Saturday, 31 March 2012

one year part 1 - 'Au revoir la France'...

I really surprised myself last week...someone asked how long I'd been in Singapore...I thought a second "is it really almost one year?"  Where the heck has that time whizzed off to?

Of course, I immediately started planning a blog post (in my head) incorporating my feelings 'n' thoughts about events from one year ago.  So, here is a few pics along with my memories from my last days in France 'when 7 years ended...finally'

boxes, boxes 'n' more boxes

bags 'n' boxes

container filling...taking my home across the seas to Asia

I still have a shiver at seeing this container - I'd been to the hotel with my Mum to drop off the baggage, we came around the corner back to the apartment in Noisy to see this...gosh, I was emotional :,-(

'the baggages'
after 'some confusion' as to how 'little me' would get my 8 items of baggage,
2 boys and myself to the airport,
I finally get stuck with a taxi driver (who didn't help load the things),
2 very emotional boys and a very emotional me :,-( 

the champagne in the lounge helped ease the trauma of the situation ;-)

I'd been so wrapped up in the packing 'n' organising, which is moving continent, that it really did only 'hit' me at the last moment that I (well we) were 'leaving France' forever...

I'd done the goodbyes to special people ;-) (but sadly didn't take enough pics, damn!)

my last weekend in France :-(
heck, I look shocking

I'd cried at the drop of a hat for a week or so...but nothing prepared me for the actual day...

Gosh, I had no idea how emotional it would all be!

No more familiar faces at school drop off and pick up times (for a while anyway),

no more driving on the right :-)

no more Parly 2 shopping trips with my 'shopping buddy',

no more running in the fields and seeing the deer and rabbits dashing along...

Of course, there were a good few parts of living in France that I wouldn't be too sad about leaving behind...

No more panic at mixing up 'tu' and 'vous'...a very serious issue!

No more panic at greeting someone - is it 'bonjour' or is it 'bonsoir'...even after 7 years I rarely got the timing of this correct!

raté :-D

Thankfully, I could remember all the reasons for getting to the airport on time...Singapore had been in my dreams and thoughts since I left there 7 years ago!  Mr Man was already there beginning to settle into his new job (he headed out to Singapore a month earlier than me and my boys),

AND my gorgeous boy Bébert was about to check out of the quarantine station
and would be all ready to jump up and lick my face ;-P

Gosh, what an emotional last few days...

This post is titled 'one year part 1' so it's pretty obvious the'll be a 'part 2'...I think I'll call it 'ni hao Singapura' ;-)  I'll set about reminiscing 'n' pic searching for that post...until then...

kisses 'n' smiles from me xx ;-)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

March Bellabox 'n' Facebook addiction

I've actually been so busy admiring my beautiful Bellabox from March that I've totally not got around to writing a little blog for it...

my March Bellabox

A'kin - hand nail & cuticle cream, L'egere BB cream,
Caudalie eye and lip cream,
Royal Herb EX cream and Dermalogica cleansing gel

AND this box was over-spilling with brochures 'n' leaflet infos!  To use my Dermalogica gift voucher will be such a treat :-) 

So, I now have 6 Bellaboxes I decided it was about time I had a general tidy up of my 'beauty products'...I've had stuff kicking around in the bottom of drawers and make-up bags since 'forever', I figured that since I now have all these 'new' goodies courtesy of Bellabox I should make some space available and get them used.

If you want an excuse to revamp your beauty regime or simply get your perfectly manicured nails on some gorgeous goodies then Bellabox is just for you xx ;-)

I vow to use my new products and not just simply look at them and think how lovely they silly is that? ;-)

a college of what my blog 'n' Facebook page is about...
Singapore - hence the beautiful orchids,
Moi -
and always sent with kisses 'n' smiles

Isn't Kate so beautiful 'n' thin ;-)

Anyone that knows me personally, will know that I have a 'oh so tiny' Facebook addiction ;-)  Needless to say, snippets and pics from kisses 'n' smiles are now available on this social networking site Ooooo, I'm on Facebook, if you like my blog drop by and LIKE me xx ;-)

kisses 'n' smiles from me xx ;-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Singapore from kampongs to vibrant towns...

