Thursday, 31 July 2014

A Petite Conversation with Vera [London]

This week on our instagram account, we have been chatting with Vera from Life is in the Small Things about her trip to London. Read on to see what you missed.


PETITE TRAVELLERS: London is a long flight from Singapore! How did your children hold up?

VERA: This photo always makes me laugh and this image of my hobo-like little girl pretty much sums how we felt when we finally arrived at the hotel -- tired, dishevelled and hungry! The kids actually did really well on the flight as they pretty much occupied themselves with the in-flight entertainment system. My son was a wreck when he got off though, after watching TV for nearly 10 hours! We learnt from our mistake and regulated his TV time more carefully on the flight back.


PETITE TRAVELLERS: Can you describe a funny incident that took place on this trip?

VERA: That has got to be my son falling asleep at the table in the restaurant during one of the earlier days of our trip. It is usually so hard to get him to sleep but jet lag does hit hard! For the record, he missed dinner that night altogether.


PETITE TRAVELLERS: What is your favourite memory from this trip?

VERA: Definitely celebrating my birthday with friends and family with dinner at Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa! The food was fantastic -- all those grilled meats! Everyone enjoyed the food and despite the fact that I was down with flu, I had a really good time.


PETITE TRAVELLERS: Do you have any tips for families planning a trip to London? 

VERA: One thing which we were very glad for were the art materials that we brought along. We packed clipboards with blank paper and markers into our luggage and when the kids were jet-lagged and woke up really early the first few days, they were able to entertain themselves drawing and scribbling for a good while without disturbing us parents!


PETITE TRAVELLERS: Share with us a scenic spot from your travels.

VERA: I actually think that the city looks great when the sun is out, which alas, isn't too often! But it was a brilliant day when we visited Westminster Abbey and when we came out, we found a great spot nearby where we couldn't resist grabbing a picture with the iconic Big Ben in the background and the blue blue sky!

For more petite conversations, do follow @petitetravellers on Instagram.

Monday, 28 July 2014

London: A City of History, Culture, Shopping and Everything In Between

This travel post is written by Vera who blogs at Life is in the Small Things. She travelled to London with her petite travellers Noey (4 years) and Mei (2 years) in May-June 2013 and spent a week in the city and another week exploring nearby regions on day-trips. In this post, Vera focuses on the activities in the city of London. There's certainly plenty to do!

This holiday is suitable for families that enjoy immersing themselves in the hustle and bustle of a city, exploring sights and soaking up some history and culture.


So, London.

I personally agonised about how to write this post because I think it is impossible to compress a city like London, with all that it has to offer in terms of historical sights, art and culture, food and shopping into just one post. It simply won't do it justice! But London really is a great place for a family holiday, not the least because you would definitely be able to find something for everyone. 

While I was scrolling through photos in preparation of writing this post, my son came to look over my shoulder, and started exclaiming happily about how much he enjoyed the trip. We spent some time talking about our holiday and out of that, this post was born. Consider this a taster of what London has to offer, from the eyes of a 5-year old (and his mum!).

1. Museums


When we first drew up our itinerary, the museums were the first things we put on our list. London is littered with museums and many of them are kid-friendly. The best part is that entry to many of these museums is free! The kids' favourite museum is the Natural History Museum. Till this day, my son Noey still speaks fondly of our visit. So this is definitely a must-do for kids!

There are many interesting galleries at the Natural History Museum, but the hot favourite is no doubt the Dinosaurs gallery, and with good reason. Even us adults were wowed by many fully reconstructed dinosaur skeletons on display. There was lots to see, touch, feel and read about. It is very popular so if you wish to beat the queue, do book your free tickets in advance. Another gallery we enjoyed was the Mammals gallery with its large collection of taxidermied animals, though it was a bit unnerving coming eye-to-eye with some ferocious beasts! Don't miss the iconic Blue Whale in the large mammals hall, the unofficial mascot of the museum.

A fun thing to do if you visit with young children is to check out a free Explorer Backpack from the Hintze Hall information desk. In it you'll find an activity booklet which the kids can use as they explore the museum. It also comes with a safari hat and a pair of binoculars, which the children really liked playing with.

While the Natural History Museum was more for the kids, we also made time to visit the The British Museum and The National Gallery because we adults were keen to view their collections.


The British Museum is dedicated to the study of human history and culture and features an enormous collection of some of the finest samples of historical objects from all over the world. Of particular note are its gallery of Ancient Egypt, which houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt, and its gallery of Greece and Rome, which includes the controversial Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. 


The National Gallery is a personal favourite of mine because I love paintings. In The National Gallery you will find Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers, Jan van Eyck's The Arnolfini Portrait, Sandro Boticelli's Venus and Mars, and Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres, to name a few. There are also many pieces by famous British artists like John Constable and JMW Turner.

