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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

More on Tanjung Jara Resort in this post!

The Service

Attentive. Discreet. Classy.

That’s how I would describe it. And I firmly believe it is because of the excellent work done by the General Manager, Philippe Cavory. It’s really a case of leading by example. He’s everywhere! When we arrived he was at the lobby to greet us as we were served Tanjung Jara Resort’s apparently famous Roselle Tea. When we chilled out at the beachfront, we saw him walking the grounds, adjusting the bins and pinning back the curtains at one of the cabanas since he saw them out of place – no task too small or beneath him. At the little Malay cultural event, he was there to chat with the guests. And one afternoon when we were in the room, we received a call from the front desk saying that the GM wanted to serve us complementary wine and hors d’oeuvres. Wow!

Our surprise!

Our surprise!

It’s the little things that really leave an impression. Serving guests who were along the beachfront iced water on a hot day (all beach hotels should do this!), delivering our room service meal in record time when we told them the kids were very hungry, helping to carry my bowl of noodles back to the table when they saw my hands were full with Alyssa.

Activities

There’s a whole variety of activities to keep you busy at Tanjung Jara Resort. I’d have taken part in more of them if Alyssa wasn’t stuck to me since I’m still her milk bottle at the moment. For starters, I’d have visited the spa. The treatments sound won-der-ful. Oh well. We had planned to go for a hike as well, but the kids were having so much fun at the pool that we decided to just stay put.

We did get to enjoy the Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle event which is held weekly for guests, especially those not from the region, to experience traditional Malay village life. There were little stations for guests to try traditional games, local snacks and drinks, and there was even a monkey climbing trees to pick fresh coconuts that are opened on the spot. The kids loved the snacks. Ellery, in particular, made hundreds of trips to the snack table to help him to more keropok (crackers).

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Monkey picking coconuts

Monkey picking coconuts

There’s also an island nearby that’s a good spot for snorkeling. My brother and nephew went for a day trip and saw a reef shark, a turtle, lots of fishes big and small, tons of sea cucumbers, and Nemo, Nemo, Nemo.

Food

The breakfast buffet at Di Atas Sungei features a mix of Western standards and – the best part – local delicacies like nasi dagang (rice steamed with coconut milk in leaves). One of the mornings they served a soup made from pure fish stock that was sooo good. The freshly baked croissants are good too. They bake trays and trays of them. Philippe is French, so I suppose that’s why he ensures good croissants are available!

The food at Di Atas Sungei can be quite pricey for dinner though so we didn’t eat there at night. We found a wonderful seafood restaurant less than 5 minutes away from the resort that served up excellent food at cheap prices. Cheap and good – Singaporean’s love to hear that! Restoran Seafood C. B. Wee has been around since 1983 and is popular among the locals. Interestingly a lot of them come here to eat the Western food, but for all the 3 nights that we went there we had seafood.  I think we went through most their menu.

Restoran C. B. Wee

Restoran C. B. Wee

There were 8 adults and 6 kids (not counting the baby), so we really had a feast each night. Steamed fish, chicken, squid, lots of veg, small prawns, medium prawns, and giant prawns. I love prawns, but have never tried the giant ones before. It’s so much cheaper there than in Singapore. A single prawn sells for upwards of $25 at Newton hawker centre. At C.B. Wee, depending on how good the catch that day, you cold get a whole plate of giant prawns!

Awesome food. If you stay at Tanjung Jara Resort you got to eat here.

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Look at the size of that prawn

Look at the size of that prawn

Overall, Tanjung Jara Resort if a lovely place to stay if you are willing to make the drive up. My brother’s friend who joined us drove straight from Singapore to Tanjung Jara in 8 hours, and he drives fast. If you do come, you can be assured of a relaxing stay with good service and good food.

Some of the kids

Some of the kids

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The plan was to have breakfast at Restoran Hoi Yin again as we were not yet done with our curry mee fix, but unfortunately the place was simply too crowded for hungry bellies to wait, so we ended up at a prata place a few doors down.

