Category Archives: Guest Post
There are numerous homes which are currently on the market that need serious work done to them before they will be habitable. If you ever dreamt of owning a fixer-upper of a house, you are in luck, since these days there is no shortage of them out there. You will be pleased with the benefits you experience by owning a home that you plan on renovating.
One of these benefits is that you will almost certainly save money when you buy such a property. That is because the property value is based heavily on the appearance of the house, as well as if it is complete, or does not require repairs or replacement of anything large. Buying a fixer-upper home means that the money you put in will be an investment in the long run, because if you turn around and sell it you will you should be able to ask for a bit more than what you paid for the house.
Another benefit is that you can use it as a rental home, or just rent out an apartment (or more than one). For instance, putting in new floors, a beautiful deck, and other attractive features will make prospective renters more willing to pay higher rent than otherwise. Then, you can turn around and use this money for taxes and your mortgage payments. You may even be able to pocket a little extra money beyond your payments.
When you purchase a house that you will renovate, you have the additional benefit of being able to customize it, so that it truly can be your dream home. It is so much easier to customize it, if the house is unfinished or in need of repairs. If you are willing and able to put the time and effort in to this project, the rewards will be amazing.
It is easy for many people to become discouraged when thinking about the cost of supplies, tools, and appliances for the renovation. However, it often balances out or ends up still costing less than if you had purchased a house that was in move-in condition. Also, there are one time renovation loans that are offered by many lenders. Use your resourcefulness and savvy to acquire such a loan, and soon you will be on your way to having your own perfect home for yourself or as a rental. Contact Jensen and Company Real Estate for information and assistance with locating a home to renovate.
Photo above is used under creative commons license. Credit.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher has been increasing since 2004. Therefore, if you live in an earthquake prone area, it would be wise to have an emergency earthquake kit ready. If you have never prepared such a kit before, here are some of the vital necessities that you should include in the kit.
Food and Water
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) set of guidelines says that your earthquake preparedness kit should contain enough food and water to last for at least 72 hours. Of course, you should choose dehydrated foods that are easy to prepare. Some of the best foods to store include protein bars, powdered milk, dried rice, peanut butter, dried oatmeal, powdered eggs, dehydrated soups, beef cubes, powdered beans, and chicken bouillon cubes. Besides stocking bottled water, you should have enough supplies of water purification tablets or filters. Since you are likely to require plates and cutlery, you may want to include plastic plates, spoons, and forks in there.
In the event of an earthquake, individuals may get hurt. Injuries may range from open wounds to serious injuries, such as broken bones. As such, you should adequate medicine and first aid supplies such as sterile gauze, tweezers, aspirin, ibuprofen, bandages, iodine cleanser/betadine, and antidiarrheals. If you have medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure you include the appropriate medications in your earthquake kit.
An earthquake can happen at any time of the year. If it happens during rainy season (in tropical countries) or the cold months of winter, you need to have heating equipment. These will provide warmth as well as help you cook food. Purchase portable stoves and waterproof matches. In addition, purchase a pot for boiling water and ample supplies of stove fuel.
Besides staying warm, you need to have a few communication gadgets including a mobile phone, spare batteries for your phone, and two-way radios. A solar charger for your phone is a good gadget to have, too.
Since earthquakes are usually unpredictable, it is wise to have a well-prepared earthquake kit ready at all times. Some of the items that you must have in your kit include medical supplies, cooking supplies, and communication gear. Make sure you have enough supplies to see you through the first 72 hours after an earthquake. For more information about preparing an earthquake emergency kit, click here.
Photo above is used under the creative commons license. Credit.
N.B: Another way to save money if you are celebrating your birthday (that is not mentioned in the guest contribution below) is by celebrating it with someone who has the same birth date as you. (In my case I will be celebrating my birthday with “soulmate” later this month.) You can save money if you do it this way because you can split the expenses between the two celebrants. The celebration will also become more meaningful and more memorable because you are celebrating it with someone who was also born on the date that you were born. Double celebration! (Advance Happy Birthday, Soulmate!) – EOD
Birthdays are often associated with a sense of having to spend money. There is birthday party planning that takes place, cakes and sweets and then the costly tradition of presents for the person celebrating their birthday.
What are some of the ways that you can cut down the expenses of birthdays and create a frugal celebration?
Use what you have on hand to create a birthday meal. If you follow proper food storage ideas, you can celebrate with a birthday dinner featuring your favorite dishes without having to make a trip to the supermarket. Keeping things on hand like sugar and sweets can help to make the special occasion just a bit sweeter.
In addition to making the dinner with food that is already on hand, you can choose to host a pot luck dinner. Inviting friends and family members to join in the celebration and bringing something that they also made at-home can be a great way to make the special occasion even more special without causing people to spend money on the presents.
Skip the store-bought presents. Skipping the store bought presents can help you to celebrate the birthday without breaking the bank. Rather than traditional presents and cards, consider making presents at-home. Presents that are made are more heartfelt and they are more likely to create memories that the person is going to look back on fondly.
If you are going to celebrate the birthday outside of the home, there are some things that you can do to reduce the celebration expense. Check local restaurants and entertainment venues. There are many places that offer free foods and services on your birthday, just make sure you have identification with you to prove that it’s indeed your birthday.
Checking the local community pages or online classified advertisements, you can find free and cheap events that are happening in the city or town. Planning the birthday around one of these events can be a great way to reduce the cost of the party and help to explore something new in your own backyard.
