BTO – Choose Floor Tiles

On the day of door opening and defects checks, we actually spent the afternoon at Soon Bee Huat choosing our floor tiles. We have been to Hafary at Tradehub 21 but the selection of wood textured ceramic tiles were limited. We read online that Soon Bee Huat has more variety and indeed it was true!


The place is so big that there is a pantry area with free flow drinks. Perfect for customers to discuss some ideas with their IDs/ Contractors and slowly decide on tiles.

Types of flooring for your BTO

There are few types of flooring options including the 3 listed below. It’s best to do your homework and decide which suits your needs/ budget best.

  • Vinyl flooring
  • Laminate flooring
  • Ceramic tiles (also known as homogeneous tiles)

We decided on ceramic tiles because it’s easier to maintain and less harmful for crawling babies in future. Plus wood-like tiles are so pretty!! Because of the texture they are also less slippery when wet.

Selection at Hafary 

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Selection at Soon Bee Huat 

Two storeys worth of pretty tiles to ogle at. I took pictures of the ones we shortlisted so it’s easier to decide. We prefer light coloured tiles so our house looks bigger. But not too white as dirt would be very obvious.

Finally decided on this! CT-Oban Silver in a really nice shade of brown. Slightly above our budget as most IDs/ Contractors will quote based on $3.20 psf tile price. Dennis said we’re going to do this once for the house so better choose something we like. We’ll have to adjust our budget for something else then! Thanks baby! 😀


Got a little scare when April went to reserve the tiles as there is insuffient stock. Omg! :O the very kind customer service lady helped to check against the reservation list and it so happened that the first customer she called up had decided to cancel the reservation. Phew!! Lady Luck was on our side! (:

Samples to bring home!

Let the renovation works begin!! 🙂

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BTO Door Opening Day

My mum-in-law went to ask for an auspicious date and time for us to open the door to our new house so we arrived bright and early on Saturday morning.

First things first, we lighted the talisman outside the main gate to bring us good luck. And then, Dennis’ highly anticipated act of rolling the pineapple. He was so excited about it! I was more excited about the view from our living room! 😀

We did not perform any ritual of sorts but if you believe in them, you can take reference from here or here to do a door opening ceremony.

You will receive an allen key in your letterbox so make sure you follow the instructions to turn on the water supply. We tried to pry open the water points but the contractor later told us it was very difficult to do so she will help us check on that. If required, there is a water point (with tap affixed) in the service yard to test the water supply.

So so happy!!!I love that the Compassvale Cape neighbourhood is painted white and grey. Lovely neutral colours! The washrooms are thankfully in neutrals too! Otherwise I may consider to overlay the tiles. Money saved there! 😛

We also did not do a thorough defect check because our contractor will do that for us. She’s such a sweet lady and did not want to tire us out so she briefly told us what are the things she will check for and update us if she finds any major defects. We did walk around the whole house to see if anything was amiss. Also opened all windows to make sure they’re working well.

Since we are in the opt-out package, there’s really nothing much to check for. Except tiles in the kitchen, service yard and bathrooms. Looks like we will not be reporting any defects! Lucky us! 🙂

BTO Key Collection

Yay!!!!!

Today is the day! We can barely contain our excitement. I would countdown every single day to this day, the seventeenth of November because we finally collected our keys today!

Things to prepare before key collection

1. Agree on the CPF deduction % once loan repayment kicks in. We went with 50:50. In case one party is not working, you may also choose to go for 90:10 or other splits. We also confirmed with the counter lady that you can update the change in split at a later stage with no admin fee. Phew!

2. Bring enough cash or ensure sufficient money in your bank for Nets payment. You will only need to pay for 2 items:

$5.50 for Fire Insurance. $61.50 for Service and Conservancy Charges. The SC/CC differs from each town council. Ours belong to Pasir Ris-Punggol and the charges are all reflected on their website.

3. Print a copy of your Appointment Letter if you did not receive via post. Go to MyHDB Page > log in via Singpass > My Flat > Application Status > New Flat > click on Reg. No.

4. Bring original Marriage Certificate and both parties NRIC!

Key collection day

1. Buy Fire Insurance

It was previously at level 2 but there are some renovation works at HDB Hub now so the Fire Insurance counter is at level 1. Just walk past all the sales counters and it’s right at the end. Look out for the very small sign that says eTiQa.

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Payment of $5.50 by Nets. Here’s the insurance premium that I managed to take a photo of. This covers basic walls or structural damage during a fire. We didn’t opt for additional coverage and the counter lady didn’t elaborate much as well. I guess 99.99% of the population just purchased the basic one.

