JahBella’s Moments of 2015

It truly has been quite the year and so I thought what better way to close off their year than with a post on JahBella’s Moments of 2015. Some of our milestones, recaps and well just the awesome fun times we have had this last year. So here goes…..JahBella’s Moments of 2015! 🙂

JahBella’s first family holiday with the village!! Lets do it again next year guys!!!

Our first Kid’s run and I’m sure we will be back next year for more runs!

IMG_7763.JPG

IMG_7860.JPG

New job for JahBella’s mummy after 11 years means Jah and Bella have to get used to a new routine and I have to say they have been awesome!! No photos though but I figured it’s worth a mention :p

Bella turns 2! And discovers her love for food? Oh sorry she discovered that a long time ago…both kids discovered their love for seafood!! Lucky us!! 🙂

IMG_8203

We moved out of our first nest after 7 years!!!

JahBella’s Mummy’s 15 minutes of ‘fame’ on Talking Point :p

IMG_9498

 Our trip to Tokyo…Our longest and furthest trip yet with JahBella and our first time travelling as a family of 4….I still can’t believe I survived it and honestly I wouldn’t mind doing it again.

IMG_9899 (1).JPG

SG50 Staycation! Fireworks and flypast galore at the padang!

Jah wins his first online competition and gets Mummy a week with the Beetle..yay!!

IMG_2550

We discovered the islands of Singapore with our family!!!

       

Its Halloween! We love dress up! 
 

Our little Superhero is 4!

 

Mummy I’m 4! And I have discovered my love for animals! 🙂
  
 

USS! Where finally everyone can go on rides together (most rides) and we discovered who the thrill seeker in the family is..yes Bella and her love for rollercoasters..oh my! 

Wedding in the family! 1st time as Page Boy and Flower Girl! 

  
 

School Concert 2015! Bella’s first concert!

  
 

Jah’s first time on a public stage! Milestone indeed…#proudmummy  

 A Star Wars kind of Christmas! Jah has developed a love for Star Wars Lets see how long this last 😉   

 

No photos from Christmas yet, given that its Christmas Eve today. However going by their enthusiasm for Christmas, I think its going to be an awesome one!

  
 Merry Christmas everyone!

Happy New Year in advance and we will see you all next year!

In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out what we will be up to for the last couple of days of 2015! 🙂

Singapore in the 60s [Book Review]

How many of you remember your parents telling you stories of their childhood? The games they played, the food they are, how things used to be?I know I remember some of these ‘stories’ really vividly.

One of the stories that I remember to this day was the one about how they would lower a basket from the 2nd or 3rd floor of their low rise HDB flats to buy noodles from the noodle cart downstairs. This was how they collected their noodles and paid for it without having to go downstairs.

I was recently given a copy of the limited edition SG50 illustrated book, Singapore in the 60s by James Suresh (best selling author and co-creator one of Mr Kiasu). I was very excited to find that same story that my mum had retold countless times to us as kids, in the book.    The book is a recollection of James Suresh’s memories of his childhood days in 1960s Queenstown. The book is divided into 6 chapters covering topics such as the neighbourhood and the kampong spirit that prevailed, the travelling hawkers and tradesmen, recreation, significant events, public amenities or the lack of it and Iconic places past and present.

It was almost like opening a door into the past and taking a glimpse of how our parents had lived as kids in Singapore. 

In fact I was even able to identify some moments from my own childhood which I might have forgotten if not for reading about them again. Remember the kacang puteh man at the cinemas? The games like five stones, hop scotch and skipping (teddy bear teddy bear turn around!) 🙂    

 And how many of you remember water rationing? I remember having a big tub/ drum of water in our toilets when we were younger and I never questioned why we needed that since we had running water from taps. I now understand that it was probably a habit that our parents had developed as a result of having to go through countless water rationing exercises in their childhood days.
 
In case you are wondering how to get your hands on this book, it is currently not available to public but copies are gradually being made available to school libraries in Singapore. 50 copies will also be made available to the public through a social media contest to be announced at a later date. 

This book is an absolute gem that I hope will one day be able to give my kids a glimpse into history and Singapore in its early days. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if our kids got to read about Singapore in the 80s or 90s as well. 🙂 Priceless Memories for the next generation!

JahBella’s Mummy

What Singapore Means to Me – Regardless of Race, Language or Religion

When FinallyMama initiated the “What Singapore Means to You” blog train, I was really excited to take part in it. After all I figured how hard was it going to be for a person who was born and bred in Singapore to pen down her feelings about Singapore. As the day of my blog post neared, I started to panic, not for the lack of something to write but because I realized that it was going to be hard to explain what Singapore means to me.

