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I have been a big fan of British Author Roald Dahl ever since I started reading his book novels more than 2 decades ago and his books never fails to captivate me. Some of Roald Dahl’s works which I have read include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny, The Champion of the World, The BFG, and Matilda. Hence, you can imagine my excitement when I had the privilege to attend the Gala Premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical at Sands Theatre @ Marina Bay Sands.

Musical Synopsis

The musical follows Matilda, a precocious 5-year-old girl who loves reading and learning but is suppressed by her TV-obsessed parents who pay her little attention. As she grows up, she begins to resist the challenges and obstacles presented to her, learning that sometimes you have to be a “little bit naughty” in order to get through life. As she begins to master living with her family, her world is thrown into disarray as she starts a new school under the tyrannous grip of Headteacher Miss Trunchbull. Seeking solace in the library in a world of her imagination and creation, Matilda forms strong bonds with adults such as Librarian Mrs Phelps and her class teacher Miss Honey. Together they give her the confidence to embrace her special gift and individuality which is needed to reclaim her life.

My Personal Thoughts

I truly enjoyed Matilda The Musical; so much so that I found myself humming to the tune of “When I Grow Up” even after the show! The meticulously-crafted lyrics of the musical numbers by Olivier Award winner Tim Minchin unfold the story through songs like “Naughty” and “Miracle” and the production sets and costumes by Tony Award® winner Rob Howell are intricately designed. Coupled with the dazzling lighting by Tony Award® winner Hugh Vanstone, the whole stage comes alive.

Matilda The Musical Live In Singapore 2019
Image Credits: Matilda The Musical

With an incredible cast of young performers, Matilda The Musical inspires and delights audiences both young and old. The timeless story of a small girl’s determination to challenge those above her for the greater good, combined with Roald Dahl’s signature wit and naughtiness, makes this an unforgettable musical.

Reasons to Catch Matilda The Musical

Matilda The Musical is a winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical. Currently in its seventh year of running in London, Matilda The Musical continues to delight audiences of all ages and has been seen by more than 8 million people.

Matilda The Musical Live In Singapore 2019
Image Credits: Matilda The Musical

The Singapore season marks the first time the hit musical has ventured to Asia, having toured to Australia and New Zealand from 2015-2017 and it will be showing here from now till 17 March 2019 for a limited time only. Also, if you’re a Passion Cardholder or a SingTel Subscriber, you can get the tickets at a 10% discount (terms & conditions apply).

Just so you know, tickets for weekday shows are cheaper than weekends and if you’re wondering which category of tickets to get, we would suggest getting either the Category C Reserve or the Category B Reserve tickets as the seats are decent enough for a great vantage point.

Lastly, even if you have not read the novel before, the story and plot is easy to follow and you will definitely be enchanted by the spellbinding scenes.

Tickets are available on a first-come-first serve basis so be sure to book your tickets early!

My encounters with everything that’s Spanish has always been memorable and pleasant. From the first-ever Paella that I have tasted at PasarBella to my once-in-a-lifetime experience in Peru where the main spoken language is Spanish; I really do appreciate the rich Spanish culture.

If you want to experience a slice of the Spanish culture here in Singapore without having to burn a big hole in your pocket for a flight to Spain, there’s one place for it, Tapas Club.

Tapas Club

Tapas Club is a casual Spanish restaurant chain that first launched in Singapore in 2017. It brings Spain’s vibrant and rich culinary culture to diners at accessible price points.

Creating an immersive dining experience where guests are able to enjoy traditional Spanish food, Tapas Club offers hearty food, quality wines, and show-stopping musical and flamenco performances.

The restaurant also houses a mercado where customers can purchase authentic Spanish food products as gifts or for their homes. This includes a selection of beers and wines, as well as Spanish preserves, olive oils, preserved vegetables and seafood, and signature cold cuts like Iberian ham.

A Haven for the Wine Enthusiasts

Tapas Club is an ideal chill-out place for after-work wine and cocktails (last order at 10pm on weekdays). The wine list has over 50 different labels and features a wide variety of wines from key wine producing regions in Spain.

Prices start from SGD 38 and guests have the option of ordering their wines by the glass, carafes or bottles – perfect for wine enthusiasts looking to discover more Spanish wines as all varieties are fully covered.

At Tapas Club, there are over 20 varieties of grapes from different types of wines, including the renowned Tempranillo – a black grape variety that is natively grown in Spain. The wines available at Tapas Club covers the many regions of Spain, such as Rioja or Ribera del Duero, as well as up-and-coming regions like Manchuela or Ribera del Guadiana.

In addition, Tapas Club also arranges bi-monthly wine pairing dinners, taking guests on a journey through the different regions of Spain with an assortment of wines and tapas.

Our Dining Experience at Tapas Club @ VivoCity

Tapas Club @ VivoCity is Tapas Club’s second outlet in Singapore and we are really envious of the folks who work around the Tanjong Pagar area because Tapas Club is a wonderful place to dine at and chill-out. If Tapas Club opens an outlet in the heartlands i.e. Punggol, you probably will find us there downing jugs of Sangria every day.

