Friday, 13 October 2017

Tate Exhibition: Superflex

Have you tried taking your child on a train journey on your own, on a Friday close to rush hour in Central London?  I have and it’s something that I have to mentally prepare for.   I am not being dramatic.  Having a pram with me with a one year old in a train is a challenge enough in London.  Coupled with a child that doesn’t want to sit still and wants to be entertained and walked through out the train carriage.  I have to sing nursery rhymes, bring bubbles and snacks and books.  It’s like going on a short trip on steroids as  it takes an hour and a bit for us to get to London Waterloo.

Because I take driving lessons every other Fridays and Luke works from home then, I try to visit him at work not for unselfish reasons.  I do miss going to the city.  Luke having to work in Waterloo hates to go to London on weekends. So the only compromise that I can see is visiting him on a Friday when he can leave early.  When I go to London, I make sure that I go to museums or do things that interest me.  I like arts, culture, food and travelling. You can say that I like doing it all.  YOLO and all that. :p

Super flex is one of the exhibits that I wanted to go to.  It’s amazing how you can relieve your childhood with some equipments. :) Having a toddler is a challenge.  She can barely hold on to things  so Luke and I had to take turns.  With a museum as massive as Tate, we have to make sure that we can see her all the time.  We don’t want our precious jewel getting lost don’t we?

Walking in Soutbank is another favourite of mine.  During true height of summer, the area burst of energy and excitement. You have food stalls, performances and activities everywhere.  It is over looking the Thames and you can see the London landscape as well.  As for having a child friendly area, I can say that having a pram is a challenge.  As London is an old city, there aren’t loads of lift so you have to make sure that you have someone to help you lift your pram or plan your route in advance to avoid any stairs.  Luckily for me, Luke is with us.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Camille Walala X Now Gallery

Don’t ask me how i find exhibits. I just do.  If it’s free, then I’ll be there. There is nothing more I love than getting bargains or free stuff.  I am stingy like that.
This is my first official day off as a mother.  To say that I’m looking forward to it is not an exaggeration.  I love my daughter, I do.  But I need to be me first before I can take care of her.  The worst that can happen is losing myself to the role.

As a mother, I need adult conversation from time to time.  Conversations that doesn’t include my daughter’s development.  Don’t get me wrong, I can talk about her the whole day but sometimes, it’s good to talk about myself too.  :) To do things that I love or plan my day just for myself.  My days consists of taking care of her, playgroups, cooking meals, all chores.  I am thankful that I have my daughter but everyone needs to decompress don’t you think?

Finding Now Gallery is very easy.  It is literally outside the Greenwich Station.  Us beinig us, we got lost. Hahahah Please don’t ask us for directions if you are lost as you’ll never gonna find your waywith our instructions.

Camille Walala’s exhibit was explosion of colours and patterns. I love the fun aspect of it.  I love that art can also be fun. It’s like having your favourite clothes that you can wear over and over again.  Anyone can appreciate her style.

After the exhibit, we met up with our relatives from Canada.  It’s amazing how our plans aligned well with theirs.  All in all, a fab day.  I was home before her dinner and bed time.  :)

Friday, 7 July 2017

London Day Out: Tate Modern

First off, one hour on the train with a 13 month old is a challenge itself. I just had a preview of the upcoming LA trip in December. It's 11 hours long. *shudders*

Visiting London is like visiting an old friend to me. As I've been countless of times, I know where to go and I know what to do. Although the landscape is evolving, there is still a feeling of familiarity to it.

My husband is currently working in Waterloo. It is walking distance to the London eye,
London dungeon, Tate modern, South Bank and St Paul's to name a few.  Like I said above, having a 13 month old child is challenging. Lift is important, so is shade on a scorching day like today and food and drinks. Leaving the house involves planning. I plan my day according to her nap time and I
make sure that she have some sort of activity or interaction with someone other than me and Luke. It is important that she is social and not like a grinch like me. :p

When we went to visit Luke today, we didn't have any concrete plans. When your child naps for 2-3 hours in the afternoon, it's both a blessing and a curse. Blessing as you have time to yourself or to do some housework and curse as you are bound to her time frame.  We simply can't go early as she won't nap if we are out unless she is knackered. When she is knackered, she is grumpy and when she is grumpy, it is difficult for me to handle her. Early on on motherhood, I learn to pick my battles. 

Most museums are free in London special exhibition not included. So today, we went to Tate Modern.  I love coming to Tate Modern as I like art myself. I don't draw nor I have the talent for it but I sure appreciate it. We are lucky to see some Picasso and Mondrian today. Bella sure have fun walking in the museum and waving to everyone.

