SEP 2021 Vintage Cool









EDITOR’SNOTE This weekend, I was wondering why the word “joy” is used around religious festivals and in season’s greetings, and then we don’t hear much about it for the rest of the year. Joy is also my middle name (though I’m not sure it’s that apt…), so I get to look at it a few more times than most! But I still think it would be nice to have a lot more of it around and about. Many of us having been finding joy in the little things in life lately, like being able to have long walks or sit down for a coffee with a friend. I was watching people at the reservoir this weekend; there were plenty of littlies on bicycles, and the “big boys” were racing toy motorboats – there was definitely a lot of joy there. We’ve had some spectacular sunsets recently; they always bring me joy too. So does the Flypast for National Day, and the choppers flying overhead. (I think I’m a bit of a “petrolhead”…) So, along with hope, let’s focus on looking at the joy in our lives, and trying to bring more of it in – before Christmas or the next festival! We’ve got some interesting people stories in this month’s issue, along with personal fitness insights (to help you get a body that will bring you joy) and some mouthwatering sea views from Western Australia. Finally, take a look at our antiques buying guide for a bit of joy for the home! It’s full of gorgeous Asian repro and antique furniture – the kind of pieces that make homes so special here. If you haven’t yet found the one that’s right for you, you’ll get plenty of ideas. It makes such a difference when you’ve got your home looking just as you want it!

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Wishing you a joyful September!

I always appreciate a pretty sunset! What’s on your list of happy things?

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash




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NEWS 20 Subscribe and join us at one of our online workshops or events! 22 What’s on in Singapore HOME & PROPERTY 26 New furniture finds and store updates 30 Home Showcase: We go inside the Singapore pad of a contestant from The Apprentice 40 How an air steriliser can mean no more nasties for your home 42 Our buying guide to some gorgeous antiques and recycled furniture 46 Readers’ recommendations on antique shopping 48 A French artist with a mathematician’s mind! 50 Street Talk: A guide to living in Toa Payoh


Find your perfect antique!

Inside a home in Newton 30

LIFE & FAMILY 56 The latest news for parents and kids in Singapore 62 Family photographers – is it time for some new pics with the kids? 64 A money app for easy foreign transfers 66 An international school shares what’s best for kindergarten kids 68 Noticeboard: Congrats to these new parents! 70 What to watch and read this month 72 Why the stage could be perfect for your child 74 A great new playground for young ones


Readers ’ furniture favourites

75 New skills for kids, from making puppets to editing videos 76 Discover the unique tales behind this school’s houses 78 The Singapore Pages: Explore the island! 80 A mum’s story about leaving the corporate world





Some bright brunch ideas

WINE & DINE 86 Foodie news, restaurant updates and more 89 Recipe Corner: Beef Wellington with tarragon 92 All kinds of brunches! 96 Ideas for party plates, cheese platters and more 98 Is fake meat good for you or the environment? TRAVEL 102 Trip-planning inspiration and hotel news 104 Travel Special: A deep dive into Western Australia’s best beaches, food and sights

104 Wonders of the west!




STYLE & BEAUTY 114 Fashion news and advice 116 FromWall Street to wardrobes – a stylist’s story 118 Our new beauty editor is coming out of hiding! 120 Tailors in Singapore – is it time for a suit that fits perfectly? 125 Find out what’s new in the beauty department 128 Tried & Tested: We try some at-home spa products 130 An influencer who learnt the hard way 132 It’s always time for a spa day! 136 Want to lose some weight?

116 We chat

with stylist Julia Blank

Pretty picks for a girls’ day out 118

149 Which

personal trainer?

Try these top tailors 120

HEALTH & FITNESS 142 Medical updates and health tips from experts 146 How a shift in energy can change your life 149 Reader insights into 154 When orthopaedic surgery is needed 156 Looking after your joints (you’ll miss them when they go!) 158 Where service personnel can find support in Singapore one-on-one sessions with personal trainers

REGULARS 162 How well can you do in our Puzzle Pages? 164 Find out what’s in the stars in our September horoscopes 166 Important contacts and this month’s advertisers 168 Parting Shot: Love in the time of COVID




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How to promote your business on Instagram with video The Instagram Series How women can start investing their money – it ‛ s easier than you think! Mahima Gupta shares her investment journey with Kristal

Siloso TrailWalk In partnership with MDIS - come join us!

18 & 21 SEP

24 SEP 10am 30 SEP 10am

5 Most Common Sports Injuries (especially seen in lockdown!) How to avoid them and how to treat them – with Dr Alan Cheung Mental Health in theWorkplace Why positive vibes at work are not enough – with Dr Sanveen Kang




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SEP 2021


Vintage Cool



Your subscription to Expat Living includes free access to the digital edition so you can read the mag even when you’re out of the house or share your favourite articles with friends.

