JULY 2020

JULY 2020


Trekking in Kenya Winter Wonders









EDITOR’SNOTE I’ve been busy cultivating not being cool in a few ways. Singing loudly to Rick Astley and the Bee Gees for a start… and talking to my dogs. My not-cool clothes are my “comfy” shorts and a bralette from an online shopping flurry at the start of WFH. (Free plug for Cotton On: they’ve been a lifesaver for those!) It’s all I can cope with unless I put the air-con on. It’s funny the things we have got used to and what’s changed. We were having the conversation in a “girls” WhatsApp group about how we will never be able to wear a proper bra again! My little dogs love having me home all day, and now they sleep with me – after years of being so strict about them having to be in the kitchen at night. They do snore though! My helper went on holiday at the beginning in March, so she’s having a very long break, but it’s worked out really well. I’m getting better acquainted with the mop (but I’ve told her I’m leaving the ceiling fans for her!). I haven’t gone the baking route that many people have, but I have discovered that mowing the lawn is a great workout for your arms when you only have a strimmer! I’m also now a proud parent of two eggplants. The day before the CB started, a few of us went to a farm in Kranji and bought vegetable seedlings – so we would be self-sufficient if need be. Ha! The lettuce have been pathetic, but I have eaten a few straggly leaves. The bok choy just stayed the same size as they were when I planted them, but the basil has been amazing – I’m about to try making pesto. But my pride and joy has been the eggplants. I’m just hoping that the birds and ants don’t discover them before they’re fully sized. It’s all made me appreciate farmers so much more! I’m sure we are all learning things through this experience that will help us going forward. Just often it’s things we didn’t expect.

See you on the outside soon…ish!

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

I never knew eggplants grewout of really pretty purple flowers!



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR Editorial Team



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HER Planet Earth Kenya Expedition (herplanetearth.com)




NEWS 18 Things To Do:

A vibrant family home 28

How to keep busy at home

20 EL Forum:

Our online antics and upcoming events

22 Singapore Pages:

Exploring the island’s past and present

HOME & PROPERTY 26 News 28 Home Showcase:

A peek inside a colourful Clementi home

36 Find Your Fabric:

Matching your sofa to your lifestyle

40 Living Room Picks: Fab furniture and accessories 46 Under the Sheets: Luxurious bed linen we love 48 Street Talk: Find out what it’s like living in Farrer Park LIFE & FAMILY 52 News 56 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 58 On the Screen: Top book and TV recommendations! 62 Dealing with Disruption: Expert tips for approaching change

Style your living space like a pro! 40




Exploring the Farrer Park neighbourhood 48

63 Mental Wellness: Students and the “new normal” 64 Crisis & Change:

Insight from a head teacher

66 School Break:

Free online kids’ resources to check out

68 Racism Protests: Raising black children in Singapore 72 Finance Focus: What’s the best way to save money? 74 Helping Hands: Our latest on volunteer opportunities

WINE & DINE 82 News 86 Online Grocers: Five fuss-free providers 90 Sustainable Spotlight:


Cooler escapes to look forward to

Find out more about Sasha’s Farms

92 Recipe Corner:

Favourites to add to your repertoire

TRAVEL 98 News 100 New & Notable:

A cool Cape Town project 104 Kenya Conservation: Lessons from the Samburu 110 Winter Wanderlust:

We recall our favourite chilly escapes

New hotel alert! 100



STYLE & BEAUTY 116 Style News 120 Trendy Tots: Fashion finds for little ones

124 Beauty News 126 Tried & Tested:

The hair products we hail!

128 To the Rescue:

Top salons and their services

Best beauty buys! 124

Cool fashion finds for kids 120

HEALTH & FITNESS 136 News 140 Virtual Wellness:

Where to find online therapy and counselling

144 Tooth to Toe:

Dental health and overall wellbeing

148 Fitness Focus:

Taking the holistic approach

REGULARS 154 Horoscopes for July 156 Puzzle Pages 158 Numbers & Websites

159 Advertiser List 160 Parting Shot:

Singapore remembered …



pinterest.com/expatlivingSG instagram.com/expatlivingSG

17 JULY2020


DCJazzFest From Home Series (4, 11, 18 & 25 JUL) Enjoy free screenings of past concerts and livestream performances by talented artistes from Washington DC. The video series happens weekly at 7am in Singapore (7pm, Eastern Time). dcjazzfest.org/dcjazzfest-from-home-series Quarantined Comedy Oscar: A Virtual Stand Up Comedy Show (8 JUL) Catch this free comedy show from Oakland via Zoom. Donate an amount of your choice to get a ticket and you’ll be sent login details. Hosted by Hayley Beacon, Jeff Dean and Jordan Thewlis, the show will be held at 10am in Singapore (7 July, 7pm, Pacific Time). Register on Eventbrite. Singapore Heritage Festival 2020: The Singapore Heritage Festival will be going online for the first time in 17 years. The event will feature online tours, digitally commissioned works, webinars, online masterclasses, workshops (including pastry-making!) and more. In this year’s edition, viewers can look forward to learning about the history of Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Ris and Kallang, from Tanjong Pagar’s bustling rickshaw scene to resort vacations in Pasir Ris. heritagefestival.sg Digital Edition (UNTIL 5 JUL)

