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Happy days Holidays! Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

Dunfermline, Scotland – and 5 things to savour with kids when you’re there

July 14, 2017

Cold and rainy Dunfermline, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

Cold and rainy Dunfermline, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

One huge reason why we decided to head to the UK with the entire family in tow this summer was because we had family in Scotland, and we wanted the kids to reunite with their granduncle and grandaunt again. They come to visit often, but we’ve never visited them in the UK, and so Fatherkao and I thought it would be an adventure to take the kids all the way to the Kingdom of Fife.

Sounds really like heading back to medieval times.

Fife, still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife, is a historical county of Scotland. Fife is divided into 3 districts: Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and North-east Fife. We flew to London first, then took a Virgin East Coast train for about 5 hours to Dunfermline, where we would stay with family for a week. That became our base to explore Perth, Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Much little is known about Dunfermline, except that it’s the hometown of the great Mr Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest philanthropists our world has ever known. There’s certainly more to the town and former Royal Burgh called Dunfermline, and here it is, 5 awesome things to do with kids (Motherkao’s version) in Dunfermline, as experienced by us.

If you ever head there; you’re welcome.

1.  Have steak bakes at Greggs

Arguably you could say that you can find this awesome bakery all throughout the UK and you don’t really need to go to Dunfermline for it. Tis’ true that you can get your sandwich and pasties and score a £2 steak bake and coffee lunch easily anywhere anyway. But I say, it’s tastier here in Dunfermline for the reason that it is waaaayyyy colder here with summer hitting 10-14°C and having your piping hot pasty, pizza, calzone, bacon roll or bake dripping with steaming bubbling goodness for breakfast or lunch is one of the best things we ever did in Dunfermline.

Awesome hot piping bakes

And for sure, it was also tastier because we savoured hot bakes on a cold rainy summer day with family.

2. Spend a day at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries

This spectacular £12.4million place was recently built in Dunfermline and houses a museum, exhibition galleries, local history Reading Room, new children’s library and a mezzanine café with stunning views over the landscaped garden to Dunfermline Abbey and the Heritage Quarter and features the world’s first Carnegie Library. You could easily spend a day or days here FOR FREE. We walked through the galleries again and again, learning the wonderfully rich history of the former Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, about Robert the Bruce and the history involving England and Scotland, their kings and their queens – stuff that my Literature and History classes were made of.

Museum fun: navigating our way around

The famous people of Dunfermline

Which I thoroughly loved.  I studied English Literature and History for most parts of my growing years wearing school uniform, and museums excite me.

 

Role playing was fun – costumes of kings and queens

 

View of the Dunfermline Abbey

Rainy day at the Galleries

Anyway.

The kids were made to read, listen, watch and just appreciate the immersion of being at the Library and Galleries. And since it was a rainy day that day and we didn’t fancy walking around in the rain and in the cold, we spent a good time just soaking up the quaint little town this way.

Enjoying comics from the comics shelves

Role play time

Hanging out with the Gruffalo

The Very Hungry Caterpillar read and reread

Enjoying the Children’s Section of plentiful books!

I must say the library is one of the most impressive I have seen – and that the civic mindedness everyone has towards the care of books, and the consideration of others around was truly worthy of respect.

3. No sweat at Pittencrieff Park

I have never known what it’s like to play with abandonment in midsummer day till I watched my three kids in their child-likeness embrace the swings and slides at Pittencrieff Park.

And what a joy it was capturing these smiling faces.

The sun’s shining down on us but we ain’t feeling it

So many times they asked for Dada to give them a push and they got bolder and bolder on the swings

Fun times!

Of swings and merry-go-rounds in 14°C weather – we could go on and on since the sun doesn’t set till 10.30pm in summer!

Back at home, I can’t even last beyond an hour in the park or the playground. The humidity, the mozzies and the relentless heat would usually end up killing most of the fun. And the kids would end up sweaty, grumpy and very quickly quarrelsome.

Not here in this park. Not in this weather. Not on this holiday.

We could even take time to roll on grass, lie on grass and smell the flowers.

Big thanks to Mr Andrew Carnegie who many decades ago made this park possible for the people of Dunfermline. Granduncle told us the story of Junior Carnegie not being allowed in parks as a little boy because places as fun as these were only for the rich, and that he swore he would make it big enough to make parks free for everybody.

So here we are.

4. Hello again, Dennis the Menace

I grew up a Xennial and lived a largely analogue childhood where I would watch Dennis the Menace on tv (no cable last time) and then read lots of Beano Annuals. There was also Heckle and Jeckle, and Looney Tunes and He-man and Flintstones on tv for most part of my preschool years and so you can imagine it was such a blast to the past for me stepping into Brewers Fayre at Crooked Glen at Fife Leisure Park that has a Beano-inspired indoor playground.

Having lots of fun at Brewers Fayre at Crooked Glen, Fife Leisure Park

The kids were, of course, just happy to have indoor playground time. And the husband and I were just happy to be revisiting childhood once more having dessert and sipping coffee/wine.

5. Getting on the train and enjoying the view

The view of the countryside and of coastal England from London to Edinburgh and then to Dunfermline was a breathtaking one. Gives a whole new meaning to counting sheep because plenty of sheep was what we saw. Including oxen and horses, quaint cottages and pavements lined with flowers blooming in full glory.

