/bɪ ə gʊd gɜ:l/ n. moniker of she who blogs here [also known as, bie]; adj. personal awesome advice to all female kiddos

meet the fam #thechennies

meet the fam #thechennies

Bieny is already 2yo - such a big girl - but I feel like I haven't spent as much time playing and teaching her as I did Bielet. Of course, I feel similarly like I should spend more efforts on Bielet too. Sheesh, what happens when you have two kids.

I used to read a lot to Bielet and taught her all her alphabets, numbers, colours, animal sounds etcetc. She might have been really shy in school but at least she knew what was going on. Bieny, though, speaks well, is really good with her numbers and has her streetsmarts in place, but her basics are in shambles. Her favourite reply to me when I ask her anything about colours or animal sounds is, "Don't know!" With an accompanying gleeful grin somemore. -___-"

Since we're back home and I have a more fixed schedule now, I'm trying to start each day with more fruitful activities for the wee one. Like, learning her colours! I played this game with Bielet when she was younger and it seems like Bieny enjoys it too yay!

You'll need a colour chart and colour coordinated toys (we use whatever's around the house).

1. Pick and choose various coloured toys to place in a tray. Lego blocks work really well for this game because the pieces are so brightly coloured! It also helps to have a wide surface (as opposed to a narrow box) for better visual clarity.

I got this book of A5 sized basics charts from Times bookstore - think those nursery wall charts but more conveniently sized. 

2. Start by picking out each toy and get your child to match the right colours, eg "Where does this red bus go?" By doing this, I hope that she learns colours as well as what the toy/object is.

Sorting her red and yellow buses.

3. Cheer her on when she gets the right colours!

Bieny was really pleased to have done her Tayo and friends buses right (Gani, the red bus, moved forward by the time this picture was snapped!) Thanks again for the buses, Godma Emm and Uncle James!

4. After she gains the confidence to match independently, get her to choose her own toys from the tray to match. I still helped by saying out the colours (that's the point of this game innit), eg "Oh, you chose the purple grapes. Where's the purple box?"

Success! She mixed up the first few oranges and reds, but realised it soon enough. Given the size of the chart, I chose only 3 toys per colour for her to match (the same span of her attention too, actually). She got really upset that I used her pink rubberband for the game so I had to tie her hair up, hence her pink box only has 2 toys! 
*Sorry about the mess in the background, we aren't properly packed yet...*

I play a similar game of getting her to match shapes to pictures (in books or cards), and it's working for now. How do you teach your child to learn her basics?

It seems like forever since I've blogged. My last post was in April! Since then, I've taken on more writing jobs, celebrated a whole lot of weddings (even doing the massive prep for my sister's) and gone to Hong Kong for a vacay. And of course, we've moved back to our own place and in the midst of all the excitement (packing! new furniture! reorganising! painting!), I got dengue. It seems like I just keep sleeping but never seem to feel rested. Well, at least the itch is mostly gone - grateful for small mercies!

While I'm sorting out the rest of my life and trying to feel alive again, here's a short post on a selection of what we ate in Hong Kong. Food's always a winner in our books, although my appetite has truly hit rock bottom with my lingering illness... Maybe this will whet it!

Hui Lau Shan
We love mangoes so how can pass up Hui Lau Shan in HK? Usually I have one a day but not with the girls. Too heaty! ;)

Bielet and Bieny only wanted the mangoes so ZX and I had everything else. The durian ice cream wasn't as good as we hoped though.

She couldn't wait to tuck in!

Yee Shun Milk Company
Supposedly one of the best cha chaan teng in HK, we got a whiff of their infamous service too. Bielet entertained herself by doodling on our order chit, and ZX got a earful at the counter when he settled our bill because we apparently screwed up their accounting (yes, they file the order chits). Too bad we never went back to try their milk custard - we heard good things about it! 

