CLAK in Japan (Tokyo)

I love the land of the rising sun.  Food had always been the top of my list, and not forgetting the hospitality in the Japanese culture and of course the nice weather.  Bringing the girls to Japan for a holiday had been on my mind for the longest time.  I worried a lot about the radiation to the girls but after speaking to a few doctors, I decided to just stop being worrisome and enjoy the destination.  We planned 7 months ahead because we heard about rooms being sold out in popular ski resorts.  We planned a 16 days holiday; 16 days also partly due to the fact that my helper is going for her home leave for 3 weeks and I thought being away would be the best way to avoid the chaos at home.  We finally decided on Tokyo and Hokkaido.  Tokyo for the Disneyland and Hokkaido for the snow.

Red eye flight into Tokyo. The kiddos slept throughout while Daddy and Mummy became their pillows.  We arrived deadbeat and stiffed.  Because of my prior experience of the teeny weeny rooms in Japan with Mum in May, we wanted bigger rooms because the kiddos would be running around in the room.  We tried the Hilton at Odaiba City this time.  We were very impressed with the size of the room given. It came with a nice view of the rainbow bridge. Due to its close proximity to Aqua City and Diver City,  staying at the Hilton Odaiba was pleasant.  Nice restaurants were 2 mins walk away and there were alot of kids’s activities in Daiba. Hilton Odaiba is a good neighbour hotel of Disneyland and thus there were free shuttle for us to and fro Disneyland and Disneysea.

Although we had a week in Tokyo, we planned our schedule leisurely.  Daddy always liked his holiday the chillax way and with Alexis around, there was no way to be chillax. If I were to pack the schedule, I would end up with a grumpy Daddy.  We are late risers and daylight in Tokyo was short during winter. With that, we basically had a few hours a day to walk around.  Once the sky turned dark, the weather became too cold for all of us to stay outdoor.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

We were told that the LEGOLAND is small and we would probably be disappointed. However it turned out that we had to beg the kids to leave.  The centre was indeed small but the kids were so engrossed into the activities. They had indoor playgrounds, 4D cinema, an interactive lego laser ride and a lego model building class.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Tokyo
Island Mall 6F, Decks Tokyo Beach,
1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 135-0091

Tokyo Disneyland

Initially we set aside 3 days for Disneyland and Disneysea. After visiting Disneyland for the 1st day, we decided to just keep the other 2 days to visit other places in Tokyo. Disneyland Tokyo was alright.  Just that the feel we had was too similar to Hongkong.  It was really crowded too, each ride took us at least 45min to queue.  A few of the roller coasters were also closed for maintenance.  The kids were disappointed with that.   The restaurants were also jam packed with park goers. We had a hard time getting tables and queuing for food. Good thing was we all had the magical feel that was always given during a visit to the Disneyland.  Get the tickets at Disney stores in the city Disney Store or online to avoid the queue.

Tokyo Disneyland

 

Tsukiji Fish Market

We were initially told that the fish market would be relocated by the end of 2016.  Good news for us! The relocation has been moved back till further notice.  Getting to the fish market was rather straightforward via the train.  We brisked through the inner market. There was tuna auction on most days but limited to the 1st 120 visitors per day.  The auction would start at 5am and queue could form as early as at 2am.  We got our brunch fixed at the outer market, it was rather hard for us as we were walking around with the stoller.  For mummies going there with your bubs, use a baby carrier instead. The streets were crowded and it was literally impossible for our stroller to pass through.   Do check their website for the calendar and opening days.

Tsukiji Fish Market Website

 

Sensoji Temple

My 2nd time here in 2016.  Visited the famous temple with the kiddos and soaked in the atmosphere of the busy streets vendors and rich culture.  A brief stop before we headed over to Tokyo Skytree which was one train station away.

 

Pokémon Centre at Skytree

Add: 1-1-2 Oshiage | Tokyo Solamachi, Sumida 131-0045, Tokyo Prefecture

Do not expect much at this venue. It is merely a merchandise store that sells a lot of toys and souvenirs. However even though it was just that,  that was enough to make the kids go crazy.

 

Meiji Jingu

Love the tranquillity of this place.  Lauren left her wishes here.

