Swissotel Merchant Court Family Staycation

A32A0118

Hello chewy chewy friends! We are baaaack after a short hiatus! Hehe. Earlier this year, The Chewys went for our very first family staycation of 2017 at Swissotel Merchant Court! Now that we are a family of four, spacious rooms, children-friendly amenities and convenient location are one of our top priorities when we are planning a staycation. Our experience with another relatively new hotel late last year wasn’t such a pleasant one because they do not provide baby bath tubs.

P1080287

Swissotel Merchant Court is a luxury hotel ideally located by Clarke Quay, within walking distance of the shopping malls and numerous F&B establishments at Clarke Quay. It is also close to major places of interest.

P1080286

We were there on a Saturday and check-in was efficient.

A32A0043

All of us were very excited upon entering the room!

A32A0050

Feels like a home away from home! Our beautifully appointed room was spacious yet cosy, and well-equipped!

A32A0051

A32A0053

A32A0045

A32A0054

The hubby caught sight of the WII games and got very excited!

P1080284

We were pleasantly surprised to receive a personal handwritten card from the General Manager, along with a platter of fresh fruits. Even the kids got a card from “Uncle” Rainer!

A32A0057

At no extra cost, the Handy Smartphone is available in all rooms for guests to use during their stay at Swissotel Merchant Court. I find that this will be especially useful for overseas travellers.

A32A0058

My favourite TWG tea sachets are complimentary! There were four different types – Japanese Sencha, Morrocan Mint, French Earl Grey and English Breakfast!

A32A0062

Well-stocked mini bar

A32A0067

Oh look what have we got here! A connecting room for the kids! The Swissotel Kids’ Room was equally spacious and age-appropriate amenities can be provided upon request.

A32A0064

Even the kids’ bathroom looks amazing! The cute bathroom amenities will definitely put a smile on anyone’s face!

A32A0068

A32A0076

A32A0069

Apart from the cute stuffed toys on each bed, there were children’s story books, cartoon DVDs, toys, as well as coloring book and pencils! The room is definitely very child-friendly and glasses have been replaced with plastic cups.

A32A0219

Little misschewy was quite occupied for a really long time and we had difficulty trying to coax her to leave the room during dinner time!

A32A0101

P1070125

A staycation doesn’t feel complete without a dip in the hotel pool!

P1070130

When we were there on a Saturday afternoon, the pool was packed with throngs of people! I’m guessing it had something to do with the giant water slide. Haha.

P1070145

There’s also a baby pool for younger children to waddle about!

P1070159

P1070157

P1070173

P1070174

P1070177

P1070241

P1080267

P1080270

P1080272

P1080276

P1080279

A32A0822

Swissotel Merchant Court is running a number of promotions and the Family Fun Escape package is one of them. To sweeten your stay, Swissotel Merchant Court is giving out complimentary tickets to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) with 6 months’ validity. We utilised our tickets during Chinese New Year! This promo ends on 30 June 2017, so hurry!

Offer Includes:
– 50% off 2nd room booked
– Swissotel Kids’ Room set-up and age-appropriate amenities upon request
– 2 Adult and 2 Child USS admission tickets
– Complimentary ice cream during your stay for children 12 and below
– Guaranteed late check-out till 4.00pm
– Buffet breakfast is available at $30 per adult and $15 per child

Terms and Conditions:
– 50% off on a second room applies to the room or suite category of equal or lesser value to the originally booked room
– Advance reservation is required and subject to availability
– Booking is cancellable up to 48 hours prior to arrival
– This offer cannot be used in conjunction with other promotions/vouchers/loyalty programs
– Rates are subject to 17.7% service charge and government tax
-Family amenities and entertainment options are subject to availability
– Connecting room requests are subject to availability
– Terms and conditions are subject to change without prior notice

Swissotel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
Singapore 058281
Tel: +65 6337 2288

For reservations, call +65 6337 9993 or email reservations.merchantcourt@swissotel.com

Online Gaming Tips

Dragon-knight-father-of-dragons-evolving-3

Games are a major part of our culture now. More and more people are getting involved in video games all the time. Whether they are playing on PC, consoles or via their smartphones so many people play games each day. Online games where people compete or play together are a popular genre of games. Here are some tips for improving your online gaming experience.

