NEWZEALAND TRAVEL TIPS + CLIMBING KILIMANJARO FOR A CAUSE
OUR HUGE PRESCHOOL GUIDE + SAILING IN SINGAPORE
HEALTHY RECIPES + HOT NEW RESTAURANTS
DREAMY DÉCOR FOR THE BEDROOM + A FAB FAMILY BUNGALOW
PRENATAL & MATERNITY NEWS + DOING MORE FOR YOUR CORE
I’m not sure if 200 editor’s letters feels like a lot or a little! The subject or thoughts for them seem to pop up in divine time (and often just in time), although some definitely flow a little smoother than others. Sometimes I write something that cracks me up – but then, I’m quite good at laughing at my own jokes, and have no idea if others would find them funny. I can usually tell from my daughters’ faces when I’m the only one who’s benefited from my humour! But, if there’s anything I have learnt over the 17 years of Expat Living, it’s that we can’t pretend to be anyone else. It’s exhausting and really not good for our health. Living away from your home country makes it more difficult not to pretend, because we want to belong or fit into a new group of friends or colleagues. But it’s not a good long-term strategy. Helpful, useful and down to earth is what I have tried to make this magazine be. As with my own life, I realise that even if we’re not always successful, we can always try. Try to be true to yourself, try to make a difference, try to change and learn. Since February 2002, when I first pulled a tiny issue together, I have worked with some lovely people, quite a few who are still involved in the company. The team has supported some amazing businesses and seen many grow from small home-based projects to large companies. I want to thank all of them and all of you for reading these pages and following us on social media platforms and online. And when you feel we need to try a bit harder – do let us know. We look forward to the next 200! PS: In this issue, to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we have some wonderful stories about women including a school for helpers (page 100), mum-and- daughter adventures (page 136) and a competition in which your daughter could spend a day with one of the 11 female ambassadors in Singapore (page 98).
REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief
PhotoShoots Restaurants LunchBoxes
Some funky antiquestoadd toyourpad!
Adult-only escapes, shoppingtrips andvillas withviews
How our covers have evolved over the years
Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET
Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR Editorial Team HOME & PROPERTY: KEL FLANDERS EDUCATION: MONICA PITRELLI WINE & DINE, HEALTH: AMY GREENBURG LIFE & FAMILY: LINDSAY YAP HAIR & BEAUTY, FASHION: ANTHIA CHNG Copy Editor JULIET KEYS Online & Digital Content MICHAELA BISSET IT & Web Support RENE YUTIAMPO | HANADDI REY DIAZ MAMBA Client Services & Production LEANDA RATHMELL | LIANA TALIB | NUR HANANI KAMAL LUDDIN Graphic Designers MICHAEL BERNABE | BEATRICE NG | JEANNE WONG Marketing, Circulation & Administration ANNA TSERLINGAS | GRACE BANTARAN SITI SHAHIRAH KHIRUDEEN Advertising Sales KARIN GALLEY | DANIELLE ROSSETTI | LARA SAGE | JACQUI YOUNG Events Curator SUSAN KNUDSEN-PICKLES Special Projects MELINDA MURPHY | VEENA GILL Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers AIMEE FORDOS | SARAH LANCASTER | HARSHARAN KAUR
Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)
CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | email@example.com Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | firstname.lastname@example.org Production: +65 6812 1787 | email@example.com Editorial & Media Releases: firstname.lastname@example.org Calendar of Events: email@example.com Events: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: expatliving.sg | expatliving.hk
Printed by Ho Printing Singapore Pte Ltd (hoprinting.com)
Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #07-06 Mapex Building, Singapore 577177
Expat Living ’s 200th Issue! (expatliving.sg)
96 Meet the Dutch
NEWS 14 Calendar Updates: 22 Readers’ Letters 24 EL Forum:
What’s on in the coming months
Our online antics and upcoming events
26 Singapore Page:
Exploring the island’s past and present
HOME & PROPERTY 30 News 34 Home Showcase: A family sanctuary off Holland Road 44 Inside Story: How to sleep deeply on a heavenly bed 48 Buying Guide:
LIFE & FAMILY 74 News 80 Noticeboard: 83 Thai Style in Dempsey 85 Singapore Yacht Show: We get the scoop from Saul Jones 89 School & Careers: Earning credit for creative degrees 90 Universal Language:
Stylish ideas for your bedroom
54 Home Showcase:
The tricky art of downsizing
64 Street Talk:
Birth announcements and dogs to adopt
What it’s like living at River Valley
48 Décor ideas for bedrooms
Using music to teach special needs kids
93 Personal Projects:
Solving real-world problems at school
95 Wonder Women:
From getting the vote to leading nations
96 People Profile:
Meet the Dutch Ambassador in Singapore
100 Charity Focus:
How Aidha helps empower women
102 Inside Story:
Readers share their club of choice
104 Shoe Woes: The Bigfoot dilemma 106 Around Town:
Photos from openings, events and more
136 Dive sites to
explore this year
117 What’s new on the bar scene?
WINE & DINE 116 News 117 Bar Tab:
A new and notable spot for a tipple
118 Hot Tables:
Three recent restaurant openings
120 Recipe Corner:
Fail-safe favourites to add to your repertoire
122 Review Crew:
EL kids test cupcakes!
