January 30, 2011

Bella is 1

It was a rainy, rainy day. Went for mass in the morning, followed by lunch at City Hall's Sushi Tei. Wendy was off so we had to fend for ourselves and that's always a challenge when it comes to meal times but we lived!

Despite the gloomy weather, we drove all the way to Changi to attend Adrienne's grand-daughter's 1st birthday. Isabella turned 1 on 23 Jan but she was already walking at 9 months! She can even do the actions for Ring-Around-The-Rosy, thanks to attending Growing Up Gifted! Nick was impressed and wondered if we were slack parents by not sending the girls to all sorts of enrichment classes but I disagreed.

Most of the kids were playing in one room and we holed ourselves up there to feed Sasha and then Nat. Nat took a while to warm up but eventually managed to play a bit with Caitlin, who was a bundle of energy! They even posed for a photo together looking like best friends, when they've only met twice I think!

January 29, 2011

Natalie's Beary Special 3rd Birthday party

Today was Nat's party day and I would like to thank everyone who made it and for the lovely pressies too. We had nearly 100% attendance from the RSVPs except for Kaelash and Nick Jr, and that's without me sending any reminders!

The theme was Care Bears and the venue the Children's Playroom at The Grassroots Club. Out of all the characters that Nat is into i.e. Hi-5, Strawberry Shortcake, Dora, she insisted on a Care Bear party months ago and never swayed from it, so I ordered a bunch of party decorations online and started hunting for a venue.

I had seen pictures of the Grassroots Club playroom some time ago and KIV-ed it for future events as it was inexpensive to rent. And when I made an enquiry for today's date and time, it was surprisingly available.

A few Sundays ago Nick and I went to check it out when we were at Amah's house but unfortunately the place was locked and we had not made any appointment. After asking the security guard all sorts of questions about the interior, she relented and let us have a peep.

From the website I couldn't tell what was on the walls, but once we stepped in, I knew I had to have the party there, there were Care Bear murals all over! Perfect for our theme!

The next day I tried to confirm my reservation but was told there was a tentative booking ahead of me and I would only find out the next day if the other person gave it up. The next available slot was 6 Feb lunchtime but I preferred to celebrate in advance and as luck would have it, I got my first choice slot! The only damper was that we had to order from one of their official caterers so I do apologize if the food was not great.

This was the invite created and here are some party pictures. I brought all of Nat's Care Bear stuffed toys to decorate!

Nat is in a fashionista phase, insisting on choosing her outfits even when they don't match and you can't cajole her into changing into something of your choice. I had a perfect rainbow striped dress to match the rainbow stripes/colours of the rainbow dress code but she only relented to wear it after the cake-cutting.

The cake was from Prima Deli, opted for fresh cream with vanilla sponge and blueberry filling. I made some extra cupcakes and stuck Care Bear cutouts in them.

We lit the candles several times because the kids had fun blowing them out, thereafter Nat stuck her fingers in the icing and merrily licked her fingers.

I had planned some games but the kids were happy enough exploring the indoor playground so they were scrapped and it was pretty much free and easy.

The Govinden boys were so rowdy and even beat up some of my guests i.e. Debra's elder sons all in the name of play, so paiseh. Such a stark contrast, both are sets of 3 brothers but the Tan boys are sooooo well-behaved!

As we were leaving, Nick accidentally left a bag of presents on the carpark pavement and had to go back all the way after realizing when we reached home. Luckily no one had swiped them!

Nat enjoyed opening her presents and thinks her birthday is over. I told her her birthday is next Friday and she rolled her eyes and was like, "No, my birthday is over already. The party is finished!"

January 28, 2011

Old School

A productive day indeed!

Spent the morning checking out pre-schools for Nat and Gigi. Kevin, Swana and took leave so we could bring Nat and Gigi with us and let them get a feel of what's coming their way. By Singapore standards, we are way behind, most kids born in 2008 would have registered last year and started in the January intake but we only aim to start in March and are only now just deciding on a school.

The first place we went to was at Tiong Bahru CC that caters mainly to expat Japanese and Korean kids. We were quite keen on the timetable they had, classes incorporated yoga, art, violin etc.

For some reason, my ninny sister thought the fee was $850 per term of 10 weeks but when we got there, we found out it was per MONTH! And no MCYS subsidies so we'd have to fork out that amount ourselves. Bus fee started from $185 for 2-ways, for the shortest distance...daylight robbery, the girls might as well cab to school!

But it wasn't so much the cost that put us off, but the space that the classes were conducted. All the different classes and age groups shared a large hall, separated only by low partitions and cabinets so it was quite noisy, everyone competing to be heard - that's 100 kids! Didn't see how the girls would be able to learn anything in that kind of environment, they are so easily distracted. Plus the eating area and water play area all looked very makeshift.

Next up was mine and Swana's old kindergarten, it's still there after all these years. Took us a while to find the admin office but the receptionist kindly showed us around. What a world of difference compared to the first school.