Terminology

Different games have different specific terminology and taking the time to learn this can make it much faster to communicate in-game. Learning this terminology also helps you to learn the specific game better. For example, through learning the names of all the elements in Dota 2 such as the creeps, lanes and towers mean you can communicate with your teammates and work better as a team. There are some words that are used across games and genres and becoming familiar with these mean you can use that knowledge in a bunch of different games.

Reducing Lag

When playing an online game, one of the worst things that can happen is lag. Lag is when there is a delay between your button inputs and the actual actions on screen. Fast paced games become unplayable and difficult to enjoy. Lag can be mitigated by ensuring your internet connect isn’t uploading or downloading anything else and that your phone or PC isn’t running many background programs. Plenty of online games though don’t require a large amount of bandwidth to run effectively. If you continue to have lag issues, then it is worth contacting your internet provider to ensure you aren’t having connectivity issues that can be resolved through them, too. Whether these are PC, console or smartphone games, then if your internet isn’t very good then you can still enjoy online gaming through these methods. For example, Lucky Nugget Casino supports low-bandwidth device usage for all of their casino games. This means you can enjoy a range of games without feeling like your poor internet is negatively affecting your experience.

Gaming Community

Getting involved and being a part of a game’s community can enhance your gaming experience. Whether that is by joining a guild in World of Warcraft or becoming an active member of the forums on Duelyst. By being involved in this way, then you can become aware of the latest developments within your favourite games and gain access to areas you might otherwise have been unavailable. You don’t need to be 100% actively contributing all the time, but this social element of an online game is as much a part of the game as anything else.

First Timer Dilemma, Resale HDB or BTO

shutterstock_136585259

When it comes to housings in Singapore, without a doubt that HDB (Housing and Development Board) is the main developer of public homes and these high-rise apartments or HDB Flats are what most Singaporeans call home. Young couples are often facing the dilemma of choosing a new BTO or resale HDB but recently the prices of resale flats in the open market have been skyrocketing and became too expensive for most first time buyers. There are definitely some clear pros and cons when it comes to a resale or BTO, such as resale allows you to have choosing power while BTO allows you to buy a brand new HDB without being pegged to market rate.

If you are one of those that are caught in the dilemma of whether to opt for a resale flat or BTO, here are some guides and facts you can consider.

Waiting time

Both options involve waiting though buying resale HDB may take about 6 to 8 weeks for the process to complete, BTO can take up to 4 years. When you buy resale, you will not have the pressure of committing too early in the relationship on the purchase of a house that will be available four years in the future. For those in love and can’t wait to get married, the three or four years wait can be too much especially with the high rental prices in Singapore. Since the BTO are yet to be built, it means the couple has to begin plans years in advance. This means you get married then rent expensive or live with the parents with minimal privacy. The best solution for such a couple is to go straight into the resale HDB market and pick a suitable flat at the best location and price. The moment you sign the deal, the house is yours to move into, no wait or unnecessary expense in renting.

Savings on renovations

In many cases, you will not have to spend much on renovations since the apartment is already in use. The chances are that you will not need to do much about changes unless it is a poor condition. Since most property owners usually renovate before listing their properties, you may not need to do anything unless you decide to overhaul the interior decor. A new BTO come empty, so you have to renovate no matter what, but the resale unit only needs a little renovation as long as you are satisfied with what the original owner did to it. But if the condition is poor the design is totally out of sync with your personality then you have to spend a lot on tearing everything down and starting afresh

Neighborhood amenities

Buying a new BTO may place you in a community with yet to operationalize amenities, therefore, making your first apartment unimpressive to live it with many units still under renovations, landscaping not fully done and so on. However, when you opt for a resale HDB flat, you will find everything running, and families living in all the apartments meaning life and bustle will surround you. It will be easy to know how the traffic situation is, social places, schools and places of worship. The amenities significantly affect the value of the property, so it will be easy to guess what you have to part with and how the BTO prices will rise in a given estate.