After Tate Modern, we went to St Paul's for dinner and walked through South Bank to take the train back home. How things have changed before the baby. The usual full day trip now takes few hours. I am not complaining as it's the new normal to us. I'm just glad that we are still able to do things and now, we do it as a family. Everything feels new again. I can't wait to share my likes to my baby girl. 
Hopefully, she gets my love of art, fashion and travelling. She already got the love of sleeping from me. Hehehehe.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 7: Tuerredda

It was our last day today in Chia. Tomorrow, we will be back in England where it will rain nonstop for a week.  I am sure this will be a shock to the system for us.  Out of the 7 days that we are here, there was only a day when it was cloudy.  Even then, you can still hang out on the pool.

Can I ask, do you make friends on holiday?  We don't.  Our philosophy is, we are on holiday and we don't have to be nice to people if we want to.  Of course we are nice to the people that serve us.  We appreciate all the efforts of the people who make our stay nice but we are never chummy with the other guests.  I have made enough friends on my lifetime, thank you very much.  We do smile and make small talks but we never carpool to go on trips or have dinner together.  We like to keep to ourselves because it gives us freedom to do whatever we want. 

In the morning, we went to the Chia Laguna Spaggia.  I did my usual walk on the the beach.  It was very hot but it was windy.  At one point, I got scared that my daughter got hit by the sun lounger.  Good thing I was holding her then.  In the afternoon, we drove to Tuerredda.  It was 15 minutes away from the hotel but it's good to explore and see other beaches just to compare what we have. :)

I am a bit shock by nudity in Sardinia. I am not a prude but I've never seen so much topless women on a daily basis.  To be fair, this is my first time on Italian beach side.  I have been to other countries but we always travel off peak so I can't compare my experience.  Tuerredda is a family beach.  I've seen kids rock pooling, swimming and playing by the beach.  No sun lounger present but they have a restaurant on site and toilet facilities.  There is parking but you have to pay depending on how long you are staying.  It can be anywhere from 3 euros and up.  The restaurant is open but they close the kitchen early so make sure to check if you want to order cook meal. 

We had our usual buffet in the restaurant and ended the day with baby disco.  It's time to pack for us now.  I can't believe that our holiday is over. :(

Look how tanned out baby is.  Her skin tone is in between me and my husband.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 6: Chia Beaches

Today is my birthday.  I turned 32.  I didn't feel any different.  I am just happy to spend it with my family.  The day started with a buffet breakfast and ended with a buffet dinner.  What more can I ask for?  :p Kidding aside, I feel truly blessed.  Never in my wildest dreams that I will be Naturalised British at this age, a mother and would have travelled around the world.  All my dreams came true and I just want to be a better version of myself. :)

We went to the beach as usual.  We are blessed with sunny weather today although it was very windy.  Another problem about having a small child is the wind.  My daughter kept on taking her sunglasses so I'm worried that the sand will get to her eyes.  She was crying mostly at the end before we left cause the wind is so strong and it scares her.  I think overwhelming is the feeling that I can describe for what she felt like.

The beaches in Chia are so beautiful.  Ours is called Chia Laguna Spaggia but next to ours was Campana.  During off season, there are hardly any people and the beach felt exclusive.  I only see one stall just like in Chia Torre yesterday. I also went to see the Flamingos.  Everything is in walking distance from where our beach is.

In the afternoon, we went to Pula. It's the closest small town near Chia.  It's 25 minutes drive or so.  Unlike Chia, they have loads of bars and stores and are next to each other.  That's where Conad Supermarket is as well.  :)

If you have an hour or so to spare and Pula is on the way, I suggest dropping by the town.  The parking is on the Municipio, city centre and everything else is walking distance from there.  I'm sure you won't get lost as there as signs directing you.

My birthday ended with a surprise cake from my husband.  He asked for a cake for two but I think our cake can feed 4-6 people. No wonder Luke doesn't want me to get dessert.  My only regret is having 2 helpings of seafood risotto.  Now I can't stuff myself with sweet.  See you tomorrow for our final full day in Chia.  Definitely going to miss this place and not cleaning after my daughter after each meal. :p

Friday, 19 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 5: Flamingo Hunt and Chia Torre

