MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Staycation @ Kempinski Jakarta

Oska and I made an impromptu decision to book a one night stay at Kempinski Jakarta last weekend, with his Agoda points. Coincidentally, Olive turned 19 months that Saturday so it ended up as a mini celebratory weekend for her. It was our 2nd staycation at Kempinski and needless to say (but I’m still saying anyway), we love it there!

Here are the top 5 reasons why:
Location
1. We live in the suburbs east of Jakarta so staying right in the heart of Jakarta in itself was a nice change. Truth is, every time we get to staycate in the city center, there’s only one word that pops up in my mind, “Civilisation!”. Oska would roll his eyes or frown reading this because yes, I exaggerate. But you know, the city girl needs her bustling city living every once in a while at least.
2. Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia malls are right next to Kempinski. That means lunch at Tim Ho Wan , dinner at Tim Ho Wan again or an alternative Chinese restaurant, and desserts from Llao Llao and Union Deli. The Chinese girl needs her Chinese food fix too because that’s what we lack where we live.

Service & Engagement
3. Service at Kempinski was nothing short of excellent.
4. First time we were at Kempinski, I posted a photo of Olive on instagram enjoying her stay. Next thing we know, the lovely people at Kempinski sent her some toys and souvenir. This time for our 2nd stay, we got a room upgrade. Because of that we never made it to the swimming pool as the bathtub was enjoyable enough.

Amenities
5. I love Kempinski’s focus on the little people they call “little VIPs”. Apparently, we could have just called the concierge if we needed bottle sterilisers/warmer, baby cot, kids bathrobe and slippers, bubble bath, bath toys, changing mat, stroller, car seat, carrier, babysitting services etc. Damn! I really should have called the concierge for the bath toys at least seeing that we spent so much time in the bathtub. Also, there is a little VIP indoor playground at Signatures restaurant where we had our breakfast at. That means us parents get to spend more time savoring our food while the children play.

Now, photos.

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Hahaha! Can’t believe I’m back again, with Chuck Chuck.

Grand Deluxe Room we got upgraded to.

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Olive’s reaction when she saw the bathtub.

Taking care of Chuck Chuck before taking a nap.

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Nap time is always fuss free on hotel beds.

Heading out for dinner.

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Early Learning Centre, the must-visit toy shop. Olive spotted ELC from a distance away, flung our hands away and dashed into the store.

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Puffy-eyed Olive heading to Signatures Restaurant for brunch.

Signatures Restaurant.

Croissant in one hand, and a spoonful of omelette on the other.

Our little big eater goofing around and clapping hands to food, oh glorious food!

Free play time!

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Kempinski Little VIP Playground

Spending most of our weekend in the bathtub. IMG_8553

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Cartoons and water play. Getting Olive out of the tub was as difficult as trying to catch a greased little pig. She kept slithering out of my hands. 

Olive having snacks on the bed, on the chair, everywhere.

Olive hiding behind curtains. What’s the fascination with peekaboo anyway? 19 months on and she’s still loving it. Well, whatever rocks your socks, baby girl!

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Couldn’t resist taking extra photos of this girl in this handmade romper by @elisevaughn. If you are instacrazy and love handmade clothing, you would understand. 

That’s not all the photos I wish to spam but I really should stop. Till our next staycation then!


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Chipmunks Playland @ Kota Kasablanka

Over the long weekend with 2 days of public holidays on the 5th and 6th of May, Oska and I brought Olive out every day to explore more of Jakarta.

We wanted to check out Ancol Dreamland but we got too intimidated by the maddening crowd. Parking was a problem and when we drove past the beach, we saw that every inch of it was covered by people. Oska drove off without any hesitation and we ended up indoors at Kota Kasablanca mall for Chipmunks Playland, a New Zealand-based indoor playground, instead.

Entrance & Pricing
Chipmunks Playland is recommended for kids from ages 0 to 12 years old. The play area is one of the biggest, if not the biggest we have been to in Jakarta so far, well furnished with a wide array of playground equipment.IMG_6467

Ticket pricing as such:IMG_6470

Stroller parking and shoe shelves right when you enter. As with most indoor playgrounds, socks are required. I have already built the habit of packing a couple pairs of socks into the diaper bag for both Olive and I because more often than not, they come in handy. But if forgotten, socks can be purchased at the ticketing counter for Rp15,000 or less. Alternatively, just buy a nice and comfy pair from the shops in the mall, one that you will wear again.IMG_6472

Toddler Area
There is a toddler area catered for children under 5, featuring make-believe playhouses, an inflatable boat ride, a mini carousel, a merry-go-round, a ball pit, and climbing and sliding obstacles. Olive, 18 months small, spent most of her time in this area.

