Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Family Photo Shoot with Natsuki Photography

If you have followed my Instagram last couple of weeks back, you will know that we recently won a giveaway at Angie's blog (Life's Tiny Miracles) that gave us an opportunity to have our family photos professionally taken by Natsuki Photography.

For the previous years, we have been having our family photo shoots/ maternity shoot with my sister as our photographer. Although she's not professional, but she's probably the only person in the world who would come all the way down to us willingly and patiently helping us with the shots that I have in mind. (View here and here for previous years photos). So, this year I have been really wanting to do one after Coen could walk as we have not done any proper shoot as a family of 4. But I was a little apprehensive at the same time because Zoe has been resisting to take any photographs, and most of the time her photos were all taken in secret or after extreme bribery. I wasn't really sure if a photo shoot was a good idea, but kept this desire in my heart hoping that we could do one before the year ends.

So, winning the giveaway has been really special for me. It felt like God answered the desire of my heart and whats more was that on the day of the photo shoot, the weather was so lovely - no direct sun hitting on us and there was even an occasional breeze! Even the husband was commenting that he did not sweat at all for this outdoor shoot! It was the best weather we could pray for! Check out the beautiful photos below!

Nat and Francis were so good with kids that my worries of both kids not cooperating disappeared almost immediately when we met them! For Coen, he has always been very afraid of strangers; if you have met him, you will know what I mean. I was half expecting him to wail uncontrollably at the sight of them, but to my surprise he was perfectly okay throughout! Both Nat and Francis were not overly enthusiastic or overly friendly to engage the kids, but instead they were very calm, easy, patient, and gave the kids plenty of space to be warmed up to. This in my opinion works best for my kids and I was extremely relieved that in that 1 hour I didn't have to deal with a single tantrum or crying episode!

Heart melts at Coen's little smile!

For Zoe, she enjoyed the photo shoot so much that the following day, she asked if we were going to meet "mama's friends to take photos" again! Coming from Zoe who shuns away from a camera, this was a huge surprise for me!

This reminds me so much of our pre wedding shoot, but ten times better with the kids watching :)

Thank you Angie, Nat & Francis! These photos are extremely precious! I can't wait to print them out for ourselves and the grandparents! For more info on them - you can check them out at their website here, Instagram handle here or Facebook page here!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Our Bangkok Adventure (With 2 Kids) - Day 3 at Asiatique

Last post for our Bangkok Holiday! Continuing from my previous post where we spent the first half of the day at Chinatown! Below I share about how we spent our last night at Bangkok and why I recommend making a trip to Asiatique at least once!

After the kids were up from their nap, we were off to Asiatique! A few of our friends had recommended us to this place, and after being in Bangkok for quite a couple of times, this was also our first time there! Glad we made the trip there although it was a little far from where we stayed. The vibes of the entire place was a very relaxing sort where there was very little crowd and also comfortable to walk around with in the breezy night.

Look who were so so so excited to see these? They were so cheap! A pack of 6 boxes for 100 Baht?

Dinner was at this beautiful place by the river called Bann Khanita which is a stunning white colonial house that comes with wooden flooring, chandeliers and classy porcelain tableware settings on the tables.

One of the dishes we ordered was this mixed platter that comes with spring rolls, fishcakes, shrimp cakes and chicken wrapped with Pandan leaves. It looked ordinary, but I was surprised that everything tasted better than I had expected. We also ordered Phat Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Chicken fried rice (for Zoe)!. Everything was served hot, ingredients were fresh, and wished we had more people with us so that we could order more variety!

Overall, food here was good and though it was slightly pricey comparing to other Thai restaurants, the quality of the food and the ambience was worth it. It was a satisfying last dinner in Bangkok for us! One thing to note was that the baby chair they have does not come with a table and safety buckle, as it acts more like a high chair for toddlers who could sit still. Hence I had a bit of a problem with Coen, as I had to constantly make sure that he does not fall off the high chair and had to push him in very closely to the dining table.

After dinner, we took a walk around and there was a carousel that's buzzing with so much excitement that Zoe wanted to ride it! I was a little apprehensive because I remembered she didn't like it 2 years back when we were at it in Hong Kong Disneyland. I wasn't too sure if things had change, but thinking back that she did manage to ride a few at Legoland happily, maybe she really might enjoy the carousel now that she is older!

Looking at the photos above, you can say that she did enjoy the ride! Initially we thought the ticket was a little expensive given that we were in Bangkok and everything was supposedly to be "cheap cheap cheap". But, we later found out that what paid for was not only for 1x, but that we could ride this 3 times and probably even more!

Sorry Coen, we will bring you on it the next round! 

The Ferris Wheel takes about 40-45 mins to go one full round, and it was a little late by the time we had dinner and went 3 rounds of the carousel, so we decided to give this a miss. We ended the night by sitting on the kerb eating ice-cream, with a full view of the Ferris Wheel in front of us. There was a slight breeze while we people watch, and this was probably much memorable than being on the Ferris Wheel I guess!

