Glad to have you in my world

Posted by ~Summer~ on 24.10.14
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It was the day we had been looking forward to. After months of singing, dancing and rehearsing, Angel was going to perform for the second time at her annual school concert. Why, this time, even the little sister had learnt all the dance steps because we practised so much at home and that was something hilarious and yet classic when the two of them danced together.

It was regrettable that the hubby was away and thus the girl would not be able to perform live in front of her daddy. Nonetheless, I had told her she would need to do her best because not only was Mummy going to record the whole performance down to show Daddy, I also brought with me the entourage of grandparents. Yup, both my parents and in-laws were there to support and cheer her on! Wouldn't you love to see your grandchild performing when you are a grandparent too? I would think so.

I had sent Angel to school at 7:30am that morning and was full of anticipation when I arrived at the theatre. What amazed me was that even though we were 35 minutes early, all the front seats were already taken up and we could only settle for a middle row seat. Wow. That made me think hard about how early I have to come when it is my girl's turn to graduate next year.

Although her dance was the finale performance for the concert, we were very much entertained throughout by the dancing and skit put up by all the other students. I especially loved to watch the kids in the playgroup (18-24 months) dance, or rather sway, because they looked way too adorable. And when it came to the Kindergarten 2 kids, who were dressed in their graduation gowns and mortarboards, to give their thank you speeches, I don't know why but tears started to roll down my cheeks.  

They spoke on friendship, teachers, school life and the things that made them grateful. Although I know the text probably came from the teachers, they still tugged at my heart and I felt every bit of those emotions on a Saturday morning. I'm not sure if the tears were those of joy, a realisation of how fast time flies or because I was genuinely touched by everything that happened. Likely all of the above.

And wait, these were not even my kids but I felt them. I really did.

What will happen when it is my girl's turn to take it to the centre of the stage and give her speech next year? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need more than one packet of tissue.

That's the thing about firstborns, right? You go through so many milestones, achievements and unforgettable moments with them that you are not sure how your heart can withstand it sometimes. I'm not saying that the second child is any less important but at least you are more of an expert in controlling your emotions when that time comes. But for the first child, you really don't know when these feelings start to stir inside you and you also can't stop yourself from being overwhelmed when they decide to gush out.


So that day, I was once again a proud mama and I was secretly happy that the moment the stage curtains opened, she gazed around for me and once our eyes met, they never left each other. In fact, it seemed like I was the one who was giving her the confidence and the motivation to carry on dancing. And she, she never stopped smiling her happy smile and never showed any sign of fatigue or giving up. Like what I wanted her to do, she enjoyed the whole show from start to end and that, to me, was the most important thing. 

Dear Angel, I just want you to know you did a most awesome job and would have made any mummy proud of you. Of course, I'm so glad I happen to be your mummy and it's really my good fortune to have you in my life. You were like a gem that day, shining bright on stage and lighting up my world. You see, hard work really does pay off and for all the efforts you put into rehearsing, they helped to shape you into a better, stronger and more confident girl. 

Time flies and next year, you will be graduating from your preschool and bidding farewell to all of these friends whom you love dearly. You will move into another phase of life and though there will be challenges and setbacks lying ahead, I know you will learn to overcome them one by one and grow up into the mature, independent and kind girl that you are deep down.



The world is small yet big at the same time. I am thankful we found each other. 

Love you always and forever.

Or like what you always say to me nowadays, I love you from head to toe.

Hugs and kisses,
Mummy

Creativity 521 #55 - A Tangled Birthday Invitation

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.10.14
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Oh yeah, it is time for that exciting part of the year once again. Party planning!! That means my kids are going to turn a year older very soon. You know, I always get mixed feelings when their big days come because as much as I am happy to see that they are growing up well, getting taller and turning wiser, I also wish to stop time and hang onto the moments when I can still cradle, caress and carry them while they are still tiny beings.

