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Currently | May Edition

Researching: on the styles I would want for our new house. There are too many things that I love, but I know it wouldn’t be practical for my place.

Planning: for my upcoming trip to Japan with my family. I’m feeling a little nervous as it’s been almost 8 years since I’ve traveled with them. My traveling styles has changed greatly since I was a teenager and that makes me nervous, especially when my father is often critical of my choices.

Coping: with jetlag and the humidity after the glorious sunshine & cooling weather in London. The 25 degrees Celsius change in temperature has really made my body scream in horror.

Celebrating: B’s very first business trip with his new company, and it goes without saying, I tagged along and made a trip out of it. I am really happy to have met some of the people he works with and I do like them quite a fair bit.

img_6592Loving: the wonderful time that I’ve had in the UK on my own, wandering through the streets of various cities and falling deeply in love with the Kew Gardens. The gardens has given me the opportunity to spend some alone time and mourning the fact that I was visiting one of those places my mother would have loved to visit.

Listening: Beauty and the Beast – Voctave. I am totally in love with their voices and there’s no auto-tune! Hurrah!!

Reading: The Defenders of Shannara Series by Terry Brooks. As a teenager, I’ve always been a fan of Terry Brooks and Raymond E Feist. I do believe that I was greatly influenced by my mother who was a bibliophile with a penchant for mysteries and fantasy books.

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Grateful: for the timely trip out of an unexpected circumstances that allowed for 4 glorious days with my best friend and godson, C. They returned home when I needed support and distraction the most.

Learning: how to be patient with C, and how our actions are often mimicked by the little ones who are watching. They really pick up nonsense that we utter in an instance.

Universal Studios Japan

USJOver the last 7 years, I’ve often visited Universal Studios Singapore and it has provided me with tonnes of memories. When Universal Studios Japan (USJ) introduced the Harry Potter world, I knew it was a trip I had to make. When the opportunity arose from our crazy impromptu trip to Japan, I jumped at the chance to squeeze it into our trip.

Planning the trip to USJ with a 14 month old child was a challenge and we were skeptical that it would work out. After much research and planning, we decided to take the risk (child switch doesn’t really work in USS) and bought the tickets from JTB Singapore due to the great pricing that they had. However, we got the Universal Express 7 from Klook as they did not sell them at JTB.

We arrived at the Universal City Station at 8.30am in the morning and decided to have breakfast outside of USJ since the park only opens at 9am. 

However, it was a huge mistake as the queue to enter the park was massive. We stood in the queue for 20 minutes whilst attempting to entertain a 14 month old child whom only wanted to run around.

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The moment we entered, we made a beeline for the Flying Dinosaur as it was the one attraction that we’ve heard loads about, but our Express didn’t include. 

Prior to entering the queue, we asked the staff for the Child Switch option that they had. The child switch was a life saver, especially with Cas in tow. We were able to queue as a group, reach a certain point of the queue and 2 of us would take Cas into the waiting while the other 2 heads onto the ride. When we were done, the other couple would zoom to the front of the queue whilst Cas is being entertained. This was an excellent option as it had space for Cas to play and be distracted.

The staff were really nice, they played with Cas, made funny faces and noise to get his attention when we were attempting to get a group shot. They even gave him cute little stickers!


Harry Potter World is the bomb! I love the pine trees that lined the path towards Hogsmeade and I felt like I was being transported out of Japan into my favourite fantasy land. They had the Flying Ford Anglia in the forest before you reach the gates of Hogsmeade and it’s a perfect photo opportunity.

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The Hogwarts Express and the train conductor greets you the moment you enter the town. Piped music plays throughout the zone, setting the mood as you walk through the town towards the castle.

dscf3250dscf3248We took the 4D ride (which made everyone sick) and spent a huge amount of time there, where we bought wands, tried the robes, lunched at the 3 broomsticks, took tonnes of photos and simply soaked it all in.

img_2618img_2619Do head back after the sun sets and you would find a totally different environment. It makes me wonder how beautiful it would be if it was a real town.

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We wandered into the Universal Wonderland for Cas and he had an awesome time playing catching with Cookie Monster. The Cookie Monster actually played catching with Cas and he was just giggling non-stop.

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I would really recommend USJ to everyone even if you have a young child. They will have a wonderful time, but be sure to go as a group to do the Child Switch. It’s worth to note that even with the fast pass, planning and optimising our time, it was not a walk in the park and we didn’t finish the entire park. 


