Tag Archives: singapore

My Stoke BBQ

As any good Australian, I love a barbeque. Juicy steak, sausages and lamb sizzling away, surrounded by friends, the woody, salty smell of the meat. So with keen interest and high expectations I recently attended an intimate barbeque to launch a newcomer to the thriving BBQ scene in Singapore – Stoke. Stoke are all about organic and sustainable products; artisanal meats, iberico pork, organic salt-bush lamb, grass fed rib-eye.

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I had a great chat with Co-owner Ruth, who is passionate about her company and the quality of her product. You can order their barbeque parcels online and have them delivered to your door. There are a ton of sides you can order (saffron couscous, green salads, creamy potatoes, tiramisu for dessert), you can email them for a tailor made menu and I really loved the fact that you can also book their resident chef Phil to cook the barbeque for you.

So for your next pool party, family gathering or birthday celebration check out Stoke.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

 

My SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway

As a lover and follower of fashion I was lucky enough to score an invite to the second instalment of the SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway last weekend. An hour long showcase celebrating the best in local independent fashion labels and a platform for emerging designers to experience the runway, this was the must see event for those looking to experience fashion, Singapore style.

This event all came to fruition through the drive and passion of local fashion darling, Eileen Yap, owner and designer of label Noel Caleb. Eileen brought together 125 models (a number of which were children), 20 local labels and a number of fledging designers for this one of a kind event. Eileen’s objective through this event and the future SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway events is to highlight Singaporean culture and heritage and to start a meaningful dialogue to determine Singapore’s fashion identity.

It was a beautiful night on klapsons Hotel rooftop. The area was packed, the audience an eclectic mix of local fashionista’s, photographers, and a couple little girls out for a special night with their Dads. A throwback to fashion from the past, mummy and child fashion, sportswear, menswear, corporate dress and evening gowns, the night was a diverse mix of fashion, style and fabrics.

The standout of the night for me was a gorgeous full length grey satin evening dress, designed by Raye Padit, surprisingly part of the ‘Aspiring Designers’ showcase. Definitely a name to watch out for in the future. 1214 Alley showcased some boldly printed shift dresses, flattering, easy to wear, perfect for the modern corporate woman. Noel Caleb kicked off the runway with some fun and flirty 60’s inspired wear.

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I’ve also fallen in love with a local kids swimwear label – Frolik. Lovely bright prints, cute boardies, swimmers and rashies for boys and girls.

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As an Aussie expat living in Singapore, it was such a fantastic event and opportunity for me to become educated on Singapore fashion, designers and the fashion community here. The next instalment of SG50 Singapore Fashion Runway showcasing sportswear will continue on 18th-19th September at Singapore Expo Hall. All the details are here.

Happy SG50 Fellow Fashionistas!

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My Neo Life

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xo

 

 

My Open Farm Community

Its official. I have a new favourite restaurant. Lunch, brunch, dinner, coffee, family friendly. This place has it all. Open Farm Community is a gorgeous restaurant (with adjoining ‘farmacy’/shop), bringing the ‘grow your own food’ movement to the masses. The sizeable grounds are used to grow the fresh herbs/veges you see on your plate. The Farmacy sells produce, Common Man coffee (my favourite ‘coffee boyfriend’ has moved there from Tiong Bahru Bakery) and delicious drinks and other lovely stuff. You can register to participate in the community gardening sessions, and the last weekend of the month the Open Farmers Market is on, featuring fresh local produce for sale. Oh, and did I mention the table tennis, lawn bowls and large sandpit for the kiddos to play in? Without a doubt this is the nicest, most child friendly restaurant in Singapore.

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We have been there a few times now for dinner. Order the charred lamb rump with mint, peas, bacon, lettuce, whipped potatoes and deliciousness. Or the rigatoni with mushrooms, stilton and balsamic reduction. The warm broccoli salad is fresh, crunchy and generous in its size. Lemon tart with basil ice-cream or cheese platter for dessert (served with fresh honeycomb, tiny sweet OFC grown tomatoes and chutney). Yum.

