25 June 2014

Memories @ The Bottle Tree Park

Have you ever seen a Bottle Tree? 
         A tree which looks like a bottle?
                  Yes! No kidding.
                             Here is the evidence....

The unique Bottle Tree.
Bottle Tree is also known as Brachychiton Rupestris, native of Queensland. It can grow as high as 12 meter and has a distinctive "Bottle Like" swollen trunk. It can also be found in our homeland Singapore at The Bottle Tree Park.

We have heard about the closure of Bottle Tree Park. This one of its kind attraction will be closed by end of next month. Read here for more details. We are sadden to hear this news. In this post, we hope to display a recollection of our best memories about this park.

The main building which houses the restaurants.
The Bottle Tree Park is situated at a peaceful corner of Yishun. It is a beautiful sanctuary boasting a restaurant, a fishing pond, kampung style buildings, mini-zoo, an obstacle course, paintball field and more!  

A view overlooking the pond. MRT train track at the background.
The first picture which we took when we were here was definitely with the huge Bottle Tree.

Our memory with the huge Bottle Tree.
We were here for an evening walk, exploring the nature and enjoying the laid back atmosphere nestled in greenery.

Mummy Mae and Little Kye taking a walk on the path across the pond.
Visitors should not missed out this figurine of buffaloes pulling a cart. This is used to be called as "Bullock Cart" back in my hometown. In the olden days when cars were uncommon, this was one of the traditional transportation mode.

The "Bullock Cart".
These were some of the kampung liked verandah overlooking the pond with full of water lillies.

Kampung liked verandah.
The water lillies pond.
Fishing seemed to be the main activity here.

The wide spacious pond.
The boys have also found their place in the park of course. 

The boys exploring the small playground.
Whee....! Down we go on the slide....!

The boys on the slide.
Little Kye got a treat to sit on the swing too!

Little Kye on a swing.
We ended the day with a simple dinner at The Bottle Tree Park Seafood Restaurant.

Mummy Mae and Kye at dinner.
For those who have not been there, this is the last chance to visit the park before it closes at the end of next month. Lastly, we dedicate this beautiful night view of the unique Bottle Tree to all our readers. We hope you will have a chance to capture some lovely memories with this magnificent tree. 

The Bottle Tree in the night.

Bottle Tree Park

Address81 Lorong Chencharu (Yishun), Singapore 769198


How to get there:

MRT: Take the North-South Line and alight at Khatib MRT station. It’s a 15-minute walk to Bottle Tree Park’s side entrance opposite Yishun Stadium.
CAR: Exit from SLE (Yishun). From Lentor Avenue, turn left into Yishun Avenue 1. At the traffic light, turn right towards Sembawang Road. Keep right, then turn into Lorong Chencharu. (Opposite Sembawang Country Club and Airbase.)
BUS: Alight at Yishun Avenue 2, opposite Yishun Stadium. Services 39, 85, 851, 852, 853, 854, 855, 857, 858, 965 and 969 stop there.

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19 June 2014

Behind The Scenes of FTWM/FTWP

I am a FTWM (Full Time Working Mother) and a parent to a pair of boys age 3 and 5. Ever wonder what it is like in the daily life of a FTWM? In this post, I will be sharing with you the secrets behind the scenes of my life being a FTWM, Ermmm… Or should I rephrase – the life of us as Full Time Working Parents. 

We are one small family living far away from the grandparents. We do not have a helper as we have decided that it is not the lifestyle which we want. We are very much dependent on full day child care services from Monday to Friday, 7am-7pm. Other time, both Daddy Pok and I are mainly the sole care givers. What made our family pull through each day without additional help is the tag team in between Mummy Mae and Daddy Pok. We are the super FTWP!

Having two boys age 3 and 5 are the most remarkable things which we have done in our lives! Remarkable? Oh yes! It is because the boys are very challenging at this stage but yet super-duper cheeky at times. We just can’t get enough of shouting, running, climbing, teasing, fighting, laughing etc…… Whatever it has got to do with male hormones, we have got it in our household! So, here goes the list of activities on our typical weekdays.

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13 June 2014

A Crabby Love Date@ Singapore Seafood Republic RWS

This is me. I am Mummy Mae!
I do not usually look like this, locks down and relax.......
I am at this nice, quiet, elegant dining place.
I am on a date.
Not a usual kind of date, but a Crabby Love Date.........
A Crabby Love Date with Daddy Pok at the Singapore Food Republic @ Resorts World Sentosa!

It has been ages since Daddy Pok and I had last sunk our teeth into sweet and juicy crab meat. Dining in peace is a heavenly treat for us ever since we became parents. It was our anniversary again, ROM anniversary + Wedding anniversary + birthdays, all celebrations in one package :) . When we saw the deal on Groupon, we decided to go for a crabby adventure, a crabby quest which would satisfy our years of craving for seafood!

Singapore Seafood Republic @ Resorts World Sentosa
Singapore Seafood Republic is an iconic Seafood Restaurant chain which consist of 4 famous seafood restaurants in Singapore. It is a collaboration in between Jumbo Seafood, Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant, Tung Lok Seafood and The Seafood International Market and Restaurant. The menu takes in the best signature dishes from all 4 restaurants so that the customers like us would not need to crack our heads in choosing which restaurant to go to!

