Loving Kidspace in Pondok Indah

Somehow half the year has already passed by and due to work commitments and most kids already going to preschool, both Samudra and I have been missing our regular catch ups with the Yummy Mummies.  Last month I finally had a day off so we arranged to meet at Kidspace in Pondok Indah for somewhere new and loved it!

What a great space this is with so much to keep the kids entertained with all the different areas to play in and explore.  There is a Tot Spot for little ones from 6-18 months, and the other play spaces are for kids ranging from 1 to 12 years old.  The Aquadium is a water play area which was a hit with the little ones, and after completely saturating themselves, they ran off to explore the rest of the building, digging in the Sandium, climbing up the Paperclip Climber, and building with the huge Imagination blocks.  There was duplo and telephones to play with, equipment to climb over and slide down and the obligatory ball pit found in every indoor play centre in Jakarta.

The only negative for Kidspace was there was nothing in the little cafe that Samudra could eat with his super fussy tastes, so I know to bring our own snacks for our next visit.

It was so lovely to finally see some mummies again and to see how much the kids have grown in the past few months and Samudra had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new little ones too.

I’m looking forward to hopefully finding more time for play dates in the next few months and will definately have Kidspace on the list as a place to go back to.

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Samudra and Layla were inseparable for their first time playing together

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The Paperclip climber for kids 3-12 years old

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Always fun in the ball pit for the little ones

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Samudra getting busy with the big blue blocks

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Samudra and I had fun playing with the Imagination Blocks making him a magic machine

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Thanks for running around and playing with Samudra all morning

A trip to Karawang, Bekasi

One of the greatest things about our line of work is that we get to travel around and see some pretty amazing places and meet so many beautiful and very humble people.

Late last year, Putra was shooting for Samsung Note 5, so Samudra and I went on an adventure to visit him on location and had to travel almost three hours out of Jakarta to Karawang, Bekasi in West Java.  The further away we got from Jakarta, the greener and more luscious the scenery grew and once we reached Karawang we were so happy to to pass by and see kids jumping into the river splashing around while rice fields provided the perfect backdrop as the sun rose, and it all looked so magical in the soft morning light.

By the time we arrived at the set, the sun was high in the sky and it was sweltering hot.  Samudra was a little restless after being in the car for hours and was therefore a bit too noisy to be near where Putra was shooting, so I decided to take him for a walk through the rice paddies to look at the temples.  We cut through the fields and were then stopped while passing a small warung being asked to have our photos taken and chat with the family who lived at the house behind the warung.  We ended up sitting in the shade of their house while more local kids arrived and they all had fun playing around and singing with Samudra.  After an hour or so, we went to leave and were met by a group of school kids on a field trip to see Candi Blandongan.  This resulted in a large group of kids holding their cameras up wanting to take pics and have selfies with his, which got a little too overwhelming for Samudra, although he loved playing with them and running along the path to the temple with them, stopping to watch frogs and fish in water in the rice paddies beside us.

Next thing you know, there was a group of local little kids following us around and leading Samudra around laughing and having a great time.  Samudra was so happy for the company and giggled non stop all morning.  It never ceases to amaze me how happy and friendly the young kids here are, and they were so sweet, carrying him around and helping him up and down the stairs to the temples.

Once we had finished exploring and headed back to where Putra was, there were no less than 20 kids following us wanting to play with Samudra and the sound of their laughter and singing was too loud so yet again we had to walk away so we wouldn’t be disturbing the shoot day.  We ended up going with the kids back to their kampung and meeting almost everyone who lived there along the way as they came to see what all the racket was about.  It was such a funny afternoon, being invited into family homes where I really struggled to understand what people were saying to us, but we laughed a lot together trying to understand each other, while the kids ran around in the dusty kampung squealing and chasing ducks and chickens around with Samudra, while eating rainbow ice drinks and icy-poles.

The little kids then led us to the next kampung along the narrow paths, through the rice fields, and there we met a whole new village full of people.  I couldn’t believe the amount of young kids there were in these kampungs and there were barely any men around during the day as they were all out working elsewhere.  The kampungs were full of women sitting at their doorsteps laughing with their neighbours and kids, and the all appeared so care free and relaxed.

