Wednesday 14 April 2021

Staycation at Shangri-la with kids

We sprinkled some fun and excitement last March holiday by going on a staycation with Shangri-La. The one at Orange Grove road.

I'm not sure what will be your decision in booking a venue for staycation. For us, it will be coming across great deal. We managed to book a 2D1N deal on Lazada for $399 last December, but we're seeing it at $500 now though. So yeap, not sponsored, but sharing for the good benefits of many who will be staycation-ing during this pandemic when travel cannot be in plan. The deal we bought included both lunch and dinner at The Line restaurant, which we reckoned was a very attractive buy.  

Garden Wing Deluxe City View Room 
We were given a deluxe room at the Garden wing with city view and a private balcony. Very much pleased with the room set up that they added a roll in bed for us. We are 2 adults and 3 kids. And of course, they didn't very much approve 5 pax in a room. They suggested we get connecting rooms instead. We love staying cosy, so we did not. 

Deluxe room at Garden wing

Bathroom was spacious with a bathtub, standing shower and two basins. Six bottles of mineral water were given, along with two little packs of preserved snacks. The in room mini bar was empty, not sure why. Perhaps a good way to unsure uneaten snacks remain untouched for next guest. But I think it's good that the kids wouldn't be bugging to snack on this or that. And I was mildly disappointed that our room didn't come with the usual hotel's pen and notepad. We needed a pen to get on a treasure hunt game, and the notepad usually keeps the littlest occupied. 

Check-in time stated was 3pm. We emailed a week before to request for early check-in and late check-out, but they could only accede the requests based on availability that very day itself. That left us wondering on what time we should be there. Having an indicative time will definitely help us better with the planning, rather than playing with luck. We chanced in at 12pm. Managed to get over the administrative part, but room was only ready at 2.15pm. We had lunch at The Lobby Lounge in between, where it serves local fare like chicken rice, fish soup, katong laksa etc at premium prices. If you are a frequent of Shangri-La, consider signing up for their Golden circle membership where you can accumulate points for every dine and stay. Not valid for deals. We redeemed our points for lunch, and was most satisfied that our bill came up to $1 for 4 main courses at The Lobby Lounge.
Welcome packs were given to the kids upon check in. And this delighted the kids much. Adults were given masks and alcohol wipes. It was a nice welcome for all. 
Kids welcome packs
Adults welcome packs

For a night booked, we were entitled to a session of play at buds, their indoor playground, as well as, a session of play at Splash Zone, their outdoor water playground. Buds session is at $18 per hour. Splash Zone is free, and limited to an hour session. It wasn't enough for the kids. I did try booking 2 sessions, but was declined. We managed to book 2 play sessions at buds though, on separate days. Happy kids, happy parents. 

The kids had a great time at Buds, with the slides, climbing structures, ball pits and creative rooms for music playing and painting.

Buds at Shangrila

Buds playground
Booking of these kids activities are only upon arrival. We emailed to check if we could pre-book before check-in, but there was no reply. Some hotels do pre-booking of kids activities and pool sessions before check-in, but policies varies. Booking of kids' activities can only be done on that very day itself with a booking site. The slot sessions indicated online were very much fully booked till our check-out time. We were upset for a moment, but was reminded that we can walk in to buds to check on the updated slots instead. And phew, that's where we secured buds and splash zone sessions for the kids. Do check the weather forecast when booking splash zone. 
Splash zone

Pirate ship at splash zone

Other hotel activities include a treasure hunt at our own time, own target. A hunt map is given upon check-in, you can start this hunting game while waiting for check-in. Redeem an ice-cream upon completion. The answer to their first question is fluid. So don't get too stuck on that. There are also baking, tie and dye activities which can be booked with additional fees. It's $10 for baking and $28 for tie and dye. We skipped both.

Do consider getting on some activities while waiting on room availability. Just so you can spend more time relaxing in the room instead of running in and out for activities. Badge making activity outside buds is free. Just walk-in.

Swimming pool consists of the swimmer and wading pool. Booking session isn't required but entry is based on first come first serve. We entered at about 9.45am smoothly, but had to leave at 10.25am for our splash zone session. The queue to the pool was insane when we left. Entry is only allowed based on a one in and one out when capacity is full. 
Queue to the pool
Being an early riser reaps benefits. And don't forget, breakfast may delay you a little. Noon to 3pm seems an off peak, when guests are in midst of checking in and out. And of course, that's the hottest time of the day. But sunshine is always better than rain when it comes to play. So if you don't mind the hot sun, consider dipping into the pool upon arrival until your room is ready, and you can whisk off to shower upon collecting your keys.
The orchid within the hotel's open

We very much enjoy the lush greenery garden within the hotel. Walking around was quite an adventure too.