Run for Heroes 2020 (UNTIL 8 AUG) This virtual running initiative aims to show support for Singapore’s healthcare and service front-liners during COVID-19. Participants will be entitled to two red and white wristbands; upon completion of a 1km run, one wristband will be sent to the participant while

Spotlight – Dance to Art going online this year! There’ll be a fun line-up of activities for kids aged six to 12, from interactive games to hands-on downloadable activities and guided art tutorials – all inspired by the art of five artists in Singapore and Southeast Asia. nationalgallery.sg/smallbigdreamers the other will be sent to a frontline hero with a personalised thank-you message. The distance should be completed by 11.59pm on 8 August. runforheroes.sg Star Wars Virtual Run (UNTIL 30 SEP) Pledge your allegiance to the light or dark side and clock your virtual run distances anywhere you choose. Runners can do a 5.4km solo run or pair up with a friend to run 40km. starwarsvirtualrunsea.liv3ly.com #SmallBigDreamersAtHome (UNTIL 28 MAR 2021) National Gallery Singapore’s annual children’s art festival is






Asian Civilisations Museum

#1 Singapore Philatelic Museum The museum is closed until 2021 for a revamp, but you can enjoy virtual tours and fun online programmes on its website. This includes access to virtual experiences from past exhibitions such as The Little Prince, All About Dogs and Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands . nhb.gov.sg/spm #2 ArtScience Museum Enjoy a series of online programmes including guided exhibition tours and workshops. During the virtual tours, you’ll get to see the highlights of the museum’s major showcases such as 2219 Futures Imagined . marinabaysands.com/museum #3 Singapore Art Museum (SAM) SAM has launched #MuseumFromHome, offering access to a great line- up of content, from digital programmes and virtual art experiences to live art activities and educational resources. singaporeartmuseum.sg #4 National Gallery Singapore The gallery showcases the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern art. There are over 9,000 works of art from across the region, ranging from the 19th century to today – take a look on Google Arts & Culture. The gallery is also adding fun activities and resources to its dedicated website for young ones, Gallery Kids! These include interactive games, masterclasses, storytelling sessions and art tutorials. nationalgallery.sg

#6 Asian Civilisations Museum The ACM has rolled out a series of online offerings, from exploring the collections virtually to fun craft sessions and family-friendly programmes during the weekend. nhb.gov.sg/acm Where Else? You can also pay a visit to museums

beyond Singapore by heading to the Google Arts & Culture website. View digital

exhibitions and go on virtual tours at renowned museums and galleries across the world, from the Louvre in Paris to New York’s Guggenheim.

#5 National Museum of Singapore Now available to view is the online version of the

museum’s recent exhibition An Old New World: From the East Indies to the Founding of Singapore , which includes personal collections from the families of Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar. As part of #MuseumFromHome, parents can find fun activities and programmes for children up to age 10. nhb.gov.sg/nationalmuseum

Plus, there are tours of famous landmarks, from street views of the Sydney Opera House to the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

19 JULY2020


Fab food take outs and recipes to try at home





Our upcoming events! Visit expatliving.sg/ELevents to register.



Get your questions answered by Dr Sanveen Kang

How to look gorgeous online and offline

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21 JULY2020

THE SINGAPORE PAGES Investigating the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers!

Flashback Photo Quiz: Old Singapore

#1 What’s the name of this lumpy location?

#2 What’s this

place called?

#3 (Tricky one!) What’s the name of this column?

#3 What is

thought to have happened here in 1819?

#3 Raffles’ Landing Site • Sir Stamford Raffles is thought to have landed at this location, on the north shore of the river, when he first visited the island in 1819. The event is commemorated by a white marble statue of the man, unveiled here in 1972. • The statue’s inscription reads: “On this historic site, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles first landed in Singapore on 28th January 1819, and with genius and perception changed the destiny of Singapore from an obscure fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis.” • The exact landing spot is disputed; some claim it was in the vicinity of where the Kallang Riverside Park stands today – about 3km from Boat Quay.

#1 Fort Canning Hill • The photo is taken looking across the Singapore River to Fort Canning, with Orchard Road somewhere behind the hill and beyond. You might be able to make out Bukit Timah Hill at the back left. • Fort Canning Hill was called Bukit Larangan (“forbidden hill”) in Malay; apparently, the site was thought to be an ancient royal burial ground – and haunted! • In the early colonial period, it was known as Singapore Hill, since it was here that the Union Jack was hoisted in 1819 to mark the start of the British settlement. Sir Stamford Raffles actually lived on the hill for a time, writing that “nothing can be more interesting and beautiful than the view from this spot”.

#2 Boat Quay • Boat Quay has curved around this stretch of the Singapore River almost since the city was founded – it appeared on maps as early as the 1830s. Chinese merchants traded goods from here, loading and unloading “bumboats” from the shallow waters and living in the two-storey shophouses beyond the river’s edge. • The quay grew busier following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the quicker shipping routes that resulted. A century later, it would begin to decline as a trading location; the opening of a high-tech cargo facility in Pasir Panjang in 1983 was the nail in the coffin. Between 1983 and 1989, the area was mostly deserted. • Boat Quay has been called the “belly of the carp” because of the shape of the river at this point.




#2 What’s in this building today?

