Sundays in Germany

We were out for an afternoon stroll on Sunday when a tourist on one of those For-Hire bicycles stopped us.

Tourist: May I know where the supermarket is? I would like to buy a drink.

Me: It’s Sunday. Supermarkets are shut. You can cycle down the street to the bakery to get a drink instead.

Tourist: Shut? All of them are shut? That’s not good!

I know how the poor guy felt. It must feel like Germany is so backwards, so old-fashion. He must have thought how inconvenient it is to live in this city. 

Before we parted ways, I suppressed the urge in me to tell him how wonderful it is to have Sundays as COMPLETELY errand free days. 

Whack the Paint

Last Christmas, the idea of homeschooling Theo crossed my mind. However, I found out that it’s ILLEGAL in Germany. One could face penalties such has hefty fines and imprisonment! But don’t all kids receive some sort of homeschooling before receiving formal education from the State?

With just 3 more months of time spent all day together with Theo before he attends playgroup, I’ve been researching for activities to do with a one year old on Pinterest. Here’s one of the fun ideas I came across.

 1. Spray canvas with some water and then randomly add bits of paint on it. 


2.  Wrap canvas with cling-film.


3. Let your child hit it, roll on it, step on it etc.

 

Tadaaaahhhhhh! Our finished art piece!!!

 

I love doing crafts like this as there will be something to keep at the end as a momento. 
  

  

I love being a boy-mum

Truth be told, I wanted a girl. When my gynecologist told us at 16 weeks we were going to have a boy (and she said it with the most conviction EVER and circled the little gentleman’s area on the scan photo), I freaked out. There goes my dream doll house, pretty dresses, head bands and girly activities I had planned in my head. In contrast, Dan was EXCITED for his future son to “inherit prematurely” (before his death!!!) all his toy cars and trains. 

  
After 13 months of being a boy’s mum, I gotta say I love it. Here’s why I love being a boy-mum.

1. Full of energy

From dawn till dusk, the moment those smiley eyes are opened, Theo is bursting with energy. It can be tiring to look after him, however that positive energy he has in him is infectious. It’s a sign that he’s happy and healthy. The constant burst of energy often result in loud noises – no need to pretend to be demure. Boys will be boys. 

2. Boys have fun but practical outfits

My initial worry of not being able to shop for nice clothes is thrown out of the window. Boys DO HAVE fun, colourful and interesting outfits. I love everything colourful and boys’ clothes are often in green, blue, red, orange, yellow etc. There will be cool robots, cars, dinosaurs, spaceships, bears, crocodiles and so on on them too. It also makes life a lot easier for me to dress Theo up – a t-shirt and shorts/ trousers. And they usually match quite easily. Apart from the bother of layering up to stay warm in the colder months, I don’t have ribbons to fiddle with on his head.

3. I don’t fuss as much 

I have to admit that I’m a VERY protective mother. The slightest bump/ scratch and my heart aches. There will be a million “if only I didn’t let him do XYZ he would be unharmed” self-blame. So can you imagine if I had a girl?!?! Of course, I know accidents happen and it’s all part of growing up. But seriously, which mum enjoys seeing her precious child hurt? We all pretend that every darn fall is “part of growing up” because we don’t want our fellow mummy friends to think we’ve gone absolutely mental. So, fellow mummy friends – let’s admit that we’re all slightly nuts up there! Woooohoooo!!! 

Having said that, I don’t mind my boy playing a little more rough. It’s ok when another kid pulls or pushes him slightly or pokes him. I’m less worried because boys ARE rowdy. In our household, we tell Theo to “man up”. 

4. We get dirty

I used to be a clean freak. If you’re a boy-mum, you’ll know what a challenge this can be. One moment they’re digging dirt, another they’ll be poking their finger somewhere else. General cleanliness should be enforced but I’m not the sort of mum who constantly wipes her son’s mouth after every spoonful. Neither am I going to tell my son that the grass is dirty and he shouldn’t be walking on it. By all means, go barefoot as long as it’s safe. And because I allow him to roam freely at playgrounds and on the grass, it means dirt gets rubbed all over me too. That’s why we have a bath at the end of the day. 

5. Cool and fun toys

How many different cars, trains, fire engines, aeroplane and construction vehicles can there be? 13 months into being a boy-mum and geez … I really have a lot to learn and I love learning about them all! Who would have thought that the Transport Museum was the most exciting day trip ever? It also means they are super easy to distract when we’re out and about. Just ask boys where the cars/ trains/ aeroplanes are and it becomes a great I-spy game!

