Baby Zara’s first staycation at Rendezvous Hotel Singapore

To celebrate the Husband’s birthday, I booked a staycation for us and since Zara has never tried swimming yet, I thought this would be a good chance to let her try floating and kicking inside a bathtub. This was a super last minute decision and I only started searching for an ideal hotel 2 nights before the planned check-in. After a night of surfing through Agoda, and some quick messages via selected hotels’ page on Facebook, I proceeded to book a Club room at the newly renovated Rendezvous Hotel Singapore.

The hotel lobby looks very nice and welcoming. And I was looking forward to a modern and chic room, like those from our staycation at The Quincy.

Center piece at their newly refreshed lobby

Nice lounging area at the hotel lobby

The well equipped gym

The Pool

This the closest Zara gets to a pool so far

The room we were given was on the 10th floor and we had to walk all the way back into the corner of the hotel from the lift lobby. And when we reached the room, it wasn’t as how I had imagined. The Club Room, which we booked through Agoda, was a little small and it didn’t come with a bathtub!

Club Room at Level 10

Entrance at Club Room

Club Room toilet (no bathtub)

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Located on the top three floors of the hotel, the Club Rooms provide a variety of Club Rendezvous benefits, such as personalised check-in at the Club Rendezvous (which we didn’t receive), a welcome fruit basket (didn’t get this too) and upgraded bathroom amenities. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast in the Club Rendezvous (Breakfast at Straits Cafe has more varieties) to start the day, and unwind in the evening with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (we missed this as we had another dinner reservation made) amid panoramic city views. Also receive a 20% discount on laundry/dry-cleaning services and broadband and wireless internet access (this was useful) throughout the hotel.[/box]

Since the main reason for this staycation was for Zara to have a dip in the bathtub, I immediately called the reception to check if we can be moved to a room with one. I was told the only rooms were the Junior Suite. Lucky us, we got an upgrade at no extra charge since we were only staying for one night. The suite was on the 4th floor.

The spacious living space for relaxing

The King size bed that wasn’t very comfortable (a little too hard for us)

Bath amenities in the washroom

Bathtub and shower room

From the website, looks like their recent renovation focused on the club experience, so we took a trip to the Club Level on 11th to check it out.

Cosy Club Lounge on Level 11

The food corner where breakfast and evening cocktail is served

Nice bench sofa seats

Club Lounge is baby friendly, according to the Hotel Manager

Throughout the stay, the most relaxed person must be Zara. Instead of the baby cot which we requested, she got to sleep on the bed with us as the cot provided was a little dirty and too low for us to put her down while she’s asleep.

Zara enjoyed the spacious bed

Zara enjoyed her time in the bathtub filled with warm water

Woke up afresh from a good night sleep (leaving just a little space for Mummy)

Chillaxing on the sofa while we packed up for check-out

Overall the staycation we had at Rendezvous Hotel Singapore was a decent one. Nothing much to wow about except the close proximity to town for those who wants to shop and party. Oh! And if you’re staying in their Club Rooms, you get either guaranteed early check-in or late check-out.

If you’re wondering, this stay was paid for from my own pocket.

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Aside: While staying there, I saw another couple going around taking photos of the hotel and after some searching (and matching with the couple I caught in one of the photos), I confirmed that its blogger mama-to-be Miss Chewy. Her husband got many nice photos of the hotel, go over and check it out.[/box]

Visit to the Singapore River Safari

On Christmas Eve, we brought our girls to check out the River Safari. Thanks to corporate pass from Ayah’s work place we get to go for free! Trips like this should be made compulsory at least twice a year just because it is so fun and educational for the girls. Though they may not remember them when they grow up, but time spent telling them about the animals and showing them the many wonders in life, it is great family bonding time.

Sharing some photos from that day…
[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”Look Mum! Ducks!”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”Fish! Can eat?”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”What the hell is this huge thing? As tall as the kids!”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”What weird eyes this creature has.”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”Ohhh… panda… and what are these black things on it?”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”And after 30 minutes of queueing, we saw this lazy panda sitting and munching. The other one was no where in sight.”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”At least Ayra got to Hi-5 with one”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”And even worn a bib willingly for the first time”] [/image]

[image type=”bottom” width=”500″ align=”center” caption=”Throughout the entire day, Zara was with us too. And she just stared blankly at everything we try to show her. Either that or sleep.”] [/image]

Between the Zoo and River Safari, personally I feel that the Zoo is a better place for family outings and there are more things to see too. Now that we’ve covered these two, next up probably the Bird Park?

