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Perth, Margaret River, Amaz

You probably have read about our Perth trip HERE and HERE. If not, why not? Haha…

Our trips to Australia had so far been amazing and second to the farmstay at Margaret River, Sonia and Arnold loved hanging out at A Maze in Margaret River (the name is a pun).

AMAZE’N IN MARGARET RIVER, PERTH

Perth, Margaret River, A maze

You could easily spent half a day here! There were so much to see and do. The main attraction there was the HUGE MAZE.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

And here’s a picture before we start our journey through the maze.
Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

It was awesome! We liked the clean hedges with nice benches in the middle of the maze to take breathers. If you wondered how long we took to complete the maze, don’t bother guessing. We didn’t complete the maze only because I was afraid of getting lost in there. First, we left our diaper bag with the grandparents (that means, no diapers, no water bottles, no nothing). Second, phone signal was weak there (if we did get lost, there was no way to communicate with the people outside the maze). Yes, I chickened out and the rest had to follow. Next time, maybe.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Besides the huge maze, there were plenty other smaller mazes as well.
Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

The kids must follow a path that runs up a hill and find their way to the rock in the middle.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Hurray! Finally up here! Arnold cheated though. He walked straight up without following the route. Haha… Anyhow, there were so much fun and laugher!

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

After so much running, the kids got tired and sat on the rock, but not for long. Soon after, they were running around again. I was lucky to capture ‘the moment’.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

I know “Amaze’n” is all about the mazes but there were more than that! If you are interested, you can rent golf balls and sticks and have a game at the 18-hole amaze mini golf ground. We didn’t play golf because I didn’t want anyone hurt. I’m so certain the golf club is going to go every direction.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

So we continued our journey…Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

and we found a life size tic tac toe, chess, and other games…

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

These chess pieces weren’t light. After shifting all of those, the kids were exhausted!Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

So everyone lay on the grass and rested a bit, all except Sonia. She had so much energy and wouldn’t stop jumping about!Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Soon after, Arnold joined his sister, jumping.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Now to our next station, shot put. I think the metal balls weigh about 2-3kg!

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Easy peasy for the kids! I’m actually surprised Sonia can throw the ball that far!
Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

We spent quite a bit of time there throwing metal balls! Simple activity like this can be really entertaining!

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

I remembered Arnold used to be afraid of sand when he was younger, so when I saw him playing with sand, I had to take a picture (alright, many pictures). That’s an achievement unlock and I don’t even have to persuade him to do so! Yeah!Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Amaze’n is a lovely place for family to hang out at! The beautiful gardens have some unusual and rare West Australian Native Species with plenty of bench seats for resting and relaxing in the shade. It’s beautifully landscaped is such a safe haven for birds, butterflies and bees.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

Spot that bee? It took a stroke of luck to capture it in frame.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaze

While we were out playing in the gardens, our parents and grandma were at the cafe enjoying a nice cuppa coffee and some home made award winning scones and cakes. It’s a great place for snacks, lunch and afternoon tea.

Perth, Margaret River, Amaz

Just outside the cafe, there were some other games to keep the kids entertained while we sipped on a nice cup of hot chocolate.Perth, Margaret River, Amaz

Perth, Margaret River, Amaz

Perth, Margaret River, Amaz

If you ever drive down to the Margaret River, you got to visit the Amaze’n Mazes and Gardens!

 

DETAILS

It is nested at 9978 Bussell Highway, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia.
Open every day from 9am to 5pm (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, and 5 weeks mid winter).
Phone: +61 (08) 97587439
Web: www.amazenmargaretriver.com.au

ADMISSION PRICES

Amaze’n Maze/gardens/bbq’s/playground/picnic area
$18   Adults (17+ )
$14   Children (4-16) & Students with cards
3 and under free
$16   Card holding seniors
$58   Small family group – 2 Adults + 2 Children
$10 each extra child in the same group

Amaze’n 18 hole mini golf only (no garden access)
$12 per person

Both Amaze’n Mazes/gardens and Mini Golf
Discounted rate of $8 per person for golf when maze ticket purchased

 

THE BERRY FARM, MARGARET RIVER

The berry farm, Margaret River

A mere 15 minutes drive from Amaze’n Maze is The Berry Farm. The famous cottage cafe and garden caters to even the most discerning of tastes.

The berry farm, Margaret River

DETAILS

Address: 43 Bessell Rd, Rosa Glen WA 6285, Australia
Phone: +61 (08) 97575054
Web: www.berryfarm.com.au
Business Hours: Open 7 days 10am to 4.30pm
(Closed on Good Friday, Christmas and New Year)

The berry farm, Margaret River

There is nothing quite like relishing a great meal or having a fine cup of tea in a quaint setting. This is the reason why many visit Margaret River – we want to enjoy the beauty and tranquil atmosphere that the region has to offer.

The berry farm, Margaret River

It felt good to be away from the bustling city. Here, is like a secret garden.

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

This is my favourite dessert at THE BERRY FARM! If you’d like to take a look at their menu, click here.

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

The berry farm, Margaret River

If you wonder where I got all the energy to keep up with my toddlers from dawn till dusk, my answer – healthy living. Besides exercising, eating well and drinking lots of water, for the past 7 months I started taking Elusfy Cell Activa SP800 supplements and I haven’t looked back since. The only reason why I even started taking it is because of the scar on the bridge of my nose, but it has brought me much more health benefits than I have asked for.

 

ELUSYF CELL ACTIVA SP800

Last year August, I accidentally knocked my nose against the edge of the cabinet door. If you must know how I got myself hurt, read my previous post here. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I knocked my nose, went to the hospital, got stitched and am left with an ugly scar smacked right in front of my face.

Elusyf SP800

I was concern, VERY concern. Of course, I am! The scar is distinctly located in between my eyes, and that’s exactly where people look at when they speak to you (your eyes). The plastic surgeon told me that my scar will lighten in six months and be patient. I applied the gel and cream he prescribed to me faithfully but the scar was still sitting on my nose bridge after six months. That was when my polymate, Kadence introduced Elusyf Cell Activa SP800 to me!

Truth to be told, I was sceptical at first. I am extra careful with what I consume and am not about to risk my life taking supplements I haven’t heard of. So I did my homework and got clearance from both my GP and gynecologist. Well, being kiasu doesn’t hurt, right! So now you know it’s safe to eat! Not only it is safe to eat, it is packed with loads of goodness! Even my doctors say so.

Just recently I had my skin checked by Kadence and the results don’t tell lies.

Elusyf SP800

Elusyf SP800

It is evident from the pictures above, you can barely see my scar anymore! Elusyf Cell Activa SP800 not only reduce the appearance of my scar, it improves my skin condition and slows down the natural aging process.

The images below show improvement in collagen synthesis and tightness of my skin. The many crisscrosses you see suggest that I have more collagen under the surface my skin. These don’t happen overnight. I’ve been maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking Elusyf Cell Activa SP800 for seven months. My skin now feel more supple and radiant!

Elusyf SP800

Above all, it contains ovine placenta extracted from medicinal sheep that helps to energise my body’s revitalising abilities. You know how tiring it is to raise two toddlers? They are not kidding when they say it takes a village to raise a kid. Really, it takes a lot, a lot, a lot, of energy to upkeep with my very active children and now with Elusyf Cell Activa SP800, I have more energy to last through my hectic day!

Elusyf SP800

I even brought them with me even when I’m traveling! This is like a all-in-one supplement for me! Thank you, Elusyf! I’ve gotten more than I could bargain for!

Cheers to good health!

If you are interested in Elusyf Cell Activa SP800, you can contact Kadence at +65 9322 2223 and quote LOVEWESA.

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The Margaret River Chocolate Company

THE MARGARET RIVER CHOCOLATE COMPANY FOR THE CHOCOLATE LOVERS

My favourite food in the whole wide world is C H O C O L A T A E and it seemed that my daughter have taken after me!

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

I’m not sure if this is the best chocolate ever but it is by far the smoothest I have eaten! Each chocolate bit melts in your mouth, surely sinful but you will never regret indulging yourself with the confections produced by these premier chocolate-makers.

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

I don’t mean to promote of sell the chocolate but the Margaret River Chocolate Company really creates exceptional gourmet chocolate!

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

Just look at the number of awards they have gotten over the years! They have been making award-winning chocolate products since 1999. Impressive!

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

In fact we bought so many boxes of chocolate for our family and friends that they filled half a luggage!

Besides the chocolates in various shapes and sizes, they also sell hot chocolate, chocolate moisturiser cream, chocolate nogurt, chocolate sauces, chocolate massage oil, chocolate lip bam, and chocolate soap. Basically, everything chocolaty!

 

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD EAT MORE OF CHOCOLATE

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

After reading this, the next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you will not feel overly guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are a number of health benefits associated with this delicious treat!

#1 TREMENDOUS ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL

Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential. The higher the cocoa content, the more health benefits there are, and the less sugar content, which is better for overall health.

 

#2 LOWER CHOLESTEROL

According to a research published in The Journal of Nutrition, chocolate consumption might help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, also known as “bad fats”, and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

#3 PREVENT MEMORY DECLINE

Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people. A research found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed. A cocoa extract – called lavado – could reduce or prevent damage to nerve pathways found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This means that symptoms of condition – such as cognitive decline – could be slowed.

 

#4 GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN

The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage (though you’d probably better still slap on some sun cream).

 

#5 HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT

Really, lah! Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.

 

#6 MINERAL RICH

Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar og dar (70 per cent or more) chocolate provides 67 per cent of the RDA of iron.

 

#7 DIABETES PREVENTION

I’m not kidding! In a small Italian study, participants who ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly hald. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of “‘Aquila in Italy.

 

#8 LOWER THE RISK OF DEVELOPING HEART DISEASE

Research suggests that consuming chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one-third. The report was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, France.

 

#9 HIGHER INTELLIGENCE

Yes, chocolate boost your brain power! A University of Nottingham researcher found that drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could improve performance and alertness in the short term. Other researchers from Oxford University and Norway looked at chocolate’s long-term effects on the brain by studying the diets of more than 2,000 people over age 70. They found that those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.

 

#10 GOOD FOR MOTHERS AND BABIES

A Finnish study found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents. Another research also suggests that by eating 30 grams chocolate during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth and development. Super awesome, no?

If you are interested, you can read up more on why you should eat chocolate, not less here.

 

HAVING FUN AT THE CHOCOLATE COMPANY

Besides chocolate tasting, and watching how chocolates are made, the kids also went outdoor to run and polish their photography skills.

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

They took random pictures of plants, floor textures, flowers and people.

