Saturday, 11 March 2017

Melbourne II Day 1: South Yarra & Prahran Market

We took advantage of Emiratesspecial sale and booked a trip to Melbourne for just SGD640 per adult, SGD457.50 per child (much cheaper than our previous trip). As usual, we departed from Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 1.

All excited to depart from Terminal 1

I was less excited than the kids for this trip as we've been to Melbourne before. The boy was the most excited as he was only 1 year old when we visited Melbourne previously and couldn't remember any of it.

Clockwise from left: Excitedly watching the aeroplane;
The shiny Emirates logo of their new A380 plane;
The boy immediately started watching his favourite shows.
A group selfie before we departed
The new super wide HD screens! So awesome!
I managed to catch Trolls and La La Land on the way there
(and I watched Moana and Big Bang Theory on the way back)

Emirates also updated their kids meals, which were the cutest thing ever!!! *swoons*


Clockwise from left: Spaghetti with meatballs for the main meal with various snacks in the super cute snack box. My kids finished everything in the snack box!;
The side dish and dessert were less appealing to the kids;
My adult meal was so boring in comparison. Why can't we have the kids meal?!? *sad*

Our only complaint was the noise! On top of being seated right in front of the toilet and hearing the loud whoosh of the flush every few minutes, there was also the crying of toddlers who were seated around us (seems like they had grouped all the parents of young kids in the last cabin of the plane). The hubby and mum-in-law could not sleep at all on our red-eye flight!

Luckily for the girl and I, we were heavy sleepers who can sleep through the storm so we weren't as affected by the noise as the hubby and mum-in-law. The girl didn't even wake up until we had arrived at Melbourne! For me, it was the boy using me as a human bed (he didn't like the uncomfortable seat!) that caused me to be sleep-deprived! I was so exhausted by the time we arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL), approximately 7 hours and 10 minutes after our departure from Singapore.


As it was still early, we had breakfast at McDonald's before heading to the bus bay to wait for the mini bus that will take us to the car rental office. We had booked from the same rental company, Apex Car Rentals Australia, as our previous trip so you can read more details on where to wait for the mini bus and other information in my previous post.

This time, however, we rented a Mitsubishi Outlander instead of the Hyundai Imax since there were only 5 of us. The horsepower of the Mitsubishi Outlander was nothing like our powerful Azura the Forester but it was the best they had. We chose the package that had zero excess and had free GPS (although we ended up not using it as Goggle Maps was so much better!).

The white Mitsubishi Outlander that we rented

However, we had to pay a one-time fee of AUD12 per car seat this time (it was free previously). It is compulsory for all kids to ride in a car seat or booster until they are 12 years old or 145cm tall. Australia is very strict about this and failure to comply could mean a heavy fine or a void of your insurance in the event of an accident. This applies to Singapore as well although our law enforcement is not as consistent. It can be quite a squeeze for an adult to sit between 2 car seats so the nice thing about the Mitsubishi Outlander is that there is a third row of seats which you can pull up.

The total cost for renting the car for 8 days was SGD517.35, including rental of 1 car seat and 1 booster seat and e-tolls. The e-tolls reader is installed in every car and will automatically charge the tolls to your credit card each time you pass through a toll gate (very convenient!).

As we had an hour to kill before we could collect the apartment keys, we headed to our favourite Prahran Market to buy the ingredients for our meals for the next few days. We had loved Prahrah Market so much the last time we were here! The prawns from Prahran Seafood are really THE BEST!! So sweet and juicy! Yum!!! (See my previous post for more photos).

Our favourite stalls at Prahran:
Prahran Seafood (left) for fresh prawns, fish and oysters
and Cester's Poutry & Game for the best chicken kebabs.
Buy from Neil's Meats for the best Wagyu beef and pork! Sooo yummy!

According to our host, we needed to collect our keys from a self-collection box a few streets away from our apartment. If you don't have a car, I suggest not booking our apartment as it can be pretty inconvenient.

Followed the host's instructions and managed to find the very unassuming white box hidden in a corner
(lucky I've got sharp eyes!). You need to enter a password then press the green lighted button on the screen before the key is released.

We booked a different apartment from the previous trip but from the same host and in the same building, i.e. Vogue Apartments. We liked staying in this building previously so we wanted to stay here again.

Clockwise from left: Dining leads to the living room with full glass doors that lead to the balcony;
My rowdy kids climbing the sofa to get to the balcony;
There's a barbeque pit in the balcony if you ever want to have a BBQ.

