Lisbon

Posted November 4, 2014 by tintedglasses
Categories: Books, Drama, Family, Favourites, Food, Travel

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This was probably one of our best family holidays. Every element of the holiday turned out to be perfect, which really was quite a feat! Weather (most important variable which can make or break a holiday!), was absolutely stunning. We arrived just in time (at the end of October) when the city was experiencing an unusual heatwave. It was 26C everyday with sunny blue skies. At night, we turned on the fans to cool us in bed. What bliss. Because it was no longer tourist season, we had the wonderful summery weather without the crazy crowds! At many tourist attractions we visited, there were less than 20 people. We stayed at a very gorgeous AirBnb apartment on a street dotted with convenience shops and affordable restaurants. Eating out was cheap and food was always good. We had fresh seafood every day. The boy was very well-behaved throughout the 5 days and really was a pleasure to be with. He’s at an age where he is able to appreciate the surroundings and enjoy different sights and attractions. It also helps that Lisbon is so staggeringly attractive. Everywhere you turn there is a photo opportunity. The place has a real rustic charm. There was nothing pretentious, and ways of life are still quite traditional and old-school, which I find really appealing. My husband asked me last night, “So, do you want to go back to Portugal?” And my answer was loud enough for my whole street to hear. “YES!!!!”

What happened last season…

Posted April 20, 2014 by tintedglasses
Categories: Life

Hello! Sorry for the lack of updates! Time has just flown by! I am also struggling to understand why I no longer have time to blog since my last entry in December. Let me recall what has happened since.

January 2014

Started a month-long major major renovation of our downstairs bathroom. It cost us a whooping £8,000 but we finally after 8 years of living here, have a new and decent bathroom we love. At the end of January, we went to Majorca, Spain for a week. We had 7 days of sun we badly needed!

February 2014

My mother arrived at the end of February and we celebrated her birthday at the very posh Celtic Manor Hotel. One of the upstairs bedroom suffered water damage due to our leaking roof and was repainted.

March 2014

My mother’s 2 sisters came to visit! We spent a week in London then 3 days in the Cotswolds. We spent a lot of effort trying to hunt down a large enough 7-seater which could accommodate all of us plus all their large pieces of luggage. We visited Bicester Village (love it!), Bourton-on-the-Water, Bath Spa and stayed in a very beautiful 3-storey house in Moreton-in-Marsh. Oh I also went to watch Wicked the musical in Cardiff, and I really recommend it!

April 2014

In April we spent a weekend in Tenby, which is a seaside resort in West Wales. We also visited Worm’s Head, a beautiful scenic coastal spot. Mum and I went to Amsterdam for 3 days on our own to visit the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens. Not quite sure I like direct and brisk manner of the Dutch, which came across as rude to me.

Lucien

Ah Boy loves school and really enjoys going everyday. He is quite advanced in his reading, thanks to his father, and can easily read a book for 6 -7 year-olds. We are encouraging him to develop wider interests – painting, drawing, music, sports. He’s quite a sensitive individual, very astute to people’s feelings and emotions. But he’s also still got a temper and is such a loudmouth! “Quite a character!” as his teacher very politely puts it to us.

Mummy’s boy

Posted December 16, 2013 by tintedglasses
Categories: Family, Life

My son will be turning 3 and a half next week, on Christmas Day in fact, and it has just hit me how much I enjoy his company at this age. For a long time I haven’t been able to say it at all, motherhood is not all fun, but at this point, I am truly enjoying being Mum to my boy.

I don’t love him more now and less before, I just think our relationship has become better.

When he was a baby, yes he was very fat and cute, but all he did was poo, pee cry and drink milk. There was very little reaffirmation of my love (at least nothing verbal). Then when he was a toddler and hit his Terrible Two, oh dear, life wasn’t so fun then. He was on the ground kicking and screaming every few minutes if he didn’t get his way. This included in public places – which then made us look like bad parents if we tried to walk away. Everything was ‘No’, followed by a tantrum. I feared taking him anywhere. Independence and immaturity are lethal together.

Things greatly improved after he turned three. He started school and learnt to be sociable and behave in a sociably acceptable way. This is especially helpful since he is an only child and has limited interaction with other children in his daily life. He’s learnt to be even more independent – looking after his own belongings, feeding himself, following rules and instructions.