You’ll also receive our annual guides for free!* They include our Home & Property Guide, City Guide and Kids’ Guide, worth a total of $29.70. *Our annual guides are published at different times of the year and will be mailed to you with your copy of the monthly issue. You can opt to receive the Kids’ Guide from our email closer to the date. This subscription offer ends 30 September 2021. Orders received after 15 September will start with the November issue. Scan or visit




Jurassic World RUN! Asia Pacific 2021 (UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER)

This is an immersive virtual experience for runners of all ages – you’ll run on a route that features dinosaurs from the Jurassic World film franchise so as to escape Isla Nubar. The augmented reality experience is accessed via the MOVE by LIV3LY app. As you complete your registered distances of 5km, 10km or 21km, you’ll unlock successive milestones that bring you closer to the virtual finish line. Finishers receive an exclusive finisher t-shirt and those who finish 10km and 21km receive a finisher medal too. You can start clocking your times from now until 30 September. For ticket prices and registration, head to . Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom (UNTIL 3 OCTOBER) This exhibition has been extended in hopes that the glass sculptures currently displayed at Gardens by the Bay will bring joy to more visitors. It’s the first major garden exhibition for the American multimedia artist, with 25 large-scale installations and 80 pedestal sculptures. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, Glass in Bloom is operated in accordance with Safe Management Measures. Read! Fest Literary Trails (UNTIL 31 OCTOBER) An extension of Read! Fest 2021, these multi-sensory self-guided literary trails start at three different points: McDonald’s at West Coast Park, the East Coast Lagoon Food Village and the National Library Building Plaza. Participants will go on The Curious Adventure of The Salaryman, led by a digital protagonist who navigates his own adventure to reinvent himself. Along the way, scanning a QR code on art installations will provide more sensory elements of the Salaryman’s journey and quotes from four recommended English titles in Read! Fest. More details at . Something New Must Turn Up

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom

MSIG Biodiversity Mission 2021 (UNTIL 31 DECEMBER)

Learn about Singapore’s rich biodiversity as you complete missions in this interactive virtual challenge. You can walk, jog or run the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Trail or the Siloso Trail. Collect points as you go through virtual checkpoints and complete biodiversity quizzes. There’s also a 60-minute challenge that unlocks a custom and shareable augmented reality MSIG Biodiversity Protector face filter. The top 10 scorers for each trail will receive a $50 sports voucher. It’s free to join on the District app. Go to msigbiodiversity for more information and to register. House on a Hill Open Week (21 TO 23 SEPTEMBER) Open Week by Montessori preschool House on the Hill gives parents the chance to observe how classes are held while they’re in session. Via a Zoom call, parents can observe the children as teachers use the Montessori method to provide each child with foundational skills for success, followed by a Q&A session. Visit to register your interest. House on the Hill was opened in 2012 and is a group of family-run schools located at Mount Sophia, Balmoral and Pasir Panjang.




Forever Young (22 SEPTEMBER TO 3 OCTOBER) It’s the year 2071 and a group of retired actors find themselves together in a nursing home. Formerly pillars of Singapore’s performing arts scene, they’re determined to prove that they’ve still got it – by breaking out into musical theatre canon, rock classics and more when their no-nonsense caregiver leaves the room. Expect to hear Jay-Z’s “Forever Young”, Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic’s “Leave Your Doors Open”. This is a Singaporean twist of the original piece written by Swiss playwright Erik Gedeon. Local thespians Denise Tan, Gurmit Singh, Hossan Leong, Julian Wong, Karen Tan, Kimberly Chan and Mark Waite take the stage. Check for tickets and schedule. National Kidney Foundation is ready to tee off! Golfers can get on the Tanah Merah Country Club (Tampines Course) between 12.30pm to 2.30pm and raise $500,000 through golf flight purchases, cash donations and prize sponsorships. This event will benefit 5,000 needy patients and beneficiaries through subsidised treatment and holistic care support. Show your support at . Ride for Rainbows 2021 (8 TO 31 OCTOBER) This is the 10th edition of the annual cycling event by Club Rainbow. Funds raised from this event will support children suffering from a range of major chronic and potentially life-threatening illnesses and their families. All riders have to do is earn 10 hearts or raise at least $100 by 26 September to qualify for the event. More details and registration at . Swing for Hope (24 SEPTEMBER) Initially postponed from June, the inaugural charity golf event by the

Ride for Rainbows 2021

Forever Young

House on a Hill Open Week




26 News & Views: Hot shops and what to buy right now

30 Newton Showcase: Inside the heritage home of an Apprentice!

46 Space Solutions: Where to find antiques and reproduction furniture



A$ 500 voucher and60-min home consultation from The Cinnamon Room!

