Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fun Things To Do With Kids in Singapore

"Are we having fun yet?"

As promised, here is a list of 10 fun things to do in Singapore with your kids during the holidays.
If you, like me, hate crafts, long car trips, and anything involving a roller coaster, then this is the list for you.

1) Swimming's Singapore, after all. (Tip: take a book and large hat...just so they realize you're not actually jumping in the pool with them.)

2) Go to the bookstore Kinokuniya in Takashimaya. Hours of fabulous browsing and reading.
You may or may not want to avoid stationery area-depending on your disposable income.

3) Have a yummy breakfast of masala dhosai in Little India. Good way to assess your kids' spicy index.

4) Go to the movies. Just remember to check the rating first. Les Miserables was rated NC16-go figure.

5) Ice skating at the new olympic rink (@JCube Jurong). Allow some time beforehand to buy matching hat and gloves. At least an hour if you have Italian kids.

6) Dumplings at Din Tai Fung-what's not to love?

7) Watching Mythbusters with your kids on TV.

8) Grocery shopping followed by a stop at the local food court for kimchi fried rice and Korean Bbq. (Yes, I do realize most of my activities involve eating...blame my kids and wide array of choices in Singapore.)

9) Legoland in Malaysia (full disclosure: we still need to go). But it is on my kids' wish list and is just a forty minute drive away.

10) And finally, take them to visit their Dad's office for a surprise visit. (Tip: Accidentally leave one of them there.)

What do you like to do with your kids during the holidays? Please add...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 Questions To An Expat: Dazzling Donnaya

Introducing Donnaya Antao, gorgeous wife and mother of two adorable children, Joshua and Katerina. When she's not cooking up a veritable storm of Thai delicacies in the kitchen, you may find her strumming away at the piano.

1) So Donnaya, how long have you lived in Singapore?
Two and a half years.

2) Where are you from originally?
Bangkok, Thailand.

3) What brought you here?
My husband Peter is an engineer in the oil business. We moved here from Houston, Texas.

4) What do you do in your spare time?
I do a lot of cooking, but if I have free time I practice the piano-trying to catch up with my kids!

5) What do you like best about Singapore?
The convenience and the safety. It is so easy to live here.

6) What do you like least?
The size of the condo apartments. I wish they were bigger.

7) Never leave the house without?
Umbrella and a comb.

8) Best weekend trip?
Phuket, Thailand. The beaches are beautiful and I love Thai food.

9) Interesting fact people don't know about you?
In my 20's, I was one of the college students selected to represent Thailand in 11 different countries in South East Asia-I ended up meeting 11 prime ministers! It was awesome!

10) What advice would you give someone who is about to move here?
Bring a lot of money with you as housing, schools, and groceries are all very expensive! Also, do your shopping during the week because on the weekends malls are very crowded!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stuff Expats in Singapore Like

"Tastes like heaven."

1. Starbucks
2. Chinese tutors
3. Forcing their kids to speak Mandarin to taxi drivers
3. Comparing Malaysian beaches to those in Thailand
4. Organic food
5. Buying cheerios in bulk
6. Travelling to Bhutan
7. Describing yam butter eaten in Nepal
8. Singapore Airlines
9. Frequent flier miles
10. Skiing in Japan
11. India
12. Barbecues
13. Having a car
14. Discussing the humidity factor
15. Champagne brunches
16. Boot camp
17. Rugby
18. Montessori schools
19. Chinese coffee tables
20. Watching their kids eat with chopsticks (see photo above).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Eliot's new best friend...

Hat and gloves in Singapore...who knew?
Day 3 of the kids' 3 wk school holiday and I'm utterly knackered (a word I picked up during my years in Dublin that perfectly illustrates my state of mental exhaustion). There are only so many times I can edit a letter to Santa. A puppy under the tree? I don't think so, more like a dictionary.
I promise my next post will be a list of fun things to do if you are having a staycation (sounds so much better than 'we're not going anywhere' ) in the meantime, stay warm.
Just kidding, it is Singapore, after all!
Anyway, wanted to post a photo from our very first ice skating escapade. Well,  really theirs....but somebody had to sip the hot chocolate on the sidelines.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Do's and Don'ts When You're a Kid in the Maldives

"One day kid, this will all be yours..."

It's your parents' fifteenth anniversary and they've decided to take you along with them on their dream vacation (as if they really had a choice).  At four hours away, the Maldives, are a mere skip and a hop from Singapore. And, if your Mom lets you watch TED on the plane, they seem even closer.

Here are a few tips which might come in handy:

DO pack snacks. Your parents may have bought the 'breakfast only' deal.

DON'T assume you'll be having lunch (see above)

DO take the seaplane from the airport to the resort.

DON'T drink juice right before you do.

DO try canoeing with your little sister.

DON'T rely on her to paddle.

DO remember sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and oreos (those are for your Mom).

DON'T expect to buy them on the island. They only sell sarongs and expensive jewellery.

DO expect the baby pizza to be indeed meant for a baby. And yet, still cost $20 (US not Singaporean).

DON'T assume that just because water costs as much as coke you'll be getting coke.

DO try snorkeling. Just not with your mother.

DON'T bring your homework. They'll really expect you to do it.

DO look for dolphins.

DON'T expect to see any.

DO try a fast ride on the banana boat. Even if you fall in, the Indian Ocean water is warm.

But, most importantly, DON'T get lost on the island. You could get heatstroke before they even realize you're gone.

(Published in Expat Living, May 2013)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Questions To An Expat: Amazing Asya

Introducing Asya Margaryan, ballerina extraordinaire. When this lovely Armenian expat is not gracing the stages of Singapore, you'll find her moulding mini-dancers at The Ballet and Dance Company or directing island-wide ballet productions.

1) So Asya, how long have you lived in Singapore?
Six years.

2) Where are you from originally?

3) What brought you here?
I came here to study dance.

4) What do you do in your spare time?
I like to go to the movies and hang out at Siloso beach.

5) What do you like best about Singapore?
It is a very safe city.

6) What do you like least?
It's a bit crowded.

7 Never leave the house without?
An umbrella!

8) Best weekend trip?
Well, on the weekends I'm working. But, if I had the time, I would got to Thailand. It's nearby and has beautiful beaches.

9) Interesting fact people don't know about you?
In the six years I've been in Singapore I have never been back to my home country. Also, I like to dress up! Being a ballerina, I guess that comes with the territory.

10) What advice would you give someone who is about to move here?
That's a hard one...maybe, find a house or apartment before you get here. They say it's easy but I found it very difficult.

Monday, December 3, 2012


How was school today, Eliot? What was the best part of your day? English, Chinese?

" new shoes."