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Saturday, October 1, 2022

What to do in Western Australia - TOP and BEST 15 Attractions!

Before every single trip, I love to put to-go pins on my Google Maps. Not sure if it's my personality, but I always know where am I heading to and not get lost. And this is especially important as we are bringing a screaming toddler along. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck with one inside the car for long.

I mean, if you're looking at this post means you should be heading to Australia in the near future. Look forward to it as there are so many fun things to do in Western Australia alone. This simple guide is for those who are travelling in and, mostly out of Perth. Make the most out of your trip, rent a car to explore what Western Australia got to offer!

Here are the top and best attractions of what Western Australia has to offer. For easy viewing, we have sort this list into: South of-, North of- and Central Perth. 

South of Perth

1. Stay at a farm (Margaret River)
Recommended duration: 2-3 nights stay

This made it as one of our favourite to-dos in the region of Margaret River. There are a couple of options for a farmstay, their animals differs, and some of them provide animal feedings. Your child will be so hyped just feeding the farm animals. Just a tip: Book early! These places are always fully packed.
2. Bunbury Farmer's Market (Bunbury)
Recommended duration: 1-2 hours

If you're cooking your food (which I did), this place is an ABSOLUTE HAVEN. The amount of fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, all sorts of meat is crazy. And the best thing? It's not pricey at all. Just for reference, this whole bunch of carrots (approximately 10) only costs AUD$2.50! It's so fresh you can even take a bite like this!
3. Walk the Busselton Jetty (Busselton)
Recommended duration: 1-2 hours

Hiking? How 'bout conquering the longest second boardwalk in the world? Coming in at 1.8km, it takes about 25 minutes to walk this - one way! If you're bringing kids or feeling extra touristy, there's the jetty ride operating every day. Just check the timing beforehand.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

8D7N Perth Family Road Trip Itinerary - The only guide you need for Western Australia

Ever since the border measures have been relaxed, many of our friends start to fly overseas. As frequent travelers ourselves before the whole covid situation, our butt starts to itch. We were thinking where could we go with our soon-to-be 4 year old daughter. And to be honest, Sydney was our first choice. We even started to plan the places we wanted to go. But then the air tickets become really crazy at over $1,000 per pax. So we decided to ditch that and see what other budget-friendly options were there in Australia. Perth. $700-800 on Singapore Airlines sound great. 

And thus, marks the start of our Great Western Australia Journey.

Lady M had been to Perth several years back, but missed on travelling out of Perth. So we decided to rent a car for a little road trip in Western Australia on September 2022. If you still don't know, we absolutely love road trips (still missing New Zealand and Iceland)! And this time, we will be bringing our third-wheel  daughter along. 

Trip Summary

We are going to start our trip at Perth itself, going to Rottnest Island to have our quokka selfie checked. After we collect our car, we will be travelling up north to Geraldton and Hutt Lagoon (or better known as Pink Lake), stopping at Lancelin for a sandboarding session. After which, we will be going south to Cervantes, passed by Perth, Bunbury, Busselton, and finally Margaret River, where we will have our long awaited farmstay. We will head back to Perth before flying home the following day.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Origin Superior Coolmax Latex Pillow Review: My wife slept within 1 minute of using the pillow.

And.. I'm not even joking.

If there's one thing that my wife absolutely loves, it is definitely sleeping. Now that we have two young children, sleep has become a much needed luxury. An uninterrupted 8-hour sleep now seemed far-fetch. So if we can't sleep as much, the next best thing would be to improve its quality.
Everybody knows we spend a huge amount of time, one-third in fact, laying in bed. So if there's something that you want to skimp, it's definitely not on your sleeping necessities. Save on other furniture, but invest in your mattress, pillow and blanket! After all, a good set could make your sleep better AND last you through many years too!

Thank God that new technologies are coming up every now and then to improve our sleep, and one such invention, is latex pillow. Now, there are probably a heck lot of brands, but Origin Superior Coolmax Latex Pillow brings it to another level.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Should I get a confinement nanny? PROS & CONS!

