Bye, Goodenough College!

FotorCreated7Jul15
We honestly could not have found a better home in Central London. The quality of the accommodation was very good, and so were the facilities. The rent was very reasonable for Central London standards. Most importantly, we all enjoyed the time we spent at the college. Boys would hang out in the play rooms during the colder months and hang out in the garden during the warmer months. Boys also started piano lessons at the college, and they love their music teacher to bits. As a family, we all made a lot of friends, some of whom we’ll continue to meet when we’re back in Singapore.

Bye, Goodenough College! Thanks for the wonderful memories!

Bye, Maughan Library!

FotorCreated21Jul15
This is where I’ve been spending most of my weekdays in the past year! The Maughan Library is 15 minutes away from the boys’ school and I spend 5 hours a day, 4 days a week here whenever they’re in school.

The external facade of the building is quite cool, it dates back to the 19th Century! There’s also an awesome looking reading room on the ground floor that always seems to be crowded. Anyway I’ve never done my work there because I’m always parked in the computer labs. Love the 23 inch touch screen monitors that are in the lab! Writing is more pleasant and fun when it’s done on a huge screen!

Finsbury Park

FotorCreated18Jul15
We checked out a new park today. Actually it’s not too far from our home, but we’ve not exercised here before because Regent’s Park and Hyde Park are so much nearer.

K busied with playing ball. And shooting arrow straws from a small wooden bow he made in the morning at a children’s film club activity.

Storm Production

FotorCreated16Jul15
All the Year 3 – 6 students in K’s school were involved in a school production last week. They were supposed to interpret Benjamin Britten’s Ten Pieces, which is a short play about a community of people who have to face a storm from the sea. The entire production was very creative. Students apparently wrote the script, choreographed the dances, and composed the music, under the teachers’ supervision of course. K was involved with the artwork, and he’s proud of the collage that he made!

Bumblebee!

FotorCreated14Jul15
KL is really efficient. It’s only been a few days since he’s back and he got us a car already! It’s a 6 year old car and I’m calling it bumblebee for now because it looks so yellow in the picture he sent me!

As for me and K, we’ve been keeping busy exercising, reading and meeting friends for meals in our last two weeks here. K doesn’t like going to the museums as much as T so we’ve been heading outdoors to play ball and jog instead. K’s also finishing up his last few days in school. And while he’s home, he’s trying his best to read and review a couple of library books he has on hand. It’s for a program with the local library that encourages children to read over the summer with stickers/certificates/medals given out to the readers. K loves freebies and he hopes to get a medal by next week before we fly home.

Last three days in London

FotorCreated8Jul15
KL and T are on their way back to Singapore now! Me and K are still in London though, because I need to spend a few more weeks at the library.

Nothing too special for T’s last three days in London. He went to school as usual, and his classmates gave him a big card and plenty of arty-crafty gifts to say goodbye. Luckily everything could be squeezed into his luggage. On his last day at school, we also met with his class teacher to chat about his progress this term. She said that he’s been visibly happier and more confident in interacting with his friends. He has good literacy and numeracy skills. Unfortunately, he also has a really stubborn streak that needs to be corrected. He refuses to write beyond what he thinks it’s sufficient for whatever work he’s doing, and he will stubbornly stick to his decision even if it eats into his playtime. That’s exactly the problem we face when it’s weekend homework time. He is interested in many subjects, he knows a lot of things (through the educational videos that he loves to watch on YouTube), he’s perfectly capable of writing these things down on his homework book, but he just refuses to write it most of the time. I wonder how that will pan out next year when he’ll be forced to write a lot in P1. Speaking of P1, we’ve not registered him yet and intend to do so in end July at the very last phase for Singaporeans.

Anyway, T has certainly grown so much in the past few months that he’s spent in London. He looks so different from the babyish boy who accompanied me here last year! He’ll probably shock his grandparents when they see him this weekend.

Bye, London Science Museum!

FotorCreated4Jul15
We love the London Science Museum. It’s our favourite place to be on weekends, and no other place comes even close. There are so many exhibits to visit, so many games to play, so many activities to take part in. And T’s favourite strawberry ice cream too!
FotorCreated4Jul15b
The museum shop is also where we go to when the boys need to spend their pounds earned on their good boy charts. I like it that the toys are a bit different from the usual ones you find at toy stores. K got himself a mystery UFO yesterday and he’s been happy to show off how that UFO can spin and be controlled without actually touching it and without batteries!

1 July 2015

FotorCreated1Jul15
1 July 2015 is the hottest day the UK has ever seen in 12 years! The mid-day temperature was a sweltering 35 degrees just now. Boys were dry when I sent them to school but totally drenched in sweat when I picked them up.

