Toys we love: Wooden train set

There’s something about trains that fascinate little kids. I don’t know what it is. But man, my kid is enamoured. He loves trains. LOVES. When he was littler, he used to scream in joy and excitement “TRAIN! TRAIN!” whenever he spotted the MRT chugging away on the tracks. Every weekend, he tells us that he wants to take the train.

True story: I once paid $4 to take the Sentosa Express with him. We went in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out of Sentosa for a total of…oh I don’t know, I lost count. We were on that train for 50 minutes. That’s right. FIFTY MINUTES. When it was time to leave, I had to haul him, kicking and screaming, off the train. Mind you, I was 39 weeks pregnant then AND had to drag a stroller out along with the monster child.

One Christmas, before he turned two, the husband decided to buy him a Melissa & Doug train set when we were out shopping. It was a spur of the moment decision, and I was hesitant because it cost a pretty penny! We hardly buy toys because I know that his attention span is short and also, he always gets toys for presents.

It has turned out to be our best investment ever. EVAR. (Apart from our fantastic stroller!)

The three-year-old plays with it every single day and it’s been fascinating to see how much he has progressed. From needing us to put together the tracks for him to him putting together his own tracks (“See mummy! See my train track!”), it’s amazing how this “toy” still manages to capture his attention and heart. If we had space in the house, like a dedicated play room, I would so love to get one of these train tables for him.

These days, baby brother loves to play with it too. Well, I use the word play very loosely since Zac is only an one-year-old. He can’t build anything yet, gets frustrated when he sees A playing with it effortlessly and then terrorises big brother by pulling out the tracks. This set of tracks has been the source of many fights! Oh the number of times I hear this: “Zac! Zac!” *piak* *thump* “Mummy!” Wails and cries from both.

But then, there are also moments when it’s beautiful. Like yesterday evening. The same exchange happened, with Zac head butting Aidan in a fit of anger and Aidan shoving Zac. Minutes later, as I was feeding Aidan his supplements, he suddenly called out to Zac, “Zac! Come here. You can play! Here, play with the train. Play! You can pull out the track. You can play.”

Zac happily obliged and my mama’s heart melted.

So this? Absolutely the best toy ever for my preschooler.

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay

Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay

Last Sunday, we took advantage of the cool weather to have ourselves a picnic at Gardens By The Bay.

I gotta say, the Gardens is really one of our favourite venues as a family. We are friends of the Gardens, which allows us unlimited entries into the conservatories for a year. A perfect arrangement! When the weather is unbearably hot and Aidan looks like he needs to expend his energy, we would hit the Flower Dome for some air-conditioning comfort. He can run around in glee and we can chase after him without breaking into a sweat.

Luckily for us, the Christmas decorations were up in the Flower Dome that weekend. Oddly enough, despite being members for almost a year now, we have never been inside the Flower Dome in the evening. That Sunday, after our early dinner on the Gardens grounds, we headed into the conservatory to check out the display.


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Woof woof for Hairy Maclary and Friends!

In human terms, that means “what a delightful performance!”

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We brought the boys – yes, even my squishy little bubba Zac – to the Drama Centre Theatre at National Library Building this evening to catch Hairy Maclary and Friends on stage this afternoon. And I have to say that even the adults were suitably impressed by the show.
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GIVEAWAY! 4 tickets to Hairy Maclary & Friends (worth $248)

I love taking Aidan to watch theatrical performances and I am pretty glad that there will be a spate of performances coming our way soon.

One of them is the official adaptation of Lynley Dodd’s much-loved Hairy Maclary series for children: Hairy Maclary and Friends.

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For the first time ever, the production is staged in Singapore at the Drama Centre Theatre (National Library Building) from 10 to 12 October. Direct from a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, you can now join Hairy Maclary and Friends for an afternoon of canine capers and animal adventures, as they bound off the page and onto the stage.

Meet all your favourite characters such as Hercules Morse, as big as a horse; Bottomley Potts, covered in spots; Schnitzel von Krumm, with the very low tum and Scarface Claw, the toughest tomcat in town.

Packed with live music, singing, colourful costumes, this performance is suitable for toddlers aged two and above.

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GIVEAWAY!
We are giving to one lucky bubsicles reader a family set of 4 top category tickets to Hairy Maclary and Friends opening performance on Oct 10th, 5pm (Friday) at Drama Centre Theatre – National Library. The tickets are worth $268.

To qualify, simply follow the steps below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SEASON DETAILS
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre (National Library Building – Level 3)
Season: Fri 10 Oct, 5pm; Sat & Sun 11-12 Oct, 11.30am, 2pm, 4.30pm
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: from $35
Bookings: Tickets available through SISTIC. Quote ABA2014 to save 10%! (Internet: www.sistic.com.sg; Hotline: 6348 5555; All SISTIC authorized agents island-wide)
Official Website: ABA Productions & The Hairy Maclary and Friends Show

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be emailed and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

We have been given tickets to watch the opening performance of Hairy Maclary and Friends for the purpose of a review. No monetary compensation was received, and all photos used are courtesy of ABA Productions.

Cavalia in Singapore

Cavalia in Singapore

The husband and I love watching live performances. Back in the day – ie. before the kids came along – we were always catching a concert or a musical or a circus act. We were huge fans of Cirque du Soleil, and were among the impressed audience when the troupe brought Saltimbanco and Quidam to Singapore. I was also lucky enough to see Ka when I was in Las Vegas for a press trip many moons back.

Before watching Cavalia, I definitely had very high expectations; after all, the show was created by a co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. I went into the tent wanting to be impressed and I left enthralled, in ways that I had not expected to. With the littles nursing coughs and us being unable to get babysitters, we had thought of missing the show. But I am so glad that we didn’t – even if it meant lugging both kids along! (Yes we did. And we survived. More on that later.)

Billed as an “equestrian ballet”, the show’s main attraction are the 50 beautiful and elegant horses. They cavort with dancers, acrobats, aerialists and riders during the two-hour show, in front of a 60-metre wide giant screen that showcases a constantly-changing digital background.

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