Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas - 2012 in review from Singapore...

Christmas Eve 2012 - Singapore.

To our friends and family,

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year or for those of you who don’t celebrate – Happy Festive Season.

2012 has been a good year for us, with a few challenges thrown in along the way to keep us on our toes (or on our crutches).

Highlights of our year – holidays! (as always). Alex and Tara are turning into great little travellers. To prove this to us, on our trip to China in September, we hired a driver to take us to the Great Wall. It was a 2 hour car journey there and 2 hours back – due to the heavy traffic in Beijing. With just 2 transformers to amuse them, we managed the 4 hour journey time without any whining. They are both troopers!

This time last year saw us celebrating Christmas in Siem Reap Cambodia. Alex, Tara and I flew up before Gary as somehow he had forgotten to book a leave day – so came up the following day. We all had a brilliant time, and our tuk tuk driver was very pleased when my husband turned up, waving and greeting him like a long lost friend. Kids are adored in this part of the world, and the temples proved to be a tourist attraction for both the kids and adults.

In January, Alex, Tara and I headed back to Adelaide for a get together with the Leydon side of the family for a significant birthday for my brother. It was a lovely time to spend with all of the family and for the kids to reacquaint themselves with their cousins. Unfortunately Gary had to work over Chinese New Year so couldn’t join us but we all had a fabulous time catching up with friends and family.

In March, we went on a 3 week trip to England and France. After landing at Heathrow, we got the hire car – Gary did a fantastic job of navigating us onto the M1 and driving to Nottingham to pick up Ann who joined us for a few nights in a cottage near Chesterfield. What a gorgeous part of England to visit – we had a great time. We then dropped Ann back to Nottingham and headed to Glastonbury where we managed to catch up with Sarah, David and Megan (Gary’s cousin Sarah) and Holly (Gary’s sister). A lovely few days there before we headed to Gatwick for an overnight hotel stay before our early flight to France.

We had a wonderful week skiing in Tignes – it was the first time Alex and Tara had seen snow. They both did ski school and really enjoyed it! On our last day skiing, I managed to fall over (spectacularly) and tear 2 ligaments in my left knee – my ACL was completely torn. Not the end to the holiday we had envisaged – me on crutches and in a brace. We managed to make it on to our flight back to London the following morning (a few tense moments when we thought they weren’t going to let me on the plane due to needing to keep my leg straight), and then to a lovely hotel in Surrey for a few nights where we caught up with Mark and Liz and their girls Rachel and Gemma. Gary did a fabulous job of managing me on crutches or in a wheelchair and 2 kids who got tired of carrying their bags on the way home.

In July, Gary went to Sydney for a course and I had a couple of days in Adelaide and then we all had a lovely few days in Bintan – the easy getaway from Singapore – being just 45 minutes on a ferry.

In September, we had a great week in China / Hong Kong, including some drama before we got Chinese visas as Alex’s Australian passport had less than 6 months and the Chinese embassy refused to put his visa in his British passport so off to the Aussie embassy to get an emergency passport we went. Beijing was great and actually really easy to travel around, despite language barriers. Hong Kong was a lot of fun, especially visiting Disneyland and Ocean Park.

In November, we had a long weekend in Bangkok where we caught up with Gary’s family – Uncle Neville, Ann and Simon. A great time was had by all.

Other highlights of our year – Alex started at ‘big school’ this year – he began at Avondale Grammar School – which is a small International school based on the Australian curriculum here in Singapore. He loves school and took the change in his stride. We bought a car after 3 years of living here – it has been brilliant to have freedom to come and go as we please without relying on taxis. Yes, they are stupidly expensive but ho hum, it’s been great!

Tara has really changed from a toddler to a child this year; she looks so different and is such lovely company (except when she is fierce Tara). Alex and Tara seem closer now than ever before and are good friends who generally like playing together. Alex is devoted to Lego, Star Wars and Ninjago this year while Tara is starting to make real friendships and is becoming the resident TV addict (taking on that role from Alex this year). She also loves Lego as well as dolls and strollers.

Lowlights have been surgery. I had my ACL repaired at the beginning of June and had to wear my brace again / use crutches again for a time. Gary had to have surgery on his shoulder in October to repair a tendon that he tore in a freak fall on a wet path. Ouch! We are both recovering well – Gary is now able to drive again and is slowly getting back into exercise. We have been keeping the orthopedic surgeons / physio in business.

We had Ann come to stay in August and my nephew Daniel came to stay a couple of weeks ago on his way to Vietnam. As always, it’s great to have visitors.

