Again, so overdue! But to my credit (cough, cough) I didn’t just turn my laptop off in horror when I logged into WordPress and realized how far back I’ve fallen in my blogging.
I have valiantly attempted to start blogging regularly again, trust me. I’ve even managed to open up a post and started typing maybe two or three sentences before
- Hungry toddler asks for snack
- Overactive toddler wakes up from too-short nap
- Bored toddler grabs my hands and starts dragging me away for yet another round of storytelling or pretend play
- Mama falls asleep halfway through
- Mama gets distracted by online shopping (see, I told you I’d be honest)
But tonight, since the hubs is studying for a major exam tomorrow and the house is sparkling clean thanks to our very excellent and efficient part-time housekeeper, I have absolutely no excuse.
So here goes!
A month or so back, Sophie-doll turned 19 months. We were going through a period of serious monotony – the novelty of being a SAHM was wearing off on my fourth and fifth month and I was starting to slowly but surely morph into one of those nagging exhausted housewives. We thought of taking a trip nearby for a break, or even a short local staycation, but it was out of our budget since we would be travelling for Christmas to New Zealand, back to Palembang for Chinese New Year, and then to Tokyo next March for Sophie’s second birthday.
But we were so very blessed – my parents came to town and offered to host us for a short staycation at Capella! I didn’t even have to ask!
Bags packed, excited baby bundled into car, and we were all ready for some splashing good fun!
The little private pool at our villa was just perfect for Sophie-doll’s re-introduction to the water. I haven’t brought her swimming since we were in HKG and I thought she might be a little water-adverse in the time since.
Well clearly I needn’t have worried. This water baby was splashing and kicking away crazily within a minute of me placing her gingerly on the edge of the pool. Just look at that gleeful face!
The water was nice and warm, and the deck was large enough for her to run about to dry off after each swim. We spent a very relaxing afternoon just floating about and having splashing wars. 🙂
So much fun that I wasn’t able to find time to get any photos of the villa, or really explore the rest of the hotel. I do think the colonial facade of the main hotel reception and lobby is just gorgeous, though. Very romantic, and something special.
Here’s what we loved about our stay at Capella:
- Open layout of the Villa – meant that I could see Sophie from almost every part of the room. The living room linked to the bedroom, to the toilet, and to the walk in wardrobe. There was so much space for the bub to run about and generally make a mess, she had such an amazing time!
- Close to nature – loved the wooden accents and the lush foliage, especially on the deck.
- The private pool and jacuzzi – we brought along a LUSH bath bomb and gosh did Sophie-doll have fun watching the glittery rainbow go off in the open air jacuzzi!
- The Aesop products – yum! I love when hotels provide bath products which are actually from brands which specialize in skincare (ahem, Bvlgari, yes I’m talking about you) versus just “branded” stuff. I had no qualms using the products on Sophie and she smelled soo good!
What could have been better:
- Privacy – yes, there were plants blocking the pool deck off from the main road, but we could still see into the villa opposite and it was a little weird.
- The villas were pretty far off from the main hotel building and every time we wanted to head to the lobby we had to call a buggy. No complaints about the buggies, they came fast and were very efficient. I just felt a bit ridiculous and excessive when I had to call for a driver each time. I felt like I was inconveniencing the staff.
- There is basically no transportation to the rest of the island. We had to drive out ourselves to explore. But then, they did make it very easy to claim complimentary parking each time, so again, very minor grouse.
I especially loved that the grounds were just a little under-manicured – it lent a very slightly wild, but lush and quaint touch – to the entire space. We didn’t feel like we were still in Singapore at all – a completely different experience from the usual city staycations in the heart of Orchard Road.
“Mama, can we stay here a little longer?”
And if the day couldn’t possibly get any more perfect, we were doubly blessed with the gift of free tickets to Universal Studios Singapore!
We’d been intending to bring the Doll to USS for a while now, especially since she’s kind of crazy about Elmo (Sesame Street is the only cartoon she will watch – yes you read that right – she actually doesn’t like television or animated cartoons at all -_-). But we were hesitant about forking out almost $150 to go to USS considering she might not be able to take most of the rides.
