Adventure, baby!


Parenting Around The World: Beverly Burgess In Singapore

The installment of parenting abroad is brought to you by Beverly Burgess, a blogger and marketer extraordinaire. Beverly lives in Singapore with her three boys: husband Chris, and sons Hunter (4) and Carter (almost 3). Beverly has also lived in Australia and China, which is where her first son was born.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Giving birth in Shanghai

Both my husband’s and my companies moved us to Shanghai to look after regional operations, which was an unforgettable experience for us. We had a huge culture and language shock, but loved our time there.

My pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, and none of our friends were pregnant or had children, so I really stood out – we still went out clubbing when I was full term! I was out daily and out jogging three times a week until the day I went into labour, much to the shock of the locals – I was told it’s uncommon for local women to venture outside when they’re in their 3rd trimester.

I gave birth in an expat hospital and the care given was superior to any other country. It was absolute luxury, but did cost almost US$20k!

As I gave birth during winter, we had to deal with a newborn in sub-zero celsius weather. We were always bundled up and baby bath time was a real headache. Thankfully, we lived in the middle of the city so everything was within a few mins walk. I could easily pop outside to pick up a few groceries and get my hair washed and blow dried (which cost only about U$8).

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Moving from Shanghai to Singapore

My husband’s company transferred us to Singapore when our son Hunter was 4 months old, and I made the decision to quit my job to be a full-time mum. It was the right decision for us – Singapore’s air quality is much better, and we found everything simpler and cleaner.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Pregnancy in Shanghai vs in Singapore

The stark contrast of being pregnant in Singapore was very evident to me when I was pregnant with our second child, Carter. Seeing a pregnant woman in Singapore is fairly common, so no one pays much notice. In China, being pregnant meant having a lot of people (especially the older folk) fawn over you – I felt like I was having a royal baby there!

Childbirth in a Singapore hospital meant having access to one of the world’s greatest health care, but also felt like a production line in comparison to the extremely personal service in Shanghai where there were only 2 to 3 women staying in the maternity ward, and 6 nurses on staff.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Adjusting to life in Singapore

Singapore is easy living, it’s fun for singles and safe and accessible for families. Everyone speaks English and it boasts excellent restaurants, shops and kid-friendly activities. I haven’t heard any parent complain about making the move to Singapore! The expat population is huge and our area is also very multicultural, so our neighbours are Europeans, Australians, Americans, Japanese, etc.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Play time

Water play is HUGE in Singapore, thanks to the constant heat and humidity year round. We swim 3-4 times a week, go to water playgrounds, and have lots of pool parties with friends. Singapore also has indoor playgrounds galore, which you can often find us at. And, of course, dining – take your pick of any cuisine you feel like eating, and there’ll be a restaurant serving it near by!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Safe and accessible

Everything is easily accessible, malls and restaurants are almost all very family friendly, and the weather is always warm. It’s also an extremely safe country with low crime rates, something that we really appreciate now that we’re parents.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

The school system

The local school system is (in)famous for being notoriously cut throat. Grade One kids come home with homework (and wait til you see the level of knowledge they’re expected to have!), and primary school children are known for going straight from school, to enrichment classes or tuition, to going home to do homework. There is little time for simple things like going to the playground.. and they’re only seven years old!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Raising multicultural eaters

Singapore is so multicultural that we eat the world’s cuisine, as I like to call it. We cook a lot of pastas, roasts, and also rice dishes.

Singapore is also renowned for their hawker centres, where you’ll find delicious food stalls at great prices. Some of the top choices for local food are Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa noodles, and Chicken Satay. They’re delicious!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Holidays abroad

What’s surprising is that, despite being in Asia, a lot of Singaporeans go on holidays in Europe, America, and other countries on the other side of the world! Singaporeans love to travel.

