£0 haircuts

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I’ve been cutting the boys’ hair myself. K had a haircut last month and T had a haircut today. They get a very straight fringe because that’s the ONLY style I know how to cut!

I zoomed in on K in the last pic because he dropped a front tooth today. This is the fourth baby tooth that dropped. He’s a realist who doesn’t believe in santas and tooth fairies, but he’s pretending that he does anyway, because he wants KL to leave a coin under his pillow tonight.

Birds at Hyde Park

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When we visited Hyde Park yesterday, we brought along a few slices of bread to feed the birds. There are so many of them around the lake! Swans, geese, pigeons …. etc. It was quite a fun afternoon activity and the boys plan to visit again next week with more bread.

Yellow Daffodils!

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We were at Hyde Park today. Yellow daffodils are starting to bloom everywhere! T said they’re very beautiful. He said a highlight of his park visit was going through the flower maze (meaning to walk through the patch of flowers without stepping on a single one).

Solar eclipse

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There was a solar eclipse this morning, and the school gathered everyone (parents invited) to watch the eclipse on screen. T’s class sang a song before the screening, and there were some pupils who demonstrated how an eclipse happens. Alas, London wasn’t plunged into darkness at all. The cloud cover was so thick that it looked just like another ordinary wintery windy morning when the eclipse was at its height.

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Ironically, the clouds started clearing soon after the eclipse and throughout the day, it remained super sunny. I picked up two pairs of special glasses near a trash bin at Regent’s Park on my weekly jog, discarded probably by disappointed eclipse watchers. The boys were very pleased to be able to see the sun directly for the first time using their special glasses after school!

Eating and Playing with Papa

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Found a lot of pics on KL’s phone. The three of them sometimes eat without me on weekdays when I have evening classes or stay in the library late.

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The three of them also play quite a lot without me on some weekdays. In fact, some of these pics I am seeing for the first time myself. There are two playrooms and a children’s library in our college, and KL has been regularly bringing them there to play. KL’s also the one who’s responsible for taking care of the boys on Wednesday evenings when they have their piano lessons. He sits in with T sometimes … and T likes to bring his drum sticks to his piano lessons so that he can learn rhythm through the drums instead of the piano.

HMS Belfast

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We visited the HMS Belfast today, a battleship that has fought in both WWII and the Korean War. There were many decks and rooms to explore, and A LOT of ladders to climb. K complained about the smell on the lower decks, while T had trouble going up and down some of the ladders with his short legs. Otherwise, it was quite a nice weekend family activity.

It was rainy and windy on the upper decks, so I definitely had more fun on the lower decks. There were rooms like the sick bay, dentist’s office, bakery, punishment cell …. etc. Tons of realistic wax figures on board the ship as well, so much so that I sometimes had to think for a few seconds to decide if I’m seeing a real person real person or not.

Indoor party

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I am so busy with essay deadlines that I have not been going running for two weeks, and I couldn’t bring the boys out to play today. K planned an indoor party for us instead. He used a program that he learnt in school (https://scratch.mit.edu/) to create music for the party. He sent out an invite to me and also prepared goody bags (raided kitchen cabinets for snacks plus cut out some paper balloons for his guests). We played a card game at his party too!

We’ve moved!

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We’re still in Goodenough College, but switched from a 3BR flat to a 2BR flat to save on the rent. The rent is only marginally cheaper, but what sealed the deal for me was the kitchen/living room layout better because I didn’t like the enclosed kitchen in the 3BR flat. This 2BR flat is way smaller though (maybe about half the size of the 3BR flat), so I can hear the boys no matter which room I am in (which is good when I want to know what they’re doing, and bad when I’m trying to do my work).

The biggest bummer is that we no longer have a washing machine to ourselves, so now I have to make 2 – 3 trips to the common laundry room per week to wash our clothes …

Four boys

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Lovely weather today, so I took the boys and the neighbour’s boys to the garden downstairs to play. They’re 8, 7, 6, 6. They attend the same primary school (all different classes though) so they’re able to play quite well together. I managed to catch up on a teeny bit of reading while watching them from afar.

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Can you spot any of them in the bushes? One of the boys liked hiding in bushes, so the rest just followed suit. I also spotted the first flowers of spring today!

Oriental Canteen

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We had lunch at Oriental Canteen, a Chinese eatery that’s near the Science Museum. The roast duck was oily and quite yummy, and the boys easily finished 80% of the plate (only a few pieces left for me). T was hilariously trying to avoid being in the picture by shutting his eyes! He couldn’t run away because he was busy eating the duck.

I had roti prata for lunch! It was perfectly round, so it MUST be from a frozen source. Ah, I missed eating pratas very much …

Spring?