Anyway, back to the topic, for this issue of Creativity 521, I'm unveiling the theme for Angel's 5th birthday party. Think purple, tower, hair and I think you will get it.

Yes, it's going to be a RAPUNZEL themed party this year. She chose it herself and I'm just more than happy to oblige and think of ways to decorate our place and plan games that revolve around this favourite Disney princess of hers. But first, we have to get the birthday invitation done, so check out what we did!

Materials used:

1) A4 purple metallic cards (290gsm)
2) Thick pink paper
3) Light purple copier paper
4) White cardboard
5) Yellow yarn
6) Ribbon roses
7) Scissors
8) Craft knife
9) Rainbow loom bands
10) Long ruler
11) White glue
12) Hot glue and glue gun
13) Sticky tape

Firstly, I drew Rapunzel's Tower in three parts onto a piece of white cardboard and cut them out separately. These will act as the template which will be the shape of our invite.

Tip: For the crenels of the tower and the window, you might want to use a craft knife instead of a scissors to ensure a clean cut.

Next, I used the template and traced out the main body of the tower on the purple metallic card. I chose to use these cards because not only are they stiff and thick, they have this pearlescent look which I thought would look great for the tower.

I used the same paper for the roof of the tower but for the window, just to give it some variation, I traced it out on the pink paper instead. Once you are done tracing, cut them out neatly with the scissors and craft knife.

For the body of the invite, I did a simple design on Photoshop and formatted the text into an hour glass shape so that it will fit into the tower. Note that for all the pictures in this post, I have masked some text so as to keep our address and contact private.

Just to make it easier to cut, I also did an hour glass template using the cardboard and used this to outline and cut out the text of the invite.

Next, I stuck the text onto the main body of the tower using glue.

To finish the tower, I also placed the window and roof in place and glued them together.

Tip: To stick the roof onto the window, apply a thin line of glue along the top border of the pink paper. To stick these onto the tower, apply glue at the back of the purple paper and not the pink paper so that there will not be glue at the crenels.

This is how the invite should look like now! Almost done! Oh wait, there is something missing from the tower, right? Of course! It's Rapunzel's hair!

Now, for the hair, I cut out six strands of yarn (mine was around 10" each), tied them together with a loom band on one end and started to plait. Once that was done, I tied the other end with a second band.

Tip: To make it easier to plait, rest something heavy, for instance a book, on the top end of the yarn so that it stays put.

After that, I inserted the hair through the window from the front and secured it with sticky tape at the back as shown.

Lastly, just because Rapunzel's hair always has pretty flowers on it, I used the hot glue to stick on some ribbon roses. I thought these looked really pretty and they made the plait look so feminine and sweet.

And voila! It's completed!! Now, once you start to get the hang of it, it actually gets simpler and faster to make the rest!


Within a day, we finished all our invites and we are hoping our guests will be excited to receive them. Just so I wanted the birthday girl to put in her own effort and personalise the cards, she was tasked to write every of her friend's name using a gold pen. I had given her the liberty to decide on her own guest list this year so she was really thrilled to write down the names of her good friends from school.

One lesson that I once learnt from a party planning book is that it is always recommended to keep the group small so that everyone gets to enjoy thoroughly. In fact, the secret formula is: No. of guests = Age of birthday child + 1. I know, that does sound little so I would say the No. of guests could be kept to Age of child + 2. Or at most 3. We had 6 guests last year for Angel's Dora party which turned out to be a smashing success and every kid really had fun interacting and participating in all the games, which was what I had hoped for.

So, with all the names written, we are now ready to invite our guests and get ourselves into the partying mood soon! I hope to keep the party simple yet fun and memorable for my dearest and her beloved friends!

Till more updates on Angel turning 5!!

For more crafts and DIY tutorials, visit my gallery here.

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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!

Kiss kiss - Ariel's 16th-18th months

Posted by ~Summer~ on 18.10.14
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K-I-S-S.

