Short trip to Hong Kong where I ate loads!

Just back from a 4D/3N trip and I already feel broke despite not buying loads. Hehe.. This pic really says it all.

It’s been years since I last stepped into Hong Kong. While I love it for the shopping and the food, but there are things that I don’t particularly like about the city. It’s noisy, jam-packed with people who do not have an idea of personal space and the feeling I usually get out of the holiday is that I need another holiday. The decision to pick Hong Kong as a destination for a short getaway with the cousin was because it was one of the first trips we had ever done as young adults with limited finances and we thought it would be nice to revisit the city again (now that we are much older).  The idea of a kid-free vacation also sounded extremely enticing and I think that Hong Kong is one of those places where bringing young children can be somewhat logistically challenging. I believe if Bubba is slightly older, this will be a place I will definitely like to bring her.

We took the almost first flight out of Singapore (7.30am+) and landed in Hong Kong just before noon. As we were traveling during the school holiday season (considered to be peak period for travel), we settled on a reasonably-priced accommodation for our hotel. The reviews on Nathan Hotel on Booking.com as well as Trip Advisor were rather balanced, and the pricing quoted seemed fair, so I decided to book us a room there. It didn’t disappoint for it looked fairly new and the room was clean plus wide. It was about a 5-7 minute walk from Jordan MTR Station. After securing an early check-in and a quick shower, we headed out to Tsui Wah (a 2 minute walk from our hotel) for some Yuen Yang (coffee and milk tea combo) and some condensed milk buns.

Now, lemme document my food journey with what we ate in Hong Kong despite the short time there. Well, because, there’s only so much you can do in Hong Kong with a fellow girl-friend (in my case, my cousin), and eating plus shopping have got to be the things to do!

After a spot of shopping at Causeway Bay (didn’t buy much), we ended up at Yum Cha @ Central for dinner. The restaurant was a recommendation by Libby as yours truly here didn’t get round to planning our food itinerary for the trip. Was simply too tired to do anything after work and caring for the toddler. So Thank You Libby! 🙂

It’s good to know that Dim Sum can be enjoyed throughout the day over at Yum Cha as they serve authentic Chinese food coupled with vibrant modern presentations. They champion traditional Chinese recipes and flavours, but present them in a pleasing and contemporary way that both locals and travelers can appreciate.

Indeed! The presentation for some of the dishes were really quite eye-catching with flavours that were also memorable. Take for instance this pretty baked pineapple tart in the form of little birds presented in a cage. This is best eaten warm for the tart was crumbly soft and the pineapple filling still warm.

Of course, the winner of the evening that had our sides almost splitting was these steamed custard ‘alien’ buns. We had a blast just ‘pinching’ the buns to see the silky custard liquid flow out of the buns.

We went on a late night supper food trail after Disneyland on Sunday night. The cousin insisted on checking out a bigger Tsui Wah, so we went to a slightly bigger one at Tsim Sha Tsui where we filled our bellies with curry brisket rice and braised chicken wings. Washed our sinful supper down with some ice-cold lemon tea which was really refreshing.  Was hoping to walk off dinner for a bit and just a street down from Tsui Wah, the cousin spotted this small restaurant that served our fave Oyster and Minced Pork Porridge. Even though we were kinda stuffed, we knew this was pretty difficult to find back home, so we decided to stuff our faces further with more food!

On our third day in Hong Kong, we reserved it specially for sussing out of food stalls over at Central. The cousin said that she will not leave Hong Kong without heading for her fave curry beef brisket hor fun at Kau Kee. To be honest, I didn’t even know what to expect until I googled and found out that Kau Kee 九記牛腩 is actually a famous restaurant on Gough Street in Central, Hong Kong.

Be prepared to queue if you are planning to sink your teeth into tender beef tendon best eaten with curry. This was really delicious and just looking at the picture is making my mouth water. Even though the queues are long, it does move quite fast as seats are rather limited and the place is quite tight so people tend to eat quickly and then leave after paying.

With all the rage about Tai Cheong egg tarts in Singapore where the queues are horrendously long just for the egg tarts, I was just glad that there was nothing of this sort over at the Central brunch. In fact, there was no queue at all! We simply walked in to order our egg tarts (had to have one each) plus a Century Egg Puff Pastry (Pei Dan Shou) to share. The egg tart served and eaten warm was soooo good. The egg custard was silky smooth and the pastry was buttery and crumbly. The super under-rated Century Egg Puff Pastry is now my fave. The taste is really quite special for I don’t recall eating anything like this. In the middle of the sweet pastry tart was actually half a century egg nestled in it. When I bit into the pastry, the exterior flaky crust crumbled and in my mouth, there was something sweet and then the taste of the century egg all mashed into one. Okay, I’m probably not describing it rightly here and the taste may not be for the faint-hearted but if you are at least a century egg eater, this pastry, you’ve gotta at least give it a try!