Food Focus

Rojak on the world stage In 2016, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long visited the White House, US President Barack Obama gave a speech in which he name-dropped a dish found in every Singapore hawker centre. “In the United States, we call ourselves a ‘melting pot’ of different races, religions and creeds,” the President said. “In Singapore, it is rojak – different parts united in a harmonious whole.” Rojakwas having itsmoment!WhileObamawas using the term for itsMalay definition of an “eclecticmix” to comment on Singapore’s cultural diversity, the same meaning applies to the dish itself: it’s a bunch of incongruous-sounding ingredients mixed into a sticky, fruity, spicy local salad. But what exactly is in a rojak? Depends where you’re eating it. (The dish is possibly Javanese in origin, and that version can be quite different.) In Singapore, you’ll commonly find turnips, cucumbers, kang kong, pineapple pieces, dough fritters and toasted tofu, all tossed through a sauce of fermented prawn paste, lime, chillies, tamarind and more. A garnish of finely chopped peanuts seals the deal, and sometimes a few wooden skewers for spearing the pieces to eat. Famous faces at food halls While Barack Obama spent some childhood years in Indonesia and has likely tried rojak, we can’t confirm if he’s visited a Singapore hawker centre. But plenty of big names have – including other politicians, movie stars and more. Here are a few recent ones: Joe Biden: Popped into Adam Road Food Centre back in 2013 when he was Obama’s Vice President and tucked into a cold cup of sugarcane juice. Hugh Jackman: Was snapped with the cooks in the kitchen of one of Singapore’s many Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlets. Not sure if he ordered a side of half-cooked eggs with his toast… Justin Trudeau: The clean-shaven version of the Canadian PM was another to be seen in the Adam Road Food Centre, this time in November 2018. Gordon Ramsay: The f-bomb-dropping chef didn’t just visit a hawker centre or two, he pitted his cooking skills in a contest against local hawker master chefs. (He lost.) Anthony Bourdain: Another celebrity chef to profess a love for Singapore’s hawker food, the sadly departed Bourdain had plans to open a Singaporean- style food court in Manhattan.

#1 Who’s this guy?

#1 Sir Stamford Raffles • Yep, Raffles again! This dark bronze statue is different to the white one of him at his traditional landing site. It’s a much earlier piece, unveiled on 27 June (Jubilee Day) in 1887. • A rival for Tony Stark…? The statue was given the nickname orang besi – or “Iron Man” in Malay – when it was revealed to the public. • It originally stood in the Padang but was moved in 1919 because it kept getting hit by footballs being kicked around on the playing fields. Today, the dark Raffles statue is only 130 metres away from the white one. #2 The Asian Civilisations Museum • This is the Empress Place Building, built in phases between the 1850s and 1920s. It’s a gazetted national monument. • For decades, it went by the rather boring name of Government Offices. After the public square in the photo was named Empress Place in honour of Queen Victoria in 1907, the name eventually rubbed off on the building too. • The museum moved here in 2003. At the time of press, it’s closed due to coronavirus restrictions, but there’s plenty to see and do on the ACM website (nhb.gov.sg/acm). #3 The Dalhousie Obelisk • This memorial obelisk was built in 1851 to commemorate a visit of India’s governor-general, James Andrew Broun- Ramsay (the Marquis of Dalhousie). The design is based on Cleopatra’s Needle in London. • Construction costs were said to be around $1,300, covered by 200 or more residents of Singapore contributing $5 each to the build. The fee covered some fancy lamps that were imported from England but allegedly never lit. • Yes, it’s still there today (a little hidden by surrounding trees), just across the pedestrian bridge from The Fullerton Hotel.

Think you know Singapore well? What name – inspired by a destination in China – is given to this old granite quarry in Bukit Batok? Click!

See these pages in our next issue for the answer!

Last month: The aerial photo in our June issue showed the Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City

23 JUNE2020


40 Buying Guide: Fab finds to spruce up your living space

W. Atelier

28 Home Showcase: We peek inside a colourful Clementi home

36 Fabric n’ Fibre: Matching the right sofa fabric to your lifestyle

46 Bravo Bedsheets: Luxe linen to guarantee a deep sleep


Back with a Bang! One of Singapore’s largest Chinese antique shops, Just Anthony has reopened its doors and is kicking off with a month-long sale! Until 31 July, enjoy discounts of up to 80 percent, with several items on even bigger reductions than before. All discounts will apply to online and in- store purchases but be sure to visit their huge space to see the full collection. 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road . justanthony.com

Add toCart

Decking out stylish homes and corporate corners since 1992, WTP is a one-stop shop for customdesigns, furniture rentals and one-of-a-kind pieces – and it’s now available online. Check out the revampedWTP website and browse the new online shopping experience at wtpstyle.com .

Super Sound Cinemas and concerts may still be out of reach, but here’s the good news: Sonos is bringing that surround sound glory to us. Introducing the Sonos Arc, a 270-degree grille soundbar that delivers impressive clarity, bass and powerful cinematic sound to your home. Compatible with Dolby Atmos sound and tuned in partnership with Oscar-winning engineers, this sleek beauty delivers an immersive 3D experience to your TV, streaming outlets, games and more. You can also forget the clutter of yet another remote control in the house; instead, control your Arc through Alexa, Google Assistant, Air Play 2, your existing TV remote or the new Sonos app. Available in matte black and white finishes; $1,149 from trysonos.sg .