Grant money or living near parents

Living near your parents makes you eligible for an extra grant amount for your new house if your parents live in an HDB flat. It is easier to get a resale HDB around 2 kilometers from your parent than to buy a new BTO. Buying a resale flat, therefore, earns you some money through the higher tier CPF grant.

Loan eligibility

Buying a resale HDB flat still, places you in the eligibility criteria for getting a bank or HDB loan. The choice between these two types of loan is for you to decide depending on your financial strategy.

Price differences

At face value, new BTO are way cheaper than buying resale flats since the former are subsidized by the government. However, if you look at the houses in detail, you find the older HDB are more spacious since HDB have been playing around with the floor sizes over the years. If you compare the price differences based on floor size, you find that the older and new ones have a very marginal price difference even though resale ones are still higher. The best way to assess this is by comparing prices per square feet. Both options come with unique financial benefits, for instance, BTO has the option for additional CPF grant and Special CPF grant making it a total of $80,000 depending on your meeting certain criteria. Resale HDB, on the other hand, offers the freedom of choosing the location you like and can, therefore, place you close to your parents making you eligible to get the proximity housing grant of a maximum $20,000.

Location

The location of your BTO flat depends on the choices of the HDB and trends over the years have proven that BTOs are rarely launched at the best places since private developers have already taken the good spots. Resale HDB, on the other hand, gives lots of flexibility regarding location since they can be sold anywhere within the island, this grants the buyer so much latitude in deciding where to stay.

This inflexibility of BTO should not, however, discourage you from buying since the government is committed to developing every part of the island and sooner or later, the spot that appears less mature in real estate will be developed, so there is no poor location. The not-so-amazing neighborhood can flourish in a matter of years to a beautiful place. But if you have no patience then going for a resale flat is the best option if you have commitments like work, college and parents to stay close to.

Lease terms

The lease term is paramount to every homeowner. BTOs all come with a 99-year leasehold meaning the older BTOs that are now in the market as resale HDB may have about 60 to 70 years left. This should make the older ones of lower value than the newer BTO with their full leasehold intact. There will come a time when this lease issue will factor majorly in evaluating the resale flats. If you plan to leave the flat to your children then instead of leaving them with a time bomb, buy an apartment with a long leasehold left in case you have no time to wait for the new BTO. With this taken into account, a resale flat is till preferable as long as it has ample time left and the price is fair to that effect.

Design

It is no secret that newer BTOs have improved design and floor arrangements compared to the older ones that are now in the resale market. The standard layout of the current BTO is much better when compared to those of the older HDB flats. They have the living room and dining space alongside the kitchen and a small walkway separating the three bedrooms to provide privacy. They now have the common bathroom near the bedrooms in contrast to the previous designs where the bathroom was near the kitchen. The older ones, with the wide open spaces, provide flexibility to the owners who can customize the home layout as desired. With a large budget and an experienced interior designer, you can plan and change the spaces as you please.

This, however, is dependent on personal preferences, some people do not mind living in a house with a decade old design since not so much changes anyway in the course of a decade. The resale HDB flats may then be the preference to most people since there is no need to hire expensive interior designers for the house has been designed and renovated by the first owner who got it as a new empty house. Just pick a resale flat that has the interior you can live with and start staying in it.

Floor size

With the ever changing floor designs over the years, HDB today creates smaller units with lower floor size compared to the older flats. If you want a larger house, then the resale HDB are the best for you and your family. This factors in the price, the older ones may appear more expensive, but when you compare the floor size, you may end up paying about the same price as the new BTO.

A BTO flat makes the most financial sense when everything is considered unless you find yourself ineligible. You get a cheaper option with 99-year lease meaning your children and grandchildren will enjoy the benefits of the house before the lease runs out. The downside to BTO is the waiting time, limited choice in location and undeveloped neighborhood. You can make the down payment and hope you and your partner will wait and stick together for the duration of the estate development or get a rental as long as you can afford it.

