Author Archives: Stephanie

Free Children’s Indoor Play Area: PIP’s PLAYbox – Esplanade Singapore

Free Children's Indoor Play Area PIP's PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore

PIP’s PLAYbox is a gem of a find as it’s the only completely free dedicated indoor play space in central Singapore complete with all the facilities including a nursing room and children’s toilet. Slightly hidden away on the fourth floor of Esplanade Mall, the entrance is actually outside on the roof where you can see a shoe rack just next to it for leaving your shoes as no shoes are allowed inside.

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Entrance Door

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Shoe Rack And Seats

There’s also an area just under the staircase leading up to PIP’s PLAYbox where you can park your buggy.

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Stroller Parking

On entering PIP’s PLAYbox you’re required to register your details. This is just a precautionary measure for contact tracing purposes.

With floor-to-ceiling windows to let the natural light in, it is the perfect environment to get creative in the arts and crafts area or curl up with a book in the reading corner where you will find plenty of books by Singaporean writers and illustrators.

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Arts And Crafts Area

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Reading Corner

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Books By Singaporean Writers And Illustrators

There are wooden blocks, stacking rings and a train set available to play with as well as cupboards and doors to open and explore which the little ones will love doing!

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Books And Toys

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Cupboards And Doors

There’s also a small loft area which kids can climb up into and peer out of the little windows.

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Loft.

 Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Loft Upstairs

There are nooks and crannies to hide in, cushions to relax on and beautiful murals and artwork everywhere to help cultivate your child’s appreciation for art.

 Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Artwork

Outside, you’ll find a small playground which your child can enjoy running around in. It’s not your standard outdoor playground though but it has a ladder to climb and mirrors to look at.

 Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Outdoor Playground

Also, in conjunction with Esplanade’s festivals and series, PIP’s PLAYbox hosts a range of activities throughout the year from storytelling sessions to self-guided craft activities.

They have a club called PIP’s Club which children of 12 years old and under can join completely free. Benefits of being a member include discounted tickets for select events at Esplanade, special promotions and giveaways, access to partner promotions, bi-monthly newsletters with fun and educational content, exclusive invitations to events and special activities as well as priority booking for parent-child workshops. You will also get a PIP Explorer Passport where you can collect stamps to redeem prizes as well as deepen your child’s connection with the arts.

As PIP’s PLAYbox is completely free all year round, they accept donations to help keep the place running. You can also support them by purchasing some PIP’s Club merchandise at the reception area.

Free Childrens Indoor Play Area PIPs PLAYbox Esplanade Singapore Donation Box

PIP’s PLAYbox is a very clean and safe place for children to play freely and is throughly cleaned and sanitised three times a day!

PIP’s PLAYbox
Address: Level 4, 1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 6pm (closed for cleaning 2pm – 3pm)

Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of PIP’s PLAYbox, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review or if you have any questions!

GROW Baby Milk Formula Free Sample

Grow Baby Milk Formula Free Sample

Formulated for babies, toddlers and young children, GROW milk formula contains complete nutrition to support brain development, immunity and growth. Get a free 900g sample tin of either GROW Baby Stage 2, GROW Toddler Stage 3 or a sample pack of GROW Preschool and School by simply filling in the form here to request yours! If you request a sample tin of GROW Baby Stage 2 or GROW Toddler Stage 3, you’ll receive a voucher in the post which you can use to claim your free tin at your nearest participating supermarket. Vouchers and sample packs will be sent out around a week after you’ve submitted your request. Offer ends on the 30th June 2019.

Kidz Castle Children’s Indoor Playground Review – Compass One Sengkang

Kidz Castle Childrens Indoor Playground Review Compass One Sengkang

On a recent visit to Compass One shopping mall in Sengkang, I was happy to find that a new children’s indoor playground, namely Kidz Castle, had opened on the third floor. Indoor playgrounds are fairly scarce in the northeast so this new addition seems to be quite popular with the local residents as a place where young children and toddlers can burn off some energy.

Similar to the indoor playground chain Happy Castle, which has playgrounds that are covered in hawthorn seeds, Kidz Castle is also covered in hawthorn seeds which are not only safe for children to play with but the smell of the seeds is said to improve digestion and blood circulation.