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Margaret River Chocolate Company

And while they were having a whale of a time, I was snapping pictures of them while munching on chocolates! Remember the benefits of eating CHOCOLATE?!? Gee!

 

LUNCH AT CHEEKY MONKEY

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Just around the corner (7 minutes drive), sits a large cafe. It almost looked like a warehouse with the really high ceiling and big space.

415 Harman’s Mill Rd, Metricup WA 6280

4259 CAVES ROAD, MARGARET RIVER, WA, 6285
OPENS DAILY FROM 10AM to 6PM

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

And here’s only half of the cafe. The other side of the cafe where we were seated was much more cozy.

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

We loved the staff, the venue and atmosphere! And even more, the food!

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Child-friendly cafe, I like! Upon arrival, they gave the kids each a kiddo pack. In it was a packet of fruit juice and some colouring materials!

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

That kept them occupied for a bit while we enjoyed our meal! Among the many dishes, these were my favourite, especially the pumpkin based pizza! Initially, I was quite sceptical when hub ordered that because, really, how can healthy food taste this good? Pumpkin base for a pizza was unheard of until now and the rest was history.

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Forgotten to take a picture of my favourite pizza. By the time I remembered, there were only 3 slices left. As soon as I finished snapping this picture, there were none left! Haha…
Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

And these potatoes were divine. No, you are not hearing me wrong; I said “potatoes”, not ribs. Sure, the ribs were delicious but I really really really loved the potatoes. They were the best I ever had! No pun intended.

Besides the good food, they had a nice outdoor playground. The only reason why my kids weren’t at the playground was because it rained just before we arrived. Though it was only a passing shower, the playground was wet and bitterly cold.

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Such a PITY!

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

If the weather wasn’t that cold, we would have lunched outdoor. Look at how beautiful this place is!Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

Margaret River Cheeky Monkey Brewers of Craft Beers and Ciders

After lunch, we chilled for a bit before heading to our next destination! More blog post on Perth coming up! Stay tune!

You might be interested in our farmstay experience here.

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Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

FAMILY VACAY

We are a family of four generation who lives together under the same roof. Many find this absurd and almost impossible in today’s context but we are living together, very happily! Even when we travel, we travel in a team! This time round, we are heading to Perth for a five-day-four-night farm stay journey! This is our first time doing a farm stay and I am as excited as my kids are!

The flight to Perth was a breeze! Sonia and Arnold had been to Australia multiple times and already knew what to expect. It was nothing new or foreign to them (so no drama), nonetheless, they were anticipating the plane ride!

 

DO NOT BRING YOUR SAMSUNG NOTE 7 ONBOARD

Samsung Note 7

You might want to know this – DO NOT BRING YOUR SAMSUNG NOTE 7 ONBOARD. I brought mine to the airport and was told to either get someone to bring it home for me or keep it in the airport till I return from my trip. NO Note 7 goes on the plane, whether it’s in your hand-carry baggage or check-in baggage. So I had to leave it with the airport personnel and got my Dad to pick it up for me the same morning.

I guess it was blessing in disguise. No phone means giving my family 100% attention. It was nice to go on digital detoxification every once in a while. No Whatsapp, no Facebook, no Instagram, no nothing. And surprisingly, I didn’t feel handicap without it!

 

FARM STAY IN PERTH AT MARGARET RIVER

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Our first destination was to the Margaret River Hideaway! It is located at 22 Osmington Road, 6285 Margaret River, Australia, some three hours drive from the airport to the farm house, and it’s only 5km (NE) of Margaret River township. The nearest supermarket is mere 6 minutes drive from the farm. We patronise Coles daily because of the kids…

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

On a lovely 58-acre property, the Margaret River Hideaway & Farmstay has comfortable country-style accommodations in a rural setting. Upon arrival, they provide us with a free starter breakfast pack which includes fresh bread, cereal, milk and juices. Very considerate, no?

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

There were a total of only 8 farm stay cottages, not many.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

So if you intend to stay at the Margaret River Hideaway & Farmstay, book early. We booked about four months in advance! Anyway, if you would like to know, we stayed at cottage number 7. Every cottage interior looked slightly different. I was’t sure about the rest but cottage 7 was very spacious (three-bedroom cottage) with a sizeable kitchen and two bathrooms. Perfect for a big family like ours!

There are three types of cottages:
Standard Cottages
Superior Studios
Superior Cottages
(Click here for more information on room types and their facilities)

Each of the cottages and studios has a covered verandah, outdoor setting and gas-fired BBQ where you can cook your favourite food while enjoying the outdoors. All units have enclosed front yards!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Every morning, we were greeted by farm animals, all lined on the plain of green field just before our cottage. There were hens, sheep, little lambs, cows, alpacas, and peacocks!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

They sure know which cottage to go to because every day, without fail, we feed them with fresh white bread from Coles! I guess, that was luxury to the farm animals. They had corn and grass all day! A little twist in their menu was much appreciated!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

For the kids, the highlight of everyday at the farm was animal feeding and we feed them daily with lots and lots of bread! Both Sonia and Arnold wanted to feed the animals but were intimidated by them.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

So, on our first two days there, we had to carry them most of the time! It got better on the third and forth day!
Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Sonia and Arnold were intimidated by these friendly animals because they were mostly larger than them, and it didn’t help that they all come together in groups, all vying for the same slice of bread on their hands. So we started off with the chickens. Hub lured some hens to our cottage so the kids could get started with the less intimidating animals.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Soon, bigger animals such as the emu and sheep came. Hub tried to lure the bigger animals in our yard and locked them in for a bit while the kids feed the hens outside the cottage but more and more came, and our yard was full. Not very clever, uh!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

So later, hub did the opposite.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

He kept the kids in the yard and lured the animals from wherever they are to outside the yard so Sonia and Arnold could feed them bread from inside the yard and not get overwhelmed by the animals. I thought that was an awesome idea! Unfortunately, peahens do know how to fly and they made their way in, so I had to be the bird chaser while the kids fed the animals. That was so much fun (not the bird chasing part)!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Even Ah Mah joined in too!Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Just look at how happy she was!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

While the kids fed the farm animals, I had to chase the peahens away! We locked them out of our yard but they can fly, right! Honestly, I didn’t know peahens or peacocks fly until now! See, learning never stop, no matter how old you are.Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

That’s me chasing peahens in ah mah’s slippers! Gee…Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

While feeding the different animals, we taught the kids about them! For example, what they eat, what you call their young, their characteristics and whatever we knew about the animals. Sonia’s favourite animal was the baby lamb (mine too). The little lamb was only 2 weeks young. And Arnold’s favourite was the little dog (also hub’s favourite).

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Now I kinda feel that the lamb was intimidated by my kids!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Initially, she was so afraid of him but after a while, she wanted to take him home.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Here’s hub’s favourite animal in the farm! Arnold’s too!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

The most charming animal on ground was the peacock!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Look at how he tried attracting the peahens. Unfortunately, the peahens weren’t very impressed with the peacock. He failed to gain their attention but he didn’t give up. He tried again and again. And when the peahens ignored him, he tried attracting the sheep. That totally cracked us up!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Besides animal feeding, the kids also learned about hens and how they lay their eggs. Do you know that hens lay an egg every 26 hours? On average, each hen lay about 265 eggs a year! Most hens have two productive years of egg laying and taper off as they age. Therefore, the average hen will lay about 530 eggs throughout her lifetime.

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

The kids got to being home fresh eggs from the farm and Arnold was so eager to show his to 爷爷 and 奶奶!Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

The next morning, I chanced upon the farmer and he gave me six fresh eggs for breakfast!!! Super awesome!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

My favourite part of the entire twelve-day trip in Perth was the farm stay! While we didn’t get to milk the cows, I got to feed them! And the alpacas too! Don’t forget the sheep… baa baa baa~

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

These bulls were really picky! They only liked the thin kind of hays and rejected the thicker ones. Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

 

HOUSEKEEPING

I liked almost everything about the farm stay except doing the laundry. It would be much more convenient if we had a washing machine and a dryer in the cottage! Still, I was thankful there was a laundry room, else I would have to hand wash all the clothes!

Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Just next to the reception office is the laundry room. There is only one washing machine and one dryer, so you will have to wait for your turn. Each wash/dry is about 45 minutes and it cost AUD 3. From where we are staying (cottage 7), is a 5 minutes walk to the laundry room.Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

We went Coles to buy detergent and softener; but if you are not particular about the type of detergent used, they do provide free laundry powder. Farm stay in Perth at Margaret River

Don’t worry about not having small change. You can always change one dollar coins at the reception.

Our stay at the farm was awesome but of course we didn’t stay in the farm all five days that we were there! There were other places at Margaret River worth exploring too! More coming in my next post. Stay tune!!

Love,
WESA

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The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

“WHAT? AGAIN? WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

Here’s my last post on Iran and I hope you enjoy reading them! Today, I’ll take you on a picture tour to the award-winning nature bridge in Iran! Aren’t you surprise to see such a beautiful architecture structure in a country you thought was on the verge of collapse? When I mentioned that I’m taking my four-year-old to Iran, parents said…

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

But really, NO! I’m not crazy. They are not fighting. There is no war. In the contrary, Tehran is peaceful. During my stay at Tehran, even the Italy Prime Minister, Renzi visited Iran to sign huge business deals with them. And we happened to put up at the same hotel!

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attend a ceremony to sign deals in Tehran

The country is growing and prospering. In another five years or so, you will probably see a new Iran! Iran is not scary. It is not dangerous. The media must have done an awesome job framing news.

 

THE AWARD-WINNING NATURE BRIDGE (TEHRAN)

People in Tehran don’t just cross over the bridges, they hang out on bridges! The Nature Bridge is not only a structure to connect from one point to another, but also a place to stay and enjoy. The award-winning bridge soared 270m across Modarres Highway, Pol-e-Tabiat, which connects two parks in the northern district of Iran’s capital.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Nature Bridge opens with a 60m-wide entrance with flower gardens, making it appear like it is still part of the park. There were plenty of benches for people to sit and rest and chat.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

DO YOU KNOW?
It took four years, 10,000 cubic metres of concrete, and millions of labour hours to complete this Nature Bridge.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

View from the bridge.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

View from the bridge.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Nature Bridge is not just a bridge. It is a popular public space, an urban space for pedestrians. The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

We had an awesome time at the “park” but had to leave soon after because it started to rain.

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

But that didn’t stop Sonia from having fun! In fact, she was willing to come down and walk only because it was raining and she got to use the umbrella!

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

The Award-Winning Nature Bridge in Tehran

We had so much fun in Tehran and we will most certainly visit Iran again! Till the next time we meet… cya!

