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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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What you need to know before taking a home loan

Taking out a home loan can be a nerve wracking experience, and a big deal for everyone. It is often said that home purchase involves the biggest capital outlay in a person’s life and especially in Singapore where home assets do not seem to stop appreciating, this is the hard truth that everyone has to come to terms with. However, taking on a debt in the form of a home loan, when researched carefully, can be your friend.

Before settling down in your dream home, here are the questions you should know the answer to before getting your home loan.

#1 Deciding between Fixed Rate vs. Floating Rate Home Loans

Unless you are paying in full for the property, you will be affected by changes to the interest rate. Home loans are typically offered in 2 categories:

a. Fixed Rate

Fixed rate packages maintain the same interest rate during a lock-in period of 1 to 5 years, regardless of market conditions, after which the interest rate converts into a floating rate. Should customers decide to refinance during the lock-in period, banks may impose penalties. Nonetheless, fixed-rate mortgage packages are favoured by many home buyers in view of their expectations of further interest-rate hikes and protects you from any upward interest rate movement.

b. Floating Rate

Floating rate packages have interest rates that fluctuate daily, usually pegged to the SIBOR and SOR indices. They can come with or without lock-in periods. Home buyers who opt for floating rates usually take advantage of the low interest rate environment and monthly instalment amounts. This is particularly usefil in a flat-to-declining interest rate environment.

To this end, home buyers should be mindful to choose home loan packages based on their needs instead of trying to take advantage of short-term interest rate movements.

#2 Affordability

Your current financial commitments affect your affordability. Here are some useful pointers to consider:

a. TDSR

Under the latest Government regulations in Singapore, your Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) cannot exceed 60% of your income. If you are already taking on a car loan, personal loans or credit card debts, it may affect Approval in Principle (AIP) from your bank of choice. The trick to increase your loan application chance is to maintain zero to low debt ratio.

#3 Fees and Charges

When it comes to home loans, you may be inclined to settled on the cheapest home loan rate, but do remember to compare the fees and charges applicable to the loan. Fees and charges are levied under these circumstances:

– Processing the loan application

– Withdrawl after accepting loan offer

– Late payment

– Amending the loan tenor

– Restructuring the loan

– Processing the loan application

Those fees could add up to a few thousand dollars, so it’s worth knowing how much your banks in Singapore might charge you. The amount you can borrow will typically be the same across banks. So, you are not obligated to go with a bank just because it has pre-approved your loan. It is smart to seek pre-approval from multiple banks so you have options before making a conscious decision on a loan to take.

Regardless of whether you are planning to buy a hdb or private property, a great home loan deal always come with making smart decisions by comparing home loans and mortgage interest rates online. A good place to start is Moneysmart which serves as an effective tool for online loan comparison which you can surf at the comfort of your home or anywhere you prefer, so long as you have your smart device with you. Moneysmart has come as a good choice for loan comparison. The browsing experience has been intuitive, with the website creating user experience at the forefront of their thoughts. I find the site easy to navigate, stored with current and useful information and it is definitely a breeze when comparing the latest home loan deals. You would know which site to bookmark and make a visit the next time you need information on home loan packages to assist you.

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D’BUN 利满: CAFE@356 in Joo Chiat

True-blue foodies are willing to travel great distances in search of good eats. In the heart of Joo Chiat, there are no lack of culinary hotspots and most recently, D’bun (the bun specialist) newly opened Cafe@356, a cosy, homely concept that delivers the best home cooked flavours.

We know the weather can be unforgiving in the afternoon, with the sun scorching down on us. With the air-conditioned ambience, the cafe provides a great respite for customers.

Not forsaking its traditional product offerings, one can expect to find authentic light-bites. The owner shared that they aimed to make their foods with fresh, subtle and natural tasting flavours. As such, the products from our kitchens are hand made in small batches using quality ingredients.

From the way they are, the products simply doesn’t need any further embellishment.

With the mid-autumn approaching, would you like to try D’Bun Mooncakes which are baked fresh using fillings blended so that they are not overwhelmingly sweet and come in several traditional varieties. The suite of mooncake comes in these styles – snow skin, traditional baked and baked pastry.

Trying out their ever popular freshly made buns. Your first bite will be a revelation. We are not sure if they are absolutely addictive, but you just can’t give it a miss.

CHAN2 (1)

Absolutely love these light-bites, served in pretty generous portion! The soya-bean milk is a thirst-quencher.

Their shop cannot be easily missed when you step into Joo Chiat Road.

