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Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Yangs go to Sydney 2016 (Video)

Our family holiday in Sydney, Australia in November 2016!

I was there for a work conference so I took the opportunity to bring the kids along too. Ava celebrated her 3rd birthday there and it was hilarious how we just couldn't find candles and lighters after buying the birthday cake(s). The weather was wonderful and the sights were beautiful. The locals were very friendly too!

Day 1: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour.
Day 2: Sydney Tower, Sydney Fish Market, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay.
Day 3: Cockatoo Island, Australian Museum, Hyde Park.
Day 4: Bondi Beach, Wildlife Sydney Zoo.
Day 5: Taronga Zoo, Luna Park.
Day 6: Manly Beach, Circular Quay.
Day 7: Home sweet home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Day in a life of.... mine


Rise and Shine

We are not early sleepers, neither are the kids which we will adjust next year before Aiden starts primary school. Daddy Darren wakes up and get ready for work by 8am while we are still in bed. He wakes us up with his goodbye kisses while we continue snoozing in our beds.


Ava wakes up twice in the night, and she sometimes finds her place in our bed in the wee hours. 

I will prepare their milk and have their uniforms ready for them to change into after they wash up.


Getting out of the House

Aiden is pretty independent at 5 year old. He is able to get ready for school all by himself, from drinking his milk, to rinsing his milk bottle, brushing his teeth and changing into this uniform.

We will have a quick snack for breakfast or pick something to eat along the way to school. On some days if I leave for meetings right after dropping Aiden and Ava in school, they will read or play with their toys while waiting for me to get ready.


Eventful journey to School

We often have to wait for Ava who insists on putting on her shoes independently. I wonder what’s with water puddles that the both of them enjoys jumping into, every single one on our way to school. And I hate it when they put on clean and new shoes.

We walk five minutes which easily drags to fifteen minutes to the bus stop, and another five minutes from the bus stop to school. We stop along the way to look closely at insects, plants and flowers.

When I am not in a rush to get to a meeting, we take our time exploring on the way to school. We talk about road safety and walk hand in hand to school.


Drop off at school is an easy affair, no tears. Aiden will be the more emotional one, asking if he can be the first to go home, every single day. 

On some days, we will have a photo session with the kids for the products we carry in PriviKids. This will take up the whole morning, ending with breakfast before I drop them off to school.





These days, a lot of coaxing is required.

Keeping fit


I try to exercise before I start my day. A run at the reservoir, or in the gym and some workouts at home. I take about an hour and a half and hope to keep this up!

On days I fetch the kids home earlier, we go for a swim and work out while having some water fun.




Work from Home

On days I work from home, I will review the past week performance, and work on our online store, and social media feeds.

Reviewing of new brands and ordering products for the stores are also done during the day.


Out in the Stores

I visit the stores most days, and will be focusing on merchandising displays, interaction with customers and bonding with our retail team.

 
Unwinding for the Day


I get home around 10pm. The kids naturally also go to bed later. We decide on an activity for the night which can be art and craft, reading, before we unwind and let them have their milk before bed time.

I will give them light massages which will lull them into a sleepy state.


Finally I get to shower and change for bedtime. With a warm beverage, I spend some time on the laptop, going through reports for the day and social media.

Bonding with the Husband

A quick catch up on our day, and plans for the week ahead. We are usually exhausted by the time the kids are in bed.

We have regular lunch dates now to spend more quality time together, without having to sacrifice time with the kids when we both get together with them. 


This post is part of a blog train hosted by Justina Tay from Mum in the Making, where many more mummies shared about a Day in a Life. It's just inspiring to read about how fellow mothers, whether is it full time working or stay at home or part time or work from home, take on their days.

http://makingmum.blogspot.sg/p/day-in-life.html

Next up on the blog train is Diana. Diana is a mama of 4 kids age 1 to 9. She loves to paint, sew and fuss over her brood. In between working as a digital marketer and nagging at her kids, she blogs about her mothering journey and her passion for arts and crafts on mumcraft.com


Monday, September 12, 2016

The Yangs go to Dusseldorf 2016 (Video)

After Munich, Manchester and London, Dusseldorf was the last stop before we flew back to Singapore. It's our first time there so we did not venture out, although friends did recommend hopping over to nearby Cologne.

