Bubble Magic: Pep Bou’s Wonderful World of Bubbles (and a giveaway!)

There is always something so mesmerising about soap bubbles and their ephemeral, rainbow-hued existence. J and Little E can often entertain themselves for hours blowing bubbles on our balcony and watching them drift off into the distance.

When I found out that Bubble Magic: Pep Bou’s Wonderful World of Bubbles was coming to Singapore this September, I was absolutely beside myself!

Picture Credit: Lunchbox Theatrical Productions

Picture Credit: Bubble Magic

Pep Bou is a Spanish artiste who has been conducting theatrical soap bubble shows for over thirty years in Europe, combining his knowledge of chemistry and technical architecture with his passion for the performing arts. Bubble Magic (also known as Clinc!), his latest two man show, is a blend of bubbles and clowning, and it sounds absolutely wonderful.

I had the opportunity to interview creator and performer, Pep Bou himself:

1. Your show is so unique and unusual! What is the inspiration behind your soap bubble theatre?

Theatrical performance and live creation in front of an audience was what interested me most. Bubbles seduced me with their beauty and poetry and, especially, the fact that they always have to be made again. The risk of their fragility will always be a source of inspiration to me to keep researching and perfecting my shows. You could say that I swapped solid architecture for delicate and ephemeral architecture.

2. What are the biggest challenges of working with soap bubbles to a live audience and how do you work around them?

Working with soap bubbles is a constant challenge. It’s like being a trapeze artist with no net under you. The bubble is the greatest example of the concept of FRAGILITY. Their nature when doing a show presents both great difficulties and great advantages. When they pop unexpectedly, last only a few seconds or are carried away by a current of air, you must have technical and theatrical resources to keep up the rhythm, as well as a high aesthetic and poetic performance level. A lot of humidity in the atmosphere with no air currents and without excessive heating or air conditioning are the best conditions that make it easiest to manipulate the bubbles. However, our company always provides excellent quality in all of our experiments, no matter what the situation may be.

Apart from the difficulties mentioned, an extraordinary connection is always established between the actors-bubble artists and the audience, which makes everything that happens on the stage constantly exciting and new.

 3. As a professional mime, you have always been able to overcome language barriers to convey thoughts and feelings. How do you incorporate your experience into your act? 

Soap bubble theatre basically requires creating the bubbles by blowing and then manipulating them. The performance that I have always believed was best over the course of my career has been theatre without words or miming. Its parallel would be silent cinema. Although some of the characters express themselves with onomatopoeic sounds at times, the best text for bubbles is MUSIC.

Picture Credit: Bubble Magic

Picture Credit: Bubble Magic

Bubble Magic opens on 10th September 2014 at the Jubilee Hall Theatre, Raffles Hotel, and the kids and I will definitely be there!

A Special Surprise for Owls Well Readers: Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is kindly sponsoring a giveaway of ONE PAIR of tickets to the matinee performance of Bubble Magic on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 at 3:30pm, right here on Owls Well! Woohoo!

To take part in the Giveaway just:

  1. Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook page
  2. Share this post on your Facebook page and tag a friend – make sure your post is set to public
  3. Leave a comment below telling me about the first theatrical performance you ever attended. Don’t forget to include your email address! (If you would like to send me the email address privately, leave a comment for the other answers, then email me at 4owlswell [at] gmail [dot] com)

(Giveaway is open to readers in Singapore and will end at midnight on 3rd Sept 2014. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete all 3 easy steps!)

Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been emailed. Thanks for playing!

Twittering about twitter: A sisterly conversation


*fangirl SQUEEEE*

Debs G: Meimei! Rene Denfeld is following us on TWITTER!!!!

A Becky Lee: Yay!

Debs G: How can we celebrate this

A Becky Lee: Be cool man just be cool

Debs G: I already took a screenshot. I’m going to save it forever and ever!!!! I’m so happy!!!! I’m going to like her Facebook Page.

A Becky Lee: Ok. We can post it on Facebook if you want and be all like squeeee *starry eyes*

Debs G: (I can do better than that *copies Skype conversation to WordPress* )

P.S. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, you need to read this. And definitely read this.

P.P.S. If you are Rene Denfeld, then yeah, this is me playing it cool. ‘Sup.

