Moving Abroad: The Ins and Outs Of The Transition

I have been lucky enough to visit places and I thought it was a great blessing to have moved to another country I really love. Most of the time, there wasn't a need to plan my next getaway or lust over a sandy beach. When wanderlust bites but time and budget do not allow me to travel, I know I will be able to count on a quick Singapore beach staycation. If you are planning to be an expatriate like myself, these expert tips will come in handy.

Visit Your New Home

Would you believe that some people simply point to the map and say ‘take me there?!’ Although it’s commendable, it isn’t something I could do willingly. No way, Jose! Nope, I would need to know that the place I am going live for the foreseeable future is somewhere I know and love. So, I would have to visit the place just to get a feel of my surroundings. Plus, I can also get used to the culture and the way of life. Moving isn’t only about moving properties – it’s also about transitioning into a new way of life.

Pack Light

This isn’t like a normal move where you can stuff everything into boxes and put them on the back of a van. If you’re moving to a different country, you won’t get there by car. Instead, you’ll need to hire space on a cargo plane. Plus, you’ll need to hire house movers when you reach the other side. Now, as you can imagine, the cost of everything will be extortionate. I know people who moved home and spent a couple of grand, and they thought that was cheap. If you’re like me, you won’t have that kind of money to burn. Thankfully, you can cut the costs by taking fewer items.

Make A Checklist

There is so much you have to do before you board your plane that it’s frightening. Seriously, going on holiday is enough for me, so I don’t know what I’ll be like if we ever move! What I do know is that a checklist helps most people organise their lives. For example, you can write down what tasks you must complete before you leave. Do you need to talk to the bank? What about your energy suppliers? Don’t forget to forward your mail. Of course you won’t – you won’t forget anything thanks to your checklist.

Take It One Step At A Time

Living in a foreign land isn’t going to be easy. There is so much to do that it can be suffocating. But, I’m a believer of taking it one day and one step at a time. That way, you can tackle what is currently on your plate before you go back for seconds. Sure, learning the language is important, as is making new friends, but it will fall into place in time.

Remember that the more pressure there is, the harder it is to enjoy.

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Could You Give Up Solid Food?

There's a lot to be said for the joy of food. From the smell of freshly baked bread, the slightly salty taste of butter, the crisp crack of roasted chicken skin, the sizzle of bacon frying in a pan, the chemical transformation of batter into pancakes and of course, the eating. Food brings so much joy into our lives, and surely, your tastebuds will be going into overdrive at the thought of the above. Food has become a wondrous thing - who could ever think of the thought of giving it up? Food is amazing and we all could go on and on about the wonders of food.

Giving it up? Intriguing. A startling proposition, but something worth thinking about nonetheless. Our hectic lives focus on speed and productivity - so should we not expect that from our meals? Of course, we can get food, fast - but it's not the same is it? Fast food lacks actual nutrition, and while it might be satisfying, it is somewhat hollow in nature. It's real, but it has no benefit for our body other than an extremely short-term high (a moment on the lips, but a life time on the hips). Could there be a way to eat good food, fast? Could we rethink the way we eat? Do we need to do so? All valid questions.

Giving up solid food has benefits and drawbacks. Mainly, the sensation of solid food will struggle to be matched by anything. The sensation of actual food - the smell, the taste, the feel and the texture - they all exist for a reason, and that is to make sure we eat to ensure we stay alive. This can't be found outside of solid food. However, solid food - and good solid food - takes time to produce. You need to cut, fry, sizzle, and sear to ensure the food is prepared. For some, that rips time away from hectic schedules. Food is all in - or all out. You're either searing and chopping in the kitchen or ordering another takeaway.