Captured by S. Benjamin and myself with the Fujifilm X100T & iPhone 7

Currently | April Edition

Listening: Shape of You – Ed Sheeran. I love this song, the beats are great to dance to and it is a great pick me up in the morning. When I need to just perk up a little, I’d just blast this on my earphones and pick up pace.

Watching: 13 Reasons Why. If you’ve not watched this Netflix series, you should. It really makes you reflect on the choices you’ve made, and you can’t help but wonder if you are still making those mistakes. 

Celebrating: our first wedding anniversary and B’s birthday at Siem Reap. It’s a great change of scenery for celebrations, one that is filled with loads of cheap massages, alcohol and lazing around.

Reading: Paper Princess – Erin Watt. When you’ve read most books and nothing much interests you, this book would be great if you love cruel intentions. The twists might be really obvious, but it’s a relatively well written novel.

Coping: with being an asthmatic after more than 20 years without it. It means no more traveling without an inhaler, even when you think you are well enough to do so.

Playing: mahjong, a game that is commonly played in Asia. A game that requires a poker face, skills and a good amount of luck.


Grateful: for technology. Being able to keep up with Cas’ growth, watching videos of him as he navigates through his childhood and having time to speak to my best friend when I need her.

Planning: for our upcoming trip to London. It’s really about listing out places that I love and want to explore with Ben, as well as, new spots that I’ve never been to.

Learning: to cook and eat clean. After my trip to the OBGYN the other day, I’m feeling rather spooked by my health condition. Time to eat clean and change my lifestyle.

The Twenty Sixth

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
– Claude Monet

It was March the Twenty-Sixth. Six years ago, we had one of our last meals with my mum.


I woke up suddenly, after snoozing my alarm, grabbed my phone only to see 3 missed calls and 10 messages from my aunt. I grabbed my clothes, washed up and made a dash for the bus stop.

Close to ten minutes later, my aunt pulls up to the curb and I hopped in. It feels like any other weekend.

We pulled up at our family home, my aunt quickly dashed into the house and proceeded to hustle everyone out of their jammies and breakfast.

“Quickly, we are running late. Your dad is almost on his way” says my aunt.

As I sat in the car watching everyone scramble to the car, I wondered, How can it be six years already? And why does this feel so normal?

After a good 10 minutes, everyone piled into the car, and we are off.

As we drove down the road that leads into the Church, the car fell into silence. The carpark was relatively full and we pulled up into the last of the remaining lots.

The way to Mum’s spot is familiar to us, we are drawn instinctively to Mum’s place, as though it has a pull on us.

I look at Mum’s plaque. It’s unchanged, it is always the same.

As everyone hustled around, I rushed around to wipe the dust off the little trinklets that we’ve brought her over the years – the 2 schnuazers to represent our dogs, a model fruit that that I brought back from Taiwan, my brother’s miniature baton, and mum’s favourite Little Miss.

I always liked to be the last, it was my moment with my mum.

I sat down silently, I know I had to be still instead of hiding it away to let myself feel. I gave myself time to remember, to feel, to weep, to grieve, to question, to rage and at the end of it all, to try to accept once more.

With tears dripping down my cheek, I touched my mum’s plaque as I speak.

“I love you, Mum. I love you more than I’ve ever expressed and I wish you were here to see all that we’ve accomplished. I hope that you are proud of everything we’ve done and no matter what I do, I would always keep you close in my heart because you were my first love. I will forever be your child. I wish you were here to snuggle up with me in bed with a book in hand. I miss you mummy…”

I walked towards the rest of the family and watched on as Sam plays with them.

As we drive through the gates of the church, I feel as though we are leaving mum behind again, even though I know in my heart, that we were the ones who was actually left behind.

Lost in translation | Osaka

Growing up in a small cityscape like Singapore, and in between cultures, like most Singaporeans, I’ve always had a sense of wanderlust. Travel is an addictive thing, and I’ve always looked forward to it becoming a meaningful part of my life. Honestly, it’s easy to feel depressed about the many awful things that are happening but at the same time, when you get out there, you realize how awesome the planet is. There are much to discover, that is both wonderful and humbling.

Curiosity is a definite travel essential – to understand the culture, the people and to ask questions to better understand. It’s like a good book that you can’t wait to read, yet, it also requires patience and the attitude of letting everything takes its natural course.

When I travel, I usually do my fair share of research and with time, I came to realize that the best moments are not engineered, and it those serendipitous encounters makes people fall in love with travel.

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Traveling with an open mind and no expectations is important because it allows for wonder. Wonder is a truly valuable and rare thing.