There is a healthy, fresh and varied kids menu. Fish pie, lasagne, pasta, Caesar salad. My only comment would be the kids meals are expensive (from $18.00). We order for the boys to share, or they have a bit of our dinner (both loved the lamb) and the wait staff were very accommodating in providing plain pasta for the boys to go with their lamb (generous serve for $10.00).

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We took some friends to OFC for dinner Saturday night. Our booking was for 8pm, however our table wasn’t quite ready (word of mouth has spread, this place is a must book now). The manager was very apologetic, and very nicely sat us outside on a lovely lounge and provided us with two bottles of complimentary prosecco to tie us over while we waited for our table. A classy move. Service in Singapore is not something I can usually rave about but I will in this instance. We will be there again!

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Open Farm Community

130E Minden Road

Open Mon-Fri Lunch and Dinner from 12pm

Weekends 11am onwards.

The Farmacy is open daily from 9am

 

My Neo Life

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boys

My Family Fun – Where to go in Singapore

Weekends are family time in our house. Gone are my sleep ins, long lunches, spontaneous shopping expeditions with girlfriends and the odd (who am I kidding, regular) afternoon nap. These have been happily (in the most part!), replaced with running around parks, bike rides, animal watching and discovering our newish home with my three favourite boys in tow.

Singapore is one of those places that is built for families. Water parks, playgrounds, indoor play centres, museums, libraries are liberally dotted all over island. A lot of the activities we list among our favourites are free or reasonably priced.

Here are my favourite places to take kids in Singapore:

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is our number one place to take the boys. Walking distance to Marina Bay Sands, The Gardens are a stunning example of the beauty of nature coupled with awe-inspiring architecture. If it’s too hot or raining a visit to the Flower Dome or Cloud Mountain make for the perfect respite. The Far-East Children’s Garden is free, suitable for all ages and has a fantastic water park. There are yummy restaurants and cafes catering for every palate, and a good outdoor hawker centre. During school holidays they always have free craft activities for the kiddos and there are safe areas to ride bikes and fly kites. Something for everyone.

The Gardens are open 7 days from 9am. The Children’s Garden closes on Mondays! (I found that out the hard way..)

Tickets for the Flower Dome or Cloud Mountain start from $8.00 for children (those under 3 are free).

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Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens are another weekly favourite for us. Gorgeous open spaces, stunning lush parkland, a great place in a built up city to escape and let the kiddos run and explore.

The Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden has a small waterpark, playground, maze, treehouse, herb gardens, the boys love it. We also take their bikes, pay $1 and grab some fish food from the dispensers near the Tanglin Gate entrance and ride down to the lake to feed the (hideous) cat fish and other fishies there. A fun and low key way to spend an afternoon.

The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 5am, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden from 8am (closed on Mondays). Admission is free.

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Singapore Zoo

If you’re willing to brave the heat or have the kids stay up late for the Night Safari, the Singapore Zoo is fantastic. You can have breakfast with the orangutans, watch the elephants paint (no, really!), step into the Fragile Forest biodome or take the tram on the Night Safari and observe the animals roaming freely, literally within touching distance.

The boys love (really love) the zoo. Xavier adores animals, and when you can see lions, tigers, polar bears, giraffes, monkeys, stinky warthogs and crocodiles within the space of a morning he is literally in heaven. But it can be a hot and tiring expedition! One we enjoy, but usually when friends are in town or for a special occasion.

The Singapore Zoo is open 7 days from 8.30 am. Get there early!

The Night Safari is open 7 days from 7.30pm.

Tickets for both are 10% cheaper (up to 30% if you use a local credit card) if you buy online in advance (and you don’t need to bring a print out, just your phone). Prices start from $18.90 for children (those under 3 are free).

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Tanjong Beach

Located on Sentosa Island, Tanjong Beach is a lovely little stretch of beach, perfect for young ones to have a play and a quick dip. There is a yummy restaurant (Tanjong Beach Club), we normally grab brunch and head down for a swim and sandcastle building expedition. There are beach volley ball courts, dogs are welcome and there is plenty of space for a kick of a football or a bike ride.

Open all year round. Admission is free.

The Tanjong Beach Club is open from 11am during the week (Closes Mondays) and 10am on weekends .

