5 Lesser-known Places in Singapore that You Have Never Heard Of

Aug 06

Singapore is definitely one of the top places for any tourist’s destination, which is why it’s easy to get caught up in various tourist traps, from the crowded Boat Quay to the Flyer. If you’ve found yourself in that situation even at least once, you know you’ll never want to try that again.

So where can you go for an experience that’s truly and uniquely Singapore? Here are five lesser-known places you can go to that you’ve most likely never even heard of:

1. St. John’s Island
What better way to start your experience away from crowded tourist traps than with a boat cruise to St. John’s Island, which is just a few kilometers away from Singapore?

With gorgeous beaches and serene lagoons, this place is a great spot for picnics and trekking, and the various natural flora and fauna the island has to offer will be sure to get you back in touch with nature.

2. Marsiling WW2 and Naval Base
Fancy yourself a history junkie looking for the thrill of adventure? Well, you’re in luck – the Marsiling WW2 and Naval Base is an abandoned underground tunnel built by the British, but has been left unused since Singapore’s independence.

Be careful when walking in the tunnels, though, as they can get slippery. Remember to wear proper shoes and steer clear of the gecko eggs on the ceiling and walls.

3. Wheeler’s Yard
When you’re done being awed by Singapore’s rich history, pedal on over to Wheeler’s Yard, which is a bicycle shop/café with just the right kind of industrial vibe you’d expect from a place located in an industrial park just off Balestier Road.

It’s a great place for a quick coffee for any cyclist looking for a break from the whole day pedaling through Singapore’s numerous biking trails.

4. The Projector
After pedaling through Singapore’s numerous bike trails, head on over to The Projector. This small movie theater hidden deep within the Golden Mile Tower is managed by film lovers who hand-pick the movies to be screened. With alcohol, snacks, and really comfy bean bags, it’s the perfect place to spend a date night with your loved one.

5. The Library
This place thrives by word-of-mouth and is a hidden location, which is why you’d most likely just pass by it without noticing. But grab the weekly password from its sister restaurant, The Study, and discover behind all those bookshelves a bustling bar complete with some of the most quirky cocktails in Singapore – all just waiting for you to come down and enjoy.

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4 Effective Tips to Stay Productive Even If You Didn’t Get Enough Sleep Last Night

Jul 12

Sleep is an important part of our body’s routine – not only do we function less effectively when we don’t get enough of it, but it’s also a key period of time that allows our body to clear its own build-up of waste from cells and recuperate from the stresses of day-to-day activities.

However, there are times when we need to stay up late or even all night. Whether it’s to work a late shift or to finish a project in a hurry, we’ve all experienced this at least once in our lives, only to make us feel really groggy and sluggish when daylight finally comes.

To keep the “zombie mode” at bay until you get the chance to catch up on your now-interrupted sleep schedule, here are four effective tips you can follow:

1. Ease up on the caffeine.
You may think that drinking enough caffeine or loading up on energy drinks will keep the sleepiness on hold until you’ve done what you need to do – but only up to a certain point. In fact, many studies have shown that coffee can actually make the energy crash even worse.

While caffeine still holds up to its promise of a quick energy boost (and you should totally drink it), limit yourself to two or three cups at different intervals throughout the day. After three in the afternoon, you shouldn’t drink any at all.

2. Keep your meals small.
The stress of staying awake for more than twelve hours straight is almost guaranteed for you to want to binge-eat to replenish that lost energy. But in fact, it will only make you feel sleepier.

A large meal will make you more likely to fall asleep, partly because of a food coma. To combat this, keep your portions smaller to give your body enough time to process the food and keep going. As much as possible, stick to salads and leafy greens instead of fat- and protein-rich meals.

3. Drink more water.
The lack of sleep will make you feel dehydrated. Drinking more water, however, solves the “lack-of-energy” problem in two ways: the first way is that it will make you feel more awake and alert throughout the day.

The second way that it solves the sleeplessness issue is that all that water will make you use the restroom more, which is a simple way to get your blood moving and avoid falling asleep at your desk or in class.

4. Move around.
A workout or even a few stretching exercises is a great way to wake your sleeping cells up. A moderate amount of physical activity will boost energy and adrenaline levels, which will not only keep you awake throughout the day, but will help you sleep better when you finally get home at night.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)

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6 Hacks to Ace Christmas Cookie Baking

Jul 12

Between Christmas shopping and entertaining family and relatives, the holiday season can get easily stressful. Save time and energy on your cookie baking during this time of the year with these smart hacks, so you can focus all your energy on enjoying events and spending more time with your loved ones.

1. Marshmallows as quick frostings
Ran out of meringue? No need to run to the store for more sugar and eggs. Marshmallows will do the trick for you. Dip one side of mini marshmallow in water so they don’t slide off, and then plop two to three pieces on each cookie when they have about three minutes left to get fully baked. Once you see signs of melting (but are not runny), take the cookies out and spread the marshmallow frosting using a spoon.

2. Liquor bottles as rolling pins
Empty bottles of liquor are great substitute for rolling pins. Wash them clean and wipe them completely dry. Cover the exterior of the bottle with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. If any sticker residue from the bottle label bothers you, you can wrap the bottle with parchment paper before rolling them onto the dough.

3. Store-bought dough over home-made cookie dough
Using pre-made cookie dough for your holiday cookies isn’t cheating, if you add your own personal touch to it. Take your store-bought dough and let it soften in room temperature. Then, add in your desired flavoring, such as orange zest, almond extract, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate chips, caramel and peppermint extract. Your guests will never notice the difference.

