Everything you need to know about exploring Vatican City

Vatican City, one of the most sacred place to visit for Roman Catholics. Actually, religious or not, it surely is worth the visit when you find yourself in Rome due to its beautiful architecture, museum, and history. It also inscribed as a UNESCO site in 1984 and the only one that consist of an entire state.

So, what do you get to see when you visit Vatican City?

First on the list is the St. Peter’s Square or Piazza San Pietro (in Italian). You can’t miss this as it’s what will be welcoming you once you enter the gates of Vatican City. This large plaza located directly in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica. This is one of the picturistique places in Vatican where most tourists take their #instagrammable photos.

You wouldn’t want to miss seeing what’s inside your backdrop when you took that photo at St. Peter’s Square don’t you?! St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest holiest sites of Christianity and Catholic Tradition. Traditionally, it is the burual site of its titular, St. Peter, the head of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Aside from St. Peter, the Basilica is also where 91 popes are buried.

Ceilings of St. Peter’s Basilica

It is also the world’s largest church where you’ll be amazed to see impressive works of art and gigantic dome, pillars, and statues. Even my 8-year old was impressed and whispered to me while we’re wandering inside, “Mommy, this is the most beautiful church we’ve ever been”. A big contrary to what she said when we’re in Athens and visited the Acropolis where she said, “We came here to see rocks?!” Kids clearly don’t know how to filter their words yet.🤪

Oh! And did I mention, going in the St. Peter’s Basilica is for FREE. There’s a fee though if you’d like to climb up the dome on foot (that’s 551 steps up) or you have an option to ride the lift. You just need to queue and have your bags check. Don’t be intimidated by the long queue you see as the lines move really fast. Once you’re cleared from the initial checks, you can enter either the St. Peter’s Basilica or the Vatican Museum.

Which leads us to the next place you can see inside Vatican City, the Vatican Museum. We didn’t get a chance to visit the museum as we started our day very late and the queue to the museum was quite long that time. That’s also the reason why we chose to just go inside the basilica instead.

behind us is the St. Peter’s Square

The Vatican Museum holds an immense collection of the of art amassed by the Roman Catholic and papacy throughout the centuries.The museums contain roughly 70,000 works of art though only 20,000 of them are on display. These artworks are the most renowned Roman sculptures and the most important masterpieces of the Renaissance art in the world.

That being said, it’s no wonder one of the most visited museums in the world (garner about 1 million people annually) and with 24 galleries with the Sistine Chapel, notably being the last room visited within the Museum, you’ll surely need a whole day to splurge looking into these artworks beauty. I’d surely want to visit this the next time we go to Rome and would make sure to plan our day early so we can make our money worth of those tickets. haha..

Lastly is the Sistine Chapel. Aside from the fact that this is the official residence of the Pope, this room is a truly special one. Why? Because not only one, but two of one of the most notable artists in the Renaissance have their artworks inside this room. I’m talking about Michelangelo who painted the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512 and covered the wall altar of his world known, “The Last Judgement” artwork.

Here’s how to get there:

TRAVEL BY METRO: The quickest way is to take the Metro. Rome is quite easy to navigate especially if you’re going to start your journey from their main terminal, Roma Termini. You’ll need to buy a ticket on their Metro and ride the orange line to Ottaviano on line A. Note that finding this platform can be a bit tricky (despite all the signs) so if it’s your first time here, it’s better you ask one of their kind and helpful train staff to avoid riding the wrong train.

photo from web and edited myself

It’s a short walk from the Metro to the walls of Vatican City (about 5 mins walk). You can just follow fellow tourists as you can’t miss to see the walls of Vatican where you just need to walk around to the entrance.

TRAVEL BY BUS: Alternatively, you can take bus #64 (takes around 20 minutes), from Termini train station where you need to get out at the last stop of the route – Piazza Stazione S. Pietro. From there, you’ll need to walk 15-20 minutes to reach the Vatican City.

