Edge, Pan Pacific Dinner Buffet Review – Must-Go!

Date Visited: May 2017

Buffet: Hooked@Edge Dinner Buffet (Wednesdays & Thursdays)

Mother’s Day was around the corner and celebrations always meant buffets for my family (that’s why my diet plans never worked out). Since it was the choice of my mom, that meant that the buffet needed a good range of Asian food (we always know someone who goes to hotel buffets and only eat stuff like laksa, chicken rice etc right – that’s my mom)

This time, Edge @ Pan Pacific was chosen and it BLEW MY MIND, and my diet too ya.

Here’s my review & items you absolutely must try in this buffet!

VARIETY

Variety was UHMAYZING, ok? Usually buffets tend to be strong in a certain cuisine (eg. Asian) and so-so in the others, or overall not bad, but very few options of each cuisine. Edge was crazy good.

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Satay

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“Flying” Soba

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Crab Briyani? YAS.

Western, Italian, Local, Asian, Japanese … all there. And except for one or two dishes (the paella looked very watery and soggy), everything was ON POINT and worth them calories.

Seafood

The selection of seafood is supposed to be one of the main highlights of this buffet, and for someone who don’t usually enjoy cold seafood, I ate SO MUCH of them. That was how good it was.

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The Alaskan King Crab was easily the star of my night – the meat is so naturally sweet that I couldn’t stop eating. They refilled it really fast too – bonus points!

They had a whole selection of seafood – clams, oysters (freshly shucked), crayfish, flower crab – I’m loss for words at how good they were!

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Shucking Oysters in front of you!

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Just a small section of this area..

This section alone made my night worth it – if you enjoy seafood, this is definitely the place to be. Enjoy more of that Alaskan King Crab!

Local Delights

Another favourite of mine were the elevated local delights available, such as Nyonya King Prawn Laksa and Crab dishes,

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Salted Egg Yolk Crab

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Manadatory Chilli Crab (with mantou too!)

Service

Service was good, for a place that was fully packed. It was never too difficult to get the attention of a waiter, and they would frequently come by to clear our plates. No piling of plates in the middle necessary.

Live Stations

They had many live stations, with chefs to prepare you the dish right in front of you – from laksa, to grill, to pasta and sashimi, of course! Personally, I love live stations – they add a personal touch to my meal, instead of paying a pretty sum to have all the food mass produced and left out there for me to pick through.

Note: Squid Ink Pasta – must try!

Desserts

This is also another important factor for me – I’ve got a sweet tooth. So if the dessert section sucks, it’s a no for me. (another reason why my diet fails)

The dessert section at the Edge was good, with local desserts (Kueh Lapis, Kuehs) to cakes and chilled desserts (Creme Brûlée, mousse..).

They also had a fondue station, and a waffle live station with ice cream. Not bad indeed. I even spied some durian dessert (which I regrettably did not try, as J was looking green when I suggested it).

 

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Strudel

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Rainbow Kueh Lapis

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Assorted Cakes

 

Cost

Not going to lie, it was a hefty cost at $88++ per pax, which was over $100 after GST. However, that being said, the price was comparable to quite a few other buffets out there, and the spread was immensely better.

Was it expensive? Yes.

Was it worth it? Hell Yes.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a buffet to wow someone, or eat to your heart’s content, this is definitely it. One tip: walk through the whole buffet before you start grabbing food, so you can prioritise. There is simply not enough stomach space to be random here haha!

Please don’t miss out those Alaskan King Crabs – it’ll be your biggest regret.


XOXO,

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Hotels.com discounts, cashback and travel deals galore at ShopBack!

Ever since I’ve gotten a place of my own, money has been flowing out like water on renovation, appliances, furniture and cute things I probably don’t need but may look amazing in the house. Sounds familiar? Lol! This is probably why I’ve been trying my hardest to find cheaper alternatives, and save more.

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This means going to the wet market for groceries, comparing prices before I buy things and asking “Do I REALLY need that?”. Omg, adulting is TOUGH.

So anyway, recently I’ve tried out and learnt the joys of Shopback. Even though I’ve heard about it from way back, I never got around to trying it out because I thought it would be too complicated. But now that I have – there’s no turning back! Let me tell you more.

How it works

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Landing Page

Basically, Shopback gives you cashback when you shop THROUGH them. So all you have to do is to head over to their website, find the merchant you want to buy from and click on it. You will be redirected to the merchant’s website and when you make your purchase, you will get cashback!

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Practically me – every part of the month

Travelholics – REJOICE!

If you are a travel-holic (on a budget) like me, this is definitely one platform to get familiar with. I usually book my hotels from Hotels.com to get the rewards and better prices. This time, I tried using Shopback too!

