SuperPark Opens in Singapore

There’s a brand new indoor park in Singapore and it occupies 2 storeys of space in Tower 1 of Suntec City Singapore. SuperPark opens its doors to the public on Saturday 17 November 2018. Originating from Finland, the park has been expanding its operations globally with over 100 such parks expected to be in operation by 2023.

Unlike other indoor Parks which has been designed primarily for younger kids in mind, Superpark has activities which will attract both young and old alike, so it is truly a place designed for the family.

Entrance into SuperPark is via Level 2. Upon purchasing your tickets, you will be given a wrist tag which is also the key to access one of the available lockers. I especially love this feature because it means that you won’t have to carry a key around and make sure that you do not lose the key! Just scan your wrist tag, and voila, a locker door opens for you.

Here’s a map of the various activities you can find in SuperPark SG. The park has been divided into 3 sections – Adventure Area, Game Arena and Freestyle Hall. We did manage to cover bulk of the activities in the Adventure Area and Game Arena in our 3 hours stay in the park.

Adventure Area

Kids Gym

Sliding Mountains

IWall

Pedal Car

Flying Fox

Game Arena

SuperBowling

SuperPinball

Hot Stepper

Robokeeper – which was Ari’s Favourite. No surprise there !

Freestyle Hall

Kids Trampoline

Augmented climbing wall

Ninja Track

And there were even frisbees !

Dani loves these foam blocks most !

Our verdict:

It was absolutely fun, even a 4 year old can play majority of the activities in the park. Adults too have plenty of challenging activities to try your hands on. When we got home that night, the kids told their Dad that they are sure he would enjoy the park, especially the Robokeeper activity.

If you are looking for some indoor sporty fun with the family, be sure to check out SuperPark. They have over 6 ticket options starting from $22 to suit different consumer needs. More info can be found in their website.

Where

SuperPark, Suntec City Tower 1, #02-477 (North Wing)

When

Mon to Fri, 10am to 9pm

Sat, Sun, Public and School holidays, 9am to 9pm

Hong Kong – A MUST go Family Holiday Destination!

September school holidays are just round the corner. Brainstorming for holiday destination is on! Eventhough, I try my best to think of new destination(s) each time, Hongkong always seems to pop into my mind. I have been there 3 times and it still keeps calling me back!

2012, a business trip that hubby and my first born tagged along. I was pregnant with my second.

2013, family holiday, it’s all about the kids and play!

2015, girlfriends trip. Shop and makan! (eat, eat eat!)

Since its the school holiday, I will focus my sharing from my 2013 trip.

Where to stay in Hong Kong

There are TONS of accommodation option in Hong Kong. For us who travels with little ones, our criteria are accessibility of public transportation (I swear by train regardless of my destination), food and traveling distance to our targeted attraction/sights. All these for me goes hand in hand. I probably can drop food off the criteria(we make our own!) BUT public transportation and attraction/sights must be considered together. Simply because I do not wish to spend most of my time traveling to the places I want to go, back and forth. I want to spend it at the attraction itself. Can you just imagine tired, cranky little ones on a long journey? They can be force to be reckoned with.

Our accommodation choice in 2013 was Rosedale Hotel (Tripadvisor review), Kowloon, Hong Kong. Reasonable priced, clean and comfortable, strategically located and include the convenience of  shuttle services to nearby MTR.  The hotel provides a summary of transportation options including estimated time. Do not expect much of the room size in Hong Kong hotels because in you wont get much of it unless you go for the 5 stars hotel such as JW Marriott  . Rosedale Hotel was decent enough that my then 4 year old could entertain himself in the room while we made some last minute changes to the itinerary.

The hotel itself does not have any entertainment area for the kids. Usually swimming pool is a MUST but considering we were out and about most of the time, it did not really matter for this trip. If you do have a day to spare with no plans and the kids are bored, Rosedale is near Ivy Street Rest Garden, where there is a playground and space for them to run about. Honestly though, for a short holiday trip in September, we doubt you will finish all your to do list.

There are mini marts in the area for last minute stocking of snacks for the day or night. Especially for the little ones. For good solid meal, if you have no specific dietary requirements, there should be ample. MacDonald is just a stone throw away. For us with halal requirement, these two restaurants seems nearby enough, Roti King Indian Fusion Cuisine and Hyatti Restaurant. Both are approximately under 5 minute walk from the hotel (as per google map) Back then, we did not explore the area much and our meals were mainly at or near the tourist attraction places or self made and packed. Hence, we are unable to vouch for these two restaurants. If you do give it a try, please let us know. Just in case we do return!