The choice to buy a HDB BTO or a Resale flat depends on one’s financial stability at that point in time. Each buyer would have their own preference with regards to homes that will not apply to another. What is most important is to remember that, whatever your decision is, you should not be rash as a home is an asset that you will be paying for a very long time.

Lunar New Year 2017

image

Before the clock strikes 12, The Chewys would like to wish everyone good health and a prosperous Year of the Rooster!

LongQing 隆庆 Specialty Hotpot Singapore Review

Invited Tasting

A32A0234

I’m a typical Singaporean who love having sumptuous hotpots with my family and friends from time to time. When I was recently invited to LongQing 隆庆 Specialty Hotpot along Hong Kong Street, I just couldn’t say no! Unlike many other hotpot restaurants, 8-month old LongQing prides itself in its no-MSG soup bases that are cooked for hours on end daily using ingredients like herbs, meat and bones. Apart from the extensive ala carte menu, hotpot set menus for 2 pax ($55 – $65), and 6 pax ($180) are available as well.

A32A0296

Even though LongQing is barely a year old, business was evidently brisk after 7pm which make reservations highly recommended. The restaurant exudes a warm, homely atmosphere and owner James Chiew explained that the murals are paintings of his wife, who hails from Chong Qing, and his then 3-month old son.

A32A0236

We had some appetisers to munch on while waiting for the soup bases to be served. The Chilled Spicy Black Fungus ($6.80) was spicy and tangy, making it a great appetite-whetter, plus the fungus crunched with every bite!

A32A0239

The Spicy Garlic Pork Belly ($10) was a pure delight especially when dipped into the accompanying sauce. The thinly sliced pork belly was tender with just the right amount of fat.

A32A0241

I’m a huge fan of braised pig ears since I was a little girl and I love having them with plain porridge. Very happy to know that LongQing serves Braised Pig Ear with Mashed Cucumber ($10) which was well-marinated with spices.

A32A0245

A must-have for hotpot meals, the Crispy Fish Skin ($3.80) can be eaten on its own, dipped in your own concoction of sauces, or better yet, with the delicious soup bases!

A32A0285

Little misschewy really enjoyed eating the crispy fish skin!

A32A0278

At LongQing, four types of soup bases are available, which are priced at $14 for an individual base and $18 for a mix of two bases as seen in the above photo. The Wild Mushroom soup base was really fragrant; a must-try if you are a mushroom lover like me. It is boiled using a variety of mushrooms and herbs, resulting in a natural sweetness from the juices of the mushrooms. James explained that in actuality, ma la soup bases are not supposed to be drunk because it is made using beef lard which is supposedly very oily and unhealthy. He has tweaked his recipe for the Spicy Ma La soup base such that it is not so oily for customers at LongQing to enjoy drinking it. The ma la soup bases that I had tried at other restaurants were just numbingly spicy, while the one at LongQing is addictively flavourful!

A32A0280

For those who prefer something simple can go for the Signature Clear Broth. The taste is actually quite mild, which allows the taste and freshness of the hotpot ingredients to stand out. It was our first time trying Tomato Soup as a hotpot soup base and the experience was a pleasant one. The tomato soup was sweet and very robust. Let’s take a look at the ingredients that we had! All in all, the meat and veggies were all very fresh, and we could really taste the natural sweetness of the ingredients.

A32A0250

Vegetable Platter ($12)

A32A0256

Pork Belly ($11)

A32A0294

Pork Collar ($11)

A32A0258

Pig Liver ($8)

A32A0248

Crispy Beancurd Skin Roll ($6.80)

A32A0259

Mushroom Platter ($12)

A32A0260

Handmade Pork Balls ($12)

A32A0261

Luncheon Meat ($6.80)

A32A0293

Beancurd Skin with Fish Paste ($3.80)

A32A0308

Ended our hotpot meal with some desserts! The Pumpkin Cake ($7.80) was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and tasted mildly sweet. Even though we were feeling quite full from the hotpot, the pumpkin cake seemed to complete the entire meal.