Train rides are made of these

…Lots of snacking

… Lots of drawing and doodling

…Chattering and reading and bonding

Beautiful views are soul food.

The beautiful sights to take in

The town of Dunfermline was beautiful and rustic and I loved it every time we got on to the car or train because the view outside the window never looked so good. So good that it recharges and refreshes the soul.

Town views

Love these houses

Dunfermline at 10.30pm

Soul food is good “food” for kids, especially city kids who are inaundated with screen time, worksheets, and schedules of tuition, swimming, enrichment and all the et ceteras. They need to learn to look out of the window, count sheep and do nothing, all while imagining and inventing a world in their imagination on road trips and train rides.

~~~

We’re missing summertime Scotland like crazy now, back in humid and hot Singapore, and wishing big time for some more wanderlust dust to be sprinkled upon us once more.

Goodbye, Dunfermline

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Holidays! Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Worry-free luxury for a holiday – Review of Original Sprout (again)

July 6, 2017

OS_Motherkao_review2017 (1) - Copy

When you tell me that a brand believes in an ethical philosophy of promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I am definitely one happy user. I love sustainable brands and products.

And I want my children to love them and make supporting them part of their lifestyle when they start making consumer decisions as they get older.

Which is why while on our UK holiday last month, the kids got to enjoy their baths and the best skincare with Original Sprout. We were acquainted with the brand when the Kao kids were younger (we fell in love with the Miracle Detangler, and have been using it ever since) and now it was only befitting that I would lug the Original Sprout Natural Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, Miracle Detangler, Scrumptious Baby Cream and Hair & Body Babywash all the way to London and Scotland where the weather was colder, the air was drier and worry-free luxury in baths (and post bath, for skincare) was what the entire family could benefit greatly from while away from home.

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tubs in our AirBnB apartment

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tub in our AirBnB apartment

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

For effortless combing

For effortless combing

Applying to dry skin - our skin wasn't too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

Applying to dry skin – our skin wasn’t too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

I love it that Original Sprout was the brainchild of a mom who loved her daughter so much she had to create a product that could effortlessly detangle her daughter’s hair, and that it’s a brand that believes in utilising ingredients that are free from synthetic hormone disruptor, oestrogen disrupting ingredients, sulphate and parabens.

I have to say if you have a daughter with long hair or thick hair or tough curls, this Detangler (definitely Original Sprout’s bestseller) works instant magic. I never needed to go through another day where I have to hear Becks scream ‘ouch’ whenever I comb her hair, or when she tries to work through the hair on her own, even though she already has pretty fine hair to begin with since this Miracle Detangler came into our lives.

Happy to share that Original Sprout is back, and is now available at Watsons, Guardian, Kiddy Palace, Motherswork and 1010 Mothers & Child Essentials. Alternatively, you can purchase Original Sprout online on at www.originalsprout.com.sg.

Happy to have lugged them all in our luggage last holiday and pampered ourselves with worry-free luxury.

~~~

Disclosure: We are users of Original Sprout since we did a review for the brand when it first launched in SG back in March 2014. Original Sprout sponsored the products we packed in our luggage and all opinions here are our own. Unless we love it, we won’t share it. We’ve loved it since the day we used their products!

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

London numbers

June 2, 2017

1 hour delay due to inclement weather.

13.5 hours on a full flight.

1 hour to clear customs.

15 minutes from the airport to Paddington Station.

 

Waiting for the Heathrow Express

Waiting for the Heathrow Express

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London Dreaming_June 2017_Kaosgotravelling (3) - Copy

 

 

Onboard the Heathrow Express

Onboard the Heathrow Express

Paddington!

Paddington!

6 hours hanging out with 2 grumpy, tired kids, 1 especially prone to hissy fits.

7 hours behind in local time and severely jetlagged.

2 chirpy birds up and awake, tinkering around our AirBnB apartment at 4 in the morning, local time.

1 superbly supportive and strong spouse, tirelessly making things happen, like breakfast at 5am with only 5 hours of sleep.

