Tuesday, January 31, 2017

35 and Feeling Fabulous

Turning 35yo - 29 Jan 2019

I turned 35yo on the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year.
I usually dislike having my birthday falls on Chinese New Year, because then everybody will be too busy to remember that it is my birthday.

But this year, hubby did give me a surprise by whisking me away from my kids for a few hours to enjoy my buffet birthday lunch!
Hubby did that too last year on my bday and I think he knew I would enjoy a few hours of 'freedom' without my kids.

Also thanks to my parents and ahyee for taking care of my boys for that few hours! I know it is not easy but you still do it! 😘😘😘#loveyouallmuchmuch

This time being the 2nd day of CNY, most restaurants were either closed or fully booked. But he managed to secure 2 seats for buffet at the Taste Cafe @ G Hotel.
Perfect venue coz not too far away from home, well, just in case my baby wails for me and I could be home in a jiffy!

When we reached there, hubby saw that there were no lobsters on the buffet line and so he voiced out his disappointment to the staff there. He told them how the person who took his booking told him that there would be slipper lobsters available, and so he was disappointed now that there was none.

The staff in charge then went to check with the chef and then told us that the chef would specially prepared some lobsters for us to enjoy to compensate us! We were happy that she took the extra mile to make us happy.

Buffet spread was reasonable.
There were even Yee Sang, as it was the CNY menu and which I assembled it myself. It was delicious. We are a lot of it with lotsa salmon.

These were what I ate. 

There were these cute CNY/rooster-themed chocolates on the dessert table. I couldn't help it but to take some (actually, quite a lot!) home for my kids! haha. #iamnotathiefijustlovechocs

And then about an hour later, she brought out 2 plates of grilled slipper lobsters for us. We were surprised the portion was soooo generous. 
To tell the truth, we did not expect so much!

But then both of us ate everything. It was fresh and warm and nice!
We felt so worth it the buffet, haha, with the lobsters and also the impeccable service given to us. 

And then when we felt that we couldn't eat anymore, the staff came out with this cake and sang me a birthday song! Hubby must have told them it was my birthday!
Actually I could just take a cake from the dessert table and treated that as my bday cake, but the staff was nice to put a message on the plate and such, and I noticed that the carrot cake was not from the dessert table! ;)

And so this was how we were super impressed with the service from Taste Cafe @ G Hotel. 
I was so happy and such a satisfied customer that I wrote a nice review for them in Tripadvisor and also sent them an email to tell them how the staff went an extra mile for us! #iamhappysoimakeothershappytoo 

 And about 3 hours later, I returned home to my boisterous boys.
They make me a birthday card and I got kisses for my birthday.

 We celebrated with a birthday cake Min bought, with the cards and the chocs I stole brought back! :P

Our family of 5!

With parents and ahyee and Min.
(Missing Wen and family again!)

With 4 kaufu and family as they were in mum's house too.

Singing of the birthday song....

And then after that, we took the boys down for a swim since the weather got warmer by yesterday.

I will end this birthday post with a couple pic.
Thanks hubby for everything.😘😍
Apparently, my pressie from hubby is still in the mail still awaiting delivery. haha

So I am now 35 years old and feeling fabulous with my life! #begratefulforeverything

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Highlights of Cape Town, South Africa Trip 2016 with Kids!

December 2016 @ Kalk Bay, Cape Town

We just got back from a one month holiday visiting my sister and her family in Cape Town, South Africa.
Needless to say, the kids had a marvelous time.
We went outdoor almost every day, so it was all sunshine and of course all of us were many shades darker.
Vern got it the worst because he refused to put on his sunhat and so he looks so dark in his face now!

I know I won't be able to blog every single thing we did in Cape Town. So I will just focus on the highlights for now. And if I've got more time I'll blog more.

So these are the highlights of stuff we did during our Dec month in Cape Town.

Most of the things we did were kid activities, as we had 5 kids of age 7 and below! 

1. Strawberry Picking @ Polkadraai Farm

I enjoyed it while I was in college in Melbourne, so I knew my kids will enjoy picking strawberries. And indeed all of us had so much fun.
We went to Polkadraai Strawberry Farm and the playgym near the entrance already had my kid running towards it once they got out the car.

It was quite a long walk to the dedicated place where we were supposed to pick the strawberries. But the kids were not complaining. They were excited to pick strawberries for their very first time!

And we picked 5 tubs of strawberries between us. There were lots of strawberries, and they were huge and red and juicy (unlike the ones I picked in Cameron Highlands!).