For children’s birthday parties, there is often the expectation to spend more money. Having a simple birthday party at-home and inviting only family or friends to celebrate the occasion can be a great way to tone down expenses. For presents (from the child’s godmothers or godfathers), you may consider asking books as gifts (it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or 2nd hand). Books can last for a very long period of time and are good souvenirs the child can keep.
You don’t need to splurge money during birthdays. The most important thing is you celebrate it with meaning and with the people that matter the most to you.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License | Credit
About the Guest Author
N.B: It’s not yet too late to greet everyone a Happy New Year!! Here’s another gastronomic offering from one of my semi-regular contributors, Clare of My Passion For Food. I’ve already tried creating the first recipe (the Chocolate Mug Cake) but I haven’t perfected the right taste of the cake yet. ): Here’s how my mug cake looks like.
I’ve already done three batches but the results were the same. ): You can see that my mug cake is dry and doesn’t taste right. ):
I think I need more batches to take on to get the perfect microwaved chocolate mug cake.
So, here are Clare’s Affordable and Simple Dessert Recipes that can be baked using a Microwave Oven.
Sometimes we don’t have the time (or skills) to whip up a culinary masterpiece, but don’t worry! What if you could make easy and very tasty desserts in the microwave? Well you can!
Here are a couple of delicious desserts which will either make the perfect ending to a divine meal or can just be eaten as a snack!
5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (1 serving)
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips
1 drop vanilla extract
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large, microwave-safe mug. Add the egg and mix well.
2. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well again.
3. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract and mix well again.
4. Place the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
5. Allow to cool for a while and then either eat from the mug or tip it onto a plate.
Note: The mixture will rise over the top of the mug so don’t be surprised!
Microwave sponge pudding (4 servings)
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) self raising flour
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp jam or syrup
1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
2. Slowly mix in the egg and milk so the butter does not curdle.
3. Sift in the flour and gently fold in.
4. Put 2tbsp of golden syrup, treacle or jam in the bottom of a microwave-safe bowl. Pour the batter on top.
5. Cover and cook for 3.5 minutes in the microwave on full power or until the pudding appears set and the top is sticky.
6. Serve hot.
About the Guest Author
Clare Carmichael is the blogger behind My Passion For Food and HungryHouse, the UK’s leading online takeaway platform that features restaurants across the country including Glasgow, Brighton and Nottingham. Just visit the website and order delicious cuisines such as Thai, Chinese and Italian.
Note: Aside from the fact that this recipe is budget-friendly, this is also very healthy as 1 cup serving of cooked spaghetti squash only contains 42 calories, too low compared to a cup of cooked pasta which contains 221 calories. This is a great alternative if you are maintaining a low-calorie diet.
One of the newest crazes to run through the dietary world is the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (or GAPS) meal plan. This comprehensive diet seeks to alleviate physical complications with digesting food while at the same time increasing mental output with key nutrition. Persons on the GAPS diet have claimed that their food sensitivities and intolerance have slowed down or even reversed once they begin to adhere to the protocols of the diet. You can make a quality GAPS spaghetti squash pasta and then store it securely if you are looking for a taste bud-friendly recipe in their diet litany.
Since spaghetti tends to be a family food, with recipes that can be simple or complex, staying true to family lore or seeking new experiments to jazz up the status quo, there are many ways to get your ideal spaghetti squash pasta to taste just like the real thing. In fact, you can create the squash pasta and sauce separately, freeze either one, and simply heat it up whenever you are in the mood for a fast and tasty dinner.
Begin with a medium sized spaghetti squash, cut in half with the seeds removed (you can keep the seeds for baking or flavoring). Bake the two sides for about thirty minutes until the noodles are a bit crunchy but not too brittle. Melt four tablespoons of butter over medium heat and sauté one onion (yellow, white, or red) and a bell pepper for a minute. Add any ground meat you prefer, beef or pork or turkey, but not tofu. Add three and a half cups crushed tomatoes, lower the heat, and bring the sauce mix to a simmer. Put in Italian seasoning and salt to taste.
Scrape out the cooked spaghetti squash into a large bowl and mix in two tablespoons of tomato paste with three cloves of garlic. You can either combine noodles and sauce to make a meal, or put store one or both for future meals. The sauce will keep for two to three weeks in a sealed container when refrigerated, but the noodles will dry out in about a week or so. Both can be frozen for up to one year without worry, but the sauce will need to be thoroughly defrosted if it is put in a freezer.
Photo Credit: Healthy Living Awaits
About the Guest Author
Note: Here is another guest post from our friends from DailyBread.com on how to save money by buying coffee in bulk.
Photo: Jeff Kubina. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
The price of coffee has escalated over the last decade or so, and this is bad news for coffee lovers, especially those who like good quality coffee. Many find they have to choose between reducing their consumption, and going for a cheaper and poorer quality brand. However there is another option and that is to buy it in bulk.
Bulk coffee buying is more commonly done by cafes and restaurants, but there is no reason why it should not be done by individuals as well. It is obviously much cheaper than buying in small quantities from your local store. In fact you are likely to pay a mark-up of anything up to 300% for the convenience of buying near your home.
One way of buying coffee in bulk is by using the wholesale merchants who normally sell to restaurants. They offer excellent deals for buying in large quantities, and they are not concerned as to whether you are an individual or a business. The more you buy the bigger discounts you get.
