JahBella’s Day Out at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

The very first time we visited the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, Jah was a mere 5 months old infant.  I remember Joel and I pushing him around in his infant car seat cum stroller and taking a stroll through the ‘little park/garden’. Quite obviously we didn’t find anything suitable for a 5 month old and proceeded to forget all about that little place in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Fast forward almost 3 years later and now with 2 kids in tow, we decided to head over to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Gardenfor one of our weekend morning outings.

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is free of charge and the only requirement is that kids are accompanied by adults and adults are accompanied by kids. I found that requirement quite cute. :p Oh and also no food and drinks a lot so please feed the kids before going there.

We fed Shaun the Sheep before our visit and we got a happy sheep!

We fed Shaun the Sheep before our visit and we got a happy sheep!

The garden has a small water play area (mainly equipped with little jets and sprays on the ground), a sand pit area, lots of interesting fruits and plants growing along the pathway, a suspension bridge, a nice treehouse with 2 slides and a large sand area as well as lots of other educational areas for the other kids. We spent almost 2 hours at the gardens and most of our time was spent at the treehouse and exploring some of the little nooks and crannies of what Jah calls the deep dark woods! We even had some fun narrating and role-playing the Gruffalo story while exploring the ‘woods’.

We spotted bananas on our walk in...:)

We spotted bananas on our walk in…:)

Mummy! The bananas are green! My favourite colour!

Mummy! The bananas are green! My favourite colour!

Quick guys!!!

Quick guys!!!

Huge treehouse!

Huge treehouse!

The garden is supposedly targeted at 5 year olds to 12 year olds (especially the more educational activities) but my 21 month old toddler and 3 year old kiddo did just fine although you will probably want to keep a close watch on those age groups and follow them around. We also saw lots of kids their age who were happily enjoying the water play area and the other sand pit.

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Think the sand there was quite tasty too...

Think the sand there was quite tasty too…

Come meimei...korkor wait for you..

Come meimei…korkor wait for you..

Meimei! We are going on a mission!

Meimei! We are going on a mission!

Whee!!! Byebye!

Whee!!! Byebye!

A mouse took a stroll in the deep dark woods, a fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good!

A mouse took a stroll in the deep dark woods, a fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good!

Be prepared for the kids to get alittle grubby with all the sand and sweat but nothing a little water and washing can’t solve.

Literally a tree house...

Literally a tree house…

And yes they entered it..

And yes they entered it..

There is also a little café at the entrance of the garden and that was where we headed for our quick lunch. The kids were pretty wiped out by the time we were ready to leave so we figured rather than pack them off somewhere for lunch, a quick fix at the café was just perfect.

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The seating area is very family friendly and they even had little chairs and tables for the young ones. The seating area can get pretty packed at times but you will eventually be able to get a seat if you wait around alittle. We were fortunate to find empty tables as we were exiting. The café has a wider ala carte menu however I didn’t notice it and ended up ordering their set menus. The meals took about 10 minutes to be served which was perfect for famished and impatient children. A wonderful morning in all and definitely adding it to our list of places to go that won’t break the bank. 😉

Grubby, sweating...

Grubby, sweating…

Thirsty...hungry...

Thirsty…hungry…

JahBella’s Mummy

Penang Holiday (Oct 2014) – Adventure Zone

Adventure Zone was initially meant to be a back-up activity in case it rained during our time in Penang.  How could we let good sunny days go to waste, after all we were staying at a hotel with fantastic pool facilities and a nice beach right in front of us. However the kids got alittle bored of swimming everyday and so we had to bring in our stand-by activity.

Adventure zone is a facility with drop slides and play equipments for the whole family.  There were slides available for all ages and also for those with little dare devil children (I didn’t know mine were until then). For those who are considering to go to Adventure Zone, please bring along socks, long pants and a long sleeve top , this is to help prevent ‘burns’ when coming down the slides and they are really strict on the dress code.

I know my kids look like they are on a winter holiday

I know my kids look like they are on a winter holiday

It is located within the grounds of the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Golden Sands Resort so it is ultra convenient for families staying there. It is  a 3 minute cab ride away from Hard Rock Penang.  The good thing about the place is the fact that adults need not pay if they were accompanying a paying child.

Upon entering the facility, you will find lockers for you to keep your belongings and a small café area for the kids to take a break or for parents of older children to ‘hang out’. The café area has an unblocked view of all the slides so that you can keep a watch on your kids from where you are. It is also located right next to the toddler play area which is very convenient.

Toddler Play Area (Separate from the big play area and slides)

Toddler Play Area (Separate from the big play area and slides)

We spent alittle bit of time at the toddler play area for Jah and Bella to warm up but they really didn’t need much of that. I think all our indoor playground sessions in Singapore made them a little more adventurous. :p

We initially rode tandem with Jah and Bella on the ‘gurney sack’ slide but it wasn’t long before Jah wanted to go on his own and we were coming down the slide, side by side. The only downside of him having so much fun and wanting to go again and again, was the fact that I had to repeatedly climb up the long flight of stairs for 3 seconds of ‘thrill’.