P.P.P.S. SQUEEEE *starry eyes*

Sisterly Date Double Feature! Part 2: PhysioAesthetics

Just prior to A Becky Lee’s visit to Singapore, I’d been up several nights in a row looking after a feverish and grouchy Little E, and I was feeling pretty tired and looking rather haggard. So, after our delicious and healthy meal at Shirokiya CHIJMES, I was definitely ready for some serious, hardcore pampering!

I mean, what’s a sisterly date without some R&R time?

We put J, Little E and the Southern Boobook down at the Aged P’s place for a good long afternoon nap, before traipsing off for an afternoon at PhysioAesthetics at Camden Medical Centre.

PhysioAesthetics specialises in using non-invasive beauty treatments for the face and body. They use a mixture of high quality organic skincare products and combine this with the latest in nanotechnology treatments.

Nanotechnology is the study of the tiniest of tiny particles, and in the world of beauty and science, these nanoparticles are believed to be tiny enough to transverse the skin’s natural barriers, thus permeating the deeper layers of the skin in order to target the cellular proteins (collagen and elastin) which are responsible for maintaining the structure and flexibility of skin. Theoretically, it should be possible to boost skin quality and youthfulness by stimulating the regeneration of skins cells and maintaining the collagen and elastin via nanotechnology treatments.

Currently, nanoparticles are used commonly in sunscreens in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles which protect the skin by absorbing UV radiation.

This is your science lesson for the day! And now, back to our regular programme.

After a brief but thorough consultation with the beautician, the PhysioAesthetics beauty team decided that our customised treatment would include the PhysioAesthetics Signature Organic Facial, using pure organic Argan oil, followed by a relaxing mask.

The PhysioAesthetics Signature Organic Facial (SGD$250 for 90minutes)

The PhysioAesthetics Signature Organic Facial (SGD$250 for 90minutes)

As I was experiencing some skin congestion due to stress and lack of sleep, my facial also included a deep pore cleansing and purifying treatment with manual extraction which was gentle yet thorough. Thereafter, the therapist coated my skin with a generous application of pure Vitaman-E rich Argan oil and then spent the rest of the time sending me to heaven on the wings of a pressure point massage.

Then, a purifying and calming mask of rosehip and mint was painted on my face and as I lay in repose, having a relaxing hand massage, I felt my brain dissolving into a blissful pool of Aaaaahhhhhh.

A Becky Lee, whose skin was severely dehydrated after arduous plane journey received a very luxurious application of soothing aloe vera mask which really gave her skin a much-needed boost. You can see how relaxed and happy she is in the picture below, where she is enjoying a delicious rose hip tea. Yum.

Happy campers with tea and sunscreen

Happy campers with tea and sunscreen

At the end of our treatments, our therapists gave our glowing faces a good cleansing to remove all traces of the mask, then applied a layer of COOLA organic mineral sunscreen, which has a nice light, velvety finish to it that I really liked.

Whilst sipping a cup of post-treatment tea in the lounge, I had the opportunity to browse through the range of organic products carried by PhysioAesthetics and was very impressed by their commitment to beauty products that are organic, produced using sustainable fair trade practices. Way to go!

Afterwards we emerged, faces radiant with contentment, all ready to face the world again.

Find out more about PhysioAesthetics here.

The Paper Stone: Stationery for everyone (and a Giveaway!)

In my life, I have been truly privileged to have the opportunity to befriend some very talented individuals, and this includes my friend, Allison, who is the chief in-house designer at The Paper Stone.

The Paper Stone is a local stationery store selling beautifully and thoughtfully designed wares from notebooks to stickers to bags to mugs. A trip to The Paper Stone is like going to stationery heaven. Every nook and cranny of the store is filled lovely things – all of very high quality and surprisingly affordable (Unlike some other super-expensive stationary stores selling fancy Swedish and Ozzie-made things – support local, I say! Singapore Boleh!)

Lovely things from a lovely person

Lovely things from lovely people

Allison was kind enough to pass me some of The Paper Stone’s gorgeous stationery before our recent trip to the UK this year, and the kids and I were so happy receive so many pretty things! Thanks, Allison!

Little E and J went into raptures over the cute little animal erasers from The Paper Stone. I’ve always loved animal erasers because they remind me of my primary school days, when my form teacher would give out fancy shaped erasers to those who had done well in class and we would hoard these treasures and play games with them underneath our desks. J and Little E played with those little creatures for hours, creating stories and adventures for them.

