A Gold Coast Family Vacation

It felt rather surreal for hb and I to have returned to the same place where we first visited 16 years ago, when we were poor, ‘starry-eyed’ Uni students.

Then, we took a 30+ hours Greyhound coach ride from Melbourne and spent a week in Gold Coast, hopped onto public transportation to get the various theme parks. Being poor students, we could only afford one expensive steak dinner, from a steak restaurant which we discovered while strolling along the 5km stretch of long sandy beaches along Surfers’ Paradise.

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The Gold Coast that we remembered 16 years ago, definitely had less buildings peppering the skyline.

This time round, we opted for a less busy place to stay in Gold Coast, specifically, Broadbeach, instead of Surfers’ Paradise, which was quieter and had plenty of amenities. Broadbeach has a nice stretch of the beach, with good restaurants.

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So what do you do in Gold Coast with an 8 year old?

Gold Coast is theme park central in Australia, so visiting the theme parks is a mandatory major part of the visit there.

We spent 4 days in a theme park, mostly weekdays, from the time the parks were opened in the mornings to the late afternoon queuing up to take the various rides in Dreamworld, Wet & Wild, Movie World, and viewing marine life and watching performances at SeaWorld.

Dream World

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi2KungFu Panda themed section in Dreamworld 

Dreamworld main attraction is its Big 9 thrill rides, rides with names like ‘The Giant Drop’, ‘Tail Spin’, ‘Tower of Terror’, ‘Wipeout’, ‘Cyclone’ etc, you can probably know what to expect.

I used to be very game to take thrilling rides in theme parks, but not anymore. All it took was one ‘deceiving’ rickshaw looking ride known as ‘Pandemonium’,  in KungFu Panda theme section, which kept me off from taking any ride for the rest of the day. I definitely did not do well in the ride which soared 8 meters high, sent round and round in circles, side to side and upside down at up to 3.8 G-forces!

The little boy on the other hand, seem to do quite well even after taking the rides.

Dreamworld had a wildlife area with a small section of Australia wildlife, which provided a good respite from the crazy rides.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi3Birds in Dreamworld Coroboree

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi9The customary photo with the Australian Kangaroo


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This theme park was Kyle’s favourite amongst the others, I think it was the experience of viewing marine life, animals, sitting rides and watching animal shows, all found in one place.

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The highlight of Kyle’s SeaWorld visit had to be the 30 minute Helicopter ride, taking in the aerial view of Gold Coast and the Hinterlands…

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and getting his personalised trucker cap and temporary tattoo :)

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Mount Tamborine

We took a drive up to the Hinterlands, Mount Tamborine when the weekend came around. It was a refreshing change from the theme park experiences, but it fell short of what I expected the place to be like. If you have been to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, or Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, and expect something similar to these places, you would be sorely disappointed, like how I was :(

Apart from some quaint cafes along Gallery Walk, the row of shops sold mainly china-made goods and offered new age services like tarot reading. I was hoping to see some shops with locally sourced products or hand crafted goods, but there was none. The only shop that was worth visiting was the shop that sold Tamborine Tea.

The Gallery Walk experience was such a disappointment that we decided to skip the nature hikes and took a drive back to Broadbeach.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi10We had a Devonshire Tea set in a quaint cafe along Gallery Walk

Burleigh Heads

We headed over to Burleigh Heads on Sunday morning to visit the monthly Art and Crafts Market at the beachfront, which was about a 10 minutes drive away from Broadbeach.

There were quite a number of interesting stalls with handmade items, and locally produced products. Although it was smaller than expected, it was worth the visit.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 78Along Burleigh Heads Beach

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 59Spotted a Peaceful Protest along Burleigh Beach

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the things we felt we didn’t see enough of from the last 6 days of our Gold Coast trip were animals, so a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was a must-do on our last full day in Gold Coast.

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Kyle spent his time feeding Kangaroos and spotting the lizards that freely roamed around the Sanctuary

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A key milestone he achieved from his visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was attempting the Treetop Walk Challenge, as he overcame his fear of heights by braving through the course with hb behind him.

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I think a week in the Gold Coast is adequate to experience the most of what Gold Coast can offer, while I would most likely need another week at home to recuperate from the trip 😛

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 17The view from our room in Broadbeach

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10 Daiso Craft Materials

The US and the UK has their Dollar Stores, while Asia has its $2 version with its Daiso Stores.

Most Singaporeans love all things Japanese, from food (I am Japanese food fan myself!) to their culture. So naturally, products that are branded in Japan (although many are made in China) will be largely popular with Singaporeans.

I think the Japanese are ingenious with their ideas for craft, so to find a store where craft materials are found easily and cheaply is a thrill for any crafter.