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Golestan Palace

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

The Golestan Palace I mentioned in my previous post is the oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran, and of world heritage status. A quick search on Wikipedia tells me that the palace belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s Historic Arg. It is a masterpiece of beautiful garden and buildings consist of collection of Iranian crafts and European presents from 18th and 19th century. The Golestan Palace was used for many occasions such as coronation and other important celebrations.

Even before we walked into the Golestan Palace, we were awed by the exterior of the structure. I couldn’t imagine how many people it takes to build this magnificent palace and for how long they had worked on this masterpiece. The rooms inside the palace were striking and impressive. The rooms with walls covered with small pieces of mirrors, were mind boggling. We were told “no photography in the palace” so no pictures of them. But we did take pictures outside the rooms. Not many winning shots, but enough to remind us of the time we had at the Palace, though I wished we had taken more.

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

Before entering the palace, Sonia had some fun swinging to and fro. I know this is not good for her arms but don’t judge, we took special care and held her by her armpit while swinging.

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

After 2 minutes, hub and I were exhausted. My little imp, of course, wasn’t. She wanted more swings!

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

One more shot before we had to keep our cameras.
GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

After roaming inside the palace, we took a slow stroll by the garden and had tea. Boy, I love the gardens here! So does Sonia. Unfortunately, she wasn’t allowed to pluck flowers here (there were guards). Opssy!

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

Oh, this was taken in the palace (secretly).

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

Anyway, if you want to know how to train biceps, just carry my girl. After 10 days of carrying her about Iran and Dubai, I magically have very defined biceps which I really didn’t want.

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

I just love the colours on the wall. These tiles are everywhere!

GOLESTAN PALACE (TEHRAN)

And just before we left the Golestan Palace, we had so much fun blowing Dandelion flowers. Sonia tried to blow the floret but with no avail. It was easy task for hub and I. Maybe she didn’t do it right! Gee…

And that’s all for Golestan Palace. Well, it was an eye opener! Totally worth the visit!

More about Tehran coming up soon! Stay tune!

 

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Iran Tehran Bazaar

TEHRAN BAZAAR

A must-visit place in Iran is the Tehran Bazaar! Tons of traders have been hawking their wares on this site for nearly 1,000 years, but most of what you see today is less than 200 years old and is no architectural jewel, or so I was told.

Tehran Bazaar

The bazaar is huge, covering more than 10km of lanes and there are several entrances. We used the main entrance, in a square opposite Bank Melli. Most lanes specialise in a particular commodity: gold, spices, carpets, paper, and kitchenwares, among others. It’s not possible to finish shopping in a day. In fact, we only covered a fraction of it. You’d almost certainly get lost but we were thankful to have friends to take us around. Just be careful, there are fast-moving haulage equipment everywhere.

Tehran Bazaar

I’ve never been to somewhere this BIG! I’m guessing that the Grand Bazaar is the largest market of it’s type anywhere on Earth. We would have spent more time shopping there if not for Sonia sleeping. Like a velcro baby, she refused to be carried by anyone else but me. I should be feeling flattered but my bones were breaking!

Tehran Bazaar

When she finally woke up from her nap, I got to take a break. Here, where we stood, were many jewellery shops. They do not display their gems in a nice fancy fashion but they were real gold, silver, diamonds and gems! I hadn’t seen a single security guard or police patrolling this area. It feels pretty safe to walk around. Anyway, after some 30 minutes, we decided to exit the bazaar. I was drained from carrying Sonia all day!

Tehran Bazaar

It was crowded inside and outside the bazaar. There were people everywhere and I started to ponder if these people actually needed to work?
Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

If you have realised, this is probably the closest I can get to hub in public. Just in case you didn’t know, PDA (public display of affection) is illegal in Iran. Holding hands is fine, hugging and kissing are not.

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

After visiting the Grand Bazaar, we went to the Golestan Palace, but I’ll save that for another post.

Tehran Bazaar

There were just too much to see at the grand bazaar, so we returned to the bazaar the next day. It didn’t matter if it was a weekday or weekend, there were still many people at the bazaar, and I guess, that was a good sign?

Tehran Bazaar

They sell just about everything! From slippers, to cosmetics, to copper, to food and whatnot.

Tehran Bazaar

I loved the market there! They have a vast range of vegetables and every piece was FRESH!

Tehran Bazaar

Just around the corner is a mosque. I think they call it the Zaid Mosque. It’s beautiful, very colourful, very different from those we see in Singapore.

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Everyone entering the mosque had to put on a chador. Just in case you didn’t know what a chador is, it is an Iranian traditional outer garment (also exist in Turkey) that covers the head and body and is a full-length semicircle of fabric but comes down to the ground. Does not have slits for the hands and is held shut with the hands, or simply wrapped under the arms.

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

It’s a beautiful mosque with a rich history.

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

Tehran Bazaar

This was how the mosque looked like many hundreds years ago.

Besides the Grand Bazaar and the mosque, there are many things and places to see in Iran! More coming up in my next few post!

You can also read about Tehran here and here.

If you are visiting Iran, you better read up about their culture and rules!

 

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO IRAN

Travelling to Iran doesn’t have to be difficult at all – tourism is growing as relations develop; hatred of the western world is not as rife as the media likes you to think; and tourists are not subjected to as heavily enforced rules as the locals. With enough pre-planning and prior research, you can easily avoid the limitations and stresses that come with travelling in what is perceived to be a closed and tricky country to traverse.

VISA

We did our research and most sources said we didn’t need a visa if we are traveling to Iran for 30 days of less but upon arrival, we were denied entry unless we got a visa. Though it was a long wait at the custom (an hour wait), we managed to get through smoothly. Visa upon arrival cost about 35 Euro per person. After which, you will be required to buy travel insurance at the counter.

HEADSCARVES AND HIJABS

Iran does have a strict dress code and this is one of the biggest concerns for female travellers to Iran. REMEMBER TO PACK A HEADSCARF IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE. You must be wearing this the moment you exit the plane and are officially in Iran. I had to wear a headscarf the entire time except when I was in my hotel room. I also had to wear loose clothing that covers my body. A long sleeve top that covers to the hip and a pair of jeans is good.

I was a little worried about what to wear until I saw the Iranian women on the streets. Boy, they are so different from the stereotype. These women are stylish and very fashionable. There were colours, not all black; and they take pride in dressing up! The “morality police” many talked about do exist but I haven’t seen any while I was there.

Well, if your headscarf falls, just quickly put it back on again. Mine falls all the time and I just pull it back. I later just used Sonia’s hair clip to secure the cloth to my hair. After a day or two, I learned that a ponytail helps keep the scarf in place. You don’t have to cover your entire head. Showing a little hair is granted.

Top must be loose-fitting and three-quarter length sleeves are ok. Trousers must be baggy but in Tehran, leggings are ok if matched with loose-fitting top. However, if you are travelling to more conservative areas such as Isfahan, Mashad and Qum, respect their vales and wear looser fitting trousers.

Open toes sandals are fine. Colours don’t matter. And if you haven’t brought enough suitable clothes, just hit the bazaars and shop away.

For men, it’s simple. You pretty much dress the same back home, except you are not allowed to wear short shorts, no super short sleeves and no extreme tight-fitting clothing.

CURRENCY

In Iran, we use Iranian Rial, but bring US dollars or Euro with you, just in case. They do accept US dollars. In fact, they very much prefer USD than their own currency.

INTERNET

Internet access in Iran is slow and limited. All social media, except Instagram and Whatsapp, is blocked. Forget about downloading shows or stream movies because those sites are usually blocked. Be prepared to go on a “Digital Detox” during your time in Iran.

FOOD

If you are not used to Persian Cuisine, fret not. They have fast food outlets there. I personally love their kind of food, especially their grilled lamb.

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Iran Tehran Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

The King really lived life kingsize. Everything room in the palace was as big as a four-room-flat in Singapore, or maybe even bigger! The palace was grandiose inside out. And we were awed!

The Saadabad Palace was immense, it wasn’t quite possible to tour round the entire place in a day and so we picked and chose a few more interesting attractions. We want to take it easy and move slow, especially when touring a palace with a 4-year-old.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Here’s the grand entrance! Even before we entered the palace, we could hear the sound of running water. How peaceful!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Cold, clean water running down from the mountain to the palace.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

The Palace was beautiful, with lots of trees and water everywhere. I’m not sure if those kings actually had the time to take a walk in their palace to enjoy such scenic views, but we sure did! And we took heaps of photos too!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Sonia’s favourite activity wasn’t to take family shots with us (you can tell from the picture). She loves picking flowers! More pictures of that later, but really, I was very a little worried. What if she starts picking flowers back home in Singapore? I’ll get slapped with fines!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

It was spring then, and the weather was comfortably cool! We like!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

And if you wonder what was in hub’s backpack; nothing in it belonged to him. We had Sonia’s extra clothes, water bottle, thermal flask, milk canisters, porridge, hanky, and a couple bottles of Pediasure Chocolate Milk (that was a must for my fussy-eater). And I’m guessing, that weighed 10kg, no?

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

It was a lot of walking in the palace and I was thankful that she walked most of the time. Or at least for that few hours we were at the palace. My arms were already sore from carrying her the entire day at the snow mountain.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Her favourite activity at the palace – picking flowers! We spent a good hour there watching her picked flowers.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Flowers after flowers…

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Flowers after flowers…

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Now, I’m getting bored but she still refuses to leave…

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

After an hour and a half, we were still there, picking flower. If I try carrying her away from those flowers, she cries! How? It took me a LONG time to coax her out of that field. Guess where we went?

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

To throw flowers at the stream… This girl had sooooooooo much fun with flowers!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

While visiting the Royal Car Museum, she got hungry, and so we stepped out to the park for lunch. There wasn’t any eatery on site, so if you planned to stay at the palace all day, remember to pack some sandwiches out for lunch.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Here’s Sonia having her lunch. She had porridge every single day because she was (still is) so fussy with food, I had to cook for her daily and all I had was a slow cooker. Should have brought a rice cooker with me! Faster!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

She had porridge in the morning and afternoon throughout the whole trip!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

After her lunch, we roamed about the palace…

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

After taking this picture, Sonia fell asleep. So we decided to call it a day and headed out for our very late lunch.

 

Koohpaya Restaurant

The roads were narrow and traffic conditions up the mountain were really bad. If you can drive in Iran, you can drive in any other country. Boy, it was an eye opener! Drivers there were skilful.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

As soon as we reached our destination, Sonia woke up!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

We walked through the buzzing road, and up the hill to the Koohpaye Restaurant.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Sonia enjoying her favourite naan. Probably her favourite food in Iran.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

The lamb there was divine!

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

So was their rice. Yes, rice.

