EVA Airlines review

Taiwan is an amazingly child friendly place so, come June holiday, we went again. This time, we took EVA Air because it is significantly cheaper than Singapore airlines tickets for the same period (about 30% cheaper) for the dates we were thinking of.

EVA seriously needs to update its corporate colours and logo because it is really not confidence inspiring. Just looking at the logo I had the impression that it is a very backward operation. However, a bit of online research showed that it is highly rated and has a very good safety record. On the back of research through Mr Google, off we went on EVA Air.

The booking of air tickets through its website was easy enough but the system showed that we were unable to select seats because we were travelling with an infant. However, we realised that the bassinet seats (there were only 2) were all booked up. We were informed that the other passengers called in to reserve those seats. So if you are travelling with infant, do call their reservation centre to book your seats. When we asked the air stewardess about the bassinet seats, they tried very hard to be helpful, calling their ground staff, even asking the passengers at the bassinet seats how they got the seats, all on their own accord without us making further requests. They also agreed to help us call their ground staff to reserve bassinet seats for us on the return flight. Throughout all these they kept asking us for information and apologising, they must have come to talk to us more than 10 times throughout the flight on this matter, which is fine for us since the flight is so boring anyway but some may get irritated. The bit that did irritate us a bit though was that they failed to deliver in the end. We did not have a bassinet seat on our return flight.

Apart from the failure to secure us a bassinet seat though, the service is amazing. The air Stewardess came promptly once the call button is pressed and always carried a genuine smile. The food is as good (or bad) as any other airline’s. Children were offered a choice of simple activity kits which my older child appreciated.

In flight entertainment (whether movie choices or magazine choices) is where it loses out significantly to my usual carrier of choice, SQ. Choices were far more limited and movies are listed under its new release section were movies already moved to favourites in SQ flights (I took an SQ flight immediately after returning from Taiwan so could make a direct comparison).

All in all, EVA is a good cost effective option for travelling to Taiwan. Positive points were warm service and good safety record; negative points are lack of bassinet seats on flight and limited in flight entertainment choices. If you don’t speak Mandarin, it may also be less convenient although I did overhear some stewardesses converse with passengers in Engligh and they were proficient.

I still am a supporter of my national carrier, SQ, but sometimes when bookings are done too late, their prices can be a bit ridiculous and that’s when maybe EVA can be a good option.

Where are you travelling to this December holiday? Here’s to a great holiday season for everyone!

Where does one go during Halloween?

Woodlands woodgrove of course. I was reluctant to go because traffic is a pain and daddy is not around to bring us. However, the bigger girl was insistant and I relented. It ended up being a fun mother-daughter date night.

The Woodgrove at woodlands is surprisingly good at least on the food front. We had waffles and ice cream at Two plus One Cafe. It was so yummy that Sophia finished the entire scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, which has never happened before. She always says she is full after finishing just a quarter of a scoop. The ice cream flavours are interesting but not weird – things like earl grey with figs, Thai milk tea and so on. The waffle is also crispy and not too sweet.

When we went out to wait for the cab, we realised that there is also Loy Kee chicken rice and a 24 hours Muslim Coffeeshop that was very crowded. There is also an NTUC finest. Too bad it’s too far for us to frequent.

Art wall

Sophia adores art and craft, and actually isn’t half bad at it. So when we moved to our new place, even though my interior designer was dying to do a feature wall on the large empty wall behind my dining table, I denied him the pleasure, mentally allocating that space for framed pieces of Sophia’s work. Alas, the shy girl wanted her pieces on her room wall instead and the final compromised was the corridor.

The large piece is the first project from her art class that we recently enrolled her for. She was quickly selected to feature in her school’s newsletter. This is the photo that would appear:

The piece on the right was just a random piece. It was actually Sandra, the younger one, who wanted to paint and, not wanting to lose out, Sophia proceeded to use the paints to create a 5 minute piece as well. The results look pretty amazing if I may say so. I don’t know if this is a fluke because most of her pieces don’t turn out this good but if it is, it’s a fluke I am definitely keeping.

Oh and apart from the art wall pieces she is also constantly working on craft. There are loads of clay figurines and she paints on her toy figurines from kinder surprise eggs. She also recently compelled (yes compelled) me to sew her this pencil case. I was the manual worker, she was the brain with specific instructions as follows:

1) cut a rectangle then cut another one of the same size. You can lay the first one on top to make sure the size is the same. (She also proceeded to show me how long and wide the rectangle should be)

2) sew or glue on the zip.

3) make a bow from this ribbon and fix it “here” (at that corner) 

She then wanted to cut eyes etc out of felt but I told her to just draw them on with black fabric marker (phew good thing I bought some of these else I need to see on felt features!) The drawn on features were definitely the highlight of the piece, wouldn’t you agree?

Simple pleasures

We are often so tired from the day to day routines whether on weekdays or weekends that we just want to stay at home and sleep or watch youtube or order food by delivery. But last weekend I insisted that the husband and I bring the kids out on a walk to the neighbourhood park and we had so much fun! It’s really just an ordinary playground but the simple structures and the open space is just so amazing to the couped up kids of today.

On another note, I can’t believe how fast the second child is growing up!

Sewing again

These days my therapeutic activity of choice is sewing, and recently I was in need of distraction so the sewing machine got dusted off. Sandra has a simple dress that took half a day to make but of course she prefers her older sister’s dress that is more complex and took 2 days. Looks like a balloon on her:

Not very green fingers but trying!

When we moved recently to a place with a patio, one thing we knew we wanted was a vege patch. The thinking was that we’d harvest batches of home grown Shanghai greens, Kang kong and other green leafies for our meals. The reality is of course that our fingers are not as green as we thought and each sowing only yielded a miserable portion not even enough for one person.

Good thing we also hedged our bets and grew some herbs that fared better. The hardy Pandan is of course a staple in southeast Asian households and these grew well easily even through bouts of neglect.

The tall grasses on its left are lemongrass. I planted a total of 6 stalks of these after I rooted them and 3 managed to grow well and each developed into a few stalks of lemongrass that grew surprisingly tall! I’m just leaving these to grow until I host some gathering where I will harvest them to make some Thai inspired dishes or perhaps a refreshing lemongrass drink.

On the right of the lemongrass is basil. The label of the seeds said sweet basil but the leaves of these smell more citrusy than the common sweet basil that I get from the supermarket so I’m not quite sure what variety they are.

But what grew best of all are the flowers that Sophia wanted to grow which we didn’t even think will ever sprout, and after they sprouted we didn’t think the tiny thin sprouts will survive the battering of singapore’s heavy rain, but they survived all odds and bloomed!

The herb and flower patch is definitely a work in progress but it feels like we are going in the right direction. Now to start working on mint, rosemary and curry leaves.