Saturday, September 30, 2006

Little girls glamour shoes

Little girls glamour shoes
Originally uploaded by jenjenqld.

I have finally been able to upload photos for the past few days, and of course they are all over the place.
I will fix them later....

Little India

Little India

We had a cultural adventure this morning. We went to Serangoon Street, known as Little India. Everywhere we had been so far was very westernized, here we felt like we were in another country. The sounds and smells were all very different. There was “Bollywood “style music blasting on every corner and all the stall holders had incense burning. The colour was amazing, everything was so vivid. Georgia was a bit overwhelmed by the assaults on all her senses.
One of the first things we did was get a henna tattoo on our hands. Even Ben got one, once the gloop dried, we have the brown pattern which should last 7-10 days.
We then found a shoe stall that sold little girls glamour shoes, I couldn’t resist; the girls are in raptures with their first glittery heels. The heels are clear Perspex and filled, Georgia’s with a red flower and Chelsea’s with coloured balls. They worked out at about $10 a pair. I know that they are only little girls, but sometimes you have to let a girl have flashy shoes…..
We went to the fresh food market next. Upstairs was the clothes section; filled to the brim with the most magnificent, vibrant saris. They were covered in sequins and jewels and in every colour imaginable. I got 3 long sleeve caftan style tops for Jakarta for about $8 each. Jakarta is a predominantly Muslim city, where it is considered correct to keep shoulders and armpits covered and hems low. While I don’t wear short length things, just about all my summer tops are sleeveless.
The girls found many bejeweled formal saris, but I felt it would be a waste as we rarely go to formal places.
In order to get to the taxi rank we had to walk through the fresh food market. WOW, fish and chicken were being butchered right in front of us. The sight and sounds were amazing. Next to this section were the fruit and vegetables stalls. It was a very busy and crowed place.
We went to the Temple of the 1000 lights in Race course road. There is a festival on at the moment (we think it is Indian New Year). The temple was packed with people, all offering tributes to the most beautiful statues. A procession of worshippers soon left with musical accompaniment and people holding platters of flowers and fruit. We all had to take our shoes off to enter, any I wasn’t sure if I could take photos so I didn’t.
By lunch time it has started to pour with rain so we decided to save China town for another day.
I am going to put all the little darlings to bed for an afternoon nap and head down to the food market for dinner supplies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Singapore Zoo

We headed off to the Zoo today. It was really, really good. I always thought that Taronga Zoo in Sydney was the best in the world, followed by San Diego. But I would have to give Singapore Zoo equal first place. As is everything in Singapore, the entire zoo was spotless. The landscaping was amazing, so tropical and lush. We hired a little wagon to pull the kids around in, they loved it. GJ is still feeling sick so we strolled around slowly. It was very hot and humid, but no more so than Brisbane in summer. The snake exhibits were gruesome, just as bad as our garage at home! LOL
The kids loved the elephants; we paid extra so they could feed them and then we went for a ride.(NB a dress and slip on shoes are not really practical for riding on the backs of elephants.)
I dropped the four tired things off back at the apartment and went into town to get supplies-essential things like wine and gelato and vegemite. There is no Breakfast at the apartments on weekends so I have stocked up.
We have bought tickets for the night safari zoo tour, which we will do next week.
I am still having trouble loading photos, and when I paste the text in from word I am getting a few add ons, I will keep on trying.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Singapore 28th Sept. 2006

