Timbre @ Gillman – Super Social BBQ

Before the kids came along, we went out at night. A lot. Weekends were usually spent hanging with our friends: choir practices, arcade gaming (yes!), movies, pub-crawling. One of the places we used to go to was Timbre @ The Substation – how could we say no to awesome live music, good grub (ROAST DUCK PIZZA YUM YUM) and ice cold beer?

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in...2007

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in…2007

Then we had kids. Overnight (HUR HUR PUN), our nightlife disappeared. We were either putting the babies to bed or nursing (okay, I was nursing) or sitting zonked on the sofa or snoring in our beds. We were, and still are, exhausted. We stopped heading out to nightspots.

And then Timbre contacted me and told me about their Super Social BBQ. Huh, what’s that? you might ask. Well, GOOD NEWS FORMER NIGHT CRAWLERS, you can now have your cake and eat it too.

Essentially, Super Social BBQ is a weekend event at Timbre @ Gillman which is family-friendly. That’s right, you heard me. Kids-friendly. Child-friendly. Toddler-friendly. Everybody-friendly. Every month, Timbre @ Gillman runs a themed event on all Saturdays and Sundays that is especially catered to families, starting from 4pm.

Have you been to the Gillman outlet? Well, I hadn’t, until I received the invitation and I was super impressed. The restaurant retained its rustic, super chill vibe, which is cool, but what was even cooler was that gigantic backyard behind the eatery. During the weekends, the backyard turns into a play area for the kids – you can expect bouncy castles, wading pools and live BBQ.

When I was there, it was storming outside so we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Timbre had thoughtfully set up an activity station indoors, where kids could colour or get their faces painted or do some crafting. There was even a balloon sculptor onsite. My boys ended up putting together a carousel – in line with the Carnival theme for November – out of paper plate, paper cup, pipe cleaners and paper cutouts.

Other than providing fun activities, Timbre @ Gillman also put together a menu just for the kids. There are items such as bolognaise, chicken and pancakes, minute steak and cheese frites and fish & chips, all affordably priced below $15. We ordered the bolognaise with heart shape pasta ($10) for the littles to share and the portion was more than enough for them.

As for the adults? I was honestly pretty darned happy to be there. I could indulge in my roast duck pizza once again and wash it down with an chilled alcoholic ginger beer. There was a live band playing. It really made me nostalgic for those days when we could stay out till the wee hours without a care, swigging our beers and making merry.

In fact, I was feeling so sentimental, I decided to order me an earl grey martini (my first martini since FOREVER). It was so surprisingly good that I cheered up immediately.

The mark of a true family-friendly restaurant is in the happiness level of all members of the family. Did Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ hit the mark? I will say YASSSSSS. My boisterous boys had fun participating in the activities and they especially loved the live band. They were gleefully dancing after shoving the pasta and pizza into their mouths. The man and I were thrilled to be out at a nightspot once again, eating the grub that we had loved.

We had so much fun that I started making plans with our friends and their kids to check it out again!

The Carnival edition of the Super Social BBQ will run till this weekend! For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Timbre @ Gillman for dinner and given dining credits. However, all opinions are solely mine (and totally honest!) and no other monetary compensation was received.

We love…Pip’s Playbox

Earlier last month, my little man turned four. I’m not going to go into a spiel about how fast he has grown and just how short the years have been. I won’t, sniffs. But I’ll bet you already understand it anyway.

As husband had to travel out of town for a business trip on the day itself, we decided to celebrate it with Aidan a day earlier. Unfortunately, it coincided with a nasty bout of cough that the boys were suffering from and the morning was spent at the paediatrician’s clinic where we paid a mini fortune and emerged with a bag full of medicines.

Undeterred, we decided to go somewhere indoors to play. I had read on social media that Pip’s Playbox had recently opened at the Esplanade and thought it would be a good place to explore.

And I was so right.