1 sensible child (which makes me feel very strongly that from age 8 onwards is the age to bring any child on a long trip) who has been channel grazing across 4 British home shopping channels all morning. Hurhurhur.

~~~

We are here in London, in awesome midsummer weather where the sun rises at 5am and sets at 9pm and where the Kao kids can get their fix of rolling hills and vast expanse of spaciousness and rich culture.

Where it’s also the much needed time I need to reconnect with the family and be fully present.

Hopefully, we will be returning with 5 hearts full.

 

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

UK dreamin’

May 28, 2017

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There’s dirt on my shirt
And leaves in my hair
There’s mud on my boots
But I don’t really care

Playing outside is so much fun
To breathe the clean air
And feel the warm sun

To stomp in a puddle
Or climb a big tree
Makes me quite happy
Just look and you’ll see

Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy

 

Food, glorious food! Holidays! Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

5 things to do with kids, the ‘chill-and-live-like-a-local’ version

December 5, 2016

We’re having the luxury of time here in Bangkok living like (and with) the locals for the second time now. The last time we did this was last year where we lived at The Hub Residence at Ramkhamhaeng and walked daily to the tennis court 5 minutes away so that Ben could get his intensive training in the mornings.

This year, we’re doing the same. Except that we’re not at The Hub this time due to their new minimum 6-months rental policy. We’ve found decent and simple lodging nearer the beginning of Soi 4, and are super stoked we’re just next to a 7-11 and literally a minute’s walk away from the glorious street food prepared and cooked by the same locals who could still remember us from last year.

The kids pretty much delve right into being at home in BKK and know the drill well – no balking at street food (the locals here take pride in what they prepare), say thank you and hello with palms pressed together in a slight bow, smile whenever things get lost in translation and speak in English slowly, and watch out for cars before they cross even the tiniest of alleys.

When in BKK living at the outskirts beyond the tourist façade of malls and high rise, here are 5 things to do to experience life as a local. Or at least, here’s 5 things we have done.

Go ahead and try it; the experience might surprise you.

1. Be ferried down the soi, the local-way

Right in front where we live, there’s a hut with parked motorcycles on the left that ferries people from place to place and pedal carts queued up to take groups of people down alleyways (with seats enough for 6 and pedalled by a local) on the right. Hop on to a pedal cart for 5 baht or onto a motorbike for less than 30, and you can get ferried from one end of the alley to the other (or beyond, perhaps!) without having to walk!

Definitely an experience for the kids on a pedal cart and a luxury for those whose legs are aching from walking too much!

Getting a ride on the pedal cart

Getting a ride on the pedal cart: the uncle pedals hard all day to get people from Point A to B

2. Play old school video games at arcades/shopping mall

A 10-baht coin slotted into any arcarde game machine is great mileage. It lasts for 15 minutes. Put 4 in and you get an hour of rest while your boys expend their energies.

Totally worth it.

Game: 40 cents Brotherly bonding: priceless

Game: 40 cents
Brotherly bonding: priceless

My father taught me how to drive

My father taught me how to drive

At the arcades in the city centre, the games are double the price (20 baht for a race car cheap thrill) but still, they are great ways to hang out with the locals or hang out like the locals. Many of the local school kids are there dancing their para-para-dance and might even challenge you in a bike or car race.

3. Explore community malls

We checked out The Commons at Thonglor and frequently go to The Mall at Ramkhanhaeng, and The Nine. These are awesome community and neighbourhood malls to be in to watch the world go by. You can sit at cafes, eat lots of crepe cakes, pretzels and donuts, and take lots of pictures. Best part is, everything where we stay (in the area of Ramkhahaeng) is almost ten times cheaper than anything in the Greater Metropolis like Siam.

The Commons has an entire storey for kids that allows for free play (if you get food and drinks) and facilitated play (200 baht for the 1st hour); methinks this is great if you want to just chill out but your kids are raring to go. I hear they also run holiday camps like crafting and cooking. They also organise block parties where you can hang out and participate in community-building activities, similar to our RC and CC activities back home.

The Commons at Thonglor, the latest community mall in Bangkok

The Commons at Thonglor, the latest community mall in Bangkok

It's not a huge mall at all; merely a space for people to hang out, but there are interesting things around

It’s not a huge mall at all; merely a space for people to hang out, but there are interesting things around

Like these giant fans to cool the space

Like these giant fans to cool the space

And lots of space and stairs to monkey around

And lots of space and stairs to monkey around

The Kids Common is where kids can have fun

The Kids Common is where kids can have fun

And where play matters

And where play matters

Driving around in a cloth bus and using all our imagination

Driving around in a cloth bus and using all our imagination

The top yard has lots of space to chill out and a herb garden to explore

The top yard has lots of space to chill out and a herb garden to explore

Lego fun at Kids Common

Lego fun at Kids Commons

Play area that's chargeable because kids get to craft under supervision

Play area that’s chargeable because kids get to craft under supervision

4. Do as the locals do + watch Thai tv for cultural immersion

December marks the beginning of mourning for the Thai people who are grieving the passing of their late king. And every now and then the tv zones out from its regular programming and broadcasts funeral rites and rituals happening live at the Grand Palace. What a great way to be immersed in the history and culture of of a country through tv broadcasts, in a time like this.

Beyond that, my kids would sit in front of the tv to watch Boomerang and cartoons in Thai. Even if they have no idea what’s being said, the constant listening in gives them the immersion I’ve always hoped they would get. They can say some simple words in Thai, which is not bad for a start!

When we head to the malls, we also take the time to walk around the various exhibitions and appreciate the many artwork and installations in memory and honour of the late Thai king. We left flowers where they were freely available for anyone who wished to pay their respect and stood in silence to watch the many videos the malls were playing.

rememberingtheking_bkk_dec2016-4

One of the many picture exhibition happening right now at the walkway between MBK and Siam Discovery