Wholesale coffee is more likely to be available as coffee beans rather than ground coffee. You can find just about any brand you choose, including organic coffee beans which are more expensive. The two basic types of coffee which can be purchased wholesale are Robusta and Arabica, Arabica being more expensive as it is harder to grow. The majority of companies use a blend of the two in their products, but if you prefer the Arabica flavor, as many people do, you should ensure the product you buy contains more Arabica than Robusta.
The easiest way of buying coffee at wholesale prices is via the Internet. This way you can have access to the widest selection, and shop around for the best prices. The main drawback to buying on the Internet is the shipping costs, so you should take care to check locations, and ensure that the distributor you choose is as near to you as possible. If you are not comfortable with Internet shopping, you can obtain coffee in bulk quantities at big box stores such as Costco, though the choice will not be nearly as wide as on the Internet. Some of the big office supply stores also stock coffee in bulk, for supplying to workplaces.
An alternative way of buying coffee in bulk is through joining a coffee program――nowadays these are usually online. The best way to save money is to join a plan by which you have a specified amount of coffee shipped to you each month. Check the terms of the plan carefully, as different companies set different minimum amounts.
Whichever way you buy your bulk coffee, you need to store it carefully. Most people advise storing it in the freezer, but others argue that this spoils the flavor. If you store it at room temperature, ensure you use a completely airtight seal and make absolutely certain that all moisture is excluded. Labeling your stocks with quantity, date, and the amount you paid will help you keep check on how much you are saving by bulk buying.
It is not difficult to save money by bulk buying coffee, but if you are a home user, be careful not to go overboard. Avoid buying more than you can use, and remember that it is difficult to get a good flavor with a home coffee maker.
Note: Here’s another guest post that will equip you with basic knowledge on how to prepare for emergencies. As we are living in an uncertain world, it is a must to be prepared all the time. – AFCB
Photo used under Creative Commons License | Credit
While you can purchase ready-made emergency kits, it is often more cost effective to build your own. You will not only save money, but the kit will be tailored to your specific needs, as well.
At its most basic, an emergency kit needs to keep you alive for 72 hours. A week, however, is a far better time frame and ensures that you have time to move out of the area if need be, or hole up to wait for help. Either way, building your own emergency kit is simple.
Every household should keep fresh water on hand. You’ll need one gallon for each person per day. If you’re planning for 3 days, then that’s 3 gallons per person. Don’t forget pets and include a little extra if you have an infant who will need formula.
While people cannot survive without water, food is not as necessary. You can live for weeks without it, but if you want to keep up your strength, it’s a good idea to have a good sized food supply.
Look for food that will not spoil quickly and which is easy to prepare without electricity or water. Canned foods are a common choice, but you can also opt for soups that do not require additional water. For the emergency foods, keep in mind that it may not be possible to get more water easily.
If you are adding food for more than a week, you can include items that require water, since it is likely that you will have to find a water source by then anyway. Freeze dried foods are easy to prepare and tend to be light, in case you need to leave and carry food with you.
In addition to the basics of food and water, every emergency kit should include a few basic items to help you in a disaster situation. These include:
• Flashlight and batteries
• Radio, preferably hand crank
• Space blankets
• Fire starting supplies
• Hygiene supplies (e.g. toilet paper, plastic bags, soap, toothbrushes, etc.)
• Work gloves, shovel, wrenches, etc. to remove debris and turn off gas, etc.
• Pet food, collars, and leashes
• Diapers and formula if needed
You will know best what is necessary in your family. If you have special dietary or health needs, then these should be addressed in the emergency kit, as well.
Note: Have you ever planned for ISHTF (if shit hits the fan)? Do you think you can survive a week of staying inside your house during emergency situations and are secured that you won’t run out of foods to eat? If you haven’t yet, then keep on reading the guest article below from DailyBread.com.
With the “Zombie Apocalypse” (pun intended) quickly approaching, it is important to consider stockpiling food, water, and other necessities. Even those who are not worried about the Zombie Apocalypse in particular (and think preppers are weird and crazy) must have heard the countless news stories about food shortages around the globe.
Many analysts claim that the average person currently spends about a tenth of their income on food, but these analysts anticipate that this number will increase in the future. It may increase to as much as a third. To fight back in times like these, consumers have a few options.
One of the most viable options is to become food sufficient. By growing and storing your own food, you will increase your chances of surviving anything from a food shortage to a Zombie Apocalypse.
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to be self-sufficient. For best results, you should be able to can and store that food so that it lasts well into the winter months. Daily Bread – your source for the best food storage――has a lot of great ideas on how to store your necessities.
Eventually, you will need to eat your stored foods, and you may even have to come up with some innovative ways to prepare those foods. Luckily, there are several foods that are simple to prepare during an emergency.
When menu planning for an emergency, you should try to think of dishes that do not require any electricity to make, and you should focus on cooking methods that do not waste water. Potatoes are an incredible starch, and they can easily be roasted in the ashes of a smoldering fire. To add a little protein to your meal, you should consider beans. Canned or jarred beans are a simple and nutritious meal on their own, and they are doubly good when scooped over a potato. As long as you have a fire, you can get creative with your beans. A can of tomatoes, a bit of beans, and some chili powder will make a great campfire chili.
When stockpiling food for an emergency, you should focus more on your nutritional needs than your taste buds. Whole wheat crackers are easy to store, and they will make a great snack with peanut butter. You may even cover them with a canned meat like tuna. When you sprinkle a little salt on any of these treats, you will have a tasty little meal.
