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Gaga over The Black Knights

The past two weeks have been quite a crazy whirlwind.

The week after the epic SG50 National Day was the last week of the semester and it was chock-a-block full of assessments and assignment deadlines. We hardly had time to breathe and then it was over. It felt like I had barely pushed my head out of the water for a quick gasp of oxygen before I had go back in again, to tackle the mountain of marking that awaited.

In the midst of it all, the littlest started teething AND jumped into his next Wonder Week. So sleep was not forthcoming.

Okay, what I am trying to say is, I IS TIRED. And therefore no bloggity blog.

It’s getting better now. I’ve cleared two-thirds of my work. I’ve been shopping online like crazy and stress binging on chips and chocolates. The husband got off work early yesterday and surprised us by being at home by bath-time. We had so much fun before the babies went off to bed. And I was so stressed and tired that I declared a holiday was much needed and we are off to a beach holiday next month.

YAY YAY TRIPLE YAY.

In the meantime, I still need to clear my head and make some tough decisions/plans. But that can wait – because my clunky mental CPU belongs to the noughties and simply lacks the capacity to think straight these days.

So I’ll show some pictures. During the long Jubilee Weekend, husband was dying to watch The Black Knights in action. On the first day, everyone got rained out and horror stories of crazy queues were spreading fast and furious on the social networks. When it started to pour on the morning of the second day, I was NOT IMPRESSED.

But he was really looking forward to it. And so I swallowed my skepticism, packed the boys into the car and we zoomed down to Gardens by the Bay to see if we could get a good view of the aerial display. Luck was on our side, the rain had subsided and there were parking lots.

After 90 minutes of waiting under the hot sun and sweltering in the humidity, the show started.

The Black Knights

The Black Knights

Did I say I wasn’t keen to catch the show? STUPID ME. It was amazing. Breathtakingly amazing. My jaw dropped open right from the start and by the time it ended, it had reached the ground. It was EXCITES MAXIMUS.

The Black Knights

The Black Knights

I shot these with my humble 17-50mm lens with Zac in a wrap on my hip. Picture this: he was sitting on my hip and I had my left hand pressing his ears into my body to prevent the noise of the planes from getting to him. I was virtually shooting with my right hand holding up the DSLR. Not the best set-up, I guarantee!

Bonus: the kid fell asleep as we were walking back to the car after the show ended.

The Black Knights

The Black Knights

So all in all, great show. We were thrilled by the spectacle and it was absolutely worth the wait. Thank you RSAF and thank you Black Knights for giving us something that we will remember for a long, long time to come.

Of beautiful moments perfectly captured

We love beautiful photographs, husband and I.

When we decided to get married, one of our priorities was photography. We knew that we didn’t want just anyone to shoot one of the best days of our lives. Oh forget about the expensive gowns and jewellery, we were willing to pay for photography. And we found it in Eadwine.

And then we got married and we decided that the fun was not over yet. Since my wedding dress was hanging in the wardrobe doing nothing much, we decided to do a trash the dress shoot with my friend Alywin.

Two years later, two (finally) became three and I thought, hey, we should update those photo albums. So Alywin came in to take photos of us and our newest addition – Aidan.

So with the birth of Zac, I could not NOT have a shoot done, couldn’t I? But then my friend Alywin had to move to Shanghai and leave me stranded without a photographer friend. I was searching for a photographer when a friend shared with me Joshua‘s crowd-funding endeavour. To help someone achieve his goal and to get a shoot out of it, why not?

Mr Thick and I are not fans of studio shoots and we never have – we find those too repetitive, too unnatural, too predictable. And, most importantly, there is no natural light. Without batting an eyelid, we decided on an outdoor shoot for this particular one as well. As the day drew closer, however, I started to panic slightly. Handling two kids on a humid summer day? What was I, insanely optimistic?

Thankfully, the weather held up and both boys were on their best behaviour. I mean, nobody cried and NOBODY POOPED. That’s like striking lottery! Plus, Josh was a very nice chap who made us feel all comfortable and the shoot went better than expected.

Even if the matching tees that I got for the boys were actually purchased from the girls department. (BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT!)

