the right place to visit.


Getting to Asiatique is easy, all you have to do is take the BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, follow the signs to Asiatique which will take you to the pier, and hop onto the FREE boat shuttle. Yes, it's complimentary so make sure you don't get charged for it. The journey takes roughly ten minutes only and you can enjoy the beautiful night scenery of Bangkok as you sail along the Chao Phraya River.
Saphan Taksin

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-mall/asiatique.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001
Saphan Taksin

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-mall/asiatique.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001
Saphan Taksin

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-mall/asiatique.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001
Saphan Taksin

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-mall/asiatique.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001


The boat runs from 4pm to 11pm and you might have to queue a little while waiting for it to arrive. We came here on a weekday after dinner and there wasn't much of a crowed, much to our relief. The staff was also so nice as to allow us to have priority boarding because of the toddler in arms and two young kids. Thank you! You can also choose to go to Asiatique by taxi but considering how we were stuck in the traffic for over two hours when we arrived in Bangkok, I would definitely choose to go by boat. If you shop or stay till late at night, then you can considering grabbing a taxi back to the hotel when the traffic is much less.


We were thrilled to spot the ferris wheel, Asiatique Sky, when we were nearing the market. Well, we've been on the London Eye and Singapore Flyer already, right? So don't ask me why we still felt so excited and squealed with delight, it's what makes all our family travels more fun and memorable mah.



Once you step down from the boat, you will walk on a boardwalk for around 300 metres and ta-dah, You have reached Asiatique The Riverfront! Easy to get to, right?




The place gives off a retro feel and its wide streets offers a number of ideal spots for phototaking, if you want. Better still, why not put the camera and phone away, and just sit down, chill and enjoy the night, right? Well, that is provided it is possible when you have kids with you.





Even though the place didn't look huge, we were impressed to learn that Asiatique features over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants. The warehouse style and setup of the boutiques, together with how they are organised into different zones, makes the place one of the neatest and easier-to-walk markets we have been to. Regardless if you are shopping for clothes, accessories, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewellery or even technology gadgets, you are likely to find something that you like. We bought a set of family matching tees and some kids' clothing at a good price and yes, you can try to make a bargain just like in Chatuchak.






There are also many eateries to choose from, from local and Asian cuisine to Western and international fare. Besides that, there are also two theatres where nightly performances take place, including Thai puppet shows, cabaret and even Muay Thai too. Nope, we didn't watch any of that though because we didn't think it was suitable for the kids and anyway, we just wanted to walk around and take it free and easy.


Oh, look! A carousel in the middle of nowhere! Haha, we only took photos with it because I thought it was overpriced and anyway, they've been on too many merry-go-round rides already so let's save the money and go in search of better and more value options.



That proved to be a smart choice because guess what, we realised there was a CARNIVAL zone which offered kid-friendly rides and game stalls too. Yippee! This had to be the kids' favourite part of the night and they couldn't wait to get started!

First up, we tried the darts game and thanks to our training days in NTU Hall 6, the hubby and I managed to score a stuffed toy for the kids. The best part was seeing how they were willing to give it up and pass to a little girl who was looking at us the whole time. She beamed with delight and I think her happiness was infectious and made all of us feel happy too.


The kids also did ring toss and I'm pretty sure the staff gave them more rings than they were supposed to have. Haha. Yup, the staff were quite friendly and generous to us, which made us pleasantly surprised too.


Next up, the kids went on a VR ride! Okay, technically it wasn't supposed to be one but two rides, but I also think they gave us extra in the end because they just kept watching one clip after another lor. What was the biggest highlight here? Well, guess what, the two-and-a-half toddler decided he was brave and big enough to try out the ride and amazed us by sitting there patiently throughout the rides, even telling us afterwards "好玩!It was FUN!". Wow, they really grow up just too fast, right? It's good that he has these two plucky sisters who are always encouraging him to try and overcome his fear too.





There was also a ride that they couldn't get enough of - the rotating bouncing tower (or whatever you call it). It basically rises high up into the sky and starts to turn and go up and down while giving off rainbow coloured lights. Haha. There was a minimum height stated (I can't remember but it was over 1-metre) and it was obvious that the boy was not tall enough yet at that time. He was pretty much disappointed that he wouldn't get to go on it and that was when the staff said they could allow him to ride, provided he wasn't scared and could sit in place.

I always think that this boy is not as brave as his sisters when it comes to theme park rides but he proved me wrong that night. Boy, he sat in his very own seat and didn't flinch or fidget but instead enjoyed himself immensely as he rose up and down in the night sky with Papa and his Jiejies. How fun!