Another great day in Singapore. GJ woke up this morning feeling very fluish (I do like to share!). I planned to take the kids out for a walk and at the last minuted GJ joined us. We caught the shuttle down to Raffles. It was still early so we only had a quick look in the courtyard. We will go back one evening so we can have a Singapore sling, their legendary cocktail.
We then walked down to the river and Boat Quay. We still haven't see blue sky, it has the tropical haze all the time; we haven't had any rain either.
After about an hour of walking Chelsea started to get a fever (more sharing!!), so we caught a taxi to the main street for lunch.
Singapore has these bakery shops that sell sweet and savory breads and pastries. You grab tongs and a tray at the front and serve yourself. Ben ran in and just grabbed donuts....Georgia yet again choose something that looked great, but tasted foul. By this time they were all fading fast; so I bundled them into a taxi and sent them home to bed. You should of seen the kids faces when I didn't get in and they drove off. Apparently Chelsea fell asleep in the taxi on the 5 minute return journey.
Now if I was a handbag aficionado; I would be rolling on the floor in ecstasy!!!! I will take the camera and get photos of the range. I have realized that in Australia we never ever get a good selection of shoes, handbags or jewelry.
We have been choosing restaurants for dinner with the kids taste in mind, and have been mildly disappointed. Singapore is renown as a food paradise, but when you have 3 fussy kids it is a bit hard. We have been paying $50- $100 for average food. Drinks are very expensive- last night 3 small milk shakes, 2 soda waters and 1 wine cost $45!!!!!
Today I went to the supermarket ( and stretched my arm length by at least 5cm) and bought a variety of drinks for the apartment, and some great Indonesian and Thai takeaway($10.50). The kids will have a ham and pinapple pizza ($5) and we will all be happy.
We are debating whether or not to get a babysitter and go out one night just the two of us. We almost never leave the kids at night. As I worked and travel extensively for the previous few years we like to do things at night time together. I would find it hard to leave the kids with a hotel babysitter (although everyone at the hotel has made such a nice fuss of the kids), yet I do want to experience the delights of Singapore dining. I did pack the perfect little black dress!
When I got back I found Georgia almost climbing the walls. Everyone else was asleep and she had locked herself out of the laptop and was bored senseless! (Chelsea was asleep on the lounge so she couldn't even watch TV- and the hotel has CABLE!!!!) I took her down to the pool and read my book on Indonesia.
I am fascinated by the multiculturalism of Singapore. There is such diverse range of people, it is SO interesting people watching. It interesting the way women dress; from trendy almost reveling clothes to the completely covered with headdress style. Everybody fits in and is accepted.
We are having a great time and I can't wait to experience more and tell you all about it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Singapore, 27.09.06

We have had a great day today. After a lovely continental breakfast, during which all the ladies present came and stoked Ben’s arms and cheeks, we went to the Singapore Science Centre. We caught the MRT, the local train network. The kids thought that the train ride was fantastic. It was so clean and organised. The train ride lasted about 35 minutes and we sped past thousands of apartment complexes and lush green tropical scenery.
Singapore is as clean as everybody says. I could definitely live here; everybody is as friendly as can be.
The Singapore Science centre is full of interactive exhibits which got the kids into a frenzy of button pressing.. There is a huge water park section with fountains and spouts etc, which I will take the kids back to while GJ is on conference. A highlight of the day was the Tesla Coil lightening arc show; very loud and exciting.
While we were out for dinner last night we saw our first “sight”; a lady in the main street in a masculine pose with no underwear. Luckily I distracted the kids in time!
Georgia was pleased that we had dinner a restaurant that served Bruschetta, a favorite of hers (grilled Turkish bread topped with fresh chopped tomato and basil). Today Georgie has starved; she accidentally poured chili sauce over her hot dog instead of tomato sauce.
I have noticed that Singapore is definitely an afternoon and night city. In Brisbane the majority of the population believes in an early start, so the crowds ease in the late afternoon. We are used to getting up early and doing everything so it was a surprise that we almost had the centre to ourselves this morning. We arrived at opening time of 10am, and as we were leaving at about 3pm it was starting to get really busy.
The weather was really pleasant today, a mist/low cloud over the sky was keeping the direct sunlight off us. It was hot and humid, but not unpleasant at all.
Blogger is still not letting me upload photos, will try again tomorrow..

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Brisbane International Airport

Ben, just before landing at Singapore

We are in Singapore!