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Pony Ride at Horse City

What kid doesn’t love a pony ride?! Horse City, on Turf Club Road is our favourite spot. On weekends $10.00 will get you a ride on Jameel, the resident pony. Feed the donkeys, ponies and have a cuddle with a rabbit, a perfect spot for an animal obsessed kiddo. Horse City is just down the road from The Grandstand, a great shopping complex full of gourmet butchers, bakeries, delis, one of my favourite coffee places in Singa and loads of shops and indoor play centres. A great area with something for the whole family.

Pony rides start from 10am on weekends, $10.00 per ride. $2.00 buys you some carrots to feed the animals.

Asian Civilisations Museum

We finally had a look at the ACM a month ago, and were pleasantly surprised with what we found. The Museum is FREE and there is currently a wonderful exhibition on the top floor ‘Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Animal Race’ for children, on now until 16 August. There are fun interactive displays inspired by objects in ACM’s collection, you can make your own art to take home, there are storytellers recounting Asian tales and the kids can learn about the Chinese zodiac and more about their animal sign (Xave wasn’t too pleased to hear he was a rabbit, year of the dragon was much more appealing to a 3 year old boy!)

ACM opens daily from 10am, 7 days. Admission is free.

S.E.A. Aquarium

One of my favourite place to take the boys on my own is the S.E.A Aquarium at Sentosa. All indoors (i.e. Air Conditioned!), easy to get around with a pram and one place where both the boys are mesmerised. The variety of sea creatures is incredible. The tanks and enclosures are pristine, there are over 800 species and 100,000 sea creatures to view. It is simply spectacular. We love heading to the largest viewing area the ‘Open Ocean”, sitting down right in front with a snack and just taking in the grace and splendour of some truly magical creatures, while mesmerizing Harry Potter-esque music plays through the speakers.

The Aquarium opens daily from 10am. I would recommend going first thing, it gets very busy in the afternoons.

Admission starts from $22.00. Children under 4 are free!

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And there you have it, a guide to our favourite activities and places to visit in Singapore.

Enjoy!

My Neo Life

AN

xo

My Singapore Fashion Week

This is the first year I was able to experience Fashion Week in Singapore. Last year, recently relocated and still adjusting to life here, with a new baby and a 2 year old, going out at night and attending glamorous (or any!) events was extremely low on my exhausted list of priorities (which mainly consisted of try to get some sleep, drink coffee, repeat). This year I was lucky enough to attend two of the headline fashion shows for SG FW 2015. Diane von Furstenberg and, my favourite Australian designer Dion Lee.

Oh, and I should add, I didn’t merely attend DVF’s show. I somehow managed to obtain a front row seat, sitting amongst the fabulous Singapore Glitterati. There were DJ’s, models, fashion designers (Thakoon!) fashion bloggers, TV stars, socialites… and me.

DVF is without a doubt a fashion icon, an inspiration for aspiring designers and above all else an astute business woman. It is over 40 years since her first wrap dress made her famous, and is still worn by women all over the world. Fitting, then, that her show opened with a 2015 black and white take on her original iconic design. The show itself saw beautiful lace gowns, fabrics in deep reds, blacks, whites, appliqued flowers and polka dots adding some interesting touches. An electric blue power suit for the modern woman, flirty feminine cocktail dresses; this was a show I expected from DVF.

Fast forward to the following night – a very different crowd of people at Dion Lee. A younger, edgier set were out to see the best (in my humble opinion), most original designer to come out of Australia in the last decade. I first heard of Dion Lee back in 2009, flicking through a Vogue where they ran his profile. In 2012 and at 24 years of age, he made his mark on the world stage as the International Woolmark prize winner for the Australian region. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, showing at Australia, London, New York and now Singapore fashion weeks.

The show itself was impeccable. Edgy suits tailored to perfection. Gorgeous jewel toned dresses, buttery leather skirts, delicate satin netting, this collection was sublime in its artistry. If only I had the remote chance of an occasion to wear white satin trousers or an emerald green satin evening gown!

And now that fashion week is over, I am back to the reality of Mumma life with my two monkeys. Feeding the fish at the Botanic Gardens. Eating all the croissants we can find. Putting the heels and hot pink lipstick away for the much more appropriate black Cons and grey t-shirt. Until next year, that is.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

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My Date Night. Where to go.