TRAVEL 128 News 131 Destination Focus:
136 A record- breaking family adventure
NZ insights and reader recommendations
136 Climbing for a Cause:
A mother-daughter duo take on Kilimanjaro!
140 Gold Coast Guide:
Ideas for your next Aussie adventure
STYLE & BEAUTY 144 Style News 147 New in Store:
Latest collection from Shopping at Tiffany’s 148 Dressing the Bump: Fashionwear for expecting mums
150 Beauty News 152 Tried & Tested:
Fab facials reviewed by the EL Team
168 A helping hand for first-time mums
148 Maternity style guide
HEALTH & FITNESS 162 News 167 Expert Voice: The scoop on scoliosis 168 Pregnancy Prep: What to expect when you’re expecting 176 Pilates or Yoga: Which one is right for you? REGULARS
183 Numbers & Websites 184 Horoscopes for March
186 Advertiser List 188 Parting Shot: Head First
SHOPPING & FAIRS HotLotz Live Monthly Interiors & Antiques Auction (28 MAR) On the last Thursday of the month, enjoy complimentary wine and experience the excitement of a live HotLotz auction sale. View your favourite lots in the flesh and browse upcoming auction offerings. #01-15 Cendex Centre, 120 Lower Delta Road. hotlotz.com
Matilda The Musical
Matilda The Musical (UNTIL 17 MAR)
Multi-award winning production Matilda The Musical tells the story of an extraordinary little girl who dares to take a stand and in doing so changes her own destiny. Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from Sistic. Kodaline Live in Singapore (5 MAR) Irish modern rock quartet Kodaline returns to Singapore in March, following the release of new album Politics of Living in September 2018. Zepp@BigBox Singapore. Tickets from Sistic.
Boutique Fairs Singapore: Spring/Summer 2019 Edition (29 – 31 MAR) Browse over 300 independent, design-led labels across women’s and men’s fashion, accessories, home and décor, art and lifestyle, and children’s apparel and products. Also, pick up new skills at workshops and enjoy a host of F&B offerings. F1 Pit Building. boutiquefairs.com.sg
SPORTS & FITNESS
Terry Fox Run 2019 (31 MAR)
The annual Terry Fox Run returns for its ninth edition in March. Take your pick of a non-competitive 5km or 10km fun run. Register for a spot by purchasing a Terry Fox Run t-shirt ($30) and/or making a donation. Online t-shirt orders close on 1 March. East Coast Park. terryfoxrunsg.com DANCE, THEATRE & CONCERTS Still Life (UNTIL 10 MAR) This personal performance piece offers an affecting look at life and art-making, as Dana Lam rediscovers and reclaims her journey from the 1950s to the present through writing and painting. 72-13 Home of TheatreWorks. Tickets from Sistic.
House of AnLi
Tanglin Mall Level 3 #03-17
Reservations for breakfast, lunch & dinner: 6235 3851 or www.houseofanli.com
2/7/18 12:16 PM Open daily 9am onwards
*FPMasterP.indd 1 *F M st r .in
2/7/18 12:16 P / / :
Venue available for events
2/7/18 12:16 PM
2/7/18 12:16 PM
Garden Beats Festival
FAMILY The Little Prince: Behind the Story Exhibition (UNTIL 17 MAR) Discover how this famous French tale came about, meet characters from the book and relive its iconic moments at this exhibition of more than 250 items. You’ll also find beautiful stamps, belongings of author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, illustrations, books and sculptures. Singapore Philatelic Museum. spm.org.sg
Don Quixote by Singapore Dance Theatre (7-10 MAR) Set in Spain, Don Quixote tells a story of love, betrayal, and eternal devotion. This humorous ballet features chivalrous acts and whimsical twists by an incredible cast of toreadors, flamenco dancers and dryads. Esplanade Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (8-9 MAR) Made up of 15 soloists, ensemble players and arrangers, don’t miss the chance to witness this versatile orchestra’s take on jazz classics. Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic. Garden Beats Festival 2019 (9 MAR) Back for its fifth year, this music festival is expanding its line-up of performances and fringe activities, including the introduction of the Zen Garden wellbeing oasis, where festival-goers can soothe mind, body and soul. Fort Canning Park. gardenbeats.com Pet Shop Boys (26 MAR) Hugely popular UK duo Pet Shop Boys will be in town in March, a show that marks their first live performance in Singapore since the 2014 Grand Prix. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.
Orchids of the Andes (UNTIL 24 MAR)
Feast your eyes on 3,000 orchids across 85 varieties at this amazing display of South American flora. You’ll also glimpse rare species such as the Epidendrum medusae, an orchid named after the mythological creature Medusa. Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay .
Orchids of the Andes
Prudential Marina Bay Carnival (UNTIL 24 MAR) It's your last chance to check out this carnival! Enjoy thrilling rides and games, roving food trucks, performances, art and craft workshops and more. Bayfront Event Space. marinabaycarnival.sg Experience AIS (13 MAR) Take a tour of the Australian International School this March and find out more about what the school has to offer. Tours will be tailored to your child’s needs and interests, and you’ll also meet members of the Academic Leadership team. Book a spot on the school website. ais.com.sg/experience-ais Based on the well-loved Brothers Grimm classic fairy tale, Gretel and Hansel is a heartfelt, humorous and exciting tale about sibling rivalry, family love and courage. KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT. srt.com.sg Supermom Baby Fair (15-17 MAR) Shop baby and maternity products from over 200,000 brands at this fair. There’ll also be good deals and giveaways up for grabs. Resorts World Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Gretel and Hansel (13 MAR – 26 APR)
Pinkfong Baby Shark Live Musical (16-17 MAR)
Back by popular demand, Baby Shark returns to Singapore this March. Join Pinkfong and his friends as they go on an adventure to find the missing Baby Shark. Suntec City, Hall 401 to 403. babyfair.supermom.com.sg SSO Concerts For Children: An Intergalactic
Adventure (16-17 MAR)
At this fun-filled concert, embark on an intergalactic musical adventure with fearless star captain to the distant stars. Suitable for ages 4 to 14. Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets from Sistic.
This is DOPE! Exhibition (UNTIL 17 MAR)
Enjoy the works of 25 artists at this exhibition, with various countries represented including Brazil, Germany, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. TAKSU, 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-72. taksu.com Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. (UNTIL 14 APR) Set across the two sites, the exhibition of 130 works explores the history and legacy of minimalism, including the development of minimal art and ideas from the 1950s to the present day. National Gallery Singapore.
Belinda Carlisle Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary Tour (6 APR) Pop icon Belinda Carlisle is touring to celebrate 30 years since the release of her album Runaway Horses . She’ll perform the album in its entirety, including hits such as “Leave A Light On” and “La Luna”. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Mizuno Women’s Run 2019 (7 APR) With the aim to encourage women of all ages to get active through running, this race has two categories, a 2km fun walk/ jog and a 5km non-competitive run. Registration is open until 24 March or until slots are sold out. Clarke Quay Central. facebook.com/mizunowomensrun Anne-Marie (9 APR) On the back of her successful debut album Speak Your Mind , the UK singer will be back in town to continue sending her message of self-love in a one-night-only performance in April. Capitol Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.
HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens
Singapore Yacht Show (11-14 APR) Back for its ninth edition, this four-day yachting and boating lifestyle show offers the opportunity to discover some of the world’s finest superyachts and boating brands. Tickets from the event website. ONE°15 Marina, Sentosa Cove. singaporeyachtshow.com HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens (13-14 APR) The tournament will feature 16 of the world’s top men’s Rugby Sevens teams, from the New Zealand All Blacks Sevens to South Africa’s Blitzbokke. Soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the activities around the stadium and across town. National Stadium. The Phantom of the Opera (24 APR – 26 MAY) The Phantom of the Opera returns to Singapore this April. The iconic award- winning musical is the longest-running show on Broadway and has played to over 145 million people around the world. Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets from Sistic.
Income Eco Run 2019 (28 APR)
In this eco run, choose from a 10km individual race, a mixed team 21.1km Half Marathon and two distances for children – 800m for those aged four to eight years, and 1.2km for nine-to-twelve- year-olds. Registration closes 1 April. incomeecorun.sg The Proclaimers (29 APRIL) The Proclaimers will be performing live in Singapore this April, showcasing songs such as “I’m On My Way”, “Let’s Get Married” and massive blockbuster “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. Capitol Theatre. Tickets from Sistic.
For even more things to do every week, go to our online calendar or sign up for our newsletter
Best Letter We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. We’ll be sending Gisele Theriault a bottle of champagne for her feedback.
I live in Australia, so I don’t need to subscribe, but I love your magazine and I always pick up a copy on my travels to Singapore. I ordered the book about black-and-white houses, Singapore Colonial Style , through your website (expatliving.sg/shop) and it arrived this morning. It was worth the crazy postage price – it’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t put it down! – Fiona Curry Ed: That’s great, Fiona. I think we’re all fascinated by those houses and we’re already gathering some stories on them for our May issue, our annual black- and-white-houses theme. We’ll have to send you the link to the digital copy of that issue so you can read it for free from Australia!
As a teenager in Canada, I used to spend hours flipping through the glossy pages of magazines. Now I’m in my thirties, married and living in Singapore. What a pure treat to discover Expat Living . I love reading all the unique “expat in Singapore” features. Your magazine is an informative, entertaining safe haven ... and the photographs? Gorgeous. Cheers, y’all, and merci beaucoup ! – Gisele Theriault
Ed: Great to hear print mags are still loved, and so happy you find it helpful. Enjoy Singapore!
Hi, I wanted to let you know that I picked up my competition prize late last week from Arete Culture and I was blown away. It was both beautiful and generous. I had a milestone birthday at the beginning of the month and it was like receiving an unexpected birthday gift. Thank you! – Ilona Batchelor Ed: Ilona won a home décor set consisting of a silver photo frame, U-stick candleholder, white mercury glass vase and a large rectangular Capiz tray. Don’t miss our regular competitions – you’ll find details in the monthly mag and online at expatliving.sg/competitions!
