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6 Planning Hacks When Travelling with Friends

Travelling in groups has always been a trend: all-girls’ holidays and bro trips are just a few examples of friends hitting the road together. Before you jumpstart preparing the nitty-gritty details of your travel, here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your ‘friendventure’ goes off as smoothly as possible.

  1. Narrow Down Your Destination Choices

Before you start calling the squad, narrow down your destination choices. These are your best buds, so you probably know what kind of vacation everybody wants. Your choices, of course, should be down to actual justifiable and practical reasons, such as affordability of flights, a destination everyone would want to visit, brilliant hotel deals, etc.

  • Go for Shared Accommodation

Renting a property as a group will make the travel so much cheaper than booking individual hotel rooms, though you certainly can if you really want that option. If you choose the latter, contact several hotels, and even hostels, to see if there are any ongoing promotions and discounts for bulk booking.

  • Let Everyone Contribute

Let everyone in the group play a role. Someone books the daytrips, someone takes care of the flight bookings, someone handles the finances, etc. This way, the responsibilities are shared, everyone would feel they have contributed and no one would feel stressed out or overworked.

  • Create a Pot Money for Expenses

Decide on an amount and have everyone contribute the same amount of money to raise it. This will help keep everything clean and easy, especially for joint expenses, such as taxes for accommodation, everyday meals and night out expenses. If there is any leftover, it is much easier to split the remaining money among everyone.

  • Let Everyone Do Their Thing

They’re your friends, so you probably already know each other’s personality. While partying is your cup of tea, others may find it exhausting. You and a few of your friends may want to go clubbing, while others prefer to stay in during the night. If some prefer not to join some activities, let them be. Allowing everyone do what makes them relaxed ensures that the group does not only get the holiday you all want, but everyone else also gets the individual vacation they want.

  • Be Considerate of Everyone

This is more of a general rule: be considerate of everyone in the group. Some could be more laidback than others, and simply because they do not say anything mean you don’t need to consult them. Make sure that every single thing is decided and agreed by everyone to avoid unexpected surprises. Once you’ve settled everything as a group, review the information and adjust if necessary.

Group trips are supposed to be fun, so don’t let the stress of planning get in the way. Keep in mind these helpful travel tips to organize and get you excited about your upcoming vacation, instead.

5 Ways to Get Your Toddler to Sleep Soundly

Toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep. Otherwise, they can get either irritable or hyperactive. It is also important in your baby’s weight regulation, helps promotes cognitive development and enhances your child’s immune system. Of course, you want all these benefits, except that toddlers are quite a challenge to tuck into bed. Here, we share to you five ways to make it easier for you to send your toddlers to bed.

  1. Practice a bedtime routine

Plan a family routine and stick to it. The key here is consistency. Kids love to feel like they are in control—they like it that they know what will happen next. When they can already distinguish the difference of night and day, it will be easier for them to follow a bedtime routine, which can include brushing their teeth, changing into pajamas, drinking a glass of warm milk and reading bedtime stories.

  • Put him to bed when he’s drowsy, not when he’s asleep

As much as possible, try to lessen the nursing, singing or rocking to send your little munchkin to dreamland. When your toddler is so used to this, waking up in the middle of the night can become difficult for the both of you, since your child can’t go back to sleep without you rocking him or singing him a lullaby. Lessening this practice will train your baby to settle down on his own in case he wakes up in the wee hours of the night.

  • Make your toddler’s bedroom relaxing

Invest in a cozy baby mattress, blanket, crib, night lamp and even in a calming bedtime music. Try out different ways to know which works for your child or create a combination of these things to help him easily fall asleep at night.

  • Avoid stimulants later in the night

Your toddler should all be set to settle down an hour before his bedtime. So, no offering of sweet treats two to three hours before it is time to put him to bed. Instead, offer a glass of warm milk to help him sleep soundly throughout the night.

  • Give your toddler a calming evening bath

A nice warm bath helps calm the body down, preparing your child for a good night’s sleep. And given Singapore’s summer-like weather, a refreshing bath at the end of the day will keep your little one cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Newborns and toddlers can have a hard time falling asleep. That is why it is important for parents to help them get the complete sleep and rest necessary for their growth and development. Let these helpful tips and tricks be your guide to ensure quality slumber for your growing children.

Benefits of Journaling

The dedication that comes with keeping a journal can seem quite daunting. But it really isn’t as scary as most people think. In fact, journaling can actually give a lot of benefits for us, especially if we do it every day.

1. Somewhere to put your ideas and goals

One of the more obvious benefits of journaling is that you are able to put all your ideas and goals on paper. A journal is a place for you to write anything that crosses your mind. Whether you write ideas for work or maybe a wild goal to be the greatest actor/actress in Singapore, you can put all of that in your journal.

2. For self-reflection

Life presents us with a lot of problems and opportunities, while also being very quick about it. Life comes fast and sometimes we miss the more important things in our everyday activities. Writing about your day allows you to reflect and take a step back. You are able to ponder upon all things you are grateful for, and also all the challenges you’ve faced.