We made it. It was a long, long day.
The flight went very smoothly and although it seemed to drag, on the 8 hours did speed by. Ben finally drifted off to sleep at 9.30pm after no day sleep; he also slept through the landing. Singapore Airlines were great. Georgia played Nintendo games the whole time and Chelsea and Ben watched a lot of movies. The only drama was when we realized 5 minutes after we were dropped at the airport that we had left the camera in the car…..A few phone calls later, Jo returned to the airport and we got the camera. Yeah!!!. I thought my eyes were going to turn into sultanas and my skin aged 20yrs on the flight; even with moisturiser I still felt the cabin air sucking all the moisture out of me. It doesn't help that I have a cough and cold…..
The airport is suporganized and our pick up was waiting for us as soon as we came out. My first impression is HOT (28 C) and humid, it was so muggy and it was very late at night.
We had about a half an hour trip to the hotel and that is all I have seen so far. There were apartments everywhere and the streets were SO clean and tropical. The Hotel (serviced apartment) is great, very luxurious. It is still early morning and GJ has taken the kids to the pool. The shops and attractions don'’t open until after 10am so I am taking the opportunity to type.…
We are going to do a quick look around Orchard road this morning, buy a few groceries and then let everyone have an afternoon nap. What with coughing fits, kids waking and silly hotel alarm clocks going off (at 5am!) I have only had about 4 hours sleep.
The first thing to buy is milk. I bought some of my own coffee, but only had light long life soy milk to add to it in a tiny little cup, and the coffee at Breakfast was not very nice.
Georgia is very excited as she realized that on her birthday she will be in two different countries and both hemispheres of the world. She will wake up in the Northern hemisphere in Singapore and then travel to Jakarta in the Southern hemisphere in the afternoon. GJ told her that as that was so special that she didn'’t need any presents LOL. The girls have both been very good in the last few weeks and have won back all their privileges.
We are having Georgia'’s and Ben'’s birthday on Sunday 15th Oct (Ben'’s actual birthday) and GJ and Chelsea'’s birthday on Sun 22nd October. The big family party will be on Sat 21st as the day after we arrive back Janny will arrive.
For newbie's, October is birthday party month at our home….
Georgia 5th
Benjamin 15th
Chelsea 25th
GJ 30th

We also have Jeremy's, Chloe'’s and Abbey's birthday in October. We often joke around that James could have the 10th for his birthday and Kate could have the 20th (that would be if I had a 4 and 5th baby which is SO not going to happen!!!!!)

Day one after lunch:-

We caught the hotels shuttle bus into Orchard Rd for a quick look around and shopping. The first place we went was a department store called Tangs. It was organised beautifully, and there were sales people everywhere; not like Brisbane where it can take you ten minutes just to find someone to pay! The girls wanted to spend their Birthday money straight away. The top floor was all for kids, clothes, toys and novelties. There was so much Barbie and Bob the Builder things the kids didn'’t know which way to look first. These photos are of a cute dressing table that was a display. The kids change room was also very groovy.
We went to the next centre which had a food court, there was so much to choose from. By this time we had been out for about 45 minutes and the kids got tired. I found a boutique style supermarket while the kids had ice-cream.. Such a variety of things, they even had alcohol in the supermarket. In Australia alcohol can only be bought from licensed shops. GJ bought me a bottle of bubbles, the cheapest bottle was S$20, much dearer than in Australia.
So far Singapore has been great (the tiny bit we have seen!) It was not as hot as I had feared!
The kids are asleep and GJ has just figured out how to log onto broadband; I started on dial up and nearly gave up it was so slow!
We are going through the brochures to see what is on tomorrow. I think it is out of the Zoo or the Science centre.

Kids change room
Tangs department store

Upper Orchard road

This is Orchard road, the main shopping street of Singapore. The trees have been covered with a red polka dot fabric (for a current festival?). It is so lush and tropical.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Public toilets

My Brother in law sent me the below email, thinking that it was a good joke! I was stunned... it is the story of my life. It is especially relevant as I am about to embark on a 3 week adventure in Asia, and are close to moving to a country with not many western style toilets.