Dessert is important even in emergencies. Unfortunately, you may not be able to have ice cream or cake. However, a simple jar of peaches or applesauce is a great way to end a tasty emergency meal.
Photo used under Creative Commons License | Credit
Food storage plans aren’t just for emergencies. They’re also a great way to save money on foods you buy regularly. Every increasing food prices create challenges for households living on a frugal budget. Home food storage allows you to use resources you already have to stretch out your funds during hard financial times. With the right planning, you can have enough food to feed your entire family for weeks, even months if you’re ever in a crisis. Here are five tips for using your food storage plan to save money.
1) Buy only what you’ll eat
When buying foods for your food storage, you should remember that it is always better when you can enjoy it. In an emergency situation, many people believe that “beggars can’t be choosy.” But, if your storage consists of foods you and your family actually eat, you can ensure that your emergency situation is as stress-free as possible. If no one in your family likes peas, why store them? There are many other vegetables that you can buy that have long shelf lives and the flavors you’ll all enjoy.
2) Buy Sale Items to Store
Everyone enjoys eating expensive foods sometimes. But, food storage doesn’t have to be expensive. You can add to your storage supply by adding foods you catch on sale at your local supermarket. This helps you to save money, while providing the stability you’ll need in an emergency or during a financial crisis. If your favorite tuna goes on sale, instead of buying the usual 4 cans that week, buy 12 cans. That way, you can still enjoy the 4 you’re used to eating weekly, while adding 8 to your food storage. This also ensures that your storage contains the type of tuna you like most.
3) Use Coupon Strategies
One of the best ways to stockpile your food on a budget is to have a couponing strategy. When you find coupons online or in your local newspaper or magazines for foods you usually buy, clip them. If possible, buy the maximum amount allowed for that particular coupon. By clipping coupons for your storage plan, you ensure that you save yourself a little extra cash so that you don’t have to sacrifice when it comes to buying foods you need now. Remember, every penny counts when you’re on a frugal budget.
4) Grow Your Own Foods
Growing foods is an aged-old way of saving money on groceries. You can grow a small indoor herbal garden or a larger outdoor garden. Either way, as long as you grow foods that you actually eat, you’ll save money. With indoor herbal gardens, you can grow your own thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro and many other herbs you use to add flavor to your foods. Outdoor gardens are great for growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, corn, watermelons, strawberries, cherries, grapes, lettuce, cabbage and greens. You name it, you can grow it. And, if you have a large yard, plant yourself some fruit trees to grow your own lemons, apples, oranges, avocados, peaches and plums. You’d be amazed how much money you can save by growing your own vegetables and fruits.
5) Invest in Freeze Dried Foods
If you grow your own fresh vegetables and fruits, you can easily can them to preserve their freshness for long periods of time. A great way to preserve them for years is to dehydrate of freeze dry foods. The entire process is fairly easy and inexpensive. When you’re ready to use them, all you have to do is add a little water to rehydrate them. Their flavors will be preserved, allowing them to taste the same way they did before you dehydrated them.
If you don’t have a garden of your own, another good idea for saving money with preserved food is to buy freeze dried foods. A freeze dried food item can have a shelf life that can last for many years in some cases. This is not only good for emergencies; it allows you to enjoy the foods you enjoy most for longer periods of time. In today’s economic times, saving money on food costs is very important to families living on a tight budget.
Photo used Under Creative Common License | Credit
Note: Here’s a guest post from FoodInsurance.com on how to prepare your family in times of emergencies. As I am now featuring topics related to self-reliance and prepping, I believe this guest post will be helpful to me as well as to my new readers.
Experts agree that it is important for people to prepare for an emergency. Whether it is an act of terrorism or a natural disaster, having some basic supplies on hand can make a big difference when it comes to surviving a disaster. However, families, especially those with young children need to take some extra steps to ensure their children are able to cope with the difficulties and stress following any type of emergency situation.
For example, children have their own unique needs and preparing them for a disaster is important. Consider things like how your children will entertain themselves. Whether you need to relocate to a shelter or you plan on sheltering in place, children will need something to occupy their time. You can pack an emergency bag that includes a compact game, a couple of books or even crayons and coloring books. Giving kids an opportunity to relieve stress and engage in typical childhood activities will help them cope with even a difficult situation.
As you are preparing your disaster management plan, be sure to consider the types of foods you will have on hand. There are many types of foods that are easy to store and have a shelf-life that will last for decades. However, children also have some of their favorite foods and ensuring that they have something that they will enjoy can help keep even the pickiest kids comfortable during a disaster. Fortunately, you can find great food storage for a young family by simply adding a few of their favorite foods in a shelf-stable form. Freeze-dried strawberries, peaches and other fruits are often some of the favorites for children.
Part of preparing for a disaster is making an emergency plan. While young children might not be able to contribute much to the actual planning, they should be included in some of the discussions. There is no need to frighten children, but letting them know that you are taking precautions to ensure their safety can actually provide a measure of comfort. Let them help choose a favorite toy to put in their emergency bag. Children can also help decide the types of snacks they would like in their bag. Let them play a role in some of the decisions that go into your emergency preparedness plans.
Choose a child-friendly emergency bag for young kids. This can be a small backpack featuring their favorite cartoon character or it can be a duffel bag in a favorite color. When kids have their own emergency bag, they can take an active role in helping to prepare for an emergency.
