Friday, 2 December 2016

From East Coast Park to West Coast Park

I had time off to clear and my boy did not have school so I took the opportunity to take my kids out on the day before a public holiday.

I had always wanted to check out the playground at the new Marine Cove at East Coast Park but didn't because of reports from friends on how crowded the playground was. Which was why I thought perhaps it will be less crowded on a weekday morning.

Left: Excited that they get to go out!;
Right: Ran to the playground the moment they saw it!
Marine Cove at East Coast Park

Unfortunately the main play structure (the one with the suspension bridge and big slides) was closed for maintenance! On the eve of a public holiday?!? We were so disappointed! *sigh*

Thankfully there's still the pre-schooler playground for younger kids.

Loving the slides at the pre-schooler playground

My kids love the swings too!

Four swings
My boy is on the swing that can also be used for children with special needs
(this is part of the Inclusive Playground project headed by my organisation, National Council of Social Service. Very proud of the team!)

There was also a mini 'spider-web' play structure with a nice shelter to give us some respite from the rising noonday sun. Older kids probably find this way too boring but it was just nice for my kids.

My girl climbed all the way to the top
Very proud of herself for making it
My boy also tried climbing it and made it to the middle

I used to love these structures when I was younger! I'm glad my kids also love them as much as I do =)

There was another dome-like play structure that was a lot more challenging to climb but with a lot of encouragement from me, my girl managed to do it! I was pretty proud of her for overcoming her fear of falling.

Climbing to the middle where her brother was
This is too difficult for the boy so he can only watch his sister or climb up the middle section

I believe in letting my kids do challenging climbs on their own with minimal help from me because it not only builds their muscles, it also builds their self-esteem and self-efficacy. The thrill of accomplishing something deemed difficult and overcoming your own fear is what I want them to pursue for the rest of their lives =)

We also loved this see-saw, which adults can sit on too together with the kids! I enjoyed it very much #nevergrowup

See-saw never gets old

Since we were at East Coast Park, I took the opportunity to introduced the kids to their parents' favourite hangout when we were dating: the breakwater at the beach.

One of the many breakwaters at East Coast Park
Feeling scared that they might fall into the sea but they bravely smiled for this photo anyway

We wanted to try one of those four-wheeler-canopy bicycles where the kids can ride in front but it was too expensive (besides, the mum-in-law does not know how to ride a bicycle). We decided to spend the money on McDonald's instead!

Nuggets and my favourite soft-serve ice-cream!
Enjoying our afternoon snack!

This McDonald's also had a fun interactive screen for the kids to play with. The Happy Meal mascots will move their arms and body according to the movements of the kids. Very cute!

McDonald's interactive screen for kids and kids at heart

I have fond memories of the old East Coast McDonald's (the one located next to a bowling alley in the good old days before it was torn down and this was built to replace it). Maybe one day my kids will have fond memories of this too =)

When we were done, we headed back to the West and spent some time at the Jurong Regional Library. Again, I have fond memories of hanging out and studying here with my secondary school friends when it was still the old Jurong library! Although the library looks very different now (it has gone through a major facelift and looks even better than before!), it is still the same awesome library that I remembered =)

The children's section, or Early Literacy Library, is located at the basement. It's super fun for the kids, who really enjoy themselves playing with toys and reading books (of course, my kids also liked jumping and running, but that was frowned upon by me).

Early Literacy Library
Stroller parking. How cute!
Left: My girl trying out the interactive screen;
Right: Reading a book about Disney princesses while seated on a child bench. The toys at the back was for the younger siblings like my boy who can't read yet and so required something to occupy them while the rest of us borrowed books.
I super love these lounge seats that allow you to chill when you're tired of running after the kids! =)

A very nice nursing room is also conveniently located at the back of the library.

Baby changing table and two nursing rooms

Now that we live so close to this library and can borrow 8 books per card (it's double from 19 November to 31 January 2017), we'll be making this a monthly thing for our family =)

The kids still had a lot of energy by the time we left the library so I brought them to West Coast Park.

I told my girl in the car that the 'spider-web' play structure was infinitely more fun than the one at Marine Cove because it was one of the few that had attached slides! She was so excited but unfortunately, it was also CLOSED for maintenance when we arrived!!! HOW SUAY WERE WE?!?!?! *grrr*

A photo of the 'spider-web' playground I took a few years ago

To cheer her up, I brought her to my favourite flying fox playground, which has not changed since my youth! Once again I'm reminded of the fun times I have had riding the flying fox myself!

One of the best features of West Coast Park, the flying fox!
My girl enjoying herself and asking to ride again and again

I have to admit that I was slightly concerned that my boy might let go of the rope halfway while flying 2-3 metres above the ground. But he didn't. He clung on for dear life and had so much fun that he rode it numerous of times.

This daredevil loves the flying fox like his mummy (definitely not like his unadventurous daddy haha)!

The kids could keep going at it forever had it not been for the fact that I was too tired to run after them and get them on and off (they are still too short to mount the seat or get off on their own).

Sadly, it started to drizzle before we could explore the rest of the playground =(

I hurried the kids to Minibee but my girl wasn't satisfied until she had one last climb on this smaller 'spider-web' structure.

Finishing her last climb before we left

If you have time, check out the other playgrounds in the park. It's really endless of fun here at West Coast Park (I'm so proud to be living so near such an awesome park).

Climbing structures for climbing enthusiasts like my boy

More climbing structures for the older kids
(there's a toddler playground too in case you're wondering why the photos only show the playgrounds for older kids)

There are SIX major playgrounds here so there will definitely be something for every kid!