We kind of weren’t really expecting much, just a couple of pictures of the family. But what we got from Josh in return was so, so, so much more. We are so chuffed by the album. He definitely made us look more beautiful that we really are, thanks, in part, to the gorgeous light (see, natural light). You can’t even tell that I am absolutely gutted by the lack of uninterrupted sleep.

Also, Photoshop is our best friend. Here’s to being Fabulously Gorgeous forever!

Sydney dreams

So. Sydney.

We were there for all of seven nights and we fell in love with the city. We didn’t want to leave, partly because we loved being out there on our own. Just us three, our little family unit, 24/7.

Well, sort of, since Mr Thick was actually there on business and we were the tagalongs.

But I daresay the trip has emboldened us and we will, if finances allow, be embarking on more adventures. Traveling with the little man is so easy now and he is such a good companion. His current temperament is mellow and cheerful, and we are very lucky indeed.

(Note my emphasis on “now” and “current”. As with everything related to baby, the only constant is change so we never think ahead and always focus on the present.)

What we loved about Sydney:

Baby-friendly facilities
Never once have I felt unwelcome while pushing the stroller around the city. All the curbs have ramps to slopes built in for strollers and wheelchairs to move around easily. The public transport system are excellent too, with seats dedicated to those with strollers and wheelchairs. We ditched the car seat and took the bus and train when we needed to travel out of the CBD, which was where we were based for much of the trip. I took the train with Aidan in the stroller on my own and found it a breeze. When the wheels were caught in the gap between the platform and the train, many good Samaritans came forward and helped to lift the stroller up. Amazing.

Beautiful architecture
The city had preserved the colonial buildings magnificently and I loved the juxtaposition of history and contemporary. Somehow the mix of traditional and modernity worked perfectly.

Fresh produce
My brother-in-law, an Australian, tells me that Australia doesn’t import many things and everything is made or created within the country. And it shows. I loved the wide variety of organic and free-range products. Some are pricy, yes, but at least we have plenty of options. Organic has become such a way of life for them. It would have been so much fun if we had gotten a service apartment with access to a kitchen.

Spring
The weather was beautiful. Perfectly crisp, perfectly cool. We walked almost everywhere. On the days when Mr Thick had to go into the office, I would strap the kid into the Boba baby wrap and explore the city on foot on my own. I reckon I walked more than 5km each day!

Green spaces
There were so many beautifully manicured parks within the CBD alone! Whenever I get tired of walking, I’d sit on one of the benches and enjoy the peaceful grounds. There were art installations in the parks (Art & About Sydney 2012), which I really enjoyed. We also had dinner at the Night Noodle Markets at Hyde Park one night. And I had my first glass of wine in 16 months there! Yums.

Awesome cafes
Good coffee, fantastic weather, delicious bakes. Can you blame me for not wanting to leave? I had a “one new cafe to check out a day” rule and that was fun! It forced me to be more daring. I’ll leave that for another post for those heading to Sydney soon. Some of these places are to die for.

But of course, with our income, we wouldn’t be able to survive life in Australia. And that’s the clinch – the higher cost of living. Never again will I complain about the cost of transport in Singapore. A train ride in Sydney cost us $4 while the cab ride from the airport to the hotel was a whopping $90.

Oh we spent a heap of money, more than we should, but we had fun and made many beautiful memories.

Till the next holiday.

That’s not my name

I tend to get squeamish when I see blood, animals being manhandled in any way and actors getting pummeled on screen. Oh, and also when I am labelled a “mommy blogger”.

See, I have been writing for eight years now. This blog existed way before my body nurtured a baby and then kicked him out of his watery home. I wrote when I was going through career ennui, angsty breakups and wedding preparations. I started taking pictures when I earned enough money to travel and posted them on the blog. In my mind, I am not a mom blogger but a writer who happens to be a mom.

A writer whose life happens to be revolving around her child these days.

I know, I know, it sounds sad. It’s almost as if my life has been overtaken by this not-so-little eating/pooping machine. It’s true and yet not true at the same time.