Things Parents Got To Be Prepared for First Week of Playgroup

It has been almost two weeks since Ayra, our first child, enters Playgroup. This is my first experience as a parent to prepare my girl for school. And I thought it would be easy, and I was wrong. Being the first child, Ayra got a lot of attention from everyone at home. With little exposure to sharing anything or anyone with her since birth, entering a Playgroup environment is kinda intimidating for a 28 months young girl.

Here is our experience from the first seven days of school and some things to note for those who are preparing your child for their first full-day childcare.

Preparing for THE 1st day can be a long process.

I started preparing Ayra and myself for THE day a month in advance, from shopping for the necessary stuff to exposing Ayra to school related books and activities. Assuming there was no books for childcare, I bought a backpack which after the first day got “kicked” out of school. If you are wondering what a 2.5yo need to bring for a full day childcare, here is the standard list provided by myfirstskool.

  • 2 sets of clothes/ uniform
  • 6 pieces of diapers or 2 pieces of underpants for those who are toilet trained
  • Comb or hair brush
  • Milk bottle and formula milk (if necessary)
  • 1 bedsheet

Doesn’t seem a lot right? But when you put them all together, the small backpack just doesn’t hold them well. So after the first day of school, we got Ayra a new trolley bag.

[box]TIP: Get your child to pick his/her school bag. This will encourage them to want to carry/pull it to school.[/box]

Day 1: Oh-so-fun! A new playground?

First day of school is oh-so-fun! Mummy was around and there were so much to play and explore. Ayra did well on the first day without any tears. In fact, she told me she love going to school and want to go back again. However things turned for the worst as the days passes…

Learning to play and share with others

On the second day of school, Ayra jumped out of her bed at 6am and was looking forward to go to school. She let me changed her and couldn’t wait to pull her new school bag. With Mummy around, nothing is to be afraid of, and this girl seemed all well and brave on the second day. There were few other kids who started school on the same day and were crying and throwing tantrum for 2 days even with their parents around. So comparatively, Ayra did very well. Mummy was pleased.

Day 2: When the Parent sneaked away in the middle of the day.

Expect a calmness before a major storm

Playgroup is for playing, and so she thought.

Day 2 in childcare without Mum for the second half of the day went pretty ok. Some crying when she didn’t see me after nap but eventually calmed down with distractions by the Teachers. When she saw me at the door at the end of the day, she could not hold her emotion any more and broke down immediately. She just wanted to dash into my arms and get out of school. Makes Mummy’s heart ached and that’s when my heart melted and questioned myself if this girl was ready for school.

And then came the first weekend of Ayra’s childcare days. Not a very good year to have 2 days of school and then another 2 days without. The kid has not settled into a new routine and it was broken too quickly. We were prepared to start from square one come Monday.

[box]Day 3
You woke up immediately when I told you it’s school time. And you entered the school on your own knowing your routine and ate breakfast on your own. Now mummy is outside hiding, watching you play. Be good and well my baby girl. You will love your companion in school.

The third day of school after the weekend seemed a little fresher for her and when I thought she had comfortably settled down already and had a sigh of relieve.

She survived Day 3 with some tears nevertheless but Teacher said she did well. Ayra even came home with “presents” (she called them that) from two of her classmates’ birthdays.[/box]

Day 4: With updates from the Teacher via Whatsapp

[box]Day 4 – First day without the Mum
The strong and brave girl when into hiding today. Not wanting to let mummy go and cried super loud when I left her after her morning routine check at the school entrance. Pains me to walk away like that, but she needs to learn to be alone without mummy at PG. Hope this phase passes quickly and smoothly. Mummy was feeling rather depressed.

Must be super tiring for a toddler in playgroup. Ayra KO by 7pm last night till 6am and now she KO for the day already. Hope she doesn’t pull her hourly milk stunt again tonight. Last night was tiring for me.[/box]

Not sure her tiredness came from too much playing, too little nap time or too much crying. When I saw her exhausted self laying in bed, it made my heart aches again. I silently hope she will eventually get used to the new routine and will enjoy school and treasure our home time together.