One of the many picture exhibition happening right now (time of writing: Dec 2016) at the walkway between MBK and Siam Discovery

Taking a moment to watch a video of celebrating King Bhumibol's life

Taking a moment to watch a video celebrating King Bhumibol’s life

The pictures even have QR codes to scan so you can download it for keeps

The pictures even have QR codes to scan so you can download it for keeps

This art installation by a local artist features some form of kinetic energy to light up a rendition of lights making up the face of the late king

This art installation by a local artist features some form of kinetic energy to light up a rendition of lights making up the face of the late king

Step on the platform, and this comes out - how brilliant!

Step on the platform, and this comes out – how brilliant!

This installation features lots of heart-shaped people as a reminder to show love and compassion to people around you and the less fortunate (it's even some form of a charity drive!) because that's how they'd like to remember King Bhumibol

This installation features lots of heart-shaped people (and free “hugs”!) as a reminder to show love and compassion to people around you and the less fortunate (it’s even some form of a charity drive!) because that’s how they’d like to remember King Bhumibol. That’s really also what he exemplified in his life.

The kids got to learn a little more about King Bhumibol’s significance in Thai society and history, and it was, in my opinion, an honour to mourn together with the people. We also tried as much as possible to wear dark colours every day.

rememberingtheking_bkk_dec2016-8

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Leaving a special flower as a mark of respect at the atrium of Siam Paragon

5. Savour the sights and smells of street food

Nobody really cooks at home, I hear. The locals settle their breakfast, lunch and dinner at the roadside street stalls and that pretty much is their way of life.

Our rule-of-thumb for street food: food must be cooked in high heat (which means we don’t really patronise the carts that sell fruits or som tum).

We love it that we get to try everything from fried dough fritters and pork porridge to beef noodles, phad thai, wanton noodles and chicken soup right at our door step. Not to mention the freshly made Thai tea and local desserts from flavoured soy milk to coconut pancakes at such an affordable price.

The locals who make a living selling street food are a hardworking bunch who never fail to tirelessly show up to cook – every single day, including Sundays and public holidays – and we have so much respect for them; we love to stand around to watch them prepare the food we want to tabao back.

They have so much pride in what they do.

This was such a godsend: I'm hacking away with this awful cough and the porridge every morning with so much ginger and spring onions and flavourful meat balls is so much comfort

This was such a godsend: I’m hacking away with this awful cough and this porridge is what I have every morning with generous slices of ginger and spring onions and flavourful meat balls is so much comfort. I’m so regular that the stall owner just knows what to do when she sees me.

How comforting

How comforting

Dough fritters for 20 baht

7 dough fritters for 20 baht which is old school youcharkway, except that it’s pop-in-your-mouth-bite-size!

Having a feast after tennis, and it's only 9 in the morning!

Having a feast after tennis, and it’s only 9 in the morning! Ben is having pad thai freshly made and the rest of us had pork soup (fatherkao), porridge (Becks and me) and some sort of coconut and yam kueh (Nat & helper)

This.

This is the best part of being in Thailand. There’s nothing not to love, and we’re enjoying every day we’re here living like we’re one of them.

Becks Kao Holidays! I can't categorise such entries Nat Kao

What to do, where to go, what to get: when your children fall ill in BKK

December 1, 2016

Guess I’ve earned some creds to do this post now, now that I’ve survived two days with very sick children in Bangkok.

So it happened that on the morning of our very early flight to Bangkok, Becks woke up radiating heat like an overworked, cranked up truck engine. She was feeling hot to the touch and queasy the whole plane ride. Apart from giving her pain relief and oiling her like crazy with essential oils and then with ru yi oil I grabbed from Eu Yan Sang at Departure, there was really nothing we could do to make her feel better. The stewardess onboard the plane tried to do her best, cheering her up with the kid’s pack and putting up the DND sign so she could get uninterrupted sleep, but still, Becks was feeling as awful as awful can feel.

By the time we reached our rented apartment at Ramkhamhaeng, she was hitting 39 deg C already (yep, we brought our thermometer – a must when you travel with young children); and so did Nat, who began to look unwell, ran a temperature as high as Becks and knocked out the moment he hit the sack.

In a time like this where homecooked teochewmuay was out of reach and simple clear broth was almost impossible to find, I was glad for 7-11.

And so I fed my children few spoonfuls of porridge (grabbed from the quick bites section which the staff helped microwave), topping it up with warm water (congee in Thailand is more sticky than watery), and started sponging them like crazy after they filled their tummies.

It was a good thing we lugged several packs of fever patches along so they could keep a cool head while they slept. Having said that, BKK is never short of over-the-counter meds supplies at 7-11 or Boots Pharmacy and fever patches, Paracetamol, cough drops are never out of reach anywhere you go.

Kids took a nap shortly after, but they woke up feeling worse.

And then it was time to make the call: ride the fever out or get medical attention.

So I’ve been told by my friend that in Bangkok, the top three hospitals are Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok Hospital and Samitivej Hospital. He kindly drove us to the Samitivej Hospital with a Children’s Centre located at 488 Srinakarin Rd Khwaeng Suan Luang, Khet Suan Luang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250. It was about 7pm and the wait was not excruciating (an hour or slightly more), considering we’ve all waited for more than 4 hours at KKH back at home. The staff there could converse in the English Language fairly well, but you need to speak slowly and clearly. In the interest of time, I had my friend translate when we saw the doctor, because I really felt more comfortable with some translation rather than speaking slowly when my anxiety got better of me.

Forms there are also a bit tedious to fill  – they ask you for soooo much info – so always check with the nurse if filling in the birth weight or AGPAR score is even necessary. In my case, it wasn’t.

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Getting examined

Getting examined

Anyway, service, hygiene, standards and quality of care at Samitivej were excellent and we had an absolutely pleasant experience there. The meds were similar to the ones my PD would give the kids, and the pharmacist was able to explain perfectly how to consume and when to consume the meds.