Attractions / Sights in Hong Kong

In 2013, my kids were 4 and 1. Including the 4 adults who are young at heart (yes very much still!), here were our top 3 kid friendly attractions.

  1. HongKong Disneyland
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A magical place called Disneyland | Toy story ride | Mickey waffles!

For me, this was hands down the highlight of the trip! What is there not to love. The magical feel, the photo taking with fairy tale characters, the rides and seeing cute little kids playing dress up. Definitely dedicate at least a whole day for this. The park opens at 1000hrs till 2100hrs. It is best to buy tickets online, reach early, beat the queue and simply collect it from one of the Auto Magic Tickets machines.

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This is it! – Precious holiday memories | ticket collection machine | halal food!

Visit their website to plan ahead and find out the different timing for each attractions and shows. You definitely want to get the best out of it. If you are worried about meal times, don’t be. Even if you have special dietary requirements, Disneyland seems to have covered it all from halal to vegan options.

A day will go by fast and maybe not enough if you are having fun. Nevertheless if just like us a day is all you have got, the best way to end your day at Disneyland is to stay for their night parade show. Watch your favourite Disney cartoon character parade passed. When we were there several years ago, the day came into closing with beautiful fireworks just over the castle. They may have changed this parade a little bit after all these years but I hope they maintained the fireworks show. A word of caution though, these parade tend to get SUPER crowded, keep the kids close better still if you can strap them to you. This way you know you will never lose them.

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My son still in high spirit while waiting for parade | Fireworks and more Fireworks!

Please pardon my lack of photography skills back in 2013. I hope it had improved since then! Well at least with the help of technology, I am sure it is better.

Getting back on track. As my memory recalls, we head back to the hotel tired but happy with memories and awesome purchases from the disney shop. My favourite, Mickey Mouse bowl that holds our nacho chips and dips for in-house movie time!

2. The Peak

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Our next choice is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, The Peak. It stands 552 metre above sea level. You may consider purchasing the Peak Tram Sky Pass. With the pass you will get to travel up to the Peak via the famous 45deg steep Tram ride and gain one time access to The Sky Terrace 428. The Sky Terrace stands at 428 metres above sea level. It is the highest platform to enjoy the 360 degree panoramic Hong Kong has to offer. However, It is possible to opt out of the Sky Terrace and enjoy the view for free at different viewing points available. Some may require a little bit more walking. Babywearing  seems like a good idea if you attempt this. Some alternative viewing points reviews or suggestions can be found on this tripadvisor post.

Based on experience, it is best to start making your journey up there in the late afternoon, say around 1700 hrs. Eventhough the Tram ride up is only 7 minutes, the queue to board the tram can be pretty long. Heading up at the suggested time, not only buffer the wait and boarding time to the Tram, you will reach the peak in time to experience both the day and night view of Hong Kong Skyline. You don’t always get clear blue sky however the Hong Kong night skyline may still provide you IG worthy shots. Should you reach the Peak early and do not wish to stay too long in the Sky Terrace, walk around in The Peak Galleria mall and do a little bit of shopping before heading up. We did just that the moment we alighted the Tram and was greeted with the Peak Market. Compared to the Hong Kong street markets, it is a little pricey but definitely loads of souvenirs to choose from. If shopping is not your thing, maybe a visit to Madame Tussauds might. There are some who decides to go up to the Peak early, have lunch, visit Madame Tussauds followed by the day/night scenic view and dinner. Either way works! Do note for halal food requirement – it is none existence. Buy packed food up.

3. Madame Tussauds

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Meeting the “Stars” at Madame Tussauds | HK night skyline

After absorbing the wonderful view of Hongkong, we had a nice walk at the Madame Tussauds museum. I was pleasantly surprise by how much I enjoyed it. I thought it would be boring. I was proven wrong. Here you will get “meet” all the iconic individuals or groups. Hollywood, Bollywood actor and actresses, iconic politicians, famous singers and music bands, avengers characters, hello kitty and many many more. My son was excited to see the former POTUS. “President Obama!” he exclaimed. So you can imagine his delight when he saw the Avengers. The best part of this whole experience for me was to be able to shed some knowledge to the kids on whos who. Now we can always look back to the pictures and impart more knowledge to them. Even to my then 1 year old!

Hongkong Dos and Don’ts

✅ Travel during the cooler seasons. Between October to early December when you can probably get away with light jacket/sweater BUT you don’t have to worry about cranky kids due to heat and humidity.

✅Best way to travel around Hong Kong is via the MTR. Get the Octopus card! It can be used in pretty much all the public transportation. If memory serves me correctly, you can simply get the standard card. No need for the tourist card. Time to feel like a local!