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DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT COSTS?! University Planning
DATE: 15 March 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.30am PLACE: Jaxs Bistro The Dutch Club 22 Camden Park, 299814
PRICE: $20, including refreshments; $45, including refreshments & lunch
WINE WITH FRIENDS POWERED BY CLUNY COURT CLUNY COURT
DATE: 20 March 2019 TIME: 7pm — 9pm PLACE: SPRMARKT PRICE: $45, including a three- course dinner, two glasses of wine and a goodie bag
EL TALK POWERED BY EXPAT INSURANCE
Are you ready for what life throws at you? FUTURE PROOFING FOR YOUR FAMILY
DATE: 22 March 2019 TIME: 10am — 11.45am
PLACE: Cafe Melba Mediapolis 1 Stars Avenue, #03-01, 138507 PRICE: $10, including refreshments
EL TENNIS CLINIC TENNIS CLINIC WITH GRAND HYATT
DATE: 29 March 2019 TIME: 8.30am — 10.30am PLACE: Grand Hyatt Singapore 10 Scotts Road, 228211 PRICE: $20, including refreshments
LIFE & FAMILY
Exploring the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers! THE SINGAPORE PAGE
5 WET MARKETS YOU SHOULD VISIT
EXPAT LIVING: SINGAPORE IN 2009
#1 Tekka Centre Singapore’s largest wet market, Tekka in Little India has almost 300 stalls (don’t miss the Sri Lankan crabs!), plus it operates into the afternoon while most markets close at noon. For some, the strong smells here can be overwhelming; for others, this market, hawker area and adjacent shopping centre make an ideal one-stop destination. #2 Tiong Bahru This market is a fave with expats as it carries not only Asian veggies, but more familiar Western ingredients as well; the giant bunches of orchids are cheap too. Shop here then enjoy one of the hip eateries in the area. #3 Geylang Serai Wet Market Step back in time with a visit to this renovated Malay kampong house. You’ll find Malaysian ingredients and spices needed for Middle Eastern cooking, while the hawkers on the second floor offer some of the island’s best Malaysian food (no pork offered here). #4 Chinatown Wet Market These stalls offer ingredients for that favourite Chinese recipe, plus lots of live seafood. There’s yummy hawker food upstairs at the Chinatown Complex, too. Word to the wise: vendors “prepare” frogs for buyers in the back, so don’t let little ones wander around for an eyeful... #5 Chong Boon Market & Food Centre This spot in Ang Mo Kio has a wide variety of produce and meats, and a big range of cheese and beef from Australia and New Zealand, making it a popular expat choice. Bonus: it’s well-ventilated, so not as hot and smelly as some.
Here’s what the Resorts World Sentosa site, including Universal Studios, looked like 10 years ago thismonth:
One year later, on 18 March 2010, Universal Studios opened to the public. (At the “auspicious” time of 8.28am, to be precise...)
This year, Singapore celebrates its bicentennial, marking 200 years since the arrival of Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles on its shores. Many know the role he played in transforming the port town to a modern city, but did you know these trivial titbits? Raffles was born at sea, off the coast of Jamaica. The ship was called Ann; his mother was called Anne. His first post in Asia was on Prince of Wales Island in Malaya (better known today as Penang). All five of Raffles’ children died before the age of 20; only one of those survived beyond four years. Raffles co-founded the London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo. The Raffles name lives on, not just in hotels and schools, but in a wide variety of biological species, from the Rafflesia flower to the olive-backed woodpecker (Dinopium rafflesii) .
Visit expatliving.sg and watch our own Melinda Murphy give her tips on how to navigate a wet market!
Think you know Singapore well? What does this close-up picture depict? See next month’s SG Page for the answer!
Last month: The statue of 1,216 bronze droplets can be found in Changi Airport (T1).
HOME & PROPERTY
48 Buying Guide: Stylish ideas for the bedroom
34 Home Showcase: A family sanctuary off Holland Road
44 Inside Story: Sleep on one of these heavenly beds
64 Street Talk: Living in River Valley
HOME & PROPERTY
Tales of Singapore
Talking Textiles is bringing its beautiful artworks and textiles back to Boutique Fairs from 29 to 31 March at the F1 Pit Building. Besides the existing collection of items evoking Singapore’s rich history – from canvas prints and silk cushion covers, to hand-printed table runners and glass trivets – there are new products to discover, including fabric placemats, phone covers, gift cards and shower curtains. Selected pieces are already available at talkingtextiles.asia . Original artworks can be viewed at the Talking Textiles studio by appointment – email talkingtextiles@ gmail.com for more.
Sensitive to Airborne Allergens?
Cleaner Windows Struggling to keep the windows of your home clean? Just launched from Ecovacs is the Winbot X, a first-of-its-kind cordless window-cleaning robot. The four-stage cleaning process combines mopping and a squeegee to clean in all directions, leaving windows streak-free and sparkling. The safety tether system firmly secures the robot to the glass, removing the danger of it losing grip and falling off – key for many of us living in high-rise condos. Available now from $629 at major electronics department stores.
Locally Designed If you’re looking for original and local homeware, check out newly opened Design Orchard, which supports local producers of lifestyle, home, fashion, food and gifts. Located on the corner of Cairnhill and Orchard Roads, the impressive retail space is a hub for up-and-coming designers and artists. Watch out for workshops and events throughout the year too. designorchard.sg
BetterAir, the world’s first surface and air probiotics purifier, is now available at Courts stores and online. It uses probiotics to improve the balance of indoor environments, by removing mould and allergens that dust mites require to survive – perfect for those with asthma, allergies to pet dander, pollen and dust mites, COPD or weak immune systems. Two devices are available: one for your apartment and a portable USB device for an enclosed area like the car. Visit courts.com.sg/betterair .