When planning your emergency necessities, be sure to include a flashlight and extra batteries for each of your children. Young kids can be frightened of the dark and many times an emergency will mean there is no electricity. Letting each child have their own light source can be very comforting for them.
Photo used under Creative Common License| Credit
London is a great city and there’s so much to do you’re sure to have a whale of a time. The only problem is that the British aren’t exactly known for their cooking skills so if you’re sick of greasy fry-ups and equally-as-greasy fish & chips then why not go to one of the many Filipino restaurants in London and eat a bit closer to home?
Here are a few Filipino restaurants in London:
Lutong Pinoy Filipino Restaurant
– 10 Kenway Rd, South Kensington, SW5 0RR.
With the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Filipino Restaurant costing £8.00 it means you’re able to try as many Filipino delights at once AND not break the bank. Don’t worry if you’ve nothing to chat about over dinner as there’s a TV in the corner showing Filipino game shows! If you still have some room left at the end then it’s recommended that you order the Ginatanng Bilo-Bilo, which is a steaming bowl of sago and yam in coconut milk.
Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant
– 4 Charlotte St., Fitzrovia, W1T 2LP.
Here you can sample your favourite dishes from the Philippines! The restaurant opened in 1996 and has welcomed many celebrities through its doors including celebrity chef, Gino D’Acampo, Ricky Gervais, Ken Livingstone and many others. The most popular dishes at Josephine’s are Adobo, Lechon Kawali and Halo Halo. The restaurant also caters for parties, weddings and corporate events.
Photo Credit: Kake Pugh
– 913 Garratt Lane, Tooting Broadway, SW17 0LT.
This restaurant serves the finest Oriental and Asian cuisines such as Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Halal, but specialises in Filipino delicacies as well. A buffet is available or alternatively you can order à la carte specialities such as kare-kare, dinuguan, binagoongang baboy and many more. Kusinang Munti seats up to 55 people and can be booked for parties and special occasions.
Port of Manila
– 129-131 Brackenbury Rd, Hammersmith, W6 0BQ.
Port of Manila has received the prestigious AA Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence so it must be doing something right! Their dishes are made using recipes from all over the Philippines and the staff is known to be extremely friendly and welcoming. The food is also available for takeaway, which is perfect if you don’t want to venture outside, but are in the mood for some lovely Filipino food. This establishment has also been frequented by many V.I.P. guests such as Ambassador Lagdameo, Sarah Geronimo and Sharon Cuneta.
– 228 St. Paul’s Rd, Islington, N1 2LJ.
This Filipino restaurant also serves organic food so it’s perfect if you’re looking for Filipino grub AND are health-conscious. This establishment is best known for its breakfasts and lunches and there’s also karaoke so why not make a full night out of it? Tasty Filipino food and then a singsong afterwards. Parties of up to 25 people can be catered for and there’s also a back garden where people can sit and watch the world go by.
Photo Credit: Ewan-M
– 93 Kentish Town Rd, NW1 8NY.
This restaurant, which opened in 1987, specialises in Pan Asian fusion cuisine and serves dishes from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, of course! The interior consists of dark wood, bamboo plants and varied artwork. If you don’t like forking out for expensive wines you’ll be pleased to know that this restaurant has a BYOB policy so just head to the nearest shop and choose your own wine. If you want to celebrate there they accommodate parties of more than 15 people.
About the Guest Author
This has been a guest post by Clare Carmichael, a freelance writer for My Passion For Food and the hungryhouse magazine. The UK’s leading food delivery platform featuring restaurants from across the country including Nottingham, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Note: This is a guest post from FoodInsurance.com.
Cebu has a rich and wonderful culture. The food is particularly appealing, as it has flavors that will appeal to everyone’s tastes. Whether you are looking for sweet, spicy, or salty foods, there is sure to be something for everyone in Cebu.
Two foods that are quite popular among the Cebuanos are their local chili pepper and their native vinegar. The chili peppers there are smaller than most, at no longer than an inch. Known as silis, they are impossible to eat alone, so they are used for flavoring dishes. It is common to squeeze their juice into sauces for an exquisite burst of flavor. The vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut trees, and is developed from the alcoholic drink called tuba. It is used to flavor nearly all of the dishes in Cebu.
Cebu Ngohiong Photo Credit: georgeparrilla
If you are looking for something quick to eat on your journeys in Cebu, look no further than the alluring street snacks. Some popular ones are the Chinese snack Cebu Ngohiong, which is a lumpia (a type of wrap) filled with meat and veggies, with spicy sauce on top. It is common to put pork in them. Another great street snack is Special Cuchinta, which is a sweet snack that is made with brown sugar, flour, lye, and has grated coconut on top. The cucumber relish and molded fruit gelatin are other common snacks in Cebu.
Cebu Cuchinta Photo Credit: bisayabulletin.com
Speaking of fruit, there are many wonderful dishes and treats which are made using the local fruit of Cebu. For a truly sweet treat, try a crunchy banana lollipop made with a banana, melted chocolate for a topping, peanut butter, shortening, and corn flakes cereal. A dish love by most pregnant women is the green mango salad. This has such diverse foods that seem to have conflicting flavors, but they are a great blend together. It consists of siling labuyo, red bell pepper, mango, green onions, shrimp, and patis. Melons are also quite popular on the island.
Green Mango Salad Photo Credit: anglaagan.wordpress.com
From the amazing restaurants serving local and International fair to the street vendors, you will not be at a loss for places in finding Cebuano foods. Even if you are far from Cebu, you can re-create the taste of Cebu in your own kitchen. Just do some recipe research online, and keep an open mind.