What to wear:

Remember that Vatican City may be considered as a tourist destination but its still a Holy place so avoid wearing revealing clothes, like short skirts, dresses, and shorts. However, if you happen to visit during summer and the weather seems too hot, it is advisable to bring a scarf to cover-up. As for the footwear, wearing sandals is okay, but please try to skip those flip flops. And like any Holy place, hats should be removed upon entering the buildings in the Vatican. Lastly, food (you can as long as you don’t eat it inside) and metal tools ( scissors and knives) are not allowed.

Best time to visit:

It’s best to allot a whole day to be able to let yourself immerse on the beauty of each part of the Vatican City. As per our experience, we arrived around 12nn and all were able to do is take photos at St. Peter’s Square and go inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Our original plan includes the Sistine Chapel but it was too late already when we reached there (it closes at 4pm) so it is really recommended to plan your time wisely if you want to make the most from your trip.

Budget:

Here’s what you’ll get for FREE: entrance to the Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’ Basilica, Tombs of Popes (under St. Peter’s Basilica)

What you need to buy a ticket: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel (located inside the Vatican Museum, guided tours, St. Peter’s Cupola (dome) or if you have that extra $$$ and would want to have the privilege to skip the line, all of those you can buy from here.

So there you have it! I hope you find the information on this blog post valuable. We’ve visited Greece(Athens), the Netherlands(Papendrecht, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam), travelled via EuRail to France (Paris), then took the EuRail again to Italy(Rome). Let me know in the comments below which one do want me to make a blog post next.

If you have kids and feel daunted by the thought of travelling with them while they are young, I hope you get to read my other article about the Reasons why you should travel with your kids.

Easy to start habits for a better Lifestyle

We all hear that life is better lived if you live a Healthy Lifestyle. But how does one live a Healthy Lifestyle? How much does it cost? How much time does it require to do?

Great news folks! Adapting to a healthy lifestyle isn’t as hard as you think it is. You don’t even need to exert extra time for it. What you’ll need though is a hefty mind set to change. Adapting to this easy to follow great habits needs consistency.

Don’t worry much though. That’s why it’s called a habit. You make it your auto-pilot instead of the not-so-healthy lifestyle you’ve been currently having.

So here’s how you do it:

UPON WAKING, DRINK LEMON WATER. There’s tons of benefits you can get from doing this. You most probably will be drinking water when you wake up, so just squeeze some lemon and you’re good to go!

BEFORE EATING, DO DEEP BREATHING FOR 3 MINUTES. This helps flood your body with oxygen, which will inculcate the habit of mindful eating. Amazing right?!

EXERCISE 3-5 TIMES A WEEK. There’s always time to do this. Too busy with work? Use the stairs instead of the escalator on your way to work. Too busy with housework? Do some squats while waiting for the dinner to simmer. As I’ve told you, it’s the mindset that we need to twerk here. We always have time. It’s how we use it that makes a difference.

LAUGH UNTIL YOU ALMOST PEE YOUR PANTS. Have you noticed how you somehow lost that silly and giggly part of you as you grow old? Blame it to ever growing responsibilities that seemed to never end that’s put on our shoulders. Despite that fact, ensuring the child in us still remains, us laughing our hearts out, not only makes us feel younger but also makes life lived happier. There’s so much to be grateful and happy in life, so why not celebrate, right?!

FIND TIME TO DO SELF-CARE. You might be wondering how there isn’t any on the list yet that would cost you a leg or arm, then this comes up ,and you’re like, AHA! This surely would be expensive…try again! There’s much more Self-Care that you can do that won’t cost you anything at all. Meditate, go for a nature walk, stretch.

GO TO SLEEP AT THE SAME TIME EVERY NIGHT. Sleeping at the same time almost guarantees you to wake up at the same time as well. You do this in preparation for your next day. As our body clock recognises this cycle, it builds strong desire for sleep throughout wakefulness which makes you sleep better the following night. As this cycle continues, our body is able to have that full rest it needs which makes our body more alert and healthy.

STOP EATING 2 HOURS BEFORE BED. If we eat until before we sleep, we are making our body do overtime instead of it going for a rest just like we do. This results for us feel heavy and tired even upon waking up.

SET DAILY AFFIRMATIONS. Our mind is more powerful than we think it is. When our mindset is in its great disposition, you’re able to create better output in whatever you are doing. Your mood is better, you feel happier, and you are better to be with. Feeding your mind early in the morning helps make this happen. What’s great with this is that it doesn’t take much of your time to say or read an affirmation or two, so why not?!