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March is supposed to be the beginning of spring, which will bring us slightly warmer days and temperatures that hover between 9 – 15 degrees. The days are certainly feeling longer, but flowers are not really blooming yet, and it’s still a cold 6 – 8 degrees when we leave the house for school daily … spring must be running late this year!

Nando’s

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I’ve never tried Nando’s in Singapore before because it’s pricey. Here in London however, it’s considered rather inexpensive as compared to our other eating-out options. The portions are also way bigger. The boys liked the desserts on their kid’s meals –one had free flow frozen yogurt, the other had an ice lolly — so they’ll definitely be asking to eat here more often.

Twins

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One of those really RARE days that they don’t even bicker with each other. They declared that they are twins because they wore the same top. And they hugged each other as they walked along …

Bits of February 2015

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We found a Japanese food hall in London that sells all sorts of Japanese snacks and my all-time-favourite sesame salad dressing! Boys finished their panda biscuits in a day, while I’ve already finished the whole bottle of dressing and I have to go back soon to restock.

T came home with two shiny stickers the other day because he answered a lot of math questions correctly in school. Apparently, he is able to add two digit numbers to two digit numbers. The math conditioning (by his father and older brother) at home seems to have worked out well.

I attended a formal faculty dinner in college last week. Three courses and three whole hours of conversations on heavy topics like the Iraq War, HK democracy, SG democracy, IR theories and etc … Food was good, but I’m glad there’s only one faculty dinner in my entire year here.

Smart Mechanics

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K participated in an activity at the Science Museum today, where he’s given some raw materials and an instruction sheet to build a smart machine. It’s quite cool because the machine can doodle on its own. He didn’t have enough time to finish, so I had to help him tie up the loose ends. Next Saturday, he plans to come for the activity again and complete it all on his own.

Banh Mi Bay

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I don’t cook that often on weekdays now, because my school work is piling up. We’ve been exploring a lot of the nearby eateries. The boys like to eat at the Banh Mi Bay that’s close to their school. After they finish their beef pho (they’ll share a bowl), they’ll mix in a lot of plain rice with the remaining soup and slurp everything up! T still has a bad habit of taking out all the greens he finds in his food.

Superheros

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Because all boys like superheros. K has been watching youtube videos to learn how to draw these. The robot (Optimus Prime?) is still work in progress. Think he might finish it after he comes home from school.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

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We frequently order onion rings when we eat at burger joints. K likes onion rings, but this was the first time he had a dairy allergic reaction to onion rings! Turns out that GBK uses a dairy batter for their rings. T is making a hilarious face in the background because he’s waiting to eat the food but I wanted to take pictures first.

Chinese New Year 2015

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Our family back home celebrated CNY without us this year. They sent us a lot of nice photos that they took. Even though we’re not in Singapore, the boys still received a lot of love (= a lot of ang pows) from their grandparents, uncles and aunties!

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We celebrated CNY here in London too, just not in a really big way. I have some girlfriends from Singapore who are visiting these two weeks, and they lugged so much goodies in their luggage bags (boys are already halfway through the first box of bah kwa) that I can’t thank them enough. The Singapore/Malaysian folks in the college organized a yu-sheng session over the weekend and we all participated in the fun. We also met friends for lunch in Chinatown over the weekend and watched a teeny weeny bit of lion dance from our restaurant window.

Pong

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We were at the Science Museum over the weekend and discovered an old arcade game “pong” in the room that showcased household gadgets. I love T’s expressions that are reflected on the game screen. He’s happy when he’s leading the game and angry when he’s not. Haaa, he actually wailed when he lost the last game and it was time to go home.

Pretty tea room

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As a nice ending to our self-drive holiday, we treated ourselves to tea at a pretty tea room in Rochester. The tea and cookies were nice. But the cake was too sweet, even for my standards. Haaaa … it’s back to reality tomorrow as everyone heads back to school!

Rochester Castle

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The last castle we visited in South East England was Rochester Castle. It is quite well preserved and there was a lot of climbing to get to the top of the main tower.

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The view at the top was well worth the climb! It was clear blue sunny morning to all my photos turned out really nice!

Dover Castle

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Dover Castle is a medieval castle that is supposedly the largest castle in England. It is so large that we can opt to take a small train to get around the castle grounds. There’s plenty to see and do within the castle grounds. We explored two underground sites (underground WWII hospital and underground medieval tunnel), the main castle tower and the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Museum.
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Because it was half term break, there was an activity for young visitors. Actors playing King Henry II and his children – Matilda, Richard, John – brought the young visitors on a spy chase around the castle’s main tower and enlisted the young visitors’ help to figure out who was leaking the English King’s secrets to the French King. The actors were all loud and funny, and it was such an interesting way to learn about English history through the activity.