IMG_1524

It wasn’t until National Day came around that I came to the full realization of what I wanted and needed to write about. My inspiration? The Singapore Pledge.

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language, or religion
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation

Yes, notice the underlined portion? It was exactly this line that fully encompasses what my life has been about and what it means to be a Singaporean to me.

Lets start from the beginning…

I was born to Chinese parents who learnt Malay as they were growing up. I’m not sure if this was because of their Peranakan background or really just by default of what their parents opted for them in school. They didn’t speak a word of Mandarin but were fluent in the Hokkien dialect because this was how they would communicate with their parents and grandparents.

I picked up Mandarin when I went to Kindergarten. I came home after the 3rd day at Kindergarten and started speaking Mandarin to my shocked parents. My mum eventually picked up Mandarin in her adult years and started listening to Mando Pop. We were also exposed to various dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese as we were growing up and so can now fully understand and speak them to a certain extent.

Religion wise, my father is a Catholic and my mum was a Buddhist. Yes this made for quite a confusing childhood when it came to religion and what to practice but on a positive note, this taught us very early on about the existence of other religions and how to be tolerant.

I attended a mission school for 10 years and it was only after leaving school that I realized what my key take-away from that education was. I never noticed the ‘differences’. My friends were well…just that…friends! They were not Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian. They were just like me and we were friends because we got along.

I think that was also what set the tone for my relationship with my husband, Joel. When I first met him, the concept of race never entered the picture at all. For those who don’t know, my husband is Indian. In fact, I have to admit that that fact never quite entered the picture until we were preparing for our wedding. But then again, lots of issues take place during wedding preps, regardless of race, language or religion. So I suppose it doesn’t quite count.

IMG_7823

Which now brings me back to the point of What Singapore Means to Me. Singapore is that 1 line in the pledge which we as kids, have found ourselves reciting over and over again. Probably without realizing then that perhaps we do know the true meaning of it.

It also means that my kids will be able to tell people that their father is Indian, their mother is Chinese and that they come from an extremely multi-racial family. (Yes they also have an uncle who is Malay and aunty who is Muslim). I hope that they will eventually be able to speak/ understand English, Mandarin and Tamil and who knows maybe even Malay.

IMG_4220

IMG_2930

It means that my kids will hopefully never ‘notice’ the difference but yet know they exist and embrace it. “Regardless of race, language or religion”. This is what Singapore Means to Me.

JahBella’s Mummy

This post is part of the ‘What Singapore Means To Me’ blog train, hosted by FinallyMama.

img_4622

Up next is Yanxiang

By day, Yanxiang is a civil servant who has taught English in a secondary school, and am now working on policies within the larger civil service. Her work allows her to constantly consider the people around her, and society in which she live, and how to better the lives of her fellow citizens.

She recently embarked on the remarkable journey of parenting a little boy named Isaac. Read about her life as a parent and how it involves twice the laughter, twice the tears, twice the excitement, twice the challenges and an abundance of love at thelittlestandusmakesthree.wordpress.com

yx-picture

NDP Preview at Ritz Carlton Singapore (Review)

If you don’t already know this about us, we absolutely love traveling! Yes Jah and Bella included, quite the wanderlust family. So whenever we entertain the thought of doing a staycation, it somehow always ‘escalates’ into a full-blown holiday overseas. I always end up convincing myself that it wasn’t worth the trouble to just pack for a night or two and I might as well top up a little and take a plane somewhere for a ‘real’ holiday.

So the decision to do a staycation at Ritz Carlton Singapore wasn’t a straightforward one. We had just returned from Tokyo with the kids for 11 days and our helper would have just returned from her home leave the day before. All in all, no reason for a holiday so soon after and just a logistical inconvenience for me. However we figured there was no better time for a staycation too, given that we will get to enjoy a good view of the NDP fireworks and all the aerial display. I’m so glad we went ahead with it and that we chose the Ritz.
When I first entered the lobby for check-in, I was abit thrown off by the long queue at the front desk. Are you sure this is the Ritz? It all looked abit disorganized and chaotic. However I was quickly ushered by one of their staff to another ‘desk’ so that I didn’t have to wait in line. I later found out, it was because I had Jah with me and they have a policy to prioritize and attend to guests with kids first. 🙂 Nice!
The kids were also given Ice Cream Passes (a free scoop of ice-cream daily, to be claimed at the Pool Bar) and an activity pack. Really nice touches to make the kids feel part of the entire experience and it helped to ease some stress off the parents as well.
Ice cream pass!