Of course, giving up solid food means drinking through a straw. It doesn't mean blending a roast dinner and feeding it to yourself; it means choosing food options that can be quickly prepared into a drink. Juicing is how this is done, and you may have heard of juice diets or juice day, where people replace solids with fruit and veggie cocktails for health reasons. Some juices are incredibly satisfying; others are downright awful. This is perhaps the best way to consume food without the time spent in the kitchen, it's also incredibly healthy. A base juice revolves around green vegetables (kale or spinach) and nullifying the bad tastes of these veggies with sweets - apples, oranges, mint and bitters like lemon and lime (sometimes even a kick of spice). These can be made, stored and swallowed quickly.

Giving up solids? It’s possible - especially with a number of open-source food/drink products like Huel and Soylent that fulfill more dietary needs than fruit and veg. You might not want to do it for life though!

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5 Things I Love About Gaston Luga Backpack

I am most comfortable when in denim jeans or shorts, cotton top, sneakers and backpack. I only wear a nice and fancy dress, sexy and pointy high heels, and fashionable lady bags or clutches on special occasions like weddings and other formal events. I must be a boy in my past life that I tend to choose comfort over style. The question is, can someone like me be fashionable and stylish too without compromising comfort?

The answer is a resounding YES!

All I need is a sparkly sneakers, boyfriend jeans, signature shirt, grey jacket and a stylish backpack! I have to admit though that it was my backpack that made me look like a cool and stylish university student. It actually brought me back to my memorable days in the dental infirmary where I am always seen lugging a bulky backpack filled with books, dental materials and instruments.

Gaston Luga backpack is love! Here are 5 things I liked most about it:

1) It's classic design.
Since I am not one who tends to follow the fashion trend, I am all about classic pieces that I can wear over and over again for a long period of time without going out of style, be it with clothes, shoes, bags and other fashion accessories. I love how I can carry my Gaston Luga with me anywhere, be it in the beach, theme park, and even at work.

2) It's durable material.
With the intention to offer something different and unique to customers who love carrying backpack, Gaston Luga's founder, Carl Sandqvist got rid of the usual fluffy shoulder pads, plastic materials and thin fabric which most backpacks of the earlier days are made of. Gaston Luga is made of thick, high quality cotton, leather parts and metal hardware.

3) It's size.
Gaston Luga backpack is so roomy, it can fit my laptop, huge DLSR camera, books, journals and other blogging and/or travel essentials. I can even squeeze in my scrub suit, water bottle and other documents in it when I go to work! When I am with the kids, I can also fit in their extra clothes and other kids' must-haves on a family day out.

4) It's extra pockets and compartments.
I love how there are conveniently and strategically placed extra pockets and compartments in and out of the backpack that could fit my laptop, phones, hard drive, portable charger, and even my EZ link card (this tiny pocket behind the backpack is where I usually put the card so that I can conveniently take it out when I travel by train or bus).

5) It's user-friendliness.
It is very evident that so much thought on a customer's convenience was given when Gaston Luga was custom-made. See that small pocket? It was conveniently placed at the lower front of the backpack with travelers in mind. It perfectly fits passports, air tickets and hand phone and wallet. Apart from the magnetic buttons, a zip was also placed to make sure that all the valuable things you put in it are secure.

Isn't this backpack a must-have? I just used it when we went for a beach staycation and a spur of the moment island hopping and loved its versatility. I can't wait to use it when we travel out of the country next month!

Gaston Luga is a Swedish backpack retailer located in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden. They have have a plethora of classic, elegant and stylish designs and colours to choose from. Their brand's inspiring story reignited my passion in exploring the world. Quote "sweetmemoirs15" to get 15% off your purchase at It is always free shipping + 20% off as tax rebate (from non-EU country). They have different classic and stylish designs and colours to choose from. 

We were provided with the backpack for the purpose of this review. No other monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are our own. Do note that the colour intensity of the backpack varies due to lighting. 
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Mommy's Hair Pampering Day at Kenjo Salon: New Hair Colour + Tokio Inkarami Treatment

I have always been a strong advocate of spending mommy-time and if you read my post about my favourite me-time indulgences, going to a salon for a hair pampering session is on the list. Having said that, I don't usually try to squeeze in a precious me-time during Sundays and public holidays because it's meant to be spent bonding with the whole family but on the 1st of May, I made an exemption.