I have had to do a little (Gary says seemed like more than a little to me!) travel for work this year, which has been quite fun really. I got to go to London in February for a conference as the project I’m working on is global with key stakeholders in Europe and North America. It was fun to be back in London for a few days including drinks on Valentine’s Day with Molloy! I have been to Shanghai 3 times, Bangkok once and then Sydney last week (great for a spot of last minute Christmas shopping!) Probably no more travel for me now, which is also good.

2013 is shaping up to be another big year. I am already into planning our holidays - we have Bintan, Adelaide and Vietnam in the frame and hopefully some further afield later in the year.

Anyway, enough words, time for the photos! We wish you health and happiness in the year ahead and hope that our paths will cross again in 2013.

Christmas Lunch 2011 - Siem Reap - Cambodia

Hong Kong Disneyland - September 2012

Alphabet Playhouse End of Year Concert - November 2012

Loving siblings.

All the grandkids - Leydon side - January 2012 Adelaide

With our cousins

With Auntie Holly - Glastonbury - March 2012

Skiing - Tignes - France - March 2012

First day of school - April 2012

Universal Studios Singapore - July 2012

Tiananmen Square - Beijing - September 2012

Great Wall of China - September 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Excursion to the Botanic Gardens

Alex has been going to 'big school' for a term now. He will turn 5 at the end of July so we made the decision to send him this year - we would have sent him in term 1 except that we had a 3 week trip away in the middle of the term, so we elected for term 2. He has been going to Avondale Grammar, a small international school here in Singapore. It's Australian based, but has a mixture of nationalities attending. He has really loved it and I think we made the right decision to send him now.

On Tuesday it was his first class excursion. They were heading to the Botanic Gardens - specifically Jacob Ballas - the Children's garden. I volunteered to be a 'parent helper'. Although I work full time, I do get pretty generous leave allowances here. We get 25 days annual leave as well as 6 'childcare' days, which is awesome - you can take them for pretty much anything. Technically, because I'm not Singaporean or PR, I'm not eligible for 6, but as my company doesn't discriminate, we get 6. This is for anyone who has kids under 7. So, I booked my day off work with my childcare leave allowance and headed to school to accompany the class.

What a great day we had. Alex caught the school bus in and I left home 10 minutes after him just beating him to school. I met him at the front of the school and he very excitedly grabbed my hand and took me to his classroom.

We had a really fun morning. We got onto the bus at school. I had been assigned to look after Alex and Ollie. Ollie is this gorgeous little boy who was so sweet and affectionate, holding my hand as we went around the gardens and slowly warming up and chatting more and more. After touring around Jacob Ballas, we went to the nearby lake to a gazebo to sit down and have morning snacks. Then we sat down and listened to a story told by one of the teachers and then the children were able to do rubbings and colouring in. We headed back to school around midday and I dropped Alex and Ollie back to the classroom then headed off to do a spot of shopping (shoes at Takashimaya!) before going home to Tara to spend the rest of my 'childcare' day with her. Alex got off the school bus at 3:20 and we all had a lovely afternoon playing together.

Working full time can be difficult with young kids, but I'm very grateful that my work is quite flexible allowing me to work from home a bit and also to have days off such as these. I do really enjoy working and I think that I am probably a better Mum because it helps me to value those special moments that I have with the kids. I think they appreciate me more when I'm around too. I know that everyone is different and what works for some people won't work for others, but I like the balance of our lives. Our next holiday is in Bintan in 4 weeks time - I can't wait!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Post ACL surgery - 8 days on.