At both these museums, I was very impressed by the fact that plenty of provision had been made for families. There were kids activity packs which you could check out, kids trails to follow, and kids audio guides to lead them around the museum. We did the Art Detectives Audio Tour at The National Gallery and I thought it was great. It was pitched as a quest that the kids had to follow to solve a mystery, and at each painting it provided information on the painting in the form of an interesting dialogue. My 4-year old son was able to follow and enjoyed it. It was a worthwhile investment and we definitely got more out of our visit as a result.

2. Markets

Ah, I love markets, and London has some of the best ones! If I had to choose between them, I'd go for Borough Market for food and Covent Garden for interesting wares and entertainment value.


Borough Market is London's most renown food market, and as someone who loves to cook, the place really made me hyperventilate from excitement. There's gorgeous fresh produce alongside exotic food products, jams and dips, yummy bakes, and food stalls where food is cooked on the spot and devoured. We bought a packet of cherry tomatoes from The Tomato Stall, and wow, they were the best and sweetest tomatoes we'd ever eaten. All of us couldn't stop munching on them and we easily finished our bag as we walked. Another gem was Fitz Fine Foods, where we enjoyed trying the pates and dips and went home with a couple of their mustards. Don't forget to stop by Monmouth Coffee Company to grab cuppa of the best coffee for miles around, though you should be prepared to wait in line!



Since we arrived in the mid-morning, we got some food and walked over to have lunch on the grounds of the adjacent Southwark Cathedral. On a fine day, there would be plenty of others with the same idea, but just find yourself a spot and make yourself comfortable. The cathedral is also good for a visit thereafter. The full market is open from Wednesday to Saturday every week. 


Covent Garden is another of my favourite markets for sheer vibrancy and fun. Covent Garden's piazza really houses three markets that sell all manner of lovely things, from British arts and craft to jewellery, fashion, homewares and antiques. It is a great place to browse. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants at which you can grab a bite. One of the highlights for kids are the street performers and "statues" found busking in the area. It has a great atmosphere and you can easily spend an hour watching some really good acts. Don't forget to take a walk down to Magic Corner near the end of James Street where magicians have been performing for over 400 years!

3. Parks


There are plenty of green spaces in London that are a joy to explore - when the weather is fine! Hyde Park is the most famous park around but we found Kensington Gardens at a corner of Hyde Park, a really lovely spot. The kids had a field day running around and puffing on dandelion heads and, just being kids. It is also in Kensington Gardens that you'll find the Diana Memorial Playground, a fantastic playground with a huge wooden pirate ship as its centrepiece. Inspired by Peter Pan, this is a really fun space with a sensory trail, teepees, and a beach around the pirate ship with toys and play sculptures. Definitely one not to be missed for the little ones.

If you have some time, you might like to consider making a trip out to Richmond Park where you will find Red and Fallow deer roaming freely. That promises to be quite a sight!

4. Historical and Royal Sites

It isn't often that you can get up close to a queen and a royal family. Little girls with princess dreams would probably be interested in checking out a real palace, and quite surprised to see it doesn't look quite like the fairytale castles of their dreams! Of the royal sites, the Tower of London has my vote for being the most interesting. Definitely take a Yeoman Warder tour  and they will chill and thrill you with tales of the Tower and some of its more infamous residents. This is also where you get the chance to see, and be impressed by, the Crown Jewels. If there is one thing I regret about my trip, it is the fact that we totally missed visiting the Tower during our recent trip as my husband and I were totally incapacitated by flu for a few days and we ran out of time to make a visit. I still remember my visit to the Tower years back because it made quite an impression and I hope to bring the kids there again another time. 


We did visit Westminster Abbey, my interest piqued by, ermm, the Royal Wedding that took place the year before. It was certainly quite awe-inspiring with all that history before you in the form of with the tombs of kings and queens spanning a period of more than 500 years.  Scores of famous personalities in art, literature, music and science are also buried or commemorated in the Abbey and it was a delight stumbling upon them in the course of our visit. It is also an incredibly beautiful church and even the kids were very struck by it. That said, the Abbey is HUGE, and really not a place you can properly explore with young kids in tow. I also felt that the entrance fee of £18 was rather steep, even if it did come with an audio guide. They also didn't allow any photography, which was a bit of a downer. It's probably a place you'd want to visit at least once in your life but I probably will not do it again.

5. Hamleys


Shopping in London is great, especially with the current very favourable exchange rate! But for the kids, they only had eyes for one place: Hamleys. My kids' eyes nearly fell out of their head when we visited the huge toy store on Regent Street. Five floors of toys! There were lots of interesting displays, and many areas where you could play with the toys or watch some of the cool toy demonstrations. The only problem with that is that it is very easy to get sucked into the sales pitch! I certainly walked out with more than I intended to buy in the first place, but it was worth it for the experience. The candy and ice-cream the top floor was the icing on the cake.