The bill, well, that’s another story.

Nonetheless, given the circumstances of having two kids running very high temperatures, I would highly recommend going there, should you ever encounter an emergency in Bangkok with kids.

The kids were given antibiotics for a bad throat infection, and a cocktail of many other meds in case they threw up / had runny nose / needed rehydration / had diarrhea from the antibiotics. Syringes were provided generously and so were child-sized face masks. There was drinking water available everywhere we turn in the hospital so you can consume the meds straightaway.

On our way home, we headed to a pharmacy (most close at 11pm, yay) to stock up on Vitamin C and other forms of supplements like milk tablets, DHA gummies and multivitamins. We’ll be needing them daily for the duration of our stay there, and so it was good to get it on Day One. The MaxValue supermarket chains are also 24 hours, and so we stocked up water by the 6-litre tubs (we buy the Aeon brand) and then headed back so the kids can get some rest quickly.

On hindsight, I think we did pretty well and were well-prepped to hold out for the interim with what we packed, which included:

  1. Probiotics – Neobiotics is the brand we buy
  2. Fever meds – Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
  3. Antihistamines – Fedac
  4. Regurgitation & gastric meds- Zantac
  5. Cooling fever patches
  6. Essential oils – peppermint, lavender, lemongrass
  7. Hand sanitisers from Dettol
  8.  Our trusty Braun ear thermometer
  9. Pull-up diapers (lots of them) – kids are toilet trained but with the amount of water they are made to sip so ever frequently to cool and hydrate, diapers are absolutely needed when they are ill and too lethargic to make toilet runs
  10. Betadine throat spray quick relief of painful throat infections

And so with the meds, the hourly sponging last night, the troopers are finally on the mend.

(Self) Examination Holidays! The Kao Kids

December Prologue Twentysixteen

November 30, 2016

I’m fighting a cough that wouldn’t go away for a month already and it’s terribly exhausting. Every night, my mind is filled with so much to write and reflect as the year comes to an end and the children are growing up so quickly before I can take stock of how the year has gone by for us but every night I am hacking, hacking, hacking away for the whole of November.

And so as time whizzes past me and my children are moving up one academic level in their learning milestone – Primary 2, Primary 1, K1 – gulp! OH MY! – I am making myself a promise to give them a little more of me in the December of twentysixteen.

And so away we go, back to where the warmth and love and kindness we’ve received the last time round, this time of the year, to be together.

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

Goodbye November: the Kao Kids looking out to see where December is taking us

This is proving to be a bit challenging though; one of them has a high high fever now and is throwing up and the other is also starting to feel ill.

Appreciate all prayers and love sent our way.

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

The suite life, at Legoland Malaysia Resort

November 7, 2016

We love to cross the causeway for this reason.

We’ve done staycays in SG but nothing beats being at Legoland Hotel in Malaysia. It’s a combination of many things – from the dancing disco lifts and treasure hunt in every room we check in (you solve a mystery and get access to a treasure chest of Lego gifts!) to the minifig trading at the lobby and the themed rooms with every possible Lego detail to put the kids in complete Lego fantasy.

The kids absolutely love, love, love being at the hotel. They love bugging the jitters out of me and Fatherkao with can we buy? buy? buy? pppplllleeeaasssseee at the Lego shop, fixing swords and sticks and spaceships from the massive pool of free flow Lego bricks at the lobby, gorging themselves silly at the breakfast buffet in the mornings and looking out from the room into the theme park and water park and talking non stop about the many adventures to be had in this place.

They weren’t even that excited at Disneyland.

The children always dream of coming back.

Which makes me feel my experience at Legoland isn’t totally complete if we’ve not stayed at the suite. We’ve stayed at the premium and deluxe themed Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure rooms but not the suite yet.

This time round last weekend, because we had company and made an entourage of 8 people + 1 toddler, we could finally stay in one. The suite can take up to 2 adults and 6 kids or 4 adults or 4 kids or 3 adults and 5 kids or whatever permutation you can make to make 8.

There are 2 bunk beds, 2 pull out trundles, 1 king-sized bed and even a spare baby playpen, complete with two baths (one tub and one standing) and a dining area with an awesomely huge ass TV and a separate kids TV area, all overlooking some of the best views of the water park and theme park on the highest floor.

At least that’s what I had at the Kingdom Suite.

Ta-daa! The view when the door flings open. Photo credit: Legoland Malaysia Resort

Ta-daa! The view when the door flings open.
Photo credit: Legoland Malaysia Resort

The sleeping area for 6

The sleeping area for 6

Complete with own TV viewing at the side

Complete with own TV viewing at the side

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The luxurious kingdom king-sized

With a dresser area

With a dresser area

The awesome living area

The awesome living area

Where my 3 kids had 2 more for company

Where my 3 kids had 2 more for company

And there's also a coffee machine, hooray for Krups!

And there’s also a coffee machine, hooray for Krups!

Check out the number of bath robes and bedroom slippers

Check out the number of bath robes and bedroom slippers

And the Mothercare playpen tucked nicely on the top shelf

And the Mothercare playpen tucked nicely on the top shelf

The awesome spacious toilet - this is toilet #1

The awesome spacious toilet – this is toilet #1

And this is toilet #2 with enough space to line 5 children up to take a bath two by two

And this is toilet #2 with enough space to line 5 children up to take a bath two by two

And these are awesome toiletries arranged like a jigsaw puzzle which we never got from the premium/deluxe rooms

And these are awesome toiletries arranged like a jigsaw puzzle which we never got from the premium/deluxe rooms

PLUS...the awesome view from the suite windows

PLUS…the awesome view from the suite window

Just makes my kids sing ‘Everything is awesome!’ on repeat mode being in this place!

So is the experience complete yet? It’s a yes for me, for sure. Being in this suite is sweetly relaxing – the space, the view, the details in the room and the wonderful Legoland hospitality.

As for the kids, it’s looking more complete than ever.

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These happy faces say it all. Our emptied wallets say it all too.