But if we want to stay closer to home (and spare us all a painful long-haul flight), then popping over to places like Bali, Hong Kong or Japan is an excellent choice since there are often cheap deals on flights to these places.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Making friends

It was very easy to make friends with our neighbours, who are almost all expats and eager to make new friendships. It’s unfortunately much harder to go beyond a casual acquaintance with a local, because many have deep set friendships with people they went to school with and have always hung out with all these years. It can be extremely cliquey and they generally will not invite an ‘outsider’ to hang out with their old school gang!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Kids and discipline

Singaporean children do display better discipline, due to the intensity and expectations of being in a local school. In general, though, Singaporeans are quite a blessed bunch and almost every family has a domestic helper to do all the household chores and cooking, so the children are very fortunate that they are usually not expected to help out at home!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via

Parenting and societal norms

It’s normal for both parents to work in Singapore, and to work long hours. Because of this, time with their children is precious, so parents are willing to splurge on amusement parks, childrens plays, and dining with their kids. I’ve never seen more families out shopping and eating with very young children (especially late at night) than I have in Singapore!

Because both parents often work, Singaporean kids usually have a late bed time. Toddlers can sleep at 10PM! My kids are actually an anomaly as they have a 7PM bedtime (my husband and I really value our adult-only peace and quiet!).

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.meBeverly Burgess is a social media addict, having worked in the online space for 7 years at Microsoft and eBay. Having blogged for over two decades across Australia, China and now Singapore, Beverly entered an alternate universe at warp speed when she went from career-driven shopaholic and social butterfly … to juggling being a wife and a mother of two kids.

All within three years.

The career is now replaced with the privilege of being a full-time mum, but the urge to shop and socialize still remains (albeit with two obliging children in tow).

And, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Beverly blogs at:
You can also find her on Facebook

Linking up with Bron and Karin.

LIKE Beverly’s Net on Facebook!

Facebook - Beverly's Net

So I’m ten thousand years late to the game (give or take…), but I’ve finally finally FINALLY gotten my personal site a page – Beverly’s Net on Facebook!

For years I’ve resisted, thinking it a little naff (and kinda embarassing!!) to have a page dedicated to… errrr…. yourself and your own blog on Facebook. But then everyone seems to be doing it and I’m a jump-on-the-bandwagon kinda person I guess, so here I am!

Appreciate your support and, well, niceness, if you decide to give me a LIKE over on Facebook. You’ll get blog updates, of course, as well as bits and bobs from my Instagram (normally private and only for friends) as well as cute little articles I find online.

Thanks! 🙂

[pssst! Facebook doesn’t always surface everything, only to a select number of Likers. To get all updates, you’ll need to checkmark “Get Notifications” (see photo above)]



Travel guide to Perth for families

“Ermmm…. Perth?”, we asked dubiously, when my parents suggested we do a family trip there. “Isn’t that kind of…. BORING?”

And in a way, that’s true, IF you are young and single and looking for a pumping city to shop and party your holiday away.

But for a family? Perth is FABULOUS. And we are totally grateful for having that suggestion plonked upon us, because it was one of THE best holidays-with-kids we’ve been on!

I was woman-in-charge of planning our itinerary, and being clever sneaky, I asked my girl friend Karen Cheng (who lives in Perth with her three young kids) to help me out. And help she did. She planned the entire holiday for us!! And so I would like to share our itinerary, because:

  1. It was planned by a local, so we trusted that it would work.
  2. It focuses on kids as #1 priority. Which means if you’re planning to make Perth a family-friendly holiday, then this guide is for you.

I hope this gives you a few helpful tips when you pop into Perth with your family!


For hanging out with animals:

  1. Landsdale Farm (80 Landsdale Rd, Darch WA 6065) – a small farm that knocks many other larger animal farms out of the ballpark. At only AU$6 per person, it’s an amazing deal. Check out all the farm animals roaming around freely, or their Sensory Garden for herbs and vegetables. They even have a large playground with a shaded dome over it, that’s contained so you can throw the kids in there without worrying about them running off. There is a cafe there with lots of high chairs, and full washing-up and changing facilities. (TIP: bring a blanket and have a picnic under the trees, whilst the kids run around on the grass)
  2. Caversham Wildlife Park (Lord St, Perth WA 6068) – this large park is privately owned and charges $25/adult and $11/kid. It’s a must if you want to check out Australia’s native animals – up close and personal. Hand-feed the kangarooms roaming around the park, and check out the amazing Meet The Wombat & Friends Show and Farm Show – both are a hit with kids! (TIP: the cafe there only stocks snacks and drinks, so bring along a packed lunch for the family)