The weather was pretty warm compared to the first 8 days of our trip, so we ended up shopping and looking for water and ice cream more often than sightseeing! Still, we found Dusseldorf to be compact but beautiful. Perfect for a 2-day walkabout.

Till next time!

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Yangs go to Manchester and London 2016 (Video)

Our holiday without the kids in Germany and UK in August 2016.

After Munich, Manchester and London were the second and third stops before we ended in Dusseldorf. It's our second time in London so we only visited places that we missed years ago, except shopping. It's always a good time to shop, especially when the Pound took a pounding (pun intended) after the Brexit vote.

The highlight of the UK leg must be the live game that we watched between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford. It was United's first home game and Pogba made his debut. The atmosphere was fantastic, much better than the Real Madrid game that I watched at the Bernabeu some years ago.

Unfortunately, it was raining so much in Manchester we could not do much sightseeing. Mummy Cher certainly didn't mind though because that meant we went shopping instead.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Yangs go to Munich 2016 (Video)

Our holiday without the kids in Germany and UK in August 2016.

Munich is the first stop before we head to Manchester, London and Dusseldorf. Our friend were so kind to offer a room in their house for us to stay in! It's our first time in Germany and it was interesting to see the culture behind its world famous efficiency. While the museums were underwhelming, the castles were brilliant and a must-see.

Check out the video highlights from our Munich leg.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 13 August

Aiden (number 88 and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 13 August. Crazy hot day and sick Aiden ended the morning by vomiting in the car. 😱 Today's team doesn't really pass the ball so it was tough to play properly. Loved the way he used his pace for his second goal though! Good finish. ⚽️⚽️

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 6 August

Aiden (number 88 and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 6 August. Not much time on the ball as Aiden was either the goalkeeper or the defender. Got so bored I asked him to play upfront towards the end. He's more suited as an attacking player for now. Scored the only goal of the game.⚽️

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 30 July

Aiden (number 88 and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 30 July. Finally had some free game time after two weeks of training sessions with positional coaching. Not easy for kids to understand at their age! Aiden have not been practising much and kept passing the ball even when unnecessary. The Arsenal way?? πŸ˜‚ Eventually scored the only goals of the game after a slow start. ⚽️⚽️
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Skyhigh Trampoline Park



It was a dreary Monday for me, so I rounded up the family after work and hopped over (pun intended) to the nearest trampoline park I could find - Skyhigh Trampoline Park. Our first time doing this! There used to be one in Tanjong Katong (in the old TKSS campus where I studied!), but the government lease didn't get extended. So to Serangoon Gardens we went!

The name of the place was a hint of what was to come, although it didn't tell us Mummy Cher was going to hurt her ankle less than one minute into the jumping. If I had known, I would ask her to observe from the viewing gallery instead haha.

Anyway, the lady boss was there and was super nice. It was pretty quiet too when we arrived at 7.15pm, so I'm guessing weekdays are completely kids friendly at Skyhigh Trampoline Park. Aiden was so certain he could jump around for at least two hours (they close at 9pm), but I had to concede defeat after just one hour. One recommendation would be to wear rubber grip socks as it can be quite difficult to jump forward or backward with normal socks.

Skyhigh Trampoline Park may be one of the smallest trampoline parks in Singapore, but the prices are reasonable, and you get exactly the same workout as you get from the bigger ones. The children are already asking when we are jumping back there again!

Charges: $12-$15 per hour per pax. Free for an adult accompanying a child below 3 years old!
Website: www.skyhigh.com.sg
Address: #01-05/06, 45 Burghley Drive, Burghley Lifestyle Hub, Singapore 559022

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Visiting Coney Island Singapore

Today, we finally brought the kids out to Coney Island (or Pulau Serangoon), a small island in north eastern Singapore.

Thought it's a good idea to try out the new camera there (we bought the Canon 80D + 18-135mm STM for videos, which complements the Canon 6D + 24-105mm L for photos). We were delayed by the rain but eventually made our way to the West entrance (next to the Punggol Settlement) to Coney Island and spent about an hour roaming around. Must go back soon to see the rest of the island!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Winning in life

A photo posted by Darren Yang (@darrenshyang) on

Today was a good opportunity to bring the old trophies and medals (from Primary 5 to my SAFSA days in the Army!) out from storage for some story telling. Aiden always wanted to know more about my past races and competitions, and I wanted to reinforce values that I've taught him since young - trying your best and never giving up. Hopefully he will be inspired to do better. 

