Monday, May 31, 2010

~ NFC 2010 @ Sentosa (Songs of the Sea) ~

After having a good rest and nap, we are back to Sentosa in the evening. This time with my inlaws and big brother-in-law's family. We'll be watching the Songs of the Sea later at 8.40pm and there is still ample time to bring my inlaws around the island.

We parked our cars near Palawan Beach again and most of the crowd has disperse already. Unlike in the morning, this time while we are arriving, the families are going home with their goodie bags :p We can still see some people lingering around at the main tentage watching the Transformer movie while others are resting and playing by the beach. It is defnitely much cooler now compared to the heat experienced in the morning and maybe afternoon.
Someone spotted a Squirrel!

Families by the beach

Since we are still early, we made our way to the Beach Station to take a train down to the Waterfront station to have a look at the USS and Casinos. There is already a Long queue forming at the ground floor! OMG! Nevertheless, we waited patiently and finally managed to squeeze through, going up the escalator, to the platform and into the train. Everyone is perspiring away. :p

The sky has already turn dark as we exit the station. We linger around outside the USS, Casino and have a little walk inside the 'alley' of branded shops and hotels.

We are about an hour away from the show and hence decided to walk back to the Siloso beach instead of taking the train. (The queue waiting for the train is still very long.) Although it is 2 stations away but along the way, we saw the Merlion again. :p Gladys is the happiest among us. She gets to see the Merlion in the day and now seeing it again in the night. She must be puzzled why the Merlion looks so purple and there are lights in the eyes and mouth. :)

Merlion Walk in the night is much prettier compared to the day.. There are lights, music and the weather is definitely much cooler and more enjoyable to walk.

At the end of the Merlion Walk, there is a zig-zag slope all the way down...It is a pretty long slope but we were there just in time to sneak peak at the Songs of the Sea performance from far. Hahaha. :p Those who didn't purchase the tickets can also get the see part of the laser & water show performance..including the fireworks from here. ^_^

We arrived about 20 mins earlier at the Songs of the Sea entrance to get seated. The centre seats have already been taken and those who entered slightly later will have to sit at the side. We managed to get seated down and wait for the final finale for today's NFC event. ^_^

Start of the show! :)

The show was GREAT! Gladys was a bit scared with the fireworks towards the end. Think the blast gave her a scare. Denver loves it though since this was his first time watching the performance. Everyone had a good time together. :) THANK YOU NFC!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

~ NFC 2010 @ Sentosa (Palawan Beach) ~

Today is National Family Celebration 2010! The event will start from 9am onwards till evening. Hubby and I have been planning how we should be spending our day since the Songs of the Sea only starts in the night and we need to collect our tickets in the day. (*We won 7 tickets to the Song of the Seas via the NFC Blogger's Pledge contest by Nuffnang.) The children have been coughing all week and hence we are a bit concern that the kids will be too tired and fall sick if we stayed on the entire day and night. (Plus we will be travelling to China next Tuesday so we have to watch out for their health as well.)

After much consideration, Hubby decided to drive in to Sentosa before 7am so that we only need to pay $3 entry charge rather than $7 (after 7am charge). The only 'mistake' we did was parking before 7am and hence incurred another $2 charge. :p

We woke up at 5plus and leave home at 6.15am... The children are very excited as we enjoyed the cooling and soothing ride to Sentosa. We were the 'earliest' bird at the event. :p Even arriving before most of the organizers...hahaha. It feels so good to enjoy the morning breeze by the beach and seeing the sun rises. The last time Hubby and I visited Palawan Beach was more than 8 years ago. (before our marriage). So this morning, we spend our time walking by the beach and touring around with our 2 children. ^_^ So much has changed since we came many years ago.
Tentages have been setup for NFC when we arrived. The children love the beach and the sea. They have the entire space to run around.

Lots of interesting sign boards to check out. ^_^

We brought our own breakfast and found a spot to sit down and fill our stomach first. (After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.) ^^
Mini water play area for the kids
The Suspension Bridge - this is much longer that the bridge we walked on at Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. Denver is extremely excited while Gladys is kinda scared. To encourage Gladys, we sang the Dora the Explorer song... Mummy said "Come on Vamanos, everybody let's go. Come on, let’s get to it. I know that we can do it! Beach, Bridge, Tower"... "Beach, Bridge, Tower"... "We walked by the beach, now we are heading to the Bridge and then going towards the twin towers ahead!" Hahah.. That works! ^_^

Daddy very funny and 'noisy'. hahahah :p
YES! We did it! Arriving at the southernmost part of continental Asia! Next, its concurring the Tower. :p There are 2 mini-towers (about 3 storeys high). Denver and Hubby took the left while Gladys and I took the right. Denver challenges us for a competition to see who reaches the top first.. Of course he WON. 妹妹 has to climb slowly oh.
View from the top of the tower. Sea view, view of the Palawan beach and a glimpse of the tip of the Merlion!
View of the Palawan Beach from the tower.
Gladys is extremely happy when she saw part of the Merlion. We went to the beach, bridge, tower... now is going through the Merlion trail to see the Merlion and also to fulfill the promise Hubby made to our little princess. :)
There are a lot more to see around Palawan Beach, not far away, we saw Animal Encounters where there are daily shows at the Palawan Amphitheatre and tourists can view the different acts by the various animal friends.

