Meet The MINIONS At NEX! :D

minions meet n greet nex

I got to meet the MINIONS last week! πŸ˜€ And I’ve only just gotten down to blogging about it as I’ve caught the most horrible cold. Thankfully, I enjoyed my favorite ice cream at Swensen’s before I fell ill. πŸ˜€ If you want to go for the Meet & Greet with the Minions, you have to pop by Serangoon NEX tomorrow (or Saturday or Sunday) 1.15pm or 7.15pm. I am such a big fan of the minions! I brought my minion plush with me, and you’ll see him in a little bit.

When I brought Bob to the Despicable Me movie previously, the very cute Shaw Theatres uncle at Seletar Mall pointed at Bob, who was in my arms, and said I’d need to get a ticket for him. πŸ˜€ We had a good laugh thereafter. Such human interaction is so necessary… I fear for the day we’ll be watching movies without meeting any cinema staff. Anyway, when you pop by NEX, there’s more than just the Meet + Greet*.

*Redeem a photo pass with $30 minimum spent in one receipt. Photo passes are limited to 50 passes per session. Each pass admits a family of 4.
 All passes are available 1 hour before each session from the Atrium, Level 1. Strictly 1 pass per shopper/NRIC per day.

The kids were going WILDΒ with the fun song and games…

nex christmas 2017

My photographer pal asked me whether I’ll be game to get up on stage and jump and dance around to entertain the kids in the audience. Hats off to them, man! I think I’ll pass… πŸ˜€

Don’t miss the final 3 days to catch the Minions!

minions singapore meet and greet

Trying Swensen’s Combo Meal with my pal, Bob…

swensens nex

What I enjoyed most on that plate were the “rainbow potatoes”. There’s also grilled turkey, snail sausage and tempura prawns. I should have asked them what’s in that snail sausage. πŸ˜€ Recipes found online include pork, but Swensen’s is halal, right? πŸ˜‰ So… it’s anybody’s guess what’s in that sausage.

I’ve always been a fan of Swensen’s Sticky Chewy Chocolate ice cream though I have to say the Sundae was a tad disappointing because of the small portion size…

swensens sticky chewy chocolate

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Catching & Cooking Prawns + Yabbies

Prawning in Singapore review

Ooh I so wanna go prawning again soon! πŸ˜€ Last week, we were happily prawning when it began to rain, and then it stopped, and then it started raining again. Bummer. However, in those 2.5 hours or so, we managed to catch 24 prawns and 2 yabby / yabbies (however you want to spell it, but basically it’s a kind of crayfish). We used just 1 prawning rod, and took turns, so I’d say the catch was pretty decent despite the weather. AND I managed to catch a prawn with a tag that won us a 1-hour free prawning session, which we’ll redeem next time! Woohoo! πŸ˜€ I wanted to barbecue the prawns on the spot but he wanted to have them cooked at home, and I usually give in when it comes to food (also ‘cos he claims to like my steamed prawn dish).

Anyway here’s a short video showing an uncle who’s a real pro at catching prawns, how we caught our first yabby on this trip, and the mini prawn / yabby feast we had at home:

I steamed the bigger prawns with Soup Restaurant’s samsui chicken ginger sauce and panfried the majority of the prawns with their sambal sauce. So delicious! πŸ˜€

Sambal prawns singapore

As for the yabby, I really didn’t know what to do with them, but I figured that since the underside of the crayfish looked quite filthy, the best thing to do would be to clean them as best I can then drop them into a pop of boiling water to thoroughly disinfect while cooking them. And you might actually be able to convince yourself that it’s lobster flesh you’re eating. It’s firmer than the prawns, but really, the dipping sauce you use is the key.

how to cook yabby

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Truth be told, it IS rather cruel to catch and grill prawns on the spot as you’re skewering and grilling them while they’re still alive. What we did was freeze them at home first and cook them the next day for dinner.