A32A0322

A32A0306

We also enjoyed the Crispy Taro Balls ($7.80) which were first steamed before being fried. This is LongQing’s popular dessert and you need to call and reserve!

FESTIVE PLATTER 1
Photo credit: LongQing

This Chinese New Year, gather your family and friends for hotpot at LongQing and indulge in their CNY Seafood Platter ($188) which is very value-for-money considering there are premium seafood such as lobster, abalone, sea cucumber, prawn, scallop and fish! These six chosen ingredients symbolise 六六大顺!

A32A0347

Apart from the hearty MSG-free soup bases and premium quality food ingredients, service is attentive and top-notch. Also, misterchewy gave a thumbs up for their Mandopop playlist. Do check out LongQing’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LongQing.sg/ for more info!

LongQing 隆庆 Hotpot
18 Hong Kong Street
Singapore 059661
Tel: 65331618
Email: reservation@bigj.sg

Opening Hours:
Tue to Fri
11.30am – 2.30pm (Last order 2pm)
Tue to Sun
5.30pm – 11pm (Last order 10.30pm)

5 Common Excuses for Not Getting a Mammogram

Breast Cancer Awareness

Growing up, I was blessed to be raised in an environment filled with strong women. My mom, sister, aunts, and cousins – they give meaning to the phrase ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

But the unfortunate truth remains that breast cancer continues to take the lives of many women here in Singapore. And the number increases with each year.

These women were someone’s mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and niece, and so on. They probably meant the world to someone.

We hear about breast cancer so much – in the news, on TV, even in Korean dramas! – but how many of us are actually concerned about it?

You know the answer.

Many of us take it for granted that we will never be that ‘unlucky’ one. In fact, we don’t even think for a minute that there might be a minute chance we’d end up with breast cancer. So we take it lightly, even as it goes around claiming the lives of our fellowmen.

Breast cancer is a real concern and we can do something about it.

As with most medical conditions, early diagnosis and treatment can allow infected women to lead normal, healthy lives. So it is with good reason that we should encourage our loved female family and friends. Women above the age of 40 are advised to go for screenings regularly. And by regularly, I mean once a year for those aged 40 and above, and twice a year for those aged 50 and above.

The most effective detection method of breast cancer is mammograms – an X-ray examination of the breasts. Courtesy of my mom, I now know that mammogram is a painful and uncomfortable process for most women but it is one worth the awkwardness! Because when cancer is detected early enough, chances are it is smaller and confined to one area.

This means there is a higher chance of cure and more available treatment options to choose from (if required). There is also lesser chance for the need to undergo chemotherapy (no hair loss!) and removal of the breast(s).

But the harsh truth is many of us are guilty of delaying detection. Correction: Many of us don’t even schedule an appointment with a gynaecologist! We make up excuses all the time!

I am way too busy

No, you are never too busy for your own health! A mammogram only takes about 3 to 5 minutes and the entire session can be over in an hour. Besides, the service is highly available islandwide so enquire at the nearest clinic.

Mammograms are too painful

Do you avoid a flu vaccination just because injections sting like a bee? Nope!

Not many women find mammograms painful, though some may experience some sort of discomfort. Even if you do feel some pain, be rest assured that it is temporary.

Look at the bigger picture: That momentary discomfort or pain will eventually benefit you in the long run!

I feel good and healthy

No one expects themselves to be infected by cancer but breast cancer is known to befall women who lead seemingly healthy lives. So you think you’re healthy? Well, think again.

I don’t have any symptoms

Breast cancer often occurs with no obvious symptoms at all. If you wait till symptoms start showing before going for screening, you are sabotaging your opportunities of detecting cancer early.

I am afraid. What if I do have breast cancer?

I can’t tell you not to be afraid because finding out you have cancer is surely scary, but take heart that you’re discovering it early and securing your chances for recovery! Don’t let cancer tear down your life.

