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Monday, March 23, 2015

Remembering and Honoring Our Founding Father

Thank You for making Singapore a place we proudly call HOME.

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How To Shine Your Leather Shoes

Now that i have received a fine pair of calf leather oxford shoes from Meermin Mallorca. I thought it would be a great chance to share how i keep my dress shoes looking beautiful, clean and 'healthy'. Keeping them well maintained so that they will look good, last longer and make us look dapper !

Oxford Hiro Calf
Meermin Oxford

Regardless of how nice your shoes are, after a couple of wears, they can start looking worn and ugly - especially if you do not put in the effort to maintain them. 

If you haven't shined shoes before, don't worry - it's actually really simple and often therapeutic (at least for me). You will need a few things beforehand, though - which you can buy, depending on your budget, anywhere from a professional shoe shop (ed et al) to somewhere like NTUC, Tangs or Robinsons.

Here's what you will need

Essentials to maintain your shoe
The Essentials

A soft cloth. This can really be anything from a rag or an old t-shirt to a special buffing cloth (I normally use cut out parts of my old T-shirts).

A can of shoe polish. The cheapest ones sold at the regular super markets costs a couple of dollars. (Kiwi, etc). Make sure to get the appropriate polish to match your shoe color.

A good shoe brush. Usually these will cost you anywhere between $5 and $10. If you feel a tad luxurious, a fine horse hair brush from Allen Edmonds will cost you about $15.

A good quality leather conditioner. Saphir has one of the best range of leather conditioners for shoes. I personally use the highly recommended Saphir Renovateur, which costs about $28 (At Tangs), for all my leather products.

Here's what you do

First, brush off any dirt, mud, dust or other debris on your shoe using your brush or a damp cloth. I normally use a small brush (Allen Edmonds sells a great horse hair brush).

Wait for the shoe to air-dry before continuing to the next step. This will allow the leather to fully absorb the conditioner that you will be applying in the next step.

Apply a conditioner*, apply liberally to coat a protective layer onto the leather parts of your shoe. Allow it to dry for about 10-15 minutes.

* I use the product called Saphir Renovateur - which is both a cleaner and a conditioner. When used as a base for a new polish, it helps remove any prior polish product that has built up in the pores of the leather. It is able to deeply penetrates the upper lining to supply the essential nutrients required to maintain sufficient moisture. This allows the leather to 'breathe', which ultimately prevents drying and cracking. Let's just call this the moisturizing 'SPA' treatment for your expensive shoes.

Next, apply a little bit (dab the size of a five cent coin) of your shoe polish to the shoe with your cloth. Rub the shoe in small circles, using just a small amount of shoe polish at a time. 

Use your shoe brush to brush any excess polish off the shoe. 

Lastly, take your cloth, t-shirt or buffing cloth and buff out the rest of your shoe until it shines.

Infographic (Credits: Russell Shaw)

Shining your shoes is a simple process that should only take you no more than thirty minutes. Investing that few minutes to Keep your dress shoes looking great and conditioned will ensure that it lasts longer. Give it a try and your shoes will be thanking you for your efforts. :)

** If you are looking for great quality shoe care products at affordable prices do check out my latest article here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

L'Atelier Tiramisu - One of The Best Tiramisu In Singapore

Tiramisu, which means "Pick me up" in Italian, is a dessert that is so commonly misrepresented that many people in Singapore don't exactly know how a good one should taste. Made with high quality dark chocolate, creamy mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers, commonly dipped in coffee liqueur. This popular Italian dessert appears on many dessert menus of restaurants in Singapore. Yet, not many taste as authentic or exquisite as the ones made by L'Atelier Tiramisu!

Tiramisu ($6.90)

Classico and Matcha Tiramisu

Matcha Tiramisu
Classico & Matcha

Four variations of this delightful dessert is on offer here.

Classico - Classic Tiramisu
Dark Cherry

We tried the Matcha and Classico.

The Classico ticks all the boxes to qualify it as one of the best Tiramisu i have ever eaten in Singapore.

The layers of mascarpone is light and fluffy, providing a nice setting for the coffee dipped ladyfinger. For me, it is crucial that the ladyfingers are not too wet or mushy. The Classico is perfect in this aspect - something can only be achieved if the dessert is allowed to rest in a fridge for a few hours. The 'icing' on the cake was the chocolate shavings, liberally sprinkled on the top, complimenting each bite with a slight bitterness that was pleasant and refreshing.