The trigger for all this was actually his bad attitude during soccer training yesterday. He was not his usual self and didn't seem to be trying his best. Usually, I would only comment on his efforts but other parents and the coach do praise him for being one of the best players in the group. He knows this and would think highly of himself. I thought he was being complacent and too proud.

Anyway, as I recalled and went through the little stories behind each and every trophy and medal, I was a little bit surprised by how I managed to learn something from each triumph and defeat. In the past, I think it was more about winning than the life lessons, the destination rather than the journey. All the nostalgia almost made me feel like putting on spikes and doing some sprints there and then. Luckily, I have already thrown away my spikes and my sizeable tummy was hindering movement anyway.

Sometimes I forget that Aiden is only 5, and is already showing more maturity and sensibility than many of his age. A timely reminder for myself that he will learn things his way.
Saturday, July 9, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 9 July

Aiden (blue bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 9 July. Massive pile up with a 7-a-side game this week. Aiden can't find a way past all the legs and was moving too slowly. Team won 1-0 but I wasn't happy with his lack of effort. Try your best Aiden like how I always taught you!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 2 July

Aiden (green bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 2 July. Just like what Wales showed us last night, good team work wins you games. Aiden and this Japanese kid Kotaro combining well. ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 18 June

Aiden (yellow bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 18 June. Kept going even after being kicked a few times haha. πŸ‘πŸΌ Good job with his passing and footwork too although his shooting and dribbling could be better! 加油! ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

My son the troll

My son the troll. We were having an intense kickabout ⚽️ at home when he stopped abruptly to make a card. Well ok, it is Father's Day after all 😍. I thought wrong. "Sorry Daddy you have a red card because you don't listen to the rules".

A photo posted by Darren Yang (@darrenshyang) on


What have I done to deserve such a son?! LOL!
Sunday, June 12, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 11 June

Aiden (green bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 11 June. Mummy Cher and Ah Gong brought him to the training as I was away. Hilarious seeing how his team celebrated the goals together! 😁

Great team work among all his team mates. Made everything seem super fun although game time was much shorter than usual. Aiden contributed a fine goal and an assist to help the team win. ⚽️

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 4 June

Aiden (number 88 and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 4 June. Slowly getting used to playing with the older and tougher kids. Still in sloth mode though. His team didn't win but showed good team work. Continue to work hard! ⚽️⚽️

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 28 May

Aiden (pink bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 28 May. He seemed to be interested in only two things - defending and passing to his teammates. Not his usual self I thought. No goals from him today, played poorly and his team lost. You gotta try your best Aiden!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Yangs go to Hong Kong 2016 (Video)

The Yangs go to Hong Kong! Ava's first time there. We usually stay in the Mong Kok area for the shopping and to soak in the energy of the city. This time is different as I planned kids-friendly places to go and tried to do new activities. Had to ditch the original plan to go to Japan due to the April earthquakes. The kids obviously didn't mind though! They had lots of fun!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 21 May

Aiden (number 88 and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 21 May. He got promoted to the next age group so it's more difficult to dribble past the older kids now. Watched too much football on TV that's why his falls are so dramatic!? Good 2-1 comeback win. Never give up! ⚽️⚽️

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 14 May

Aiden (wearing blue bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 14 May. 3 teams playing all at once means massive pile-ups! Aiden was abit yaya papaya today cos of the goals he scored. Football is a team game my dear boy. πŸ‘¬πŸ‘¬⚽️πŸ‘¬πŸ‘¬

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 7 May

Aiden (wearing green bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 7 May. No training last week as the older kids and coaches were at the JSSL International tournament. Rusty Aiden switching on his sloth mode again! Not much playing time as the kids were split into 3 teams. He seems to be in a good mood though!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kippins Modern Organic Comforters For Your Baby

Every baby's must have, a comforter or chou chou to accompany them to sleep. I used to have a comfort blanket which I kept dearly for a really long time. It was tattered and torn by the time I decided to quit using it, and I still have it (secretly) stashed aside in my wardrobe.

A comforter is a popular gift idea for baby showers, it is a practical gift as its lifespan is much longer and with the variety of comforters from the different brands we carry in store, you have a wide selection to choose from. I have adults buying some of these comforters for themselves, not revealing names here.