The warm and rustic ambience replicates the look and feels of a Spanish tavern and recently, we were there for dinner and we had an enjoyable time because the service was impeccable, the food was excellent, and the Spanish live band entertainment was splendid ……

& the best part?

The food was reasonably priced and the portion was good enough for a group of 4!

The Tapas Menu

Highlights on the wine-friendly tapas menu include Berenjena Con Miel, eggplant chips fried in a light batter then drizzled with honey for a salty-sweet finish. Next, a hearty serving of Piquillos Rellenos, deep-fried piquillo peppers stuffed with a filling of seasoned ground pork, bechamel sauce and onions, enveloped in a savoury demi-glace sauce.

Another showstopper is the all-time Spanish favourite, Tortilla de Patata a traditional egg and potato omelette served with a soft, barely set centre.

The restaurant also serves signature Croquetas De Jamon – ham croquettes, a staple at any Spanish restaurant. These are encased in a puffed crumb and filled with oozy bechamel sauce and savoury Spanish Iberian ham.

The Tapas+ section of the menu offers more substantial dishes of great value. Each dish comes with one complimentary side (guests may take their pick from a selection) and is best enjoyed either as a main course or shared among friends.

Highlights include the Pulpo a la Brasa, a wonderfully charred grilled octopus, served on a bed of confit potatoes then drizzled with olive oil and pimenton (ground dried Capsicum annuum chillies).

A classic addition to any Spanish meal is the Arroz Negro, a rich and briny squid ink paella that is tossed in Spanish rice with cuttlefish and clams. Atop the al-dente rice sits hefty dollops of garlic aioli which is best enjoyed mixed into the rice for a creamy, savoury finish.

Tapas Club Specials

A group of musicians and dancers perform traditional Spanish flamenco shows one Thursday per month, while Saturday, Sunday and PH brunch sees the introduction of the communal paella pan. Guests may tuck into unlimited servings of paella cooked in a 1.2-metre wide pan for only SGD$10 between 12-3pm. This echoes the way Spaniards eat on weekends, where large communal sharing dishes enjoyed in a spirited, vibrant atmosphere are the norm.

For a slice of the Spanish culture, head down to Tapas Club this weekend and enjoy the great authentic feast that’s specially prepared by the chefs!

Everybody deserves some love this Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether they’re single or not, giving a gift as a friend, as a child, as a sibling, or as a parent is a wonderful way to remind them that this special day isn’t just for lovers. Shower them with well-thought-out gifts that say “I appreciate you” in a unique way.

Gift giving isn’t exactly everybody’s strong point, and if you’re like most people, you’re either stuck by the lack of or overwhelmed by the number of options at your disposal.

Worry no more!

This gift guide is curated to give you spectacular Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your special ones, whether that be your best friend, your significant other, or your parent.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Kids

It’s wonderful to give gifts to kids. Their reactions are always genuine, and even if they end up not liking what’s inside the present, they always find opening presents really fun. However, presents are optional.

There are plenty of precious Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your kids that will not only get you a kiss on the cheek but also help nourish your bond as mother (or father) and child and help cultivate a culture of love right at home. Some fantastic Valentine’s Day gift ideas for kids include the following:

  • A trip to the park
  • Plushies
  • This absolutely adorable kawaii box of goodies
  • A trip to the ice-cream shop
  • A new kitty or puppy (only when they are ready)
  • A cookie-baking session together
  • A card-making session together
  • A craft session together

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Siblings

It’s easy to gift siblings, especially because you probably know what makes them tick. In fact, they can be the easiest people to get a gift for. You can make it funny or silly or thoughtful and simple. Regardless, they will surely appreciate the gesture.

Some great Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your siblings include these:

  • An item related to their favorite hobby (like a video game or a skin care set)
  • A quirky book
  • A custom tee
  • A matching bracelet
  • Homemade goodies
  • Nostalgic treats
  • Personalised travel accessories
  • A custom Valentine’s Day card with a meaningful message

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Grown-Up Kids

As a parent of grown-up kids, you probably rarely see your kids, especially if they’re off to school in another state or country or are living with their own families. Still, this does not mean you can forget about the little gestures that tell them how much you miss and appreciate them.

Calls can be too direct and practical. Text messages and social media can be too ordinary and insincere. Take Valentine’s Day as a great opportunity to strengthen family ties. Simply sending them a meaningful message is already enough to put a smile on their faces and remind them that, no matter what happens, in life, you’ve always got their back.

Other delightful Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your grown-up kids are these:

  • Their favorite childhood dish
  • Home-baked goodness
  • Good books
  • Personalised items
  • A custom Valentine’s Day card with photos
  • A bouquet of flowers

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Significant Other

You will never run out of gift options for your Valentine’s date, and regardless of whether you choose to go out or have a simple, romantic dinner at home, your Valentine’s Day gift should be the bomb.