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Olive on the merry-go-round, where she sneakily did her big business at.

Obstacle Course
There is an obstacle course across the main hall meant for bigger kids.
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Ball Blasters & Climbing Tunnel
More climbing tunnels meant for bigger kids surrounding a ball blasting arena.

Wave Slides
3 wave slides with a slower orange track.

Bouncy Castle and Inflatable Slides
2 inflatable playground equipment, one for smaller kids and the other giant inflatable slide for bigger children.

Trampoline
The trampolines, cleverly positioned by the entrance, to draw passersby’s attention to the playland.
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Kids Activity Corner
Ain’t nobody got time for that! Seriously, between climbing, jumping, sliding and clay modeling or coloring, most kids would choose the former.
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Games Room
Ain’t nobody got time for this either! IMG_6539

Center Stage
For events and performances.
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Party Rooms
Party rooms for rent.IMG_6534

Charlie’s Café and Dining/Rest Area
Always convenient to have hot food and beverages sold within the play area. There are also toilets and a nursing room within this play space.IMG_6540IMG_6508

Olive giving high fives to show how much she enjoyed the place. She played so much that she concussed within seconds of lying down on the stroller. Nap time with no fuss.  Now imagine me punching my fist in the air saying “YES!” IMG_6521

Address:
Chipmunks Playland and Café
Kota Kasablanka, Lantai 2, Unit 206, Jl. Casablanca Raya, Kav. 88, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta
Phone:(021) 29465012
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily


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Cinemaxx Junior – Cinema for Kids

Cinema for kids? Say what??? Yes! There’s a cinema specially designed for kids here in Indonesia.

Cinemaxx, a Lippo Group cinema chain, launched Indonesia’s first cinema for children on 14 March 2016 in Maxxbox Lippo Village shopping mall. Cinemaxx Junior is an innovative cinema-and-indoor-playground-in-one entertainment space that allows children to catch a movie, and at the same time have the freedom to move around, socialise and play all while the movie is screening.

Cinemaxx @ Maxxbox Lippo Village
Boasts 3 types of cinemas, Cinemaxx Gold, Cinemaxx Ultra X D, Cinemaxx Junior and an arcade, Maxx Games. Oska and I frequent the Cinemaxx Gold in another location closer to home because it really is such a luxury to catch a movie on lavish recliner seats, complete with pillows and blankets, and food and drinks served right to our seats. Best part is, a gold class movie ticket here in Indonesia costs Rp60,000 to Rp90,000 i.e. not more than 10sgd whereas an equivalent gold class movie ticket back in Singapore would set us back by 29sgd to 39sgd weekdays- or weekends-depending. And yes, the gold class experience here is also cheaper than the regular movie tickets back in Singapore! At this price, I can watch even the trashiest of movies whenever I feel like it.

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Cinemaxx at Maxxbox Lippo Village mall.

Not exactly sure what Ultra X D has to offer but we will try out soon enough.IMG_5972

Cinemaxx Junior
The showtimes for movies at Cinemaxx Junior are set an hour earlier so that the children can enter to play at the indoor playground prior to watching a movie. For example, if you book the ticket for the 4pm showtime, that will be the stipulated time for entry into the play zone, but the movie will only start screening at 5pm. Great way to control the crowd and yet allow sufficient time for kids to enjoy the indoor playground.
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Cinemaxx Junior – Indoor Playground
A 2-storey play space right next to the movie theatre.IMG_5979

Featuring a flying fox, climbing “trees” and a trampoline.

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Mini hammocks, chalk-board/magnetic wall, and more climbing features on the 2nd floor.IMG_6220IMG_6222

Kids toilet and the cleanest, most welcoming nursing room I have come across in Indonesia so far.