It being a Friday, the place was not too crowded when we were there. I love everything about it – from the high ceilings to the ceiling-to-floor windows that let in copious of light to the craft table where kids could construct bunny nose and whiskers (in line with the PLAYtime! show of the moment).

Mostly, though, I loved the spaces that the Esplanade management had thoughtfully carved out within. There was a corner filled with train tracks, magnetic wooden blocks and large jigsaw puzzles for the kids to mess around with. There was a little nook with cushion seating that allowed kids to bring books in to read. And oh, the books – shelves and shelves of children’s literature written by local authors. It was amazing.

There was also an area with an old overhead projector – you know, the sort we had back in primary school – where the kids would indulge in shadow puppet play. That was really cool! There were animal cutouts provided and we showed the boys how to angle the mirror to let the light hit the wall, and they were gleefully projecting the shadows and having fun.

When they were done horsing around (heh heh), Aidan and I spent a quiet moment making bunny noses and colouring at the craft table. Meanwhile, Zac was busying himself by moving the stools around.

It was a very large and airy space, and we spent easily upwards of two hours there. We ended up dragging them off because they refused to leave. And you know what? I could totally see why. I would have been happy as a kid to spend my day there.

The icing on the cake? Entrance to the play area is completely free. Yes, FREE. Not a single cent. Shocking really, seeing how thoughtfully curated it was and how imaginative it allowed the kids to be.

I can foresee the place being crazy crowded during the weekends so I am guessing we won’t be back so soon. But we will definitely be back again.

Star Wars at Changi Airport

So. I never watched Star Wars before I met husband.

Look, the first film was released before I was born so I sort of skipped the hysteria surrounding it as I was growing up. I was totally a Disney kid (and apparently, a The Fly kid too). I could tell you more about The Beast than, say, Chewbacca.

Then I met the man and he was all YAK YAK STAR WARS LOVE YAK YAK YAK. Being a dutiful girlfriend, I decided to gift him a boxed VCD set of all three episodes. Yes, you read right, VCD. That’s how prehistoric the two of us are. Of course he insisted on watching all three episodes in one go on a sunny afternoon and that was how I was inducted into the Star Wars hall of fame.

Fast forward 16 years and my three-year-old is sitting in front of the telly at 9am on a Saturday morning. I stumbled out of bed blearily, having been woken up by Zac at 530am and then going back to bed at 7am. There he was, merrily watching as AT-ATs were zapping people to death. Hmm. It’s no wonder, then, that he knows everyone from Chewie to R2D2 to Boba Fett by now, thanks to his father.

When it was announced that Changi Airport was going to bring in Star Wars exhibits, husband was thrilled. The weeks before the exhibits were officially opened, he was already scoping out the grounds. It helps that we live in the east and the airport is one of our favourite weekend destinations.

The past weekend, we jostled our way down to the airport with the rest of the population to catch a glimpse of the TIE (Terminal 2) and X-Wing (Terminal 3) fighters. Woah, THE CROWD. The little man was super excited at seeing BB8 and R2D2 up close and personal. And he was so cute – he was really happy to just stand there and look at them. While the other kids were all happily posing for photos with R2D2, he was contented with simply staring at it. He didn’t even want a picture. Ah, clearly my child.

(When I was a kid, the Care Bears “visited” The Cathay cinemas, which was where my mum worked. There was a huge crowd but somehow we managed to get close to one of them. My mum yelled at me to take a photo with it but I didn’t want to. I was too shy to go near it. That memory remains in my mind after all these years, and I think it is clearer than any photo.)

Anyway, in one of our harebrained, crazed ideas, we decided that it would be really cool to queue for a photo in the X-Wing fighter. Since the next photo taking session was at 7pm, we thought we were real smart to go for an early dinner before coming back for it.

BIG MISTAKE.