3. There are no rules

You are free to be who you want to be in writing. Rather, you’re free to do anything when writing in your journal. Journaling has no rules! It doesn’t matter if you scribble, make typos, or use poor handwriting, journaling allows you to be yourself. Of course, this only counts with your own journal. Make sure you don’t disturb the affairs of other people.

4. Improves creative writing

The fact of the matter is, the more you write, the better you get at it. Writing every day in a journal is a way for you to gain more experience simply because instead of squeezing ideas out of your brain, you actually have your own real experiences to write down already. You can also write in your journal for drafts, or to map out possible scenarios that you’d like to include in pieces of your writing.

5. You become more organized

If you write your thoughts or ideas in a journal, it will be easy for you to keep them clear and orderly. You won’t have any problems trying to remember your ideas because you already have them neatly arranged in your journal. Writing and finishing to-do lists also becomes easier once you have them written down.

6. Reduces stress

Journaling can also have a pretty therapeutic effect. You can write down all your worries, problems, frustrations, and not keep them bottled up in your mind. Journaling enables you to detach from the negative feelings and emotions that may build up on you from your day to day endeavors. Doing this can be a small thing, but you’ll find that it can help relieve your stress.

Things You Definitely Should Not Do on A First Date

So, you’ve had a picnic at the Esplanade roof garden, or went stargazing at the Science Centre Observatory with a girl you met last week. You’ve had a fun night, or at least you thought. At the end of the date, the girl says you’ve been looking at your phone the whole evening, and she politely tells you not to call her again, then leaves. You don’t know how to feel, but you’ve realized your mistake. There are tons of other mistakes we can make on a first date, and here are only some.

You absolutely do not want to:

Be late

This is probably one of the most recurrent advice when it comes to first dates. Just think about it, turning up late even in the business setting, is already annoying enough. In brief, we’ll have to turn to the old cliché, “time is gold”.

Cancel last minute

Again, time is an irreplaceable thing. Everybody has important things to do or places they’d rather be. Accepting the date already means that the other person is setting aside valuable time to meet you. So, respect that by doing the same and turning up!

Be rude to others

You won’t get anything if you’re only good your date but being totally disrespectful of others. Sometimes it can be easy to get angry at a waiter’s mistake or be agitated by other people’s noise, but getting angry will only do more harm than good.

Keep using your phone

When you keep scrolling on your phone during a date, it only shows that you’re not interested, it’s that simple. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely ignore calls and messages. Just excuse yourself if something important or an emergency comes up.

Go drunk or get drunk

Obviously, you won’t want to show up wreaking of alcohol. Even if you’re not drunk and you and your date decide to drink, remember to avoid drinking too much. You don’t want to slip off your tongue and say something unpleasant.

Talk over your date

Both you and your date will have enough time to speak. So don’t go and dominate the conversation while your date is talking. Learn to listen!  You might learn small, but important details about your date if you do.

Talk about past relationships

Talking about your “exes” will imply that your comparing those past relationships to this one. It is especially problematic if you do this because you aren’t even a real couple yet. Plus, talking about the past may suggest that you’re still not ready for a new relationship.

Be overly cautious of your appearance

Constantly checking your appearance can be really annoying for the person in front of you. To avoid doing this, just make sure that you’re wearing comfortable (yet presentable) clothes or ones that you’ve used before and feel confident in.

How to Take Care of Your Cast-Iron Skillet in 3 Easy Steps

Cast-iron skillets have been around for a really long time, and many households and restaurants still use them because they’re so easy to cook with (you need less oil when cooking with them) and are a lot safer than many modern types of cookware today.

Not only are they tough and will last for a long time if kept properly (they can still rust if left unused), but they are also non-stick when seasoned well and you can cook on really high heat without burning the food.

If you haven’t got your hands on one already, here’s all the more reason to. And if you have one already at home and plan on having it for a long time, here’s how you can take care of your favorite cast-iron skillet:

1. Add hot water. Wash the skillet right away by using hot water and a sponge or a stiff brush. Be sure to use tongs if the water is really hot.

As much as possible, avoid using cleaning methods and tools that can strip away the pan’s seasoning, such as dishwasher, soap (if you have to use soap, be sure to use a mild one), or steel wool.

2. Scrub off any bits that are still stuck onto it. You can do this by using a paste of coarse salt and water, and a wooden spoon. For any stubborn food bits stuck to the pan, you can loosen them by boiling water in the pan.
Once all the food bits have been removed, rinse with hot water and wipe down with a paper towel, and thoroughly dry it on a stove over low heat.

3. Season it. Apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to your cast-iron skillet using a cloth or a paper towel, and buff the skillet to remove any excess oil on it.

You can also choose to oil the outside of the skillet if you want to. The longer it has been in your care, the shinier the cast-iron skillet will be, and over time, the oil will coat it enough that a gentle layer of soap and dishwasher can be used without doing too much damage to it.

Once you’re done seasoning your cast-iron skillet, store it in a cool, dry place where water can’t get to it. This will prevent it from rusting quickly.

Be sure to clean your cast-iron skillet right away once you’re done using it, while it’s still hot or warm – leaving it to soak in the sink may only cause it to rust, which you may have to remove by using steel wool or baking soda.

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