Make it extra special by putting in plenty of thought and effort to your Valentine’s Day present. Remember that it does not have to be expensive. A simple trip to the gift shop for a little trinket, chocolate, or a bundle of flowers will be enough to let them know you appreciate them.

Because choosing a gift for your spouse or special someone can be the most pressuring aspect of your Valentine’s Day gift-giving escapade, here are some tips that should help you decide on the right gift material:

  • Never skip on a Valentine’s Day gift. No matter how much you trick yourselves into thinking it’s just another day for capitalism, you will just end up feeling a bit envious and morose seeing all those other couples swooning over each other at the end of the day.
  • Do or get something simple, but don’t overdo it. Your gift should be commensurate to the stage of the relationship you are currently in. You don’t want to scare off the other person by giving the wrong message.
  • Get them a gift that they will enjoy, not what you or what you think they should enjoy.
  • Pick something thoughtful.
  • If you can’t spend much, be creative.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Parents

Regardless of the family structure you grew up in, your parental figures have sacrificed a lot in raising you to become the person that you are today. So finding opportunities to give back the love they deserve is always a great idea.

They don’t really expect much, and you really don’t have to spend thousands to make them happy. For parents, your surprise presence or a simple call or message will be enough to let them know you still remember and appreciate them, despite not being with them constantly.

If you know your parents well, it shouldn’t be hard to pick gifts you know they will like. For moms, for example, a simple day at the spa to help them feel good and relax is a marvelous Valentine’s Day gift idea. Shopping day together is a great one too. Other gift ideas include the following:

  • Jewelry
  • A journal
  • Baked goods
  • Leather tote
  • Gift cards
  • Runners
  • Home decors

For dads, you can spoil the inner child in them by gifting them awesome hand tools (if that’s their thing) or items that directly address an enduring hobby (like a soccer game) or simply spending the day with them. Other potential cool gifts for dads this Valentine’s Day are these:

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Best Friend

You want nothing but the best for the person you know will tread hell or high water just to give you support and advice at whatever you do. So take this special Heart’s Day as an opportunity to let them know how much you love them for who they are and for what they stand in your life.

Here are some thoughtful gifts that will surely put a smile on their face:

  • Personalised home decor best friend prints
  • Skin care set
  • Steam games
  • Custom face socks
  • Personalised bracelets
  • Tumblers
  • A great book
  • A shopping day together
  • Chocolate fix
  • A day out with the pack
  • A comfort item
  • Custom tees about friendship
  • Gadget accessories
  • Food!

Final Word

Valentine’s Day is not just a lover’s holiday. It’s a celebration of love in all its forms. So don’t let the people you love feel left out (especially if they’re single!), and thank them for their presence in your life by giving them well-thought-out gifts that speak love in the most “you” way.

Of course, when we say ‘pet hate,’ we aren’t saying that you hate your dog! We are talking in the proverbial sense; those sort of pet hates which are another way of referring to those minor annoyances as a dog owner that we are sure you will be able to relate to. We put up with these irritations because we love our four-legged friends dearly, but let’s be honest, there are times when even the most patient of us can be severely tested. Still, there are ways to overcome some of them.

How many of these pet hates can you relate to?

Pet Hate #1: Being faced with smelly dog breath

Waking up in the morning, probably with bad breath of your own, the last thing you need is the odorous whiff of your dog’s bad breath when he leaps onto your bed to greet you. Usually followed by a sloppy kiss and a paw on your face, you have no alternative but to get out of bed and give your dog some attention.

Tip: There are all kinds of reasons for dog bad breath, so check out the linked article for some handy advice. While you will never get rid of those terrible odours permanently, you can still reduce the problem by caring for your dog’s diet and by looking after their gums and teeth. And hey, when it comes to your morning bad breath, you might consider looking after yourself in similar ways!

Pet Hate #2: Never having a clean house

It can be hard to keep a clean house with a dog roaming around. Trying to keep your living room, kitchen, and bathroom spotlessly clean can be tough when you have dog drool, muddy footprints, and dog hairs invading your living space. You could either give up entirely – what’s the point in trying if your dog is only going to sabotage your best efforts? – or you could take steps to make your life easier.

Tip:  Despite living with a dog, there are a number of ways to maintain a reasonably clean house so consider some of the ideas here. From changing some of your furniture fabrics to doing the sensible thing, and keeping your dog as clean as possible, you can alleviate the indignity of an unclean home. You never need to be afraid of letting your neighbors set foot through your front door again!

Pet Hate #3: Losing yet another pair of slippers

It’s no secret that dogs love to chew on things. From rolled up newspapers to yes, your favourite pair of slippers; they will get their mouth around anything they can get their paws on. Of course, you could do the sensible thing and move any chewable objects out of your dog’s reach, or you could consider why they love to chew things in the first place.