Playing cat-and-mouse

Playing cat-and-mouse (Animal erasers SGD$2.90, 2B earth friendly pencil SGD$1.00)

I think these pretty pencils (they are made out of recycled newspapers! Cool, huh?) and fun erasers (made out of top grade material that makes minimal shavings – wonderfully tidy for messy writers) would make great stocking stuffers or wonderful additions to a party bag! Much more long-lasting and sweeter than tooth-rotting candies.

J and Little E also really like their journals from the ‘Just Lines’ range, which (despite their name), contain more than just lines in them. This range has 160 full-colour pages and is a mixture of ruled pages and black pages, with some pages containing plenty of space for journalling and for doodling. I especially like the map at the back of the book!

More than 'Just Lines'

More than ‘Just Lines’

I like the spiral bound nature of the ‘Just Lines’ range which means that the book’s pages lie completely flat when on a writing surface, making it easier for writing and drawing. The hardcover protects the book from rough use, works well as a makeshift writing surface and the elastic band keeps it securely shut tight when being transported. This makes it a perfect notebook for travel journalling!

I particularly like the nice thick pages which hold up well when using small amounts of wet glue – it makes a wonderful scrapbook for my kids love sticking mementos of their travels inside. Markers and paint don’t seem to soak through easily either, so it’s pretty decent for art journalling too!

The ‘Just Lines’ range comes in many different designs, suitable for both boys and girls of all ages – and grown ups too! There is a Little E just loves her travel journal with the ‘Charm Necklace’ design – I quite often catch her running her fingers lovingly over the embossed surface of the book.

J chose the ‘Toy Soldiers in the Park’ design for himself, which has a fun and busy cover! When we’re travelling, sometimes I play a game with him that is a kinda cross between ‘Where’s Wally’ and ‘I Spy’ – one of us will pick a soldier on the book’s cover and the other has to guess which soldier it is. It’s a game that entertains for hours on the plane or in the car.

The ‘Toy Soldiers’ design also comes in a whole matching range of  products – pens and pencils, pencil cases, backpacks, ring binders, mugs, and stickers! I think a selection of these would make a great ‘back to school’ gift set to get kids excited about the first day of school.

If you’re looking for a simple ruled notebook for penning down thoughts, stories or recipes, then the ‘My Story’ range is just the thing – it’s super cute and a real bargain at only SGD$4.90!

I got all nostalgic over the ‘A Day in London’ series which sports all the iconic landmarks of London on the front cover! J and Little E were very excited during our trip to London, especially when they recognised some of the landmarks from my notebook.

The Paper Stone also has a range of cute silicone luggage tags with the London Bus and London Guard design on them which are very eye-catching!

Writing 'My Story'

Writing ‘My Story’

The ‘My Story’ range (as with all of the paper products at The Paper Stone) uses finer paper that is thinner and lighter than the ‘Just Lines’ range – so it works great for pens, pencils and markers. Each page is a delicious cream ruled with grey lines, and is just a joy to scribble on! There’s nothing like the rustle and smell of paper to get the creative juices flowing – and it helps that my pens and pencils never snag on the smooth, matte paper surface.

I really appreciated the rounded corners of the notebook and pages which suits clumsy people like myself who are highly prone to papercuts!

The Paper Stone has also very recently launched their online store which offers free local shipping for orders over SGD$50 and a hefty 20% discount off all online orders! Just enter the code ‘TPSONLINE’ at checkout!

If you prefer the more tactile experience of shopping at their brick-and-mortar stores (conveniently dotted all around Singapore), I really recommend purchasing the TPS membership card which is a prepaid card which gives you more bang for your buck. Not only are you entitled to exclusive membership discounts and promotions when you flash your card in-store, but you get extra credit every time you top it up – for example, the SGD$55 card actually has a stored value amount of SGD$58! Not bad, huh? It would be a pretty great gift for the stationery and scrapbooking addict in the family!

A Special Giveaway for Owls Well Readers: The Paper Stone is generously sponsoring a whole load of great prizes to be given away on Owls Well! Hurrah! TWO lucky Owls Well Readers will win a TPS Membership card each (worth SGD$58) and FOUR lucky Owls Well Readers will each win an exclusive The Paper Stone goody bag containing some truly gorgeous items carefully handpicked by The Paper Stone’s designer, Allison. 

