Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Singapore Flyer - the big wheel in Singapore

Elise trying to be as tall as The Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is one of the more touristy things you can do in Singapore. I was expecting to be a bit disappointed to be honest. After all I've been on The London Eye which is, quite frankly, awesome.

But I wasn't disappointed at all.

What is interesting about the Singapore Flyer is the vantage point it gives you of all the reclamation going on around it. In this photo you can see the land to the east of The Mariana Bay Sands Hotel that has been reclaimed and is waiting to settle.

You can see the two domes and the enormous purple 'trees' at Gardens By The Bay (I will post about this gorgeous place another day), but beyond that is barren land.

No doubt, if we go on the Singapore Flyer in a few years from now, this land will be filled with brand new shiny skyscrapers and office blocks. I took this photo in early 2015, so let's see! :)

Gardens by the Bay (left) and Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino (right)

If you look the other way, towards the west, you can see the business district (as well as a floating football pitch - this is Singapore after all).

You can also just about make out the spectacular Fullerton Hotel and the Merlion overlooking Marina Bay.

Business district 
Overall, I'd highly recommend The Singapore Flyer. It isn't the cheapest hour you could spend but you might be pleasantly surprised by the experience.


Little India - Singapore

Little India - Serangoon Road

Little India is a wonderful, slightly crazy, place that bustles with life anytime you choose to visit it. Weekends are particularly noisy and busy, when the whole Indian population of Singapore (circa 400,000 people) and only slightly fewer tourists seem to transcend its streets, alleys, hawker stalls and markets.

The overwhelming smell of incense and fragrance from the orange, red and white marigold garlands hit you as soon as you arrive.

There are a number of places you can shop and explore in Little India - some are indoors and others, out. The main road (Serangoon Road - see photo above) has a number of shophouses all along it, selling everything from gold jewellery and peacock feathers to saris, embroidered and jewel encrusted materials and durians.

Indoors, you have The Verge which is a shopping centre essentially (with air-con) but there isn't much to see here. The Verge sits on the corner of Bukit Timah Road and Serangoon Road.

You also have Little India Arcade, which is a small labrinyth of shops and market stalls. Expect to feel cramped but exhilarated... there's lots to see! This place is brilliant if you're looking for some small, authentic gifts: elephant mobiles, table runners, bags, scarves, fabrics, clothes, cheap jewellery. Not much for the blokes unfortunately!

Little India Arcade isn't big enough to get lost in; it's all spread out over the ground floor.

Little India Arcade
Now if it's saris you want, or a lovely punjab trouser suit, the place to head is The Tekka Centre. Located right next to Little India MRT train station the Tekka Centre is, quite simply, a wonder.

Tekka Centre, Little India

The upper level of The Tekka Centre is literally crammed with clothes and you will always be able to strike a bargain here. There are clothes for as little as S$5 and beautifully ornate saris for a whole lot more.

Clothing in The Tekka Centre

I have bought numerous things from The Tekka Centre including bangles, bindis, punjab trouser suits, silk dresses for my daughter... and never for much money. You can get henna 'tattoos' here, buy sparkly shoes (to match your sparkly outfits) and also get any materials tailored. Here are three lovely tailors happy for their photos to be taken:

The Tekka Centre sits above a wet market. A word of warning - if you're not keen on the smell of raw fish you might find this place a bit of a turn off.

You can buy fresh veggies, flowers, fish, seafood and meat from here. I personally am not keen on the wet markets for buying meat (but that's my preference).

Wet market, G/F The Tekka Centre

And if you can't find what you want from Little India, you could always try Mustafa's, which is a 24-hour  shopping extravaganza (located at Farrer Park)... but that's a whole other post entirely.

In summary, Little India is a must-visit-place for any local, temporary resident (like me) or tourist. It is rich in cultural flavour and will always fascinate.

If you're up for a bit of added cultural exploration, you might like to visit one of the many Hindu temples in the area: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (Serangoon Road); Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (Serangoon Road); or Shree Lakshminarayan Temple (Chander Road).

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

How to get there:

By train: Nearest MRT is 'Little India'

By car: There is limited parking but there are car parks at The Verge and dotted about the area. I would definitely recommend getting the MRT though - it's easier!

Would you take your children?

Absolutely! Pushing a pram around might cause some issues, but that's the same with anywhere outside of a shopping mall in Singapore.

Have fun!

Monday, June 8, 2015

This Is Me

To introduce myself...

I'm Rebecca Allen. That's my cute-ilicious three year old daughter, Elise.

I'm English but have lived overseas all my life (well for most of it anyway) and I love it. I love the exploration, I love the fact that travel puts you out of your comfort zone, I love the fact that you learn new things, try new things and become a fuller (and hopefully more interesting) person as a result.

I am 37 years old and have been mulling starting this blog for a few days (I don't tend to procrastinate... so a 'few days' is quite a long time for me!). I am hugely passionate about so many things and thought I would compile all my musings in one place.

The name of this blog encapsulates it all really:

CREATIVE - I am a creative person for sure. I wouldn't say I am wildly proficient in any one particular 'craft' but I do like to try my hand at 'stuff'. To date, I have tried cooking, drawing, painting, making jewellery, baking, writing, illustrating, acting, singing, playing the flute and piano. Most of all I love doing 'crafty things' with Elise - I think it releases all sorts of interesting discussion and creativity within us both (she is a chatterbox, just like me).

The creative things that I am pretty useless at are styling hair (I can just about manage putting bunches in Elise's hair and thats about the extent of my talent); languages;

EXPAT - ever since I was three, I have lived 'overseas'. I don't know where 'home' actually is -  I guess it is where my immediate family are which includes Ross (my partner of 13 years) and Elise, our daughter. I like the fact that I don't feel 'stuck' or 'loyal' to any one particular country, or city, or place... it feels wonderfully liberating knowing I can be happy wherever I am.

To date I have lived in England, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. No doubt we will move as a family once again at some time or other. Bring it on!

MUM - I absolutely adore being a mum. It is the most precious gift (I don't mean to sound cheesy... it is just true). Elise is an absolute wonder. I love spending time together, watching her learn and grow and seeing her confidence develop. I learnt a lot about being a mum from my own mum. She continues to be a real inspiration and is a lovely human being.

Being a mum is an amazing 'job'. There aren't many other 'jobs' out there that are solely about developing somebody else. What could be more crucial or important than that?

Don't expect this blog to be chronological because it won't be... my brain doesn't work like that. I might be talking about a present day experience and then the next post might be about my childhood in Hong Kong. Hopefully you find what you're looking for and enjoy whatever you find!

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and give me feedback, ideas and your perspectives on your own experiences - whether creative, expat or parent... I'd love to hear from you.