NN Header

Sunday, 30 August 2015

[Media Invite] Dinner at Perfetto Cafe @ Bugis

11 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199432
Tel: 6717 3413

A 2-months old baby cafe is born - amongst the popular hipster street filled with cafes and bars. Perfetto Cafe is set in a spartan, no-fuss, rustic style, preferring non-pretentious comfort and good food to be its trademark over a glamorous setting.   It occupies 2 stories at 11 Bussorah Street - the upper level reserved for events and functions at this juncture.

This was a media invite attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere and familiar reviewers including Sihan.

We kickstarted the tasting session with Stuffed Chicken Roll (SGD$7.90) - chicken roll with crispy skin, stuffed with special-reciped beef.  The golden skin was crackling deliciously when bitten into; the teeth sinks deeper into tender flesh, until it reaches the almost mushy beef stuffings - saccharine, delicious, enhancing the subtle flavour of the chicken. A fabulous starter - but one has to take heed when consuming it because there are tiny toothpicks within the rolls holding the duo-meat intact, so don't poke your mouth please.

Next, we had an assortment of Chicken Satay and Beef Satay (SGD$11.90 each) - these strands of meat were well-marinated with heavier flavours. The flesh was succulent and moistened - unlike the typically dry satay we usually come across.

Following that, we had the Chicken Burger (SGD$7.90) with crispy sesame bun, crumbly chicken fillet, and a foliage of  cheese and homemade sauce. Everything about this burger was crispy and tasty- from the bun to the chicken patty (real chicken meat, no flour mixture or battering) as well as sides of fries.  I was thinking that some lettuce would've perfected it - but the lack therein does not in anyway compromise the taste of this burger anyway.

The Beef Burger (SGD$7.90) was made up of the same crispy sesame buns, onions, tomato slices, homemade sauce, cheese and side of fries. Crunch your way through the buns, and feel the teeth stabbing upon saccharine, juicy beef patty refreshed by layers of crisp veggie slices sandwiching it.  This was a simple but welcoming comfort food for the soul.

Shrimp Baked Rice (SGD$13.90) was piquant in its fragrance, shrimp sweetness wafting through the air, evoking hunger pangs. The mozarella cheese layer was baked till a crusty golden brown, coating the rice and scrumptious shrimp balls. It is my first time trying this innovative shrimp baked rice dish, and definitely an unforgettable taste that keeps me craving for more the very next day.

Next, Uptown Steak (SGD$19.90), a lean slab of Sirloin steak served with parmesan baguette and side of fries. The well-marinated steak was chewy, tender and contained an aromatic smokey hint to it, coming through the darker, sweeter notes of beef's natural taste.

We loved the Rack of Lamb (SGD$23.90) as well, asking for seconds because it was simply delectable. These lamb racks had no gamey taste at all - not a hint, therefore mint jelly was not necessary. The flesh was roasted to a slightly-charred, crispy exterior with very succulent and well-moistened interior walls of flesh.

Salmon (price unavailable) was awesome as well. The exterior boosted of the very slightest hint of crisps, while the flesh beneath was soft, succulent, almost done like Scottish smoked salmon with a gentle "half-cooked" texture to it.

Triple Scoops Gelato Belgium Waffles (SGD$13.90 each) were served next, with different-flavoured gelato for sharing. The chocolate flavour was my favorite - rich and dark in tones.  The waffles had a good buttery taste to them, as well as fluffy textures.

Finally, Affogato (price unavailable) concluded the meal. While I enjoyed the aromatic espresso shot and vanilla gelato, I could not comprehend the huge mound of cream forming part of this creation. The thick cream looked very pretty, but I still prefer the conventional affogato with its bare scoop of gelato.

All in all, it was an enjoyable dining experience at this 2-months old cafe, for Perfetto Cafe serves up good, honest Western food at prices that won't break your wallets. Come by for a meal or waffles  if you are in the vicinity.

Thank you Perfetto Cafe and Hungrygowhere for the invite.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Nuptial Series - (ii) The Solemnisation / ROM (Registering of Marriage) Procedure

So, after the proposal in Part (i), the next step would be getting ourselves registered - be it for the purpose of the new place, or other plans in place.

Well, you have to understand first that even though I have many cousins and friends who have gotten married over the years, and I do understand the basic procedures from them (a little bit here and there), I did not call them for a hand-holding guide to planning for the wedding.   Granted, it would have made things so much more easier - where to look for what, what is the next step, etc.

But I don't want to spoil my own fun at being a bride, Hence, begins the tedious process of finding out about the ROM procedure (from scratch). The detailed information can be obtained through ROM's website here.

To break it down into even more laymen's terms for you, the summary is as follows:

(i) If you or your partner are Muslim, this is not for you, sorry. There is the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) for you here.

(ii)  If you are above 18 years of age and below 21 years old, you need consent of a parent or legal guardian.

(iii)  If your current marital status is "divorced" or "widowed", then ensure your previous marriage was legally dissolved and to provide necessarily documents (divorce papers, Statutory Declaration or death certificate of a deceased spouse, whichever is applicable).

