Monday, 27 July 2015

Playdate at Bishan-AMK Park

We finally brought our kids to visit Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park a few weeks ago with our friend Jess and her boy, Baby Boy's buddy.

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

The park was so big that I couldn't decide which part of the park to go. According to fellow resourceful mum bloggers who live there, the park is broken down into two parts: half with a large dry playground, pond and water playground and half with the dog park, river, smaller playground and McDonald's. I thought it was unrealistic to go to both (although we did anyway as you are about to find out) so we made an executive decision to go to the park with McDonald's as my impression when we were there previously is that the park is smaller and more manageable.

Our first stop was of course the famous river that was developed from a canal, a project that won PUB the gold award at the Public Service 21 Excel Convention 2013 (a project that I worked on got bronze that year so I was there to witness PUB's presentation). It was amazing how PUB was able to transform an ugly canal into a beautiful river teaming with life and yet could still fulfill its original function (of directing water to the sea to prevent flooding).

Mum-in-law with my girl at the river
(McDonald's is in the background)
Pretty isn't it?

As we walked to the small playground, we discovered to our horror that it was under construction! "What?!" I exclaimed.

Not wanting to give up (I can be ridiculously persistent!), I convinced our group to walk to the other part of the park where the bigger playground is.

Along the way, we passed the water playground that is only in operation on Thursdays to Sundays.

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Water Playground operating hours

Although we already knew it wasn't operational before this but seeing it empty really increased the level of disappointment that I felt. There was still a long distance to walk so we decided to sit by the pond and chit chat while we rested and had some snacks.

I actually suggested taking a bus to the playground but when I checked the bus stop, there was only one bus and it didn't seem to go to the playground! Very strange considering that the playground was only 2 bus stops away!

After checking the map, I realised that we had already walked the majority of the distance so we might as well walk all the way. And walk we did (much to the chagrin of my mum-in-law, who still gamely walked anyway. She's really fit!). All in all, I think we walked about two thirds the length of the park! *gasp*

After a very long walk, finally, we caught a glimpse of the playground! We have arrived!

Large playground at Bishan-AMK park, pond gardens
Baby Boy was slightly apprehensive of the sand at first but quickly got used to it
Girl trying out the wooden bridge
My girl had some difficulty climbing up but after much encouragement, she managed to do it. Proud of her!
Down the slide
(cool rock climbing feature for the more adventurous kids)
More slides and ropes
Spider web!
The boys had fun climbing this web of ropes
Baby L and Baby J
(coincidentally they had the same expression! Haha)
Baby Boy was more daredevil of the two though. He was trying to climb all the way to the top. I'd say he's more like me in this respect :D

Baby Boy got so good at climbing the ropes that he didn't need much help later (of course I didn't take any chances just in case he slipped) and even managed to slide down the metal slide by himself. To be honest, I was torn between wanting to allow him to try things out on his own and my fear of him falling should he fail *sigh*. Thankfully he did not get hurt.

The kids had a lot of fun at the playground! Have to say it was worth the walk to me =)

All of us were so tired out that when we got home, we all slept really early and didn't wake up until the next morning! Best end to a fun day I say :D

Thursday, 23 July 2015

10 Hawker Food You Must Try in Tiong Bahru

Nowadays when people think of Tiong Bahru, they immediately think of the spunky cafes that sprouted up all over the neighbourhood. However, what Tiong Bahru is more famous for (and has been for the last decade or more) is its cheap and good hawker food! Each dish does not cost more than $5! So the next time you're hungry in Tiong Bahru, pop by these places instead of the cafes =)


TIONG BAHRU MARKET

Tiong Bahru Market

The Tiong Bahru Market that you see now is a new building that was built after the old market was torn down. Only a few of the stalls from the old Tiong Bahru Market are still in existence in the new Tiong Bahru Market today. There are many "fake" stalls trying to pass off as the "original" but come on, I know a fake when I see one (I've been eating at Tiong Bahru Market since 2002 okay!). These are some of the stalls that I remember since way back when:


1) JIAN BO SHUI KUEH

Jian Bo Shui Kueh

This stall survived the move from the old Tiong Bahru Market to the temporary market at Kim Pong Road and back to the new Tiong Bahru Market. Even the signboard remains the same, just like how I remembered it.