When the kids saw a track made by stacks of tires, we were wondering what it was used for. That was when we realised that they even had ATV rides! Wah, should we, should we try? Of course we did and willingly paid a hefty price for it, lol. It was the kids' FIRST ever ATV experience so I guess those memories are priceless.

The girls went on their mini ATVs which went at a much slower speed so it was pretty safe and easier to control too. The hubby went on the real deal and when we enquired if Asher could just ride with him and sit in front, they let us do it without charging us extra too. Yup, that makes our money more worthwhile and resulted in happy kids too. Just look at their smiles! This was certainly a milestone and highlight for all of them.





So, besides being the photographer and videographer, did I forget to let myself enjoy a little? Tell you what, I only had one thing in mind and one thing I wanted to do that night - go on the ferris wheel! Yar lar, just take my money again. 400THB for adult and 250THB for kids below 120cm, it ain't exactly cheap so I am quite sure we will only go on it once in lifetime, for me at least. Haha. It was my turn to go on a ride with the kids while the hubby sat out (that's how we try to save a bit, by taking turns) and enjoyed his coffee break.

Remember I mentioned London Eye and Singapore Flyer? Well, of the three kids, only Angel has been on them. Yes, the lucky firstborn who stayed in Europe for three years. So that means the Asiatique Sky is the first real ferris wheel ride for the two younger ones, which makes it all the more memorable us. We sang, we took wefies, we admired the bird's eye view of the city and we made it a night to remember.





It was nearing midnight when we finally went home after a night of fun and all of us felt tired but happy and contented. Family vacations are so wonderful because we have our loved ones with us, isn't it?

I guess this is the last of my Bangkok posts and I still have more travel posts coming up to share with you soon, so stay tuned and give me some time to put it together, yeah?


******

To read about our Bangkok trip itinerary, visit my previous post here. You can also click on the below where I share more about each individual attraction we visited. Have fun at your next visit to this family-friendly city!

Bangkok Itinerary

Day 1 - Safari World and Central World Night Market
Day 2 - Chatuchak and Sea Life
Day 3 - Open House and Asiatique
Day 4 - Kidzania


This is love - Asher is 3!

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 27, 2019
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Remember how I said the kids always anticipate every of the growing up videos I make for them? Well, it's been so many years but that hasn't changed. In fact, they look forward to it even more than before and every time I do one, they will love to watch it over and over and over again.

This latest video is for Asher who turned 3 last year, yet it was his sisters who enjoyed it most and just couldn't stop laughing at him and at themselves too. You'll see. Yup, it took me months to finish this because it's just so hard to find free time nowadays and pouring through hundreds and thousands of videos and photos takes me a seriously long time. Still, it's all worthwhile though!

You know, I actually teared in the midst of doing it, being reminded of how fast these little ones are growing. We can never rewind time or make it slow down, but we can learn to better cherish the present and that's what I am trying to do nowadays.

I still have five years worth of videos to catch up on for the girls (yes, FIVE) and that's gonna take me a long, long time. Thankfully, they have been very patient and understanding and told me it's okay, they can just watch what I've done in the past. You'll be surprised at how often we watch these videos and even more surprised at how they still make us laugh, considering we've watched them nth times already. So, I will definitely keep them coming, no matter how long it takes!

******



Dear Asher,

Happy turning three, my little race car driver! You looked so cute and happy at your arcade party and I'm glad you enjoyed playing all the games with your friends and grandparents too. It's amazing how much fun we can have together at the arcade even though you are so young and I take every outing there as a family bonding trip for us. That said, it can be pretty costly so we can only do it once in a while, okay? I'm still quite amused by how you picked the giant Hello Kitty stuffed toy as your birthday present when the arcade staff gave you a choice, but I want you to know that you have the freedom to choose anything you like instead of having to conform to stereotypes, okay? Yes, you are the boy whose favourite colour is purple too and that's totally fine by me.

We made a visit to LEGOLAND again and this time round, you were so brave as to try out the Ninjago ride - which terrified you, made you cry and refused to try the last we were here. You might not love thrills and adrenaline rushes as much as your sisters do for now, but that's okay, my dear. Perhaps you might like them one day, perhaps you might not enjoy them so much. Whatever it is, I'm happy to see you trying new things one by one and we'll only do it when you are ready, okay? Remember that we are always here to accompany, support and cheer you on, and you'll never be alone in this world.