That is probably the word I say to Ariel the most at this stage of her life. H-U-G might come in second but it won't even be close. Yeap, I confess, I can be really mushy and saccharine with my kids. After all, I face them 24/7 and I think a kiss and a hug can do wonders to what might be just another tough day in the motherhood journey. Plus, that is just our way of showing our love for one another.

Anyway, just before Ariel turned one and a half year old, she showed us how she got this gene of mine and that she was happy to shower others with cute kisses and sweet hugs. I am serious, you gotta check out her signature pout in this video that has won over the hearts of many relatives and friends. My mum and dad are always amused and delighted by this sweet little darling and like what many people say, she is just a cheerful pie who brings so much happiness to us and yes, for me, she is a dream come true.

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Dearest Ariel,

You are one and a half year old already! Oh wow, time passes so quickly even though Mummy is here to see you grow up every minute and every day, right? You can now walk, run, hop, jump and you always try to imitate the things that jiejie does, like hanging from the handrail in the elevator which is one of your favourites. 

Every morning when jiejie is not home, we will have a couple of hours to ourselves, just me and you. Sometimes, Mummy feels so guilty about blogging or getting the chores done that all I wish to do is to chuck everything away and concentrate on the precious mummy-daughter time we have together. I always wonder if I shortchange you as my second child because it seems like we do less of crafting, playing and learning, and if I ever did, I am so sorry.

You know what makes you rejoice? It's when the clock strikes one and it's time to go 'gai gai' and fetch your dearest big sister. I don't know if it's the going out part or the seeing jiejie part that makes you so happy, but you sure are over the moon when you see jiejie and the two of you will give each other a hug and a kiss. So sweet, just so sweet. 

We brought you to many places including the Night Safari, River Safari, LEGOLAND Malaysia and even Disneyland in Hong Kong! Woah. Just like jiejie, you love all the animals, coloured bricks, fun rides and the cute Disney characters. I always remember Goofy gave you a scare when he held your face with his hands and tried to kiss you. Haha. That was your first encounter with a mascot but you soon plucked up enough courage to come close to all of them, hug them and even kiss them on their noses. Though you will never be as well-travelled as jiejie who was born and raised in Europe, I hope we will be able to take you to different parts of the world and have a great family holiday every year, okay? 

Mummy is really happy to have two lovelies in my life. I love going on 3-girls dates with you all and because of the two of you, life is never boring or lonely anymore. I hope you two can remember to be as close and as loving always - to laugh together, bathe and splash around together, sing together, dance a funny dance together, brush teeth together, hold each other's hand when we are out, give up your favourite sweet to each other, and always look out and protect each other. Remember that there's nothing more important than love in this world and you have a sister, a dad and a mum who love you so, so dearly.

Happy 18th months, my love, enjoy watching your video!

Love,
Mummy



For more of Angel's and Ariel's growing up videos, visit my gallery here.

A cooler and safer home {3M Prestige Window Films}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 14.10.14
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Hot. Hot. Hot. 

This was our first sensation when we returned to the tropical country after years of experiencing the four seasons in a land where heaters took the place of air-conditioners. While we are quite an outdoorsy family who loves the sun, too much of it can never be a good thing.

Subsequently, we shifted into our HDB flat and were impressed to see that these newer flats came with full and three quarter height windows in the living room and bedrooms. Who doesn't love a great view? I like the fact that we get to look at greenery and enjoy the presence of natural light but at the same time, I am also aware that sunlight can create excessive heat, fade furnishing and prolonged exposure to it can bring about other devastating consequences.

When the sun glares, the kids' room and our bedroom can get exceedingly hot in the afternoons.
It is every parent's wish to protect his or her children and keep them out of harm's way. That is why as a mum, I try to protect the girls from the damaging effects of the sun by applying sunscreen whenever we head out for long periods of time. However, many a time, I neglect the fact that even in the comfort of our house, they are constantly exposed to one of the most powerful, invisible and yet pervasive enemy - Ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Did you know?

Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation. There are three main types of UV rays:
UV-A rays – the longer rays which penetrate the skin deeply and cause wrinkling and tanning.
UV-B rays – the shorter rays which cause burning.
UV-C rays - absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and do not reach earth. 

The harmful effects from exposure to UV radiation can be classified as acute or chronic. The acute effects of UV-A and UV-B exposure are short-lived and reversible - including sunburn and tanning. However, the chronic effects of UV exposure can be much more serious, sometimes even life threatening - including premature aging of the skin, suppression of the immune system, damage to the eyes and skin cancer.

If you think window panes help to keep out UV rays, think again. It has been proven that UV rays can penetrate through three feet of water and in particular, UV-A rays can reach your skin through glass. Considering these astonishing facts and being a stay-at-home mum who spends much of the day indoors, I was really thankful to be introduced to 3M Prestige Window Films and its far-reaching benefits.

3M is the only manufacturer that produces its own raw materials, giving it quality control and product consistency unmatched by others
Features of 3M Prestige Window Films:

1) Multi-layer optical film technology 

2) Reject up to 97% of the sun’s infrared heat 

3) Block up to 99.9% of harmful UV rays 

4) Non-corrosive films 

5) Minimise reflectivity 

To read more information about the benefits of the 3M Window Films, go here.

The start of my journey into the world of window films and all the benefits they can bring.

Consultation
Thanks to Jestac, 3M authorised distributor, I was kindly introduced to the deceivingly complex concept of window films. I have to admit that I knew nothing much about it previously and for some reason, had assumed window films were more for commercial than residential use.

It wasn't long before I started to marvel at the difference a thin layer of almost invisible film could make. When using a transmission meter to measure the visible light and infrared light levels, I was also impressed to discover that 3M does not over-claim in their specs as these are backed by international testing methodology (ASTM Standards). It was a relief to know the fact that being such a reputable company around the world, 3M owns the first patent for window films in 1966 and has many years of experience with window films. It also gives me a peace of mind knowing that 3M has a local technical consultant who will be able to provide me the necessary technical support should any issue arise. While most other brands source for films around the world, 3M is not just the manufacturer of the film but the adhesive as well. Did I also mention that the Prestige Window Films come with 15 years of warranty and this warranty comes from 3M itself?

The 3M Prestige series has a collection of four different window films - you can select your preferred level of tint which will determine the level of visible light transmitted. All four films reject up to 99.9% of UV rays and up to 97% of infrared light.
Installation
As with all renovation and repair works, I was initially apprehensive if the installation of the window films would be a hassle. It turned out that it was carried out in a modular manner and the films, which had already been measured and cut out to fit the panes, were put into place one by one. All I had to do was to clean the windows and ledges beforehand and leave the rest to the professionals from Jestac.

Judging from how it took three men nearly three hours to install the window films in three rooms, I think they did a most detailed and careful job, ensuring that every piece of film was securely and neatly stuck on. After installation, we were told to let the film dry and leave it untouched for a week. In fact, for maintenance purpose, we should never use newspapers or rough fabrics, only microfiber cloths to clean the windows.

The installation did not look easy at all and the contractors needed to clean the windows, wet the film with water, put it in place onto a pane, press down neatly and then cut away the extras with a craft knife. The smaller the pane, the more challenging it became.
Results
From the four shades available in the Prestige series, I chose to go with PR50 which was the second darkest shade. I wanted a film that could reject more visible light but yet was worried if the darkest shade would end up causing the house to look too dim. Even though this was the second darkest, I was very impressed to see that it did not make as much of a visual difference as I had expected.

This is how our living room window panes look after installation.
These two pictures below were shot with the same camera through the same window pane at similar times of the day, both before and after installation. These are raw pictures that have not been edited or enhanced in any way, other than cropping for better comparison. Can you see the difference?