For outdoor fun:

  1. Perth Cultural Centre (between Roe, Beaufort, Francis and William Streets) – there is a large beach installation there at the moment, which features loads of clean sand for the kids to roll around and play in. Nearby is a fantastic sensory playground based on nature and sound for young kids – with ‘musical instruments’ to play with. And it’s all free! (TIP: bring your scooter if you have one. There’s loads of open space here)
  2. Cottesloe Beach – Great outdoor playground and lots of grassy patches to play on. Lovely beach for kids, but go early in the morning to beat the sun. (TIP: eat at The Beach Club cafe for lunch. The food is top notch)
  3. South Beach – lovely beach for young children, thanks to the relatively shallow and calm waters. Great for an evening dip. (TIP: eat at the Pickled Fig, a gorgeous little cafe right on the beach)


For indoor fun:

  1. Scitech (Sutherland St, West Perth WA 6005)  – this non-profit organisation was so good the kids went there twice! It’s chock-full of young kid friendly activities, and features loads of hands-on exhibits. They have a sectioned-off area for young toddlers that my kids loved. (TIP: buy your tickets online at the Scitech website, to save time queuing)
  2. Fremantle Markets (Corner South Terrace & Henderson Street) – poke around all the little shops and stalls, and check out the produce section for excellent fruit and vegetables. You can wander outside to the Market Street area, which is full of cute little boutiques. (TIP:Walk to the Esplanade by the harbour and eat at Cicerellos, it has a huge fish tank snaking through the middle of the casual cafe!))
  3. Triassic Fun Park (410 Ranford Road, Canning Vale, WA 6155) – a winner if the weather is too hot/cold and you want to hide out indoors for 2 hours or so. Best for 3 yrs old and up, though there is a separate section for the toddlers. Dinosaur themed and excellent climbing fun for the kids! With blacklight mini golf, ride-on dinosars and motorised cars (all extra charges), this is an indoor playground on steroids.


The sun in Australia is a bit of a killer, so remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP! Make sure you pack your sunglasses, as well as sunscreen and wide-brim hats for the kids.

Lipbalm and moisturizer are great too, since Australia’s air is drier than Singapore’s.

Have a great trip!



Kids’ Birthday Parties: What to focus on, and what’s not worth the effort



Planning a kid’s birthday party: I go by the theory of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

But if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, it’s gonna come reaaaallllll close to killing you!

I’ve done (ie. planned, purchased, created, set up, take down) 3 birthday parties for my kids so far. That doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but I went all-out with the decor each time (driving myself half-mad in the process). And based on those parties, I’ve learned each time what works, and what doesn’t work.

I hope you find these little tips helpful!



  1. Pick a theme – if you’re like me and like structure and order, having a theme is the way to go. Plus, guaranteed your child is madly into some sort of toy/concept right now, be it Barbie, Disney Cars, Ben10, etc etc. Having a theme makes all the decor cohesive, and actually makes it easier to buy in shops or online (you have a keyword to use!). Most importantly, nothing beats the look of sheer delight when your kid sees the party area decorated in their favourite thing of-the-moment!
  2. Get a ‘wow’ cake – this isn’t an open invite to spend top dollar on The Cake 😉 In fact, one of the more memorable cakes my kids have had was a simple chocolate cake from Lana, that had the words “Happy Birthday” iced on it. What made it stand out was just some simple tiny candles in spaceship shapes, that we stuck around. It was the most basic of decor, but somehow, it worked. The kids there were captivated with the wee candles! That said, we’ve also gone the whole shebang and gotten one of those fancy fondant multi-tiered cakes. I don’t regret that either, because it was delightful seeing the kids’ faces when the cake was wheeled out, and the photographic memories of that awesome cake last forever. Considering The Cake is often the main feature of the party, it’s worth making sure it’s memorable. Try baking it yourself too – a cake baked with a parent’s love will steal the show!
  3. Have a main event –  throw a bunch of kids into a limited area and you’ll have a disaster on your hands unless you have at least one form of entertainment for them. This can be something simple like a poolside party (which has always worked a charm for us), or something captivating like a magician or face painter. I’ve always been averse to the cost of paying for something like a Magic Show, but after seeing one first-hand at a recent party we attended (and seeing how completely enthralled and delighted the kids were), I’m having second thoughts and seriously considering getting one, if budget permits!