Now, more than ever, we deserve to spend time in a home that makes us happy, and that we’re proud of. Sometimes, though, we need a little help to give those four walls a stylish refresh. Enter our competition to win a 60-minute home consultation and $500 voucher and you could be putting yourself in the creatively capable hands of Visha Nelson of The Cinnamon Room! Her artisan-crafted home décor and gorgeous range of striking rugs combined with her interior styling skills will make your home the talk of the town. Visha’s signature hide rug collection is handmade using high-grade, ethically sourced hides. A recent addition is a collection of sustainable outdoor rugs and bathmats, made of PET yarn, a soft and pliable fibre that looks and feels like a fine wool blend, but boasts the durability and sustainability of recycled plastic. These gorgeous eco-friendly pieces are hand-finished by skilled artisans; they’re practical, sustainable and come in a variety of colours and sizes. Cool New Collection Outdoor furniture specialist OHMM has launched a new collection of seriously stylish side tables and coffee tables. The range, created by chief designer Kevin Boland, comes in three different weave finishes and with a choice of two tabletop colours; the smooth surface of the top contrasts beautifully with the textured, handcrafted woven base. The Pesaro collection is named after the Italian town where the high-tech ceramic tops are produced. Visit to learn more about the range and other products.

For your chance to win, visit

Luxe Décor Addi ng bone i n l ay or mother-of-pearl décor

to your home is a great way to make a luxe statement. The new col lection at onl ine furn i ture bout ique N e s t i f y i n c l u d e s decorative mirrors, side tables that fit perfectly into smaller spaces, and coffee tables in various sizes. The collection offers beaut i ful , bold colours wi th intricately inlaid patterns that bring warmth and beauty to your home. Find out more at .





Stylish Pet Pieces If, like the rest of us at EL, you treat your pet like your family, then you need to check out pet furniture brand Fura. All pieces are made by Indonesian artisans and include sculpturally designed pet beds and cat playgrounds. The furniture will not only keep your pet happy, but your home looking eminently cool to boot. Head to to check out the range.

Keeping heat and moisture at night at bay is a constant issue in our tropical city. Weavve Home has recently added 100 percent Tencel duvets to its range of temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking bedding. The outer Tencel fabric promises a silky soft and cool feel that’s gentle enough for those with allergies. Weavve’s duvet is treated with Silvadur microbial control technology, which helps eliminate bacteria and fight mould and fungi. It’s also certified toxin-free. Find out more at .

New Showroom Launch! French designer furniture brand Grandome has now launched its first showroom in Singapore, promising a modern luxury aesthetic for the home. The collection is designed by Franklin Gharbi, who has over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing and retail of high-quality products. The range includes modern-luxe items across furniture, lighting, rugs, upholstery and other decorative objects. Visit the new showroom at 102E Pasir Panjang Road, #01-05/06 Citilink Warehouse Complex or click on for more info.



Fit For A





After winning us over with her determination, strength and tenacity on homegrown TV show The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition , former candidate NAZEE SAJEDI reveals her more relaxed side in her resort-feel home.


N azee Sajedi is not someone to let a global pandemic stop her from reaching her goals. Not only did the 38-year-old move from San Francisco to Singapore in March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions kicked in, but in little over a year she also added marriage, moving into a dream house in Singapore’s Newton, and taking part in AXN’s hit TV show The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition as one of the 16 inspirational contestants to her list of achievements. Not bad going when the rest of us are still grappling with the recipe for home-baked banana bread! But Nazee has always been a go-getting type – as her stellar career indicates. After growing up in Tehran, Iran, and falling in love with planes as a teenager (“My uncle flew F-14s during the war in the Middle East in the 1980s; I thought it was so badass!”), she became a private aviation consultant, working for the likes of Airbus, Boeing and Textron Aviation. For someone so accomplished, facing ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong in the boardroom for The Apprentice – not to mention the accompanying abseiling, wrestling, dodgeball and business challenges! – was an experience Nazee faced head on.

“I heard about the show through the executive producer, and the timing was perfect as I was resigning from my US-based position to move to Singapore,” Nazee explains. “It was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to work on projects I previously had little exposure to – for example, social media related challenges. I compare the show to an accelerated MBA programme! It was a unique experience, and the friendships formed will always have a special place in my heart.” Now that the show’s gruelling daily filming schedule is over, Nazee can settle into Singapore, newly married life (she and husband Thomas got married in August 2020 after a long- distance romance) and their home of just eight months. While she’s still getting to grips with our tropical wildlife (“my first encounter with a gecko was very frightening, and don’t get me started on monitor lizards!”), she has discovered the wonder of chicken rice at the Newton Food Centre and the beauty of the hills of Mount Rosie (“it reminds me of the 17 Mile Drive in Carmel, California”). Here, we discuss how she’s enjoying being away from the cameras in her relaxing resort-feel home.




