Tuesday, 22 January 2019

过年The Nutcracker by The National Ballet of China (Singapore performance)

On the 18th of January 2019, my daughter (Sienna) and I attended 过年The Nutcracker performed by The National Ballet of China at Esplanade Theatres on the bay, Singapore.
It was such a mesmerizing and enjoyable show...💃👏
Perfect mommy-daughter date 💕



"The popular classic story of ‘过年The Nutcracker’ has been given an exciting twist as the lead character Yuan Yuan travels to magical adventurous lands in her dreams after receiving the nutcracker from a foreign friend during the Chinese New Year which came alive."

                                                        *Photos credit: My China Channel

                                                       *Photos credit: My China Channel

This show was the perfect combination especially for my daughter Sienna. She attended a Chinese immersion school (back in the USA) where she not only learnt Mandarin Chinese language but also about the Chinese culture, people and of course the country China itself from her teachers (who are native Chinese from China) and combine that with her LOVE for DANCING!!! 
Double win. 
She was able to relate to the entire show as she could finally put what she learnt into reality. 

This show is not your usual traditional Nutcracker.
But it is the Chinese version of the original Nutcracker which is a world-class ballet performance - '过年 - The Nutcracker'-, staged by the renowned National Ballet of China. 
The National Ballet of China celebrated its 60th anniversary by bringing this top-class performance with its 65 dancers to Singapore.

                                                        *Photos credit: My China Channel

From the costumes, props, hair, makeup, music, lightning, etc... above and beyond, the classical ballet performance by China’s professional was to the PERFECTION 👌

Although I did go to ballet class when I was a little kid (long time ago), I have totally forgotten all the technical stuff that I had learnt. But it did not stop me from enjoying the show. My daughter was so excited to watch the show and kept on her dancing feet even after the show had ended, eagerly showing her little brother/"di di" Skyler all the moves she learnt after watching the show.


Since Chinese New Year is soon approaching, watching the performance definitely and automatically sets you into Chinese New Year mode! It is a fusion of the West meets East. 
Perfect family entertainment as Chinese New Year is soon approaching because this performance showcases the story of a Chinese family celebrating the Chinese New Year!

                                                                   *Photos credit: My China Channel

The colorful CNY props, costumes and music definitely transported me back to China... 
Made me come home to do a good spring cleaning, sweep the floors, get new outfits n shoes for the whole family and load up/restock on my CNY goodies ready to usher in CNY n ready to welcome family n friends! 

Sienna had fun watching in awe and adoration at all the pretty ballerinas 😍😍😍 

                                                                  *Photos credit: My China Channel

The highlight and an eye opener during the show was when a giant Ingot a.k.a "yuánbǎo" burst out with little kids (39 kids to be exact) that were locally sourced here in Singapore. They were beaming with pride and joy while doing their cute performance, clad in their beautiful golden costumes dancing alongside the professionals on the big stage... 
What a wonderful once in a lifetime experience!
When I told Sienna that the kids were from Singapore, you could see the spark of curiosity as she bombarded me with tons of questions...!

                                                             *Photos credit: My China Channel

I guess it's time for this momma to start sending her to ballet school perhaps? 


My favourite 2 performances were "Kingdom of the Crane" and "Porcelain Kingdom". 
I was in awe at the marvelous backdrop and all the ballerinas dancing in unison in their beautiful costumes and headpiece. Oh so pretty, elegant and poised. I just couldn't take my eyes off of them even for a second... 

                                                                *Photos credit: My China Channel

                                                                 *Photos credit: My China Channel

过年The Nutcracker’ has been staged in Europe countries and received rave reviews.
The highest praise and review received surpasses any reviews done by me (or anyone) ... 
It was when the Swedish Ambassador of France made this review:

     "...In my eyes, even the ballet stars in Paris are not comparable 
to those in the National Ballet of China..."

So I double triple confirm that this show is definitely a MUST watch for everyone! 