After many belly laughs and cheeks hurting from smiling so much, we walked back across to the Buddhist Temple, Candi Blandongan, which looked mystical in the early evening light with fire torches set around it for the last scenes of the shoot.  Putra had arranged for fire twirling for the evening but we missed seeing this as Samudra was too tired after a long and full day of running around and constant attention.

I wished I had been able to understand the locals better so I could learn more about the area and temples scattered around, but instead we went home with a head full of amazing memories from all the kids and people we met who welcomed us into their villages and homes, and who made the day incredibly special for us.

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Samudra taking his dinosaur for a walk through the rice fields

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Being carried around in the warung

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Playing with Dino at the warung

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School kids on a field trip to the temples

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Samudra playing with some local kids

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Visiting the temple

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A wider view of the temple

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Paparazzi kids

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Samudra cracking himself up

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Being dragged around in a box

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Let’s check out Youtube!

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Young girls playing elastics

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Samudra making it a little difficult for the girls to jump over the elastic

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Being cheeky

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Visiting the kampung with with the kids

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A few of the kids following us everywhere for the day

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Playing around in the rice paddies

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Here comes the kampung tailor

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Rainbow ice lollies to cool down with

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Ice, condensed milk and food colouring.. Sweet, cool treats for the kids

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Saying goodbye to another lovely family

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More lovely happy faces

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Boys in the afternoon sun

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Taking Samudra for another walk

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Boys carrying Samudra to the temple

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Time out with bapak

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Heading to the temple for the evening shoot

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At the second temple where the shoot was held

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Boys having fun

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Throwing stones into the water

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A very shy and sweet food seller

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More super friendly locals

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Preparing for the evening shoot

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Arriving to prepare for their fire twirling

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Chilling out in the hotel bed after a fun and exhausting day

Gojek Winner Announced….

It has already been a week since the announcement was made, but I wanted to make a quick (albeit late) post about our experience at this fun event.

Putra and I picked up Pak Fuad and his wife from their home on the night of the awards, and they were grinning from ear to ear with excitement and nerves to be attending the event with us.  It was really so sweet and again I wish that I was fluent in Bahasa to be able to ‘basa basi’ with them as we battled through the traffic for over three hours, with palms sweating and a head full of ‘what ifs’… but hoping we would be returning with some good news at the end of the night.

After a slight panic that we would be late after the road was blocked by police so we were unable to make a u-turn to reach our destination and had to keep driving in frustrating traffic moving at a snails pace, we finally made it right on the starting time noted on our invitation.  Ah, when will I ever learn to really relax and learn to be late and live by the Indonesian jam karet (rubber time)?.  After six years here, I am rarely ever late to anything, arriving right on time (because I leave HOURS beforehand to calm my anxiety of being late), which means I am nearly always left waiting for hours before events actually start.. Everyone else seems to know the right time to arrive, with no sense of panic… I am still yet to learn how this system works.

So we ate some delicious food, and listened to some great tunes by a gorgeous female DJ while waiting over an hour to enter inside the auditorium.  As we finally sat down to listen to the opening speeches, my heart started racing as they showed our film Arang & Asa as a nominee for the Viewer’s Choice Award and then…. yah! The winner was announced….. Gelombang Kehidupan from Tara Arts Movie.  I really liked this movie as the Actor was very powerful in making me want to cry and feel sorry for his situation.  Then moving quickly along to the Best Director category and again our film was a nominee and the winner was announced… Delivering Happiness!  What an epic film this was.. so many people involved and a great movie where the Gojek driver doesn’t even realise he is the hero of the day.

As they came out to announce the final award, I thought to myself… we can’t go home without seeing our film on the big screen… we’re going to see it.. we’re going to see it….. and our film was shown in the nominees.. and then they read out the winner of the Best Video…. ARANG & ASA!!!!! whoooooop whoooop! WE WON!!! Out of 600 entries throughout Indonesia our video was chosen.. what an absolute honour.

