So you’ve all read Fatty’s blog post on Colony. How he conceptualized Colony, to his whole process in bringing his vision alive.
My turn to talk about it from my perspective!
So Fatty asked me to join him and help him start up Colony. And I agreed.
Putting aside issues like how it affects our relationship and marriage, my life basically turned upside down.
I became a working mom. *jeng jeng jeng*
I don’t have to go in every day from 9 to 5 but here’s what my schedule looks like these days –
- wake up, get ready, send the kids to school
- while waiting for kids, either run errands, go wet market, or just hang around near school doing work on my laptop
- pick kids up, send them home and get them started on lunch
- sneak out, head over to office for meetings, catch up with other office people, review the work done, etc etc
- rush back home to see kids
- spend the next couple hours trying to finish up more work while entertaining them (because already super guilty never spend quality time with them the whole day)
- dinner, wash up, bedtime stories, put them to sleep
- At night, Netflix with Fatty or draft blog posts/do more Colony work
- Rinse and repeat
My schedule already considered very flexible cos still can take kids to school and go market and sometimes sneak in a workout while they’re in class. But I still feel the mom guilt, guys.
And that’s me with a nice stretchy schedule! I salute you full time working moms how do you guys do it. T______T
So when we were planning out Colony, I wanted to make life for working moms a little easier if I could. And this is what we came up with.
- Lactation room
When I was working full time, I was young and unmarried wtf, as were most of us in our department. However, our boss was a mom and she’d just had her second baby. And she was breastfeeding.
Every day, she’d pull out her Medela Freestyle and storage bottles. And she’d holler to us all that she was gonna pump so nobody come near her cubicle. Then we’d hear the pump going WHOK WHOK WHOK and nobody would dare walk near her place wtf. When she was done, she’d take her breast milk and stash it in the fridge where we kept our beer. Hahahaha.
Being young and stupid, we all thought it was hilarious and the jokes lasted for years lolol my poor boss. But as a mom now, I can totally imagine the pain.
Which is why, I told Fatty we need a lactation and nursing room. We’re creating a small room with plug points and a comfortable chair, and a small freezer to store expressed milk. No more pumping at your desk while discreetly trying to protect your modesty, or worse, pumping in the toilet. -_- And if you happen to bring your baby to work, you can just nurse there! It shouldn’t be so hard for a working mom who just wants to feed her baby.
2. Kids play area
I don’t know how many companies actually allow their employees to bring their kids to work. But I think if I were a working mom — eh wait I’m technically one now HAHAHA. Well, if I had to drop by the office for just a while, or come in on weekends or something, I’d love to bring my kids with me.
So we’re creating a safe area (behind a glass door) for kids to hang out and play! There will be a designated children’s section filled with toys and probably a TV running cartoons – somewhere you can safely leave your kids and have peace of mind while you settle whatever you need to do.
Inside that room I plan to put tables and chairs, maybe some couches so that you can also sit and watch your kids and have a coffee or something. Which also brings me to the fact that there’s going to be a cafe too! 😀
Here’s a 3D rendering of it.
Our cafe will actually be open to public so you guys can come over any time 😀 Which also brings me to my next point…
3. Tiffin carriers at the cafe
We have two vendors – EspressoLab for drinks and maybe some snacks, and Bold Grains by The Healthy Food People for proper meals. They specialize in healthy, home cooked food and we thought another way to ease the burden of working moms is to provide tiffin carriers and give moms (or anyone else, really) the option of taking food to go so that they don’t need to go home and cook dinner for their families. You can also bring your own container obviously, but hopefully it will take one less chore off you guys.
There’s other things I’d love to implement. For example one day, a childcare center attached to Colony. 😀 You can bring your child to work with you but just drop them off in the childcare and pick them up after work. If you miss them you can go see them anytime hahaha. And if they’re sick it’s so easy to go get them. This is my ideal situation yo.
Butttttt this is just our first location. Hahaha hopefully got more la ok fingers crossed if all goes well. When we gain more experience I think there’s lots more I could do.
Working moms have it the toughest I think. The world has advanced enough that women can work and aren’t confined to house and home, but at the same time, while women work full time, as much as their husbands, women still take on the bulk when it comes to domestic chores, and children. (and this bothers me a lot! Lolol)
We still have a way to go to get to full gender equality but in the meantime, I’d like to help create something that makes things easier for women and moms. 🙂
Some other 3D pictures of our space!
We’re launching next month!
The older I get, the more aware of our mortality. Of me and Fatty’s health. All the more crucial right now because the Two Critters TM are entirely dependent on us. At morbidly emo times, I’d think what if I passed away right now Fighter would maybe remember me faintly but Penny would probably no memories of me at all! Then I’d be sitting on a cloud (or in flames underground wtf) getting sadder and sadder cos I’d miss out on being there as they grow up wtf #overthinking
This thought is worse than me and Fatty getting a divorce hahahaha.