  1. Party favors – from observation and doing random checks with friends, hardly anyone remembers what their kid received as a party favor. More often than not, the stuff just gets chucked out after the kid’s had 5 minutes with it anyway. I’m not saying don’t give them out, because it’s still a sweet ‘thank you’ gesture to give a small present to your kid’s friend, but there’s no need to go overboard wringing your head for ideas on what to pop in. Try focusing on giving just ONE quality item as the favor, something that the kid will enjoy and use for awhile. Beware though, it also translates to more expensive, and if you x10 or x20 the number of favors you’ll need, the cost can get quite prohibitive. If you’re in this pickle, just get some really cute (and disposable) cheap toys and some lollies and chuck it into a simple bag, and you’re done!
  2. Making your own food – I’ve been to parties where the parents made their own food, and they’ve all complained later they wouldn’t try doing that again! Unless you’re cooking/baking for a relatively small party, outsource. It can be tasteful and simple (the afternoon tea pastries from Delifrance work a treat!), or something more filling (there are loads of hot food caterers out there, starting at just $8 per guest), but it takes a load off your plate when you’re trying to prep decor for the party AND handling your child.
  3. Agonizing over the decor – don’t sweat the small stuff! That’s my new mantra. Whenever I’ve done the decor for parties, I’ll be a nervous wreck how all the colours don’t match up, or if a piece of decor falls off the wall. The handicraft wasn’t cut out with perfect edges? Heaven forbid! But you know what? No. One. Notices. People are busy watching their own kids and having a good time, they aren’t speculating the quality (or lack thereof) of your craft work. So feel free to cut corners (literally and figuratively) and just chill out.


Not convinced?

Pretty sure you’re a perfectionist and that you’ll drive yourself (and everyone else) crazy planning a party?

Leave it to the professionals like Party Perfect, who will be your fairy godmother and save you a LOT of time, effort and energy (and hair pulling). We offloaded all the grunt work to them for Hunter’s 3rd birthday recently, and boy, I ACTUALLY HAD SOOOO MUCH FUN!! I could completely switch off and sit back and relax, both before, during and after the party.


The Plight of the SAHM vs FTWM

My Mum was a serious career high-flyer at a French bank, before she quit her job to….. look after me. For most of my life, I’d always thought it was such a silly decision, and that when I grew up, *I’d* never sacrifice all that money/career-glory just for my kid.

Now, being a SAHM and having made the same decision Mum made all those years ago, I truly understand and appreciate the sacrifice she made. This article I wrote for Material World is dedicated to her.

It is also dedicated to my mummy girl friends, and to anyone who is a mum and reading this. Because we’ve all made our own choices. We’ll never be sure if we made the right one, but we sure as hell hope it is!


The Plight of the SAHM vs FTWM, written for Material World.

Hope you enjoy the read 🙂

City Square Mall presents… Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends


The following article was first published on Material World – a fabulous online magazine 🙂


Is your kid into Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends?

City Square Mall is the place to be next week! Hunter has been a MASSIVE fan since he was a baby, so he was totally stoked to go check out the Thomas show there – never seen before worldwide!! Trust me your kid will be in total awe during the show.

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


The performance’s premise and theme surrounds around City Square Mall’s values – which is to care for the community and save the environment. And so we kick off with Chad, asking us to help him sort through what is recyclable and what is not. I was impressed with the kids around us – they were all spot on with their answers!