Tip: On a simple level, dogs love to chew because its fun. It’s also nature’s way of strengthening your dog’s jaws and cleaning their teeth. However, your dog can also chew on something when bored or anxious. If they don’t have enough toys to play with, they will naturally migrate to other things, such as your slippers. And when they are anxious, perhaps when you are away from home for a long period of time, your dog will chew your slippers as a way to a) reduce stress, and b) to be close to your smell. You can alleviate any problems by buying your dog chewable toys, and by reducing their anxiety when you’re out by asking a friend or neighbor to pop in to give your dog company.

Pet Hate #4: The constant walks

First thing in the morning when you’re trying to get ready for work. Last thing at night when you’re just about ready for bed. And when it’s cold and wet, you will need to take your dog for a walk. He will let you know when he’s ready, and if you don’t… well, that’s another fine mess you will find yourself stepping into! Dogs need exercise for both fun and health reasons, so unless you have one of these low-energy dog breeds, you will need to get your shoes on at regular intervals.

Tip: You could hire a dog walker to take your dog for a stroll, but think about your exercise needs too. A walk will do you good, so instead of complaining every time your dog lets you know he wants to go out again, remember the benefits for you. But if you do find it a chore, try to up the fun factor; change the routes you take, play with your dog in the park, and take time to enjoy the scenery around you. Both you and your dog will benefit from the experience.

What are your pet hates? How have you overcome them? Let us know, for the sake of ourselves, and our beloved canine friends.

Thanks for reading!

In the last 2 decades, I have moved house at least 5 times and I know the pains and inconveniences of moving from place to place. When you move house, you are going to have a lot of things to deal with, and that’s why you need to make sure you get some help and advice. There are so many different things that you have to account for when moving house, and there are a lot of issues you can encounter.  Whether you are moving abroad, or making a move nationally, there is a lot to think about. Moving can be a stressful process, and you want to make sure you do as much as possible to ease the pressure.

Make sure you think about the important aspects of moving house so that you can make the whole process much more palatable. You have to keep in mind the issues that you might face, as well as the essential parts of the moving process. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind and sort out when it comes to improving the moving house process.

Transportation

You are going to need to sort out the transportation process and make sure you are choosing the right way to transport your stuff. Everything you own is going to be travelling with you to your new home, and you’ve got to make sure you protect and look after it. We ever had boxes of expensive wines and liquors stolen when moving house you must choose a reputable mover company who can take charge of the move for you and ensure that everything goes without a hitch and that it is a stress-free process.

Meet the Neighbours

Meeting your new neighbours is a really important part of the moving experience and one that you have got to get right. This is something that you need to make sure you get sorted as soon as you can. Your neighbours can really impact your move and the way you settle in your new home. So, the most important thing you can do is to try to make sure you make friends with your neighbours right away. This is going to enhance the experience and make things more enjoyable for you.

Sort Out the Basics

It is important to sort out the basics, and that means taking control of the things you’re going to be needing and using in your home as much as possible. There are a lot of things that play a part in this, and sorting out stuff like internet and TV is hugely important. You work hard, and you need downtime, and what better way to relax than to unwind and watch your favourite TV shows on Netflix. You’re going to need to have the right kind of broadband to help you with this. There are plenty of broadband and TV deals to choose from that can help you to enjoy the best movie watching experience, and this is the sort of thing that plays a big role in a new home, so you need to make sure you get it sorted as much as you can.

Moving house can be a complex and stressful process, and this is something that a lot of people overlook. You have to be clear about what is important in the process of moving house and tick the right checkboxes. If you can get the basic elements right, you should be well-placed in improving the move and ease some of the stress involved in it.

Recently, we were at Balestier Road and as usual, the whole stretch of road can get pretty busy as there are many budget hotels and eateries located in the area. We went to Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant (that is situated within the compounds of Ibis Singapore Novena Hotel) for a weekend lunch and we had their 3-Course Chinese New Year (CNY) Set Menu which is priced at $28.80 nett per person.

Image Credits: Accor Hotels

The 3-Course CNY Set Menu consist of the following:

Soup

Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn

The Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn has a rather homely taste and it is not the typical western-style sweet corn soup where milk and cream is added. Topped with some real crab meat (not the usual crab sticks), the soup is definitely a great way to whet the appetite.

Main Course

There are three different types of main courses that are offered for the set menu- fish, chicken or pork; and although most people would go for the Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh or the Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs, I really enjoyed the crispy Deep-Fried Snapper.

Do note that all three main courses are served with Cantonese Rice, Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp.

Deep-fried Snapper with Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushroom with Ginger Oyster Sauce

If you’re in the mood for some seafood, the Deep-fried Snapper is a good choice but of course, I also know that not everyone is a fan of fish. As for me, I really enjoyed it because it’s fresh and crisp and the batter is light.

OR

Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh with Wok-fried Hong Kong Kai Lan with Shallot

The Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh is a perfect choice and if you bring your children along, I’m pretty sure they will enjoy it too. The meat is juicy, tender and cooked to perfection with a smoky flavour to it.