Anyway, I am adulting so hard now yo. As part of my relatively recent role of responsible mom and wife *cough*, I subjected myself to a full blown health screening, courtesy of Beacon Hospital.
Beacon Hospital is a small hospital tucked away in Petaling Jaya and it was my first time there. Made my way to the health screening department….
And found a cosy waiting area filled with quirky furniture lol.
And this! A buffet breakfast spread hahaha very thoughtful! Since most people there are probably fasting in anticipation of their checkups, the Beacon people prepared this breakfast station for us. 😀
I was totally eyeing the curry bao wtf.
The screening I’m doing is called the Ruby Women Wellness Lite (<40), for women aged below 40. It’s super comprehensive la! With blood tests (that required FIVE vials of blood from me omg), a full ultrasound for abdomen, pelvis and breast, an X-ray, vision test, BMI, ECG, Lung Function Test (which I think I only borderline passed :X), pap smear, and a doctor’s consultation.
I was also screened for diabetes, cancer markers, anemia, gout, and infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Also assessed for heart, liver, thyroid issues, among others.
Turquoise is the new black lolol. Everyone is given scrubs to wear and women are thoughtfully also given a scarf to drape over our shoulders and chest for max modesty wtf.
While waiting your turn for the various tests, Internet stations are thoughtfully set up for patients to while away the time. ^^
Doing my BMI screening where I found out I’m actually 1 cm shorter than I thought FML.
Anyway everything is clear with me. I got my full medical report on the same day itself! Which is a very convenient perk of Beacon health screenings, no need to come back to collect report.
Except that my cholesterol is slightly high. T_______T A few years ago not like this one T______T I don’t even really eat a lot of terribly unhealthy foods and I generally avoid fried foods anyway although McDs is a weakness of mine. The consulting doctor said a large part of it is genetic *stares daggers at Fat Her*
Aih anyway good to know la so I can monitor and take charge of my own health.
Beacon Hospital is running a Time Ticker Deal promotion right now and certain health screenings are now offered at special rates.
a. MSCT Heart Scan – RM299
This screening is specially dedicated for individual aged 40 years old and above. MSCT Calcium Score is a non-invasive medical test of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the Coronary Arteries. This is a Parent’s Day promotion that focuses on screening for heart disease.
b. Bone Dexa Scan – RM29
This package is specially dedicated for individuals aged 40 years old and above. A bone dexa scan measures how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone, to detect osteoporosis and to predict the risk of bone fractures. This is a Parent’s Day promotion that focuses on screening for osteoporosis.
c. Father’s Day Comprehensive Health Screening – RM899
This medical check-up caters for elderly parents 50 years and above. This package focuses on screening the major issues faced by elderly people, like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and glaucoma.
d. Mother’s Day Comprehensive Health Screening – RM999
This medical check-up caters for elderly parents 50 years and above. This package focuses on screening the major issues faced by elderly people, like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and glaucoma. For women, it includes screening for female cancers such as pap smears and mammograms.
The cool thing about Beacon health screenings is that you can purchase whichever health screening you’re interested in on the website itself.
Just add to cart like you’re online shopping. 😀
After that you can also make an appointment for your health screening on the website. Just create an account (if you haven’t) and log in to your account.
And click on Make An Appointment.
Aaaaand I have a discount code for you guys! It’s limited to the first 500 customers but just key in this E-coupon code AudBHM when you’re buying your package online to get RM500 off HERE. (code expires 31 July 2017)*
- This discount e-coupon cannot be used to exchange for cash or Gift Card.
- This discount e-coupon may be used only for goods and services at Beacon Hospital Mall website (www.beaconhospitalmall.com)
- This discount e-coupon is transferable but cannot be used together with any other promotional packages, Time Ticker deals or discounts.
- This discount e-coupon can only be redeemed once by the same individual (cannot be redeemed again if the same individual has redeemed the discount e-coupon before)
- This discount e-coupon can be redeemed on a 1st come 1st serve basis, subject to a maximum of 500 e-coupon redemption.
- This discount e-coupon is valid for individual aged 18 years and above only
- This discount e-coupon redemption period is from 1 June 2017 to 31 July 2017.
- Beacon International Specialist Centre reserves the right to change, modify or amend the Terms & Conditions.
- I agree to let Beacon International Specialist Centre to contact me by email, SMS, Whatapps or phone. I can stop receiving all relevant promotional communications at any time.
Take care of our health guys!
This post was written in collaboration with Beacon Hospital.
So yeah like I said, I’d decided to stop vlogging but I think Imma try to stick to at least one vlog a month now. Cos I realized that Fighter and Penny basically use my vlogs for mealtime entertainment WTF. Hahahahaha. They think it’s hilarious watching themselves and to be honest, it is pretty awesome having video footage of the kids at their various stages of childhood.
Once a month is absolutely doable la. 😀
So hello Tiah TV is back!
Okay la I haven’t tried all the facials in the world so not really fair to say hahaha. But I recently visited Astute Clinic for their Astute Premier Facial and…. *jeng jeng jeng* I am sold wtf.