The classrooms were all bright, cheerful and airy, some greenery if you look out the windows. Playground was nice and big, kids looked docile, facilities in general very well-maintained and the fees reasonable at $170 a month. The uniform is blue, back in our day we had red checks. When Swana asked what happened to the red check uniform, the receptionist was surprised that we knew of it and said it was really really old. Ha, it's been 27 years since I attended kindergarten!

Last stop was a school located at SGH, guess it caters to a lot of doctors and nurses. We were not impressed when we stepped through the entrance though. Not only was it stuffy, the brown tinted windows made the place depressing, the playground was run down and mounted on sand which Gigi hates, and anyway they were full and we'd have to join the long queue.

So it looks like Gigi and Nat will attend the same kindergarten we did, except they're starting much earlier at the pre-nursery level. Only drawback is that morning slots are not available so the girls would have to forgo their afternoon naps but we much preferred it to the first school. Just need to sort out the forms!

After the kids napped, I went to get my hair done ahead of CNY. Spent nearly 4hrs on the chair, getting it cut and highlighted and hair masked. Came across an article about cosmetic treatments for losing weight, ultrasound lipolysis sounds like something I should do! Non-invasive and effective for problem areas like the tummy.

Nick came to pick me up and we proceed to have dinner with the dopes at Tiong Bahru market. Mmmm, had my favourite Hong Heng hokkien mee.

Am now waiting for my cupcakes to be ready, making a batch for Nat's 3rd birthday party tomorrow, bought Care Bear thingamajigs to stick in them. Hope everything goes smoothly!

January 27, 2011

Valentino Retrospective

Was on leave today and brought Nat to the market on the way to Membina. She helped to choose some french beans, but at one point she scrunched her nose and asked, "What's that smell??"

Swana was on leave too, she had a driving lesson in the morning and then we met for lunch at Vivo. She found me at Forever 21, I caved and bought a jumpsuit and a one-shoulder butterfly print top. Yesterday I bought a pair of black capris, a polo tee and shorts from Giordano. So much for new year resolutions! But then again, my resolution was to buy less dresses and so far I've only bought one this year.

Speaking of dresses, one hundred haute couture gowns by Valentino are currently on display at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Rachel, Swana and I went to check them out in the afternoon. I'd never been to RWS till today, so suaku! We almost couldn't find our way to the convention centre from the massive carpark, but a kind employee showed us the way.

The dresses were exquisite and some of the designs quite timeless, they would not look out of place in 1970 or 2010. Sophisticated silhouettes, rich fabrics and intricate embroideries...the frocks were pieces of art with plenty of attention to detail.

You know I love blue floral prints and this was one of my favourites from the display.

There were a few Valentino signature red gowns, a number of gowns made famous by celebrities, including the one Julia Roberts' picked up her Oscar in. The lights were rather dim to protect the gowns and I was so glad for the low light function on my camera. Valentino was a master couturier, I wish there were more such fashion exhibits from other designers i.e. Givenchy, Chanel, YSL...

We were done within an hour and did a quick walkabout of the rest of the resort. A steady stream of heartlanders headed in and out of the casino, and we went up a 'drama' series of escalators to check out the Hard Rock Hotel and some of the retail shops.

Saw the Victoria's Secret store - very disappointing. I'd heard it was small but 80% of the merchandise appeared to be toiletries, what's the point?

We checked out the Rang Mahal, they were preparing for a private event and I enquired about corporate bookings. Pretty swish inside, and can take up to 130 guests.

Rachel followed us to Membina where the kids had just woken up from their naps. We took Nat and Gigi to check out Tiong Bahru Park, there was a big playground and the pond was a bonus. They do love their bubbles!

January 23, 2011

Diya's Day Out

Went for mass at the cathedral this morning and a little ang moh girl came over to make friends with Sasha. Her name was Costine and she's 5.5yrs and part of a set of twins.

She was volunteering all sorts of information about herself that her mother reprimanded her at one point! So innocent and sweet, she loved babies and Sasha kept reaching out to touch her blonde hair. Am sure we'll see her again one day.

Towards the end of mass I brought Nat outside because she wanted to see the flowers, managed to snap some photos of her. Went to Orchard for a bit thereafter but Nick didn't buy any Chinese New Year clothes.

Ajen and Vim had a little celebration this evening to present Diya to the world, she's just over 6 weeks old now and she has such curly hair. The party was held at Vim's parents' house in Siglap which had ample space, courtesy of the garden and driveway. Loved the little touches that Vim's sister Jay and friends added i.e. centerpieces and lanterns.

There was a cupcake stand and food was catered from Sakunthala's...yum.

The Spicy Girls were there in full force, but everyone arrived at different times so no group picture. When Gigi arrived, she happened to walk past the neighbour's house where there was a huge dog. It barked loudly and suddenly at her, poor girl was scared to bits and I'm sure this is the beginning of a dog phobia.

Riley worked Aunty Gowrie's clip-on earrings which matched her tube dress perfectly and Ajen was spotted doing his daddy duties, feeding Diya on the old-fashioned swing. Wish we could have stayed longer, Jayna arrived just as we were leaving but dinner at AMK beckoned.

We'll see everyone soon enough, just under a week to Nat's Care Bear-themed 3rd birthday party!