Note: This guest post is written by Chrisley Ann Hinayas of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation. Her article details the notes and observations of Ms. Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. during the recent World Cities Summit 2012, and her realizations on how much planning Cebu needs to embarks on its urban development.
Speakers for the keynote plenary “Trends and Opportunities―Urbanisation Forces in the Next 20 Years” during the World Cities Summit 2012 in Singapore last July 1-4 share insights on innovations and opportunities that are molding cities into sustainable centers of global networks, economic vitality, and talents pools.
Realizing the need to create integrated urban solutions for a sustainable economy, government leaders, ministers, industry experts, businessmen, and economists from all over the world recently spent several days together in Singapore.
From July 1 to 4, they gathered for the World Cities Summit (WCS) 2012—the third since 2008—to discuss how to address the challenges of cities with growing economies, including protecting the environment while giving quality of life to their residents.
Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) attended the summit, joined in 12 sessions, and listened to 64 different resource persons.
“The summit was a venue to form new business partnerships and collaborations with other cities. It explored innovative and cost-effective solutions to the challenges of rapid urbanization among cities. Out of their policies and programs, cities could get an idea on how to respond to their own challenges,” Castro said.
WCS is an exclusive platform for government leaders and experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges by sharing integrated solutions and build new partnerships. This year’s theme is “Liveable and Sustainable Cities—Integrated Urban Solutions”.
As a country constantly in transformation, Singapore was considered the ideal host for the summit.
Castro noted that Singapore is a small city-state country or roughly two-thirds of Cebu but because of how the country was able to strategically plan ahead, it has transformed well its urban landscape to become one of the most livable cities in Asia.
Singapore, through its national land use planning and conservation authority, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), started its careful land use planning and good urban design in the 70s. It adopted a long term strategic planning approach to ensure sustainability in its physical development.
“From the start, the leaders already knew what they wanted to happen in the whole city-state. Their plans included creating spaces for industries, green spaces, and residential areas, which we could see now in Singapore,” Castro observed.
She added that cities, in general, are “locomotives of a nation”, saying that “competitive cities make a competitive country”. As focal point for and centers of opportunities as well as magnets for people to live in, cities must recognize that sustainable development is a local issue and urbanization must be by design and not by default.
“We must plan, plan, plan, leaving room for expansion with outlook towards the future. The future of humanity is in cities; therefore, we must build and invest for the long-term. Long-term investments have long-term consequences,” Castro shared her learning.
Sessions during the summit, featuring prominent speakers, also presented “universal” challenges of cities, such as urbanization and land use change, environment and climate change, growth in population, and over-stressed systems and over-loading of facilities, among others.
“Every city experiences what we are experiencing. It is a matter of how we respond to these challenges. These cities survived these challenges by playing their individual roles. City leaders should act as negotiators, collaborators, enablers, and integrators,” Castro pointed out.
City leaders shared similar responses, saying that leaders, to ensure competitiveness of cities, must plan and regulate development while finding, creating, and driving solutions that look beyond infrastructure.
“Benchmarking with other cities is also important. Their experiences serve as think tank and repository of information, which we can use for strategic and integrated planning for our own cities,” Castro said.
During the summit, New York City was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. The prize recognizes those responsible for initiatives that display good governance and innovations in tackling the many urban challenges faced by cities to create vibrant, liveable and sustainable urban communities.
New York City was greatly affected after the 2001 World Trade Center bombing. Within a decade, it injected innovations to bring back the life of the city. One of these innovations is the complete change of streets.
Castro learned from New York City that streets are for multiple modes of transport.
“Streets are not just for cars. In smart growth, streets are not widened, rather spaces are optimized where people can walk, bike, and have open spaces. Good urban designing and planning have a big impact on public safety,” she noted.
(left to right) Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of RAFI’s Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC), joins Copenhagen Mayor Pia Allerslev and Consolacion, Cebu Mayor Teresa Alegado during the World Cities Summit 2012 in Singapore last July 1-4.
Nacario said that a change in mindset is the first step. Three things that should be kept in mind, she added, are the importance of a vision, planning, and a shift of new paradigm for development.
“We must plan, plan and plan,” she asserted again. “How ready our leaders are in carrying out these plans is one of the things we should consider. Our leaders should revisit existing policies,” she said.
Through the work of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) where RAFI anchors as the research, program and organizational development unit, the concept of smart growth has been introduced to leaders in Cebu to encourage comprehensive urban planning and development.
The MCDCB is composed of leaders from the government, the private sector, and civil society that takes the lead in the implementation of the Mega Cebu Project, which envisions a city-region for Cebu wherein cities and municipalities collaborate with each other towards urban development, sustainability, and livability, while maintaining geopolitical integrity.
Note from the blog’s owner: Since I’m using both credit cards, I am allowing a guest post from www.businesscreditcards.com to be featured here in my blog. If you are planning to apply for a credit card account and would like to check which company is better, you may read first Eliza’s review about HSBC and Metrobank credit cards. – Empress Of Drac
Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012
Choosing the right credit card can be a bit tedious. Credit cards nowadays have so many features that vary from bank to bank, from provider to provider. Interest rates, rewards, special offers, and spending limits are just a few of the factors that a consumer should consider when they start searching for the perfect credit card that fits their financial needs. There’s a lot a stake with a credit card: choosing the right one can have a huge impact on your savings and spending habits.