Subject: The truth about ladies toilets Ladies ....Oh so True! When you have to visit a public toilet, you usually find a queue of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied. Finally, a door opens and you proceed in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. The dispenser for the modern "seat covers"(invented by someone's mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your handbag on the door hook, if there were one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly, drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance." (Kangaroo?) In this position, your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance." The smell coming from the cubicle next to you, is overwhelming! To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the EMPTY toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mom's voice saying, "If you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more. You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your handbag. That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail. Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your handbag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your handbag topple backward against the cistern of the toilet. "OCCUPIED!" you scream, as you reach for the door dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly on the TOILET SEAT. It is wet, of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain, her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't know WHAT kind of diseases you could get." By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a firehose that somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too. At that point, you give up. You are soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. Now, you wash your hands then try to work the automatic hand dryer that is conveniently "out of order" so you wipe your hands on your jeans and walk past the line of women still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely to them. You don't want to touch the door handle because it has "germs"! As you exit, you spot your husband, who has long since entered, used and left the men's toilets. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your handbag hanging around your neck?" This is dedicated to women everywhere who have to deal with public toilets. It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked question about why women go to the loos in pairs. It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your handbag and hand you Kleenex under the door.
I have experienced many different toilets around the world...
  • Top of the Eiffel tower- good
  • Every toilet in Italy- bad!
  • France....Disgusting!
  • Hoover dam,USA (port-a loo's) unspeakable!!!!!
  • Australia, good, bad and ugly
  • China, good and bad beyond description
  • USA, strange.( USA have heaps more water than Australian loo's and huge gaps between the door frames.
  • Tahiti airport, no doors, male armed guards visible from stalls.
I consider my self an average female toilet expert. After a few champagne's a few years ago my sister (extremely good leg muscles- has not touched a non family toilet seat in over 15 years!!!!) and I decided that the next time we visited China we would rather wear ****** or ****** than use the local squat options.

Which it is why I was pleased to discovered this site...
The Bathroom Diaries
travelers leave comments and rate toilets around the world on their data base. You can look up all the locations you will be visiting and know the best place to "visit".

GJ read this and said "Are you for real? This is stupid!" and fell to floor in disbelief when I explained that this is how I feel about public toilets. He thinks I have some serious phobias.
Please leave a comment so I can show my darling husband that I am not abnormal!

Friday, September 22, 2006

My little terrors have stuck again!
Thursday night is always cranky night at our house during the school term. This is the last week of term and they are all extra tired. So the 7.00pm bedtime is strictly enforced. Usually if they are good they can watch TV in bed until lights off at 7.30pm. Crankiness was at full volume and at 6.55pm there was a little bellowing coming from me, which meant lights out at 7pm and no TV. The girls decided that their toothbrushes didn'’t go as fast as ours and trotted off to our bathroom, Ben followed as usual.
As I was tucking them in I noticed that Ben looked a little strange and had wonderful fresh breath....…the gagging and vomiting soon started (all over me as per usual).
The girls had let him get into adult toothpaste and Listerine. This is all kept up high out of kids reach; they just got a stool to help themselves.
The worst was that the girls got scared by all the vomiting and noise and denied letting Ben touch anything.
Picture the scene; Ben and I standing in a pool of vomit, glued together with vomit. Ben was screaming and I was shrilly demanding to know what he had consumed.
Girls lying in bed, crying, deny all knowledge of any wrong doing. GJ finally lost it and bellowed at the girls to tell us now!-- Listerine and toothpaste, all dangerous to a toddler. Luckily the projectile vomiting had cleared his system of all the products and he is happy and fine.
It just shows how easily accidents can happen. The spare toiletries are kept in our bathroom cabinet which has a child lock on it and the Listerine is kept on the top shelf of the cupboard right next to the bathroom. I have to reach up to it and I am 5'’7"’. Determined little terrors can always find a way!
So as I usually do when the kids are terrors, I post a photo of the 3 of them looking like little angels.....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stress, anxiety and packing for 5....