Tehran, Sadabaad Palace

And then we spent the rest of our evening at the Palladium Mall. Well, I need to buy some grocery to cook Sonia’s porridge!

We had an awesome day and I hope you had an awesome one too!

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Tehran, Mount Tochal

One of my 30 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I TURN 30 is to travel to a country I’ve never been to before, and I did it! Not to a place many might venture but we went anyway and I’m glad we did!

When I told my family and friends that we were going to Iran, their eyes widened, jaws hung, and they went “huhhhhhhh?”!

Well, we have the media to blame. Very few have visited the country but many have heard about Iran via CNN or BCC News, and they have little good things to say about Iran. So I am not surprised when they got bowled over. But let me tell you, first hand, Tehran (Iranian Capital City) is a peaceful and clean city. However, I wouldn’t recommend you to travel on your own unless you speak Persian (it’s better to explore the city with a local). Not many people there speak English and transportation isn’t as convenient, yet. I can’t say the same in three to five years because this beautiful country is growing at an exponential rate. Currently, over 90 shopping malls and hotels are in the mist of construction, and MRT stations will be ready in two years. Very soon, Iran will be the next Dubai, only better!

 

TEHRAN, MOUNT TOCHAL

The first place Amu Ali (our super duper awesome host) brought us to, was to Mount Tochal! It was about 19°C at sea level and -6°C at the highest peak of the mountain (3,933m). The mountain has a 12 km long ridgeline and many (both the young and old) were geared to trek up the slope but we weren’t. We weren’t even dressed enough for the drastic change of weather up there. Thankfully, we had a super duper awesome host who prepared everything for us! He first passed us some thermal pants when we met at the hotel, so we could get changed before driving to the foot of the mountain. And later passed us scarfs, winter hat, gloves, and thick jackets as we ascended the mountain on a gondola lift (or Tochal Telecabin), which ran from Tehran to the Tochal Ski Resort.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

The gondola lift has four stations:

  • Station 1 is at an elevation of 1,900 m and located at the beginning of Velenjak Valley. Parking, inns and some other facilities are available.
  • Station 2 is at 2,400 m and has very limited facilities.
  • Station 5 is at 2,935 m. There is a restaurant and a rescue centre. The station is in the middle of one of the ski slopes which is open only in mid-winter but rarely used. This station is also accessible through several climbing paths like Shirpala shelter, Osoon valley and Palang-chal shelter. In order to get to Station 7, you have to change here.
  • Station 7 is at 3,740 m and very close to the Tochal main ridge. It is the last station of the gondola lift. This station is in the middle of the Tochal ski slope. The Tochal main peak is a 30-minute walk from this point. This station is also reachable from Hezar-cham climbing path from Station 5.

None of us trek up the mountain. We all took the gondola lift (well, I had to carry Sonia most of the time, so walking was a bad idea).

The minute we stepped out of the gondola lift, we saw a vast land of powdery snow. Winter was over, and it is now spring, but still the land was covered with a coat of lovely white snow.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Sonia was feeling really tired and slept most of the time we were up at Mount Tochal. First, jetlag (4-hour time difference is a big deal to a toddler). Second, high altitude (mean low pressure and lesser oxygen to breath). After this experience, I wouldn’t recommend any parent to take their toddlers up to any kind of mountains until they are much older.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

We were thankful for the beautiful weather! It was cold but sunny and not at all windy. Phew! We wouldn’t have had so much fun if it was windy.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Yup, we took turns to carry Princess Sonia. She now weighs 13.8kg and I wouldn’t have survived this trip if I had to carry her ALL THE TIME (literally).

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Thank you, Amu Ali and family! We had an awesome awesome time!

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

And when she eventually woke up, she had a whale of the time playing with snow. Even if it was just for 5 minutes, I’m glad she did actually experience snow. Just then, it really snowed. It was Sonia’s first experience with snow!Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

The pictures tell it all – she had so much fun with snow!

Tehran, Mount Tochal

But after 5 minutes, she got tired again and went on to sleep.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

The next time Sonia woke up was when we had lunch. There is only one cafe at the mountain so it is hard to miss! The food there were pretty alright. People here love naan (barbari bread), pizza, grilled poultry, cheese, salad, and lots of yogurt.

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

When we eventually went down the mountain, we started removing our clothes, one by one (because it was much warmer at sea-level)!Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

Tehran, Mount Tochal

We could have spent the entire day at the mountain if we trekked up the slopes but we didn’t, so by mid-afternoon, we had decided to call it a day. Sonia was feeling really tired (so were we). So we got back to the hotel to rest.

If you want to know what’s a good place to put up at Tehran, I recommend the Espinas Palace Hotel. We had an awesome view, overseeing the city. Even the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi and many other ministers from various countries stayed at the Espinas Palace Hotel while we were there. Security was tight those two days but it was an eye opener for us! If Tehran government put their VIPS and delegates at Espinas, you can be sure that’s a safe place to stay!

More about our Tehran Trip in my next post!

Stay tune!

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2015 had been an awesome year for WESA. Along the way, we learned so much. Parenting two toddlers was fun and enriching! We’re truly thankful for all that we have and all that we can give. It was an exciting ride and now, we look forward to the next roller coaster ride ahead of us. Bring it on, 2016! And to everyone out there, have a happy new year!

 

Click on below image to read blog post.

WESA HEALTH TALK - POTTY TRAINING WESA KIDS PLAY The Flu Bug Father's Day

Manners and Etiquette

2015 06 30 - WESAplay - Cool De Sac Why you need to read to your child everyday Arnold OOTD 1 2015 07 03 - Puppet Craft for Kids sponge painting with kids

2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game
siblings

Arnold OOTD #2 2015 07 17 - WESA Family - Airport 2015 07 18 - WESA Family - Gardening and playing bubbles flying off tonight

WESA Travel - Adelaide 2015 08 06 - WESA Travel - Top 3 best breakfast places in Adelai 2015 08 12 - WESA Travel - Himeiji Garden 2015 08 13 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf Farm Barn Chocolate Chip Muffin Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin 2015 08 18 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf, Adelaide 2015 08 24 - WESA Travel - Kids' friendly malls in Adelaide 2015 08 31 - Gardens by the Bay

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV WESA BEAUTY
WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons CK Encounter Fresh Lovewesa

Snowskin mooncake Australian International School

 

 

 

 

 

2015 10 12 - Friso

2015 10 17 - Arnold's first playdate at the SEA Aquarium

S&A OOTD #22015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - ReadingCover2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV2015 11 28 - WESA Family - MIL or Monster-In-Law1Kids' STYLEPrintBest play mat in town

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2015 08 24 - WESA Travel - Kids' friendly malls in Adelaide

Shopping was on top of my list but playgrounds were on top of theirs. So we compromised and agreed to visit only malls with playground in them.

Three kids’ friendly malls in Adelaide with playgrounds are (1) Westfield West Lake, (2) Westfield Marion, and (3) Harbour Town. And all three of them have playground in them, so everyone is happy! I sure am.

WESTFIELD WEST LAKE

My favourite mall was the Westfield West Lake mall. Why? Because they sold heaps of baking stuff and had a nice and big playground just outside the mall. Both Sonia and Arnold had a whale of a time!

It was considered a big playground. The kids spent at least an hour out in the open playing while the folks enjoyed their high tea indoor 🙂

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Sonia impressed me with her courage to walk across thin ropes. It wasn’t easy for a three-year-old, but she did it! Well, hubby was from the Adventure Learning Club and he had always wanted our kids to do rock climbing and all, hence was more willing to spent more time and effort cajoling her to walk across the ropes.

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She went from one station to another, conquering one obstacle after the other.

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Hubby doing a good job encouraging her to walk across the ‘moving bridge’.

Yeah! She nailed it!

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Now I wished we have a playground like this at home.

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Sonia really enjoyed herself so much! Better than going to a theme park!

Luckily the grandparents bought the Kathmandu jackets for the kids, otherwise they might catch a cold. It was a little windy that day, and almost everyday.

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This station was all about balancing. Not too difficult for Sonia but definitely a tough one for my clumsy Arnold.

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Arnold wanted to give it a go too!

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She almost fall but she never gives up! I like that attitude! Thumbs up, girl!

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And as usual, the kids made friends along the way. They wore matching ‘star’ pants and black boots!

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While the kids had fun outdoor, we took turns to grab a bite at a cafe just beside the playground. Very yummy! Even more so after working out with the kids.

WESTFIELD MARION

Here’s my second favourite mall. My shopping adventure aside, the kids got to play at an indoor playground at level 2.

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This playground wasn’t as big as the previous one, but they still enjoyed themselves the same.

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Since this playground was well child-proofed, we let Arnold run loose.

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This boy had so much fun, he didn’t want to leave the playground.

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I couldn’t understand why he had to hold one of his shoes everywhere he goes. If he feared his shoes went missing, he should have held onto both shoes, no?

HARBOUR TOWN

This is a long open air shopping mall with lots of good stuff and great bargains. Before shopping, we first bought a luggage to store our loots! Our best buy were the kids’ shoes. We got them Adidas shoes for less than 50 bucks! What a steal? We bought quite a bit of stuff for the kids but they were not the least interested. All they wanted to do was to go to the playground. K.I.D.S…….

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This is a decent playground. Probably more suitable for Sonia than Arnold. She enjoyed running through the ‘obstacles’ (of course with hubby’s help).

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Among all, her favourite was to sit and swing herself on this, hmm, what do you call this?

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We were at the playground for more than an hour, until it rained. Everyone left.

++++

If you are traveling with kids, go to malls with playgrounds and keep them entertained! You want them to enjoy the trip too, right! Kids will always be kids. Have fun!

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2015 08 18 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf, Adelaide

Through our ten days trip in Adelaide, we visited Hahndorf twice because there were so much to see and do at the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia. We spent one day visiting the Hahndorf Farm Barn, and another day roaming the main street.

It was only about 30 minutes drive away from Adelaide but I wouldn’t recommend you visit this town over the weekends (difficult to find parking lots)! So go during the weekdays to avoid the crowd.

The first place we set our foot on was the oh-so-famous CHOCOLATE @ N°5.

You can satisfy your appetite at an excellent selection of restaurants, cafes, pubs and bakeries – many serving traditional German fare. We were spoilt for choices and were contemplating whether to first stop by the Hahndorf Inn or the CHOCOLATE @ N°5. After much hesitation, we chose the later. Alright, I needed to fix my chocolate craving.

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It was a ‘Wall-of-Honour’. Tens of certificates and medals hung proudly at the entrance of their little cafe. You could almost feel that sense of pride the owner had for her Chocolates. Every chocolate were visually appealing and each was created with passion and care.