I just want to say the biggest thanks ever to our incredible team at Anatman Pictures for making this film as it very nearly didn’t happen as we were running out of time.  To my incredibly talented husband who shot yet another beautifully executed film… he will never cease to amaze me… To the awesome team at AlbumRupa for casting Putra’s favourite talents and extras, and getting the incredible Pak Fuad to take part in our film and to him for being so amazing during shooting in the extreme heat and storms in Jakarta.  To absolutely everyone involved who believed in us enough to dedicate their time to helping us make this happen.  To everyone who showed us support and gave us beautiful words of encouragement after we posted the film online after a mad rush to get it finished by the submission deadline.  Finally, the biggest THANK YOU to Gojek, not only for the award, but for the services you have provided to make all our lives easier here in Jakarta and to your drivers who do an incredible job of delivering amazing services while battling the traffic, pollution and chaos of Jakarta.

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

Photos courtesy of Grandyos Zafna Manase Mesah… thanks so much Grandy!

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Welcome to Go-Video Awards

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Arang & Asa was nominated for all three categories in the night

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and the winner is Arang & Asa! So excited!

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All 3 Winners up on stage.. Congratulations everyone!

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Thank you Pak Fuad for bringing your magic to Arang & Asa

 

 

Gojek Go-Video 2016 – Arang & Asa

It’s so tricky for me to even contemplate regularly updating this blog as my days are filled with meetings and being on location on shoot days, and every spare minute I have is taken up with having adventures with Samudra.  This leaves very little time for updating about what we’ve been up to, and much less I am too tired to lug around the big heavy camera these days.  So I have millions of phone photos on my laptop, some now over a year old, waiting to be shared but time goes so quickly that most will never see the light of day!

So I have decided to share some behind the scenes photos on one of our favourite shoots, so you can get a glimpse of what we get up to every day away from the play dates and malls and parks.

There’s no way you can miss all those green helmets and jackets out on the streets these days, they seem to be everywhere, and Samudra proudly points out every time we are out and about “Gojek mumma! Gojek!”…. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have dreamed of using their service as I had my regular ojek drivers all over Jakarta, but once I finally used their service, I was hooked! Gojek have expanded rapidly and they are here to make life so much easier for those of us living in the highly traffic congested city of Jakarta.  You can get a ride on a motorbike to anywhere you want, have your groceries or other shopping picked up for you (Go-Mart), order a massage to your home (Go-Massage), a cleaning service (Go-Clean), have your makeup done for a special event and much more, all at the press of a button.  They have saved me many times when I have run out of milk for Samudra and they have delivered come rain, hail or shine and now I can’t remember what Jakarta was like without them as I use them so regularly.  So we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a video for them for their Go-Video competition 2016, and we are eternally grateful for all the support from everyone involved and are proud to announce we have made it into the top 20 films, with the overall winner to be announced on May 11.  Winning or losing doesn’t matter to us, what matters is that everyone involved so happily offered their services to be a part of the film and it was fun making it.

After a walk through our neighbourhood kampungs as is usual for me and Samudra as he has so many friends there and we both love the energy in the areas, we came across an adorable marching band practising for a competition in Ancol (they subsquently came in first place!).  I knew we had to change the original storyline to somehow include these kids as they brought tears to my eyes when I watched them proudly parading around swinging flags and banging on their drums.  On shoot day when they arrived wearing their costumes I melted as it was one of the sweetest sights I have seen here in a long time.  Everyone involved made an amazing effort although it was pouring raining on and off throughout the whole shoot, which was funny considering our Art Department had built a rain maker for effect in our night scene, but perhaps the skies were blessing us so we wouldn’t need to use it?

It was a great a smooth two days shooting and again I personally thank everyone for giving their time to make this film a reality.  A huge thank you to all the talent in the film, especially the incredible, humble, and very patient Pak Fuad who had to battle all the elements of the skies during shoot days, and always with a huge grin on his face.

You can view the final film at www.anatmanpictures.com

 

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Finding magic in the kampung

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Marching band practising

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Gorgeous little drummers

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Our Art Director messing around with the boom mic cover

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Shooting the opening scenes

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Early morning on set

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The lovely Pak Fuad

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Priti doing make-up in the rain

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Sheltering Qheyla from the rain

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Sweet little drummer girl

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Beautiful colours

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Samudra so happy with his dearest kaka Qheyla

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Hoping the rain will hold off to finish the shoot

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and action!

