Singapore. 

We spent a month in Bali and desperately didn’t want to leave but we still had some time to stop in Singapore which we were really excited about!
Flight over was only about 2.5 hours, jumped straight into a taxi and 20 minutes later we were at the hotel. Arrived about 7pm. Blimey what a culture change from beach resort to island city! We’ve been to Dubai a couple of times, that’s wealthy and glitzy but Singapore is that and some! It’s so clean, so well signposted, everyone speaks fluent English and it’s bloody expensive! Loads of the buildings look really futuristic/space like here. 

We managed to wangle another upgrade here so got a nice room in a skyscraper hotel, no geckos running up the walls here! It is right along the river, about 3km up from the marina bay. 

We spent a day wandering along the river (in 32degree heat) all the way down to the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Gardens of the Bay. It’s a great walk, loads of interesting bridges, museum and monuments along the way. We popped over to Suntec City (Mall) to see the world’s largest fountain and finished the day in Chinatown rummaging through the $ store and feeding ourselves with Chinese food! Our hotel provides each room with a smartphone for your stay which has wifi usage all over the city so you can take it out and use the maps, boom taxis and attraction tickets – this was really useful to have! 

The next day we were up and out early headed over to Orchard Road, a known shopping street for a mooch about, then caught the MRT tube train to Little India. The MRT is dead cheap and so easy to use, very clean and efficient. Little India is a colourful collection of streets with a market selling mainly food items but also lots of nick-nacks as well. There is an indoor mall full of beauty Indian clothing to browse through and on the way out Faye spotted a lady doing henna so we stopped to get some done. 

After Little India we got the MRT round to the Bayfront, we were staying in the Marina Bay Sands hotel that evening due to a very thoughtful family friend who kindly paid for us to go, but before we checking in we went over to Gardens of the Bay which is gardens, light installations, restaurants and 2 huge dome conservatories. It was baking here so we only managed a couple of hours but we did the skywalk between the Supertrees which was fantastic and gives you a great view over the gardens and of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. From here we made our way into the Sands hotel and had a wander round, whilst waiting to check in we went in the Sampan boat rides which is a canal made through the shopping mall off the front of the hotel. 

Check in for the hotel all very smooth, I’d booked for a Club 55 room which includes breakfast, afternoon tea and drinks & canapés in a private dining room. I’d requested a twin room but she said they didn’t have any so upgraded us to a ‘Marina Suite’. She said ‘it may be a bit big for you’ but I said ‘I’m sure we’ll make do!!’ It was huge. 3 x the size of our home in England, multiple bathrooms, TVs, walk in wardrobe, pool table the works! It was awesome. We had a great view over looking the Gardens of the Bay. We unpacked our toothbrushes and headed straight up for Afternoon Tea which was fab, sandwiches, cakes, scones and you could eat as much as you wanted, the best feature of the Club 55 dining room was a) the view over the Bay and b) the 8ft fridge with every drink you could imagine and you could go and help yourself! Once we’d stuffed ourselves silly we made our way to the infinity pool. This was the reason we came to the hotel, we’d been watching a programme, Amazing Hotels a few months ago back in England where we came across the Sands hotel, Faye saw the pool and was desperate to go. She also wanted a Butler but the budget didn’t quite stretch that far! The pool is on the roof of the hotel 57 floors up and has incredible views. When we arrived up there in the afternoon it was busy as I think most people go to the hotel for the same reason as we did, the pool! There was even professional photographers up there helping people get their Instagram worthy shot! If your going there for a bit of quiet time I don’t think you’d get that at this hotel pool it’s very buzzy. 

A few hours swimming and then it was back to eating again! We went back to the Club 55 room and were greeted with Champagne as we got out the lift to watch the sunset. We were then seated and could help ourselves to the canapé buffet and drinks. Faye and I went all out so didn’t need any dinner after that!

From there we went to watch the Marina Bay water and light show over the Bay, very popular so you need to get there early to get a good spot. Then there was another light and music show at Gardens of the Bay which we watched from our balcony in the room. We went back to the pool for a late night swim, it was still really busy at 11pm, played pool and crashed for the night!

On our last day we got up early went swimming thinking it might be quieter and it was a little but not loads, had a huge breakfast with everything you could imagine and checked out of our one night living like Queens! It was a once in a lifetime experience for us and something off Faye’s bucket list swimming in the pool. 

Last thing on our Singapore list was Sentosa Island. We got the cable car over and wandered down to the beach. There’s loads to do there mainly aimed at children. We went to a pirate ship swimming pool and then went and did a 4D cinema experience before getting the cable car home, stopping in a Central Perk Friends cafe for dinner on the way home. 

Singapore was brilliant. We loved it. Despite the heat! It was hideously expensive and I spent just as much in 5 days here as 3 weeks in Bali! But it was totally worth it and I’m so glad we came here. 

We’re at the end of our 5 weeks away now and it’s flown by! We’re both gutted to be going home later and neither of us want to leave. But absolutely shattered and in need of a few days in bed! Both Bali and Singapore I’d highly recommend. Bali has such a variety of scenery and the people are so lovely you can do and see so much here as well as relax and chill out. Singapore is great for a stop over for a few days it’s an incredible place. 

We are so fortunate to be able to take trips like this and I adore the one-on-one time Faye and I get to spend together when we’re away because it’s much harder at home where life is so hectic. It puts everything in perspective as to who and what is important in our lives. 

The countdown is on for next year as we’re already discussing where is next on our list!