During the Labour Day, I treated myself to a 3-hour break and left the kids at home so that they can have some uninterrupted bonding time with daddy instead. I shall take it as a Mother's Day treat, I reasoned out trying my best to get rid of the nagging mommy guilt deep down my conscience. After all, daddy seldom gets to solo-parent the kids even just for a few hours.

I was actually supposed to see my Korean Stylist, Sha Sha of Kenjo Salon on a weekday after work for a hair colour but she suggested I should go on a Saturday or holiday instead so she could spend more time tending to my crowning glory. How can I say no to a longer hair pampering session? I reckon it's going to be pure bliss and oh boy, was I not mistaken!

On my first visit at Kenjo Salon, I was blown away by their excellent service. I even mentioned that I have never been into any other salon before that serves extensive selection of drinks both hot and cold. Aren't Kenjo Salon patrons spoiled rotten? All customers, new or regular, who arrive at the salon are immediately escorted to his/her throne and get offered with the drink of his/her choice.

Being the ever observant, I also noticed how the salon's receptionists are quite knowledgeable of their current promotions. When a client arrives but his/her stylist is still busy with another client, the ladies at the reception who are well-groomed entertain the client and ask in advance if he/she is keen to do any hair treatment and they proceed on explaining the whole process when a client asks.

In fact, when I arrived, Sha Sha was also busy with another client but Kenjo Salon boasts a great team work that makes sure everyone who enters the salon are well-attended to. So whilst Sha Sha is still occupied, another staff came to help put in the colour on my hair which Sha Sha personally hand-picked for me.

On my last visit, she suggested I should get a bleach so she could put an ombre colour on my hair. I am going to be a tease and let you find out much later what colour she ultimately chose. Don't cheat and scroll all the way down, okay?

Meanwhile, let me talk about the Tokio Inkarami Treatment that Sha Sha did for me after my hair colouring session. Tokio Inkarami Treatment is currently Japan's Best Haircare Treatment System with patented technology. It is the only treatment that contain the Nobel Prize awarded ingredient, Fullerene, which is known to repair and restore strength and shine to every hair type.

The entire treatment is quite meticulous as there are many steps to follow. It gave me that impression and feeling that each and every strand of hair I have on my head is given so much attention, love and tender loving care. It justifies the exact reason why a hair pampering session is one of my favourite me-time indulgences. In fact, I came with a mild headache but after all the head massages, I left the salon relaxed and totally relieved.

Finally, the hair colour reveal! Top photos were taken before (at home) and below photos were taken after my hair colour and Tokio Inkarami Treatment. I chickened out at the thought of bleaching my hair so Sha Sha chose a colour that would suit my skin complexion which is reddish. It isn't very obvious until a light is shone on my hair. I liked just the way how not attention grabbing it is. Yes, I am pretty boring like that. Haha!

Did you notice how "healthy" my hair locks look now? I ran my fingers on it and it felt so silky and smooth. The after effect of the Tokio Inkarami Treatment is so awesome!

Now here's a great deal you shouldn't miss in time for Mother's Day! For the month of May, bring your mum along and she gets to enjoy 50% off all hair services and treatment. If you are a new customer of Kenjo Salon, you may also quote my name "CHERRY" to get 15% off all hair services and treatment too for yourself.

Call 6238 8083 to book an appointment in advance and look for my Korean Stylist, Sha Sha. I have visited Sha Sha four times as of this writing and she never fails to delight me with her candour and professionalism. She opened my eyes to see hair stylists in a new different light. She stays cheerful despite being tired from standing all day long cutting, styling and treating her clients' hair on a high heel some more! Major respect!