After breakfast the boys couldn’t resist playing in the sea one more time before we left. They weren’t even dressed in their swimming clothes! From just dipping their feet, it became ankles, and knees. And when the waves splashed their pants, they just didn’t care after that and simply jumped into the waves. Ah well. That’s all part of the fun of a beach holiday :) I figured they could just live in their boardshorts for the next few days.

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

So, happy impromptu beach fun over, a quick dip in the pool, a quick bath, and we were off to our next destination.

Tanjung Jara Resort

Tanjung Jara didn’t look that far on the map but we took surprisingly long – 4 hours – because the traffic was heavier on this stretch. The entrance to Tanjung Jara Resort was just an understated carved stone wall with the name of the hotel on it. When you turn in, you drive along a narrow road lined thickly with trees and bushes – you can’t even see the hotel. It felt lush, secluded, and exclusive. When we finally saw the main building, it was like a secret revealed.

The hotel sign

What you see from the road

We were welcomed with three grand chimes of the gong – a sound we heard over the course of the next few days, ringing out in the background each time other guests arrived. I couldn’t help thinking it was like a reverse situation of the Hunger Games in that the gongs signified the arrival of more people, rather than the other way around.

You can get fish food from the reception to feed the fishes. The kids loved this!

You can get fish food from the reception to feed the fishes. The kids loved this!

The Rooms and Surroundings

The place was beautiful and calming. A sanctuary of peacefulness. Inspired by traditional Malay architecture, the hotel was designed to reflect the elegance and grandeur of 17th century Malay palaces. When you walk the grounds, you feel like you are in a lavish kampung (traditional Malay village). And indeed a lavish kampung it was. The interiors featured solid wood furniture with rustic, yet elegant, touches, and reached a level of comfort and luxury that YTL hotels are known for.

We stayed in the Bumbung Sea View Room, which was on the upper level of a two-storey building. Extremely spacious, there was a king-sized bed, a day bed, two desks, a bench to relax on at the foot of the bed, and still lots and lots of space for the boys to play even after we put in the cot. Then there’s the bathroom. Gosh, it is about the size of my master bedroom at home, perhaps even bigger. I especially loved the dressing table which was perfect for use as a diaper changing station. With all the space, it was very comfortable for the 5 of us.

Our second-floor room

Our second-floor room

The first thing they do in any room - jump on the bed :)

The first thing they do in any room – jump on the bed :)

The other side of the room

The other side of the room

Nap time heh heh heh

Nap time heh heh heh

Kids stoning at TV time

Kids stoning at TV time

The changing table! This is just tone corner of the bathroom!

The changing table! This is just tone corner of the bathroom!

Two sinks, lots of counter space, and less just half of the bathroom...

Two sinks, lots of counter space

Our house was built away from the seafront, but it was just a short walk to the beach. The waves can get quite strong on windy days, so make sure you watch your kid at all times when they are playing in the sea. Asher got flipped over by the waves once and had a bit of a struggle getting back on his feet. Jon was by his side anyway, but this is just to stress how important it is to watch your kids like hawks here. Waves ‘crashing’, is really an apt description. But also because of that, it is extremely fun to play among the waves here.

The single-storey beachfront room

The single-storey beachfront room

Many beachfront cabanas to relax in

Many beachfront cabanas to relax in

Lovely spot to enjoy a book

Lovely spot to enjoy a book

On a calmer day you can walk quite far out and it's still shallow

On a calmer day you can walk quite far out and it’s still shallow

Jon and the boys :)

Jon and the boys :)

Alyssa enjoying her first beach holiday

Alyssa enjoying her first beach holiday

We loved the pool too. It’s next to the beach so you can hear gorgeous sounds of the waves, but swim in the relative safety of the pool – ‘relative’ because you should always watch your kids when they are in water anyway (yes, I’m harping on this point, but it’s so important!). On the third day we spent the entire day  by the pool. The kids had such a good time, stopping only for lunch, and when they were forced out of the pool by a sudden, blustery storm. The rain was torrential, and as we scrambled to find shelter at the nearby cafe, especially for the then 3-month old Alyssa, it was as if we were escaping a typhoon. The cafe certainly made a lot of money from the storm though, because all the guests started ordering hot chocolate, coffee, tea and snacks. Alyssa was wrapped up in a warm towel and sleeping soundly, completely oblivious to the raging storm outside. She only woke up when we got back to our room quite a while later.