Kidz Castle, although it only covers a small area just outside the library, it manages to fit a Wendy house (playhouse) with slide, tunnel, toy kitchen and various other bits and bobs that the kids can play with. It can get a little bit cramped if there are more than 6 or 7 children in the playground at a time but if you go during the weekdays it’s rarely crowded.

Kidz Castle Childrens Indoor Playground Compass One Sengkang Price List

Prices start at $5 for 15 minutes of playtime which is hardly worth it when it’s just $10 for one hour. A one day pass is $30 or you can get one of the packages if you think that you’ll be taking your child there often. It’s definitely a handy place in central Sengkang for children to play in on rainy days. Currently as a special opening offer, they are giving one extra hour free with all packages!

Kidz Castle
Address: 1 Sengkang Square, Compass One, #03-29, Singapore 545078
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11am – 10pm, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 10am – 10pm

Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Kidz Castle, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the indoor playground or if you have any questions!

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review – Punggol East Container Park

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park

When I’m missing the fish and chips from my local chippy back home in London, Big Fish Little Fish is one of the places I go to satisfy those cravings. Although not exactly traditional British fish and chips, they certainly fry up a good fish and the “chips” are actually super crunchy and highly addictive hand cooked crisps. With several branches in Singapore, I like to frequent the one in Punggol East Container Park where the staff are fast, friendly and helpful or if I’m feeling lazy then I’ll get it delivered by Honestbee Food Delivery.

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Interior.

The branch in Punggol East is small and cozy, after all it is in a shipping container and although practically in the middle of nowhere it definitely drives crowds of Punggol residents there for lunch and dinner. Orders can be placed at the till or at their self ordering kiosk and shortly after, your piping hot made-to-order food is available for collection for either takeaway or you can make yourself comfortable at one of the tables inside or outside.

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Menu

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Self Ordering Machine

On a recent visit there, I decided to try something other than the usual fish and crisps that I normally get so I went for the Salted Egg Calamari with Bonito Flakes ($8.80++) and couldn’t resist a side of their Fresh Potato Crisps ($4.80++) to go with it as well as a Teh Tarik ($2.80++). Hubby got a Homemade Lemonade ($3.50++) and a Dory and Pilaf Rice ($8.80++).

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Teh Tarik And Homemade Lemonade

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Fresh Potato Crisps

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Salted Egg Calamari With Bonito Flakes.

My Salted Egg Calamari with Bonito Flakes was nice, the batter on the calamari was a little bit too thick for my liking but it had a good crunch to it and was not oily and was generously covered in bonito flakes and mayonnaise. The Fresh Potato Crisps were as good as always, thin and crunchy and lightly flavoured with salt and paprika. They’re also delicious dipped in one of several sauces that you can help yourself to and if you can’t finish all the crisps, they come in a handy takeaway box.

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Sauces And Cutlery Self Service.jpg

Hubby enjoyed his Dory and Pilaf Rice, the fish was perfectly cooked with a thick crunchy batter and the light fluffy pilaf rice is a good option for those that want an alternative to having crisps. It did come with a small portion of crisps though which was nice.

The Homemade Lemonade was lovely and refreshing and I wish I had got that instead of my Teh Tarik which was awful and tasted a bit like tea mixed with Milo. Oh well at least we got 50% off the drinks and food having made a reservation on Eatigo for the discount. The total cost of everything was only around $15! They also have “tunch deals” i.e. from lunch to teatime (12pm – 5pm) where you can get a main, soup and drink for as little as $8.90.

Big Fish Small Fish Restaurant Review Punggol East Container Park Weekday Lunch Deals Promotions

Big Fish Small Fish (Punggol East Container Park branch)
Address: 50 Punggol East, #01-K35, Singapore 828826
Tel: 9438 7623
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 12am, Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holidays: 12pm – 1am

Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Big Fish Small Fish, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review – Orchard Central

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central

Ootoya is where you can find traditional Japanese food and it is the restaurant of choice for Japanese expats living here that want a taste of their mother’s home-cooked food. With branches around the world, there are currently three in Singapore, all serving wholesome and nutritionally balanced meals.