(iv)  If you and / or spouse-to-be are not a Singaporean Citizen or PR, then ensure that you guys have been physically present in Singapore for a period of at least 15 days prior to the Date of Notice.

(v)  You can choose to solemnise your wedding at ROM's premises (booking by availability) or any venue of your choice.

(i)  There is a minimum 21 days' period required between your Date of Notice and Date of Marriage (solemnisation). That basically means, if your ideal marriage date is on 14 February, please file your notice LATEST by 24 January of the same year. I wouldn't leave it to last minute just to play safe.

(ii)  You can choose to do e-filing at the comfort of your home or anywhere that you please. If you require assistance on using e-services, do drop by any of the CitizenConnect Centres (CCCs) nearest to you, or e-Kiosks at ROM Building itself at 7 Canning Rise, Singapore 179869.

(iii)   Fill in all required details of both parties.

(iv)  Do note that the Date of Notice is the date which ROM has successfully received all required details of applicants.

(v)  For those who used e-filing services, please DO NOT call or visit the registry to check on your filing status.  Instead, please do a search online here.

(vi)  Upon successful filing, you will be given a Notice Number for reference. Print the "Summary of Notice of Marriage" out and appear before the ROM (a date will be given to you) to furnish your documents and make a declaration of your status.

(vii)   The documents required are copies of both your spouse-to-be and your IDs (for Singaporeans, use your NRICs and for foreigners, your passports), the Solemizer Consent Form and credit card details for payment.

(viii)   If your marital status is not "single" at the point of registering, please also submit relevant documents such as divorce papers, statutory declaration or ex-spouse's death certificate).

(ix)   You MAY NOT cancel your notice of marriage. The eligible marriage date shall lapse automatically after three (3) months of the Notice of Filing.

(x)  Similarly, the date of marriage / solemnisation has to take place within three (3) months of the Date of Notice.   If not, the applicants would need to re-file their notice for a fresh date.


(i).   Yes, you need to secure a solemniser before filing your marriage. You can choose from a list of licensed solemnisers who may also be Justice of the Peace, religious leaders, grassroots etc by clicking onto the ROM website here.

(ii)   What to look out for? The date of expiry for the License. Ensure that the license is still in force, and falls within the date you intend to get married.  

(iii)   Drop them an email or text (for those who provide a number). Most of them are usually very nice, and would respond within a day or two.

(iv)   Once you have secured a solemniser, meet up with him or her to sign the Invitation to Solemnise form (also known as the consent form) - see photo above. A copy of the form may be downloaded here.

(v)   Do note that the solemnisers are not supposed to charge any fees for their help. However, you know you need to be nice and offer a token of appreciation at your own volition right....? :)

(vi)   REMEMBER to ask your solemniser for his or her solemniser buddy's contacts - just in case something crops up and your solemniser cannot make it.

Well, I hope this helps! Have fun searching for your solemnisers and filing your Notice of Marriage!

Keep a lookout for the next post in The Nuptial Series, I will be touching on some lovely ideas and information on Solemnisation Venues.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Afternoon Tea at M Hotel's Club Lounge

81 Anson Road, Level 28, M Hotel, Singapore 079908
Tel: 6224 1133

The view from the windows- yes we sat by the windows

I used to dine at Cafe 2000 (review here) of M Hotel very often with *C, a friend I'd loved like a sister. But anyway, that was in the past. Anyway, here I am again, invited for afternoon tea cum catching up session with a busy view of our well-established port.

The lounge was pretty empty on a Friday afternoon, with a cosy and comfortable setting in muted tones, reminding one of a home away from home. The service crew was polite, and the array of afternoon tea snacks was good enough; there were also reading materials for those who wish to enjoy some solitide serenade on their own.

For food, there were savoury items such as fish nuggets, chicken wings, duck rillette with bread on the side, as well as sandwiches and some small appetiser items.

For desserts, there were plenty of options - miniature cakes, cookies, fruits and cheese, as well as macarons etc.

Whether one cares for hot beverages (coffee, tea, hot chocolate etc), cold beverages or some wine, there is something to satisfy everyone's preferences.

I had the Hot Chocolate while *Gareth had the Cappuccino.  My hot chocolate was rich in flavour surprisingly - not milky at all, and not "milo" replacement that many places serve up. It was pure liquid chocolate, rather smooth and soothing to the palate.

We tried some of the starters - the plate that mixes the savoury and sweet items is not mine. Haha.  The Roast Beef was good - juicy and succulent.

I enjoyed this tiny wedge of prune draped with ham and served with halved olive was quite uniquely lovely, small bite-sized burst of flavours.

The Physalis with Cheese was another thing of beauty, merging the tartiness of the tiny orange fruit and saltiness of cheese to form a tasteful union.

The Salami with onion and caviar was a little heavy on flavours, but anything with caviar comforts me - just to feel it popping in my mouth gently and the fluid flowing over my tongue deliciously.