T had a nosebleed in school yesterday, a nosebleed after school today and another nosebleed at bedtime. He usually clots within 5 minutes, so he loses a lot less blood than K. But because T is always very slow in telling us that he’s bleeding, we end up with a lot of blood-stained tops, bottoms and bed sheets to wash!

Looks like they’ll have a hard time adjusting to the weather in Singapore, because 30+ degrees is the norm and not the exception back home!

Meals in June 2015

FotorCreatedJuneFood
Yay, last month of cooking for me! I’m very sure I’ll not be cooking so much in Singapore because the boys can get most of their weekday meals settled at malls/markets/foodcourts and most of their weekend meals settled at their grandparents’ place. We might eat Japanese and Korean food more often though, because the boys do like their teriyaki salmon, bulgogi, katsu and sushi. 
FotorCreatedJuneFood2
Those are my meals. Prawns and spinach are staple food items in my fridge. They pop up in almost every meal that I eat at home!

Bye, Imperial War Museum!

FotorCreated28Jun15
Imperial War Museum is our second favourite museum in London. KL likes the exhibits and the boys like playing in the park outside the museum. Today we visited it for the final time to walk through the impressive WWI exhibition, walk up/down the museum stairs and play in the park outside. Bye!

What REALLY happened

We’re going back to Singapore very soon, so today we decided to visit as many city sights as we can. Those that we managed to see were the Museum of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, St James’ Park, Trafalgar Square, British Museum. That’s a whooping 9km on foot! I’m sure that’s the longest distance the boys have ever walked in a day. We took our own sweet time though, and along the way the boys caught a movie at the Barbican, had hamburgers for lunch, and jostled with tons of people at an LGBT parade (much to KL’s aghast).

FotorCreated27Jun15f
For every nice shot we get, there’ll be a few more rubbish shots where T will be photobombing us. He looks hilarious dragging my bag and walking nonchalantly across the background!
FotorCreated27Jun15d
This blog features a lot of pics of the boys looking happy. However, off the camera K has many emotional and jealous moments in a day. He couldn’t control his jealousy when I told him to leave the photo so that me and T could take one by ourselves.

Two peas in a pod

IMG-20150626-WA0011
My brother made this collage because he thinks that me and T really look alike!

And I must rave about T’s latest haircut. Two days ago when I wanted to cut his hair, I couldn’t find the one and only comb we own here. So I used a fork to help me with the haircut. Phew, luckily the fork did a good job! My mum says that she’ll never allow me to cut the boys’ hair again in Singapore, lol!

Year 3 Classroom

FotorCreated20Jun15
Had a chance to visit K’s classroom today. There are lots of things stuck on the walls and windows as you’ll expect of a learning space. The classroom is also chock-full of books and supplies because students are not required to bring any to school. Everything they’ll need for learning is supplied for them by the school. Even though the UK education system is known to be monolingual, some schools do expose their children to other languages. In K’s class, they learn basic French and basic Makaton (which is a sign language). 
FotorCreated20Jun15a
Spotted a number of K’s works on the walls and windows too. The portrait of the lady in the middle is ME! Although I don’t think it looks like me at all, lol!

Cambridge Science Centre

FotorCreatedCambridge4
We found this little gem of a place on TripAdvisor. It’s the tiniest science centre we’ve ever been to because the entire centre amounts to only ONE room. That said, the exhibits are mind boggling good. K’s favourite was the ball run. He spent more than an hour at the metal wall fixing tubes and magnets to make just a path to bring pong balls across the wall to an end point.

FotorCreatedCambridge3
T’s favourite was the earthquake towers. He too spent more than an hour building and re-building magnetic structures. The strength of his structures are tested by pressing a button to activate the “earthquake” and turning dials to make the quake stronger/faster. T still fears dying in an earthquake or volcanic eruption very much, so it makes him very happy whenever he builds a structure that survives an “earthquake”.

Cambridge Bus Tour

FotorCreatedCambridge1
It’s our first time taking the hop-on hop-off bus instead of exploring a city on foot. The audio guide of the city was interesting the first time round, but not when I had to listen to it for third/fourth time, lol! That’s how many rounds we went on the bus because boys loved hopping on it … the less walking they have to do, the happier they are.


FotorCreatedCambridge2
Took pictures at the main tourist sights in the university. Unfortunately, a lot of colleges were closed to visitors because it was the exam period when we were there. K posed against the mathematical bridge. Being a mathematician is currently his third ambition, after being a football player and an artist.

Courgette Fries

FotorCreated14Jun15
Before I came to London, I’ve not gone out of my way to eat courgettes (otherwise known as zucchinis). I’ve never bought any from a supermarket before and they don’t feature in my diet at all. In London however, they pop up everywhere in the vegetarian meals I order … and I’ve come to like the taste very much!