Astute Clinic is run by Dr Jason Yip, whom I’ve been going to for years! (When I say years I mean like a few times a year only which I think he’d like to kill me for lolol.) I went to him when he was attached to another aesthetics clinic and I like him cos I feel that he has a good eye and doesn’t try to press unnecessary treatments or procedures on me. So much that I followed him when he launched his own aesthetics clinic. ^^ The clinic focuses on non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures with a strong emphasis on anti aging (yessssss).
So anyway Dr Jason wanted to faint already looking at my complexion hahaha. Cos while I don’t have acne or any majorly obvious issues, I struggle with uneven skin tone and redness. To add insult to injury, my skin recently took on a yellowish tinge too. Pang sai hahahaha.
They snapped these photos of me. I think at this point I hadn’t done any facials for like two years wtf. Wah these photos are bad shaped hahaha. I owe it to the God of Time and the combined efforts of the Tiah critters wtf.
Anyway I was recommended the Astute Premier Facial which runs for 90 minutes. I asked Dr Jason who this facial would best suit and he said, “For dull, dry, mature, photo-aged skin with fine lines and wrinkles. Suitable for most skin types.”
FML. Yea la my skin is really dull, dry, and has fine lines! I’m guessing it’s photo aged too since I run around in the day time a lot on account of the kids and their activities.
Pre-facial happy face hahaha.
So this facial utilises Hydrodermabrasion, which is a method for exfoliating away the first layer of skin. This is the outermost layer of skin, mostly made up of dead skin cells on the surface. Fine lines and wrinkles often affect only this layer. In this case, Hydrodermabrasion combines a soothing cleansing solution, then applying brightening serums with an exfoliating tip to gently remove dead skin cells and impurities from skin.
This is followed by an Ultrasonic scrub to dislodge comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and Iontophoresis (a safe medical procedure that involves sending mild electrical currents through water and into the skin) for penetration of ultra-potent anti-oxidants. Sounds intimidating but everything was painless and very soothing actually. I fell asleep hahaha.
After that LED light therapy is then initiated for rejuvenation and anti-ageing. Lastly a deep hydrating and moisturising mask is placed to lock in moisture and nutrients.
Also picked up this slew of Astute Clinic’s in house skincare products. All from their Brightening range.
So like I may have mentioned, I’ve tried tons of different facials from different salons and clinics. So I didn’t think much about this Astute one and went about my day as usual, doing my usual mom duties.
I didn’t think about it the next day either, until I went to remove my makeup and wash my face at the end of the day. I stared at my face in the mirror.
Initially I thought I removed my makeup too roughly until the first layer of my skin came off or something WTF. Because my face was bright. As though it was new skin sitting on it omg.
For the first time in months instead of some shit dark yellow color (thanks to driving around the kids under the sun daily) my skin was a fair-rosy shade. The redness that tends to center around my nose and chin was nowhere to be seen.
Which is why I deem Astute Clinic’s Premier Facial the best facial with the most obvious results I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. 😀
Hi. Hahaha. Obviously I’m wearing full makeup here la hahaha. But I was seriously sooo happy with the results. <3
The facial goes for RM488 so yea it is slightly on the pricey side but if you’re looking for results/to really pamper your skin effectively, I’d say go for it. 🙂
More details on Astute Clinic here.
It’s quite hard for me to confess this but I think it needs to be said.
For the past few months, I’ve been feeling unhappy.
I didn’t notice it right away. But over time, I noticed that there was something strange happening. Me in default mode would wake up every morning excited to start the day, and then working around my schedule time with the kids, playing and just hanging out with them and Fatty.
But lately, a change had come over me. I became irritable, even retreating into tears when Fatty and I bickered over petty issues, completely out of character for me. Every negative thing that happened, I took as a personal slight, becoming over sensitive and defensive. I started playing more Candy Crush WTF. My Dayre entries became half hearted and half complete, cos I no longer felt the energy to update to the end of what I did that day. Instead of playing with the kids, I preferred to sit in a corner of the house and scroll through Facebook and Reddit. If our helper was around, I’d frequently escape to my room to lie in bed and read more Reddit.
One day I finally collected my courage and told Fatty. I didn’t even know what I was feeling, only that I wasn’t happy. It was like, to put it very cornily, I’d lost my “spark” for life. I was either indifferent or resentful towards everything around me, even the kids; sure, I played the part on the surface but deep inside I didn’t want to even think about them. And that scared me, more than anything else.
Fatty and I had a long talk, during which I cried a few more times wtf. But he helped me discern a few truths: mainly that I was burnt out. I kept using the word tired which made me realize that was it – I was emotionally exhausted.