Ice cream pass!

Activity for the kids (nicely put together)

Activity for the kids (nicely put together)

IMG_1454

Who doesn't want ice-cream..even I wanted some

Who doesn’t want ice-cream..even I wanted some

The Deluxe Room with Marina Bay view that we booked was quite something. Even without the promise of fireworks and aerial display, it was a sight to behold and we wondered why we didn’t do this sooner.
IMG_1436

Twin bedroom

IMG_1437

The toilet you never want to leave

IMG_1444

View from our Deluxe Room

We were also given a bottle of champagne, 2 limited edition SG50 lions and a S$50 credit which we used for room service, as part of the Celebrate You Celebrate Me package. The package is available till the end of the year so it is really quite a value for money deal if you should decide to do a staycation at Ritz Carlton Singapore this year.

IMG_1628While we were not expecting to head out at all since we wanted to park ourselves in front of our windows from 5pm onwards, the location of the hotel was really convenient for us to grab early dinner and snacks for the evening. I would imagine though, if we didn’t have any NDP entertainment to keep us in, the location would be perfect for us to explore the Marina bay and heritage areas in the vicinity. I am really glad we chose the Ritz for this purpose though because we honestly had a spectacular view of the flying and fireworks action. We even had the mobile column and the marching contingent past right in front of us. And because it was the NDP Preview, it really helped to have large giant screens on the floating platform to showcase the action happening at the Padang. Here are some of the ‘money shots’ from that evening. 🙂
IMG_1561

Black Knights

IMG_1509

LKY Tribute

IMG_1513

A380 over the bay

IMG_1517

A380 upclose

IMG_1523

State flag flypast

IMG_1667

SG50

IMG_1573

The first fireworks before dark

IMG_1589

Fireworks Spectacular

IMG_1599

Marina Bay Light Show

I have to say the only disappointing thing about the entire experience was the lackluster breakfast buffet spread. We were expecting a lot more from Ritz Carlton and perhaps we were a little spoilt from our previous experience at Capella but the breakfast was really quite ordinary. In fact, the room service dessert, the night before was rather disappointing as well.

That being said, we loved the service, the room and how they treat families and children. They even had a special table set up by the pool side for kids to take part in some SG50 drawing/ doodling. You will be surprised at how interesting kids find these activities. Jah was captivated for a good 20 minutes and he even drew a picture of what he saw from our room window, the night before.
IMG_1640

More ice-cream and drawings! Perfect Sunday!

IMG_1642

Little Picasso

Family members are yellow in the building (yellow circle). Fireworks are the colourful bits and Supertrees are the green parts. :)

Family members are yellow in the building (yellow circle). Fireworks are the colourful bits and Supertrees are the green parts. 🙂

Definitely a hotel we will be coming back to (even without the NDP draw).
For now, goodbye room..goodbye view (according to Jah)
IMG_1706

Happy National Day!

Enjoy your Jubilee Weekend!
JahBella’s Mummy

15 things I will do differently in 2015

So when Rachel of Catch Fortywinks initated this blog train, I was excited to attempt my first blog train and attempt to write outside of my comfort zone. However I was also alittle concerned if I could find 15 things to do differently in 2015. Not because I’m perfect but because this was a way to document some of my New Year resolutions and to be honest, I’m not very good at keeping to my resolutions. It becomes a whole lot scarier when it is no longer just promises you make in your head but instead written on paper or in this case, on my blog for everyone to see.

But I figured since there were so many of us doing this (34 of us mummy bloggers to be exact), I might as well attempt it and try to have some fun while I’m at it. You can read the other 33 posts at this link 🙂

So here goes nothing, continuing from where Mamabliss left off on the blog train yesterday…15 things I will do differently in 2015 (in no particular order).

  • Enjoy our family holidays and go with the flow– ok this is not to say that I will stop planning our family holiday itineraries. There is no way that the kids or Joel and I would survive an unplanned holiday. We need structure! However after all the planning has been done for my sanity, I will enjoy our time together and if it means we deviate from the plan slightly during the holidays, I will go with the flow. I will no longer chase the next time slot on our itinerary, I will live in the moment with my family. 🙂

IMG_5803

  • No more standard praises– No more ‘good jobs!, no more ‘wow that’s awesome!’ I am going to start qualifying what was so good or awesome about what Jah or Bella had just done. There is going to be more “I’m so proud of you because…” and “we feel very happy that you…”
Photo Credit

