Bubbles and bolognaise

What I loved yesterday.
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Sitting on the sofa in the early morning, blowing chocolate scented bubbles towards the rising sun.

Elliot: ‘Bye bye bubbles. They’re all leaving. It smells like chocolate in here! It smells like doggie in here!’

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Elliot carrying his tiny golden retriever, Bella who is named after my mum’s dog, under his arm most of the day.

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Elliot cooking and serving me a piping hot bowl of pretend spaghetti bolognaise. Apparently the secret ingredient is Bella. Only a slight obsession with doggies going on here.
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Hysterical giggles before bedtime when I mispronounced a word in one of his favourite books, 101 Dalmatians.
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Post play date

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We went to a musical play date this morning. It’s half an hours brisk walk from where we live, but today the sun is out and there’s no breeze so we had to walk pretty slowly and I had to wipe off the dripping sweat every other minute. But hey, it’s all exercise.

On the way back Elliot couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. Luckily he fell asleep just when we passed one of the many local eateries/hawker centres.

And thanks to his new miniature clip-on fan he doesn’t get too hot in the buggy while he sleeps.

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This meant I could sit down in the shade and enjoy an ice cold lime juice and a chicken murtabak – a sort of Indian pancake filled with chicken and onion and egg that you dip in a spicy sauce. So good. 6 dollars for a huge portion.

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His favourite things

Elliot’s favourite things at the moment are: watching cars and trucks drive past and dipping fries in mayo.

‘More’ he’ll shout at me whenever there is a let up in the traffic or the mayo moves too far away from his sight.

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And how lovely it is to have a partner-in-crime on the fries & mayo front as it’s one of my guilty pleasures (husband is more of a ketchup guy and gags just looking at the white condiment).

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Yesterday we went to pick up Elliot’s new passport….

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and decided to treat ourselves afterwards.

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That meant a whole lot of standing at the roadside watching vehicles whisk by while trying to get those elusive fries in the mouth. It was toddler multi-tasking at its finest.

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And a happy toddler = a happy mum.

I love seeing the world through his eyes as it’s all about music and movement and the magic of the moment. It’s about stopping for ten minutes to look at ants (or ‘myrer’ – one of the only Danish words Elliot says), about chasing rainbow-coloured butterflies (deddledeees), turning on fans (roundandround) and picking every flower (wower) on our way.

Toddler life is also about temper tantrums and hissy fits and not wanting to put on your shoes, but that’s a whole other story.

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Officially old

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So I guess I’m officially old. I have bought my first pair of ultra comfy extra-cushioned Clarks shoes and that’s proof enough.

I remember reading about how people couldn’t fit into their old shoes after pregnancy.

I naively thought that they would grow longer, not wider. Boy was I wrong. See apparently all the ligaments in your body soften and stretch in anticipation of the birth. Which means that my earlier so slimline and narrow feet now resemble two flatfish (I’m also pretty sure this is nature’s revenge for all the times I’ve teased my mum with her feet).

And you can’t just squeeze two flatfish into tight sky high stilettos without squashing them into oblivion.

So I guess Clarks, Ecco and whatever all those feet friendly shoe places are called will be where I’ll be handing over my credit card in the future.

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There’s one good thing about that though: Elliot and I can go shoe shopping together, and so we did. He came home with a pair of lovely brown Clarks sandals. 20130423-145730.jpg

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I hope this post doesn’t look too weird. It’s written on my phone as Elliot decided to water my computer.

Bye-bye baby hair

Elliot loves to say “bye-bye” and wave to everything at the moment. We say goodbye to the flowers when we drive past them in the buggy, to doggies behind fences, to playgrounds and people in lifts and of course to daddy when he goes to work in the morning.

Last week he also had to say “bye-bye” to his baby hair. I have waited a long time to do something about it, as cutting it felt like this final rite-of-passage, marking his fast transition from my cuddly little baby to big independent toddler.

But now it was time, as long wispy strands were covering his ears and gathering in the back, making him look like a miniature hillbilly. I thought why take him to a hairdresser when I can do this myself and grabbed a pair of (baby-safe) scissors.

I’m actually quite happy with the end result, considering it only took 3 minutes and I had to practice on a constantly moving target.

Before: The Mad Professor look.

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After: The Apt Pupil look.

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Christmas holiday

Sam has had all the days between Christmas and New Year’s off work. So at first we contemplated travelling to one of the many amazing countries nearby. Eating a steaming hot bowl of Phở in Hanoi wouldn’t hurt, or grilled seafood and spicy food on a beach in Thailand sounded tempting…or maybe a few days on a resort in Indonesia or Malaysia.ImageSo many choices, so little time. In the end we decided that what we needed was a “relaxication” in good old Singapore as we’re still getting to know the city. And relax we did.

We have been swimming in the pools almost every day. Elliot’s favourite is still the comfy hot tub and he now knows how to float around in it without us holding him up. He’s also slowly learning to swim, doing the doggy paddle and kicking with his legs. It’s been great to see him grow more and more confident in the water as we took him to baby swimming back in London when he was just a few months old, and he absolutely hated it. So much that we had to stop the course. I’m so happy it hasn’t left him permanently traumatised. He just wanted to swim in a warmer climate.

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When we haven’t been swimming, we’ve been hanging out in parks and playgrounds, sometimes alone, sometimes with Elliot’s new friend Charlie.

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We’ve been doing a LOT of relaxation on the sofa, practising taking self-portraits.

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Elliot was also sick with a fever and all he wanted to do was chill with his beloved windmill.

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Unwrapping pressies on Christmas Eve: Melissa and Doug ABC blocks and kitchen set.