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Wouldn’t mind a poop situation with a changing room like that. Thank God!IMG_6212

Cinemaxx Junior – Movie Theatre
Tube slides and ball pits right when you enter the movie theatre. You can slide down into the movie theatre in style. IMG_6095IMG_6102

Separate ball pit for toddlers. Very well thought out, especially with all the big kids going bonkers at the tube slides and crashing into the main ball pit.IMG_6103

Olive enjoying the ball pit, as always.

Movie-goers can choose from a variety of seat types – sofa beds, cinema seats, loungers, and beanbags, currently priced at Rp100,000 per seat and Rp200,000 for a sofa bed that seats 2 adults.

Seat Layout

Screenshot from Cinemaxx website.

I would recommend the bean bag seats for novelty and sofa beds for extra comfort.  IMG_6157IMG_6160 IMG_6201

Olive’s first movie experience at 18 months small! Cinemaxx Junior is recommended for children between the ages of 3 to 10 years but if your toddler is ready, go ahead and let them enjoy the experience. Most children would be on the move anyway and nobody would bat an eye because that is precisely why parents bring their kids there. To drain their kids’ energy that is, while they enjoy the movie or fall asleep. I spotted many fathers getting their shut eye in the theatre.

The littlest movie-goer and her first taste of popcorn.

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Lazy bums chilling on the bean bags.

Olive was more engrossed in the commercials and trailers than the actual movie. The only movie available that afternoon was “Ratchet & Clank”, not quite suitable for Olive so we left midway and headed for the playground instead.

Here’s a video of Olive watching the “Finding Dory” movie trailer, with a snack in her hand, crossing legs all. She actually understood what was going on and was shaking her head when one of the characters said, “Are you crazy? It’s too dangerous!”

There was even a souvenir given to kids upon leaving the movie theatre. Which kid doesn’t like a little surprise gift? Even the big kid in me was pleasantly surprised.IMG_7674

Maxx Games
We also brought Olive to the arcade where they had some games for smaller kids.

Olive’s first arcade game with Oska.IMG_5986

And 2nd arcade game with me. Clearly, she preferred cars to horses.IMG_6001

Can’t wait to bring Olive to Cinemaxx Junior again! For a better, more educational movie next. Hopefully they will open another theatre for kids in a more centralised and accessible location soon.

MaxxBox Lippo Kawaraci Address:
Jl. Boulevard Jend. Sudirman No. 1110, Lippo Village 1200, Kec. Kelapa Dua, Banten, Indonesia
Phone: +62 21 29171888

 


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Miniapolis @ Plaza Indonesia

What do we do when Olive turned another month old? Skip her usual gym class for some free play of course!

We were late for gym class due to the ever nasty traffic in Jakarta so I made a spontaneous decision for Olive to just skip all the potential classes we could attend that day, and trade them for some free play at Miniapolis instead.

This indoor play park on the 3rd floor of Plaza Indonesia consists of 5 main attractions:

1. Zee & Milo’s Hideout
A double storey tree house with a centre stage, a slide, a play space with spongy lego-inspired and wooden blocks surrounded by balancing beams, and a colour-changing ball pit.

Olive trying out the balancing beam and messing with some bricks.

Olive in the ball pit, again the safest place for toddlers.IMG_3505

Olive on the 2nd level of the treehouse.IMG_3591

This tree house is recommended for children above 5 years of age and we can see why. The ladders, steps, and platforms up to the 2nd floor were pretty steep for Olive. Most of the areas were also not padded.IMG_3586

2. Mr Crick’s Express
An indoor trackless train ride.

3. Carlo Carousel
The carousel that Olive said “No!” to many times, possibly because she did not see anyone else enjoying the ride, plus it was mostly stationary.
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4. Wish Garden
Another play space with slides and see saws, more suitable for toddlers but closed for renovation when we were there. Honestly, I am not sure if there will still be a Wish Garden because Rockstar gym will be taking over the space where Wish Garden was at.

5. Doodles
A creative playspace where art workshops and classes are held. We will try to participate in a class next time if we chance upon any.

Admission feesIMG_3443

Address & Contact
Plaza Indonesia Level 3
Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 28 – 30,
Jakarta Pusat
P:+6221 2992 0000 ext.53129

On weekdays where we went, I could count the number of children at Miniapolis with one hand. Most times, the train and the carousel were not operating. The other Miniapolis branch in Jakarta, Kelapa Gading Mall has apparently closed down beginning of this year.