By the time we got back to the exhibit at 645, the queue was hideously long. Somehow, it did not occur to us to come back another day. We joined the queue, got the ticket (you MUST have a ticket in order to get the printed photo) and it took us 1.5 hours before we were done. By then, Zac was sleepy and cranky. Mmm.

Star Wars Changi Airport

Lesson learnt: queue early, be the first few in the line and then go off for your meal after you are done with the photo taking.

Anyhow. If you are a big Star Wars fan, do check it out. It is pretty cool!

We love…the Sports Hub!

Almost every parent I know loves the Singapore Sports Hub. So do I! But while everyone raves about the water play area (my friend The Juggling Mom wrote a pretty comprehensive review here), we love going there for…slightly different reasons.

See, Aidan is not a fan of water playgrounds. And the last time we brought him out for some water play, he promptly caught a mean cold/cough. Husband concluded that he probably caught the bugs from the water playground so we have not gone back since.

But ah, the Sports Hub is much more than the water play area. For starters, we love the sand pit! It’s not a sand pit for children’s play, per se, it’s actually a “beach” volleyball court. But we don’t really care anyway, we just plonk ourselves and our sand toys down to play if the courts are empty. I mean, it’s good and clean sand, not gross and grimy like the sand in some of our beaches. And it is a large, airy space.

The sand is too fine for the kiddo to build anything but he doesn’t care. He’s happy to scoop sand here and there and into his little truck. I love that it’s by the river side so we get a nice cool breeze in the evenings and are able to enjoy the warm, beautiful rays of the setting sun. I’m comfortable letting Zac walk in the sand pit as well, since I feel assured that there isn’t anything nasty lurking in the depths that could harm him.

(I do wish we had better sand and beaches though. I love my beach holidays and I miss chilling by the waves with a drink in my hand! Hmm, is that Krabi calling my name?)

During the recently-concluded SEA Games, husband was working on a project for his client, who was a major sponsor of the games. We ended up heading to the Sports Hub quite a fair bit during the weekends so that he could check in on the status of his project. During the evenings, we’d take a walk around the National Stadium and it’s a pretty fun place for a preschooler!

Aidan loves the tracks painted on the floor outside the stadium. Without fail, whenever we are there, he would run along the tracks.

We’d spend a good 15 minutes or so just walking around the stadium while he ran and ran and ran. It was pretty cute to see him dashing alongside youths who were skateboarding or blading, elderly who were strolling and other kiddos who were scooting or running like he was.

And once he had gotten all that energy out, we’d head to the Wave Mall to grab dinner. Some of our regular haunts include AOne Claypot, Poulet and the food court. Not all the food options are great though (we tried the fishball noodle place, it was terrible, and so was the chicken rice at the food court) but you can’t go wrong with the established names. There’s also an eatery serving my choice of poison – teh si – and that’s our go to place for a quick bite (A is a fan of chee cheong fun).

We love the huge NTUC at the mall too, except I’m a little aunty when it comes to my supermarkets. I can’t shop at unfamiliar places! I love knowing exactly which aisle to go to for my grocery needs. What can I say, I am a creature of comfort.

The best bit about the Sports Hub? Being able to catch glorious sunsets.

Travelling with kids: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Okay so this doesn’t quite qualify as travelling since technically, we did not leave the country. But we had such a blast that I thought I ought to share it. Travelling by bus and MRT, can?

So yes, back in December, I was pretty exhausted from work and I really wanted a break. Due to personal reasons, however, we ruled out going overseas and decided to have a family staycation. And as all family holidays go, our staycation revolved around our littles. What would be convenient for us? What would they like?

I chanced upon Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport’s Family Planespotting package and thought it was a fab idea. I mean, we practically live at the airport every other weekend. Seriously. The husband and I love watching planes take off and the little man loves taking the Sky Train. Plus, we get cheap parking and a myriad of food choices. Win!

We decided on a night’s stay over on New Year’s Eve as a mini celebration of our anniversary too (15 years and counting).
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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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