FEB 2022

EDITOR’SNOTE This is an important month. First of all, it’s 20 years since Expat Living first hit the shelves! That issue in 2002 was only 64 pages long. But nearly all of it was written by me and it took a few months to pull it all together. It was challenging and pretty life-changing, and I want to thank the advertisers and readers who have supported me along the way ever since. We will have a party as soon as we can! Secondly, the results of our Readers’ Choice Awards are out. Thanks to all of you who voted, and to those at EL who are involved in pulling in the data and getting all the certificates and decals sorted. It’s a lot of work but we think it’s important for people to be able to voice their recommendations. It was the driving force behind doing the magazine in the first place. Thirdly, our Group Editor Shamus has just hit his 13th anniversary with EL, so a big thank you to him. There’s a group of seven that have been around even longer, and having all their support and involvement through the years has been so important. But it’s also time to say goodbye to Leanda after 12 years – wishing her well in her new life in Norway! Lastly, it’s the first month of the Year of the Tiger, which is my sign. Who knows what it will bring? I hope I get to see my youngest “cub” after more than two years. And it’s also the month of romance, with Valentine’s Day coming up. A little bit of hope in all areas of life should help make it a better year for everyone!

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Wishing you a happy Chinese NewYear and a big thank you for your support!

The Retro Party for our 10th Anniversary in 2012

Our first cover in February 2002, and another with the new logo in 2010



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET



CONTACT US Call or WhatsApp: +65 9112 0652

General Enquiries: info@expatliving.sg Advertising Sales: sales@expatliving.sg Subscription: subscription@expatliving.sg Production: production@expatliving.sg Editorial & Media Releases: editorial@expatliving.sg Calendar of Events: calendar@expatliving.sg Events: events@expatliving.sg Websites: expatliving.sg | expatliving.hk Printed by Ho Printing Singapore Pte Ltd (hoprinting.com) Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 36 Carpenter Street, #02-01 Carpenter Haus, Singapore 059915

raditya | shutterstock (shutterstock.com)




NEWS 16 What’s on in Singapore 18 Subscribe and join us at an event or online talk HOME & PROPERTY 22 New furniture finds and store updates 24 A palatial home on Chatsworth Road 34 The golden rules of photo management (part two) 38 Inside a happy kid’s room! 40 Buying Guide: Cool furniture for young ones 44 Fabulous tableware for your dining pleasure 46 Smart Move: An expat couple who took the plunge and bought 52 Interested in co-living in Singapore? 54 Street Talk: The Cairnhill Road neighbourhood

24 A grand home near Orchard

44 A home full of colour LIFE & FAMILY 60 The latest news for parents and kids 64 Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards – find out who won gold! 70 Noticeboard: Baby births, plus animals for adoption 72 An eye-opening programme to help Africans in need 76 What to watch and read this month 78 Singapore Pages: Interesting facts about where we live 80 A school embraces the gaming phenomenon 82 Leasing a car to make life easier


A different kind of school track!


Fun kids’ beds & furniture



WINE & DINE 86 Foodie news, restaurant updates and more 88 V-Day dinners to impress at Dempsey Hill 92 Recipe Corner: Some sweet secrets from the Bissets! 94 Romantic places for a date in Singapore 97 Fancy a nice Greek meal? TRAVEL 100 Trip-planning inspiration and hotel news 102 Coloured beaches from around the world 104 Is freediving on your to-do list?

88 Romance at Dempsey!

104 Discover the world of freediving



120 Outfits for work and play

113 Jewellery for love

STYLE & BEAUTY 110 The latest fashion news and advice 113 Jewellery for Valentine’s Day and beyond 120 Fashion to take you from the office to dinner 126 New beauty products and retail picks 128 Medical-grade facials and tummy tightening 130 The ins and outs of fat grafting 134 Getting your brows and lashes looking great! 136 See which lip gloss and liners we love HEALTH & FITNESS 141 Medical updates and health tips from experts 144 Why seeing a psychiatrist could help 146 Five signs your knees might need attention 148 We meet the “teen whisperer”! 150 How to keep motivated when it comes to fitness REGULARS 154 See how well you do in our Puzzle Pages 156 What’s in our February horoscopes? 158 Important contacts and this month’s advertisers 160 Parting Shot: Where is “home” for you?