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2. Open an Account with Singapore Power Services

This is quite straightforward. Just go to SP Services office at level 2 and let them know you wish to open an account. One person will be the account holder. We waited for about 20 minutes but it may take up to 1 hour if the office is crowded. Do factor some buffer time. No payment is required. The $100 deposit will be reflected in your first utilities bill!

3. Get a queue number

After you are done with the above, proceed to get a queue number from the Self Service kiosks located at level 1.

You will spend about 1 hour signing all the documents and listening to the counter lady explain the meaning of each document. Ask her any questions you may have; especially if you are unsure of HDB loan, CPF, interest rates, etc. Just clarify any doubts.

And… here we are. Proud owners of a humble unit at Compassvale Cape. I can’t believe that I will be moving to Sengkang after all my life living in Tampines. But first, renovation works to kick off after our defects checks.

Our counter lady, Grace Chia was very patient in explaining everything and even asked if we would like a photo taken at the feature wall. Thanks Grace!

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Tips for travelling in South Korea

Hi friends, I’m here to share some tips after my minimoon to Korea (Seoul and Jeju). Hope this is useful for you too!

Driving

We rented a car in Jeju because we love road trips. We enjoy planning our itinerary and the liberty to change as and when we like so tour groups are a big no-no for us. Except maybe day tours.

1. Ask for English speaking GPS and ask them how to change the language in case you accidentally switched it to Korean. It’s no big deal because you can guess from the road signs and highway codes but it’s more convenient in English.

2. Find out the telephone number, full English name, full Korean name, and address of the places you intend to visit. You will need the telephone number to search for places using the GPS.

We rented our car with Lotte.

MRT in Seoul

Keep a copy of the MRT map with you at all times so you know how to get from one station to another. There are many lines so check to see which is the fastest. If you use the T-money card, each journey costs KRW 1,250 no matter where you go, except if you take the AREX line.

This interactive MRT map is super useful for checking the distance and time taken between any stops. I also read that Subway Korea app is very useful. You may try it out!

Where to get T-money card?

You can get them from C2U stores for KRW 2,500 for an empty card. Go to the nearest train station (or at the airport) to top up. You can estimate how much to top up easily because journeys are flat rate of KRW 1,250.

Budget

Approx S$1 = KRW800

Transport ($1,023.20)

Car rental and petrol is for both of us. The other items are for 1 pax.

  • Car rental: $149.40
  • Petrol: $41.30
  • T-money card: $3.10
  • T-money top-up (for 3 days): $21.30
  • Air tickets (international): $662.90
  • Air tickets (domestic): $111.30
  • Ferry to Udo island (human): $6.90
  • Ferry to Udo island (small car): $27
Accomodation ($678.20 for 5 nights for 2 pax)
  • Jeju I’ve Resort: $448.20 (3 nights)
  • Savoy Hotel, Seoul: $230 (2 nights)
Communication ($30 for 1 device)
  • Changi Recommends Overseas Wifi Router: $30
Food ($320 for 6 days for 1 pax)
  • $320 for 6 days (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Shopping
  • $440 for skincare, make-up, snacks, souvenirs
Sightseeing (admission fees)

All prices are for individual admission.

  • Waterfall: $2.50
  • Sunrise peak: $2.50
  • Cave: $2.50
  • Palace: $3.80
  • Speed boat: $12.50

I spent about $2,515.20 for this trip! 🙂

Communication

Data/ 3G/ 4G/ Wifi

I’ve used the Changi Recommends Overseas Wifi Router in my trip to Bangkok and decided it was super convenient. Plus, there was a promo when we rented the router for our Korea trip so it was a big plus point!

Basic Hangul

I also recommend that you learn some basic words as locals don’t really understand English. Some know a little bit of Chinese but all of them converse in Korean.

  • 감사합니다 (kam-sa-ham-ni-da) – Thank you
  • 어디예요 (o-di-ye-yo) – Where is it
  • 얼마예요(ol-ma-ye-yo) – How much is it
  • 슈퍼마켓 (syu-peo-ma-ket) – Supermarket
  • 약국 (yak-guk) – Pharmacy
  • 화장실 (hwa-jang-shil) – Toilet
  • 영업시간 (yeon-geob-shi-gan) – Opening hours

If you have time, you can learn how to read Korean. This proved especially useful for us when using the GPS.