Shern who hates fruits tried the strawberries he picked, but he was not very impressed with it! :=)

There was a tractor ride in the farm called the Polkadraai Express, which was another hit with the kids. It brought the kids round the farm for a little tour.

And then the kids had some ice-cream as a treat!

2. Petting Zoo @ V&A Waterfront

There was a Petting Zoo at V&A Waterfront just in December and I'm glad I took the kids there.
They so enjoyed it we went there twice!

Khye absolutely loved it. He was very confident in petting the bunnies, guinea pigs, chicks, ducklings, and even rats. He was not afraid of them at all and he just stretched out his hand to feed them while the other hand stroking the animals.


Shern on the other hand was a bit more reserved as he is a very (very!) ticklish boy. So when some animals climbed up on his tummy or other body parts, he went squirmish. But then he did enjoyed himself and his fav was the rat - Ratatouille Rat he called him.


And after the petting zoo visit, both kids kept asking me "When can we have a pet?"
I'm no pet lover. I already have 3+1 boys to take care of and I don't think I can add another pet to my responsibility. But I do seriously consider having one when Khye is bigger, seeing how good he is with animals. But not now. Only when he knows how to wipe the pet's backside, that was what I told them. :)

Look at Khye even smelling the pet!
Shern got used to it more the second time we went there. :)

After the visit to the petting zoo, we walked around the V&A Waterfront where we adults took some photos.  
A few photos of myself with my baby koala, with the Table Mountain view behind. 

A photo with my beloved sis, with both our koala babies. 

The girls. (pls ignore our babies who were stuck to us!)

A funny one. Yes, we girls know how to have fun. haha. 

3. Art Jamming @ Willowbridge

This was a spontaneous one. We were at Willowbridge for some Beer Tasting and then came across this Art Jamming shop. Looked very fun and so the 3 elder kids had a good 1+ hour creating and painting their masterpieces! I initially thought they would be done in 15 mins but it took them 1+ hr, so it was money well spent to me, haha!

I love the messy space there - with spilled dry paint everywhere, on the easels and chairs, the palettes and even the floor. But it makes the space even more appealing.
They were each given a plastic apron to wear, so no worries.

I also love the big bottles of paint in every imaginable colours, even glitter gold and silver which my kids love!

Khye painting his fav rainbow and Shern drew a turbo fast jet plane on a canvas. And Ethan had a Hello Kitty stencil to help him paint.

Here they were blow drying their paint dry.

Very proud of their work! ;)

4. Camping @ Berg River Resort

One of the trip highlight was camping for 4 days 3 nights at Berg River Resort.
It was real camping, as in pitching up tents and cooking over woodfire/charcoal. But there were flushable toilets and bathroom, which to me was real important. Haha.

Putting up tents at our camp site.

Camping was nice there because of the nice weather. Summer but with cool breeze. Not hot and humid like Malaysia. So there were no sweat, how nice right? But we were all a few shades darker for being under the sun.

It was really good family bonding time as there was no gadgets, No phone because no internet for us haha.
We spent time enjoying the facilities there. Shern went swimming at the pool, kids played at the playground, all of us went swimming in the river.

At the playground.
All ready for a swim in the campsite river. 




The kids cooled down in the inflatable pool on hot afternoons. They blew bubbles.

We lazed around at our campsite. We chatted and sang songs and just bonding. 


We ate braai and Potjie for lunch and dinner cooked by Ian and his friend Ludwig. Food tasted so much better when eating outdoors haha.

My kids made so many good friends at the camp. They played Twister, catch and ball and hide-and-seek and everything throughout the day. It was real good company for them and they were sad when they said goodbye.


Shern and Khye with the brothers Mikhail and Zachary, and Anna. 

5. Scenic Train Ride to Kalk Bay

Another highlight of my trip. We took a scenic train ride from Cape Town Central to Kalk Bay. It was about an hour in the train but the view was amazing once we reached the bay.

My kids while waiting for boarding at Cape Town Central station.

The train ride. 

The super scenic bay view from our windows.

Have a look at the short clip of the view from our window.

We stopped at Kalk Bay for lunch. We ate Fish & Chips like the locals. Portion was big and delicious while eating in the bay breeze.
View was amazing too and we also saw a pair of seals.

The pair of seals.

Shern with Pho-pho. 

6. Toboganning @ Cool Runnings

Ian took us to the nearby Cool Runnings for some toboganning fun.
The elder kids have fun toboganning down the slope. Even Wen & I had a ride each without our babies.
This is one of Shern's highlight of the trip.


Short clip of Shern and Khye after their first ride.