We had both dinner and breakfast at The Line. It was ala carte buffet where everything you order will be served to your table. The spread was good and very much satisfying for our tummies. Breakfast did take them quite a while to serve, crowded morning I guess. And that gave us less time for the pool. Not included in our package, we had our next day lunch at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano, which serves southern Italian classics. Very great tasting, and the recommendations on their menu made choices easy.

Check out time was at 12 noon. And nope, we didn't score a late check out. Even though we tried reasoning that we needed more shower time, as our splash zone session ends at 11.30am. Was politely declined and told that we could shower at the common bath area. Nice alternative, but not a compassionate and convenient option for us. We dealt with the time tight option of one bathroom. And phew, made it to surrender the keys, albeit 5 minutes late. We sent the man down to return the card keys, while I hurriedly pack through our stuff.

So yeap, it was a wonderful break from routines, and the hustle and bustle. Staycation is the new vacation. Not perpetually I hope. Trekking the globe is still where we hope to be getting back on.

Friday 9 April 2021

A resin art party!

Here's the other part of Jazz's birthday celebration at home with her school friends. We hosted a resin art party with four of her friends. And her birthday party theme was, avocado! Not that she loves eating it, but she just loves it being nicely coloured. I guess. We didn't do much with the preparation, simply gathered whatever avocado we can find within the home as her decorative prop. It was also then that I realised her avocado collection is getting huge!

Avocado themed party

Epoxy resin is a two-component system consisting of resin and hardener. By mixing the two components, a chemical reaction takes place so that the liquid resin gradually hardens to a solid plastic. The result is a high-gloss and clear surface art. I bought the brand, ArtResin on Lazada. A popular brand of clear epoxy resin used by artists. It's non-toxic, but because it contains a small amount of Bisphenol A, it is recommended that you work in a well ventilated area with it. 

The art you can make out of resin is limitless. We didn't get too adventurous, we stuck to just using moulds to make little trays and coasters. I got most of the stuff from taobao, and below are the items and links used.

What you need for a resin party:

1. Epoxy resin and Harder (Lazada)
2. Gloves (Local pharmacy)
3. Moulds
4. Plastic cups
5. Wooden ice cream sticks
6. Colour pigment powder
7. Dried flowers
8. Weighing scale
Gloves are very much needed for resin play, because resin is stubborn to remove when it gets onto skin. Resin in Chinese is 水晶滴胶. You can do a search to find other more interesting tools for resin art. I bought the moulds, decorative stuffs from these 2 taobao links:

Materials needed

A variety of moulds


1. Epoxy resin needs to be mixed in 1:1 ratio. The resin and harder have to be in equal portion before mixing. The plastic cups I bought did not come with measurement marks, it is best to weigh them equally on a weighing scale. If not, you will have to trust your eyes for the best estimated level mark, which can be a risky reliant. If the portions are not mixed equally well, the resin will not cure and harden well. 

2. Once the 2 components are mixed, use the wooden stick to stir the portion extremely well. Scrap the side of the cup to make sure it is well mixed. It is recommended to stir at least 3 minutes, but that could be lesser if the portion is small. You will have to gauge the amount of resin used from the mould size you are working with. 

3. After mixing, you may add in the coloured pigment powder. Adding too much color will get in the way of the resin curing and make it softer, so don't go generous on that. Slight tinting will do. Mix the colour well, and it's ready to go into the mould. If you are working on a big mould with ample depth, like a pencil holder, you may add the dried flowers in the mould before pouring the resin. If the mould is shallow, you may add the decorative elements after pouring the resin in the mould. Do remember that whatever you put within the mould can only be visible if the resin colour is light. You may leave it uncoloured too.

4. Set aside and allow it to cure up to at least 24 hours. 72 hours to be totally harden. 

Curing process

If the artwork is too soft or sticky to touch, which is most likely due to the unequal mix of resin and harder, you can try to salvage it by adding another well mixed layer over the affect area. Worst case, you may have to ditch it.

So yeap, resin art is one easy fun with endless creativity within! It kept the daughter and her friends very well occupied. 

