Friday, May 04, 2018

Japan Autumn Travel: Osaka Castle

Travelling to Japan during autumn is such an amazing experience that you would be thinking to yourself that you would need to be back the next autumn again. I’ve been to Osaka Castle and frankly, apart from it being an iconic landmark in Osaka, there was really no real reason to go back again. But, it’s autumn and I am curious what Osaka Castle looks like in Autumn (Don’t we all?!). And since it’s going to be the kids’ first time there, it’s absolutely legit. So, off we went for a typical tourist visit!

P/S: Photos speak a thousand words, especially in Autumn. So, spam begins!

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For comparison sake, you can check out my post from two years ago, when I visited Osaka Castle during winter!

You can read the other entries on my Osaka Travel here.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Blinds For Our Home–No More Glaring Sunlight!

Product Review

We lived 3 months in our new house without blinds or curtains in the house because we couldn’t decide what we wanted. Don’t know how we survived without them for so long but I can confidently tell people now why you NEED to have blinds or curtains for your home – For privacy and for snoozing! Without blinds, my house being a corridor HDB unit, has people looking into the house every time they walk past and that is a little awkward when they see me slouching in the couch in a less-than-elegant position. =P Sleeping in late was not possible at all during the pre-blinds days because the sunlight comes right in by 8am! So, I AM VERY GLAD WE FINALLY HAVE BLINDS! Yay!

We checked with several curtains and blinds suppliers before deciding to go with The Curtains Design, mainly because I felt most comfortable talking to Marcus, the staff who handled our purchase. Price will always be our key concern, but if the service staff is able to make me feel at ease and confident, it is a major plus point for me. From taking measurements and quoting of prices to design selection and installation, everything went smoothly and I am glad that my house is finally complete now!

We like to collect and display vintage items around the house, so when we were deciding what kind of blinds or curtains to go with for the house, that was a major consideration. We wanted something simple and classic, without stealing the show from the vintage decorations that will fill up the house eventually. In the end, we opted for white & black Venetian PVC blinds for the living room and dining room, keeping the design the same so that there is a uniform look throughout.

This is the dining room area. I used to be worried about choosing white incase they get dirty fast, but that is such a major misconception! The truth is, black things look dirty much easier and they need to be cleaned all the time in order to ‘appear clean’. It is exactly opposite for white items! Plus, my white blinds match my white marble dining table and the walls perfectly. =)

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This is the main living room with the same Venetian PVC blinds. Love it! =D

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And this is the small window near the main entrance. Same uniform look throughout Level 1 of the house.

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These blinds are easy to maintain – Just wipe with cloth from time to time, or use a duster on it.

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For our bedrooms, we opted for roller blinds because we wanted a more black-out option for snoozing. Decided to use the same light grey roller blinds for all three bedrooms, for uniformity again. These roller blinds are easy and smooth to roll up to whichever level I want, depending on how much sunlight I want to allow into the room. And when it’s all rolled down, the room is totally dark and perfect for sleeping in!

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I personally don’t like curtains because they give a more ‘soft feel’ to the house, which is contradictory to the industrial vintage look for the house. Plus, curtains seem to become dirty faster and need to be taken down to wash frequently. I am all for fuss-free and easy maintenance, so blinds is a natural choice for me anytime.

I was initially concerned about the massive cleaning I have to do with all the drilling needed to install the blinds, but to my surprise, there was virtually nothing to clean up at all (I’m not sure why though – there was drilling of holes at every point!) The installation guys did such a fast and perfect installation that I was amazed at how fast everything was up. So, if you are considering changing the curtains or blinds for your house that you are already living in, don’t worry! It’s not going to cause that much of a hassle. =P

Check out The Curtains Design now for your house and transform your house into a lovely and cosy nest that you love! For more information, check out https://www.facebook.com/thecurtainsdesign/ or contact Marcus for more info at 86661155.

This is part of my Making Of Our Dream Home series. Click to read the other entries in the series.

Disclosure: This is a partial sponsorship by The Curtains Design for an honest review of their products and services on this blog. All photographs and opinions are solely ours.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Montigo Resorts, Nongsa: A Paradise 45 Minutes Away From Singapore

Media Review

What’s 45 minutes away from Singapore and looks like a paradise?

MONTIGO RESORTS ,NONGSA!

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Truth be told, I was really excited when the day of our 2D1N trip to Montigo Resorts, Nongsa came because I had seen so many beautiful photos of the place and I really needed a place to chill and rejuvenate after a busy start to the year. But I was also a little worried that I might be disappointed if the place didn’t match up to my high expectations. When we finally reached, it was not what I expected – It way exceeded my expectations! Here are 5 things I love about our Montigo Resorts, Nongsa experience:

1. It’s So Near To Singapore!

It was surreal that such a beautiful paradise lies just 45 minutes away from Singapore by ferry. Singapore is so busy and hectic, so to know that escape is readily accessible is really a happy thing. We took a ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and arrived after 45 minutes at Nongsapura Batam Island Terminal. That’s how fast and fuss-free it is.