New in store





Chingay50: Celebrating Five Decades of the “People’s Parade” (12 FEBRUARY) Returning to dazzle audiences after its inaugural digital version in 2021, Chingay50 continues to showcase performances powered by technology and community involvement. Themed “Ignite Our Dreams”, Chingay50 celebrates the history of the iconic parade while expressing hopes for the future. Catch the live webcast on PAssion Chingay Club’s Facebook page. chingay.gov.sg XingPop 2.0 (12 FEBRUARY) XingPop 2.0 commemorates the musical trailblazers of the past two decades, featuring a diverse range of styles from the local scene. Enjoy performances of homegrown talents including Olivia Ong, Nathan Hartono, The Freshman, Hong Junyang, Desmond Ng, Ruth Kueo, StellaVee, Nat Wu, Tingzhi Hz and Isaac Yong. Esplanade Concert Hall; tickets from $48. esplanade.com

Hope from Chaos: Pandemic Reflections (12 FEBRUARY TO 3 JULY)

To reflect the significance of the ongoing COVID crisis, ArtScience Museum’s new exhibition is examining the science of epidemics and offering an up-close-and-personal look into the lives of visual artists as they go through the pandemic. It includes a free introductory display from The Smithsonian Institution titled Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World , and a ticketed display, curated by ArtScience Museum, of pandemic-themed artworks by prestigious local and international artists. Tickets $6 from marinabaysands.com .





Special Event: Beyond Earth (UNTIL 27 FEBRUARY)

Beyond Earth is ArtScience Museum’s season of space-themed films and VR artworks. Retrace the footsteps of the first humans on the moon in Spacewalkers, a virtual reality programme, with the help of mirror-glazed visors. Experience the dreamlike sensation of being among the stars as you journey into the lunar void. Then, dive into an investigation between mythology and science in a specially curated series of feature films and moving image shorts that pay tribute to space. Admission is a mix of free and paid, with online pre-booking required. marinabaysands.com/museum/events A Room of Her Own (UNTIL 19 MARCH)

Featuring artworks by eight pioneering women, A Room of Her Own demonstrates the transformative power of art in reimagining our world. Highlights include an immersive large-scale light installation by Anila Quayyum Agha that completely alters the

PLAYtime! Catch a Breath

Karung Guni Boy (19 & 20 FEBRUARY) This play is inspired by the power of children’s imagination. With his creative mind, Karang Guni Boy manages to transform the mundanity of everyday items into the magical and fantastical. A theatrical adaption of the book of the same name by Lorraine Tan and Eric Wong, it’s recommended for ages two to six. Kids will follow the adventures of the protagonist, learning how to care for the people around them. Tickets are $20 from esplanade.com . Catch the show live at Esplanade Studio or online. Read Sing Eileen Chang (20 FEBRUARY 2022) Eileen Chang was a quintessential Chinese writer of the early 1900s, and this film screening features selections of her evocative essays and novels presented through storytelling and song, and enhanced with creative stage technology. It first premiered at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in 2020, and viewers can now experience the sublime beauty of Chang’s words through a screening at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets are $18, available at esplanade.com . Catch a Breath! is a theatrical performance that explores the intangible strength of breathing. By incorporating key elements from puppetry, the lively performance demonstrates to kids how they can use breathing to centre themselves as they confront challenges; it also teaches them to be more mindful and empathetic towards the differences exhibited by others. Recommended for ages three to six; tickets, $20. esplanade.com/festivals-and-series PLAYtime! Catch a Breath (25 FEBRUARY TO 13 MARCH)

space around it. There’s also sculpture made from stainless-steel razor blades by Tayeba Lipi, layered imagery from photographers Lalla Essaydi and Karen Knorr, plus paintings and more. This free exhibition is part of Singapore Art Week. sundaramtagore.com Between the World and Us — A Think! Contemporary Primary School Virtual Exhibition (UNTIL 31 MARCH) This four-part exhibition takes an honest look at the diverse experiences of Primary Four students during the COVID-19 pandemic. It reflects upon the impact of choice and chance encounters in the world through the lens of these young students. You’ll get an inside look into their thoughts on the pertinent issues happening around them. This free virtual showcase can be viewed from home. singaporeartmuseum.sg


Don’tmissourmonthly events! Register at expatliving.sg/ELevents


Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park Sungei Buloh Wetland ReserveWalk

18 FEB 9am 9am 25 FEB 15 10am FEB 11 FEB

How to develop your customer persona and content pillars for 2022 with Digital Direction

ExploringWindsor Nature Park

Join us for another walk in nature – full details on the registration page

Bukit Brown Cemetery Discover a fascinating corner of Singapore



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FEB 2022




FEB 2022






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Fun Days Out Choosing a School Family Staycations

HOME & PROPERTY GUIDE 2021 S$6.90 MCI (P) 080/01/2020

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Baby Products Becoming a Mum Enrichment Classes Teen Hangouts Health Tips


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23 Shopping Secrets: How to style your home for less!