Eclectic Living Property and lifestyle platform Hmlet has launched an exciting collection of heritage homes in trendy Tiong Bahru and Emerald Hill. All 92 rooms are unique, trendy and available for virtual tours online. Depending on the room category, members who book a twelve-month stay will enjoy rates from between $1,550 to $2,800 a month for a fully-furnished room, inclusive of all bills, Wi-Fi and weekly cleaning. For more information, visit hmlet.com .





#3 Memory (RAM) Many often mistake this for data storage, but it’s actually the memory space that the computer uses to access stuff. The more memory, the faster and more efficient the computer is. We advise you to buy the most memory your budget can afford. The absolute minimum should be 4GB, while the ideal is 8 or 16GB. #4 Screen size and graphic capability Are bigger screens better? Not always. Larger screens add weight to your system and require more power. But if you often find yourself juggling multiple windows or you work frequently with creative software, a roomy screen and powerful graphics are useful. Remember, screen size is measured diagonally across the part of the screen that lights up. In our opinion, the minimum screen size should be 13 inches for a laptop and 21 inches for a desktop. #5 Battery life Check the spec sheet and see if the battery contains two, three or four cells. The more cells, the more power the battery packs, though each additional cell adds weight to the system. Other options Remember, a slow or troublesome computer doesn’t necessarily mean its time is up! At Tekkie Help, we offer hardware repairs and upgrades to give your computer a new lease of life. And, if you’re looking for a new Mac on a tight budget, we also sell refurbished Macs as a cost-effective solution. They come with a three-to-six-month warranty and can be customised to your needs.

With endless options on the market and lots of geeky jargon to contend with, choosing a new computer can be daunting. Fret not! Tech experts Sarah and Bo have laid out the five key features to pay attention to when selecting a new PC. #1 The processor The CPU (Central Processing Unit, or “processor”) is essentially the brain of the computer; it’s where most calculations take place and very much determines the speed at which your computer runs. There are currently three basic types on the consumer market: Intel Core i7, i5 and i3. Though we find i3 frustratingly slow, it’s sufficient for entry-level users, such as young children. If you’re looking for a high-performance unit for heavy- duty computing tasks like video editing or gaming, go for the i7. For most users however, i5 is fast enough, with a good balance between speed, performance and cost. #2 Storage Now, this is really important! With all the digital content we create and consume from our photos, films, apps and programmes, ample storage is key. Yes, we can store some of it in the cloud, but there are always essential items to keep close at hand and we strongly suggest having at least two copies of all your data. If you plan on transferring all your digital content over, first check the amount of data you have on your old computer to gauge howmuch space and room for growth you’ll need on your new one. If you’re planning to store photos, youwill need at least 1TB or 2TB of storage. Many newmachines have solid-state drives (SSDs) that aremuch faster than standard hard drives – but they often comewith a hefty price tag. Be cautious, though, as many laptops come with small SSDs, as little as 128GB of storage (less than a phone)! If you’re purchasing a Mac, check out their customised options online to increase the storage capacity.

For info or advice on buying a new computer, call 8113 8682 or visit tekkiehelp.com – and quote “Expat Living” for a 10 percent discount on any chargeable services.

27 JULY2020





A splash of colour and family photos are the key to turning this rental house into a family home.


I f ever there was a home that captured a family’s personality, it’s the McPhail home. Walking through the front door, I’m always instantly struck by the playful colours used in such a mature way. There’s a certain ease and structure all at the same time. And that’s just how I’d describe my dear friend Sarah: she’s got an easy-going personality, yet you know she has a handle on things. “I’ve always loved this house and I feel privileged to live here – we were very lucky to get it,” says Sarah of their Clementi home where they’ve lived for three years. “There are just so many architectural features that make it special. It’s nearly 50 years old, yet so modern in design – it just doesn’t feel old. We’ve lived in Singapore for 16 years and this is my favourite home yet.”

29 JULY2020

Design details Those older architectural details actually made designing the main room a bit challenging. Sarah worked on it with designer Isabelle Walsh. “It was really hard; I couldn’t get my head around the pole right in the middle. My husband Shaun and I gave Isabelle very different briefs – I said cool blues; he said the room had to feel warm. So Isabelle designed the Air Force blue seats (my favourite items in the house) and married them with the bronze- topped console and the use of teak.” Isabelle sectioned the room into four distinct areas: a dining area; a seating area for entertaining; a family spot for watching television; and a table where the chessboard can always stay out. “One of my favourite travel memories is watching Quillan learning to play chess with Shaun in Sri Lanka. He’s loved it ever since, so we wanted to leave it out to encourage him to continue playing.” Sarah added her own bits and pieces, including a playful copper light from HipVan and a beautiful blue textile they picked up in Yangon on a trip to celebrate her 40th birthday. Other bits, such as the vintage wood pieces, were purchased years ago from Originals. The coffee table is from Crate and Barrel, and the circular wall art from Soul & Tables, one of Sarah’s favourite stores. “My dad made the sideboard in our entrance and I brought it with us when we came to Singapore. I love having something special from him in the house. Also, the white display cabinet was my parents from the 70s; it was dark wood, so it didn’t go with




