I arrived in Singapore a few days ago and am look forward to attending the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). The good news is that my husband is here with me which means I have the added benefit of staying at the Raffles hotel — a romantic getaway between sessions.

The first thing we did on upon our arrival was to enjoy a Singapore Sling in the Writers’ Bar of the Raffles hotel. How apt on many levels. I learned from the bartender that the drink was originally created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Chinese bartender at the Long Bar in the hotel. Back then the bar was located in what is today the Tiffin Room restaurant. It extended all the way from the back to the street, hence the term ‘long.’

The Singapore Sling - originally created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Chinese bartender at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

The Singapore Sling – originally created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Chinese bartender at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

The drink itself was cool, refreshing and the perfect welcome to Singapore but that’s only the beginning of what I get to review while I am here.

Last night, we decided to indulge our craving for Italian food. Our concierge suggested ‘Senso,’ a fine dining restaurant on 21 Club street in Chinatown. I instantly fell in love with the Chinatown area, the buildings reminded me of the houses in New Orleans. Senso was especially delightful as it offered both upscale indoor dining as well as al fresco dining in a quaint Italian style courtyard. I couldn’t decide which dish I liked best — the burrata, the Tuscan bean consomme or my delectable 65% Valhrona chocolate dessert. Yum!

'Senso' restaurant in Singapore

‘Senso’ restaurant – 21 Club Street in Singapore

Today is Monday, start of the AFCC.  I get to moderate a seminar by Marjorie Coughlan, a well known children’s book blogger who writes for PaperTigers.org. Marjorie will present various sessions relating to blogging and Asian themes in children’s books. Both topics receive ‘Most Favored Nation’ status as far as I am concerned! Here is a list of her presentations at the festival.

Her seminar that I moderate later today is called ‘The Fine Art of Reviewing Children’s Books.’ This is particularly close to my heart because as a journalist and writer of books, I am always intrigued by what goes into writing a good book review and how to pitch online or print publications with book review ideas.

If you’d like to stop by the festival, it’s at the National Library of Singapore on 100 Victoria Street. For more information, visit the Asian Festival of Children’s Content website.

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