But I guess what keeps us going back to prawn is the thrill of ‘hooking’ a prawn and then successfully getting it out of the water. Yup, there are times when prawns manage to escape, and nothing’s more painful than watching your huge catch escape just before it’s out of the water surface. (>_<)

10 Cool Things To Do At Our Tampines Hub

our tampines hub

I popped by Our Tampines Hub this week and totally fell in love with their library (I’m crowning it the best library in Singapore :D). This time, we did not return to Clip ‘n Climb (where we met CNA’s Suzanne Jung previously). Instead, we explored Our Tampines Hub a bit more and found interesting spots that make us want to return again soon. πŸ˜€ Here are some cool (and some chill) things you can do at Our Tampines Hub…

#1: Book One Of Their BBQ Pits

our tampines hub barbecue pit booking

There’s everything provided: BBQ station + sink next to it, benches all around for your guests and there’s even a vending machine for drinks just a few steps away so you’ll only need to bring food! To book one of the barbecue pits at Our Tampines Hub, simply pop by the Public Service Centre personally or use the OnePA booking portal. *They even have halal BBQ stations so make sure you state your preference. πŸ™‚ I’m guessing the view will be awesome at night, especially when there’s a football match going on!

#2: Jog Round The “Never-ending” TrackΒ 

our tampines hub jogging track

The jogging track is open from 7am to 12 midnight daily, and spans approximately 1.1km but walking round that track, it seemed to us as though it goes on forever! πŸ˜€ Pets aren’t allowed though. Shower facilities are available at the Community Auditorium on Level 3 between 7am and 10pm daily.

#3: Visit The Library That Spans 5 Floors!

our tampines hub library

From level 2 to level 6, you’ll be amazed at how big the library is and also at how instagrammable it is. I love the area at level 2 (you see above) where you can grab a book or magazine and sit facing the football field. #bestviewever

I agree with Chloe:

best library in singapore

#4: Have A Dip In The Pool(s)

our tampines hub swimming pool

Do note that the pools are closed every TUESDAY for maintenance! We were there on Tuesday! πŸ˜€ The pools are open from 6.30am to 9.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and 8am to 9.30pm on Thursday, Saturday and Public Holidays! It’s confusing, I know. πŸ˜›

#5: Enjoy A Game Of Football

our tampines hub football field

The field’s really huge! This isn’t even half of it! I would really love to pop by again when there’s an actual match going it. Where can I find details of that happening?! πŸ˜€

#6 Check Out The Plants At The Eco-Community GardenΒ 

our tampines hub eco-community garden

I saw lots of aloe vera, pumpkin, bitter gourd, papaya, etc. There’s even the Tempinis tree, from which the Tampines town got its name. Apparently, the trees grew in abundance here but had to make way for the construction in this area in the late 1970s.

#7: Chill Out At A Beanie Zone (There’s More Than 1)

our tampines hub beanie zone

And if you’d like to study, there are lots of study corners tucked away in so many parts of the building. No need to study at Starbucks or McD and get the stink eye from other patrons who want your seat! πŸ˜€

our tampines hub study corner

#8: Jio Your Friends For A Game Of Badminton

our tampines hub badminton hall

The hall’s HUGE too. And if your friends are feeling lazy (just like me), haha, there’s Teo Heng KTV to head to…

our tampines hub teo heng ktv

#9: Engage In ‘Cultural Cosplay’ At The WEARHouse

the wearhouse our tampines hub

The WEARHouse (like, warehouse, geddit?) has an extensive collection of over 3,000 pieces of multi-ethnic costumes and props. There’s everything from the Chinese Cheongsam to the Peranakan Sarong Kebaya. Want to dress up as the Samsui Woman, Coolie or the Yesteryear Policeman? πŸ˜‰

#10: Catch A Free Movie Screening Or Performance

our tampines hub movie screening

There’s a 3-day Movie Marathon starting tomorrow. Blockbusters like ‘War of the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Despicable Me 3’, ‘Boss Baby’, etc, will be screened! You can even fill your tummy first at the hawker centre right behind the stage.

Check out Our Tampines Hub’s Facebook page for more! πŸ™‚

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay *Sneak Preview*

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay is into its fourth edition this year and from 1st to 26th December, you’ll get to experience the magic of seeing the all-new 13m tall luminarie Christmas tree, the tallest-ever Spalliera (the 7-storey centerpiece light sculpture at the heart of the fairground) and a host of other activities, including 19 carnival games and rides, skating under the stars ($8 per child, $10 per adult), Circus Abyssinia ($8 per child, $12 per adult), SAVOUR’s Gourmet Village and Wine Market, and more!