Main Branch
358 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427603
Open Daily 8am – 10pm
T: +65 6345 8220
F: +65 6344 8110

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Family Friendly Activities: Explore Qian Hu Fish Farm

This was our first trip to Qian Hu Fish Farm at the far west of Singapore. This place offers a beautiful, rustic feel that provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. When we arrived, there were many families here to get an insight into farm life and have some fun.

If you are not aware, Qian Hu is an integrated “one-stop” ornamental fish service provider where fish lovers  can buy ornamental fish as well as aquarium accessories.

The sound of air bubbles and sight of fishes have such therapeutic effect where it makes one feel happier just by gazing at these ‘water friends’.

Qian Hu Fish Farm also provides group tours as well which you can check out here.

Reminisce the good old kampong days.  Remember when families got together and children were out playing and enjoyed netting fishes from the canals and streams?  Bring your kids down to Qian Hu and let them experience the same excitement and joy of catching their own fishes, bringing them home and caring for them.

Longkang fishing over here for your little ones? A fun activity for families and children where kiddos sprint into action to scoop fishes from simple fishing nets.

Catch of the day! These fishes are live-bearers.

For those who are interested to buy some fishes back, head into the Fish Gallery.

Stacks and stacks of ornamental fishes displayed neatly along the aisles.

Beautiful albino guppies!

Different varieties of cichlid fishes.

Betta corner. A good choice for those who do not want the hassle of setting up fish tank and filtration system.

Bettas, also known as “Siamese fighting fish”, are popular pets recognized for their aggressiveness, interactivity, and low cost for care and maintenance. You do not need air pump to maintain them. They are sturdy and beautiful to look at. The better grades do not come cheap though.

Open-net fish farms.

Clumsy-looking Ranchu Goldfish is popular throughout the world. It originated in China and was further developed in Japan in the late 1800s. With its round, broad body and large bulbous head, it is also known as the Buffalo-head Goldfish, especially in Asia.

Little corners for families and kids to chill out.

Qian Hu Fish Farm Trading
仟湖鱼场贸易 

71, Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah
Singapore 698950
Tel: 65-6766 7087 (10 Lines)
Fax: 65-6766 3995
Contact: Andy Yap
Email: fishexport@qianhu.com 
Website : www.qianhufish.com

 

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Sleepwiz Eye Mask: Sleep Better Effortlessly

One of the most useful essentials that one should have would be the eye masks. It is known that poor sleep can interfere with every aspects of our life but with SleepWiz™ eye masks, you can sleep as soundly on a brightly lit environment as you would at home in your comfy bedroom.

SleepWiz™ eye masks are specially designed to create the ideal environment for us to get some good rest so that we can wake up relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. Making a name for itself, SleepWiz™ was also featured in BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post as a recommended hack to fall asleep quickly.

For the Side Sleepers

Everyone has a propensity toward one position or another, but side sleepers are the most common of the variations. It is not common for side sleepers to find themselves tossing and turning more than back sleepers which could lead to poor sleep.

SleepWiz™ has introduced an eye masks for the side sleepers which include:

Luxiere™ 100% Silk Eye Mask for Side Sleepers

Image Credit: SleepWiz

For the Back Sleepers

SleepWiz™ has introduced an eye masks for the back sleepers which include:

ErgoDream™ 3D Ergonomic Eye Mask for Back Sleepers

Image Credit: SleepWiz

Why Sleepwiz?

We had the opportunity to try and after using for 2 nights and we felt it was comfortable for the following reasons:

 A restful night to feel refreshed the next day – The luxiere boosts melatonin levels naturally without the use of pills or chemicals while the DreamWeave technology makes the eyemask impenetrable to light, allowing for longer deep sleep phases, while retaining the natural fibre’s luxurious softness

            Comfort and practicality – by using thin dual straps that ensures the mask stays in place which is useful if you’re a side-sleeper or tend to move a lot when you sleep. The extra wide design also makes it adaptable to faces of different sizes.

                    100% mulberry silk – to ensure your skin stays hydrated and reduce fine lines 

SleepWiz™ eye masks are light, flexible and practical. It certainly doesn’t take up much space. Hey, did we mention this makes a good travel essential items during your road trips? Free shipping within Singapore is provided. You should get one too!

SleepWiz

Websitehttps://eyemask.sg/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialSleepWiz/

Instagram: hello@eyemask.sg

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The Best Places to Introduce Your Kids to Thai Food in Singapore

There’s something quite charming about eating Thai cuisine. In Thailand, dining is a family thing. All dishes are shared at the table at once, allowing brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to enjoy the fragrant flavours of Thai cooking together. On the whole, Thai food relies heavily on its combination of spicy and sour flavours. Of course, there are many other ingredients that add further subtle dimensions and aromas, but Thai food is certainly considered some of the spiciest in south-east Asia. If you’re thinking of helping your children become acquainted with delicious Thai food, you’ll be pleased to know there are many fantastic Thai restaurants throughout the Lion City.