Whee! It was quite fast!

Whee! It was quite fast!

Thank goodness there were other areas for them to explore and Jah and Bella occupied themselves with climbing up ramps and across ‘bridges’.

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Miss Dare Devil Bella

Miss Dare Devil Bella

We were there for almost 2 hours and in that 2 hours, Jah had silently worked up the courage to attempt one of the vertical slides. I never knew this boy was so fearless. I have to say that it was probably easier for him to attempt it since I was lowering him down the side whereas other kids and adults (like myself) had to sit on the ledge and well push ourselves off the ledge. Scary stuff!! (And it wasn’t even their scariest slide).

The scariest slide of the lot...

The scariest slide of the lot…we didn’t try it

My little fearless boy looked like a rag doll coming down the slide and he was so disoriented after landing in the ball pit that he wasn’t quite sure where to go but 30 seconds later, he wanted to go again!

I have to say that we didn’t really expect much from Adventure Zone but I guess sometimes all you need are a few slides and a dose of courage! We will be back the next time we are in Penang for sure!

JahBella’s Mummy

iTheatre’s Aesop’s Fables (Media Invite)

Theatre boy (Jah) and I were invited by iTheatre to their latest production Aesop’s Fables at the Raffles Hotel Jubilee Hall and we decided to bring Papa Joel along. Papa Joel usually hates it when I ask him to join me for a play or musical because he just doesn’t have the attention span for it :p But he was more than willing to come for this production because he wanted to witness Jah’s interest in theatre for himself.

This is our second time at an iTheatre production (the first was Hop and Honk) and I have to say that you realize how super passionate they are for theatre and super good at what they do when you see the effort that goes into their programme booklet, stage set and props.

Mandatory Poster pic

Mandatory Poster pic

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Checking out the programme and activities in the booklet 🙂

Thanks for the goodie bag iTheatre!

Thanks for the goodie bag iTheatre!

Programme Booklet

Programme Booklet

Awesome backdrop

Awesome backdrop

The 50 minutes show (no intervals) revolved around a theatre troupe, the Crowfoot Troupe taking us through 8 fantastic fables. The show was filled with catchy tunes, intelligent humor and great acting! Jah had declared a few times to me that he was scared of some of the characters even though he understood that it was all pretend, just like in his speech and drama classes. He even said “the uncles and aunties act so well!” :p

Wefie!

Wefie!

The show is suitable for theatre goers ages 3 years and up. Although they do say till 13, I’ll have to say “up” because adults like Papa Joel and I enjoyed ourselves immensely too! Papa Joel actually thanked me for bringing him along for the show!

Not only did I enjoy the production elements of the show, I also truly enjoyed the storyline. It was nice to be reminded of the moral of the story behind each Aesop’s Fable. Yes the ones we had learnt as children but somehow had forgotten that they apply to us even in today’s world. It also has given me a lot of ‘material’ to work with for the next couple of months when it comes to introducing Aesop’s Fables to Jah and telling/ reminding him of the moral of each story.

So if you are looking for some good fun for the family and something educational for the little ones then check out iTheatre’s Aesop’s Fables! We can’t wait to catch Gingerbread Man by iTheatre when it premieres in May! 🙂

Next up!

Next up!

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And I leave you with some ‘moral of the story’ that we took away from the show 🙂

“When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.”

“Never trust flatterers”

“Don’t let your greed overpower you or you will lose everything”

“Never swop your friends for enemies”

JahBella’s Mummy

Hard Rock Food – Room Service, Kings Club and Restaurants

Penang is definitely the haven for good food and I am always complaining that there is just never enough days on our Penang trip to eat everything we want to eat. This is made even worse when your hotel also serves fantastic food!! Yes it is a torture to be spoilt for choice. :p

We started our trip on a really good note – awesome Italian food at the Hard Rock. We were rather tired by the time we arrived. After an hour long car ride and kids nearing their nap time, I was very worried that waiting for lunch would be a nightmare. However the food was served really quickly and the good service and bubbly staff were really infectious. You can tell from JahBella’s big smiles that they had forgotten about the long journey here already and a nice nap was awaiting for our full bellies.

We over ordered!!! The portions were huge even for the kids meal!

We over ordered!!! The portions were huge even for the kids meal!

She doesn't smile when waiting for her food anymore...:( She screams!

She doesn’t smile when waiting for her food anymore…:( She screams!

