Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year 2017

I felt like I charged into the new year in quite a hectic way. After the Hong Kong trip, we attended my  cousin's simple wedding luncheon on Christmas Eve in Singapore.

Cousins unite.

Thinking there might be massive jam, we took the KTM train from JB Sentral for the first time and returned to JB the same way. The whole journey was quite smooth. THEN, we found out the traffic back to JB was CLEAR. Tu lan.

On Christmas day, I went to the wet market early in the morning to get ingredients to make my potato salad for a BBQ dinner that night.

On Boxing Day, I celebrated my mom's birthday at AEON Tebrau City. Whole day. The kids spent the whole day at Fanpekka while my mom explored the new wings on her own because I was imprisoned in Fanpekka. Exiting the parking lot at closing time was unpleasant. I don't know why they can't place the Autopay Machine at every exit points. I could only find ONE and the queue was long.

The next day, I had to buy Darren's new school uniform for Primary 1. Homaigod! My baby! Went home to wash the shirts and pants.

Then it's more outing with cousins and aunts the following day.

Next day, it was Darren's school orientation which lasted till 11am. After that we headed to AEON Bukit Indah for lunch and some fun at the arcade playground. I forgotten about Daniel's tuition so we rushed home and rushed to the tutor's place.

This fishing game is so fun! The boys actually sweated a lot after playing for almost an hour.

Then finally got to reorganise my reading corner, the boys' room and the pile of DVDs we've collected over the years. Organising your home is no joke. So mentally draining.

Then, jeng jeng jeng! SCHOOL STARTS on the 1st of January. For the first 3 days, parents were allowed to visit the class during recess to bring food or whatever.

Thank goodness we live so near the school. So I had been back and forth, bringing him oats for recess, and lunch on stay-back day. I even met up with an ex-colleague for a quick brunch and tour at the old town Jalan Tan Hiok Nee. I also sneaked a couple of hours to shop at City Square and KOMTAR JBCC. My old Marks&Spencer briefs lasted 5 years and had become so worn that it tore just by stretching the fabric. Old ones go, new ones come! I've never swiped my credit card so many times before.

Also did some cooking since the boys started school. 

My helper came back before the weekend and I'm back to work. Life is starting to be normal again.

What a chiong start to the new year. I hope yours was more awesome.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Hong Kong

Long overdue post! I'm still on leave since 16th December 2016, because of the annual maid's leave. While most are back to work on 2nd Jan 2017, I was still shaking legs at home... NOT! Gosh, I don't know how come this time I was SOOOO busy at home and running errands. I was really going non-stop and now I'm burnt out!

Our non-stop action started with a 4 day trip in Hong Kong. This trip, I brought my mom and the two boys while the husband had peace and freedom back home. Nyiaha.

Before the trip, I chanced upon klook, an awesome website where you can book tours, attractions and activities with a bit of discount. I was sceptic at first but after some review research, I booked our airport transfers, Disneyland and Ocean Park tickets with some savings. Here we go!

Day 1
Bright and early flight on SQ's A380. Our first time! Man I can't remember when was the last time I was on a national carrier since budget airlines existed. I splurged on SQ this time for the experience and for the little luxuries we won't have on a budget flight.. especially for the in-flight entertainment!
The boys were super-excited! And the other little luxury is SQ's in-flight meal. That little tray of delight. Sorry I sound like a suaku, heehee.

At the HK airport's arrival hall, I could have skipped this queue to get the HK Airport Express train tickets since I have already booked via klook. If you book with klook, go straight to the train station, just follow the signs that says "Airport Express Train".

The trains come in 5-10 minutes intervals and the ride was just 25 minutes to Kowloon.

Kowloon station where we boarded the free shuttle straight to our hotel. We stayed at Holiday inn Golden Mile  at Tsim Sha Tsui. The location was just perfect! It was next to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and walking distance to Esprit flagship store and Harbour City, both which we didn't go to. But there were many shops around the hotel itself anyway.

After settling into our hotel room, our first venture was Ladies Market.
I forgot how crowded Hong Kong is!

A must-go-to market in Hong Kong. We got most of our souvenirs here, like fridge magnets and key chains. My mom bought a wallet and the boys bought a drone toy. I saw a lot of imitation Anello bagpacks, seems to be the trend now I think...was so tempted to get one! But frankly, I felt everything was rather expensive. For an Anello bag that fits the A4 paper, it was HK150 which is like RM80 plus. Not cheap I say. That's why we didn't shop much. 

Great way to end the first day in the hustle bustle of HK city.

Day 2

Day 2 was all about Disneyland! Watching the Mickey Mouse train arrive was already exciting!

Our first Disneyland experience!

Did I mention Hong Kong is crowded? Disneyland is not spared.

They say the parades in Disneyland are one of the things you have to see. I thought this was one of them, turned out, it was just a little march. And guess what I missed all the parades! I had wanted to catch the Disney's Paint the Night Parade but missed it because the boys were busy playing the rides, and they were not interested in watching any parades. Boys just want action!

Had to queue for 30 minutes for their first ride, which lasted one minute. Xiao.

I think Toy Story Land is the fun-nest part of Disneyland. It is such a happy land.