 

Owl Café Harajuku

This small café exceeded our expectation.  60 min session was truly educational and highly recommended. Lauren had the chance to interact with all the owls and even handled them on her arms.  Booking is required so make sure you reserve your slot at the link above before you head down.  If animal café is your cup of tea, there is another cat café down the road. Mocha Cat Café

 

Off to our next destination, Hokkaido!!

 

 

 

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Thinkasaur – where Learning science is made Fun

Think Thinkasaur, think fun science experiments for the whole family sent to you right at your door step.  Designed chiefly for children between the ages of 5 to 10 years old, Thinkasaur comes in the form of a science kit that provides the full spectrum of materials, equipment, instruction manuals and learning points for up to four experiments per box. Each box covers a specific scientific theme, such as chemistry, physics and Earth science.   Thinkasaur strives to bring back the wonders of Do-It-Yourself fun by providing a monthly subscription-based service that delivers boxes packed with science experiments straight to your doorsteps!  In this modern era, kids are now overly dependent on electronic gadgets for entertainment.  I have to admit that we as parents are guilty of doing that too, quite often we are always on our devices even though we are seated together.  We are very blessed when Thinkasaur approached us for a review of their products.  I knew straightaway that it would be a hit with Lauren.

Thinkasaur. Where fun is never extinct

Receiving Thinkasaur boxes (Sponsored Review)

Experimenting Thinkasaur with Lauren and Alexis brought back memories where I was so eager to collect all the Science card badges during my primary school days. I remember going around my neighbourhood with my classmates exploring different tasks and we were always amazed by the outcome of the experiments.

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Young Scientist badges

 

We received 3 boxes from Thinkasaur.  The girls were so excited to see the boxes and curiosity was instantly aroused from that moment.  Each box contains 3 to 4 fun-filled experiments. We started with the Wonder of Colours box. I have to compliment Thinkasaur for such a well thought and planned experiments.  Aprons and gloves were provided for experiments that were a little messy.  Each experiment was individually wrapped in ziplock bags with all the materials needed so we did not need to fumble for anything when working on the experiments.  There were detailed step-by-step pictorial instructions to guide us through the experiments, a learning guide filled with fun facts to explain the science behind each experiment.  I love the quality bonding, and yet educational, time I had with the girls.

 

Thinkasaur

Wonders of Colours from Thinkasaur

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What is inside the box

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Alexis listening attentively while Lauren was explaining the science behind each experiment

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The young scientist at work

Thinkasaur, Wonders of Colours

Look at the amazing effect!

 

 

It was so fun that Lauren begged for another project the next morning.

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 Working on project #2 together

 

Thinkasaur

Look at her elephant trunk!

 

We tried projects from the other boxes too and the girls were totally intrigued with the effects of reaction which were well documented with scientific facts. Lauren has not started science in her academic curriculum but this had certainly  triggered her interest in chemistry which I am very glad. Early exposure to science, made in a very fun way.

Thinkasaur

Inside the box of Thinkasaur Magnet Magic

Thinkasaur

Thinksaur Crazy Chemistry

 

Thinkasaur

Working on Project Lava Lamp

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Following the steps from the instruction manual

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In anticipation of the result

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The wow effect has arrived

 

What I love about Thinkasaur:

  1. Time efficient and hassle-free: As a full time working mum and wife to a frequent flyer.  Time is an essence for me. Thinkasaur solved this aspect by sending me fun activities which I can spend quality time with my girls right at home. I do not need to crack my brain about sourcing the materials needed to do any experiment.
  2. Cost effective: Each box comes with 3 to 4 experiments.  I told Lauren that we will do one experiment weekly.  Mum does not need to fret over where to bring the girls on a Saturday now as they are so looking forward to going home for fun science experiments.
  3. Quality family time:  It was heartwarming looking at the photos of us doing the experiments together. Everyone was so happy and involved. Furthermore, everyone learnt something new.
  4. Last but not least, Thinkasaur made learning science a very fun process. Extremely effective for children of young age. These tools EDUCATE yet do not extract the FUN from the process. I had never thought that Learning and Playing could be integrated.