When we first saw the vibrant graphic prints on the Kippins comforters, we fell in love with Coco Flamingo. Its scalloped pink and black feather print are simple and bold, exactly what new babies (and some adults) love.


Kippins are a tribe of wild friends for little dreamers. Look at their bold, stylish prints, simply instagram worthy.


Perfect for hugs and play, they are gentle on new skin and planet friendly, as they are made of 100% organic cotton and hand printed using organic ink. Rest assured that they are safe for babies.

 
Spots, dots and cracks are part of the fun and no two Kippins are exactly alike, making them so special.


Machine washable, this is a big plus point as it is super convenient for mummies to care for them.



Shop them from our online store Privi-Kids.com or touch and feel them with your babies in stores at Suntec City  Tower 3 #02-712, Waterway Point West Wing #02-32 and Changi City Point #02-04. 


Monday, May 2, 2016

Huxbaby - 2016 Autumn Winter Collection Unveiled

The 2016 Autumn Winter collection from Huxbaby is all about minimalist fashion for your little ones.

The hux bear makes its appearance in this Big Falling Bears Swirl Dress. In the most comfy organic cotton material, this black and white dress is a must have this season. We have mummies asking for adult sizes for this dress!


Available in both black and grey, this raw hem hux bear t-shirt is best paired with harem pants for boys and tutu skirts for girls.


A great idea for twinning for siblings. The Big Falling Bears long romper is perfect for newborns to one year old. Picture perfect and ideal for family photo shoots.


The terrazzo print returns in a blush swirl dress. So much style, and definitely a wardrobe staple for your young fashionista.


The Big Falling Bears drop back t-shirt for one to five year old, this t-shirt features button closure around its neckline for easy dressing.


I would wear this! The gold print bunny drop back dress, pair it with tights when your little one outgrows it. Perfect with sneakers, and a very roomy cutting for your active girl.


Shop these designs and more from PriviKids online store & in store at Suntec City Tower 3, #02-712.
Sunday, April 24, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 23 April

Aiden (wearing black bib, red cap and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 23 April. Good attempt to pass to his teammates more today but dunno why play like a sloth sometimes. Inspired by Zootopia? Scored the only goals of the game!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 16 April

Aiden (wearing blue bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 16 April. Super hot day although it was raining goals. Aiden scored 9! He's happy with his dribbling, shooting and defending today.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 9 April

Aiden (wearing green bib and green boots) at JSSL-Arsenal on 9 April. Not much space to move around as it was 5 a-side and they got into each other's way. Aiden's pretty happy with his goals and the 'tricks' he pulled off though. Have been practicing at home!😱

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 2 April

Aiden (wearing black bib, green boots and cap) at JSSL-Arsenal on 2 April. Didn't play as well as last week when he scored 6 very good goals though (sleepy me was too tired to get off my seat and take videos).

He scored 4 today but was visibly disappointed. He chose to go home straightaway instead of having a kickabout with me as usual. Or maybe it's just the heat haha. Good effort and try harder next time Aiden. 继续加油!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 19 March

Aiden at JSSL-Arsenal on 19 March (wearing green bib, cap worn backwards and green boots). His second official session at the soccer school and the first time wearing spectacles to training. We still can't find a good product to hold up his glasses securely in all that sweat. Unfortunately, sports glasses with curved lenses are not suitable as he has 800 degrees of myopia in his right lazy eye.

Good to see that he is enjoying himself though. He's looking more decent as a defender than striker at the moment!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Thoughts on Singapore Budget 2016

The Singapore Budget was announced on 24 March 2016 with much anticipation, but not because many goodies were expected to be given out. On the contrary, it was a Budget announced in the midst of much uncertainty. With a landslide win in the General Elections juxtaposed against an economic downturn, rising costs of living and doing business, low birthrates and widening income gap, it was anybody's guess what measures the new Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat would roll out.

Going through the various measures as a parent, it was clear to me that the Finance Minister had an uncharacteristically narrow focus - the very poor and the very old. Nobody would say that these groups don't deserve a helping hand, but there are three areas which I thought the government could have done more, especially with an expected Budget surplus of S$3.45 billion for the Financial Year 2016.

CDA First Step

If you thought that the S$3,000 gift to your child's CDA is a good reason to start cheering (like how the mainstream media are reporting it), think again! At the end of the day, it is a scheme that would only benefit those who can't afford to deposit any money into their child's CDA.