If you're into relaxing by the beach, then definitely go to Chia.  Apart from the fact that it's far away from everything, it's top 5 places to visit are beaches.  There is Cagliari which is an hour away and Nora which is half an hour if you want change of pace.  Now, if you are not driving, then you are probably going to struggle. Make sure your hotel are half board like us or full board.  During off peak, most of the stores and restaurants are closed.  Also, consider siesta time.  I think siesta is from 1-4pm.  If you need something, make sure you have it by then.  In Chia Laguna, the closest store is the Luna Market.  Definitely overpriced and not recommended.  We went to Conad in Pula but you have to be patient to access it.  It is by the roadside but it doesn't have direct access from the road.  I know it doesn't make sense but you have to drive there to know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Best thing about Chia are the flamingo sanctuaries.  You can see them in their natural habitat.  There is a 10 minute walk from Chia Laguna Resort but you have to walk to see as there are no stopping on the road.  You can't interact with them.  It is not a petting zoo after all. :P
We wanted to see how it's like in the Chia Torre.  I assumed that we can go up and walk with the baby on a stroller.  I tell you, holidaying with a child is so different.  We may be able to push her up but we don't know what the conditions are up there or if it's safe for her.  The Chia Torre is not guided and you have to go up at your own risk.  Not that it's unsafe.  I saw a lot of people going up in there.  I am sure that it's not for us.  Bella can sit still at the moment.
There is a beach near Chia Torre where you can park.  They do have changing and toilet facilities by the beach entrance and they have one small store.  I also saw a picnic area.  It looks quite public to me and I am not sure if there will be beach umbrellas and chairs for rent during peak season so I suggest coming prepared.

Had a lovely time sitting by the beach today.  The proprietor kept on playing classic rock mixed with Red Hot Chili Peppers but he kept on skipping the RHCP mid song. He probably is not a fan but had it on shuffle on his iPod.
The photo above was taken on one of the beaches near Chia Laguna. I love this picture so much.  I feel like it represented the landscape of Sardinia.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  Let's see what Mr Banks  have in mind although we don't really do Birthday surprises. :P

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 4: Cagliari and The Beach

I don't mean to complain but I'm getting sick of the morning beach routine. I know I should be thankful as it was pouring back home but I get so bored quickly. I haven't learnt the art of relaxing yet.  Today wasn't a great day to go to the beach either. It was cold and windy.  We did try and entertain ourselves by playing burying the baby in the sand which she got out of straightaway. Brave girl.

How do you dress your little one on the beach? Do you put him/her on all in one or cute swimming costume? I tend to put mine in cute swimming costumes but today, since it was cold, I put all in one over it.  It made so much difference with cleaning up the sand.  With the all in one, the sand doesn't reach her fat fold nor her nappy.  It's basically, pagpag and go. :-p

Last night, my crazy self can't sleep so I googled places to visit in the area.  The top areas are mostly beaches.  If we went on a holiday as a couple, we will probably consider driving to the beaches but since we have a child and the towels and bucket and spades are provided for by the resort, we opted to let go of the other beaches.  After all, our beach is very nice. 

Today, we decided to go to Cagliaria. It was the main town in Sardinia.  This is where the airport is located as well.  We decided to see the town and the churches that it was famous for.  We knew that the roads are steep but we didn't know how much stairs we need to take.  We did bring a light stroller for the trip but with a baby and a light stroller, it is still a lot to carry coupled with the fact that we don't know where we are going exactly and how best to get there.  

Here are my tips from our experience today, take it or leave it: 

If you are like us with a small baby, I suggest going to Bastione Di Saint Remy.  It's a free overlooking area of Cagliari.  It is a good place for little kids to play as well.  I will warn you, the steps are steep and you have to walk for a long time but it's worth seeing Cagliari on that angle.  Did I mention that it's Free?

If you are planning on visiting the churches, I suggest double checking the opening times and plan exactly what you want to see as there are 8 or so churches in the area.  We went to Sant' Antonio Abate and San Agostino because it was open but most of the churches we've seen along the way are closed.  I'm not sure if it's the timing or we were on the wrong entrance.  Either way, there are steps to get in on most of them.  

If you are like us and you drove yourself to town, we parked in front of the port near Roma.  The parking is free from 1pm to 4pm but your have to pay from 4pm to 8pm.  Make sure you have cash ready and pay the person wearing a reflector vest.  It would be near the Hublot Lounge.  I only remember as my husband is a watch man. 