Energy is endless. Too often we are depleting our energy because we are allowing people to take it away. Set healthy boundaries and feed your body with healthy food, water, and nutrients it so desperately needs and don’t forget to feed your mind too!

If you’re a mom, you might want to read this as it is made specifically for YOU!

Join our community and be one of the first to read my latest blogs! For daily positivity and Self-Care, you can follow my Instagram account @themommywithagoal.

A New Year, Are you ready for a New You??

I was quite hesitant to use this title because I don’t want to make misconceptions about this article, but why not??

Most of us associate New Year’s with hopes of being a new person. Not that we’re changing our faces or names but a new perspective in life. That’s what it should be actually as that’s how we should be doing each year.

But how do we change in just a day?? Well, it may not be as instant as what we are used to now a days but believe me, every little change you do in your life would matter if you just constantly do it everyday.

Reading a book per se is one way of doing it. This book I’ll recommend ain’t a new one. You might even heard it a lot of times already and even read it. If you had, then I hope you got the gist of it like I did and had your life transformed the way you want it. If not, then hang on for the ride! You’ll be reaching your own stars, just like how you’ve specifically wished for!

We are always told to as a child to dream. It’s the only thing everyone can do, no matter what circumstance in life we’re in now, that’s sky’s the limit! Cause why not, it’s your dream and all you’ll need is your imagination, mind, and yourself. It something personal where you don’t need to think of what others dream of, just yours. You don’t care how you’ll be able to reach them or what does it takes you to reach them.

Well, that’s how The Secret by Rhonda Byrne has influenced my life since 2008 when my then bf-now hubby gave me as a Christmas gift. I can still vaguely remember that scene where he send me off in the bus terminal as I made my way back home to the province to celebrate Christmas with my family. He gave me the book in a sealed small paper bag.

photo from Amazon

I’m not the kind of person who loves receiving gifts actually as I’m not a gift giver as well. haha. (I’m just a fair person) so when he gave his gift as a surprise, all I can give in return is a kiss and hug. haha! As the bus left the terminal and I was left alone, I hurriedly opened his gift. Not knowing to expect, I was actually surprised he gave me a book. haha.

First of all, he’s a self-confessed NOT-A-BOOK person. The only books he read are those school books required when he’s still studying. Second is the title of the book, The Secret. Daunting for me when I saw it first not knowing what it is about. I haven’t heard of this book before despite loving to read books (my dad’s book collection which are the ones I usually read are actually more of the 90s famous thriller ones John Grisham kind) So having this kind of Self-development book is such a new thing for me and thrilled to have it!

My 1.5 hr trip went so quick as I got too engrossed with the book. I actually almost missed my stop! haha.. As I finished the last few pages at home, I knew it would be our topic in messages as talk back and forth throughout the holidays while we spend our time with our own families.

As the New Year of 2009 came in, we knew that our lives would be turned around. Yes! You know that inner confidence you didn’t knew you had inside and the fears of uncertainty quietly slips under the bed, too shy to come out due to your overwhelming attraction of the universe that doesn’t want me/us to be stopped.

Truly enough, our lives was turned upside down that year as despite the world going through recession that time, we braved our way to finding new and better life adventures and career. That’s been almost 10 years ago and loaded with tons of mostly highs and some lows in life, we got married, had 2 beautiful daughters, and have quitted my 9-5 job to have more time taking care of our family. Despite the very high cost of living here in Singapore, I can say that we’re among the blessed ones to be living beyond what our dreams could imagine as a single income family.

As I learned the the twist and turns of managing wisely my time as a Stay-At-Home-Mom, I now devote my time to something I advocate the most, Self-Care. As a matter of fact, I just surpassed a dream of mind that I’ve been having for sometime, read more on my last article, on how I Shared A Christmas. Okay, too much storytelling and back to this book review.

This book had made waves when it came our in the early 2000’s. A Self-help book that’s been too much talked about that they even made it into a film/ short documentary. Find any coach or mentor that advocates on self-development and they’ll surely include this book on one of your must-read.