 

Thinkasaur subscription programmes are offered either on a 6-month period at $43/month or a 12-month period at $40/month and are available for purchase online at www.thinkasaur.com. Alternatively, single boxes are available for purchase at $48/box. These could make a great birthday gift, more in fact an “anytime” gift!

Thinkasaur is offering CLAK readers a 5% discount on your orders with code “BACK2SCHOOL” . Following terms and conditions apply.

  • Limited to 1 use only per customer
  • Limited to 100 redemptions
  • Only valid for orders above SGD$40
  • Discount code is valid till 28 Feb 2017
  • Discount code cannot be combined with other codes and promotions

 

Reviews provided are totally independent and non-biased.

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Pokemon Go Fever and its effect on me

Walking around shopping centres and parks now, you would probably be greeted with people of all ages with their eyes fixated and fingers swiping on their phone screens. If you happened to peek into what they were looking at, 85% of the time, you would see Pokemon on their screen.

I was hesitant to download the game because I knew I would be glued to it.  One fine day while waiting for Lauren to be dismissed from her class. I downloaded the game and it has gotten a lot of my attention ever since; I couldn’t explain why the game is so addictive. Probably because you could show others how you managed to get hold of some truly rare pokemons.  Within 2 hours of downloading, I captured 12 different species.  Now 4 weeks into the game, I caught more than 1200 pokemons and have a cool 124 different pokemons. I convinced Kel to play too. Telling him that it is the latest frenzy now – “just get a feel of it and it could be a ice breaker”. Personally I feel Pokemon Go got its pros and cons.

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Lauren and her Pikachu

 

Pros:

  • It makes couples who play together grow closer. Kel and I will discuss what pokemons we had and any new species caught that day and where we caught it.  We gave each other silly ideas of how to catch pokemons and often laughed over it.  It has turned into a common interest of ours now.
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Kel and I catching some pokemons before our dinner date

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Kel catching the Europe exclusive Mr Mime for me

  • Its makes my relationship with Lauren much more interesting and engaging. I often told others that I was very guilty of not giving Lauren enough love. Indeed I gave her a lot of my time but she did not get my patience. More often than not, my time with her were homework time, time practicing piano and time spent on the road when sending her to her enrichment classes. Our conversations were also often about how school was, did she practice piano, etc. Ever since we played Pokemon Go (Lauren plays on my phone or Kel’s phone), I could feel us being closer and more connected “like a friend”. Not the authoritative Mummy asking about school work but fun Mummy asking Lauren to come and see what Mummy had caught for the day. To make her piano practicing fun, I told her that her beautiful music made catching pokemons easier, the music were lures to the Pokemons. Voila.. Lauren played much better with that idea.

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  • Ice breaker to business contacts. I have a difficult customer and guess what? Talking about Pokemons became a door opener for me. Nowadays everytime I see my customers talking about pokemons, I will quickly jumped into the conversation. From strangers, we would become like long lost friends.
  • I become a Geo expert. Tell me anywhere on the Singapore map and I could almost instantly point out where it is; all these were from the help of Pokémon and Go Radar.

Cons:

  • Dangerous. Ok, I need to admit that when I was very into the game, I would walk and play at the same time.  There were a couple of times when I accidentally knocked into someone. I had also heard about some people even played while driving; I think that is truly dangerous. In other countries, many robberies took place at pokestops which were situated at very secluded areas.
  • Disconnected with your surrounding.  Many times people were so engrossed in what is happening in the virtual world that they forgotten that their loved ones who were right next to them. I had constantly reminded myself to involve those around me.

There are supposed to have more Cons than Pros but because we are all so into the game now. Let’s just focus on the Pros. Just remember to do everything in moderations. 🙂

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CLAK in Hong Kong

June holiday would not be complete without a overseas holiday for the girls.  Hong Kong was a last-min decision between Kel and I; I had taken too many leave from work for the past few months and Kel’s work schedule in June looked crazy.  A short getaway to Hong Kong seemed like the best option for us.

This was also the 1st time we were bringing Alexis on our own.  The last time we went Bangkok with the girls, Alexis was only 6 months old and we had Aunty Siti with us. This time round was a dry run for us to experience the Feisty Alexis for 4 days before the real deal of 16 days at Tokyo and Hokkaido with the girls in December.