Make sure you try the Classico and pair it with a nice cup of cappuccino ! Enjoy !

The Central @ Clarke Quay
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Singapore 059817

Opening Hours:
Nearest MRT: (Clarke Quay MRT, Exit F)
Monday - Friday: 12pm-9pm 
Saturday: 1pm-8pm 
Sunday: 1pm-7pm

Update: L'Atelier Tiramisu is undergoing renovations and will re-open sometime in June 2015.

Friday, March 13, 2015

FatCat Ice Cream Bar - Simply Delectable Waffles

Waffles, Waffles, Waffles ! 

Ever since trying Waffles at Creamier, We have been on a hunt to try some of the best Waffles in Singapore. Our next stop was the famed FatCat Ice Cream Bar, for their Gourmet "流沙" Waffles. Pictures of the Waffles from FatCat Ice Cream bar has been turning up on our instagram feed. We were piqued to find out how well this savoury treat will blend with our beloved ice creams.
fat cat ice cream cafe
Image Credit: Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar

Gourmet Waffle ($6)

Gourmet Waffles & Banana Caramel Ice Cream
Drizzle Liberally!!
The Gourmet Waffle is a MUST try at Fat Cat ! Apparently, they have really limited quantities on these deviously delicious waffles. Each portion of these Waffles comes accompanied with generous amounts of caramel and hints of lavender buds. The ingenuity of this waffles however, is the liquid salted egg mixture. When served, you will be instructed to drizzle this savoury mixture across your waffle (it is NOT enough, so drizzle it sparingly).

Don't be fool by its color, the charcoal waffle does not taste anything remotely close to anything 'charred'. In fact it has a mild buttermilk sweetness and tinge of savoury goodness, a perfect harmony if you were to ask me. Relatively crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

Ice Cream ($3.90) or ($4.50 for Premium Flavours)

We tried the Banana Caramel Ice Cream as the our original choice of the Earl Grey was out-of-stock. The ice cream was good, but nothing spectacular. We could taste the rich flavour of the Banana but the ice cream was slightly too sweet for my liking. Perhaps we chose the wrong flavour and we were too quick to judge, but there are definitely better ice cream cafes around.

The overall concept of this ice cream bar really sets it apart from many of its peers. Creativity and Passion are at the core of each dessert. These specially created desserts do not come cheap, but they will indeed tantalize your taste buds and excite your senses. Unfortunately, due to their popularity and limited quantities produced each day, they often run out of desserts or waffles towards the latter part of the day. The secret to avoiding disappointment is to be REALLY early !

* Check out their facebook for more news

Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar

416 Bedok North Avenue 2
#01-25 S(460416)
6241 0830

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

4 Reasons To Hold Off Buying The Apple Watch

Having just been unveiled as the latest product in Apple's new wearable technology line, the Apple Watch is already garnering huge interest from gadget lovers all over the world. If you are as excited as i am about all of Apple's product launch and cant wait to get your hands on one, then read on.
Apple Watch
Image Credit: Apple Watch

Let us first introduce the Apple Watch.

The watch comes in three categories, two different sizes (watch face), and approximately 35 different combinations based on the different finishes and straps you can purchase it with.

The Watch Sport features a strengthened Ion-X glass face which purportedly makes it highly rugged and great for the active user. It is also the lightest of the three Apple Watch editions because its case is made from anodized aluminium - a light weight material.

The Apple Watch is made from a custom low carbon stainless steel alloy (316L). This material is very strong and corrosion resistant. However, the downside of the 316L steel is the inclusion of trace amounts of Nickel - Nickel is a metal that is know to cause allergies to the skin. This version of the watch comes with a high quality scratch resistant sapphire crystal.

Finally, the Apple Watch Edition is designed for the fashion-conscious (and rich), with its beautiful 18-carat gold case available in yellow or rose gold. This version of the watch comes with a high quality scratch resistant sapphire crystal.

The watch face itself comes in two sizes. One is 42mm long; the other is 38mm.

Based on my understanding, the three editions only vary based on the materials used for the casing. Specifications of the hardware 'under the hood' is the same for all the Apple Watch models.