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This means, in addition to my rewards on Hotels.com, Shopback gives me 6% cashback! And sometimes there is even Hotels.com promo codes for me to use. Free discount why not take right?

Did it work? Yes it did!

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I did it! Yessss

After I made my booking (one night’s stay in Bali), it took a few days before the pending cashback showed up! It’ll only be redeemable after you complete your travels.

Not bad right? They also have attractive cashback for popular travel sites like Booking.com, Expedia, Jetstar and more.In addition to that, they have cashback promos every now and then here, with special increased cashback rates for a certain period of time! So make sure to look out for those.

Click here for the latest travel deals.

Shopaholic? That’s cool too!

If you look at the screenshot above again, you’d realized I decided to shop too. Since I was looking for a birthday present for a girlfriend, I decided to use Shopback too. 5% cashback – why not (:

They have cool cashback deals for Lazada, Asos and Shopee, and if buying your groceries online are your thing, they have cashback for Honestbee too!

Conclusion

Now that I’ve used it, I must admit it’s pretty idiot-proof and simple. If clicking a couple more times will save me 5%, I’d do it – wouldn’t you? Try it for yourself and tell me which are your favourite merchants on Shopback!!

d’Good’s NEW Darn Good Durian & Coconut Skillet Pancakes (Must-Try)

Date visited: March 2017

 Durian lovers, stop whatever you are doing and appreciate this for a moment.

 

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Durian & Coconut deutsch skillet pancakes

That’s right, d’Good Café has launched new menu items and one of it is this glorious Durian & Coconut Skillet Pancake ($13). Generous amount of D24 pure durian flesh (legit, guys!) with creamy vanilla ice cream and housemade coconut sables (crunchy bites) topped with palm sugar syrup.

MMMMMM

The hot skillet pancake goes extremely well with the creamy durian flesh and cold ice cream – together they are super creamy but light, with textures from the pancake and the sables.

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Don’t miss this!

 Conclusion: Must-Try. Even J, who doesn’t like durian grudgingly said it was not bad 😀 Score!

Other new items to check out:

 

Bonito Benedict ($14)

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If you are bored of the usual Eggs Benny and Eggs Benny Royale, here’s a new item for you to try. It’s Japanese inspired and reminds me of Takoyaki Balls!

There’s loads of bonito flakes, Japanese mayo, Worcestershire sauce and sesame dressing – super addictive.

Clams with Seaweed & Caviar ($16)

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Definitely going back for more of this!

Another of my FAVES! The clams are delicious and savoury, and the pasta tastes super light and addictive. The toppings of seaweed and caviar give it the yummy umami taste. I couldn’t stop eating this dish!

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If you are not into seafood, there’s also a new Kimchi & Shabu Shabu pasta ($16) available too! *Kimchi & Shabu Shabu pasta only at Holland V. outlet.

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Kimchi & Shabu Shabu Pasta 

Baked Escargots in Shells ($13)

*Only at Taka outlet

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Six extra-large escargots from France served with garlic butter and fresh herbs – the seasoning is really delish, remember to eat them with the garlic toast as well!

So many delicious items to try, so little time – head over to d’Good today to check their new menu out! Don’t forget to try their specialty teas and cold brew too! I had this Cold Brew infused with Lavender Earl Grey, and it was great!

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Creamyyyyy 

Spread the love and jio your friends today!


 

d’Good Cafe

Holland Village – 273 Holland Avenue #02-01/02

Takashimaya S.C. – 391 Orchard Road #B1-56, Takashimaya S.C. Ngee Ann City

Club Room Stay at Oasia Novena – Worth It? Read and decide!

Date of stay: March 2017

Since it was J’s birthday, I decided to surprise him with a luxurious-ish pampering staycay, to get his mind off work and away from all the crazy house reno, wedding, planning stuff.

I decided then on Oasia Novena because it looked peaceful and quite luxurious, and had a good location (near food, yay!) without an exorbitant price tag. At the very last minute, I decided to get the Club Room (for the first time) for extra pampering.

With the club room, we were to have Club Lounge access – a private lounge and pool area with refreshments and snacks, as well as a nice room with a bathtub!

Did we enjoy the staycay? Yes.

Was it worth it? Hmm.

Let me share more and you can decide on your own.

 ROOM

The room was slightly on the small side at 25sq-meter. No complaints there though, as it looked really good and was comfortable, just a little less walking space than we expected.

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Pretty much the view of the room from the entrance (toilet to my right, TV and table in front of the bed)

Although there were some reviews of people not getting a bathtub, I’m glad we got a room with one!

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Yay!

Club Room Perk: Complimentary in-room selection of healthy beverages.

This was actually 2 packets of coconut water, 2 sparkling water and 2 bottles of normal mineral water in fridge. Really? We were hoping for a little minibar or even free chips, but I guess that’s not counted as healthy at all. Haha.