Ambience and Service
We were there on a weekday lunch. The restaurant was quiet as to our expectation. The interior settings looked white, clean and bright. We were served by a friendly staff and he was patient enough to answer our queries on the dishes. He recommended ideas and dishes when we were indecisive on our selection. In addition to the table service, a lime water was provided at each table for customers to clean their hands before and after the meal. We were also given aprons when we feasted on the crabs. Overall, we did mark our experience as 8/10.

The sexy man with apron savoring on the crabby dishes.

#1 Dish of The Day : The Award Winning Chilli Crab 

The Award Winning Chilli Crab

Fried Mantou.
This is a dish which we can never miss out when we are on our crabby quest - the Award Winning Chilli Crab by Jumbo Seafood. The thick spicy and tangy gravy is very appetizing and it make us want to have more. We ordered merely 5 fried mantou to go with the gravy. Well fret not, because we could even lick the pot on its own even without the buns! The only drawback for this dish is that our crabs were not exceptionally big. We have got just the average size of pincers and bodies. 
Price : $54.40 (Price varies based on weight of the crab and subjected to seasonal price)
Our Rating : 9/10

#2 Dish of The Day : Steamed Bamboo Clams with Minced Garlic 

Bamboo Clams

This dish was not planned, it was a coincidental request. We were told that fresh bamboo clams has just arrived that day and we gave it a shot. We have no regrets on this impromptu order as the clams were remarkably fresh! It was served in oriental style, steamed with glass noodles and minced garlic. The simplicity brought out the utmost freshness of the bamboo clams. It had to be served warm and eaten before it turns cold. The texture of clams were springy and super duper "QQ". We love this dish very much!
Price : $16 per clam
Our Rating : 8.5/10

#3 Dish of The Day : Award Winning Salted Egg Golden Prawns

Golden Prawn with Salted Egg.
Another award winning dish on our list - Golden Prawn with Salted Eggs. The prawns were deep fried till golden and crunchy while coated in salted egg sauce. This is a great dish for salted egg lovers. The first bite was an unforgettable experience as it was full of aromatic sandy salted egg. However, overdoses of these golden prawns left us feeling somewhat surfeit.
Price : $24.00
Our Rating : 8/10

#4 Dish of The Day : Black Pepper Crab 

Black Pepper Crab.

The fierce looking pincers awaiting for its conqueror.......
Another Crab dish? Oh Yes! We have not forgotten that we were on our crabby quest. We ordered another crab dish but prepared in a different way - in Black Pepper. We were slightly disappointed at this dish as it was rather salty for our taste buds. Nevertheless, the pungent black pepper brought out a flavorful burst of fragrance.
Price : $54.40 (Price varies based on weight of the crab and subjected to seasonal price)
Our Rating : 7/10

#5 Dish of The Day : Lamb Chop with Black Pepper

Black Pepper Lamb Chop
This dish serves as a good break from the astounding array of seafood dishes. Daddy Pok requested for a meat dish and we settled with this lamb chop. We did not set high hopes. We were glad that the dish turn out exceptionally appealing. The meat was soft, succulent and juicy, undoubtedly delicious with the tasty black pepper sauce. 
Price : $32.00
Our Rating : 8/10

Desserts and Drinks

The Groupon voucher which we purchased summed up to $300 worth of expenditure. So, we had to order a few drinks and desserts in order to meet that amount. We played by the ear and these were the few orders which we placed.

1.) Papaya with Coconut Pudding, $7.00
- This was a good one. The coconut milk pudding was fragrant enough and blended well with the small papaya. It was light and refreshing. It is worth a try!

Papaya with Coconut Pudding
2.) Chilled Honey Dew Sago, $5.00
- I did not expect to see a colorful combination of serving. I did thought it was the green honey dew served with smooth and creamy sauce. I had to hold back my expectations to explore this new presentation. Apparently, the orange honey dew was use, served in crushed ice and topped with colorful "tadpole-liked" sago. The drizzle of coconut milk on this dessert did add on some dimension to the sweetness. 

Chilled Honey Dew Sago
3.) Pina Colada, $13.80
- A sensational alcohol drink for the day. This cocktail is made with rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice, garnished with maraschino cherry and a slice of orange. It was a delightful drink good enough to entice the "Romantique" atmosphere. 

Pina Colada
4.) Fruit Punch, $7.00
- A mixture of different juices which turn out to be a great combination to quench the thirst of the well-fed customers.

Fruit Punch
5.) Ice Coffee, $7.80
- Nothing quite special except they needed some time to brew the coffee and turn out to be very much like Kopi-O-bing.

Ice Coffee
We are one pair of crabby lovers who left the dining with tummy full and cravings satisfied. Mission accomplished!