6. Boys love their mums

So do girls! What I’m saying is, when my boy uses both hands to turn my head towards him just to plant a kiss on my lips… WOW!!! It makes EVERYTHING and I mean every sweat, tears, pain and hard work all worth while. It’s an extremely special feeling. I just know that I’m his special woman for now. 

Frankfurt Transport Museum

The Frankfurt Transport Museum is located in Schwanheim, the end of the tram line 12. A friend brought her kids there some time back and recommended it to me. As Theo is now really excited about the different modes of transport, we decided to spend Sunday morning at the museum.

Fortunately for us, a very friendly English-speaking guide was there to show us around. He allowed us to “ride” on as many old trams as possible and was excellent at explaining the history of transportation in Frankfurt. 

  

One of the oldest streetcar at the museum dates back to 1884. This place really let’s you relive the past! 

 
What really impressed us was the pre-war trams. They had quality, comfy leather seats! Even the appearance of the trams looked beautiful and classy. In contrast to the post-war public transportation that were dull-looking (although functional and practical), the pre-war trams looked stunning. It was a shame that many were destroyed in the war.

  

The other highlight at the museum is the 1900 steam engine. 

  

Theo probably had the best 1.5 hours of his life at the museum today! 

I would love to bring him to the London Transport Museum!!! That would be fabulous!!!  

Frankfurt Unveiled – London City Airport #NoFilter Project

Frankfurt, also known as Mainhattan, has been my home for the past 3 years. It is notorious for being a transit hub for travellers heading to Singapore from the Big Apple, New York City. Due to the presence of the European Central Bank and the various international trade fairs, it is no surprise that Frankfurt has earned itself the reputation of a mere “business center”.

However, does Frankfurt really lack character as a city? Is it really that dull? NO!!! That’s why I’m really excited to be part of London City Airport’s #NoFilter project which aims to debunk the clichés of Frankfurt. In this project, Harriet Baskas, editor of Stuck at the Airport , will be judging to see which travel blogs best presents Frankfurt. Her website is a great resource to turn to for up-to-date information on art and cultural exhibits, creative restaurant menus, observation decks, and amenities at airports worldwide.

So, in #NoFilter Frankfurt, we’re going back to basics – there will be no filters used to create “the mood” in photos and no editing programs used to create “the perfect” picture. Here’s my selection of photos:

1. The Altstadt (Old Town)

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An iconic landmark in the city center that’s home to the Medieval City Hall, and the Gothic church, Frankfurt Dom.

2. Take a stroll along the Main

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Cross Eiserner Steg (padlock bridge that links town to Sachsenhausen) to the south river bank where the museums are located to get an amazing view of Frankfurt’s skyline. During the Spring and Summer months, grab a drink and a slice of cake at Main Café or a kebab from the floating Meral’s Imbiss

3. Garden in the City 

Frankfurters are huge nature lovers. There are many parks in the city. One of my favourites is Grüneburgpark which is located in Westend, just next to Palmengarten. There are adventure playgrounds suitable for children of different ages in Grüneburgpark. The beautiful and serene Korean garden can also be found in the park.

4.  Ebbelwei-Expreß City Tour

If you’re short of time or walking isn’t your kind of thing (although I think a city is best explored on foot), hop on the Ebbelwei-Expreß which brings you on an hour-long journey to cover all the main sights in Frankfurt. There are podcast commentary onboard, music, pretzel and of course, Apple wine, to enjoy.

5. Frankfurt Christmas Market

Christmas in Frankfurt is one of the most amazing festivals. The market begins on 25th November and lasts till 22nd December in 2015. Don’t miss it if you’re in town! Warm yourself up with a cup of Glüwein (mulled wine) and get some delicious gingerbread. The market will be busy with everyone in a cheery and festive mood. 

#NoFilter Photography Tips

1. Don’t rely heavily on process filters

“Toaster”, “Hefe” or “Nashville” (just to name a few Instagram filters) may look cool, but very often I find myself leaning towards subtle effects more. 

2. Avoid zooming on smartphones

I can’t speak for Android phones, but when it comes to iPhone photography, avoid using the zoom function unless necessary. Zooming in using the iPhone unfortunately results in poorer resolution and sharpness. You end up with a poor quality image. If you want a close up image, move yourself closer to it.

3. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Through practice you’ll familiarise yourself with your camera. It is useless getting an expensive DSLR if you have no idea how to utilise all its fancy functions. (Guilty of this! I ended up purchasing a point and shoot Olympus XZ-1 which I LOVE.)

4. Stop and think before shooting

Use your naked eyes to observe and appreciate what you want to shoot. Try looking at it from different angles WITHOUT using the camera first. We are often too quick to snap away just because everyone else is already clicking away on their cameras. 

I hope you’ll find these tips on photography and Frankfurt helpful.

Thank you London City Airport for giving me this fantastic opportunity to showcase Frankfurt! 

Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss

  

Rüdesheimer Schloss is located on Drosselgasse and prides itself as a traditional wine restaurant. We were lucky to visit Rüdesheim on a warm and sunny day, so an outdoor wine garden like this looked very inviting and romantic. 

As it’s a touristy town, it is not surprising to us that prices are slightly higher than usual. However, we were rather pleasantly surprised by the friendly service (it’s REALLY a rare in Frankfurt!!!) and delicious food.

  

Asparagus salad with marinated chicken breast and chips, €11

As it is asparagus season, I had to order this dish. Given the blistering hot weather we had during our visit, I was glad to order a cold dish! I loved the zesty and sour salad dressing. It was very refreshing. The asparagus were crunchy and juicy too. 

  
Fried sausage from regional game, Savoy cabbage, mashed potatoes and mustard, €14

Daniel ordered this dish and I just had to sneakily steal a couple of mouthfuls from his plate. It looks so delicious, doesn’t it? Seriously! As you bite into the sausages, juices would explode in your mouth. The meat was tender and flavoursome. The buttery smooth mash was a hit, and I think Theo loved it too. 

 Riesling, €5,90 for 200ml 

Since we were in a wine garden enjoying great food and lovely live music being played by a pianist, we thought we should order a glass of Riesling each. I’m not a wine person. I think wine tastes bitter unless it’s sparkling and dessert wine. Hence, I ordered a sweet Riesling while Dan had his dry. I definitely like mine sweet. The restaurant also has a huge selection of wine on their menu which I’m sure will be heaven for wine lovers. 

If you’re visiting Rüdesheim and want to have lunch here, I would recommend getting a table before 12noon. After noon, the tourist crowds flock in in big groups. 


Rüdesheim am Rhein

  
Rüdesheim am Rhein, which lies in Rheingau, is a winemaking town. With its picturesque vineyards and castle ruins along the river to explore, it is no doubt that Rüdesheim is one of Germany’s most popular destination among tourists. 

There are approximately 380 highly-trained winemakers in this region which are family-run businesses. One of their specialities is Riesling which is the highest prized variety in this region. It covers 84% of the vineyard area in the Rheingau region. 

 (€5,90 for a glass)

Riesling is zesty and fruity. It is a must try if you’re in Rüdesheim!  

 
A walk up Drosselgasse, a cobbled old street that is 144m long, is highly recommended in Rüdesheim. Yes, the street is lined with traditional German restaurants and gift shops, but it does give you a taste of the town. You’ll find live music at lunch time, lovely food and pretty wine gardens. It is essentially a place to take out your cameras and snap away. 
  
To get a good view of the Rhein and vineyards, take the cable car up to the Niederwald monument. It costs €7 for a return ride and €5 for a single. We paid for a single and hiked our way down with a 10kg baby and a stroller. It was no easy task but lots of fun!   (Niederwald Monument)

   
Down we go!

  

The great thing about walking down, apart from it being easier than walking up, is that you can see the vineyards up close. The view is really breathtaking!

  

Some parts on the path had steps and weren’t exactly buggy-friendly, but Daniel didn’t complain about it. When he finally stood still at one point, his legs were shaking uncontrollably!

 

The fresh air helped Theo fall asleep. Too bad he missed the views but we were glad to just enjoy ourselves on our walk. 

Rüdesheim is only an hour away from Frankfurt Main Station on the VIA trains. It’s really close to Mainz and Wiesbaden too. If you’re in town, don’t forget to make a trip down to this stunning little town! 

10 Things I Learned in My First Year as a Mum

Now, my baby is a toddler even though he’s still my baby. Everyday I hold his head close to my nose and take a deep breadth, wanting to inhale all of him. Needless to say, that delicate baby scent is gone, only to be substituted by whatever crumbs left behind from his last meal.   

