1st Week of Autumn Holidays…

Actually, we are nearing the end of our 3 week Autumn School Holidays. As usual, i wait till the end to consolidate what we did.

So the first few days was given over to boring stuff like housework and grocery shopping. We did have fun at our usual Squash lesson and meeting a new friend at an indoor play-park we haven’t been to in ages.

Then we hit it big time at the annual Suisse Toy Fair; it’s a huge toy fair showcasing all the new toys, gadgets and games. Well, actually… we go every year and i have been noticing that it seems to be getting smaller. But still we had fun. Tobias invited his good friend to come along with us. We arrived there an hour after they opened, at 11am. i had expected to get out of there by 4pm. That didn’t happen – we left at closing – 6pm! We had a good time so it was worth the time and money.

Top Left: T trying his hand at wood craving, Top Right: T and his friend testing new Wii games, Bottom Right: T and his friend trying out a funny boardgame, Bottom Left: Trying out a new cycle.
Top Left: T trying his hand at wood craving, Top Right: T and his friend testing new Wii games, Bottom Right: T and his friend trying out a funny board game, Bottom Left: Trying out a new cycle.
Top Left: Climbing the Ovalmatine moving rock wall, Top Right: T with his Lego creation, Bottom Right: the Loot from the toy fair, Bottom Left: The boys doing a last race before we leave.
Top Left: Climbing the Ovalmaltine moving rock wall, Top Right: T with his Lego creation, Bottom Right: the Loot from the toy fair, Bottom Left: The boys doing a last race before we leave.

The next day we joined some friends and headed out to the Juckerhof – a rather well-known pumpkin/fruit/veggie farm in the Zürich region. People go during this time of the year to see their spectacular pumpkin displays.

Top Left: 1st sight of the farm, Top Right: Lots of pumpkins everywhere!! All for sale, Bottom Right: giant butterfly made of pumpkins - you could ride on it (if they let you), Bottom Left: giant piano which plays recorded music, it's so big , my head only comes up to the keys.
Top Left: 1st sight of the farm, Top Right: Lots of pumpkins everywhere!! All for sale, Bottom Right: giant butterfly made of pumpkins – you could ride on it (if they let you), Bottom Left: giant piano which plays recorded music, it’s so big , my head only comes up to the keys.
Top Left: that's one BIG pumpkin!! They have a bigger one on their other farm, Top Right: we paid to walk thru the 3 apple mazes and you could eat the variety they indicated - which was Red Spring and they were yummy! Well worth the CHF5 and the walk, Bottom Right: we brought back  yummy pumpkins and other produce, Bottom Left: in the large maze at the end of the field, we played a sort of bingo type game. We were given a sheet showing the pests & helpful insects of the field. We were to find all these board & get a stamp to indicate we found them all. It was all for a chance to win a dinner for 4 at the farm - they do serve fresh yummy food!
Top Left: that’s one BIG pumpkin!! They have a bigger one on their other farm, Top Right: we paid to walk thru the 3 apple mazes. You could eat the variety they indicated – which was Red Spring and they were yummy! Well worth the CHF 5 and the rather long walk, Bottom Right: we bought yummy pumpkins and other produce, Bottom Left: in the large maze at the end of the field, we played a sort of bingo type game. We were given a sheet showing the pests & helpful insects of the field. We were to find all these boards, get a stamp to indicate we found them all. It was all for a chance to win a dinner for 4 at the farm – they do serve fresh yummy food!

Tobias also volunteered to cook dinner one time that week – he cooked Spaghetti Bolognese. It was yum! He enjoys cooking – still a little fearful of the hot stove – but he did a good job and we tucked into a good dinner that evening. He has cooked other dinners before too… and i hope to help him learn more recipes and fall in love with cooking.

1stweekautumnhols20141017eAll in all it was a fun-filled week! Stay tuned for the 2nd installment.

syc

Singapore 2014 in Pictures…

So i have not been blogging for a whole month! What have i been up to? Well, it was the summer school holidays and as is our custom, we went to Singapore to visit family and friends and of course to pig out on all that delicious food – hmmm… yum!

Let me take you through our time there very very briefly in pictures…

We set off on a jet plane – SQ A380 – we managed to get seats on the upper deck this time! Lots better than lower deck for us because we could get a window seat with just an aisle seat next to it. Yep a 2-in-a-row 😉 Which meant we could be a bit freer with our use of space. Plus the seat we chose had extra side storage – score!

Happy to be flying...
Happy to be flying…

Of course the person who really scored was my dear husband, who got upgraded to business class because economy was so packed! They couldn’t upgrade the boy and i cos we don’t travel enough, even though there were seats in business. But it’s okay. We got to be on the same deck (our original seat allocations put us on 2 different decks).

We enjoyed looking at old places which have been refurbished and given new life.

Riding a rickshaw at The Clifford Pier, which was the jetty where most people landed coming into Singapore in the 50s and 60s...
Riding a rickshaw at The Clifford Pier, which was the jetty where most people landed coming into Singapore in the 50s and 60s… Now it’s a fancy hotel and restaurant.