One of the most frequently asked question is... should I get a confinement nanny? What's their responsibility ah? Wah, very expensive leh. Must get one ah?

I know, I know, I've been through twice already. So let laojiao enlighten you regarding your burning questions.

First things first.
What is a confinement nanny? 
A confinement nanny is someone who helps the new mother and the newborn, usually for the first 28 days starting from the day of discharge. This allows mummy to recharge and recuperate after performing the most noble job of mankind - childbirth. 

What's her responsibility?
Her role mainly revolves around the following:
- Take care of mummy, prep herbal bath, etc.
- Take care of newborn, bathing, feeding, etc. (even at night)
- Cook confinement meals for mummy (usually they will cook for hubby at no additional charge)
- Basic household chores (laundry for mummy and newborn, sweeping, mopping floor)
- Breastfeeding advices (most, if not all, do not provide any form of breast massage, or massage of any kind)

As confinement nannies differ from agency to agency, private or agency, it is recommended to understand the exact job-scope before hiring one. Mummy will be extremely tired during the confinement month. Coupled with a possibility of post-natal depression, it is best to get everything sorted beforehand in case of a fallout.

Here are some things you might want to clarify:
- Previous experience, how many years? How many babies has she cared for?
- Is she cooking the confinement meals? How many times per day? Does she mind cooking for another pax? (On some days, we requested her to cook for our elder daughter too.)
- Is she getting the groceries?
- Where is she sleeping? Any requirements?
- Miscellaneous fees and cancellation charges.

What's their price?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Emmanuel's 100th Day Staycation at JW Marriott South Beach

When we were planning for little Emmanuel's 100th day celebration, we had a few options. Book an event space and cater food. Probably too costly and too much prep work. Celebrate at home and have a nice balloon deco. The deco cost over $500?? No thanks. So we chose, a staycation and invite our family over for an intimate party. We wanted a suite room so there's moving space and not everyone hovering beside the bed and JW Marriott was perfect.

JW Marriott is located beside two MRT stations, 2-min walk from Esplanade and 5-min from City Hall, which means that it is a stone throw away from some major shopping centres, such as Marina Square, Suntec, Funan, and other attractions.

You might know JW Marriott as the fancy wedding venue with thousands of crystals hanged from their ceilings. To be honest, we may have considered there for our wedding if not for the hefty price tag. Nevertheless, this day we are here for a staycay. And never did I thought.. with two children!

Our room: Premier Suite

As expected, this suite is really spacious at over 100sqm (that's almost the size of a 5-room HDB!). It features a great living room area to host our guests, a guest toilet, a bedroom, and a ginormous ensuite bathroom. If we were to pay $500 for balloon deco, I rather spend $700 for this room. Just saying.

The whole design is contemporary, filled with monochrome rugs and paintings, completed with leather-toned furniture. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Easy, Fuss-free Confinement Meals with ReLacto

Most of us know the importance of the confinement - the period after a woman gave birth. It allows her to recuperate, to rest after doing the most noble task on earth. Having a good confinement is also a restart button, you may end up even healthier and stronger after confinement. That is why most people go after confinement nannies. We did too. 

But according to older folks, do you know that confinement period is actually 40 days, and even up to 100 days? Uh, so what happened after the nanny left after 28 days?
After settling back in work after my extended paternal leave (I took 1 month in total), it is pretty bothersome to check what could my wife, Lydia, eat. To be honest, I'm not an expert so everything looks ok to eat. That is why we kickstart our ReLacto journey shortly after our confinement nanny left. This is to ensure that my missus is getting sufficient nutrients to recover as well as to support her breastfeeding journey. ReLacto is unique as they place great emphasis on ingredients that will provide both recovery and boost the quantity and quality of her breastmilk.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

This is Home, Truly

This article was first published at Hipvan here.

Our contractor escaped.

The nightmare that every new house owner feared the most landed on us. Nevertheless, we were still grateful that he was literally contactless during the last few stages of our home renovation.