While you're in the area of Oxford Street and Regent Street, here are a couple of things I think you shouldn't miss:

  • Primark -- Here you will find a wide variety of fashionable clothes and basics at low prices. Some things are so unbelievably cheap, even we, coming from low-cost Asia, did a double take. Hard to resist and definitely worth a visit.
  • Ben's Cookies -- I fell in love with these chewy huge cookies as a student and they are still good now! Best eaten warm.
  • Pierre Hermé Paris Concession in Selfridges -- Positively the BEST macarons around, bar none. I admit it: I hid them in my bag and took them out only after the kids went to sleep so I didn't have to share any!

That's it for London City from me, though I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what London has to offer! If you have some recommendations or stories to share about what you enjoyed in London, do tell us in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

Stay tuned for my next post where I'll be sharing about some theme parks an easy drive away from London which would be great for a family day out.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Petite Conversation with Jasmine [San Francisco]

This week on our instagram account, we have been chatting with Jasmine from Scissors Paper Stone about her trip to San Francisco. Read on to see what you missed.

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Can you share a travel tip for families heading to San Francisco?

JASMINE : On this particular occasion, I flew to San Francisco with my kids but without my husband who was tied up with work. I was nervous about the flight but was delighted to find this playroom when we transited in Seoul. If your flight takes you via Seoul, you might want to head to one of the four kiddy playrooms at the airport to give your kids a chance to expel some of their boundless energy.

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Share a meal or type of food that you enjoyed.

JASMINE : When you are in San Francisco, try the Mint Mojito Iced Coffees from Philz Coffee. Don't worry, there isn't any alcohol inside but the muddled mint leaves at the bottom of the iced coffee gives it a refreshing taste that will surely wake anyone up.

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Share a picture of a happy find.

JASMINE : We had just arrived in San Francisco that day and were a little jet-lagged and tired. Instead of cooking, we decided to have dinner in town at a little cafe that served all sorts of pies. As we were waiting for our pies to be served, the kids played outside the cafe when they spotted this yellow ladybug. It was a first for all of us!

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Describe a special memory from your travels.

JASMINE : My parents are a great help when we travel. They go along with the flow and try to lend a hand where needed because they understand how tough it can be with young kids.   I can't tell you how much I appreciate that extra hand. So here's a shot of my Dad at the Steinhart Aquarium when he chose to accompany the boys and I to the Academy of Science instead of having breakfast at the well-known Mama's restaurant on Washington Square with my Mum and Sis.

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Share with us a scenic spot from your travels.

JASMINE : The Bay Area Discovery Museum is not only a wonderful place for kids but it also offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are also picnic spots where you can have lunch, watch the kids continue their play and just soak up that that warm californian sunshine. That's if you aren't too busy snapping shots of your kids like I was.

Thinking of visiting San Francisco with the family, make sure you read Jasmine's post on kid-friendly factory tours and museums.

For more petite conversations, follow @petitetravellers on Instagram.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

San Francisco : Kid-friendly Factory Tours & Museums

This travel post is written by Jasmine who blogs at Scissors Paper Stone. She travelled to San Francisco with her petite travellers, K (4 years) and J (7 years) in June 2013 to attend her sister's wedding. Her husband was unable to make it due to work commitments but thankfully, her dad and mum lent her an extra hand during the trip. 

This holiday is suitable for families who enjoy learning how things are made or exploring some of the world's best museums for kids.

Of the American cities I have visited, San Francisco might very well be the favourite. The sunny weather, picturesque Golden Gate Bridge coupled with the buzzing activity on the Pier made me want to stay a little longer than I had planned. The food was excellent and there were lots for the kids to do.

You might already have the Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge on your travel itinerary. But how about adding some kid-friendly options? Perhaps you might want to add a tour of a factory or a museum to your plan. 

Factory tours while on holiday? You heard me right. I find it fascinating to go behind the scenes to see how things are actually made. My kids are naturally curious too, so they thoroughly enjoyed these tours. 

Here are three kid-friendly factory tours to consider while you are in San Francisco:

1. Mrs Grossman's Sticker Factory (Petaluma)

If you have girls or boys who love stickers, you will probably know Mrs Grossman. At her factory, guests are shown how stickers are printed, die-cut and perforated. FREE stickers are dished out at each stop of the tour, which served to put smiles on the kids' faces. Then, right at the end you get to participate in a unique sticker project. The tour takes about 50 minutes and is available from Mondays to Thursdays.