I love date night. Dressing up in a (reasonably) chic outfit. Enjoying time with my husband without our gorgeous (but exhausting!) boys in tow. Having a proper adult conversation without interruption. Since moving to Singapore in 2013, we have found some gorgeous little spots for dinner. Below are my five favourite restaurants.

Artichoke Café

161 Middle Road

www.artichoke.com.sg

Middle Eastern inspired sharing menu, full of beautiful slow cooked meats, amazing dips (the beetroot tzatziki is delicious), fresh produce. Artichoke is our go-to spot for a casual dinner, just the two of us, or with friends. The food is always served quickly, and they add new dishes to the menu regularly. Our new favourite is the flap steak, charred eggplant & kashkaval cheese pudding with burnt cabbage tabbouleh. Yum.

Cocotte

No. 2 Dickson Road

www.restaurantcocotte.com

French inspired cuisine. Cocotte have an organic farm project in the Cameroon Highlands, and source a large amount of their vegetables and herbs from there, leading to fresh, seasonal and just darn good food. Their roasted meats, particularly the Cote De Boeuf (Tasmanian prime beef ribs) are the best I’ve had in Singapore.

The menu is brimming with choice; steamed mussels, slow cooked pork collar, roasted sea bass, lamb spare ribs. The asparagus salad is a must order.

Oh and the best part: valet parking! For those who drive in Singapore, finding a park when you head out at night can be an absolute nightmare. Venture to Cocotte, and you only need to drive right up to the entrance and drop off your keys.

 

Kilo Kitchen

66 Kampong Bugis

#02-01

www.kilokitchen.com

Tucked away in what appears to be a old storage warehouse, by the Kallang Basin, is Kilo. The food could be best described as modern Japanese/Italian fusion, with a raw menu offering (think ceviches, sushi, tuna tartare), beautiful salads and a fantastic mains selection worthy of a restaurant with Kilo’s reputation.

The desserts are delicious, service is good, and they have a bar on the eighth floor of the same building for pre or post dinner drinks. Just book well in advance as Kilo is very popular! There is a (much smaller) sister restaurant, Kilo at Pact, in the Orchard Central Complex for a more casual setting.

My Little Spanish Place

619 Bukit Timah Road

www.mylittlespanishplace.com.sg

A less trendy offering then perhaps Kilo or Cocotte, but I love MLSP for its unpretentious, good, Spanish food. The cured meats, jamon and cheese selections with quince are yummy. Everything on the tapas menu is delicious (I’ve tried it all!), and their paella’s are worth the 45 minute wait. They always have good quality wines by the glass, unlike many places we frequent here where there is one wine to choose from. Oh, and you have to save space for dessert, the Churros con Chocolate are divine and the reason I keep going back.

The Boiler

18 Howard Road

#01-06, Novelty Bizcentre

www.theboiler.com.sg

For something completely different, we love to go to The Boiler, a Louisiana seafood restaurant. The seafood is boiled in a bag (hence the name), there are literally no plates or cutlery (you can get a plastic fork on request), and you need to wear the complimentary plastic bib! But the seafood is sublime, the place is bustling and the beers are cold. I highly recommend the Boiler Bombdiggity Bag (Crab, mussels, prawns, clams, sausage) with the works, make sure to order some cajun fries and coleslaw on the side. Its worth the messy fingers and calories!

So there you have it. My five favourite restaurants in Singapore. Happy eating friends.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

My Clue-less Goat

The best thing happened today. We stumbled across a new café, The Clue-Less Goat, within walking distance to our condo. Since moving to Singapore, I have struggled to find any good coffee close by. The best I’ve managed is a 5-10 drive away. But all this has changed following our glorious discovery today.

This little café is nestled on the Thompson Road side of a nondescript shopping complex. You can park your bikes or prams right outside. They have highchairs and make a yummy Xavier-approved baby cino. They were happy to substitute poached for scrambled eggs for me (surprisingly, so many places in Singapore won’t do this for me). The barista gave Xavier extra marshmallows on request. The staff were friendly. The coffee was good. Very good. The food was good, but not great. Toast with jam and butter. Waffles with ham, fried egg and maple syrup. Smashed avocado with scrambled eggs and salsa. But for $35.00 for 3 breakfasts and drinks, great value.