We continued our morning walk up the slope and finally reached the Merlion Walk. It is a 120 meter long Gaudi-inspired mosaic at the back of The Merlion. In the night, there will be music and both the Merlion and Merlion Walk will be beautifully lighted.
Gladys is thrilled when she saw the Merlion. She finally gets to see the real, BIG thing and not just via the poster advertisement. ^_^
Climbing up and down the stairways and busy taking pictures. Yeah! Mission Accomplished! ^_^

The sun has rised and it's getting hotter and hotter. We did a lot of walking since morning and all of us are perspiring away.. A cool Apple Freeze surely COOL us off a fair bit. Songs of the sea is just located nearby but we have to wait till tonight for the show.
Various coloured-bus lines to get around Sentosa

It's already way past 9 o'clock and we make our way back to the Palawan Beach. By now, most of the stalls have finished setting up and many more has arrived at the event. Before we left, the 2 uncles just started decorating the entrance, now the arc of balloons is completed. Really a lot of hard work oh. ^_^
Gladys wanted to play with the sand and so we found a shady spot by the beach to build her sandcastle. :) We didn't bring any tools along with us and so the empty cup comes in very handy.
Time to get ourselves really sandy and messy. Since there is no spade, we used our hands to scoop the sand into the cup and they really have fun doing so.
The sun slowly moves away and our shady spot now becomes really hot.. Time to go wash up and collect our tickets. Gladys is definitely reluctant to leave her sandcastle. Awwwww.. :( Maybe next time....
It's very HOT.. Even Doggie needs to keep itself COOL. :)
It was a LONG Queue at the ticketing collection counter... especially making it more difficult under the hot, blazing sun. I took the children to play at the various stalls first while Hubby continues to queue.
Balloons, Frisbee Throw, X-Box games.... The queue at the stalls get longer and longer as more crowd starts to join in.
Mummy is more interested at the OCBC booth since I already decided to sign up for the Mighty Savers account for the kiddos. There are free gifts for the initial sign-ups and for every $20 the children saved, they get to collect a free gift too.
While I am busy filling up the forms, Denver and Gladys are busy playing with the sand again. OCBC has provided various spots around its booth to keep the children occupied while parents are busy. ^_^ Apart from the Sand corner, there is also a shady spot for colouring and drawing and a Mighty Savers Treasure Chest game.

It's getting really too hot for the kiddos and we decided to leave for home after spending 4 hours here. It's funny to see that while families are just arriving, we are already leaving. The children are a little disappointed but no worries... we are coming back again tonight for another round of FUN and excitement.

Visit for Part 2 of the NFC 2010 Event @ Sentosa! ^_^

Friday, May 28, 2010

~ Travel Preparations ~

THREE more days to our family trip to Shantou. I finally took the long weekend to start packing our luggage for the trip. (Still in the midst of packing though)

There are always a lot of things to prepare since we are travelling with children. Hence, Hubby and I will always try to work things out so that everything will run smoothly.

After deciding on where to go for the holiday, here are a couple of things that we will check through and decide.

1) Free & Easy or Package Tour
Generally we prefer to go on a Free & Easy tour simply because of the following advantages
- Freedom (Own time own target)
- More flexibility (We can plan/change where we would like to go anytime, anywhere without much dependency)
- Lesser time wasted on waiting (E.g. full attendance of the tour group and visiting those jewelry or factories where we have little interest of)

But that doesn't mean Package Tour is not good. Package tour provides
- Guided Tour with explanation giving a better coverage of the country and places. (This is especially important if visiting a foreign country where language is a barrier)
- Planned itinerary (lesser headache on researching where to go)
- Transportation and ticketing to the various places of interests
- Convenience

So it boils down to which is more suitable at the end of the day that will brings the best for this trip. :)

2) Choosing the Right Hotel
There are a couple of consideration when trying to decide which hotel to book. Basically here are our topmost priorities.
- Location
- Price
- Quality (How many stars)

Reading reviews on Trip Advisors and other websites always help us have an idea on how other travellers feel about the hotel before we decide to lock on with our choices.

