Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cheeky Lucas turns 4!

Cheeky Lucas turns 4. Somehow after going through all the photos I took, this photo just kept my smiling. It looked like Ethan, the boy on the left who photobombed, was going "Orh, Lucas have a girlfriend".

Okay back to the Lucas 4th birthday. Its seems to be the routine where we will have a bigger cake for their class celebration, complete with goodies bag and all, and a smaller close family celebration on the actual day.

Lucas seems extremely shy when the birthday song was sang.

Photos from the school celebration.

Happy faces and goodie bags give away.

We had the small family celebration at the function room of our new place. Lucas finally decided to have Bumblebee as his cake after repeated changes over the two weeks leading to his birthday.

Group shots and more happy faces.

Happy 4th Birthday Cheeky Lucas!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Renovation: Places to Shop for Electrical Appliances

Image from Atlantic Supplies & Trading Pte Ltd
Shopping for electrical appliances for your new house can blow a pretty big hole in your wallet. Which is why it pays to do some price comparison to save some money.

The major stores like Courts, Best Denki and Harvey Norman are the best places to shop and test your electrical appliances. These major stores often have many brands and models on display and you are often able to test and compare so you can make some informed choices. But they may not be the best place to buy, if you have the cash.

You see, these major players often have high cost and overheads to pay, hence very often, you may not get the lowest price. But they do appeal to two kind of buyers: a) buyers who wish to pay with credit card, or pay via installment plans, b) buyers who wish to buy extended warranties.

There is an exception though, and it is call television. TV is one segment that is so competitive that you should not write off the major players as they could sometimes throw in certain freebies like extended warranty or special brand tie-ups like LG with Harvey Norman that suddenly makes their offer very appealing.

The next tier are the big stores like Gain City, Mega Discount Store and Audio House. They have a big flagship store and even several smaller stores but their range and offerings would not be as extensive as the major stores. They may have older or discounted models which they sell at bargain prices too. Sometimes they may have an exclusive model only available at their store. Mega Discount Store is an example. They carry the Samsung JS8000K Series 8 TV which is only exclusive to their stores. And it is for this reason I bought this TV from them (after some bargaining with Mr. Tony Maung).

If you are willing to save even more and pay for the appliances in cash, then the neighbourhood stores like Parisilk, Maximum Credit, Ban Kim Chuan, Goh Ah Bee and Kong Tai. Each has certain appliances that cost less than others. The name of the game is to get as much from a store as possible and try to bargain for even more discount.

How I did my shopping was to go window shopping at the mega stores, narrow down the different model numbers of the appliances I am keen in, then with that, ask the pricing from the neighbourhood stores. From the list of prices I got, Andy Koh from Parisilk Eastgate and James Koh from Maximum Credit both gave very competitive prices. In the end, I bought most of my appliances from Andy. I highly recommend him as I find him very friendly and responsive and very service-oriented. Drop me a pm or email if you wish to have his direct contact.

Just a side note about TV buying. You can get some good bargains with display sets. And the best display sets are those that are used during those four days event or expo. You get a four days old TV at display set price and they come to your house fully run-in.

Whoever you decided to buy your appliances from, always try to bargain. You would be surprise that you could bargain with even the major stores for a lower price.

Happy shopping!

Parisilk East Gate contact: 63449937
Maximum Credit contact: 62763331
Ban Kim Chuan contact: 64435298
Goh Ah Bee contact: 62888611
Kong Tai contact: 65658924

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Renovation: Window and Balcony Restrictors

I love space. Living in a tightly packed city, space is a real luxury. When we picked our new house, we look for ideal units with unblocked view as this gives a sense of space. However, when you have young children in the house, their safety takes priority.

Parents with young children should consider putting in some form of restrictions at the windows and balcony. This is to prevent young children from climbing out of the windows or over the balcony. The most basic would be Window Grille made of metal materials like aluminum or wrought iron.
Image from Pang Giap Enterprise (88) Pte Ltd
Aluminum is probably the most popular choice due to the economical price. It serves more like a deterrent. However, if your windows are along the corridor, you might want to consider stronger material like wrought iron. The disadvantage is maintenance to prevent rust from setting in. 

I see some other sites offering wrought aluminum which it says offer the strength of wrought iron without the worry of rust. You may wish to find out more. There are also other considerations like whether are the grille powder coated or anodized.

Many do not like the look of grille as they feel caged up and loses the sense of space. The other alternative is using invisible grille. But it comes at a higher cost.
Image from CSA Invisible Grille
The idea behind invisible grille is using thin stainless steel cables to restrict access while doing away with the caged up look. It is gaining popularity now as it offers safety with a much lesser compromise on the lost of spaciousness. There are quite a number of options for window ranging from fixed to casement to sliding. 

Image from CSA Invisible Grille
This is also a very popular option for balcony. In fact, we installed invisible grille for our balcony from CSA Invisible Grille. Do find out more about the materials the different companies are using and to check the reviews of others who have installed from the different companies. 

For our window, our ID Tom did propose something different. He showed us a kind of vinyl blinds for the window which looks very nice. These blinds are heavy to lift up, hence the idea is to keep it lowered and to hide the strings away from the children. Hence they will not be able to lift them up.

The children are able to turn the direction of the blinds, either to allow more light and ventilation in or close the blind. The gaps also allow us to open and close the window with ease. We bought the idea. However, as I am afraid that the boys could still somehow get past the blind (from the side or by crawling under), I have also installed window restrictors.

Basically its a cable system that restricts how much you can open the windows by. The advantages are that you do not have the caged up look and you can unlock it to open the windows fully if you need to. The disadvantage is because you restrict how much you can open the window by, you restrict the amount of wind or ventilation coming in from the windows. They do not seems to be readily available locally, hence I bought them from eBay UK.

Lastly, Daiso sells a balcony door restrictor that a number of neighbours find useful. It limits the opening of your sliding door. I believe it can be used for sliding window too.