Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our First and Probably Final Fishing at Bottle Tree Park

Park exploration is something I like to do with little one. Last week, we went to Bottle Tree Park. This is a special park that does not belongs to National Parks Board. It is leased to Bottle Tree Park Limited. Now I am writing this with a heavy heart. I just got to know the lease of this 7 ha land is coming to an end. It is hard to find such a place that has a kampung style with so much fun awaiting for you!
Serene, isn't it?
Walking from Khatib MRT, we locate the Park after 10-15 minutes of walking

A sealed water well. The back drop reminds me of the slopes of padi fields in Indonesia

I just feel nostalgic when I look at this swing! Reminds me of those swings I used to play with when I was young!

Fishing pond

Prawn fishing

My girl was attracted to this LongKang fishing ($10/kid) but she caught none! A kind girl helped her caught 5 instead. A lot of young kids loves to play in this area.

A photo with the famous bottle tree which the park is named after. Noted little one had a change of clothes? That's because she fell into the Longkang fishing pond and suffered a slight cut on the knee.

We do not know what these were but they looked so pretty


A Lotus Pond
Simply breathtaking!
This is the first time I see Lotus at such close proximity. I din't zoom my lens, I just put my camera closer to it.

A Rustic Kampung (Malay for village)

Swan Paddling - only open on weekend after 5pm
As my girl had suffered a minor cut at the pond, I have to cut our visit short. We have yet to discover the rest of the park. They have plenty of Australian flora besides the Bottle Tree. They also have a mini -zoo showcasing pheasants (not sure whether there are some other animals), paintball field, remote car racing tracks.

Little one seemed to look sad ,with her drooping head , that she had to leave the park. Exactly the same way as I am feeling. 

Little one was so enthusiastic about rearing fishes, she decided to decorate the tank on the outside, so that the fishes could see them... LOL

Our poor fishes died one by one... My hubby decided to get a mini tank, filter and a pump. Now we are left with one fish. I hope it will survive though.

I do not know why I have to say so many bye bye this year and really hated it that I have not discover this park earlier. I could have brought little one to this place for some kampung fun. With this closing after Kids Kampong, I do not know where else can I bring my little one for such fishing. If you know of any such places or if you have experience in rearing fishes, please drop a comment or two.

Bottle Tree Park
81 Lorong Chencharu (Yishun) Click here for Google Maps
Singapore 769198

Operation Hours
8:00 am to 12 midnight

P.S:- To read on our second visit,  visit here.
Linking up with:~ new button

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Horses for Courses, Spice is Nice and Unusual Stamps Exhibition at Singapore Philatelic Musuem

Have you heard of stamps that smells like chocolate, coffee or even fruits? How about stamps that taste like chocolate, stamps that narrate a poem, stamps that contains seeds? Stamps that are made from wood, silk and other unusual materials? These unusual stamps is the main reason we made a trip down to the Singapore Philatelic Museum during the March Holiday- to explore the unusual stamps using our 5 senses. Since we are there, we explored the rest of the exhibitions such as Spice is Nice and Horses for Courses.

This was the 3rd time little one visited the museum but she does not know what is the usage of stamps. I am not sure about your thoughts but I think our new generation may not be able to identify stamps unlike the way we used to. It's not a surprising thing. With modern development of e-mails, e-cards and everything electronic, sending personal letters seemed outdated. We seldom mail letters. Even if we received bills, they are franked mails without stamps. I am glad to introduce her once again the usage of stamps. It was a good timing she received an birthday invitation by post attention-ed to her name with an attached stamp. She was elated! When she roughly grasped the concept of stamp usage, she thought she could re-use the used stamps. She pasted the used stamp on a paper and claimed she wanted to mail that paper to Papa! So, I think it's high time we start posting (with stamps) so that the concept of stamp usage would anchor into her mind.

Orange and Purple Room (Permanent Exhibits, Both at Level 1)

Starting with the permanent exhibits in both the Orange and Purple Room, on the lower floor, we were introduced to stamps. Which was the 1st country to introduce stamp? How they are made (which is a tedious procedure)?  I love the collections in the Purple Room. We are excited to find  first day covers were arranged according to their year of issuance. Yes, we found the stamps that were issued in her birth year!