68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura (New Wing)
Singapore 238839
Tel no.: 6238 8083

For constant updates, like Kenjo Salon on Facebook and follow @kenjosalon on Instagram.

*This post is brought to you by Sweet Memoirs and Kenjo Salon collaboration.

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Recipes Gone Wrong: Causes & Solutions

Given that, at some point, most people have experience following a recipe, it seems like the kind of thing you should be able to do.

After all - how hard can it be? The instructions are right there in front of you. All you need to do is be able to read (something you nailed some time ago) and then be able to carry out the actions described. It’s cooking. It can’t possibly be that difficult, can it?

For some people, no, it’s not difficult at all. Not only do they follow recipes, but they add and subtract ingredients. They still end up with a beautiful dish, loved by anyone who eats it. You, on the other hand? Not so much.

The most frustrating way this inability to follow recipes can manifest itself is just in occasional problems. Sometimes, you follow a recipe, you tinker with ingredients, and it all goes swimmingly. You’re the best chef in the world.

Then the next time you come to try a new recipe… it’s an unmitigated disaster. Have your newly-found chef skills left you already? Or is there something else going on?

Potential Issue #1: Not All Recipes Are Created Equal

There are so many sources by which to find recipes these days. Some will be good and will produce the kind of result you’re after. Others… won’t be. The annoying thing is that you don’t know if a recipe is going to be enjoyable until you have cooked it.

Unless it becomes a chronic problem and every single recipe you try is a disaster, then it might be possible to blame an individual recipe itself. It’s always a good idea to read through the comments on recipe sites and blogs; the feedback tends to give a good indication of whether or not the recipe works in practice.

Potential Issue #2: You Don’t Have The Right Tools For The Job

The amount of kitchen equipment required for cooking even the most basic of meals can be baffling and incredibly expensive. It also requires a lot of storage, something that is at a premium for many of us. All of these factors combined can mean that you forgo knives of the best craftsmanship and pans made of the best materials, because it’s cheaper to go without.

The problem here is that the recipe might have been designed to have specific, quality items used. If you substitute in anything you can think of that might work, then you might not get the desired effect. For some recipes this won’t matter so much, but for others - especially those involving frying - it could be the difference between “okay” and “good”.

Potential Issue #3: You’re Substituting Too Many Ingredients

If a recipe calls for spring onions and you use brown onions, then you might be able to get away with it. However, any time you substitute, it’s important you be aware it might alter the taste from the intended outcome. Before dismissing a recipe, give it a second try with no substitutions and see if that improves it.

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Slow & Steady Doesn’t Always Win The Race: DIY Quicker Fixes

There’s that famous old saying, slow and steady wins the race, and according to most people, those are words to live by. Admittedly, in many instances, they are words to live by, but when it comes to DIY, perhaps not so much. You see, one reason a lot of people prefer to pay a contractor to complete home improvements for them, rather than doing it themselves is because it speeds the process up, or at least, that’s the illusion. But the question is, does DIY have to be a slow process or are there ways that you can speed things up?

Believe it or not, there are simple ways that you can make your DIY projects a speedier affair, without rushing the work, of course. That way, you get the best of both worlds, you get to do the work yourself and save money on it - the number one reason that people opt to go down the DIY route - and you also get to complete the work as quickly as possible. What could be a better option than that?

So, when it comes to DIY fixes, what are the best ways to speed up the process and make things easier for yourself, without compromising on quality? For all the best tips and ideas, read on and prepare to be wowed.

Plan out each project step by step

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One of the very worst things that you can do when it comes to home improvement is start working on a project without a plan. Without a plan in place of what needs to be done and when, the chances are that the project is going to take longer to complete than it needs to, which isn’t helpful. After all, the last thing you want is a project taking longer to complete than it should do, as this just means you have wasted your time. So with that in mind, for every project that you start, it’s crucial to put a plan in place, as that way you can ensure that you’ve got all of the details figured out.