Welcome to Singapore! This is the first home for you and Thomas. What kind of house were you looking for together? We were looking for a spacious home, giving us the ability to host friends and our families from around the world. It was the only place we visited and we immediately liked it. We fell in love with the spaciousness and resort-like feeling, and the fact that it’s a single-floor home, allowing us to optimise the space. Tell us about its special features. There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms but given there’s only the two of us living here, the majority of the home is underutilised. We enjoy entertaining and having friends over when we can, and we look forward to our friends and family visiting in the future. We also have a very retro swimming pool, ping pong tables and a basketball court. I work out near the pool with a trainer or our new neighbours who we’ve become very close to. How have you given your space a homely touch? We wanted it to be cosy and welcoming. The floors are white, so we went with red Persian rugs to introduce some warmth. Given our tropical surroundings, we also went with natural woods to provide an indoor- outdoor connection. There are lots of Eastern elements in our house, celebrating the Persian culture as well as Asia. What are your favourite rooms and areas of your home and why? Our home has many nooks and crannies, but my favourite is our bedroom. It’s very Zen and surrounded by greenery due to the mirror reflection. I like to listen to Brazilian jazz or Spanish guitar when getting ready for the day. The combination of sound and light transports me to another land, which is somewhat needed right now!

Walking into our home is very tranquil and always makes me smile


Where do you spend the most time here? Daytime is mostly spent in my office working. Evenings are at the dining table, having dinner with my husband and occasional friends, depending on the restrictions. We finish with a nightcap on the balcony listening to the sounds of crickets and frogs, with the sweet scents of jasmine and frangipani in the air. We love music, and always have Algerian Raï or Persian music playing in the background. My condo in Los Angeles was very Hollywood, furnished with a pink, velvet and gold-studded couch, fur and gold pieces, and cowhides. My husband works in interior design and has quite discerning taste, so there was no way our furniture could have merged! Therefore, most of my pieces were dispersed amongst my family and friends. The Persian rugs are wedding gifts, and the rest of our homeware was sourced locally in Singapore. You moved to Singapore from California. Did you bring a lot of furniture with you?

Where do you furniture shop in Singapore? My favourite place is Turf City’s antique shops. It’s second-hand furniture and home furnishings in the middle of the jungle, where you can get lost for hours looking for hidden treasures. Thomas and I love unique pieces with a story so it’s great for that purpose. Where do you source your art pieces from? Various places around the world. Tome, art comes in many different forms; textiles, sculptures, paintings. I like exploring bazaars in Tehran and Istanbul, Arab Street in Singapore and small art galleries reflective of local heritage. When buying art, it’s wise to remember there are many fakes out there, so go to recognised galleries or to the artist directly. Where do you get your interior design inspiration? Mostly from hotels around the world, like the Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires, Quintessence Hotel on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, and Hôtel Costes in Paris. They all have very warm luxe feels, which is what we aspired to recreate in our home.




You’re a private aviation consultant. How do you deal with this, and where do you find sanctuary in your house after a hard day? I’m passionate about my industry and love my work, therefore overcoming challenges is effortless. I’m lucky that my whole house has an overall “sanctuary” feeling about it. The windows allow us to hear the birds and smell the flowers; walking into our home is very tranquil and always makes me smile.



Howwas filming The Apprentice during the pandemic? It was no easy feat! To ensure we stayed within prescribed guidelines, many stringent protocols were implemented. The most difficult part for me was lack of sleep and eating on the go – I tried to carry small snacks and Nespresso pods with me. Thankfully, I was not against losing the quarantine weight, so it all worked out! Those days were blissful! I missed our home in its entirety. I caught up on much-needed rest, reconnected with my friends and family, and ate home-cooked meals prepared by Thomas. I spent the afternoons at the pool, drinking rosé on the balcony, and assuming a distinct position on the sofa while binge- watching Netflix! How did you spend your first few days at home after shooting?