Had courgette fries over the weekend and it was sooooooooo yummy! The boys ate their usual burgers, fries, mac’n’cheese, and none of them wanted to try any of my green looking fries (which is good for me)! The burger place that we ate at had a nice view of the chapel of St John’s College in Cambridge.

Tying knots

FotorCreated13Jun15
T has been interested in tying shoelaces after watching his brother do it so often. And when this little boy is interested in something, he gets rather obsessed about it. Sometimes in the evenings, we find him sitting at our shoe rack area and fiddle with our laces, which is ewwww so dirty. Last week, I finally got him a pair of shoes with laces! Here, he is seen busy tying his laces on a train ride to Cambridge. He only knows how to tie knots now and has yet to figure out the ribbon bit.

Butties

School June 2015
T made an awesomely cute froggy hat in school today. It’s so cute I named it Butties because T likes to eat butter.

Both boys are feeling under the weather today. T had a three minute nosebleed in school and K is coughing away after having caught the bug from his best friend. K vomited some phlegm just now but I’m not sure if he can magically recover in a few hours because we’ve actually planned to make a short trip out of London tomorrow morning.

Back in Singapore, gong gong is not feeling well too. He’s warded for treatment. Hope this bout of hospitalization doesn’t last too long …

Bletchley Park

FotorCreated6Jun15a
We were at Bletchley Park today to get a glimpse of code-breaking work in WWII. The huts within the park were recreated to resemble what they once looked like in the 1940s. The park offers a fantastic multimedia guide that kept the boys glued to the screen (it’s an ipod touch) for more than an hour.

FotorCreated6Jun15b
There were also interactive displays here and there for the boys to learn about simple code-breaking. T couldn’t understand how to play them, but K could understand some of them. They especially enjoyed the games in the exhibition on keeping safe online.

Meals in May 2015

FotorCreatedMayMeals
Boring post about the boring food that the boys ate last month. We’ve been making cookies quite often on weekday evenings.

FotorCreatedMayMeals1
We hardly cook the adults’ food from scratch. It’s mostly store-bought food with some extra cooked veg at the side. The mussels are store bought, the prata is store bought, and so is the char keow teow (which is so oily)!

Mundoaka Streetfood

FotorCreatedZagreb2a
Devoting a blog entry to this meal because T vomited big time after eating! Mundoaka Streetfood is a very well reviewed restaurant in Zagreb and T was game to eat everything we gave him … chicken, potatoes, pizza, fusilli, even lemonade. He totally enjoyed the food but complained of a tummy ache about 15 minutes after we left the restaurant. He vomited six hours later (at midnight) and oh my gosh, it was a very messy affair!

We can’t figure out what triggered the allergic reaction. Those are the regular things that he eats, except rabbit meat which he’s trying for the first time with the fusilli. But then he doesn’t have a meat allergy. Hmm …

Predjama Castle

FotorCreatedSlovenia11a
Predjama Castle is perched high up in a vertical cliff and built within a cave mouth. It is more than 700 years old and the interiors have been restored for tourists to imagine how life was like during the medieval times. Of course KL and K didn’t actually climb the walls within the castle, they were just mischievously posing. But T rang the castle bell on the top floor of the castle many times!

Postojna

FotorCreatedSlovenia9a
Postojna is a little town that is not very interesting. We stayed there because it’s within walking distance to the Postojna caves. The town centre is so small that we can walk from one end to the other end within 10 minutes!

FotorCreatedSlovenia10a
As we do on all of our holidays, we spend a lot of time sitting around and eating. We even found a Chinese restaurant in the middle of the town! Boys liked the 咕噜肉 (sweet and sour pork) so much that they polished off two plates of that dish … on top of other dishes. I couldn’t resist sticking in a photo of T with his chocolate mustache because he looks so cute with it!

Bled Castle

FotorCreatedSlovenia8a
Bled Castle is a medieval castle that is perched on a steep 125m cliff overlooking the lake. The hike wasn’t too hard, and it took us only 20 minutes to walk all the way up. The view from the castle was gorgeous! The castle itself wasn’t that interesting so we barely stayed for an hour before making our way down.

Boating in Lake Bled

FotorCreatedSlovenia4a
We went boating twice in Lake Bled. KL did all the rowing of course, while K helped just a tiny little bit. T didn’t really enjoy boating so he parked himself on my lap for the entire ride … except for about 5 minutes when he posed for pictures on KL’s lap. And he kept asking that we make our way back to shore soon.

FotorCreatedSlovenia5a
On our second ride, T was in a better mood because we stopped halfway to take a walk on an island. Amusingly, he fell asleep on my lap on the way back to shore because the constant rocking motion made him feel drowsy!

Interesting snippet about the island we visited … the most imposing structure on the small island was a church named “The Church of the Mother of God on the Lake”. It was a tongue twister that kept the boys arguing for a while because they couldn’t agree who remembered the correct version of the name!