To take part in this fabulous giveaway just complete the following: 

1. Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook Page

2. Be a fan of the Paper Stone Facebook Page

3. Leave a comment below and tell me which design and product from The Paper Stone you like best, and why! Don’t forget to leave your Facebook name and your email address so that I can contact you if you win – or if you’re really shy, you can email your details to me separately at 4owlswell@gmail.com

4. (Optional) To increase your chances of winning, share or reblog this giveaway on any form of social media that you fancy and leave a comment below with the link!

(This giveaway is open to anyone with a Singapore mailing address and ends on 29 August 2014. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete the 3 required steps!)

Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winners have been emailed. Thanks for playing!

Ain’t no party like a Disney party!

We here at Owls Well are big, BIG Disney fans.

Growing up, I was raised on a steady diet of Disney films and cartoons, and those memories of sitting with my sister watching the Disney cartoons on the couch are very dear to me. The Barn Owl and I derive great satisfaction from sharing our favourite Disney films and toons with the kiddies!

So when the fine folk over at the Disney Channel invited us to a party at the EatPlayLove Craft Cafe to preview the latest Disney cartoon, The 7D, we were all so excited!

A 7D Disney Party at Eat Play Love

A 7D Disney Party at EatPlayLove Cafe

The 7D is a brand new animated television series which is very (very) loosely based on the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In the series, the seven dwarfs (aka the 7D) help to defend the land of Jollywood and the Queen Delightful from the bumbling villains Grim and Hildy Gloom who are bent usurping the throne.

The 7D work together to accomplish each missions, whether be it saving the town from a fake giant or defending their mine against jewel thieves, much to the disgust of the Queen’s personal assistant, Lord Starchbottom. The series takes place before the birth of Snow White, so neither the Evil Queen nor Snow White are present, although the Magic Mirror has a recurring role.


Completely engrossed in The 7D

The voice cast of the series includes the cheeky Kelly Osbourne as the hilariously inept Hildy Gloom as well as Emmy award winner Maurice LaMarche (The Brain from ‘Pinky and the Brain) as Grumpy, Jess Harnell (Wakko from ‘Animaniacs’) as Grim Gloom, Paul Rugg (Freakazoid!) as Lord Starchbottom, and the legendary Bill Farmer (the current voice of Goofy) as Doc. Woohoo!

In summary, the voice cast includes all our favourites from all our childhood!!!![1]

HILDY GLOOMThe kids were absolutely entranced by the cartoon as you can see from the look of concentration on their little faces!

Little E’s favourite character is Hildy Gloom, who is a bumbling sorceress with the self-control of a 3 year old (which is probably why Little E found her so hilarious). Little E describes her as ‘naughty with some very silly ideas’.

GrumpyJ’s favourite character is Grumpy, who is a grouchy and cantankerous fellow. J really likes his character design and says that his flowerpot hat is ‘uncomfortable and probably gives him a headache which is why he is grumpy’.

I have to say that I found the character interpretations very funny, and the jokes are fast and furious! I expect nothing less from Emmy award-winning executive producer Tom Ruegger and the show’s brilliant team of writers which include Sherri Stoner, Paul Rugg, Deanna Oliver and Randy Rogel, who were all part of the main crew of the good ship ‘Animaniacs‘.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to colour we go

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to craft we go

After watching a sneak preview episode of The 7D, and gobbling down a plateful of mac-and-cheese with chicken nuggets, Little E was so inspired that she went over to the craft corner at the back of EatPlayLove to do a spot of colouring!

We really had a wonderful time at The 7D preview party! To top it all off, each of the kids at the party were given a little goody bag to bring home containing a cute folder, jotterbook and set of pin-buttons. They were so delighted! Thank you Disney Channel for making our day!

Swinging with our goodies

Swinging with our goodies

The 7D premieres in Singapore on 7 September (Sunday) at 11 am on the Disney Channel.

And if you still aren’t convinced, check out this awesome playlist with all the characters!

Find out more about the 7D here (and check out a really fun track-building game)

[1] Didn’t you have an enormous and everlasting crush on Freakazoid, Meimei?

Sisterly Date Double Feature! Part 1: Shirokiya CHIJMES!

For reasons (mostly cheap airfare and a University break), the Boobook and I took a little trip to Singapore Town and you know what that means…

… a SISTERLY DATE DOUBLE FEATURE!  (*cheering, applause*)


Ta-Dahhh! Aren’t we just great?

We started our date with a delicious feast at Shirokiya CHIJMES.  Since Debs brought an owlet with her, I decided to take the Boobook to keep the owlet company.