Other Singapore Botanic Gardens (“I love the Orchid Garden – there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world!”) Scotts Square (“for shopping – it’s small, and you can find most things in there”) Gillman Barracks (“this unique combination of wonderfully preserved colonial barracks infused with contemporary art reminds me of Art Basel in Miami Beach”)

Singapore Recommendations

Restaurants Atout | Café Gavroche | Bar-A-Thym | Bincho at Hua Bee |



Breathof FreshAir

With online learning and Work From Home both increasingly the norm, it’s more important than ever that the air we’re breathing in our living space is free from pollutants and other nasties. If you’re wondering about the best products on the market for creating a cleaner, safer environment at home, here’s a look at one easy solution: the Airfree line of air sterilisers. Air purifiers vs air sterilisers Most air purifiers rely onHEPA filters that capture airbornemicroorganisms and other particles. While this filters out some pollutants, it doesn’t necessarily sanitise the air in your home. The filters must also be regularly replaced; this can be costly, and can potentially expose You can clean the surfaces of your home easily enough with a vacuum, a bucket and a mop, but what about cleaning the air in your home?

percent of the COVID-19 virus when released into a controlled chamber. (For more information, visit cleanair. Other benefits of note There’s an impressive list of features that make Airfree ideal for use in the home. In addition to their filterless, maintenance-free design, these air sterilisers run completely silently and utilise eco-friendly technology that reduces energy consumption. The small and portable design also allows for easy installation around the home. And, if you’re concerned about aesthetics (aren’t we all?), you’ll find the sleek design will fit right into any modern living space. Different products for different rooms Awide range of Airfree products is available, for rooms of all sizes. The entry-level P40 ($299), for example, is designed for rooms up to 16 square metres; the P150 ($669), meanwhile, suits larger rooms up to 60 square metres. The company’s founder originally designed these air sterilisers to help with his son’s recurrent allergies. So it should come as no surprise that Airfree also offers models for children’s bedrooms. In addition to the standard features, the Tulip Babyair series ($399-499) includes a cute nightlight that projects stars onto the ceiling to lull your little ones to sleep.

you to viruses that remain alive in the filters. In addition, air purifiers aren’t completely silent. On the other hand, air sterilisers use a heated element to disinfect the air, eliminating the need for replaceable filters; this is good for your wallet and the environment. The use of heat also makes air sterilisers more effective at killing viruses, bacteria and mould spores in the air. Protecting from COVID-19 Airfree air sterilisers utilise the company’s pa t en t ed TSS ( The rmo - dynami c Sterilisation System) technology. This works to draw air into a heated ceramic core where viruses and bacteria are destroyed. According to US non-profit research organisation MRIGlobal, Airfree products can destroy 80.5

Scan the QR code to find out more about Airfree’s effectiveness against airborne viruses.

Airfree’s P150 is designed for larger rooms

The range of air sterilisers can be purchased directly from Airfree at




Versatile and unique, nothing adds character to a home quite like a piece with a past. Here are some gorgeous antiques that can be passed from generation to generation. For those on a budget, there’s plenty of great vintage and quality reproduction finds too! Treasures






1 Vintage low cabinet, $580, Originals 2 Upcycled late-19th-century Zhejiang wedding cabinet in beechwood, price on request, China Collection 3 Gansu sideboard, over 80 years old, $2,800, Emperor’s Attic 4 Antique carved cabinet from Longyan city, Fujian Province, patina and colour in original condition, price on request, Just Anthony 5 Corn grinder coffee table in teak, $620, Originals 6 Colonial side table, $482, WTP The Furniture Company 7 Antique barber stool from Shanxi Province, approximately 100 to 150 years old, patina, colour and brass fittings in original condition, price on request, Just Anthony









8 Mid-19th-century Shanxi coffer in elm wood, price on request, China Collection 9 Cabinet with fitted tiles from India, price on request, Woody Antique House 10 Chinese cabinet in elm, $1,900, Emperor’s Attic 11 Brass-fitted sideboard from India, price on request, Woody Antique House







12 Vintage cupboard in cobalt blue, $1,720, Originals 13 Tribal Chinese earrings with stand, $448, WTP The Furniture Company 14 Chinese basket with carved handles, $230, WTP The Furniture Company 15 Recycled weaving coffee table, $1,200, Originals


Directory China Collection 252 Joo Chiat Road 9858 6889 | Emperor’s Attic #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road 9011 0380 | Just Anthony 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 | Originals 1 Bukit Batok Street 22, Level 5 6471 9918 | Woody Antique House Block 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 | WTP The Furniture Company 3 Kung Chong Road 6235 2760 |



Antique furniture is anything but old, dusty and stuffy. These readers tell us why they purchased their pieces with provenance.


Emma Marburg, Australian

Having lived in Singapore for almost 20 years, I’m always on the

lookout for beautiful and unique pieces that we will treasure both now and once we move from Asia. A friend introducedme toChinaCollection years ago. I love the fantastic customer service that you receive from them. They are always accommodating, and they source unique and original pieces. Their passion for sharing knowledge and assisting customers always comes through, too. I recently purchased an up-cycled early 20th-century sideboard from Gansu Province, China (circa 1920-1940), which would have been used to store grain. Although it’s an old piece, the restoration by China Collection gave it a fresh, modern feel that blends with the rest of our furniture. I adore the colour; this piece was perfect for our living area, which needed something that was both decorative and had plenty of functional storage space. Doug and hi s team always have wonderful suggestions and unique pieces. I’ve purchased many sensational furniture pieces and decorative items from China Collection over the years and will definitely continue to add to our collection!