7. Wine Estates

We visited many wine estates this trip.
Jordan Wine Estate, Warwick Wine Estate, Bloemendal Wine Estate, Fairview Wine Farm, Babylonstoren Farmyard to name a few.

There were lots to do there. You may just dine in their restuarant and chill there with a book, just like what hubby did at Jordan Wine Estates.
But don't let this photo fool you because he did that for just 5 minutes only before he had to run after baby Vern so that he did not jump into the pond!

There may be a weekend food market on some, with activities just like this one.
Food market at Blauuklippen Wine Estate on a weekend.

There were activities such as bouncing castles, pony rides, etc. 


I love to visit all these wine estates. They usually come with beautiful views/sceneries. Vast land, lotsa greens, a pond/dam sometimes, and restaurants to serve you food. The food prices there are more expensive than the usual, as you dine with magnificent views.
We usually choose the ones which are more kid-friendly - such as it comes with a playgym near the restaurant, or a grassy land for the kids to run on without falling into the dam, etc.

Nitida Wine Estate.

Spice Route. 

Our picnic area where we just laid a picnic mat in the shade and watch the kids played nearby at Zevenwacht Wine Estate.

Meanwhile we enjoyed marvelous views at Zevenwacht like this. 

Kids waiting while some of us went for wine tasting. 

At Fairview Wine Farm even had goats for us to feed. And these mountain goats sure could climb!
Khye enjoyed feeding the goats!


As for Babylonstoren Farmyard, the place was huge!!! It was such a looooong walk from the parking to the restaurant. But we passed by many fruit trees and other interesting plants.
We ended up eating 6 fruit popsicle while queuing for a table at the restaurant because no way we were walking away after walking so far to reach there!
But the farmyard was huge, and after lunch, we enjoyed taking photos there.

The beautiful mountain view of Babylonstoren.

Loved these huge trees at the farm. 

These photos were taken at Spice Route. 

Lamp post in between us. ;P

The view was so beautiful that Shern posed many model pictures for pho-pho to capture! haha.

Love this photo of me and my sis with our eldest babies. ;)

8. Wine and Beer Tasting

Mum did Beer Tasting at Spice Route and wine tasting with Ian at Zevenwacht Wine Estate.
The rest of us did Beer Tasting at Willowbridge.
Wine and Beer Tasking at Cape Town is really cheap and good.


But most memorable was doing beer tasting, wine tasting and even cocktail tasting at home by Ian! We did this a few times at night after the kids were asleep. It was always good adult bonding sessions and I really enjoyed our night chats over the drinks!

I don't really like wine, except for white wine and a little dessert wine. I don't fancy red wine especially unchilled ones as I think they taste like "tree bark juice!" lol.
Ian however made me very good brandy, and also vodka. Super loved them. Gonna miss it now. I miss you Ian!

9. Hout Bay and Chapman's Peak

It was all about scenery here. I love taking beautiful scenery photos and so we drove all the way to Hout Bay for the Food Market and then drove to the lookout point at Chapman's Peak.

It was so beautiful. I'll let the photos do the talking.

These were taken at Hout Bay.

This very cool photo of us were taken by my dad. :)

These were taken at Chapman's Peak lookout point. 
Tips: You don't have to pay while driving there. Just tell the booth person you are only stopping at the lookput point and not driving all the way through. Just so you know. 

10. Beachtime @ Milnerton Beach

We only went to the beach once in Cape Town. Sis brought us to a kid-friendly beach. The beach at Milnerton has a splendid backdrop of the Table Mountain.
But the best thing about this beach is not just the splendid backdrop but as you walk towards the end on your right, it forms a little lagoon, which is just perfect and safe for little ones to play in the water.

The water is still flowing but is only from ankle deep to about knee deep. It was so perfect, especially when we have 5 kids all 7 years and under.
The kids had fun building wells and castles and going to the water. And we adults got to relax and not get so tensed up every time the kid goes near the water.

We also watched the sun set and it was a beautiful place. The clouds and the colours in the sky made the place so picturesque. Even hubby whipped out his phone to take some photos, and he almost
never does that!

11. Outdoor Photoshoot @ Paarl Mountain

I decided to get a family outdoor photoshoot done in Cape Town. Although we had done many family photoshoot before in Penang, but never outdoor because hot and humid + young kids = cranky, sweaty kids. Well, for my kids at least!

And so I booked the talented Lizelle Krige and she did a marvelous shoot for us.
We also wore more formal this time instead of our usual casual attires. Loving the colours and how it turned out.