Exploring a new neighbourhood became a must because my in-laws moved to a new, smaller flat. But it is in a more convenient location, nearer downtown and has fantastic food just across the street!

Night view from my in-laws' new place...
Night view from my in-laws’ new place…

And we painted the town red – see the boys in their matching outfits?

Showing their love for their fav football club...
Showing their love for their fav football club…

Another place we explored was Labrabor Nature Reserve – another place which has been given a new lease of life. It was nice to walk around the park and get an ocean-view as well.

It was a very nice walk, great place for joggers, children to play and pet owners to walk their dogs...
It makes for a lovely walk, great place for joggers, children to play and pet owners to walk their dogs…

No trip would be complete without our little sushi monster getting his fill of his favourite food – Sushi! Actually this time round we did end up at a place where he didn’t like the sushi. It wasn’t terrible, just very limited in choices and it didn’t seem too fresh. Of course the major minus was they didn’t serve his favourite maki pieces.

He absolutely loves his sushi!
He absolutely loves his sushi!

From eating to getting eaten – well, almost… hehhee 😉 We visited the Dinosaurs Exhibition, From Dawn to Extinction at the Art Science Museum. Very impressive and quite fun, especially if you download the app and play along.

i love this shot!
i love this shot!

Time with family was the important thing – Tobias got to play football with his cousins. They played a few games with the boys who were already there as well as another team of middle-aged guys who came later.

Our team of 4 boys and a man did quite well in those short matches ;)
Our team of 4 boys and a man did quite well in those short matches 😉

This trip we did not do much touristy stuff. We did go to the River Safari – again. This time because we had complimentary tickets and we wanted to try out the Amazon River Ride which was not opened last year. It was just okay – a little too fast to catch sight of all the animals. Also it rained and rained and we almost did not get to ride the boat.

Panda themed food at the River Safari...
Panda themed food at the River Safari

So we looked at fish. Then we went to feed the fish. We tried out a fish spa, where you go and let little cleaner fish feed on the dead skin on your feet. Apparently very good for skin and blood circulation. The guy at the second place (we bought a package of 6 visits) told us that they used to provide full body, not just feet. But due to space constrains and the lack of interest (and i’m sure the cost of keep much bigger tanks of fish), they now only offer feet services.

Providing fish with nutrients from our feet :P
Providing fish with nutrients from our feet 😛

The only other touristy thing we did was visit the Science Center. Some parts of it was interesting and other parts not so. Quite a number of exhibits didn’t work too well. We did do the Human Body Experience, where you enter the giant mouth as food and exit as poo. It was interesting but it smelled (because of the type of latex they used to build the exhibit).

Having fun with optical illusions and that giant mouth we went through...
Having fun with optical illusions and that giant mouth we went through…

Last but not least, allow me to introduce you to Tobias’ and his uncle’s shared pet fish – there are two but could only get a clear photo of one of them. They are dragon fish and there are also 2 cleaner fish which live with them.

i think this one is called Ruby...
i think this one is called Ruby…

Of course we met family and friends and had tons to eat in between doing all of the above 😀 We enjoyed ourselves – nuff said!

syc

PS: i was wrong about the name of the fish – that one pictured is called Albi.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate…

A few weeks ago, we visited the Frey Chocolate Factory with some friends and had a wonderful time.

Now we have visited a few chocolate factories already – all throughout Switzerland but this one has to be my favourite!

For me and for the boy, it was probably the most comprehensive journey through the entire chocolate production process, from the cocoa beans to yummy dark brown bars of chocolate, which we all love.

Each group of visitors was given a batch name and can enter the factory when your batch was called – ours was named Lucky 🙂 We each received a headset attached to a device which gave us a choice of languages and all we had to do to listen to the description of a particular exhibit is to point the device at the infra-red spot and push the button.

Most of the exhibits have a hands-on part. One of my favourites is this one which shows chocolate packaging design through the years, from the 1900s onwards. We could also take home a sample of the current packaging of one of their current popular chocolate.

freychoco20140622a

There was also a cute giant box of chocolate where people could get in, dress up as a praline and take photos.

freychoco20140622b

The kids liked the little digital game where they threw bars of chocolate via a motion detector.freychoco20140622c

And no visit to a chocolate factory would be complete without the tasting of the delicious brown stuff 😉 There was a whole conveyor belt full, along with 2 chocolate fountains where you can cover fruits with liquid brown gold – YUM!

freychoco20140622d
i did not order it but there was the option get a photo of yourselves taken and printed on a chocolate bar. There was also a short quiz on a computer we could take to find out our chocolate type. We each got a computer print-out of the results and a custom chocolate recipe for our chocolate type.

Tobias got The Stylish and a Chocolate Cupcake recipe. i got The Curious Gourmet and a recipe for Fig and Chilli Chocolates 😉

There was one down side – they played this video which was screened on their big wall in the room about every 20 minutes or so and that messed up things if you were in the middle of listening to an exhibit.

Other than that, it was a great visit. i highly recommend visiting the Frey Chocolate Factory. The plus is that all their chocolates are fair-trade!

syc