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After clearing the immigrations, we were greeted by friendly staff from Montigo Resorts, Nongsa with a vehicle waiting for us. Complimentary transfers to the resort are included in your reservations.

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2. Spacious & Luxurious Villa!

Montigo Resorts, Nongsa is a luxurious resort – All accommodation are in villa style with one to five bedrooms to choose from. I’ll let the photos show you how amazing our Two-bedroom Hill-top Villa was!

Our villa has three storeys and Level 1 is the living room, kitchenette and private lap pool (Yes, every villa has its own private pool!)

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Taking the stairs up to Level 2 will bring you to the bedrooms! Both bedrooms come with attached bathrooms. There is one more bathroom on Level 1.

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Master bedroom is gorgeous and spacious with a poster bed and a really huge bathroom with bath tub and separate standing shower and toilet. The seaview from the master bedroom is a treat! In fact, the whole villa has perfect seaview from every window in the villa!

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The second bedroom comes with two single beds and perfect for my two girls.

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Level 3 of the villa is an open terrace with abundant seats and a super amazing view. This is a great place for chilling out with drinks while watching the sunset in the evening. Love, love, love it!

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The husband sunbathed there during the afternoon and got a really decent tan!

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Unquestionably, the private pool was the highlight for everyone and we spent most of our time there during our stay. Even when I was not in the pool, I was sitting by the dining table next to the pool, watching my girls and immersing in the beautiful view.

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3. Beautiful & Peaceful Paradise!

Getting around the villa is via buggy (Just call and a buggy arrives shortly at your villa) or you can choose to walk. We took a walk to the beach bar and jetty and fell in love with how beautiful the whole place was.

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4. Family-Friendly Activities

Montigo Resorts, Nongsa is frankly not a resort where there are a hundred and one activities to choose from, but that was perhaps why we liked it so much. There was sufficient activities to occupy everyone without the need to rush. I like a holiday that allows us to chill and relax.

TIIGO Beach Club

Choose to hang around at the beach bar with a few drinks and play simple games.

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Private Karaoke Room: BeltOut

I didn’t expect the private karaoke room to be so comfortable and cosy. We sang our hearts out for two hours! =P

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Tilo Kids Club

This was one of the most rustic Kids’ Club I’ve seen in a resort – It’s not fancy or huge, but it is good enough for kids to hang around with staff to play with them. It is more suitable for younger kids though – My 9 and 12 year-olds didn’t exactly stay there much. Programmes are planned for the kids to keep them occupied though, and if you plan to go for spa, this is a good place to leave them for a couple of hours.

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Montigo Spa

A resort is not complete without a spa! We enjoyed a one-hour private couple spa session and it was so good for our tired bodies!

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Thai Cooking Class

The kids had one session of cooking class with the chef and they cooked our lunch for that day! I may be biased, but the food was good! And the kids had tons of fun!

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In-Villa Dining

This was one of our favorite moments at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa! The staff came over to our villa to start up the fire and set up the dining table next to the pool, at about 4pm in the evening. At our agreed dinner time at 6.30pm, 3 staff consisting of one butler and two staff in-charged of barbecuing the food turned up with the food. I have to commend them for their exquisite and exemplary service levels! We felt super duper pampered throughout the dinner! I would recommend this experience to everyone who is going to Montigo Resorts, Nongsa because it is one-of-a-kind luxurious experience. The kids swam throughout the whole dinner, coming up for bites of delicious barbecued food now and then, while the husband and I just chilled and chatted. Drinks in the villa fridge were complimentary, so we wiped out everything. Haha! The dinner that evening felt like a perfect moment we might never forget. =)

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We had the Surf & Turf Barbecue Set for two served to us, and it consisted of 120 gr beef tenderloin, marinated garlic 150 gr half spring chicken, marinated local spice 180 gr rosemary lamb chops 80 gr squid 160 gr king prawns 160 gr basil snapper fillet grilled selection is served with green salad, vegetables, fruit platter, mint jelly, dijon mustard, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce and coffee or tea. What a feast! The kids were also served beef bolognaise pasta each, which I believed were additional orders for them.

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While the staff barbecued, our butler served us salads and appetizers, and made sure our water was always topped up quickly. The personalized service was top-notch! And the food served to us was so delicious, I loved every bite!

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It was such a magical night!

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5. Food & More Food!

We had 2 meals within the resorts during our stay and enjoyed both! Settled lunch at their Thai Chinese restaurant – Pantai Restaurant, and had their set lunch menu. Simple meal but I liked the ambience!

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Breakfast is always a highlight for me on holidays, and Montigo Resorts’ buffet breakfast at Tadd’s Restaurant was sumptuous and good!

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Finally, a compilation video of our 2D1N experience at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa! Enjoy!


I found this Family Fun Getaway package on their website – Make sure you check them out and make your bookings soon!

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GIVEAWAY!

Big thanks to our generous sponsor – Montigo Resorts, Nongsa, I have a 2D1N Villa Stay to give away to one happy reader of The J Babies! Please follow instructions in the Rafflecopter to participate (Only entries via Rafflecopter are valid). All the best!

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