Hing Kee Claypot Rice
Despite the rundown insides of this eatery and bad lighting (which made for bad photos), the claypot rice was da bomb. It would have tasted even better if we drowned it in sauce but we couldn't, the girls' sodium levels would have reached next year's. We had chicken with chinese sausage, and chicken with mushroom. YUM 

The Kowloon Diary Co
Right, so this ain't an eatery per se, but everyone was telling me to try this milk. Um, it didn't make me a milk convert but the chocolate milk was real good. 

Tsui Wah Restaurant
Luckily for us, our hotel was right next to an MTR station and also a branch of this restaurant. We had one of our best breakfasts here. The girls loved the fishball noodles (me too - it didn't taste at all fishy although it did smell fishy, and the texture was nice and QQ) while I hit the jackpot with the macaroni and milk tea. It's my go-to place for comfort food, I never leave disappointed.

Bielet and Bieny love anything fishball!

City Hall Maxim's Palace
We were in the area and decided to have our dim sum fix here again. Maxim's is one of the best restaurant chains in HK, and this dim sum restaurant is really popular. The last time we came here with Bielet, we waited more than an hour. This time though, we got lucky and arrived just before closing so there was absolutely no queue! The dim sum trolley aunties weren't refilling though, so we just grabbed everything on sight.

The girls were famished by then and polished off their dim sum.

This tofu pudding was Bieny's pick - because she was teething really bad and could only eat the softest food. We left the whole bowl for the poor darling!

The view is spectacular!

This place is usually packed to the brim. This was towards the end of service and it was just half full.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co
Given the many restaurants and eateries at the Peak, this was an unusual choice but we decided to go for a Western option. And if you've watched Forrest Gump, you would know this eatery. 

We ordered this to share and was a little taken back that the portion was minuscule!

A huge portion of butter broccoli for the girls (their fave veg other than corn). The service staff also allowed us to order a bowl of clam chowder, which is actually only available as a set, because Bieny was having really bad teething pains and couldn't eat anything else. Poor baby.

I didn't see the point of heading to the observatory since we've been to the Peak before, and the lights would just look the same to the girls. So this is our cheapskate way of getting a photo with a view HAHAHA

Australia Dairy Co.
Another place which we have heard nothing but good things - and the infamous queue. I reckon it takes about an hour at the very least to step inside this joint, so we beat it by dabao-ing. No ambience but we just wanted to fill our tummies, so there, we got our food in 10 minutes! The milk custard was superb (and I don't even like milk custard).

Kum Wah Cafe
We came here for the polo bun, but the service staff looked really unhappy that FOUR of us were just having ONE bun so we ended up ordering the world's most salty plate of noodles. I didn't think the bun was anything special, but perhaps my tastebuds got killed by the noodles. 

Hong Kong Disneyland
The highlight of our trip! I'm a super Disney fan, and I managed to convert both girls too (not difficult actually).  

The service was impeccable and we got a nice family shot at our lunch spot, Main Street Corner Cafe, which we selected as the queue wasn't too long and it was right by the parade route. Score!

I love the mickey-shaped foods. I wonder if I can get the cutters to make our own here? Anyway, we chose the softest foods so here's a fish fillet with mash potato. You can't get any softer than that!

Since Bieny loves mushroom soup, we got a cup of that too.

And just to be on the safe side, we got a lasagna dish too!

I'm not sure whether it was Disneyland or if the food was really that good, but Bieny polished everything up - including this trio of sorbets.

This young lady was really sweet to Bielet and gave her drawing/quiz materials (and the answers!) 

When ZX and Bielet went to check out the parade, Bieny and I busied ourselves taking photos!

Mickey waffle for dinner! (We ate other ordinary stuff too, but not photo-worthy haha)

We saw these Baymax buns in the pamphlet and purposefully went to dabao it from the hotel restaurant (it's not sold at the park). It was incredibly expensive for such a small pair of buns, but the girls were really happy with it. 

That caps off our food portion! I still have a tonne of posts that I never did update, but it seems so out of date now. Let's see, maybe I need a fresh start...