Oh, before I move on, my name is Thomas, a 30-year-old home-grown boy. Together with my beautiful wife, Lydia, we got ourselves one of the biggest investments of our lifetime – a 5-room HDB (113 sqm) located at Punggol. I once told myself I will never move to Punggol. Prior to moving, we reside at Beach Road, where we could walk to our favourite hangouts such as Suntec and Marina Bay Sands, so Punggol is considerably further (but again, how big is Singapore?).

Getting our nest

Considering the long waiting times for BTOs nowadays, we decided to opt for a resale flat. Psst, they offer huge grants for resale flats now. We visited a few places at Seng Kang and Punggol, before choosing this flat. It was brimming with laughter, children running around, and the whole family was really amiable towards us. Without thinking much, we told the property agent, this is it and we dealt at $620K (down from the original $638K), which to be honest was still more than our budget.

The great thing was that, it is already well-furnished with the previous renovations, so we get to saved huge ka-chings on renovation. We had in mind what we wanted. A warm, cosy, Scandi-mix-modern feel to our house. We made a renovation list, which roughly reads:

1. Refurbish living room wall.

2. Retile two toilets.

3. Paint entire house.

4. Laminate headboard in master bedroom.

With that, we approached three interior design companies in Singapore, which quoted us close to $20K. Our budget was $10K, which includes $2K to buy furnishings, such as fluted panels, toilet accessories, etc. So, through a business contact, we got to know Mr. A (to remain his integrity, I will not name him), a freelance contractor. He could do it within our budget and we were delighted. Long story short, manpower was short, he did not pay his workers, did not do the final checks, resulting in our renovation being 90% completed. Thank God I was smart enough to withhold the final payment, which was later utilised to fix his errors.

So, here’s a useful advice: Make the last payment after completion and checks are done!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Second Delivery at Thomson Medical Centre + Hospital Fees (Feb 2022)

And...we were pregnant again.

Before I move on, if you are reading this, most likely you are already pregnant and planning where to give birth to your little one, so here's the heartiest congratulations from me! Being the father of two children now, I can tell you that parenting is the hardest, longest, heart-wrenching, emotional and physical lesson that you will ever partake. But, but, but, it is also the noblest and reaps the best rewards.
Choosing Thomson Medical Centre (TMC) is pretty much a no-brainer for us, since myself and my first born, Olivia, are delivered here. Both by the same gynae, Dr. W. K. Tan. As compared to other private hospitals, TMC is considered pretty affordable. But as always, child delivery (not to even mention child bearing) is not cheap, so it is good to plan your finances beforehand.

If you have not, I would love to invite you to check out my experience on TMC in November 2018 for my firstborn. This post has since garnered more than 1 million views.

Delivery at Thomson Medical Centre + Hospital fees (Nov 2018)

Our gynae
Instead of Dr. W. K. Tan, we opted for another gynae, Dr. Benjamin Tham, this time round. No, no, it's not because Dr. Tan is not good, in fact, she's amazing. Dr. Benjamin was introduced to us by our friends, and thought why not? Yes, Benjamin is obviously a male, so make sure you (or your partner) is alright with it beforehand. To be honest, this didn't bothered us much. Throughout our consultations and even the delivery, Dr. Benjamin was amazing. He was humorous all the way and gave us really useful advice such as using an Epi-no to reduce vaginal tearing.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Letter to My Son

Dear Emmanuel,

In about one month's time, daddy and mummy are going to carrying you in our arms. It came to a point of time when we felt that we are ready for our second baby, and in accordance with God's timing, you came into our lives. Slowly but surely, you grew larger and stronger, as with mummy's appetite. Now she eats a lot of chocolate, ice-cream, mala and Thai food! It is as if you are ordering food via mummy. Be strong, be healthy, that's all it matters.

You have a big sister, Olivia, who is about 3 years older than you. We have prepared her for your arrival and we can see that she is excited to welcome her best playmate. She chose for you a baby bunny and even pinky-promise that she will share her toys with you! Did you hear her praying for you? Did you hear her kisses through mummy's tummy?