Thursday, October 23, 2014

Media Preview of Madame Tussauds Singapore

Although we've been to two Madame Tussauds before (once in Hong Kong and the other in Sydney Australia), we were still pretty excited to visit our very own Madame Tussauds Singapore! Located at Imbiah Lookout on Sentosa, Madame Tussauds is the island's newest attraction.

On our way to Imbiah Lookout by car
Private media preview

We were one of the lucky few who were able to visit the attraction before it is opened to the public this weekend.

Madame Tussauds Singapore
(Address: 40 Imbiah Road, Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa)

My girl has visited both wax museums in Hong Kong and Sydney but she couldn't remember as she was too young when we visited in Hong Kong and she was taking her nap when we visited it in Sydney. She was thus very excited. It was all very new to her.

Madame Tussauds Singapore is the only one with a boat ride
(Pity that they were still putting final touches to it so we couldn't ride it yet)
Selfie at the good ole tram
(Taken with my Olympus OMD mounted on one of the props)

World Leaders:

Doesn't this guy look super familiar?
Why, you see him all the time on every bank note!
Yusof Bin Ishak was the first president of Singapore
Barack Obama, the first Black president of the USA
Other famous world leaders
(you know who they are)
Family photo with the Queen of the UK
(Photo taken by the staff of Madame Tussauds)

Sports:
Singaporeans love football so not surprisingly, there was a small section featuring football stars! Have never seen the hubby so enthusiastic about taking pictures with wax figures..

Doing sit ups with the face of football, David Beckham
Winning the (very small) champions cup
Playing golf with the infamous Tiger Woods
Basketball with Yao Ming is a must (left);
Didn't know Christiano Ronaldo is so tall. He looks tiny on the field (right)
A member of the staff was still putting on final touches on Fandi Admad when we took this picture!

History of Making Wax Figures:

As with all wax museum, there was an area that explained the whole process of making wax figures. It is a very tedious endeavour which is why each figure cost a whopping $300,000 to create!
Carving the head of Stephanie Sun (Sun Yanzi)

TV & Music:

This guy represented Singapore when we hosted The Amazing Race and is now immortalised as a wax figure!
(Unfortunately, doubt future generations will know who he is..)
Yes, he is the most well-loved Phua Chu Kang, a TV character made famous by Gurmit Singh
(Coincidentally, this photo of us was also featured on the cover page of Zaobao last Sunday!)
With the late Huang Wen Yong (left);
A super skinny Stephanie Sun (right)
Taylor Swift and her guitar
(She's so tall!)
Elvis Presley (left) and Madonna (right)
With my favourite singer/musician/director of all time, Jay Chou (Zhou Jie Lun)!

Movies:

The Great Director, Jack Neo
Kungfu heroes, Jacky Chan & Bruce Lee
With famous Bollywood stars!
(Apologies to all my Indian friends and readers for wearing the sari wrongly. Have no idea how to do it =( )
With Lenardo diCaprio (left) and the famous Marilyn Monroe (right)
And there's must be a Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman in every Madame Tussauds that we've visited! Mega-super-stars!

The organisers of this event also encouraged us to post our photos on Instagram so that they can be printed for us as souvenirs at the end of our visit.

Print Instagram photos

I thought that that was a great idea! Love how the photos turned out =)

Honestly, I had expected that my girl would get bored after 5 minutes since she neither knew who these famous people were nor what they did. Thankfully she didn't and enjoyed playing with the props and grabbing the legs of the wax figures like a pro! We had an awesome afternoon =)

If you're wondering why certain famous founders of Singapore are missing (for example Sir Stamford Raffles and Lee Kuan Yew), either they are still undergoing final touches or are featured in the boat ride. All would be ready by the time the attraction opens (hopefully!).

Tickets are now at a special price of S$20 per ticket (usual S$30) till 31st Dec 2014 so do pay a visit before the end of the year!


GIVEAWAY!
If you're keen to visit the newest attraction in Sentosa, great news! We are giving away a Pair of Tickets to Madame Tussauds Singapore (worth S$60) to THREE lucky winners!

Simply follow these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on which wax figure you would like to meet and why
(2) Enter the above entry into the Rafflecopter widget below (don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other entries are optional but you may enter them for more chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 7th November 2014 (Fri) and is only open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants must leave a comment with the required answer and enter their entry into Rafflecopter in order to qualify. Other entries entered into Rafflecopter must also be completed (I do check!). Incomplete entries will be disqualified without notice.
c) Limited to one prize per household.
d) The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.
e) The tickets are valid for one month from date of collection.