Completed artwork

After some art fun, the girls did pinata, an avocado pinata of course! Shared the steps to DIY pinata in the son's birthday party post previously.  

Avocado pinata

And with much thanks to Sgtoysrock, the girls got to bring home a Real littles backpack (goodie bag) each. These micro bags contain tiny and cute usable stationery, with a range to collect. Hope the girls love it as much as Jazz! 

Real littles backpacks

Party planning isn't my forte, I find it stressful to be organising one, especially within the home. There are so many aspects to take care of. But occasions and milestones are moments that we can't recall once missed. It is better to create wonderful memories than letting it slide, perhaps this is one way we can show our support on their choice of friendships. And of course, we all have different ways of celebrating milestones. Some years we have it cosy within the family, and some special years with friends. 12th is special, isn't it? It a final primary school year.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Birthday Playdate at Play Nation

Planning a birthday party for 12 year olds can be quite a headache on activities and venue choices. The daughter was turning 12 and I felt so moved to want to do a little party for her, before she leaps onto 13 next year, where it will be a whole new milestone out of primary to secondary school. And parents' organised birthday parties will become a thing of the past. I'm building on her memory bank as much as I can before total independence sweeps her gradually away from my wings.

Jazz had 2 small parties, one at home with her school friends and one out, at Play Nation with her friends since babyhood. We considered various options before deciding that this venue was perfect for kids of their age. Play Nation is a games cafe that allows patrons to get on some fun with board games and game consoles. All completed with drinks, snacks and food! Free flow drinks and snacks, did I mention? 

Entrance of Play Nation Scape

Games they retail


Drinks and Snacks


Play Nation has a good variety of board games to choose from, as well as, console games such as Xbox, Switch and Wii-U. The console games list can be viewed by scanning a QR code, after which they informed the staff of their game choice/s, and the staff will get it set up! I left the kids all by themselves. Self-reminder, they are 12 years old. Fun is sometimes more crazy without parental supervision. They enjoyed, while I adjourned elsewhere for dinner with friends. 


Boardgame Choices

I booked Play Nation at Scape for 6 of them, but 1 friend couldn't make it last minute, so it was down to 5. They were given a partitioned room, which was almost like an exclusive room just for them. I do think their newest outlet at Tampines looks cooler and nicer though, but Scape is centrally located for her friends. No biggie, because they had so much fun regardless the venue. It was also most wonderful that there were 2 game consoles for the 5 of them. Everyone got to play throughout. Bring a jacket along, it is extremely cold in there.


Focused on gaming

Team boys

We took on the 3 hours play N dine package at $22.90++ per pax. It included 3 hours of board and console gaming, along with free flow drinks, snacks and one food choice. We booked from 7 to 10pm, so the kids had beef bolognese for dinner, which they said was tasty! They do have a good amount of food options, there is salmon teriyaki rice, fish and chips, chicken chop and pasta dishes, just to name a few. It basically solves my solution to a birthday playdate, with games, food and drinks all settled. Play out of home means I have no home mess to deal with. 

Outside food is not allowed in Play Nation, but I asked to bring a cake in and they allowed. I bought cupcakes as her birthday cake for easy handling. Making it easy for the kids to hold and savour, with no mess left for the staff. I came in at the last half hour to organise a cake singing and cutting session. A segment of the party which I'm clearly sure no one will take charge of when play is in. That was only parental involvement. Other than that, they were literally on their own. 

Cupcakes as cake

Thumbs up for Play Nation

Play Nation is a one stop, all-in-one party and playdate solution for tweenagers. Jazz was really grateful to have spent that evening with her friends at this games cafe. She told me, not once, but umpteen times that she wants to go back there to play! I think she is starting to enjoy the fun and companionship with her friends, while her parents sit out. Bleah. Oh well, I'm just glad that her friends and herself very much enjoyed this birthday playdate.

Stay wonderfully blessed, my darling! May you always be surrounded by the joy and love of your friends. 



Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 12 pm to 11 pm
Fri to Sat: 12 pm to 3 am
Sun: 12 pm to 10 pm
Contact: 6336 9578 
Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 12 pm to 10 pm
Fri to Sat: 12 pm to1 am
Sun: 12 pm to 10 pm
Contact: 6634 3065

OTH (Our Tampines Hub)
Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 11 am to 9 pm
Fri to Sat: 11 am to 12 am
Sun: 11 am to 10 pm
Contact: 6904 4885


Disclaimer: Sponsored post. All opinions and photos are solely ours based on our genuine experience.