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Day 1 : Hong Kong (30 Nov – 5 Dec 2013)

January 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

So many things have happened in the last 6 months – on a personal level, family and work wise. I have not completed my postings for our Japan trip and it’s now time to post about our holiday to Hong Kong before I forget it altogether.

Our HK trip was a much anticipated trip for the whole family. We  bought the tickets a year before the trip and it served as a good motivational ground for the kids in all aspects – work wise and also at a personal level.

Day 1 

We took flew by Air Asia to Hong Kong. The kids were excited about 3 things only :

1. Disneyland

2. Ocean Park

3. The cool weather

Unfortunately, when we arrived there, the weather was between 16 – 19C  - hence not as cold as they wanted but comfortably cool enough for us to walk around in a light sweater.

 Ashley wrote in her journal while waiting to board the plane to Hong Kong.

 We home for the next 5 nights was at Novotel at Nathan Road, Kowloon. From the HK airport, we boarded the Cityflyer Bus A21 from Airport Bus Terminus (3 min walk from the arrival hall) to our hotel.  The fare was  HKD 33 per person (tickets can be bought by cash or Octopus card), the bus operates every 10 minutes and had ample luggage space. The travel time was 50 mins. The kids were thrilled to sit on the bus because it was a double decker bus and they always wanted to sit in a double decker bus. What I liked about the bus was that it offered free wifi!! I thought that was pretty neat :)

View from the bus ride.

This shot was taken along Nathan Road. The bamboo scaffolding reminded me of Jackie Chan movies.

From the airport, we got off at the 10th bus stop and it stopped us right in front of a Sasa Shop which is at a corner of a block at Nathan Road. Novotel is located at the back of Sasa (less than 1 min walk). See how the kids were dressed? They were dressed to embrace the cold. The weird thing was that it was really cold in the bus but when we got off the bus, it was warm outside and the kids were disappointed that it wasn’t as cold as they expected.

This was the kids’ favorite spot at the hotel. There is a play corner (where the Xbox station is located) and 4 Mac stations connected to the internet). We are quite pleased with this hotel because of it’s price and location. It is 3 blocks away from Jordon MTR station (5 min walk from the hotel) and considering that we made a last minute booking, we paid RM 2848 for 5 nights including taxes & fees (booked via hotels.com) . The ONLY downside about this hotel is that free wifi is only available at the reception / lobby area for 20 mins (available to guests only). After a day, we found a loophole though cause once the 20 mins is up, you can relogin and access the free wifi again :) The wifi that you get in the rooms are chargeable.

On the first day, since we settled in in the late afternoon, we decided to take a stroll to Mongkok. It was bustling with people.

There were many buskers along the street which offered entertainment to the crowd.

A lot of people crowded around this guy who seemed to be suspended in mid air. Can you see what the fuss is about?

ronically, we had Japanese for dinner. Kids were hungry and we went into the first shop the kids approved of.

We also found a Sushi takeout place which was a 10-15 min walk from the hotel and brought some back to the hotel to snack on. It was reasonably priced and the kids loved it.

Since we hardly ride on the LRT trains in KL, the MTR rides in HK were a hit with the kids.

Verdict :

Everyone was happy and tired by the end of the day and slept like a log.

All set for Day 2!

Monster High 13 Wishes Gigi Grant

January 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

There are new characters under the Monster High 13 Wishes Doll Assortment and one of them is Gigi – daughter of the Genie. She must grant wishes to her finder regardless of whether they are good or bad.  I learned that this set is by far Ashley’s favorite because she likes Gigi’s 2 toned hair and her funky pair of shoes – the ones that I don’t dare to wear in fear of falling on my face.

Here’s Ashley video review of Gigi Grant. Hope you enjoy it.

Monster High – Clawdeen Wolf, Daughter of The Werewolf

January 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thanks to Mattel, Ashley got a chance to play with another installment of the Monster High ghouls – Clawdeen Wolf, Daughter of The Werewolf.

Here’s the official product write-up on Clawdeen…..

Clawdeen Wolf hails from a rather large family – she wants to stand out from the rest of the pack and be her own person. Claiming her hair to be worthy of a shampoo commercial, Clawdeen’s no nonsense attitude and loyalty are what makes her a terrorific friend. Similarly fierce and cute at the same time, Crescent is Clawdeen’s loyal pet kitten.

Definitely a diva in her own right, Clawdeen Wolf maintains her fashionista status by wearing her signature purple fur-collar jacket and bring leopard print top. To top off her fashionable outfit, Clawdeen wears striped peep-toe boots and a trendy black handbag.

And if you want to hear Ashley talking about the Clawdeen, go ahead and hit that play button.

Sponsored Video : Toyota Dream Car Art Contest

January 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Are you all interested in a contest?

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is organized by Toyota Motor Corporation.

The following information is an excerpt from their website.