So last Monday June 4th, I had my ACL surgery. I was really nervous about it before hand. I didn't sleep well on the Sunday night. Early on Monday morning, I grabbed a taxi to the hospital and checked in. The ward staff thought I was scheduled for 9am surgery but when they realized it was 8am, there was a mad rush. I sadly had to remove my nail polish that was only a day and a half old! Then I was wheeled down to theatre. It reminded me of when Alex broke his arm as it was the same hospital and theatre area. I spoke with the anaethetist and signed my life away and then I was under (after the doc drawing with magic marker on my knee), I was relieved as I wouldn't want them to get the wrong one! I woke up in recovery around 11 and was desperately thirsty. I have a recollection of them giving me a syringe of water! I was wheeled back to my room - private room and loads nicer than Mount E where I had day surgery in Feb! I was so tired, I kept thinking I should call Gary but the urge to sleep was overwhelming. I eventually woke up at 1pm. No pain! Excellent! I had a sandwich and a cup of Milo and then a bit later the surgeon came in. He said the op had gone well and I would be free to go after the physio came. The physio arrived a bit later. She was this tiny young girl. She went over a few exercises, put my brace on and it was time to try out the crutches. I didn't realize my leg was still very numb, I stood up and went sideways nearly bowling the poor physio over! Whoa, that wasn't supposed to happen. Take 2 was a lot better. I got home around 4pm and spent a very comfortable night in my own bed. Yay for day surgery. On Tuesday, I was hobbling around with my crutches. On Wednesday, I went to get the bandage off and they redressed all of the wounds. I was slowly getting feeling back but I think the anaethetist was a bit heavy handed! On Thursday I went to see my physio. He had me off my crutches that morning. On Friday, I was walking a lot more and reasonably well. Today (day 8), I got a bit of pain and stiffness in my knee. I think this is normal, also my hamstring is a bit sore. But it's not at all bad. I was so worried about how I would cope post surgery, but it has been way better than I expected. I am so glad! So now it's the long rehab. Exercises every day and no biking for 6 weeks, no running for 5 months, no skiing for 8 months. Hmmmm, I wonder if trapeze would be allowed when we go to Bintan in 5 weeks?

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Tomorrow (Monday June 4th), I am scheduled to have surgery to reconstruct my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in my left knee. It's now 10 weeks since my skiing accident and my leg is in a pretty good condition. The worst thing is that for the past 10 days or so, I have been suffering from lower back pain (I'm guessing caused by walking strangely due to wearing a brace for 8 weeks). This has impacted on my exercises that I have been doing to strengthen my knee. Hopefully the surgery will be successful and then I will be on the road to a full recovery. I have a great physio who specialises in knees and ankles. I am feeling pretty nervous about the surgery but am also very keen to get it behind me so that I can start the proper rehabilitation. I am hoping that there's not too much damage to my miniscus as this will mean my rehab is much quicker. My surgery is scheduled for 8am tomorrow. I need to be at the hospital at 6am (groan). I am not looking forward to going back to being on crutches and wearing the brace. However, hopefully it will be short lived. I am also not at all good at being housebound. I go a bit stir crazy. Hopefully I will only be on crutches for a few days and then getting back to normal. I am working from home for the rest of the week and will get out on Thursday to see the physio. Yay - an outing!!

Europe 2012 - getting back to England

On Sunday March 25th, we set out very early (our transfer was 6am and it was daylight savings morning so really 5am)! We set our alarm for 5am, but our iPhone updated the time and after getting up and dressed (which was kind of difficult with brace etc), I realized our mistake. Thankful we hadn't woken the kids up! I hadn't had a lot of sleep given my leg was braced and pretty swollen. We had a tense moment at Chambery airport when being asked if I could bend my leg. I managed to convince them that with an aisle seat I would be fine to let the trolley past. Phew. We had a good time getting to the plane, in a wheelchair and getting a hydraulic lift (Alex joined me). The flight was fine and when we arrived at Gatwick, I was told assistance would be arriving. Assistance was a wheelchair for 100m and then a motorized trolley. I was allowed to take 1 child with me, so Tara and I got on. What an amazing service, the lady who drove us was lovely - a volunteer and just so friendly and accommodating. We were driven to passport control and then met the boys at baggage reclaim and then we all got a ride to the car rental area! It was an excellent service. We picked up our rental car and drove to the Hilton hotel in Cobham in Surrey.

Gary dropped me off at the door of the Hilton - we arrived around lunchtime. I went in hobbling on my crutches with both kids. The check-in staff told us our room wasn't ready yet as they had been full the night before. The manager at the desk then looked at me and said, "You look like you could do with a drink, come to the bar with me" and she took the kids and I to the bar and told the bartender to get us what we wanted and she would sign the bill. She got the children 2 activity packs with colouring etc inside and it made me feel like crying - it had been such a journey to get there and everyone had been so kind. With the accident happening less than 24 hours prior, we hadn't really had a chance to process it all but she was so lovely and accommodating.

When Gary and I lived in England we had a house in Walton on Thames and this was one of the reasons we had chosen the Hilton at Cobham. As it was lunchtime, we decided to go to one of our favourite pubs for lunch. We drove there (got a little lost) but managed to find it ok and as it was Sunday lunch the place was heaving. Luckily we did manage to get a table and we had a gorgeous pub lunch at what used to be called "The Oatlands Chase" but had changed its name. Again, on leaving, Gary went to get the car and people were helping me out - opening the car door and just being so kind.