Singapore Seafood Republic

26 Sentosa Gateway #01-292
Waterfront, Resorts World Sentosa
Singapore 098138

Tel : 6265 6777
Fax : 6515 8859

Lunch : 12.00pm-3.00pm (Last order at 2.15pm)

Dinner : 
Monday to Friday : 6.00pm-11.30pm (Last order at 10.30pm)
Sat, Sun & PH : 5.30pm-11.30pm

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4 June 2014

A Visit to Chinese Garden

When we heard that Chinese Garden will be undergoing a major uplifting makeover, we decided to plan for a trip there. During our 7 years stay here in Singapore, we have not been to the Chinese Garden. We heard about this place and have seen beautiful pictures about it, but yet it remains as one of the attractions in our to-go list. 

During the weekends before Mummy Mae left for business trip, Daddy Pok suggested that we have got to go the Chinese Garden! If not, we would have to wait till the makeover completes. At least, a visit for now would benefit us in appreciating the before and after the makeover process.

The iconic Twin Pagodas of Chinese Garden.
The Chinese Garden is located at Jurong, west of Singapore. It was built in 1975 and designed by a well-known Taiwanese architect, Prof Yuen-Chen Yu. The architectural and landscaping styles reminiscent of the Sung Dynasty period. This park is now managed by JTC Corporation and it serves as a peaceful refuge for the nearby residents.
The boys looking at the map of Chinese Garden.

It was exceptional quiet on a weekend morning. There were just a handful of visitors, and a group of teenagers who were there for a photography session. The garden was well kept and clean. Unfortunately, we find that there were not enough trees and shades. We did thought that this maybe a factor which may warded off potential visitors. 

We started our journey from the West Main Entrance. Peeping through the entrance hole was a magnificent bridge connecting to the Garden Courtyard.

Main Entrance of Chinese Garden.
This wide spatious bridge is named as the White Rainbow Bridge. When we walked past the bridge, I had to reassure Little Kye that there was no grumpy old troll hiding under the bridge. Oops.. a sign of overdose watching Dora The Explorer! 

The White Rainbow Bridge.
Across the bridge is the Garden Courtyard building. It has two flights of majestic stairs enclosing a marble plague of commemoration. This is a very typical design in a Chinese Architecture. It reminds us of the great stairs in the Forbidden City in China.

Garden Courtyard.
At this point of junction, we took a left turn and headed towards the Twin Pagodas. We felt somewhat adventurous and challenged the boys to climb one of the pagodas. We only made it to the second level. Feeling wobbly we headed back down to the ground! Parents with young children would want to pay extra attention when going up the pagodas as the stairs were steep and the barriers at the balcony were shorter than usual. 

The Twin Pagodas.

Getting ready to conquer the pagoda.

The spiral stairs leading up the pagoda.
After that, we walked along the outer path all the way towards the east entrance where the Eight Heroes and the Seven Storey Pagoda were located. 

The Seven Storey Pagoda.

The Eight Heroes. Are you able to recognize them?
We then continued our journey towards the Garden of Abundance. This garden featured many stone carvings depicting the twelve zodiac animal signs represented in the chinese culture. The Bonsai Garden was partially closed as we saw signs of makeover starting to take place.

Left to Garden of Abundance; Right to Bonsai Garden.

The 12 animal zodiac statues. Which is yours?

We also discovered some special monuments, like the Sundial and The Bridge of Romance.

The Sundial.
The Bridge Of Romance.
From an honest point of view, the boys were starting to feel bored. We were so far away from the entrance. What's more...... we took the wrong turn and headed for another bridge. It brought us even further towards the Japanese Garden! Fortunately, a group of local community was having a dance gathering and the blasting music kept the boys entertained for quite awhile. 

Some picturesque sights at the Japanese Garden.
The big wide bridge connecting in between the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden.

The name of bridge - Shuang Xiu Qiao.
Rocky passage across a tiny stream.

The iconic view of the Japanese Garden.
A lake with full of water lilies.

A trip to Chinese Garden would not be completed without having a visit to the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. It was the only reason which kept the boys going. 

The Tortoise Museum is located near the Garden Courtyard. It comprises a small garden with a great collection of turtle and tortoises. Please refer to their website for the list of exotic exhibits which they have in house. Some species were left roaming free around the area and visitors are allowed to feed the tortoises. Vann had a great time in feeding the tortoises while Kye preferred to keep a distance from the fierce munching mouths.

The entrance to the Tortoise Museum from the Garden Courtyard.
The Fishes Paradise.
Another entrance of the Tortoise Museum from the back of Garden Courtyard.
This is the small garden which houses free roaming tortoises.
Note that there were several tortoises roaming in the waters.
The aquariums which exhibits different species of turtles.
Yum Yum! Crunch Crunch!
Here comes the lot, fighting for the last snack!

Tortoise feeding time!

Overall, Chinese Garden serves as a good hideout for families who are looking for a quiet place to spend time together. The architectural buildings provide visitors a good source of Chinese Cultural appreciation and beautiful scenery to look at. We do hope that the upcoming makeover would give a whole new fresh look to the Chinese Garden. Last but not least, here are two photos showcasing the Stone Boat and Tea House Pavillion. We did not cover these attractions during our journey but Daddy Pok had beautifully taken these photos when he wandered off alone.

Tea House Pavillion.
The Stone Boat on the left.

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