What a fun evening it was with Julia Donaldson and her awesome casts at Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts! It was a mad rush down to the Victoria Theatre but totally worth it. The girls (including the 2 not-so-young ones) enjoyed the performance very much. Here’s why.
Never a dull moment! From the moment we got to our seats till the very end of the show, our eyes, ears and mind were fixed on stage. Even the changing of set from one story to the next, the casts did a funtasitic job making it look so seamless and fun. My mum and the girls were amazed at the different scenes from the five stories, transformed out from the few sets of boxes and shelves. So fun they said.
Lots of energy from the crew and Julia Donaldson. An hour of storytelling is seriously not easy furthermore they were actively engaging the audience. I was panting in my seat as I watched them bring the story and their characters alive. So much enthusiasm and energy!
So fun and engaging! To be the world-class theatre for young people is surely not an easy task. Kids get restless and distracted so easily, it takes a lot of effort to keep them focused even for just a few minutes. Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson was like a magic carpet right into the five popular stories written and told by Julia Donaldson. Kids were kept entertained and engaged, with mass audience participation and groups of kids were also invited up on stage to be part of the show.
That night we were sharks in Jack and the Flumflum Tree, entertained by the farm animals from What the Ladybird Heard, felt the squeeze inside the house that was A Squash and a Squeeze, pretended to be dragons with ZOG, and finally treated to a smart adventure with the tiny mouse in the forest with The Gruffalo; and what an adorable Gruffalo it was!
If you adore the stories by Julia Donaldson you cannot miss this five-star performance at Kidsfest 2017! Show is on this week only till Sunday 22 January at the Victoria Theatre. Get your tickets from SISTIC now.
Showtime schedule for Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson at Kidsfest 2017…
The Mummy loves photography and has been a supporter for Canon cameras for a long time now. The girls have been the subject of Mummy’s shooting obsession since the day they entered into her life. They have seen how the Mummy handled the camera and are rather familiar with how the camera works. When they were given a chance to handle a big camera like Mummy at KidZania, they were thrilled.
Although they didn’t get to complete their task as a photojournalist, as they were too distracted with the other activities going around them on their first visit to KidZania, they did get to put on the Canon EOS vest (which Mummy is rather jealous of) and tried handling and shooting with the Canon PowerShot EOS DSLR inside the Imaging Academy.
Look at how adorable and professional they look!
At the Canon Imaging Academy inside KidZania Singapore, the kids get to pick between being a Photojournalist or a Photography Student.
Photojournalist at Canon Imaging Academy
For +4 years and above
Each session allows up to 4 kids
Takes about 20 mins for each session
Kid earns 6 Kidzos
Being a Photojournalist, they were supposed to learn how to handle the DSLR camera, go on a mission to shoot different objects around KidZania and complete their task to earn the Kidzos.
Photography Student at Canon Imaging Academy
For +4 years and above
Each session allows up to 6 kids
Takes about 20 mins for each session
Kid pays 8 Kidzos
As a Photography Student, they get to learn how to pose for the camera and shoot other student models with the DSLR. Each student will also get to bring home a printed photo from their session.
The girls were happy to have snapped some photos of Mummy with their cameras and were issued a certificate at the end of their task.
Guess we will be back again for more KidZania fun since Mummy bought the girls their KidZania Passports! Perhaps we should make trips to other cities too to check out the other KidZanias.
Read other kids’ experiences at KidZania Canon Imaging Academy…
It was our first family trip with our two preschoolers and we came back with bulkier arms and thigh muscles. And also a much higher tolerance towards the many challenges thrown at us. This was our first family trip to Hong Kong, including Disneyland Hong Kong, Ocean Park and some shopping around Hong Kong. Unfortunately, this trip has also stretched the father’s limit and he is rather persistent that we will not have any more overseas travels until the girls hit Primary school and learn to be more independent.
If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong with your children, especially those age below 6, here is a quick “survival guide” from our personal experiences. What works for us may not be what you agree or want to do, but I hope some of the tips will be useful for you! Tips include must download apps, how to save time with Changi Recommends and ways to occupy your preschoolers.
Family Survival Guide for Travel to Hong Kong with Preschoolers
Tip #1 – Bring lots of snacks
Because when the little ones’ mouth (and tummy) is full, they usually behave better and has more energy to keep on moving, or dancing, or some may say “to irritate the hell out of us parents”. #truestory
Tip #2 – Hop onto buses and trams
Hong Kong is well connected via MTR and most travellers usually opt for that, but with our two girls, they were happier and with less whining when we take the buses and trams. Probably because they get to see what’s going around instead of the dark tunnel throughout their journey in the trains. Well, except for the train to Disneyland which they would gladly ride a few times I’m sure.