J and I fold chopstick stands before J tucks into his Chicken Porridge Zosui “SMILE” set lunch (SGD$12)

Shirokiya CHIJMES is one of those izakaya restaurants, basically a bar-styled restaurant where both drinks and food are nursed and meals take a long time indeed, the perfect sort of place for a sisterly get together, particularly when there’s lots of gossip to swap!

Shirokiya also has a pretty strong bishoku ryori (lit. Beautiful food) philosophy, which they have interpreted as food that is not only tasty, but is ultimately healthy for you.  Thus, their dishes tend to be collagen-rich and full of ingredients that promote good health.

We sat down at one of the tables and the feasting began.  Shirokiya was very generous and provided us with a veritable filling feast of many dishes!


Clockwise from top: Ponzu sauce marinated Bonito Fish cooked in Hay (SGD$14), Broiled pressed mackerel (SGD$15.80), Cold Tofu in Shiokoji dressing ($8.80)

We started with one of Shirokiya’s specialties, a deliciously sliced cold tofu sprinkled with salted rice malt, a real refreshing treat on the hot day!  I very much enjoyed the fresh taste of the tofu, which I was unsurprised to learn was made onsite daily (which is why there are a limited number of dishes available each day).  Hats off to the chef who made it, as the tofu’s texture was deliciously creamy.  We were served this alongside another appetiser of avocado and seafood salad containing a hyaluronic acid jelly, which is purported to help with moisturising the skin.

Once we had cleaned our plates of appetisers[1], we were presented with a lovely bonito, which was cooked in hay straw and marinated with ponzu sauce as well as Shirokiya’s ultimate fried chicken wings with a sweet sauce.  While the chicken wings were a little meh, but the fish was delish and it made quite a dish.  The hay masked any fishy taste in the bonito and really provided it with a rustic taste that was quite unexpected for a fish that’s normally dried and shaved!  This dish even managed to get a thumbs up from Debs.


Avocado and Seafood Salad with Hyaluronic Acid Jelly (SGD$20.80)

Finally, we got to the actual feasting, a huge pot of kurobuta[2] shabu-shabu served in a collagen-rich soup.  This was particularly interesting to watch cook as we were actually presented with the collagen jelly on a plate before it was pushed into the soup, where it melted slowly, adding richness in smell and taste.

Our host was gracious enough to show us how to get the best results when cooking the thin strips of fatty pork in the soup.  Rather than dunk the meat inside, which tends to overcook it, one should float the meat atop the bubbling soup, allowing it to cook evenly in soup and steam for a more balanced result.  Balanced or not, the shabu-shabu soon had me stuffing my face, which was unfortunate, because we still had dessert to look forward to.


Kurobuta Shabu-Shabu Served in Collagen Soup (SGD $38.80)

For dessert, we had one of my absolute favourites, warabi-mochi, something I have been sold on ever since I played Muramasa[3], which was served alongside a rich soy milk pudding, another dessert which I have been sold on since watching Chonmage Purin.  To be honest, if I could have snagged the desserts from Debs, I totally would have, but alas, my belly was full and I could not eat more, which was a real shame[4].

7) Warabi-Mochi with Brown Sugar Syrup: $7.80 8) Home-made Rich Soy Milk Pudding: $4.80

Top: Warabi-Mochi with Brown Sugar Syrup (SGD$7.80), Bottom: Home-made Rich Soy Milk Pudding (SGD$4.80)

All in all, I must say the experience in Shirokiya CHIJMES was a pretty positive one.  Our meal of many dishes was more than generous and I highly recommend bringing more people to help eat if you plan to eat the same things we did, which will make things easier on the wallet.  For those of you muttering about the price of Japanese food in today’s economy, Shirokiya CHIJMES has also recently released a very affordable “SMILE” lunch for people on the go!  At $12 a set, these lunches are perfect for the busy office lady (or salaryman) who wants a healthy meal but still wants to treat her tastebuds.

Debs G’s Mommy Tip: The Chicken Porridge Zosui ‘Smile’ set lunch is perfect for kids – it’s warm, soothing, delicious and healthy! J is still dreaming about it.

That being said, having filled up on many delights, the two sisters then stumbled off into the sunset… stay tuned for the second part of the double feature, same Owls Well time, same Owls Well channel!

[1] Slowly in the case of J, as the many televisions in the restaurant proved a little too distracting for him.

[2] The legendary Japanese black pig, second only to the Tokyo X in terms of deliciousness.