Arete Culture

24 A Grand Home: We explore one of Singapore’s Good Class Bungalows

36 Inside Story: A reader recommends fab furniture for kids

54 Neighbourhoods: What it’s like living on Cairnhill Road



Portable Tunes Luxury audio brand Bang & Olufsen has collaborated w i t h H o n g Ko n g f a s h i o n b r a n d CLOT to create a limited-edition

Gallery 278 is having an end-of-season CNY warehouse sale, with up to 50 percent off for walk-in Expat Living readers. There are some gorgeous home décor items on offer, including artwork, rugs, furniture and lighting. Pop down to the warehouse any time in February to take advantage of this offer – you could save in a big way! 203 Henderson Road (Wing A), #11-02 & #12-13. 6737 2322 | gallery278.com

vers ion of i ts i coni c waterproof Beosound b l u e t o o t h speaker. The Beosound A1 comes in a catchy br ight red colour with the CLOT logo printed on, and a black leather strap. bang-olufsen.com

Affordable Bouquets

Looking for flowers for Valentine’s Day? Floristique has some r e a l l y a f f o rdab l e bouquets available – if you don’t believe us , just read thei r

reviews on Google and Facebook from satisfied customers over the years! 8031 9620 | 6904 4046 floristique.sg

A New Experience The new Kuhlmann Experience Centre at Kallang Place is a 3,000-square-foot showroom specialising in total home solutions, including kitchens, wardrobes, storage systems, loose furnishings and architectural interior finishes. Kuhlmann’s German manufacturing technology and Italian artistry are shown off in a pseudo home environment designed by award- winning creative director Simon Chiang. The cool display penthouse is fitted with the latest furnishings and accessories to perfectly showcase the brand’s bespoke modular construction. Book an appointment at enquiry@themodularbuilder.com.sg or call 6970 9906. kuhlmanninternational.com




Customised Furniture Want the ideal piece of furniture to fit your particular space? Danovel has been around for over 60 years, and whether it’s a sofa, armchair, ottoman, bed, cushion, curtain or wall covering you’re after, you can decide on your own desired size, colour, material and finish with every design. Pop in to see the team at Tanglin Shopping Centre (#02-54/55). danovel.com

4 home shopping secrets from a stylist

Arete Culture’s founder and creative director CAROLINE CHIN GEYLER shares her professional tips on home design and décor.

The start of a new year always gets people excited about decorating their homes. Before you go on your next shopping spree, pocket some of my best tips on how you can shop like a stylist. Remember: you don’t need to break the bank for your home to look more expensive than it really is! #1 Buy cushion inserts that are one size larger than your cushion covers. This will make your cushions look fuller and more expensive.

#2 Get your artwork professionally framed. It makes a huge difference to any kind of art piece, whether it’s something done by the kids or an inexpensive art print found online. #3 Think in opposites: tension is what creates visual interest! Shop for handmade accents and objects in organic materials if you already have lots of glass, metals, or other handmade materials. Add metallic or iridescent finishes if you already have lots of wood, leather, rattan or fabric. #3 Replace dated overhead light fixtureswith a contemporary pendant light. We like statement sculptural pieces in black or gold.

Arete Culture | 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 | 9640 3829 | areteculture.com






We don’t often get a look intoone of Singapore’s massive Good Class Bungalows, as they’re called here – so we grab the chance wheneverwe can!

I went to a charity art exhibition at this particular bungalow, supported by one of my favourite artists, P. Gnana of Gnani Arts, and I was blown away by the size of it! So I asked the host, fellow artist SONIA ADLAKHA, if she would let us feature it in the magazine, and she agreed. The family has actually recently moved out, so I’m glad we got in quick. We mightn’t be able to afford homes like this, but it’s nice to have a look-see!

The family: Sonia and husband Rajan, son Bharat and daughter Saieesha (she did her graduation year from San Francisco in Singapore during the Circuit Breaker). Sonia adds: “We also have our street smart Zaza – my daughter’s cat in San Fran – and Zizou, our gentle Singaporean feline.” The space: 15,000 square feet (built- up: 10,000 square feet)



The spacious kitchen is a favourite as we love to cook together as a family





Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey here. My husband and I moved our work headquarters here in 2011. We flipped a coin between Dubai and Singapore; I was already leaning towards Singapore because it is greener and also much better to raise a family! The schooling was much better for the children too. What kind of property were you looking for when you arrived? What were your top three non-negotiables? We always wanted a good class bungalow, because we’re used to living in large spaces with frangipani trees in India; plus a swimming pool and a large kitchen!

We love your home! Tell us more about the property. The house is designed beautifully with large windows, high ceilings, lots of sunlight and an open plan overlooking the greenery and the sky. The spacious kitchen is our favourite area as we all love to cook together as a family! Another favourite spot for me is my art studio. The home is just off Chatsworth Road, so it’s very close to Orchard but still nice and quiet.





Sculptures by gnaniarts.com

Tell us more about your art. What mediums do you work with and what inspires you? I work with acrylics and oils. I love to read, and I write my thoughts in short poems. My paintings are abstract and conceptual, inspired by a line I’ve read or written, or an emotion. The concept for each piece is really strong before I approach the canvas, and as the work develops it becomes a conversation between the canvas and the brush. The process to the end result is always an exciting one.