I will share more photos in another blog post. Stay tuned.

12. Christmas in Cape Town

We got to experience Christmas in Cape Town, with Ian's parents Oupa and Ouma being the gracious hosts. We were really lucky to be able to celebrate Christmas with the warmth of our family.
We actually slept over the night before so that the kids could all wake up together on Christmas Day!
They even got gifts for the kids from Santa on Christmas morning.

We ate too much food as usual and everything was very Christmas-y and delicious! Lovely day indeed!
Thank you Ouma and Oupa for the warm hospitality and for loving my kids just like your own!

Snuggling with my kids and kids waking up to Santa's gift the next morning.

Hubby playing number games with the elder kids with his mini pack of cards he got from his Christmas cracker.

Kids putting up ornaments on the Christmas tree at Wen's house. 

Love this photo of the 5 kids together underneath the Christmas tree!

Wen & Ian hosted a Christmas party at their home for the close friends and one of them came as Santa. 
My kids were so excited to receiving pressie from Santa. Even Vern was clapping with them.
Khye especially was super excited because apparently he thought the REAL Santa came to the house to give him his pressie and to talk to him! Cute indeed!

One by one he called the names of each kid and they sat on his lap!

Vern clapped along and laughed but the second I put him on Santa's lap when his name was called, he cried! hohoho

13. Braai

You never experience the South African culture if you never had braai there!
Braai means barbecue to the South Africans, and it is not only the delicious food you get to eat later, but the fellowship bonding while making a braai.

We had braai many times throughout the month, at the camp and a few times at home, with Ian opening ceremony braai-ing at home in his newly constructed braai place.

Peter loves a good braai. A pic of him and the braai sifu, Ian. 

14. Parks and Picnics

Most of the days we went outing to parks, nature reserves, hills or wine estates just to have our very own picnic.
We pack some sandwiches and chips and fruits and brought our picnic mats just to enjoy the day outdoors. We usually go out at about 9-10am and have a picnic til about 3-4pm.

The kids would just run around or play at the playground near the park while the adults laze around on the picnic mat, just soaking up the natural beauty outdoors.


One of the magnificent views from our picnic area, the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, which gave us the view of the famous Table Mountain.

Another picnic area view, view of the Table Mountain and Lion's Head from Signal Hill. 

We also went to one of their parks, the Green Point Park which was super huge with many playgyms inside and it was free. 
We went only to the South Gate and there were about 5 playgyms there already and a pond. 


These are some of the playgyms my kids enjoyed for one of the morning. 



We just laid out a picnic mat and snacked on some food watch while the kids played. 

15. Family Time

And the most precious thing we did in the whole month of Dec was we had great family bonding time. Everybody goes out together and just talk and chat and sleep and taking selfies. Haha.
Even at home, we were all stuck together under one roof.

We got to celebrate birthdays for Ethan and Ouma and Shu-Wen, which was precious.

The kids had zero screen time during the 1 month. We told them the tv was spoilt and so no one watched the tv at all! (and until now I told them my hse tv is spoilt too, so til now no tv in my hse! haha)
The kids drew a lot, and played a lot without TV in Cape Town.

The guys had a contest to see who could draw better. They were supposed to draw a goat and a horse. hahaha.

Some of Khye's drawings. 

He even had a drawing for his Chinese teachers back home during the Winter Solstice Festival. 

Shern's drawings...all about his latest Pokemon craze! 

They played with toys and built many Lego creations. 

They acted silly, jumped on trampolines, swam in the very cold house swimming pool, etc.

And most important of all, they just bonded together with their cousins.
They dug for stones and rolled them down the garden hill, played run and catch and hide and seek together, jumped on the trampoline, etc. 

My kids had fun with their cousins Ethan and Riley and they also gotten more close to their Wen yee-yee and Ian yee-cheung, and not forgetting their dog, Rainbow.

There were crying and tantrums too of course, especially from my baby Vern. This little boy is a real screamer with a big tantrum. haha. 


And lastly most precious of all was family bonding time. 
I got to take selfies with my kids and others.


Everyone had fun!

Precious photo of the gramps with all their grandchildren!

Anyway, I took 15 000 photos just with my iPhone, and more on my camera which I haven't even got time to download them yet.
And there are more photos from mum's and sis' phone.

Let me sort them out and see if I can churn out another post or so about Cape Town.

But for now, that is all! Hope you enjoyed reading this post.

It took me about 5 hours to churn out this post, thanks to me being jetlagged, I managed to write this post in several days! 😱

Goodnite. Yawn!