OR

Sweet and Sour Pork Rib with Stir-Fried Capsicum with Onion and Pineapple

Sweet and sour pork is a pretty classic Chinese dish that one can commonly find at almost all Tze Char stalls and if you like to have something familiar, this is probably it. Tangy in taste, you can’t go wrong with the Sweet and Sour Pork Rib.

Dessert

“Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball

The “Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball is a sweet finish to the 3-course meal. The fragrant and sweet ginger-based soup is made with some brown sugar and it mellows down the spiciness of the ginger, giving the whole dessert a nutty caramel flavour.

Afterthought

Overall, the 3-Course CNY Set Menu is extremely value-for-money and if you are planning a CNY office luncheon with little budget, this is probably it! On a side note, Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant does offer takeaways from their a-la-carte menu.

If you don’t frequent Balestier or if you haven’t been there before, you can just pop by Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant for a quick casual meal before you begin to explore the rich heritage and culture of Balestier.

Image Credits: Roots.Sg

Some recommended places of interests in the area for first-timers include Go Cho Tua Pek Kong Temple and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, and if you’re game enough, you can try some durians in Balestier too. Having said that, Balestier is also the home of Singapore’s best Tau Sar Piah stores, so if durian isn’t your cup of tea, then you should get some Tau Sar Piah, a traditional Chinese baked pastry with green bean filling.

Fun Fact #1:

The area of Balestier was named after Joseph Balestier, Singapore’s first American consul from 1837 to 1852 and the owner of a 1,000-acre sugar plantation which was located in Balestier.

Fun Fact #2:

In the 1880s, several bungalows were constructed, with one still remaining at Tai Gin Road known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (formerly the Sun Yat Sen Villa or Wan Qing Yuan).

Fun Fact #3:

The Chinese labourers, who settled in the Balestier area, built a temple which still exists known as Go Cho Tua Pek Kong, with the area having the last free-standing wayang stage in Singapore that was built in 1906.

Lunar New Year 2019 is coming and in the days leading up to the eve of the Lunar New Year, most Chinese restaurants are usually very busy preparing and promoting their Lunar New Year specials and offers. If you have not made any reservations, you got to hurry because you don’t want to be caught in a situation where all the restaurants are fully booked.

If you are residing around Serangoon and Hougang and you don’t want to travel too far out for your reunion dinner, East Bistro is one Chinese-Hong Kong restaurant that you should consider because here, you can get 5-star quality dishes at wallet-friendly prices!

With renowned Lei Garden’s former Head Chef Tony Wong at the helm, East Bistro serves one of the best Dim Sum around and uses only the freshest ingredients to whip up some delicious Authentic Hong Kong Cuisine.

In this post, we will be sharing with you some highlights from our recent dining experience at East Bistro and what we think of it.

The Dishes We Had

Chinese New Year Menu
We tried some of their dishes from the Chinese New Year Menu and here are some of the highlights that we will like to share. If you are wondering which Chinese New Year Set Menus to get, we will actually recommend the 8-Course Set B ($528++ for 6 pax) Menu which includes Abalone “Lo Hei” Platter, Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Sea Treasure, Steamed Garoupa Fish in HK Style, and many more!

Steamed Garoupa Fish in HK Style

Personally, we love this dish and we wouldn’t mind having the entire fish to ourselves. Prized by the Cantonese for steaming, Garoupa is known for its delicate, tender and firm white flesh. The whole fish is steamed and then dressed with julienned green onion and ginger. Hot oil is then drizzled over the green onion and ginger. Light soy sauce is then dressed on the side of the fish. A clean and simple, yet incredibly delish dish.

Smoked Chicken in Ginger

Based off a traditional Hong Kong Recipe, the Smoked Chicken in Ginger has an exquisite and unique smoky taste. Using only Kampung chicken for its tender meat, the chicken is steamed to retain the moisture and its natural flavours. Having said that, it would really be lovely if the chicken was juicier as we felt that it was slightly dry.

Chilled Double Boiled Snow Lotus Seed

The Chilled Double Boiled Snow Lotus Seed is a rather special dessert and we really enjoyed it. Specially imported from Hong Kong and rarely found in Singapore, the high-quality Snow Lotus Seed is first boiled and then added to the dessert that is made from dried longans and large red dates.

Red Dates Cake, Price: $28.80 per KG

The Red Dates Cake is a traditional delicacy enjoyed during Chinese New Year. Using only large red dates, it is first boiled and subsequently made into a puree with some coconut added into the mix. The sweet fragrance of the red dates works beautifully with the creamy flavour of the coconut.

Normal A-La-Carte Menu
The dishes from East Bistro’s normal a-la-carte menu are really delightful and they are really good on its own. Here are some of the dishes from their a-la-carte menu that we tried and would recommend.

Crispy Rice with Crab in Soup, Price: Seasonal

A must-try at East Bistro. Keep your eyes peeled for the crackling of the golden fried rice crisps when they are tossed into the porridge. The broth is made up of chicken and pork bone, that is simmered for up to five hours. Chef Tony only uses Sri Lankan crabs for this dish, preferring their inherent tenderness and sweetness. The bright orange hue of the crustacean adds an extra sweetness to the clear soup. 