There are no grills in the apartment so you have to be very careful with your younger kids who might climb up the chairs or table in the balcony and lean out of one of the open windows. I was very strict in not allowing my children to enter the balcony and making sure that my boy was supervised at all times (was not difficult as the apartment wasn't very big).

Living area with TV
The balcony near one of the rooms
The kids trying to enter the room from the balcony and getting a warning from me that they are not allowed to do it again for the rest of the trip
The first room with a queen bed, full wardrobe and air-conditioner
Second room with queen bed and full wardrobe but no air-conditioner. You have to switch on the air-conditioner in the living room and leave the door open otherwise there's no ventilation.
However, if you've got people in your group who's afraid of the cold, this room is perfect.
View of the living, dining, kitchen and main door
Very simple kitchen with basic appliances such as an oven, microwave, dish washer and toaster provided
Only one common toilet
The laundry cabinet which houses the washer-dryer and iron

The host does not provide the following so you'll have to bring from home or buy from the Woolworths downstairs if you need it:
  • Rice cooker (more details later)
  • Asian sauces
  • Spatula for frying
  • Garbage bags
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chilli
  • Cooking oil
  • Bedroom slippers
I had diligently collected all our unused bedroom slippers from the various hotels we stayed at previously for such a time as this!
Was so useful! =)

As you know, there are no toiletries provided except for the shampoo and bath so I've had to dig into my inventory of unused hotel toiletries that I've amassed during all of our trips. My collection has finally proved its worth! =)

There is also a pool on Level 2 of the building and you can see more photos of it in my previous post.

We had a simple lunch at a Shuji Sushi, a fusion Japanese restaurant at the ground level of our apartment. It was affordable but don't expect authenticity or quality.

Shuji Sushi

After lunch, we did some shopping at Big W and Woolsworth, which were also conveniently located in the same building as our apartment. They were so convenient that we shopped there almost every day!

I got these light up letters from Big W for AUD10 each for my sister's upcoming wedding
More wedding decoration I bought from Big W for my sister's wedding

The hubby also found a portable dual-screen car DVD player with two headphones and a remote control for just AUD159! The kids love it!


If your kids are angsty in Woolworths, there is free fruit for all kids to munch on as the parents shop!

My boy eating the banana he got from the basket of free fruits

Finally, we ended the day with Chef Grandma's homecooked dinner, made out of the ingredients that we had bought from Prahran Market and Woolworths =)

We bought this rice cooker at Woolworths during our previous trip 2 years ago for AUD20 and used it to cook rice and steam fish for both trips. It was bought in Australia so we didn't even need a universal plug =)
Our chicken with carrots soup, vegetables with seafood, fish, garlic prawns and mix brown rice for dinner! So yummy!
The super tasty chicken kebab from Cester's Poutry and Game, best eaten with Nando's sauce *grin*

It was a long day for all of us so we slept super early! Looking forward to more adventures as we go along =)


Continue to >> Melbourne II Day 2: Naturipe Fruits Picking & DFO Essendon


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Download our Melbourne Itinerary 2017 Printable 
(PDF to be added when this series has been completed)
OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Melbourne, Australia 
as well as other travel itineraries!


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Animal Corner at Farmart Centre

Ever since we moved to House of KMJ in the West, we've always wanted to visit the farms at Lim Chu Kang before they are no more (so sad!).

Most of the farms were closed during the Chinese New Year long weekend so we visited one of the few that were opened on Day 4 of the lunar new year: Farmart Centre.

Welcome to Farmart Centre
(Address: 67 Sungei Tengah Road, 699008)

It's really near to our current home, only 15 minutes away! You can do a number of things there including prawning but we were there to visit the Animal Corner.

Animal Corner
Operation hours placed at the entrance
My girl was excited to see the animals but does not  want to be anywhere near them
The only thing I think about when I see bull frogs is "YUM!" Sorry, I'm a true blue carnivore.
Turtles or terrapins? I can't tell the difference!

Admission to Animal Corner is free but you should buy a basket of animal feed to support the farm.

We bought a basket of assorted animal feed for $5

We started with feeding the catfish in the pond.

Probably the only animal that the girl was not afraid of (-_-"). The kids loved throwing the fish food into the pond =)
Those were some super hungry catfish!

Next were the adorable rabbits.

Information about the rabbits on the board, including a warning not to abandon your pets (please be a responsible pet owner!)
My boy was more than happy to feed the rabbits while my girl required a lot more coaxing
Feeding vegetables instead of solely carrots because carrots are not very good for rabbits

We also fed the parrots and by we, I meant the hubby and mum-in-law. The kids were too scared to put their little fingers near to the parrots' sharp beak.