I think the difference is there but it is barely noticeable. It feels good knowing that the natural light still comes in but the UV rays and infrared light are now kept out!
Overall, in terms of visual difference, I would say the rooms look only slightly, and indistinctly, dimmer than before. However, in terms of physical difference, the house definitely feels cooler from the very first day the window films were put in place. Other than conserving energy cost and longer-lasting furnishing, what else does that mean for me as a mum?

Well, it means many other more important things too.

Like how I am now comfortable to see my kids playing by the window in the hot afternoon.

Like how I feel assured with the knowledge that we are well protected from the invisible enemy.


Like how I am happy knowing that even though I can't protect my kids 100% of the time, at least I am doing my best to keep them healthy and safe.

Cooler, safer and more comfortable - thanks to 3M Prestige Window Films. We'll definitely continue to work towards a better home for our family!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation between 3M and A Happy Mum. All opinions are our own.

A holiday haven {Review and Giveaway of HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 13.10.14
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Everyone likes to go on holidays, am I right to say so? We are definitely the type of family who likes to travel to see more of the world and there are times when we just feel like going on a spontaneous getaway.

The thing is, you can't really be that spontaneous in making bookings when it involves air tickets, car rental, week-long cruises or long road trips. So when we wish to go for a quick retreat, the first thing that comes to our mind is take the ferry and go to islands not that far from our shore. Of course, Batam has to be one of them.

I remember when the hubby and I visited Batam as a couple, we would look out for things like beach resorts, water sports, spas, shopping, fresh seafood and late night parties. Now that we are parents with two kids, we naturally tend to think more for the needs and wants of the little ones and would prefer a destination that is more family-friendly.

When we knew that HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam was going to sponsor us a 3D2N family stay, you bet we were all thrilled because that meant packing our luggage and going on a much needed leisure trip. Today, I'm sharing with you all about our experience at the resort and the fun-filled activities we did!

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ACCESSIBILITY

One good thing about visiting Batam is that it is really easy, convenient and quick to get there. The ferry ride takes only around 45 minutes! To get to Batam Waterfront, you would have to take the SINDO Ferry that departs from Harbourfront Centre. We booked our tickets only two days before but my advice is to pre-book especially if you are going on weekends or peak periods.



One return (2-way) ticket costs S$34 for an adult and S$24 for a child (0-11). From now till 31 March 2015, if you are a SAFRA member, you can enjoy S$10 off per adult for every return ticket. Once we got our tickets and deposited our luggage, we went for brunch at Toast Box and the kids were really excited to spot the vessel even though it was a far cry from the stupendous cruise liner we went on last year.




The ferry arrived right on time and I must say it actually felt awesome to be travelling on a Sunday and to be departing when most guests were arriving. That meant, as you can see, we nearly had the whole ship to ourselves! I do think there are both pros and cons of visiting a holiday destination during peak and non-peak periods, don't you agree?

I have to hereby remind you to hush the kids, as hard as it sounds, at the Batam customs as the immigration officers are now strict on enforcing rules and will deport any visitor who breaks the silence. We were lucky that there was no crowd when we arrived, therefore it took less than five minutes for us to be cleared. It would be sad to have to return to Singapore after all the anticipation for a fun holiday, right?


The moment we got past the customs, we were greeted by the friendly staff of HARRIS, who was so kind to help with our luggage and lead us to the striking orange shuttle bus waiting outside. The shuttle service is a complimentary service provided for all guests and it only takes five minutes to reach the resort from the ferry terminal.

Once we walked into the lobby, the kids were delighted to lay their hands on the refreshing welcome drinks and couldn't wait to take pictures with the dinosaur mascot. Even though our room was not yet ready till 2pm and we had to hang around, I must say everything got off to a great start.

ROOM

HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam has a total of 308 fully renovated rooms in its old and new wings, including suites, residences and themed rooms like Japanese room and Beach Front Cabanas. We were lucky to get one of the eight Family Rooms located on the ground floor in the old wing and we absolutely loved every part of it. I can definitely say that this is one of our favourite rooms in all the places we have stayed in, and believe it, it's quite a long list!