A bunch of factors came into play – the kids are older and while physically more independent, they’re also full blown toddlers. Anyone who has had kids will know this – they take so much energy! Besides tending to their physical needs, every day I am mediating fights, admonishing or disciplining, carrying out punishment, answering questions, comforting, telling stories, teaching. Especially the fights. Those two squabble (if not outright brawl) at least five times a day wtf. And Penny turns out to have a terribly strong willed character, and hardly a day goes by that I’m not grappling with her or disciplining her over something or other. I’m not a fierce kind of person and it took another kind of strength to stand my ground and discipline her.
Fatty on the other hand has been going through a pretty tumultuous period of his own. He left his job at Netccentric, a company which he founded and grew for ten years. He suffered a phase of soul searching and other personal issues. And now he’s rallied and has thrown himself into a completely new venture, with which I’m involved. That was what consumed our marriage for the better part of the year, talking and figuring things out, analyzing, or just listening to him.
Frankly, between Fatty and the kids, I was exhausted. I still am. One of my goals in life is to be a pillar for my family but right now my emotional resources are depleted. I was giving half my energy to my baby energy vampires wtf, and the rest I used to support Fatty during this vulnerable period. But I wasn’t really getting any of it back. It’s not any of their faults of course – kids will be kids, and Fatty faced some pretty turbulent times. It was just how it was.
Add that to the fact that I’d been feeling a little lost. I put something I’d wanted to do on the back burner to help Fatty cos it seemed like we’d have a better chance at success. But in doing that I realized I didn’t have anything left for myself. What used to make me happy was my family and blogging. But it got to a point that blogging felt too much like work and the kids felt like a weight.
Fatty asked if I was tired of being a mom. I shamefacedly said yes. He asked if I was tired of being a wife. Sometimes.
This is where shit really piled on. I had a great life! A responsible, caring husband and clever, beautiful children. We are stable financially and I don’t even need a full time job. What right do I have to be unhappy? I felt so ashamed of even feeling this way. And worse, I was wracked with guilt. That I was ungrateful even though I have a life that many would drool for. That I didn’t deserve anything I had.
The weird thing though is that when I think about what kind of life I would rather have, I don’t have anything else. I would not give up caring for my family for anything in the world. I just didn’t want to care for them at the moment.
Dude, what was my problem?
It’s taken months but I think my problem is this….. Did you guys read this article? Here’s a quote from it.
Pluck, sex appeal, power, kindness, persistence: We admire and celebrate these characteristics, and we long for the past versions of our moms to embody them. But if these characteristics are a prerequisite for a properly executed womanhood, does becoming a mother divest a woman of such qualities? In studying these photos, and each daughter’s interpretation of them, I’ve come to wonder what traits we allow our mothers to have, and which ones we view as temporary, expiring with age and the beginning of motherhood. Can a woman be both sexual and maternal, daring and responsible, innocent and wise? Mothers are either held up as paragons of selflessness, or they’re discounted and parodied. We often don’t see them in all their complexity.
I don’t know about you. But my YouTube app is full of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly videos. My Spotify playlists are also stuffed with PSY tracks and they’re all set to loop. My meal choices are frequently non-spicy kid friendly foods cos they always want to eat off my plate. Dinner appointments are always set late so I can put the kids to bed first. My makeup is done in staggered phases – draw my eyebrows, play some Play Doh; do my eyeliner, feed them dinner; put them to bed, then hurriedly change to go out. And et cetera.
All these things, I was always okay with. But somehow they’ve come to a head at this point because I am missing an identity besides being a wife and a mom. Somehow along the way, I forgot about being Audrey Ooi because I was focusing on being Jude and Penelope’s mommy, Tim’s wife, and Fourfeetnine.
Once I followed Fatty to Taipei for work. He left our hotel for meetings while I stayed back and leisurely applied my makeup while listening to YouTube. At this point I hadn’t played any music that I liked for years, always giving way to the kids’ preference. And I thought, how I’ve missed this. Some Ayumi Hamasaki song had the power to transport me back ten years and I felt more myself than I had in years.
I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Somewhere in the midst of school runs, packing lunches, bedtime routines, and making sure the husband has enough clean, ironed shirts, we forget about ourselves. Who were we before we became moms, wives, keepers of the family? Were we daring? Were we foolish? Were we funny? Were we sexy?
I’m not saying that there are no funny or fun loving mothers. That all mothers are not daring or brave or sexy. But I understand what the writer above meant: that most of us have put aside facets of ourselves when we become mothers.
My self identity today is supportive wife to a successful, loving man, full time mother to two critters, and part time blogger wtf. But ten years ago I was other things. I was an honors student, incensed by local politics. I was funny, maybe even hilarious. I was flirtatious. I was smart and engaging and great at forging connections with people. I traveled on whims, taking up extra part time jobs to make the cash. I don’t even know if I’m any of these things anymore. Have they dissipated from me? Or are they just in hiding, blocked out by more appropriate “Mother” qualities?
Which is why I am going to take the time to discover what fulfills me. Away from family, from husband, from work and social obligations. Is it traveling, with friends or by myself? Is it looking for a social cause to uphold? Is it getting drunk WTF kidding kidding I hate alcohol wtf. I have no idea what makes me happy right now to be honest but even figuring out the problem is already making me feel better. And I’m grateful for a Fatty who coached me through this, and told me that “my happiness is his responsibility”. He’s the real hero in this story.