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Their chocolates were crafted using fresh ingredients and I like how they omit any artificial preservatives or additives. But with any products using fresh ingredients, shelf life is short so their in-house chocolatier, Sarina Waterman suggests you consume the chocolates as close to the purchased date as possible. And DO NOT store them in the fridge.

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Among all, the Rainbow Mega Freckles Dark was Sonia’s favourite!

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The rich and chocolatey hot chocolate was my favourite! Everyone’s favourite, actually.

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Their Belgian sugar waffles have gained an enviable reputation and we all know why. Crisp and sugary on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, their handmade waffles were so yummy, we wiped the plate clean.

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‘Yes’ to more chocolate desserts! They were amazingly rich and chocolatey!

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And having ice-cream in winter – superb!

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Sonia totally enjoyed the food there! How not to?

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nom nom nom

After a dose of rich and satisfying chocolate feed, we were too full for German cuisine, so we went for a walk down the main street before ending our day at Hahndorf Inn.

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S & A would take every opportunity to sit. I guessed, they were just worn out after so much walking. Wait a second, we were carrying them most of the time , weren’t we?

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A very rare family photo. Rare because either hubby or I would be behind the camera snapping pictures but this really nice lady (random stranger) volunteered to take a family photo for us! And nice people like her are rare too! “If you happen to to be reading my blog, we really want to say thank you! It’s nice to have something to look back, especially family photos.”

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My little social butterfly.

“Mummy, why ducks have beaks, not mouth? Why no teeth?”   My answer “because they are vegetarians”.

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She’s an inquisitive child. “Why are there red and black ants? I only see black ants in Singapore, you know?”

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And so much thanks to the grandparents who helped look after the kids and us throughout the trip. I probably have the BEST in-laws, ever. They woke up so early to prepare breakfast and lunch for the kids. They made us tea and half-boiled eggs every single morning before we head out for our adventures so we feel warm in the winter. We are very blessed. No amount of ‘thank you’ is ever enough. They loved us so dearly and we want to tell them, we love them too! Muack!

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At Hahndorf, it was not quite possible to stop eating. Soon after, we found ourselves in a bakery buying more desserts! This time round, macarons!

These macarons are selling 3 for AUD 10. Slightly more expensive than those at the Grange Jetty Cafe but not as yummy. Grange Jetty Cafe still serves the BEST macarons! I’m not exaggerating any bit.

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Arnold wanted some macarons but of course we didn’t give him any. Here’s my rule – sweet snacks only after 3-yrs-old.

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Sonia is now 3’ish, so she got her macaron!

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We gave her half but she didn’t finish it. This little gourmet is very picky with food. She preferred the macaron at Grange Jetty Cafe.

After a bite or two, she returned the macaron to us.

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I’m not an arty person and have never purchased any art pieces before so this was a whole new experience for me. Papa just commissioned a painting, and it was interesting watching the whole purchasing process. There’s always something new to learn everyday.

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Alec Johnston Park

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Pretty little things

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There was so much to see at Hahndorf. You can browse the incredible range of shops; from toys, antiques, books, clothing, shoes, minerals, cuckoo clocks, hand-crafted leather wares, natural beauty products, bakers, and candle-makers! Hahndorf really is a shopper’s paradise. We didn’t walk into the Candle Barn because we were hungry, again. Yes, you didn’t hear us wrongly, we were hungry, again. But you do visit Hahndorf, be sure to patronise the Candle Barn and make your own candle in a jar. They use only natural and organic ingredients!

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Hahndorf Inn is crowded, whether weekday or weekend. They specialise in German food, the size of some of their meals have to be seen to be believed!

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Mouth-watering but too meaty for my liking. Serving was huge so order a dish or two to share. This dish is called “TASTE OF GERMANY PLATTER” AUD 69.90. It says, serves 2 but I’m sure 2 can’t finish this platter; maybe 4. There were bockwrust, weisswurst, cheese kansky and vienna sausages, smoked pork kassler chop and Eisbein pork knuckle. Served with rhine potato, sauerkraut, 2 pretzels, a selection of German mustards and pork jus. See what I mean?

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“Char Grilled Port Rib Racks” AUD 45 (additional racks at AUD 14 each). This is one of their most famous dishes. Marinated and slow cooked until tender, then charred on the grill in their own BBQ sauce and served with German potato dumplings. Each rack is about 450g. We also add on the rib and wing combo.

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Feeling so FULL! I couldn’t move. No pun intended.

The overall ambience of Hahndorf, Adelaide may best be described by a German word for which there is no translation – Gemutlichkeit!!

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2015 08 13 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf Farm Barn

Among all the places we have been to in Adelaide, Sonia and Arnold loved the Hahndorf Farm Barn most! There, we saw many animals…

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We saw Little Corellas and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos…

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Moo moo… cow…

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Probably the most interesting activity of the day – milking the cow. BUT both Sonia and Arnold weren’t game for it!

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They freaked out when they saw the cow squirting milk into a bucket. It was hilarious (I meant their expressions).

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Interesting facts!

The whole place was very well organised with opportunities for the kids to feed and pat the animals. You can purchase food for the animals at AUD 3 per packet. We bought five packets and were rationing soon after. The kids were very generous with their carrots!

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The cutest rabbit in the barn!

INTERESTING FACTS

  • A female rabbit is called a doe and a male is called a buck.
  • A young rabbit is called a kitten or kit for short.
  • Rabbits are born with their eyes closed and without fur.
  • A mother rabbit will pull fur from her chest to make a nest to have her babies in.
  • There are over 18- breeds of rabbit worldwide.
  • Rabbit teeth grow their entire life and are worn down by chewing on grass and hay.
  • Rabbits need to eat plenty of hay for their digestive system to stay healthy. They also eat commercial rabbit pellets and love carrots and apple.
  • Rabbits have one of the quickest reproductive rates; they are pregnant for only 31 days! A doe can have a litter of between 4 and 12 kittens.
  • Because their eyes are set on the sides of their head, rabbits cannot see directly under their nose! They have a very keen sense of smell that allows them to identify food below their nose. They can also see behind them without turning their heads!
  • A rabbit can only breathe through its nose, so you will never see a panting rabbit.
  • A rabbit has 4 toes on its back feet and 4 toes on its front feet!
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Hubby doing a demonstration… “here’s how you feed a guinea pig”

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Nom nom nom… There, we used one packet of carrot.

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Sonia was fearless when she was younger. She would charge at 10 ducks, feed the kangaroo, run after deers and wild boars. But as she grew older, she became more conscious and was afraid of feeding the animals. It took a while to encourage her and with hubby’s help, she tried feeding the playful deer. Thumbs up!

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Look at Arnold’s expression! Epic! He tried feeding the deer and when the deer ate the hay off his palm, he cringed. Haha… Here, we used up another bag of carrots.

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This is one of my favourite picture!

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Little chicks

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Very tame lambs

 

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Seeing flowers blooming in winter makes me happy! It was a happy sight!

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Arnold kept feeding carrots to the ducks but ducks don’t take carrots!!! Again, wasted another bag of carrots.

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I told Sonia the same but none of them were LISTENING!!!

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Arnold later picked up all the carrot bits and saved them for the deers.

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I asked Arnold to feed the deer but truth to be told, I was a little… scared.

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And when the deer attempted to eat the carrot, I screamed!

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And Arnold got a shocked! Opss…

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Mr. Deer

After a few feeds, Arnold got braver.

INTERESTING FACTS

  • A male deer is called a buck, a female deer is called a dow, and a baby deer is called a fawn.
  • Deer live to between 12 and 16 years of age.
  • Deer have horn-like growths on their head called antlers.
  • Antlers are used by deer for protection to defend themselves and their family from predators and to show others in their herd ‘who’s the boss’.
  • Antlers are not permanent parts of the deer’s body. Every year, the deer antlers fall off in spring and start to grow again. Antlers grow back bigger and stronger each year.
  • The deer family also include the Elk, Moose, Caribou, and Reindeer.
  • Deer have stomach that is divided into four sections – just like cow’s.
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Anyway, that’s a potato, not an egg. I’m saying this because some five minutes ago, I thought that was an egg. LOL.

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Beautiful plain of grass

All of us had so much fun, especially the kids! We would have stayed at the farm for a little longer if not for the strong wind. It got colder and we were worried for the kids, so we left soon after.

Will we come back again?

YES!

This time round, we didn’t get to ride on ponies or watch the Wildlife and Reptile Show. Maybe the next time, when the kids are older. Hahndorf Farm Barn, we will be back, some day!

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The Hahndorf Farm Barn is open almost every day of the year (including all public holidays) except the 24th to 26th of December. Their opening hours are from 10am to 4pm, daily.

Price List

If you are traveling to Adelaide, you have got to visit the Hahndorf Farm Barn. Your kids will love it there!

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Next coming up, more about Hahndorf. Stay tune!

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2015 08 12 - WESA Travel - Himeiji Garden

The Himeji Gardens on South Terrace is a beautiful Japanese styled garden that is a delight to find right on the southern edge of the CBD. Nestled in the Parklands that surround Adelaide, Himeji is a tranquil place to gather your thoughts.

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Entrance to the Himeji Garden

The moment I walked through the wooden gate, I was transposed into an entirely different place- Japan.

The garden has two classic styles of Japan, Kare Senzui, the dry garden, and Senzui, the lake and the mountain garden, which are cleverly designed. Kare Senzui’s rocks and sand evoke the presence of water and, while Senzui’s pond is simply magical.

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As the heart of the Garden, the lake’s form is based on the character ‘shin’, which means ‘heart’ or ‘soul’. The calm water suggests purity and tranquillity of the heart, which Buddhists believe is necessary if you are to achieve enlightenment: the ultimate happiness. Water flows into the lake from a small waterfall which recalls the wild mountain torrents of Japan.

Of course, the kids weren’t interested in the history or purpose of the garden but they enjoyed running on green grass and watching the ducks swim. And watching them smile makes me doubly happy!

This well-maintained Japanese garden is a hidden gem in the city of Adelaide. Entrance is free but keep in mind that they close at 5.30pm. Click here to find out more about the Himeji Garden.

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2015 08 06 - WESA Travel - Top 3 best breakfast places in Adelai

I can’t decide which comes first because they all serve such delectable breakfast! Each has their signature dish and so I won’t be ranking them in any order. Just be sure to visit them if you ever travel to Adelaide. Their breakfast sets tasted sooooooooo GOOD!

Let me start with the good old fashioned Adelaide Central Market.

#1 BIG TABLE

It has been around for as long as I know and a quick search on google tells me that it has been established since 1869. That’s a 146 years old market! Wow! With over 80 traders under one rood, the Adelaide Central Market is the LARGEST under cover market in the Southern Hemisphere, buzzing with life and colour all year round.

