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Time is always best spent with your loved ones and this has been a year forged with many of these beautiful moments. This Halloween season, we fulfilled our promise to our little princess and brought her to Disneyland LA (together with baby Kingsley) before she officially graduates from preschool.
Flight decisions have never been as difficult given that we are now traveling with not 1 but 2 kids for a long haul flight. After several months of consideration and search, we decided to dive straight into a non red eye 15 hour direct flight to San Francisco. The weeks that followed up to the trip was filled with uncertainty on how the kids would fare on the trip and luckily for us, this was just overthinking on our part and we survived the 15 hour flight with no drama.
Knowing that we would be probably be zombified upon arrival in the early morning, I planned a leisurely day in which we did a quick drop by the Golden Gate Bridge before we head to our first accommodation of the trip, Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield. Fairfield is a half an hour’s drive to Napa Valley which made it a good location for families with young kids given that there are more food outlets and stores in the vicinity. On our second day, we travelled to Napa Valley and visited Castello di Amarosa, Old Geyser of California, Napa Premium Outlets. There are several wineries in Napa but most of them close at 5pm hence waking up late that morning did cause quite a bit of limitation in the places we could visit.
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It has been almost one and a half years since Kingsley’s newborn photoshoot with Studio Memories and we decided it is time to have another family photoshoot before he turns 18 months. Well, as much as we wanted to be fair in letting the kids have photoshoot at the same age (Ashley has her first photoshoot at 8 months with StudioPlay), it proved as a challenge as (1) we wanted Ashley to have a photoshoot with Kingsley when he is a newborn and (2) Kingsley’s eczema condition was quite serious up till recently that he could be off mittens for most parts of the day.
As with all the previous photoshoots, we went hunting for a photography studio in the baby fair as it usually would have the best deals housed in one location given the competition and this time round we decided to go with Face SG family photography studio. If there is anything distinctly different for Face SG, it would be the use of home theme setups for their photo backgrounds and the reason for being our choice this photoshoot.
For the package we signed up in the fair, we were given the choice of 2 themed backgrounds and a white background for the 1 hour photography. On the day of the photoshoot, the photographer showed us their in-house themed backgrounds for selection (these could also be found on their Facebook page) and our little princess chose the Sakura Pink Blossom theme without any hesitation.
Sakura Pink Blossom
Today is the start of a brand new year and I have managed to steal a few moments to sit down and compile some of the highlights we had in 2018.
Work wise, the past one year has been kind to us with Colin and I achieving new heights and pursuing new direction in our careers respectively. With Colin swamped in work, I was lucky to have the opportunity to have a change in environment to not only learn new things but to also devote more time to the 2 cheeky little babies at home.
Switching gear to the little ones, nothing delights us more than seeing the growth of the sibling bond between Ashley and Kingsley and we hope this bond will continue to grow stronger as they grow up and even grow old. Here are some sneak peeks of the little ones together.
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Although it has been less than a year since our last holiday to Australia, Ashley has been asking us when would we be able to bring her for another holiday to Australia. I must be honest that I would not be that enthusiastic in planning yet another holiday to Australia that soon upon considering the long 8 hour flight with a baby and a child in tow. However, such thoughts do not taunt us for long as Colin and I quickly got down to plan a week long holiday to Brisbane and Gold Coast as the thought of spending quality time with the little ones outweighs all hesitation and uncertainty. From our past experiences travelling with Ashley, we noticed that red eye flights were the best for the little ones as the timing would coincide with their bedtime and hopefully, they would be able to sleep through the bulk of the flight time. This holiday was no exception as we selected the 8.45pm outbound flight and boy were we glad that Kingsley slept through at least half of the journey in the bassinet or in our arms.
As I was planning the itinerary for the trip, I decided against accommodation hopping given that (1) the holiday was only going to be 7 days and (2) majority of the attractions being nested within an hour’s ride from Gold Coast. Next question that might pop up in one’s mind is, “Where is the best place to stay in Gold Coast then?” I believe Surfers Paradise is no stranger to many and some may reply, “Where better to stay in Gold Coast other than Surfers Paradise?” I would definitely agree to that statement as F&B outlets are aplenty in that area. However, budget wise, accommodation in Surfers Paradise are generally pricier given the prime location and since I needed a 2-bedroom apartment with proper laundry and kitchen facilities, it made sense for me to source outside of Surfers Paradise. If you have chanced upon our earlier post on our holiday to Sydney 2 years ago, you might have heard the name Meriton Suites. Given our good experience staying with them, it was no hesitation for us to return to another Meriton Suites for our holiday. There are 2 Meriton Suites located along the Indian Ocean in Gold Coast, of which they are situated at Broadbeach and Southport. As we were planning to drive around as usual, we decided on the Meriton Suites Southport for our week long stay for the following reasons; (1) there is a Woolsworth located in the same building which makes it convenient for marketing and (2) competitive pricing as compared to Meriton Suites Broadbeach while still offering a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean. Even if you do not rent a car in Gold Coast, it is relatively easy to commute around the Gold Coast city street scape with the G:link Gold Coast Light Rail network.
Here are some photos of our 2 bedroom ocean suite at Meriton Suites Southport.
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