The BRAND NEW Piggy Family

The BRAND NEW Piggy Family
The cartoon is by Piggy Daddy who is a full time educator and freelance illustrator. Anyone who needs freelance illustrations, please contact us! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Perth 17 - 24 June 2014

We took a 8D7N self drive holiday to Perth with my mum, aunt and bro again. My brother has been to Perth and drove there before whereas for us we have never taken a self-drive holiday. Lol.

Being winter, it rained 5 of the 7 days we were there but it was still fun. We just donned raincoats and let the kids play at the playground or feed the farm animals. Better than going all the way there and doing nothing. The highlight of the trip for the kids was Sunflower Farmstay at Margaret River. RA cried when we had to leave.

For the elderly, they definitely love the supermarket visits (Coles and Woolworth) where the fruits and vegetables are so fresh and cheap. I have never eaten so many brussel sprouts, roast chicken and cooked prawns in my life.

Will just let the photos do the talking since I need to work tomorrow. Lol.

Our rental car - 8 seater Hyundai Imax

North cottage - Sunflowers Farmstay

The gals' favourite guinea pigs pen

RL did not wake up early enough for the pony ride but at least she got to feed it.

Apple picking!

Caversham Wildlife Park

Sunny days at Perth City (Perth Mint)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kidland Penang

Took a trip to Penang again, my favourite Malaysian city thus far. As we went with the extended family this time, there was not much sightseeing. June is the warmest and most humid month for Singapore and Malaysia so my mum and aunt were most comfortable in air con. So Batu Ferringhi beach and lots of walking was out. Lol.

We stayed at Evergreen Laurel Hotel this time, to accommodate the budget of the extended family. The rooms were big and comfortable and the staff were friendly. But as there is no longer a free shuttle, we had to take a lot of cab rides to Gurney Plaza. Min is RM10 to go to Gurney Plaza, a Capital Mall run shopping centre. For the sake of convenience esp with young kids where you may need to go back to the hotel often to drop off shopping or let them rest/shower etc, I will still pick G Hotel.

On the first day, we had a late dim sum lunch at Xuan xin restaurant. I let the gals enjoy a mini manicure at Charmaine Nail Salon at Gurney Plaza for RM14. No such luxury in Sg cos it's too expensive. For dinner, we went to the open air Gurney drive Hawker centre but it was too warm for my mum and aunt. Queues were very long as we only went there at 8pm.

The next day, we went to Prangin Mall. There are two Atriums. Atrium A is more happening whereas Atrium B is quiet with quite a lot of shuttered shops. The main reason of going of Prangin mall is because of Kidland. It is Penang's version of the popular KL's Kidzania. Because it is school holidays, it is RM30 for 5 hrs of play, either 10-3pm or 4-9pm. If it is a non school holiday, you can play the whole day there. The place is big and occupies 2 floors. The entrance is at Level 4 while exit is at Level 5. There is a small café at level 5 near the washrooms and exit.

Kids can choose their favourite professions at Kidland, go into different rooms, don different uniforms and 'work' for $. The learning experience is guided by their staff once the kids are inside the rooms. But since it is the gals' first time, and we are not sure if they can navigate the rooms on their own, hb accompanied them for an additional RM5.

Kids can earn kidmonics $ then they can choose how they want to spend their money. They can either use their money on experiences (eg. indoor pg, face makeup, clayart, cookie making etc) or they can use the $ at the souvenir shop at Level 5. The gals tried out Bomb Disposal, IT, Police, Photo Studio. After earning hard and getting $70+, the gals chose to spend their hard earned $ at the indoor playground and dramatic face makeup. Not enough $ to buy souvenirs but hb got them a small toy each for RM10.

Went for a day tour (more like a shopping tour for my mum and aunt) on our last day in Penang. In the morning, we went to Pulau Tikus to buy our favourite 'dou miao'. I love this crunchy dou miao from Penang. Can't seem to find it anywhere else. It tastes wonderful just stir fried with some garlic and soy sauce. As yummy as I remember it. We visited the 3d museum to take 3d effect photos, Penang Botanical Gardens to see free roaming monkeys and also to Kek Lok Si. So, I managed to eat my Air Itam Penang Laksa this time.