Other Club Room Perks: Cable TV Channels (yes, loads of Harry Potter movies to keep us entertained), Nespresso coffee, premium bath amenities… so this was alright, and while really nice, nothing much to be wowed over as well.

CLUB LOUNGE

This was actually the only reason why I would consider getting a Club Rooms again. The club lounge is on the 22nd floor with indoor seating and an outdoor pool area with more seating options.

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Even coffee and chips can look instagrammable!

I loved that we could chill there with unlimited coffee/tea and some snacks (peanuts, tapioca chips..). It made me wonder if this was what I had been missing out all my life. Lol. Okay, but seriously, it was quite good. The staff there are attentive, and don’t judge when you pig out on a bowl of chips. Plus the coffee they make is quite good.

 

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Mini burgers

They also had cocktail hours from 6pm – 8pm where you can get free flow cocktails, red and white wine along with some light bites.

 

YASS.

The light bites were even quite fancy, and we had that for dinner (not really because we were cheap, but because of such a late check-in, more on that later!).

The other thing I really loved was the pool area – a pool and heated Jacuzzi without the massive crowd. Yes.

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Jacuzzi View

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The cold pool

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Of course I had to take some pictures… lol

Because of the cold weather (it was pouring), we stayed mostly in the heated Jacuzzi, which was heavenly, and amazing at night! Love love love.

 

 

SO WHAT’S MEH ABOUT IT?

Okay, so on the website it stated that a Club Room perk was “priority check-in”. In my mind, that’s pretty awesome itself, because what better way to start a relaxing staycay than to skip the long queues of people checking in and out and having a expedited check-in?

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Screenshot from their website

When we arrived, we asked around for the priority check-in, only to be told that it doesn’t exist anymore. Whut. 

We were ushered to join in the queue and I was a little annoyed. When it finally got to our turn, I asked again about the priority check-in and the concierge said as well “Oh, we don’t have that anymore. That recently changed.”

While she was saying that (I kid you not, WHILE she was saying that), there was an Ipad displayed right next to me encouraging guests to upgrade to a Club Room with one of the perks being “priority check-in”. Okay.

To this date, it’s still featured on the website as a benefit of getting a club room. Now looking back, it’s probably not THAT big of a deal, but it was rather disappointing to have the expectation of a fuss-free priority check-in but being told to join the crowd.

*Another perk of Club Room – guaranteed either early check-in or late check-out. (Being Singaporean, I requested for both, lol)

But the thing that happened was that our room wasn’t ready, and would only be ready at 5pm. It was around 2.30pm at that point of time, so that meant at least 2 hours of waiting.

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However, they agreed to let us have a late checkout at 5pm the next day, and we could wait it out in the club lounge with coffee and snacks. Pros and cons, I guess? There were also quite a few guests waiting impatiently there, and occasionally going to check with the staff whether their room was ready. Again not a big deal,, but a rather disappointing start.

PRICE

So was it worth it? I guess it boils down to the price.

The Club Room on Hotels.com (which I do almost all my bookings on) was originally $340, but had a discount at that time of booking to about $280. I’m not sure about you, but that’s on the higher side for us, as we don’t usually spend that much on a staycation.

CONCLUSION

I am still quite undecided if it was worth it, to be honest. Spending that much (for me), I was expecting the weekend to be a little smoother, from a priority fuss-free check-in (that was promised) to a comfortable-slightly luxurious stay.

So it started off shaky with the definitely-not priority check-in, super late delay, but it got slightly smoothened by the late check-out and club lounge perks. So I guess it’s like GPA – once your first semester kind of screws up, even though your subsequent semesters’ GPAs are good, you probably won’t get a stellar cGPA at the end.

Maybe I’ll just stick to normal rooms from now?

 

What do you think? Was it worth it or not?

 

 

 

Bali’s Most Instagrammable Villa – Cloud Nine Estate

Cloud Nine Estate: Jalan Rsi Markandya 2. Banjar Sebali. Desa Keliki.

Date of Visit: February 2017

Guys, this is definitely NOT a sponsored post in any way, but I just had to share this gorgeous villa with everyone (though a little reluctantly, because I’m definitely looking forward to going back there, and I don’t want them to be fully booked or have their prices increase haha).

Since we travelled there in February for a pre-wedding photoshoot, we were looking for somewhere a little more luxurious (but still affordable) to stay at, so as to complete the whole happy experience. My good friend recommended Cloud Nine Estate long ago, but it was slightly out of budget so I never got around to treating myself.

Until this trip.

Let me tell you, it was so worth it.

It’s literally a little piece of heaven in a quiet corner of Ubud! Every corner was gorgeous and so carefully put together. Most importantly, it was so instagrammable.