It’s true in a way because I am having a ball of a time watching my child grow and develop. His every skill, his every milestone are observed by us with much amazement and humility, and we do whatever we can in our capacity to nurture his interests and skills. As a full-time working mom, I like to have as much time as I can with him since the better part of his day is spent with the caregivers. This effectively leaves me with very small pockets of time to indulge in me-activities.

But that doesn’t mean that I am not doing stuff for me. I just don’t write about it. Well, I am too tired to blog every other day, for starters. And because I am so stuck up about having nice photos on the blog, I only post pictures that I have post-processed and that takes time.

I could write about my work. I’m handling two core subjects for the kids and I am enjoying it.
I could write about the cafes that we have been checking out. Henry Congressional, Selfish Gene, The Pigeonhole, Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Strangers’ Reunion etc.
I could write about my driving exploits. I recently went up against a bus and, erm, lost.
I could write about the concerts that we have attended. Snow Patrol was fabulous and I am in love with Ingrid Michaelson.
I could write about this little blogging project that I am embarking on but haven’t got the energy to keep going at it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t want to be one of those people who write about what I did and ate. This is not a diary. And I am honestly trying not to let the little man run this blog. I want to write about my thoughts and experiences but man, am I too busy/tired to pen those words. And so, the blog remains a bit empty.

Really, I am trying my best.

I was going through my photo archives while preparing for the Photography module that I will be teaching and was struck by how nice some of them actually are (some, on the other hand, should have gone straight into the trash!). Taking a second look at them made me appreciate them all over again, and made me miss shooting.

We are off to Sydney next week and I am going to be lugging my 60D along. I don’t how I am going to juggle baby wearing, a diaper bag AND my reliable mule of a camera but I am going to try. Hopefully, that trip will kickstart my inspiration and get those creative juices going again.

Carousel at Disneyland Tokyo

Ginza at night

Coco under the duvet

Up close and personal with Jason Wade (Lifehouse)

New Year’s Eve fireworks

Gardens by the Bay

This week being my last week of maternity leave, I was keen to do something with my mama before I head back to work. Coincidentally, she was ‘on leave’ from her full-time job as caregiver to my nephew since the sista and her family are currently holidaying in Melbourne. My mom loves all things flora and requested to check out the newly opened Bay South Garden of the Gardens by the Bay so off we went on Tuesday afternoon.

It being a weekday, the garden was thankfully free from crowds. This meant that we could stroll at leisure and take our own sweet time in taking pictures (and plenty of parking lots for me!). Since I was carting the little man around with me, we decided to skip the paid conservatories and just focus on the exterior gardens.

The rain in the morning made the weather blissfully perfect for strolling outdoors. It wasn’t humid but was cool and sunny. Which was fabulous because towards the end, Mr A needed to nap and he would not do so in the stroller, which meant he had to go into the Boba baby wrap.

As a new mother, I very much appreciated the availability of nursing rooms littered around the grounds. Plus, the architects had incorporated lifts and wide, gentle slopes into the design, which meant that it was very wheelchair- and stroller-friendly. I could pop Aidan into our monster of a stroller – the UppaBaby Vista – and still have an easy time maneuvering it.

I loved, loved, loved the open space and it was like a piece of serenity in the middle of our bustling city-state. The gardens is a gorgeous, carefully designed piece of art and the view was, of course, spectacular. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and finding different angles to the same sight. And when we were tired, there were benches thoughtfully placed on the grounds for us to rest our aching feet.

After dinner, we were treated to a delightful light show at the Supertree Grove. Unfortunately, because it was way past the little man’s bedtime, we left before it concluded.

All in all, it was a wonderful day spent with my mama. The only thing that marred the experience was a terrible tea break at the Hill Street Coffee Shop. We got there slightly after 4:30pm hoping to get a cup of tea and some toast to fill our tummies but was told that the kitchen had stopped serving bread at 4:30pm since the bread menu was only meant for breakfast. HUH. The only food available were heavy (and overpriced) items like rice and noodles. Worse, my iced teh-si was watered down and bland and cost me a princely $2.20. What kind of lousy coffee shop is this? AVOID.

(More photos here.)

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