First of many mocktails during the trip

First of many mocktails during the trip

We had the standard buffet breakfast at their main restaurant during the first half of our stay (when we were staying in the Lil Rock Star Suite. Given that the hotel was on full occupancy, there seemed to always be seats available at the main restaurant. The variety of the buffet was also really good – from Asian (Hawker fare) to Cereals to Western to their own ‘pau’ section. Kids were also given their own cutlery which made the experience extremely kiddy friendly.

Appetizer?

Appetizer?

During the second half of our stay, we enjoyed our breakfast at the Kings Club (when we were staying in the Rock Star Suite). The Kings Club breakfast offered a very limited buffet spread with the standard cereals, fruits, muffins and a small selection of hot food. The real star of the Kings Club breakfast is their ala carte buffet menu that you can order from. Having your food served to you is always welcomed when you have kids to take care of. We were so spoilt for choice and we had to stop ourselves from over ordering.

Its almost like he had breakfast in bed...

Its almost like he had breakfast in bed…

Hot breakfast served at your table

Hot breakfast served at your table

Breakfast Menu! Hungry yet?

Breakfast Menu! Hungry yet?

Staying at the Rock Star Suite also allowed us access to the Kings Club to enjoy teatime snacks and evening cocktail. We were there for a quick evening cocktail before heading out for dinner and Jah was extremely happy with the chocolate tarts and mocktails. 😉

Want to share? :D

Want to share? 😀

While room service is often a last resort, Hard Rock’s Room service is one of the best I’ve had. The kids were too tired after their morning swim to head anywhere so we settled for room service and discovered a gem! Jah loved his Fish & Chips while we were very very pleased with their Nasi Goreng. We were not expected much but found their Asian fare to be pretty authentic. We also tried their lamb with pea mash and I can tell you that I have never tasted such a good pie before. The room service meals were so good that we actually had it for two days.

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So if you are concerned about what to eat in Penang (hmmmm..) especially if your kids might be too tired to head out or if like me, you had a little one with a fever on the last 2 days. Then Hard Rock is the perfect place to base yourself out of and enjoy their wonderful yummy treats.

Next Up – Yummy Food Outside of the Hotel!!!! (Fishing Village Seafood, Nonya Breeze, Golden River Zi Char)

JahBella’s Mummy

Hokey Pokey – Seletar Mall

JahBella have been to several indoor playgrounds before but they have never visited Hokey Pokey. So when we found out that they had open an outlet near to us and even nearer to our upcoming new place, we were keen to find out if it could become one of our regular spots.

We arrived at the newly opened Seletar Mall at 10am and there was no lack of parking space (although I heard from my sister that the parking gets very full towards the evening). Hokey Pokey is an indoor playground for babies from 6 months old to young kids up to 6 years old. None of the tedious climbing and crawling through tunnels for us old bones but I was worried that the activity level would be too mild for my active 3 year old.

The entry fee on weekends are $26 for 2 hours of play and upon a quick survey of their environment and facilities, we decided to ‘invest’ in a member’s package. The annual package cost $58 and it consists of 2 free sessions (day of purchase and during birthday month). It also included 1 free soft drink per visit (perfect for the thirsty parent) and discounted rates of $16 on weekends for 2 hours of play. We were also given a sibling discount for our 2nd package at $38! As we signed up during their Christmas promo, we bagged an additional session + a free Christmas goodie bag and a nice box of cupcake and Christmas cookie. It was a really really nice gesture!

JahBella were the first kids there and they were blown away by the variety of toys there! There was a section with huge trucks, cars and Starwars characters which Jah could not tear himself away from. He alternated between that corner and another section with cars and ramps. Bella, on the other hand was all over the place, from the ball pit to the princess corner, from Thomas the train ride on a ramp to the kitchen corner. She played with everything!

Not a huge space but the variety was huge and the toys were so new!

Not a huge space but the variety was huge and the toys were so new!

Jah's favourite area - he picked an orange Porsche from there and it never left his sight until we left

Jah’s favourite area – he picked an orange Porsche from there and it never left his sight until we left

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A wonderland of car ramps

A wonderland of car ramps

His own Star Wars Battle

His own Star Wars Battle

Boys can play with doll houses too :)

Boys can play with doll houses too 🙂

Whee!!

Whee!!

Where's the baby?

Where’s the baby?

Spoilt for choice

Spoilt for choice

There were so many rides available - personally I find this Crayola ride super cute!

There were so many rides available – personally I find this Crayola ride super cute!

For the hungry parent or kids, there is a small café with a few tables and bar counter that overlooked the play area so you are never too far off from your child.

The two hours past really quickly and while the kids were not totally exhausted and thank goodness neither we were, they really enjoyed themselves. The ‘mild’ activity level was not a concerned because they were kept so occupied. The only problem would be prying them away from their newfound favourite toy or finding a way to say no to their request to buy a certain toy.

Jah declared that he would like to come back soon and yes I am pretty sure we will be.

JahBella’s Mummy