When I asked the gals what they enjoyed most about Penang. Both said Kidland. I have been to Penang 5 times so far. People always ask me why I keep going back. I can't really describe why.
To me, the biggest draw to Penang besides the food has always been its people.

When we were walking around in Prangin Mall, not knowing the way to Parkson. A young chap on the automated massage chair overheard us and directed us to the right way. When we did our foot reflex massage at Prangin Mall, the massage therapist shared tips with us when we asked what was nice to eat around here. With his help, we tasted one of the best Char kuay teow and yummy chicken rice for just RM3. Even the hotel concierge lady was attentive and helpful towards my mum who couldn't walk very steadily. Guiding her to board the mini bus transport though she had a stern looking face (whom my brother said looked like a teacher or a principal). My brother commented that even the drivers sound their horns in a friendly manner. Just a short, light honk instead of the long dragged out horning that Singaporeans do to vent their frustration and impatience.

I feel welcome at Penang, not like a tourist, but like one of them. Their service attitudes is one of the best I encountered too. While it is nice to discover something new every time I go back to Penang. I hope there is something that doesn't change ie. the warm and humble Penangites.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ocean Animals - Part 2

RaeAnne brought this home on Monday. So... that's what the school version of the "Ocean animals" drawing looks like. Much nicer with the colours. Haha.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Meeting a famous author!

We went to Parkway Parade MPH today to meet a famous author. I met him about 20 years ago when he came to my school to promote his book "Being Happy!" and "Making Friends".

Yes, we met Andrew Matthews, who was in Singapore to promote his new book "How Life Works". Andrew Matthews is the guy who inspired hubby to write his own cartoon self improvement book "Why Procrastinate" more than 6 years ago.

So besides getting his new book and bringing along all the old books to be autographed, hubby also presented Andrew Matthews with one of his books. ;)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

About blogging

In case, you are wondering why there are so many posts in 1 night? Sometimes I don't even write 1 post in 1 month. Lol.

The trigger in a way is because I found out I have ex colleagues still reading my blog. I have lost touch with most of them since I stopped full time work for 4 years plus. So I am surprised some of them are still reading my blog. The fact that her colleague can tell me about the school bag I bought for RA means that she is quite current at reading my blog. (That particular post has 101 hits by the way. Shows that many people do care a hoot for ergonomics school bags. Recently, the ear piercing and the Ballet post broke the record with more than 150 hits. Most of my posts have only about 30 hits. Lol.)

So, while I know nothing about what happened to my ex colleague for the last 4 years, she probably knows every little thing about me, my hb and my kids. But maybe it means that my blog is still worth reading even though we have lost touch with one another. Haha. The problem of a blog is that you really don't know who is reading. Unlike FB, there is not easy for them to leave comments as well. I tried adding a notice board widget but people abuse it. Even with an additional email address filter, people can write rubbish on it. And I have not been able to erase that off. Zzz...

Hb has been asking me to be a full time blog writer. Learn how to make $ from my blog, get sponsorship etc. Learn from Xiaxue, Grace Tan etc. And I know there are a few successful family blogs out there. Cheekiemonkies, the daddy blogger, even went to LEGOLAND and even Australia for free cos they were sponsored. It is tempting, I admit. Having someone else pay for my holidays sounds wonderful esp since I really love to travel.

But now I know for sure that I will not go down that route. No. 1 is because I value the privacy of my family too much. I need to protect my kids as well. Imagine a stranger can walk up to RA and call out their name, and say "I know your name is RA. You study at this school. And your mummy bought a school bag for you last week right? " Even when it happened to me, I felt a bit uneasy. Let alone my gals. Having extra money is good but just not worth it for me. Worse, what if the reader is not my friend, family or ex colleague. What if it is a stranger with ill intents? With details from my blog, he can stalk RA. RA may trust him since he seems to know everything about her and our family.

Yes, I can omit all personal details about my family but it is too tiring to write like that. My gal xxx studies at school xxx and we stay at xxx estate. I probably need to blank off details even from photos I posted. I know I will lose the zeal to write. As it is, I am getting lazy to blog when I get bogged down by work or family commitments. So, I am not going to make it even harder for myself.

Second important reason why I do not want my blog to 发扬光大, is about freedom of expression. Why did that guy got sued by PM for writing libellous things on his blog? I mean your blog should be about your personal thoughts and views right?