Where do you source your furniture and décor from? How would you define your interior style? Our pieces include high-end European brands like Roche Bobois, to items from local shops like Lim’s and Space – and anything that catches my eye on the street. My husband and I enjoy picking up things on our travels, so our home has an eclectic vibe! What would your advice be to newcomers toSingapore? Take your time to find your space; Singapore is larger than it seems. What’s your favourite thing about Singapore? I love that the country is so diverse and multicultural. Its architecture is a dynamic blend of contemporary and historic buildings, which gives Singapore its own charm! And, most importantly, the safety of the place always puts me and my family at ease.



Sonia’s Recommendations

Furniture & Artworks Gnani Arts (sculptures) | gnaniarts.com Roche Bobois | roche-bobois.com Space | spacefurniture.com.sg Taylor B | @taylorbdesign Molecule | moleculeliving.com

Dining StraitsKitchen | Grand Hyatt Singapore Various restaurants at Dempsey Hill The Ritz-Carlton (“for Sunday breakfast”) PS.Cafe at Fullerton Bay (“especially for the views”) Various restaurants at Collyer Quay (“including Sabai Fine Thai”) Caffe Fernet | caffefernet.sg Art & Culture Art Friend | artfriendonline.com National Gallery Singapore | nationalgallery.sg ArtScience Museum | marinabaysands.com/museum Exhibitions at Gillman Barracks | gillmanbarracks.com




PART 2 If themain reason youmiss flipping through physical photo albums is because you’ve lost control of where all your digital photos are on your hard drive, phone and the cloud, here’s some useful advice! Inthe secondof this two-part series, SARAHandBO from Sort Your Photos – a sister company of Tekkie Help that assists with managing, organising and protecting photos – present more of their top tips to bring order to the digital chaos and ensure those precious memories are safely protected. Tips from our January issue: • Create a centralised “Digital Photo Hub” • Choose the right photo management software program • Back up, back up and back up again! #1 Customise an organisational workflow Once all your photos are in one central location in a digital photo hub and accessible using a photo management software, then the fun begins: you can start to organise and sort your photos. There are lots of different techniques available, and the best one will depend on how your mind works. We recommend adding additional metadata (or labels) to photos such as a certain holiday (for example, “Bali 2019”), an important document (“Passport photo”) and so on. If you have metadata, you can easily search for photos. There are also some really cool techniques to deal with all those screenshots – one way is to export them to the “Notes” app and file them in different categories – here they can even be searched for by keywords picked up in the screenshot! Creating an organisational process that works for you certainly makes life much easier when trying to access the photos you want and when you want, without having to scroll endlessly through your camera roll.

#2 Future-proof your photo collection If you have photos on old media forms such as slides, DVDs and so on, it’s important to convert the files into the current digital format to preserve them. Also take note that if you have photos on external hard drives (or use them as a backup), regularly check they work – and bear in mind that hard drives have a design life of four to five years; so use disks that are older with caution, ideally replacing them from time to time. Take time to digitise old prints too. We love the Google Photo Scan app, which captures photos and instantly stores them in your digital photo hub. #3 Enjoy your photos! It’s all very well having all these thousands of photos, but what’s the point if you don’t actually get to enjoy them? Even if you have the best digital filing and organisational system in place, having photos just filed away doesn’t enable you to share and enjoy them on a daily basis with friends and family. There are many ways to unlock those memories from your devices – from making photo books, to customising screensavers, using digital photo frames and more. That’s it! If you follow these basic photo management tips, you’ll have peace of mind that the photos of your precious memories will be safe and sound for years to come.

Need some guidance? If you need help implementing a good photo management strategy, consolidating your photos or understanding techniques to organise photos, Tekkie Help are on hand to assist. They can do the hard work for you by creating your digital photo hub and removing duplicate photos, or they can train you on the best practices. Check out tekkiehelp.com/it-training or call 8113 8682 .




This reader tells us where she found her kids’ furniture and why she’d recommend the company to others.


Kyrie Chew and son Adley, Singaporean

I was looking for a good-quality, child-safe table and chair set for my son Adley and me, so we could do some fun craft projects together. While flicking through Expat Living magazine during a dental clinic appointment, my eye was attracted to the ad for Gallery 278. I made an appointment to meet one of the store’s designers, Joel, to discuss what I wanted. It was a very interesting experience, and he ended up suggesting an exciting concept of “grow-with-your-kid” furniture. Joel rendered a few visuals to explain to me the versatility of the design, and I was sold. The set from Gallery 278’s Asher collection comprises a desk and two chairs. Adley was four years old when we first got the pieces, and he was able to use the chair with a higher seat. Now that he’s six, we have flipped the chair with a lower seat to give him an appropriate height to use the same table. It’s brilliant! I’ve had many compliments for this set of furniture – for example, from Adley’s playmates when they’ve come over to play during these last two years, during what has been a very difficult COVID period for kids. Also, when guests come over, we’re able to turn the desk into a bench or coffee table; the kiddo chairs can then be used as extra side tables or stools. I think I got more than I could bargain for at a price of $525 for this solid teakwood set.