We drove back to our hotel and got our rooms, only to find out that they were on the 2nd floor and there was no lift!! I had a chat with the front desk staff and they offered us a room on the ground floor but unfortunately the ground floor had no interconnecting rooms so we decided we'd give the 2nd floor a go. I very quickly learnt how to get up and down stairs with my crutches. The rooms were lovely and it was nice to be able to relax and collect ourselves for a while.

On Sunday night we caught up with some old friends Mark & Liz and their 2 daughters, Rachel and Gemma. We went to an old favourite restaurant - Pizza Express. I was delighted that they still had my all time favourite pizza on the menu - Veneziana. The kids had a lovely time and it was so nice to catch up with old friends - now in a very different situation with 4 kids between us!

On Monday, we had a lovely day exploring Surrey again and just chilling out. On Tuesday, our flight was at 10:30pm so we asked the hotel if we could have late checkout. They told us it was 10 pounds an hour after 1pm and we organised to have the room till 4pm. They didn't end up charging us the extra 30 pounds which was again, so nice of them. We had a nice easy day and then at 4pm, checked out and drove to a nearby playground we had seen earlier in the day. The kids had a brilliant time playing and then we went to another of our favourite pubs on the river for dinner before driving to Heathrow. It was a lovely relaxing few days in Surrey despite me being on crutches and leg in a splint.

Gary did the drive back to Heathrow - our trusty GPS got us there without an issue and we managed to check in without a hitch. Gatwick definitely wins the prize for assistance. Heathrow was a lady with a wheelchair who was very kind. In Singapore we had a guy who crashed me into a number of objects and was going so fast that poor Tara was running to try to keep up. Eventually Gary asked him if he could take the hand luggage and Gary pushed me. The guy was a bit clueless. Anyway, we made it back to Singapore in 1 piece.

A big shout out to Gary for managing 2 toddlers, 2 heavy suitcases, 4 items of hand luggage and a wife on crutches. What a champion.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Skiing in Tignes

Early in the morning on Sunday March 18th, (our 6th wedding anniversary and UK Mothers Day), we headed on the shuttle bus to the airport and checked in for our flight to Chambery. I've never seen so many kids on a flight. The plane was 80% families with young kids. The flight was uneventful (good) and we arrived at Chambery but then had to wait for all the other flights to arrive to get our transfer to Tignes. Overall, it was a long travel day with a 2.5 hour bus ride but everyone travelled well. We checked into Chalet Corniche - our home for the next 7 days. It was very nice and the kids were very excited to see real snow. We went to hire skis and boots and lugged them back to the Chalet. The company we travelled with Espirit Ski, had a great schedule of kids dinner at 5:45 and then cocktails and hors d'ourves for adults at 7:30. A baby sitter sat outside the kids bedroom listening to ensure they stayed in bed (was never a problem with our 2)! What a great setup! We had a fabulous week. The kids went off to childcare in the morning and had a 2 hour ski lesson in the afternoon. They were exhausted each night and slept really well, whilst both being keen to go back the next day for more fun. We went to the Tignes swimming pool one afternoon, which was great - having a dip whilst looking out the window at snow covered mountains. Gary and I got our 'ski legs' back (it was our first ski holiday in 5.5 years). Despite doing a black run on the first day (by accident - misread the map!), we had loads of fun and the snow was a delight. On our last day skiing (Saturday 25th), we took the kids in the Gondola up aeroski to have a hot chocolate at the top. What a beautiful place. We then took them down and played in the snow which was exhausting. We dropped them off at lunch time with the childcare team and we went off for our final afternoon's skiing together. We went on a couple of lifts, did a few smooth runs and were heading down on a blue run. I was pointing completely downhill and had the thought that it was a bit further to the bottom than I had originally thought so I'd better put a turn in. I went to turn and obviously misjudged, it went wrong, I crossed my skis and ended up with both skis and 1 pole up the mountain. My initial thoughts were "well that was silly, and I've slightly hurt my knee, I don't think we will ski much more today, what a shame". There was a lovely older French couple who stopped to help me as Gary was down the bottom of the mountain. They rescued my skis and pole and helped me up. I was explaining my knee was a bit sore but I thought it was alright. The man looked at my ski and it was slightly broken. He was able to fix it but warned me that I shouldn't ski much with it as it needed to be looked at. I then tried to clip into my ski. I put my toe of my boot in and went to push my heel down. My whole left leg went to jelly and collapsed underneath me. I freaked out a bit with that and realised I couldn't walk. The kind French couple helped me out, he skied to Gary holding my skis, she took my poles and I slid down on my bottom. We explained it all to Gary and then asked the French couple to call mountain rescue for us. What a saga. Ski patrol came very quickly. I told the guy what happened and he immediately said "ligaments". I was a bit puzzled as I wasn't in much pain but he said it was most probably torn ligaments and sometimes they weren't immediately painful. The ski rescue medic then came to take me down to the bottom. Whee, off in the sled I went, with my leg in an air cast. We were met at the bottom by the ambulance who took us to the Tignes medical centre. Gary skied down and met us there. I was examined by a doctor and he confirmed after x-ray 2 torn ligaments. Once Gary arrived at the medical centre, he was given the pharmacy shopping list and after a while, he was back with a brace, crutches, pain killers and DVT prevention injections. Wow! What a spectacular end to our holiday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our European holiday - part 1 - England