[box]Day 5 – The Shitty Day
The morning drop-off went pretty well with only a short wave of crying. Mummy left after seeing that you have settled down and in good company of your teacher. You didn’t seem like your usual self when I came to pick you. Instead of dashing to me happily, you were very calm and slow. You gave the teacher a hug before you left and when I came down to give you a big hug, I knew why you were so calm. There was poo in your diaper! I hope it wasn’t from too early of the day and no one detected it when in school.

You didn’t share much about your day in school and instead just did your own things when you’re back home. Soon you KO in bed.[/box]

[box]Day 6 – The Refusal
You refused to leave home for school. No matter what I said to you, you still refused. Told you I’ll drive you to school in Ayah’s car, you nodded and off we went. Tears started to flow again when you saw the school entrance. Sorry baby girl you have to go through this, I know it will past very soon. Hang in there and be strong Ayra! We love you! Mummy was feeling hopeless.[/box]

[box]Day 7 – Ayra’s favorite Teacher was on Leave
The morning was tough. Lots of talking and pacifying was required to get her off the bed and out of the house. She even tried to push me back down to sleep with her when I tried waking her up. And when she saw the school entrance again tantrums and tears flew.

The day went by without her trusted Teacher as she was on leave that day. No one was there to hold her hands when she needed comfort. But I’m glad she has grown to trust another teacher in school, and will give her a hug before she left school with me.[/box]

That rounded up her first 7 days in playgroup. It wasn’t as smooth sailing as I had hoped for, but we managed to survive it together and I thought Ayra was slowly getting used to our new routine. Much persuasion and reasoning was required and a lot of energy is spent just getting her out of the house. When the weekend came and gone, it was Monday again but this time our tough 7 days of initial routine was distributed and things turned rather messy and ugly.

The eighth day at playgroup was a very stressful day for me. Didn’t help as I had just started working in a new company too and had to adjust my own routine from the long stress free maternity leave. By the time I settled down at my work desk, half of my energy were gone already.

[box]Day 8 – The broken routine
Everything we put through for the first 7 days in playgroup was crashed because of a broken routine from the morning of Day 8. It didn’t help that it was also the Monday before a weekend of fun time with the family. Ayra woke up as usual refusing to go to school. But eventually she let me change her and prep for school. Before we could do our usual routine of me explaining to you why we are sending you to school, giving you the same assurance I always give in the first 6 days of school; all these routine were broken with an unexpected visit from Grandpa that morning.

Instead of walking down together with Mummy holding your hand and you pulling your trolley bag along the way, you were carried to school. Instead of saying goodbye at the school door, you were accompanied into the school with Grandpa by your side and carrying you through breakfast. What happened thereafter I am not sure. But from what I was told, your day was totally ruined by our broken routine. Mummy was feeling super depressed since the call from Grandma and couldn’t concentrate on anything else but waited for the time to past till time to pick you up.

I had looked forward to greeting you at the school gate and giving you the thumbsup and applause when I see a smiling girl dashing towards me. But instead, Grandpa brought you back after nap time cause he said you were too traumatized in school. I blame the whole mess on our broken routine.[/box]

This broken routine is going to be a huge challenge for us in the next few days ahead. With you insisting that Mum stays with you and you refusing to go to school, I know it is going to be even harder to calm you down and is going to take an even longer period for you to finally get used to this new routine of ours.

[box type=”2Getting your kid settled in school is best done with the same routine for as long as possible, till the kid is able to enter school without any resistant. We failed at this within the first 2 weeks and the consequences is to calm a crying child every day.[/box]

After a week of school, Ayra did not seem to enjoy it as the days passes (or at least that’s how she is showing us). She used to love washing hands as she can play with water, but just today, she refused to do it and had a huge melt down just because of that. May be due to the fact that every morning after she washes her hand in school, Mummy is gone from her sight. She will keep chanting “I don’t want to go school.” and gets all emotional and clingy to me when I mention going to school.

Till the day when Ayra finally settles down 101%, I will never have a full peace of mind in whatever I do.

It’s only the 3rd week of 2014 and I’m totally burned out already. In desperate need for energy boast and lesser stress from all the negative ions in the family.

Tips to Buying Clothes for Newborn

Do you recall the excitement when you discover the gender of your baby? When I learned about the gender for my first child, I was super hyped! My mind filled with hundred and one ways to dress up my baby girl when she arrives. Beautiful dresses, bright tees, cute onesies and so much more fun ways to dress the baby up! And what happened?