HOME & PROPERTY
French Design Roche Bobois has opened its first showroom in Singapore. As one of the leading designers of high-end furniture in the world, the company aims to bring a little French sophistication to our city. With over 5,300 square feet of space and huge floor-to-ceiling windows, the showroom offers a truly luxurious shopping experience. See for yourself at #01-02 Boon Siew Building, 75 Bukit Timah Road .
Damage-free Hanging Got some new family photos you want to display but don’t want to put holes in your walls, or can’t because you’re renting? Don’t forget about Command hooks and picture strips. They’re easy to use, strong enough to hold larger frames, and can be removed cleanly without leaving the surface sticky or marked. Available at leading supermarkets, DIY stores and online stores.
Under the Hammer! This is a great time to sharpen up your home décor or personal style and there’s nothing more satisfying than uncovering a one-of-a-kind vintage piece that nobody else has and everyone else wants! We’re getting excited about our best-ever Jewellery &Watches live auction, which will take place in our saleroom at 8pm on Thursday 4 April. Don’t miss the catalogue release on 14 March. Our online Interiors sales also take place every Thursday and we love visitors, so do what the stylists do and swing by the saleroom. Finally, keep your eyes peeled for news of some special home contents auctions coming soon. Viewings are held on-site, which is a great way to see a range of objects in situ and get some design inspiration to boot! Visit hotlotz.com for details, or pop in and see us at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15.
Spring has sprung in the HotLotz saleroom.
Download theHotLotz app to view the catalogues andbid.
BY KEL FLANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL BERNABE
HOME & PROPERTY
We are invited to take a peek at this South African family’s sprawling, open bungalow off Holland Road.
A fter pushing the intercom to enter the Joneses’ home, I’m greeted by one of the biggest dogs I’ve ever seen and her faithful shaggy companion. The gates open and my attention is delightfully demanded by a series of nudges and licks as they accompany me down to the house. The front door is opened by the petite Isla (12). Her mum, Claire, is not far behind. As we wander through their tropical, open home, I notice all the people photos adorning walls, shelves and tabletops – family, far and wide, is obviously very important to them. I follow Claire and Isla through the dining room up to the huge garden pavilion overlooking the pool. I feel like I’m in Ubud, complete with the sounds of cicadas in the surrounding trees! We settle in for a chat and are joined by the whole family: husband Brett, kids Matt (13) and Kyle (10), both dogs and two cats. I’m in furry heaven. Brett begins by telling me about the start of their Singapore expat journey. “I was given the opportunity to move with my company to expand the business here. I actually had to think, ‘Where is Singapore?’! Coming from South Africa, and having lived in the UK for 10 years, we’d never really thought about living in Asia. That’s why we came over to see the island before we made a decision.”
Who lives here: Claire, Brett, Matthew, Isla and Kyle Jones, their helper, Rita, Bumble the bull mastiff, Ninja the golden retriever, and two cats, Chino and Flo. Time in Singapore: Four years. Size and type of home: A five-bedroom, detached 843-square- metre landed house sitting on 2,000 square metres of land. Décor style: Tropical elegance.
Claire’s reaction to the move was more emotional. “It was such an unexpected call. We’d been living away from all our family in London and were now back in South Africa and I didn’t want to leave them again. We had grandparents on the doorstep and we were seeing cousins all the time – life was easy.” Like many other expats, though, as soon as they saw what was available here, they realised it was an opportunity they couldn’t refuse. “I remember Claire saying to me, ‘It’s the whole family, animals included, or it’s none of us!’ So, here we all are – and going into our fourth year.” The Perfect Place The Joneses had very specific requirements when they began to search for their home on the island. Claire recalls, “We wanted to find a home here that simulated our lifestyle in South Africa – doors open all the time, kids in and out of the garden, and a thoroughfare of animals. Finding that in Singapore, with a garden big enough for us, was hard.” After three months in a serviced apartment, they knew they didn’t want to live in a condo. “We’re an outdoor family and prefer a bit of space. We knew what we were looking for,” says Brett. After an intensive two-day trawl around the island looking at all the properties they’d shortlisted, the last house, on the last day, felt right. “On day two, it was just me and the kids as Brett couldn’t join us. As you can imagine, the kids were fighting over bedrooms in houses we weren’t even going to live in; I was trying to send pictures to Brett. This was the last house we saw at the end of that long day, after missing out on one the day before. I got home and told Brett, ‘You need to go and see this house’. The agent brought him back that night, and here we are.”
HOME & PROPERTY
“We were so naive when it came to renting in Singapore,” Brett tells me, “we didn’t realise you had to have three months’ rent in advance – immediately. You also take a huge leap of faith, transferring this amount to someone’s bank account! Fortunately, Singapore is fairly honest in that way so it all works out.” Filling and Furnishing When they moved in, they had a lot of space to fill, having sold most of their furniture before leaving South Africa. Claire took the lead on the interiors. “It took a long time to furnish the house. We did come over with some pieces, but we’d gotten rid of a lot, thinking we wouldn’t have a house big enough. Then we moved in and I thought, ‘We could really have done with some of that furniture!’ It has taken over three years to build it up, shuffle things around and really figure out how we use the house properly. It’s a work in progress.” Claire adds, “We have the loveliest landlords, too. We’re very lucky – they’re so accommodating. Anything we need done, our landlord always has a contact or a contractor and within 24 hours someone is on our doorstep to fix it.”