King-sized bed, double decker bed with pull out bed, couch, rattan armchair, bar fridge, huge closet, hairdryer, bathtub and even a cute table and chairs for the kids - we had all the amenities we needed and more. What I loved most about our room was the beautiful pool view and a glass door that opened up to the porch which was complete with deck chairs. You bet this made it convenient for us to go for a dip anytime!

That said, I have to be honest and tell you that we did spot, and we did kill, a couple of mosquitoes in our room. You do have to treat this resort more like a chalet kind of place and not a luxury hotel, yeah?

FOOD

HARRIS Café, the signature restaurant in the resort, is where you will most likely dine in unless you plan to eat out for all three meals of the day. The place gives off a homely ambience with the bright yellow pillars, orange chairs, friendly staff and panoramic view of the pool.

While we were waiting for our room to be ready on the first day, we hopped by for some quick pizza and I must say it was really quite yummy. In fact, I do think I prefer its pizza menu over its lunch buffet and not surprisingly, the kids were happy we chose to go with the former.







I would have loved to try out the New Zealand steaks at the newly opened H Grill & Bar, which is an al fresco seaside casual grill and bar. However, it was closed when we were there and thus we settled our first day dinner with a dinner buffet at HARRIS Café and on the second day, we decided to opt for room service so we could laze in the comfort of our spacious room.



While I wouldn't say the food was bad, it also wasn't that exciting or impressive. Especially after we just had a seafood lunch at a kelong restaurant in Barelang (more to come on that in a later section). If you do eat at HARRIS Café, my recommendation would be to go À la carte and try the Bebek Balado (Deep fried duck with red chilli paste) or the Sop Buntut Rebus (Traditional Oxtail Soup). Or, to be safe, just go for pasta or pizza.





As for breakfast, you can expect the usual offerings like omelettes, cereal, fried noodles, fried rice, porridge, bread, cheese, pancakes, pastry and on top of that, you do occasionally get more unique dishes like kuay teow in Tom Yum soup, nasi lemak and Ariel's favourite was the steamed bananas. The husband was also particularly impressed by how these fresh, sweet and succulent mangosteens were served at breakfast on one morning



I do think that breakfast is an important meal of the day so I was glad that the girls got their tummies filled before we went in search of more adventure.

FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES

Now, for the fun part of our stay! I have to first show you more pictures of the awesome freeform swimming pool since it was one of the favourite parts of our stay. If I have to say it again, this pool is HUGE! Like really huge.

It was also very inviting to swim and from the moment we saw it, Ariel would keep dragging us there and even attempted to take off all her clothes so she could jump in. Not kidding.






I love the unique, beautiful design of the pool and kids can have fun crossing the bridge, throwing some hoops, shooting goals or simply have fun in the wading pool. As for the adults, if you are not a fan of the hot sun, then you can always opt for the outdoor lounge beds which come with a canopy so you can rest in the shade and read your favourite book while keeping an eye on the kids.

My only wish is that if this place had slides for the little ones, everything would be even more perfect! In any case, do remember to bring along some water toys for your kids and they'll be kept really busy and happy.






At HARRIS, the fun never stops for the kids. That is because the Dino Kids Club has an abundance of fun activities to offer these young guests every single day! From hand painting, movie screening, fun fishing, cooking classes to games and more, you bet there is plenty of things to keep the kids entertained.

Although you can find a list of the activity program in the room catalogue, we realised that they are subject to changes and thus it is best to head over to the club to check with the staff on the actual timings and activities.



Just so you know, the resort is pretty big and so it can be a short walk to get from your room to the Dino Kids Club, which is located at the ground floor of a building where all the indoor facilities are housed.





Inside the club, you can find toys, slides, swings and colouring materials for the children to play with. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and other than a couple of staff, the whole place was empty! You bet that made the girls shriek with joy to think that they could have the whole playground to themselves.