"Ice-cream for you?"

It was a fun night for all of us, and definitely different from hanging out in the malls or eating by the roadside. I'm so glad we ended our trip this way! :)

Our last morning - Savoring the last of Bangkok before we make our way to the airport for our flight home.

Love the natural light that's streaming into the airport!

Common tip to prevent ear block for babies and toddlers while on flight is to let them suck on something during take off and landing. As I am no longer breastfeeding, the easier option of latching is no longer available for us. Our hand carry always comprises of hot water, milk bottle etc. Husband will start preparing the milk once we are on the runway, and we hand Coen/ Zoe the milk just when the airplane is speeding up.

One kid down for nap!

Another one up and awake for the entire flight!

That's it for our Bangkok adventure with 2 kids! Till date, Zoe still ask me every other day "Mama, can we go Bangkok tomorrow?" The weather may be really hot for her, so much so that she even asked me to go into a random bank at Chinatown for its air conditioning! But this trip has been really fun mainly because Coen was with us this time and she had a companion to play with. I remembered our Hong Kong Disneyland last year wasn't even that fun for her because she was so bored jumping alone, running alone, and playing alone and was even home sick! As much as we can be their playmate, the bond Zoe and Coen shared is so special that neither my husband and I can replace. So thankful that we brought both with us this time, and to have spend quality time together on this trip. Although tiring for sure, but worth every bit of it. 

Thanks for reading and following along on our holiday posts! Hope you have enjoyed reading!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Our Bangkok Adventure (With 2 Kids) - Day 3 at Chinatown

Day 3 of our Bangkok Adventure! It's our last full day at Bangkok, and we were full steam ahead! Hence, I am breaking this into 2 parts as we managed to cover 2 main places in a day and it will be too many photos for 1 blog post! If you missed the previous entries, you can click here, here and here!

One of my concerns of this trip was if Coen was able to sleep through in an unfamiliar place. I was prepared to be waking up in the night and feeling like a zombie in the morning. But, thankfully, he had no issues sleeping in the playpen that the hotel provide, all the way till the next morning! TYJ!

As we couldn't make it to Chinatown on Day 1, we decided to  head over in the morning! Our initial plan was to go to On Lok Yun that we previously went on our 2014 trip, but our Uber driver decided that he wanted to drop us a distant away, so we had no choice but to alight and find another place to go to. I was a little bumped because there was no way we could walk such a long distance with two kids in tow, but well, this was just one of the parts and parcel of traveling with kids - things don't always go as plan!

When we arrived at Chinatown, I was hit with a serious dose of nostalgia when I saw Zoe walking around on the streets. It brought back memories of when my parents and grandparents would frequently bring my siblings and I to Thailand when we were all still kids. I even remembered seeing a photograph of myself in my parents' house where I posed at a back lane in Thailand at around Zoe's age! Got to go dig this photo up for some comparison!

Our backup plan was to go to a wanton noodles stall that he said was pretty famous, but we couldn't find it. After walking around, he suggested that we eat at this back alley that sold noodles. Honestly, I thought he was joking because its.. at a back alley?! And we were with kids?!

Look at that whole basin of fried bean curd skin with meat fillings welcoming us!

Coen was taking his nap when we were here the whole time, so that made it easier because we only needed to attend to 1 toddler who could sit on the stool by herself eating her noodles. Phew!

We ordered 1 with soup and 1 that was dry, they were pretty decent! Not like super fantastic but it tasted better than what I had expected, and the service was quite good too!

Well, we did survive lunch here!

After lunch, we crossed over to find one of the food delicacy Chinatown was famous for - bird's nest! When I was younger, every time when we were at Bangkok, we would be trying birds' nest at Chinatown, and it definitely brought back fond memories having this that day.

We passed by this durian cart twice, and Zoe had been bugging us to buy it for her. She may be 3 years old, but she loves her durian! Just look at the photos below!

She basically just parked herself by the walkway and devoured the durian. Husband said the durian wasn't even nice, but she ate the entire seed!

Wished we had more time to explore Chinatown, but till the next time!

Next stop of the day was a trip to Platinum Mall! It wasn't really part of the plan to do any shopping for myself on this trip but since we had some time, why not! But, I felt really stressful with 3 people waiting for me to shop, so I sent the husband and Zoe to Macdonalds to chill while I baby wear Coen to do a quick 45 mins of "grab and pay"!

As mentioned in my previous post that we did not want to overtire ourselves during this holiday by packing our day with places to visit. If we were going out the whole day, we would keep the night free by returning early like Day 2. But as Day 3 was our last night out, and we wanted to experience the night life of Bangkok, hence we brought the kids back to the hotel after Platinum Mall so that they could take their afternoon nap properly. The husband also took this time to head out for a Thai Massage while I stayed to babysit the kids during their nap. (I am not a fan of massages!). According to him, it was a super shiok massage and glad we were able to squeeze it in for him on this trip!

Hope you guys had a restful weekend, last BKK post will be up by this week!