The Shui kueh, also known as chwee kueh (soft rice cakes topped with fried preserved turnip), that is sold here is super tasty albeit very oily. Eat only if not on a diet. This used to be my family's favourite food until we decided that it was too fattening to be eating it every week. Nowadays, we only eat it once a year! =P

Address: 83 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-05, Singapore 168898


2) HONG HENG FRIED SOTONG PRAWN MEE

Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee

Again, our family used to eat this fried sotong prawn mee aka hokkien mee every other week (especially when it was at the temporary market) till the hubby and I discovered that we could no longer lose weight that easily anymore (getting older mah). Nowadays it's a more like a once in a blue moon thing.

Address: 83 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-01, Singapore 168898


3) TIONG BAHRU LOR MEE

Tiong Bahru Lor Mee

This lor mee is quite decent though my family gave up our loyalty to this stall when we discovered the amazing lor mee at Taman Jurong! My mum still prefers this lor mee though. Try it and make your own verdict.

Address: 83 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-80, Singapore 168898


4) TIONG BAHRU FISHBALL

This stall has been around since the original Tiong Bahru Market. I remember because we love to buy the fishball and otah fishcake from this stall! So many years on and they are still selling their famous fishballs. Of course over the years their standard has dropped a bit but still good by my standards.

Address: 83 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-20, Singapore 168898


5) TEOCHEW FISHBALL NOODLE DRY/SOUP

Teochew Fishball Noodle Dry/Soup

I can't remember if this stall was from the original market but I love it ever since the mum-in-law introduced it to me a number of years ago. The fishballs are bouncy and nice while the dry mee pok is cooked just right. There is usually a long queue at this stall (especially during lunch hours) so be prepared to wait!

Address: 83 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-13, Singapore 168898


OTHERS IN TIONG BAHRU

6) TIONG BAHRU YONG TAO HU

Coffeeshop at the junction of Tiong Poh Road & Eng Hoon Street
Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu

Our family finds this yong tau fu palatable but nothing special even though hordes of people crowd the stall during lunch (a lot of them from nearby offices and SGH). Their business is so good that they are only opened for breakfast and lunch (closed at 3pm) and not opened on Sundays. Hence, be prepared to wait for your food!

Address: Blk 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056


7) AH CHIANG'S PORRIDGE

Ah Chiang's Porridge

Located diagonally opposite the house of the hubby's late grandfather (ah gong), this porridge used to be one of ah gong's favourites when he was still alive. I have never eaten there oddly enough but the hubby and his colleagues love to eat there once in a while. This is on my to-try list!

Address: 65 Tiong Poh Road, #01-38, Singapore 160065.


8) OLD TIONG BAHRU BAK KUT TEH

Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh at Seng Poh Lane

Another one of ah gong's favourites, I remembered ah gong treating us to lunch here after a difficult day at the courts. Quite a memorable day for us.

Address: Blk 58 Seng Poh Road, #01-31 Singapore 160058.


HAVELOCK ROAD COOKED FOOD CENTRE

Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre

This food centre is also called the "L-shaped market" by yours truly due to the unique L-shape of its building. Taxi uncles used to flood this place because they could park their cars for free as anytime the summon aunty came, they could easily run back to their cars and avoid getting caught. Nowadays there's a parking system installed so people can't do that anymore (sadly haha). Nevertheless, the food here is still worth it though. Although there are a number of stalls that are good (such as the bak kut teh and prawn noodles), I'm focusing on our two favourites that we eat almost every week:


9) IVAN'S PORRIDGE

Ivan's Porridge
Fresh raw fish with various spices

The hubby loves the raw fish salad even more than the porridge itself! Nevertheless, the mum-in-law finds the mixed meat porridge full of ingredients and value for money.

Address: Blk 22 Havelock Road, Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre, #01-06, Singapore 162022.


10) YU MEI MEI SHI

Yu Mei Mei Shi fish noodle
Fish soup and fish beehoon soup
Yum!