The house was designed by award-winning architect, Wo Mei Lan, famous for specially designed bungalow houses. Brett loves how understated it is from the road. “You don’t really even know there’s a house down here. Then you come in and it opens up into this amazing sanctuary. After a long day at work or coming home from travelling, we can pour a G&T, sit together, relax and watch the kids in the pool. We’re a big noisy family, which is why we like to be hidden away down here!”
Left: “The piano was bought by my Mum in London. She emigrated to South Africa in the 1970s and I always sat at it as a child and longed to be able to play. Wherever we move, it comes with us. Just before we left SA, my Mum downsized and it was the one piece I really wanted, so she had it sent tome. Shortly afterwards, we left SA for Singapore and I eventually started lessons. I can lose hours sitting at it going over a piece.”
At the mention of a gin and tonic, my eyes light up. These really are my kind of people! To my delight, one is soon placed in my hand (it was a Friday afternoon and happy hour, of course). We carry on chatting and I ask about their favourite things in the house. “Mine is Sloppy Joe,” says Brett. “He’s a giraffe made out of recycled thongs (flip- flops). Every South African house has to have a giraffe in it! We got it from a Tanglin School market. It was the display piece but I knew I wanted it so I made the lady sell it to me, even though it technically wasn’t for sale! And of course, I love my barbecue!” he laughs. Claire loves that their big, busy family is comfortable in the home. “There’s no defining piece for me and I’m not big into interior design. Everything in the house needed to be easy – we can’t be precious about things. We have kids who spill things and cats and dogs that leave hair everywhere.” She pauses, and her eyes sparkle; “Having said that, my carpets are very precious to me! They were the last things I bought and really helped pull the rooms together.” With the help of Visha from The Cinnamon Room, the rooms of the Joneses’ home
HOME & PROPERTY
We’re a big noisy family, which is why we like to be hidden away down here!
HOME & PROPERTY
are filled with nine beautiful contemporary hide rugs from the Holland Village store; some are in delicate neutrals with metallic flecks; some, like the one in eldest son Matt’s bedroom, are bold and bright. Where’s Home? Our talk turns to their time in Singapore. Brett and Claire admit that going back to South Africa isn’t an option for them anymore. “Even though we all hold British passports, we still think of ourselves as South African. But there really is no ‘home’ as such for us, unlike our British and Australian friends. We’ll probably be going somewhere at some stage in the future but not to SA.” Brett believes the opportunities for the family are greater outside South Africa. “The future for the kids is not there. There’s no tertiary education or jobs. We’re a very fortunate family to be able to provide our kids with an international cultural lens on life – learning Mandarin (in an Australian school!) and being part of something different.” Claire loves that the children are making international friends. “We knew they’d never go to university in SA; we always knew they would go elsewhere. Living here, we get to start that journey for them a bit sooner and give them that extra step.” And what’s next? More travel. “That’s why I work, so we can travel!” Brett jokes. Travel has been a big thing since they arrived. Claire explains that in the first six months, Brett went away for work a lot. She
was trying to get the kids settled and everything organised. “When the first June-July school holiday came along, we realised most of our friends had deserted the island! And I said to Brett that I now understood why everyone goes away, as it becomes a very small place when there is no one around.” They made it a goal to try and get away, even for a small trip close by, every school holiday. “Most years, our kids have been to four or five different countries in a year! We’re very lucky to be able to do this from Singapore.” I also have to get away, so I (somewhat reluctantly!) leave the Jones family to enjoy their Friday evening drinks under their garden pavilion.
The Cinnamon Room Block 43, #02-74 Jalan Merah Saga 9727 3051 | thecinnamonroom.com Originals #02-03 Sime Darby Centre 896 Dunearn Road 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg Journey East #03-02 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 6473 1693 | journeyeast.com Singapore Trading Post #07-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 6221 4619 | singaporetradingpost.com Lim’s Holland Village #02-01 Holland Village Shopping Centre 211 Holland Avenue 6466 3188 | facebook.com/ limshollandvillage WINE & DINE Burger Joint Singapore (“great made-to-order burgers and the kids love that you can draw on the walls”) 115 Amoy Street, #01-03 (enter via 22 Gemmill Lane) Spago at Marina Bay Sands (“for out-of-town guests”) 10 Bayfront Avenue Chin Huat (“you can take your own wine”) Block 105 Clementi Street 12, #01-30 Tiong Bahru Bakery at Holland Village (“Brett’s favourite coffee”) 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-74 Makansutra Gluttons Bay (“we take guests here for an authentic experience on the way back from MBS”) 8 Raffles Avenue, #01-15 Tanjong Beach (“for lazy Sundays”)
Dream Time Weallknowsleepisessential formentalandphysicalhealth, but howdo you choose amattress andbed that suits your sleeping style? We spoke to a few readers who snooze much more soundly on their new beds and mattresses. BY KEL FLANDERS
Fergus Evans, British Before I moved to Singapore from Bangkok, I’d been doing some research on black-and-white houses (though I ended up in a shophouse) and came across pictures of house interiors designed by Arete Culture . I liked their style, so I engaged them to decorate my house. As part of this project, I ordered a bespoke bed with matching bedhead and storage draws for the master bedroom. I had a king-sized bed in Bangkok and the bedroom is large here, so having another similar-sized bed in Singapore made sense. The Arete team also suggested painting the wall behind the bedhead in a contrasting colour to the rest of the room, which worked out well.