We probably will not be visiting Miniapolis anytime soon really because it is not the most toddler-friendly, but I certainly hope that they will reinvent their space, make it more enticing for a wider age group and keep their business sustainable. Plaza Indonesia is one of our go-to malls so an exciting but safe play space would be ideal, especially if us parents decide we want shop or dine in peace without our kid in tow.


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Tamani Kids Kafe

Olive and I went for our 2nd not-so-blind date in Indonesia with a fellow Instagram mother of 2 children at Tamani Kids Kafe, a café and indoor playground in one place.

We were supposed to go there for our first play date with another Instagram mother of 1, but changed our meeting place last minute as Tamani Kids closes on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It was a great place for me to “dump” Olive at the well netted and padded play space, watched over by our super helper, while I indulge in some ‘me time’ with mama Indah. One thing I constantly crave for being a SAHM is to have proper face-to-face conversations with people, adult people. While days of monologues are almost over ever since Olive entered toddlerhood, interacting with a kid, albeit interesting and rewarding, can also be pretty repetitive and draining.

Case in point:
“Olive, do you want to nap?” “No!”
“Do you want to sleep now so we can go out and play later?” “No!”
“Do you want some milk first?” “Milk milk! Milk milk!”
“Can we go to bed now?” “No! Mama, draw draw see?” (Olive pronounces ‘please’ as ‘see’)
“Let’s sleep first and we will draw later, ok?” “No! No! No! Draw draw! Draw draw!”
This conversation can go on and on and on, but I’m sure you get the drift.

It doesn’t help that I am based elsewhere, away from most of my friends and family. Many times, I resort to sharing news articles in whatsapp group chats in hope of discussions and debates on some current affairs. Other times, I simply beg ask them to talk to me about anything under the sun and stimulate me intellectually before I lose my mind. Yes I’m so desperate for adult conversations that I’m not a tad bit embarrassed to say it out loud. So my dear friends, if you happen to read this, you know what to do uh!

Sorry I digressed. Where was I? Oh yes, Tamani kids, awesome place to catch up with friends while leaving your kids at the adjacent play space from where you can steal glances at every now and then. They have a pretty extensive menu for adults and kids both and the food is pretty decent.

Ticketing counter, dining area & play space

Entrance fee: Weekdays Wed & Thu Rp48k per child; Weekends Fri to Sun Rp58k per child. Comes with free soft serve ice cream. Accompanying adults need not pay since you will most definitely be ordering food and drinks at the café anyway.

Address: Jl. Kemang Raya, No. 5 – A, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Location is not accurate on google maps so search KindyROO Kemang instead and you will find the place faster. We drove round and round Kemang like headless chickens for a good 30min with bad traffic.

Contact: +62 21 7196256

Note: Bring socks. Call to check if the place is closed for private events. It’s a pretty popular place for kids’ birthday celebrations.

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We had to leave Tamani Kids by 2pm due to a private event.

 

More photos of the Indoor playground

Olive and her play mate, Elijah. Most times they were running in different directions.

Olive being a monkey, tackling slopes and bridges on her own.

When in doubt, always head to the ball pit and dunk your children there. That’s probably the safest place for smaller children.

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Olive at 17 months small, going on 18.


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Go! Wet or Go Home

It has been more than a year since I have relocated to Indonesia. I spent the first 9 months trying to adapt to an entirely new lifestyle, from a FTWM (Full Time Working Mum) to PTWM (Part Time Working Mum) to a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum). And from Singapore, a country of comfort and convenience to a suburb off Jakarta city centre where the infrastructure is pretty basic. Friends back in Singapore either thought that I was crazy or applauded me for my “bravery”. Even my Indonesian friends, most of whom are abroad or back in Indonesia from their overseas stints, were shocked to hear where I am based at.

As much as I pride myself as being adaptable and resilient, this life-changing experience did take its toll on me. I don’t even remember how many times I almost treaded on the line of depression but I just kept on reminding myself to snap out of it, man up, and deal with the circumstances. I was constantly urging, almost threatening Oska to go on a holiday because I knew that was the only way I could keep my sanity. Travel makes me happy. Being out there everywhere makes me happy. Even when I was back in Singapore, I jumped at every opportunity to be elsewhere through internships, working overseas, and of course through traveling. That was probably one of the reasons why I decided to take the leap and relocate to Indonesia anyway. Such irony.