Comments and thoughts from you guys are much valued. 🙂
Fighter was cuddling up to me and telling me I was his ‘sleeping bag’ wtf. A short while later he spilled a toy pot of uncooked rice (one of his obsessions). He gets very lazy about cleaning up the rice so I’ve been nagging him and threatening to sweep up the rice and throw away.
Me: Remember what I said? You have to be responsible for your own mistakes. Which means I’m not going to help you pick up the rice. You pick it up yourself or else I’m sweeping it away.
Fighter: *stares at me for a while then raises his finger* Ding! I use my magic to turn you into a non talking sleeping bag.
While playing on the slide. Fighter was coming down the slide and Penny chose to stand at the foot of it with her back facing the slide.
Penny: (yelling) BABY BACKSIDE CATCH KOKO!!!
Fighter slides down and his legs slam into her butt, and she falls over.
Penny: (wailing) Koko leg push me!!!
Fighter: Mommy who’s your boyfriend?
Me: I don’t have a boyfriend
Fighter: Only girlfriends?
Me: Yea. Well Daddy was my boyfriend and then I married him so now he’s my husband.
Fighter: Oh? And where was me?
Me: You were in my tummy.
Fighter: And Baby was in whose tummy?
Me: Baby was in my tummy too. First you were in it, then you came out and became Mommy’s baby. Then Baby was in it then she also came out!
Fighter: I eat so much in school that’s why I burped
Me: What did you eat?
Fighter: I ate sandwich… and cake…
Me: Oh that’s right. It’s G’s (his classmate) birthday today right?
Me: Did you say ‘excuse me’ when you burped?
Fighter: Shit I forgot.
Me: (ignoring the S word) Ew you didn’t say ‘excuse me’? Was it smelly?
Fighter: Yea it was smelly. That’s why I didn’t say excuse me.
While in KLCC.
Fighter: Oh! I think I’ve been here before
Me: Yes this is KLCC
Fighter: Is it fried chicken?
Me: …. Er no. It’s KLCC, not KFC.
Me: Baby, are you pregnant?
Penny has a sweaty head problem FHL. When she sweats (which is often) her head becomes damn smelly wtf.
Me: Eee baby! Why your head so smelly?
Penny *thinks hard* Baby head got poo poo.
Play Doh drops on the floor.
Penny: Koko why Play Doh fall down?
Fighter: You dropped it.
Fighter: (frustrated) There’s no why. It’s just like that.
Fighter was sitting like an ah pek with his shirt pulled up.
Me: Why is your shirt like this Koko?
Penny: (quickly pulls up own shirt) How ’bout me mommy? How ’bout me?
Both critters are playing with their swim floats and Penny wants to exchange with Fighter.
Penny: Koko? Ek-chay? Pwease?
Penny: No! I want ek-chay!
Penny: Urghhhhh. *rushes at Koko in anger, arms flailing*
Fighter: NO BABY DON’T BEAT ME
Fighter: I want to pee in the toilet. Because my bird very long.
Penny is pulling off the heads off her Peppa Pig, George, and Mommy and Daddy Pig.
Penny: I take off my head! *tries to pull own head away from her neck*
In school in Mandarin drama class. The children are pretending to get on bicycles to cycle to somewhere.
Fighter: Wait! *takes out toy cell phone* I need to check Waze. Because I don’t know how to go.
Fighter: Mommy I don’t want you *proceeds to climb on my lap*
Me: Uh ok. Then why are you hugging me?
Fighter: I don’t want you. I just want to hug you. Because you’re so soft and cute!
For Mother’s Day Ooib and I took Mummy Ooi out for a nice lunch. ^^
Here’s a family photo wtf. But…. my kids are 3.5 and two respectively. I asked them for a Mother’s Day meal and Fighter gave me a plate of carefully hand pulled Play Doh. While Penny meowed and tried to lick my arm. >_> So I gotta make my own Mother’s Day meal la until they’re old enough to handle fire hahaha.
So I decided on the simplest meal possible – that’s also guaranteed the kids will love. 😀 Prego recently launched a new chicken mushroom sauce so that’s what we’re working with today! I prepared some chopped onion, chopped garlic, sliced mushrooms and minced chicken.
Salted and oiled a pot of water and put the pasta to boil.
Mommy’s little helpers wtf. All decked out in aprons some more hahaha.
But honestly not very helpful. Hahaha.
Really not helpful at all. In fact, I have to carry this fella and still handle the pan! And honestly I am the worst at cooking hahaha.
Anyway the steps to making pasta are easy peasy la (although this dish got no peas wtf #dadjokes)
- Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and heat up
- Fry chopped garlic until lightly brown
- Fry chopped onions
- Add minced chicken and fry until cooked
- Add mushrooms and keep stirring pan wtf
- Last step is to add the Prego sauce. If you’re serving 4, the recommended is two cans but since it’s just me and the kids, one can sufficed.