Granted my blogpost title is rather cheesy. But yes, I didn't know Marche was such a hit with families and children! It was just a upmarket, pricer tuckshop to me.

Serving very fancy tuckshop food, that is.

Well, the first few times I went to the restaurant was back in secondary school - when Marche was at Heeren, which was still happening then - and my wallet was quite empty (actually, now still!). The restaurant made a quiet exit, then resurfaced a few years later at Vivocity. Bielet and I had our first lunch with my bff at that outlet when she was still a wee one. 3.5mo, to be precise!

Coincidentally, we went to Marche again with my bff! This time with our hubbies and one more baby. Hee. The group shot of us failed miserably, so here's a snap of just the girls.


After that reaaaaaaaaaaally long-winded intro, here's why Marche ticks the boxes for families eating out with little kids.

1. Special children's menu for 'picky' eaters

Disclaimer: We didn't take this option though, because we ordered plenty to share. But, I did notice lots of other parents getting this for their children.

2. Pushcarts for food have an infant seat
Marche, if you didn't know, is self-service so you need to push a cart around to collect your food (like the Ikea restaurant).

Awwwwwww man, I can't get over how UBER CUTE this contraption is! Btw, the high chair for infants is equally sturdy - just sans wheels.

3. The play area is a.w.e.s.o.m.e.
I saved the best for the last. This was the reason why we came to Marche Suntec, because I read somewhere that their 313@Somerset outlet had a play area called Heidi's Hut. When I rang up to make a reservation, the staff told me Suntec had a play area too. Oh yeah, no need to squeeze with Orchard crowd - I'm in!

There are six areas for kids to busy themselves:

-- Cow(s) --
Outside the restaurant, udders do not work.

Inside the restaurant, udders do work. When the kids squeeze on the udders, water actually spurts out - supposed to be in the bucket, but the overzealous kids can't aim properly so by the end of the night, it looked like the cow peed all over the floor. Tsk.

-- Bridge Escape --
This structure contains a bridge, flipboard (ala Vanna White, Wheel of Fortune) and a fireman's pole.

'Suspension' bridge


And fireman's pole. Yes, you saw right - Bielet just sat down, instead of sliding down. LOL

-- Play Table --
There weren't many vehicles or figures left on the table for actual play, but it entertained the kids who couldn't muscle their way into the more popular areas.

-- Grocery Store --
Bieny really liked this nook. She likes being a cashier, I think.

-- Treehouse --
Bieny took a long time to get up the stairs, but she managed alright.

The treehouse (sans the tree) is quite spacious, and was probably the second most popular feature (after the cow!)

There's even a netted portion for kids willing to live dangerously. LOL

Bielet really pleased with the play area (we had withheld play until she ate dinner). Maybe Bieny is scowling here because her jiejie is stomping on her toe. I just saw that.

-- Boulder Wall --
This is tucked away at the back, so we would have missed it; if not for me being curious as to what was outside. Most of the other kids didn't come here because it is only illuminated by natural light streaming in from the glass door. When night fell, it got too dark.

So! Are you now convinced that Marche is kid-friendly? Although, seeing as it is a restaurant, here are some food snaps. Given the wide range, there's bound to be something to please your palate.

DIY salad.

I don't usually like anything wraps, the only exception being crepes. And this one is like a roti prata wrap - give it to me already!

My bff's smoked salmon salad with a dollop of avocado.

Her hubby's pork knuckle.

Now, who's chicken is this? I clean forgot - one of the husband's.

Bielet wanted pasta so I chose my favourite carbonara. #growfatanddie

My bff is the sweetest - she ordered this dish of calamari (one of my faves) to share with me!

Bieny totally approved the ice-cream. She even got ice-cream snort on/in her nose!

Heck, both of them approved Movenpick!

Next time you're looking for a family-friendly eatery, give Marche a chance, won't you? The kids will absolutely love it!


Blue Little Miss character tee from Uniqlo, black pants from Hush Puppies

Pink Little Miss character tee from Uniqlo, blue leggings with white stars from Cotton On Kids