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Playing with the ipad and drinking red wine (adults only).

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After Elliot went to bed, Sam and I had a big steak from one of Singapore’s good butchers.

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There’s also been a slight obsession with Baby TV going on.

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More playing with Christmas pressies in the shape of Lego Duplo blocks.

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And later, more Christmas pressies arrived from Denmark.

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We even ventured into town, to Little India. Singapore can sometimes be a bit sterile and bland looking, it’s always so clean and orderly and organised. But they haven’t succeeded in taming the Indian part of town completely. Here everything is more chaotic, smelly and bustling. And people stare at you like there’s no tomorrow!

We walked past the beautiful Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple and ended up at the incredibly crazy big department store, Mustafa Center. You could easily get between its maze-like aisles…and apparently that happens to people quite often.Image

We have also been hanging out locally, walking to the picturesque Bedok Reservoir. Elliot fell asleep on the way so we got to relax with a drink.

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Then he woke up and was in a great mood.

ImageImageImageWe also decided it was time for Elliot’s chickenpox vaccination. I did a bit of research and found a brilliant GP not too far away from where we live. For the first time, Elliot didn’t cry at all, maybe because this time he wasn’t being man-handled by a brutal British nurse. Actually I’m not sure he even noticed the jab. Afterwards the friendly doctor quickly blew up a balloon and handed it to the brave young man.

The GP also happens to be a well-known food blogger (ieatishootipost.sg), so we left his clinic with a few restaurant recommendations and a smile on our faces.

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We have also been busy eating our way through the city. Soups are a favourite at the moment, from Japanese ramen to the local Laksa and Ban Mian.

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When we first moved here we bought an annual pass to the amazing Singapore Zoo and we went there for the fourth time during the Christmas holiday.

This time though, Elliot was so Zoo jaded that he really couldn’t be bothered to look at the animals. He was more busy jumping in puddles (it’s the rainy season here).

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When we reached the elephants he completely ignored the large beasts and just wanted to touch the fountain.

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And here he is, completely ignoring the giraffes.

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Yesterday on New Year’s Eve we spent the day food shopping, making blinis and waiting for some good friends to show up.

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Once they arrived the men started prepping the Beef Wellington.

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Meanwhile us women looked after the red wine and champagne in the living room while waiting for dinner to be served.

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And served it was. And very yummy.

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At midnight it was time for even more champagne. Soon after this picture was taken I collapsed on the sofa. But hey, at least I didn’t fall asleep BEFORE midnight as I did last year in London.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. I WISH YOU ALL AN AMAZING 2013!!

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Thunder, ramen and a swanky nightclub

Elliot has learned to say “thunder”, although he pronounces it “order”. And it’s a good word to know as it’s the rainy season here, where deep roaring thunderclaps seem a daily occurrence.

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When it hasn’t been raining we’ve been walking with windmills.

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We’ve been walking with flowers.

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Sitting with flowers.

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We’ve been driving cars with windmills.

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And someone has a new water bottle, allowing him to take a sip from it whenever he feels thirsty instead of having mummy hold a glass for him. He’s been taking a lot of sips.

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We have also been out for dinner a few times. We live in a very residential and not too expaty area with lots of HDB flats (government built high-rises) surrounding us. Singaporeans love their food and whole families will often go out for dinner in the evening, so you always find an outdoor hawker centre (or three) near the tall buildings.

Hawker centres typically consist of loads of plastic tables and different food stalls specialising in 1-3 dishes that they do very well. A separate stall sells drinks and then you just go order and grab a seat wherever you like. Such a convenient, laid-back and cheap (a dish is around 3 SGD) way to eat and very kiddie friendly as you’re seated outside = you’re allowed to throw the food around a little bit.

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Speaking of food. Before coming here we had heard about how the locals travel to Changi airport to have dinner on weekends. I found that strange to say the least, because who in their right mind would choose to spend their day off in a soulless airport?!

Oh well, I’m slightly wiser now.. plus I have a toddler to entertain. In hot and humid Singapore it’s almost impossible to run around outside during the day and Changi Airport’s big open spaces and corridors have proven to be a great alternative to shopping malls and expensive indoor play lands.

What I sometimes do is hop on the train (we’re only 2 stops away from the aiport) around noon and while Elliot sleeps in his buggy I head for Terminal 3’s basement where the restaurants are. My favourite place is the Ramen Champion restaurant, hvor Japanese chefs compete to make the best noodle soup. I prefer the Tonkotsu ones, where the creamy milky white broth is made from pork marrow bones. So good.

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Afterwards we take the lift up to the departure lounges, complete with Angry Birds castles, flowers, huge hallways and Elliot’s absolute favourite:

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A gigantic rotating windmill/Daisy robot sculpture, made by German artist Christian Moeller. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as excited about anything as this.

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Elliot has also got a new hobby: drawing with crayons. Well, actually he draws for a minute or so and then forces me to draw flowers, dogs and windmills by handing me one crayon after another. He’s been creating masterpieces for the whole family.

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We have also managed to find a really great babysitter, so when the opportunity came to let our hair down a bit – in the shape of Sam’s work’s Christmas party  – we said yes and headed to swanky nightclub Avalon near Marina Bay Sands.

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Not a place I would normally choose as it seems ridiculously overpriced and the bar staff acted as if they were “so above” serving drinks to anyone. But hey, this evening the G&T’s were free and the harbourfront location was just beautiful with its glittering view of Singapore’s skyline. Plus I got to wear funny glasses, courtesy of a friend.

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I have a feeling we might have to call the babysitter again soon!