And on the last day just before we left Hong Kong, we discovered that our hotel was actually within walking distance of Australian Diary Company. So we brave the rain and walked out for some traditional breakfast – Hong Kong styled – before heading to the airport.

Australia Dairy Company is a traditional Hong Kong restaurant, cha chaan teng, in Jordan, Hong Kong, specialising in steamed milk pudding, scrambled eggs, toast and custard dishes. I wanted to try out the steamed milk pudding but the cousin wasn’t too keen so in the end, we went for the breakfast set menu which comprised of macaroni with shredded ham, scrambled eggs and butter toast. The scrambled eggs were actually pretty good, creamy and buttery when eaten with the toast. Of course, the atmosphere was also quite special. Think of it as grumpy servers who were rush you for your order the moment that you are seated and practically chase you out of their doors once they see that you are almost done. It was quite an experience!

Portions run huge here so if you have a raging appetite, order one set each. Else, would encourage you to share the set meal and save your tummy for this corn beef sandwich. I think it’s a rare find as one would hardly see corn beef stuff on the menu.

And that concludes our little getaway to Hong Kong with my cousin, our third time to Hong Kong together I think and it’s actually kinda special because we went up together when I was in my 20s then! I hope to share this little upcycling project that we did in Hong Kong plus an all-girls trip to Disneyland without the kid. I know… call me crazy Disney Junkie!

Next up, Tokyo in just a couple of days with the Little Bow Family! CANNOT WAIT!!!

 

Unleashing our creativity with PLAY-DOH

So Bubba has been away from school for nearly a week now. She’s on the road to recovery and we reckon that she can be in school by Friday but for good measure, we decided to just keep her at home. I must add that it is kinda tiring to keep her at home and try to keep her little mind plus hands occupied. She’s usually all over the place, flitting from one corner to the next or from one activity to the next. Like her dad, she hardly can sit still or have the attention span to follow-through an activity long enough for us to enjoy it.

We recently received the new range of Kitchen Creations sets from PLAY-DOH and I have to add that they sure came at the right time! We are no strangers to PLAY-DOH and we’ve acquired 2 sets of PLAY-DOH earlier on but these Kitchen Creations sets aren’t like the ones that we owned.

Bubba was beaming with joy when she laid her eyes on her new toys and begged me to open them so that she could get right into action and play with cooking. This is actually music to my ears, for sometimes keeping her at home only meant that she gets to spend a lot of time in front of the television. I’m really glad that the PLAY-DOH sets can steer her away from the black box for an hour or two. It’s great for bonding with her for I get to not only teach her what are the different fruits/ veggies and cutlery but also help her to put together her little menu. The best part? She gets to indulge in a little creativity, never mind that blue is the colour that she chose for the broccoli on her salad, and she gets to further fine-tune her motor skills through rolling, cutting and kneading of the dough.

Growing up, I used to beg my parents to get me my own PLAY-DOH set and when I got one, I remember I was over the moon. But I also recalled that the texture of the dough was somewhat sticky and the smell was really quite overpowering for me. This was decades ago! You must remember I’m old. So I’m really quite pleased that over the decades, the formula has vastly improved (the PLAY-DOH is non-toxic) and that it’s so much fun (minus the smell) for little ones. This is play and education all rolled into one! It’s not just fun for the toddlers but the parents can also jump on in on the fun and be part of the little one’s learning journey through creative play.

Just look at what we whipped up for our play-pretend dinner one evening with the Shape and Slice Kitchen Creation set!

With the March school holidays just round the corner and to celebrate the launch of the new Kitchen Creation, PLAY-DOH has organised a series of fun-filled and mind engaging workshops along with a PLAY-DOH Chef Junior Competition. The workshop will be held from 13th to 18th March at Parkway Parade Basement Atrium and the best creation of each day will then battle it out at the competition on Sunday with fantastic prizes (trip to Bali for a family of four, mall vouchers and PLAY-DOH hampers) to be won! You can participate in the PLAY-DOH workshop with a minimum spend of S$50 at Parkway Parade. Workshops are only for children between the age of 3 to 10 years only. The workshops run from Monday to Friday (13 – 17 Mar) from 2pm to 9pm and on Saturday (18 Mar) from 12pm to 9pm.
Lastly, there’s a S$150 PLAY-DOH hamper to be won for those budding mini Masterchefs in this photo-contest that PLAY-DOH is organising. To be in the running for this contest, simply take a photo of your child’s creation and post on your Facebook/ Instagram accounts along with these hashtags – #PlayDohChefJunior #PlayDohKitchenCreations. A total of three winners will be chosen. Note your Instagram or Facebook accounts must be public in order to stand a chance to win.
Thanks again to Hasbro Singapore and Crowd PR for sending the media kit to us. We definitely have fun with all these PLAY-DOH sets and it was the perfect companion during this period that Bubba is confined at home due to her HFMD.
Note : We received the Kitchen Creations PLAY-DOH sets as part of the Media Kit to share on our Instagram account. No additional monetary rewards were given.  I was not obligated to review this on my blog but we really think that the PLAY-DOH set is really fun and the upcoming activities would be interesting to our readers. All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using this product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