There was a surprise naughty cat that made all the kids squeal with glee, but I won’t give too much away 😉 There were also some (easy) Q&A for the kids, to win a bunch of Thomas bags.

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


But the kids saved their biggest cheers for…. THOMAS! He arrived in a puff of smoke and was a HUGE train. He’s trundled out to the middle of the stage, and his eyes move and he speaks and puffs away. You’ll see the Fat Controller there, but it was Rusty and Dusty the characters that really stole the show with the kids – thanks to their crazy antics.
Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


There’s a little special surprise for the kids at the end… a flurry of snow! Truthfully, the first thing I thought was “Oh nooooo! This is gonna get messy.” But, oddly, the ‘snow’ dried off and vanished, leaving zero residue or water spots on my clothes and bag, and left our hair looking normal afterwards (despite us being covered in the stuff). I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s pretty impressive technology!

My kids were so surprised with the snow that they just had this shell-shocked looks on their faces the whole time 😉

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


The Meet & Greet Session (just spend a minimum of $50 at the mall) is straight after the show and, boy, people are fast to jump into that queue! The characters are hilarious and come up with an infinite number of silly poses for every group of kids that come on stage.

I was pretty shocked my kids were OK with going up (the Thomas train does seem a lot bigger the closer you get to it!) and taking a photo, but they were actually really happy to do so and posed accordingly… in their Thomas tees!

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


And, if you spend $200 at City Square Mall, you get a free Thomas & Friends cushion and a Christmas Carnival coupon (worth $4) for a ride or game. UOB debit/credit cardmembers need only spend $180 to quality. Limited to one redemption per shopper per day.

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


So what did we make a beeline for afterwards?

Yep. The Christmas Carnival in the Park! It has super cute rides for young kids and both of mine loved them. It’s all so cheerful and colourful! Carter even managed to sit still for a whole 3-mins during the train ride – I was astounded.

Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall


We got an opportunity to Meet the Cast afterwards as well. Considering their thick English accents on-stage, I was surprised to hear…. Australian accents when chatting with them! They hail from Sydney as well 🙂

Here are some little tidbits I learned from them:

  • They get equal numbers of boys and girls to the Thomas show.
  • Dusty and Rusty, the dock station hands, are unique characters created for this Thomas show.
  • They listened to cockney accents on YouTube to perfect theirs.
  • Kids in SG are more in wonderment during showtime, compared to other countries’ kids.


The kids and I had a ball during the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends show! It’s highly-engaging, very lively, and (bonus points here) has the Thomas theme song performed both the traditional way as well as a beatbox way – hilarious! Pop on down to City Square Mall with your kids to check out the show…. and remember to go early to secure your seats 🙂


Thomas and Friends at City Square Mall

EVENT: Christmas with Thomas & Friends Live Show
DATES: From now to 15 Dec (daily except Mondays): Tue-Fri at 2PM & 7PM, Sat-Sun at 1PM, 4PM, 7PM
VENUE: Level 1 Atrium
DETAILS: Free seating. Go early!

EVENT: Meet & Greet with Thomas & Friends
DATES: From now to 15 Dec (daily except Mondays): Tue-Fri at 2PM & 7PM, Sat-Sun at 1PM, 4PM, 7PM
VENUE: Level 1 Atrium
DETAILS: Happens after the Live Show. Redeem an exclusive pass for this meet & greet session with a minimum spending
of $50 (50 passes will be given out 45 mins prior to each show)

EVENT: Christmas Carnival in the Park
DATES: From now to 15 Dec (daily): 1-9PM
VENUE: Level 1 City Green (outdoors)
DETAILS: Kid-friendly and super cute carnival rides, as well as game booths with prizes. $4 per coupon.

EVENT: Festive Light Show and Snowy Playtime
DATES: From now to 15 Dec (daily): 8PM & 9PM
VENUE: Level 1 City Green (outdoors)
DETAILS: A beautiful light show with a kaleidoscope of colours…. and snow!!