the décor. Isabelle arranged for it to be painted, and added new handles and a cornice on top. It’s completely transformed. We love it now.” The master bedroom is also structurally different than most rooms, with a wall at an angle and wooden floorboards that go in different directions, meeting at an odd V-shaped angle. This actually made it easy for Sarah to figure out how to lay out the room, with the bed against one wall and a sofa on another. Some things came from back home in the UK, such as the squiggly tall chest. The end tables were a wedding present from Shaun’s uncle and aunt. The bed is from Courts, the leather chair from Crate & Barrel, and the sofa from Ikea. New perspective Sarah loves Ikea; if you juxtapose the pieces with other pricier items, she says they can not only look great but also keep your budget down. She has a lot of Ikea items as well as rugs from iRugs interspersed throughout the house. She appreciates them now more than ever. “It’s funny, really. We’ve had this sofa in here for a long time now, but we never really used it. During the Circuit Breaker, I found I just needed a quiet place to myself and a place to play my guitar sometimes. This sofa served that purpose. “In fact, we used every space in the house more fully during the lockdown. Shaun used the guest room as an office. Phoebe used the dining table. And Quillan used the hallway landing as his spot for eLearning; this was an area that before lockdown I’d just thought of us a place to get from Point A to Point B. During the Circuit Breaker, though, it became the heart of the home. And now I see my home in a whole new light. I’m really so thankful we lived here during the pandemic.” The landing is decorated with photos and art done by the children – 12-year-old Phoebe is quite the artist. Some of the items are framed by Daniel’s Frame Shop on the East Coast, one of Sarah’s favourites. “Using photos and children’s art makes this rental house feel more like our home. It personalises the space. And it also shows the children how proud we are of what they make.” The furniture in both children’s rooms came from Piccolo House on the East Coast; smaller pieces such as the nightstands are from Ikea; Sarah dressed up the nightstands with hand-painted knobs. The bedding is from Pottery Barn, which has fantastic stuff for tweens such as the fun, furry bean bag chair covers.

31 JULY2020

To paint or not? Colour is important to Sarah and that goes for the kids’ rooms, too. Phoebe’s room is a beautiful turquoise and purple, and 10-year-old Quillan’s room has a bright green wall that brings in nature from outside. “This is the third home where we’ve painted, so we’ve got quite a bit of experience with colouring walls. It really brightens the home and makes it feel less rented, so I love doing it. You have to get permission from your landlord and then return the walls back to white when you leave. Shaun and I usually do the painting ourselves, but with this last move, I was so exhausted and busy that we hired a painter. It cost us $200 to have the kids’ rooms painted – so worth it.” Isabelle designed the family room, too, charged with making it a cross between a study and an art/ play roomwith easy access to materials for all. Before the pandemic, the kids used the family room a lot. It was Phoebe’s sanctuary where she spent most of her weekend doing her art and her Zoom classes with Centre Stage. Since then, Sarah has used it as her office. She jokes that it could now be called the Zoom Room. There’s an Ikea couch in there, too, but she ordered a velvet cover fromComfort Works, a vendor she found online, to give it a more custom feel. The

walls are covered with photos in Ikea frames – a homage to favourite travels: Quillan with a kangaroo in Australia; snow monkeys in Nagano; monks in Myanmar and more. Again, the photos make the home feel more personal and permanent. But the bookcases are the real star of the room. Sarah had them built for the space, but they’re modular and can be made shorter so that if they move house, the bookcases can come with them.



The neighbourhood They chose Clementi to be closer to Dulwich College where Phoebe and Quillan go to school. It’s a very quiet area, but there’s a great sense of community, with a good park nearby that hosts Tuesday night Zumba classes and more. The house is very close to the river, which is a great place to walk their dog, Holly. There’s a friendly neighbourhood restaurant called Jovis Café that serves international food and a yummy chicken curry. Baker & Cook will open here soon, too. The quiet nature of the neighbourhood is why Sarah really appreciates their massive yard and pool, something that took on all the more meaning during the lockdown. In the good ol’ days before COVID-19, Sarah threw a few dinner parties outside and hosted big events inside, too. Having spent Christmas with her, I can tell you that she’s quite the entertainer – and the house really lends itself to a good bash. Some might think doing so much customisation to a rental home is extravagant, but Sarah doesn’t see it that way. “This is our family home – a place to make childhood memories for Phoebe and Quillan. I want this to be a home that they will remember later and feel comfortable in now. The idea was to give our children the same sort of permanence and feeling they would have if we were living back in the UK. We don’t think of the home as temporary. We think of it as ours. This is our permanent life, even if it’s in a rental house.”




Home Isabelle W Design Jovis Café (“our neighbourhood café”) joviscafe.sg Soul & Tables (“a great furniture store”) soulandtables.com.sg iRugs (“lovely, inexpensive rugs”) irugs.com.sg Daniel’s Frame Shop framemaker.com.sg Pottery Barn (“for linens and more”) pbteen.com Crate & Barrel (“for larger pieces”) crateandbarrel.com.sg Recommendations Comfort Works (“covers for Ikea, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn and Muji furniture”) comfort-works.com Sarah’s “Circuit Breaker sanity-savers” Gerard Govind, guitar teacher 9182 2327

Centre Stage for the Arts (“they’re continuing to run online classes”) centre-stage.com

Art Grain (“at Bukit Timah Plaza but also offering online classes during the CB”) artgrain.com.sg Salt and Light Archery slarchery.sg

ESPZEN (“continuing with virtual football training”) espzen.com

35 JULY2020

Fabric that Fits BY LEANDA RATHMELL Whether you’re on the market for a new sofa, or looking to reupholster, we help break down the fibre andmatch the right fabric to your needs. A smart approach when selecting fabric for your sofa is to match it to your lifestyle first, then your budget. Your sofa’s lifespan – and therefore your return of investment – is very much determined by how suitable the sofa is for your situation.