I’m glad I’ve taken photos of most milestones he’s reached and written about our journey together. It’s nice to have something to look back to in the future and see how we’ve grown. Here are 10 things I learned in my first year with Theodore:

1. Google is NOT your paediatrician. Don’t we all rely on the Internet to give us answers? Chances are it will tell you that your baby has got a serious disease and needs A&E treatment immediately. No! Take whatever Google (or mummy forums) says with a pinch of salt. When in doubt, seek professional help. 

2. Life with a baby is a roller coaster. I’ll tell you that a newborn is EASY to look after now but believe me, it was SO DIFFICULT back then for me. Each stage has its own challenges. It gets tougher, easier, then tougher and then easier. 

3. You love like you’ve never loved before. That little life you’ve brought to this world WILL BE your everything. 

4. Sometimes you do wonder what your life would be like without a baby. You’ll imagine it to be glorious. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. 

5. It’s perfectly acceptable to ASK your husband to take over while you take a long, hot bath to unwind. You deserve it. 

6. You’ll want to buy all the toys in the world for your little one but really, he doesn’t need ALL of them. Babies love repetition and familiar objects. 

7. 5 minutes of Peppa Pig on the iPad while you pop into the loo isn’t going to kill your baby. 

8. Put the baby down in the room and all he wants to grab are the wires, bookshelves and anything not baby-friendly. 

9. You’ll get into an argument with your husband on who’s more tired when in actual fact, you’re both equally exhausted (hence the argument).

10. You don’t get annoyed at babies crying in public anymore. You’ll look the other parents in their eyes, and give them a sympathetic smile as if to say “I understand. It’s going to be alright”. 

Read! Read! Read!

 

At Theo’s recent check-up (the Germans call it the U6), his paediatrician said we should read LOTS to him. Apparently babies pick up a lot of vocabulary in the second year of their lives hence reading aloud helps them learn new words.

We’ve been reading to Theo since he was born. I’m all up for reading for the following reasons:

1. A good habit to have.

2. A way to learn new vocabulary. 

3. Encourages children to be imaginative.

4. Allows parents to spend quality time with their children.

5. Teaches children about the world and other cultures.

Although we have a bookshelf for all of Theo’s storybooks, I’m a little doubtful of the shelf staying upright. This little guy is well capable of doing some serious damage to himself if he pulls books off the shelf. I thought it would be discouraging to keep shouting “No!!!” whenever he tries pulling a book off the shelf or even goes near it. Therefore, I’ve filled his nappy box with board books and placed it in his playpen.  

 He can pick whichever book he wants, flip the pages without me worrying if he’s going to tear anything, lick it and so on. 

About 3-4 times a day, we’ll go through the books together. Depending on his attention span, we read between 2-5 books at a go. I find that he’s able to concentrate best in the mornings and when there’s nothing else apart from the box of books in the playpen.

I’m glad that Theo shows interest in books so far. I’m doing something right here! :) 

 

25 Reasons to Celebrate My First Year of Motherhood

It was only when my landlord congratulated me on Theo’s birthday that I realised that we as parents were celebrating our first year of parenthood. A year of survival. 

  
In the past year, there have been countless of times that I thought I was going to die for various reasons. Of course I didn’t, or else I wouldn’t be blogging this! So, here are my reasons for celebrating my first year of motherhood:

1. I survived breastfeeding even though there was a point in my life when I felt like I was in hell and I hated it when it was time to nurse as my boobs were sore and swollen. 

2. I realised that heartaches don’t kill me. They only make me stronger for my boy.

3. I discovered the true meaning of unconditional love. 

4. I never had to clean poop in the bath tub. (Hopefully not going to jinx this!)

5. Despite my son’s obsession with putting everything and anything in his path into his mouth, we have never been to A&E to remove any foreign objects within him.

6. I can be sleep deprived and be a grumpy person but all it takes is a kiss from my boy to recharge my energy levels. I suppose I’m easily pleased.

7. I fall asleep breastfeeding him almost every night but have never dropped my baby.

8. My son has never peed on me.

9. I’ve only ever encountered a poop incident once on my hands (small incident).

10. I didn’t hit people who stared at my son when he wore his boots and bar. 

11. I sometimes let my son try food we eat outside without killing him.

12. I laughed when my top was soaked through with milk.

13. I never once replaced cow’s milk with breastmilk when making my husband a cup of tea although I’ve threatened to do so (much to his disgust!).

14. I managed to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes before my son turned one. 

15. I look after my son all day by myself when my husband’s at work and the boy is still kicking away. I seriously had doubts keeping a baby alive when he was a newborn.