If he had said the same things at the coffee shop, he would have been safe unless someone recorded it and put it up at Stomp. But because he wrote about it in his blog, think he even publicised his blog, he got into deep trouble. Not sure if he was looking for fame or notoriety. But he is now offering to compensate PM $5k and that has already been rejected. I really don't know how he is going to get out of this mess.

My take on this is that the more popular your blog is, the more you have to be careful not to write the wrong things, step on other people's toes especially important people or companies with a reputation.

Mine is only a simple family blog. I never intended to make $ from it. That's why I don't even look for sponsorship. I know so stupid.... If I have to think long and hard to filter off all the negative stuff, write like a PR professional (reminds me too much of work, haha), it defeats the purpose of even having a blog. My blog is just an outlet for me to express my thoughts and views be it positive or negative ones. A place to log my kids' growing milestones. Should they be interested to read it one day. Maybe even a resource library for them to refer to when they become parents themselves and need help with parenting in case I am not around to offer advice in person anymore.

My blog is one with simple intentions and so it shall remain as that.

Couple time

The gals have been asking to go Yeye and Nai nai house quite often this year. Maybe because ILs help bring them to school every morning (since I started work 1 hr earlier this year) so their bond is stronger. Anyway, today, they were at ILs house from 2pm till 9+pm so hb and I can have some couple time together.

Went back to Vivo city since I had a $50 Timberland e voucher to use. Bought a pair of boots last weekend for our Perth holiday in 2 weeks time.

Didn't know that it was the Navy open house this weekend. No wonder the carpark was so packed and hb spent a lot of time circling before we got a parking lot.

We tried Poulet for the first time, had our late lunch at 3pm. Then we went shopping separately, lol. We were too full at 6+pm but didn't want to have dinner too late since we still have to go fetch the gals from ILs house. So we went to Serenity Spanish Bar and we had just 2 tapas and 1 dessert. My favourite Grilled calamari in olive oil and we tried the grilled beef with foie gras for the first time. And ordered a white wine strawberry sangria (cocktail).

Food at Serenity is not cheap but the quality is good. We spent $80+ even though we did not have any mains. If they were cheaper, I will love to eat there more often and try the other tapas. But since they are not, it'll just be an occasional treat. My long-awaited Mother's day treat from hubby. Lol.

Parent Volunteer letter from school!

Almost forgot to blog about this though I did post in FB. On friday, we finally received the PV letter that we have fulfilled 60 hours of PV duty. So we can now register RA in phase 2B on 21 July. Last year, the school did not have to ballot for phase 2B so we have a good chance. Phase 2C on the other hand had about 91 applicants so there was a ballot for the 71 seats available.

I took quite a lot of no pay leave in the beginning as I was working a temp job at ex company last year. But all in all, we finished the PV hours quite fast considering that we only started in August and we hit the 60 hrs in just 3 months. All thanks to hubby who burned his Saturdays as PV to organise birthday parties for the students. One of my friends started earlier than us but only reached 60 hrs this year because both she and her hb had problems taking leave from work or volunteering on weekends. The things parents do for our kids...

Peppa Pig

The gals are big fans of Peppa Pig, an UK cartoon. RA stumbled upon it on youtube last year and never grew tired of it. RL became a fan this yr under Cheh Cheh's influence. RL has been bugging us to buy Peppa Pig's toys but they were not available in Singapore. Shipping from costs way too much.

I was almost going to plan a Toy r us stop in our Perth itinerary next month because they do sell Peppa Pig's toys in Australia. Then lo and behold when we walked into Toy R Us at Vivo city, we saw Peppa pig toys. The girls were so thrilled and I was so relieved. Cos no need to especially plan at detour at Toy R Us anymore, and risk boring my mum and aunt and no need to hear my dear brother who is the driver nag too. Yeah!!!

So the doting Daddy bought almost everything on the racks for them. I don't want to come all the way back to Vivo city just to get one of Peppa's friends, he reasoned. Oh well, they really love it and play with the playsets almost everyday so I guess it's worth it.

My only complaint is that they package Peppa into every pack instead of selling a set of all her friends. Guess how many extra Peppa pigs we got. haha.