Those in one- or two-tenant households or whose sofa is in a low-traffic room such as a home office can often afford to opt for more delicate fabrics like velvet or silk. A household with children, pets or frequent guests will require a more resilient, durable and easy-to-clean fabric. We take a look at three popular fabrics and some smart alternatives.

Kors sofa, 60 percent cotton, 40 percent polyester cushion covers, $2,134, Scanteak

COTTON Popular for its versatility, soft touch and easy- care character, cotton is breathable and ideal for Singapore’s hot and humid climate. Cotton- upholstered sofas usually come with removable covers that are machine-washable, making them a great choice for frequent spills and high-traffic areas like your living room. A downside? Cotton is prone to wrinkles and isn’t very stain-resistant. If you’re looking for a more durable option, find a fabric that’s a majority cotton blend with a small percentage of synthetic fabric to keep its clean shape. For example, these classic designs from Scanteak use a mix of cotton, polyester and polypropylene. Polyester is less absorbent and retains its shape, making it more sturdy and stain-resistant. Meanwhile, the cotton component keeps the fabric more breathable compared to pure polyester products. Couple this with a solid wood, low-maintenance frame and you have a sofa that will withstand the elements.

Tip : Cotton absorbs dye very easily, so there’s a wide variety of colours and patterns available. If you’re looking for a kid- and stain-friendly upholstery, opt for a dark tone or pattern to mask the marks, like these options from Altfield Interiors .




EasyClean Cambay fabric range, starting from $149 per metre, Gallery 278

LINEN Though pricier than cotton, linen is the more sustainable choice. Made from flax, this natural fibre is more resilient and requires less maintenance. It also consumes far less water and doesn’t require chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Ideal for tropical climates, linen is breathable, lightweight and cool to the touch. It’s also hypoallergenic, so dust and pet hair won’t be problematic and provoke any allergies. Unfortunately, linen is easily stained – and it wrinkles even more than cotton. The integrity of the fibre can also be weakened if exposed to direct sunlight. If you have your sights set on the classic look and touch of linen, Gallery 278 carries a smart alternative. Cambay is a hard-wearing plain weave with a soft texture and look that’s akin to linen, only far more durable. Part of Villa Nova’s “EasyClean” range, the technology behind this fabric makes it more robust and stops dirt from penetrating the fabric fibre; that means tough stains like pen ink and food can be removed easily using just water and no detergents.

Tip : A densely-woven upholstery fabric will always hold up better than one that’s thinner or loosely woven. For a robust linen option, ask the store for assistance with heavyweight options, such as these from Altfield Interiors.

Customised sofa set with EasyClean Cambay fabric, $6,750, Gallery 278

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Pensive 3.5-seater sofa, 100 percent Italian calf aniline leather, $4,000, Originals

LEATHER Leather sofas can last for decades if cared for properly; the material is strong, durable and easily cleaned. Maintenance mostly requires a light dusting and occasional wipe down with a wet cloth, though you may want to consider investing in leather polish or softening products to keep it from cracking.

Though leather is more stain-resistant than fabric, it’s far more vulnerable to scratches. Fortunately, this often lends itself to the “perfectly imperfect” look that’s very sought after. A full-grain leather absorbs the impact of everyday life, from natural wear and body oils to minor scratches and creasing. This develops a patina or character over time, resulting in a fashionably worn-in look that only gets better with age. The downside with quality leather is that it often comes with a premium price. Still, when you consider the longevity, it’s an investment worth looking into. Another factor is heat and humidity. Leather will always reflect the room or body temperature, so it’s ideal for a climate-controlled room; however, if your leather sofa is placed in an area without air-conditioning, you may find it to be hot and sticky. Alternatively, sofas like the full-grain aniline 3.5-seater ( above ) from Originals are well suited to this climate. With no protective layer or coating on the surface, aniline requires more maintenance, but offers superior comfort with a supple and soft finish that can breathe and absorb moisture.

Nysse armchair, 100 percent Italian calf aniline leather, $4,000, Originals

Tip : If you have young kids or pets that frequently hop onto your sofa, distressed leather is a great option; it has a more rugged and worn look that will better conceal blemishes and scratches. Altfield Interiors stocks several colours and varieties.




OTHERTHREADS Still looking? We break down the pros and cons of other natural fabrics on the market. SILK Though one of the most luxurious and expensive natural fibres, this fabric can stand the test of time with quality care. Pros : Luxurious, soft and cooling, retains shape. Cons : Expensive, delicate, easily stained, requires professional cleaning. VELVET Available in both natural and synthetic varieties, velvet is a luxurious woven choice for upholstery. Pros : Soft, regal and available in a variety of rich colours. Cons : Difficult to clean and maintain, expensive. WOOL/TWEED Though eco-friendly and robust, wool and tweed are often better suited to cooler climates for their insulating properties.