Three Different Apple Watch

Before you spend hundreds of dollars (or more) on one of these watches, here are four things to consider:

Battery Life

As with all portable electronic devices, battery life will be a major consideration for most buyers. Having a watch that needs to be recharged more than once a day may put some buyers off. Another key point to note is the connectivity with the iPhone, as this may also significantly impact the battery life.

Apple reports that the Apple Watch will last a good 18 hours and 72 (on standby). I would be a little skeptical on this figure, as the amount of usage varies between users. Someone who uses the phone regularly for calls or messaging will likely receive a lot more notifications on his Apple Watch, which will in turn be more demanding on its power consumption. Personally, it would be pretty annoying to have to charge my watch everyday.

Waterproof or Resistance

There has been suggestions by Apple, that the Apple Watch, despite being available in a 'Sports' edition, is not Waterproof nor Water Resistant. Although at the time of this article, there has been some unofficial reports that the Apple Watch will be able to withstand being in the shower or an extremely sweaty workout. It remains to be seen if the final released version of the Apple Watches are able to pass this test.

Price & Compatibility

Whilst the price at launch is very slightly prohibitive, i am pretty sure it would not stop the hardcore Apple fans from getting their hands on one of these beautifully designed smart watches. Indicative* pricing is as follows:

The entry level Apple Watch Sport, which comes in  anodized aluminum cases, will start at around US$349 (S$483).

The mid-level Apple Watch, made from polished stainless steel, will range from US$549 (S$760) to $1,099 (S$1522).

The Apple Watch Edition, which is crafted from rose or yellow (18-karat gold alloy), is the most expensive of the lot, at upwards of US$10,000 (S$13840).

Pricing of individual customizable bands ranged from a modest US$49 (S$68) for a rubber sport band to a whopping US$449 (S$621) for a stainless steel link bracelet. 

Another point to note, especially for the android users, it only works with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.

*Using SGD/USD conversion of 1.38

Bugs & Features

As with all 1st generation electronic devices, they usually come packed with whole lots of bugs and issues. Many of the features on the Apply Watch are also not really usable in the context of Singapore. For example: Siri and Apple PayPerhaps more functions and applications that are relevant to Singapore users will be made available when the adoption rate of the Apple Watch increases.

Apple Watch Stainless Steel
My Personal Favourite

The Apple Watch will start selling in Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and USA. Singapore will not be amongst the first countries to get the watch, when it goes for sale on April 24.

I guess this could be a blessing in disguise ? ...

Saturday, March 07, 2015

How To Make Money Online In Singapore

Ever wondered if there are any REAL get-rich-quick schemes ? How about those websites that claim they can help you earn thousands of dollars a month - simply by subscribing to their content ? Sorry to burst your bubble, but nothing in this world is free. The good news is, with the advent of the internet, there are lots of opportunities (legitimate) to make money online. All you need is a little inspiration and lots of passion, so please read on.
Make Money
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sell Used Stuff Online

Perhaps one of the easiest way to make money online is to sell the stuff we no longer need. Let's face it, we all find it difficult to throw away gifts or something we have spent our hard earned money on. Yet, selling those stuff not only frees up space in our house, it can also bring back some of the money we had spent - money that can be used to buy things we really need or even to save for the future.

As the saying goes, one man's thrash is another man's treasure. Lets look at a couple of online platforms we can sell our stuff on.


- Excellent application interface, available online as well as on the iOS and Android platforms. Many young and trendy users often buy and sell second hand items here.  


- Easy interface, with excellent buyer/seller protection (for fraud prevention). Great for selling stuff that are targeted at an international audience.


- Simple interface similar to a classified ads, to sell your stuff.

Blog, Vlog or Make Videos

Well, technically, the product you will want to sell is yourself. Your knowledge in a certain domain (example: fashion tips, technology gadget reviews or even gossip news). 

How does this work ?

Setup an account on Blogger (easiest and free) or Youtube. Decide on a niche topic to blog or vlog about. Create quality content in your blog posts and videos, register for a Google Adsense or monetize your videos and watch your income stream grow. Sounds too easy to be true ?. Obviously, before you can generate any income, you will need to find ways to attract traffic to your blog or Youtube channel. Since SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Marketing is a whole separate topic by itself, we will discuss this in another article.