Download the MTR and Hong Kong Tram mobile apps, they were very handy during our trip. Including features like trip planner, ride timing, route and costs.
Tip #3 – Rent strollers or bring a super lightweight one
We knew Hong Kong will be a trip with LOTS of walking, and it includes LOTS and LOTS of stairs! We wouldn’t be able to carry our two girls plus the stroller when we climb the many stairs. So we chose to leave our stroller at home and we rented strollers at the two parks we visited. Its HK$100 per stroller per day but it’s so totally necessary! Unless you have got super strong arms and legs. If you have a compact and lightweight stroller that you can simply sling on your shoulder and still able to carry the kids with both hands, then do BRING IT!
We had to carry the girls a lot still cos they were forever complaining that their legs were tired lah, sleepy lah, feet pain lah… 101 excuses lah. But when we pop a can of Pringles, they could run and jump around me just to get a piece of chip! Oh well…
Tip #4 – Stay Indoor (unless it’s Winter)
We were there mid-November and assumed that the weather would be cool enough to just keep walking. But we were sooooo wrong! The sun was blazing like hell and we always ended up sweaty after a day out. The next best option was for my hub and I is to take turns to rest and shop. While he goes shop for his stuff, I’ll chill at a cafe nearby with the girls. They can nap on my lap or be kept entertained with the TV in the cafe or their favorite videos on YouTube Kids.
While he goes shop for his stuff, I’ll chill at a cafe nearby with the girls. They can nap on my lap or be kept entertained with the TV in the cafe or their favorite videos on YouTube Kids. Then we will head back to the hotel where he will look after the girls while I shop till I drop! Ha! Recommend to stay near malls and places you want to shop so you don’t have to travel too far.
We stayed at Holiday Inn Golden Mile which is very accessible via train and lots of shopping around.
Tip #5 – Stay connected
On this trip, we had with us 2 iPhones and 2 iPads, with lots of video watching, photos and videos upload for backups and the many apps and maps we used to find out ways around. I think it would have burnt our mobile bill if we opted for data roaming loh! I got us a ChangiWifi at $5/day for use in Hong Kong, allows you to connect up to 6 devices at any one time and offers very good connectivity throughout our travel around Hong Kong, even when underground!
The promotion is valid for travels by 31 March 2017.[/box]
Tip #6 – Playground means rest time
Yes, we are overseas and should spend more time doing things that we don’t get to experience in Singapore, but when there is a playground nearby just go! Our girls spent the most time while we were at Ocean Park at their children’s playground. And this was also the time where we parents get to take a break, sit and cool off. They loved the playground so much they didn’t want to leave!
Tip #7 – Exhaust their energy
Playground, bouncy castle, jumping up and down trying to reach for snacks, and any activity that can let them focus their energy even for that 5 minutes is worth doing. Especially when you are ready to head back to the hotel and call it a day with the kids. 90% of the time they would have KO when they are back at the comfy hotel.
Tip #8 – Skip the queues
Our girls HATE to queue. We were waiting in line for photo taking session with Mickey and Minnie which they had wanted to do when we showed them videos before the trip. When I saw the queue it looked like a 10 to 15 mintues max. wait according to our experience at Universal Studios Singapore where one family gets some quick shots and leave. I was WRONG! The queue only moved a little after 15 minutes and then suddenly the mice disappeared! With a 2-hour meet-and-greet session, of cos I should have guessed the characters will have to take short breaks in-between or head somewhere to swap the people inside the mascots. But what I didn’t expect was the amount of time they allow each family to spend with the characters! Before you take your nice photos, the character will interact and play with the guests, then they will do 1001 different poses and then more interaction time! This is awesome for paying customers as we get to maximise our money spent on the tickets lah, but seriously?? It is a little too long leh. So we ended up leaving the queue after 20 mins in it. Sigh….
This tip is not to ask you to buy any express or fast passes lah, but its one way to cut down one of the many queues you will be joining at these attractions. Skip the ticketing queue and enter straight into the parks when you purchase your tickets online. We got our attraction passes from Changi Recommends website which is cheaper than you buy at the door.