China Collection | 252 Joo Chiat Road 9858 6889 |




Madeleen von Wielligh, Namibian

I’ve lived in Singapore for the last eight years, and I’ve always loved older pieces of furniture. I’ve been wanting to create a home that feels cosy and inviting after a long day behind my desk. I travelled extensively pre-COVID, hence it’s now even more important to feel like I’m at home. I discovered Just Anthony online and quickly realised it’s conveniently located near to where I live. The store has a very large selection of beautiful pieces and the added friendliness and willingness to assist from staff members made it a really enjoyable shopping experience. I now often hop over there for a browse – there’s always something that catches my eye. I’ve purchased several pieces, including side tables, a cabinet and a coffee table. The quality is good and exactly what I was looking for. I’m extremely satisfied with what I’ve bought. Not only are the staff very helpful, they offer value-for-money pieces, plus free delivery. It’s a unique experience once you enter the store and, given the size, it feels like stepping into another world. I will most definitely buy from them again; I’m sure I can find a little bit more space for something new! Just Anthony | 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road 6283 4782 |

Paula Arbulu, American-Romanian

I was looking for the rustic and elegant touch that antique furniture provides to a home. I always like how a piece that’s been around for a long time can be repurposed and keep its timeless beauty. We found out about Woody Antique House through a magazine advert and decided to give it a try. Once we’d seen the quality of the furniture we were sold. We bought a range of furniture, including an old Indian door sideboard closet, a four-door carved dresser and a carved old door console. The three pieces are white and bring a sense of space, along with their rustic features. We really do love our antique pieces from Woody Antique House. In fact, we’re so happy that we’ve already been back and purchased patio furniture along with some other items.

Woody Antique House Block 13 Dempsey Road, #01-05 6471 1770 |



Currently showing at REDSEA Gallery in Dempsey Hi l l are paintings by TAHER JAOUI. We learn more about this self-taught artist, including the inspiration he finds in maths and music. A French artist with Tunisian roots, Taher Jaoui studied financial mathematics, engineering and computer science – he didn’t have a formal education in art. His mother, a maths teacher, familiarised him with the world of formulas when he was a child, and it’s the symbols and signs from these formulas that are now incorporated into some of his compositions.

Tell us about your paintings on display at REDSEA Gallery. During the process of making my compositions, I like to listen to music, and sometimes I integrate the influence of the songs in my painting process. For example, one of my paintings, You Can’t Make No Mistake , is inspired by the song “Make No Mistake” by Keith Richards. The Ecstasy of Gold refers to a song by Metallica – the beginning of the song is from the movie The Good, The Bad and the Ugly . I really love this movie and I pay homage to it in this painting. I refer to the interaction between the different energies of the characters, something like the cyclical fight between yin and yang. The Elephant is in the Room was made in 2020, when Donald Trump was in the media a lot. I see Trump as an elephant in a Chinese porcelain shop – and that’s what I’m referring to in the painting! I’m also inspired by movie quotes or scripts that I like. It’s usually something ironic, or funny at first, but with a specific meaning for me. One of the most memorable to me is “A cat with seven souls”. It’s a personal message to remind myself that failure is not permanent and you can always start over again – like the famous myth that cats have multiple lives. Another of my paintings, A Postponed Dream , was done when I was full of colourful ideas and a burst of bright energy. To me, this work is an invitation to believe in dreams, and focus on what you want to achieve in life, without procrastinating all the time. How does your non-art background impact on your art? It has a huge impact. It impacts my vision of my paintings and the structure of my compositions. Mathematical symbols and formulas are for me a natural language; it’s something I grew up exposed to. So I perceive it as an artistic expression in itself, and it’s why it appears in my artworks. I also have a scientific background, which is why I’m constantly thinking of new ways to integrate science into my artistic expression! For example, apart from painting, I also create 3D sculptures. How did your current art style come about? My painting style is built onmy different inspirations, from science to the abstract expressionist art movement, and fromcartoons to cubism.