Chilling by the pool

Chilling by the pool

My wrapped up baby

My wrapped up baby

Ellery loved scooping the water out of the big pots to wash his sandy feet

Ellery loved scooping the water out of the big pots to wash his sandy feet

More on Tanjung Jara in the next post!

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Been meaning to put up this post much sooner but for various reasons was delayed!

Our  family, my brother’s family and my parents headed up to Malaysia for a roadtrip at the end of July. It was a  long anticipated trip that was planned months before. It all started with my Mum coming across an advertisement for a SAFRA roadtrip to Lake Kenyir. It sounded interesting but the driving schedule was quite crazy, so we decided to form our own convoy and head up ourselves.

We met at 6am at my parent’s place. Any thoughts of how 6am was nutty quickly dissipated when we saw that the Causeway had no queue whatsoever. I tried to get the boys to continue sleeping in the car but they were much too excited. My mum had also lovingly packed a cooler box full of cold water, fruit and snacks for each car. The boys immediately tucked into the fruit and happily munched at the back of the car.

A chirpy hello to the grandparents at 6 in the morning

A chirpy hello to the grandparents at 6 in the morning

Lots of comfy cushions & pillows

Lots of comfy cushions & pillows

They were really happy to be chucked right at the back of our MPV. When they found out a few months before that there were seats hidden in the floor they were so surprised and kept asking to sit there. We decided to make the road trip more fun for them by letting them sit right at the back. It was like their little space, and it was just nice for the kid’s short legs :) In hindsight it did throw off the balance of the car somewhat, and my neck got tired from turning around whenever they called me, but they had a great time so that’s fine.

Playing with their own things

Playing with their own things

Pillow fight!

Pillow fight!

Jon the driver, and Alyssa behind him

Jon the driver, and Alyssa behind him

Going in our own convoy was a good idea especially with so many little ones. Between toilet breaks and diaper changes we had to make quite a few stops. Food stops, less than expected because of all the snacks we had packed. Plus, we were looking forward to curry noodles in Kuantan.

Mmmm. I remember this curry noodles from when I was a kid! I think I was 9 years old when I first went to Kuantan with my parents and brother. I distinctly remember eating at the curry noodle shop every day, and that it was very good. We arrived in Kuantan around 2pm and the first thing we did was to head to Restoran Hoi Yin for a bowl of curry noodles. We were the last customers there and they had run out of chicken. But even just the curry gravy with lots of tau pok, fishcake and fish balls, it was delicious! We were fortunate to get some noodles at all because they are extremely popular. It’s something about the food in Malaysia, is it the quality of the ingredients? It just tastes so good. The texture of the noodles was just right, the fishcake and fishballs had a lovely bite. Yum!

(Fyi, Restoran Hoi Yin is at No. 31 Jalan Telok Cempedak, 25050 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)

Restoran Hoi Yin

Restoran Hoi Yin

Preparing our bowls of noodles

Preparing our bowls of noodles

Finally! After many years of waiting to eat this again :)

Finally! After many years of waiting to eat this again :)

Each a bowl (kids ate non-spicy kway teow soup)

Each a bowl (kids ate non-spicy kway teow soup)

We stayed the Hyatt Hotel in Kuantan, which was apparently the same place we stayed at when I was a kid. I can’t remember much about the hotel, but I’m guessing they hadn’t changed it much. It looked quite in need of some sprucing up. Our room was really disappointing in terms of cleanliness. I’m ok with small rooms, simple, old fashioned decor, and even some less than perfect housekeeping. But I really couldn’t bear the room we were given. It was sticky! Everything, every surface was sticky. Not sea salt sticky. It was like some kind of solution, or oil, or resin kind of sticky. Everywhere! The floor, the tables, the cupboards! Eeewww! And the boys were running around, then climbing onto the bed. I tried to get them to not step on the pillows but they’d sometimes forget. I used to be quite OCD about cleanliness, but my standards dropped drastically after the boys came along. Still, this was a bit too much. Despite all that I was willing to stay on in the room.