This book focuses on the Law of Attraction and helps you change the mindset most of us grew up believing in as that’s what the society feeds us. The title “The Secret” is so captivating that it makes anyone who sees it wonder what could be in it. As a human, we all got the urge to be more curious on things especially if it’s said as a secret, don’t we. That’s the catch!

This empowering book encourages everyone to visualise themselves reaching whatever their hearts desires. It gives you that boost of motivation you’ve never even though you’ve have in the first place which makes it amazing. You just go with the flow of life as the universe seems to always be at your side making you afloat nearer and nearer to your goals, one at a time.

What I love about this though is despite it encouraging you to reach your goals, it’s strategically done the “good way”. You know, not those easy money thing or those that lead you to the wrong direction of life just to attain material wealth.

The principle you attract through the learnings you get gravitates you to give back more to others, find gratitude in small and big wins that come your way, and mainly to focus your energy to a mindset that makes you think of the good things despite any hurdles that come your way. As they say, life can be full of bumps and it’s only the way you react on every bump that makes a difference.

With this kind of mindset, no matter what circumstance is thrown into your life, you’ll always find the good on it and eventually you’ll find yourself in a good place no matter what. And you know what happens when you’re in that good disposition in life?? You do good too! So there’s no way any minute of your life would go wasted on things you’ll spend your time now and regret afterwards.

With all the great things I have to say to this book, I must also mention one controversy this book had been hit the most. Yes, I’m talking about its religious beliefs. My take on that would be from a perspective of a person who lived in Singapore, one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world, for about a decade. There’s nothing respect on each other’s belief that can’t be settled and have peace on.

Singaporeans who’s composed of 3 major nationalities, Chinese, Indians, and Malay. All of them having different beliefs and totally different cultures. But hey, see how Singapore prospers? How do they show respect to each other? Well, simply giving way to each other’s needs. Let’s take holidays and festivities for example. We all celebrate and enjoy Chinese New Year, Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, and Christmas. How cool is that!

So that’s it! If you are looking for a great book to read and am thinking to turn your life for the better this 2022, I truly recommend The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

A Happy New Year to all!!

This post is a part of Book Marathon 2022 by https://outsetbooks.com

Amazing “Consciously-made” Gift Ideas this Christmas

This special time of giving has come yet-again! This Pandemic might not end as what all of us have hoped for but that doesn’t mean it stops us to celebrate and do what we always have been doing our entire lives, Christmas gifting!

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? If you’re still trying to figure out what to give, consider these “Consciously-made” products to make your gift extra special.

You won’t only make the recipient of your gift happy but in a way, you’ve either helped Mother-Earth, be an eye-opener to the importance of Self-Care, encouraged them to start a habit, or aided a local seller who have been having a hard time with their business this Pandemic.

So let’s get merry, start that Christmas shopping and make the most out of your every hard-worked dollar!

Healthy Lifestyle

Encourage the recipient of your gift to live Healthy without them even noticing as these sumptuous gifts are more enjoyable than you think it is!

The Source Bulk Food SG

What better way to promote healthy eating by giving healthy sweets instead. This store also offers ready made “Recipes-in-a-Jar” filled with healthy ingredients of course! Another great thing about this store is they promote zero-waste so you’ll have a peace of mind that your gift was helped Mother-Earth in a way as well.Choose from their well-thought Christmas Hampers that your family and friends would surely enjoy!

Visit them on their outlets at Great World City, Cluny Court, and their latest one at NorthShore Plaza. Visit their website: thesourcebulkfoods.com.sg to order online or visit their Instagram @thesourcesg to be updated on great deals!

Vitamin.sg

Make sure your friends and loved ones health is taken care of by gifting them supplements to support any nutrient deficiency they lack from the food they eat. There’s nothing more thoughtful than thinking ahead for their health. Why not make sure their gut is well taken care of by gifting them StaZen Probio-I, it is packed with 8 different strains combined with prebiotics designed for Asian consumers.

Snag a chance to get Free membership by watching to win* StaZen Probio-I if you answer the question at the end of Women’s Self-Care Series Episode 7 with Jaymie Wong where she shared more on Self-Care can help you on to be a Peaceful Parent.