I went on the media tour on the 31st of October, which I felt was a little too early to check out the decorations, as the Italian guys were still in the midst of setting it all up…

christmas wonderland 2017

It almost felt like ‘Christmas’ in the ballroom where the media launch was held though πŸ˜€

christmas wonderland singapore 2017

Work in progress…

christmas wonderland gardens by the bay

The good thing about attending the preview, though, was that we got to try the food first. SAVOUR’s main gourmet village at the Christmas Wonderland will feature celebrity chefs from award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants. But prices will start from a mere $6.

christmas gardens by the bay

christmas wonderland food

I got totally thrown off by this next dish. I thought it was some kind of chocolate-coated marshmallow thing… but the texture was so weird. My pal went to check on the ingredients and came back to say it was “turkey liver”?! I’m not sure if he was kidding, or had gotten two dishes mixed up, but I was ready to regurgitate what I had swallowed. πŸ˜›

christmas wonderland review

Everything else was safe to eat… and tasted ok. πŸ˜€

savour christmas wonderland

christmas wonderland savour

christmas wonderland singapore

Tickets start from $4 and get pricier the closer we get to Christmas!

*Entry to Christmas Wonderland is complimentary for up to 3 children under 0.9m with every paying adult.

Book online and save $2 per ticket:

www.christmaswonderland.sg

*All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Hearted Moments PhotographyΒ πŸ™‚

Run For Good: Balloon Run 2017

Balloon Run Singapore 2017

[ Pic not taken by me. My “rep” took this πŸ˜€ ]

October 1st appears to be an auspicious date – so many events happening today. While I was meditating under an imaginary mango tree at the Space Out Competition, he was completing a 5km run at the Run For Good: Balloon Run 2017. I’d signed up for both events and only realized much later that there’s a scheduling clash. So he went for one, and I went for the other. LOL. #Teamwork

While there are many environment-related concerns because of the use of so many balloons for this run, I have to agree with the organizers that the sight of balloons (especially such colorful ones) really helps make people feel happy. That brilliant balloon rainbow for the start / end point is so cute!

I like the strap attached to the medal as well. And he also brought back a floral balloon sculpture for me. Aww…

Balloon Run medal

The race cost just $12 per pax, with the money going to charity. It’s easily one of the most affordable races and they aren’t stingy with freebies either.

He received Wall’s ice cream (if it’s sponsored, THANK YOU WALL’S!), water and a banana.

Balloon Run Singapore

[ Pic not taken by me. My “rep” took this πŸ˜€ ]

After the Durian Run, and now the Balloon Run, I really cannot wait to find out what other fun Run will take place next. So exciting! πŸ˜€

Media Preview: Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar 2017

Singapore red cross international bazaar

Ambassador of Ukraine to Singapore, Dmytro Senik, holding an item commonly found in homes in Ukraine. It is said to be able to ward off the ‘evil eye’ and bring good luck πŸ™‚

The Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar happening this Saturday will have 50 stalls selling food and products from all over the world, together with games booths and a full day of performances! Make sure you mark your calendar and make your way down to Suntec Convention Centre as this bazaar is for a good great cause! 100% of proceeds from the bazaar will go to the Singapore Red Cross’ local humanitarian programmes. I went for the media preview today where folks from the participating embassies showcased some of the merchandise that will be made available at the bazaar on Saturday.

There was the Kabsa (a traditional Saudi rice dish with meat) from the Embassy of Qatar. Too bad it was all under cling wrap or I’ll be able to tell you if it smells good. Looked delicious though! There’ll also be coffee, sweets, costumes etc on Saturday. So make sure you swing by their booth.

embassy of the state of qatar

And here’s some merchandise from Brazil. Expect Havaianas, sweets, tshirts, etc…

red cross bazaar 2017

I bet the stall from the Koreans will be very popular. What with the kimchi, kimbap, korean wine, lacquerware and… LANEIGE products. πŸ˜€

This is just a sampling; head to the bazaar on Saturday for the real deal:

singapore red cross bazaar

From Bangladesh, there’ll be food (samosas, briyani), fashion, jute bags, leather and porcelain items. From Egypt, look out for theΒ hieroglyphics stencil (I think they’re so cool!) From Poland, there’ll be honey, picnic mats, cookbooks (even in Chinese!). At the Sri Lankan booth, you’ll find lots of premium Ceylon tea from 4 of the big brands.

I tried the chocolate from Ukraine – it’s really good. Also on sale will be cookbooks, some toys, design kits for children, and lots of other knick-knacks…

ukraine chocolates

Bring an empty stomach as there’ll be international cuisine and uniquely SG buys (pastry, ice cream, etc). Indulge in some henna painting or get a balloon sculpture, and definitely enjoy the cultural shows put up by the folks from Greece, Indonesia, Japan and Sri Lanka. There’ll also be a dog show, magic show and a cheerleading show!