Photo Credit: completecoach.pro

  • No more patronizing ‘Yes’, ‘That’s nice’ and ‘Ok’ – I have been very guilty of just responding to Jah without processing what he is actually telling me sometimes. This happens a lot in the car when my mind is on something else and he just wants to have a conversation with me. I only catch myself when he does a follow up question or statement that I can’t respond to or realize that I have given him permission to something that isn’t allowed.
  • Stop rushing the kids – I suppose with the exception of rushing for school or work in the morning (within reason). I will stop rushing my kids on weekends. “Hurry we are going to be late for waterplay, finish your bread and lets go!” Nopes, no more of those.
  • No more handphones during playtime –This is going to be tough but I know that Jah is getting increasingly annoyed when he sees Joel or I holding our handphones during playtime. I am going to eliminate the use of handphone while playing with JahBella. No more scrolling facebook or checking my Whatsapp messages.
  • Bag Checking – I used to be involved when it came to what goes in and out of Jah’s school bag each day. Then Bella came along and I outsourced the packing of both their school bags to my helper and yes sometimes we drop the ball. This year, I will personally check their bags to make sure that nothing is missed from their communication books and the right items are in their school bags, this is going to be my new night routine.
  • Be present but unavailable –I don’t know about other mums but I find myself ever present and ever available with my kids even if I shouldn’t be. For example, how many of you find yourselves in the shower but have your ears peeled in case one of your kids start shouting for you or starts a tantrum or a fight with his/her sibling. I find myself always in ‘fight mode’, on my toes and ever ready to run out even if there was another adult in the same room with them. So in 2015, I will be present (aware of the troubles outside in case I need to intervene at some point) but I will try to be unavailable (let someone else attend to the issue first). :p
  • More family bikes rides– Allowing for more activity time as a family of 4. Equipping 2 adults to handle 2 kids and creating more opportunities for Jah and Bella to co-exist and interact.

IMG_3749

  • More couple bikes rides/ skate scoot nights– Creating more opportunities and space for us to communicate and ‘operate’ as a couple rather than as parents.
  • Read more –I used to read and then the kids came along. I now buy magazines that I would like to read but never find the time to flip through them. So in 2015, I am going to make full use of my Kindle Fire and start reading again. Perhaps some book reviews too?
  • Getting our hands dirty – I will attempt more activities in the outdoors (sandplay, waterplay, nature stuff, gardening) as well as indoors (arts and craft, painting, playdoh) with the kids and worry or fuss less about how we are going to clean up.

IMG_1668

  • Savour the bedtime conversations – I am often in a rush to put Jah to bed. I typically sit in his room (in the dark) for 30mins to an hour until he falls asleep (in my lap). This is normally my down time where I get to catch up on my tv dramas on my tablet while he slowly drifts off to sleep. So I often find myself hushing him or cutting our conversations short so that he would drift off to sleep faster. I need to start enjoying the bedtime conversations with my boy before he stops wanting me in his room even if it means delaying my down time.
  • Spending more time with Bella– Having kids who are close in age has its pros and cons. Jah and Bella are only 18 months apart and this meant I had to focus a lot of energy and attention on Jah even after Bella was born. It has become  routine in our household for me to attend to Jah’s needs while Bella’s needs are met by Joel or mostly our helper. With Bella slowly developing her own personality, I need to start ‘knowing’ and understanding her as well as I know her brother. I need to start spending more focused time and conversational moments with her, to know what makes her tick.

IMG_3229

  • Targeted Online Shopping– No more impulse online buys full-stop.
  • Blog more about our experiences and write more outside my comfort zone– 2014 was an overwhelming year. I only started blogging in July and had the whole of early 2014 to document and catch up on. The moment I started blogging, I also became more aware of how we were spending our time as a family and with it came more opportunities to do things differently with our kids and more things to blog about. I’m not complaining though. I love that we are now so much more conscious of how we spend our family time and weekends and I get to blog about these experiences. In 2015, I will be seek to blog more! – catch up on overdue posts, discover new experiences with my kids and lastly, come out of my writing comfort zone which means more active participation in blog trains and the likes.

Heres to doing things differently in 2015! 🙂

15in20151

Next Up on the Blog Train is Summer from A Happy Mum

summer_ahappymum

Summer is a media executive turned SAHM from Singapore who stepped into the gratifying journey of motherhood during her 4-year stay in Sweden. Life has never gotten more fulfilling since then and she is now the mother of two lovely girls. She believes that contentment is bliss and that happiness is about making the best of what you have. A Happy Mum is a place where she blogs about motherhood, babies, kids, love, DIY crafts, travelling and all things happy. Check out what are the 15 things that this happy mum will be doing differently in 2015 tomorrow!