Before the baby even arrived, your new wardrobe is filled with newborn clothes! When the baby arrive, she starts to grow in super speed and mummy can’t finish dressing her up in newborn clothes before she grow too big to fit.

Baby Zara in a 3 to 6 months onesie when she’s barely 2 months young

This happen to not just myself I’m sure. I’ve seen new parents shopping for newborn stuff in boxes, including clothes! I’ve often wanted to go up to them and tell them to stop wasting money, but I just can’t do it! I hate myself for not stepping up, guess I’m still very much a conservative mum.

Before you head down for your next shopping spree for clothes, here are some tips for you.

[box type=”1″]Buy just enough for twice a week of washing. Newborns grow very fast and some newborn may even be too big to fit into newborn (0-3month) clothes at birth. So buy just enough of newborn clothes before the baby is born. Shopping for clothes is never ending, and you’ll have a lot of opportunities to shop after giving birth. So don’t need to be too kiasu.[/box]

I love T-shirts for babies, as they can last longer as compared to onesie, I love that the FOX baby tees come with buttons on the shoulder line for easy wearing for baby

[box type=”1″]A personal guide when preparing for newborn:
This guide is for those who plan to wash baby’s clothes every two days.

  1. Sleepwears (at least 6 sets)

    Get comfortable sleeping wears, long sleeves and pants if baby is going to be sleeping in air-conditioned rooms. I love one piece sleep wears that covers their hands and feet.

  2. Onesies (6 pcs)

    Onesies are no brainer. They wear easily and is easy for diaper changing. But get the 3 to 6 months instead of newborns so they can be worn for a longer time.

  3. T-shirts (3 to 5 pcs)

    For the occasion outings.

  4. Pants (2 pcs)

    Love those that has got the feet covered cos it is a challenge to keep baby’s socks on all the time. Socks that are too tight leaves marks on the skin, socks too loose fall off easily.

  5. Shorts (2 pcs)

    For the warmer days, shorts is good, even with onesies so that the baby’s thigh is covered in case they catch a cold from too much wind from the fan.

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When buying onesies, get a size bigger than the baby so they get to wear for longer time

Shorts or pants should also be at least one size bigger as we need to fit in the diaper. When these are too tight, the skin may not be able to breathe properly hence causing rashes to grow

Now that you’ve got tips on what you can get for your baby, head down to shop soon! It’s the year end sale and many places are giving great discounts. From our favorite shopping place for clothes, FOX is having their end season sale with up to 70% off! This offer too hard to miss and I’m heading to shop later today! 😛

The Most Expensive Ride Home in Singapore

How much would you pay for a ride home on a heavy downpour night with your kids in tow? Well I paid over hundred bucks for it! 🙁

It was pouring super heavily last night and I was out alone with Ayra at Orchard for a media Xmas gathering. Silly me must be too idealistic thinking we could easily get a cab at night.

I was sooo wrong!

After 6 failed attempts to get a cab, and with Ayra getting exhausted from all the fun she had earlier, my only option then was to call for an uber. My first two rides with uber cost between $40 to $70 and so I thought this ride home from Orchard will be at the same range.

Uber Ride 17 Dec 2013

I fell off the chair when I saw the final amount charged to my card at the end of the ride! A whooping $154!!!! And I recall the rate as 2.5 times and not what I had assumed as 2.5%!

Sigh…

I should have just drove to town instead. Or I should have left the car at home so I could activate hub to pick us up. I could have called my brother to drive us home. I could have… …

Oh well. Lesson learned. Never proceed with an uber booking if the surcharge is more than 1.5 times.

I first learned about Uber about a year ago and used their service when I was in a hurry and no cab was available. I enjoy all my rides with them and in desprate times, a $60 cab fare seems alright. But a $154 ride is just so unexpected.

I hope i will never have any more of such desperation again.

Lunch at Swensen’s

One of the common and frequent visited Halal restaurant in Singapore must be Swensen’s. Conveniently located at almost every major malls in Singapore, it is the family restaurant we go to when there isn’t other Halal food joints nearby.

Here are our usual orders from their menu…

Prawn and Fruit Salad


Zesty and healthy! We love the mango dressing that comes with this salad.

Continue reading “Lunch at Swensen’s”