Mix well until the sauce is piping hot.
And that’s it really. Plate it over the pasta and serve!
Wah these two monsters must be really hungry hahahaha.
Hehehe they’re loving their dinner.
Anyway, Prego is having a Mother’s Day contest. Just cook a Prego Meal for your mom and win her a custom made dress worth up to RM1,000 on this Mother’s Day. More details on their Facebook here.
This post was written in collaboration with Prego Malaysia.
So two weeks ago we were living it up in Bali wtf. We were thinking of going for a holiday before Fatty’s new venture really revs up but we couldn’t decide where to go yet. We knew that going with two kids, we wanted a more chill experience. Somewhere with not too many crowds or rushing around. Where we could chill and take our time and go back to the room if one of the kids needed to nap.
Also I was quite lazy to research and plan a trip la hahahaha so nothing was concrete.
Then like a wish granted, Holiday Inn Bali Benoa emailed and invited us to go over for a stay! They’re located in Nusa Dua, and they’re basically a full fledged resort with beach access, all the amenities you need…. and very child friendly. 😀
Bye bye KL hello Bali!
The lobby when we just arrived. 😀 The hotel is actually not too big, and while it’s compact it doesn’t feel cramped. I really like the size of it cos it means I don’t have to drag around the two critters too much lolol and everything is within easy reach!
First thing, we received two kids activity packs. Filled with activity books and color pencils to keep them busy. You know this is a kid friendly hotel already . 😀
Our first night, we stayed in the Tanjung Family Adventure Suite. It’s a proper suite with two bedrooms – the master bedroom and a kids’ room.
This is the kids room. It’s done up in a underwater theme!
These two hahahaha. So happy with their new room that they fasterly pretended to sleep in the middle of the afternoon hahahaha.
Even the kids bathroom is oceaen themed! Check out the showerhead hahahaha it’s a rubber duckie ok.
Bathroom came supplied with baby toiletries too which makes traveling with kids easier! Normally I’ll bring travel sized baby wash and shampoo all one.
This is the other room that we stayed in! The Tanjung Kids Adventure Suite. I actually preferred the layout of this room more although it’s a bit smaller. The kids room is not a room but an adjoining space separated by sliding doors. I like cos cosy la hehe good to know the kids are right there but we still have some privacy.
They get bunk beds! Fighter gets the top bunk cos he’s older. The beds are really solid so don’t need to worry about them collapsing hahaha. The side barrier is tall too and we barricaded the ladder with pillows.
Told the kids which bed was theirs and as usual, they started fighting. Over who gets to sleep on the top bunk. -_-
Fighter: This is my bed! *points at top bunk* This is baby’s bed! *points at bottom bunk*
Penny: Nuh! Dis mah bed *points at top bunk* Dis Koko bed! *points at bottom bunk*
But the hilarious thing is, after she designated the bottom bunk as “Dis Koko bed!” she still like muttered under her breath, “mah bed.”
Hahahahahahahah. Hahahahahaha I laughed die. Wanna tell lies to claim top bed as her own but still cannot bring herself to lie outright LOLOL. That’s why must whisper disclaimer that the bottom is actually hers hahaha.
Somehow Daddy convinced her to take the bottom bunk though.
Daddy and baby love.
Luckily she did too, cos she fell off her bed anyway. -_- Thank goodness we propped up Dada’s bed next to hers so her fall wasn’t too bad.
(she fell off in the middle of the night wtf. She screamed when she fell and I jerked up screaming too cos I thought Fighter fell off the top!!! I swear I jumped out of bed like … I dunno the Tasmanian Devil maybe and ran screaming into their room. Poor baby T____T But she’s fine la wtf.
These two getting busy wtf.
Asked them if they want to go play where the sand is wet cos it sticks better they said no wtf. Cos dirty lolol.
Finally getting their feet wet!
Drone shot of the family! We spent every single afternoon by the beach! It became the kids’ favorite thing to do and we got to sit by and have fries and cold drinks and just watch them play. ^^
Mornings we spent at the Kids’ Club! These two kancheong spiders waiting for the staff to open it for the day lolol.
The TV area is on the left and the entrance to the ball pit is on the left.
Ball pit and slide.
Parents can leave their kids in the Kids Club cos security is tight – locked doors, sign in sheets, sweet staff and basically the place is small enough that it’s easy to keep track of the kids la. And there’s a bunch of activities for kids to choose from!
Like Balinese dress up!!! Hahahahahah this baby doesn’t know what’s going on she just blurly let us dress her up cos she’s vain like that.
Hello Balinese princess!!!! Super cute la my ovariessssss. You make me proud wtf.
She refused to wear the headpiece though, which is a crown fashioned out of leaves by the staff omg. She was very pleased with the outfit…until she tried to bounce on the trampoline, realized she couldn’t open her legs and bounced off like a sausage HAHAHAAHAHHA.
Also coloring paper and pencils are available! As well as pottery painting! Each child gets a clay money pot with a coin slot on top to paint and personalize. Look at this artist reviewing his work lolol.
Her handiwork wtf.
I’m a horrendous cook la wtf. Pasta also can cook wrong if my helper never stop me wtf. But I’m always happy to learn! And the chef was super nice to guide me and still let me get hands on.
Here’s seafood soup boiling. One pot with spices for the adults, the other without for the kids. The fishballs are handmade by lao niang!!
Some of the many spices used in Balinese cooking.
Rolled satay too yo. This takes skills wtf the chef said he took a week to master satay rolling. D: I found it pretty difficult too and ended up just squeezing the paste together lolol shh don’t tell the chef.
My finished handmade fishball and seafood soup that I dumped my rice in hahahaha #stilleatslikeatoddler wtf. The soup base was made with the aforementioned Balinese spices (actually everything seemed to contain spices) and was very tasty! Salad also got the spices lolol.
Memanggang satay! (I don’t even know what the English word for ‘memanggang’ is?) But I look like pro or not hahahahaha.
Finished product! This was chicken satay and it was pretty good too! But the kids didn’t like FML.
There’s also a gorgeous baby pool complete with shallow water slide! This Penny damn brave climb up by herself and slide down repeatedly. Once she slid down so fast she fell into the pool with a sploosh HAHAHAHAAH then hurriedly stood up with this shocked look on her face LOLOL hilarious. This blog post is turning into a post about Penny’s antics hahahaha.
Family pic! Behind us is a irregularly shaped pool that takes up quite a lot of the hotel grounds. It’s like the pool is interspersed with the restaurants and other public areas and it felt awesome! As though the minute we step out of our rooms, we can immediately jump in already. ^^
The baby pool featured this giant bucket on top that would slowly fill up with water and tip over at intervals! The kids loved sitting there and waiting in anticipation for the bucket to splash hahahahaha.
Thar she blows!!!
It was really a lovely stay. ^^ Nice, comfortable rooms, great facilities for children, beautiful pool and right by the beach. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun as a family and didn’t come back from traveling feeling like death lolol. Thank you Holiday Inn. <3 If you have small children and are considering a relaxing family holiday, Holiday Inn may just be what you need too.
The kids eating lunch at the airport. It’s been two weeks but Fighter is still asking if we can go back to Bali hahahaha.
But he promptly fell asleep for most of the three hour flight back lol.
While Baby did some in flight shopping. Hahahahaha.
This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn Bali Benoa. Click here for more details.
Fighter and Penny have recently figured out the dynamics of hide & seek and as a result, it’s become one of their favorite games.
…… On second thought I don’t think they have it figured out 100% yet. Here are some of their choice hiding places.
Behind a pillow.
Squeezed between two cushions but with the legs sticking out.
Behind the sofa cushion.
And under the table.
And that’s why I’m still winning at hide & seek. Hahahhaha.
So a little bit about our kids’ school history.
When Fighter turned one, Julia Gabriel Center approached me to try out their baby class, called Play Nest, for babies aged six to eighteen months.
Fighter went through Play Nest, then Play Club (18 months to three years) then he progressed to preschool at Chiltern House, which is a sister company to JGC. Disclaimer: I was partially sponsored for Play Nest and Play Club, but I decided to then continue with the school on my own without sponsorship cos I really liked it!
Penny was enrolled in Play Club for a while too and recently I switched her to a new program called Independent Play Club.
Now I have considered other schools for the kids as well but always decided to stick with Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House. Of course I don’t know how other schools are run but I thought this blog post could be about the different programs offered by JGC/CH and what I like about them!
Play Nest (6-18 months)
Play Nest is an adult accompanied program for babies in this age group. It’s twice a week, for 1.5 hours each. Every baby has to come with an adult – mom, dad, grandparent or nanny – and the classroom is laid down with soft mats. Cos some babies cannot walk yet hahaha.
This class will make your ovaries sing lolol. It’s actually super adorable with the soft chubby babies rolling or crawling around the mats hahaha. I really liked this class because it’s structured to include art (sensory and tactile art projects for the babies to experience different textures), outdoor play (in a baby sized playground), story time (complete with sound effects) and drama time (where teachers and assistants act out simple skits).
As a first time mom, I was very impressed with Play Nest! At twice a week, it wasn’t too heavy a time commitment and I loved bringing Fighter to school and letting him socialize with other babies.
Play Club (18 months – 3 years)
Play Club is what comes after Play Nest and it’s Julia Gabriel’s most popular class, looking at the amount of kids trying to get in lol. It’s also twice a week, for two hours each time.
In Play Club, the activities are expanded from Play Nest, They explore different themes each term (animals, transportation, etc) and different letters and numbers weekly. Then they do arts and crafts, story telling, explore an object based on the theme of the day, snack time, outdoor play, and music time.