Iced Sweet & Sour Pork, Price: from $9 onwards

Unlike the typical Sweet and Sour Pork in Tze Char stalls that uses tomato-based sauce, the signature orange sauce at East Bistro is made from Hawthorne. The pork is first deep-fried to create the crispy skin, stir-fried with the Hawthorne sauce and presented on a plate of ice.

Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo, Price: $4 per serving

A refreshing chilled dessert using mango puree as a base enriched with evaporated milk for a creamier texture and served with a generous amount of freshly cut pomelo and mango

Overall

We had an enjoyable time at East Bistro and we will definitely be back for more. In fact, we are really glad to have found this hidden gem that’s quietly tucked away in Serangoon Garden because having tried their dishes, we really want to bring our family there for our usual weekend dinner gatherings.

Opening hours

Mondays to Sundays: 11.00AM –3.00PM, 5.00PM –10.00PM

Contact Details

Address: 1 Maju Avenue, #02-01, Singapore 556679

Telephone: 6634 2998

Getting There:

By bus –73, 136, 315 or 317

By car –enjoy free valet service every Friday evening from 6.00pm to 10.30pm and weekends and Public Holidays from 10.00am to 10.30pm.

Humans use the bathroom at least ten times a day to shower, groom, or do their business. Considering how often a person uses their bathroom, it’s only natural that the bathroom collects dirt, mess, and clutter every day. Furthermore, due to the ample supply of moisture and temperature in the room, it can also be a breeding ground for harmful (and headache-inducing) mould and mildew.

Having said that, every homeowner must maintain the cleanliness and order in their bathrooms and here’s how you can do that.

Create a To-Do List

Make no mistake. Cleaning the bathroom is a daunting task. You’re bound to give up or lose momentum halfway if you don’t go about it with a plan. You don’t actually need to make a detailed action plan, but something like a to-do list or, in this case, a to-clean list.

Start by doing a quick survey of the room to see what needs to be cleaned, organised, thrown out, and replaced. Then, write down everything you need to do to get them all sorted out—wipe the windows, scrub the toilet, unclog the drain, etc.

Having a to-do list will minimise the time you spend trying to figure out what to do next and help you budget your energy and enthusiasm so you can get the job done.

Bring Out Your Tools

Instead of going back and forth for your supply closet for cleaning tools, save time by getting everything out and putting the handy tools in a caddy. Your cleaning should have the basic tools, including the following:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Microfiber towels
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Toothbrush
  • Scrub brush

Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning to avoid injuries and to keep your hands clean. Place the caddy and cleaning tools within your reach to help maximise your time and energy.

Use Nontoxic Products

Unfortunately, many of the products you use around the house can be harmful to your health and the environment. Some toilet cleaners contain ammonia, which can be fatal to your lung’s health when you’re exposed to concentrations of 3 percent or more in a cloistered space with poor ventilation.

If you have a glass shower door, you should be wary of the cleaners that contain the ingredient 2-butoxyethanol. It’s a solvent that can trigger allergies, asthma, and as well as cause a sore throat.

Opt for natural products such as baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, and eco-friendly products that are safe for your health and the environment. They are just as effective at cleaning but are significantly more beneficial to your well-being and the earth.

Keep your family safe and healthy, and help the environment. Avoid products that contain these hazardous chemicals and ingredients.

Organise Cabinets and Drawers

To keep your bathroom clean, you need to get rid of everything that’s cluttering the space, including those that are hidden in your cabinets and drawers. Raid all your bathroom organisers, from the medicine cupboard down to the under-the-sink cabinet.

Throw out empty bottles and expired medicine, makeup, and cleaning and hygiene products or ones that you no longer use (even if they haven’t passed their expiration date). Remove items that don’t belong in your bathroom, and return them to their proper place.

Create order in your cabinets and drawers by using organisers. For cabinets, separate items by using baskets, and use dividers for drawers. Put medicines in transparent containers with labels to make them easier to identify.

Consider installing more hooks or hanging bars in your bathroom, especially if your cabinets and drawers are getting overcrowded. You can even use stylish bathroom hooks to add spice to your decor.

Clean from Top to Bottom

After decluttering cabinets and drawers, start with the bathroom windows, shower doors, mirror, and top surfaces. Unclog your showerhead by tying a plastic bag filled with vinegar around it, and let it soak for a day. Sprinkle baking soda on a microfiber towel to clean painted walls and surfaces. Use it with hydrogen peroxide to remove grout from tiles.

Remove hair strands and debris blocking the shower drain and sink drain. Throw a few tablespoons of baking soda down the drain, add white vinegar, let it fizz, and rinse with boiling water to clear the blockage. You can also use baking soda with vinegar to disinfect your bathroom.