The first step to planning any project is getting the inspiration that you need. Whatever it is that you plan on doing, whether it’s a bathroom upgrade or a kitchen revamp, getting inspiration is crucial for success. This is because if you don’t know what you want the finished space to look like, it’s impossible to plan properly for the update. When it comes to getting inspired, the best places to get inspiration are decor blogs and websites, as well as photo sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

To ensure that your project goes to plan and can be completed as swiftly as possible, it’s important to put together a plan for it that includes all of the most crucial information. From what it is that you actually plan on doing to the tools and materials that you need to complete the work. It’s important to put a plan in place so that you know what needs to be done and when this will help to ensure that your project is completed quickly and within the time frame that you have set for it.

Ensure that you have all the right tools in place

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Above, it was briefly mentioned how important it is to ensure that you have all of the right tools and materials in place before you start your project. This isn’t something that you want to make the mistake of not doing, as doing so can slow down the entire project. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of building a built-in wardrobe, only to find that you don’t have the tools and materials that you need for it.

If you don’t already have a toolbox and tools, now is the time to invest in them. Admittedly, a toolbox and tools may not come cheap, or as cheap as you would like, but think of it as an investment. Once you have a toolbox and tools, they will last you for life, as long as you look after them, that is. As well as general tools, like a hammer, screwdriver set, multi-tool, and wrench, you may also want to pick up some more specific tools, such as plumbing tools, for instance. This makes tackling more specific tasks like installing a new sink, a little easier.

Don’t forget that of all the tools that you have; your smartphone could just be one of the best ones. Thanks to DIY apps, you can now use your smartphone for all manner of tasks, from measuring the length of a wall or determining if a shelf is straight - yes, smartphones now have a spirit level app - there’s nothing smartphones can’t do.

As for the materials for your project, write a list of everything that you need and order them online or collect them from your local DIY store. If you’re not sure what you will need to complete your project, take the time to work it out with the help of the internet. Or, if the internet proves no help, perhaps you could ask a team member from your local DIY store for advice about the materials that you will need for your project?

We’ve discussed general tools and materials, but what about items that will help to speed things up? You see, there are various tools and even materials that can help to speed up DIY projects, it’s just a case of utilizing them, that’s all. So with that in mind, it’s a good idea to think about what your project will consist of, such as painting, for instance, and then look for tools or materials that could help to speed things up. One of which could be opting to use a Titan paint sprayer, for instance, to speed up how quickly you can apply paint to the surfaces that require it. Another option could be to use a paint that can be painted straight on, without the need for emulsion or sanding. Or, if sanding is required, perhaps the use of an electric sander could be the answer to speeding things up?

Know when to call in a little help


Although it’s all well and good wanting to go DIY with your home projects, sometimes it can be beneficial to get a little help. This is because if you don’t, it can be dangerous, or there’s a risk that the task won’t be completed properly. The fact is, there’s no point trying to complete a task that you don’t have the skills for, else it may end up impacting the rest of the project in a negative way, so it’s much better to call in a contractor to help you with anything that’s too difficult. Else, it could slow down the entire project, which isn’t what you want to happen, or worse, it could end up damaging your home. Say you are redoing your bathroom, for instance, if you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to the plumbing side of things, this could lead to all sorts of problems, including water leaking from the pipes or impacting the electronics.

Obviously, if you are going to call in a contractor, it’s important to select a qualified and experienced one, to make sure that the work is completed as quickly as possible and is done to a high standard. The last thing you want is to be the target of a shoddy contractor who leaves your home in a mess and you with thousands worth of damage that needs to be put right. That’s why it’s so important to be choosy about the contractor that you opt to use, should you need a little extra help with your home improvement project. When selecting a contractor, always make sure to ask for references, to ensure that they are as reliable and well trained as they say they are.