That said, you are also the little boy who just met the height limit at the Canopy Flyer in USS and guess what? You and I went on it FOUR times that night. Yup, that's a sign that you are getting much braver and willing to take risks too. The ride takes you high up in the sky and gets pretty swift in the middle, so I'm surprised that you loved it so much but I'm glad I was there to see this adventurous side of you and be beside you each step of the way. We also tried out Enchanted Airways, which is a mini roller coaster, and let's just say you got a little frightened when it went so fast at the bend and you held my hand tightly. I was afraid that you would fall off too because you are still so tiny. Anyway, at the end of it, you told me you didn't want to go on it again. It's up to you, my dear, I'm proud that you tried it once at least and hey, you were only two at the time so that's a pretty big achievement, yeah?

You are a water lover and even though you can't swim much yet, you love to paddle, splash around or just play pretend with your sisters. I love how you all can use your imagination to think of the most creative ideas, for instance you all used the water toys to set up a satay stall and pretended to cook satay for me when we were right in the pool. Haha. That was really memorable, you know? You also like to play the Hello Kitty float and you three would take turns to pull each other along, which is really a heartening sight to see.

We might not be able to travel to far away countries but we did bring you all to The Canopi in Bintan and we had so much together, remember? You were lucky to have your sisters who took you on the Prince Motor and mini ATV rides and Papa and I took you on a scooter ride around the lagoon too. It was my first time riding a scooter and I'm glad we made it through safely and enjoyed the breeze blowing on our faces too. We also set off fireworks at night and that was a first for all of us. The night sky was brightly lit that night, just like how my heart was filled with joy too. Remember that we should never play with fire, yeah? I sure hope we can go on another glamping trip soon!

It's been a joy seeing how vocal you've become and we've been having so many mother-and-son conversations, especially in the mornings when Jiejies are in school and it's just you and I. You are going to start school next year and even though it will only be for three hours a day, I know I will miss you so, so much, my boy. That said, we are working on some of your phonics and word pronunciation and it can get so hilarious when you say some words 'wrongly', especially those starting with 'F' and 'S'. I recorded some of them not to laugh or mock at you but to remind you how innocent, cute and easily amused you are at this age. You know, Mama is actually afraid that all these simple joys of childhood will be forgotten as all of you grow up and I earnestly hope that you can always stay contented and thankful in life, okay?

While you don't take art classes yet, we've been having our own mother-and-son art sessions too whenever we need to wait for your sisters. It's really nice seeing how much you enjoy creating and we did finger painting and hand painting on several occasions too and each never failed to delight you and made you beam with joy. Remember how happy you were to have rainbow hands and how you love making your masterpieces on paper after paper? I hope you will always be able to unleash your creativity and stretch your imagination when you do art and craft.

You love to scoot and have picked up the techniques like turning or braking too. Initially when you turned two, I saw how afraid you were and how you insisted that I needed to pull you along or hold onto you. At that point, I was wondering if you would be able to scoot like how your sisters did at your age but just as I was thinking that, you improved by leaps and bounds within months and nowadays, you can easily catch up with them. Yup, you are able to scoot pretty fast now but you know what's the very sweet thing about you? While they race ahead and try to be the first, you will always slow down and wait for me - I usually walk while three of you scoot - because you don't want me to be alone. That's your way of showing you love me and I feel it, so thank you my dear.

I love you more than you know too, my baby boy, and I will make sure I say those words to you, hug you, kiss you, cuddle and carry you every day till the day you might not need me anymore. You will always, always be my baby no matter what. Happy three years old, dear Asher boy!

With lots of love, 
Mummy


我还是我

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 23, 2019
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我还是我 成为一名母亲,是我人生的转捩点。

自从大宝呱呱落地的那一刻起,我的生活起了翻天覆地的变化。以前的我,随心所欲,能够拥有充分的睡眠,享受用餐时间和做自己爱做的事。现在的我,全年无休,一天24小时几乎不间断地工作,无论做什么事都把孩子放在第一位。


能够成为妈妈,是一件无比幸福的事,也难怪我们把孩子捧在手心当成宝。就因为我们想要竭尽所能给宝贝最好的,往往也不惜牺牲自己。身为一名全职妈妈,丈夫又常常在外头公干,我已习惯独自照顾我们家里的三宝。我不仅是妈妈,也是我们家的厨师、保姆、护士、秘书、司机、家教等。如果说,我的每一天都为了三宝的起居饮食而不停地奔波忙碌,有时甚至连喘一口气的时间或上洗手间的自由都没有,那可是千真万确的。

好友曾对我说: “你好像把一切都奉献给了孩子,那你自己呢?” 一语惊醒梦中人,我这才恍然大悟,原来这几年来,我真的好像把自己给忘了。也许,我打从心底觉得孩子们比我重要,在全心全意为他们付出的时候,才会自然而然地忽略了自己。


想问问妈妈们,当你们爱孩子的时候,是否还记得爱自己呢?