4. Non-Stick spray on measuring cups
Baking Christmas cooking requires a lot of measuring of wet, sticky ingredients, like molasses, syrup and honey. To make cleaning of your measuring cups and spoons easier, use non-stick sprays on these utensils first. You will get more accurate measurement if you need to use them in other liquids afterwards, and cleaning up will be much easier.

5. Chocolate as universal dip
The easiest and tastiest way to make ordinary cookies extraordinary? Dip them in chocolate. This trick works perfectly with any cookie because, well, it’s chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Add a drop of peppermint extract into your melted chocolate to give your dip a taste of Christmas.

6. Room temp butter makes chewy cookies
Here’s a quick baking hack: room temperature butter will make cookies beautifully chewy. Leave enough amount of butter on a plate for 30 minutes before mixing it in with other ingredients. It mixes better with dry ingredients and helps the dough hold its shape while baking in the oven.

Homemade cookies are one of the most favorite treats and gifts during Christmas time. Make Christmas cookie baking faster and easier without sacrificing the taste with these genius baking hacks.

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4 Essential Condiments You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

Jun 21

What’s a dish without the flavoring? While a common question in the kitchen is about which pots and pans you should always have, you rarely hear the one about which condiments you should always keep in your pantry or fridge at all times.

Whether they are store-bought or home-made, condiments are a great thing to have as they add a lot of flavor to the dishes that you cook, but knowing which ones to have and on which dishes they should be used makes all the difference.

1. Soy Sauce
This is perhaps the most versatile condiment that you can get your hands on, and almost all Asian households have a bottle of this dark sauce in their pantry. Some would even have two or three different types.

Aside from being added to food that’s already cooked, soy sauce also makes for an excellent ingredient in bringing out the flavors in many different recipes, and is also used as a sauce or marinade.

What you need to know about soy sauce is that it’s a broad category that includes both Japanese and Chinese soy sauce. The former is made with an even ration of soybeans and wheat, while the latter is made almost entirely from fermented soy.

2. Ketchup
Next to soy sauce, ketchup ranks number two in the condiment versatility scale. It can be combined with either soy sauce (which yields a barbecue sauce, provided that you balance it with other ingredients) or mayonnaise (great for oily finger foods, like fries, for an afternoon snack.

You can even make this yourself at home. While soy sauce is difficult to make, ketchup is much easier – there are a lot of recipes that you can look up online and tinker with to see what works for you.

3. Mayonnaise
This condiment made of oil, vinegar, and eggs actually has a fairly long history, but has made its way into a beloved condiment for deep-fried foods, or as a dressing for some salads. Unlike other condiments, this one in particular is easy to make on your own – no cooking required.

The three mentioned ingredients are all that you need to start making your own at home. However, do keep in mind that home-made mayonnaise tends to use the egg yolks, while store-bought mayonnaise gets away with egg whites by using powerful machines to mix the emulsion together.

4. Hot Sauce
For the ones who are always down for a little spice in their palate, a bottle of hot sauce will help to ramp up the flavor in every bite. There many different types of hot sauce, each with their own different textures and levels of spiciness – all you need to do is choose which one your taste buds like the most.

(Disclaimer: This list is compiled in no particular order.)

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5 Beginner Plants You Could Grow in Your HDB Flat

Jun 21

With a growing interest in homegrown food, more and more people are trying their luck at creating their own indoor gardens. Creating your own garden doesn’t just save you money; with indoor gardening, you can make sure that your food is safe and healthy. While there are a large number of plants to choose from, here are five plants that can start you off on your new indoor HDB garden.

1. Air Plants
Air Plants don’t need a lot of water, as they get their water from absorbing moisture in the air. Despite this, however, they still need to be lightly misted at least once a week (which you can do using a spray bottle). You would also need to occasionally soak your plants in water, especially for plants that are in airconditioned environments; for those who live in air-conditioned flats, soak your plants for two hours every two weeks.

2. Basil
Even if basil is more commonly grown outdoors, it could also thrive potted indoors. To grow them successfully, make sure that your plant has adequate drainage so that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the pot. Make sure to add fertilizer to your pot, and use half the recommended fertilizer strength; if you’re going to use your basil mainly for flavoring, you’ll need to use an organic fertilizer. In terms of lighting, make sure that your basil plant receives six hours of direct sunlight daily or about ten hours under artificial lighting.

3. Thyme
Growing thyme indoors can be invaluable, as it a versatile herb that can be used in a large variety of dishes. It’s easy to grow thyme, as they can be hardy plants that could still thrive despite a lack of attention. To grow thyme, you will need direct sunlight at least six hours a day. You could use many different pots for planting thyme, but the best kind would be clay pots, as they allow the soil to drain in between watering. Whatever pot you use, make sure to create drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

4. Mint
To the surprise of many beginner gardeners, mint can easily thrive indoors. All you’ll need is a container with the right amount of drainage, filled with good potting mix (which means that it has equal amounts of sand, peat, and perlite). To make sure that your plant grows well, try to look for a spot that has a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius in the day and around 14 degrees at night.

5. Lemongrass
Lemongrass is one of the many plants that you can propagate using grocery produce. It’s also pretty easy to grow indoors, and in fact, should be harvested frequently to encourage new growth. Make sure that it receives at least six hours of natural lighting or at least 14 hours of artificial lighting. For the soil, use a potting soil mix with good amounts of perlite.

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