They say that slow and steady wins the race, but that’s not always the case when it comes to home improvement. Sure, it’s important not to rush a project, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find little ways to speed things up a bit. There’s a common misconception that home improvement has to be slow, but that isn’t necessarily true, it completely depends on how you approach the project. Prepare in advance for your next project, and you can speed up how long it will take to complete. You see, the better prepared you are for a project, whether it’s building decking for the garden or replacing the flooring in the living room, the easier and quicker the project will be to complete. When it comes to DIY, planning is the key to success. Take note of the planning tips and advice above, and you can ensure that your next project not only goes perfectly to plan but is also completed in a speed and efficient manner. Meaning that you don’t waste any time, and are able to get things done as quickly as possible.

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I Had a Korean Short Hair Makeover at Kenjo Salon

I have never been so adventurous when it comes to my hairstyle. For the longest time, I was wearing my crowning glory either as a long, rebonded hair...

or long permed hair.

I know my hair stories are pretty boring but I like how "safe" long hair looks on me. In case you are wondering, one of the main reasons why I seldom cut my hair short is because "long lustrous female hair is generally rated attractive by both men and women across cultures". Yes, I am a little old-fashioned like that.

What made me cut my hair short then?

This exact photo taken recently during a workshop I attended with my family. As if my dry, fizzy hair locks are screaming for my attention because it badly needs some extra tender loving care already. Initially, I only thought of having it trimmed to get rid of my split ends but a hair stylist from a salon chain I went to convinced me to cut it short for a change.

I agreed but ended unhappy with the result. I also found out  at the end of my supposedly stress-free pampering hair visit how the salon staff are very persuasive in letting costumers sign up for a package. I knew right there and then I wouldn't go back to that salon anymore. How would I recommend them to my readers if I am not satisfied with their service?

Thank goodness, Kenjo Salon came to my rescue. The frugal mama in me always have second thoughts of going to a posh salon but during my consultation, Joseph Foo, the Founder and Director of the Korean-inspired hair salon assured me that at Kenjo Salon, I am in for a quality treatment I wouldn't regret.

Photo credit: Kenjo Salon's Facebook Page
Kenjo Salon boasts a sleek and modern ambiance with a dedicated and professional team which is a combination of both local and Korean stylists. The salon's goal is to provide the highest level of professionalism to each and every client and ultimately build a long and lasting relationship purely based on trust and commitment. Now, that sounds like what exactly what I am looking for.

Joseph introduced me to Shasha, Kenjo Salon's Director Stylist who is obviously a Korean. Shasha is not very fluent in English but she can communicate with the language well enough for her to express what she wants to say. I like how straight-forward she actually is. She assessed my hair and said, "It looks too flat, I am going to give it some volume."

So I left my hair in the care of an expert, no less. Shasha trimmed my hair a little more. Her plan was to give me a Korean hair makeover. Who else knows Korean style best but the Koreans themselves, right?

To be honest, I am actually a little nervous with the drastic change that's gonna happen in all of my hair stories. What if it doesn't suit me? Well, you have to stick with me until the end of this post to know the answer. I've got some discount code to share too so please read on!

To protect my hair from the harsh effect of the perming solution, Shasha gave my hair their signature Mucota treatment. The treatment will also protect my hair from damage brought by the heat of a dryer or UV rays.

Shasha also suggested that I should try changing my parting line and so I did.

Blow drying and styling before the final reveal of my Korean hair makeover. I am so excited and nervous at the same time!



I quickly sent this photo via Whatsapp to my best friend to get her feedback because she was actually against my plan of changing into a short hair style.

Guess what she said???!!!

Quoting her Whatsapp reply;

"I love it!!!!!!! You look like a foreigner! (insert heart-eyed emoji here)

Followed by;

"Made you look vibrant and younger by ten years!" 

Oh, well! She's my best friend indeed! Hahaha!

I know best friends can be bias at times so I am going to ask you now, whatcha think of my makeover?