After everything is wiped, scrubbed, and polished to perfection, eliminate odours by preparing a mix of baking soda and your favourite scented bathroom salt in an open dish, and place it on top of your toilet tank or sink. You can also hang a bag of baking soda to absorb odours. Replace the bag of baking soda every three months to keep the bathroom smelling fresh and clean.

There’s a right way (or ways) to do things. For cleaning, it’s more efficient and wiser to start from top to bottom. Doing so saves time and energy because you can better prevent messing up areas you’ve already cleaned. And you don’t have to use a lot of products to clean effectively. Baking soda works like magic for cleaning the bathroom.

Ventilate the Room

Ventilate your bathroom during and after using and cleaning. Airing out the room and turning on the exhaust fan help dry the space faster, eliminating moisture that encourages the growth of mold and mildew on walls and surfaces. It also helps get rid of odors and improves the air quality in your bathroom.

Other than proper ventilation, your bathroom could also use plenty of natural light. The sun’s rays have been proven to kill germs and bacteria, creating a healthier bathroom environment. Plus, natural light makes a small room look spacious and airy, not to mention Instagram-worthy.

Prevent Plumbing Issues

Plumbing problems (e.g., clogged toilets, blocked drains, and leaky fixtures) can cause tons of mess. Install preventive measures to avoid certain issues from cropping up.

Insulate your pipes to prevent leaks, as well as to save energy on your heating. Add a drain shield to catch all kinds of debris (like hair strands and soap and shampoo residue) before they clog your drain. Install a macerator pump, and connect your bathroom fixtures, including your toilet, tub, and sink, to facilitate more efficient drainage and prevent clogs.

Inspect your pipes, faucets, and showerhead regularly to make sure you can catch minor leaks and problems before they get worse.

Keep Your Bathroom Clean

Cleaning your bathroom is a time-consuming task at best, but at worst, it’s a herculean labor. Don’t wait until you can’t see the original color of the bathroom floor or until the showerhead can barely spit out water. The more you put it off, the more troublesome it becomes.

Although bathroom cleaning can be tedious, you can lessen the burden by practicing good habits, like not leaving a mess everywhere, decluttering as you go, and ventilating the bathroom during and after use. In the end, maintaining the cleanliness and order in your bathroom is beneficial to your health, mental well-being, and bank account.

If you are anything like me and already have a bucket list of the places you want to visit, I bet that the Amazon River is at the very top of your list. Let’s be honest, there are few of us who would say no to such an amazing experience!

This mighty and majestic river attracts millions of curious travellers every year. If you can no longer resist your wanderlust, this is definitely the place to be!

Due to its close competition with the Nile, this ancient river can be considered either the longest or the second longest river in the world, but definitely the largest one by the volume of water it discharges.

As expected from one of the biggest rivers in the world, it does not have traditionally defined seasons. What this means is that you should plan your trip to the Amazon River according to what suits you better – the rainy season (December to June), or the dry season (June to December).

Whichever season ends up being your choice, you can be sure that you will enjoy all of its perks! However, before you pack up your bags and embark on this epic journey, you will want to know the best ways to explore the Amazon River; and that is just what we have prepared for you! Without further ado, these are the top five ways to get “lost” in this paradise on Earth!

Canopy Touring

This eco-friendly activity is one of tourists’ favourite because it allows you to witness the Amazon rainforest in a different light. Gliding through the trees via canopy tours or a zip-line without disrupting wildlife’s natural habitat is something that everyone visiting the Amazon should definitely experience!

Expedition Cruise

If you are really looking forward to experiencing the Amazon River on an even more adventurous note, you should definitely book an expedition cruise. Alongside your experienced guide, you will be travelling and exploring via kayaks, small motorised boats, and, of course, on foot.

One of the best things when it comes to expedition cruises is the fact that you will be able to witness Amazon’s many indigenous animals and plant species up close. The Amazon rainforest is home to 427 mammals, 1300 birds, 378 reptiles, and more than 400 amphibians; which means that you are bound to see at least some of them while kayaking on the river or by taking forest walks!

Additionally, once you wrap up the day of your breathtaking expedition, you can go back to the main vessel and enjoy some mouth-watering local cuisine!

Volunteer Work

What better way to get to know the wildlife than to volunteer in a Wildlife Sanctuary? This is perhaps the most rewarding way to experience the Amazon and to truly immerse yourself into the surroundings.

The best thing about it is that you do not need to have extensive knowledge of animals, but the only thing you must have is a positive attitude. Essentially, you would be helping to take care of some animals that may have been injured by other animals, or animals that have suffered from some unfortunate accidents. What could be more rewarding and eye-opening than going home knowing that you helped save an animal’s life?

White Water Rafting

If you are an adrenaline junkie seeking to explore the Amazon river, this will be the perfect choice for you. You would start this intense adventure in the highlands of the Andes, and spend about 6-7 days rafting and camping on gorgeous beaches along the way. Lots of tours will also allow you to spend a few nights in their lodges where you would be able to shower, drink a cold beer, and sleep in a comfortable bed. Who said you can’t be adventurous and comfortable all at the same time?