The villas are exquisitely crafted with designer pieces, which are, at the same time environmentally conscious. Okay, let me stop gushing about it and show you some pictures.

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The Villa Compound

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My favourite spot to lie and look out into nature

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Even the sofa looks like this!

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LOCATION

It is nestled inside a quiet village of Ubud, about 25-30 minutes away from Central Ubud. You can either contact them to arrange the transport for you, or get a driver to take you there!

Be sure to keep your eyes wide open when you are nearing the villa, there will be a small sign at the side of the road with “Cloud Nine Estate”. Then you have to get off and walk down the steps to the villa. I love that it’s so tucked away from everything else!

Tip: It is quite a distance away from any convenience stall, so if you love snacking, stock up on snacks before you head there!

THE VILLA

They have 3 villas for you to choose from – Star Cloud Villa, Lotus Cloud Villa and another villa which is made of 3 suites (Anjali Suite, Tara Suite and Dewi Suite) which can be booked separately or together.

I stayed in Lotus Cloud Villa, which I absolutely adored. Every nook and cranny was like a dream come true! Even the cutlery were instagrammable, heh!

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Spent the afternoon on this swing bed!

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Instagrammable Bed

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See what I mean? haha!

Even though they had a shared pool (I usually prefer villas with private pools), but since there were only 3 villas in total, there were no issues at all. I went down at least twice, and had the whole pool to myself – I could even nap and float on my unicorn! Oh, and take loads of pictures.

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Unicorn!

FOOD

Yes, the most important for all Singaporeans – how about food?

Firstly, breakfast and tea are provided free of charge. And not just any breakfast or tea – beautiful breakfast and tea.

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Tea time 😀

You get to choose from a menu for breakfast daily (they come by to take your orders in the evening) and there are options like Eggs Benedict, Pancakes and local delights. You can also have coffee/tea AND juice.

They also provide coffee, tea and daily fruits in the villa for you!

For all other meals, they provide you with a variety of different menus that you can choose – Italian, western, local. They will take your order and it will be delivered to you in one hour! In my opinion, the prices were good, and the food was delicious. Just don’t be stupid like us and order ice-cream. What were we thinking, seriously?

WHAT TO DO

I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have anything to do (with me being hyperactive) but once I got there, I did NOT want to do anything.

I lounged around outside, inside, on the sofa, on the bed, by the pool….

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They have a ukelele and yoga mat for you to use..

You can opt for tours (which they will help you arrange), or private yoga classes at the villa itself. You can also go for a long walk in the gorgeous nature. We tried going for a short walk around the area and saw pretty rice terraces, but nothing much.

Another awesome thing you should do is get a massage. Just 5 minutes away from the villa, there are 2 well-known (apparently Ubud’s #1 and #2) spas. We went to Ubud Traditional Spa which was #2 and known for its technique.

It cost about 195,000 IDR for an hour, and although it was a great great experience, I still prefer my go-to spa for Ubud – Jaen Spa.

SERVICE

The service at Cloud Nine Estate was unbelievable – the owners stopped by to check if everything was going well and the staff were extremely conscientious.

They would stop by daily to clean the villa, and another time nearing the evening to do a “turn down” . Anytime we called for assistance or enquiries, they would immediately come over to the villa to talk or help. I felt extremely pampered!

PRICE

So what’s the damage? Prices for the Lotus Cloud Villa starts from SGD$227 per night! Yes, it’s pricier that what I would normally spend on accommodations – but it’s totally worth it.

In fact, I regretted only booking 2 nights there. Most of their customers usually book for a week – and I can totally see why! I’d love to spend a week unwinding in the midst of nature in this peaceful, zen and beautiful villa. #totalgoals

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My dream house for real

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Peace out

Go ahead and book it for your next holiday, you’re welcome!

Watch the vibes here:

 

Farm To Table (Tanjong Pagar Centre) – Fresh Produce at Damn Good Prices!

Did you know that Tanjong Pagar has a new shopping mall right at the MRT called Tanjong Pagar Centre?

There are quite a few cool F&B places there (plus retail too!) like Cocorica Plus, Food Anatomy, Japan Rail Café and Seattle Pike Chowder– perfect for people who work in the CBD area looking for lunch options!

However, what really impressed me the most was this marketplace called Farm To Table – a place specialising in fresh Australian produce, which are air-flown to Singapore.

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Love the vibes!

When I think about quality Australian meat and fruits, I normally associate it with a hefty price tag. I mean, quality is very important, but cannot be pay $20 for premium apples right? Even if my stomach feel shiok, my pocket will cry.

WRONG!

To be frank, what drew me into the store was this sign.

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Really???

