Posted in Birthdays, Grace, Uncategorized

[G’s 12th Birthday]

In the Chinese Zodiac, the 12th year cycle is a very significant milestone in a person’s life. G’s 1st milestone is also the most stressful year of a Singaporean child’s life, as it marks the year that they will be taking the dreaded PSLE (primary school leaving exam). This will be the last year of Primary School education for G, and as she embarks into teenager-land, aka secondary school – these are the hopes and dreams we have for her:

We hope that she will always:

  1. retain her sense of humor (her wittiness and slapstick humor are highly entertaining to all who know and love her)
  2. be affectionate and loving (she has started a ’20 second’ hug routine with us as she claims a little hug goes a long way!)
  3. be curious always (this is from someone who has routinely scoured the library – and now the internet – for books pertaining to the topic she is currently obsessed with)
  4. never lose sight of the big picture (which is to make the most money for the least amount of effort – but perhaps she can learn also some empathy cos it ain’t always about making money sweetie)
  5. be the unique individual (although sometimes it’s tough being different, it’s always better than blindly following)
  6. love books (this is easy)
  7. look over her little sister (we know she does it in her own way)
  8. never stop learning (even though this is the psle year, there is more to learning than getting the grades, and getting into a good secondary school is just the beginning)
  9. strike a balance between hard work and passion, fun and procrastination, friendship and popularity, looks and attitude, art and science (or math), patience and complacency.
  10. live life to it’s fullest (ever since she’s a baby, she has always screamed the loudest, ran the fastest, ate the most, laughed the silliest. The joy in living every moment is evident in her every being, and we hope teenage hood does not strip that away!)
  11. know and do the right thing (as one grows into adulthood, a parent’s role of pointing out which is right and wrong lessens. As G goes into teenage-hood, we hope she will be able to distinguish right from wrong, and if in doubt, we hope she will still talk to us and hear us out)
  12. finally, we hope she will always always be close enough to talk to us about anything and everything. 🙂

So, 12 little things for my 12 year old.

Some photos to accompany this while I go off to grab a tissue box and sob about my baby growing up!

Posted in Craft Fairs, crafty stuff, Grace, Uncategorized


Hey all you wonderful people who bought the key fob kit!

I realised that there isn’t a very easy way to find the link for the video, so I’ll attempt to place a widget on the home page for that.

In the meantime, please use this to link up.

Here it is!

Enjoy making!!


ETA: I realised I could add a little link at the top of my website- if you click on Tutorials all the way at the top of the page, you’ll see this video! Otherwise, it is also on the link at the right side -> called My Other Pursuits! Happy Crafting!


Posted in Birthdays, girls

[K’s 9th bday!!!]

Dearest K,

You’re finally 9!! You said to me last night that you almost feel like you’re 10, cos you feel like you’ve been 8 for a REALLY long time!! Haha…. so cute.

As always, you spent a loooong time planning your birthday. Every year, we will give the girls a birthday budget, which they can then spend on organising a birthday party with friends, or have a smaller group of invited guests (e.g. BFF like last year) or to just use the budget to buy presents and have a small family celebration. Being the sensitive girl that you are, this year, instead of inviting your current BFF (as you were worried last year’s BFF will be offended), you decided to just have a tiny celebration with our immediate family instead.

Part 1 of the celebrations – a much awaited Gold Class movie! We were thoroughly spoilt by the fantastic service at Gold Class!

Super luxurious plush recliner seats, cuddly blankets, service at a touch of the button.

Part 2 of your birthday plans was to get your ears pierced! You have been thinking about doing this I know, for quite a few months now, but you’ve never really confirmed it until a few days before your birthday. In typical Katie fashion, you made the decision to do it and there was not much wavering or backing out when you got there. You just sat yourself into the chair and said that you’re ready!

So proud of you and you look super pretty with the earrings!! 🙂

The final part of your birthday celebrations are with your nearest and dearest family. You love chicken rice & cupcakes, so it’s celebrations at the club again and we made sure we bought 9 cupcakes for your birthday!

Happy birthday once again our sweet little one.

Lots of love & hugs, mummy + daddy


Posted in Japan, Osaka, travel

[10/10: OSAKA – SG]

Ready for the start of a New Year! We usually fly back on the 2nd of Jan and this trip was no exception.


Bye Bye once again Japan – we’ll be visiting again real soon!

Inspired by this trip with the girls, dragging them around for the ‘walking’ part of the trip, we have decided that we should be doing some of our own trips. Here’s what we hope to sometime achieve.

Self-guided walking tours

Onsen trips

Rural town visits (for food and craft!)

ETA: We did do a walking FALL trip!! Just us, without the girls. Will blog about it someday soon 🙂


Posted in girls, Japan, Osaka, travel

[9/10: OSAKA – Being local]

As the girls grow older, we are able to fit more activities into our trips. They’re just able to absorb more, there are no longer any needs for naps and other logistics with younger kids. The more activities we have packed into each day, the longer the trip seems! So even though it is the same duration of all our annual trips (usually 9 or 10 days), this trip just seems a lot longer due to the many activities we managed to pack in!