My breakthrough came in December 2015 which coincided with not one, but two overseas trips. It was no coincidence though. The trips healed me, energised me, and gave me space and time to reflect. As dramatic as it sounds, I could finally breathe. I was finally at peace with myself.

So now that I’m back, the ‘me’ who is ready for more challenges ahead, and the ‘me’ who is willing to start from zero countless times has decided to go on a mission to conquer Jakarta and beyond. Since we will be based here for a good part of our lives, I am going to make the best of our time here. I intend to start off by checking out all the fun places in and around Jakarta with Olive and document our experiences here on this blog.

Mission is underway, so let me first introduce you to our favourite weekend hangout at Go! Wet Water Adventure Park.

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Are you ready for some water play?

Go! Wet Water Adventure Park
Go! Wet is a fairly new water theme park opened in February 2015, boasting 6 water slides up to 12 meters in height, 2 water playgrounds for kids big and small, a wave pool, a lazy river pool, and a normal pool just to hang around. The waterpark is spacious and clean, and suitable for all ages. We have been there thrice so far, and Olive’s first visit was at 9 months small.

Address: Grand Wisata Bekasi, Jl. Southern Boulevard Kav. 1
Opening hours: Weekdays 10am-8pm; Weekends & Public Holidays 9am-8pm

Entrance & Ticketing 

Remember to check out the GO! Wet website for on-going promotions. They collaborate with various banks (e.g. Bank Mandiri, BCA) and mobile operators (e.g. Telkomsel) to offer some superb deals. There is also a shop next to the entrance in case you forget some swimming essentials like swimsuit, floats etc.IMG_2243

Food Court
Meals are easily settled at the food  court within the compound and our go-to stall is Old Town. We usually pack lunch for Olive because the food choices aren’t the most healthy or suitable for toddlers.
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Locker/Shower/Toilet
Our first stop is always to the rental counter at the entrance of the lockers and toilets, where we could rent a gazebo at Rp150.000.
IMG_2087I would highly recommend securing a gazebo so that you can (1) store your belongings in, provided you have someone to help watch over them, (2) get a nice shaded space all to yourself, (3) eat and laze in.

Go! Boomer, Go! Round!, Go! Fun, Go! Play, Go! Spray
Water playground for younger children with several sliding attractions around and a water bucket that dumps water once it is filled to the brim. With the 30cm water depth in this area, Olive was able to walk around and explore without being held on to, under our watchful eyes.IMG_2177IMG_2178

Go! Splash
An even bigger water playground for older children with tunnels, taller slides, and another giant water bucket. We brought Olive on the slides here when she was 1 year and 1 month old and our little brave-heart loved it. It was thrilling even for Oska and I as the slides were fast and we had to protect her from banging her head on the sides as we wound down the course.IMG_2193

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Hello! Are you convinced enough to join me yet?

Go! Wave
Every time the siren sounds, most people would grab the tubes and rush to the wave pool  to experience the waves. This is probably the best time to try out the mega slides as the queues will be shorter with people flocking to the wave pool instead.
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Go! Lazy
Oska’s favourite attraction has got to be the lazy river pool where he could laze on a float and be carried away slowly by the undercurrents. The only grouse I had was that this lazy pool did not have sufficient shade so we would burn under the scorching sun while meandering along the “river”. But really, nothing could stop us from relaxing in the river pool.IMG_2184

Go! Fast, Go! Speed, Go! Sprint, Go! Flash
4 mega waterslides up to 12 meters in height. Pretty fun but sliding down the closed tracks in total darkness gave me headaches.IMG_2189

Go! Twist and Go! Spin
Go! Twist is the yellow slide where you will end up spinning around a giant water funnel before crashing into the pool. Go! spin is the purple python-shaped slide which requires 3 persons to be on a raft. Lucky for Oska and I, we managed to convince a lone ranger to take the slide with us. Turns out, 3 was a good crowd after all.

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Go! Sport
Just a pool to chill in, with more shade than the other pools.IMG_2191

Some tips: Bring sunblock, lots of it. Wear rash guards to protect yourselves from the sun. Bring floats for babies/toddlers. Life jackets are provided for free. Bring your shower essentials (towels, shampoo, soap etc.).
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Look who had the most fun!

Time to Go! Wet if you haven’t already done so! We will definitely be back as often as we can.