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Qheyla joins the band

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Samudra with his friends

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Everyone came out to see the action

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Last shots for the kids

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..and it’s a wrap! Home to play together

KidCity Transmart Cilandak

Lately I’ve been stuck as to where to take Samudra in my spare time as I feel like I have exhausted so many places in the past two and a half years and I have been feeling in desperate need to see something new. At just the right moment, a message was posted on a Mum’s group forum on Facebook last week, and after seeing pics of dinosaurs posted, we decided we had to go check this place out.

After a beautiful (and extrememly hot!) early Sunday morning walk around Ragunan Zoo, checking out the elephants and monkeys as always, we decided to head the short distance to Carrefour Transmart Cilandak to cool down and check out KidCity.

This building has recently been renovated and everything is still fresh, shiny and bright and I felt a sense of excitement to be checking out somewhere new… but my reaction was nothing compared to Samudra’s as soon as we walked through the lobby doors into the small mall. Samudra looked up and saw a sign with a dinosaur and some flying dinosaurs hanging from the roof and started jumping up and down and squealing with happiness! It was so adorable really.. So we had to practically run up the escalators to the second floor…

KidCity was heaving with people on a Sunday morning and it was a sensory overload with so much noise and bright lights flashing and the sounds of dinosaurs roaring. It was such a great atmosphere and just watching Samudra’s reactions was absolutely priceless as we walked around. The theme of KidCity is ‘Dino in Paris’ and the place is decorated in a French theme and even has a mini Eiffel Tower to sit under.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my proper camera with me (it’s been waaaaaay too long!) so I only have some terrible phone photos to share but you can get a feel for what the place is like. It was super fun to go along with such a hyper excited child and Samudra was in absolute heaven with the dinosaurs there.

You need to purchase a card for at the Kashier to be used at the little snack shops in the area, as well as another card at the Moulin Rouge counter to be used for any rides or games your kids may want to play on, these can both be topped up with more cash at any time. There’s a soft play area for the smaller kids and a roller coaster for the older kids as well as a few other rides, and lots of games down one end for the older kids to play on.

The floor below KidCity is full of restaurants and a few little shops and then Carrefour is on the bottom floor.

Going by Samudra’s reaction, any kids that love dinosaurs, noise and rides will love this place and I can’t wait to take my little one back again soon for some more laughs and fun.

Check it out:
KidCity – Transmart Carrefour
Lantai 2, Jl Raya Cilandak KKO, Cilandak Timur, Jakarta Selatan 12560

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The new KidCity in Cilandak

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There are little cafe windows for snacks and drinks

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Standing under the Eiffer Tower

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The roller coaster which has a short section outside of the building

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The crazy roller coaster

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The Paris Swing

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Such a fun atmosphere

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All aboard the Mini Train

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Playing with Dinosaurs

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Samdura’s first time in a racing car

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Kids soft play area

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Scary Dinosaur! Samudra’s favourite

 

We Love Rachel House

Sometimes life really does work in amazing ways, leading us down paths we wouldn’t usually follow and meeting people that really change the way we look at things.  A few years ago, I was contacted through this blog by the lovely Lynna at Rachel House and we met to try and find a way that we could work together to share stories of the beautiful children that are cared for by her incredible team.

Rachel House is a palliative care service which provides home care for children with life-threatening conditions who are unable to afford medical treatment.  Hearing stories from Lynna and her team about the conditions that some terminally ill children live in, and many that have already lost both their parents, really broke my heart and had me unable to hold back my tears.  I really wanted to be able to help but still wasn’t quite sure how I could make a difference.

Fast forward a year or so to 2015 and I found myself walking past a book shelf in our home office when a photo I had never seen before fell down infront of me.  I quickly looked at it and saw that it was a picture of what looked like a sick child with some bandages on.  I didn’t think much of it and put it back on the shelf between some books.