 We got lost driving today.  Where's the fun on being right all the time?!  It wasn't a big deal but we ended up in a tunnel and Luke didn't have time to work out where the overhead lights are.  It was scary at the time considering health and safety but we laughed about it ones we were on the right road.  Thank God for phone GPS.  Currently, my daughter and husband are sleeping and I can't wait to join them.  Just feel like I need to share today as I tend to forget about a lot of things these days. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 3: Nora and The beach

I just realised that once you have a child, your holiday will never be the same again. You may be able to choose where you want to go but all the activities will be dictated by them. You are dependent on their schedule, their mood, their current well-being. You put their needs first. I think now I understand what sacrificing entails.  I'm not talking about just our holiday, but my life and career in general.

Now that we have Bella, going to the beach is not as simple as bring the towel and water and go. It's now, bring the tent, the change of clothes, nappy bag, toys and provisions. I know it sounds crazy brining a tent to holiday but it makes a world of difference when you have a baby. It means you have somewhere to put everything, you have a private changing area, breast feeding area and comfortable sleeping area. Although the hotel provides towel, their beach doesn't allow for toilets or baby changing facilities. Like I said, the key to taking a child on holiday is being prepared and anticipating all their future needs. 

We had a lovely day at the beach. It's averaging 30 here which is a nice change compared to England. The beach just 5 mins drive from the resort is very clean with very fine sand.. Bella enjoys every minute of it. Although she haven't learnt that sand isn't food yet. How do you stop a child from putting sand in their mouth? The first she put a handful of sand on her mouth, I freaked out. I washed her hand but she did it again.  I guess she just have to find out for herself and learn.

This was her today after eating the sand.

I can't help it. We had to do something other than the beach and buying provisions. Last night, I googled places to visit and it came up with Nora. When we got there, I realised that we drove on the area the day before. When I told Luke, he said he can't remember. Men!!! 

Nora has both the beach and the Roman ruins. This isn't the first ruins that I've been but it's one of the interesting ones. Maybe because I never pay attention nor pay for tours.  I love how this tour tell you how the Roman lives doing their period in Sardinia.

We only had to pay 7.50 euros per adult and our child got in for free.  The ruins is not ideal for people on a wheelchair or kids that are not able to walk on their own. We learnt the hard way when we had to carry our stroller through the steps. You can't pass any stage. It's like going in Ikea when you have to pay by each room to get to the end. Although there are ramps, on most area, you will need someone to carry your wheelchair or pram. 

Our hotel, Chia Laguna caters to kids. We agreed that if Bella is still not tired when the baby disco starts, then we will take her. She thoroughly enjoyed the disco and even started taking steps. PS I'm not pregnant. This angle and dress doesn't do me any justice and for the life of me, I don't know what possessed me to buy it. Anyway, after baby disco, we got tricked into joining the minute to win it competition at the hotel. We were told to stay only to get told that we need to participate. Luke totally  participated. Glad I have him to represent our team. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Family Holiday Day 2: Chia Laguna, Sardinia

My last blog post was almost two years ago. Since then, I have been to America with my family, had a weeks worth of holiday in the UK and numerous day trips as well. Oh yeah, also I've become a mum and my baby is turning a year old in few weeks. Crazy how my life has been summed up in few sentences. :P

Planning a holiday with the baby vs planning as a couple is very different. As a couple, we usually pick a city we haven't been, check all the tourist spots, pick ones we are interested in and get a direction how to get there. We usually work on a budget we are comfortable spending and pack separately the night before. As parents, we had to create a massive checklist of what we might need and anticipate each and every problem that might arise in the foreign country. I tell you, I have a massive bag just for meds only. I had to buy calpol, anti histimine, make sure we had all the inhalers in case my daughters cough gets worse, nappy ointments, after sun lotion etc. As for her food, although my baby is baby led, we had to buy pre packaged puree in case she gets hungry along with her own sippy cup and bib. That doesn't end there, we had to pack loads of nappies and nappy sack. I know some of them you can just buy anywhere but I am not familiar with Sardinia nor would I risk being unprepared.  Winging it doesn't work anymore when you are thinking about someone other than yourself.

So why did we end up in Sardinia? For one, BA just started flying off here. Introductory flights means cheaper fare and more value for money. Why Chia? Cause our resort caters for kids. Also, we think it's good enough for our Bella and it didn't disappoint. If you have read my Corfu entry, it's more or less the same quality minus the adults only holiday.

It's our second day in Sardinia today. We arrived yesterday and drove through Pula which is the next town near Chia. We got lost looking for a supermarket. As you know, we do like spending money on the best resorts but we like keep a tight budget. :) Had to buy provisions as per usual and have seen some amazing produce.

These are some of the pictures from today. I'm trying to blog from my phone so I won't forget but it's damn hard when you're not techy and you are old, you are set on your ways. Hehehehe.


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