Okay that’s all for now! If I think of anything else I will update this post! 🙂

TP test – second attempt

FML I failed again.

😦

On hindsight, it was quite silly of me to book my second TP test just after my first one, thinking that I want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

First TP test: 17th Sep 2016

Second TP test: 12th Oct 2016

I didn’t have any lessons in between the test dates so everything was based on memory.

On my second TP test, I actually freaked out at the warm-up session (1 hour before the test) because I strike kerb when doing parking. But I got lucky with a friendly tester. He was jovial and asked me to relax as he could see I was really tensed even before I started driving.

Major mistake 1: strike kerb again! 😦 What’s with me and kerbs? Actually I did quite well for all the courses, until I reached parallel parking. I also managed to park successfully. However when I was trying to adjust the vehicle such that it’s in the middle of the lot, I reversed a tad too much and striked kerb. I didn’t even realize I striked kerb because I was moving soooo slowly! I thought it was the car vibrating. =.=

Major mistake 2: didn’t slow down at traffic light, instead I sped up! /: I’m one crazy student. Haha. The tester was commenting that I was going too slow at all the junctions so I sped up at one of them. And that’s when the light turned red. And I was already jutting into the pedestrians’ way. DAMMIT!

And I thought I could get my license before my Korea minimoon and drive around in Korea.

Looks like it’s a blessing in disguise because I’m still a reckless noob! /:

Gonna take a little break. Book some lessons. Refresh my memory. Face my instructors again. I think they’re gonna laugh at me when they see me. When I’m ready I will go for my test again! #staypositive

 

We found our Make Up Artist (MUA)

A really quick backdated post here regarding wedding day make up artist. As a budget bride, I do my homework to ensure I get a bang for my buck. Even better when I chance upon extremely good deals! 😀

I googled bridal make up artists Singapore and got a whole list of them. I get the most recent lists (i.e. 2015/2016) and start my selection process from there. Here’s the list of MUA which I’ve contacted and the one I eventually chose.

Joy from The Style Atelier

Email: joy@styleatelier.com
URL: http://www.styleatelier.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thestyleatelier

She’s fully booked on my wedding day.

Gin from Gin Chia Makeup

Email: ginchiamakeup@gmail.com
URL: http://www.ginchiamakeup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ginchiamakeup

She’s fully booked on my wedding day.

Liren from Beauty Magic by Liren Neo

Email: email@lirenneo.com
URL: http://www.lirenneo.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/makeupartistlirenneo
Rates: $299 for make-up and hair (including eyelashes)

She didn’t reply after sending her some pictures of the hairstyle I was looking for. Probably she was too busy so I didn’t bothered following up either.

Jovie from The Little Brush Makeup

Email: hello@thelittlebrush.com
URL: http://www.thelittlebrush.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBrush
Rates: $350 for make-up and hair (including eyelashes), $180 for trial session

She’s available but price is on the high side.

Alycia from Alycia Tan Makeup

Email: info@alyciatanmakeup.com
URL: http://alyciatanmakeup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alyciatanmakeup
Rates: $350 for make-up and hair (including eyelashes)

She’s available but price is on the high side.

Janice from Haute

Email: contact@haute.com.sg
URL: http://www.haute.com.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hautemakeup.sg/
Rates: $250 for make-up and hair

She’s not available at the time slot I wanted.

Zann from Zann Creations

Email: info@zanncreations.com
URL: http://www.zanncreations.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZanncreationsMakeup/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf
Rates: $350 for make-up and hair (with complimentary makeup trial and hair consultation)

Ponnie from Ponniehsu Makeup Studio

Email: ponniepony@gmail.com
URL: http://www.ponniehsumakeup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PonniehsuMakeupStudio
Rates: $248 for make-up and hair (excluding eyelashes)

I picked Ponnie because she is very affordable and had many good reviews online. Her Facebook page also shows works she has done recently and they look pretty good!

Tadaaaa! Very happy with her services. Met up with Ponnie at her studio one month before the Big Day to discuss the make up and hairstyles. She was also very punctual on the actual day and made me feel comfortable.

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Some questions to consider:

When should I start to look for make-up artist?

I started contacting them 2 months before the wedding day and most of them were booked already. So I suggest to book them 3-4 months in advance.

What should I check with the make-up artist prior to actual day?

There might be some additional costs which is not stated upfront so you might want to check with them on: eyelashes, ampoules (chemical to put on your face to make your makeup last longer), hair accessories, eyebrow trimming, facial masks, early morning surcharge.

Hope this helps! 🙂