BWMB RECOMMENDS: Gymnademics at the ARC!

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Hunter was with Gymnademics a few months ago, and did a term there. I specifically liked it because of the very different method of activity/enrichment Gymnademics offers, for children from 5 months to 5 years old.

(pssstttt: read on for a super Opening Special!!)

Gymnademics’ concept is simple, and really made sense to me.

Here’s me translating it into laymans terms: When a child is doing physical activity, blood volume increases and also rushes to the brain. An increase in blood flow/oxygen to the brain is known to enhance learning and memory. Gymademics builds on this to incorporate BOTH physical activity (ie. running around having fun) with academic learning (ie. looking at flash cards), to accelerate learning and provide your child with a super-fun environment. After all, NO KID likes to sit down and learn page-after-page or be drilled nonstop by a boring teacher.

Hunter attended the SAFRA Toh Payoh branch, which was an epic journey across the country for us in the morning. For that reason, I didn’t continue, despite the gym sessions being so good for him (he’s a very cautious kid, so I reckon he really benefits from this sort of fun and teaching).

But then………. Gymnademics opened a branch at ARC!!!!

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


The new location is right at Labrador Park MRT, with FREE PARKING (!) on weekends, and has two rainbow-coloured studios to play in.

We popped in there for a Free Play session (1 hr for $15, or a package of 4 hrs for $40)!

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


When Hunter first joined Gymnademics just when he turned 2, he was so cautious and worried about everything that he even had trouble going up/down these small cushioned things below. He got accustomed to it after a few classes and now is pretty brave!

Carter, however, was really happy to clamber alllllll over everything like a crazy little wombat.

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


In the regular classes, they do gym activities like “forward roll”, “wheelbarrow” etc. Here’s Hunter demonstrating to Carter how to do the “sausage roll” (self-named haha!) where they just lie on the floor and… errrr… roll around.

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


Their cousin Elliot (5 years old), and friend Caden (11 months old), joined in on the fun! It’s not just gym activity, as there are toys everywhere as well during Free Play.

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


From now until 30 Nov 2013 (only SIX MORE DAYS eeeeek!!) they have an Opening Special:

Gymnademics at the ARC - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Opening Promotions:

Sign up for a class package and enjoy
o Registration fee waiver (usual price $68)
o One complimentary session (usual price $69.80)
o Lucky draw entitlement

Lucky Draw Contest (Draw Date: 30th November 2013 )
o 1st Prize: Ben & Bella Reading Set (worth $550)
o 2nd Prize: Doman Advantage Kit (worth $299)
o 3rd Prize: We Are Family! Photo Package (worth $250)


I’ll be frank – Gymnademics don’t often do specials (believe me, I waited and waited for one before I gave up and signed Hunter up at full price!!) so this is AWESOME. If you are keen on checking out Gymnademics, I’d hurry on down to their ARC branch to have a look around (ask for Joseph or Alison!) and decide. It honestly is a good deal that doesn’t come round often (or ever??)

Carter is signed up for their classes in the new year!!! Maybe we’ll see you there 🙂


Outlet Details
Address: Alexandra Retail Centre, 460 Alexandra Road #02-25, Singapore 119963
Telephone: +65 6271 7569
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm


Why Dining Out With Kids Is An Extreme Sport

Dining out

Why Dining Out With Kids Is An Extreme Sport


Reckon you’re the epitome of calm and zen?

Pretty sure you have the ability to control and contain any situation?

I thought I did.

Then out popped my 2-year-old and 1-year-old, and they brought the notion of competitive eating to a whoooooole new level. I’ve never had to skill up so quickly!

So here’s fair warning for the day you have your own kids, and step out all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in anticipation of a leisurely lunch.

If you would like to experience what it’s like to eat out with toddlers, why not follow the steps below?

When you first walk in:
Ask your waiter for a high chair. Leave it empty.
Set a chicken (a live one) down on the floor and shut your eyes for half-a-second.
Go chase the chicken.
When you find your chicken, place it in the high chair.
Ensure chicken sits appropriately and does not exit high chair for the next hour.
Congratulations. You are now ready to enter a restaurant with toddlers.