Gallery 278 203 Henderson Road (Wing A), #11-01/02

Henderson Industrial Park 6737 2322 | gallery278.com





Need to give your kids’ room a spring makeover? Here are some finds to transform their abode into a more exciting space where they can hang out happily!





1 Design concept, interior design, accessories and styling by Arete Culture 2 NAHANT Leisure Chair, with high-density foam seat cushion filling and abrasion-resistant fabric upholstery, price on request, Black & Walnut 3 HART Bookshelf, price on request, Gallery 278 4 Design concept, interior design, accessories and styling by Arete Culture 5 Ladybugs, Yuval Zommer collection, 100 percent cotton, price on request, Gallery 278 6 Dusky Amazon, Frann Preston-Gannon collection, 100 percent cotton, price on request, Gallery 278







7 Single tree-house bed, in solid pine and lacquered MDF, the perfect place to rest after adventures, $4,695, House of AnLi 8 Bark Life stickers, Yuval Zommer collection, price on request, Gal lery 278 9 Roulette Carriage Bed, with removable hood and two drawers under the bed, in lacquered MDF, $4,195, House of AnLi 10 Pookie Rocker Children’s Chair, made with a Lloyd loom on a wooden frame with wood base, $495, House of AnLi 11 Bookcase Tess, inspired by nature, encouraging kids to develop creativity, imagination and holistic thoughts, in lacquered MDF, $3,295, House of AnLi 12 Design concept, interior design, accessories and styling by Arete Culture 13 Design concept, interior design, accessories and styling by Arete Culture













Arete Culture 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 9640 3829 | areteculture.com Black & Walnut 43 Keppel Road, #W1-01/02/03 6781 3201 | blackandwalnut.com.sg Gallery 278 203A Henderson Road (Wing A) #11-01 & 02 6737 2322 | gallery278.com House of AnLi #02-21/22, #03-17 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road 6235 5193 | houseofanli.com

14 Monkey Tree, Frann Preston-Gannon collection, 100 percent cotton, price on request, Gallery 278 15 Fatboy Junior Stonewashed Bean Bag, solid, washable, water- and dirt-repellent, made with high-quality fabric and filling for long-lasting use, $395, House of AnLi




There’s some gorgeous tableware around at the moment – I’mpersonally loving semi-rustic pottery; it’s smooth enough to be fine dining but also works for casual get-togethers. Here are a couple of stores with super settings for supper! Luxury & Artisanal Tableware Kra Sanctuary aims to celebrate the beautiful in the everyday, and that’s what you can see in the artisanal, handcrafted crockery and home décor accessories it brings into Singapore. Designed and handcrafted in Thailand, the products include platters, serving bowls, dinnerware, coffee cups, pots, jars and vases. The brand name derives from the Isthmus of Kra, the narrowest stretch of land along the coast of Southern Thailand, and the connecting point between mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. The Kra Sanctuary team says it aims to honour time-tested traditions and local artisans, valuing the imperfect beauty of handcrafted goods that are made with time and skill. These quality, luxury products make you feel like you’re on holiday when you’re home! The combinations and colours will give your dining table an edge every day of the week – and of course for dinner parties.

krasanctuary.com | Instagram: @kra.sanctuary




Dinnerware & Table Settings Originals has everything you need to get your dining table looking cool, from gorgeous faux flowers to vases, glasses, crockery and cutlery – and, of course, the dining table and chairs too! What we’re really excited about is the store’s new Mud Australia dinnerware. These are the ultimate table- toppers; each piece is crafted by hand, which means every plate or bowl you put on your table has been handled with the utmost attention to detail and care. Mud Australia was founded in 1994 in Sydney by artist Shelley Simpson. She combines handmade processes with minimalist clean lines, resulting in pieces that are one-of- a-kind. Function is still the name of the game, though; you can use this dinnerware every night of the week, and the pieces are left lightly sanded and unglazed, so they wear beautifully. What’s more, the soft hues make them timeless and flexible, so you can mix them with any tableware, tablecloths or dining accessories. 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, Level 5 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg



Condo living suits UK expat TING SMITH and husband Martin – and when they found an apartment with open views and a useable outdoor space, it was a huge bonus.