Disclaimer: This is a Media invite sponsored by AT Marketing Consultancy. All opinions are solely our own.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

KarMie’s 10th Wedding Anniversary in Sentosa, Singapore

On the 27th of December, 2018, we celebrated our (Karthik and Jamie’s) 10th wedding anniversary!  10 years ago, we were married in a garden wedding in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (a 4-hour drive from Singapore).  To celebrate this milestone, we made the journey from our Charlotte, NC (USA) home to Singapore with our kids.
One Faber Group sponsored a full day of celebration for our family!  Sentosa Island has been one of our favorite places to explore and enjoy in Singapore since the first time we came to visit Singapore as a couple in 2007.  One Faber Group gave us the opportunity to enjoy even more aspects of Sentosa Island than we already have.  We have captured this experience in words, pictures and a video (Click here to watch our video), but it is best to experience all of this in-person!

Singapore Cable Car to Mount Faber
We started out the day by taking our first cable car ride.  This gondola lift provides an aerial link to Mount Faber as well as to Sentosa Island from the main island of Singapore.  It was the first aerial ropeway system in the world to span a harbour (Click here for more info)!  It is a comfortable ride, and the view is really nice (but not as nice as our next cable car into Sentosa Island).  The windows are left partially open to provide a nice breezy ride.

Lunch at Arbora

Once we arrived at Mount Faber, we took a quick walk to Arbora, One Faber Group’s new hilltop garden dining experience.  Arbora is, similar to Ann Arbor (a city in Michigan, USA that I grew up in), named after the Latin word “arbor”, or tree.  This name nicely represents its picture-perfect skyline (as it is high above sea level) filled with natural green vegetation, reminding me of my elementary school days.

The outdoor feel was a great reminder of the garden wedding memories from exactly a decade prior.  We were blessed to not have any rain during our wedding day.  Today, on our anniversary, not only did we not have rain, but the weather was cloudy and not too hot.  Perfect for a full day out with the kids!

While enjoying the weather, our next challenge was to pick the perfect lunch meal for our family.  The menu at Arbora is filled with Western starters, entrees and desserts by Executive Chef Kenny Yeo.  We had a lot of options, and the staff there did a great job of recommending some of the popular favorites, to help narrow down our choices.

Chilli Crab Potato Skins – Chilli crab is a Singapore staple and this appetizer does a fantastic job of fusing that taste inside of potato skins.  We all enjoyed this and would recommend it while your main meal is getting prepared.

Smoked Duck Mushroom Ragout – This was a tasty entrée that balances robust meat flavor with the creamy sauce.  The pan-seared duck gives a smoky and savoury flavor to the duck, and it is combined with spaghetti, mushrooms and spinach.

Rack of Lamb – The dish (with high quality meat imported from Australia) was one of our favorites as it has a sweet, sour and fruity feel to it.  This is a can’t-miss!

Chempedak Bread and Butter – Chempedak is a fruit that is similar to jackfruit and (the locally famous) durian!  It is added to a croissant and butter pudding to give a unique taste and texture.  We found it tastes best when this warm combination is mixed with the cold vanilla ice cream that comes on the side.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Latte – The latte was great, but we didn’t feel like the popcorn added to this drink in a positive way.  Our suggestion would be to eat all the popcorn before it gets soaked and soggy, while the drink cools down a bit.

Vanilla Dream and Chocolate Paradise – These milkshakes were loved by the kids (and adults)!  However, if you aren’t a fan of very sweet drinks, then we would recommend trying something else as this is overflowing with tasty sweetness!

Botanic Zest – A nice complement to the laid-back, scenic, alfresco, arbor feel of the restaurant.

R1 Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Pays DOC, Merlot – The staff recommended this.  A little bit of red wine went well with the entrees!

Kudos to the staff and servers at Arbora for the excellent and personalized service. Since we aren't wine drinkers (but still wanted to have a glass since it's our 10th wedding anniversary, why not?), we were clueless at what to order from their extensive wine selection. The staff came to the rescue and helped us narrow down our selection by pairing it wonderfully with our meat selections! Yes, if u aren't a wine drinker, that's a tip for you. Your meat determines the wine!