[3] A game in which the food takes centre stage and rightly so, for it looks delicious on the screen and really makes you crave sweets.

[4] Stealing desserts may also lead to a fight to the death, which I really wasn’t in the mood for at the time, being sated and thus lazy.

Raccoons with Guns: Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review


Because I am totally ready to rumble to awesome 80s tunes alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, yet another movie in the massive multi-movie franchise that is the Marvel/Disney Cinematic Universe thingming (sans Mutants and Spiderman).

Guardians of the GalaxyIncidentally, if you are not, in fact, at all ready to rumble, then you will probably find yourself right at home with the titular Guardians of the Galaxy.  Our heroes, a bunch of intergalactic misfits, start by getting themselves arrested for an extended street brawl, which, while impressive to watch, actually starts for the stupidest reasons ever.

The brawl starts between…

  • PETER QUILL, the self-named Starlord, a frat boy lost in space;
  • GAMORA, cyborg assassin extraordinaire and daughter to Thanos, Marvel’s biggest bad;
  • ROCKET, a raccoon with a big gun; and
  • VIN DIESEL as the Wood Giant

…but quickly grows to include…

  • DRAX the destroyer, who is very angry;
  • RONAN the accuser, who is also very angry, but is also genocidal;
  • NEBULA, Gamora’s sister who is very blue;
  • The entirety of the NOVA CORP, an alien police force led by a woman with the snazziest hair ever;
  • The entirety of the RAVAGERS, a group of blue-skinned alien rednecks;
  • and the COLLECTOR, who showed up to collect stuff.

It is a massive and very impressive brawl that lasts about 2 hours and is REALLY FUN TO WATCH.

I am pleased to note that while basic statistics state that Marvel is probably due to release a terrible movie sometime in the future, this is not that movie.  This is a good movie.  With awesomeness.

Awesomeness and racoons with guns.


Also, talking trees.

Go watch it.

The Guardians of the Galaxy was released on 31st July in cinemas worldwide.  Go watch.  Seriously.

Midweek Break: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (with kids)

So last week, Wednesday Woes really got to me and I decided that we all desperately needed a change of scenery.

No, this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that J is entering Primary One next year and I’ve been going through the whole Primary 1 registration rigmarole in the last few weeks. It is a coincidence. Really.


Anyway, The Barn Owl rang me up midway through the afternoon to say that he would be finishing work early (meaning that he would finishing work on time and be available for dinner at 6pm – a normal workday for him usually includes an hour or two of overtime) so I grabbed The Barn Owl’s ocarina, loaded the kids in the car and headed for the harbour.

We parked our car at Harbourfront Mall, walked across to Vivocity shopping centre and met the Barn Owl in front of the Burger King, where we picked up our picnic dinner before heading for the Sentosa Boardwalk.

The Sentosa Boardwalk itself sports travellators for people who don’t fancy any form of exertion whatsoever, and is a relatively quiet place during a weekday evening. There’s plenty of space to spread out and there’s a canopy to hide under if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

I prefer boardwalk itself to the promenade in front of Vivocity and Harbourfront shopping malls, although there are some very nice benches under the tall palm trees there which would be perfect for a family picnic. Unfortunately, the promenade is often crowded with smokers who are absolutely undeterred by ‘No Smoking ‘ signs and the smoking ban in public places, so we usually walk about halfway across the Sentosa boardwalk in order to get away from the lingering smell of tobacco and tar.


Junk food always tastes better outdoors

Strolling down the Sentosa Boardwalk is a mighty pleasant experience. Apart from being a relatively breezy and mosquito-free region with lovely views across the water, the boardwalk is beautifully landscaped with little gardens along the way and is really quite pretty.

After dinner, I stretched out upon our green-striped picnic mat, watching the clouds float by overhead and listening to The Barn Owl hooting away on the ocarina. J and Little E chased each other around in large circles, clip-clopping on the wooden slats of the boardwalk, stopping occasionally to wave at the passengers onboard the Sentosa Express light rail system or to count the cable cars in the distance.

Sunset from the Sentosa Boardwalk

Sunset from the Sentosa Boardwalk

As the sun began to dip behind the clouds, tiny LEDs came to life all along the boardwalk, lighting up the ground like a star map and twinkling in ever-changing colours and patterns. Across the water, we could see the lights of the harbour and the cruise liners on one side, and sparkles from lasers and fireworks from the various evening light-and-sound shows taking place around Sentosa on the other.