Feeding the adorable parrots
This one can dance and sing for a treat! Super duper cute!

The highlight was feeding the very hungry and extremely ADHD enthusiastic goats!

Hubby feeding one of the goats
They'll do anything to reach their heads to the vegetable that you hold in your hand!

My boy loves feeding the goats!



YUUMMM!!
My girl was more apprehensive, standing way too far away...

If you stay in the West, forget about visiting the Animal Resort in Seletar when there are plenty of farms in the West! We'll be visiting as many as we can this year so watch this space! =)


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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!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

My Little Giant at Big Box

Chinese New Year this year was a long weekend so we brought the kids to Big Box to expend their boundless energy at My Little Giant. It's an indoor playground and arcade rolled into one!

My Little Giant at Big Box

Playpark Entry to the indoor playground and Play Value for the arcade rides/games are charged separately, although there are packages that allow you to buy them together.

The counter at My Little Giant

They were having a promotion of free $8 Play Value with every purchase of a Playpark Entry! The Playpark Entry costs $25 for child 3-16 years old and $15 for child below 3 years old (1 accompanying adult enters for free per child, additional adult is $4).

Your Playpark Entry and Play Value are stored in a Play Card, which also stores your credits that you've obtained at the arcade games. As with all arcades, you can exchange your credits for prizes.

The kids can't wait to play at the playground so we headed there first. Socks is a must for both adults and children so don't forget to bring yours.

Bouncy Castle greets you as you enter the indoor playground
The base of the play structure has many rocking houses and ridable toy cars

No play structure is complete without a huge ball pit!

The kids can't wait to climb to the middle level of the play structure
(look at my boy's super excited expression!)


Spacious enough to fit a lot of kids
Ball shooting area
(where exactly is the target though?)

The thing that impressed me about this play structure is the sheer number of slides! There are altogether SIX different slides within this play structure; the kids slide down the slides to get from one level to the other instead of climbing.

Four slides to get you from the upper level to the middle level
There's a tunnel slide too if the four slides are not your thing
(take note that if adults go in the slide might crack so don't do it!)
Super duper long orange slide from the upper level to the ground.
Both my kids and I loved it!
The transparent parts of the slide also help to assure kids who are afraid of dark tunnels.

But the most popular was the biggest and steepest slide!

There are warning signs at the top of the slide

Do note that adults and kids younger than 3 should NOT be attempting this and if you do, you do so at your own risk. I've personally witnessed adults complaining of backache, neckache, bum pain and abrasion after sliding down the slide. I also witnessed a few of the younger ones do a somersault as they slide down and hit their head at the end of the slide simply because they were too small and light.

Having said that, let my boy, the adrenalin-but-super-low-risk-junkie, show you how it's done:


Pretty clever right? I hardly ever need to watch over him at playgrounds ever since he turned two because he just knows what to do.

In contrast, his ultra-anxious sister required a lot more coaxing from me before she attempted the slide! *sigh*

The kids enjoyed this playground so much that they played for about 3 hours straight.

By the way, this structure is not just for show. It houses a ladder for the kids to climb up and down between the levels =)

Finally, the hubby and I couldn't ignore our grumbling stomachs any more and we dragged the kids to the food court for lunch.

The nice thing about My Little Giant is that they allowed you to enter and exit the playground freely as often as you like as long as you're wearing your wristbands. You are not forced to eat over-priced and sometimes not very appetizing food at the in-house cafe of most indoor playgrounds. You can eat whatever you like and come back when you're done. This is great for parents like us who aren't able to sit the whole day in the playground without wanting to eat or shop nearby.

A summary of our day:
  • Arrived at 11am, kids played for 3 hours
  • Had lunch at the food court
  • Went back to play for 2 hours
  • Went shopping and had dinner at JEM
  • Went back to play for around 2 hours

The kids played for 7 hours in total, super worth it for the price we paid! =)

You can even pop by the departmental store next door while keeping an eye on your kids if you just need to get some shopping out of your system.

We used our Play Value mostly on kiddy rides and games at the arcade. There was a carousel and train ride but we didn't get to sit them because no one was manning the rides when we wanted to ride.

Typical arcade games
Aeroplanes go round and round
(more worth it if all four planes were filled)
This water shooting game is very value for money! The game went on for about 10 minutes while the kids shot at the creatures.
The train is finally operational but sadly, we ran out of Play Value

We left Big Box at 8.30pm, a big accomplishment for my family considering that the hubby tended to get bored easily and want to leave. The kids were so exhausted, they were asleep rather early and we could enjoy the rest of our night in peace =D


~~~~~

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!
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