Singapore Airline

In love with the giveaways by Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airline

Watching Zootopia!

Singapore Airline

Thank you SIA for making my flight a breeze.

Singapore Airline

Alexis squeezing into the basinet to catch some sleep

Singapore Airline

Kid’s Meal

 

The flight experience was better than expected, probably I was expecting scary moments but Alexis did well. The bulk head seats helped a lot by allowing Alexis some space to walkabout.  We took it easy on the 1st day, some walking and dining nearby the hotel. Dining was bad due to the fact that Hong Kong’s eateries were not really that child friendly.  There wasn’t child seat and I had to carry Alexis on my lap. Alexis was throwing everything on the table onto the floor and I couldn’t really finish my food because she was screaming to get off my lap. In the end, I went out without eating much.  Lauren was a sweetheart, knowing Mummy wasn’t in her best mood. She was constantly trying to get Alexis’ attention so that to give me some “me” time.. Lauren also helped me a lot to ensure that Alexis was safe when I was attending to some other stuffs.

Hong Kong Airport

Taken by my sweetheart Lauren.

Hong Kong Airport

Queuing for Taxi

Hong Kong Holiday

 

We went for the Star Ferry ride on day 2.  A nice way to view the beautiful harbour of Hong Kong.  Walking around Tsim Sha Tsui, window shopping (because it was impossible to shop with Alexis) and dining at Cha Chang Ting.  We walked to the famous Australia Diary Co and had some eggs and sandwiches before heading back to the hotel to rest.  Part of the plan was to go the The Peak via the tram.  Unfortunately , the queue for the tram up to the peak was way too long, We were told it could take more than 1 hour to queue. The unbearable summer weather also made it impossible for us to queue an hour with a screaming Alexis strapped in an ergobaby.  We ended up taking a taxi up to the peak and had dinner at Wildfire. It was part of Father’s Day celebration but I seriously thought Kel did not find any part of that day a celebration.  LOL.

Hong Kong Holiday

Day 2, here we go!

Star Ferry

Wan Chai Pier

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Beautiful harbour view

Star Ferry Hong Kong

It’s also my 1st time taking the Star Ferry

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Have to credit Kel for this amazing shot

Hong Kong Holiday

Trying my luck to go shopping with Ms Feisty

Australia Diary Co

Finally here after walking a good 35min! Australia Diary Co

Parklane Hotel Hong Kong

Not really resting in hotel when you have these 2 super energetics jumping around

The Peak Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline view from The Peak

Hong Kong Holiday

Happy Father’s Day!

Hong Kong Holiday

Dinner at Wildfire The Peak

 

 

We braced ourselves for Day 3, Disneyland. Summer in Hong Kong was no joke. The sun was scorching hot and most of the rides were outdoor.  The heat made our trip to Disneyland the most unpleasant theme park experience ever.  Honestly I preferred our previous trips to the Universal Studio Singapore. The quality of rides and the pricing of the tickets were much more competitive. The fact that there were no express pass offered in Disneyland (there was a Fast Pass but it was not like our USS’ express pass) also lowered the satisfaction level we had.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney MTR to Disneyland Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland

So bright that Lauren couldn’t even open her eyes.

Hong Kong Disneyland

She was not very cooperative

Hong Kong Disneyland

Family photo!!

Hong Kong Disneyland

Queuing for their rides

Hong Kong Disneyland Toy story

CLAKs with Buzz and Jessie!

Hong Kong Disneyland

I love you Ms Feisty

Hong Kong Disneyland

Going back all tanned and sweaty.

 

After day 3, I was very determined that Hong Kong is only possible for year end holiday. Hong Kong in June will never happen again.  The shopaholic Papa and Mummy attempted some shopping after our lunch at Lei Garden. Unfortunately we realized it was not possible with Alexis screaming to get off the Ergo carrier. The moment I let her down, she was scrambling all over the place.  That was the mere 5 mins of walking experience Alexis had on Day 4.