These days we spent a lot of our weekends together, just me and him. I would potter around the house doing my chores or making our meals. Lucien would be happily playing with his toys. I put the telly on for him, because it’s the only time during the week he’s home during the day and can watch some cartoons. We fool around on the sofa, cuddling and I smother him with lots of kisses.We have conversations and plenty of laughter. We usually head to the park if it’s nice and sunny or to the indoor play centre if it’s raining.

Just the other day I took him out for a quick bite at the supermarket cafe before we did our weekly shopping. This usually was very stressful; no kid likes to be dragged around the shop. But he was very good at meal time. It was all very calm and civil. No running off every 2 seconds or kicking or screaming. We finished our food at the table and then did our grocery shopping. Okay, toward the end of it, the boy had quite enough so he got a little grumpy and wanted to head home. But I mean, this was one hell of a good improvement from what he used to be like.

On my drive home today I was just suddenly bombarded by these intense mushy feelings of love for my son, I just wanted to be home straightaway to give him a big squeeze.

Now I know, what’s unconditional love.

Macau

Posted November 17, 2013 by tintedglasses
Categories: Family, Travel

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My mother loves Macau and she kept on about wanting us to experience the city with her. And so we did, before we left for the UK. She loves the Venetian Hotel but to be honest I found it rather tasteless and tacky. The food was also extremely expensive. Yes the rooms were HUGE and extremely luxurious but the hotel just has ‘FAKE’ written all over it. We spent most of the time just hanging out in our room (since we don’t gamble) or at the pool and playground (completely deserted although the hotel has 3,000 rooms, guess where’s everyone?). I found the city centre of Macau with its colonial buildings and old streets and shops most enticing. We spent one day on our own in Hong Kong, where we dined at the Peak for lunch at a restaurant with amazing views. For a non-gambler I find the city has very little to offer for me, but at least the family got to holiday together.

Closing a chapter

Posted October 24, 2013 by tintedglasses
Categories: Drama, Family

I did a number of different things with my Dad’s CPF money. I felt I had to use it to repay his old debts and accumulate some merit for him.

1) My mother’s car needed spray painting. I paid for that.

2) She used some of the money to donate to various charities in his name.

3) I sent money to all my paternal cousins, all of whom helped me at the wake and funeral.

4) I ordered a load of cakes and pastries to thank his ex-colleagues, all of whom looked after him very well at work and have become his close friends.

5) I went out and bought myself jewellery – the first time in 10 years. I wanted something tangible, long-lasting and can be kept close to me, which I could remember my father by.

6) I dragged my mother out to the shops and bought her her first “branded” handbag. I then bought myself my most expensive handbag to date. The first time we didn’t go digging in the sale bargain bins.

7) I gave money to my aunts and grandmother.

Whatever that’s left, it’s sitting there in the bank.

Until I come across an old debt to repay or something meaningful I can do with the money.

Hello, Su!

Posted October 18, 2013 by tintedglasses
Categories: Drama, Family, Travel

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Have mixed feelings about Macau (more on that in a separate post) but perhaps the highlight of our 5-day family holiday would be our day trip to Hong Kong, where we reunited with our ex-helper, Su, where she now works. We last saw her in 2007 but recently got into contact with her again and arranged to take this rare opportunity to catch up over coffee and cake. It was a hurried meeting but nonetheless it was great to reminisce about old times and marvel at how far we have come. Fluent in Cantonese (what a feat!), Su is now a mum of a five-year-old boy who lives in Indonesia with her husband and we hope she will one day return to our household.

Second honeymoon!

Posted October 11, 2013 by tintedglasses
Categories: Drama, Life, Travel

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We were able to get away for 5 days in August on our own, to Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam. I consider it one of our best holidays ever. The places were charming and magical, the setting was beautiful and everything was just perfect (ok, apart from me falling into a rice paddy due to a biking accident). It was most definitely our second honeymoon and we are very lucky to have had the opportunity to enjoy such a gorgeous destination. Words just cannot describe how special Hoi An is, you have to visit this UNESCO heritage site at least once in your lifetime to get inspired.