However, after the boys came back from swimming and I was going to shower them, we found that the bathtub (the only place to bathe) got clogged up! That was it. I really didn’t want to bathe in dirty water, step on a dirty floor and then sleep on a dirty bed. Not for the price we were paying.

20140731_160040

Beach area at Hyatt Kuantan

Our sticky room

Our sticky room

Thankfully the front desk staff were understanding and they arranged for us to change to a different room. They actually did it quite readily, which made me wonder if other guests had encountered similar problems before. The room we were given in exchange was completely different. It was like we had gone to a different hotel. The decor was different, the layout was different, and even the toiletries were different! I think we were given a recently renovated room. If so, Hyatt should quickly renovate all their other rooms!

The added perk of our new room was that someone lit fireworks at the beach in front of our balcony, so we got to enjoy a surprise fireworks display.

We turned in fairly early after a long day, and in preparation for another day of driving. We were heading up to Tanjung Jara next.

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

Happiness is picking seashells

Happiness is picking a bucketful of seashells

Playing 'monkey' in the pool

Playing ‘monkey’ in the pool

Enjoying the sea breeze together

Enjoying the sea breeze together

Sunset from our new room

Sunset from our new room

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This is so overdue.

A day before Alyssa was born I went for high-tea with Del and Sharon at 10 Scotts at Hyatt Hotel Singapore.  Actually I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to make tea at first because the week before the gynae thought that baby might come early.  But in the end baby decided to stay inside a bit longer, so tea it was!

And what good tea it was!

At $43 it’s not the cheapest, but it’s good value for what you get.  Included in the price are a tiered tea set filled with delectable finger-food like prawn canapes, beef sandwiches, tarts and other yummy hor d’oeuvres. You can ask for refills for items you like (the whole tier, even, if you wanted). There’s also a buffet spread of sweet treats and some savoury options that you can pick from. Plus, you get a choice of two drinks, which at regular a-la-carte prices would add up to almost $30 already. So it’s quite worth it. (But I’ll add that I didn’t pay that day because I was given a surprise treat by Del and Sha :) )

Teatime treats tier.  T-t-terrific!

Teatime treats tier. T-t-terrific!

The prawn cocktail crostini on the right is super!

The prawn cocktail crostini on the right is super!

More treats at the buffet line

More treats at the buffet table

Sorbet in jars

Sorbet  & ice cream in jars

My favourite item would definitely be the very creative and delicious brownie and ice-cream combination that is presented like a flower pot. I’ve never seen anything like it! And it’s definitely a nice idea to re-create at home for a party. Topped with oreo crumbs and a real flower as a garnish, it really looks like you are eating soil, but very tasty soil at that. With a dash of rum, it was a decadent treat.  I was tempted to have another, but after eating everything else was quite full, plus I wasn’t technically supposed to be having rum since I was preggers :)

Our plant food

Our plant food

Decorated with a mint spring, flower and blackberries

Decorated with a mint spring, flower and blackberries

The place doesn’t get very packed, is peaceful, and welcomes children – there were quite a few mummies with babies around.  Nice place for a ladies & babies afternoon.

David getting into the tea time groove :)

David getting into the tea time groove :)

10 Scotts is located at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.
Afternoon tea is served from Monday to Sunday, 12-5pm. There are two restaurant seatings for afternoon tea:
1st seating: 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm
2nd seating: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

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Leah Sim

Went to visit my infant cousin Leah on May Day.  The little girl was born an aunt to 5 nephews and 2 (now 3!) nieces :)  The boys were very eager to go see ‘baby Aunty Leah’.  It’s quite normal for them to call her that since they’ve been calling her brother ‘Uncle Lincoln’ though he’s only 2 years old :) Had a really nice time catching up with Chye & Celia while the kids played.  Too bad we got there too late so they couldn’t play with Lincoln who had gone for his nap.  Next time!