Most of the rides require adult accompaniment for children, so I had to sum up my courage for this one. I was scared but it was exhilarating! 

Slinky Dog ride. Queued 45 minutes for a minute's worth of ride. But seeing the boys scream and laugh made it worth. But then Darren went "I WANT TO GO AGAIN!" Luckily I convinced him to move along.

Mystic Manor. Some indoor spooky tour. Disney kinda spooky.

 It was dark by 6pm, and Toy Story Land looked even more magical! The queues for the rides were getting shorter so we went on the Slinky Dog again.

Bad we-fie..haha.

 Some Jedi show where little fans come on stage and get trained with some light saber moves, and then some drama to thrill the kids.

We stayed on until 9pm for the fireworks because it's suppose to rock. The verdict? Quite spectacular, the only peeve was the crowd.

After the fireworks ended, we had to walk through the Main USA Street to catch our train back. There was artificial snow falling along the short street. Quite magical.

Look. At. The. Crowd. I kinda got worried about getting back to the station but we made it back a-okay.

I find trips like this very educational for kids. He learnt that you can never find a seat on a packed train on a Sunday night. Haha. This guy's a sport, never complained.

Day 3

I must be mad or the best mom ever because the next day it was Ocean Park day! 
I booked the admission ticket and the one-way bus transfer. After a short walk from our hotel to the meeting point, the guide was there to check us in and soon we were on the bus to Ocean Park. Very easy and convenient!

 The crowd. Homaigod.

 First thing we wanted to do was to ride the cable car to The Summit. 
 The queue!

I was bit scared at first.. haha. The view was brilliant. The cable car lines actually goes really high up.

 At The Summit, we headed to BayView Restaurant for our lunch. I couldn't book the tickets with meal voucher because it was sold out on klook. Now I know why... the meals are expensive!

Kid's Meal Combo.

Curry Chicken with Prata. In Hong Kong?! I had to respect his decision. Pre-teen now you know.

Mum had this fish set. 

You know how it feels during lunch hour at a crowded food court in Singapore? Exactly. I was very lucky to have found a table with an awesome view.

After that we took the rotating viewing tower thingy up to see the whole Ocean Park. Very nice.

The poor boy, couldn't go onto a lot of rides because of the height requirement. He was quite disappointed for the first ride no-go and was adamant about asking the 'bouncer' why, why why. Kesian.

On his own, again. I'm such a chicken-shit mom.
Sorry Daniel.

We made it to the Ocean Theatre for the Ocean Wonders Show. It was a madhouse! There were no seats left and people were crowding at the top trying to get a glimpse of the stage. Such a huge disappointment. 

Luckily I found a spot for the kids.

Waiting for the show to start... well, at least the boys got to see dolphins and a sea lion swimming and performing their tricks.

 Old Hong Kong Street.

Ahh, it's always so magical and heart-warming to listen to Christmas Carols.

In the Grand Aquarium, which was our last stop in Ocean Park.

Bus ride to Admiralty Station.

First double-decker bus ride for the boys. Lucky we got the front seat!

My mom wanted to try roast goose in the land of roast goose. So before leaving Ocean Park, and thank goodness for free wifi there, I googled for the best roast goose restaurants and logically chose Chan Kee at Mongkok because it is nearer to Tsim Sha Tsui. The other restaurants were in Hong Kong Island itself.

Roast goose and roast pork rice. Verdict? Sorry, I'm actually not a goose person, so I can't really judge! I just felt that the roast pork was too chunky. And there was no soup. Everything was dry. In Malaysia, there is always a small bowl of soup with your chicken, char siew and siew yok rice.

Just after we left the restaurant, I remembered that my dad wanted a packed roast goose to try. So I ran back and tapau-ed half a goose. They are very familiar with tourists tapau-ing all the time so they knew what to do. 

After that, we headed back to the hotel. It was still before 10pm, so while my mom and 2 boys stayed in the room, I ventured out a little and saw this little shop selling colourful ceramic serving ware. They were quite cheap so I bought 2 bowls.

Last night in Hong Kong.

Day 4

I had intentionally booked a late flight back to Singapore so that we could spend more time in the city on our last day. My mom's number one list to go to was the Wong Tai Sin temple because everyone told her Wong Tai Sin will fulfil your prayers.

Some stalls near the temple that sells amulets, auspicious bracelets and souvenirs.

After that we headed back to the hotel to check out, left our luggages with the concierge and took a little last stroll around the block. 

I wanted to get Wife Biscuits or Sweetheart Cakes and Hang Heung is the best. Luckily the shop was  near the hotel. And no queue! That's why I just love the hotel's location.

THE lou po peng. Bought 4 boxes to give to family.

Really nice. The advice is to get them on the day you are leaving Hong Kong or the day before, for the freshness. Also, carry them yourself all the way to your flight in your hand-carry bag, 
STRICTLY NO check-in!

So that more or less concluded our rather fruitful Hong Kong trip! 
We managed to catch the free shuttle to Kowloon Station, followed by the express train to the airport, just like how we came. Easy peasy!

Kid's meal dinner. I must say, the boys had a great time from the start of the journey right up to the end! Thanks to the in-flight entertainment!

Tzoi Kin La Hiong Kong!