This is because the government's total contribution to a child's CDA didn't change. Before Budget 2016, the government would match dollar-for-dollar, savings that are deposited into the CDA, say up to S$6,000 for the first child. Today, the government will top-up S$3,000 automatically, and then match your CDA savings dollar-for-dollar up to S$3,000 for a total contribution of S$6,000. Same as before!

It's really a repackaging of the way the previous grant was disbursed, rather than a genuine attempt to further incentivise couples to have children.

KidSTART

Well, the speech seemed heartening enough:
We will pilot a new initiative, called KidSTART, for children in their first six years. There is extensive research which shows that experiences in the early years of a child’s life significantly influence his or her physical, cognitive, and social development. 
We have been enhancing development programmes through our preschools and primary schools. However, there is a small group of parents who may need more support to give their children a good start in life. 
KidSTART will draw together government and community resources, to help these children receive appropriate learning, developmental, and health support. We will develop approaches that work best in the Singapore context. 
About 1,000 children are expected to benefit. This pilot is expected to cost more than $20 million. The Minister for Social and Family Development will elaborate on this at COS.
Maybe I'm trying to be a devil's advocate, but there is real danger that the government might end up doing more bad than good with this measure.

We are already living in a world where our kids are overexposed to enrichment classes, tuition and various academic related pursuits, and at ages that are far too young. It worries me that if the government endorses in one way or another that such "developmental/enrichment programmes" are essential for the child's future success, it might worsen the 'arms race' among kiasu parents to do even more in this area.

Also, $20m divided by 1,000 children means S$20,000 per child. Would that send a signal to parents that if you spend anything less than S$20,000 before your child turns 6, you are not giving them a 'good start in life'?

It worries me that instead of encouraging families to spend more quality time together, the government might unintentionally encourage parents to send their kids to more enrichment/developmental classes, albeit high quality ones.

Encouraging more births

Lastly, the government should have done much more to encourage more births. For example, single-parent families continue to be ineligible for CDA top-ups/baby bonus/etc, levies on foreign domestic workers continue to apply for households with kids, second week of paternity leave continues to be non-compulsory.

Also, I thought the government could have rolled out measures such as heavily subsidising the hospital costs associated with pre-mature/complicated births, giving childcare leave based on the number of children, and changing the Working Mother Child Relief to the Working Parent Child Relief.

By not extending a helping hand to couples in bad economic times, I think we are only going to go backwards in terms of the birthrate.
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Amsterdam & Brussels 2016 (Videos)

Serious withdrawal symptoms since we came back to Singapore. Awesome holiday! Can't wait for the next one!

Extra Footage: Amsterdam & Brussels (February 2016)
Too many clips didn't make the cut in the original video so I just had to throw them into another montage. That's what happens when kids are not holidaying with us. :D Music is more mellow to reflect the post-holiday withdrawal symptoms. :(
Posted by Darren Yang on Monday, 14 March 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016

Goal, Aiden go!

Daddy Darren recently enrolled Aiden to JSSL Arsenal and kick-started his weekly soccer training on Saturday mornings. I went to watch Aiden play once and really love how he is having fun while getting a really good work out from the drills and games.


It was really enjoyable watching the little boys playing on the field, such a cute sight. A proud mummy moment for me when Aiden scored a goal during one of the games! 


I love how Daddy Darren and Aiden bonds over soccer, from watching the games on television, to practising at home and on the field and now attending regular soccer training. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In the Spotlight: PriviKids - The Business Times

We are featured in The Business Times, and really thankful and encouraged to push on in the challenging times ahead.




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hello 2016!

Two and a half months into the new year, we opened our third PriviKids store at Waterway Point Punggol in January, celebrated Aiden's 5th birthday in February and came back from our first trip to Amsterdam & Belgium early March.

As busy as it gets, it is really fulfilling doing what we love. Constantly trying to strike that fine balance between time with the kids & the business, seizing pockets of quality time with them.

The boys in my life, putting the finishing touches for our new store.