All Ocean Park combo deals (Adult/Child Souvenir, Restaurant, Kiosk, Family Combo)
Trick Eye Museum
Ngong Ping Combo (Crystal Cabin + Meal Coupon)
Promotion is valid till 11 December 2016and for online purchase only. Tickets to be used by 31 December 2016.[/box]
Tip #9 – Get airport transfer
Though travelling via the train from Hong Kong airport to our hotel is convenient and cheaper, we opted for a private driver to pick us up instead. With kids, bulky luggages and tired parents (after three over hours of pacifying the little ones in the plane), airport transfer is highly recommended.
We booked our overseas airport transfers through Changi Recommends, together with a few other services they provide. And I’m so glad I made this choice because when we landed in Hong Kong, my girls were rather grouchy when we boarded the vehicle. The personal pick-up, with a chauffeur to send us right to the doorsteps of our hotel, sure saved us lots of stress and energy.
Tip #10 – Go Uber
For families travelling in Hong Kong, when travelling around, it could be more economical and sensible to ride with Uber. After our not-so-happening-and-damn-tiring first night, we opted for Uber rides for the rest of our trips whenever we have to travel long distance – like from the hotel to Ocean Park.
Hope the above tips are useful! If you are heading to Hong Kong soon, here’s a giveaway for you!
Playtime is rare with Mummy around, because Mummy is always busy with work even when she’s at home in the evening. But when Mummy do sit and play with the girls, they immerse themselves 101% and do all kind of silly things together. Now that Ayra is 5 and Zara is 3, both of them love creating their own stories and imaginative play. Mummy loves watching the show unfold in usually the most unimaginable way. The sky is the limit!
There are plenty of toys around the house, and Mummy does splurge a little too often showering the girls with new toys. Probably due to the guilt she has deep inside since she doesn’t spend as much time as she wished with the little ones. To keep them occupied and engaged, she buys toys and fun things for them.
One of the most common things she buys is building blocks from LEGO® , which the father get rather annoyed at. Because he hates stepping onto bricks around the house! But the girls love them, especially Ayra as she is now able to build a set on her own without any help. She will open the box, pour out all the bricks, look and follow the pictorial instructions and start building. Like this new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playset, she built it all by herself in less than 10 minutes.
After building the set, she’ll start to play and engage with her younger sister. Of cos, they do fight at times and snatch pieces from one another, but nothing stops them from fun play time. Mummy finds that she needs to learn such quick forgivingness from the girls. Adults tend to hold grudges longer, which is really unhealthy.
This new play set in the house is from the Disney Junior collection, LEGO® DUPLO® Mickey Mouse & Friends Beach House (10827).
Get your child sit Donald Duck in the speedboat and pull Goofy along on the wakeboard, while Mickey Mouse uses the camera to take pictures from the deck at his Beach House. Little Disney fans will love building and rebuilding this model with a fun vacation theme and creating their own role-play stories. This set comes with 3 LEGO® DUPLO® figures: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Accompanying the LEGO® DUPLO® sets, parents can now watch the LEGO® DUPLO® Buildling Better Play videos which were recently launched on YouTube. This series features 12 episodes led by child development experts who share useful information for parents – from building toddler confidence, social play and sharing, and developing motor skills with play, to making playtime feel special.
The Loving Mum has approved the play of LEGO® and LEGO® DUPLO® in the house and has been one of her choice gifts for children of her friends and relatives. For those searching for toys to give kids and has run out of ideas, you’ll never go wrong withLEGO® DUPLO® for the little ones and LEGO® sets for those 5 and above. Now you know what to get for the two girls for Christmas ya?
Now watch the two girls at play with their new LEGO® DUPLO® set…
Wicked and Les Miserables are musicals which I enjoyed, and then there’s Barney, Paw Petrol and other character live shows at shopping malls which the girls love. We’ve caught some stage performances too like Dora The Explorer and Hi-5 shows. But nothing comes closed to what we’ll be catching come November this year at Resorts World Theatre at Sentosa.
For the first time ever live on stage in Singapore, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack and Rarity will take audience on an incredible and enchanting adventure in the wonderful world of Equestria! We’re the second in the world to catch My Little Pony Musical – Rainbow Rocks. and get to experience the magic of Equestria, as the Equestria Girls come to life in vivid colours on stage. Singapore is the second stop for this brand new musical’s world tour, right after its world premiere in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With two hardcore My Little Pony girls in the house, me too can hum to the tunes and music from Equestria Girls series. If you’ve not caught any of these girlish videos before, here’s one to keep you up to date so you won’t be lost when little girls around you start talking about this upcoming musical.