MediaCorp artiste, Ya Hui, will also make a special appearance as SRC’s new ambassador. There’ll be a mini auction of her prized possessions and an autograph session for those who have purchased the limited edition Singapore Red Cross bears.

Do give SRC your support as funds raised go towards supporting the disabled, the elderly and the vulnerable members of our community through residential and day care, transport aid, food aid, elder aid, first aid and humanitarian training, etc. πŸ™‚

singapore red cross international bazaar 2017

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Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar 2017

23rd Sept 2017 (Sat) Suntec Convention Centre L3 Concourse

10am to 6pm

Admission is FREE!

Coupons for sale at redcross.sg. Call 6664 0500 for more information.

Volunteering at SPD Singapore

spd singapore

The SPD used to be called ‘Society for the Physically Disabled’ but in 2014, it was renamed to SPD (Serving people with disabilities since 1964). Last week,Β I went to the SPD headquarters for an afternoon of Art & Craft with some of SPD’s clients.Β The SPD HQ is located at 2 Peng Nguan Street (very near to Books Actually)! πŸ™‚

I’d thought it wouldn’t be too much of an eye-opener since most of us are used to seeing people with disabilities around – on trains, in malls, and even living in the same block as us. What I wanted to learn was how to react when I meet persons with disabilities. Do I proffer help with pushing wheelchairs, for instance? Do I look in their direction or do I look away (so they don’t think I’m staring at them)? Have there been things I’m doing wrong when interacting with them? (I really wanted to hear from their perspective)

And it was truly an enriching and informative session. I learnt a few things I never knew before. There were the basic stuff such as terminology: use “wheelchair user” instead of “wheelchair bound” and “persons without disabilities” instead of “normal”.

Here are 4 main takeaways from that afternoon:

#1 Ask before helping.Β Instead of immediately helping someone with their personal belongings, ask them if they’d like your help first. Don’t touch their guide dogs. Do not push or touch the wheelchair without first asking the person.

#2 Allow the person to hold your elbow.Β This is something I’ve been doing incorrectly the entire time. I’ll hold the arm of someone who’s unsteady on their feet (e.g. the elderly) instead of letting them take my arm. Somehow, I just instinctively reach out and help steady the person. But what I should be doing is to let the person hold my elbow while I walk half a step ahead of the person. So I definitely learnt something new. πŸ˜‰

#3 Take the escalator if you can.Β  While the lifts are an easy way for us to get to another floor, the lifts are the only way for people with disabilities (especially wheelchair users) to get to the next floor.

#4 Face the person you’re speaking to. When interacting with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, face the person when you’re speaking and do not obscure your face. If you’re a teacher or lecturer, do not speak while facing the whiteboard or else your student cannot read your lips.

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There’s a social media campaign going on right now, where you’ll see videos of persons with disabilities and how, for instance, the use of technology helps them engage a lot better with their family members and the people around them. It’s certainly heartening to know how technology helps give a voice to those who might otherwise be ‘voiceless’. Those of us who don’t have disabilities will have to be more patient around them and extend our help but definitely not pity as these individuals have talents, passions and admirable attitudes towards Life.

I also like how the SPD, which used to serve only people with physical disabilities, has opened its doors (so to speak) to people with other kinds of disabilities. There are various types of disabilities – developmental (e.g. autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy), sensory (e.g. deafness, visual impairment), physical (e.g. muscular dystrophy, paralysis, stroke, spinal cord injury). SPD’s staff strength is about 300+ (if I remember correctly) and their facilities are well-equipped. The washrooms, for instance, look nothing like the toilets for wheelchair users in shopping malls. The ones in SPD are really spacious, with lots of railings and grab bars, supports even behind the toilet seat, etc.

If you’re keen on volunteering at the SPD or other related organisations, check out this list of activities:

http://aspeneventplanners.com/ncss/

OneService App: Report Abandoned Trolleys, Overflowing Bins, And Other Municipal Issues

OneService app gifts

The OneService mobile application was launched in 2014 but I only just got to hear about it today at their roadshow at Waterway Point! πŸ˜€ Oh dear! Better late than never, I guess. It’s a very useful app for kaypoh people like myself who see something amiss in the neighborhood and wish to have it reported to the relevant authorities. For instance, I’ve emailed my town council before to report the sighting of mosquitoes and mosquito larvae in the carpark – the drainage system was choked with leaves and so there was lots of stagnant water for the mosquitoes to breed in.