Home Fact File Size & Type: 1,900-square-foot apartment with balcony Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms Location: The Rochester Residences,

Buona Vista Occupants:

Ting and Martin, daughter Esme (6), helper Lyn, and two cats, Pumpkin and Truffle




When we first arrived, our first rental in Newton was a very spacious four-bedroom condo apartment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a great view. The location was ideal, close to many places and great local amenities. When the two-year lease was up, it was a good time to buy, so we took the plunge into the property market. How did that go? We looked at a lot of properties but were instantly drawn to the place we’re in now. It was a little further from the CBD than we’d hoped, but with the default shifting to work from home with the pandemic, our priority wasn’t about being close to our offices, it was about having the space we wanted. One key feature that instantly attracted us was the balcony and the open view. Every room in the property leads to the balcony. We realised in pandemic times how important it was for us to have a useable outdoor space. Also, we both still mostly work from home, so having two home offices was important. The open kitchen was another big seller, as we enjoy cooking and entertaining. The location is great, and while the neighbourhood is quiet, it’s next door to Star Vista with all its restaurants and amenities, and only a stone’s throw from Buona Vista MRT. We also frequent Holland Village, which is a bus stop away, or an active 12-minute walk.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey here. We’re both from the UK; I’m fromManchester and Martin is from Richmond in London. I moved to Hong Kong in 2004 to rediscover and embrace my Chinese heritage; I met Martin there in 2008 and we’ve been married for 12 years with a six-year-old daughter. In May 2019, Martin’s company, an investment bank, offered an opportunity to relocate to Singapore. While Hong Kong holds a very special place in our hearts, we were ready for a new adventure and we knew Singapore was able to offer just that, with a more family-friendly environment. We’re city people at heart, and we have lived in houses with a garden in the UK. But since moving to Hong Kong we’d grown fond of condo living, and while there was an option to move into a house in Singapore, a condo suited our lifestyle. What kind of property were you looking for when you arrived?



What are some of the other things you liked about the home? When we first saw this place, I could visualise how to organise the space to create distinct areas for family, work, relaxation and entertainment. We’d never considered living in a condo with a balcony, with two cats and a young child, until moving to Singapore. Here, though, we were introduced to invisible grilles and rain- and wind-proof electric balcony blinds that offer safety for the family and allow us to use the space even when it rains. I’ve created the outdoor area into three defined areas – casual lounge seating, a dining area and a bar table with high stools. This space has truly given us the sense of outdoor living in Singapore, which was exactly what we wished for. We’ve created a usable living space for enjoying different aspects of our lifestyle – individually, as a couple, and with friends. Plus, our daughter loves to navigate around the balcony, from chilling in the chairs to watching planes with her binoculars at the bar table, or playing with Lego on the outdoor table. As far as the two home offices go, mine is in a semi-open area, which is perfect – it serves as a place to work in the week, while over the weekends it’s a room I use to create paper art and crafts. Martin’s office is a separate zone from the rest of the house and somewhere he can retreat to. It’s adorned with his pride and joy, a wall- full of Hot Toys figures that he has been collecting over the past 12 years. Martin writes young adult spy novels in his spare time, and the figures help as inspiration. His first two books of the Heather Foxton series – The Secrets of Godolphin Park and The Hyderabad Siphon – were both written while we were in Hong Kong, and he’s keen to publish his third this year on Amazon. How would you define your home style? I’ve always been passionate about home décor and interiors, but it wasn’t a career I pursued. However, I found it hugely rewarding when I joined a global interior design and architectural company.

My home décor styling has evolved over the decades. When I owned my first home in Nottingham in the UK, my style was clean with simple lines – “safe”. I then began experimenting with contrasting colours and patterns, mixing modern with traditional. I don’t practice feng shui but I’m interested in its foundations – it’s basically about common sense, and the flow of air in your home. I carefully consider how I place items around the home so they won’t obstruct or cause accidents, and I like to liven up a stagnant corner with a leafy plant. I would now describe my style as deliberately eclectic; over the years, I’ve become bolder – I love combining bright and muted tones, patterns and textures. I also like pairing used furniture, from mid- century modern pieces to contemporary pieces. We decorate shelves and cabinets with items from different cultures and eras; and an Asian influence has crept in from the years we’ve spent here.




The core of styling a home for me is combining functionality and aesthetics. We spend so much time at home nowadays so designing a place that offers comfort, homeliness and practicality is a priority. Our home décor truly reflects our personalities. Martin’s contributions are dotted around our home, and reflect his love for science fiction – there are recognisable film props, like Darth Vader’s helmet, plus fun items like Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield. Martin also has an interest in military equipment and is a keen history buff; you can see those influences too. One of my favourite features is the living room gallery wall. Each artwork on it has a story to tell – from our travels, to creations by friends and ourselves. Martin is a great artist, and I love decoupage and making handicrafts; many pieces in our daughter’s room are our creations. We like to support local artists and when we choose art we tend to work with a palette of reds and yellows. They are fabulous colours that go with everything, while also symbolising my Chinese heritage. Given that the main living area is colourful and bright, I purposely designed the master bedroom in muted greys and whites, with a bespoke ornate wallpaper of large peonies from Wallhub. Our designated home offices were designed to incorporate both our personal passions and interests. For my office, I designed a space I could use outside of work hours without it feeling like I’m in an office. The teal birds and floral wallpaper from Wallhub are a feature. I’ve also become a plant lover – my collection has grown from 22 to over 60 potted plants since we moved in last June! We love snapping up a preloved bargain and mixing it with mainstream and bespoke furniture. For second-hand furniture, Facebook and Carousell are the best places to find little gems and bargains. For new items, I love spending hours lost in the Tan Boon Liat Building and trawling through Etsy. I try to find pieces of furniture that can easily be relocated to a different place to create a different look. Where do you source your furniture and décor from?