One other special event worth looking out for is the Summer 'parking-lot-sale' that happens in June. This is where they sell packaged stickers together for a bargain price. I picked up a few bundles and these helped to keep the kids busy throughout our trip. To know when the next sale is, do check out their facebook page.

Another tour in Petaluma suitable for kids is the Mc Clelland's Dairy Farm Tours where guests can get to pet a baby calf or even milk a cow. 

When hungry, drop by the Petaluma Pie Company for their sweet and savoury pies or check out the other restaurants in town. You can also patronise the nice shops in the vicinity. One good shop to visit is Powell's Sweet Shoppe, where you can buy an old-fashioned candy from a past era.

Mrs Grossman's Sticker Factory
3810 Cypress Drive
Petaluma, CA 94954
(800) 429-4549
(707) 763-1700

2. Jelly Belly Factory (Fairfield)

Ever tried a Jelly Belly? What's your favourite? Mine is Pina Colada. They come in 150 flavours! Whenever we are on a road trip, I would bring a bag of Jelly Bellies along. So when my friend mentioned the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, I knew I had to plan it into our itinerary. 

The tour is 40 minutes long and you tour a real factory. It was fascinating to see the rotating drums where the Jelly Bellies took shape. We were given different flavours to try as the guide explained the process to us. You can only imagine how it kept the kids quiet and attentive during the tour. Ha! Also, right at the end of the tour, all guests were invited to try free samples of any flavour. Of course, my kids couldn't resist trying the weird Harry Potter flavours. The tours run on weekdays but do check the website for up-to-date timings. 

After the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, we headed to the factory outlets. I love Marshall's for its great bargains and if you are ever in need of an extra luggage bag, you know you can often find one there for a steal.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour
One Jelly Belly Lane
Fairfield, CA 94533

3. Heath Ceramics Factory (Sausalito)

Third on the list is Heath Ceramics that is known for modern ceramic ware. Simple and timeless, you can find discounted second quality pieces here. I love their stuff and am so glad that I managed to visit the factory. The tours run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and are suitable for kids above the age of 5. It's a great place for kids to view how lumps of clay are transformed into plates, bowls and vases. Check out the timings here

Even if you aren't keen to visit Heath Ceramics, I would recommend a day trip to Sausalito which is a gorgeous little town with quaint shops to wander into. Try to arrive in the morning and stop by Philz Coffee for their famed mint mojito iced coffees and croissants. I love the fresh smell and taste of mint so the coffee left a strong impression on me. I tried reproducing it at home once but wasn't too successful. Maybe I should try again. 

Another restaurant to visit in Sausalito is Fish (see the Sausalito picture above). It is   famous for their fish and chips as well as their crab rolls and clam chowder. We chose a table outdoors and enjoyed the sun and sea breeze while happily filling our tummies. The prices are on the high side but the fish and chips didn't disappoint and unsurprisingly the kids kept asking for more. 

Apart from factory tours, I like to plan visits to a museum or two whenever we are in the USA.  America has the best kid-friendly museums and here are four that I would recommend: 

1. Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito)

The Bay Area Discovery Museum was the kids' favourite museum in SF and is ideal for young tots too. I think it is perfect for families travelling with young ones. There are three play areas (within the Museum) that we really liked:

Bay Hall. This contained a miniature version of Fisherman's Wharf for the kids to engage in pretend play. My kids took turns pretending to be fishermen catching fish with a rod. We were also captivated by the trains that scooted around the hall.

Wave Workshop. Inside here was a water play area where kids could build boats and float it down the river. This was water play with a purpose! I constructed boats and pitted mine against theirs. Suffice to say, we all ended up getting a bit wet. All in the name of great fun!

Lookout Cove. Make sure to carve out time to visit this thoughtful outdoor play area with climbing structures, outdoor sand pits and construction toys. It sure helps that you also get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge from there.

They are open daily from 9am - 5pm.  

Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Road,
CA 94965

2. California Academy of Science

Sometimes when travelling in a large group, we find it easier to split up to do different things. On one occasion, Dad accompanied the boys and I to the California Academy of Science while Mum and Sis went to have breakfast at Mama's. (They ended up queuing for 45 minutes for the Monte Cristo which Sis said was totally worth the wait.)

We had a great time exploring the Academy of Science which was made up of a Rainforest, Natural History Museum, Planetarium and an Aquarium. Passes to the Planetarium show are distributed on a first come, first serve basis so head straight to the Planetarium first when you arrive to pick up your tickets. We watched a show called Fragile Planet. Unfortunately, this was a little bit disappointing (I thought it was too simple). Apparently there is a new show called Dark Universe which has had better reviews. 