I can't believe that after staying in Tiong Bahru for so many years, I had only recently discovered this stall! The fish is very fresh (except during CNY when fish is expensive though) and the soup base is sweet and essentially very awesome! My picky foodie kids both love the fish so you can imagine how good it is. Sigh, I'm going to miss you when I move :(

The stall is quite popular so you might need to wait if there are a lot of people. The best time to go is when it's raining, virtually no one is there *grin*

Address: Blk 22 Havelock Road, Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre, #01-15, Singapore 162022.


P.S: Apologies that this post contains limited pictures of the food. We almost always take away our food and eat in the comfort of our home rather than at the crowded hawker centres. Anyway, I'm not a food blogger :P

~~~~~

This post is part of I Love My Tiong Bahru series, which is my way of bidding farewell to my favourite neighbourhood that I had called my home for the last 14 years. As I move to another neighbourhood, join me in celebrating Tiong Bahru! =)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Family Photoshoot at Gardens by the Bay

As usual, I never say no to a family photoshoot even though a certain family member (*cough* hubby *cough*) may not be so enthusiastic about it. Kids grow up too quickly so I treasure every opportunity that I have to capture the precious memories. Thanks to Cloud Productions, we got to take our first outdoor family photoshoot as a family of four =)

Hubby disliked our previous photoshoot at Botanical Gardens because it was so hot so I promised him that this time we would do it somewhere with air-conditioning. And where else can you find a garden with air-conditioning in Singapore? Only at The Domes at Gardens by the Bay! We got permission to take professional photographs from the kind folks at Gardens by the Bay =)

The theme at the Flower Dome is Nursery Rhymes!

We met our photographer and I suggested starting the photoshoot at the Cloud Forest because we had liked it better than the Flower Dome previously.

Enough of the talk, here are only some of my favourites from the shoot because I can't possibly squeeze all of them in this post! For once I didn't need to do much editing (other than reducing the size) for the photos. Oh and in case you're wondering, I bought mine and my girl's matching dresses from Glitter Glam =)

Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photos taken by Cloud Productions
Photos taken by Cloud Productions
(Baby Boy does not quite appreciate his sister's affections)
Photos taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photos taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
(Love the impromptu look of this picture!)

We moved on to the Flower Dome next and loved how the photos looked as well =)

Photos taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
(it was really hard to take a solo picture of a very active baby boy though props to the photographer for trying!)
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
(You can see that the boy is starting to get tired)
Photos taken by Cloud Productions
(Girl likes to show off her signature angry glare) 
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Photo taken by Cloud Productions
(Girl and I look alike don't we? *grin*)

If you think the background looks like a storybook, that's because it is! The theme for this season is nursery rhymes, ranging from Humpty Dumpty to The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe! Gardens by the Bay never fails to provide the perfect back drop for photos =)

We also wanted to take photos of just the two of us even though it was an almost impossible task! We had to allow the sister to watch the brother momentarily and this proved to be quite a challenge. We were smiling and looking at the camera but I was half looking at my kids from the corner of my eye to make sure that they are ok (job hazards of a mum haha).

Photos taken by Cloud Productions
(Love how they turned out!)

Here's a little behind-the-scenes look of the photoshoot:

Photo taken by Cloud Productions
Behind the scenes look at our photographer Irene in action =)

Overall I'm pleased with how the photos turned out! Irene captured the close-up shots that I had requested as well as beautiful individual shots of the kids, even though it was quite challenging!

The nice thing about Cloud Productions is that their prices includes all soft copies and edits! You don't have to pick and choose a few or pay extra for soft copies like we had to do with a previous company. One price and that's it :D

Cloud Productions Rate Card

Promotional Discount for Our Readers:

Cloud Productions is offering 10% Cashback Discount for our readers. All you have to do is provide them with this promocode "#PSYMUM" to enjoy 10% off! Booking will be confirmed upon full payment of deposit for this promotion. The date of the photoshoot must also be before 31st September 2015.

For those of you who like to dress in family matchy-matchy outfits like us, there's also a Family Photoshoot Promotion happening right now where you'd receive matchy-matchy t-shirts to wear for your photoshoot.

For more details on Cloud Productions and their photography packages, do follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Disclosure: A complimentary 120-minute outdoor photography session was received from Cloud Productions Singapore for the purposes of this review. Waiver of commercial photography charges and complimentary media passes were also received from Gardens by the Bay Singapore for this photoshoot. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.
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