Our first full day in Osaka was supposed to be a fun filled one, starting with the Instant Noodles Museum! We researched it and was super stoked to go there, but unfortunately, the Museum was closed for renovation! *insert sad face*. Lesson learnt- check the ACTUAL website to know if the venue is open on that day! Do not trust recommendation websites…. they are usually of past posts – which could be years ago!

To our delight, and a much needed consolation – there was a very good Ippudo cafe at the train stop.


Super yummy ramen and great onsen egg!129

Interesting fabric architecture (taken while wandering around the streets)


They really are the “Mian Weng”!


YUMMMMM…… Look at that egg!!


Since we didn’t have much activities planned for the afternoon, we decided to be a “local”. We just walked about the neighbourhood…. going to the parks, playgrounds etc.


Enjoying each other’s company. Most of the times, we try to do too much on trips, sometimes, it’s just great to be just living “in the moment”, enjoying each other’s company, just being us 4.


Ice creams from the local minimart. K’s looking glum as we forgot to get a wooden spoon for her ice-cream tub. Oops!


Finally G finished her popsicle and K could use the wooden stick as a makeshift spoon 🙂 Happy Girl!


G being a sculpture. She’s always had a very quirky sense of humour!


Having fun at the playground.


We had a super healthy lunch! It’s somewhere around the “glico man” square. Lots of shopping places there, so it’s great to stay put in a cafe – settle lunch + dessert for the girls, and we get a chance to do our own solo shopping excursions.


Enjoying a healthy carrot cake dessert….


And a super unhealthy macdonalds’ fries after dessert dessert! haha!

Some links for the websites that we referred to while planning this leg of the trip:

General Information

Kids in Osaka

Posted in girls, Japan, Osaka, travel

[8/10: Kyoto -> Osaka]

We usually do this on our trips with the girls – split the destination into 2 main chunks, so that we don’t have to drag our luggage over too many places, and it has worked out pretty well so far! For this trip, we arrived at Kansai Airport in Osaka, but took the Limousine transport directly to Kyoto upon arrival. We spent the majority of the trip in Kyoto (with 2 day trips out), but for the last few days, we decided to travel back to Osaka, which will be where we will be departing from.

119Taking the train ride from Kyoto to Osaka. That’s all our baggage! Kudos to V who is always the luggage packer (OCD has it’s advantages! :))120K with her latest fascination with toys in bubbles. We bought so many on this trip – everytime we passed a toy dispensing machine, she will spend her budget on these!121Rare sisterly affection. She was feeding K some snacks.


The famous square with the Glico Man. We were very puzzled when people kept using the term “Glico Man” when trying to give us directions – eventually when we reached the square, we understood! It’s a big thing in Osaka and lots of people use it as a navigation landmark.

124Sartorial shot of V

125G wanted me to take a catwalk shot of her too!


As it was almost the New Year, lots of stores offered Happy Bags!


K being absolutely thrilled at what her daily budget (1000Y) yielded!

Osaka as a whole was sooo much more relaxed than hoity toity Kyoto! I think we all heaved a sigh of relief as there were no more stares and shush-ing to be done for the exuberant girls! 😛





Posted in girls, Japan, Kyoto, travel

[Day 07/10: KYOTO-Northern Higashiyama]

Also known as the “Philosopher’s walk”, the Northern Higashiyama portion was a stretch of walking which we prepared the girls for!

94All walks need to start with good breakfasts! And this cafe was one of the favourites – to us – for the old school but interesting interiors, to the girls – for the thick slices of milk toasts! K loved her butter especially!95G pretending to be thinking along the philosopher’s walk! haha96Distances and directions97It’s a rather long walk without much to do along the way, so it might get a bit boring for younger kids. The girls as usual found ways to amuse themselves-  like walking along the path by balancing only on the kerbs!98Beautiful flower / vegetable arrangements in front of the houses99So pretty!100First time seeing oranges on trees!101102Some much needed retail therapy after a long walk!103On the temple grounds. Love the greenery!104A little break at the tourism kiosk – the lady there was really good and made a great suggestion for Soba noodles (see below)!105One of the yummiest places we visited this trip.106Waiting for our food in this traditional courtyard house107Little japanese girls mastering the art of kneeling108Yum!109Look at that slurp!110I love this photo of K! She was waiting impatiently for her noodles to cool down!111Happy girl after lunch112Puppy fats 🙂113A decent family shot by the very obliging restaurant owner. Highly recommended place if you do the same walk!

