Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘swimming’ Category

So on my first trip to Parkland Green I walked past Sandbank, a bistro and bar, and immediately knew I had to come back with the boys.

Why?

There’s a pool right next to the dining area! How fun is that? In fact, it’s not just one pool. It’s two! One deeper pool for the adults, and a shallower one for the kids (and adults who wanna sit instead of stand, I suppose).

SONY DSC

Eat. Drink. Plunge.

I was itching to come so on Friday I decided we’d eat out for dinner. Got the boys changed into their swimming gear and we headed there for dinner. While waiting for our orders to arrive the boys hopped into the pool and were so happy! I think a lot of their excitement stemmed from the fact that they were in a pool in a restaurant. It felt like we were in a hotel with a bar in the pool (although you’re not allowed to eat in the pool).

Pool right next to our table

Pool right next to our table

Asher still waiting for his pizza to arrive

Asher still waiting for his pizza to arrive

Ellery waiting for Asher to finish :)

Ellery waiting for Asher to finish :)

e

Enjoying the cold water

The water was freezing because it was a windy and chilly night, but that didn’t stop the boys. I chickened out. But they went in, and played until they were warm. After dinner they went back in, but it soon got too cold for Asher who was shivering quite a lot, so I sent him to change into dry clothes. Sandbank is conveniently located right next to the public showers and toilets, so it’s easy to go clean up and change after your dip.

As for the food, we ordered fried oysters, a quesadilla kids meal, a pizza with buffalo mozzarella and rocket, and a mushroom pasta. The oysters were smaller and more crumbly than I expected, but it’s fried food and we were hungry, so it went down well with all of us. I liked the wasabi aioli dip that came with the oysters as it was kept light with just a hint of wasabi in it.

Fried oysters

Fried oysters

All kids meals are served with nuggets, fries, and (a little) fruit on the side. I suppose it’s an attempt to offer a balanced meal with protein, carbs and fibre haha. But it’s certainly kid-pleasing since most kids like nuggets and fries all the time. Ellery sure was happy with his meal. So happy he even ate the grapes, something he hasn’t done in a while! Good job Sandbank!

SONY DSC

The kids meal

Happy kid

A happy kid

The pizzas are all handmade to order so we had to wait a while for ours to come. Asher was starving, but he’s such a pizza monster he decided to wait anyway. I was led to believe it would be quite big since the waiter told me it would be “more than enough” for Asher and I, but when it arrived I thought it looked like a normal individual-sized pizza. Six thin slices. I could have eaten it myself I think. To me, the pizza was just alright. But for those of you who like Skinny Pizza’s crunchy crusts, you’ll like the pizzas here. It’s done in that style – very thin, crisp crusts. I tend to like my crust a little bit chewy.

The pizza

The freshly baked pizza

The mushroom pasta was pretty good though – creamy with a good amount of mushrooms in it. It certainly qualifies as comfort food, especially on a chilly night like that one.

Fungi pasta

Fungi pasta

The food is decent enough and I like the concept of the place, so I can definitely see us coming back, though probably in the day time when it’s less cold. Ellery is already bugging me to bring them back and has been suggesting at every meal that we go there to eat!

And for the men, it’s a great place to watch soccer. You can chill in the pool while watching the game on the TV!

TV near the pool

TV near the pool

Sandbank is located at:
920 East Coast Parkway, #01-28/32
Parkland Green
+65 6247 7988

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Yesterday Alyssa had her first dip in the pool.  This was much earlier than for the boys.

She seemed to enjoy her dip and was so relaxed by the end of it that she almost fell asleep!

Her being so calm in the water is, I think, a direct result of how we’ve been bathing her. The boys’ swimming coach told me about how he got his daughter to learn to float and be confident in water from an early age. He recommended that when bathing baby, to fill the tub with a lot of water and slowly let baby learn to float by supporting only the head. This has worked, and Alyssa enjoys bath times wayyy more than her brothers did. She can float with just very gentle support of her head.

I wish I knew this with the boys. At that time, Thomson Medical Centre’s (TMC) nurses taught us to bathe baby in a tub with shallow water (at most 2 inches). So that was how we did it with both Asher and Ellery. I noticed this time around that the recommendation is different. On the baby care channel at TMC the bathtub is now filled high. Bathing in shallow water was probably not so comfortable for the boys, and they also didn’t get the chance to learn to float and be comfortable surrounded by water. They hated bath time! Of course, their attitude towards bath time could also be attributed to their more feisty personalities. Bath time was certainly not a pleasant time for any of us then.

Anyway, they like water now so that’s that.

I can’t wait for the day when Alyssa can swim so that we can go to stay at a kelong! Had been wanting to do this for some time, then Alyssa came along, so it has to be pushed back again.

Patience, patience.

All ready to go!

All ready to go!

Ellery was so excited to see her in the pool!

Ellery was so excited to see her in the pool! Asher was still having his lesson then.

Read Full Post »

We went for our first staycation as a family of 5 last month. The boys had been asking about when they could go for a holiday because they heard of their cousins and grandies going for holidays to Japan, Vietnam, Penang, Taiwan, etc. As Alyssa’s passport was not ready yet, we decided to go for a staycation at Rasa Sentosa.  They had wanted to take an aeroplane, so I took the opportunity to explain to them how very fortunate they were to go for any kind of holiday at all.  A staycation is nothing to be scoffed at, and many people do not get the chance to go for one.  I think they understood because they looked forward to our stay and we had a great time.