✅ Hong Kong is not the most stroller friendly destination. So if you must, bring a light sturdy stroller which you can fold and maneuver in the crowd faster and better. For example: Gold pockit + We suggest, totally leaving it in the hotel if you intend to go shopping. ❌Don’t ever leave your carrier/sling behind.

✅ You may do a lot of walking especially if you are after the shopping scene in Hong Kong. Definitely prepare good covered walking shoes for the whole family.

✅ Definitely try the local dim sums and food!  What better way to expose the kids to different culture then the food. YUMS! My two favorites are:

Islamic Centre Canteen. My must go dim sum place in Hong Kong

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Wai Kee Duck Rice If you are a curry person just like me, this is a must try. Though with kids, this place may be  a tad too challenging to find. However if you think your kids are up for it, definitely worth it.

After this write up, I am DEFINITELY itching to go back there! I have yet to visit Ocean Park. I heard it is equally awesome with Disneyland!

Article by Rasheda / A mom to three kids (8,5,1). Founder of twniexplores. A believer that every moment is a teachable moment. She tries to impart knowledge to her kids through surrounding resources such as nature, buildings, household items or anything she can find at her disposal.Kids should be let to explore and play. What better way to do that then travel and the world its playground. She is also ever ready to receive teaching moments/ knowledge from her kids. It is a two way process.

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Tell us about yourself. : usp_custom_field : A mom to three kids (8,5,1). Founder of twniexplores. A believer that every moment is a teachable moment. She tries to impart knowledge to her kids through surrounding resources such as nature, buildings, household items or anything she can find at her disposal.Kids should be let to explore and play. What better way to do that then travel and the world its playground. She is also ever ready to receive teaching moments/ knowledge from her kids. It is a two way process.

World schooling mum shares 5 must-visit attractions for families in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Wow. An guest writer on Familytrippers? Of course I said yes! And on one of my favourite cities to boot- Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

My family and I relocated for a year to Newcastle because my husband wanted to complete his last year of subspecialty training there. Being the home/worldschoolers that we aspire to be, following him was a no brainer.

We saved up for a year, researched places to stay, applied for our visa (which is another story altogether, I tell you), and we arrived there in January 2016. I was pregnant with my 4th by then, so a lot of the activities I’m going to talk about are relatively slow paced and to accommodate my then 2 year old, my 5 year old and my 7 year old, and my pregnant self/tiny baby.

So first things first, accommodation.
Since we had a home base in Heaton, accommodation was not an issue for us. But travelling around UK in general was centred around Travelodge (https://www.travelodge.co.uk). If you book early, you will get discounts, and it is a minimalistic, no frills hotel. Due to our family size, we always opted for a family room where you get one queen size bed and two single beds. In Newcastle there are 10(!) Travelodges. If you are renting a car, opt for those which have free parking (which is usually a bit out of the city) but if not, then being in the city would be convenient but it is usually more pricey.

Which then brings us to the next topic- transportation. As with anywhere else in the UK, there is not much issue to be had with public transport, and even more so in Newcastle where things are generally slower and people generally more helpful. So i was able to get around alone with 3 and then 4 kids on public transport with not much issues. There is the main Metro (https://www.nexus.org.uk/metro) that goes to most places in the city and the surrounding countryside, and if that is not possible, then the buses are very accessible friendly and the driver will go out of their way to ensure that either you get a space or help you fold up your stroller or advise you to wait for the next bus (which doesn’t take very long). The buses and trains accept cash as payment so you don’t have to go out of the way to buy a cashcard or anything like that. If you are taking public transport and bringing a stroller I would advise a lightweight easy to fold one, but if you are renting a car, then big bulky strollers are fine on most attractions. We used Hertz (https://www.hertz.co.uk/p/car-hire/uk/newcastle)for car rental.

So now on to the attractions (rubs hands in glee). I roped in my children for this to vote on which places they found most memorable. Needless to say, they voted ALL the playgrounds with ziplines (priorities!), but then I pressed them to choose attractions and this was what they came up with:
Beamish museum
Discovery museum
Great north museum, Hancock
Newscastle castle
Alnwick castle
Exhibition park
South Shields
Segedunum
Angel of the north
Jesmond Dene park

Which was too long for this article. So I further narrowed it down to 5, in the city itself because some of the things on the list, while very noteworthy, are out of the city centre.

1. Jesmond Dene park

After a long flight and then sleep, those with littles would want them to run around and play. Jesmond Dene is great because there’s a walking track, bicycle track, lots of open places to run around, soft grass to fall on, a petting zoo, a miniature train ride. It’s a good introduction to the UK for kids. There’s also ice cream vans in the summer, and cafes provide great snacks and coffee for the parents. To get there from the city (which is usually Haymarket bus station) take the bus 38A or 38 (depending on the time).