Pros : Robust, flame-retardant, resistant to wrinkles and stains. Cons : Expensive, often itchy, requires professional cleaning. VISCOSE


Altfield Interiors 1 Magazine Road, #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower 6909 2768 instagram.com/ altfieldinteriorssng/ Gallery 278 278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 | gallery278.com Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, Level 5 9672 3917 (WhatsApp) originals.com.sg Scanteak 60 Sungei Kadut Drive 6365 9121 | scanteak.com.sg

Though made from wood pulp, this fabric undergoes a high-chemical manufacturing process that often renders it a synthetic, rather than a natural fabric.

Pros : I nexpens i ve , s o f t and l i gh twe i gh t , h i gh co l ou r- retention. Cons : Non-sustainable, weak and prone to stretching, requires professional cleaning.

For more upholstery options and advice on selecting the right fabric, visit the Altfield Interiors showroom.

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Find sofas, soft furnishings, coffee tables and more in our roundup of fabulous items to make your living room into the perfect space!

Space to Live








1 Java carved whitewashed daybed, $1,600, Cultiver rosewood stone linen cushion, $320, Originals 2 Classic Elegance Collection sofa by Caracole, Taylor B 3 Infinite Possibilities by Caracole, Taylor B 4 Jaime Hayon throw, $424, Fritz Hansen, available from W. Atelier 5 Marble coffee table, $1,355, Soul & Tables 6 Repetition bunching cocktail table by Caracole Modern, Taylor B 7 Mastro Side Table II, $395, Triboa, available from House of AnLi 8 Styling by Arete Culture 9 Metallic hide leather cushion covers, $120, neutral grey beige chevron hide rug (1.6mx2.3m), $1,750, custom sizes also available, The Cinnamon Room



8 9

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10 Hacienda pattern side table or stool (available in black, blue and grey), $700, Hacienda Blue 11 Styling by Arete Culture 12 Vibrant hued hide cushion covers, $120, vibrant blue grey striped hide rug, $1,750 (1.6mx2.3m) or $2,400 (2mx3m), custom sizes available, The Cinnamon Room 13 Rubelli Thread by Thread fabric collection, Altfield Interiors 14 Ethnicraft Nordic oak console, $1,395, Mud Australia oval vase, $165, Originals 15 Pollack Icon fabric collection, Altfield Interiors











16 Leather padded sofa, from $1,745, Soul & Tables 17 Julia coffee table, $1,495, Triboa, available at House of AnLi 18 Spinkel sofa, Scanteak 19 Black and white striped side table or stool, $650, Hacienda Blue




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20 RO lounge chair, $4,520, Fritz Hansen, available at W. Atelier 21 Mirror, $750, pouf, $100, lantern, $70, Lim’s Holland Village 22 Enkel Sofa, Scanteak 23 Metal fitted chest in a sand- blasted finish, from India, Woody Antique House 24 Expressions swivel chair, Exposition nesting end tables by Caracole, Taylor B 25 Neutral white square laser-etched hide rug, $1,950 (1.6mx2.3m) or $2,550 (2mx3m), custom sizes also available, The Cinnamon Room 26 Brass fitted coffee table with tiles, from India, Woody Antique House








Directory Altfield Interiors #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower, 1 Magazine Road altfield.com.hk Arete Culture #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road


areteculture.com Atelier by Arete 20 Depot Lane, #01-01/02 atelierbyarete.com Hacienda Blue 17 Woking Road, #02-04 9866 1024 | haciendablueshop.com House of AnLi 163 Tanglin Road #02-21/22/23, #03-17, Tanglin Mall 6235 3851 | houseofanli.com Lim’s Holland Village • 211 Holland Avenue, #02-11, Holland Road Shopping Centre


• 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #02-141 Great World City 6466 3188 | 6219 8110 | fb.com/limshollandvillage Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, #05-02/03 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg Scanteak 60 Sungei Kadut Drive 6368 2802 | scanteak.com.sg Soul & Tables #02-01/03 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sg Taylor B Fine Design • 43 Keppel Road, Level 3 and 4 • 65 Mohamed Sultan Road (Showroom) 9758 3598 | taylorbdesign.com The Cinnamon Room 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #02-74 Holland Village 9727 3051 | thecinnamonroom.com W. Atelier 201 Henderson Road, #01-01 and #03-01 6270 8828 | watelier.com Woody Antique House


Block 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 | woodyantique.com

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BedLinen … to fall in love with! Who doesn’t love sliding into a comfy bed fitted with soft, high-quality bed sheets? W hile many people invest in the best mattresses and pillows for their bedrooms, the journey shouldn’t stop there. Whether it’s duvet covers or bed sheets you’re after, #2 Allergen- repellent

E n v i r o n m e n t a l l y friendly, breathable and cool to the touch, these 100 percent pure cotton sheets wick moisture away from the skin to stop you feeling hot and clammy. They’re also a great option for people with allergies as they repel dust mites and airborne allergens, making for a worry-free sleeping experience. #3 Colour Rich

Epitex has a luxurious range of high thread-count linens and super-cool fabrics. We run our eye over eight of their collections that are available online too! #1 High Thread Count The Trinity by Cressent Dale Collection features an innovative blend of three superior fibres – the softness of Modal, cooling breathability of Tencel and durability of Egyptian cotton. It combines luxury with hygienic and functional beauty, helping to regulate body temperature, while the 1600 thread count and blended fibres are ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Along with a lustrous shine, the main characteristics of Tencel are its excellent resistance to mildew, good breathability and moisture-absorbing capabilities. It’s made from sustainably sourced natural wood chips that are processed into soft, smooth fibres. The impressive colour brilliance and fastness lasts after repeated washes, too.