Disclosure: An invitation to this media preview was received from Madame Tussauds Singapore for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions and text are my own.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Girl's First Solo Swim

My girl has always been a fan of swimming so it was no surprise that despite being "no weekend enrichment class" kind of parents, swimming lessons were a priority for my girl.

I was told to wait until she was 4 years old before signing her up as she would be old enough to follow instructions and learn at a quicker pace. So wait we did, for almost a year!

It was worth the wait though as true enough, she was physically more ready for her swimming classes (she started with the beginner Tadpole Class).

Learning swimming from an instructor for the first time

My girl is a free spirit and likes to learn things her own way. She had A LOT of trouble following instructions from her swimming instructor as she was already used to swimming the way she liked it. I had to have a serious "if you don't listen, I will.." talk with her before each class. Thankfully the instructors were very patient with her =)

Instructor teaching my girl how to use a float

When she first started she didn't dare to dunk her head underwater, hold her breath underwater or swim without her arm floats. After just 8 lessons, not only has she discovered a new world underwater with her goggles, she can also hold her breath and blow bubbles. Kicking and swimming with a board float also came really easy to her and soon she no longer needed her arm flat.



Recently I also encouraged her to take a step of faith and swim without her board float. She was apprehensive at first but after much persuasion, she did!




Her instructor also assessed that she fulfilled all the requirements of the first 2 Beginner Classes (i.e. Tadpole & Crayfish) and graduated straight to the 3rd Class (Goldfish)!

Girlee, mummy is sooo proud of you! Keep it up! =)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Travel Tips 4: Theft Prevention

One of the greatest inconveniences when you travel is losing your money or personal documents such as credit cards, handphones or even your passport (*gasp*)! You'd have to call the credit card company/telco/embassy to inform them of the loss and/or report it at the local police station. This could put a huge damper on your spirits and cause significant delay to your itinerary.

Thus, it is of vital importance that you learn how to protect your personal belongings especially when you're in a foreign country.

Strolling along Oxford Street in London, UK

SEVEN Tips to Be Street Smart in a Foreign Country

1) Research

Do your research on the types of crimes in the country that you are visiting. This webpage nicely lists 40 common tourist scams and their locations in an infographic; make sure that you're familiar with them! I found the "friendship band" scam to be true. We were almost stopped by a black guy in Italy selling friendship bands but luckily we were fast enough to dodge him!

Ask questions, read blogs, find out from others about their experiences and share your experiences with others.

From our experiences, here's generally what to look out for:

A) Counterfeit Money
Counterfeit money exists everywhere but is probably, hands down, the most common in China.

Prevention:
Check your bills after you have received your change (the seller does the same so don't worry that he might feel insulted). I've gotten a lot of counterfeit coins in the course of our many trips to Shenzhen (I usually don't bother to check coins since they're worth so little)!

In addition, try not to exchange your small notes, especially big amounts of it, for a bigger note from a random stranger claiming that they need small change. Sometimes they will give you a fake note in exchange for your real ones!

B) Outrage of Modesty
Ladies, take extra care of yourself and your daughter/s when you're in crowded places like trains or buses. I had an incident on the MTR in Hong Kong once and let's just say that it wasn't pleasant =(
Our tour guide in Hokkaido also says that while pickpocketing is really uncommon in Japan, outrage of modesty is!

Prevention:
If your husband or boyfriend is with you, stick close to him and get him to watch out for you. And if you can, don't let the culprit get away with it!

C) Pickpockets
Watch out for pickpockets, especially in crowded trains and buses. This is most common in places like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and China.

The hubby's handphone got pickpocketed out of his backpack once on our maiden trip to Shenzhen, when we were still newbie travellers (this was maybe his 2nd or 3rd flight overseas?). He had to call his mum in Singapore to cancel the phone line and everything.

Prevention:
Don't keep your valuables in your backpack or fiddle with them as you are walking down the streets (here're 13 ways to prevent pickpockets). You'll also need to..


2) Buy an Anti-Theft Bag

Black Pacsafe Anti-Theft Sling Bag

This anti-theft bag is not cheap but it's made of good quality material that is not easily cut with a knife. The strap of the bag is made of strong nylon which according to the tag, cannot be cut with an ordinary knife or scissors. There's also a hook to clasp your zips so that they are "locked" at the corner and cannot be unzipped. We initially bought it because I thought that I would be visiting Paris, a city well-known for pickpockets (but we ended up just staying in London). They have a backpack too but we thought a sling bag would suffice.


3) Disguise Your Moneybag

My pouch that I've been using on all of my trips since 2008
(Don't worry, I won't be using this any more as the zip is spoilt, as you can see..)