Google Adsense 

- Google Adsense is a program offered by Google for webmasters to embed advertisements on their websites, blogs and forums. The program serves up contextually related advertisements to the visitors of the website. Webmasters will make money, depending on the numbers of clicks on the ads that were served - this is know as the Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Once the $100 threshold is reached, Google will send a cheque with your name. You can read more about it here.

Youtube Monetisation

- Similar to the Adsense program, Youtube allows monetisation of videos that are original in content (Restrictions apply). Advertisements will be served to the viewers of your video and this in turn will generate money for you (as the publisher of the content). As you can already figure out, to earn money from Youtube videos, all you need is a consistent stream of viewers. There is no need for users to actively click on a 'advertisement' in order for you to generate income, unlike via blogs or websites.

There was a recent article in the news that reported a local successful Youtuber who earned a low six figure annual sum from producing Youtube videos. Perhaps he may be a good source of inspiration for your next video !

Start A Blogshop

Whilst there are already a plethora of blogshops selling woman's clothing, the hunger and cravings for new offerings still exists from the fashion conscious generations of youngsters. If you have a great concept of fashion and design, why not start an online blogshop?. Many of the successful local blogshops started off small and have grown into successful businesses in the last 5 years. 

A blogshop has relatively lower overheads as compared to a regular brick-and-mortar shop. For starters, you will need a well designed website, a web domain and an ACRA registered business name. Needless to say, you will need an attractive product range and an audience. whilst the online blogshop scene faces intense competition, it is a very profitable business if done right. 

Take a reference from some of these successful and upcoming blog shops:

Love Bonito

- One of the most established and popular blogshop in Singapore. They have even ventured into shoes and accessories. 

Skirts and Frills
A relatively new blogshop offering some of the most lovely and chic clothing. 

Offer your Service(s)

Perhaps you have a great product, service or skill but don't have the resource or time to start a full fledged business. You can still make money by offering your part time or freelancing services via the following platforms:


- Offer your services such as Graphic design, Marketing, Programming, etc. 

- Sell your home-made Handicraft, Design and Art pieces here.


- Similar to Fiverr, Odesk creates business connections between businesses and freelancers. Register yourself as a freelancer, get hired and paid for your work.

Do not be discouraged if you do not make much progress during the early stages of your journey to make money online. Remember that Rome was not built in a day. Most, if not all, of the successful blogshops, website owners, youtubers have all started small. Good luck and I hope you found this article helpful or interesting. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Project Acai - Antioxidant Goodness

Project Acai (pronounced as "ah-sigh-ee") is a newly opened chic cafe, tucked in the bustling street of Holland V, specializing in desserts made from a berry that is touted to be richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and even blueberries. Project Acai Cafè prides itself for serving organic Sambazon Acai, together with only the freshest fruits and ingredients.

Project Acai Cafe
Image Credit: Project Acai Cafe

It's mainstay, the Acai bowl, comes in the "Handy", "Medium" or "Large" sizes, the Acai mixture is blended with granola and topped with a variety of fruits, goji berries and chia seeds. My favourite toppings is the desiccated coconut shavings - it provides a crispy texture and crunch to each bite. 

Handy Bowl
Handy Size

Fresh Fruits and Garnishes

The preparation of our order took about 5-7 minutes. It's staff takes extreme care in making the dessert as much of a visual treat as it is for the taste buds. The Acai blend at the bottom has a slight tartness and light sweetness. Quite similar in taste to a partially ripe blueberry, yet with a tinge of bitter after taste. When mixed and eaten with the fresh fruits, coconut strips and garnishing, each bite is surprisingly refreshing! 

For the health conscious, most conventional desserts are often out of bounds due to the obscene amounts of refined sugar that goes into making it. Project Açaí creates a beautiful, unique and healthy dessert, allowing dessert lovers to enjoy without having to worry about unnecessary calories and refined sugars.

Note: They do provide take-away the Acai blend in powder packs for your own home made smoothies.

Project AÇAÍ
27 Lorong Liput
Holland Village

Nearest MRT - Circle Line (Holland Village). 

Monday, March 02, 2015

REITs - Key Indicators that Affect Your Investment Choices

In my previous article, I wrote about the virtues of REITs (REITs, pronounced "Reets"). Whilst it's easy to paint a good picture, it is equally important to highlight some aspects and metrics that would have an impact on our REIT investment choices. 