Like any bargain-hunting auntie, my bargain-radar was alerted quickly and I automatically went in to join the fray. Oh my, juicy BIG red strawberries and delicious blueberries at only $10 for 3 boxes? Yes please.

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These babies are clearly on another level than what I’m used to.

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Look!!

Other than strawberries, they have many types of produce – both organic and non-organic. Whether you are looking for quality Angus beef or wood-roasted salmon, they have it all!

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Omg. Meat.

In addition to those, they also have specialty produce like these gorgeous Australian Mangoes and Rock Melons, as well as a wide variety of vegetables (even Kale!) and herbs to choose from.

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These look unbelievably good!

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Literally your dream pantry!

I also noticed that they have set up a little corner with samples for customers to try new produce daily- what a great idea!

This place is definitely an absolute gem in my opinion – with really affordable fresh produce (especially with the promotions) that are of great quality. Share it with your friends and family, don’t forget to stop by and indulge in some strawberries!

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XOXO

Yogurtland from USA is here in Singapore! (Must-Try)

Date visited: December 2016

Address: Suntec City Mall #B1-165/166  (Near the fountain of wealth)

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As much as I love a good scoop of homemade ice-cream, frozen yogurt is my go-to treat on a hot day! Light, tart, refreshing and low-fat, what’s there not to like?

In fact, during my one year stay in North Carolina, fro-yo was one of the popular hang-out places for my friends and I. I loved the HUGE fro-yo stores with rows and rows of different flavours that we could mix and match however we liked. There would also be a toppings bar with everything from granola, nuts to sweets and chocolate. In fact, after I came back to Singapore, I often lamented that there was nothing quite like that experience here, since most fro-yo stores serve the yogurt in fixed cup sizes and charge per topping.

So as you can tell, I was pretty excited to be invited to Yogurtland’s opening in Suntec!

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Me with my masterpiece!!

Yogurtland is literally your dream fro-yo shop – they have over 200 unique and customized flavours which they rotate, serving 8 flavours in the shop at any one time. The yogurt base is imported right from California (where they use fresh and pure California milk without antibiotics or added hormones), and they have some really unique flavours sourced from all over the world.

We got to try flavours like Belgian Chocolate (made from delicious chocolates from Belgium), Sumatra Coffee, Dragon Passion Tart and Kiwi Raspberry Sorbet. My personal favourite was the Belgian Chocolate and Original Tart!

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We had to try all 8! 😀

Less yogurt, more toppings? Up to you!

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Toppings GALORE

If you feel like having 10 toppings on your fro-yo, go ahead! They don’t charge by topping, so you can literally put whatever you want on it. #notjudging

Lactose Intolerant? Fussy eater?

Everyone has something here – there are sorbet options for those who are lactose-intolerant, and gluten-free options too.

Affordable!

Having these treats wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket either – they charge by weight and it’s only $3 per 100g! That’s really super reasonable – and a great incentive to indulge.

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What are you waiting for? Hurry head down to check it out and get yourself a large cup of fro-yo! #dontsaybojio

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Bali Sights Part 2 – Hidden Gems You Have To Visit!

Date of Travel: November 2016

It’s been awhile since Part 1, which I wrote about the touristy sights in Bali (Ubud) which I was definitely not impressed with – too much crowd, too high expectations. So I’ve finally gotten around to writing about Part 2 (amidst my crazy renovation planning and ROM shebangs) – the two hidden gems YOU HAVE TO VISIT!

  • Melasti Cliff (Ungasan Cliff)
  • Green Bowl Beach

#1. Melasti Cliff / Ungasan Cliff

Ungasan Cliff

What a breath-taking sight!

After getting super disappointed the day before with all the touristy touch-and-go sights, we spent the night doing some thorough research and digging before we found this spot – and everything seemed too good to be true!

I mean, hidden cliff…gorgeous blue waters… and no one to disrupt your me-time? That’s just too amazing! 

Getting There. This was the only hard part as it was not well-known amongst the drivers. We had to use our google map to navigate the driver – thankfully he was super willing to take the adventure with us!

(We used Mano +62 856 3778 685, who charged us 550,000 IDR for the day and drop-off at airport! Amazing guy, let him know you got the contact from Jeremy!)

Costs: No entrance fees! Nada. nothing! 

It was amazing! Once you arrive there, you will see the cliff overlooking the gorgeous gorgeous blue waters below, and the winding roads on the right.

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Tier 1 of the Cliff view!

If you are feeling more adventurous, there will be a flight of steps which you can climb up to a clearing!

It’s definitely manageable, so don’t worry about the climb! Once you get to the top, you’ll have to go through some shrubs (and rocks) to get out to the clearing. THEN, you’ll have arrived to the top of the cliff.

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Legs dangling over the edge – I was just a tiny little bit scared too haha!