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Things we liked this holiday:

  1. Hotel- We stayed at Parklane Hong Kong. Conveniently located right next to Causeway Bay MTR station.  Tons of eateries at your door steps. Sogo and Times Square are just a stone’s throw away.
  2. Food- It’s not wrong to name Hong Kong a food paradise. We were never disappointed with any of the eateries.  We especially like the Mun Fai Chiu Chow noodle at Causeway Bay  (22-24 Jardine’s Bazaar Causeway Bay) and the Eggs at Australia Diary Co (47 Parkes Strret, Jordan).  The girls were in love with the food too which took 1 obstacle off the list.
  3. The Peak- The last time I was there was during my Pak Tor time with Kel. Its like a walk down memory lane but this time round with our 2 gems along with us.
  4. Family Support- Because it’s our official 1st CLAK holiday, I am super grateful and appreciative of Kel and Lauren. They helped in every possible ways.  Great Teamwork! Psst.. Kel was the one washing the bottles and packing the diaperbag daily.

 

Things we learnt from this trip and hope to improve or avoid in future:

  1. Never attempt Hong Kong in Summer with kids and no help. Hong Kong’s summer is hotter than Singapore, IMO.  Sweaty and frustration were the main descriptions for this holiday.  Things might be better if we were in a cooler weather.
  2. Eat at a restaurant rather than a eatery if you have young children. Restaurants have higher chance of child seat and a table to yourself thus you are probably not as embarrassed when your child starts throwing tantrum.
  3. Use an ergo carrier rather than a stroller when you are exploring Hong Kong. Streets are not that stroller friendly. We only used the stroller to Disneyland, the remaining of the time we conquered the island with Ergobaby.
  4. Taking a taxi up The Peak might be an easier option as the queue for Tram can take more than an hour.
  5. Get your Disneyland Tickets online here. I realized there were some promotion but we were not offered that when we bought the ticket on site.

 

 

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iFly Singapore Indoor Skydiving

The real skydiving?… You must be kidding.  I have toyed with that idea when I was younger but now the kiasee-0-meter in me is 10/10.  The best alternative to experience the feeling of a skydive is to do an indoor skydive.

Being in Singapore is fortunate because iFly Singapore is home to the world’s first largest themed wind tunnel for indoor skydiving, spanning 16.5 feet wide and 56.5 feet tall, almost five storeys high. In addition, it is the only wind tunnel with an 18 feet tall acrylic glass wall offering you an unparalleled view of the South China Sea.

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When Lauren turned 7 this year, (iFly only permits children age 7 years and above to fly) we booked a session to try it out.

A short briefing was conducted to guide you on the body posture in the tunnel, followed by fitting-on session of the gears.  Here we go!!

Gearing up at iFly Singapore Lauren in her iFly Singapore indoor skydiving gears

 

Surprisingly, Lauren did very well as a first timer and a lot of spectators were cheering for her. 🙂 So proud of her. For us, we came out with a little muscle cramp after the session. Probably our bodies were stiffer and our muscles were tensed up when we got in. Overall, superb experience!

iFly Singapore kids indoor skydiving iFly Singapore kids indoor skydiving

Package for First Timer Walk in Rate
First Timer from 7 years-old onwards Rate
The Challenge (2 skydives) $119
The Adventure (4 skydives) $199

 

We took The Challenge package and Lauren asked for 2 additional flies after the package and with each fly she got better and better…  It was cheaper to order additional flights before your session ended. Just let your instructor know that you would like to add on more flights. Each additional 45 sec session costs $40.

If you are excited by this post, here are some tips for you before you head down to Sentosa.

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Wear well-fitted laced-up sneakers with non marking soles.
  • You might want to leave your jewelry and valuables at home as all such items must be removed before gearing up. Lockers will be provided though.
  • Ladies with long hair are advised to tie up to minimize messy knotty hair. (my hair got tangled up badly so this is important)
  • PLEASE BE ON TIME. You will need to check in 1hr prior to flight time for training and gearing up.

It is cheaper if you book 2 days in advance, book your flights here to enjoy the savings!

 

 

Here’s a video of our 1st fly.

iFly Singapore is located at 43 Siloso Beach Walk #01-01 Singapore 099010

http://www.iflysingapore.com/

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