Here’s sharing 10 of my Daiso buys for craft:

1. Felt Craft Daiso 8

I have used the felt from Daiso for some of my felt craft projects. As Daiso felt is made of polyester, it is washable and good for making of felt ornaments. But not recommended for the making of toys, softies and craft projects, that one intents to keep or requires more handling.

Daisy felt is best used for children’s craft, hair ties or clips. hanging mobiles, ornaments, brooches or small felt mascots.

Here are some Felt Craft tutorials, where Daiso Felt can be used;

Felt Projects(L to R) Craft Tutorials can be found in link; Felt Air Balloon Mobile, Felt Birds and Leaves Hanging Ornaments

2. Origami Paper

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I use Daiso Origami paper for making Kirigami and occasionally Origami creations like these;

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Kirigami and Origami can be used for gift wrapping and many other decorative purposes (Washi tape, wooden pegs and Kraft Paper Bag pictured below are all from Daiso).

Craft Daiso 20(L to R) Craft Tutorials can be found in link; Bear Kirigami and Ribbon Origami, Rabbit Kirigami Gift Card and Washi-fied Gift bag and Wooden peg

4. Cutting Mat and Precision Knife

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They are a must-have when making Kirigami or cutting paper.

4. Construction Paper Craft Daiso 2

I have just discovered these coloured papers in Daiso a couple of months ago. I found the texture of the paper and range of colours available adequate for paper-flowers making. These papers are also sold in A4 size in a single colour in a pack.

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Daiso coloured paper are good for card creations like these;

Craft Daiso 29Top to Bottom Craft Tutorials at link; Nothing Like a Mother’s Love Card, Papa Bear Father’s Card

5. Colour boards in Styrofoam or Cork Material Craft Daiso 5

I get them in white to mount the boy’s and my paintings to create a faux canvas base, and skip the picture frames, so that they can be easily pasted on the walls with blu-tack or mounting strips.

No one should put original ‘art’ in frames, unless they are reproduction prints bought from IKEA 😛

Cork can also be used in many DIY Homeware or Decor ideas. Just add your own designs with markers or paint.

6. Wooden Blocks in various sizes or Wooden Sticks and Sandpaper Craft Daiso 7

The wooden blocks are available in small square, rectangular shapes etc. These blocks that can be drawn, painted on, or pasted together to form a letter holder like this, with glued-on Hama Beads;

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While Sandpaper is a must have to prep the wood before it is ready to be painted on.

7. Pill Cases Craft Daiso 15

Extremely useful to segregrate Hama Beads into specific shades.

What is Hama Beads Crafting? Read more about it in this post. While the tweezer in pictured below is also from Daiso.

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8. Shrinky Plastic and Tracing Paper Craft Daiso 4

There are at least 3 different types of Shrinky Plastic that are sold in Daiso. Pictured below are the clear and the opaque ones. There are the Neon ones available in some of the Daiso stores.

I have tried the opaque ones that come with a keyring in the pack and found them to be good enough for making keychains and fridge magnets.

Craft Daiso 6

9. Magnetic Tape

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Useful for making your own magnets from Shrinky Plastic, or magnetic wooden pegs.

10. Wooden Pegs

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Apart from its basic use for hanging laundry on a drying rack, wooden pegs have numerous uses in craft. Just stick on washi tape :)

I have been using the small wooden pegs for winding my embroidery thread (like a thread spool), while the small scissors and sewing pins pictured below are also from Daiso.

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I spend more time in the craft aisle in Daiso than all the other aisles combined, as I am always looking for the next item that I can use to craft something new.


There are a few things that I have bought from the craft aisle that I would not buy again, namely, play dough, soft clay, embroidery floss (thread), paint and brushes. Since it is $2, can expect that these things are not of very good quality.

The play dough and soft clay is really hard to manage without making a huge mess. Even after lining the table / floor with newspapers, the stray bits of dough or clay tends to stick on the floors and tables. Only recommended for moms who have no issues spending some extra time to clean up after their child after play.

While DMC is always my choice for embroidery floss, even when sewing on Daiso Felt. The quality of thread does make a difference to the one who is sewing and to the final product.

As for the Daiso paint and brushes, they are apt for children doing exploratory art, but not when the child or adult is starting to get more serious about taking up painting as a hobby. The paint pigments tend to be inconsistent and brushes often split at the ends after the first few washes.

For better quality art and craft supplies, and if you are willing to spend more than $2 per item, try Artfriend and Spotlight.

So what are the craft materials that you have used from Daiso?


For more on Daiso 101, 

Next on the 101 Daiso Blog train will be Winnie of ToddlyMummy.