Late detection and treatment of breast cancer would give the cancer cells time to spread to other parts of the body. By that stage, treatment becomes more difficult and there are also lesser treatment options available. (You should also know that by this point, the chances of surviving the next 5 years become significantly lower.)

Now, that definitely doesn’t sound like good news.

If you know of someone who should go for a mammogram, encourage her to go for it. Go with her if possible. The support she gets during a mammogram scan works magic to comfort her during the entire process.

Or if you fit the bill yourself, you already know what to do.

For a first-timer, to ease your anxieties, find out what you can expect during a mammogram.

Kenjo Hair Salon: Mucota Scena+ Hair Treatment & Discount Code

PC049903

Maintaining a healthy head of hair takes more than just regular shampooing and conditioning. Do you know that our hair becomes coarse, dry and brittle not only through daily wear and tear, but is further worsened by heat treatment, UV radiation and chemical treatment? It is important that we allow our hair to undergo treatment regularly in order to strengthen our hair, put back its moisture, as well as restore its natural balance.

Untitled

I had the luxury of returning to Kenjo Hair Salon for the award-winning 3-step Mucota Scena+ hair treatment earlier this month before our Christmas photoshoot. As usual, I was promptly showed to my seat and then asked if I would like a drink. Biscuits were served along with orange juice! The hair assistant proceeded to give me a pampering hair wash and head massage which felt very invigorating.

Untitled

Before beginning the treatment proper, a special machine was used to spray distilled water all over my hair. The machine is powered by nano technology which allows tiny water molecules to penetrate the hair follicles more effectively for better absorption of the Mucota Scena+ later on.

Untitled

Using advances in material-sciences and biotechnology, Scena+ restores and protects hair by focusing on replacing important natural elements that make up the intercellular components in hair. Scena+ is a new exquisite treatment from Mucota that restores hair internally using ingredients found in hair itself.

Untitled

First step: Adel – Moisture Base Treatment

Adel contains a mixture of 4 kinds of ceramides, cholesterol and phytosphingosine that can be found in natural ceramide. It is applied to freshly shampooed hair and then rinsed off. This step creates ideal conditions for treatment by deep hydration and restoration of natural hair elements, making hair soft and hydrated.

Second step: Brava – Intensive Hair Repair

Brava contains 5 different hair repair elements to target different kinds of damage to hair. A net-like structure in hair is created that prevents essential elements from flowing out and improves texture at the same time.

Third step: Calore – Lustre Protect and Seal

Finally, Calore protects hair cuticle by restoring its hydrophobic surface. It prolongs treatment effects in hair via super lipidure; coating the outer cuticle with a 7-layered lamellar liquid crystal nano-structure and creating a pseudo-cuticle, keeping hair shiny, smooth and silky.

Untitled

Heat is applied to ensure that the goodness of the treatment products get absorbed into my hair! I went for a final hair wash after about 15 minutes.

PC049907

I felt like a different person as I stepped out of Kenjo salon. My hair was no longer dry and lifeless. Instead, it was so smooth, silky and bouncy that I could not resist touching my hair every now and then!

Untitled

Kenjo Hair Salon has been running its Christmas promotion consisting of specially selected Mucota AIRE products which you can use in the comfort of your own home! Both packages even come with a free mini styling iron! Definitely something you would want to bring along for your overseas trips! For more info on the individual products and its functions, please refer here. HURRY! Only a few sets left!

Untitled

I would definitely recommend the Mucota Scena+ hair treatment as a regular treatment to pamper your tresses and what’s really awesome is that it takes only about an hour, so you can even consider popping by Kenjo salon during your lunch time! For new customers, call 62388083 to make an appointment and don’t forget to quote “Missuschewy” to enjoy 15% off all hair services at Kenjo!

Kenjo Salon
68 Orchard Road
#04-72
Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6238 8083 (New customers quote “Missuschewy’ for 15% off)
Email: kenjosalon@singnet.com.sg

Opening Hours:
Daily
11am to 8pm (including Public Holidays)