Category Archives: travel

puffing billy

Dec ’15

One of the attractions that was high on our list was Puffing Billy. Z advised us to book the tickets online as it was school holidays and the tickets tend to sell out. And then I fell asleep.

The next morning, I tried to book but to my horror, online booking is only available up to 8 am for same day travel. And it was 8.30am. We decided to make our way to Belgrave hoping the tickets are still available.

C checked the website enroute to Belgrave and it stated in bold that all tickets from Belgrave were SOLD OUT! Oh dear. I was thinking how unlucky we were. This and then this.


Since we were already on our way, we decided to just head to Lakeside. From Lakeside. we could either take a diesel train to Gembrook or just settle for picnic by the lake (means no train ride). Then C suggested we try our luck at Menzies Creek, which is one of the stop from Belgrave to Lakeside.

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We kept our hopes low but lady luck was on our side. The ticket master told us one family did not turn up and there were two tickets available!! *HAPPY DANCE*


We hoped onto the train and it was the beginning of the most pleasant train ride ever! We rode through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges and were flanked by towering mountain ash gum trees and giant tree ferns.


fullsizeoutput_9991This is how you’re supposed to ride the Puffing Billy – with your legs hanging off the the side of the train!

fullsizeoutput_9989Miss scaredy cat didn’t like that idea.

We got off at Lakeside, grabbed some lunch and explored the place a bit; there is a lake with some paddle boats, a public pool (sort of) and a kids playground. Nothing much to do. 



fullsizeoutput_9994Feeding ducks with some overly sweet popcorns.


fullsizeoutput_9999At the crossroad *ting ting*

fullsizeoutput_999eIt was a fun day out for us. I’m sure all kids and adults alike will enjoy this attraction. Thanks to the husband’s quick thinking, else we wouldn’t get to enjoy this awesome experience!



travel: collingwood children’s farm

A taste of the country in the city.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn New Year’s Day when almost everywhere is closed, we were glad that Collingwood Children’s Farm remains opened. There are a few farms in Melbourne but this is the most convenient, just a short drive from Melbourne’s CBD.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe farm was relatively quiet. We guess not many were aware that it is opened on New Year’s Day. We missed the cow milking session but were in time for the guinea pig petting session. I thought Elisa would like it but…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA she’s just like her mama…no like furry little things!

We took a leisure stroll around the farm. Most of the animals were minding their own business,  not interested in us humans…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA..except these goats. They were the most enthusiastic of the lots, perhaps because we humans kept feeding them 🙂
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis fella was crowing at the top of his lungs. When one rooster crowed, this fella crowed even louder. It’s like the roosters were having a competition. I know it’s silly, but I actually enjoyed watching them 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough the place is a bit underwhelming, we still had an enjoyable morning. It was a bummer The Farm Cafe was closed that day. I read they serve very good food! And because of that, we need to go back again! 🙂


travel: shadowfax winery

Didn’t know where to go after our plan to Werribee Zoo got shelved, C did a quick research and suggested we head to Shadowfax winery, which is just down the road, for lunch.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShadowfax winery is Melbourne’s closet winery, just 30km from Melbourne CBD and it is only a few minutes drive from my brother’s house!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_2164It was a cool sunny day and we were lucky to snag the last available table. A few groups who came right after us were being turned away! Lucky or what? The outdoor seating was lovely. There was a huge lawn and lots of room for kids to run about. Elisa was exploring the place on her own, we did not have to worry about her one bit!

IMG_2175That allows us to enjoy our wine in a beautiful surrounding 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are famous for their wood fired pizzas and they did not fail to impress. It was good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever, the sea bream that C ordered lacked a bit of seasoning but nothing a pinch of salt can’t solve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElisa’s pasta – equally good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo end the meal – buttermilk panna cotta with mandarin sorbet. So good and so refreshing!

The lunch was a bit pricey but definitely worth it.

IMG_2163Happy Birthday, mister!!

travel: werribee open range zoo

When we arrived at the entrance of Werribee park, we were greeted with a long queue of cars. The huge space outside the zoo carpark was filled with cars and yet, we proceeded to park our car and made our way to the zoo entrance. It was when we saw the crowd from a distant that we made the decision to leave. We should have known better when we see the amount of cars! It’s school holidays, hello!?!IMG_2540

Two days later, we went back again. We figured it would be less crowded as it was a hot day. This time we were smarter. We bought our tickets online and by the time we reached the entrance, there was already a queue formed and it was only 9 am! With our tickets, we bypassed the line and we were the first few to get into the zoo!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis handsome fella is one of the three lion cubs who were born in October.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe then boarded a bus for a tour of the open range zoo. For us, this was the highlight of the zoo. Elisa was really excited when she spotted the animals…”Mummy, look! Zebras!”, “Mummy look, rhinos!”

IMG_2455At one point, they came really close to our bus…but on the other side of where we were seated! 😦

For Elisa, the highlight of the zoo was..

IMG_2518…THIS – Ranger Kids Play Area. There was a helicopter (all kids were vying for the pilot seat!) along with dress-up costume, stuffed toys and a tortoise enclosure.

IMG_2532I reckon she makes a good doctor 😉


And that sums up our morning at the zoo.  If you are planning a visit, I reckon half a day is sufficient as there isn’t much to do besides the open range tour. After the zoo, you can take a short drive to Shadowfax winery for lunch or to the nearby Werribee Pacific Plaza for a bout of shopping.

travel: phuket 2015

I’m so so late in blogging about our Phuket trip! Here it goes..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe seems to have a pattern here. Beach holiday mid year, and non beach holiday end of the year. I hope this pattern remains! Two holidays in a year is what the doctor prescribed 😉

Last July we went back to Phuket. After our first visit years ago, we fell in love with that place. Moreover, Phuket holds a special place in our heart.