As part of the Arete design service, I also ended up getting other bespoke items from them such as sofas, armchairs, desks and sideboards, as these were much nicer than ready-made furniture. They also put me in touch with a great bed-linen company. My partner and I are thrilled with the way the home turned out – and we especially love our bed!
#06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road | 9640 3829 | areteculture.com
HOME & PROPERTY
Katleen Missiaen, Belgian For many years, both my husband and I have suffered from lower back pain. When we arrived five years ago in Singapore from Belgium we brought our own bed, slatted base and latex mattresses with us. Last year, we were looking to change our latex mattress when we read about European Bedding in Expat Living . After seeing so many positive reviews, we went to the cosy store in Tiong Bahru. The team there provided excellent customer service by answering all our questions in great detail and giving us plenty of time to try out the different types of mattresses.
We bought two single 24cm Heveya mattresses, which are made from organic latex. They consist of two layers with different firmness that give the right support for your back. One interesting thing about these mattresses are their holes, which have two amazing functions. The different sizes of the holes creates seven different zones of firmness in the mattress to align perfectly with your body. They also create airflow in the mattress, which helps to fight mould and dust mites – a big plus in Singapore’s tropical climate. We chose removable and washable covers so we can keep our mattress clean and fresh all the time. After worrying that we would never find a good replacement for our previous mattress, we couldn’t be more satisfied with our Heveya ones. In fact, they’re even better. We’ve also been very happy with the customer service at European Bedding, from the moment we entered their lovely store until our mattresses were installed by their professional and friendly delivery team. 32 Eng Hoon Street, Level 2 6735 6658 | europeanbedding.sg
Evelyn Mah and Michael Yeo, Singaporean We love our new firm MaxCoil queen-sized mattress and bed from Courts . The high bedhead provides great support for my head and neck when I’m reading or watching television. It’s also very cool and comfortable. Our family members are amazed at the quality of the bed and how the all-white synthetic leather bed frame looks pristine and elegant. It blends well with our existing room furniture. We enjoy snuggling on the bed under the blanket in our cosy air-conditioned room. It makes me want to sleep in and take afternoon siestas! Maintenance is easy too – just wipe with a cloth occasionally. We found the Courts team to be efficient, courteous, friendly and patient. They worked well together and it was an entirely pleasant experience. We’re now looking to buy a 65-inch UHD or an OLED android television from them in the near future.
Multiple locations across Singapore 1800 222 6868 | courts.com.sg
Kristin Keen, American, and George Keen, British American
European Queen. Yes, a bit much for a four-year-old, but the thought of upgrading again in a few years from a single to a larger bed sounded more expensive than just skipping the single stage. This way we can also use his bedroom as a guest bed when we have visitors. My husband and I both think it may be the most comfy bed in the house! We also love the size, as we can have the whole family fit in for bedtime stories. And George is very proud of his big boy bed. The team at Willow were beyond helpful. The lead-time from order to delivery was much shorter than I anticipated and we’re very happy with the product as a whole.
It was time for my son to move out of his convertible cot bed and I couldn’t decide what size mattress would make most sense. Willow Mattress , located inside Emperor’s Attic, had the biggest selection of regular sizes and custom options available; plus, the big selling point was that all the mattresses are 100 percent natural latex, hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant. I didn’t want to waste money on a cheap alternative that I would have to replace in a few years. I wanted to buy quality and make this the only mattress we would need for my son. I really like that latex mattresses don’t have springs. It makes for a very comfy and even sleep. We ended up buying a
#01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 8787 7817 | willowmattress.com.sg
Intense Collection, Gautier
Huari Collection, Gallery 278
Mattress and bed frame, European Bedding
Samuel and Sons Shangri-La Collection, Altfield Interiors
Dream Worthy Need some inspiration to create a dreamy, sleepy haven? Here are some luxurious ideas to get you started.