We put thousands of dollars in seemingly ugly pouches that no one would even suspect that it is where we keep our money. Sometimes sellers would have a look on their face like "does this girl even have money?" when they observe me digging into the pouch for payment.

Even if a pickpocket wanted to steal your wallet, he wouldn't recognise it. Store your money in your shoe if you need to! *laughs*


4) Don't Put All Your Money in One Moneybag

My pouch on the left, hubby's pouch on the right

The hubby and I never store our money in the same place. We have different pouches; some of our money are in our pouches, some of it are in the hotel room safe and some are in our Common Fund (a fund consisting of contributions from everyone in the family, which is used to pay for common commodities such as food and transport).

In the event one of the pouches is stolen, we will not be left completely broke =)


5) Don't Wear Expensive Accessories

Our family in Penang

I suppose this is common sense; if you're decked out in gold or Hermes, you're asking for trouble. Unless you have a bodyguard who would follow you everywhere you go, it's better not to wear anything valuable.

It also helps with the bargaining if you don't look like a rich person. If you look like you can afford it, they're not going to lower the price.

However, this does not give you the license to neglect your appearance. There are shops in countries like Hong Kong that wouldn't serve you if you look less than appealing. You can still look good with cheap accessories =)


6) Photos of Identification

Photo of my girl's birth certificate

As mentioned previously, you may want to bring a photocopy or photo of your identification with you. It could be a photocopy or photo of your children's birth certificates (to prove that you are the parent), your identity card and/or your passports, A friend of mine even uploads the photos to Dropbox and emails a copy to herself, just in case she loses her handphone or camera as well.


7) Follow Your Instincts & Use Common Sense

Lastly, follow your instincts! Don't go out alone at night (for certain countries, don't go out at night period!), don't walk along dimly lit streets and do not be overly friendly with strangers.

Remember to back up the photos in your handphone; I even upload all the photos taken during the trip into my laptop (which we sometimes bring along so that I can blog on the go) just in case I lose my handphone or the camera. Insurance can get me back my possessions but not the photos and all the memories inside!

And if all else fails, there's always insurance so don't, I repeat, don't forget to buy insurance! This is money that cannot be saved, especially if you're travelling with kids.


We followed the above tips and by the grace of God, haven't had another incident of loss possessions since the hubby lost his handphone! *cross fingers that it never happens again*

What are your tips? Share them with me in the comments! =)


This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation


Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Centimegift Personalised Jewellery

I'm one of those narcissistic people that love anything and everything (well almost) with my name on it. I used to carve my name into pencils, draw my name on files with liquid paper, and even bought label stickers with my name on it to stake claim on all my possessions (it was too bad that the personalised Coke that they sold in London did not have my name on it, otherwise I would have bought it)!

Oh please, don't look at me like you don't know what I'm talking about! =P

So of course I jumped at the chance to be able to review personalised jewellery from Centimegift. Jewellery with my name on it? Say no more! =)

"A gift for me? Aww you're too kind!"
A pair of stackable rings with the names of my kids on them!
(This is one of Centimegift's top sellers)
And.. my own signature necklace!!!

I had sent the only picture of my signature that I could find to the designer and she concretised it into wearable works of art! Awesome right? =)

Before
(and no, you can't use it for my credit cards because it's a stylised version of my "serious" signature
so don't even try! *wags fingers*)
After!
Looks so pretty on me doesn't it? *grin*

I love that I can even select the length of the chain to where it hits me nicely between my neck and my boobs! I'm one of those people that can never wear a choker (or anything too tight on my neck!) or a necklace exactly on my boobs because they're not small (especially now when I'm breastfeeding) so the pendant will somehow not rest nicely on my chest.

Centimegift also teaches you how to get an estimate of your ring size such that your stackable rings would fit. Mine fit my finger perfectly!

Wearing my babies on my hand

The designer also concretised a beautiful handwritten quote by a customer's late father into a bracelet for the customer to remember her father by. I thought that was a really cool and nice way to remember someone. You may want to check out Centimegift's Facebook page for more of their creations =)


GIVEAWAY!
If you're keen to get some personalised jewellery for yourself, we are giving away US$20 Centimegift Store Credit to TWO lucky winners!