The Market offers a huge range of fresh food including fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, cheeses, bakery, smallgoods and health foods, along with some of Adelaide’s most popular cafes and eateries.Our favourite is “BIG TABLE”.

We have been here on our previous trips to Adelaide and we kept coming back. This has got to mean something, right?

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Ok, I have to be honest. It isn’t all good at BIG TABLE. Poor ordering system, lengthy waits for food and uninspired menu were dampening BUT the food were amazingly tasty! You can tell, they source good ingredients.

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This was my in-law’s favourite – Porridge with Banana and Cinnamon. Hubby liked this too! Not for me though. I never liked eating bananas.

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But it has to be really yummy because the folks said so. Gee!

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I’m happy with my sourdough.

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It’s always nice to end breakfast with a nice cuppa coffee.

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Did I mention, just beside BIG TABLE was an empty stage. The kids were running and jumping on the stage while we enjoyed our breakfast. If that stage could keep my kids entertained, even if it was for only five minutes, that was a good stage. Cheers!

 

#2 CAFFETECA ESPRESSO & PANINI BAR

You can expect a warm, casual, friendly experience at Caffeteca located at 53 Tynte Street, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006. It is one of the best. Food were always served hot and fresh. And they always taste so good every time.

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A good hot pot of Earl Grey to keep us warm in the cold winter morning.

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My favourite – Piadina Sopressa: Flat bread filled with spicy sopressa salami, sauteed mushrooms, radicchio and fontina cheese

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Hubby’s favoruite – Flat bread filled with egg, bacon, cheese and spinach. I would have loved this if they swapped bacon for turkey ham.

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Sonia’s favourite – croissant. Theirs tasted exceptionally good. Seriously.

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Sonia was holding onto two forks. One for herself, the other for Arnold.

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You know the croissant was yummy when she almost finished the entire piece. This hardly happens back home. No croissant in Singapore was as good as theirs!

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Cheeky monster

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Daddy promised to treat her to Chocolate Eclair IF she finishes her breakfast. She did. But ironically, she wasn’t a fan of Chocolate Eclair.

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So I saved her day by eating that for her. Easy task for me! What a gain?

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Just in case you think we have forgotten about Arnold – he was sleeping. I couldn’t thank my in-laws enough. They had been so kind and thoughtful, you have no idea. I’m one fortunate daughter-in-law.

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Caffeteca is usually packed and crowded but because it was a weekday morning at 10.30am, the kids could actually walk about. And sometimes, they made new friends along the way.

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I think my kids couldn’t quite understand why it was alright for the kids in Australia to be crawling, rolling, siting and lying on the ground when their mummy (me) forbids them to do so.

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Throughout 10 days in Adelaide, we went to Caffeteca for breakfast twice. This time Arnold wasn’t sleeping He was roaming about with jiejie.

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It warms my heart to see how Sonia always looks out for Arnold. So sweet, right?

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Looking at a bunch of puppies in amazement

I think her favourite sport is jumping now.

I think her favourite sport is jumping now.

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Arnold tried to do the same but he was too heavy. Cannot jump. Haha...

Arnold tried to do the same but he was too heavy. Cannot jump. Haha…

Just in case you didn’t know, there’s free and fast WiFi at the cafe. Plus points!

 

#3 GRANGE JETTY CAFE

487 Esplanade, Grange, South Australia 5022

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Everything there was beautiful. The weather was beautiful. The birds were beautiful. The greeneries were beautiful. I could sit there all day.

The view out over the sand dunes and beach were great, the big breakfast was very filling and tasty, the hash browns were crisp, scramble eggs were cooked to perfection, the macarons tasted heavenly, the wait staff were very accommodating. What not to like? I’m really impressed.

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A hot cuppa Earl Grey on a freezing morning.

Delicious HOT CHOCOLATE

 

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Probably the BEST macarons ever! Blue Violet Macaron & Pistachio Macaron. If only my macarons tasted like that, I could have opened a bakery shop! Gee…

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Sonia looked so fresh!

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Munching on her favourite hashbrown. Yummy!

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Mother-and-daughter

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Father-and-daughter

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My gem

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Happy family (minus Arnold, coz he was sleeping)

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Daddy’s girl

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I don’t usually give Sonia sweet treats, but this macaron tasted so good, I needed to share with her. She ate a quarter of my macaron!

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Aww… so sweet! They melt my heart!

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After breakfast, we headed outdoor for some fun! The weather was sooooooooo good, it would be a sin to not enjoy the sun and breeze.

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Postcard worthy picture (though the picture is tilted, we can fix this with photoshop but I’m too tired to edit the pictures)

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Their laughter fills my heart

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The best parents-in-law, ever.

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You can tell, I was in high spirits! So was he.

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At 17-month-young, he had four teeth. When will the rest sprout?

My arms were shaking. They both would have added up to 23 kilograms! Almost half my weight.

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Arnold enjoyed chasing after birds.

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Feeding the birds with bread

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That’s why they all looked so chubby!

Hubby was busy distributing bread to the kids.

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Hub and I ran to the end of the jetty. The wind was so strong, I would have flown away with the wind if I was any lighter. No pun intended. After five minutes, I couldn’t feel my ears, and my head started turning numb, so we ran back to shore. It was freezing!!!

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Look what we saw! Pleasant surprise! A seal swimming against the current. He looked like he was having fun!

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Just in case I forgot the name of the cafe, I told hub to take a picture of me with the cafe name at the backdrop.

We will come here again, someday.

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If you ever visit Adelaide, these are some must-go places. Have fun!

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WESA Travel - Adelaide

So here we are, after 7.5 hours plane ride on SQ279, we arrived safely at Adelaide. We were lucky with the kids – both fell asleep throughout the plane ride so no drama whatsoever. BUT hubby and I just couldn’t sleep. -_-

All of us looked like zombies while the kids looked super FRESH! I know, we asked for it, but we just couldn’t. The seats were uncomfortable, it was freezing cold, ya~dah~ya~dah~ we just couldn’t get to sleep! No one to blame, it’s just us. So finding the right apartment is of vital importance! We needed our rest and rest time is very precious to us (try looking after 2 toddlers).

So here, we begin our ten days vacation at Adelaide.

HOW TO RENT A CAR IN ADELAIDE

As soon as we were done with custom checks at the Adelaide Airport, hub collected our rented vehicle. We were VERY kiasu (we planned for this trip months back), five months before the trip! We did some “homework”, decided on which company to rent the car from, and the type of car. After much “research”, hub decided upon AVIS car rental. Why? Because price was reasonable, and more importantly, C.O.N.V.E.N.I.E.N.T! We tried East Coast Car Rental on our previous trips to Adelaide but we really didn’t like having to travel to another location on a mini-bus with so many baggages (plus kids) to collect the car. It was highly inconvenient but I must say, they were a tad bit cheaper than AVIS. If it was just hub and I, we wouldn’t have any issues with East Coast Car Rental, but with the kids, it was too much trouble.

I max

We rented a black Hyundai I Max, big enough to fit four adults, 2 car seats, 1 stroller, 5 baggages, and 1 soft bag. It worked for us!

STEPS TO RENT A CAR IN ADELAIDE

  1. Click here.
  2. Make a booking. You will need to give your credit card details but rest assure no amount will be deducted until you collect your vehicle at the airport.
  3. When you reach the airport, go to the Avis counter inside the airport. They will verify your details against your Singapore driving licence. So be sure to bring your Singapore driving licence.
  4. Sign a car rental agreement.
  5. Make full payment.
  6. Avis staff will pass you the GPS and tell you your car park lot number.
  7. You collect your rented car at the designated area. Car key is placed at the car initiator.
  8. Viola, you are good to go.

STEPS TO RETURN YOUR RENTED CAR

  1. Drive the car back to the same car park, find a random lot, park the car.
  2. Pass the car key and GPS to the Avis staff at the small office in the car park.
  3. Make sure your tank is full before returning the car otherwise they will charge you for petrol based on their rate.
  4. Before you leave, they will pass you a receipt. Now you are good to catch your flight back home, or to your next destination.

WHERE TO STAY AT ADELAIDE

henley beach

Of course there are heaps of options when it comes to accommodation. And it really depends on your budget. We needed a three bedroom apartment – one for the in-laws, one for us, and another for my brother-in-law when he came to visit over the weekends. And so we kept our focus on a 3-bedder. Initially, we tried looking for a landed property because the kids really liked the BIG HOUSE we stayed at Perth early this year but none fit the bill. So we started looking at apartments.

 

Here are our basic requirements:

  • Min. 3 bedrooms
  • Min. 2 bathrooms
  • Safe neighbourhood
  • In-built heater (hello, it’s winter)
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Carpark lot

 

Of course, it would be nice if the apartment is new, well furnished with a modern touch, highly secured, carpeted, fully equipped with kitchen utensils, has a balcony, a supermarket nearby, not too far from city yet near the beach. And WE FOUND IT! It took us a week browsing the web for somewhere this nice but you don’t have to go through the same pain. We love sharing good things and here’s the link – click here.

apartment

This stunning apartment over looks Henley Beach at Seaview Road. There was a supermarket just downstair (IGA Foodland) so needless to say, it was VERY convenient. If we were short of some eggs, bread, milk powder, or anything at all, it was only a few steps away, literally.

We were given a personal car park lot so there was no need to look for one every evening when we returned to the apartment.

This place is not as big as the house we stayed at Perth but the kids had ample space to run about and bump around.

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Hubby’s favourite thing in the apartment was the coffee machine. He wasn’t an avid coffee drinker but he loves playing with the machine.

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It wasn’t the right way to play a trumpet but Arnold had fun blowing through the horn.

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Sonia sharing her biscuit with Arnold. So sweet!

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I really love this blue dress (gift from Terence & Michelle). It came just in time for winter! Thanks, dearies!

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Arnold fooling around…

When we were at the apartment, the kids always hung about at the living room and looked out at the balcony. When it wasn’t too windy, we took them out to enjoy the scenic view (minus the construction site). I think they were building a car park. Thankfully it wasn’t noisy at all (besides, they knock off early).

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At the balcony! The construction site was such a SPOILER -_-

Hubby’s favourite thing in the apartment was the coffee machine. He wasn’t an avid coffee drinker but he loves playing with the machine.

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On any trip to any country, we always do our research on car rental and accommodation, compare prices and make reservations way before our trip. When you are traveling with kids, the last thing you want happening is hiccup.

Next I’ll share with you awesome places for breakfast in Adelaide! Stay tune!