And at the roadshow, simply downloading the app / liking their page on FB / posting a picture on Instagram, etc, would win you prizes. I received Toastbox kopi coupons, a notebook, an eco tote, a stress ball and their special EZ-link card! πŸ˜€

OneService App

I’ve seen so many abandoned trolleys in my neighborhood but have never known who to tell. Now I can use the app and simply “Snap. Tag. Send”. Brilliant!

Apparently, it also provides me with the weather forecast, among other things:

OneService App screenshot

If you haven’t already downloaded the app, do it now! πŸ™‚ Or head down to the roadshow and claim some freebies while you’re at it.

Artbox Singapore: Expect Lots Of Rain And ‘Ponding’

Artbox Singapore 2017

I was at Artbox Singapore on Opening Day on Friday, but wished I had stayed home instead. There was lots of rain, *ahem* ponding, and more umbrellas than open stalls at Artbox Singapore on opening day, at 3pm. Though armed with an umbrella, we left the venue within half an hour. No point getting drenched at an event where not all stalls were open yet (some were forced to close as the rain was getting onto the food and other products).

Artbox Singapore

(bottom right) Yes, there’s absolutely no need for ice-cold Chang beer on a cold, rainy day, but it’s good if you’re seeking shelter. Roasted Marshmallows ARE tempting, though. Most of the stallholders seemed rather upset when the rain came. Only one bunch of guys had smiles on their faces – their ‘tattoo’ booth was located within an air-conditioned(?) container facility. The rest of the stallholders had to brave the rain in their makeshift stalls comprising of metal poles and canvas sheets. Once it rains, you’ll be reminded of the Chinese New Year bazaar at Chinatown – lots of people, lots of puddles, lots of stallholders scrambling to keep their wares dry. The usual MEGA pasar malam sort of set-up would be more helpful (such as the one I visited at Tampines over the weekend) – There’s a roof overhead for shelter for everyone and everything, and the rain cannot dampen the spirits of shoppers.

There are cool Kombi Rocks vehicles you can get a picture with… in the rain:

Artbox

I felt that there were too many stalls cramped into too small a space. And I’m sure more than a handful of stallholders would have their grouses – perhaps too few people stopping to browse or to buy stuff. The food stalls on the periphery should do well, but those selling knick-knacks I’m not so sure about.

Anyway here’s the map if you intend to head there…

Artbox Directory Map

Artbox Bangkok

Yup, this weekend is the final weekend for Artbox Singapore 2017. Would you be making a trip there? I won’t. Even if it isn’t raining, braving the crowded, claustrophobic space is not what I envision for a relaxing weekend. If you are so brave as to head there, please remember to bring your umbrella… Actually, bring a drone too and take a picture from above – that sea of colorful brollies should look pretty lovely from overhead! πŸ˜€

Artbox

Somehow, I suspect there’ll be thunderstorms this whole week…

weather forecast marina bay sands

Where To Park Your Bicycle(s) at SAFRA Punggol

Bicycle Parking at SAFRA Punggol

I like cycling to places like Waterway Point and SAFRA Punggol so bicycle parking lots are very important to me. The ones at Waterway Point are pretty obvious – it’s almost impossible to miss the designated spots. However, it’s not the case at SAFRA Punggol. And if you don’t like chaining your bicycle to railings or lampposts, and prefer proper lots like I do, then here’s a guide to finding a bicycle parking lot at SAFRA Punggol. πŸ™‚

As you can see in the first picture above, look for Jack’s Place restaurant at #01-01. There’s a set of glass doors to the right of the restaurant (or your left). Once you go past those doors, you’ll enter the carpark, which is also where you can park your bike…

There are two areas for bicycle parking, and I’ve indicated them with (1) and (2) below. The first one can accommodate around 16 bicycles, I think. And another eight bicycles over at the second area.

Where to park bicycle at SAFRA Punggol

Second area right here:

SAFRA Punggol Bicycle Lots

There isn’t ample signage to tell people where to leave their bicycles. So the reason for this blogpost is to help you out if (1) you’re looking for somewhere to park your bicycle at SAFRA Punggol, and (2) you enter the carpark but see that the first bicycle parking area is already full, don’t panic, there’s still a second spot around the corner. The best part is there’s a CCTV camera pointing right at it. πŸ™‚

Happy Cycling!~