Princess Leah

Princess Leah

Meeting their aunt

Meeting their aunt

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She’s arrived!

Little Alyssa-Jean Nair :)

On 8 May 2014, after keeping us waiting for hours, she finally greeted the world at 5.17am.  All my kids kept me up, Asher came at 4.52am, Ellery at 1.57am, and then there’s Alyssa.

She also is the shortest of the three, but the heaviest at 48cm and 3.26kg.
Asher was 50cm and 2.87kg, Ellery was 52cm and 3.1kg.

Her due date was strangely given as a range rather than a specific date this time around, 7 to 12th May.  During my check-up at the end of April, the gynae had said that it was likely baby would come early the following week (i.e., aroung 5th May).  I hurriedly tried to settle all the remaining loose ends I needed tie up.  Then on 5th May I had another appointment and the gynae said that actually baby wasn’t coming so soon and may even be late, before adding that later in the week was still possible.  In the end I was admitted in the middle of the week on Wed, 7th May, and Alyssa arrived on the 8th.  Full of surprises, this one.

Alyssa.  It means “great happiness”.  I’ve always liked that name, and I had actually found it when searching for Asher’s name 6 years ago.  We were again looking for ‘happy’ names, and there really aren’t that many.  We did consider other options, but the name Alyssa won quite easily.  There are some alternate meanings like “noble” and “rational”, which are positive and things which I don’t mind seeing in her too.

Jean.  This was a bit trickier.  The boys all have a middle name with ‘J’.  Asher-James. Ellery-Jude.  James and Jude being books of the Bible.  But there are no books of the Bible named after females that start with ‘J’.  I like the idea of the kids having a book of the Bible to reference for themselves, and maybe even share about with one another.  It was settled that we’d pick a female variant of John.  I was thinking more along the lines of the book 1 John, rather than the Gospel of John.  1 John speaks of the importance of discerning true followers and teachers of the Word from the false, and also of how to be assured in Christ.  I think these are important things.  Also, it was in line with the short(ish) books of James and Jude.

There are many variations of John, but we landed on Jean as there is a further significance to it.  Before Jon was born, his parents didn’t know whether he was going to be a boy or a girl.  His late mother chose the names Jon if it was a boy baby, and Jean-natalie if it was a girl.  So Jean is a nod to his late mother’s selection.  Meaningful, I think, as she would surely have loved to meet little Alyssa-Jean and her brothers.

Sweet little Alyssa

Sweet little Alyssa

She’s been a really good girl.  And she is so different from the boys that I can hardly believe it myself.

She hardly cries.  My father has yet to hear her cry at all.  When she wants milk she just makes a short ‘eh!” sound.  The only time she wails and wails is during bath time.  This is the same reaction the boys had to bath time as babies too.  I guess that’s one thing in common.

She is sooooo sleepy.  Like seriously.  I can barely keep her awake for feeds, let alone play with her.  Asher and Ellery were soooo awake.  I could barely keep them asleep!  It’s so vastly different that I’m now worried she’s too sleepy.  I can’t believe babies can sleep so much!  And then I think to myself, “See lah, don’t sleep you worry, sleep, you also worry!”  She easily sleeps 3 hours or more between feeds, which I fear affects my milk supply since I’m exclusively breastfeeding her.  But wake her any earlier and she simply won’t wake to nurse.  At night, she’s ever gone 6 hours without waking for a feed, though that was in the initial days.  Now it’s about 3-4 hours, which is still amazing considering Asher woke every 1-1.5hours, and Ellery every 45min to 1 hour.  I’m not complaining, but I’m also a bit concerned.

The boys have taken very very well to her.  The day she was born, Ellery ran through his school loudly announcing to everyone, “I’m a Kor Kor today!” :)  The kids ask to carry her, they play with her on the rare times she’s awake.  There is some strain on the boys as they spend less time with me, but they are handling it very well.  It’s more than I could have asked for.