When you want to order food:
Hold your menu and look at it for one second.
Turn it upside down.
Flip it over.
Bang it on the table. If you have two menus, bang them together like cymbals.
Smack yourself in the head with it.
Throw it on the ground.
Pick it back up and colour on it with some crayons, or simply tear it.
Hold it as far away as you can and read only the first 3 items on the menu.
Congratulations. You are now ready to order from the menu with toddlers.

When you’re waiting for your food:
Put on your earphones and blast Justin Beiber’s “Baby” at top volume. On repeat.
Take out your bag containing 10 different toys. Make sure you do this calmly.
Place one toy on the table.
Smear your fingers in butter, and pick it up.
Throw it on the floor.
Repeat this with the other 9 toys.
Pack all 10 toys back into your bag. They are nowhere near as fascinating as the salt and pepper shakers.
Congratulations. You are now ready to wait for your food with toddlers.

When you want to feed a toddler:
Place a bowl on the lazy susan. Spin it.
Get a dozen eggs.
Place eggs, one by one, into the spinning bowl.
Go to the bathroom between each egg. Spend 5 mins in there coaxing yourself to do a wee.
Pick the bowl up and throw it on the ground. The eggs weren’t good anyway.
Find some cooked spaghetti strands, and repeat the process.
Throw all the food away.
Congratulations. You are now ready to feed toddlers.

When you want to enjoy your meal:
Admire how good your dish looks and smells when it arrives.
Let it cool down for 30 mins.
When sufficiently stone cold, proceed to eat. Set your timer for 2 minutes.
Congratulations. You are now ready to eat your meal with toddlers.

When you need to clean up after eating:
Place some jelly and biscuits in a blender. Leave the lid off.
Put blender under table and turn it on.
Use the restaurant’s allocated 1 napkin to clean it all up, your hands included.
Ask for your bill, pretending nothing ever happened.
Congratulations. You are now ready to clean up after toddlers.

Now you’re ready to walk out of the restaurant … leaving you feathery eggs and jelly works of art behind. Plaster on your most winning smile, blurt out “sorry for the mess!”, grab your chicken, and JUST LEG IT OUTTA THERE.

And if you’re already a parent? Take the easy way out, and visit a child-friendly restaurant in Singapore. Your toddler may not make it any easier for you, but hey, at least you’ll have company to commiserate with!


This article was originally written for Material World.

Singapore’s Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants

You know, cramped joints never used to bug me when I was young, carefree, and single. “How cool!”, I’d think, “It’s so hole-in-the-wall and niche.”

Places like that now completely stump me.

What? No high chair?

What do you mean we have to squeeze together at a too-small table?

So, where’s the area where the kids can run around?

Please oh please, let my waiter be nice and not give me the ol’ stinkeye…

The simple pleasure of dining out gets a tad trickier when you have young children in tow. We’re now pretty picky, particularly because we have a 9-month-old and a 2-year-old.

Places that we love to visit as a family boast the following:

Easy access – I like your cafe. I want to go into your cafe. Why, oh why, must you make it SO DAMN HARD for me to get in?! I’m talking about those evil things called stairs. You know, those sneaky two or three steps lurking at the entrance. WHY? It means I either have to guiltily call a waiter over to give me a hand, or carry the whole stroller up in the most unglam way. While we’re on the topic of strollers, I really appreciate it when I’m given a hand in collapsing the stroller and squirreled away somewhere safe, or, even better, able to have the stroller by my table (never know when the stars align and a kid knocks out for a nap!) if the cafe has the next feature…

Lots of space – ever poked your head into a small cupboard and screamed at the top of your lungs? Similar effect to sticking kids into a confined space. Even worse if there are diners close-by that proceed to turn and give you the you-are-a-crap-mum-and-can’t-control-your-kid STARE. Tops if the eatery has lots of ambient noise/music to… errr… drown out random kiddy noise.