History

Since 2004, Toyota Dream Car Art Contest has been conducted as part of TMC’s social contribution initiatives. It gives children throughout the world the opportunity to develop an interest in cars and helps them feel the joy and importance of having a dream.

Vision

Toyota Dream Car Art Contest invites children from all corners of the globe to share ideas about the future of mobility by drawing their dream cars. We at Toyota believe in nurturing the creativity of the next generation of great inventors, thinkers and dreamers. Every great idea was born in the glimmer of a dream.

Watch this video to find out more about the contest. Contest is also open to Malaysia residents.

Entry Information

How will your dream car make the world a better place? Every year thousands of children share their dreams with us. Join them and discover just how powerful dreaming can be. Remember, the Local Contest is followed by the World Contest. The participants can win great prizes locally, get opportunity to visit Japan for an Award Ceremony. In addition, young dreamers are given tours at a Toyota factory and can experience various aspects of Japanese culture.

Entry Guidelines

Entry period September 2013 – end of March 2014. The 8th Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is open.
Eligibility The contest is open to anyone in these countries, aged 15 years old or younger.
Age categories 7 years old and under; 8-11 years old; 12-15 years old.
Theme “Your Dream Car”
What can I use to
create my artwork?
You can use any standard drawing medium you like. Perhaps you could try coloring pencils, crayons, watercolors or markers Our only restriction is that you don’t use digital tools to create your artwork.
Your task We’re looking for hand-drawn colorful artwork, which shows “Your Dream Car”. Remember to include a background that supports your idea. Your picture could be seen all over the world, so make sure people from different cultures will be able to understand it.
Artwork size Please try and use A3 paper for your artwork (that’s 420 x 297mm). If you can’t get a piece of A3 paper, between 420-450mm (16.5-18in) and 270-300mm (11-12in) is fine.

The contest timeline and requirements may vary in different countries or regions. Please confirm the contest details with the TOYOTA distributor in the country or region of your residence.

Post sponsored by Toyota

Aidan’s First Day of Std 1 Mandarin Classes

November 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Dejavu.

2 years ago, Ashley started mandarin classes for Std 1 at her primary school. Yesterday, Aidan started Std 1 mandarin classes at his primary school.  I was anticipating him to be whiny but surprisingly, he was ok. Ashley, being the bigger and more experienced sister guided him all the way. In fact, I was pretty touched when Ashley got him ready early in the morning. She helped him button his shirt and made sure he was ready for school. When I came out of the bathroom, Aidan was all set – thanks to Ashley! At school, Ashley guided him into the classroom, sat with him and kept him company while waiting for class to start. During  break time, I was in the queue to buy school books and Ashley accompanied Aidan to the canteen to buy food and sat with him throughout break time. My first day at school, as a mother was very smooth, thanks to Ashley. I stood from afar and observed most of the time.

 Today is his 2nd day of school and so far, he is very happy. He said, “I like Std 1 because I don’t have any homework to do.”

heheheh..Just you wait little one. The homework will come. Soon :)

Meanwhile, he’s enjoying his new school, new environment and new friends.

Aidan’s K2 Graduation Party

November 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm

It seems like yesterday Aidan first started going to nursery at Peter and Jane kindergarten.  Last weekend, we celebrated Aidan’s K2 Graduation. Back in my days….graduation from the kindy was a simple affair which was held in the school hall. Last weekend though, the kindy organized a graduation party at the Kristal Ballroom at PJ Hilton! If you ask me, it’s as grand as a wedding! The event was from 10:30am – 2:30pm.

Aidan was really happy to meet his friends one last time. He and his friends was inseparable!

See what I mean? I felt like we were attending a wedding dinner. In fact, this was even more interesting than a wedding dinner. No doubt that we had to pay through our noses but I must say that the school did a fantastic job overall!

The school got in Mike Cha Cha clown to entertain the kids.

Buffet was served. The food was really nothing to shout about and the thing I hate about buffets is the queue…that’s just me :)

When the kids sang and performed, it was indeed a bitter sweet moment for me. Aidan spent 4 years in this kindy  (Ashley – 3 years) and I must give it to the teachers and the system for nurturing my kids to what they are today. Aidan and his bff couldn’t let each other go. They kept hugging each other..anticipating that they will miss each other dearly as they will be in different schools next year.

After the graduation party, the kids knocked out at home. It was a memorable day.

Monster High Create-A-Monster Review

November 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

One of the things Ashley looks forward to is receiving Monster High dolls from Mattel. Recently, Mattel sent her 3 boxes of goodies from the Create-A-Monster series.

From left to right : Monster High Create-A-Monster Starter Pack, Create-A-Monster Color Me Creepy Add-on Packs and Color Me Creepy Start Pack & Addon Accessory Pack.

Create-A-Monster ColorMe Creepy Starter Pack & Add-On Accessory Pack

This new kind of Create-A-Monster play works with temperature-based color changing parts. It comes with full doll and a number of tools to add color-based detail to the doll’s hair, clothing and skin through a simple manipulation of the doll material’s temperature. (How cool is that??) Kids can create and eerase designs with the skulltimate design tools = the ice stylus and friction stylus which works like a pen.