PriviKids, Waterwat Point Punggol West Wing #02-32
Unique, quality products for kids 0-12 year old
Dressing up, practising their 'Gongxi Fa Cai', snacking non stop and collecting red packets. It is fun this Chinese New Year with Ava at 26 month old, mimicking her gor-gor Aiden and unveiling her cheekier side.
Aiden & Ava ushering in the Year of the Monkey
Aiden celebrated his 5th birthday in school with his friends, before we set off for our Singapore Flyer experience. This year, it was also the first time we did a larger scale birthday celebration for him with a barbecue by the pool.
Happy birthday my dear Aiden!
The siblings hanging out
Love the intimate celebration





After a stressful period preparing for the Waterway Point store opening, I am really glad for our holiday to Amsterdam & Belgium that Daddy Darren planned just for the both of us.

Having withdrawal syndromes now and dreaming of our next holiday with the kids.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Yangs go to Tokyo (9 - 13 November 2015)

Before I started work with my new employer in March 2015, I actually brought Mummy Cher and Aiden to Tokyo for a long awaited holiday. We thought Ava was too young to travel with us then (she was 16 months old), going by Aiden’s travel experience. He doesn’t remember his first Hong Kong trip at 3 months old at all, but has some memories of his adventures in Hong Kong at 23 months old, particularly in Disneyland. And since we decided not to bring any proper camera with us to Tokyo in March, all we had were random and limited pictures taken on our mobile phones.

For our Tokyo trip in November, I made sure Ava would join us and brought my DSLR along! Here’s how it went.

Travelling on Singapore Airlines Business Class

We weren’t sure how Ava would handle the 7.5 hour flight from Singapore to Tokyo, and being conscious that Ava’s ticket will be heavily discounted as a "lap child”, I decided that we should try the Singapore Airlines Business Class on the Airbus A380.


Being a “lap child” means that the child would have to share the seat with an adult. However, the child must be less than 2 years old in order to qualify. The special thing about a lap child is that the ticket only costs 10% of the adult fare. In comparison, Aiden’s ticket is 75% of the adult fare as a child between 2 and 11 years old. Ouch!


In SQ Economy Class, having a lap child on medium/long haul flights is not advisable, as the bassinet (even if available) is not the most comfortable place to be in. It is about 76cm long and only supports up to 14kg. Also, it cannot be used every time the seatbelt sign goes on, and during take off and landing. Instead, you would have to secure the child with special seat belts while he/she is sitting on your lap. Imagine finally coaxing the baby to sleep in the bassinet and then you are forced to bring her our due to turbulence!


The SQ Business Class seats in the Airbus A380 are not the newest (which are found in selected Boeing 777-300ER flights) but are the widest in the world at 34 inches (or 86cm) and you can sit beside your child in comfort. Another advantage of the Airbus A380 that flies to Tokyo is that the entire upper deck is dedicated to the Business Class. It is more likely that the seats would not be fully taken up. Typically, the air stewardess would offer the empty seats to people travelling with kids. In our case, we were given 2 extra seats on the flight to Tokyo and 1 extra seat on the flight back! 


In a 1-2-1 seat configuration on the Airbus A380, most business travellers would prefer the window seats and avoid the middle aisle seats or change the seat if they see that there is someone sitting beside them. They would also choose the seats in the front rows first. A tip would be to focus on the back section of the plane and choose just one of the middle aisle seats on separate rows. That should give you a good chance of scoring extra seats!


Day 1 - Ginza / Yurakucho

We arrived at Narita Airport in pretty good spirits at around 5.30pm and were already thinking about our first yummy meal in Tokyo. Aiden however paid the price of watching too many movies and not getting much sleep on the plane. He dozed off on the Narita Express train which conveniently connects Narita Airport to Tokyo city.


We stayed in the very new Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel right smack in Ginza and we were not disappointed. It is situated right above a subway station so getting around with children in tow is no problem at all.


First stop was skewers for dinner at the Yurakucho area, a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Located underneath a bridge are various restaurants, mostly selling skewers. Pretty cheap and quite affordable and frequented by many locals, the best part is the trains rumbling above us as we tuck into the food.



Day 2 - Ginza / Odaiba

In the morning, after breakfast in the Ginza area and some window shopping, I left Cheryl and the kids for lunch with some colleagues who are based in Tokyo. I know I shouldn't have but I'm glad I did, as they treated me to amazing BBQ beef, or Yakiniku.


I rejoined them after their own lunch date with Cheryl's local friend, and proceeded to Odaiba. Although it wasn't far away, there were a few train connections to make and luckily the kids were up for it. Maybe they were looking forward to the toy shops and attractions that we mentioned.