~~~

Disclosure: The suite life has been experienced in a 2D1N stay brought to you by the Kao family and their friends. It is not free, although we received a media rate at time of booking. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are my own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Holidays! The Kao Kids

A Brick-or-Treat kind of Halloween party at Legoland Malaysia

September 30, 2016

If you know my kids and have been following this blog for a while, you would also know that they aren’t fans of Halloween. You should see how they run and refuse to look at the Halloween costumes, masks and tricks on sale at Cold Storage this time of the year.

They literally squeal and turn tail in horror.

Only recently have they been able to crack some jokes about bloody eyeballs and vampire teeth, but even then I can tell they are not fans of ghouls, ghosts, Frankies and vamps.

“They don’t exist in this world!” they would declare. “And we don’t like to see all these monster, so scary!”

So what is a mother to do when she received an invitation to head to Legoland Malaysia – yes, Legoland, the kids’ favouritest place after the Singapore Zoo and Port of Lost Wonder – to join their Halloween party?

To go or not to go, was the question.

“Maybe we will see superheroes?” Becks asks hopefully.

“If we see monsters we just punch them lor,” Nat quips.

“I don’t think it will be scary lah,” Ben says, not ever, in any way, for every Lego-loving fibre of his being, giving up a chance to go to Legoland.

So to Legoland Malaysia we went last Friday – in anticipation for a not-scary, superheroes-kind-of-a-day-out and looking forward to having Nat punch monsters in their faces in case we saw any.

And I tell you we DID NOT attend a party which was imagined by the kids like any of the above.

Here’s why.

Legoland Malaysia REALLY took organising their Halloween party seriously.

Picture Credit: Legoland Malayisa Resort

Picture Credit: Legoland Malayisa Resort

Lord Vampyre's Maze Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lord Vampyre’s Maze
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lego building activities Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Lego building activities
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Halloween inspired all round the park Picture credit: Legoland Malaysia

Halloween inspired all round the park
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Think full-on dressing up (which we didn’t because we left our token superheroes capes in the luggage in the car and Fatherkao could only joined us much later at night!), elaborate Halloween food and desserts, full turn out of monsters dancing in a parade and tricks galore, including sneaking up behind you in the dark and boo-ing the s***s out out you, like while you’re enjoying the cool of the night and have completely let your guard down. Of course,the treats, which would make the scaring forgettable because the party promises to fill each treat bag to the brim with sponsored goodies.

Halloween inspired food with "worms" and "nails" and "spiders'

Halloween inspired food with “worms” and “nails” and “spiders’

Ben, brave enough to go around getting pictures. Featuring The Perfect Father's Spiderboy!

Ben, brave enough to go around getting pictures. Featuring The Perfect Father‘s Spiderboy!

The monsters are out!

The monsters are out!

And ready to dance! See their dance vid on on IG!

And ready to dance! See their dance vid on my IG

It was that kind of party.

It was also the Kao kids’ first that kind of party.

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Legoland Malaysia Resort has been throwing Halloween parties and this October isn’t gonna be any different; in fact, it’s promising to be bigger, better and more spooktacular. I hear park hours will be extended to 8.30pm on Brick-or-Treat Party Nights (Fridays and Saturdays) and any kid who turns up in costume enters for free.

I don’t know about you, but we were sure glad to have the extended park hours for the sheer fact that the sun sets in the evening and the theme park is finally cool enough for us to function.

This is a great idea, by the way. Well done, Legoland Malaysia! Good way to beat the heat and awesome to stand under in the coolest of evenings.

This is a great idea, by the way. Well done, Legoland Malaysia! Good way to beat the heat and awesome to stand under in the coolest of evenings.

And in the cool of the day, here’s four things we enjoyed at the Legoland Malaysia Brick-or-Treat Party last weekend.

Yea, we liked it, even if it was that kind of a party, such that we partied for two days!

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1. Watching other kids dress up and being awed by Halloween-inspired food and drinks

As part of the media invite and preview, guests were invited to dress up, and boy did we have a visual feast! The kids absolutely loved wowing at other kids in costumes.