A couple of weeks later I received a call from Lynna again and we decided to meet yet again to discuss the possibility of making some short films for Rachel House.  The aim was to share the stories of the children and the team that cares for them, and show this to a wider audience.  My husband and I met with Lynna and after a long discussion it was discovered that Putra had taken photos at Rachel House when it first opened and the photo that had fallen off the shelf was of Bayu, the first child that was admitted to their inpatient facility, and who also passed away not long after as she was really unwell.  I took that chance encounter of the photo falling infront of me as a sign that somehow Bayu wanted us to help Rachel House and so we agreed to do so.

Through this project we met with some gorgeous young children with various life threatening illnesses who moved me to tears with their sweetness, as well as the Rachel House nurses and carers who do incredible work looking after these children and their families.  They have also trained up members in the community to also help with additional care of these children.

We ventured out to Kalibaru in North Jakarta and met with a lovely family who have a young son, Rian, who uptil 2015 spent most of his days lying down at home, barely able to move, after sustaining an injury when he was a toddler.  Thanks to Maulana who is a community worker that volunteered to help with Rian, and the nurses and team at Rachel House, there has been a significant improvement in Rian’s condition and he is now able to move his head on his own.

I took Samudra with us on one of our visits and he played with Rian and gave him some of his animal toys, and the smile on Rian’s face to have some company and a little friend to play with just melted my heart.

We also got to be part of the most touching experience, taking Rian on his first ever outing, to the pasar malam (night bazaar).  The smile on his face and the shine in his eyes will stay with me always and I feel so happy that we were able to make a small difference in his life.

If you would like to know more about Rachel House you can visit their Facebook page:  Rachel House – Children’s Palliative Care Indonesia or their website http://www.rachel-house.org/

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Rian arriving at the night bazaar with his Mum, brother and Ibu Yuswati.

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Rian is so happy to be out in the action.

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Rian with his mother.

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Watching the colourful rides.

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Samudra getting a hug from the lovely Ibu Yus.

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Samudra so excited to see all the lights and rides.

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Riding in circles on the little train.

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Enjoying the atmosphere.

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Samudra gave Rian a toy which made him so happy.

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Lights on the ferris wheel.

Getting crafty with GummyBox!

I have been looking at a big plastic bag sitting on my kitchen table for the past couple of weeks and longing for some spare time to actually open it and enjoy the contents with Samudra.  With work taking up most of my time, I’ve had to learn to live with my guilt as I know Samudra would be so happy to see what is inside, and I wanted to spend some proper quality time doing this together.

Earlier this week we finally took it off the table and I opened the plastic bag for Samudra and he immediately started singing “Happy Birthday to Mudra….” as he was so excited to see the package… Followed by “what’s dat mumma?” (repeat twenty times while I am opening the box).  I saw postings on Facebook for GummyBox products a few months ago and thought it looked like such a great idea to get kids creative juices flowing, and had heard such great reviews about it and so couldn’t wait to try it also.

We opened the box and Samudra tipped the contents out and once he spied the orange workers jacket he insisted on putting it on.  The box came with three different activities for children to be creative with, and I can’t decide who was more excited to discover what was inside!

As he was already wearing his cute little jacket, we decided to do the ‘My Safety Area’ activity first.  So we stuck up the construction signs and marked out our space with the barrier tape and put together the traffic cones and made the play table his little safety area.  There’s also a little Construction activity book but I think Samudra is too young to appreciate that one as he was already starting on the next activity.

The Building Cards were great for Samudra and although he didn’t strictly follow the card slots for putting the cards together, he was quickly joining the cards and pulling them apart again, and the concentration on his face was adorable.  There are also crayons in the package for kids to decorate their own card to be used in the pack.  This was a colourful and fun way to see him putting his little mind to work to see what his imagination could come up with.

Our last activity for the morning was the ‘Marble Run’ which included 4 cardboard building structures which Samudra decorated with the gorgeous sticker packets which he loved doing.  As he’s still a little young, I helped him to construct the set and he had a great time rolling the included balls and marbles down the bridges into the goal box.

I absolutely love the packaging from GummyBox and the activities that they have inside and think it would be a great idea to get lots of kids together for a play date to be creative and use their imaginations while learning about different themes, and I also think these boxes would make great gifts for children.