2. Newcastle Castle

No trip to the UK is complete without a visit to a castle, am I right? So right in the middle of the city there is an ancient castle which is was built in the 12th century. Tip though, this place is not stroller friendly unless you are just planning to walk the grounds. Better to use a carrier and be able to climb castle steps to enjoy breathtaking views of Newcastle city and the Quayside.
Speaking of which, a stones’ throw away is the Newcastle Quayside and the famed Millennium bridge. Apart from walking, there’s not that much to do per se, but worth a visit to soak up the feel of Newcastle especially at night when the bridge lights up. Plus on Sunday mornings there’s the Quayside Sunday Market which has a truck selling hot melt in your mouth churros. Yum.

 

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3. Discovery Museum

It was a toss up between Discovery Museum and Centre for Life. But Discovery Museum won because it is free. I mean, I’m from Malaysia, where the exchange rate is not exactly that great (more so in the year we were there, and being mindful of the fact that my husband was technically there as a student) so I found myself googling “free things for kids to do in Newcastle” more than once.
Discovery Museum is located near the Newcastle Coach Station. It has four floors of discovery-history, science and technology and a space for exhibition of the season. But it is the second floor that is dear to my kids’ heart because there is a water play area. If you have wellies, it would be great, but they provide raincoats which provide adequate coverage too. This wet play area is £2 per child. Aimed at 3-5 year olds but i spotted my 7 year old having fun too. Do try the coffee and baked goods at the cafe upstairs. After wrestling with my 2 year old, it was a relief to be able to sit down and feed the baby while the other kids refueled.

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4. Laing Art Gallery

My kids SAID they didn’t fancy this much, but from the way they were when we were there (making videos and all to upload on youtube) I think it’s worth a visit to for both parents and children. Focusing mainly on north eastern British artists, when we were there they were having an Alice in Wonderland exhibition which really blew me away and also provided activities for the kids. There is a children’s section on the ground floor for both activities and a play area for really littles. It is also a stone’s throw away from Northumberland Street, THE shopping street in Newcastle as well as Newcastle University, which is an open university with amazing architecture so after you are done with the gallery it would be a good idea to spend the rest of the day just strolling around a grabbing a bite to eat along the streets.

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5. Leazes Park

Yes, another park. The thing about travelling with littles, well my littles at least, is that to preserve my sanity (because I’m usually alone with them while the husband does work related stuff) I need to let them loose every other day at least. They eat better, sleep better and are generally easier to deal with. It’s also a bonus that in the parks are well maintained and there’s always something for the kids to do. And a cafe tucked away somewhere for me to reward myself. So Leazes Park has 2 playgrounds, a pond full of ducks, geese and swans, and a bandstand. If you are a Newcastle United fan, you could drop by to see St James Park on the way. There is a cafe in the summer near the lake, but my friends and I prefer Les Petits Choux- a cafe with wonderful soups, sandwiches and baked goods, right in the corner of the park.

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So that’s my top 5 in Newcastle, for the family traveller. There are many more things to see and do, if you look up sites like TripAdvisor, but for my family, these places are the ones that created memories for us. Newcastle is generally sleepier than most cities in the UK, and people don’t generally come to Newcastle just to visit it. We would recommend renting a car and visiting Edinburgh (heck take a week and drive around the whole of Scotland) as well as York (full of history for a history fan like me) and stopping to see the sights along the way.

Would you like suggestions for Scotland and York as well? I’d be happy to do it. Writing this has made me all nostalgic for all the travelling we did there!

 

Article contribution by Ai’sah Rahim / Home and world schooling mother of 4, wife and personal assistant to a surgeon, aspiring writer, ex psychiatrist and unofficial medical advisor to family and friends.

 

5 reasons why we picked The Great Madras for our family staycation

It’s hubby’s birthday week and we were contemplating going overseas for a short holiday since hubby is on leave and I’m in between jobs. However, our list of activities for the week is so overwhelming (thanks to me!), we can’t seem to make a holiday work.

I decided to book a staycation and surprise hubby with my choice of hotel. We have stayed in a number of hotels locally including 5 star ones like Shangri La, Hard Rock Hotel and Pan Pacific Hotel. We have not tried staying in a boutique hotel here though we have stayed in quite a number of quirky and very Instagram-worthy ones overseas like Dash Hotel in Bali and Kuala Lumpur and Rove Hotel in Dubai.

