May 9, 2016

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

We were late, in getting up from bed and out from house and breakfast on the replacement holiday of Labour Day. Yet, at 11am, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was not too hot for a late morning trekking and mountain biking. Naturally, the microclimate of the forest is lower and the layers of green filters the sun penetration directly to the ground.

This time, from the car park at Hindhede Road, we randomly picked the nearest trail which led us to a Quarry, and a very fun playground. Swings, obstacle course, flying fox, climbing trees, etc. One part of the playground was cordoned off though. 

Not too far from the playground, there was a short hanging rope bridge for trekkers to cross. The girls were extremely thrilled with themselves conquering the fear of crossing the swaying rope bridge.

May 5, 2016

Edinburgh: The Elephant House

Right before we head to National Museum of Scotland, we stumbled upon the Elephant House- the birthplace of Harry Potter. Even we were not sure from far, it was confirmed when we approached closer to the cafe frontage, in English and Chinese! We went in and had an impromptu brunch here.

When J. K. Rowling was writing her series of Harry Potter at the beginning, she was in a needy stage, that she found it cheaper to buy a cup of coffee and wrote in the cafe the whole day than paying heater bill at home. 

Apr 30, 2016

Legoland @ Windsor Resort

Usually, Legoland @ Windsor has special offer if you book through its website in advance. When I decided to squeeze one day for spoiling the girls with Legoland fun, I popped over to the website to do a budget calculation. At that time, it was April/May and 25% discount was offered to any advance booking for Summer season.

Published Gate Price on the day for 1 adult: £48.00 / 1 child: £43.80 

I remember clearly that, if I went ahead with the tickets booking of 2 Adults and 2 Children, I would get an after-discount price of £137.70 for a family of 4 like us.

Very expensive, still!

I pondered for a long while. 

KK, a very old friend of SC who is now residing in London, recommended us London 2for1 attractions, with the requirement that, we need to travel by train to Windsor. Why? Simply because it is an offer by National Rail and ATOC.

There are many 2for1 Offer via National Rail to attractions in and around London, by the way.

And so, we traveled by train and retain the train tickets, then present the train tickets upon purchasing the park tickets at the counter of Legoland Park @ Windsor. To make sure we did the right thing from the very beginning, we asked at Hackbridge Station, upon our departure, if the train tickets are valid for the 2for1 Offer. [Note: Any National Rail train ticket is applicable for the 2for1 Offer]

The train (from Hackbridge) took us to Claphan Junction, then we changed to another platform for another train to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station. The girls were very excited and looked forward to another Legoland fun. The journey was bit long though, 2 hours plus waiting time and we left our lodging late. As it was out last day in London, the girls enjoyed the scenery with more green and less building outside the train, didn't complain a word. Lastly, we took shuttle bus directly to the Legoland Park. [Note, don't doze off during the bus ride, it will pass by Windsor Castle and the town]

Apr 3, 2016

Scotland: RedBurn Cafe

During our road trip in Scotland, we took our chances in getting a pit-stop. I didn't do much research and decide ahead where to stop for a short break from the car ride. Despite the idyllic scenery along the way, there were many places for drivers/travelers to pull over. Some gave us good experience, some not so. For example, stopping by Eilean Donan Castle was because of the need for toilet and coffee, lest on the Castle;p. And it was a great surprise.

However, stopping by Tyndrum (from Callander to Fort William) for the big sign of "Best Fish & Chips" at The Real Food gave me stomach-churning memory. SC and I didn't like the over-oily battered fish. Big Girl didn't have any issue though (Little Bomber slept through and skipped the meal). Of course, there were also times we wanted to stop, but because of the idleness of the premise, we drove further and took longer time to find our pit-stop, especially in Isle of Skye. The girls were bored and hungry.

So, be prepared with some finger food in car, if you need to.

Redburn Cafe was kind of fall into our lap, during our drive from Skye to Inverness. It was another long drive after checked-out from Broadford Youth Hostel in Skye and everyone seemed need a toilet break.

I remember there was a huge sign of the cafe along the Road attracted us, the red facade of the little house gave me homely feeling pulled my attention more. Once our car drove close to the cafe, we were intrigued by the pockets of green mushrooming on the roof.

