Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blog Train: Small spaces at home.

Hi everyone!
I haven't done any personal posts for quite some time, aside from our traveling posts that is :)
This blog post is the last installment of Blog train series by a group of Singapore Mom Bloggers, entailing about how you make use of small spaces at home.
In land-scarce Singapore, the vast majority of us stay in high-rise apartments.
As we all know, children require so much s p a c e, I don't even know where to start.
Space for them to conduct their activities, space to park their vehicles (trikes, scooters, skates, ride-ons etc), space for their height-specific furniture (tables, chairs, bed, shelves).
Most importantly, children need lots of space for TOYS and BOOKS.
Here's a virtual tour of our humble home, a 3 bedroom apartment in a quaint little neighbourhood in the East of Singapore.
Adam has just turned 6 (2009 Ox baby) and will be going to Primary One next year - honeymoon's over, baby!
Ashton will be turning 3 in August (2012 Dragon baby). He is very much our last baby, which explains why most of the baby stuff like rocker and baby toys are still hangin' around.
I don't think I can ever bear to give his toys away! And when that day dawns, imma cry me buckets ;(
This is the children's Play Room, in which our helper sleeps.
The white IKEA shelf was a hand-me-down from my good friend, colleague, cum fellow mummy.
Right now, toys take up most of the space in this shelf, but I am trying to slowly build up their book and puzzle collection.

This brilliant calender clock is also gifted by the same friend who gave us the IKEA shelf :P
I feel extremely blessed that I do not have to go source for this because I know quality wooden toys are very hard to come by, and expensive.
In the background, the giraffe toy storage is used to keep all their nick nacks.
This, plus all those IKEA storage boxes on wheels. Oh gawd, one has no infinite idea how many things children have until one has real children of his/her own *shocked*

The boys' bedroom.


Just a little more info about me - I resigned and stayed home for 3 months when we first got our house keys.
Although I was a SAHM so-to-speak, there wasn't much staying-home to do, with all those calls and meet-ups with contractors, carpenters, landscape company etc.

Here are some ideas which I'd like to share with you:
1) If you can, source for your own contractors, carpenters, handyman, landacape company etc.
That way you'll save A LOT by striking off a middle-party known as Interior designers.

2) Don't be afraid to drop in on the construction works several times during the day.
I usually drop by to buy drinks, then buy lunch, buy coffee and tea for the workers. It makes them very happy. Happy workers = increased productivity on your freakin' home.
And also, don't be shy to ask for the extra layer of lacquer on your parquet, add another layer of silicone sealant around your sinks & bathtub, or to plaster-up that chipped corner.
Because you are nice and generous to them, they will be less likely to cut corners on you :)

3) If you have a balcony, which most new homes now do, consider making it a feature for the perfect wind-down relaxation after a long day at work.
We decked up the whole balcony and installed a koi pond which has seen been the centre of attention for kiddy visitors to our place.

4) Don't be afraid to get colourful, and who says boys can only have blue?
Colours such as green, neon pink, red, grey, navy, lime green, add cheer to the children's rooms.

5) Getting your house professionally cleaned before the big move-in is a lifesaver.

6) Packing is a pain in the ass, so do up your bomb-shelter shelves / storage cabinets FIRST thing before you move-in.
Trust me, once your boxes of stuff are unloaded from the lorry, you never want to unpack those barangs ONLY to pack them up the shelves later on all because you skipped this step in your moving enthusiasm.

In case you couldn't tell, I am quite the neat freak bordering on OCD and I attribute it as part of being a nurse :P
Hope you enjoyed reading!
This post is part of the Small Spaces blog train, which is hosted by Justina aka "Mum in the Making" (http://makingmum.blogspot.com)

Next up on this blog train is Libby, another fellow Mum-blogger.

Libby blogs at http://littlebowgirl.com.
She's married to her university sweetheart and OCD husband who thinks he does housework (and everything) better than her.
She is Mama to 15-month-old Sophie-Rose and runs a business from home selling handmade clothes and dresses.
Read about how she tries to reignin her innate dreaminess and messiness and finds space for her bub's overflowing clothes and shoes collection.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June holidays trip: Shangri-La at Cebu Philippines PART 1.

Hello everybody! The Tan household just got back from Cebu Philippines and we had so much fun.
We stayed at Shangri-La resort and I must say, their service is excellent. Way surpassed my expectations in terms of friendliness, helpful staff, and being accommodating to our requests and needs (eg. late check-out, adding on of sofa bed for the kids, on-site babysitting and drop-off services).
In fact, after being to Maldives the last trip, sorry but the service standards of Vilamendhoo left much to be desired.
So here's an overview of our family vacation at Cebu, Philippines.

The resort had several pools but the main pool had a water playground and water slide for the kids.

As parents, one of the first things we did was to locate the childcare centre.
Fun zone for kids, sanity for parents!

Each child is entitled to 2 hours per day FREE play inside the Adventure Zone indoor playground.
Do note that all kids need to wear long sleeved tops and socks to enter.

If you're in for some arcade fun, it's right next door to the Childcare Centre.

Do check out PART 2 and PART 3 of our Cebu trip here for more outdoor and sea-sport activity!

June holidays trip: Cebu Philippines PART 2.

On the second day, Hubby and I decided to go snorkelling so we hired a babysitter to follow us to the beach.
A babysitter can be hired at P300/hour (approx. SG$10/hour) and you need to book them at least 2 hours in advance.

Snorkelling is free at Shangri-La resort and is done in a group with allocated timings daily. Be sure to check out the availability and schedules at their Scuba Diving centre.
The excursion is about 1 hour and an instructor is allocated to every group.

Snorkelling equipment like vests, goggles, snorkelling pipe, and flippers are available if you do not have your own, also Free of charge.

Fish feeding.

Babies spotted us coming back to shore! They are with their babysitter, Nerissa. She is experienced and very good with my children. In that short hour she got them to warm up to her and play on the beach.

Photobombed by kissing couple :)


Relaxing on a hammock!

Went on a glass-bottom boat ride for P1500 per adult, half price for Adam, and FOC for Ashton.

Up next, Andy and Adam went for some flying activity at the Zipline. 

On the first round, he went with Hubby but subsequently got so hooked that he went on his own.
 Catch us in PART 3 (last instalment) for more wet and dry activities for the family :)
In case you missed PART 1 (arriving at the resort and orientation), click HERE.