But it’s true, I really do think a lot of kids in Singapore are so privileged.  Holidays used to be a once-a-year or once every two years affair.  And if there was one, it would be a road trip to Malaysia probably to the same places like KL, Melaka or Penang.  Now they travel far, and want more variety.  I do hope my  kids remember how very very fortunate they are.

Anyway, I initially wanted to book a stay for two nights, but as we made quite a last minute booking there was only one night available for that very weekend.  In the end it was like a two day holiday, even though we only stayed one night. Rasa Sentosa allows guests to come early to use the facilities prior to check-in, and stay on to use the facilities even after checking-out.  So we had two full days of fun!

"Yay! I'm going for a staycation!"

“Yay! I’m going for my first staycation!”

Are you ready to go, mei mei?

Are you ready to go, mei mei?

We booked the family package, which I think is good value considering what you get (at least at the rate we had for that weekend – it fluctuates).  We had free entry to Sentosa, buffet breakfast and dinner, entry to the kids play area, three swings on the flying trapeze, and free 1 hour use of any non-motorised watersports.

Children’s Area – Arcade & Playground

The boys enjoyed the arcade very much and kept asking to go.  And now that they are bigger they can actually play it a bit better.  They used to ‘die’ almost immediately for the airplane shooting game.  Now they can last a little longer so I was a little more willing to part with the coins.

Their favourite airplane game

Their favourite airplane game

Knocking out some creatures

Knocking out some creatures

I had expected more from the kids playground which was touted as having a “giant treehouse slide”. I thought it was an indoor playground with one long slide, but it turns out all that’s there is the slide, which is actually made up of two short slides.  So when the boys went to the playroom they ended up watching TV.  I think the indoor playground could be made more exciting especially given the targeted age range of 5 and above (Ellery was let in only because the place was pretty empty then). Anyway I was glad they had their fix. They were the ones who kept asking to go to the kids club, when actually I was happy to have them with me the whole time. We had to try several times to get them in because the place was always so crowded, and there’s a limit on the number of children who can play at the same time.

A little tip: If you have younger kids who want to play in there with their older siblings and have to wait for a less crowded time in order to be let in, go early for breakfast and head there when everyone is just coming in for brekkie. I was mightly pleased with myself when it dawned on me that most kids were eating, not playing, and the boys had their chance! It was good, Jon and I could have a leisurely breakfast after that.

Pool

We had the most fun at the pool. There are 3 slides to choose from, a spacious kids pool, a small water playground (which the boys skipped altogether), and a large main pool. When you face the sea you do not see any tall buildings and really feel like you are overseas. We spent quite a lot of time there on the last day, and I managed to dip too cos Jon and I took turns sitting with Alyssa. I was glad to see Asher was brave enough to take the water slides by himself. There were probably two reasons for it.  The slides are quite slow, and prior to going down the first time Ellery kicked up a big fuss and said he was scared. Whenever one boy says he’s scared, the other automatically tries to be brave to score points. These boys ah..

But yes, it was very good to just chill by the pool. And lunch by the pool is always fun. Just like eating on a plane. It somehow makes the meal more special. (Ok, very subjective I know…and a bit out-of-point, but I love love love airplane food).

A row of frogs

A row of frogs

I am a sea monster!

I am a sea monster!

Slides no.2 and 3

Slides no.2 and 3

Alyssa sleeping soundly while we swam

Alyssa sleeping soundly while we swam

Water Sports

The weather was great for paddling -blue skies with my favourite wispy cirrus clouds. Jon and the boys packed themselves onto a kayak and went paddling around the bay – mostly propelled by Jon of course, though the boys did try to help. Asher accidentally hit Ellery’s face with the oar at one point so Ellery was a little bit upset and didn’t want to try the paddle boat. So Jon and Asher carried on while Ellery and I played on the sand.

Whey they were on the kayak we saw something very interesting.  A stingray leaped out of the water! From the shore I thought it was a fish, but turns out it was a stingray! I didn’t realise there were stingrays in the Sentosa bay, and I certainly didn’t know they leaped out of water.  Wonder what provoked it….something bigger? I’m not sure I want to swim in there anymore…

All aboard!

All aboard!

Off they go!

Off they go!

Into the paddle boat

Into the paddle boat

Beautiful day to be outdoors

Beautiful day to be outdoors

Alyssa and I waiting on the beach

Alyssa and I waiting on the beach

More on the flying trapeze and food in the next post!

 

Read Full Post »

I was getting a bit nostalgic about spending time with the boys, so was happy we got a chance to go swimming before baby arrived.  I also forced Jon to take some pics of me and the boys to remember the time when it was just the two of them.  I get sentimental like that.

Me and my boys

Me and my boys

<3

<3

We had a great time, had a yummy dinner and went back happy :)  A good day.

Read Full Post »

One Fish Two Fish

The cousins were all in Penang for a wedding, so the boys ended up having a combined swimming session.  It was quite cute to see them having class together.  And as always, I amaze at how anyone can float on their backs, because for the life of me, I cannot do it!

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

Floating on their backs - something I totally cannot do

Floating on their backs – something I totally cannot do

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »