My best friend and me turned a year older … again! We’re going for lots of lunches this week to celebrate, and the family is also heading for a holiday on Saturday because it’s the half-term break and we always like travelling on/near our birthdays.
K has been busy setting up a picture shop this week for us to visit because its a birthday week. We opened all our presents and cards just now, and the boys were very excited with all the bubble wrap that they could pop (they’re seen hard at work popping in the background).
T came home with loads of freebies from school. He has two swollen eyes from an allergic reaction (school doesn’t know what caused the reaction). And he has a medal from his football after school club for being the best player today. He’s really proud of it and thinks its very lucky that he gets to keep it for more than a week over the half-term break. We do suspect the medal is randomly given out by the teachers because T apparently scored an own goal at today’s game, lolz!
I’ve told T countless times NOT to go around telling people he can eat nuts and eggs because he’s allergic to them, nuts especially. But he insisted that they go into his weekend homework as the things he likes to eat the most.
The UK curriculum does not emphasize spelling (and grammar) at such a young age. Children are taught and encouraged to write as much as they want to (especially writing that expresses their thoughts and ideas) and do not worry at all that their work will come back with lots of red circles marking out the mistakes they make. So both boys are comfortable with writing at length now but are very poor in their spelling, which is something that the curriculum will only tackle from 8/9 years old onward.
After the yummy sundubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew) I had on Wednesday, I kept thinking of eating it again. So here we are checking out a Korean restaurant that’s just a couple of tube stations away from our home. Prices were decent and the food was so so so yummy. How yummy? Yummy enough that I made a reservation to eat there again tomorrow with another girlfriend!
We’ve been slowly introducing K and T to salmon sashimi. K is fine with eating a small bit of sashimi if it’s stuck inside his sushi and he will pop everything into his mouth (with soy sauce). T still doesn’t like it and will pick the sashimi bits out and eat just the plain rice.
Boys had fun at the Science Museum today. T said the highlight of his day was making spacecrafts that are supposed to land in Mars and Titan, but sadly we couldn’t complete a single successful landing in that particular game. T also spent a lot of time making all-terrain rovers and in fact I found the game so fun (I rarely find games fun) that I downloaded the same rover app when we got home. T is really pleased that he has a high score of over 500m!
K said the highlight of his day was making a pop up card of the Apollo Lunar Lander. He’s proud that he cut and glued everything by himself. We played a couple of non-space games but all in all, it was really quite a space-themed day at the museum!
T wore a hand-me-down shirt today. Got me thinking that I should snap some shots of him and then compare with how K looked at the exact age. So here they go …
T at 5 years and 8 months old in May 2015, London.
K at 5 years and 8 months old in December 2012, Singapore. There is no resemblance. I won’t pick the both of them out from a crowd to be related to each other, lol!
Met girlfriends for lunch at Jin Go Gae today, a really authentic Korean restaurant in Korea Town which is an hour away from Central London by public transport.
It’s my first time trying raw crabs, but this dish was so spicy that I coudn’t really taste anything apart from the spices. My favourite dish was definitely the sundubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew) which was sooooo yummy!
K’s homework for the weekend was to bring pictures/stories to share how he performs a service for other people. He regularly teaches T mathematics at home so that’s performing a really good service for us parents because it means we don’t have to teach.
The mathematics standards in London is much lower than in Singapore, but the good thing is that because class sizes are really small, teachers frequently customize their curriculum to meet the learning needs of the individual child. So both boys have been receiving quite advanced arithmetic worksheets and some of those that I’ve seen in their bookbags include double digit-double digit multiplication (for K), four digit division (for K), double digit-double digit addition (for T).
T is still writing a lot of his numbers in the reverse way (3 is vertically reversed in the picture above, sometimes 4 can be vertically and horizontally reversed). But that’s not too big a concern for me because K had the exact problem at the exact age. He will probably learn to correct it as he practices writing more after he turns seven.
We were at Regent’s Park over the weekend. Weather was great and T rolled up his clothes to play. Pumping water is one of his favourite activities and he literally had to be pried away from the pump when it was time to go and play at the other parts of the park.
K went boating, which is such a British thing to do! It costs £4 for 20 minutes per child, which is quite reasonable. Unfortunately, T didn’t meet the height limit and he was very upset about it.
Before and after his latest haircut. I’ve cut his hair twice and cut his brother’s hair twice in London. My skills are getting better, lol!
T is showing off a card that he made in school last month for Easter.
We made sugar ball cookies at home today. We swapped butter for olive spread to cater for the dairy allergy at home. To make the cookies healthier, we also used wholemeal flour and brown sugar. The only unhealthy thing was the sugar balls, which the boys liked.
Those are K’s hands because he helped me mix the dough. T only helped with turning on and turning off the oven, lol!
It was a bank holiday (public holiday) in UK yesterday. K wanted to go jogging with his new trainers, so I jogged with him round and round the garden downstairs. He didn’t complete 20 rounds as he planned … and went off halfway to play with T instead. They had a good time playing with sticks and stones.
Rustic filter to match the rustic seats. Had dinner with the boys at Bill’s over the weekend. This is my second time eating out at Bill’s in a week. Enjoyed my fish pie very much =) The chocolate brownie dessert was nice too!
Unfortunately, T’s vanilla ice cream contained egg (we only found out after checking the allergies menu after he said he was uncomfortable) … but thankfully he didn’t puke on the way home.