We last went back to Europe 4 years ago when Alex was just 9 months old. During that trip we found out we were expecting Tara and although we had a great time, it was hard work. So it was with both excitement and trepidation that we prepared for our European holiday. The one thing that concerned me the most was the 14 hour flight and how the kids would manage. Having done the trip by myself just 4 weeks earlier (for a work trip, therefore at the front of the bus), I was nervous about the long flight. Also Gary had been ill for a few weeks before we went with a hacking cough and the cold also was a concern. We left Changi around midnight on March 10th. The kids were troopers, mainly excited about the trip and both were asleep as soon as we boarded, before the plane had got in the air. Alex desperately tried to stay awake but tiredness won out. So far so good. I managed a bit of sleep on the plane as did Gary, but it's still a long flight! We landed at Heathrow in the early hours and got to the car rental around 6am. That was all very smooth although a bit daunting leaving in the dark and wet. However our trusty GPS managed to navigate us onto the M25 and the M1. Both kids got a bit more sleep in the car and the drive to Nottingham was pretty good. We were at Gary's parents place by 8:30 even after a coffee stop. We picked up Ann and continued driving to Chesterfield in the peak district. Jet lag was kicking in fast, so it was great to finally arrive at our 3 bedroom cottage. What a beautiful place. We stayed at Cowclose Barn and it was superb. Comfortable, warm, welcoming - a freshly baked cake to welcome us. Ah, England! We had 3 nights in the Peak District and it was lovely. We had a trip to Chatsworth House (farm animals and great playground) and generally enjoyed catching up with Ann and having family time. On the Wednesday we drove Ann back to Nottingham and headed off towards Glastonbury. The kids were troopers in the car - iPads helped! We checked into our home for the next 3 nights and caught up with Holly - Gary's older sister. We also were fortunate to spend an afternoon with Gary's cousin Sarah, her husband David and daughter Megan. The kids bonded immediately. What a lovely few days. On St Patricks Day we headed off again to Gatwick. We checked into the Marriott at Gatwick airport and were ready for our early morning flight to France the following day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Newsletter 2011

Singapore Tales – 2011

Dear Family & Friends,

Well, where did that year go? I find myself at December 31st, looking back on the year that was and wondering about how quickly each year now passes by. And having just re-read my 2010 newsletter (sent on Christmas Eve – I’m slipping), I commented on the same thing! Here in Singapore we have had a good year and we are very thankful for a number of things, mostly our health and for the love and support of our family and friends.

We have had a number of fun family holidays this year. We dubbed 2011, “The Year of Club Med”. It wasn’t intended that way, but it started out heading to Bintan (Indonesian Island 45 minutes ferry ride from Singapore) in Feb 2011 for a long weekend. A few people from work had mentioned they enjoyed Club Med so I checked on the internet, found a deal and booked our weekend. What a weekend we had. The kids both went for mornings to “Petit Club” where they do all sorts of activities, drawing, swimming, nature walks etc. Gary and I enjoyed our mornings “off” with yoga, Thai boxing, lazing on the beach etc. It was a brilliant 4 days so when it came time to book our next holiday, we decided to try Club Med Phuket, (again – got a great deal – I am an accountant after all). We went to Phuket for a week in May and again, a fabulous time had by all. We then managed to dash back to Bintan for another long weekend in September and then had a week in Cherating Beach Malaysia in November. It was a year of holidays that were about rest and relaxing – not something we’ve focused on much before, but having 2 active toddlers makes this much more of a focus!