After some research, we settled for Katathani Beach Resort. This hotel ticks all the boxes: kids friendly, nice beach and not in Patong (this is very important!).

IMG_5778We invited my MIL along for this trip. We seldom go back to KL, so this is a good opportunity for her to spend time with C and Elisa. And an extra pair of hands is always a good idea!

We were there for a total of one week. We didn’t do much, we spend most of our time in the resort. We swam, body surf, build sandcastles, massage and ate like a horse. At night, after putting Elisa to bed, the adults had a game or two of rummy before calling it a day. Such a hard life! 😀




We spent one day driving around the island and exploring Phuket town. We drove past the hotel where we stayed on our first visit and we can’t stop recounting to my MIL about the place. The beach, the old shack that sells the best and cheapest Thai food, the $2 noodle stall…ahhh, so much memories!

IMG_5886  It was a good break for C before he dives back into the busyness at work. We totally enjoyed ourselves. We came home spotting a glorious tan and heaps of wonderful memories to cherish.

travel: cumulus inc, melbourne

 winner winner, what a dinner!

As most restaurants were fully booked on New Year’s Eve, we decided to try our luck at Cumulus Inc to see if we could score a table. Located at the far end of Flinders Lane, this a highly recommended restaurant in Melbourne. They don’t take reservations, so we set our hopes pretty low. I was mentally prepared to have McDonald’s or Hungry Jacks for dinner, whichever is less crowded!

We were pretty lucky. We got a table in less than 30 minutes!!


At Cumulus Inc, all their dishes are designed to share. We had a hard time deciding what to order as everything on the menu appeals to us! 

After much deliberations, we ordered…img_3069pig’s head croquettes with tartare sauceimg_3070foie gras parfait with toasted brioche

img_3066butter beans, nduja, salted ricotta and black garlic

whole slow roast lamb shoulder

…and we demolished everything. We loved every single dish that we ordered!

The service was impeccable despite the packed the restaurant; the staff were friendly and attentive. The waitress offered us another serving of brioche after seeing how fast Elisa chomped down everything and happily obliged when we asked for another serving of pickled onions to go with the lamb.

It was a shame we did not get to try their desserts. After finishing the whole lamb shoulder, we were somewhat incapacitated!

It was a good meal and a good one to end the year with.

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Ln,
Melbourne VIC 3000,
+61 3 9650 1445

travel: Hong Kong Disneyland

…the reason we went to Hong Kong.

This trip to Disneyland was rather timely because Elisa was very into Mickey Mouse then and so were her little friends. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is one of her favourite TV program.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first stop was breakfast at Enchanted Garden located at Disneyland Hotel where we “dined” with the characters. The breakfast spread was huge but sadly, the food was a miss, it was quantity over quality. But like everyone else, we were there to meet the characters. Half way through breakfast, Pluto, Goofy and Minnie Mouse came by to say hi. I expected more characters though. Where is Donald Duck??

IMG_5061Honestly speaking, it is not worth the price tag. Pre-Elisa me will never spend this kind of money. But it’s a different story when you have a kid! They make us do things we thought we will never do. This is a known fact!


After breakfast we hopped onto a bus and headed to the theme park. As the kids were still pretty young, there weren’t many rides available for them and some ride had an hour to two hours waiting time. We took a few kiddy rides and took some photos with the characters before we went searching for food…and air con! *dying*


We caught the “Flights of Fantasy” parade and it was stunning. The kids and adults were mesmerised by the vibrant floats, the colourful costume, the dancing and the catchy soundtrack. It was quite an uplifting performance. As I was watching the parade, I can’t help but to feel for the performers especially those donning the character’s costume. It was mid afternoon and the sun was showing no mercy. Despite all that, the performers still put up a stellar performance. Hats off to them!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m so glad we went for the Lion King show. It was visually exciting and captivating. The floats, the props, the costumes, the singing, the dancing…they were simply spectacular. There were also a fire and acrobatic performance included in a small segment of the show. This show is not to be missed.

IMG_5128IMG_5158 IMG_5150We also managed to watch Mickey’s Philharmagic, a 3D show. The last time I watched this was many years back when I went to HK Disneyland with my parents. I enjoyed watching it and I still enjoy watching it now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sun began to set and we were ready to leave this happy place, then something unpleasant happened. When we came out from the theatre, our friend realised that her stroller was missing! We thought someone accidentally took the stroller by mistake but that was until we saw her daughter’s water tumbler by the sidewalk! The person stole her stroller! How could a person do such thing?? We were mad pissed!!  She made a report at the customer service counter but we knew that it was impossible to get the stroller back. We were drained after a long day, more so for our friend. She had to deal with a cranky toddler and the emotional stress of losing a stroller…which belongs to her friend! Gah!! (We brought this issue up with a group of HK friends, they said it happens all the time! Not pointing finger at anyone but we kinda knew who stole it!).

Many people term Disneyland as the happiest place on earth. But you know, there are a few selfish people out there who is on a mission to ruin it.

Even though the day ended on a somewhat sour note, it was still a day to be remembered. Elisa and I really enjoyed ourselves, and I’m sure our friends had as much fun as we did.


Where shall we go next? Tokyo Disneyland perhaps?
she doesn't mindelisa: Yes, please! 😀