Although it was supposed to be a day of fun for my kids, it also turned out to be a day of reminiscing the days of my youth for me! Love days like this that I can spend with my kids =)

Oh and the kids' 'battery' finally wore out and they were knocked out the moment we got home *laughs*. Can't wait for our next outing!


This post is part of my MadPsychMum Fun in Singapore Guide to all things exciting for kids! 
Check out other fun playgrounds and attractions in Singapore! =)

You can also follow us on Instagram or join us by using our hashtag #mpmfuninsg

Monday, 21 November 2016

Our First Home (5): Kitchen

And now for the room with the most renovation done and had the biggest transformation: our kitchen!


It was really outdated before so we had to strip everything down to nothing and build a new kitchen from scratch. A little more than half of our renovation budget went into the kitchen alone!

The kitchen before was really outdated
(the previous owners did not change it for the last 16 years that they had lived there)
The hole is where the fridge is supposed to be. I don't know how they survived with such a small fridge!


We gave our ID our floor plan and a rough idea of what we wanted. He sent over this 3D design, which looked really good so we gave him the go-ahead.

3D mock-up design of our kitchen
(courtesy of our ID)

He made an appointment with us to decide on the tiles and cabinet that we wanted. He showed me a lot of different cabinet colours but I eventually chose what stood out to me.

The final combination that we chose

After demolition, the contractors followed the design and put up the tiles first. From my pictures, it looked like the process was fast and smooth but in reality, it took many, many, many weeks to get from nothing to the kitchen we have now!

After stripping the kitchen down
Wall tiles and new wiring installed
Floor tiles and new rubbish chute door installed
The cabinets are finally installed!
Looks really similar to the 3D mock-up doesn't it?
Clockwise from left: Our grey sink, which we got from Hoe Kee, is being installed;
Our exhaust hood was also from Hoe Kee;
So was our stove!
Installing the granite kitchen counter top and back lights
(which are mainly for show and hardly used)

Other than the slow speed, the kitchen was coming together quite nicely (our renovation company made up for the lack of speed with quality workmanship at reasonable price. Guess you really can't have it all..).

That is, until the Beko fridge that we got from Courts was delivered.

For some reason, the measurements made by the ID or contractor did not leave enough room at the side of the fridge to open its doors! *face palm*

The fridge could fit in but there was no space on the right of the fridge to open the door or pull out the drawers

To be honest, I was really angry but the ID assured me that he will handle it (well he better!). Initially his boss refused to make restitution because he thought that it was cheaper for them to buy a new fridge for us rather than hack away the cabinets. Our ID managed to convince him to go with what we wanted because a smaller fridge will not work for our family of 5.

A couple of weeks later, the contractors dismantled the kitchen top and hacked away a cupboard and moved our drawers and switches towards the stove to create more space for our fridge.

With the kitchen counter top removed
The original (left) and the re-done fridge space (right)

The boss was right, it was a crazy amount of work but the end result was finally what we wanted!

The kitchen is by far the place that has the most things so no matter how I try to be OCD here, it is just hard to keep this room the way I like it so pardon the mess (yes, I consider this very messy).

Left: At the far end of the kitchen is our laundry area;
Right: The fridge can finally fit perfectly even though that meant less cabinets and counter space for us (ah well)

Our ID followed in the footsteps of the previous design and created a cabinet to hide the exposed pipes (more updated of course).

Previous design (left) and current design (right)

To maximise space, I stuck a 3M hook in the middle of the pipes to hang floor cleaners (such as a mop, etc). I thought that was a great way to use the otherwise useless cabinet.

3M hook to hang mops, etc

Another way that I maximised space was by adding a 4-tier metal rack beside our fridge. It functions as our pantry corner =)

Mainly to house all the food and drinks hat we can't squeeze into the fridge (and do not need to)

The rest of the kitchen is kept functional for my mum-in-law to cook (she uses the space a lot more than I do!).

The kitchen counter top and cabinets
We squeezed our 3-in-1 microwave cum oven at the corner so that it didn't block my mum-in-law when she cooked. It's the same reason our Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Smoothie maker is in the same corner.
I like to label our electrical plugs too so that you know which plug is plugged in and which you need to switch on without having to trace the wires back to their appliances (the plugs are all black and so it's easy to confuse them).
I do the same for all other electronics in my house (especially the computer and TV).
We simply have too many gadgets and I do not have time to figure out which is which..
IKEA kitchen rods were installed by the contractors. I found it so useful for hanging anything and everything
(this is a must for every kitchen!)
Left: I bought soooo many containers (clearly labelled of course) to organise the things in our kitchen cabinets;
The corner next to the sink was used to store toilet paper and other toiletries that we do not use often as it is too deep to store anything else

We decided not to renovate the common toilet that was attached to the kitchen as it still looked quite good. All we needed to do was buy new toilet accessories to install, which our ID and contractors kindly helped us to do.

Common toilet and accessories

Despite the time it took and the fact that our ID still owe us a shelf for one of our cabinets (we just called him to chase him -_-), our renovation company did a pretty good job (at least our kitchen looks like the 3D mock up and the workmanship overall was good).

I'm just glad our kitchen is finally done and my mum-in-law has a nice place that she can cook in (of course we did up the kitchen for her and not for me! *laughs*).

We'll probably add an island on wheels in future so that my mum-in-law has more counter space to put her dishes. Other than that, that's our kitchen! =)

Continue to >> Our First Home (6): Storeroom & Entryway
<< Back to Our First Home (4): Dining Room & Balcony


This post is part of my series on Our First Home where I'll share our renovation and home decoration ideas and review our renovation company and various vendors.
Join us on our journey as we make a house our home =)

You can also follow me on Instagram via the hashtag #houseofkmjj! =)
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