It was surreal having birds and butterflies roaming freely around us in the Rainforest exhibit We spent most of our time in the Steinhart Aquarium where there were daily penguin feedings and coral reef. 

The kids also ventured into the Shake House which was a room that simulated the city's two biggest earthquakes. My kids had actually experienced a real-life earthquake previously when we were in Tokyo, so this simulated version didn't really scare them. That said, this experience might not be suitable for every child so do use your own discretion as to whether you let them go on it or not. 

California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive. 
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118

3. Exploratorium

The Exploratorium wins hands down when it comes to fun for adults. Located on Pier 15, this is near the Ferry Building where you can also find lots of good eats. Unlike most museums that prefer you to keep your hands off the exhibits, here kids and adults are encouraged to tinker and explore. 

There are 6 main galleries : Human Phenomena, Tinkering, Seeing and Listening, Living Systems, Landscape Observation, Place and Environment and these are all located on one floor. Here is a map of the place if you want to plan ahead. 

Adults and kids are invited to play with light in unusual ways, observe coloured shadows, experiment with black sand, analyse how sound reacts in various situations, just to name a few of the experiences available. My kids ran from exhibit to exhibit trying to figure out how they worked. Sometimes they needed a little help and at other times, they worked it out all on their own. It truly felt like a big playground where we could all play together. 

I can't stress this enough: you won't want to miss the chance to visit the Exploratorium while you are in town. 

Pier 15 San Francisco
CA 94111

If you plan to visit the Exploratorium, you might want to have lunch at the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building which is open 3 days a week. If the Market isn't open, I suggest you head inside the building where you can treat yourself to the sweet pastries at Miette and grab a coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co, and all while resting your feet. Further along the pier is Fisherman's Wharf on Pier 39, which is touristy but still a lot of fun. There are plenty of restaurants there and a charming carousel that the kids will definitely love.

4. Children's Creativity Museum

The last museum on the list is one that we didn't visit. It is most definitely on our list for our next holiday here. Centred on art and technology, the museum is all about inspiring kids to create from their imagination.

There is an animation studio where kids are introduced to the basics of stop motion animation. A design studio where families can experiment with Adobe Photoshop as well as a music studio where kids get to perform in front of a green screen or create their own original work using GarageBand.

There is also an Imagination Lab, an Innovation Lab and much more. I really wish we had something just like this in Singapore. If so, I would definitely visit it more than once with the kids.

Children's Creativity Museum
221 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 820-3320

Well, that wraps up my post on kid-friendly factory tours and museums. If you have been to San Francisco, where would you recommend for family fun? Perhaps you have a favourite family restaurant that you would also want to share with us? I hope to hear from you!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Petite Conversation with Angie [Queensland Holidays for Kids]

This week on our Instagram account (@petitetravellers), we have been chatting with Angie from Life's Tiny Miracles about her trip to Queensland. Read on to see what you missed.

A little rain can't deter us from having fun

PETITE TRAVELLERS : What was the weather like when you travelled?

ANGIE : We travelled to Queensland in early December and enjoyed gorgeous sunshine (minus the humidity that we are familiar with back home). There were passing showers on one of the days when we were in Dreamworld but it didn’t dampen our moods. We took shelter at the animal sanctuary and donned our ponchos to continue exploring.

 Cute little ponchos for little travellers

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Do you have any kid-friendly tips for families planning a trip to Queensland? 

ANGIE : Here are some kid-friendly tips:
  • Rent a car from a reputable company (e.g. Avis), which offers 24/7 roadside assistance in case of breakdown. Remember to include GPS and an approved child seat. 
  • Request for the bassinet row for your flight so the child can nap in it and you get to enjoy extra legroom. 
  • Stay in a service apartment. It’s usually cheaper than hotels, provides more room for kids to roam and allows simple meal preparation. 
  • Bring along sunscreen lotion, hat and mozzie repellants if you are travelling in Summer. 
  • Log on to free wifi at Macdonalds restaurants and cafes if you do not wish to purchase a local SIM card. 
  •  Plan your travel dates early and book your flights at least half a year ahead to enjoy greatest savings on airfare. Scoot (an SQ subsidiary flies direct to Gold Coast 5 times per week).
  • Visit Macys in Brisbane in the month of December and kids get to ride in a Santa Claus Train and meet Mr. Santa himself!  

View from our serviced apartment in Sunshine Coast

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Describe a special memory from your travels. 

ANGIE : We really enjoyed our strawberry picking experience at the Strawberry Fields. It’s an actual working farm so you see tractors and farmers at work pruning the plants. The strawberries were big, red, juicy and sweet. We enjoyed the yummiest freshly made strawberry ice-cream at the farm before we left. Simply memorable both for kids and adults.