I could feel the stress of the week start to melt away.

It was beginning to get late so we reluctantly packed up and headed for home.

Book + Excursion = Stacey Goes to the National Museum by Lianne Ong (and a giveaway!)

One of the things that I like to do when I’m reading books together with my kids is find ways to put the subject matter of the book into a real world context by taking the children on an excursion. This works the other way round too – sometimes if I’m planning to take the kids on an excursion, I like to read them books with topics related to the places where I’ll be bringing them.

For example, if I’m taking the kids to the zoo, I might read them books about visiting the zoo, or books about certain animals at the zoo. This is a sure-fire way to get them excited about a trip to the zoo, especially when they recognise the creatures from the books they are reading! Reading around an excursion helps to reinforce their learning and gives them a chance to apply their knowledge.

This is why I was really excited about Lianne Ong’s new book, Stacey Goes to the National Museum.

I love taking J and Little E to our local museums. There’s plenty for them to see and do, and best of all, there’s no admission charge for Singapore residents!

In Lianne’s book, little Stacey visits the National Museum of Singapore and gets a special insider’s tour of the place (from a very unusual guide). The story is straightforward and simple to read, and shows off museum exhibits that may capture a child’s imagination and spark their interest in local history.

What makes this book really stand out for me are the beautiful illustrations by James Tan, which showcases the museum’s collection with just a little bit of distorted perspective that comes with looking at them through the eyes of a child.

J and Little E loved the book so much that they insisted on taking it with them to a recent visit to the National Museum and looking for all the various items described in the book. It was like a treasure hunt!

To complete our visit to the library, we decided to work together to make a book trailer for Stacey Goes to the National Museum! Little E was really excited about making a book trailer, especially after she watched the books trailers from our Summer Reading List 2014 post.

I think this book would make a great souvenir from a trip to the National Museum, and a great localised gift for your foreign friends who are still interested in Singapore after meeting you (heh heh heh).

If you haven’t visited the National Museum recently, why not pop down tomorrow on 9th August or next week on the 16th August 2014 – Lianne Ong will be conducting storytelling sessions at 2pm and 3:30pm, and this will be followed by a fun activity based on the book! (Click here for more information)

A Special Something for Owls Well Readers: Armour Publishing Pte Ltd is kindly sponsoring a giveaway of Stacey Goes to the National Museum by Lianne Ong for TWO lucky Owls Well Readers!  

To take part in this fantabulous giveaway just complete the following:

1. Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook Page

2. Be a fan of the Stacey Goes to the National Museum Facebook Page 

3. Leave a comment below and tell me about an exhibit at the National Museum that you find or have found particularly interesting! Don’t forget to leave your Facebook name and your email address so that I can contact you if you win – or if you’re really shy, you can email your details to me separately at 4owlswell@gmail.com

4. (Optional) To double your chances of winning, share or reblog this giveaway on any form of social media that you fancy and leave a comment below with the link!

(This giveaway is open to anyone who is able to redeem the book from the Armour Publishing HQ at Bukit Merah and ends on 15 August 2014. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete the 3 required steps!)

P.S. Check out my review of Lianne’s first book, Maxilla, here!

P.P.S. Check out another review and giveaway of Stacey Goes to the Museum here at Life is in the Small Things.

Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winners have been emailed! Thanks for playing!

Adventures in New Zealand: Wonderful Wanaka – Mt Iron

We’re blogging over at Owl Fly Away today – Hiking is something we love to do together as a family and it is so rewarding in more ways than one. This particular hike is very special because it was J’s first hike up a mountain without needing assistance from anyone – he made it the whole way all by himself! Not bad for a 3 year old toddler!

Owl Fly Away

At the foot of Mt Iron At the foot of Mt Iron

After a good night’s rest, we woke up fresh and full of beans, so we decided that we should all be paragons of virtue and get some Fresh Air and Exercise (which, as you all already know, is the best way to get over jet lag)!

Getting Fresh Air and Exercise is very easily accomplished in Wanaka, but for our first morning, we decided to tackle the Mt Iron Track! This is a fairly wide and easy track up the side of a glacier-carved rocky knoll and is suitable walking for all ages and abilities, according to all accounts, so we armed ourselves with bottles of water and set off for the Mt Iron Track Carpark (which is located about 2km outside the main town centre, very close to the entrance to Wanaka Puzzling World).

The first half of the track zig-zags up…

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