16. Despite my poor judgement of European weather, my son didn’t freeze in cold weather.

17. After 10 weeks, I learned that babies have sensitive skin and are prone to harmless rashes caused by hormones. That helped reduce the number of trips I make to his paediatrician significantly.

18. I stopped relying on medication to treat my son’s common cold. I swear by chicken soup now and it feeds the whole family. 

19. I didn’t kill my husband when he said “Brilliant! Theo slept through the whole night!” because he didn’t hear our boy cry. 

20. My boy has never fallen off the bed or sofa. 

21. My son has eaten the menus at restaurants less than 5 times. This IS impressive given that he puts everything in his mouth. 

22. After 6 months, I no longer cry when I put on the boots and bar for my son. Not because it doesn’t hurt me anymore when we do it, but because my boy has always been brave and brilliant when it comes to his treatment.

23. I’m still alive even though I haven’t slept properly for more than a year. Well, approximately 19 months if you include the time BEFORE my son was born. 

24. I’ve accepted that my clothes will have snot, food or dirt on them.

25. My husband and I aren’t divorced even though we sometimes feel like killing each other.

Good job to Mama & Papa! 

Happy 1st Birthday 

Yolande:

Theodore turned 1 yesterday and he received one of the most beautiful cards from his Grandparents and Auntie Gemma.

He adores The Very Hungry Caterpillar to bits so this is the perfect card for him!

Originally posted on mygirllollipop:

My gorgeous nephew has just turned 1!

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone. He’s changed so much and I’m incredibly proud of him, especially as he’s been through such a lot for someone so young. I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, as he lives in Germany, but I’m so grateful for video chats.

For his 1st birthday card, I decided on a Hungry Caterpillar theme as he loves the story. I saw a wonderful card on Pinterest, made by Connie Babbert at inkspiredtreasures.com. Such a perfect card for fans of the Hungry Caterpillar, so I had to have a go at recreating it for my nephew.

I found some fun green fruit paper which was perfect to use as the caterpillar body. The number 1 was created using a die from the Avery Elle Elle-Ments Dies-Count On It set.

Happy birthday little…

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Frankfurt’s Grüne Soße Festival

 

Grüne Soße (Green sauce) is a traditional local delicacy of Frankfurt. It is rumored that it was the favourite food of Goethe however there is no evidence to support this claim. A traditional way to serve Grüne Soße is with hard boiled eggs and pan-fried potatoes. 

  
The sauce which is made up of 7 herbs is usually served cold. These are the herbs that MUST be used – parsley, chives, cress, sorrel, chervil, borrage, and salad burne. This is a truly local dish as most of the herbs used are said to originate from Frankfurt’s neighborhood. One can only sell the sauce as Frankfurt Grüne Soße if more than 60% of the herbs are from Frankfurt. No kidding! 

 
The festival ends on 9th May 2015 at Frankfurt’s Roßmarkt. So, pop down there ASAP and enjoy this local cuisine!  
  

  

Our Clubfoot Journey: Growing feet

 No one could ever guess that Theo was born with bilateral clubfeet. Just look at my soon-to-be 1 year old standing up in his playpen confidently. The coffeeshop aunties in Singapore who saw his chubby feet said Theo’s destined to have a fulfilling life and be a big boss in the future (old wives’ tale)! 
As I was clearing the wardrobe this morning, I took out Theo’s first two pairs of treatment shoes. They were size 80 and 90. When I placed them next to his current pair, size 110, I felt emotions rised within me and soon, warm tears voluntarily rolled down my cheeks. This happened when Theo was happily cruising round his playpen.  

These shoes are a constant reminder of our clubfoot journey. Although they are part of Theo’s bedtime routine (thankfully without any resistance whatsoever!), looking at them this morning made my heart ache for my boy. He has been so brave throughout his treatment. Well, probably because he has been treated since day 3 of his life and doesn’t know any different. He’s a healthy and happy little boy. Yet when I looked at the shoes this morning, it was as though someone had reopened my wound and sprinkled salt on it. 

Thankfully, I have Daniel who’s always there to offer an alternative perspective. His first response was “Ohhhh!!!! What tiny feet he had! He’s grown so much!!! So cuuuuute!!!! So proud of you, Theodore!!!” 

Yes, my boy is growing well. Thank you, Papa Daniel, for reminding me. We’re almost done with a year of treatment. 3 more years to go. 

