Jasmine: This Sunday, we had a few baby errands to run (buying potty, shoes, swaddle cloths etc), so we decided to head to Vivocity as it had most of the baby shops we needed to visit.
Easy enough getting there- a 20 min train ride! Hard to miss us coz we were accidentally stripey
We were quite happy with how family friendly it was:
wide aisles for steering strollers
lots of outdoor spaces for kids to run around
large selection of baby boutiques (though regrettably almost none selling maternity wear) including Mothercare and Toys R Us
family-friendly eateries at low and mid-range price points
Unfortunately, it seemed that every other family had the same idea, so it was very crowded!
Andrew: Yes, the lifts were perpetually full, with families & their strollers as well as families and very full trolleys from Giant. We were packed like sardines in a lift with 3 families and a double-stroller!
1. Outdoor spaces
Jasmine: There are three main outdoor spaces, the rooftop, the playground on the 2nd floor and the ground floor.
Dylan loved pottering around close to the harbourfront, and seeing the train go by (this costs $6 a ride, yikes!):
Andrew: He was really cute and would just suddenly stop in his steps and watch the train go by. The train uncle was really friendly and kept waving at him every time the train went by (all four times).
Oops, that’s me
slacking off guarding the belongings in the background
Jasmine: I don’t think he’s ever had this much space to roam about! He was very pleased, but Andrew was doing the chasing and it was quite nerve-wracking because we were afraid Dyl would run into the river or something.
This picture made me feel both proud of him and sad- don’t grow up too fast, Dilly!
Andrew: I felt so conflicted as a parent – on the one hand, I really wanted to just let him run as he was so happy! He kept squealing and laughing to himself as he ran about. Yet, as a protective parent, I just kept wanting to put my arms around him to prevent him from falling or to prevent people from walking into him. He did fall quite a few times, but I was so proud of him that he always fell stably and never once cried. He’s doing really well, but yes, growing so fast.
Jasmine: The 2nd floor open-air playground has been voted Best Free Playground, and we could see why. The undulating surfaces were popular as gigantic slides.
Dylan tried quite a few bouncing/ gliding rides…
Jasmine: As well as this cocoon swing, which was big enough to accommodate one of us too!
Jasmine: There were also colorful animal sculptures which doubled up as seating or additional climbing structures too.
As expected, there were throngs of kids, but as many of the rides only fit one to three pax, we managed to keep Dyl safely away from the more boisterous older kids. Plenty of chairs and shade thoughtfully provided for parents to lounge on, too.
Andrew: Best part of this playground was that it was so cooling, perhaps cos of the altitude. There was a very nice breeze and there were chairs and tables around, for parents to just sit down while their kids ran amok in the play area. Someday that’ll be us! Actually probably just me sitting there while Jas shops. I foresee we might be coming back to Vivo quite frequently when Dillie grows older.
2. Large selection of baby boutiques
Jasmine: As mentioned, we needed to buy some baby stuff, and one of our priorities was to get Dylan some proper footwear now that he can toddle about (we’ve been bringing him out pretty much barefoot since he was born). After doing some research and realising that good baby shoes –the ones with proper soles and not just cutesy cloth ones– would cost anywhere between $60-90. Yikes!
Thankfully, we found these Craig sandals by See Kai Run.
It checked off all the right boxes:
grippable flexible sole with enough support for growing feet
large toe box for more wriggle room
Velcro closures for easy fastening
sandals for ventilation
Matching Daddy and Dilly shoes?
Just nice too that it was $49.90 before our member discount!
I later read a review that said See Kai Run shoes, being made of leather and suede, were generally intended for urban wear e.g. going to classes, and not so much active sporty use e.g. hiking, trampling in rain and mud. However, Dylan wore it out of the store and put it to the test immediately, walking on wet ground and climbing around in the playground. Oops.
3. Family rooms
Jasmine: Reasonably-equipped with the usual amenities: change station, hot and cold water dispensers, tap, dustbin. However, the doors were made of glass, so I’m not sure how any mum could breastfeed in there. (Andrew: If I’m not wrong, I saw nursing rooms in addition to these regular parents’ rooms. I love malls with nursing rooms, because it means bringing much less stuff out, like two bottles of water. )
4. Family-friendly eateries at low and mid-range price points
Jasmine: This was purely a whim on Dear’s part, but we managed to get a reservation at Jamie’s Italian for an early dinner! Although we had heard from our family members that the food was mediocre, we also realised that most of our friends had ordered pasta dishes a la carte. Thus we went with something different, the plank menu ($138 for 2) [Andrew: Not sure this classifies as a mid-range price point….], which consisted of 3 courses of platters laid out on planks for starters, mains and desserts.
Andrew: When the waiter first came with 4 cans of tomato sauce for our table, I was like, Huh? We didn’t order that?? Dearie also almost asked them to take it back after the appetizer. Little did I realise that these 4 cans were actually stands for the plank! It must take quite a lot of skill to serve customers at this restaurant because I saw some rather skilful maneuvering of the ‘plank’, with several plates on food on it, throughout! Here are some of our favourite dishes on the various planks!
Deep fried fish with their very own yuzu mayo – batter was light, fish was tasty and went perfectly with the lemon and mayo
To us, the meat dishes were the star of the main course plank. The chicken was so moist, juicy and tender! The pastas are supposed to be freshly made, but we didn’t think much of the bolognaise.
Andrew: Dearie will know that I usually don’t eat cooked salmon and only love sashimi, but I finished almost half of this!
Jasmine: Oh I wanna replicate this at home now! Beetroot, baked salmon, fresh greens and sour cream with lemon can’t be beet, I mean, beat!
The greens were so-so, but the polenta chips at the back are a signature Jamie’s Italian item. I loved them – crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, with a nice hint of saltiness from the cheese
Panna cotta – loved the creamy texture!
Brownie with popcorn and amaretto ice-cream
Jasmine: We were also impressed that instead of the usual Ikea high chairs, Jamie’s Italian had invested in Stokke baby chairs, which were really good! Not only were they adjustable, the baby chair held Dyl in for a good hour plus (usually he clambers out of high chairs several times, even when buckled) yet gave him enough wiggle room. Of course, the bread and EVOO kept him futher occupied while we were eating.
Sidetrack: If you own a stroller, pls buy stroller hooks. They double your storage capacity. Look how much stuff we managed to hook on them!
Andrew: Our little boy is such a bread monster and ate almost 2 whole slices of bread plus his usual porridge portion. Man, he can really eat! There were quite a lot of families there and I think there was a decent selection of food for children there too. There are many other great restaurants in Vivo which I want to try, in particular Madam Kwan’s (supposedly best Nasi Lemak store from KL, for almost 2-3 times the price)! We also realised there were two nice playgyms – Polliwogs and Singkids – there, but didn’t have enough time (or energy) to bring Dillie there.
Jasmine: Overall, a good mall for a family day out, but perhaps a weekday would be better!