The view here is UH-MAY-ZING. Better than anything you’ve seen.. and the best part? You’ve got it all to yourself. 

On the far right is the Banyan Tree Ungasan Hotel – if you are feeling atas go ahead and drop by there for a meal or stay! If you have extra time, head down to the beaches too, you definitely won’t regret it.

#2. Green Bowl Beach

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From what I’ve heard, this beach used to be a private beach to a resort. But after a natural disaster hit, the resort was never restored and the beach became accessible to the public.

Getting There. Definitely use Google Maps too! You will need a driver, as it’s hard to get there on your own.

Costs: Small entrance fee (5,000 – 15,000 IDR)

*Climbing down: When you arrive, you will need to climb down a long flight of steps (about 300 steps!!) so it will take some effort. I strongly recommend you to get some drinks or ice cream from the shop at the top before you start, and just enjoy the climb down. The climb back up will be more painful, fyi haha!

Tips: The only thing I didn’t like about the beach was the peddlers who WILL harass you. At the top, some old ladies will try to convince you for massages (say no! I’ve read that they are a rip-off) and on the beach itself, quite a few vendors will stalk you and harass you, to the point of not leaving until you buy. Be very firm, don’t give in, and make sure someone stays with your belongings, or if there are any others around, you can politely ask them to help keep a lookout!

Bring beach towels, water and snacks, or you might have to buy some (at a higher price) from the ladies!

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So worth it

Other than that, this place is phenomenal. There are small caves for you to sit under and relax in the shade. The waters are clear and refreshing, and the beach is clean!

What more could you ask for?

xxxx

Heading to Bali soon? Don’t forget to check out these places, I hope you’ll love them as much as I did!

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XOXO

Taobao Hacks For Your ROM/Event + Some Tips!

Date: December 2016

BWP_2237.jpgIt is almost a unique Singaporean culture that many couples hold their ROM Solemnisation some time before their fancier wedding celebrations… because of legal purposes. In order to complete housing procedures, most couples have to produce proof of marriage, which is the ROM cert.

Like soooo many couples before me, that’s what I decided to do, especially since i had gotten a resale flat with a shorter turnaround time. (See my resale flat journey here) So with a short lead time and limited budget, I turned to Taobao for some help! Read on below for some tips and links!

Why outdoors ceremony instead of at ROM itself?
It is definitely cheaper to do it at ROM itself, unfortunately ours had to be on a weekend (ROM is closed) since many of our guests would not be able to take leave on the weekday. Also, my uncle was the solemniser, making the preparations slightly easier!

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😀

As with any planning process, I’ve learnt invaluable tips the hard way and I’d like to share them with you before I proceed on with the Taobao Links.

Tip #1. Know what can be saved on, and what should not be.

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This was the hardest struggle for me, since I wanted everything but had a budget. In the end, we had to prioritise what we could spend a little bit more on, and decide what we could save on. After all, there’s also no point saving on everything and ending up really unhappy on the day!

We saved on venue (relative’s condo function room) and decorations (Taobao) and even on my dress (Taobao) as the other options were simply too extravagant. I even did the dessert table on my own to save costs. But we did not save on catering (we chose Neo Garden based on all the recommendations) and we decided to get a photographer for the day.

#2. Don’t try to do everything yourself

Delegate and ask for help! That’s also something I had a hard time doing. I was baking the whole dessert table with a friend for 2-3 days, till the night before the event. Didn’t get much sleep (scolded by the photographer because my eyes looked tired in most of the shots) and was quite stressed out!

Thankfully, on the day itself, when I was trying to run around to do everything, my close friends ordered me to stay put and let them help out. Awwww so much love!

#3. Personalize

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Once you decide to do most of the things on your own, accept that it will never look like one of those glam pinterest pictures – whereby everything is obviously professionally set up and expensive. That doesn’t mean that your special event has to look shoddy or bad! Go from another angle and make everything cozy, intimate and personalised. Hand-drawn signs, handmade door gifts (I baked granola!), pictures and love – that’s your key to a beautiful event.

Don’t be a bridezilla ok? 😀

And now, for the TAOBAO Links! Here are items that i bought from Taobao, and the links. I used Ezbuy because of the Prime Shipping (Only $2.99!)

#1. My Dress!bwp_1848

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Perfect Length!

Yes, my dress was from Taobao! After SO MUCH research, I decided to order this full-length gown. I loved that it was a little sheer at the top and very well fitted.