As I was searching for options, I found out that the Great Suite in The Great Madras is available on the dates I wanted. I only decided that we will go for a staycation last week, hence a lot of hotels didn’t have rooms suitable for us or were completely sold out. (Note: Do book in advance for a greater choice of room and hotel options !) The Great Suite is the second largest room in The Great Madras, but what attracted me most was that it has a huge round bathtub in the room. My boys love bathtubs (which kid doesn’t!!) and to have a huge bathtub in a small hotel is a luxury indeed. I decided to go for the room. We stayed in The Great Madras for 3 days and 2 nights and we love the place. If you are thinking of going for a family staycation, here are 5 reasons why you should consider one in The Great Madras.

1. Location

The Great Madras is located in Madras Street within Little India. There are plenty of alleyways to explore and shops to visit in the vicinity. And if you are a fan of Indian food, you are across the street from Tekka market where some of the best Indian food can be found. Walk a bit more and you will reach famous restaurants like Apollo Banana Leaf and Sakunthala, both known for their briyani, nan and fish head curry. The Great Madras is also a 3 minutes walk from Rochor train station on the Downtown Line, which connects you to east Singapore (Expo and Tampines), central Singapore (Botanic Gardens, Telok Ayer) as well as west Singapore like Bukit Panjang and Sixth Avenue. You are also a short drive / Grab ride away from Orchard and City Hall, and you can even walk to Bugis. Excellent location, really!

2. Picture Perfect Everywhere

Whimsical with a dash of retro is the theme of the hotel, Wes Anderson-inspired, with every nook and corner good enough for your Instagram feed. Even the toilet door doesn’t quite look like just an ordinary toilet door. The lift has a huge round mirror inside. The walkway to the swimming pool has steps which has some rules written on them. The quotable quotes all around are very much quotable. Even the books on the book shelves are curated to appeal to the guests, with customised book jackets printed for some of them. It makes me want to customise all the books covers for my book shelf too!

3. 24-hour shopping

Yes, you can shop all day and all night at Mustafa Centre, just a few roads down from the hotel. We were supposed to go on a birthday shopping spree on our second night, but hubby made soccer plans with his colleagues. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were too tired to go shopping. You can get just about anything and everything you can think of in Mustafa. I always wonder how they manage their inventory. It must be a massive headache!!

4. Dad needs a haircut or a shave?

Yes, located at Level 1 of The Great Madras is The Golden Rule Barber Co, a hipster barber joint known for their pop up stores and events. Indulge in a hair pampering session while mum and kids laze in the room or go swimming. A very convenient arrangement for the family !

5. Breakfast and dining options

Also at the ground floor is The Great Mischief, a halal cafe offering their own rendition of Catalan delicacies featuring a wide range of Tapas options. Hotel stay comes with free breakfast served in the same venue with a free flow buffet setup of cereals, eggs and bread.

Head over to the hotel website for more info on the venue and the rooms.

Every school a good school, but Home is a whole lot better

I was nursing baby to sleep, with the firstborn lying next to us.

Me: Ari, we have confirmed your primary school. You will be going to Yumin Primary School.

Ari: How do you know that Ibu?

Me: We received a text this morning. We will be going to your school on 9 November to meet your new friends.

Ari: (grinning widely) Ok Ibu.

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to announce that we have successfully secured a place for Ari in one of the 6 schools within one kilometre from our new place. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, the process of registering my firstborn for a primary school has been a very stressful one and I really wonder whether all that stress was necessary / could have been avoided.

6 years ago, we had Ari. Our firstborn. And he happened to be a dragon baby. 6 years ago, we knew that getting him into a primary school will be a challenge. We decided there and then that we will register Ari into one of our primary schools. My alma mater is Opera Estate Primary. Hubby’s alma mater is Temasek Primary. Between the two, Temasek had a slight edge because it was nearer to our home (we were staying in Simei) and Temasek was/is a popular choice.

So what made us change our minds? We could have secured a place in Temasek during Phase 2A(2) if we wished to. Instead we decided to wait it out and register at Phase 2C. Let me attempt to break down some of our considerations.

1. Home-School Distance – the nearer the better

Earlier this year, we sold off our flat and bought one in Tampines. Just like that, our school options increased with 6 schools located within 1 km from our place. The nearest school, Gongshang Primary, is the most ideal because Ari would have to cross just one road to reach the school. The next nearest schools are Yumin and Chongzheng Primary. The remaining schools are further away and are easily about a 15minute walk from our place.