So, yes.  It’s been good to far.  Praying it stays that way!

Freshly off the press

Fresh from the press

Daddy's little girl

Daddy’s little girl

Siblings three

Nair siblings three

Snuggling up.  Babies smell so nice!

Snuggling up. Babies smell so nice!

Super happy with the Star Wars Lego figures from Alyssa

Super happy with the Star Wars Lego figures from Alyssa

R2D2, Yoda, Darth Maul, & Darth Sidious

R2D2, Yoda, Darth Maul, & Darth Sidious

Was given this hamper for being a 'loyal customer' of Thomson Medical Centre :)

Was given this hamper for being a ‘loyal customer’ of Thomson Medical Centre :)

Little girls' clothes are so cute.

Little girls’ clothes are so cute.

Asher fascinated by her tiny tiny hands.  Ellery decided he was a King that day.

Asher fascinated by her tiny tiny hands. Ellery decided he was a King that day.

Asher playing peekaboo!

Asher playing peekaboo!

So happy to be carrying his sister

So happy to be carrying his sister

Ellery asked to carry Alyssa too, and she tried to eat him!

Ellery asked to carry Alyssa too, and she tried to eat him!

Strreettccchhh

Strreettccchhh!  I’ve always loved how baby’s arms only reach to the tops of their heads no matter how much they try to stretch themselves :)

Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

Sleeping again

Sleeping again

One of the rare times she's awake to enjoy the mobile

One of the rare times she’s awake to enjoy the mobile

Sigh...why is my head so heavy?

What you looking at?  Haven’t you felt heavy headed before?

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I booked my Mum and Dad one month before for lunch on the actual day of Mummy’s birthday.  Ever since she announced that she loved the S.E.A. Aquarium and could go there over and over, and could spend a long time just looking at the fish at the big tank, I decided that the perfect place to bring her for her 60th birthday would be the Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora at Resorts World Sentosa.

I never told them where I was bringing them, and Papa spent the entire night after our big dinner at Crystal Jade Golden Palace thinking about where I was bringing them for lunch.  When I picked them up he was convinced I was bringing them to eat nasi briyani.  From the time we left their house until we reached, they kept guessing where we were going with the locations changing as we went past them.

Mummy and I were very amused with Papa when I told him that we were going somewhere special, and he guessed several different  hawker centres, Westmall, Lot1, Vivocity and the like.  So I told him I know where to bring him for his 70th birthday :)  And when we turned into RWS and there was a big sign saying, “Welcome to Resorts World Sentosa”, Papa said, “Oh!! I know where we are going!!  Resorts World!” :O)

They eventually guessed when we were in the carpark because there were signs pointing to the Ocean Restaurant.  Papa then jokingly told me not to keep them in suspense like that again because it’s so stressful :)  He was also now so hungry from expending all that energy thinking about where we were going haha.

We got a seat by the window, and I was initially disappointed that the windows were not floor-to-ceiling.  I had the impression from pictures that it’d be like sitting right next to the glass.  In actual fact, there an almost 1m ledge at the glass.  But it was nice to see the fishes swimming past, and the stingrays were particularly curious.  Several of them kept stopping at our table to look at us.  And as always, the manta ray is so beautiful.

The food was very good though!  I read mixed reviews about the place, but our three mains were really very good, especially Papa’s Boneless Wagyu Shortrib.  It was like heaven in a mouthful.  Soooo good.  Mummy’s lamb was tender and not overpowering, while my layer pork was juicy and very tasty.  I had read that the Sous Vide 45 C King Salmon dish was good, so we ordered that as a starter to share.  It may have been good, but I wouldn’t be raving about it.  I guess I had set up my expectations high given the reviews.  Plus, the serving is soooo tiny!  But I would definitely have the Wagyu Shortribs if I ever go there again.

Mummy bday 1

Mummy bday 2Mummy ended her day with a shopping trip to claim her Samsung S5 present with JJSB.  She happily sent us a picture of herself with her new toy before the day was up :)

Happy birthday!

A happy birthday girl

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