Simply follow these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on your favourite jewellery from Centimegift and why
(2) Enter the above entry into the Rafflecopter widget below (don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other entries are optional but you may enter them for more chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 26th October 2014 (Sun) and is open to all readers worldwide.
b) Participants must leave a comment with the required answer and enter their entry into Rafflecopter in order to qualify. Other entries entered into Rafflecopter must also be completed (I do check!). Incomplete entries will be disqualified without notice.
c) Limited to one prize per household
d) The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.

~~~~~

P.S: Enjoy a 20% discount at Centimegift by simply entering this discount code: "MAD20OFF" (valid until 30 November 2014).


Disclosure: Complimentary jewellery were received from Centimegift for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seven Guilty Pleasures (II): Frivolous Purchases

As you know by now (I know, I'm very lo-soh; I can repeat the same thing again and again..), I constantly try to find time for myself. Last year, I shared seven of my guilty pleasures that I indulge in. This year, I find myself at it again, this time buying more goods than services =)

SEVEN Frivolous Guilty Purchases:

1) Lego

It all started when my son was sick (more on that in a future post) and I had to take child care leave to bring him to see the doctor. As all working mums will know, work started to pile up and I found myself stressed out, having to juggle work and family demands. Blogging used to be one of my outlets to release stress but unfortunately, staring at the computer put stress on my eyes and gave me headaches (so I try to minimise blogging when I'm stressed).

I don't know how or when but one day I managed to get my hands on one box of Lego when Isetan was having a sale.
Lego City Caravan
(Bought at Isetan at 10% discount)
Lego really put a lot of thought into their toys;
look the door can open and there is storage in the roof

I loved being able to put everything aside and focus on building. I got hooked on it and, as you know if you follow me on Instagram, bought more. A lot more!

Clockwise from left: I got the biggest box of Lego (the enormous train) when Toy's Hunt was having storewide 20% discount!;
Mum managed to ask her friend to help buy the exclusive Shell Lego (since we can't pump Shell) for me!;
The Fire Engine and Fire Fighter from the Lego City Starter Set

People always think that I'm buying for my kids. Err, no. I'm buying for myself. But the girl got interested and started playing with my Lego too.

She insisted on getting her face in this shot
Suddenly got interested in Lego again..
Lego Ferarri and Starting Line from Shell
(Girl helped me to put this set together)

Technically Lego can be seen as an investment for my kids for when they are old enough to play with them =P

I can't wait to start building my train set! Will update on Facebook when I'm done =)

2) Nanoblocks

Have always wanted to get some but I kept procrastinating until a colleague bought Mike from Monster's Inc for me. As usual being OCD, I knew I had to get Sully and since Qoo10 was having a "buy 5 get 3 free" offer, the rest was history.

Nanoblocks!
Mike finally has his buddy!
Bumblebee
Sister got these weird-looking Mickey & Minnie from HK for me
(Found it too easy though)

Nanoblocks are fun but I still prefer Lego =)

3) Puzzle Sphere

Puzzle Sphere (240 pieces),
reflecting my love of travelling
The pieces are numbered so all you need to do is match them up accordingly. Easy!

4) Pilates

Me at my favourite Jumpboard class

Technically this is not a frivolous purchase since I do value my health. But on the grand scheme of things, some people might think it is more worthwhile to invest it into my kid's education and exercise for free instead (but I hate exercises that are free such as running, etc).

Nevertheless, to me, health is priceless. If a pilates package is what it takes to whip my body into shape and give my heart a boost, that's what I'm going to invest into.

5) Kick Scooter

O Town 7XL Scooter with Suspension
Riding the scooter with the girl at Tiong Bahru Park

Again, I bought this to aid me in my exercise with my girl. The hubby laughed at me and declared that it was a dumb purchase and that I would soon abandon it. Next thing I knew, HE BOUGHT A SCOOTER TOO! (-_-")

The only bad thing about the scooter is riding with my girl. She's so slow on her scooter while I'm so fast on mine that it was kind of a bummer having to slow down to wait for her while she yells, "Wait for meee! WAIT FOR MEEEE MUMMEEEEE!!!" (-_-")

I'm encouraging the family to exercise more together. One of these days we're going to ride together at East Coast Park (most likely with the girl on my scooter) =)

6) Nescafe Dulce Gusto

Nescafe Dulce Gusto and our wall of capsules

We had wanted to buy Nespresso, but unfortunately Nespresso does not have tea (and I don't drink coffee). As a compromise, we bought the Nescafe Dolce Gusto, which can dispense tea, coffee, choccochino and even milo! Very convenient for us when we need a cup of "wake me up" in the morning.

7) Gold Jewellery

Lastly, I recently started buying jewellery made of pure gold (like a typical Singaporean Aunty! *gasp*). I decided that I was going to buy gold as a form of investment so that one day when my girl gets married, I have something of value to give to her as her wedding present =)


What are your frivolous purchases? Please share in the comments =)


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Amazingly Still
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