Yay or Nay?

I was initially worried how to maintain my new look but before my treatment ended, Joseph came to personally hand me these awesome Davines' shampoo and conditioner which is specially curated for my Love Curls.

These shampoo and conditioner were named LOVE for no reason. I love its smell and I love how it retains my curls nicely. I also particularly love how eco-friendly these products are. The packaging wasn't fancy at all yet it looks very dainty with its black and white sticker label pasted on a recyclable bottle and recyclable container respectively. What's there not to love?

Thank you, Kenjo Salon! I was really impressed by the professionalism and great service of your staff. During my treatment, I can spy Joseph from the corner of my eyes constantly checking and making sure that all costumers are being well attended to by his team. Also, I have never been to any other salon that offers a wide array of drinks to choose from including coffee and soy milk. Hats off for going beyond the extra mile to pamper your costumers.

Based on my pleasant experience, I highly recommend Kenjo Salon! The salon depicts luxury and class yet affordable and their prime location and excellent service are hard to beat. You may look for my stylist, Shasha or Joseph when you visit and don't forget to quote my name "CHERRY" to get 15% off your first haircut or treatment.

For constant updates, like Kenjo Salon on Facebook and follow @kenjosalon on Instagram.
68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura (New Wing)
Singapore 238839
Tel no.: 6238 8083
*This post is brought to you by Sweet Memoirs and Kenjo Salon collaboration.

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How To Avoid Mortgage Blunders

Image thanks to

You have your deposit ready now all you need is to secure a mortgage and find the right property and you are on your way to owning your first home.  It is an exciting time but it can also be fraught with mistakes so here are top tips for avoiding first time mortgage blunders.

  1. Get your score sorted - you may not be able to do much about your credit score now but knowing what it is and what deals it entitles you to is key to getting the right mortgage for you.  You can find your score for free at
  2. Limit credit applications - if you need a bridging loan or top up loan now is not the time to be applying for it.  Applying for a mortgage requires a credit search, which means that lenders will be looking at your line of credit both open and debt.  If you are applying for multiple credit lines at the same time this will dramatically impact how much a home loan company will be comfortable lending you so focus on your mortgage and leave other credit alone.
  3. Not shopping around for mortgage lenders - you might be tempted to stick to your high street bank for your mortgage, particularly if you have a good credit history.   However even the larger banks don’t necessarily have the best deals. Shop around using mortgage comparison sites and you will see that some smaller lenders such as bay equity home loans offer bespoke deals that could save you thousands of dollars. Shopping around is vital if you have a poor credit score as it will increase your chances of securing a mortgage in the first place.
  4. Not getting pre-approved - you may think you know how much you can borrow but until you actually secure the mortgage on your home there is still some uncertainty.  If you don’t want to waste your time looking at houses that may end up out of your price range you should seek a pre-approval from your lender to give you a more accurate budget for your real estate search.
  5. Taking on too much debt - most lenders will work with you to only give you the amount they feel you can comfortably pay back.  That doesn’t mean you have to take the full amount if you don’t need it. Taking on more debt than you need increases your mortgage period as well as the interest you pay and can end up costing you far more than you had anticipated.  Only borrow what you actually need. If you have a large deposit or don’t need a house that is quite as big as your budget would allow then save yourself many years of repayments by asking for less.
  6. Not quite got it- mortgage deals can be very confusing and the paperwork that comes with it totally baffling.  Just because it takes time to read and understand the paperwork doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it to get to completion quicker.  Signing paperwork that you don’t fully understand can land you with huge problems in the future if your mortgage deal doesn’t turn out to be what you expected.

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Awesome Kitchen Upgrades If You Love To Entertain

Being able to entertain friends and have people over is one of the greatest joys of adulthood. When you have your own home, getting everyone together to enjoy food and drink makes for some amazing times. One of the rooms to really focus on if you like entertaining is the kitchen. So whether you’re completely renovating your kitchen or just looking to spruce up and update what you have, here are some awesome features you should consider.