A Sliced Bread – mixed media on canvas 200 x 180cm




What’s the most enjoyable part of your art creation process? For me, it’s the first drawing that establishes the first steps of the composition. I find it the most free and intuitive moment in the whole construction of the painting. I like to rotate between paintings, so I’ll work on several pieces at any given time. They will usually be at different levels of completion as well. I generally listen to more instrumental music while I work, so I can stay concentrated and have all my energy focused on my paintings. What is your studio setup usually like when you’re creating art? Where are you currently based, and what are some things you like about the location? Until a year ago, I was based in Berlin, but I have since moved to Madrid. When I was in Berlin, I loved to explore the green areas, forest, lakes – especially the Plänterwald area; I love its quiet solitude and authenticity. Now, here in Madrid, my favourite spot is the famous El Retiro park, for running, meditation, walking and hanging out with my friends. It’s the most inspiring place for me in the city. What’s the next step for you in your art? I’m experimenting with integrating more and more physical and tactile elements into my paintings and compositions. I would love to experiment more with sculptures and installations. I’ve also recently started experimenting with airbrushing. I’m excited by the level of freedom and precision it offers, and I love the liberating feel, precision and the different depths it gives to the painting surface. Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to somebody who wants to make a living from art? Work, work, work! Create as often as possible, trying different mediums and different materials and staying connected to the art world by following art blogs, reading books and articles about the history of art and contemporaryart.Myfavourites and artsy blogs, andmy favourite books are SevenDays in the Art World by Sarah Thornton, and The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty by Michael Findlay.

Devine Desires – mixed media on canvas, 200 x 180cm

Graffiti that Taher has painted onto his art studio walls depicts elements of the mathematical Taylor series by English mathematician Brook Taylor

To see Taher’s art at REDSEA Gallery, visit Block 9 Dempsey Road, #01-10 Dempsey Hill. 6732 6711 |

Taher’s art studio in Madrid



CELESTE RODRIGUES, SINGAPOREAN Occupation: Owner of Mexican silver jewellery brand Rodrigues Rocks (

The Specifics What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Toa Payoh. It literally means “big swamp” in Hokkien. True to its name, the town used to be mainly forests and swamps! What’s a common myth about Toa Payoh? That it’s old, which is just not true. There are plenty of parks, great shopping and hip cafés, where the youngsters are commonly found. Many young families have started moving into the area as well. Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Lorong 4 Toa Payoh” – and they bring you straight to the street. Closest MRT station? Toa Payoh MRT (North South Line) – a seven-minute walk from my door. How long have you lived here? We wanted a quaint, friendly neighbourhood that was convenient, with good schools. We needed easy access to the city without having to drive and get caught by ERP gantries. We moved here in 2008. I have two daughters. The seven-year-old is at CHIJ School in Toa Payoh; it’s a 10-minute school bus ride away. My youngest is three years old and in an awesome kindergarten just next to my block. It’s fantastic because it’s a two-minute walk from my home, and there are amazing teachers at both schools. I couldn’t ask for more.

The Scene When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Lots of playgrounds for kids, safe footpaths for walking and bright smiles from the neighbours! What’s the closest store to your front door? We have a fully stocked supermarket really close by. Next to it are two automated launderette shops where you can put your clothes in a dryer for $3.

What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Simple shorts and t-shirts.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? About a hundred people crowding under a tree when they spotted a rare owl!

Did you know? • Queen Elizabeth II has twice visited Toa Payoh housing blocks, once in 1972 (Block 53) and again in 2006 (Block 7). • Next to Block 177 in Toa Payoh is the tiny Ci Ern Ge Shrine, which honours a “god tree” – namely, an old ficus that somehow survived the developer’s axe when the new Toa Payoh town was built in the 1960s. • Toa Payoh Town Park is home to a 27-metre-high observation tower, which was built in the early 1970s and has a retro spaceship vibe.





North East


Lorong 4 Toa Payoh



South West

The Superlatives What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? Our local chicken rice shop has friendly staff and they remember our usual orders. The fruit shop has a wide selection of favourites, and occasionally you see durians too! We also love the roti prata stall that is located inside a small coffee shop. Sunday morning faves! NTUC, Giant and Sheng Siong are some of the easy places to get your usual goods. For fashion, there are lots of little shops in the central area. I’m always amazed at the goods they sell. We also love going to a place called Cash Converters, and never fail to find something unique. What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? The swimming pools, stadium and the park are our favourites. We enjoy our walks, and the kids will never say no to a swim. What’s one thing you’d never change? The wet market; it’s unique to Singapore. I can’t imagine not having one nearby. I’m lucky as I’m situated near three wet markets, so I’m spoiled for choice! I’d build a shelter for stray cats and give them a better place to live. I would also build a garden on the top floor of the multi-storey carpark so neighbours could plant some garden veggies and get together once in a while. It’s a huge carpark with six stories and the rooftop ismostly unused, so it could have a badminton court and walkways for exercise too. If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it?

HDB Hub and Toa Payoh Tower

Toa Payoh Town Park

Toa Payoh’s owl You don’t see too many barns in Singapore, which may be why you don’t see too many barn owls! Described as an “uncommon breeding resident” of Singapore, the barn owl ( T.a.javanica ) likely came here from the palm oil farms of Malaysia, where it was introduced to control rodents. Rare recent sightings have included Celeste’s mention on the facing page of the individual in a tree at Toa Payoh

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? Share it with others – just email us at with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.