Check out their subscription packages available on their website so you can receive a new box every month with free delivery within Indonesia, as well as a limited time offer on trial packages.

Go to www.gummybox.com to see the range of products available and enjoy the hours of entertainment and happiness they bring!

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Samudra thought it was his birthday when he saw the GummyBox bag

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What’s dat mumma? what’s dat mumma? Open!!

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Taking off the cover…

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This looks exciting!

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Construction time!

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Setting up the safety barrier

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Busy deciding where to keep the barrier going to

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Unrolling more barrier tape

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Finished!

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Working out how to put the building cards together

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Checking out the beautiful patterns

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Singing while playing

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Samudra’s building

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Activity Books

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Peeling the stickets for the Marble Run

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Decorating the buildings

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Having fun with the stickers

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Finished and rolling the marbles through the buildings

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Hours of fun!

Easter Fun at Veranda

So I’m a little late with this post as Easter Sunday was already a week ago today, but we had such an amazing time last Monday at the Yummy Mummies play date.  This is the first time I have celebrated Easter in Jakarta in the six years I have been here, and this year I saw only one small Lindt easter egg in the supermarket for a whopping Rp 200,000!  At such ridiculous prices and so little on offer there’s never a chance to recreate the Easters celebrated back home, where we all ended up in chocolate induced comas before the day was out.

The gorgeous Jacintha hosted the catch up in the gardens of her apartment at Veranda in Cipete and what a stunning oasis this place is! Lush green lawns and trees, beautiful swimming pools and turtles, a playground and so much space for the kids to run around.  I never knew such a precious gem existed in this city and it’s easy to forget where you are as it’s so peaceful and charming inside the compound gates.

There was a huge spread of Easter themed delicious food and the kids had fun decorating hard boiled eggs and Easter shaped cookies, before the highlight of the day which was an Easter Egg hunt in the gorgeous gardens.  This was a chocolate free Easter catch up and was so much fun for the kids, as they collected beautifully decorated hard boiled and also plastic eggs in their sweet little baskets.

A huge thank you to Jacintha for hosting and to all the mummies for the delicious spread of food and fun catch up, and for bringing the Easter spirit to Jakarta for the kids… I’m still having to hide Samudra’s plastic eggs around the house for him to find!

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Such amazing food! Especially love the carrot looking sandwiches from Uppercrust

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Preston decorating Easter cookies

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The kids exploring the gorgeous pool area

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Checking out the turtles

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Samudra putting eggs in his Easter basket

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Searching for more eggs

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Looking for Easter eggs in the gorgeous grounds

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Found another one!

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Mummies and kiddos on the Easter egg hunt

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Baskets full of eggs

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Checking out their baskets

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Love these kids so much!

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A cute little meltdown after all the fun

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Searching for more eggs down the lovely garden pathway

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Having fun cooling down in the pool

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Wishing I could jump in too!

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These two were having a great time playing together

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Samudra and Katya enjoying their Easter finds

Kids love Kuntum Nurseries

I wrote about our visit to Kuntum Nurseries last year but as we just visited it again last weekend on our way to stay at Novotel Bogor, I thought I would write about it again as we love it so much.

If you have young kids and you’re heading to Bogor for a day trip or longer, I highly recommend this gorgeous little sanctuary.  It is best to go as early as possible, around 8.00am, so you can have a chance to look around before the sun gets too hot for the little ones, and before any school groups have a chance to arrive and cause chaos overfeeding all the animals and making them sleepy.

The entry is Rp. 30,000 per person and milk and food for the animals is a small additional cost.  Samudra loved feeding the goats and sheep but was a little intimidated by the cows this time, although he did manage to feed a calf a whole bottle of milk by himself.

The rabbit enclosure was sweet as miraculously we were the only ones in there and many rabbits ran up to Samudra wanting to eat and he was in heaven!  I think the animals in Kuntum are the most well fed and well cared for animals I’ve seen over here and it really is a lovely little environment where the kids can get up close to the animals and feed and pat them.

Since our last visit the grounds seem to have changed alot with many new little buildings now in the gardens to sit and relax in and the vegetable gardens look incredible.  It’s a great spot for the kids to play around and use their imaginations running along all the little pathways.