Kid-friendly staff and amenities – oh the relief when you have patient, friendly staff that make the effort to say hi to your kid, instead of giving you the stinkeye. Much appreciated if they proceed to place kids cutlery and a cup of water on the table. Bonus points if they include some paper and crayons! I guess I should also mention here that it makes me want to hyperventilate when I’m told “Oh, we only have one high chair here, which is in use.” You might as well just be done with it and tell me “You’re fine with chasing your kid around the place like a lunatic, while ignoring your meal, right?”

You see, we eat out every single day for lunch. In fact, we’ve dined-out well over 800 times in the past two years for either lunch or dinner, since we relocated to Singapore. What are my fave family eateries? There are the obvious and well-known ones such as:

Food for Thought at Botanic Gardens
Privé at Keppel Island
Rochester Park Cafe
Riders Cafe
The Pantry at Loewen Gardens


But there are also some lesser-known family-friendly cafes that I love:

GRUB at Bishan Park (510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1) – this family and dog-friendly cafe boasts killer food (it’s helmed by Mervyn Phan of Cookyn Inc), but go early or expect to be wait-listed. That actually isn’t such a bad thing, because it gives you some time to chuck your little ones into the park and let them stretch their legs. They buzz you on your mobile phone when your table is ready and you get to fill all your bellies with fabulous grub at reasonable prices. Their burgers are stunning, ranging from an impressive Fish burger (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!) to a succulent, insanely tender Pork steak burger. If you’re the healthy type, their Pan-seared salmon with risotto and chimichurri is a winner. Their Churros are also hits; the kids will love dipping these fingers of crispy goodness into the creme anglais and dark chocolate sauces!

Get your GRUB on at the tranquil Bishan Park.


Tanjong Beach Club (Sentosa) – if you love your dose of fresh air, water and sunshine, you can’t go wrong with this. Lovely food and great cocktails (with prices to match), but the real draw is the pool which you have full view of if you sit at the outdoor tables. Grab a lounge afterwards (iced water is complimentary!) to relax whilst the kids have a dip, or jump in there yourself to cool off. The ocean is mere steps away if your kids are the sand-and-sea type. Or if you want to take funny pictures of your baby’s expression when their feet touches the sand.

Chilling out at Tanjong Beach Club


Kith Cafe (7 Rodyk Street, #01-33) – outstanding for coffee, if you’re that sort of person that can’t function until they’ve had a shot or three of caffeine in them (I won’t judge). This tiny cafe is mostly el fresco, so come dressed appropriately. Sit by the Singapore River and imagine you’re in some far-flung place instead, with crystal clear waters lapping nearby and the air is crisp and cool. In the meantime, the kids can rummage through the box of toys and books, and play on the toy animals in the mini garden. Very kid-friendly brunch food and a Strawberry yogurt milkshake that is very popular.

Play area by the river at Kith Cafe


Nook DIY House of Pancakes (21 Lorong Kilat, #01-03) – make your kid work for their meal. Nook provides you with a pancake grill, 2 bottles of pancake batter (of your chosen flavours), and 3 toppings. You simply bring your artistic expertise to the table. Squeeze the bottle and make your own pancake! Admire your artwork, or confuse everyone with what it’s actually supposed to be. Go nuts making different shapes and objects, and watch the kids gleefully consume an inhumane amount of DIY pancakes. There are also regular a la carte options but honestly, who would bother with those when you can make your own pancakes?

Delight the kids at Nook DIY House of Pancakes


Spruce at the Old Fire Station (260 Upper Bukit Timah Road) – everyone’s familiar with Spruce at Phoenix Park, but its newer sister at the old (and beautifully restored) fire station is also worth a visit. It boasts high ceilings with excellent natural lighting, cheery and obliging staff, and space for kids to wander around. Better yet, there’s a playroom off the side for kids to amuse themselves in. And on weekends, there is the occasional fair/markets just outside, as well as a fun bouncy castle. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see a bunch of wild monkeys jumping around in the trees outside!

Fresh ingredients and lots of space make Spruce great for families


This article was first published on Material World.