I also had a long weekend visit to Adelaide in August to help my siblings clear our Mum’s place (Mum has now moved to assisted accommodation). Thanks to Gary for taking all of the childcare (and to Anelen!!) I also managed to sneak away in late October for a ‘girl’s weekend’ in Phuket with Karen & Rachel. What a fun time and yes, I know how lucky I am to have an understanding husband (who is looking forward to a couple of trips away by himself next year - edited by Gary) as well as a great helper! Our latest holiday was our Christmas trip to Siem Reap. A Cambodian Christmas was different, but we all had a great time. It is the most underdeveloped place we have visited (as a family) but still quite touristy and this obviously makes it easier to travel around. We spent Christmas Day visiting Angkor Thom and then had a traditional Cambodian Christmas lunch (fried rice, satay and ginger pork) which was enjoyed by all. It was a really lovely family Christmas.

The kids were rather captivated by Siem Reap, so many things to see that they have never seen before. They loved the tuk-tuks but felt Mummy and Daddy should not off been holding on to them quite as much as they were! (Alex’s comment “It’s not so much fun when you put your arm around me”).

In 2012 we are looking forward to a return to England (first time since 2008) in March. We will be in the UK for a week, before heading to Tignes for a ski holiday (I hope the kids like the cold!) and then back to London for a couple of nights before our return to Singapore.

Both of the kids are doing really well and enjoying their life here in Singapore. They are attending a kindergarten / nursery school called “Alphabet Playhouse” which is a couple of hundred metres walk from our condo. Tara began the year going 3 mornings a week and then went to 5 mornings when I returned to full time work (in June). She loves her teacher and seems to be learning a lot, they both pop out with Chinese numbers and songs on occasion. Alex has made a number of new friends in his class and seems to be really enjoying his time at nursery. He had homework every weekend (something Tara was a little upset to miss out on) and has made great progress in writing and colouring this year. Alex turned 4 in late July and till the day of his birthday declared he was “3 and a half”. Tara is much the same, I told her this morning that today is the last day she can say “I’m only 2 Mummy”. Tara is turning 3 tomorrow and very excited about her birthday.

Work wise, we have had a year of stability with our jobs – Gary having just started his new job at Credit Suisse in November last year has now been in the role for over a year and feels part of the furniture. Gary travelled with work to Pune, India a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed his time there. My job at Diageo has been the same this year, but I’m very happy to say that as of Jan 16th, I am moving to a new role that will hopefully be a lot more interesting than my current role. After two and half years here we feel like we are finally on the right ground work wise, up until now either one or both of us have been at least unhappy and at times furious with our employers. We are looking forward to what will certainly be a challenging but hopefully also rewarding 2012, both of us doing things we are interested in.

We are now truly settled into our home, we moved 14 months ago and are still happy and enjoying our home on River Valley Road. We just discovered a few new bars on the river a short easy walk from home. We spent a rather relieved lunch there a few weeks back, one of the few times when I’ve sunk a couple of pints at a lunch in the last few years! (Gary)

We have had a few visitors this year. Gary’s Mum was with us for the start of the year and then just after Ann left, Roger came over from KL in February. Allisa came for a week in March, shortly after Roger’s departure. We caught up with Paula who was visiting Singapore in June where we discovered a fabulous Japanese restaurant (must go back). My brother John, his wife Jenny and their 3 girls were in Singapore in July. It was fantastic to spend time with them and for all of the cousins to be reacquainted. Gary’s Mum was back in July for Alex’s birthday and Gary’s birthday in August. We also had fleeting visits from my nephew Daniel (actually this was late 2010), Tricia, Jim & Tegan, Ann-Marie & Ross and my cousin David. We love seeing people here and being able to show off some of what Singapore has to offer so if you are calling through, do let us know!

All in all it’s been a good year where we have found some stability to see us through the next few years here, although a few unexpected challenges came our way in the closing months just to keep us on our toes.

I hope that this finds you all well and happy and hope that 2012 is a great year for you all.

A few pictures of our year (not in chronological order!!)

With cousins from Adelaide - July 2011
Swimming in pool at Cherating Beach Malaysia - November 2011
On the beach at Bintan - Indonesia - September 2011
Christmas lunch - Siem Reap - Cambodia - December 25, 2011
Elephant Parade - Singapore Zoo - November 2011
With Granny Ann at Jurong Bird Park - Singapore - August 2011
With Captain Mark - Phuket - Thailand - May 2011
With great friend Lilah on Alex's 4th birthday - July 2011

Watching a monitor lizard at Cherating Beach - Malaysia - November 2011