踏上为人母的旅途快10年了,现在的我,开始多爱自己一点。每天早上,我尽量给自己一点独处时间做自己喜欢的事,譬如写博客、听音乐、读书、练瑜伽或跳舞等,让自己纾解压力和找到正能量。到了夜深人静,孩子们入睡的时候,我时不时也会吃一点零食,和丈夫聊天或在客厅和他一同观赏电影。如果孩子半夜惊醒,我们还是会在第一时间到他身边,哄他入眠。在照顾孩子的同时,我们也要记得我们的伴侣,记得我们自己。

 以往,我几乎无法在不带孩子的情况下和朋友约会,那是因为我不懂得放下。每当我试着告诉三宝妈妈要出门一下,让爸爸陪同他们时,他们的哭泣和百般抗拒总让我深感愧疚和不安。就这样,我打消了念头,不知过了多长时间才终于学会排解内疚感。现在,我重新拾起友谊,偶尔和好友聚一聚,共享欢乐时光。


我虽不是一名完美的妈妈,却希望能为孩子树立一个好榜样,做他们引以为傲的母亲。台湾心灵作家黄淑文说过:“只要活出你自己要给孩子的典范,孩子自然会成长为他们所看见的人。” 这句话说的是,你想要孩子长大后成为怎么样的人,你自己本身就要先做个怎么样的人。我希望我的孩子能勇于追求梦想,所以我要向他们证明只要坚持不懈,终究会有梦想实现的一天。我希望我的孩子能乐观面对人生,所以我要更积极地看待自己的生活。我希望我的孩子能舞出生命,所以我就算在年老的时候,也要努力活出最好的自己。

不管是以前或是现在,我还是我。我仍然有自己的爱好、对生活的热忱和追逐的梦想。妈妈们,千万别把自己给忘了,懂得爱自己,才能把爱传递给孩子和身边的每一个人。


This article appeared in my column titled 快乐妈咪 in 联合早报副刊 on 23 Sep 2019. Do keep a lookout for my posts on every 4th Monday of the month, yeah? 


Our first family Moon Walk {Hello Kitty Run 2019}

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 17, 2019
in

We were all excited to join in our first Hello Kitty Run and best of all, it was going to be a night walk that would take place in one of our favourite places in Singapore - Gardens by the Bay!

The girls and I love Hello Kitty because this Japanese bobtail cat is just too kawaii and over the years, we've acquired Hello Kitty stuffed toys, dresses, shirts, bags, stationery, accessories and more. We also had a blast when we visited Hello Kitty Town a few years ago and even went for a tour in her house too. This was going to be our first time taking part in the Hello Kitty Run, which is the 4th edition in Singapore, and the kids and I were stoked to receive the pretty purple race tees before the event. Definitely one of my favourite tees so far!

The Hello Kitty Run: Moon Walk Edition was slated to take place on 7 Sept at 7pm. However, it seemed that the sun loved us a little too much that day because it refused to set and therefore the flag off was delayed in wanting for it to truly be a night walk.


That was good news for us because guess what? For the first time, we forgot to bring along our race bibs! 怎么会这样?

I had made sure that I packed everything in our bag the night before, including ironing our shirts, charging my camera battery and packing the Hello Kitty LED lanterns and race bibs into our backpack. So what happened? Well, I conveniently left the bag at our shoe rack area thinking that the hubby, who was the last to step out, would take it along with him. On the other hand, he assumed that I had brought it out with me already. Somehow, we didn't realise what happened UNTIL we reached The Meadows at Gardens by the Bay and had found a nice parking lot.

I went to the information counter to ask if we could reprint the bibs and they said yes, at $14 per bib. As for the lanterns, we could get one for $18. Uh oh, not cheap. So we decided that the hubby would rush home to retrieve our bag while I took the kids to jalan jalan and check out the booths at the event square.

Look! There were so many Hello Kitties all around for phototaking and you could spend a long time just queuing up at each of them. This topiary of Hello Kitty was too cute and creative and was immensely popular with the run participants.


The kids were quick to spot the huge balloons floating in the air and the giant inflatables of Hello Kitty. If you ever have to meet your friends and choose a point to gather, I think these make pretty good and obvious spots.


One of my favourite backdrops was the tunnel formed by over a hundred lanterns, so beautiful! I am so thankful that the kids are quite cooperative when it comes to phototaking, even the boy who was probably more interested to come down and roll on the grass or do something more fun.