Distance became a huge deal to us (especially to hubby) because for the next 2 years at least, our 3 boys will have different school/caregiving arrangements in the day. Ari in primary school, Dani in childcare and Izz in Nenek care. Going to a school further away from home will mean having to wake up earlier and shuttle the other 2 boys to their child/Nenek care earlier. Other alternatives include getting Ari to wake up even earlier and board the school bus or hubby sending Ari off to school first and return home for a second trip out with the rest of us. This will be a huge problem on the occasional mornings when either of us have to be in work early and the other is pretty much on his/her own. Plus the fact that morning traffic can be pretty busy where we are.

2. No balloting, please

We learnt that Gongshang and Chongzheng usually have balloting at Phase 2C. Yumin doesn’t. We were concerned about going for balloting and not getting a spot, and then in Phase 2C supplementary, the schools nearest to our home don’t have any more vacancies. We signed up for a Kiasuparent account just so we can study the balloting history of these schools and make our own risk assessments.

3. CCA offerings

We decided to research more about the options near home. We found out that only Yumin offers soccer as CCA. Gongshang has rugby but hubby wasn’t keen for the boys to pick up such a rough sport. Ari is excited at the prospect of playing soccer in his primary school.

Logic vs Reputation

All of a sudden, Yumin became an attractive choice. Near home, low chance of balloting at Phase 2C and it offers soccer as a CCA. But what was ironic was how despite Yumin being a logical choice, it was a struggle for us (me mostly, hubby wasn’t as conflicted) to come to peace with that decision.

I didn’t know any friends who went to Yumin Primary or had kids in Yumin Primary. But I knew many people who studied in or have kids who studied in Gongshang or Chongzheng Primary. We were told that Gongshang and Chongzheng were more academic-focused schools.

It got me wondering what are the yardsticks that the society has been using to compare these schools. Is it the PSLE results – percentage passes, number of top students, quality of teachers ? Will my kids be better off in a “better” school? Or will they be equally good in a “less reputable” one? Are we shortchanging them by sending them to the latter?

When I shared our struggles briefly in FB, a friend posted this comment :

Every school a good school,

but Home is a whole lot better.

Reframing my thoughts about the choice of primary schools helped me find that much needed peace. Yumin is near home. Yumin is near caregiver’s home. If Yumin doesn’t prepare my kids well academically, both hubby and myself are capable and experienced (ex-tutors, mind you!) enough to teach our kids. It was pretty serendipitous how on the same day I decided that Yumin was a good choice for Ari, I found out that one of the staff in the boys’ childcare has a kid in Yumin Primary. By chance we were talking about P1 options, and she shared that her son is in the school. That same evening, she sent a photo of Yumin’s school values and shared what she liked about the school.

School is not everything. Learning is. And learning goes beyond the school, beyond the classrooms. We will continue to engage the boys, travel the world, impart life skills, cultivate values etc. We agree that Home is a whole lot better. Home is everything.

Here are some useful links for parents who will like a head start in preparing for their kids’ P1 registration.

1. P1 registration process and elaboration on what the different phases means > MOE website

2. School vacancies by Phases > MOE website

3. 2018 P1 registration oversubscription risk > Kiasuparents

4. Balloting history > Kiasuparents (members only)

WBW 2018

In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, here’s a collection of photos of me and my nurslings taken during our family travel adventures.

Thankful for the support and guidance of fellow mummy friends and counsellors from breastfeeding support groups (BMSG!) and friends, colleagues and family members who allowed me to go all crazy about breastfeeding.

Much love to the hubby, my biggest supporter, who would listen to my woes, help me dig out nursing covers, wipes etc from deep within my bag when I’m feeding on the go and wake me up when baby cries on those nights when I’m just so tired and sleep like a log.

Every breastfeeding mum has her own kampung (village) cheering her on. These people are from my kampung.

Familytrippers review BedBox

Thanks to Taxi Baby Singapore, we had the opportunity to bring along a BedBox by JetKids ride-on suitcase on our recent trip to Dubai. We have seen photos and videos of the BedBox in action before, and we have been wondering whether it is a good buy for the boys. The boys have Trunki luggages, but we don’t often bring those along when we travel either. We figured it’ll be a hassle to have so many luggages and so few people pushing/carrying them.

BedBox, the luggage

Measuring 46cm x 20cm x 36cm, the BedBox weighs 3kg and has swivel wheels at the front to allow for seamless manoeuvring. We were impressed with the storage capacity of the BedBox. 20 LITRES! Even with the BedBox cushion, there was still plenty of room to store other things. These days, I leave the packing of the kids’ non-essential items to Ari. His task is to think of items (toys, books, etc) to bring along for the trip, the only criteria being they must fit into one bag and can be shared between the brothers. Ari managed to pack like a gazillion toy cars (I stopped counting after 20!), 3 storybooks, frisbees, a LeapFrog writing toy, and a couple of other random items.