Tips to buying dresses

  • Reviews. OMG, so important! Go through all the reviews (especially the ones with pictures) and ask yourself if you can accept how it looks like it pictures
  • Made-to-Measure. Preferably go for the dresses which have an option for you to send in your measurements. Mine did, and so it fit really well!
  • Corset back. If it’s not MTM, find those with corset/laced-up backs – this will give you a little leeway for tightening or loosening.
  • Get a back up. I bought 2 dresses (both for under $100) in case one doesn’t turn out well! That was actually the case in the end, so i’m glad i did so!
  • Give it time. This should be the first thing you buy, at least 2 months in advance. Just in case, ya?

TB Link: https://world.taobao.com/item/525317411772.htm?fromSite=main
Cost:  $65

#2. Photobooth

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Nice backdrop!

Photobooths don’t come cheap, and if you can afford it, hire someone to do it for you, along with the instant print-outs! (Aww Snap Photobooth is one such company I’ve worked with, and they are good!)

If not, make your own with a Photostand & gorgeous coloured streamers to suit your theme! You can even reuse them for future events!

Photostand TB Link: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=45020903534
Cost: $27.83 (Background Frame only)

Streamers TB Link: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=520560001952
Cost: $18.55
*Use the 20cm width option, you will need about 15 of these
I bought: 5 x  #50(white), 5 x #25 (light blue), 5 x #26(water blue). Tada!!

#3. Rose Petals

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Rose petals on the floor!

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Rose Petals on the table ❤

Rose petals are definitely a good way to get that romantic vibe. Best still, these fake rose petals actually look pretty good (and they won’t turn yellow or rot…). There are plenty of sellers for these kind of rose petals, so be sure to read the reviews.

TB Link: https://world.taobao.com/item/43925444093.htm?fromSite=main
Cost: $5.46
I bought 4 packets of White petals & 2 packets of Light Blue petals.

#4. Paper Tassels!

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Jazz up your dessert tables or photobooth with these pretty tassels! I love love love the colors!

TB Link: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=525962866983
Cost: $13.23
(1 packet has 5 tassels) I bought 3 x White, 2 x Silver, 2 x Light Blue, 2 x Lake Blue.

#5. MR & MRS Sign

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Yes, it’s cheesy, but it’s super cute too! After all, who doesn’t want to announce their newly-wed status (:

TB Link: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=43649815054
Cost: $14.78 ( I bought the Medium size in Silver Glitter)

Non-Taobao deco items that you should get as well!

#6. Table Cloth

Duh, don’t forget the table cloths! They are super important. If possible, get some other colours to liven up the white.

I got mine at Clementi (those cloth shops selling rolls of fabric!), plenty for only $24.

#7. Wooden Boxes – Dessert Table

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Elevate your treats and decorations with these wooden boxes/racks from DAISO! Only $2 per piece, and it looks good! You can also get a bag of potpourri there for that lovely scent and red hints.

xx
Ultimately, it should be a day that you look back upon fondly with wonderful memories. Making it pretty shouldn’t have to come with a hefty price tag, right? I hope these links will come in handy, so spread the love and share!
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Bali Sights Part 1 – Unimpressive Tourist Attractions but a Crazy Good Spa Find!

Date of travel: November 2016

Recommended Driver: Mano (+62 856 3778 685)
(let him know you got the contact from Jeremy!)

Bali has always been reverently known as the Island of the Gods, aptly so, as almost every corner finds you in a breath-taking landscape you never knew could exist.

Ungasan Cliff

Prior to this trip, I have hardly ever been to Bali, except for a few times MANY years ago, staying at Hard Rock Hotel (what a shame to have missed out on the gorgeous villas available everywhere) and travelling no further than the beach down the road. This trip has been quite an eye-opener and I am certain there will be many more trips soon to explore more parts of Bali!

Check out the video here! (Bump the quality up to HD!)

Although we stayed in a villa 30minutes from Ubud, it took us one day to realize that touristy spots weren’t for us. The first driver we used insisted on bringing us to the usual tourist attractions –

  • Tegenungan Waterfall
  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces
  • Mount Batur (sightseeing only)
  • Uluwatu Temple

I honestly believe that he was probably getting commissions for it, but as we haven’t had time to do much research, we went along with it. Here are the short & honest reviews of the four places.

#1. Tegenungan Waterfall

According to them, this is one of the highest and “prettiest” waterfalls in the area. It was actually really impressive with its height, and the force of the water flowing down is almost scary (feels like it would hurt if you stood directly underneath it, or that your bikini would totally come off heh).

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Tegenungan Waterfall

Costs: IDR10,000 to get in, and they charge you another IDR10,000 to see the waterfall from the top.

The low-down: The water looks murky, slightly dirty (not like some of the others I’ve seen, makes you rethink swimming in them). There are many tourists around trying to get same shot as you, so don’t expect a serene and peaceful experience.

There are also a number of steps to climb down to the waterfall (and up again on your way back). Overall, we weren’t too impressed with it!

#2. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

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I have to admit it WAS pretty!