I’d like to discuss credit cards available from two banks in particular, HSBC and Metrobank, each of which have tempting features for every type of customer. Let’s take a look at what each bank has to offer.
What you get from a credit card from HSBC?
HSBC is a bank operating on a worldwide scale. As such, it has a lot to offer for potential credit card owners. As part of a special introduction deal, people who sign up for a credit card through HSBC will enjoy a 3 month period without any interest incurred on purchases. After the initial 3 months have passed, cardholders will be responsible for a 17.9% APR variable on the subsequent balances from their purchases. There’s no annual fee for having a credit card with HSBC, so that’s good news.
HSBC offers a number of incentives that will appeal to the web-savvy consumer. A person with an HSBC credit card can view their balance and payment history online, making managing finances online easy and safe. Cardholders can even transfer balances between accounts with HSBC for nearly two years if they need to move money around. The bank also offers special holiday deals for its cardholders, including discounts at select stores and with certain online services, and even more discounts when you travel internationally.
What you get from a credit card from Metrobank?
Metrobank also has enticing features for their credit cards. Unlike the HSBC credit cards, Metrobank offers a variety of credit cards that suit specific lifestyles and financial habits. I’m going to examine the Metrobank Classic/Gold cards, as they appear to be among the more popular cards the bank offers to its customers.
The Metrobank Classic/Gold cards require an annual fee (Php1, 400 for Classic, Php2, 500 for Gold), but that fee is waived for the first year. Metrobank charges a monthly finance fee of 3.5% of the balance on the cards, and the cards require a minimum gross annual income which changes depending on whether you get the Classic or Gold model. Cardholders can view their payment history and pay balances through Metrobank mobile apps and online banking services.
The upside to the Metrobank Classic/Gold cards is that both operate with a built-in rewards system. Specifically, cardholders get one point for every Php20 spent, and they can use those points on anything from travel to dining out. Cardholders can spend their Metrobank card points to get cheaper flights, hotel prices, and meals at any number of destinations. It’s definitely a great card for traveling consumers!
Which is better?
It’s hard to say which card is better, as both have their own pros and cons. HSBC credit cards don’t have an annual fee and their interest’s rates are fairly low, but it doesn’t seem like they have a well-established rewards system. Metrobank cards have higher fees and tighter restrictions, but they have a great rewards system, particularly for people who want to travel and spend their money on luxury items.
Which card looks more enticing to you?
About the Guest Author
Note: This is a guest post by Clare Carmichael, a food blogger from UK.
Technology is evolving as we speak and it seems like every day there are new gadgets popping up, claiming to make our life easier.
Nowadays you can feel like you’re some sort of noob if you’re not up to date. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to meet a friend and they’ve been running late and used Facebook to tell me this because they presumed I had internet on my phone. In the end I gave in to peer pressure and bought myself an iPhone, which has changed my life!
I have to admit that I’ve become slightly addicted to buying apps…many of which I don’t even need! Food apps are my favourite because I love cooking and trying out new recipes. I justify my addiction by saying it’ll make my dinner parties even more spectacular!
I thought I would compile a list of the best food apps for you to enjoy:
Food Magazine Philippines
Food Magazine is known and trusted for its recipes. In each issue you’ll find at least 30 of the newest recipes to try out. The nutritional content in also given so you won’t be left wondering! Learn about home basics such as how to budget, decorate, organise and store – you’ll find a bit of everything in this magazine app. Available for iPad and Android. Rating 4.5/5.
Easy Food Magazine
If you’re on a budget and also don’t have much time to cook then this is the app for you! There are hundreds of recipes. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, whether you’re cooking for a dinner party or just for yourself, you’ll get great hints and tips from this app. Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Rating 4.5/5.
Jamie Oliver 20 minute meals
Have you always wanted to cook like the famous Jamie Oliver? This app is great for busy people who still want to cook for themselves rather than grab a cheeky takeaway on the way home from work. Each recipe is presented in easy-to-understand steps and there are photos too so you can’t really go wrong. Jamie also features in a few videos in which he gives out helpful tips. Available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Rating 4.2/5.
Food Planner is a great way to organise what you’re going to eat throughout the week so you know exactly what ingredients to purchase when you shop. You can use your own recipes or find ones online. It’s even possible to edit the recipes in case there’s something you want to add or omit to the ingredients. Available for Android. Rating 4.4/5.
This app has over 25,000 recipes to choose from and many have been professionally tested and featured in top magazines such as Gourmet and Bon Appétit. The step-by-step guide makes cooking easy to understand and you can even save the best recipes to your Favourites. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android. Rating 3.5/5.
If you’re ever in the UK and have no idea where to go to satisfy your hunger cravings then why not download the hungryhouse app. Just type in the cuisine you’re craving for and you’ll be shown a list of the nearest restaurants and their menus as well as customer reviews so you know which places have been recommended. Either visit the restaurant or use the app to order a takeaway directly to you. It couldn’t be easier! Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. Rating 4.5/5.
So what are you waiting for? Get great hints and tips from these apps and you’ll be a professional chef before you know it!
This has been a guest post by Clare Carmichael, a freelance writer for mypassionforfood and the hungryhouse magazine. The UK’s leading food delivery platform featuring restaurants from across the country including Brighton, Manchester and Glasgow.