 

Flying with an 11 month old 

After surviving a 1.5 hour flight to London when Theo was slightly more than 5 months old, I plucked up courage and booked a family holiday back to Singapore. Theo was approximately 11 months old. Oh! And the flight was 12 hours long. 

  
Good news is, we survived the flights and are back to Frankfurt. This will be inspiring for parents who have yet to fly with their child, because if we can do it, anyone else can too. Flying with a child for the first time can be daunting as we don’t know how the kid will be like on the flight. Google will give you a million and one reasons to worry about flying with your child. However, I’m telling you it’s possible to fly with your child and it doesn’t need to be THAT stressful for you. 

1. Wear loose and comfortable clothings

This applies to both yourself and the baby. If I had absolutely no sense of shame, I would be in my PJs but I was hoping to be upgraded to Business Class (in my tights!). Fat hope, of course! 

Instead of putting Theo in his snuggler (something like a Gro bag), we found that layering him up was more appropriate. The poor boy was overheating on the plane in his snuggler. It resulted in super rosy cheeks. Cute, but definitely not comfortable for him.

Layers are great as you can put more on if it is too cold and just take them off if the baby is overheating. 

2. Pack a jar (or two) of baby food

As I wasn’t sure when lunch/ dinner would be served onboard, I brought my own jar of baby food. Singapore Airlines was happy to heat up the food for us too. Although we did pre-order a baby meal for Theo, the serving times didn’t quite match his usual meal times. Hence I was glad I had my own food to feed Theo and not disturb his sleep on the flight.

3. Pack extra nappies (and clothes)

Not just a couple of nappies. Pack like an extra 6 nappies!!! Of course this might depend on the length of your flight but I was relieved that we packed a lot of extras. Thankfully there wasn’t a big nappy incident, but we had to change him quite often as he was drinking a lot and did number two a couple of times too. 

4. Pack toys and books

For the sanity of other passengers, please refrain from packing electronic toys that sing whenever your baby presses a button. It might be interesting for your baby, but I imagine it to be annoying for others. We packed Sophie the giraffe, nesting cups, and some soft toys.

We were selective of the books to bring along as they can get quite heavy. In the end we had with us a touch and feel book, Theo’s favourite bedtime story, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. That meant that we had to repeat the stories but babies love repetition. 

5. Bring a baby carrier

For babies who can’t walk yet, a carrier would be useful to carry them on the flight. It makes walking up and down the aisle easier and some babies sleep better in carriers too. Babies this age love exploring, so be prepared to walk a lot. 

Being confined on a plane with Theo for 12 hours was pretty much just like being home all day with him. Fortunately for us, he didn’t suffer from ear aches during takeoff and landing. Yes, it was exhausting to travel with a baby but definitely doable. 

11 Months Old

 
I can’t believe that Theo’s 11 months old today. I know it’s cliché to ask “Where did the time go?”, but seriously, time flew by very quickly. 

As a stay-at-home-mum, I am fortunate to witness every smile, wave, babble and milestone Theo has achieved. Our baby is growing ever so quickly. There are times when I think he’s more like a toddler than baby. It seems like he already has a mind of his own and knows what he wants (although it’s usually what I DON’T want him to do!). 

In the past three weeks in Singapore, it feels as though he has learned so much. Waving hello and goodbye, understanding certain words, giving hi-5s, leaning in for kisses, being more affectionate by crawling up to people for hugs, tapping his head to say “Ai yah” (translates to “Oh no” in English), stacking cups with help, calling Ah Kong and Ah Ma in his own unique way and so much more! It’s amazing how a little human being born helpless and dependent can turn out to be so brilliant in 11 months! 

  
I’ve lost count of the number of times in the past 11 months when Theo has driven me up the wall. However, this boy is just so fun to be with. He’s ever so cheery (given that he’s had enough sleep, fed and changed). Everyday we discover more of his personality. I’m beginning to think that he’s probably a little insane – just like his parents.   

Happy 11 Months old, my little man. Mama and Papa are so proud of you for being who you are. We just want you to be healthy, happy and be filled with lots of love. 
  

 

Water Play at The Singapore Zoo

Last week, we brought Theo to the zoo for the first time. I’m not exactly sure if being splashed with water in the face by a sea lion was a good experience for a 10.5 months old baby. I’m sure he doesn’t remember it. 

It was our first week back in Singapore and we were all getting used to the humid weather. Theo was cranky and sticky all over from sweating a lot. We decided not to tire him out by showing him every animal. Instead, we brought him to the water play area in the zoo for a splash.

