Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcoming Summer Vacation with a Singapore Weekend Break

Last month, I went to Europe with my sister for my birthday trip. I wasn't able to bring Sofia (tipid for me!) because she had school, so when I got the chance to take her to the One Direction concert in Singapore right after her last day of school, I didn't even blink before I agreed.

So, that's been the pattern of my life so far this year, I've been working really hard, and to make sure I maintain work life balance that's very important to me, I've been vacationing just as hard. Hahaha. Bawal huminga, bawal mapagod!

Last week, I took a few days of work so that Sof could watch One Direction (wed), then we stayed in Singapore for the weekend, tough technically we crossed the border to Malaysia, and we flew back just in time for me to go to work on Monday. Literally.
Sofia is always excited when we go back to Singapore. She remembers her
favorite food from when we lived there so she has her own To Eat List.
Diary time at the airport while waiting to board.
Beautiful Singapore. I decided the only way to make it on
time for the concert is to fly SQ. Great that I had enough miles.
We boarded the plane on time, but due to runway
congestion, we still landed an hour late.
Amazing Race much. We just told the taxi to take us
to Tim's place, dropped our bags and picked him up,
then off to Singapore Indoor Stadium we went.
Thankfully, we arrived just before 8pm to catch the 1D concert.
We even had time to spare because the show started late.
I'm glad that Sofia's first time to watch a concert is memorable.
You can read more about it here.
We love staying with Tim when we visit Singapore because he really
spoils Sofia. He even bought us Chicken Rice for after a late dinner the concert
but I guess we demolished it so fast there weren't any pictures.
I was actually able to blog a bit because the crazy little party girl woke up
at noon, then she insisted on having Kaya Toast with Soft Boiled Eggs for brunch.
Then I insisted we take the bus to Plaza Singapura.
I feel so mature because my only errands on this trip was to visit the bank
and find a way to invest the money I have left in Singapore that's been sitting
there for the last 3 years just because I was too busy to do anything about it.
My little girl patiently waited for me to finish my bank errands, good thing HSBC, the bank I visited first gave her an Origami pack so she entertained herself. DBS just gave us water, but I shouldn't complain too much since they gave me a much better offer in terms of returns for my money, so I can afford to buy Sofia more Origami paper.
Conveniently, Smiggle (my daughter's favorite Singapore store) is located in
between  HSBC and DBS in Plaza Singapura. They were on sale too,
so you can just imagine how much we bought!
While not on Sofia's list to eat, she also really missed McDonald's McWings,
so we squeezed in a quick lunch while waiting for our turn in DBS.
I didn't realize my bank errands would take the whole afternoon! We just had enough time to buy Ady's birthday gift, then make our way to meet with friends for dinner. I wasn't even able to make it to the Singapore office to catch up with friends.
We stopped for a cookie at Ben's when we saw that they now had a branch
at Wisma Atria.
They sell it by the piece in Singapore and not by weight like London.
Sofia picked a chocolate cookie which I think I can make better than Ben.
I guess, next time I need to try their Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie to see if it's
as good as the one I had in London. You can read about it here.
I love having good friends in Singapore, who were totally willing to meet us on short notice. Hahaha.
We met Tala and Pau for dinner at Din Tai Fung (Sofia's choice).
Sofia and Luna girl (who also loves DTF).
Sofia's DTF usual order includes Pork Chop Fried Rice
and Xiao Long Bao (sorry, no picture).
Good thing we met up with Pau and Tala, because we were also able to try
their usual orders. Yummy!!!
We ordered so much, they even gave us a free order of spicy steamed dumplings.
Another highlight was we finally got to meet Ciro who just turned one.
Thanks Tala and Pau for the impromptu meet up, the catch up kwentos, introducing to us your favorite DTF dishes and for treating us to dinner. 

Though we technically had 4 days in Singapore, our trip got quite hectic because we decided to squeeze in an overnight trip to Legoland in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
We've made this trip so often, taking the bus is a breeze for us.
You can read how we go to Johor Bahru by bus here. Just follow the same steps for Johor Premium Outlets, Legoland, or Hello Kitty Town and Little Big Club.
Thanks to Unilever's Strategic Partner Rates, we not only stayed at the
Legoland Hotel, we also got discounted tickets for the water and theme park.
Sucker for a sale... that's why we went. Hahaha.
We planned it quite well too, Legoland Water Park on Friday (which closes at 6:00pm), check-in at Legoland Hotel after (which only starts at 4:00pm - which is not too family friendly), quick shower - ideally, then off to shop at Johor Premium Outlets.