Bedroom designed by Arete Culture
HOME & PROPERTY
Popsicle bedroom furniture, Flexa
Aurora Mist wallpaper, Altfield Interiors
Customised wardrobes, Novena
Panton Wire, Danish Design
Dramatic high headboard, WTP
Antique chest in ebony and mahogany wood, circa 1820s, Treasures of the Raj
Plough bed, Originals
Klad clothes hanger, Scanteak
Side table, Emperor’s Attic
Vision Cloud rug, Danish Design
Ethnicraft teak Horizon bed and Horizon nightstand, Soul & Tables
Ethnicraft teak Light Frame bed and Light Frame nightstand, Soul & Tables
HOME & PROPERTY
Safari Classic, Flexa
Cream Dot modern bone- inlay side table, Hacienda Blue
Sensea bed, Gautier
Enkel queen bed frame, Scanteak
Side table, Emperor’s Attic
Bedroom designed by Arete Culture
Mireille reclaimed teak and brass lamp stand
with custom lampshade, Naturalis Historia
Red ikat modern bone-inlay side table, Hacienda Blue
Shadow bed, Originals
Gallery 278 by Esco Leasing 278 River Valley Road 6737 2322 | gallery278.com
Originals #02-03 Sime Darby Centre 896 Dunearn Road 6471 9918 | originals.com.sg Scanteak 60 Sungei Kadut Drive 6368 2802 | scanteak.com.sg
Altfield Interiors #07-10 Central Mall Office Tower 1 Magazine Road 6909 2768 | altfield.com.hk Arete Culture Outdoor Living #06-01 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9640 3829 | areteculture.com Danish Design Co #06-03 Century Warehouse 100e Pasir Pajang Road 6270 8483 | danishdesignco.com.sg Emperors Attic #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9011 0380 | emperorsattic.com European Bedding 32 Eng Hoon Street, Level 2 6735 6658 | europeanbedding.sg Flexa #01-33/34/35 United Square #03-38 112 Katong #02-22 Forum the Shopping Mall 6354 1310 | flexasingapore.com
Gautier Singapore #01-15 Spaces@Tampines 18 Tampines Industrial Estate 6908 0880 | gautier-furniture.com Hacienda Blue Woking Road – by appointment only 9866 1024 | haciendablue.com Naturalis Historia 48 Hillview Terrace, #07-02 6909 3464 #01-2004 Blk 1, Changi Village Road | 6493 7237 ndo.com.sg
Soul & Tables #02-01/#02-03 Tan Boon Liat Building 315 Outram Road 9272 1545 | soulandtables.com.sg Treasures of the Raj #02-30 Tanglin Shopping Centre 19 Tanglin Road 9173 5041 | totr.pw
WTP 3 Kung Chong Road 6235 2760 | wtpstyle.com
Novena Various locations 6668 0735 | novena.com.sg
BY MELINDA MURPHY PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL BERNABE
Downsizing is a task most of us will face in our lives, whether it’s because our children move out or because we move onto another assignment and have less space. So, what’s the secret to having fewer things, but living a larger life?
HOME & PROPERTY
T here are a lot of reasons I wish I’d met FELICIA JANECEK earlier, besides her warm manner and easy smile. For starters, as the founder of HERS (Hiking Exercising Running Singapore), she has one of those personalities that (almost) makes me want to get up and exercise. An American like me, she also shared a great Thanksgiving recipe with me, which is saying something as Felicia is also a professional chef who once worked for Steve Jobs, creating fabulous meals as they flew across the globe on his plane. Oh, the stories she can tell ... but doesn’t! One of the other big reasons I wish I’d met Felicia before now is because, just a fewmonths ago, she soldmore than half of her things. And, let me tell you, this woman has great taste. I missed out. Sigh. When Felicia’s middle child went off to college and there was only Felicia, her husband Michael and their six-year-old son Essa living here in Singapore, they decided it was time for a daunting task: downsizing from their massive seven-bedroom landed house in Woodlands to a cluster home.
HOME & PROPERTY
Things with Meaning “We were nervous about moving into a smaller space, but I actually found it extremely cathartic to sell, donate and just downsize our household by almost half. Actually, I couldn’t have picked a better country to have accomplished this, as Singapore and its expat community made passing on our once- loved furniture and art an easy feat. It’s such a great community for buying and selling.” Deciding what to keep was easier than you might think. Simply, they held onto the things that had true meaning to them. What’s left is the perfect combination of a childhood appreciation for Southeast Asian art with an adult love of Middle Eastern design, embracing where she and her husband lived for six years with his career with NCIS. “Growing up in Southeast Asia has without a doubt shaped my love for the beauty of Indonesian art, coupled with my love of the Middle East. It makes total sense that our home is a cross section between Indonesia and the Middle East. I love the way the two have met; it works for me and makes me smile.” A wall unit her parents had made in the 70s in the Philippines where they lived when Felicia was small is a centrepiece. It’s a chameleon of a unit that can change
When it comes to designing a space, the most important aspect for me is breaking everything down into individual vignettes that remind me of places we’ve travelled.
to fit their needs wherever they are. There are actually lots of pieces from her childhood, much of it spent in Indonesia where her father served as a US Navy SEAL. “When we lived in Jakarta, these sellers used to just come to our house on their bikes. They’d come up to our porch with birds, pets and these beautiful Wayang puppets.” Now, one of these puppets from her childhood (and a few she’s bought since) are found peeking out here and there throughout Felicia’s house, even in the bathroom, tucked away in a basket of towels. Style Touches The thing is, their cluster house doesn’t feel small, thanks to Felicia’s gift for styling. Lots of us pick up stuff from our travels, but have a hard time then making it all work in unison. Felicia’s love of warm earth tones helps tie everything together, but she also has mastered the art of display. Some of her mask collection is on the walls, for example, while other masks rest simply in a basket on a shelf, accessible for people to browse. She uses her collections to decorate, avoiding painting the walls. “For me, the most important aspect when it comes to designing a space is breaking everything down into individual vignettes that remind me of a place our family travelled. Whether I’m decorating a larger space or a smaller space, I always feel like I want my eyes to fall on small special spaces rather than trying to take in a large space that loses its cohesive thread.”
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