I was invited the other day to Ootoya’s branch in Orchard Central to try some of their recommended dishes, courtesy of JPassport. I had their Katsutoji (Crispy Breaded Yongenton Silky Pork Loin Cutlet in Steamy Hot Pot) Set, Pork Belly Shiokoji (Grilled Yongenton Silky Pork Belly Marinated with Shio Koji), Seiro Soba and Maccha Parfait to finish.

The food came out very quickly, first with the Seiro Soba. The soba noodles in Ootoya are handmade daily using buckwheat flour imported from Hokkaido and this particular soba dish was served cold with a dipping sauce in which spring onions and wasabi can be added to it according to taste. The soba was deliciously chewy and the portion was big enough to be a meal in itself.

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Seiro Soba

Next came the Pork Belly Shiokoji which uses Yongenton Silky Pork (a type of American pork that is popular in Japan) that is marinated in shio koji which is a salt and mouldy rice (yes mould!) seasoning that Ootoya makes using a traditional recipe from over 300 years ago. The pork belly in this dish was grilled to perfection and was extremely tender and lightly seasoned with the shio koji just enough to bring out the flavour of the pork. It came with a small salad and some Japanese potato salad.

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Grilled Yongenton Silky Pork Belly Marinated with Shio-Kouji

The Katsutoji set which came with steamed rice, miso soup and pickles was my favourite dish out of everything I tried. Katsutoji is deep fried breaded pork with egg in a sweet soy sauce and dashi broth. If you’ve ever had Katsudon, Katsutoji is basically the same except the broth with the pork and egg come in a separate bowl from the rice. The Katsutoji was served in a hot stone bowl in which the bubbling hot broth was cooking the egg when it was served. The breaded pork loin in which Yongenton Silky Pork is also used was still crunchy although half submerged in the broth and the meat was tender and juicy. I really enjoyed the broth too as it was sweet enough for my liking and went perfectly with the egg and pork.

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Crispy Breaded Yongenton Silky Pork Loin Cutlet in Steamy Hot Pot

Finally the Maccha Parfait dessert was a great ending to a nostalgic meal of my time living in Tokyo. It had pieces of sponge cake, red beans, matcha ice cream, matcha jelly, matcha pudding and warabi mochi dipped in matcha powder in it – that’s a whole lot of matcha! The matcha ice cream had a lovely strong bitter matcha flavour as did the pudding and jelly and the not too sweet red beans complemented it all well.

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Maccha Parfait

Ootoya have a huge menu consisting of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, noodles, donburi, sashimi and desserts which I would like to go back to try more of. Indeed it is a popular restaurant with Japanese expats as there were many dining in Ootoya whilst I was there. The branch in Orchard Central has counter seats near the kitchen which is great for solo dining as well as a cosy section of booth tables at the back of the restaurant. Reservations are probably necessary if you’re going during lunchtime or for dinner as the place fills up fast! Currently until the 31st January 2019, if you’re a member of JPassport you can get a free Pumpkin Parfait which is Ootoya’s current seasonal dessert when you dine at any branch in Singapore. Just show them the coupon on this page!

 

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Interior.jpg

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant Review Orchard Central Booth Tables

Ootoya (Orchard Central branch)
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #08-012 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Tel: 6884 8901
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 10pm

Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Ootoya, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!

Unusual Vending Machines In Singapore And Where To Find Them!

My love of vending machines started around 10 years ago when I was living in Tokyo. Just arriving in Narita airport you’ll find vending machines for ice cream, beer and SIM cards. Did you know that Japan has the highest number of vending machines worldwide and that there is around one vending machine for every 23 people! They have vending machines for everything including cup noodles, flowers, umbrellas, toilet paper and much more!

Ever since I moved to Singapore in 2011 I’ve been on the lookout for cool vending machines and have surprisingly found quite a lot of different ones! So I’ll be sharing details of them here and updating this post as I find more in case you’re intrigued to check them out yourself 🙂

My First Vending Machine

My First Vending Machine Baby Snacks

This vending machine on the 4th floor of Century Square mall in Tampines has every snack that a baby could possibly want including cookies, vegetable/fruit puree and cereal puffs! So handy for mums and very affordable too, they should have more of these vending machines around!