 

It was my first time at the water play area. I loved it! It was so so much fun! 

 

 He loved going through this water tunnel. My boy isn’t afraid of water splashing his face or going under water (let’s not jinx it!). 

 

He was also happy just splashing about. 

  

Ippudo in Singapore

Famous for its tonkotsu-based ramen, Ippudo originated in Hakata, Japan, in 1985 and has ever since been expanding world wide. I first tried it in Fukuoka in 2004 when I was an exchange student. I love the thickness of the flavoursome broth. 

On this trip back in Singapore, Ippudo was on my must-eat list. I was excited to know that it has a restaurant at Westgate and I don’t have to take the train all the way to town for it! 

I ordered mum and myself a bowl of Shiromaru Tamago Ramen and Dan had Shiromaru Chashu. At Ippudo, you can select the hardness of the noodles too. We chose medium which was just right for us.

   

 

Pak Kung Cafe & Bakery in Singapore

  

Singapore is ever changing. I do wonder if I can ever keep up with all the exciting changes at times since we only visit every 2 years. It’s not only the city center that’s changing; the suburbs, the heartlands are evolving too. I live in what my friends called the “rural” part of Singapore (in the West). However with these changes, I feel as if the city center is brought to me. 

This afternoon, we took the bus to Jurong Point, our heartland mall. It was first built in 1995 when I was 11. Over the years, the mall has been extended to what it is today. We went to “Hong Kong Street” in the mall for tea break. Neon signboards were hanging over our heads as we walked through the “street” with Cantonese songs played in the background. Restaurants and cafes served dim sum and Chinese cuisine. It did feel as though we’ve gone to Hong Kong! 

We went to Pak Kung Cafe and Bakery for a short break. I ordered Daniel HK Style French Toast (his first!) while mum and I had egg tarts and HK Style Tea Coffee.  

The toasts were dipped in egg, deep fried and then served with a slab of butter and golden syrup. It’s one of the most delicious variation of French toasts. 

  

Egg tarts are egg custard filled in pastry. These were so crumbly. Loved them!

  

Hmmm… I’m not quite sure what to make of HK Style Tea Coffee. It is apparently made up of 3 parts coffee and 7 parts HK milk tea. I thought it left a bitter after-taste which I didn’t quite fancy. 

It was a good experience though. I really liked the HK Style French Toasts – probably enough for me to make a trip back there one more time before we head back to FFM. 

 

Takeaway Burgers in Frankfurt

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However all opinions expressed are mine.

I’ve used Pizza.de – the yellow pages of restaurants and Imbisses in Frankfurt – on three separate occasions to determine the quality of the burgers and service. (I’ve blogged about Pizza.de here. Follow them on Facebook for updates and promotions here.)

1. Burger You

Location: Im Mainfeld 42, 60528 Frankfurt am Main

Rating: 4.667 Stars (as of 3rd April 2015)

Packaging: Clean and fresh appearance as the boxes were smartly coloured in white and green. The food arrived warm and nice.

Taste: The BBQ Bacon Burger was palatable and fresh.

We also tried the Crunchy Chicken Burger which was very juicy. 

The onion rings were crispy and, most importantly, delivered hot.

To be honest, I was skeptical about the quality of takeaway food as I was afraid that it might turn up soggy and lose its freshness. However, Burger You did a great job in ensuring that they didn’t compromise on the quality of the food.

Delivery: The delivery man was ever so friendly. He also made sure I was aware of the 10% discount printed on the boxes for future purchases. Delivery was pretty quick too even though I placed my order at 6:30pm on a Thursday. The food took 30 minutes to arrive.

2. Food Rockers

Location: Daimlerstr. 27, 60314 Frankfurt am Main 

Rating: 4.267 Stars (as of 3rd April 2015)

Packaging: The burgers, chicken wings and noodles came in foam boxes to keep them warm. Nothing spectacular about the packaging compared to Burger You, but that didn’t bother me as the food was warm when delivered.

Taste: Chicken wings are one of my favourite comfort foods. They aren’t difficult to cook but as Dan has been working late, I haven’t had the opportunity to cook chicken wings AND look after Theo. Therefore, I was glad to indulge in those finger-licking good wings. Craving satisfied! 

We also ordered the Delux Hawaii Burger, Bacon Burger and Chilli-Cheese Burger. 

The Hawaii burger was rather interesting as it had pineapples and ham in it. On hindsight, what did I expect? Some sort of exotic Hawaiian sauce?