I’m not sure but I think very few programs in Klang Valley besides Play Club are adult accompanied which could be why it’s so popular. It’s a great way for parents of babies who are too young to to go school yet to bring them into a structured environment filled with stimuli and socialization, AND I think most parents love the fact that there’s this time slot to just hang out and bond with their babies without interruption, and while the program is taken care of. Lolol.
Fighter attended Play Club for a year or so before preschool I think. When he first started he couldn’t even walk wtf (ya he was that slow :X) but when he saw his peers walking around him, he actually tried to stand up and walk as well. He never had that inclination before! I think the best part of PC for me was that he got to really play and socialize with other babies, especially valuable cos he was an only child at this point).
Independent Play Club
Like its name implies, IPC is like Play Club except its three times a week, 2.5 hours each time and is unaccompanied. It’s meant to be a transition between baby classes and proper preschool.
Penny attended Play Club for a while but I didn’t feel it was as beneficial for her as it was for Fighter. For one, she has her Koko and we hang out with their BFFs Chase and Mia a lot so she didn’t really need the socialization. And another thing is while adults in class has its benefits, in Penny’s case I felt she didn’t really need it. On days when I couldn’t go and her nanny took her, she was completely independent and engaged. But if I was there, she’d be all teh and stick to me like a barnacle wtf.
I switched her over to Independent Play Club 1-2 months ago (which caters to max 10 kids, 3 teachers) and after a few weeks of crying when I left, she settled down on her birthday itself. Now I take her in to class, tell her I’m going, and receive a wave and a kiss from her. By the time I step out the door, she’s gone back to playing hahahaha.
Sensory play with beans during Independent Play Club
And she loves school so much! Fighter gave me such a tough time when he started independent school, but on days when there’s no school she’ll cry cos she wants to go lolol. Or she’ll carry toys with her and tell me she wants to show her teachers hahaha. I’m super happy with the decision to send her. ^^
Bilingual Play Club
Another version of Play Club except at least one of the teachers speaks only in Mandarin. It’s meant to increase exposure of the kids to Mandarin but I didn’t opt for this cos it’s only once a week.
Pre-N is a very similar option to Independent Play Club. It’s a program under Chiltern House (which offers the Nursery & Kindergarten programs) and is meant for kids turning two, although they also have to be at least 18 months when they enroll.
It runs Mon-Fri from 8.30-11.30 am. I struggled for a while trying to decide whether to send Penny for this or for IPC. In the end I chose IPC cos she just turned two! I very tak sampai hati send her to school every day hahaha I guess on some days I still want my baby at home with me? It’s just different options though – while I have no experience with Pre-N, I hear it’s more structured and a more “school-like” environment. It’s a max of 10 kids with 2 teachers (1 English and 1 Mandarin).
Nursery 1 & 2
Fighter attended N1 last year and is in N2 now. Like I’ve mentioned, we don’t have experience with other schools but I had good reason to stay at Chiltern House. For N1 onwards, there are options for half or full day classes but Fighter has always attended only half day because clingy mom wtf.
All Chiltern programs are bilingual so it’s great exposure to Mandarin for the kids right away (especially if they’re like ours wtf). And what I really appreciated is that unlike most schools that require kids to be potty trained, CH teachers help or even lead the potty training. This was so useful to me as a first time mom. Fighter’s N1 teacher, with her experience, knew exactly when Fighter was mentally and physically ready and she initiated his potty training. I just followed her example and in a week he was perfectly potty trained.
I find the teachers extraordinarily caring and loving too! Fighter had terrible separation anxiety in N1 and his N1 teacher did so much to make me feel better – from sending me photos of him in school to updating me daily through whatsapp or after school. She was also so loving and motherly Fighter would only go to school if she was there wtf.
Report card day where teachers give a progress report on the child (you can see Penny crawling around on the floor hahaha).
She wasn’t the only one either! The teachers in N2 are equally caring, and I’ve heard from parents who moved their kids to other schools that they had a bit of a culture shock cos teachers at other schools seem more standoffish than the ones at Chiltern.
Fighter really blossomed at Chiltern la. From a snivelling toddler who cried half the year, and whined the other half FML, he now goes to the toilet by himself and eats independently with all his friends every day. From crying every day when I take him to class, I now drop him off at the school gate and he walks in by himself with his teachers. From not understanding a word of Mandarin, he now randomly tells me how to say phrases and words in Mandarin now (but accent very ang moh wtf).
To me academics during early childhood isn’t as important as setting the foundation for life and social skills which is what Chiltern really achieved for Fighter. I totally plan to continue Penny at Chiltern too after she completes her Julia Gabriel IPC.
So that’s my overview of Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House programs. I don’t claim my review to be balanced of course, cos I haven’t had the chance to compare to other places. But this is a standalone view of the reasons why I like Julia Gabriel and Chiltern House. ^^
I’m not saying they’re perfect ok! But on the whole I think their education philosophy is the right direction and it gels with my own beliefs. I love how my kids have grown with their education. 🙂