The Add-On Packs provide even more options for designing unique monsters. The freakstastic pack includes two fashions, color-change arm and leg, jewelry, pair of shoes, friction pen and Skullette beaker.

Monster High Create-A-Monster Starter Pack – The Mummy & Gorgon

This pack comes with 2 torsos, green for the gorgon and grey-green for the Mummy! All the mummy’s lims except the head sport a bandage design. All the gorgon;s limbs except the head sport a scale design. Two wgs accentuate the two characters, one purple with black streaks and the other green and molded into a ponytail – made of rotatable and removable snakes! Each starter pack contains two freaky outfits, one of which is a salmon dress with blue and red Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other outfit a sleeveless dress with a purple and white fading scale design and green ruffles. The set comes with a golden open-toe heels with a wrapping gauze pattern included in the set.

I got to admit that THAT they are pretty awesome. I personally didn’t like these ghouls at first but truth be told, they kinda grew on me. And I cannot stress enough that the quality of these dolls are so much better than the other dolls in the market. They are sturdy, their limbs are detachable which makes storing of the dolls so much easier if you ask me. These detachable limbs also makes it easier dress up the dolls.

Here’s Ashley’s take on it…

Wake Up And Smell The Roses!

September 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

(Photo taken on 16 Aug 2013 @ Lake Titiwangsa)

Have you ever wondered what you’d regret if you land on your death bed this instant?

As the saying goes, live each day as though it’s your last one.

What would you regret not doing/getting?

As for me, I’d regret :

1. Pushing Ashley too hard. She just need to do things in her own way at her own pace.

2. Not calling my parents often enough (afraid of being bombarded with 101 questions which I am too lazy to answer) but I will call them more often from now on!

3.  Not committed to going for Sunday Mass regularly – which is why we have started going again!

4. We have not gone to Santorini yet and I would at least want to go there once in my lifetime because it’s so beautiful (from pictures anyway).

I’ve others which qualify to be on this list.

I’d say we start working on making the list into reality.

After all, life is too precious, fragile and short.

We should live it to the max and make our time on earth worthwhile.

What’s In My Bag?

September 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

After reading The Giddy Tigress’ post on what’s in her bag, I decided to do this as well. I change handbags quite often but what’s usually in my bad are usually the same old stuff.

1. My Louis Vuitton wallet which I have been using for the past 8 years. Time for a new one!

2. iPad mini and earphones

3. Samsung Galaxy S3 phone

4. Power pack – it’s a must considering how fast my phone battery runs out!

5. My little makeup bag from The Sewing Monster where I keep the following in it :

- medicine

- a little compact mirror

- compact powder from Etude

- Lip Gloss by Benefit

- Peppermint Lip Balm by C&C Handcrafted Soaps

- Mozzie repellant by C&C Handcrafted Soaps

- Multi purpose balm by C&C Handcrafted Soaps

- Whizz balm by C&C Handcrafted Soaps

- a packet of tissue

6. Rose 4 Reines hand cream by L’OCCITANE

I stuff all of these into my handbag. The less items the better so that I will be able to find things in my handbag. It also helps to have several compartments in the handbag.

What’s in your handbag??

Chinese School Homework

September 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

 For those of you who have  KSSR-Chinese-School-going kids, do you think they are given too much homework? When Ashley was in Std 1, her homework was manageable – meaning 1-3 homework per day – each subject limited to max of 2 pages. Now that she is in Std 2, he homework loads has increased significantly and she the most homework she has brought back was 7! She doesn’t have any spare time to do her homework at school unlike some schools and since she is in the afternoon session, she has very limited time to do anything after she gets back from school – she gets 1 hr of play, and then it’s dinner time, bath time and then homework time up till 10pm / 11pm depending on her workload and then it’s bedtime. Why don’t we get her to split her homework between night and the next morning?

She does split it provided she doesn’t have chinese tuition the next morning. The tutor comes to the house so she gets to sleep in until 15 mins before her tutor arrives.

Why does she need tuition? Because we are banana parents. Enough said.

She’s so bogged down with homework during the weekdays and when it comes to weekends, she goes all out to play like she has never played before in her life.

Poor girl.

Aidan will suffer the same fate next year when he starts Std 1.

Do children really need to be given so much homework? I have heard of parents complaining to schools that their kids are not given enough homework – what’s up with that? That’s crazy..

In my opinion,, as long as the teachers manage to complete what they need to teach at school, there shouldn’t be any reason why they should overload the kids with homework.  Kids need a life outside of school too. They need to learn things through experience – not through books alone. They need to be exposed to learning individually and as a group and be thrown into projects and experiments.

That said……are we being too kiasu? Are we being too over protective of our kids that we complain when the homework load increases? Do you think the kids should be left to rough it out ?

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