Legoland Malaysia VIPs and the best dressed finalists Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia VIPs and the best dressed finalists
Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Ninja turtle! Spiderman! Vampire! Snow White! 

It was fun.

And funny too.

Everyone on stage!

Everyone on stage!

This won the best dressed by the way. The jumping hantu. The Chinese vamp hopping behind earned a consolation.

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Too funny!

2. Interactive Halloween Show with LEGO Frankenstein and LEGO Green Witch

What’s not to love, if at the end of the day, all the monsters can learn friendship and kindness? The thing about all the live shows at Legoland is that all’s well always ends well. The show was great in engaging the crowd and getting them to sing and dance. The cast and characters of this special Halloween show at Lego Kingdoms were funny and tickled us all to the bones.

the-invited-media-and-their-families-enjoying-halloween-brick-or-treat-party-nights-celebration-media-event-on-23-sept-2016-4

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

Picture Credit: Legoland Malaysia

3. Posing for photographs with Halloween-themed decor

Not fans of monsters, but now great posers when it comes to standees. The kids absolutely loved these photo opportunities. They were intrigued by these Lego standees throughout the Brick-or-Treat trail and wondering if there were minifigures for sale for their collection.

pose-with-standees_kaokids

I would buy them for sure – if there was a special Halloween minifigs box set – for the kids. Too cute!

Something to think about, eh, Legoland?

4. Getting treats from the Brick-or-Treat trail and making friends with monsters (except for Hut #5)

So this Brick-or-Treat trail that’s exclusively Halloween fun on Halloween party nights has 10 huts where a monster (read: real, grossly made-up people in costume) resides and gives away a treat when you approach him or her to collect a stamp. That is, if you’re even brave enough to approach each hut.

If you are brave enough to complete the entire trail, meet and greet those roving Halloween characters and complete activities requested of you, you’d receive a limited edition Halloween commemorative brick at the end of it all.

The Kao kids were initially pretty much freaked out after the monster parade, but decided that for the sake of getting the commemorative brick, they would brave the freaking and go trick a’treating. The little tokens of sponsored treats were indeed enticing, like getting packets of colour pencils from STAEDTLER, little notebooks from Canon, a tin pencil case from MILO, Ribena pastilles and Haribo gummy bears amongst many others; and the monsters from most huts were friendly and made sure to let the kids know that they were approachable.

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So it helped the kids let their guard down until we reached Hut #5.

By Hut #5, Nat was feeling all-so-brave and ever-ready to collect yet another goodie until the grim reaper? Dracula? asked in his sternest and scariest if he’s counted the bats in his maze.

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legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-125

And poor Nat was so freaked out he bawled immediately and declared the trail (for him, at least) was over.

Which was all together TOO hilarious for me, my helper, and Ben and Becks. If you were there and you saw a crying kid that was refusing to count any bats, that would have been my son.

Thankfully, Ben and Becks were game enough to continue the trail and kept the good cheer laughing and befriending the monsters.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-133

The last and only "monster" Nat was willing to pose with after Hut #5. That's cos' he is a wizard who's wise and waves a magic wand!

The last and only “monster” Nat was willing to pose with after Hut #5. That’s cos’ he is a wizard who’s wise and waves a magic wand!

The Spooky Miniland Tour was what we stayed away from though. The kids really couldn’t handle the ghouls in their makeup and frightening stance walking towards them and pointing at them or randomly breaking out into laughs which terrified them IN THE DARK, especially Becks and Nat. I had to beg some of them not to frighten my kids, and thankfully, these lovely ghouls (bless their souls) broke into smiles and explained to the kids that they were just pretending.

Phew. (If you like frights unlike my kids, get ready for a frightful tour of Miniland at sunset where you’ll enjoy Lego Fun Facts and spine-tingling storytelling sessions at selected clusters.)

There was also a host of Halloween activities at the Legoland Hotel Lobby and the kids enjoyed the Three Magic Witches performance. Ben also took part in the Witch Cat Building Challenge and made a black cat in 25 minutes. He loves any Lego challenge and he made the cat from scratch following the instructions in the given time and beat his opponents.

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-143

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So proud of this boy!

We were here staying at the hotel earlier this February celebrating the boys’ birthdays which was really memorable with the entire Di Mattoni crew breaking out in song for the birthday cake cutting. This time round, it was a completely different experience and I am glad we got to enjoy Legoland – its theme park, water theme park and hotel – in a Halloweenish kinda way for a change.

It was thrilling for the kids and now with hindsight about how the characters were people in disguise, they could talk freely about the monsters, both as human pretend form and as LEGO mascots.

legolandhalloweenfun_kaokids

The Legoland Water Theme Park was as usual lovely – no ghouls lurking around, thank God – and so was the hospitality we received at the hotel. We extended another night and returned to the theme park once more for the Halloween Party in the cool of the day, conquered more rides and basked in the atmosphere of lit Jack-o-lanterns, funky scarecrows and Lego people and “monsters”.