So if you live in the Newton/Novena area, good news. There is FINALLY a good, family friendly coffee shop in our locale.

The Clue-Less Goat

189 Thompson Road

Singapore 307631

Open 6 days

Tues-Fri from 8.00am

Sat-Sun from 9.00am

Check it out.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

My Singapore Coffee. Where to find it.

Singapore has amazing coffee. Some of the best I have ever had. It also has a lot of average and decidedly below average coffee (anyone who drinks Starbucks and thinks it’s good, please stop reading now!). It took me some time to weed out the just ok coffee from the good, but I have now managed to find several lovely cafes, listed below. This is by no means a definitive guide, merely the places I frequent (frequently!), which are relatively kid friendly and I would recommend to my readers. All these spots open by 9am at the latest, a must for me considering my two monkeys like to wake anytime from 6am each morning.

Tiong Bahru Bakery

56 Eng Hoon St

#01-70

www.tiongbahrubakery.com

So I have a newish obsession with croissants, thanks to the Tiong Bahru Bakery (Marcel and I are here 3-4 times a week). They do the best croissants in Singapore, along with too many other delicious treats. The coffee is brilliant. The staff are friendly and really look after their valued (me!) customers. Marcel and I sit outside, watch the pigeons fight over our crumbs, flirt with the passers-by and share a croissant (who am I kidding, we always have two). After brekkie we take a quick swing by the wet markets for some fruit and veg, sometimes flowers.

They have a couple other outlets open around Singapore, but their flagship is where it’s at.

 

Common Man Coffee Roasters

22 Martin Road

#01-00

www.commonmancoffeeroasters.com

Strong, good coffee, and the best latte art in town (if you’re into that kind of thing). The main reason I love this place is that they have the best breakfast menu, hands down in Singapore. Their pancakes are the best I have ever had. Caramelised bananas, walnuts, berries, salted caramel. Ridiculously good.

Jimmy Monkey

9 One-North Gateway

#01-51 One-North Residences

www.jimmymonkey.com

If I lived closer to Jimmy Monkey I would be there all the time. Funky little café, simple, yummy food (boiled eggs and cheesy vegemite soliders, yes please!), and their coffee is simply exquisite. My only complaint is the wait time can be excessively long (30-45 minutes on weekends), just for a takeaway coffee. But if you are there early enough or happy to wait it’s worth it.

Jewel Café and Bar

129 Rangoon Road

www.facebook.com/jewelcafeandbar

Lovely staff, easy street parking. The food here isn’t why you would make the journey (its fine, just not amazing), but their coffee is delicious, they have a coffee loyalty card (something which isn’t very common here), always have good tunes playing and great magazine choice.

 

Dutch Colony

Parsarbella at the Grandstand

200 Turf Club Road

www.dutchcolony.sg

The coffee at Dutch Colony is delicious. Creamy, strong, freshly roasted beans. The upside of Dutch Colony’s location is you can kill two (or three) birds with one stone here. There are a few organic grocers, my favourite is Tangy Tangerines, which sells lovely fruit and veg, a couple great soft play centres for the kiddos (Kiddy Fun is our usual choice), delis, butchers, supermarket, the list goes on. Oh and free parking!

 

40 Hands

78 Yong Siak Street

#01-12

www.40handscoffee.com

The original home of great coffee. 40 Hands put Tiong Bahru on the map as the place for coffee in Singapore, and really changed the café scene here. Xavier and I come here for our Mummy/X-man special time, for freshly squeezed apple and watermelon juice and coffee. Not a place I would recommend to take babies, unless you are happy sitting outside with your pram. There are no high chairs and it’s a narrow space inside.

And there you have it! My favourite cafes. Enjoy.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

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Someone shares Mummy’s love of croissant’s

 

Our Singapore Paradise.

Singapore is a pretty incredible place to live with kids. It’s clean, safe, friendly, and there are a ridiculous amount of activities, sports, parks, play gyms etc etc etc designed for kids. Since moving here over a year ago I have become more and more in love with the place. Wherever we go (often me with the two kiddos in tow) people are friendly and helpful. Given the size of the expat community here and the number of young families on the island, we have made some very dear friends already. Xavier is in his element at his preschool (a little Montessori school around the corner from us). And I’ve adjusted to life as stay at home mumma of two.