Last week I took my first tour with the British Association of Singapore...I'm not really into associations and/or clubs but figured I'd join and that way I have a support group of Brits if and when I need 'em :-)

They organise regular drop in coffee mornings at various cafés around Singapore, these are more my cup a tea (;-)) and I will eventually get to one of these for a bit of chat 'n' gossip ;-)

So, the tour...Housing and Development Board (HDB) - "from kampongs to vibrant towns". With more than 80% of Singapore's population living in public housing and the fact that governments from other countries aim to have public housing as good and popular as Singapore's, I thought this would make an interesting morning...

The tour was very well organised and I'm pretty sure everyone arrived on time (proper British punctuality ;-)). Our tour guide made the morning really interesting and shared lots of facts, info 'n' a few secrets of Singapore ;-) 

A few points re HDBs :-

Pre-1960's .. accute housing shortage - most people lived in slums and kampongs which were dirty and unsafe;

1960's-1970's .. the Housing and Development Board created all new towns to meet the growing demand for public housing;

With a population of 2 million in 1970 and at 1976 50% of the Singapore population had been housed by HDB;

HDB not only created the public housing (flats) it also provided community centres for the residents;

In the early days...the allocation of flats went something like this - there were 2 boxs, you would be present to see you 'draw', one box contained your name and the second box was 'your' flat.

You could be on a wait list for 3 years...when it was eventually 'your' turn you did have the right to refuse 'your' given flat BUT, on the third 'draw' if you were still not happy then you would go to the back of the queue and possibly wait another 3 years!

The visit to the HDB Gallery in Toa Payoh certainly made us all rethink on public housing... These days, the flats are built to order - with the person taking out the lease being able to choose their preferred flooring, door handles, bathroom colour and entrance door :-)  Of course, the 'show flats' were well set up so the tenants can judge just how many rooms they need and get some interior design ideas...

2 room/1 bedroom

3 room/2 bedrooms

4 room/3bedrooms

5 room/4bedrooms

A little secret our tour guide shared with us...apparently, if a tenant takes out a lease with the HDB then at a later date can afford to buy a private house/condo they can 'kind of slip through some sort of loop hole'!  Some HDB tenants then lease out the private place (quite often to expats).  Of course, with the rental they are then charging Singapore sees (or perhaps...turns a blind eye) to millionaires living in public housing!! If you could own a four bedroom condo unit with pool and gym would you live in a two bedroom 75m2 flat? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't.

The Pinnacle@Duxton

Our last stop on 'the tour' was the Pinnacle @ Duxton...a one off project to show public housing can be in the centre of town/city.  With the land costing a premium this place is really special and no doubt will stay 'a one off project'.  S$5 per entry to the Pinnacle's 'sky bridge' @ the 50th level and you can enjoy pretty impressive views from the roof tops - my pics are not so clear as the day was extremely hazy :-(

Other stuff going on in my life in Singapore.... Well, it's been a 'long' three weeks without my maid/helper! Oh, don't get me wrong I've pretty much survived and the family are dressed in clean clothes and not starved :-D. But having been doing laundry, ironing, cleaning, shopping, cooking in this heat and humidity I'm totally shattered ;-)  I've had no time for ME and well, my nails are a disgrace! no pretty nail pics today :-((

So, yes, Aileen returns to Singapore this week (I breath a sigh of relief and am happy to give up my housewife chores)! I plan to treat myself to a morning in Ikea (never have enough things to store things in!).  Do my nails and get back to the gym...yep, generally turn the expat wife status back on ;-) and I'm pretty sure my Mr Man will be happy his shirts are being ironed 'properly' and actually have no creases in them :-/

Anthea Turner - Perfect Housewife dvd series...
I love watching her but I for sure don't want to be one ;-)

L8r beautiful 'n' gorgeous people xx

kisses 'n' smiles from me xx ;-)