(which the Straits Times reported in March 2020), plus under Benjamin Sheares Bridge in the island’s south, and also the Istana.





56 What’s New?: Fashion finds,

school news and launches we love!

Dilly & Fin

62 Smiling Snaps: A roundup of great family photographers

64 Money Transfers: An app that offers transparency and ease

72 Arts for Life: Why theatre skills can be important for kids



Shop for Charity Here’s a great excuse to shop at : with each purchase of the website’s baby gift sets ($65-$150), a portion of the sale goes to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. The local store offers a variety of natural baby essentials including rompers, drool bibs, swaddles and hooded towels, all designed in Singapore and made of Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton. The best-selling ribbed rompers come in super-soft fabrics that are great for our weather, with earthy colours for easy mix and match.

Safe Protection PARA’KITO provides natural, safe protection against mosquitoes with its Diffuz neoprene and Lycra wristbands ($27.80-$32). Now there’s a new Derm range too; this includes the Mosquito Repellent Extra Strong Roll-on ($27.80) and the Mosquito Repellent Moisturiser & After Sun Dry Oil Spray ($29.80). Both provide protection against tiger mosquitoes and ticks, and the latter also protects against Anopheles Gambiae mosquitoes. The products are made with natural ingredients that are free from alcohol, so children and pregnant women can use them safely. Available at , FairPrice Online and Justtrendmall on Shopee and Lazada.

Cute Baby Gifts Be it baby swaddles, teethers or bibs, you’ll find them at . These teething accessories are made from 100 percent food-grade silicone and non-toxic materials and are BPA- free, making them completely safe for babies. The unique Singapore-inspired designs include the Gem Biscuit and Shiba teethers as well as Boba-themed accessories. Gift sets range from $46 to $72 and are ideal for new mums; they’re exclusively available from the website. Select products are also available at Mothercare outlets, Tangs, Nichebabies and Bumwear.

Keen for some summer staples for your little ones to look adorable in as they play in the heat? Check out . The new online baby and kids’ store offers a handpicked collection of luxury summer fashion, swimwear and essentials from independent global labels. These include quintessentially British labels like Nellie Quats and Olivier London who are renowned for their gorgeous liberty print designs, and American brand The Simple Folk, whose sustainable everyday pieces are designed for movement. Deal! Expat Living readers get 10 percent off; just use the code “EXPATLIVING” at checkout.




Expectations Exceeding

Recycled Seats Has your child outgrown their car seat? Recycle it! A typical toddler car seat contains more than 8kg worth of recyclable materials such as hard plastics and solid metal. That’s equivalent to 1,000 drinking water plastic

bottles! Despite being ideal for recycling, child car seats are difficult to dismantle due to their inherent design – that’s why typical recycling businesses won’t take them in. But PramWash will. The company is Singapore’s first baby gear cleaning specialist, and in 2020 it diverted more than 700kg of materials from used child seats away from the waste stream. Check for drop-off locations.

Five students of Overseas Family School (OFS) have achieved perfect marks in the 2021 International Baccalaureate. This is the seventh consecutive year the school has produced perfect scorers. The high 96 percent overall pass rate is notable when you consider that OFS is one of few international schools in Singapore andglobally that doesn’t preselect students into the IBDiploma Programme. Also, 31 percent of the school’s IB candidates earned prestigious IB Bilingual Diplomas – testament to the school’s language resources and support. In fact, some of the top IB scorers this year entered OFS with little to no English andwere in the school’s immersive Study Preparation Programme for rapid English language acquisition. Find out more at or call 6738 0211 . Driving with Tesla The Tesla V3 Supercharger has arrived in Singapore! Three of the chargers have been installed in the Level 9 car park of Orchard Central – the first of their kind in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The Supercharger stations add to the 25,000 such chargers currently around the world including in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, various European countries and more. All three are available for charging 24/7, supporting the Singapore government’s vision of a cleaner and more sustainable nation driven by green transport.

SG to Vegas! Singapore’s Zouk Group marked its Las Vegas debut on the 4th of July with a weekend of festivities. The opening celebrations of Ayu Dayclub by Zouk included live performances by Miley Cyrus and DJs Tiesto and Zedd. The group and Zouk also partnered with Resorts World Las Vegas to officially launch its new integrated resort, the first on the Las Vegas Strip, with a virtual opening countdown by Katy Perry. Also featured was Famous Food Street Eats, amulti-eatery concept serving Singapore’s famed hawker fare, represented by Boon Tong Kee, Geylang Claypot Rice, Springleaf Prata Place and Ten Sun’s Braised Beef.



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