PYO - Pick Your Own Strawberries
Fancy some strawberry ice-cream?

PETITE TRAVELLERS : What is your favourite photo from this trip, and why? 

ANGIE : It has got to be this photo of Dana on the Big Bird Bounce. It was her very first thrill ride and at 2, she barely met the height limit and was the tiniest among all the kids but she loved every second of it and even sat on it twice.

Simply exhilarating!

PETITE TRAVELLERS : Share a pic of a happy find or unexpected discovery. 

ANGIE : We were driving along Surfers Paradise when we chanced upon this amazing playground at Anzac Park. It has a flying fox designed specially for kids, a cycling ride around the track for parents and child, swings, balance beams and more cool playground structures for kids. Even though it was dinnertime, we had so much fun that we were reluctant to leave. This was not in our itinerary but it became one of the highlights we remember fondly.

Daddy and Daughter bonding time
Loving the flying fox!

Did you enjoy our petite conversation? You can follow @petitetravellers on Instagram.

Monday, 14 July 2014

We are in the finals of the Singapore Blog Awards!

We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Singapore Blog Awards 2014, to have made it into the top ten out of the numerous applicants this year for the Best New Blog category.

Whatever the results, we are pleased to have the chance to bring this blog to more families, and hope to build this blog up into a really useful resource.

We are really thankful for all the support that we've received so far - especially the more than 460 of you who have joined us as Facebook followers, though we only started our Facebook page less than a month ago!

SBA 2014 - a great reason to have an extra ice-cream or two.

If you haven't heard yet, we have been celebrating with #icecreamforpetitetravellers ! (Not that any of us really need an excuse to have ice-cream, anytime, anyday.) Join us by taking a mug-shot of your ice-cream for the day, hashtag #icecreamforpetitetravellers, and we'll see you on Instagram, as well as send some IG love your way!

For the Singapore Blog Awards, winners for our category will be determined by a combination of scoring by judges (70%) and public votes (30%), which means you!

If you'd like to, you can also show your support for this baby blog by voting for us (if you really love us you can vote once a day, everyday) from now till 31 July.

Psst, voters will also get a chance to win some prizes from sponsors such as Panasonic!

Here's to more great holidays with our families, and more fuss-free jaunts with our petite travellers!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Queensland for Kids: 7 Recommendations for a Free & Easy Holiday

This travel post is written by Angie who blogs at Life's Tiny Miracles. She travelled to Queensland on a self-drive holiday with her petite traveller, Dana (then 2 years). This holiday is suitable for families with petite travellers (10 years and below) who enjoy the flexibility of travelling free and easy, love a fun adventure and want to enjoy the great outdoors.

1. Lone Pine Sanctuary, Brisbane

Lone Pine Sanctuary is Australia's first and largest Koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas. It's also rated one of the Top 10 Best Zoos in the World. We took a direct bus there from our serviced apartment in the city. At the sanctuary, kids get to cuddle koalas and meet many other local Australian native animals like the Kookaburra (a terrestrial kingfisher native to Australia) and the Dingo (a free-roaming wild dog mainly found in the outback and unique to the continent of Australia) which we don't get to see elsewhere in Asia. We saw also wombats, kangaroos, lorikeets and snakes.

There is also a small patting zoo where kids can feed baby lambs and seek shelter from the rain (when it tends to get a bit wetter in December). For a relaxing and educational farm experience for the kids, don't forget to dedicate a full day at the Lone Pine Sanctuary!

Lone Pine Sactuary

Tip: Kids who colour a page from their interactive webpage and bring along on your visit will be given a small gift! Visit its website here for more details.

Address: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket, Queensland
Contact Number: +61 7 3378 1366

2. Sea World, Gold Coast

From Brisbane, we hired a car and drove to Sea World in Gold Coast. Driving in Queensland is a breeze with the aid of a GPS. We booked 2 nights' stay in the newly refurbished Deluxe Room at Sea World so that we can hop back for short rest whenever we needed.

Right at the doorstep of the Sea World Resort is the Monorail which is one of the oldest rides in Gold Coast and is actually the first monorail to be built in Australia. It's a great way to get around the Sea World as it stops at convenient places within the huge theme park.

Dana had fun at the Marine Touch Pool and Shark Bay where we saw sharks, stingrays and a range of exotic tropical fish. We also saw polar bears! The IMAGINE Dolphin Show, an interactive and education programme on marine life preservation, was a crowd favourite too.

Kids would love the Sesame Street Beach where trains and helicopter rides, merry-go-round, bird bouncer, and a splash zone await. Dana tried every thrill ride available - Bert & Ernie's Big Dive, Elmo's Sea Subs and Big Bird Bounce!