Again a super-touristy area. It is, however, beautiful to look at and take some iconic photos. I loved the vast greenery of the rice terraces and climbing down to different spots (for different photos) but after a while, that’s pretty all you get!

Costs: IDR10,000 to enter the area.

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Climb down for a nicer shot!

After looking at the rice terraces, there are a number of shops and restaurant places to grab a bite at. Nothing much fantastic, and prices are not that attractive either. There are many street children there trying to sell you postcards and merchandise, do beware of them, as they will gather and crowd you once you give attention to any of them!

#3. Mount Batur (sightseeing only)

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Mount Batur in the distance..

So when we mentioned that we wanted to see Mount Batur, the driver insisted on bringing us to a restaurant that we could see Mount Batur “up close”. Without any much details, he just drove us to a place called “Grand Puncak Sari” where we had buffet and stared out at the view of the volcano from far away. There were many other restaurants along the same stretch selling buffet with a view.

Cost: IDR 125,000 per pax (there is still tax on this)

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The Food

I was definitely not impressed. The food was average and not at all worth the price (there are much better local food around at a fraction of the price) and to be extremely honest, the view was pretty but too far away to be anything special. Had I known it would be like this (or had enough information to google and research before) I would have decided either to climb Mt Batur or not even visit this place to look at it. Gah.

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This was also the deciding factor on changing our driver, as well as his input on the massage place we wanted at the end of the day. (Note: the driver contact listed at the top is our second driver, highly recommended!)

#4. Uluwatu Temple

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The view from the temple

Uluwatu Temple was listed as one of the must-see places on many online forums, and after seeing some gorgeous shots (especially at sunset), we decided to visit as well! Many tours offer this as part of the package, as well as some fire dance and she-bangs after.

The whole area takes about 15 minutes to walk through, which you can look at the cliff and the sea below, as well as some statues and ornaments. However, it was quite packed with large groups of tourists with rude manners (shan’t say where they are from) who will definitely be talking at the top of their voices, pushing people out of their way and preventing you from getting nice pictures.

Costs: IDR30,000 per pax to get in.
*You will need to wrap up with the cloth they provide you as a form of respect, and ladies on their monthly periods will not be allowed up the steps.

There seems to be the actual temple ground further in, but it is not accessible to tourists. So all you will see is the outskirts of it. Is it worth it? I’m not that sure.

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I managed to crop out the people at the sides! yay!

 

**MASSAGE – JAEN SPA

Of course, when in Bali, you must enjoy a massage. Bali is known for amazingly luxurious and very well-priced massages and so, it was a definite must for us! When we first told the driver that we were thinking of getting a massage, he was very insistent on telling us he knew a good place. However, during the day we did our own research and found a gem that we really wanted to try. When we told him the place we wanted to go and the address, he was really reluctant and unhappy to do so. (a big no-no for us!)

But moving on to the good part – Jaen Spa.

By the sheer amount of positive reviews and recommendations we found online, we were totally persuaded to visit Jaen Spa and give it a go. And that was one of the best decisions we made that trip!

PRICING – compared to many other (equivalently luxurious) establishments, Jaen Spa was very reasonably priced.

These were the services we tried-

1 hr Traditional Balinese Massage – USD $12 / IDR 165,000
4 hrs Radja Nenda Spa Package – USD $60 / IDR 720,000

The spa package included a Radja Synchronicity massage (2 therapists work on you at the same time), flower bath, body scrub, facial treatment and hair crème treatment. They also give you a light lunch and drink in the middle! Fwah!

SKILL

I’ve been to many spas, and this experience was definitely one of the best. The therapists were skilled and able to target sore spots and work on it well, adjusting their pressure to your preference.

For the special Synchronicity massage, although there were 4 hands (2 therapists) working on you at the same time, it is amazing how in synch they were. The strokes blended perfectly – it was literally heaven!

SERVICE

Service was fantastic and the cherry on top of the cake. We felt absolutely pampered and taken care of! At any point of time, there is someone with you making sure you are comfortable and happy.

They also have pick up and drop off services which are cheaper than hiring a driver (you can arrange for a pick up straight from the airport!!) and they were very flexible with letting us explore the town before sending us back, allowing us to maximize our time in the Ubud central.

In conclusion, Jaen Spa is a place you definitely need to visit on your next trip to Bali. Everything was amazing at such an affordable price. Although the 4-hour treatment was a tad too long for me, I enjoyed every minute of the pampering!!

(don’t forget to contact them in advance, they are almost always booked out!)

xx

As for the rest of the touristy spots, feel free to visit them but don’t have high expectations.  Also, stay tuned for my next post (soon) where I’ll be sharing with you about the hidden Ungasan Cliff & Green Bowl Beach!

Spread the love, hope you liked it!