Wine Storage
It’s always handy to have wine in the home. If you’re throwing an impromptu dinner party, you have a couple of bottles ready to go, or if you need a last minute gift for a friend, you’re all set. Plus it’s nice to relax with a glass every now and again, especially sat out in the garden in the evening now the weather has warmed up! So a good place to store it all is essential. If you’re planning your kitchen and have a little nook that’s a little too small to fit another cupboard, a wine fridge would be the perfect option. The ideal place to keep your white and rose wine chilled along with a cheeky bottle of champagne or two to pop open whenever a time to celebrate crops up! To store red wine, a wine rack would work well. Again you could consider having this built as part of the kitchen in the design process. You’ll always be ready to entertain and host friends.


A Plumbed Fridge Freezer
Making ice is a pain, you splash yourself while filling up the trays then have to balance it somewhere in the freezer without sloshing it everywhere. Plus the average ice cube tray only makes a few cubes so not exactly ideal. A fridge freezer with an ice and water machine which is plumbed into the main supply gives you a never ending supply of ice and cold water. They usually come with a big drawer which the ice falls into, so you’re never running out, and there’s no hassle of refilling. A company like could install this within a couple of hours, maybe less depending on the main plumbing in your kitchen is located. When you’re hosting a party, it just ensures everyone has plenty of ice for their drinks!

An Island
If you have the space for it in your kitchen, an island is such a fantastic feature. It’s a great informal place for the family to eat breakfast and is great for guests to sit when you’re throwing a get-together or dinner party. Modern dinner parties are far less formal than they once were, so having your guests in the kitchen when you cook is widely accepted and actually the preferred style. It gives you additional storage, and you can have an extra hob or sink installed in it too. Great for busy family life as well as entertaining.

Light and Bright
When you have a lot of people over, you want the room to feel as spacious, airy and inviting as possible. Along with your overhead lights you could have some LED strip lights installed under cupboards and along kick boards. If possible, large glass sliding doors will flood the space with natural light- and having skylights installed will brighten the space further. At the very least, you could look into having your kitchen window made bigger if the room feels a little dark and dingy. Another way to maximize the space in any room is to paint it a light color. You won’t go far wrong with plain white, you can always accessorize it with a fun color if you feel it looks a little stark.

Open Concept
Speaking of light, bright and spacious, one of the best ways to achieve this is by making the space open plan. It allows you to have friends over without feeling cramped between a few separate rooms. Plus this is the preferred style of living now, so making your home open plan will make it more valuable if you come to sell. You may need to knock down a wall or two, it’s a big job but well worth it. Speak to an architect or builder to see if it’s possible, in some cases walls are supporting walls, meaning it’s an even bigger job to remove them. You may need to add things like beams to ensure the house remains stable, so always speak to a professional rather than try to remove them yourself.


Cool Appliances
The best appliances will make your job far easier in the kitchen, especially if you’re hosting a crowd. A double oven, for example, is ideal for making large meals. A good quality coffee machine is another kitchen gadget that’s always going to go down well with guests. The pods you buy ensure a perfect cup every time, so stock up on lots of different varieties. If you invest in things like coffee syrups and things you can make a proper coffee shop style drink to really impress your guests. A stand mixer such as the KitchenAid will allow you to whip up fantastic cakes and baked goods, these would work well for afternoon tea style parties which are especially nice now we are into spring and summer. Even features like a pasta arm or a boiling water tap make cooking and preparing food that bit quicker and easier if you’re putting together a bit of a feast.

These upgrades will not only make your home more practical for the family and day to day life but whenever you have friends over entertaining will be a breeze too. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue, a birthday party, a cocktail party or a dinner party your guests are sure to love hanging out at your place.

Do you entertain at home very often? What kinds of things would your dream kitchen include for hosting guests?

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