Thai J泰J花園泰式創意料理065” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by 羽諾

One major bonus for Thai over other Asian cuisines such as Chinese is that it’s easier for youngsters to eat. Traditionally, Chinese food is eaten with chopsticks, which can be somewhat off-putting for little ones that can’t get to grips – quite literally – with their new found eating devices. Meanwhile, Thai food is more often eaten with forks and spoons, with chopsticks only used to eat noodle-based soups and broths. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best family-friendly Thai restaurants in Singapore.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum” (CC BY 2.0) by kewl

Jai Thai Restaurant, Purvis Street

If you’re looking for a wide range of dining options, look no further than Jai Thai’s extensive menu offering over 100 Thai dishes. They also offer individual set menus for families that aren’t overly fussed about sharing different plates. The restaurant’s specialities include Pandan Chicken and a mesmerising Thai Green Curry that goes down perectly with a side of sticky pineapple rice.

Joe’s Kitchen, Bukit Merah Lane

As casual, laid-back Thai restaurants go, Joe’s Kitchen must be up there with the best. Established for more than a decade, Joe’s Kitchen has become a go-to eatery for families looking for authentic Thai snacks at reasonable rates. Joe and his team can also tailor the spiciness in each dish depending on the tastes of you and your bambinos. Their stuffed chicken wings are the ultimate fun Thai-style finger food!

Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen, Middle Road

Specialising in north-eastern Thai cuisine, Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen offers a great-value hawker centre-style dining experience. Lots of Singaporean and Thai families like to convene here, with their generous portions, as well as extensive starter and main options. Better still, you’re more than likely to get change from $10 per head here.

E-Sarn, Ridgewood Close

Nestled away neatly in a quiet cul-de-sac near North Buona Vista Road is the casual family-run E-Sarn Thai restaurant. At the front of house, mother Neng and son Guy are extremely accommodating when it comes to recommending dishes and adhering to requests on levels of spice. If your family are fish fiends, they’ll love tucking into the steamed sea bass, topped with toasted coconuts, lime and fried baby shrimp.

Of course, an alternative option would be let your kids experience Thai food and flavours in the comfort of you family home first. Deliveroo deliver restaurant-ready Thai food to homes across the city state. This allows your children to sample the dishes they do and don’t like without the trauma of going out to eat in a busy restaurant. Once you’re aware of their likes and dislikes, it will make ordering out at your favourite Thai joint that much easier – and cost-effective too!

As Singapore is in the same peninsular as tropical Thailand it’s unsurprising that the Lion City specialises in Thai flavours. Who knows, if your children fall in love with Thai cuisine just as much as you do, it could transform extra-special occasions in the future.

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Affordable Western Food You Must Try at Katong Point: STREETS OF LONDON

The Katong restaurant and cafe scene never stops to attract hungry food lovers. While there are many eateries to choose from, we would like to recommend a wallet-friendly cafe (important consideration) offering no-frills, authentic dining experience right at Katong Point.

Streets of London cafe offers a scrumptious menu that includes fresh and delicious dishes and hey, talk about Instagram worthy food!

A peek at the menu which will definitely pique your interest. The spread includes the ever popular Fish and Chips, Pasta (with seafood option), Baked Fish, Babyback Ribs, London pride IPA Chicken and many more. What a way to experience communal dining in Katong without spending a bomb.

Driven by his passion for food and cooking, Chef Thomas takes pride in delivering freshly-prepared comfort meals for customers to indulge everyday.

We thought Streets of London has a very beautiful and large interior that bodes well for a good family (kids’ friendly) and friends’ gathering, not to mention a suitable go-to-spot for the Millennial to hang out. The decor looks cosy, calm and hip to customers.

Cute miniatures all the way from London just made it hard for anyone to resist whipping their phone out to take a quick picture. For the Instagrammers, Streets of London cafe certainly meets the criteria to be one of the most instagrammed place in Katong (Joo Chiat Road).

A healthier choice – Baked Fish ($12.80).

Mid-joint wings  marinated with a touch of Green Devil IPA, an American IPA style beer (7 pc for $8).

Did we forget to mention you can enjoy fabulous food and drinks at Streets of London with no GST and no service charge? Yup, you don’t need a silver fork to enjoy great food – all at the Streets of London cafe!

STREETS OF LONDON

Address: 451 Joo Chiat Road Katong Point Mall 01-01 Singapore

Contact Info: 9754 7716 | streetsoflondon.co@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Streets-of-London-305385316190806/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weibinthomas/

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