We were so excited that Samudra would be able to visit his favourite spot again, the horses at the back of the property, as he has always adored them and giggled as soon as he sees them. Not this time though, as soon as he reached the end of the track and saw them he screamed “don’t want that horsey ride!”.  Sigh.

I’m sure we’ll be back again in the next couple of months and hopefully by then his new found fear of ‘horsies’ will have subsided.

You can find Kuntum Nurseries at Jl. Raya Tajur No.291, Bogor Tim., Kota Bogor, Jawa Barat 16145, Indonesia

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Happiness feeding goats milk

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Surrounded by super cute bunnies

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So sweet

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Making friends with the little rabbit

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It’s a moo moo cow!

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Here, have some grass

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Tip the bottle upwards! Poor calf trying to climb out of the enclosure to get a proper drink

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Eat some more!

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A crazy beautiful tree and my baby

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Samudra used to LOVE riding around this beautiful trail

A weekend getaway to Novotel Bogor

Last weekend we decided to take another break from Jakarta and head back to our new favourite retreat, Novotel Bogor.  We first stayed at the hotel in October last year very spontaneously after doing some recce for a commercial shoot, and instantly fell in love with the place.. and have been wanting to return ever since.

As traffic was and is always completely horrendous on a Friday night after work, we didn’t leave the house until almost 10pm so we would miss most of the traffic escaping the city.  We ended up staying in a very cheap hotel for the night in Bogor city as we would be arriving so late and leaving first thing in the morning, but at least we would be waking up early and already be so close to our destination.

A super early morning obligatory and fun trip to Kuntum Nurseries (more about that in my next post) first and then we headed to Novotel to bliss out. As soon as we passed through the security gates and into the shade of the trees and the lush green grass, I felt like I could breathe again.  It felt awesome and refreshing to be back!

This hidden away hotel is so gorgeous and the grounds are amazing.  There is so much open space for kids to run around and bridges over the little flowing river for kids to have fun adventures in, as well as a lovely swimming pool, kids playground, play room, gym, and more.  Samudra’s favourite was the free horse riding we had last time we went and this was his highlight as he kept asking for more rides, but during our weekend visit for some reason he was terrified of the calm horse and didn’t want to go anywhere near it. Very unusual for him as horses have been his favourite since he was a baby.

Putra and I took turns to have an hour to ourselves and booked in massages in the spa.  The massage itself was pretty amazing but the masseuse would not stop talking once she realised I was married to an Indonesian and had a million questions to ask, despite me closing my eyes as a message to please stop talking and let me relax in peace.. ha!

As it usually does, the rain decided to pour down in the late afternoon for an hour or so which was so peaceful so we played in the kids toy room to keep Samudra amused and then retreated back to our room to order some food and wine and just relax.

Last time we visited we booked a room with a gorgeous garden view and jacuzzi on the balcony which we wished we had ordered again this time and will probably order if we return there again soon, although it’s way more expensive than any accommodation we usually choose to stay in.  It just gave that extra bit of space to relax in and beautiful atmosphere and we loved all just sitting in the jacuzzi watching the rain fall amongst the trees.

I highly recommend the Novotel Bogor if you want to get away for the weekend and just relax, not rushing about to go sightseeing, but to actually unwind and enjoy the tranquility of the place.  The staff are so lovely, the food delicious and the property is just perfect for a weekend getaway.  Best thing is it only takes 45 minutes to get back to our house on a Sunday if we leave before the mad traffic rush back to Jakarta in the afternoon.

Happy adventures!

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Colouring in at the kids club after breakfast

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Getting ready to go early morning horse riding

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Samudra so happy to be sitting on the horse alone

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I want to be a cowboy!

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The smallest love of my life

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Exploring the play area

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Playing in the playground

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Happiness

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Playing on the swing while having the playground to himself

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Samudra loves the see saw!

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Serenity by the pool

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So many little enchanting paths to go walking along

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Running around the beautiful gardens

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Stunning lush gardens

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Kissing a statue

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Playing in a becak

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Snuggling up in the big comfortable bed after a super fun day