Those funny and fabulous Equestria Girls are getting ready to enter their band, the Rainbooms, in the Canterlot High musical showcase. However, there is trouble brewing, as former bad girl Sunset Shimmer just cannot make any friends; while rival girl band, the Dazzlings, are clearly up to something. Why do they want to turn the showcase into a mighty Battle of the Bands?
Are the Dazzlings planning something much more sinister? And will Sunset Shimmer ever be forgiven by the other students at Canterlot High? There’s only one way to find out: join the Equestria Girls as they try to defeat the forces of evil, with the help of Sunset Shimmer and everybody’s favorite pony, Twilight Sparkle! Sure, friendship is magic: but to restore the harmony, the band must battle!
What To Expect?
This 90-minute colourful and fun-filled musical is created for children and the young-at-heart from ages 2 to 96. It follows Twilight Sparkle’s exhilarating journey to defeat the forces of evil, with help from her human friends, the girls of Canterlot High School. Along the way, Twilight Sparkle learns that friendship really is magic!
Audiences are in for a multi-sensorial treat as the high production value My Little Pony Musical – Rainbow Rocks promises to be a delightful spectacle filled to the brim with catchy songs, infectious dancing, laughter, magic and, of course, friendship!
Featuring the voices and acting chops of an immensely talented and international cast of 24, including Chloe MacGregor as Twilight Sparkle, the musical also showcases a sparkling new script by illustrious London’s West End Actor/Playwright Hugh Osborne, and dazzling direction and choreography from the award-winning Jamie Neale.
Created in 1981, My Little Pony is one of the world’s most successful entertainment franchises, beloved not only by children but also adults, as the Equestria Girls learn empowering lessons in friendship, love and loyalty in their adventures.
My Little Pony Musical – Rainbow Rocks premieres in Singapore on 24 November 2016 (Thursday) and seven shows will be staged over three days at the stunning Resort World Theatre at Sentosa. Tickets are available from SISTIC online and all SISTIC outlets from 12 October 2016.
Dates and Showtime
24 Nov : 5.30 pm
25 Nov : 11 am ; 2.30 pm ; 5.30 pm
27 Nov : 11 am ; 2.30 pm ; 5.30 pm Venue: Resorts World™ Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa Ticket Pricing (Excludes Booking Fee): S$148, S$115, S$88, S$78
Are you ready to sing and dance together with the Equestria Girls? I know both my girls are!
Can’t wait to tell them about this date I’ve planned. Got to hold on the news till closer to date, else my ears will be bustling non-stop by them… “Mummy are we going to watch My Little Pony tomorrow? Is it tomorrow?” whacks.my.head
It was our first trip after 18 years of friendship. A 2D1N shop-and-eat-till-we-drop trip to Johor Bahru. To minimise traveling time, we booked ourselves into Holiday Villa Johor Bahru Malaysia which is right next to one of JB mega mall KSL.
This is a quick review of the hotel we stayed, pardon the photos cause I was traveling ultra light and only had mobile phones with me.
Holiday Villa hotel is relatively new and the lobby is modern, clean and nice. The check-in wasn’t as nice though.
We requested for connecting rooms and were almost not given the rooms even though this was confirmed upon verification via email. We had to insist that we were already assigned the rooms and after few checks before the guy behind the counter gave it to us. One of the rooms were not ready at check-in time and we had to wait till much later.
When 3 out of 4 ladies traveling are mums, you get this kind of loot after a few hours of shopping at KSL. No prize for guessing where we spent the most time shopping at, the Supermarket of cos! LOL!
Breakfast the next day looked like this….
The hotel is clean, comfy and near KSL, ideal for short family trip. I would consider going back there again if I plan to just shop at KSL over the weekend with my family.
Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre is a 4-star trendy hotel strategically located along the main road of Jalan Dato’ Sulaiman in Century Garden, the road leading to and from Tebrau Highway. The hotel is 28.6 kilometers or 29 minutes drive from Senai International Airport and 4 kilometers or 9 minutes drive from the ferry jetty at Stulang Laut.
When SIL told us she (and her son) successfully balloted for tickets to NDP Preview, we were excited! Finally! We get to watch the parade together and in the SportsHub!!! We had enough tickets to bring in everyone in the family to catch the show, first for our parents, first for our kids. Three generations of us spending our Saturday together to catch the preview of our Nation’s 51st Birthday celebration.