The activity that thrilled us the most at Dino Kids Club was the fun fishing. You know, the funny thing is the hubby and I were quite skeptical when we heard it and so we asked the lady "Fishing as in fishing? Not with toy fishes?". She must have been very amused by our question from the way she laughed and assured us by saying "Yes, they will get to fish real fish."

So, at 4pm, we made our way to the pond armed with bread and fishing rods. Not surprisingly, this place had more mosquitoes than we would have liked but I tell you, for that first fishing experience and that sense of achievement on the kids' faces, it was definitely worth it.


Just so you know, anyone and everyone will be able to catch some fish because it's really easy! Don't believe me? Well, Angel caught 12 on her own! Of course, it is only nice to release the fish back into the pond and that was what we did. Even the little sister caught a couple of fish and boy was she ecstatic about it!


Now, since HARRIS is a family-friendly holiday destination, there's bound to be some enjoyment for everyone. Apart from the kids, adults can also choose to play or indulge in some of the indoor activities including a spa with 31 treatments available, paint ball, bowling, shooting targets, foot reflexology, fitness centre, billiard and so on.




For the first time in a long while, I allowed myself to be away from the kids and went for a 60-minute traditional Indonesian massage. It felt really awesome to relax those muscles after so long and I do think the short session had a powerful, therapeutic effect on me.

You know, I would have loved to try out the outdoor paint ball or air soft gun battle if we had enough people to form a team. Nope, not keen on teaming up with the kids and fighting against the hubby. So, I had to be contented with a short 10-minute shooting target session where the hubby and I fired 50 bullets using a rifle and a pistol. I must say we did really well and I kind of think I'm not that bad compared to the marksman because he was pretty impressed that I managed to hit even a small silver coin!




If you are more keen on outdoor sports, then you will be glad to know that HARRIS also offers activities like banana boat rides, cable skiing, canoeing, flying fox and ATV motor ride. Previously, I would have loved to try these out but with two young kids who are unable to enjoy any of them, plus considering that the whole of Waterfront was rather peaceful and uneventful on weekdays, we decided to just head to a nearby quiet part of the beach near the swamps.

I have to say that the water appeared a little murky and swimming is probably not allowed at the beach. Not that we would think of swimming here when we had the fantastic pool at our doorstep. But guess what, we found treasure at the beach! By that, I do mean crabs, mudskippers, shellfish, snails and even starfish! These were gems in the eyes of the kids and we managed to see so many of them at low tide which really thrilled everyone.











For me, I feel blessed to have a hubby who not only is great at spotting even the tiniest living creatures, but he is always there to accompany and impart general knowledge to the kids when we are at the beach. And to have two girly girls who are yet not afraid to step into the sea, dig in the mud or even hold a crab with their fingers, I think that is even more awesome.











After every visit to the beach, we went back to the resort with dirty feet, sandy clothes and big smiles. Honestly, when was the last time we slowed down our footsteps to breathe in the fresh air, get close to mother nature and enjoy the simple joy that life has to offer? I really think we should do this more often.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Being a small city in Batam, you don't expect to see many attractions or places of interest in Waterfront or its nearby surroundings. If you are into shopping, you can consider taking the bus shuttle from the resort to Nagoya Hill, which is the biggest shopping mall in Batam and even catch a movie there. The shuttle only runs once on weekdays and twice on weekends, and costs around S$10 per person for a 2-way ticket.

For us, we chose to go sightseeing and headed to one of Batam's most famous icons - Barelang Bridge, which was a 20 minutes drive away. The Barelang Bridge is a chain of six bridges that connect the islands of Batam, Rempang, and Galang. The full stretch of all the bridges total to two kilometers and the distance from first bridge to the last is about 50km long which takes a travelling time of about 50 minutes.