Sea World, Gold Coast

Our favourite memory of Sea World was the Bert & Ernie's Island Adventure Stage Show where we were entertained by the whole host of Sesame St friends like Big Bird, Ernie, Zoe, Grover, Cooking Monster and Elmo. For a fun-filled day out in Gold Coast, a visit to Sea World is a must!

Address: Seaworld Dr, Main Beach, Queensland 4217, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5588 2222

3. Dreamworld, Gold Coast

We visited Dreamworld, Australia's largest Theme Park because it houses 'Wiggles World' - home of Dana's favourite Aussie preschool Music group - The Wiggles!

Besides meeting the characters, Dreamworld has a fantastic array of thrill rides designed for the entire family – from kids to teenagers to adults. We discovered a Wildlife Section in Dreamworld that not many people are aware of. You can go close to Koalas, Kangaroos and even crocs! We missed their newest attraction 'Madagascar Madness' which only opened after our trip. This is a good reason for us to return someday!

Dreamworld, Gold Coast

Address: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera, Queensland 4209, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5588 1111

4. Surfers’ Paradise Beach and Anzac Park

Singapore’s coastline is dotted with silhouettes of oil refineries and ship tankers. Here at Surfers Paradise, the emerald sea meets the azure sky as far as your eye can see. It's truly a beautiful and spectacular sight to behold! We built sandcastles on the beach and ran against the surf during our stay.

Surfers' Paradise Beach

At Surfers Paradise, we chanced upon a lovely outdoor sand playground at Anzac Park. Dana did her first ever Giant Flying Fox here and we spent hours just indulging in unstructured play! Isn’t that what holidays are supposed to be about? Making happy memories and depositing these into the kids’ memory banks.

Anzac Park Playground

Tip: The Anzac Park Playground is situated opposite the Australian Fair Shopping Centre.

Address: Marine Parade, Southport, Queensland 4215, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5581 6984

5. Eumandi Market, Gold Coast

We timed our trip to visit the Eumandi Market on a Saturday. Eumandi Market is a local weekend 'crafts' market where you’ll find original artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, fashion, jewellery and other knick knacks by local designers. We spent the morning soaking in the artsy vibes, enjoying tasty bites and admiring the handiworks of the talented stallholders here.

Eumandi Market, Gold Coast

Address: Memorial Drive, Eumundi, Queensland 4567, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5442 7106

6. Strawberry Field Farm, Sunshine Coast

A stopover at Strawberry Fields gives kids an authentic PYO (Pick Your Own) strawberries experience right from the ground patch! The farm has lush landscaping and is very scenic. Dana spent an hour harvesting the strawberries under the hot sun. For her hard work, we rewarded her with freshly made strawberry ice-cream which was truly out-of-this-world yummy! We could not stop feasting on freshly picked sweet strawberries on our way out.

There is a watermelon plantation within the premises where kids can see how watermelons are grown and
harvested. Truly a highlight of our Queensland trip that Dana remembers till this day.

Strawberry Fields, Sunshine Coast

Address: 133 Laxton Road, Palmview, Queensland, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5494 5146

7. The Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast

The Australia Zoo is big on conservation, making it such an amazing place for the little ones to understand more about the animal kingdom. Here, one can cuddle a koala, hand-feed Asian elephants, walk with a Sumatran tiger and watch a crocodile launch from the waters edge.  The Zoo is the brainchild of the famous "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 in a freak accident at the Great Barrier Reef.

We spent a fruitful afternoon watching the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Show at the Crocoseum, visiting the Tiger Temple and Asia Elephant habitat. We found the Animal Wildlife Adventure Show educational. The zoo keepers highlighted some world’s conservation issues and taught the kids how to protect wildlife. During the show, we saw giant snakes, majestic elephants, colourful, soaring birds and huge prehistoric Saltwater Crocodiles!

Dana was an intrepid little explorer who went trekking around the spacious Zoo with her mini binoculars. We love the Australian Zoo for its well-planned layout, its beautiful landscaping, the
interesting Aussie wildlife exhibits and the interactive animal zones! The highlight of our visit was the 'Bindi Pony Ride' where each kid get to ride the pony into a forest trail! No wonder The Australia Zoo has won so many tourism accolades and awards. It is the perfect destination for an educational and fun outing.

The Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast

Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, Queensland 4519, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5436 2000

Queensland has proven to be such an enjoyable one-stop holiday destination for families with its fun theme parks, gorgeous beaches, wildlife parks and well-designed playgrounds. We find it a breeze to drive everywhere with the help of a GPS. The advantage of a free and easy holiday is that you are in control of your time. We could chill out at a cafe in the mornings, grab a cuppa and catch up on latest news (or FB updates with the free Wifi) before heading out.  We then end each day with a stroll against the gorgeous Australian sunset. That's why we love holidaying in Queensland!