And then Mama S insisted on passing us two complimentary tickets into USS! How beyond lucky were we?
And no prizes for guessing who had an exceptionally FABULOUS time? Truth is, K and I had an awesome time too – just watching the glee, surprise and joy on Sophie Rose’s face. Once Upon a Time, it was all about us. How things have changed. What made this extra special was that the last time we had gone to Universal Studios was when we were travelling and working in Florida – as broke students who could barely scrape together enough to share a huge turkey leg for lunch and could only enter the theme park because we had friends working there.
Fast forward eight years (gosh, has it been that long!) and we are at USS, this time with an almost two-year old in tow. It was quite surreal. We contemplated buying a turkey leg to share for old times’ sake but decided that we will save that experience for when we bring Sophie Rose to the States, to that same Universal Studios Park, and get a photo of her gnawing on it too!
First stop was the Sesame Street Show.
One month later, I still feel this warm glow of happiness from watching Sophie see Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster on stage for the first time.
She went utterly still and straight. Her mouth fell open. Then she started bouncing up and down and screaming hysterically along to the singing, eyes shining.
“ELMOOOOO.. Mama!!! It’s Elmoooooooo! Woooooow! Woooow!”
It was like a teenager at a One Direction concert, minus about 15 years. And utterly unforgettable for us as parents. At her enthusiasm, we ditched whatever need for preservation of self-image we had remaining and got up and boogied and shook along with her – and the furry cast of Sesame Street.
And because we are indulgent like that, we left the Big Bird shop with a bag full of Sesame Street paraphernalia, which (of course) she insisted on wearing / hugging straightaway.
Here we have K in the Elmo ears, Sophie in an Elmo Onesie hugging her new Elmo plushie (which has been her go-to-sleep toy every night since)
How is this fair? I beg her to smile for photos and she usually just gives me a grunt or some God-awful grimace, but when I ask her to smile for Elmo, she freaking BEAMS.
The Elmo fanaticism continued when they performed along Main Street. Sophie-doll walked all the way to the front, sat down, and started grooving along completely un self-consciously. Kids, gotta love them.
Much to our (pleasant) surprise, Sophie-doll was able to take, and enjoy, quite a few rides at USS!
Some highlights for toddlers (she’s 86 cm, for reference)
- King Julien’s Beach Party Go-Round (Carousel in Madagascar) – she freaked out at first, but then got super excited waving at her Papa every round.
- Madagascar: A Crate Adventure – we thought she would freak out because there were lots of bright lights, scary sound effects and creepy animals but this spunky little girl wanted to go again and again and whispered “so fun!” when the ride was over, even though she clutched our hands super tightly during most of the ride. My heart was swelling with pride (considering the older boy sitting behind us was bawling halfway through the ride)
- Dino-Soarin (Jurassic Park) – this one. OMG I was scared shitless on it (but I scare easily). Basically you and the bub sit in a Pterodactyl flier, which goes up and down with the press of a button. Left up to me, I just wanted to hover low, but Sophie kept asking me to press the button, screeching in delight every time the dino went up and down (and my stomach lurched and dropped) and asking for more “Push button, Mama, push!” . She asked to go again. I made her Dad go.
Yes, we had a really unforgettable time. Till now, she gets completely hyped up watching videos from that day and that darned Elmo onesie is barely dry before it gets snatched off the clothes rack and worn again.
But what can I say? Anything for that smile. 🙂 And again, I can’t believe how absolutely blessed we were to be able to enjoy a day like that, on the generosity of our family and friends.
Next stop, Tokyo Disneyland! Looks like this kid is turning out to be a real theme-park buff and hopefully she will be tall enough by March to take some more thrilling rides – her Papa will finally have someone to take them with – because this Mama is going to be waiting (like the coward I am) at the bottom of the ride – what, I suffer from vertigo, I’ll have you know! 😛
Hope you enjoyed our (sorta) review and sharing of our staycation and mini 19 month celebration!
Libby and Sophie-Rose