It's very easy to take a cab to Johor Premium Outlets (for around MYR60), just make sure that you arrange for a pick-up at an agreed time with the driver who takes you. No stress, no hassle, because the rate your charged is always based on the taxi meter. 

A lot of the stores were on sale but I didn't really find anything to buy except a few things for Sofia from Cotton-On Kids.
Saw the cutest carry on from TUMI.
The child in me can totally relate, but not enough to buy it.
I really wanted the Kate Spade suede flats with the studded pretzel,
it was on sale too, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it with a missing rhinestone.
You can see it in the picture on the third row. Love love love.
We were super tired and hungry, and we decided to eat at Dome Cafe before
getting picked up. Surprisingly, good food in Malaysia!
We even ordered extra servings of scrambled eggs and hash brown.
The Legoland Hotel was a great experience.
I'd say best hotel for kids (and families) with some opportunities for improvement.
More on a separate post.  
The next day, my brother met us, and we did the Theme Park together, again more on a separate post on the new attractions, as well as parts of the theme park we never visited before. Before we knew it, the day was gone and we actually left Legoland just a few minutes before closing. Super sulit!

We normally take the bus back, but since there was a lot of us, and with our luggage still back at the hotel, and since we didn't want to wait for the next bus scheduled an hour later, we decided to just take a cab to JB Sentral instead. Much more convenient, and not too expensive too (I think also around MYR60). 

It rained so hard while we were on the bus (great timing), but then getting a cab from Queen Street station was a challenge. Sofia's new rain poncho from Cotton On and the 1D hats I stuck in the bag really came in handy.
Dinner was at our favorite hawker place under Tim's flat. Cereal Prawn
on Sofia's list - check! But they didn't cook the Salted Egg Pork Rib well,
so we complained and ordered the chicken version so they could do better.

Our last day in Singapore was Ady's birthday (and her only day in Singapore), so clearly, it was another foodie and shopping kind of day.
Since we live at the black hole, aka Tim's flat, the day normally starts
with brunch at 1:00pm just in time for second seating at the Jade Fullerton.
These are our top picks from the brunch menu, more details in a separate post.
For shopping, we always try to drop by Ikea Anchorpoint Mall. Pickings were very slim this trip since Cotton On kids closed down, and Pedro and Charles and Keith were also temporarily closed (only for renovation we hope).
Good thing, you can always rely on Typo for cool shopping finds.
I can totally relate to the notebook, but no need to buy what I know in my heart.
One day I'll live in Paris --- AGAIN!
Tim took Sofia with him to do the Ikea Smales playground.
After wards, we took Tim's favorite Bus 64 to Plaza Singapura so they
could watch a movie with Sofia while Ady and I attempted to shop some more.
I did last minute Smiggle shopping - but only because they were on further
reduction for the last day of the sale! The activity sheet came in handy to
entertain Sofia too, while we were waiting for our order.
Ady's request was a birthday dinner at Concetto, one of our favorite restaurants
from our last trip. You can read about it here.
I was surprised to learn that they now have a Saveur Art branch in Ion.
Note to self: I might want to try that next time since we've always had a good
experience at Saveur which you can read about here and here.
We had Carbonara with Pork Confit, but unfortunately, the Squid Ink Risotto
was no longer on the menu so we had mushroom risotto instead and Tim
has the Pork Ravioli.
Sofia doesn't really like Italian food, so I got her an order of Hainanese Chicken Rice from Food Opera in Ion.
First and Last Meal in Singapore was Chicken Rice
Just 1 meal short of target. Sofia wanted to eat this 3 x this trip.
I'm sure she'll just convince me we need to go back.
After dinner, we just had enough time to cab home to Tim's place. I took a shower so I could go directly to work the next morning, relax a bit and do last minute packing. I guess I didn't really have enough time because I still managed to leave so many things! Hahaha. Good thing Timmy was able to bring it home for us since he flew home a day later.
The little girl was so tired, the plane wasn't even moving
yet before she fell asleep.
So while I think a part of me will always want to live in Paris, a part of Sofia will always want to live in Singapore. just saying.

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