Pardon me the pictures are not clear. They are taken using my handphone and it doesn't work well indoors. I had forgotten to charge my camera battery.
First day covers
Unusual Stamps - Vinyl
One of my favourite at Level one is the Bhutan Phonograph Stamps ( a set of 7) which are playable on record player. I actually wonder do people really attach Phonograph stamps to envelopes? They really do. This is truly amazing I must say. If you are interested to listen and have a look at a registered article using the stamp, you may be interested in this site. Did you know Bhutan created many "world first" in creating unusual stamps?  My little girl is more amused by the interactive media throughout the whole journey. Hence, I would indicate at the end of each session which media interest her most.

Interactive media which capture her attention :
Orange Room : the talking stamp (Penny Black) and windows to the world.

Stamp Hopscotch
Glow in the dark series by SingPost 2003

Horses for Courses (Temporary Exhibits, Level 1)

31 Jan 2014 - 26 Aug 2014

This year is the year of horse. Singapore Philatelic Museum is showcasing this particularly animal this year as in the case of past years: Snake in 2013 and Dragon in 2012. In this exhibit, you will get to know more about this animal, get up close with a saddle, horse grooming kit, horse's favourite food. You will get to know the relationship between horse and human since prehistoric till now. Also, the development of Horse Racing in Singapore.

How to measure the height of a horse
Interactive media which capture her attention :
None because there is none. :P
However, below activities caught her interest.

1. The 12 Zodiacs
Word Recognitions. She can recognise half of the words listed.
The 12 Zodiac and the story behind it
2. Horseshoe pitching
She was quite interested in pitching but couldn't get any luck with it and left slightly frustrated.
Horseshoe Pitching... Looks easy ? Not so... I can't get any in either. LOL
3. Stamping Activities.
Her all time favourite. Need I say more?

The Heritage Room and Room of Rarity (Permanent Exhibits, Both at Level 2)

Olden days 


Stamp Vending Machines. 
Interactive media which capture her attention :
Heritage Room : Routes of early traders
and drums

Spice is Nice (Temporary Exhibit, Level 2)

22 Aug 2012 - 01 Aug 2014

Though this exhibition is not my intended visit but little one and I enjoyed this most! With the interactive media, you get to know the use of each spice. There are 3 interactive media in this exhibitions. Did you know that consuming too much nutmeg could give you hallucination? How about learning to cook? Find out about how each ethic group in Singapore use spices.  

I do not know how this exhibition is related to stamps, probably due to some stamps featuring spice? I didn't see any  in the exhibition though, probably I missed them out.

The Spice of life- history of spice trade

Did you know?

Market place simulation

Help Ah Boy... Interactive media showcasing natural remedies

Use of Star Anise 
Interactive media which capture her attention :
Natural Remedy for Ah boy and Culinary Secrets

Seeing is Believing - Unusual stamps (Temporary Exhibit, Level 2)

05 Dec 2013 - 04 May 2014
This exhibition in my opinion is a great exposure for little one to stamps. Not just normal stamps but unusual stamps! Best of all, this intriguing exhibition incorporates collections using your 5 senses. There is also a Superman series which I think is quite a collection for the Superman fans. Just that these are so rare, I am not sure how much one has to pay to acquire them.

Sense of Sight

Beaded stamps- inspired by Peranakan Culture
I love this particular Glass Bead Stamp. This particular Peranakan inspired stamp reminds me of the Peranakan Beaded slippers (Kasot Manek) which the Nonya (Female Peranakan) used to make skilfully.

Heard Spot Varnish Business Cards? How about Spot Varnish Stamps?
Spot Varnish Stamps
Glow in the Dark stamps are so beautiful!

Glow in the Dark stamps

Pop Up stamps, just like the way storybook works!
Pop up Stamps 

This is not the end of the list, I just pick those that I like best.

Sense of Sight and Touch 

Lace Stamps
Get to touch the lace, wood and silk that are used to make unusual stamps.

Sense of Hearing

These stamps are really interesting! The museum provides a device for tapping on the stamps so that it can read to you! However, I have problem getting it to narrate! It kept repeating the same poem although I tap on a different stamp.
Poem Stamps

Vinyl Records and DVD stamps

Sense of Smell

I love the chocolaty smell and the stamps look delicious too!