Actually this was the first plate I'd started with - desserts!  I was in a cookies mood - hence swept an assortment of them. The tiny Chocolate Tart was good - the crust was very crunchy to my surprise, and chocolate curd thick and velvety. The Macarons were not cloyingly sweet, which were rather pleasant delights.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Nuffnang versus Google Adsense

BLOGGERS alert - are you thinking of running some ads banners on your blog / website for some extra income on the side? Done your research but are still unsure of which platform to use, Nuffnang, Google AdSense, GushCloud, etc?

Screenshot of my site viewed on Mobile format - http://www.thearcticstar.blogspot.com

Well yes, I do have a blog (the one you are reading!),  catered mostly for reviews and journalistic experience on food, travel, beauty products as well as some Current Affairs discussion and poetry.  While passion and sponsorships / invited sessions made up part of the ingredients of this Blog, I have also installed some tiny ads banners from Nuffnang and Google AdSense. Hence I am going to share my experience on them now.

I shall start with Nuffnang since I have managed to install it successfully first, in December 2013 when this Blogsite first came into existence.


Photosource: http://www.nuffnang.com.sg
I simply logged into http://www.nuffnang.com.sg and create an account. There are some basic questions about my site url, page views, etc, before I was all set to paste their ads html codes onto my sites.   They don't need us to have kept the blog for a minimum period of time. and it is easy to follow their instructions to place their ads boxes onto our site / blog (choose between top, side or bottom of the site / blog). We can place multiple ad boxes on one single site / blog.

We can also link more than one site / blog to the same Nuffnang account.

Nuffnang tracks our pageviews and unique visits on a daily basis, so we can log in anytime to view the statistics.  They offer CPUV (Cost-per-unique-visitor) and CPC (Cost-per-click) campaigns, in order to help us maximise our earning potential.

If we don't have other ads on the site, Nuffnang makes us a Glitterati member - meaning, our credit redemption will be processed faster, we may get invited for Nuffnang's events and selected to do advertorials etc.   The minimum amount we can cash out is SGD$50.00.

Once we redeem our credits, give Nuffnang 30 days after every end of the month of redemption  date to verify and process. They will fish out the "fraud clicks" (i.e. repeatedly clicking by the same user / ip-address) and we get the balance thereafter. The cheque takes another 14 days to be mailed out after verification and legal processing by the bank.

I redeemed around 17 May 2015 - so, 30 days after 17 May 2015 should make it 16 June 2015. Say, the bank took another 14 days to process - so by end of June 2015, I should've gotten my cheque.

But no. In early July 2015, I received a notification about "Fraud Clicks" and I wrote in to contest. After all, I cannot help it if my supporters / readers wish to click on a different ad on a daily basis, right?

In mid-July 2015, Nuffnang's Singapore office called me to verify my full name and address.  By 23 July 2015, it was still not here and their reply to me was "still processing; you should expect the cheque in August."

I replied to them about the severe lag in timeline, and my desire to write a Nuffnang vs. AdSense article.   On 27 July 2015, they informed me that my cheque has been processed and mailed out; by 30 July 2015 I received it in the mailbox along with a nice message from Ming (Co-founder) - and not a single cent less despite the "fraud clicks" deduction I was being warned about.

Took a little while, with some lapses, but still reliable - thank you Nuffnang!

Moving on...

Google AdSense
Photosource: http://www.google.com/adsense

My Google AdSense ads started at least 6 months later than my Nuffnang, reason being my blog was new. I had to keep re-applying over the months; finally I decided to take The Beau's suggestion and applied with an older Blogger Blog before my application was successful.

Then I linked the accounts and managed to place AdSense ad boxes onto my current Blogsite as well.   Meaning to say, Google AdSense is a lot more stringent in their requirements - but they have good reason to.

Similarly, Google AdSense allows us to choose from top banner, sidebar or bottom options to place our ads boxes. We may place multiple boxes too.

They also track our statistics, so we can log in to view. They also track revenue optimization across different platforms (i.e. tablets, phones or computers) - so if you are into very detailed information, this may be just the thing for you.

For redemption, all we need to do is to provide / link our bank account number. We can also set a Threshold (minimum SGD$150.00) so that when our earnings hit that threshold, the monies will, without preamble, be transferred directly to our bank accounts.

I set a threshold for this, and the earnings hit the threshold around end June 2015 as well. Google AdSense pays out during the 3rd week of the month after redemption, as long as there are no holds or violation of policies. By 23 July 2015, the earnings were credited smoothly into my bank account with no fuss or muss at all.    Thank you, Google AdSense!


Both are easy to install and trust-worthy; both track statistics though Google AdSense's is more in-depth.

Earnings-wise -  Even though the Google AdSense account was approved at least 6 months after my Nuffnang earnings, and I redeemed both at around the same time - Google AdSense's earnings were thrice that of my Nuffnang's.

Personal-touch wise - Nuffnang does have more events and campaigns to help bloggers earn.   Also, they have a rather efficient Customer Service team to attend to feedback / issues while Google does not at all.

As with everything, both have their pros and cons - so you can decide if you prefer efficiency or events - or wish to have the best of both worlds.