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London, Heathrow to Bali, Indonesia

This next trip of ours couldn’t come soon enough for us! 2017 hasn’t turned out to be our year so far but we are fortunate enough that we can leave the baggage (emotional not backpack, we need that) at home and jet off around the world. Last time Faye and I travelled properly Faye was 3 and we spent 3 months in the USA before she started school. Now she’s at school it’s much, much harder for us to do big trips as we are really limited to the summer holidays and which countries are suitable at that time of year.

Bali was a good choice for us weather wise as July/August is slightly cooler (28-30 degrees) and drier than other times in the year. Plus I’ve always wanted to go since seeing Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love!

Flights were booked through STA Travel, a company I always use as they do a good price comparison and the airline we flew with was Garuda Intl. I found Garuda did the best aeroplane food I’ve ever had and they did Faye a child’s meal which was all things she’d actually eat! Only questionable thing was being woken up and given a spinach and feta pastry at 4am!

Flights were as follows; 14 hours London to Jakarta, 2 hours stop in Jakarta, then a 2 hour flight from Jakarta to Bali. You actually go through customs in Jakarta so once you get to Bali you just walk straight out the airport.

I usually get questioned when I travel alone with Faye so I always bring her birth certificate and this time I brought a signed letter from her Father, but luckily for me on the way out it wasn’t questioned. Don’t think it’ll be as smooth on the way home, but we will see!

We arrived into Bali around midnight Wednesday night, the travelling was exhausting and felt very disorientated for 48 hours after but it all ran to time so you can’t ask more than that!

Returning Home.

We have arrived back home in England last week, after a LONG day of travelling. I’m so disappointed its all over and it seems to of flown by! We have both had an amazing trip and done so many things.

Our journey home was pretty straight forward, we travelled through the night. Faye slept around three hours of the seven hour flight, but I didn’t manage to sleep at all. It was all going smoothly until reaching boarder control at Heathrow airport where I was questioned as to the relationship between Faye and I. As Faye has a different surname to me, due to her Father and I not being married, apparently I cannot prove she is my child. The lady asked for Faye’s birth certificate, which I had in my suitcase, not my carry on luggage, which she told me was no good. She then said she would need to speak with the child’s Father, so I got my mobile phone out but she then said don’t bother. What aggravated me was how indecisive she was as to what she was going to do, so in the end I said to her, if you’re going to stop me, do it, if your not just let me go through and so she just let me walk off. I never encountered anything like this in the USA which was why I was so annoyed to go through it back in England. So from now on I will always have to carry Faye’s birth certificate when travelling, which is fine, OR marry her Father, which is not fine, but it makes me feel slightly put out as if I am in the wrong for not having the same name as my daughter.

So eventually we were through boarder control and were surprised by a group of our closest friends and family which was a really nice gesture. Perhaps not so surprisingly it was raining when we left the airport and we got stuck in traffic on the M25 – a traditional English welcome!

Once back at our house Faye was high as a kite getting all her old toys out as if they were new again, and I on the other hand could not keep my eyes open. As soon as Faye stepped through the door, she ran up to her room and all I heard was ‘SIIIMMMBBAAAA!!!! Have you missed me?!’ – this is the cuddly toy that’s bigger than she is which she wanted to bring with her in her backpack. I’m cruel to not let her I know, but don’t worry we did Skype him at least 3 times!

We both went to bed around 9pm and slept like logs all the way through the night. Faye didn’t wake up until 1pm the next afternoon, but we paid the price for that as the next night she just could not get to sleep, she laid in bed reading until 3am. So to get her back into a normal routine and re-adjust from the time difference, for the next few days I made sure she was up reasonably early so she was worn out by 8pm, and since that she has been sleeping fine through the night again.

Since being home, Faye has spent the week at home catching up with her toys and family (priority in that order) and I have started back at work. Faye has another two weeks before returning to Preschool and her Child-minder, so it’s nice for her to have some chill out time before the madness starts again in September with school, dance class and swimming lessons!

 

welcome home

 

PHL to MCO.

Today we went from Philadelphia over to Orlando to begin our Disney section of the trip, with Faye squeaking all the way!

We left our hotel The Cromwell Inn and got the SEPTA Regional Rail train to the airport. This was $6.25 (children go free) as oppose to $40 plus tip in a taxi at rush hour. The regional rail was much better than the underground subway system, much cleaner and friendlier! It took just short of 30 minutes to get to our terminal.

So this was a domestic US flight and security is no way near as strict and you are advised to turn up only one hour before the flight. Well, I went two hours early and only made it to the gate as the plane was starting to board. Getting through security took forever, and I hadn’t checked in online as the system had crashed the night before. I paid $25 to check in my rucksack as you have no baggage allowance on internal flights only one item of hand luggage.

It was actually an advantage having a child getting through security as they had a family line which allowed you to jump the queue – so my advice to get through the queue would be to find a child!

On board the plane it took two hours and we received a drink once we were in the air, FREE OF CHARGE, unlike Ryanair who charge £6 for a coke!

When we arrived in Orlando we got through the airport and got the bags quickly then went downstairs to get our Mears shuttle bus. The shuttle held ten people and we did three drop offs. It cost $21 for a one way trip and I didn’t have to pay for Faye. It took around 45 minutes. Driver was very friendly and helpful. Mears do a variety of bus and taxi services in the area.

We were in our hotel room (Quality Inn & Suites, Kissimmee) to unpack AGAIN, by 2.30pm and headed straight for the pool!