Note: This is a guest post by a fellow blogger, Carol Wilson.Tholon’s Top 100 List
This year, Tholons, a global outsourcing advisory firm, named Cebu number nine on its top 100 list of established outsourcing destinations. Cebu ranked higher than all other locations in the Philippines and most locations in India. Business process outsourcing has definitely become a huge part of the economy in Cebu and Cebu City in particular, and outsourcing in Cebu is only expected to grow over the next several years.
Foreign businesses are attracted to Cebu for a lot of reasons. Because the cost of living in the province is so low, businesses are able to save money when they hire Cebuano workers. Additionally, since Cebu is an IT and academic hub in the Philippines, Cebuano workers are appealing because many of them can perform complex business tasks. Businesses are also flocking to Cebu because most people who live there speak English and have a solid understanding of Western culture.
IBM, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Infosys, Epson, Microsoft, Wipro, and Lexmark all currently outsource to Cebu, and the number of major companies who are realizing the value of working with Cebuano workers is steadily growing. There are presently more than a hundred businesses that provide outsourcing services in Cebu. Cebuano employees perform customer service and clerical duties as well as more complex tasks such as graphic design, programming, and medical billing and coding.
Tens of thousands of Cebuano citizens are now employed in the business process outsourcing industry. As new students graduate from Cebuano colleges each year, more and more highly educated and skilled young people sign up for work at outsourcing companies and continue to build the reputation of Cebu as a leading destination for business process outsourcing.
Unfortunately, Cebu does have some challenges to face before it can become the number one business process outsourcing destination, especially because the competition in many surrounding areas of Asia is fierce. Unfortunately, many businesses outsource to India because it is better known for its quality outsourcing companies than the Philippines. Additionally, occasional power outages in Cebu cause problems with the province’s ability to be productive and completely reliable. Cebu will have to work to continue to build its reputation as an outsourcing leader to make it to the top of the heap.
Outsourcing is definitely on the rise in Cebu, and it will continue to be on the rise. What’s uncertain is whether or not this lovely island in the Philippines will still be an outsourcing leader in ten years. Fortunately, Cebuano workers are talented and skilled enough to deliver the results businesses are looking for. So, the future seems bright for outsourcing companies in Cebu.
References: http://www.tholons.com/TholonsTop100/index.html http://outsourcing.ph/OutsourcingCebu.pdf http://www.welive2care.com/2009/07/17/business-process-outsourcing-industry-cebu/
About the Guest Author
Carol Wilson is a versatile guest blogger who primarily writes about global business trends and finance. When she’s not writing for sites like businessinsurance.org, she enjoys reading about politics and fashion.
Note: This is a guest post written by Joon Lee, a blogger from South Korea.
Despite not wanting to be sucked in by media – with its overtly ridiculous obsession and glorification of beautiful people – there is no point in denying it: beauty rules. Everywhere we look, we are constantly reminded of how much easier the world seems to be for people blessed with the right face, hair and body parts.
And although the standards of beauty have changed over time and transcends different cultures, the desire to look beautiful is certainly ingrained into the human race. Sometimes, you can’t help but wonder whether your own life would be just that much better if the reflection in the mirror looking back at you were a bit more beautiful.
Let us take a look at South Korea. Plastic surgery statistics show around 93% of all women in Seoul have undergone cosmetic enhancement of some sort. The typical starting age is 16 – 17 years; and they usually start with double eyelid surgery.
Double eyelid surgery is the most popular cosmetic surgery in Korea. It is usually a day surgery whereby a nip will result in beautiful eyes with natural creases, resulting in bigger and rounder-looking eyes.
A Land Obsessed with Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery
Photo Credit: www.bryologue.wordpress.com
This country is no doubt a leading destination for cosmetic surgery. But why is Korea so obsessed with beauty and cosmetic surgery? Is it because of vanity? Is it due to the popularity of K-pop and K-drama; with everyone wanting to mimic the look of their favorite Korean superstar?
The answer simply boils down to this: competition. In Korean society, having eoljjang (the right face or best face) is deemed as a huge asset. In Seoul alone, there are 25 million unemployed inhabitants. Many therefore believe eoljjang will thrust the individual to greater heights in a fiercely competitive environment.
In Korea, having the right face makes a difference between success and failure. This is why plastic surgery in Korea is perceived as a worthwhile and logical investment in the body, rather than a sign of vanity.
At around this time of year, we see many young Koreans take on the necessary cosmetic procedures in readiness for life’s next transition step. It is their belief that the perfected look will help them gain entry into a prestigious school or university and to obtain the right job in a tough job market.
Travel to Korea for Cosmetic Surgery
The efforts funneled into promoting top-class cosmetic surgeons and techniques have given many individuals confidence to travel to South Korea for plastic surgery. Korean plastic surgeons are renowned for their skill and cutting edge techniques; with many specializing in procedures that are most suited to the Asian demographic group.
New medical intervention in plastic surgical procedures – such as minimal scarring and day surgeries – has also driven the popularity of cosmetic surgery. There are plenty of beauty clinics and hospitals in Korea. In Seoul alone, the district of Gangnam-gu is hailed as the beauty belt of Korea.
Opting for cosmetic procedure, no matter how subtle or radical needs thorough research. The point here is: there is a need to be attentive to all that’s involved with cosmetic surgery.
These are some of the more pertinent pointers that you may wish to consider: choosing the right doctor, electing the proper procedure and recognizing the ramifications that go deeper than the glossy before and after photos that make it all look so promising. And lastly, manage your expectations of cosmetic surgery.