Well, for practical reasons, we did not make it to the last bridge and were contented to just see the cable-stayed Tengku Fisabilillah bridge that connects Batam Island and Tonton Island. What we were more interested in was the Barelang Seafood Restaurant as our stomachs were growling after a morning swim, plus a visit to Batam is never complete without a good seafood meal.




Touted as the biggest seafood restaurant in Batam (yes, this place is enormous), we were delighted to see that there was a kelong where all the live fishes were kept. A quick check with the staff revealed that we could choose the seafood we wanted and get the chefs to cook them right away. Now, talk about freshness!

There was a wide selection of seafood including lobsters, crabs, squids, prawns, crayfish and many types of fish! The kids were really excited to walk around looking at the fish and observing how they were caught. Why, thanks to a nice uncle, Angel even got to fish while we were waiting for the food and she caught a tiny little fish which we let back into the sea.


It was time to tuck in! We had with us our friendly hosts from HARRIS who were so kind as to show us the way to this part of the island. In fact, they said they had never eaten the live seafood from the kelong here and so it was our pleasure to treat them to a delightful meal. To me, it's not just about blogging or advertising, it's also about making friends from all over the world and I was glad I got to know them better through a hearty chat about kids, family, education and cultures.



Our picks for the day were crayfish, squid and pomfrets along with an egg dish, tofu dish and vegetable dish. All these, including drinks like fresh coconut and beer, cost us only S$60 which the hubby said was really inexpensive. We did wish that there were less flies interested in our food because it seemed like we had to shoo them every five seconds or so in between eating, talking and feeding the kids.



Nonetheless, it was a fun-filled and enjoyable afternoon outing for us and we were really thankful to have been there and done that!

*****

It's not often that I get to take nice sunset pictures so I'm sharing with you more of the awe-inspiring beach scenery. The beautiful yolk not only heated the waters and the sand, it warmed our hearts so deep that we will remember this place for a long, long time to come.










Carefree days. Relaxed minds. Peaceful life. Loving family. We did nothing much but we had everything we needed and more. Not surprisingly, we returned home with renewed souls and happy hearts. 

Thank you, HARRIS Resort, for the precious memories and wonderful holiday you gave to us!

******

Now, how does a couple retreat and spa sound to you?

As always, I'm happy to be able to share good things with my readers so if you are interested in a getaway to HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam, here's your chance to win!

Terms and Conditions 
- Voucher is inclusive of
     >  2D1N stay for a HARRIS Room
     > Buffet breakfast for 2 persons
     > One hour Indonesian massage for 2 persons
- Valid from 13 Oct 2014 to 12 Jan 2015.
- Can be used for both weekdays and weekends (exclude Public Holidays).
- Accommodation dates are subject to availability. Blackout dates apply.
- Original voucher must be presented upon arrival and is not transferable.
- This giveaway is open to readers worldwide and two different winners will be picked.

For those who would like to bring the kids
Now, I am a mum who likes to bring the kids when I travel and I know many of you will wish to bring your children along too. So, I have checked with HARRIS and this is what I can gather:
- Children under the age of 12 (maximum two children per room and using the existing bedding) will be accommodated free of charge if sharing with one or two adults in the same room.
- One extra bed can be added at S$35 and includes breakfast.
- For an upgrade to the Family Room (which is the one we stayed in), it will cost an additional S$40, including breakfast for everyone.
- The above is subject to confirmation and for more booking, pricing or room information, the winners will need to contact HARRIS Resort directly.

How to participate
1) Leave a comment at the end of this post with your name, email address and tell me the activity you would most like to do at HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam.
2) 'Like' HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam on Facebook here.

Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done the above steps. To gain more chances of winning, you can choose to follow the rest of the options. Best of luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: A Happy Mum is the first family blogger from Singapore to be sponsored by HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam and we received a 3D2N accommodation in the HARRIS Family Room. All ferry transport, meals (excluding breakfast), spa and activities were paid by ourselves. All opinions are our own.

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