The dreaded Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease

The bub is sick again!

We had been a little edgy the last two days as her classmate was down with the dreaded Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease (HFMD) otherwise known as the no-meaning disease where there is no vaccine and the body doesn’t build immunity against the disease after getting it. There are many strains to HFMD and if you are down with it, you gain immunity from the strain of HFMD that you caught but that doesn’t stop you from getting it again.

This time she’s down with a fever and a throat infection (we had hoped) which was later diagnosed as HFMD.  HFMD brings a lot of discomfort to the child and worse, adults are not spared and adults get it a lot worse. So, every time we get an email from the school with the subject : HFMD, I pray that it’s not anyone from her class who caught it.

So when the helper sent a text to say that the Bub was running a fever of 38 degrees on Friday, my heart sank a little and had hoped that she wouldn’t catch the dreaded HFMD. I guess to put my panicky thoughts to ease, I sent her to our paed just to have it checked out. Turned out she was running a mild fever and perhaps a throat infection (which she’s prone to getting). He did tell us that we should still watch out for spots in her mouth, hands and feet and continue to monitor her temperature. Two days later, we saw spots in her mouth and she complained that her throat was painful. 😦 We sent her to the doctor over the weekend and confirmed that she was down with HFMD. I only hope that she won’t get it that bad.

Falling sick is part and parcel of growing up but every time she falls sick, the Man and I as parents always feel helpless and wished that her falling sick wouldn’t be that often. We have now amassed a long list of the temperatures that she ran whenever she’s down with a fever. The Man said to me on Friday night as we sponged her together while she was asleep “I wonder when she grows up next time, will she laugh at us for keeping a record of all of her fevers? I wonder how often we fell sick when we were young and how our parents dealt with it?” I guess our parents just dealt with it the same way as we are dealing with the Bub’s condition – with meds, rest and loads of tender loving care.

img_9178For now, the Bub is still very active. She’s been confined indoors a good part of the weekend and so far, we’ve finished two Disney movies – Beauty and the Beast plus Aladdin, she ate up all the fishball and minced pork porridge that I made for her and played dress-up with her new Princess Belle costume.

img_9163Get well real soon my little Bub!

And how are we dealing with HFMD at home? She’s got her arsenal of meds from the doctor. For us, we are just sanitising our hands with Safe Hands and keeping the home clean with our sanitising kit from Our Lifestyle Shop.

Show and Tell: Making of a 3D tree

So we get a weekly email from the Bub’s school teachers informing the parents some of the activities that the kids are involved in for the week. Occasionally, we do get emails from her teachers requesting for the parents to work with the child on specific projects to prep the child for their show-and-tell segment.

Well, some of the projects ain’t too difficult. Usually, there’s a theme and we have to try our best to involve our child in the activity. Thank goodness for Google and Pinterest too where ideas on how to bring some of the projects to life can also be readily sourced for too.

Our upcoming project for the Bub’s Show and Tell segment involved a 3D craft tree, possibly to get the little ones interested to care for nature. When I received the email from her Mandarin teacher, I kinda shuddered. “Man, these show-and-tell challenges are getting harder and she’s only in N1!” But I decided that in the spirit of being creative, these craft projects should not be looked upon as a chore but more like a fun thing to do with the child, plus her teacher was really quite sweet to share some examples of what sort of 3D trees the parents could possibly make with the child as examples in the email.