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This is a LONG OVERDUE post on our Family Trip To Perth Australia but I took sooooooooo many winning pictures (thick-skin can), I just had to post them! So there we were, at Perth, from the sixteenth to the twenty fifth of February twenty fifteen.

We didn’t visit many places but our core mission there was to help hubby’s baby brother settle down. Among the few agenda on our list were to find him a place to stay, fix his transportation issues, buy all necessary household items and get him properly enrolled in school. And we were glad everything fell right in place without much hiccups. We even had an awesome reunion dinner (two reunion dinners actually) there with the WHOLE family intact. Of course, some logistics needed to be planned etc, but it was all worth the time and money. You will find out more about our trip as you follow our ‘story’ below.

Enjoy the pictures!

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DAY ONE – 16 FEB 2015

The five hours plane ride to Perth was a breeze. I was preparing for the worst but was pleasantly surprised at how well my kids behaved. Sonia was so excited about the plane ride and insisted on taking the window seat. A week before flying to Perth, we pre-educated her about plane etiquette, and I thought it worked because she was more willing to sit still, fasten her seat belt and wait for her meals to be served. There was something about the foldable table that made her felt like a grown up kid. She liked the fact that she was able to eat at the table like all of us, have her own set of food and cutleries, and a choice of fruit juice. She could call the shot, and that was a BIG deal to her. It also helped that she slept through three hours of the entire journey.

Arnold didn’t like being constrained but we had to fasten his seat belt when we took off. That was a little rough but after a while he calmed down and fell asleep. Like his sister, he slept through most of the time, and played with random people passing by his seat when he was awake. He’s a sociable boy. Like a magnet, he attracts people from all walks of life.

Above all, I was really grateful to my parents-in-law who helped looked after the kids throughout the entire trip.

So five hours passed by peacefully. We arrived at Perth early in the morning and was ready to drive to this really BIG rented house at Boulter Street, Willagee. If you are interested in renting the same property when you visit Perth, click here.

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We were greeted with a very ordinary looking house (not what I expected). Initially, I was a little disappointed, but when I walked into the house… WOW! I changed my mind. It was a fabulous house! The kitchen was huge and clean; there were four spacious bedrooms, a large cavernous living room, a pool table just beside the dining area and a sizable backyard. Did I mentioned they had aplenty of toys for the kids to play with too?!? Brownie points for that!

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While we got busy unpacking our luggage, the kids helped themselves with the toys and kept themselves busy until we were ready to leave the house to the University of Western Australia (UWA).

There we were, at the entrance of the uni. It was a pretty decent university but I still very much prefer the University of Queensland (UQ), where hubby and I graduated from. Some day, I would like to take Sonia and Arnold there.

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University of Western Australia

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Arnold and 爷爷

The great grandmother

The great grandmother

The hubby searching on google map on how-to-get-to-our-next-destination.

The photographer for the day

The photographer for the day

The hubby searching on google map on how-to-get-to-our-next-destination.

Sonia run around the court.

Sonia ran around the court.

The grandparents and grandkiddos.

The grandparents and grandkiddos.

While Kirby was at uni attending his orientation programme, we shopped for his printer, stationaries, notebooks, pens, paper, etc. And Sonia had so much fun wheeling the miniature trolley, grabbing stationaries for herself, Heidi jiejie and Tiffany meimei. She always have them in mind.

While Kirby was at uni attending his orientation programme, we shopped for his printer, stationaries, notebooks, pens, paper, etc. And Sonia had so much fun wheeling the miniature trolley, grabbing stationaries for herself, Heidi jiejie and Tiffany meimei. She always have them in mind.

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After stationary shopping, our stomach growled, the kids cried for milk, and so we drove to the nearest cafe.

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Now that we were all filled and burping (opss), we had the energy to go house hunting! One week was all we had to find an apartment for Kirby. The property regulations for renting apartments in Perth had changed, so it was almost impossible to rent a place without being physically in the country to ‘inspect’ the property. Saying so, you can still do your homework in Singapore before flying to Perth. Hubby and I went through heaps of properties on the Real Estate site, filtered those that fit the bill, contacted the property agent and made viewing appointments.

After viewing some apartments, we headed back to the BIG house. I didn’t take as many pictures as I would love to because WATCHING OVER TWO ACTIVE KIDS ON THE MOVE WAS NO JOKE.

We brought the kids to the playground in the evening when the sun sets. The weather was beautiful. Even better, the playground was just beside the house we lived. See behind the playground, that house? Yes, that BIG house. How convenient! Even after we return back to reality Singapore, Sonia kept asking for the BIG house.

 

The great grandmother's favourite hangout - the backyard. She sweeps the backyard like her own house, daily. Good exercise!

The great grandmother’s favourite hangout – the backyard. She swept the backyard like her own house, daily. Good exercise!

And here's how the surroundings looked like. Quiet and peaceful.

And here’s how the surroundings looked like. Quiet and peaceful.

It would be lovely if we had the time to make a cuppa kopi, bake some muffins and snack at the 'hut' while the kids play at the playground.

It would be lovely if we had the time to make a cuppa kopi, bake some muffins and snack at the ‘hut’ while the kids play at the playground.

Watching them laugh and giggle just made me the happiest mother in the world!

Watching them laugh and giggle just made me the happiest mother in the world!

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After thirty minutes at the playground, the kids were soaking wet! We ended our day bathing the kids, and reading the Mr & Little Miss books we brought from home.

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DAY TWO – 17 FEB 2015

If you want to head to a sizeable mall, try Claremont Quarter. We didn’t shop much because the kids weren’t interested in shopping but in running, jumping and playing. I wished I had taken more pictures but some times, it is almost impossible to hold a camera while chasing after two imps.

Almost every mall in Perth has a relatively big play area for the kids.

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Sonia was such a dictator. “Stand in the red box.” and if we do not take her commands, she would become all bossy and push us into the red box! And when she said “jump”, we all had to jump uniformly out of the box, otherwise she would start nagging at us and we had to do it all over again! Overbearing uh?!?

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DAY THREE – 18 FEB 2015

Happy CHINESE NEW YEAR EVE!

We may not be home in SUNNY SINGAPORE, but the entire family is here and we brought a hotpot from home! Even Ed’s brother took a plane from Adelaide to meet us for reunion dinner. It was a pity that I didn’t manage to capture the moment when Nelson surprised my MIL at the doorstep. You know, the dramatic effect of an open jaw and tears streaming down the cheeks?!? Hub and I planned this hush hush surprise trip. No one else should know but hub let the cat out of the bag and told my FIL. Never mind that, for the least my MIL didn’t know. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

If we were to have steamboat dinner tonight, we needed FOOD! My resourceful hub had gotten a list of Chinese and Korean supermarkets on his mobile phone and it was our duty was to buy food and more food. My favourite place was the Seafresh Myaree!

Address: 488 Marmion St Myaree WA 6154
Contact: +61 8 9330 3494
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm

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This is a quite a big air-conditioned fish market, clean, and doesn’t smell.

It was an eye-opener for Sonia! So many colours… so many types of fish!

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The seafood were fresh BUT pricey. We bought some tiger prawns, squids, and snappers for about AUD 200.

While my FIL and hub were busy in the kitchen (yea, we have the men behind the counter today), MIL and I looked after the kids.

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The kids had a game of billiard (as if).

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That was Arnold’s way of playing billiard. Who needs a cue stick? He has hands! Haha… He placed every ball in the hole and Sonia would pick them up from the bottom and placed them on the table again.

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Don’t worry! Sonia wasn’t about to fall. She already knew how to climb up and down the table all by herself. (There was a stool there lah!)

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I’m falling in love with my gems every single day. They love to give each other hugs and kisses. How can I not melt at such sights?

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Among all trucks, lego, dolls, cars, pails and the list goes on, this little trolley is Sonia’s favourite toy. She used that to ferry Arnold around, and to picked her clothes from the wardrobe to the bath room. We tried finding a similar trolley at the malls but with no avail, so we asked the landlord if we could purchase it from them. She generously gave it to Sonia and she was OVER THE MOON!

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While waiting for the men to prepare dinner, we had wax apple. This is probably the best wax apple I have ever eaten. No pun intended. Crunchy, juicy, sweet!

AFTER ONE HOUR…

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The soup booths were ready!

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Hub stood on the chair to take a picture of our dinner. We had kimchi and chicken soup booths, vegetables, tau pok, golden mushrooms, sliced beef, sliced pork, quail eggs, snappers, tiger prawns, and some yong tau foo pieces. You wouldn’t believe me if I were to tell you that the tau pok was SUPER DELICIOUS! Boy, they were even better than those we find in Singapore. S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y.

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Yummy!

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And here’s a family photo before we dig in! It was already 8pm and the kids were in their PJ.

We had an awesome reunion dinner. It really doesn’t matter where you are as long as the family is intact. So much LOVE!!!

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DAY FOUR – 19 FEB 2015

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

Gong Xi Gong Xi! Hub and I greeted our parents and started distributing red packets!

Gong Xi Gong Xi! The first thing in the morning, Hub and I greeted our parents and started distributing red packets! We had forgotten to buy oranges but plums were fine. Gee…

I must really thank my parents-in-law who faithfully cooked Sonia and Arnold’s porridge every morning. I can’t say enough “thank you”! While my FIL cooked their porridge, the kids created a mess in the living room.

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My FIL is not just the best FIL, but also the best grandfather, and the best son. He not only prepares food for the kids, but also for his mother. Some days, he makes sandwiches for her, other days, he cooks noodles. He’s a family man and his family is always his priority.

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Sonia mastering her cutting skills

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And guess who had to clear the mess? SONIA, of course. She’s not going out if she doesn’t clear after herself. I know I’m being a little mean, but it is all for her own good. Gee…

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Arnold was happy playing LEGO

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I didn’t bring those toys to Perth, they were from the landlord. They had heaps of toys in the house! Kids’ paradise!

After the young and old were done with breakfast, it’s our turn!

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Well-deserved break!

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Milk time!

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The great grandmother

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Nelson

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Kirby

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Mama carrying weights! 10kg on one side and 11kg on the other. Not kidding!

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Little Miss Photographer

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Checking out on the photos she had taken.

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Say cheeze!

We spent our afternoon viewing more apartments and finally settled on a brand new apartment, but unfortunately not furnished. So we had to do furniture shopping. And we always find fun in whatever we do! Yeah!

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While the boy went bed testing, the kids had fun exploring so many interesting bed frames. This was their favourite! How cute!

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Jie Jie likes being the captain!

Sometimes having too many choices isn’t a good thing. We spent one afternoon walking around mattress stores and bought nothing. Tomorrow, round two!