BedBox, the bed

But the BedBox has a dual purpose which is what attracted me to it – it converts the flight seat into a bed. We travel on Economy class most all the time, and the seats aren’t often the most comfortable seats. In the plane, I’ve seen the boys shift around so much just to make themselves comfortable. On long haul flights, they will share their seats just so they can stretch out their legs and/or lie down whenever possible. Occasionally we end up with 1 or 2 empty seats next to us, and the boys get more room to sleep, sit, stretch etc. And then, there’s that challenge of making sure that the boys do not kick the seat in front of them. After sitting down for a long time, it does feel good to be able to stretch out your legs. I don’t blame the boys for wanting to do so!

Our Verdict

So how useful was the BedBox for our family?

1. Legs up!

For the first time since his bassinet days, Ari got to prop up his legs on his own seat, and not on Dani’s or mine or the Daddy’s. He was seated very comfortably throughout the flight, didn’t fidget much and barely got out from his seat except to go to the toilet one time. He was not able to stretch out his legs fully though due to lack of space. (Ari is 6 years old.) We didn’t manage to get 4 year old Dani to try out the bed (he fell asleep at take-off!) but I suspect he would have been able to stretch out his legs and the in-flight bed would probably be much more comfortable for Dani than Ari’s age group.

2. Restrictions on usage

Like the bassinet, the BedBox need to be stowed away at take-off, landing and during turbulence. It can be quite a hassle to fix and stow away in the overhead compartment if the flight encounters plenty of turbulence or if you are travelling solo with multiple kids. As I was busy tending to the baby, hubby handled the boys and fixed / removed the BedBox.

3. Ease of usage

Hubby managed to install the BedBox pretty quickly, he didn’t need to refer to a manual either. It’s relatively easy-to-use. Ari on the other hand struggles to open the lid of the BedBox and often had to holler for help each time he wanted to take out something from the luggage.

4. Ride on fun

The boys enjoyed riding on the BedBox, but because we only had one piece, they were constantly squabbling over whose turn it was to ride on it. We had to keep coming in to “referee” and reminding them to take turns.

Would it have been better to bring along two BedBoxs? We’re not too sure about that. As it is, the BedBox is pretty bulky and having two of them would have increased our luggage tally to 4. 3 was a comfortable number for that trip. It also depends on how much cross-city travelling we will be doing in the trip. If we were staying put in one location only, it would be perfectly fine to have 2 BedBoxs. But because we did move from place to place quite a bit in this trip, having an additional luggage would not have been ideal.

Curious to know what Ari thinks of the BedBox? Watch this video! In the video, Ari shares what he likes about the BedBox, the stuff he packed in it, step-by-step instructions on how to fix the BedBox, as well as how you can be the proud owner of one.

The BedBox by JetKids retails at SGD$299. Taxi Baby Singapore is currently having a promotion for its BedBox at a special price of SGD$269 only. Click here to purchase one for the family.

In collaboration with Taxi Baby Singapore, Familytrippers will be holding a special giveaway. Stand a chance to win a BedBox worth $299. Look out for our Giveaway post in our Instagram and Facebook pages on 1 June 2018.

Why you should consider staying in ROVE Downtown, Dubai

Reason #1: It’s not just a hotel stay

Rove Downtown is not just an ordinary hotel stay, it provides a holistic experience unlike any other! Every corner of Rove Downtown is aesthetically pleasant to the eye and seemed to have been designed for a purpose. As soon as you step into the lobby, it feels like you are stepping into someplace cosy and familiar. There’s something about Rove that makes you feel like you belong there, even if you are a family with 2 hyperactive, nap-deprived kids and a wailing baby in tow.

Reason #2: It’s designed especially for the Wanderlust soul

The theme of Rove chain of hotels is on travel and is sure to excite every wanderlust soul out there. Every corner, every accessory, every decor, every quote, every nook and corner speaks to you. It feels like home, the most perfect home for that wanderlust soul. In fact, this wanderlust soul has been inspired by what she saw in Rove Downtown and is hoping to incorporate some of the decor ideas into the family’s new home.

Reason #3: Location, location, location!

Rove Downtown is a stone’s throw from Dubai Mall, probably the busiest and most popular mall in Dubai. Burj Khalifa, the jewel of Dubai, decks the view from our room. A truly priceless Dubai stay, at a  fraction of the cost of other well-known hotel chains in the vicinity. Truly a value-for-money one at that.