Marcel and I have a couple playgroups we attend while Xavier is at school. Xavier has swimming lessons once a week, we head to an indoor playcentre with friends on rainy afternoons, and we always make it to the Botanic Gardens a couple times each week, for a picnic or a run/bike ride.

I joined, as I always do, a bookclub which I love (and recommend to anyone moving to a new city or country to do the same, its a great way to meet people and make friends). I also, for the first time since high school, joined a choir. Called the numama choir, we meet once a week during the day, babies are more than welcome to come along too, and I love it. Marcel plays with the other kiddos, listens to me sing (or try I should say!) with the other mums. We also have yoga once a week which my friend organised at her condo. All the mums bring their kids. It’s manic, but I get some exercise done, the little ones all play together and the boys can pretend they’re doing yoga too.

Weekends are family time, spent out for breakfast at our favourite eatery, the Tiong Bahru Bakery, mornings at Tanjong Beach, Gardens by the Bay, the Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park. Swimming at the British Club or at home. Jamie’s Italian at Vivo City is a favourite for lunch. Oh and Din Tai Fung for dinner at least one night. Best dumplings. Ever.

There are some things I still find tough here. Driving can be stressful, with a lot of traffic and some crazy drivers with no regard for road rules. Groceries are expensive, and I usually have to trek to 3-4 different supermarkets to get everything we need (one is good for Aussie brands, the other good for household cleaning and basics, the markets for some fruit and veg, the rest at another, and a butchers for meat!). The weather, (hot one day, hot the next, rainy and hot the day after that), can be tough with young kiddos, as it means you can be be cooped up indoors due to rain or heat for the greater part of the day. But I’ve managed to accept the things I can’t change (i.e bad drivers and hot humid weather), and organise the shopping so it doesn’t take over every day. And honestly, I shouldn’t complain given the life we live here on the whole.

Its school holidays for us next week. We have a teddy bear picnic at one of the international schools, a trip to the Zoo, swimming, yoga, playgroup all lined up. Fun with my boys in Paradise.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

My Café Life

Back when I was working, I always picked up a coffee on the way to work. The morning ritual. Flat white, large, no sugar. Without my coffee in my hand the day seem to start all wrong. With it, my day seemed to calibrate nicely. Mild disappointment would always set in when the coffee was over. Work began.

After Xavier was born, my morning ritual continued. But instead of a grab and dash coffee, it became an event. A day starter. A bonding experience for me and my little guy. A way to start our day. Xavier and I used to head to our local café (West End Deli, best café in Perth if any reader is ever there!). We would sit with our coffee, cino, sometimes baguette and avocado, sometimes crumpet and I would talk to him. He would play with his toys. Other locals from our area would pop in and out. We made friends with a lot of our neighbours. As he got older, we started colouring together, playing games, having proper conversations. It became less about Mumma sating her need for a coffee, and more about special time with my little guy (added bonus: it wasn’t at a play gym or the park, but somewhere I wanted to be too!). Don’t get me wrong, some days, I would just head out by myself and sit at the café on my own. Because I needed to. A coffee by myself. I’d go before my husband left for work and just enjoy reading the newspaper uninterrupted (or after a particularly sleepless night with Xavier, just start blankly at the pages clutching my coffee!).

Following the arrival of Marcel and our move to Singapore, our morning ritual changed. In the early days, I would take both boys, Marcel napping in the pram. Or I would head out and grab a takeaway. The cafes were no longer a walk from our place. But shortly after we moved, Xavier started preschool in the mornings. This was now Mumma and Marcel’s special time. We would and still drop Xavier at his school and drive to one of a few cafes. We order flat white, sometimes a croissant, sometimes (too regularly!) pancakes. Marcel makes friends with the barista. We pop by the wet markets on the way to the car, pick up some fruit and sometimes flowers.

Each parent will find their own way to bond with their children, some in, I’m sure, much more meaningful ways then me and my café kids. But I love that my morning ritual involves them. That we can have our special time in an adult setting. That they (for kids!) are very well behaved in restaurants and cafes because of it.

My Neo Life

AN

xo