Mar 29, 2016

Sewing Big

Making conventional shield to a mattress was one thing that I never think i would do. But, there was an opportunity came by and I took it up by burning my nights to figure out the complexity... isn't that complex eventually.

Dec 31, 2015

"You What?!!"

After an overnight train ride from Edinburgh back to London, we reached Euston. From Euston, we lugged with two huge luggage, took train to Victoria Station and then back to Hackbridge, where we could walked back to our friend’s house, cum our temporary lodge in London.

When we boarded the train in Victoria Station, we were at the cart #9 or #10 (or #11) of the train- the very tail end of the train, literally. However, most of the platforms in the suburbs are shorter, that included the platform in Hackbridge. It was shorter (as in only 7 or 8 train-cart length), getting ready and walk forward before the train stops (at least 1 minute prior the train stopping) was required. But we were slow, too slow. The train doors shut-off while SC and I were still walking, lugging two huge luggage through the narrow aisle inside the train. The girls were already out and waiting for us at the platform. Once the train moved on slowly, I saw both shocked faces through the glass door of the train. This made my blood run cold!

Dec 16, 2015

2015 in (very brief) Review

As the year is approaching to its end, I am looking back at my grand-list that I wrote in February. Thankfully, most are stroke off from the list:-
  • My family and I had a remarkable trip to UK. But I only manage to complete blogging on Scotland.
  • I learn and relearn about my first born. I mellow my approach on her, I try to focus on life skill than academic. I need to learn to embrace her. 
  • I have been attending Yoga/Pilates classes regularly since the very beginning of the year. I no longer breathless when I climb more than 2 flights of stairs. 
  • I cook more, bake even more!
  • I maybe scrapbook lesser but hey, I blog more too, thanks to the inspiration from our visit to Scotland. 
I think I have an optimum year!
Credits: Design by Anita, etc.

Dec 10, 2015

Scotland Scenic Drive

According to my husband, road trip is the best way to see a country. In this case, gloomy Scotland.
“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton 
We knew nothing of Scotland. Now we do.

And we are glad that we have discovered more of Scotland from a road trip. Let me walk you through some of the amazing views we captured, albeit sombre but like my friend was saying, we had a taste of the true Scottish weather- rain and rain and prevailing wind. The Road was typically forlorn. I think we were lucky. In a way.

I'll let the pictures speak...

Pulled over at the roadside of A84, towards Tydrum.
I imagined Harry's Hogwart Express soon to pass by the bridge.
This was taken in between Tyndrum and Onich.

Whilst this was from between Onich and Dornie.

Isle of Skye was a tab more beautiful, dull-coloured still and cold. Very cold, as if the Isle was unwelcoming us, rejecting us.

Nov 25, 2015

Baking is Addictive!

Of late, I have been hooked with baking. I don't know why but the mixing brings calming effect to a tired brain and the aroma coming from the oven are incredibly irresistible! And of course, the eating part, scrumptiously joy. It is very different between homemade and those selling in the bakery/pastries shops- more and better ingredients and lesser sweetness. Some of the cake I made, I can finished them all and left little for the girls. I should not, but I am totally lost control!

That explains how I did not realised November zips by so quickly and I only completed one post for the month. I bake a lot since October! Mostly at night, or mid-night. When Little Bomber caught a glimpse of me taking out the mixer and the needed ingredients and what not, she would exclaims, "Not again?!"

Anyway, for the record, I have been very busy!

Nov 22, 2015

Broadford Youth Hostel, Isle of Skye

Accordingly, we came to the forth 'pit stop' of our adventure in Scotland- Isle of Skye, after Edinburgh, Callander and Onich/For William.

My search for accommodation led me to one of the YHA(Youth Hostels Association)'s hostel in Isle of Skye.

This was the first youth hostel we had been to, after becoming parents of ourselves. Well, we had been to backpackers' hostel with the girls, not YHA's kind of hostel. (There is slight difference between both)

"让生命稳稳流动(也)是我的功课之一。" by Bubu Tsai