#4 Hybrid Silk

The Hybrid Botanic Silk Collection combines those same qualities of Tencel with the durability of supporting fibres. It’s a unique blend of fibres that provides the linen with a soft, cooling quality, and offers the added benefit of natural moisture-wicking properties. It’s also an especially hypoallergenic product, excellent for allergy-prone sleepers.

#5 Ultra Absorbent The bed linen in the Lenzing Modal Collection is made from pure beech wood cellulose, known for its silky hand-feel and lustrous qualities. This softness remains after repeated washing, thanks to a smooth cross-section of fibres. Also, the moisture absorbency is double that of cotton fibres, keeping you fresh and dry through the night – even in tropical Singapore.

#7 Thermo-regulating Sateen Made from the finest mercerised 100 percent Egyptian cotton sateen, the Signature Hotel Collection is impeccably soft and smooth, with an elegant matte sheen. The long staple fibres are stronger and more durable than standard cotton fibres; they also wick away moisture and help to regulate nocturnal temperature.

#6 New Age

Keen for an eco-friendly option? Nutex Bamboo sheets and duvet covers are breathable and light, and offer a great combination of tensile strength, beauty and comfort. The natural bamboo fibres are quick-drying and hypoallergenic, too, which is why it’s recommended for those with allergies or asthma.

#8 Your Second Skin

Visit epitexhome.com to browse and buy these collections and more – you could pair your bed linen with a luxury hotel pillow and bolster collection for added comfort, for example. Shipping is free on orders above $60. The 1600-thread-count Cressent Dale Valenfil Collection is specially made with Filagen, an innovative and all-natural collagen fibre that provides a high level of comfort. Collagen peptides are infused into the fibre itself, giving it a soft and lustrous appearance, moisturising and wicking properties, and deodorising benefits – even after countless washes.

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DHARA LAKSHMI SOUMIKA From: India (now a Singapore citizen) Occupation: Primary 5 student

MacRitchie TreeTop Walk

The Specifics Where do you live? Oxford Road in Farrer Park.

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Oxford Road near Pek Kio Market.” Pek Kio or “white bridge” inHokkien, refers to the neighbourhood enclosed by Moulmein Road, Balestier Road, Race Course Road, Kampong Java Road and Thomson Road.

Closest MRT station? Farrer Park MRT.

How long have you lived here? Why here? For more than seven years. It’s close to Little India and our Indian origin makes us feel more comfortable here.

Singapore Botanic Gardens





North East




South West

CONDO FACT FILE Name: Kentish Court Age: 20 years Size: 77 units Facilities: Swimming pool, playground, barbecue pit, wading pool and gymnasium

The Scene When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? A magnificent grove of trees. What’s the closest store to your front door? Nice Minimart, which is open 24/7. If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Home Alone . What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Hats and shorts. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? A fully decorated horse carriage! The Superlatives What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, Sangeetha Bhavan (a vegetarian restaurant selling North and South Indian cuisine) and Legendary Bak Kut Teh. In particular, I recommend the sugar cane juice from the Pek Kio Food Centre and the vegetarian puffs at Sangeetha Bhavan. Mustafa Shopping Centre and City Square Mall – easily some of the best shopping in Singapore. Mustafa has a lot of irresistible and economical items; you never really know what you’re going to buy there! As for City Square Mall, they have great food so you can grab a drink at Boost Juice or a snack as you go shopping. What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood?

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? Share it with others – just email us at contribute@expatliving.sg with “ Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch. When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS), located just a short walk away. If you’remissing home, what do you do? Take a walk in Little India, go to a temple, eat spicy food and watch a movie. What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Singapore Botanical Gardens and Samy’s Curry Restaurant in Dempsey Hill. What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? Going for a walk in this area is always fun. The neighbourhood is really pretty and you can walk around for hours and not get bored. Or you could do some window shopping around Pek Kio. What’s one thing you’d never change? Nicely aligned trees along the street. Howaboutone thingyouwouldchange? Change the road to a two-way street. If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? Give it to me! I wouldn’t mind depositing it safely in my bank account. Beyond the 'hood

Little India

Did You Know? • Farrer Park has a large number of streets named after English towns and counties, including Oxford, Kent, Bristol, Hertford, Cambridge, Dorset and Gloucester. • Farrer Park takes its name from the former President of the Municipal Commissioners in Singapore, RJ Farrer (1873-1956). He once described his initial impression on arriving here from England as “walking into a hothouse flavoured with garlic”. • While there is a Farrer Park Road in the Farrer Park area, Farrer Road is 5km away to the west (between Adam Road and Queensway). There was an attempt in the 1950s to clear up the potential confusion between the two by renaming Farrer Road, but it failed.

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