I can't think straight, I am tense and anxious...I have to pack for a family of five for a 3 week overseas holiday. I need an extra suitcase just for the ancillary items,
  • night nappies
  • wipes
  • 1st aid necessities (patterned bandaides!!!!!)
  • medicine
  • DISINFECTANTS, for hands, surfaces etc
  • snacks for kiddies, Georgia believes that she is going to starve as she dislikes rice, soy sauce, peanut sauce, curries and Asian style food. Chelsea is in heaven as she and Ben like all that style of food.
  • Bug spray and bite cream
  • the right amount of toys and activities to keep the kids amused for a total of 20hrs flight hours.
  • ETC, ETC, ETC, ETC, etc.
I also am checking and confirming all bookings, paying bills and doing all the many things I do on an ordinary day, plus trying to organize school tours and real estate tours for when we are in Jakarta.
Chelsea had Tuesday and Wednesday off school with a high fever this week, hopefully she will be perfect for next week. I can't even concentrate on writing a blog post. I broke my self imposed weeknight Champagne embargo last night, which means I will break it again tonight as leftovers only last 1 night, even with my supa doopa champagne bottle resealer, and I can't throw away Champagne!!!!!
I am booked in for a total hair cut package on Saturday pm. My hairdresser is also my friend, and Gillian closes the salon after I arrive and we chat all afternoon. Maybe that is why it takes 5-6 hours to cut and colour my hair. Hopefully that will be my rest and down time from this crazed organizing monster I have become.
We leave in 4 days!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blue Bird blog

I discovered this site about 2 months ago and have been desperately desiring to use Susie's services.
Blue Bird blogs offer a blog design services that customized your blog page. The prices are extremely reasonable even when I convert it into Australian dollars.
I use a standard blogger template and have worked out exactly what I want. When I mentioned it to GJ he had the typical male reaction of "why" and "not if it costs money". He seems to think that if I borrowed a book from the library I could figure it out and do it myself LOL, LOL again!

Blue Bird blogs is currently holding a competition to WIN A FREE DESIGN!!!!!

Click on the link to see a gallery of the designs and maybe enter the competition your self.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I hate ironing

How can one family generate so much ironing? I iron for 5 hours every week! I do not iron linen, only clothes. My neighbor has 2 boys and a husband who is a truck driver and wears drip dry fluro tops and she spends less than 30 minutes per week on ironing. GJ has business shirts and likes those extra nice, cotton t-shirts that have to be ironed. I can't send the girls to school in un-ironed uniforms and Ben goes through at least 3 sets of clothes a day, which leaves me with 5 hours per week of the dreaded chore.
I don't mind the actual ironing, just the time it takes and the fact that I can't multitask while I do it. I was a the gym the other day on a treadmill and wondered if any one had tried to put the ironing board over the sidebars and do 2 things at once?I have finally caught up on GJ's business shirts (note the colour blocking, I think I have a dash of OCD). Someone to do my ironing would be one of my top 10 things on my wish list.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dinner Party

We had a lovely dinner party last night with Rob and Suzanna.
In the 12 years we have lived in Queensland we have only got the good cutlery and crockery out 3 times. Entertaining in Queensland is such a casual affair, alfresco dining on the deck with kids running around every where. Things that were important to us when we were young and childless are so different to now. As we are probably moving in the next few months, I wanted one last use of the good stuff before we store it away for a few years. The girls were fascinated by the cutlery; "Hampton court". It felt so nice to be able to tell them that they can have it when they grow up.
GJ was funny, he decided to polish the silverware, and wondered why I went off that he hadn't washed it after rubbing it all over with Silvo!
We had a great time, Gj has bought some Lambrusco (Italian red sparkling wine) and some good Champagne for us all. As Suzanna is a vegetarian we did a mix of pasta and sauces. We had creamy spinach, Arrabbiata (tomato/chili), creamy tomato and a bolganase for the meat eaters. Salad and garlic bread completed it. Dessert was one of my specialties, individual Sticky Date puddings with lashings of butterscotch sauce and double cream.
Early in the evening the girls had fun playing hostess, they offered around the plates of cheese and appetizers.
GJ took some lovely photos of us, just before the guests arrived. I still can't choose my favourite, out of these 3, so I have loaded them all.

Here is Georgia showing off her new top, it was a birthday present from her Godmother Fi, in England.