Get FREE Membership as well when you order from website Vitamin.sg by using my code: MWAG2021; valid until 31 Dec 2021 only. Follow them on their Instagram @vitamin.sg for great deals!

HyggeB Bedding

Who says you need to spend a staycation at a luxury hotel just to sleep in lush sheets?

Promote better sleep for your friends and loved ones with these luxurious sheets that make every sleep a better one. Their 100% Bamboo Lyocell Beddings is temperature-regulating perfectly made to make sleeping better especially in tropical countries like Singapore. And before I forget to mention, their clean manufacturing process makes our sheets perfect for allergy sufferers too. Ideal for babies, especially since baby’s skin are more sensitive.

You can order from their website: Hyggeb.com to get your own luxurious sheets. Follow them on their Instagram @hyggebstore for great deals!

FreshwithSol

Hygiene is one integral part of Personal Self-Care. When it comes to products you use for your body, by mindful to choose those that is made of natural ingredients matters. Gift your friends, loved ones, and even yourself with this natural deodorant. By starting from as simple as a product that you use daily, the habit of choosing natural products for your body will come a long way.

Order now from their website: Freshwithsol.com and use Promo Code <MWAGxFWS10> to get 10% Discount. Follow them as well in Instagram @freshwithsol for latest update on their products.

Jomostudiosg

Another well-thought gifting-idea are these eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner from Jomostudiosg. Their products did not undergo animal testing, is non-toxic, and sulphate and paraben free! You can even re-use their packaging to grow plants!

Order now from their website: Jomostudio.sg and check-out their Instagram @jomostudiosg to know more about their other products.

Great Habits

Great Self-Care comes from constant practice of great habits. It is important to note that this doesn’t happen overnight. What great with this though is that you only need to start practicing one great habit and see benefits in different aspects in your life.

SelfmadeSundayPlanner

Do you know that you get better results and less stressed whenever you plan ahead? As a SAHM, I bet stereotypes would think I’m not doing anything but in reality my schedule gets too chaotic that my brain won’t be working properly if I don’t jot down my thoughts to free some space in my mind to work.

The simple and clean design of this planner helps makes me set my mindset that when I do planning, I mean business.Yes! Business to accomplish whatever errands I have whether it be for my business, MommyWithAGoal, chores, my daughters schedule, quality time with the hubs, or where to go for our family weekend.

Start making your 2022 an inspiring year for personal progress! Gift this and I’m sure they’ll love it too! Remember to use Promo Code < MWAG10> for a 10% discount when you order from their website: Self-madesunday.com. You won’t want to miss following their Instagram @selfmadesundayplanner for more inspiration.

The Chill Mom

There really isn’t a guidebook for parenting, much more for being a mother. Great advice from moms like Michelle Hon, who acknowledge the feeling of being overwhelmed instead of ignoring this feeling completely is what would really help moms in general (first-timer or not).

Getting advice from a practical perspective can truly help bring out that relax and confident mom in you. Let that feeling of loneliness, fear, and despair slowly be changed by life-proven solutions that you can try adapting to your family and let the magic work.

Grab a copy from her website: thechillmom.com and follow Michelle on her Instagram @thechillmom to learn more not only about parenting but business as a mom as well.

Sleep Baby Sleep: Sleep Supernanny’s 5 Simple Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep For You and Your Baby

Do you have a family member or friend who just have given birth? Or it may simply be someone you know who have been having a hard time finding their child’s sleeping pattern? This book would surely help! Sleep is one Self-Care that most people miss to acknowledge its importance not knowing it affects a lot of things in their life including their moods and concentration thinking.

Grab a book yourself for Christmas or as a gift and you surely won’t regret it! And if ever you feel that the books isn’t enough, reach out to Zoe Chu for some advice. You can catch up on her blog as well, Sleepsupernanny.com

Getting to Happy

There’s nothing more merry to celebrating the Holidays but by feeling inner happiness. Curated by Happiness Coach Shireena Shroff Manchharam, be inspired to live, think and be happier with these 31 cards you could reflect day by day.

Be intentional living your life. By being mindful, you’re set to find happiness in no time. What’s great is, without exerting much effort, this happiness can be reflected in many ways in your life as well. Your mood will become better, relationships smoother, and feel relaxed, cared of, and simply happy.