The Bacon Burger was neither impressive nor mind-blowing. It was basically a beef burger with just one slice of bacon. I was expecting a little more bacon. 

The Chilli-Cheese Burger isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will literally set your lips on fire! There were tiny red chilli slices with seeds in it. I’m a BIG chilli eater but the spiciness of this burger was just too much for me to handle.  

We also gave the Stir-fried Duck Noodles a go. Dan was so happy that they used thicker yellow noodles, just like what Chinese takeaway shops in the UK would use for Chow Mein. The portion of duck was generous and it was rather savoury. I enjoyed this dish a lot.

Delivery: It took around 30 minutes for the food to arrive which was great. The delivery man was friendly enough and cautioned me that the food was hot and to be careful.

3. Casa Italia

Location: Ronneburgstr. 5, 60435 Frankfurt am Main

Rating: 4.333 Stars (as of 3rd April 2015)

Packaging: I have no idea why the burgers were first wrapped in foil and then placed in foam boxes. It was a bad idea. No doubt they were warm, but the hot air condensed into water droplets and made the burgers soggy. As you can see from the picture, they look flattened too. Definitely didn’t look appetising to me.

Taste: We ordered some BBQ ribs which were quite tough.

The baked potatoes with bacon and cheese actually turned out pretty decent.   

The fries were a disappointment, unfortunately. They were cold when they arrived and were soggy. They are what I call “cardboard chips”.  

Delivery: The restaurant is approximately 20 minutes car-ride away from my place, so it’s not exactly near. However I thought I would try it out to see the quality of food as the restaurant delivers to my neighbourhood. I’m rather disappointed with my experience with Casa Italia.

An average of 4.333 is a reasonably high rating. I reckon the long journey from shop to home jeopardised the food quality. It took 1hr 15mins from ordering my food online to getting it delivered to my home. That’s a pretty long time to wait.

Overall Experience 

I did enjoy using Pizza.de as it was really convenient and easy for me to place orders. I love its filter and search functions that allow me to choose a particular cuisine that I like. I’ve only tried 3 places out and I’m satisfied with 2 out of 3 of them.

Will I be using Pizza.de again?

Yes! It offers me so many options to choose from, all from the comfort of my living room. I don’t have to “just grab a burger and go”. It’s nice to be able to sit down at my dining table to enjoy delicious food with my family.

Don’t forget to follow Pizza.de on Facebook for regular updates and promotions! To check out other restaurants and Imbiss, go to Pizza.de

 

Pizza.de – Your one-stop takeaway service

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all opinions expressed are my own. 

When we moved to Frankfurt, I wondered why so many places don’t offer home delivery services. Sometimes work gets in the way and we’re too exhausted to cook. Unlike in the UK where Chinese and Indian takeaways are a phone call away, I was under the impression that the Germans (1) love to cook or (2) simply eat out.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I was approached to write a review about Pizza.de! (Click on the image below to visit Pizza.de website)

Pizza.de is a huge database of restaurants and Imbisses in Frankfurt that deliver food to your home. Here’s why I think Pizza.de is amazing:

1. One-stop shop for food

If you’re not too familiar with restaurants that deliver, Pizza.de is the best site to rely on. Firstly, it is a huge online booking system of all places that deliver food to your home. Enter your postcode on the site and it short-lists restaurants near you. There’s no need to ponder over what Google search terms to use to short-list takeaway restaurants.

Each listed restaurant has a rating and reviews for you to make an informed decision. The menus are available online and are very straightforward even for those who aren’t familiar with the German language.

2. Huge variety of cuisines

Don’t be fooled by the name. The restaurants listed on Pizza.de don’t just sell pizzas. You’ll be surprised to find Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Turkish and American cuisine too. You’ll easily be spoilt for choice!

3. Easy payment

Cash, PayPal, Visa, Masercard or Giropay – there are so many convenient and safe ways to pay for your order. You can set up an account so that you don’t always have to enter your delivery address. After each order, you will receive an email confirmation within 10 minutes.

4. Affordable and delicious

Yes! From the comfort of your own home. Whether you have a few friends going over to yours to watch football, or are hosting a ladies’ night, Pizza.de has such a huge variety of affordable food for your mini home party that it won’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for an online directory of food delivery services, Pizza.de is the place to visit.

Follow Pizza.de Facebook Page for regular updates and promotions.

A blog on my three greatest loves – family, food & travels

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