Reason #4: There’s something for everyone

Apart from the usual hotel facilities like the swimming pool and the gym, Rove also has a games room with a set of Playstation and consoles and a play room with sports equipments like Table Tennis, Basketball hoop, a Football table and a Golf putting mat – the kinda stuff that appeals very much to our boys. Definitely a win for our family! There’s even a minimart at the lobby, very very convenient if you need to get items quickly without having to make a trip to the mall.

Reason #5: Once you Rove, you will always be a Rover

Rove guests are known as Rovers and it feels like an honour to be once called a Rover. It’s like sharing a secret that no one else knows, and that you hope it will stay that way just so you can always get a room when you need it! But this Rover wants the hotel chain to be successful and hopefully expand to many other parts of the world. So that we get a chance to stay in a Rove hotel each time we travel. How about one in Singapore too? It’ll make a perfect staycation during the months when we are homebound.

Reason #6: Uniquely Rove

And because there are some designs unique to Rove hotels, you will immediately spot them when stalking following others on their social media pages. Like this photo

and this

because there really is…

Rove Downtown is located at

312 Happiness Street, Zabeel 2, 119444, Dubai, UAE

https://goo.gl/maps/mhAm4XZbExq

Check out the newest attraction in Dubai

Dubai’s newest attraction is a frame! Yes, you read that right… it’s a frame. Not any usual frame, but a giant 48 storeys high kinda frame!

Standing tall at 150m high, you can easily spot it when travelling within Dubai city. And because it is unique, a one-of-its-kind in the world, (it’s even acclaimed to be the biggest frame ever built!) we chose to visit the Dubai Frame over a what would have been a less exciting and more ordinary experience at the Burj Khalifa Observatory Deck.

The Dubai Frame opened its doors to the public in January 2018, after almost a decade of planning and construction. It is strategically located within Zabeel Park and offers a spectacular view of the Old and New Dubai. The Dubai Frame was designed by award-winning architect Fernando Donis, who also designed the Dubai Porsche Design Towers and the Renaissance Tower. The total cost of building the Dubai Frame was 160million AED!

View from the Top

The two vertical sides of the frame are elevators that will bring you up to the top level where the viewing gallery is at. Here, you get to see for yourself two different sides of Dubai. On the north, you will have a bird’s eye view of the “old Dubai” – consisting of places like Derai and Dubai Creek. On the south, modern skyscrapers with buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and Emirates Tower deck the landscape known as the “new Dubai”.

Old Dubai

New Dubai

Enjoying the view from the TOP!

Interactive activity

There are a number of interactive touchscreen displays in the gallery providing information on the view and the buildings that you are looking to. The touchscreen also allows you to take selfie shots with the Dubai Frame as backdrop. We had fun taking various selfie shots on the machines, though be warned that there will definitely be photo-bombers at the back ! You can also choose to add the photos to the digital photo wall at the ground floor and we got the kids to play a round of “spot our photos” later on.

Walking on Glass

The main attraction at the top floor of the Dubai Frame is a glass bridge set in the middle of the gallery. It’s frosted at first glance, but when the motion sensors are activated, the glass becomes clear, revealing the view of the grounds 150m beneath. For those with a fear of heights, don’t worry, you can avoid walking on the glass bridge. But if you would like to try and overcome your height phobia, this is the best place to do so !

Boys looking down 150m below !

Exhibition galleries

At the ground floor, there are two galleries that you will be ushered to – the first features Dubai’s development over the years, from the past to where it is today. Towards the end of your visit, you will be brought to an virtual reality gallery showcasing Dubai 50 years into the future. You get to go on a journey through Dubai’s Past, Present and Future all in one!

A perfect photo spot

Even if you do not wish to access the viewing gallery of the Dubai Frame, it’s still worth a visit because of the fact that it is a one-of-its-kind structure and more importantly, it makes an awesome backdrop for photos. We started taking photos from outside the gated compounds of the Dubai Frame, and they were awesome. The gold structure stands out majestically against the clear blue sky. A perfect place to be trigger-happy!

Here’s a short time lapse video of our elevator ride down the 48-storey high Dubai Frame. Enjoy!

http://familytrippers.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/img_3020.mov

Getting there

Dubai Frame is located in Zabeel Park. You can get there by Metro and stop at the Al Jafiliyah station. Alternatively, you can hail a cab or book an Uber ride. If you drive, there are plenty of parking spaces around the park. Entrance to the Dubai Frame is located at Gate #4 of the park.

View on Google map

Tickets are priced at 50AED for adults and 20AED for children above 3 years old. Free entry for children below 3 and the disabled. Opening hours is from 9am to 9pm daily.

For more photos and videos of our visit to the Dubai Frame, check out our Instagram story highlights and our photo album in Facebook.

Our family travel stories by #thesuhardis