Bring it on, Halloween, I think the kids are a little more daring after Brick-or-Treat at Legoland now!

legolandhalloweenoct2016_kaokids-113

~~~

More Details:

  • Brick-or-Treat Halloween Party Nights are happening at Legoland Malaysia this weekend and for every weekend in October! 

SELECTED DATES  : September (16-17, 23-24, 30)   October (1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29)

TIME                            : 4pm – 8.30pm @ RM85 per entry

LOCATION                 : LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort’s Theme Park

ACTIVITIES               : Brick or Treat Trail

LOCATION                 : LEGO® Kingdoms

Parks hours are extended to 8.30pm on Brick-or-Treat Party Nights and any kids (3 – 11 years old) who come dressed in costume gets free entry from 4pm

  • LEGOLAND® Hotel will also be featuring a special Halloween Day & Night Hotel Promotion:

Booking Period: 25 Aug – 30 Oct 2016

Stay Period: 18 Sep – 31 Oct 2016

What Halloween heroes will get:

  • Daily breakfast
  • Dinner for 2 adults and up to 3 children below 6 years old (3rd adult or child above 7 years is chargeable at RM95/adult & RM50/child)
  • Halloween Brick-Or-Treat Commemorative Brick (one brick per child in room, while stocks last)
  • Day & Night Hotel Halloween activities

There’ll be many exciting activities that will be hosted by the hotel which include LEGO® Colouring, Witch Cat Building Speed Challenge, Ghostly Bowling, Three Magic Witches musical performance, Little Chef Pastry Making and lots more.

~~~

Disclosure: We were invited to Legoland Malaysia to join them in their Halloween party. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own. Including how Nat needs you to know he would conquer Hut#5  for sure the next time.

Everyday fun! Going Out! Happy days Holidays! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

Overheard in Bangkok

December 19, 2015

We’ve been living here for close to 3 weeks now, and it’s almost feeling like we can live here forever. We love the food the people and the affordability. Guess the only thing we aren’t really loving are the crazy Bangkok jams, but hey, they didn’t call this amazing Thailand without them I am sure. This city has been so kind to us and we’ve had too many wonderful memories here, the funniest things ever said and heard (amongst ourselves) included.

***

Day 1

Ben: Why are there so pictures of this man?

Becks: What man?

Nat: The man wearing spectacles!

Ben: He’s everywhere! On buildings, on roads, on street sides and even inside shops!

Me: Erm, the Thais call him king, kids!

***

Day 2

Ben: Why do they have a king and we don’t?

Becks: We have! Mr Lee Kuan Yew, remember?

Me: -_-

(I had to explain constitutional monarchy and democracy to the kids, but I don’t think I did a very good job. Anyone wants to volunteer?)

***

Day 9, at Platinum Mall

Me: Ok, today’s shopping day so we’re going to be shopping non stop. Every floor has something for us to explore. I will need to get a lot of things.

Ben: Yes, like my pants. I have no more pants.

Nat: And my socks! And t-shirts!

Becks: And a hat! I want a hat.

Me: Ok, great! Let’s go.

Minutes later, after a few dizzying rounds of going up the escalator to find the food hall (which meant we saw what every floor of the mall had to offer)…

Becks: Mama…

Me: Yes?

Becks: I have only one wish.

Ben: What? Change your mind again?

Me: You want to buy dresses, is it? You must have seen enough Frozen dresses to last you a lifetime?

Becks: No…

Ben: You want shoes, is it?

Becks: No…

Me: Scrunchie?

Becks: My wish is to have a tiara. So I can be a princess!

Me and Ben: -_-

Wearing the tiara every day

Wearing the tiara every day

***

Day 12, at Asiatique in the day, walking past Juliet’s Garden

Me: This is what we visited in Verona when we were in Italy, kids.

Ben: Who’s she?

Me: Juliet. Well, we were told in Verona that when we rub Juliet’s left breast, we will find love and good luck.

Becks: What? We need to touch her left BRA????

Us: -_-

The love-locks filled garden on a hot day at Asiatique where nothing was open

The love-locks filled garden on a hot day at Asiatique where nothing was open

Verona's Juliet, looking all worn out (Photo Source)

Verona’s Juliet, looking all worn out (Photo Source)

Act 2, Scene 2: Capulet's Garden Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Act 2, Scene 2: Capulet’s Garden
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?

***

Day 13, at Bangkok Railway Train Night Market

Me: I finally found it after searching for so long!

Ben: What?

Me: Good ol’ entertainment for 20 baht!

Ben, Becks, Nat: YAY! We have iPhones!

Me: We call it the Blackberry.

Ben: Ok, mine is.

Becks: Mine’s pink berry!

Nat: And mine’s green berry!

Me: -_-

New "phone"!

New “phone”!

Nat's new Greenberry

Nat’s new Greenberry

Ben with his Blackberry

Ben with his Blackberry

Becks and her Pinkberry

Becks and her Pinkberry

***

Day 14

Becks: See, I have an iPhone and I can play iPhone games.

Me: Yes, that’s right. Best ever.

Becks: And I can even take selfie!

Me: -_-

Becks taking a selfie while on our Safari Park self drive

Becks taking a selfie while on our Safari Park self drive

***

More ‘Overheard in Bangkok’ coming your way soon. Till then, here’s the reason we are here, and how we are eating like the locals.