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DAY FIVE – 20 FEB 2015

Every morning, we faced the same kind of first-world-problem. WHERE TO EAT? 

After much googling, we decided upon the ZUCCHERO ESPRESSO BAR. It was promising to see that an espresso bar had opened at this end of Victoria Park which had never been renowned for anything but endless car yards. Whilst the food was good, the coffee was average. It really depends on what you are after.

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I took the opportunity to snap a picture before the food came. If you wonder where Nelson was? He was back in Adelaide for an internship.

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Gugu’s hearty big breakfast!

So what’s on the itinerary for today? I had it all planned out. First, collect the apartment keys from the agent. Second, get the electricity running. Third, buy a bed and mattress. Fourth, drive to IKEA for household items. Fifth, go to The Good Guy store to buy a fridge and washing machine. There were so much to buy!

Guess what the kids were doing while hub and his dad walked about the apartment taking measurements?

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Sonia was snapping hundreds of photos. And Gugu (see behind) was busy arranging her flight back to HK.

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If you think Arnold would sit there quietly for an hour, you must be JOKING! He walked about the apartment, taking whatever in his sight and attempted to eat them! My MIL probably lost 5kg just running after him.

As dusk came, everyone were drained. We had a quick dinner before heading back to the BIG house.

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DAY SIX – 21 FEB 2015

With more time on hand, we get to spend the entire morning at Fremantle while Kirby went to uni for his orientation programmes. If you ever drive down to the Fremantle, you got to visit the Chalkys Espresso Bar. I love the relax vibe and of course the good hot beverage!

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Fremantle

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At the CHALKYS ESPRESSO BAR. Sonia loved the croissant. It was so soft in the inside and crispy on the outside. Baked to the perfect texture!

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I liked how they named their dishes on the menu. Here’s an OLD FAITHFUL scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, ciabatta. AUD 16.

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This wasn’t on the menu but they had it displayed at the counter and so we tried the wrap. Again, we were impressed. This wrap looked really simple but its taste….. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S….. thumbs up!

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We spotted a bird and looked what’s Arnold’s reaction like –>

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He saw the bird flew and his smile got washed away. Haha… in shock, I guess?

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Mother and Son

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Passersby thought she was Japanese. Some thought she was Korean. Kawaii!

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Very strong wind. Just look at her hair and hat. It flew off her head and she caught it just in time!

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I wasn’t sure why gugu wanted to sit in the middle of the road for a photo but she looked cute there anyway.

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Mother and Daughter

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We had an awesome time at Chalkys Espresso Bar today!

We spent our afternoon at the DFO (Duty Free Outlet). Along the way, we picked up some toys for the kids, while rewarding ourselves with new clothes and shoes. When the sun set, we headed back to the BIG house for dinner. Tonight, we are going to have another reunion dinner since gugu missed the previous one.

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Slurp!

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A must-take-group-photo before dinner!

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DAY SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN – 22 to 25 FEB 2015

I’m going to lump day seven to ten under one section because I didn’t take many pictures and we didn’t do much through the four days anyway. We were either eating or at Kirby’s rented apartment fixing something. That’s not to say we were bored, the kids knew how to find fun no matter where they were! And we managed to do some shopping too!

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22 Feb 2015 – A shot taken early in the morning as everyone were busy getting dressed.

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23 Feb 2015 – This morning, Sonia happened to see great grandmother sweeping and had lots of comments. She said she held the broom wrongly and then took it from her impatiently.

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Now, she’s in-charged.

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After sweeping the yard, she sat there with her little brother, watching TOY STORY. Again, DVDs were provided by landlord! Awesome, right?

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Over the past week, Sonia almost completed her activity book!

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And so took so many pictures of the ceiling, the wall, the floor, the sky, etc…

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While Sonia enjoyed being a little photographer, crafting, cutting paper and doodling, Arnold loved playing with vehicles. All kinds of vehicles. These toys were also provided by the landlord!

 

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23 Feb 2015 – As we unpacked Kirby’s barang barang, the kids had fun playing pretend with whatever they could find around them. Sonia took the pots and pans we bought from KMART and pretended to be a chef.

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Arnold was her assistant.

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And when we took all the cooking utensils away from them, Sonia went back snapping photos. Haha…

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23 Feb 2015 – Dinner by the port @ Kallis’ Fish Market Cafe.

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Gugu trying to carry twenty odd kilos of weight?!? Seriously?!?

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Seafood for dinner! Can’t be better. We had fish, squid, chips, calamaris. lobster, seafood chowder, mussels, scallops and salad.

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I thought this poster was CUTE!

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24 Feb 2015 – Mummy’s favourite breakfast – Banana Pancake.

FOOD FOR ME Cafe, a MUST TRY cafe. They are located at 877 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park, WA 6101.

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24 Feb 2015 – Carpenter at work

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The siblings

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24 Feb 2015 – Meet up with old friends at Perth.

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25 Feb 2015 – Our last day at Perth. We will take the first flight back to Singapore the next day morning.

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The siblings

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Wiping didi’s tears.

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And now we come to the end of our vacation. It wasn’t as exciting or eventful as our previous trips to Australia but we all had fun!

Next we will travel to Adelaide to visit Nelson, perhaps some time during Winter. Summer was unbearable! Too HOT!

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Our next vacation – Australia, it shall be.

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I seem to have some kind of affinity for Australia, and have been there at least a dozen times. The best times of my life were spent at Brisbane with my then boyfriend, now husband. Those four years, I’ve learnt so much!

Let’s revisit the times I was still studying in uni……. 2006 – 2010.

P1010438After graduating with a diploma, I went to the University of Queensland to complete my degree. Everything was new to me – the place, the people, the culture, everything. The university was HUGE and unlike NUS or NTU, there wasn’t shuttle services within the St Lucia campus. We just had to walk from one building to the other, even if it meant walking 10 blocks away. On some days, I had my lectures and tutorials nicely fitted and spread out. On other days, I had some 4 to 5 hours block between lectures. My first semester at UQ was quite a rough one. Unfamiliar with their system and style, I struggled with my assignments but soon after (it took me one semester to warm up) I learned the gambit to score and the rest was history.

Side track a little – if you notice my mobile phone on the right of the photo (see above)? Yes, that’s an antique now. Eight years ago, smart phones just started being popular but I didn’t get one because data plan in Australia was really expensive. I can’t say the same today (basically everyone owns a smart phone now).

DSC03259My life wasn’t all about studying, I had a life outside the books. We call that a social life (gee). In Brissy, I met many nice people. We all come from different walks of life and specialised in different fields. Some did law, some did IT, some did medicine, some did engineering, some did business studies and the list goes on. But with some kind of fate, we met and I’m glad we met.

Still remember “Cheaper Tuesdays”? Domino’s Pizzas were only 5 bucks each!

IMG_5800And once in a while, we all gathered to whip up something special. Someone suggested sushi, and sushi we had.

DSC06775I stayed in an apartment at Taringa, and there I made many friends. (most of my neighbours were Singaporeans). Occasionally, we gather by the pool for a BBQ session or a game of UNO! Precious memories 🙂

Photo 012And we celebrated all kind of festivals, be it mid-autumn festival or Dragon Boat festival. I remembered we carried lanterns and walked around Taringa. Of course, many onlookers stared at us but really, it didn’t bother us any bit. In fact, we kinda enjoyed the attention!

DSC03167There were also many impromptu gatherings and birthday parties!

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DSC06759And road trips… My best road trip partner is Adila (top right)! Thanks for being such a great friend!

IMG_5184During school holidays, we drive up to Mooloolaba for horse riding. I couldn’t find pictures of us riding the horses (though I’m pretty sure I have them somewhere in my hardisk), but never mind that. Those memories are here to stay.

DSC03593At Mooloolaba.

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DSC00694I’ve heard so much about Stephen Robert Irwin (or better known as Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter) and have always wanted to visit the Australia zoo, but I came too late. The Australian wildlife expert and conservationist died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled “Ocean’s Deadliest”. Many came to pay tribute to the Crocodile Hunter.

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DSC00772DSC02441And when you reside near the Sunshine Coast, you must head down to the beach. The beaches there were BEAUTIFUL!DSC02465

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DSC01709I couldn’t recall when, but when my parents visited, we brought them to the Strawberry farm. Fresh sweet juicy strawberries, what’s there not to love. Gee…
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30.06.09 - Byron Bay 294Byron Bay

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DSC08276After a couple of months in Brissy, we bought a second-hand car and that made traveling so much easier. Cars in Australia is SO MUCH MORE affordable than Singapore’s. DSC08279.eOur little Yaris, served us well. Very well.DSC02087We love hanging out at the West End market! In fact, we go there every other week to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The only downside is that CAR. PARK. IS. ALWAYS. FULL. Arggg…
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20 oct 2009I love the Jacaranda tree. And I love that man standing next to the tree too!

DSC00602It’s nice when we have friends coming down to visit!

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DSC00479And nothing beats having a good dinner with great friends after examinations.

apr 2009 ale patI get to know friends from different places. Ale came from Germany and Pat was from Thailand.

DSC00902Whenever there’s semester breaks, we always head to Helensvales for SHOPPING!

DSC01064Spring is the perfect season for alfresco dining.

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Copy of DSCF3276I had heaps of fun in uni too! I remembered, in my last year, we ran a “Healthy Lifestyle Campaign”. We went round getting sponsorships from suppliers and managed to rent these costumes at no cost. The posters I designed were pasted all over the campus. Respond wasn’t overwhelming but it was really not-too-bad.

walking tackWe even managed to invite a mayor to grace the ribbon cutting ceremony and got the media to cover our story (yes, it appeared in the papers)!!!

DSC04509Great team work!!! Hurray!!!

DSC06950Classmates I will never forget.

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DSC07571And finally, I graduated with a bachelor degree in Communication majoring in Public Relations.

DSC07567My parents were very proud of me.

Nope, I didn’t stop studying. I went on to do a masters degree at The Queensland University of Technology while sweetie (Edmund) did his degree at UQ (he came later because he needed to complete serving NS first).

IMG_3670And then I graduated again, with Adila.

IMG_3513I’ve gotten the Dean’s award again, and my parents were very very proud of me.
Dad and mum, thanks for being so supportive. 一切尽在不言中。

IMG_3551And sweetie, thanks for always being there for me.
Your presence and support meant a lot to me.

IMG_3539And daddy, I am what I am today because of you. Thank you ain’t enough but still, thank you. I love you deep deep!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASoon after, sweetie graduated too!

We spent some time traveling around Australia and New Zealand before heading back to Singapore for good.

It was four good years, filled with fond memories.

And yes, I will bring my kids to Brisbane some day…

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