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Tips from an expat mum in Singapore

On meeting Spanish expat Ana Walls, you realise early on that she’s an effervescent character with ambitious drive, wanting to take full advantage of what Singapore has to offer. We managed to sit her down for an hour to find out what keeps her family busy.

So how did a Spanish law graduate end up with a British husband and get to call Singapore home?

After finishing my employment law degree in the University of Zaragoza, Spain, I went to work in London. My husband John and I met at Visa, where I worked and he was a contractor. We got married in Spain in 2006, and had our children Zoe (4) and Tom (2) back in London. During a job change for John we also got offered the opportunity to relocate to Singapore, which we felt very positive about.

What were your first experiences of Singapore like?

I’d been to Singapore 10 years before as a backpacker and enjoyed being here. We did another “look-see” trip with the children before moving here and loved it. We searched for schools and apartments and knew that the Robertson Quay area was where we wanted to be.

What’s so appealing about living by the river?

There’s plenty of space for the children to scoot or ride along by the river, and lots of great bars and restaurants. I look forward to Saturday mornings when John takes the kids to play tennis at the condo while I go for breakfast by the river. And there’s always something new springing up to explore. For instance we just tried out a new Spanish restaurant called Bomba Paella Bar (38 Martin Road), serving fantastic tapas.

Apart from riverside activities what else do the children get up to?

Zoe attends Tanglin Trust School, which takes up much of her day. She also takes drama classes at Centre Stage (centre-stage.com), swimming lessons at our condo, and was learning ballet at D’Dreamz (ddreamzintl.com), although she has given this up for the moment to try gymnastics instead.

Tom goes to Little Village preschool on Grange Road. He also has swimming lessons and we take him to football on Sunday mornings with JSSL Arsenal (jssl-arsenal.com) on the East Coast, which I’ve been really impressed with. However, my husband is a QPR fan so let’s just say he’s less than pleased with Tom’s enthusiasm for wearing his Arsenal kit!

And how have you been filling your own time here?

I’m the class mum for Zoe’s school, so that takes up a lot of my time. I’ve also enjoyed learning how to make cakes at Bake It Yourself (b-i-y.com), and I’m currently taking oil painting lessons with My Art Space (myartspace.com.sg) in the beautiful Istana Park. It’s fun, but also pretty difficult, and I doubt I’ll be an accomplished painter anytime soon!


On a rainy day… I recommend the new Polliwogs indoor playroom in Robertson Walk; it’s popular with all of us.
On a sunny day…there’s so much choice: West Coast Park, the Botanic Gardens and Watten Estate Playground in Bukit Timah are particular favourites.
On a Friday night…we enjoy going out in either Robertson Quay or Club Street. We have recently discovered Bistro du Vin on Zion Road. The food is delicious, service impeccable and it’s reasonably priced.
On a Sunday afternoon…there’s football, the swimming pool, scooting along the river and then dinner at Bar Bar Black Sheep, in that order.