We spend so much time at home nowadays – designing a place that offers comfort, homeliness and practicality is a priority



are multiple food stores easily accessible. If you have kids, think about a pool, play area, nearby playground and parks. If you spend a lot of time working at home or have a home business, look at suitable and adaptable working spaces. There are so many choices in Singapore, you can opt for a house, which will give you the space but maybe not the community feel; so you might consider a cluster house. Condos usually have more facilities, with a sense of community, too, while still providing the privacy you may seek from time to time. Safety for the family is very important, and while Singapore is one of the safest places in the world, there are specific concerns to consider closer to home when it comes to kids and pets, from pool access and gates to locks on windows and safety guards on balconies on high floors. Some landlords are willing to negotiate on additional safety guards as part of the lease agreement. We love the easy access to parks like the Botanic Gardens and lovely walks around MacRitchie and the Green Corridor, which is at our doorstep. We also enjoy heading out to Sentosa for its resort feel. Our recent discovery is Lazarus Island, a great place for a picnic on the beach and only a short ferry ride away. Favourite place to get out and about in Singapore?

We have also refurbished our extra-large Chinese wooden chair frombrown to a bright yellow colour, which is now a key feature in our dining area. I recommend Retro Dec, a local furniture painting and restoration company, who carried out the work beautifully. What are some of your favourite pieces? We have a set of four cushions designed by an Icelandic London-based artist Kristjana S Williams, which are colourful and beautiful creations inspired by nature. The reclaimed white-washed Indonesian cabinet, which we endearingly call “Narnia”, was purchased from dear friends. It’s an ornate piece that adds an extra eclectic-ness to our living room, and more importantly it houses our whisky and gin collection! Martin’s assorted high-end action figures are another draw with visitors. Regardless of age, people often find themselves perusing the multiple shelves of these, reminiscing about old films or TV programmes whose characters they spot amongst the collection. What’s some advice you’d give newcomers about finding a home in Singapore? Venture out to different districts across the island and get a feel of different neighbourhoods. They really do vary, even between neighbouring districts. Review what your living habits are; if you entertain regularly, ensure there





Home & Décor House of AnLi | houseofanli.com Firefly Boutique | firefly-boutique.com Elements Concept | elementsconcept.com.sg Island Living | islandliving.sg Etsy | etsy.com/sg-en Second Charm |

secondcharmhome.com Retro Dec | retro-dec.com Rooma | rooma.com Food & Drinks Redman (baking supplies) | redmanshop.com

Nakhon Kitchen | nakhonkitchen.com Pietrasanta | ristorante-pietrasanta.com Orange and Teal | orangeandteal.sg Canton Paradise | paradisegp.com/ brand-canton-paradise Myeong Ryun Jinsa Galbi Korea facebook.com/jinsagalbisg Picotin Brewhaus / Beerfest Brewery beerfest-singapore.business.site

Fitness & Relaxation Yoga Inc | yogainc.sg

My Gym for Kids | mygym.com.sg Swaga Gymnastic | swagagym.com



Co-living The Option

BY DINESH AJITH Whether you’re relocating to Singapore or looking to move into a new place of your own, one important thing to decide is the type of l iving arrangement that’s best for you. While some people prefer the social aspects of renting a room in an apartment with other people, there are those who prefer the privacy of living alone. Co-living in Singapore is a third option that can give you the best of both worlds – your own private space with community areas that allow you to connect with neighbours from all walks of life. Not sure what co-living is all about? Here are some of the things you can look forward to at Coliwoo, an urbanised co-living community with locations across the island.

5 benefits of a co-living space

#1 It’s a cost-effective living situation Having an apartment on your own can be a costly affair. In addition to rent and potential agent’s fees, you may also have to pay for essential

amenities like utilities and broadband services. At Coliwoo, amenities and maintenance fees are included in the membership rates, making it a more cost- effective option. #2 Rooms come fully furnished If you’re studying or living in Singapore for a short period of time, buying furniture and essentials for your rental space can be a stressful experience. You have to set aside a separate budget for it, then track down the items you need; and you also need to deal with the hassle of selling the furniture before you leave. Rooms at Coliwoo come fully furnished with essentials like beds, desks, lighting and an ensuite bathroom. There are also shared amenities like kitchens, lounges

and gyms. It’s essentially a home away from home with none of the worries of dealing with a rented, unfurnished apartment. #3 It’s an easy way to make new friends If you’re moving to Singapore from abroad, co-living can be a fantastic way to make friends and find a community you belong in. For new arrivals, these social interactions are a good way to learn about local culture and current hotspots – from interesting sights to the best cafés and hangout places. Coliwoo also holds frequent activities and events for members – like you might find in a co-working environment – from yoga classes to workshops. And, on the days when you’d rather take some time for yourself, you always have your own private space to return to.