Cable car to Sentosa Island

We loved the view of Sentosa on this cable car ride! The kids especially enjoyed the boats and ships as we flew over the water.  We could also get a glimpse of the rides, slides and beaches that make a day at Sentosa so enjoyable.

Sentosa Merlion

Singapore’s Guardian of Prosperity is an iconic symbol for the nation.  The “mer” means sea and represents the island nation’s origin as a fishing village.  The “lion” head represents the country’s original name (Singapura) which is translated to lion city.  It is a symbol “of bravery, ambition, humility and diligence” (Click here for more info) and the locals here believe it provides good luck as well.

When you enter the Exhibition Gallery, you can watch an animated story of how Singapore was first discovered.  The kids really enjoyed this short and entertaining video, which intertwined facts with a little fantasy as well.

With that background in mind, you can then take a self-paced tour of the Merlion’s journey and learn about the key milestones over the past 50 years.  Then you can go behind the scenes of how the Merlion was created and even watch a virtual reality about its design.

All that new-found knowledge is nothing compared to the view of Sentosa Island and parts of Singapore you can get when you climb (after an elevator ride) to the Merlion’s head and mouth (there's 2 levels of viewing)!

The wonderful photo opportunity is something you would not want to miss out on during your visit to Singapore.

Tram around the island
By now, the kids were a bit too tired to venture around the island, so we needed a relaxed way to get a closeup look at what the kids could only see from a distance (from the cable car and Merlion).  We were able to take a breezy tram ride along the beach side of Sentosa Island.  This Beach Tram has 20 stops and will give you a pleasant view of the different activities you can choose from.  You will see stops for rides, bars, playgrounds and of course beaches!

We recommend you to take the tram ride the whole way round and then remain seated till you have chosen a spot or activity you would like to do.

We also strongly recommend the Sentosa Luge ride. This has been a favorite activity for all our family members that visit Singapore. It can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages as it is very safe, and each individual can choose his or her own speed.

We didn’t visit the Luge this time, and went straight to the beach…

Palawan Beach

Of the 3 beaches of Sentosa, we chose Palawan since it had a very appealing playground for the kids.  They ended up playing more with the sand than the slides as they haven’t gotten too much time on the beach thus far.  They had so much fun for nearly an hour while the parents were able to rest, relax and enjoy the sunset.  We were able to take a quick trip down memory lane of the past 10 years and count our blessings.  As it became darker, there were a few nice areas in the beach with light displays that were perfect for anniversary pictures.  We cleaned the sand off the kids and took some pictures, just in time to head to a spectacular multi-sensory night production.

Wings of Time show
Against the open sea, Wings of Time incorporates water jets, laser shows, busting flames, pyrotechnics and audiovisuals in front of thousands of visitors twice a night.  It is a 20-minute show about friendship and courage, that the kids really enjoyed even though they were tired from a long day (we chose the last show - 8.40pm).  They could relate to the boy and the girl in the story, who traveled across time with their friend, an anthropomorphic bird, to learn more about who they really are.  The pyrotechnics was the aspect that I felt truly set this show apart from some of the other night shows that we have seen, including at Disney World in the US.

After the show, it was time to leave the island and head back home.  We had a lovely anniversary celebration (including the kids), and we are thankful to One Faber Group for making this day such a memorable one. We will definitely come back to Sentosa to explore the many other activities that Sentosa has to offer. If you are traveling to Singapore (or a local in Singapore) and would like to visit any of these attractions, please let us know and we’d be happy to guide you.

* Disclaimer: This is a media invite sponsored by One Faber Group. All opinions are solely our own.
One Faber Group “operates a suite of leisure and lifestyle services including attractions, guided tour experiences, the management of event venues, souvenirs and lifestyle merchandise as well as F&B operations” (https://www.onefabergroup.com).
The company’s portfolio of products and services include the Singapore Cable Car, Wings of Time, Sentosa Merlion, Faber Peak Singapore, Dusk Restaurant & Bar, Good Old Days, Abora.