Unfortunately, we arrived 5 minutes past the last admission time for Legoland and were denied entry. Pretty bummed I must say as the place was going to remain open for the another 2 hours or so! I guess the tip is to research and plan properly when it comes to attractions and not go with the flow like what we tried to do.



Day 3 - Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is a must go if you are visiting Tokyo with kids. However, I wouldn't recommend staying in one of the hotels next to it as it would be quite inconvenient to go elsewhere, like Shibuya or Shinjuku. Amazingly, Tokyo Disneyland is actually cheaper than the Universal Studios in Singapore. Restaurants served proper food at reasonable prices and everything else was wallet friendly. I know I had to say "That's too expensive. Why don't we buy something else?" many times when we visited USS, but never in Tokyo Disneyland.


If you have older kids (maybe above 12), you might want to visit Disneysea as well. "Duffy" the Disney Bear is exclusively sold inside Disneysea and we were so tempted to go. However, the rides and characters would not be as kid friendly. I've been told that you hardly see Mickey Mouse in there! It would be tough for me to explain who on earth is Indiana Jones, so no Duffy bear for us yet again.


Back to Disneyland. A common problem of such themeparks is the insane queues, especially when you have young children with you. Two tips would be to get as many Fast Passes as you can, and to take more rides after the fireworks display.


Unlike in USS, Fast Passes in Tokyo Disneyland do not cost anything. You just have to be at the machines to get them, and return for the ride at the stipulated time. It works on a quota, first come first serve system, so the later you take the Fast Pass, the later the given timeslot. Also, once you get a Fast Pass, you can't get another one until an hour or so later. So an efficient way is to have one person go around collecting Fast Passes for everyone while the rest queue for the faster moving rides the normal way.


Secondly, if possible, try to stay beyond the fireworks display which is around 8.30pm. The park closes at around 10pm. Many visitors are Japanese on annual passes and they would start to leave around dinner time. That's when the queues start to shorten.


Oh, maybe this doesn't count as a tip as it would be obvious to Singaporeans, but do get your tickets online to avoid queues. You can buy first and decide on the actual day which park to visit, land or sea.


The kids had so much fun hunting down their favourite Disney characters and trying the rides. The Disney magic is real!


Day 4 - Tsukiji / Chiyoda / Asakusa / Oshiage

Many people would wake up early to witness the Tsukiji fish market auction but not the Yang family, especially after a long day in Disneyland. In my defence, we would have to arrive at 3am and wait 3 hours for the auction to start at around 6am. That sounds crazy for even myself to sit through, let alone the kids! So, we arrived at the outer market area at around 10.30am to check out the various shops selling super fresh seafood and delicacies. There are a few famous ones in the inner market with long queues and higher prices. As we have eaten there before years ago, we decided to try the restaurants in the outer market instead. No regrets, with shorter queues, lower prices and uncompromised quality!






After filling out stomachs with various seafood and street snacks, we headed to the Imperial Palace, followed by the Senso-ji temple at Asakusa. We had a great time people watching and stuffing our mouths with Japanese snacks. So many samples to try!





After dinner (I'm surprised we could eat some more!), we made our way to the newest observation tower nearby, the Tokyo Skytree. It is even taller at 634m than the Tokyo Tower at only 333m. The best thing about the Skytree is that it sits on top of a train station and a shopping mall that has many quirky shops. Some would say it is a tourist trap but we love it this way. We are such typical Singaporeans haha!





Day 5 - Aoyama / Harajuku

It's the last day of our holiday already! After checking out of our room, we headed to Aoyama for some window shopping, before walking to Harajuku to buy some toys at Kiddyland. After a mandatory meal at our favourite ramen place (Jangara Ramen), we explored the famous Takeshita Street and had even more snacks.





We rounded off Ava's first overseas experience by visiting the Honda showroom (with the Asimo demonstration) and some last minute shopping back in Ginza.


Even though we only had limited time in Tokyo, I'm glad we didn't pack the schedule. We took our time at the various attractions, took many coffee/snack breaks and didn't set out to see everything that was penciled down in the itinerary. We ended up with many beautiful memories of the time spent together, and that is just priceless.


The kids still remember the trip fondly and are looking forward to the next family trip!

View the video of our trip here (watch in HD!): http://privikids.blogspot.sg/2016/03/the-yangs-go-to-tokyo-november-2015.html
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