Posted in girls, Japan, Kyoto, travel

[Day 06/10: KURAMA Onsen Day trip

After the walking of yesterday, today was to be a relaxed day! We decided that we should bring them to an Onsen day trip. Kurama is the perfect place – it was too far away from Kyoto by train, but far enough to have very different temperatures and there was SNOW! Very important when you have snow crazy kids!! 🙂

78As always, we relied on Hyperdia for the timetables. Here’s us waiting for the train. An aptly named “romantic carriage”79K insisted that we had to look “romantic” for this shot!80She took a shot of her sister’s toy as well. I love how she’s so into photography and videos!81We arrived to a SUPER cold and wet Kurama!! No snow yet but it was definitely cold enough!82Rain and wet weather means that the mossy grass and colours were ever so vibrant!83More temples, which we gave a miss to, I think the girls were pretty templed out by this time!84Love the mossy greens85Paper crane garlands87We literally spent the whole day at this little spa! It was great, we booked it online and they sent a van to pick us up from the train station. Highly recommended!!!88My little yukata clad miss enjoying herself!89Yummy yummy Nabe. A traditional soup dish that was so wholesome and good!90True enough, it started blizzarding! We walked to the outdoor onsen in the snow! The girls were soo thrilled! What I couldn’t take photos of were the little “resting” rooms that had mud packs and beauty stuff to put onto your face while you nap away in a toasty tatami floor space. It was so relaxing and I think we all took a little nap!91Beautiful sceneries!92For our last night in Kyoto, we visited another cool eating place (again without any links as I did not take note… arghh!) this time with more italian / japanese sort of food.


Posted in girls, Japan, Kyoto, travel

[Day 5/10: KYOTO – Southern Higashiyama]

We’re at the midway through our trip and the past few days had relatively little walking. Now was the start to test the mettle of the girls! Will they be able to sustain their little legs throughout this ‘leg’ of the trip? 😛 A tip with anyone attempting Kyoto with little ones – split up your walking days! There’s lots to cover in Kyoto and we kinda took it by feel, if they were too tired, we just went into the nearest cafe / touristy shop for them to take a breather. Don’t get too stressed about going to EVERY single destination, sometimes the journey is more important!

This is called the Southern Higashiyama walk and you can read all about it here. We took it really slow, so didn’t really hurry the girls or linger at the temples. The highlight of the day would definitely have to be when we spotted a very pretty kimono clad lady walking down the street! The girls were so stunned and kept staring at her! We also stumbled upon a home-cooked cafe, literally in the garage of someone’s house! It was amazingly good food, unfortunately I didn’t take note of the name or address (it was just off the main shopping street – just look out for signs!)

Posted in girls, Japan, Kyoto, travel

[Day 04/10: KYOTO – Kitano Shrine, Teramachi street]

Christmas Day (2013)!! The long awaited (for us) flea market at the Kitano Shrine is here. If you are like us, and love looking for REAL bargains, check out authentic farmer’s food, talk (or attempt to talk) to fantastically passionate craft people….. this is THE flea market in Kyoto for you! The girls have also gradually been exposed to the wonders of Flea Market shopping – especially if they get to stretch their 1000 YEN daily budget!

44Going bright and early to a flea market is a MUST!

45Cute cute ceramic bowls!

46Part of the fun is always trying out new food stuff sold at the flea markets. The girls didn’t really like these “chao tar” corn though!

47Check out the crowd! Such a fantastic atmosphere….

48Upon discovering a vintage toy shop!

49The girls found something they likes after rummaging through boxes and boxes of toys! I think the fun of shopping at a flea market is to “discover” something in other people’s “junk”….

50Touching the cow for continuous good luck!

51The girls and their purchases. It looks so deceptively quiet and serene… in actual fact, the grounds were heaving with people!! All wanting to finish up their purchases for the 1st of January, which is a rather big deal here in Japan.

52Cute cute moccasins which V bought for K before the trip.

53My grown up little miss and her new raggedy doll.

54After that eventful morning, we visited this place.

55The cafe used to be a bathhouse, so the interiors were still had remnants of the bath tiles etc. Fantastic use of space!

56It had a very hippy vibe and very healthy food with great coffee!

57The best part of it was discovering that they also screen English movies! That afternoon was Toy Story Part 3! The girls were delighted and spent the time enjoying their chocolate cake with the movie screening…

58Whilst mummy sneaked out and did my own little walkabout.

59Something we have always done when travelling with the kids, is when there is a lull in their energy levels, we would take turns minding them (usually at a tea break somewhere), while one of us does a speed-shop around the area. It works out great as we get our own retail therapy, and the girls do not need to keep up with “boring” mummy or daddy!

60After the break, we visited the oldest bathhouse in Kyoto!

61The girls by now are well versed in the rituals of bathing in onsens, and take it for granted that it is THE thing to do on our many trips to Japan. 🙂

62Dinner that night was at a cafe within the covered shopping street next to the hotel. Only after we went back and started to do some other research online, did we realise it was actually quite a famous cafe!

63Unfortunately I didn’t have any record of the name of the cafe at all. But the food was really really good! Think – Muji Cafe – type of food – before Muji Cafe opened in Singapore!

The girls approve 🙂

Again, the location of the Hotel was key on this trip. It was within walking distance to the best food and activities that we chose to do in Kyoto. Plus it was next to a walking street that was covered and had the best 100 yen stall!