So I started researching or rather surfing for ideas on what I wanted to do. The Man’s idea of a craft tree was simply to repurpose an old toilet roll with some crushed green paper and a couple of red dots (for apples) to hand up as her assignment

img_8289Then I came across this 3D Paper Tree Craft over at Craft Palette which I thought would make for an interesting exhibit for the Bub’s show-and-tell. It did entail a little more work and crafting done in it but it does look kinda pretty if I manage to pull it off. So I decided that this will be the 3D Tree that I will attempt to make for the Bub!

img_7941My initial idea was to recycle cardboard boxes for the trunks of the tree and get the Bub to do finger-painting for the leaves of the tree.

img_7891The idea in my head seemed like it would work except that it didn’t quite work out the way that I had planned. Here’s why! The cardboard stock was simply too thick for the trunk. I had trouble even cutting out the shape of the trunk. Next, it was tough trying to get the Bub focus on painting specific colours for the leaves. We were literally all over the place. She wanted different colours for the leaves and the fruits of the tree. In the end, we made a mess of colourful prints which totally was not what I was looking for. But well, we had fun making the mess.

So off to Plan B in order to execute the craft tree ahead of the deadline!

While she took her nap, I zipped off to the nearest Popular Bookstore to purchase the items for the crafting of the tree. The Man was highly amused when he saw how focused I was to get the tree done for I still have some time but I usually like to give myself ample time to get things done ahead of deadlines. So to construct the tree wasn’t all too difficult. All that was needed was proper card stock, green crepe paper and craft glue.

img_8122I used the template that was provided on Craft Palette for the tree and cut the shape for the tree trunks. It was team work for the Man was also involved in helping to assemble the tree – sticking all the different portions of the cardboard – while I finished with the cutting of the leaves.

img_8123The almost-finished tree! I decided to salvage some of the Bub’s fingerprinted craft work by adding apples on the tree.

img_8126Getting there with some apples on the tree. Decided to call it a night after spending 1.5 hours seated on the floor to come up with this craft tree.

img_7887Well, it still needed more apples to make the tree look a little more vibrant so I engaged the Bub in another finger-painting activity the next day. Again, she was more interested to have purple and orange apples instead of red ones so we did a rainbow spectrum of apples just for her amusement.

There you have it, the final product for her little show-and-tell segment with her little friends. I wondered how she fared at the session but from the pictures, it does look like the kids had fun.

img_4904One down and another project for this Mama to complete before her next Show-and-Tell that’s due in 2 weeks! Gulp….

Cooking with our Bruno Hotplate

I don’t cook much these days but I felt like stuffing my face with carbs one evening for dinner. Well, it was one of those days and carbs plus chocolate (alcohol too) somehow does make it feel somewhat better.

My MIL was out and I thought I  just whip up something simple for the helper and myself. Felt like cooking something too and the compact Bruno Hotplate that we got was just perfect for such an occasion.

img_8574I popped into the supermarket to get the ingredients – namely the Pasta sauce and the helper prepped all the other items needed for me to whip up this dish on the dining table. We are taking about brocoli, boiled pasta shells, cocktail sausages, chopped shallots and garlic. Well, it was that simple.

img_8572This was made on my dining table using the Nabe Pot add-on that was fixed to the Bruno.

img_8583And it seriously made for a really satisfying meal though I did feel a little guilty after. ;p

Valentine’s Day

Hello there..

Nope, not expecting anything special for Valentine’s Day but it would still be nice to mark the occasion with a little something extra for my little family (one whom I love dearly).

And what better way to commemorate the highly-raved day (one that’s probably created for retailers to sell more stuff) with this customised photo-printed marshmallows from MarshSG. I chanced upon their IG account and thought they would make a really cool gift for both the Man and the Bub.

When she presented the gift (on my behalf) to her Dad, the Man was touched by the gesture but the ultimate beneficiary of this gift was clearly the Bub who couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into her fave sweet treat.

I mean, just check out that face. That said, she wasn’t selfish in wanting the entire box for herself. So she distributed them all to the rest of us.

While she happily chomped down her square marshmallow which we told her would make up her daily quota of sugar intake. In fact, it was slightly more than what we would have given her but well, it was a lead up to Valentine’s Day so I felt indulgent as a mother. 🙂

img_8187We all know that the prices of flowers would usually cost slightly more during this time and while I will not be expecting a bouquet of flowers to land on my lap. I thought it would be nice to just hold on to a bouquet and just grab a pic with my little one. [Note: Bouquet was kindly loaned to us by my sis who received the bouquet from my future bro-in-law! Hehe] That said, my mini Valentine definitely fared better than the Man for last Thursday after her Berries class, she came up to me and said 妈妈,我爱你 (Mummy, I love you!) and that was simply music to my ears!

img_8220To my mini Valentine, your face lights up my world! Regardless of whatever expression you may have! 🙂 Daddy and I will always LOVE you…

And to the Man, Happy Valentine’s Day! I know you always tell me you don’t celebrate the occasion and I shouldn’t be expecting anything, but it’s still nice to give you a shout out on this special day where millions celebrate the day of L.O.V.E! MUACKS!