The moment we sat down on the seats, I had my first Awe moment. I am inside the National Stadium like finally! Ohhh there’s some cool wind blowing from underneath our seats… this is so cool… look the stadium is huge! Wait! The SportsHub is closed?? So no red lions? No fighter jets? Awww… that’s sad leh. WOAH! They got their videographers on segway! Cool lah!
So we were seated and ready to start the pre-celebration… a little too early. It was 4.40pm, still 2 hours away… we tried occupying the kids with snacks, videos, and eventually they took a nap just in time for the show.
Helllllllloooooo Singapore!!! … the 4 hosts came on stage and we were all ready to roll! By now the stadium was completely filled and everyone in red or white! So pretty!
However, for NDP this year things are different.
The usual fanfare at the start of the show was not as happening as previous years. There was no man falling down from the sky so the audience didn’t get to go “Ooooooooooo”. There was no need for earplugs as there was not thundering sound of the jets. When the national anthem came on, we couldn’t even see the flag fly-by the stadium.
But all the above didn’t stop the 55,000 spectators from enjoying the show and be in awe.
Unstoppable Kallang Wave
The hosts got us all to bring back the Kallang Wave, back to where it originated. Yes we do this every year at National Day (which some call it the Singapore Wave), but this year, its just different. At the preview I was at, everyone was overly enthused about the Kallang Wave… we almost didn’t want to stop! I lost count how many times we stood up and cheered when the wave was at our sector. The sight of the wave going around the stadium was awesome! Another moment of awe.
A 360 experience
Though there was no air display, no sea action, neither was there wind blowing into your face like sitting at the floating platform, but this celebration is packed with hi-tech stuff which got everyone seated at the stadium to participate in all the performances.
We were given a LED wristband which didn’t light up nor blink when we wore it as we entered the stadium… Aiyah! Mine spoil one, cannot light… Mummy why no light??? That were our grumbles when we tested our wristbands. But when the magic happened… we went “Wahhhhh!!! Cool!” The next moment of awe.
The LED lights were controlled by the people behind the show! It is wirelessly programmed to blink in tandem with the show’s lights and sounds, and capable of emitting lights of varying intensity in 16 colours and four modes! It’s just awesome to see the whole stadium light up together with the performances, our girls were going… “Mummy look! Mummy look!“, asking us to look at the lights on their wrist. After the show, you still can get lights from it by waving the LED light, but the only colour you’ll get is red.
Because of the covered stadium, the show had some awesome hanging display which added wow factor to the show.
The Pledge Moment and National Anthem
This is like once-a-year kind of thing for me where I take our pledge and sing Majulah Singapura. I had a huge lump in my throat when standing there together with the 55,000 others. Makes me feel a little more Singaporean lah. My girls didn’t know what we were doing but followed us and placed their fists on their chest too. I was a little emotional at this point.
Everyone in the family enjoyed the show and we are very thankful to have gotten these tickets for the preview show.
We’ll be catching the LIVE telecast of the actual day celebration somewhere on 9 August 2016, possibly somewhere where we can catch the full fireworks since we didn’t get to see any of it when seated inside the stadium.
To those going for the preview tomorrow and the actual day show on 9 August, enjoy the show and rest your feet while you’re at the stadium. The real (and not-so-fun) experience is the after-show, where you try to get on the train or other public transport. That night the train stations were packed, walkways and roads around the stadium was filled with people. We walked all the way to the hawker centre at Old Airport Road with 3 kids in arms… it was really no joke.
Nevertheless, it was still an awesome experience for the family! Thanks Pris and Isaac for successfully balloting the tickets! Next year we try again ok?
Happy 51st Birthday Singapore!
About the Gears
That day I had 3 cameras with me – Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 15-85 USM (for wide angle overall shots), Canon PowerShot M3 with 55-200mm lens (for zooming and “spying” searching for familiar faces in the sea of red) and the Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (for fun shots, see posts on my Instagram). Each had its own purpose and I think I’ve lost touched with using pro DSLR camera as I’m too used to the PowerShot cameras.
I’ve been using the Canon EOS 7D Mark II for a few occasions over the past few weeks mostly for video shoot which I’ll share more in another post. This DSLR is in the Canon semi-professional series and is packed with many features and options for professional purposes I still haven’t figured everything out. (I’m a noob!) With 65-point all cross-type AF system and ability to shoot 10 frames per second, you control exactly what you have to shoot and focus; even in fast action situations. Think I’ll need to take more practice and hands-on with this camera in order to master it. I shall stick to my EOS M3 for now.