Pet Lovers Centre Vending Machine

Pet Lovers Centre Vending Machine Dog Cat Food

You can quickly pick up pet food for your furry little friend from this Pet Lovers Centre vending machine in the basement 1 floor of Star Vista shopping mall in Buona Vista.

Gardenia Bread Vending Machine

Gardenia Bread Vending Machine

If you’re lucky to be a resident of De Royale in Toa Payoh, then you won’t have to traipse all the way to the nearest supermarket or bakery if you find that you’ve run out of bread as there’s a Gardenia vending machine on the ground floor of the condominium with a variety of different types of bread!

Fragrance Bak Kwa and Salted Egg Snacks Vending Machine

Fragrance Bak Kwa and Salted Egg Snacks Vending Machine

Craving salted egg fish skin? Now you can get your fix at all times of the day from this vending machine just along the Sentosa Boardwalk that joins Vivocity shopping centre to Sentosa. This vending machine also has bak kwa and salted egg potato sticks and chips, all from the Singaporean brand Fragrance.

Farm Grocer Healthy Australian Snacks Vending Machine

Farm Grocer Healthy Australian Snacks Vending Machine

Another great vending machine along the Sentosa Boardwalk is this Farm Grocer vending machine that stocks healthy snacks all made in Australia including macadamia nuts in different flavours, dried fruit and much more!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please leave a comment below if you’d like to share details of unusual vending machines that you’ve found in Singapore too! 

Eat At Taipei Restaurant Review – Tampines Mall

Eat At Taipei Restaurant Review Tampines Mall

My first ever visit to Tampines…just to explore a different area in Singapore…and we ended up in this casual and very quiet Taiwanese eatery in Tampines Mall which supposedly specialises in Taiwanese street food. What a disaster that was! I have to say that the service was very good but the food was another story. They have a lunch special for $10.90++ where you can select either a Chicken Chop Baked Rice, Taiwan Sausage Baked Rice, Braised Pork Knuckle Rice, Sambal Seafood Fried Rice or Braised Pork Belly and Preserved Vegetables Rice as well as either a Pearl Milk Tea or Soya Milk. Hubby went for the only item on the menu that was not at all Taiwanese – the Sambal Seafood Fried Rice and got a Pearl Milk Tea and I ordered from the a la carte menu and got a Hualian Spring Onion Pancake with a Taiwanese Sausage ($6.90++) since my first choice, the Shilin Royal Cheese Loaded Potato with Taiwanese Sausage, was not available.

Eat At Taipei Restaurant Review Tampines Mall Interior

Food came out quickly, first the Sambal Seafood Fried Rice followed by the Hualian Spring Onion Pancake with a Taiwanese Sausage. Although not a Taiwanese dish, the Sambal Seafood Fried Rice was not the worst choice. It was quite tasty and pretty spicy with a couple of prawns and calamari, however it’s not a dish I would ever choose to eat. The Hualian Spring Onion Pancake with a Taiwanese Sausage was awful. It was definitely not a Hualian Spring Onion Pancake but instead it was a spring onion roti prata, most likely a frozen one that you can get a pack of 5 for $2 in the supermarket. It had a sweet Taiwanese sausage on top with some shredded lettuce and was loaded with a ton of ketchup and mayonnaise which completely ruined the entire dish.

Sambal Seafood Fried Rice

Hualian Spring Onion Pancake with a Taiwanese Sausage

The meal’s only saving grace was the Pearl Milk Tea which although was nothing compared to Gong Cha or Koi, was a lot better than I had anticipated. It was not too sweet and had lots of tapioca pearls although the tea itself was not that strong.

Eat At Taipei Restaurant Review Tampines Mall Pearl Milk Tea

All in all I would not go back to this restaurant again as what I had really put me off. The food was not even authentic and was a far cry from the street food that you would find in Shilin Night Market in Taipei. Even with a 50% discount on Eatigo (which I unfortunately only realised after I had dined there), the food is still not worth spending your money on.

Eat At Taipei (Tampines branch)
Address: 4 Tampines Central 5, #B1-02, Singapore 529510
Tel: 6789 6166
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am to 10pm

Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Eat At Taipei, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!