Luxury Cruises

If you are not really looking forward to sacrificing your comfort and would rather get pampered while witnessing the glory of this nature’s gem, you should probably book a luxury cruise. While you’re at it, visit Aqua Expeditions for private charter cruises for yourself and your loved ones!

Whether you are planning a bachelor/bachelorette party, a college/family reunion, or just an awesome birthday party, you can be sure you will get the best experience!

As you can see, the Amazon River has something to offer to just about any type of traveller. All that is left to do is to choose which experiences suit you best and head straight to your adventure of a lifetime!

Content Marketing Specialist
Sam Hoffman is an award-winning writer with a passion to provide creative solutions for building brands online. Since his first award in Creative Writing, he continues to deliver awesome travel content. While travelling, he is also creating content for Aqua Expeditions.


From a stunning lion and dragon dance performance on the first day of the Lunar New Year (5 February 2019) at the hotel’s main driveway to a wide array of prosperous Lunar New Year delicacies and takeaway goodies, there’s something for everyone this Lunar New Year at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

Looking for a unique place to have a memorable reunion dinner?

Well, make the Year of the Pig a memorable one for you and your family when you dine at Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro, Singapore’s highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant in Singapore! Featuring seven auspiciously-themed set menus; from the eight-course Prosperity menu at $538++ for four persons to the Splendour menu that features Braised Four-head Australian Abalone among its courses at $2,588++ for 10 persons; you can look forward to a fine epicurean experience that’s unlike any other.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Making a debut on the menus this year would be the Double-Boiled Free-Range Chicken Soup with Bird’s Nest, Sea Coconut and Snow Pear, Roasted Chicken with Szechwan Mala Sauce, and Deep-Fried Prawn with Yuzu Sauce.

Prefer to avoid the crowds and have an intimate reunion dinner at home instead?

If you prefer to celebrate Lunar New Year in the comfort of your own home and yet have a slice of what Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro has to offer, you can opt to take away delicious specialities such as the Baby Abalone Fortune Pot and Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng. Perfect for cosy home gatherings, Shisen Hanten’s rendition of the classic fortune pot is a combination of 20 premium delicacies that include dried oyster, fish maw and Chinese sausage. All purchase of the Baby Abalone Fortune Pot includes a complimentary Salmon Yusheng and Glutinous Rice with Dried Sausages.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Also available are festive goodies such as Hokkaido Pumpkin Steamed Nian Gao, Golden Pineapple Ingots, and Steamed Yam Cake with Dried Scallop, alongside traditional favourites. A new addition would be the Crispy Caramel Treats with Pine Nuts, a delicious snack that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6262/6266 or email shisenhanten.orchard@meritushotels.com

Hungry for more?

A sumptuous feast awaits at Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s award-winning Japanese-inspired international buffet restaurant, Triple Three. Lunar New Year specials will showcase classics such as Buddha Jumps over the Wall, Braised Pork Trotters with Black Moss, Roasted Suckling Pig, and Glutinous Rice with Chinese Sausage wrapped in Lotus Leaf. For dinner, diners can also indulge to their heart’s content in grilled lobster topped with a decadent layer of salted egg yolk butter sauce.

Must-try dishes would also include Executive Chef Sam Chin’s Nyonya-Spiced Roasted Kurobuta Pork Rack where he incorporates flavours from his hometown, Penang. Other highlights of the buffet include the freshly-shucked oysters, seafood on ice, and sushi and sashimi.

Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

No Lunar New Year festivity is complete without the tossing of the Yusheng for good fortune. On the first, second, and even days of the Lunar New Year, this ceremonial dish will be included on the lunch and dinner buffet spreads of Triple Three so that diners and their loved ones can toss their way to prosperity!

Also available are traditional sweets such as Love Letters, Pineapple Tarts, Kueh Bang Kit, and Cashew Nut Cookies. One other major highlight would be the coconut-flavoured jelly in the shape of a Koi Fish which symbolises abundance.

Buffet Pricing

Lunar New Year Eve (4 February)
Lunch: $88++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $138++ Adults $48++ Child*
*Includes free-flow house-pour wine, beer, juices and soft drinks

First Day of Lunar New Year (5 February)
Lunch: $128++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $118++ Adults $48++ Child

Second Day of Lunar New Year (6 February)
Lunch: $128++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $118++ Adults $48++ Child

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6288/6271 or email dine.orchard@meritushotels.com.

Last but not the least, if you’re a tourist and you happen to be in Singapore during the festive Lunar New Year, you must check out Chatterbox because this is where you can feast on a scrumptious selection of local delights such as the Legendary Mandarin Chicken Rice, Chatterbox Lobster Laksa, King Prawn Fried Hokkien Noodles, and not forgetting the classic Salmon Yusheng for an auspicious start to the new year.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6291/6288 or email chatterbox.orchard@meritushotels.com.

There’s really indeed something for everyone this auspicious Lunar New Year at Mandarin Orchard Singapore, so do make your reservations early to avoid any disappointments!