Follow them for more Happiness products in their website: gettingtohappy.sg and Instagram @gettingtohappysg as well.

Wellness Lifestyle

This is the aspect of Self-Care is the one that most of us know more about. It is more what the society has been feeding us and not that it is not important, but doing things in excess of what is needed can be harmful as well.

Products and material things that help us look and feel good is essential. It helps us build up the confidence in ourselves. Keeping the right mindset in-check and not to let the privilege of being able to buy valuable quality products must preserve personal happiness more than a show-off to others.

Lenicceyewear

Sunglasses has been part of ones fashion statement since forever. With the Pandemic still requiring us to wear masks whenever we go out, the best way to show our style is with the best sunnies we can get!

Lenicceyewear assures you maximise eye protection and comfort. Finding customised and quality eyewear with that perfect fit is the luxury you should be going for! This makes a perfect gift for you and your loved ones.

Check-out their website: Lenicc.com to make a customised sunglasses of your own! You can also follow them on their Instagram @lenicceyewear for more update on their eyewear.

Coco Veda

Another great Natural, Organic, Vegan and Cruelty-Free gifting idea this Christmas is sustainably handcraft skin-care products. You’d be surprised and in awe of the line of products that they’ve come up from pet care to cleaning range, they got you covered!

You can check-out their shop at Level 3, Takashimaya or website: Cocoveda.sg. Follow them on their Instagram: @cocovedaglobal for more update on their product line.

I hope this article help you do your Christmas Shopping responsibly this year! It’s not always about the how much you have to splurge but being conscious about the products you buy, counts as well!

You may want to start a new Christmas Tradition as well, CHECK THIS OUT!

A Blessed Christmas everyone!

***Photos of products has been grabbed from either website or Instagram accounts with proper consent.

Appreciate More this Christmas by starting this Beautiful Family Tradition

Do you have any Christmas Tradition you’ve been doing as a child, which you’ve adopted to your own family now? We do! One of them is the well-known, Simbang Gabi, or devotional nine-day series of Masses practiced by Filipino Catholics around the world do in anticipation of Christmas.

From what I remembered to be honest, despite being brought up in the Philippines, I’m not sure if I ever completed those nine-nights until I moved here in Singapore. Perhaps, the urge need of Spiritual guidance and praying to find a work here in Singapore have also led me to do it. I’m grateful to say that since 2010, I’ve never missed any of those nine-masses.

What used to be just me and the hubs queueing after mass to get some “magic-lugaw” as Father Angel† slowly became us wishing for a baby, then coming the next year with one in tow, then the following year with another one in my belly. 

With two daughters now looking up to me, I knew that I need to level-up more on opening their eyes and mind with the “true meaning of Christmas”. I personally don’t want to grow up looking forward to Christmas just because they get make a letter to Santa and receive gifts from almost everyone they knew.

My whole family now look forward to Christmas with a different perspective. I’m so proud of my two girls growing up not only looking forward to opening gifts but also those nine-nights they get to visit different churches around Singapore to hear Mass. Sadly, for the past two-years, we’ve been attending virtual masses. We’re really praying that this Pandemic would end soon.

I came across a few years ago in Pinterest this idea and decided to make it part of our Family Tradition as well. We started this tradition in 2019 and during that time, the girls were still 4 and 5 years old and honestly, not enjoying it. I felt like reading alone during those times but I still continued.

Now in our 3rd year, the girls are more enthusiastic about it already. And as they now are both great in reading, they even compete on who should be reading that day, which we often resolve on splitting into different stories of the day’s Gospel.

I’ve posted a few days ago in my Instagram stories my daughter reading the Bible just to share this tradition with others and also have a short clip as a memory for the future.Surprisingly, I’ve got a lot of messages asking more about and as more and more moms get curious about it, I decided to create a compilation of the Book of Luke that you and your family can use.

You can grab it by clicking on the photo below.

TAKEAWAY:

Doing Family Traditions is done to make a celebration more meaningful. As for Christmas, I hope this article help you and your family realise what’s more important during this season of holidays. This is also a great Spiritual Self-Care .

HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!