Winnie Toddly Mummy

At her blog,  http://toddlymummy.blogspot.com Winnie shares her thoughts on parenting, fun learning moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures. She reviews books and other kids’ stuff. She sometimes shares about her favourite food too, along with the occasional side orders of stuff that she finds useful as a busy mum.


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June 2015 – Of Plane Rides and Reunions

June was a month of airplane rides and reunions.

For someone who detest taking planes, it was quite a feat that the boy and I took the plane a total of 6 times last month.



This is my 3rd trip to Manila in 1.5 years, and I like the city and the convenience of where dh’s apartment is located. But I haven’t changed my mind about not moving there even for the short term. It’s a liveable city, however it can get rather dull for a 8 year old.

If I didn’t have a child, I would move over to stay with hb in a heartbeat, especially since I am not an outdoorsy sort of person and crafting can keep me occupied. But I would likely become introverted after being holed up in a house for too long, and hard not to put on weight, since international cuisine selections are good and affordable.


June1Photo taken at a Thai restaurant (Thai food in Manila is pretty good!) in Greenbelt Shopping Mall


One new thing that I discovered from this recent trip, is that Manila is a ‘pen and markers haven’, if you like to doodle or draw. There is a vast range of brands of pens and markers at their local bookstores. I suppose when the market is big, retailers can bring in a greater selection of merchandise. It just highlights why I hardly ever shop in Singapore anymore.

Being in Manila is really about enjoying family reunions, even if it means for only 2 weeks when I have to cook, clean, wash and iron like what a regular SAHM will do daily. Times like these, I am reminded how I am not cut out to be a SAHM, having to do all the chores at home continually, for months without feeling exhausted or eventually, resentful. I really 佩服 the resilience in fellow moms who have made the choice to do this for the long haul.

On the flight back to Singapore, we encountered the worse turbulence in the flight. The plane dipped at least 5s, plane tilted to the right at least 20 degrees. Food trays flew off the table, there were passengers with food remains on their face and clothes and everyone on board was visibly shaken. While it happened, the boy urgently exclaimed to me, “Mummy, pray!” And I did, and my thought at that moment was, “God, I am not done with what You have called me to do, I still have to go Jakarta!”



The boy and I only rested for a day in Singapore, before flying over to Jakarta the next day. Despite being shaken after the flight back from Manila, we were all ready to take on our next leg of the trip.

What do we do in Jakarta? I always tell people when they ask, that I am visiting friends. With each Jakarta trip. I get to have fellowship with friends, and get to know new friends.

The boy was thrilled to have gotten to know new friends from this trip and spent a day at Kidzania Jakarta with his friends.



My trip to Jakarta is not like a typical mission trip, I don’t build houses, feed the poor or teach children. I share my personal testimony and I am always given the opportunity to teach and pray for individuals. There has been no open door for me to share my testimony in Singapore, but the door is wide open for me in this other country, so I go where God sends me to, usually to women fellowship groups.

I get so encouraged by the ladies that I meet as they have so much love for Christ and are so interested to talk about the things of God. It has been confirmed by a couple of bible teachers and pastors who visit Indonesia regularly that this country has been chosen by God to bring in revival for Asia.

I am so humbled that I am being led to this country for a specific call and assignment, and even more humbled when I receive personal messages from individuals like this who are edified and encouraged by my sharing. As messages like this always prove that it is not me, but His glory and ability works through me;

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The boy and I are planning some trips back to Jakarta for the later half of this year.



Our Manila and Jakarta trips were planned for, but the Phuket trip was really last minute. Dh and I only decided to take a short family vacation to Phuket, and managed to get the air tickets and accommodation booked 2 days before we arrived at the resort.

Being a stickler for routines and schedules, to do something like that was rather free-ing, and it was a good concluding trip for the month.

Phuket was a reminiscing trip for dh and I. The last time that we stayed at this same resort; Angsana Laguna Phuket was in 2009, when Kyle was only 2 years old.

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June is a low season for Phuket and will be one of the best times to visit as there are less crowds. There are no queues for tables at breakfast and hotel facilities like the pool, in this case, all 300+ meters of the pool was only shared with 5-10 other hotel guests. The weather was perfect for all the 4 days we were there.

We transferred to a pool room after the 2nd day, and we were able to jump right into the pool from the room’s patio and spend the late mornings – late afternoons playing pool games or just leisurely swimming in the pool.


The last time our family had a getaway together was in 2010, and in comparison to vacations needing long drives, dh and I have concluded that we really like laid-back holidays. Just basking in the sun, swimming and leisurely having our meals. So looks like it will be another resort to go to for the next family vacation :) Boracay? Or maybe Maldives?

This June was likely the most mobile (and exhausting) vacation month the boy and I have experienced so far, but I am thankful that we have been so blessed by quality of family time we spent together and been surrounded by the fellowship of friends.

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