On 14 October 1066, the Normans and Anglo-Saxons fought a battle in East Sussex. The Normans won, and that marked the start of the Norman conquest in England. We took a train out of London to visit the battle site yesterday. There’s a nice indoor discovery centre on the site for the boys to watch a 15 minute video (they did it twice), look at the weapons used, and learn about the routes leading to the battle.
We also went on the battle trail that led us through a lot of sheep grazing fields. It was eeky to walk through a lot of sheep poop! Plus it was raining that morning so the grass was mushy. I’m terrified of cows and sheep and I couldn’t wait to get out of the trail, lolz … The boys were happy exploring and listening to the audio guides as they went along. I think they learnt quite a bit about William (Norman) and Harold (English) yesterday!
We had lunch at a rustic restaurant just outside the battle site. The jam, scones and bread tasted very good!
Went out with two orange things today. T’s jacket and K’s trainers are new. They picked the colours themselves when we were out shopping yesterday.
K spent a day learning to how to tie his laces (from YouTube and from me during a 1.5 hour train ride). He’s able to tie his laces on his own now, albeit very slooooooooowly!
We had brunch at Hush today. The grown ups’ food was underwhelming. Oh well, at least my tea came in a super nice looking pot. The children’s menu wasn’t too bad and the boys ate up everything on their plate + they were pleased with their sorbet desserts.
Met up with friends for breakfast at Bill’s this week. The restaurant had a nice ambiance and we were so happy chatting over breakfast that we stayed for THREE hours there!
One of my friends brought me another stash of bak kwa from Singapore!
Read about How-Old.net a few hours ago and it’s already gone viral by now. I had fun trying out a few photos and hilariously, both K and T were detected as girls in ALL the photos I tried! Lolz … I was also impressed that on distorted faces, the detection actually works 50% of the time!
Happy with their rocket lollies on a Friday evening after their dinner and bath =)
Spotted them playing a new game today. One person will shake the logs and the other person will try to make it across the wobbly logs. They didn’t play for long though, because T can’t balance and kept losing so he ran off to play something else. It looks like a fun game if they’re evenly matched though.
This term, we managed to enroll both boys in the football club in school (one hour after school, every Wednesday). But that’s not enough for K. He’ll still ask to go outdoors to kick the ball whenever they see that it’s sunny outside.
Months ago, we had dinner with some friends from Singapore. We queued an entire hour to get a table at this sourdough pizza joint, it was crazy! Luckily, the pizzas were not too bad (except the one made with anchovies which was yucky). Boys were unusually well behaved at this dinner because they’ve already eaten and whiled away their time playing chess and drawing.
Sweet and juicy strawberries in Spring, yumz! T has finished all the red bean buns (豆沙包) that’s in our freezer. Time to get a new packet in Chinatown this weekend.
In the garden shed downstairs, we found the Little Tikes Coupe that T used to like very much. Of course, he’s much taller now and looks so different riding the car as compared to a year ago …
Younger boy is busy with burying objects and digging them up.
Older boy is busy learning how to head a ball.
T had a class trip last week and I tagged along because they lacked parent volunteers. We visited the Oliver Jeffers exhibition at Discover Children’s Story Centre in East London. I like Oliver Jeffers and have read five of his books to the boys (and also watched a couple of his videos together with them) so it’s a treat for me to be visiting the exhibition too. All the scenes from “Lost and Found” came alive, complete with a miniature house for the boy, a miniature street with shops the boy encountered, and a miniature beach for the boy to row to the South Pole.
There’s also an outdoor play area so the children really enjoyed the visit. The funniest thing I heard that day … T asked his partner what she wanted to be when she grew up. Before she could answer, he asked if she “wanted to be a slave”. I nearly choked when I heard the question! Luckily there wasn’t any adults nearby (because that’s such an inappropriate thing to say) and luckily she didn’t understand what he was talking about (she’s Mexican and English is her second language). She said she wanted to be an ice cream maker. But T wouldn’t give up and told her if she’s a slave, she can beg for money and earn twenty four pounds a month. OMG, that night, I taught T about not using such language to talk to his friends anymore, and that it’s not desirable to want to be a slave or beggar when one grows up.
On the topic of school trips, London schools are very big on them. T has so far been to the Zoo, Transport Museum, Science Museum and Discovery Children’s Story Centre. K has so far been to the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum and Natural History Museum. The total number of trips they’ve taken in the past half year alone is more than all the trips they’ve taken in the past 6 – 8 years they’ve been attending Singapore schools!
Weather is fine enough to go out in the afternoons w/out a jacket and shoes. T is happy to be playing bare-footed in the garden downstairs. He was trying to hide from me! A few minutes later, two of his classmates came to the same garden and he scuttled off to play with them.
Flowers are blooming wildly now!
We’re back in London now. The flowers bloomed in Mecklenburgh Square while we were away. Boys have just finished their dinner and are now being nagged to finish the remaining worksheets of their spring break homework. Someone left a bunch of flowers on our door, which I’ll try to grow over the next week(s).
Boys will be heading back to school tomorrow while I’ll be heading back to the library. KL will also be hitting the books because he has one major exam coming up (two major medical exams in London) at the end of this month.
And a last collage to sum up our trip in the land-of-plentiful-gelato (T was trying to show off his strawberry lipstick in the first pic) …