Credit Image: Shutterstock


NAV - Net asset value, is the value of an entity's assets minus the value of its liabilities. Simply put, this is calculated by taking all of the current assets of the REIT, minus away its liabilities, divided by its units outstanding in the stock market. The result is an estimate of the intrinsic value of the REIT, which serves as a yardstick for assessment.  

A REIT with a high NAV with respect to its share price, is said to under valued by the market. Conversely, a REIT with a low NAV with respect to its share price is said to be over valued (or highly favored). In theory, the quoted share price should usually does not stray too far from the NAV per share.

Interest Rates

Interest Rates have a direct correlation on the price and financial health of a REIT. This is because in general, properties bought in trust by the REITs are usually heavily leveraged (up to 35%* based on MAS regulations). To simplify it further, this means that for every $100 worth of property, a maximum of $35 used to buy it can be borrowed from a bank or financial institution. 

This 35% would incur a borrowing costs (See "Gearing") and it is dependent on the movement in interest rates. In an environment where interest rates are low, interest expense will be manageable, thereby positively affecting a REIT's profitability. On the flip side, when interest rates are high, there will be a negative impact on the bottom line of the REIT. 

To fully understand the impact of interest rate movements, it is important to weigh the proportion of fixed versus floating-rate debt. In a low interest rate environment, a REIT that uses only floating-rate debt will be hurt if interest rates rise.

* At present, REITs are subject to a leverage limit of 35% of their total assets. This limit can be increased to 60% if the REIT obtains a credit rating and discloses the rating to the public.


Most, if not all, REITs require heavy financing for their property acquisitions and operations. The gearing ratio is an indicator of the financial leverage undertaken by the REIT. It is the total borrowings (both short-term and long-term) divided by total assets. 

REITs with high gearing tend to be more risky, especially when borrowing becomes expensive (when interest rates goes up). In general, most S-REITs (Singapore REITS) have acceptable levels of debt. However, it is worth while to note that higher gearing means higher borrowing costs and potentially translates to lesser net profits. This in turn affects the distributions that are paid out to its unit holders.


The main driver of revenues from REITs are the rental income from leasing. In an ideal world, trustees would hope to achieve 100% occupancy of the properties under their management. However, tenancy rates are dependent heavily on several factors. Tenants have to consider rental costs, geographical location, competitiveness and lease tenures among others.

When considering a REIT, it is important to look at its occupancy rates. It gives a good indication of the management strategy, prospects for growth and future rental income collection. 


Distributions are the main drivers of investors to REITs. While similar to dividends, companies that give dividends usually have no obligation or fixed policy to do so but distributions are a necessity for REITs.

Distribution yield is calculated by taking the total annual DPU (distribution per unit) divided by the price of the stock at the point in time the yield is to be calculated, multiply by 100%. 


$0.065 (total annual DPU) / $1.040 (price of stock when calculating yield) x 100% = 6.25%

What this means is that, based on the price of $1.04, the REIT returns 6.25% annually. For simple illustration purposes, with every $10,000 invested in the REIT, you can expect $625 of returns annually! 

Assuming that the current stock price is now at $1.25 instead of $1.04 and assuming that the total annual distribution stays the same at $0.065 per annum, the current distribution yield is no longer 6.25% but 5.20%. Its yield has dropped by more than 1%, making it significantly less attractive to buy at the price of $1.25. As a potential investor, you would want to use the correlation of the price and yield to decide if a REIT is worthwhile as an investment.

Distributions of REITs are typically paid out semi-annually or quarterly. This website does an amazing job of listing the REITs and the frequency of their distributions. It is a great resource when you need access to clear and summarized information.


I would advocate having a balanced portfolio and doing the due diligence when investing your hard earned money. Although not 100% risk free, using the above points as a reference when selecting a REIT to invest, will ensure that you are in good stead. Hope you find this short article useful and good luck to your journey to financial freedom! :)

My Personal REIT Holdings:

Mapletree Greater China Trust  (SGX: RW0U)

CounterCodeSharesAvg. PriceCurrent PriceCurrent YieldDistribution ('14)Freq.
MGCTRW0U170000.91501.04006.34%$0.06282 Semi-Annual