A word from a member How did you decide on Coliwoo when you moved to Singapore? I guess the most important consideration when renting a room was the cost. There were a lot of options like condos, which are twice as expensive, even with the smallest possible living areas. Here, I feel like I have more than just my own room. I have the whole building along with shared spaces and a beautiful garden! I feel like the garden is also mine because I’m free to plant my own flowers or plants. One of the more attractive aspects of a co-living space are the community areas. Take a look at the kitchen, for example. They say Singapore is one of the most multicultural countries in the world; you can see it everywhere here. But in a shared kitchen you can feel it on your own. So many people are cooking different cuisines with a huge variety of smells and tastes – it’s such a welcoming sight. This is also the biggest kitchen I’ve had in my life! It’s awesome – much better than condo kitchens, which are often tiny. What’s life like in a co-living space? Currently, it’s difficult to feel all the advantages of co-living because of COVID. There are few parties, events or gatherings; I expect this will happen more when restrictions end. But I do still see small groups playing games together pretty often. I’ve had some interesting experiences though! Like when we fed the otters that visit us occasionally, or when we saved a hen and her chick from a drain. I also enjoy taking part in all the contests that are organised, like competitions for the best Christmas tree ornament or the most unique New Year wish. Alexander Kharkovskii Can you tell us more about the shared spaces?

#4 There are well-connected locations Coliwoo offers accommodation at five co-living spaces in Singapore, so it’s easy to find a location convenient for you, whether you’re moving here for work or study. Saving time on travel also means more opportunities to take advantage of the aforementioned community events. What’s more, the properties are located near hawker centres and malls, which means loads of dining options. And, if you need tips on the best nearby lunch spots, just ask your neighbours for advice – another perk of co-living! #5 You can get a flexible, independent lease When renting a room in an apartment, longer-term leases often come with better rates. This pressures renters into entering long-term contracts that leave little room for flexibility. With Coliwoo, you can rent on a monthly basis for greater tenure flexibility, with no long-term contracts or agent fees. If you find that you love the co-living lifestyle and want to stay even longer, you can extend your membership whenever you wish.

If community living sounds like it’s for you, find out about memberships and renting at coliwoo.com or by emailing enquiry@coliwoo.com.



NAME: SANDRA JOHNSON From: Toronto, Canada Occupation: Business Owner

The Specifics What’s the name of your street? Cairnhill Road.

What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood?

That it ’s only full of modern high-rise condominiums and shopping malls. It’s true that those things are plentiful in this neighbourhood, but there are also many historical buildings and shophouses as well. Any particular advice you give a taxi driver for getting you home? If you want to avoid a traffic jam at the U-turn, it’s best to take Scotts Road to Cairnhill Road.

The History of Cairnhill In 1840, during the early days of British colonial rule, Charles Carnie, the owner of a nutmeg plantation on the Orchard district, built an estate on top of a hill across 27 hectares. The locals referred to the area as “Carnie’s Hill”, which has evolved into the name Cairnhill Road. Cairnhill started to develop into a residential area after the failure of Charles Carnie’s nutmeg orchard. His house was acquired in 1884 and redeveloped into a bungalow for the manager of Chartered Bank (now Standard Chartered Bank). Terrace houses also began to appear along Cairnhill Road in the early 1900s. One of Cairnhill’s most prominent houses is Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, which was built around 1926 by rubber tycoon Tan Kah Kee. It was later purchased by Tan Chin Tuan, a banker who became Chairman of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) in 1966. The mansion’s distinguishing features include a tower with a bell-shaped turret and a large porch supported by several round columns.

Closest MRT station? Somerset (red North South line).

How long have you lived here? Three and a half years. We moved to this area for the convenience and its close proximity to the shops and restaurants we frequent. I love walking and I’m able to get most of my errands done on foot.





North East




South West

Cairnhill Road

The Scene When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Ideally, one of the many adorable dogs that live in the neighbourhood, but otherwise cars zooming by on their way to Orchard Road and beyond. What’s the closest store to your front door? Paragon, which is full of many great shops, is across the street. If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Possibly Crazy Rich Asians . We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? A little less traffic during the weekends would be great. What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Yoga pants and running shoes – or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, well-dressed people out and about in the city. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? It’s quite tame around here to be honest!


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