We heard that the Ribena booth was giving out free Ribena but a look at the queue made us decide that we would just go for the plain water instead. Haha. That came in at the perfect time because whaddaya know, our water bottles were all left behind in the bag too. So my thirsty kids were only too happy to drink cups and cups of water.



After we had checked out most of the Instagrammable spots, we took a walk and realised that the J'Kids Amusement was just beside and there were a few fun rides for the kids. So yup, thankfully I had my wallet and our fun card with us and the kids were too happy to go on a ride as we waited for the flag off and for Papa to return.

It's the little brother's first time on the pirate ship and he couldn't stop laughing throughout! So funny or so fun? Anyway, it was a good way to get them warmed up and into the happy mood because they were going to walk a total of 5km later! Yes, it was going to be a long walk under the moonlit sky!


There were thousands of participants that evening and I was impressed by how many people came to join in the race. Look at that queue! That was only a small part of the crowd for the first flag off - we had a total of three flag offs!


Finally, the sky darkened and the race was going to begin! But........ the hubby was nowhere in sight yet because there was apparently a jam so we decided to wait for the last flag off in the hope that he could join us. In the meantime, we managed to see a little of the LED performances at the starting point, which even included a dragon and lion dance too. Of course, Hello Kitty made her appearance to welcome the race participants too and the kids, and many of the adults too, were delighted to see her on stage.





Just before the third and last flag off, the hubby called to say that he was nearing but wasn't able to park as the carpark was full. So he passed us the bag, drove off to park somewhere else and told me to start the race with the kids and he would join us after. Sure, I thought, no big deal for someone who solo parents on weekdays, right? Or so I thought.


We set up our lanterns, dropped our lucky draw coupons and queued up for the final flag off. I loved how pretty our lanterns looked and was reminded that this night walk was such a great way for us to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival as a family.



Let the race, or rather walk, begin! Things started off well and we were excited that the route was going to bring us past the beautiful lanterns light up at Gardens by the Bay. The good thing about this being a non-competitive, leisure family walk was that we were free to stop anytime to take a photo or just catch our breaths.




It turned out that less than 10 minutes into the walk, the littlest was starting to feel overwhelmed by the crowd, the darkness and the I-don't-know-what-else and started wailing and demanding to be carried. I tried bargaining with him and even bribing him but all failed and after a while, I was quite sure that my arms were breaking and couldn't go much further. 老公,你到底在哪里?

The good thing was the girls were sweet to spring to my rescue and offered to help me carry my bag and all the barang barang so I could focus on carrying their baby brother. Awwww, thanks my dears.



We decided to take a break at the field opposite Marina Bay Sands because the hubby told us he was walking over from there and I reckoned I needed his arm power. It didn't matter that as a result, we were almost the last ones in the race because all I hoped for us to do was to complete it as a family.

Thanks to the organisers, we had a couple of water breaks in between and to the kids' delight, we were told that we could have a yoghurt drink to replenish ourselves. Yay!



I have to say that walking 5km at night feels different from walking 5km in the day and after quite a long time, we realised that we only finished 2km! Haha. It's probably because we were all feeling famished as we were unable to rush for dinner before the race.


Thankfully, the kids have a smart Papa who somehow knew that they would be feeling hungry and he had bought food along the way! So the kids managed to get a boost of energy by eating sushis and gyozas - we even stopped for a toilet break and had a few quick mouths of Udon soup - and I think we were the envy of many along the way.

The route also brought us to some parts of the gardens where we had never been before and it was a realisation that we still had much to explore in this place.


After nearly two hours, we finally made it to the finishing line! Hip hip hooray! Yup, I was so glad we did it together despite the few hiccups at the start.

The kids were thrilled to receive a mooncake each and a very beautiful medal with a Hello Kitty symbol on it. You deserve everything for all your hard work, dear kids!




This was our only family photo of the night but it was too dark to capture a decent shot, haha. Better than none, right?


So while we had a picnic and finished the rest of our dinner, we got to enjoy the performances on stage too. The kids wanted to stay till the end because of their high hopes for the lucky draw, haha. I love their sense of wonder and innocence, and hope that they will never lose it. Even though we didn't win anything in the end, we took home loads of precious memories and a sense of achievement for completing our first moon walk.

The good thing about staying till the very end was that we managed to get to the front of the stage and get up close with Hello Kitty and enjoy the lion dance before we called it a night.





This was surely a night to remember and I hope it will be the start of many more night walks for our family! A family that walks together stays together, yeah?


Disclosure: We received a media invite to join Hello Kitty Run 2019: Moon Walk Edition. All photos and opinions are my own.


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