Hop over to this post to read our interview on our Gold Coast Holiday with the Petite Travellers' Team! 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

George Town, Penang: A Food & Culture Adventure

This travel post is written by Delphine who blogs at Life in the Wee Hours. She travelled to Penang with her husband and kid(s), Anya (3 years) in March 2012; with Anya (3.5 years) & Adam (1 year) in December 2012 and with Anya (5 years), Adam (2.5 years) & David (3.5 months) in April 2014. 

This holiday is suitable for families looking for a quick getaway and good food. Penang is one of the best places for a short trip with kids in tow. There are several flights available from various budget airlines and it takes just over an hour to get there so the little ones don’t even have time to fuss on the plane. The people there are friendly and it’s easy to get around on foot, by taxi or even on a trishaw. Free shuttle buses around the main tourist spots are available as well. 

Here's a list of the top 5 things to do in George Town: 

1. Eat Your Heart Out

Penang is a foodie's dream come true. There's just so much affordable, delicious food that both adults and kids will enjoy. You can start with a dim sum breakfast at the 80-year-old Tho Yuen. The dim sum there may not be the absolute best in Penang, but the old school setting makes dining there quite an experience. Another yummy breakfast option is roti canai, thosai and teh tarik at Sri Anada Bahwan in Little India. For lunch, head to the popular (but some say overrated) char kway teow stall at Kafe Heng Huat on Lorong Selamat or stand in line for the street hawker that appears in the late afternoon at Siam Rd. 

Afternoon tea at the Eastern & Oriental is a must-have; kids will love the little sandwiches, cakes and scones, and they can run around outside after tea. Leave space for dinner and get some Assam laksa, prawn noodles, curry mee, loh bak, nutmeg juice, cendol, etc. into your system. The food at Gurney Drive is not outstanding but it is tourist-friendly and you can find all the local favourites in one place. If seafood is your thing, Bali Hai serves up very decent fare and the kids can gawk at the tanks of live seafood while waiting for the food to arrive. Needless to say, my kids ate non-stop in Penang! 

2. Hunt Down Street Art

Kids who enjoy a little treasure hunt will have fun looking for street art around George Town and posing for pictures with the murals. There are maps available at the airport and hotels; arm yourself with one of those. The afternoon heat in Penang can be merciless so slap on some sunblock, put on your sunglasses, drink lots of water, and bring along an umbrella for shade. You can also consider hiring a trishaw to take you around for the day if you have little ones who tire easily. 

Our favourite murals were the ones by Ernest Zacharevic and you can see more of his work at Hin Bus Depot Art Centre (opposite Grand Continental Hotel). Word of advice: they claim to open at 12pm but you are better off going at 1pm! 

3. Visit The Blue Mansion

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is probably the most famous building in Penang and for good reason. The beautifully restored mansion painted in a striking blue is a stunning backdrop for photographs. There are daily guided heritage tours at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm. For a truly unique experience, stay a couple of nights at the Blue Mansion and imagine life in a bygone era. We were guests there back in 2012 so we could explore the place freely and the kids also made friends with the resident felines. The karaoke singing from the Red Garden food centre next door goes on past midnight but it wasn’t really an issue and my kids slept through it. 

4. Get High

If you need some fresh air, head up Penang Hill on the funicular train for an incredible view of Penang. Perfect if your kids are early risers because the train runs from 6.30am. Make sure you get a seat right in front or at the back so that the little ones can look down or up the hill as the train makes its ascent. There’s a playground at the top (where the Hindu temple is) where kids can play. You can grab a bite from the cafes and refreshment stands or bring your own picnic basket along and have a picnic amidst the greenery. Cabs are hard to find in the area in the evening so take the bus or arrange for transport to pick you up at the base. 

5. Pretend To Be An Extra In Little Nyonya

At the lovingly restored Pinang Peranakan Mansion, you can get a glimpse into the lifestyle, culture and traditions of a typical rich Baba family. It was one of the locations where The Little Nyonya was filmed and the attention to detail in the re-creation makes you feel like you are visiting someone’s home. If you need to escape the oppressive heat or a passing shower, a visit to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion will keep the kids occupied. Entrance is free for children below 6. Little ones will be amazed (or maybe horrified) to see that people kept a chamber pot in the bedroom under the bed or in a nightstand to relieve themselves at night. You can even have a little game of finding the secret passage that leads from the mansion to the ancestral temple next door. 

Other kid-friendly activities in Penang that you can check out are the Penang Butterfly Farm, the Snake Temple (if your kids are not squeamish) and the Botanical Gardens. It's hard to run out of things to see, do and eat. Tell us, what are some of your favourite things to do in Penang?
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