My recent trip to Osaka, Japan was so impromptu that we simply booked our tickets, Airbnb, tickets for Universal Studios and nothing else. I had little expectations due to the lack of research so that I wouldn’t form a certain impression of it. Perhaps, it was the wisest decision I’ve made since it turned out to be one of the best holidays I’ve had in years.

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Our very first stop after landing at Kansai International Airport was the Kuromon Fish Market. The food was just absolutely mind-blowing, and the variety of food available was great especially since both S and I don’t really take raw food and prefer cooked fishes or beef anytime.

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Osaka is often known as the kitchen of Japan, and it’s vast varieties of food has left us wanting more. Let’s take the famous Takoyaki for a great example, we are no stranger to these balls topped with yummy flakes. These are relatively common place in Singapore, and whilst we expected it to differ only slightly from the ones we are used to, these were beyond comprehension. They melt in your mouth and the freshness of the octopus used can’t be rivalled with.

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One constant throughout the trip was Ichiran Ramen. We would usually end up at Ichiran for supper before heading back to the apartment. I love the broth and it keeps me constantly wanting more. Coming back after our trip to Osaka, I’ve often find myself at Ippudo, the closest alternative for Ichiran for my ramen fix.

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Traveling with friends is tough, and add a kid into the combo really meant that we have no basis for comparison for what we were up against. Prior to this trip, we have only taken trips with friends, but surprisingly, never one with Clem in the 16 years I’ve known her. When Clem knew that we were flying out to meet them in Japan, she expressed her concern about how friendships are destroyed because of incompatibilities in travel habits.

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It was an adventure for the 5 of us, navigating the streets of Japan with Cas in tow. Attempting to time his sleep cycles to train rides, feeding him as much food as he would take whilst sneaking in forbidden food without him noticing, taking turns riding the rollercoasters in Universal Studios and carrying him around took an entire “village”. Compromising on the number of attractions you can see, and just simply slowing down is what was essential for us on this trip.


Captured by S. Benjamin with his beautiful Sony A7M2
 

Currently: Feb Edition

Listening: Music from La La Land and other renditions of the songs from the album. Honestly, music helps to lift my spirits when I think about the tough work day I am about to deal with. My latest favourite rendition is an advanced jazz cover, and I am totally in love.

Watching: Riverdale! OMG, watching my favourite comic in a totally different medium has became my latest obsession. Not forgetting my all time favourite, Grey’s Anatomy.

Reading: The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen. I’ve always been a huge fan of magical and fantasy books. This book is a great read, as is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. However, if you’ve read books by Terry Brooks or Raymond E. Feist, these would not be able to match up to their well developed writing styles.

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Amazed: by the beautiful wedding at the S.E.A Aquarium. Having the fishes swim around while dinner was served is truly a treat.

Looking: to restart Yoga classes. Since I changed jobs, I’ve really neglected my health a fair bit and when I chanced upon a yoga studio near the office, I am considering the option to restart.

Surprised: at how time is flying by in an instance. February is almost over and I am not ready to face March yet.

img_4521Grateful: That I’ve managed to spend a few days with my godson, Cas. He lives 2427 miles across the ocean from me and when I do get to spend time with him, it constantly feels like it’s never enough.

Planning: a small getaway before Ben starts a new job. Perhaps, we would head down to Perth, but wouldn’t have the opportunity to spend time with Cas. Alternatively, we can head off to some other Asian countries that we’ve never explored.

La La Land

https://youtu.be/HvCcbkgC15s

“Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish, as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make”

When I watch a movie, I usually do minimal research and try to avoid reviews. I try not to form a certain impression of a movie, and I fear nothing more than spoilers. So when I caught “La La Land” a couple of weeks ago, I was honestly surprised to learn that it was a musical just moments before the movie started.

Throughout the movie, I found myself tapping along with the music and being captivated by the beautifully composed music. Emma Stone, oh boy, where do I even start with her? Who knew that her chemistry with Ryan Gosling would be so awesome? Also, Ryan had me mesmerized by his piano skills. For someone who doesn’t play the piano to pick up skills and be convincing over the duration of a film is truly commendable.

The film tells a lot of truths about romantic relationships. There are always a million possibilities about how relationships may turn out, however, if it pans out the way we want, we might never attain what we are meant to do. Fate might play a cruel joke on the star-crossed lovers, but sometimes, it is for the best.

Sidenote: I’m still tapping to the catchy tunes whenever the album pops up on my playlist. Totally in love with the album and the show, catch it if you can!