Chocolate smelling stamps
There are other stamps that smells like coffee, tea, perfume and even fruits! Those that smells of fruits reminds me of the fruity erasers I used to have!

Sense of Taste

Uh - no!!! For hygiene purposes, of course, we do't get to lick these.

Interactive media which capture her attention :
Sense of Hearing- She kept asking me to help her to tap the stamps to hear the narration.

If you are interested in the exhibition, you may want to pop down to visit
Singapore Philatelic Museum
23-B Coleman Street
Singapore 179807
Republic of Singapore
Tel: +65 6337 3888
Fax: +65 6337 8958

Opening hours
Monday 1:00pm - 7:00pm; Tuesday to Sunday 9:30am - 7:00pm

Adult: $6; Child: $4; Free admission for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents

Friday, March 21, 2014

Food Review : The Basement Cafe

This cafe is one cafe that I am going to miss. It is listed in one of the 7 things that I miss now that I stopped working. It's last day of operation will be on the 11 Apr 2014. I will definitely go down some day to say goodbye. This Saturday, 22/Mar/2013 (tomorrow), they are opening  for their first and probably the last time for lunch serving 11:30am to 4:30pm.

Located at the basement ,80 Stamford Road #B1-62, Singapore 178901, it is within Singapore Management University (SMU) campus. Not surprising, if you walked through the basement, you would be drawn soon to the oh-so-good smelling aroma that comes from The Basement Cafe.

I was brought here by my ex-colleague when she said we were to lunch at the basement of SMU. As I had never really explore the basement of SMU then except to Koufu, I thought she meant to have lunch at Koufu. What a surprise when I knew of this hidden gem! From then on, I explored other eateries in the SMU campus. Still I couldn't one any other eateries in the region that is comparable to this cafe. Read on to see what I mean?

1. Lovely Ambience

Once you stepped into the cafe, you would soon be wowed by the ambience. Warm lights, comfy sofas and benches that are perfect for gatherings. The cafe is well decorated and has a casual feel. It has a mini stage at the farthest end from the entrance whereby live band could play. By the way, they have a workable typewriter in the cafe too.

2. This cafe serves the best Eggs Benedict I have eaten.

I couldn't resist their Eggs Benedict. I have eaten others but in my opinion, The Basement's eggs benedict taste better than other cafes or restaurants which I have been to. Can you believe I patronised the cafe almost every week ever since I that fateful day?
I had this variation of Benedict when I was still working in that region last year.

3. Value for Money

You will noted their menu is not the same as what you would find in restaurants or cafe. It is actually menu in a clear L-shaped folder, exactly the same way a student would put their own notes in. Choices is not a lot but enough to satisfy your hungry , rumbling stomach. I recommend especially, any of the Eggs Benedict and Chicken Roulade. 


Hey! Hey! Probably the menu would have given you a slight hint. You could have guessed it! Now comes the interesting part, this cafe is actually a student run cafe, founded by 5 SMU students. I didn't know this initially but I am so obsessed with the cafe that I started to do a google search. In the end, reading almost every blogs that blogged about this cafe and yes, I like their facebook page too! I am totally amazed how they could make it work juggling both business and studies together! Not only they are very successful, these kind souls donates 30% of the profits to charities.

After I stopped working, I started to miss their food so much that I brought my family to eat on Lunar New Year's Eve!

To our surprise, Chief Yi Yi served us bread with olive oil! Yes, their service have been excellent. I was always served with a smile.
Bread with olive
Sous Vide Pork Cheek Ragu
Eggs Benedict Royale, don't they look perfect? 

Chicken Roulade
With these pictures, have I tempted you enough to get down to The Basement?
Their lease would end soon, due to school regulation, they would have to handover by 11 Apr 2014.
I wonder where they would be going after they graduate since this is their final year? Will they still be business partners and set up a cafe again? Anyway, good the bests to them and wishing them success!

The Basement Cafe
(Opening hours: 11.30am to 5pm, last order at 4.30pm)
80 Stamford Rd #B1-62
School of Information System
Singapore Management University

Accessible via MRT, @ Bras Basah Station.


It is unlikely they would come together to work as a team but some of them will go into F&B services.
Wishing them the best of luck to them in their future endeavours.

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