3) Checking your Passport Expiry/Visa
It's always good to keep note of the expiry date on your passport and make sure your travelling period is not withing 6 months of the expiry. If not, you will need to renew or make your new passport. Also keep in mind if the country you are visiting requires a Visa and how long it will take to apply for one.

4) Planning the Itinerary
Ironically, this is one of my favourite. :p I love to do my research on the Internet to help me determine where we can go or what we should do by listing down the MUST see, MUST do, MUST eat (to my best effort). Next is filtering the options available based on the number of days/time we have, pricing, whether it is child-friendly and then working out what's best. I always have my excel spreadsheet (with all the details) to help me with my planning. :)
Within the spreadsheet, I will also list down the flight details, payment, items to bring and other information or website that I gather about the country. (Unfortunately, I didn't save my older copies that I did when we went on our trips a few years ago.)

5) Changing of currency
Our favourite location to change the currency is at Suntec City although many others have suggested that there are other money changers offering better rates. (E.g. Chinatown, a shop near Mustafa etc).

6) Checking the local weather
Prior to our trips, I will do a weather forecast so that we will be able to anticipate the local weather and temperature.

7) Purchasing Travel Insurance
This is really important especially travelling with elderly or children. Hubby will always purchase travel insurance for the family before we go on our oversea trips so as to take care of any emergencies we might encounter.

8) Medicines
Taking the children to visit the family doctor is a usual practice that we do prior to our trips. We will always bring along their usual fever, cough, flu medicines in case they fall sick during the trip. Hubby & I will also bring along our medication so that we will not panic when we start to feel unwell. It's also a good idea to bring along your Vitamins to build up your immunity and health for your trip. :)

9) Packing the luggage
I try not to do last minute packing especially since my children is travelling with us. This will give us ample time to look through our items that we need to bring for the children in case we miss out any.

10) Resting well before the trip
This probably is difficult since there are so many things to do before the trip. Nevertheless, a good night rest before your flight is advisable so that you will be ready and energise for your holiday.

I am still going through my checklist and hopefully will be ready to GO! ^_^

Saturday, May 22, 2010

~ Costa Sands Resort @ Downtown East - Day 2 ~

22nd May 2010 - We woke up to a cool and rainy morning. Breakfast is at McDonalds and the boys love it. Gladys on the other hand was cranky and throwing her tantrums as she tries to bargain to have the packet of chips as her breakfast instead of pancakes. And I thought every child loves McDonalds? Hmmmpf. Anyway, it ended up with her eating a bit of everything.

Since it was raining, we decided to walk around while waiting for the rain to stop. There are many leisure activities families can enjoy at Downtown East. Suitable for the young and old. Escape Theme Park, Explorer Kid, Wild Wild Wet, Zone X, K-Box, Bowling Centre, Ferries Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, Train etc. Not forgetting NTUC Supermart, shops and the various resturants at E!Hub.

Later in the morning, we went to the pool again. This time I got into the water to dip as well and so No Photos. ^_^ hehehe.

My inlaws and bbil arrived shortly after we had our morning swim. Mahjong table, chairs and more food is being delivered. We are all set to our BBQ session.

In the past, we usually start our BBQ in the evening. This time, we started around noon time. There was a slight drizzling throughout the afternoon but luckily no heavy rain. Thank Goodness.

BBQ-ing our food...

Then, I spotted an 'uninvited' guest. A cat walked by and sat near our pit. It lingered around for awhile before finally deciding to eat the hotdog which I dropped on the floor earlier. :)

There are always a lot of food when we have our BBQ. Mil cooked bee-hoon, dong-fen and of course her speciality - Curry Chicken. They also prepared desserts, fruits and drinks.

We spent the rest of the day busy barbecuing - sausages, hot dogs, chicken wings, fish ball, prawns, otah, pork etc.. Some of the hot favourites included -

- Fried bean curb (stuffed with beansprouts) with You Tiao mixed with sweet sauce, chili and peanut

- Sambal Squid with lime (Super Hot!)

- Specially marinated chicken wings (Favourite among all)

We have been busy BBQ-ing, drinking and eating from lunch till dinner. Everyone had something to do to keep themselves occupied and entertained. The children went for another swim later in the afternoon again.

The children got notebook, PSP, I-touch, television programmes while the adult got food and mahjong. The whole event went on till very late night and everyone (except us) left around 11pm. By now, we are already very TIRED! Denver and Gladys were able to fall asleep even with all the crowd and noise around. Imagine how exhausted they are. :)

Hubby and I were too tired to clear the other stuff and decided to leave it till the next day. We only manage to clean our resting area, have a quick bath and went to dreamland almost instantly.