Tips when booking on AirBnb

We have stayed at a few Airbnb homes over the last couple of years and most have been absolutely lovely. I basically scour the Airbnb portal for something in the area I want, at the price range I’m comfortable with and most photos are exactly as the house is (unlike some hotel photos shown on websites) so I know exactly what I’m getting. My main criteria is usually to ensure that the house is child friendly with toys for the kids so that I don’t have to pack to much of our own and know that the kids will still be entertained when we are at ‘home’.




However I am starting to realise (especially during our recent trip) that there are actually a few things which I should be looking out for when shortlisting my options apart from just looking at the area, price range and how child friendly the place is. So here are some things I would definitely start looking out/ taking note before I make my future bookings.

1) Look at the security deposit amount

When shortlisting or deciding on a listing, don’t just look at the per night rate or the total price (inclusive of service charge and cleaning fee). Take note of the security deposit amount that you might potentially have to pay if there are any damages or ‘disagreements’. The amount varies from listing to listing (decided by the owner) and is not charged upfront. It is held by Airbnb as a middleman unless and until the owner decides to claim against it then Airbnb would inform you on the claimed amount and get your agreement to deduct it from your card. While we don’t expect to damage anything when we lease a place, you might think twice or it might help you to decide between two listings if one was requesting for an extremely high security deposit (higher risk I suppose?)

2) Read the listing carefully and ask all your questions before committing

Just because your previous experience with a listing in a particular country had a hairdryer, a washer, a dryer, a heater etc, doesn’t mean it is a standard issue for all listings so make sure you ask. Dryers and heaters are a must in winter in my opinion and make sure you find out how many heaters there are, especially if there are several rooms in the house. You know what you need in order for your family to live comfortably so don’t feel shy to ask those questions.

3) Gauge the responsiveness

While it helps to read the reviews, I realise that the level of responsiveness of the host is normally quite a good indication of their commitment or ‘service level’. Also if you are having trouble contacting the host and it is less than 48 hours to your confirmed booking, you can reach out to Airbnb for their help. They will attempt to contact the host (which works wonders) or help with a rebooking if the host fails to respond. Note that is partly what you are paying Airbnb a service charge for.

4) House rules are important

Yes it is important to adhere to the house rules so that you won’t lose your security deposit but they are important not just for that reason. While it might be a pain to see a long list of house rules (what not to do, when to take out the rubbish, what to do before you leave and the list goes on). I generally found that the listings with more elaborate house rules were in better condition and were nicer places to live in while you basically just feel your way around those that were very laxed about their rules.

So yes we have had some awesome experiences and some not that great experiences on Airbnb. Will we continue booking through them? Yes probably, depending on the country we are heading to. Honestly some countries are more conducive for Airbnb while we are better off at hotels for some others. But I will definitely be referring to the above ‘tips’ for my future bookings. Hope they come in handy for you too🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

Space-saving and Chill-out Furniture

We have finally settled into our new home and it was truly a tedious process. From trying to sort out defects with the developer to getting all our ‘suppliers’and purchase deliveries lined up perfectly because we didn’t hire an ID or contractor. And then dealing with the big move + massive unpacking whilst handling a very sick toddler.  I am glad to say that we lived to tell the tale!!!

So what better way to ‘celebrate’ then to share some of our favourite pieces in our new home that we can’t wait to enjoy!🙂

Dining Table 

One of the first few pieces of furniture that we bought, was our dining table. We were really concerned about the amount of space that we would have for our dining table + sofa so we were alittle conservative when it came to the length of our dining table. However we were really glad that we decided to choose benches as the choice seating as it is truly a space saver! We especially loved the rounded edges around both the table and the benches! One less thing to worry about with the kids.

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Dining Table from Star Living

Balcony Swing

If I have to be honest, this favourite piece actually belongs to Jah. In fact I nearly had to can the idea of having a rocking chair (which you will see later) because we got him this swing. But I can’t say I’m complaining because the kids are really enjoying it!

 

Transformer Bench

Our next favourite piece is also an outdoor balcony piece. Our Transformer Bench which can be folded into a bench or opened to become a table with seating. We love the idea that it could be a space saver but also provide us with additional seating when more people come over for dinner. Also just a nice piece to have if you want to chill out in the balcony with a cheese platter and wine!🙂

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Teak wood Transformer Bench from Widharja

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Yes its the same piece!

Rocking Chair

I promise that this will be the last balcony piece! Yes I know it seems all our favourite pieces are in the balcony :p What can I say..that was the theme we were going for..lots of spaces to lounge and chill as a family! This addition to our balcony came only after we were sure that there was enough space leftover from Jah’s swing and the transformer bench. I just could not resist how comfortable and ‘breathable’ this rocking chair is and the little neck pillow attached to it, was just perfect!

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My own personal rocking chair…:)

Jah’s Army Bunk Bed

Another space saver piece that allowed us to have additional play space within Jah’s bedroom. His modular low bunk bed allows him to sleep on the upper deck (which is slightly lower than a regular double decker) and play in the lower deck, complete with army themed tent and drapes. We were initially quite concerned about him sleeping on the upper deck but we got him to test out the type of stairs/ ladder (yes there are a few variations) that he was more comfortable with. Lets hope that this piece will break his co-sleeping habit!

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Army themed modular low bunk bed from iBenma

Beanbags

You might have also noticed the bean bag in the above photo. Yes more chill-out furniture. Check out our previous post for our thoughts on the Doob Bean Bags – link here.

So there we have it, some of our favourite space-saving & chill-out pieces!

I guess now its time for me to go enjoy some cheese and wine on one of our chill-out furniture before the rest of the family starts hogging them!

Thanks for reading!🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

 

Doob Bean Bags – Because our butts deserve to be pampered

As we started to conceptualize how we wanted our new home to look and what kind of furniture to buy. We were very clear on 1 thing and that was that we wanted lots of areas/ furniture where we could lounge and chill in. We knew right from the start that bean bags were a must have and we wanted Doob Bags!

We have seen Doob Bags at a couple of events and even at the Future World exhibition at the Art Science Musuem. That was where Jah declared that he must have this bean bag! Well son, mummy is one step ahead of you! :p

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One of the reason and perhaps the main reason why we chose Doob Bag over other bean bags in the market is the fact that it is plushy and comfortable without being too soft and deflated. There are definitely ‘softer’ bean bags out there compared to Doob Bag but somehow they retain the indent of your body and in my opinion will likely not last very long. I would hate to sit in a super deflated bean bag in 6 months time.

Our Doob bag on the other hand may feel alittle firm to the touch but trust me, it is super comfortable once you land your butt on it. Only problem is you might never want to get up!

The Doob bag comes in different shapes and sizes so you can select the one which works for your space or purpose. You can also choose the fabric (polyester, synthetic leather or rayon). We went with the polyester fabric because it is water resistant which is perfect when you have little kids that are spill monsters.

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Comparison Chart from http://www.getdoob.com

We chose the rectangular shaped Plopsta’ in Large Size. You may think that a rectangular shaped beanbag will only allow you to lie flat on it or use it when propped against a wall.

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Can we just use this as a bed and save on an actual bed? :p

However we chose it for its VERSATILITY. Check out some of the different positions you can use it in!

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Time for a nap?

 

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Or just to chill

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Getting on my horse!

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Mummy! Can you pass me my iPad please?

 

The one dilemma we did have was what colour or colour combination to choose but the awesome thing was also the fact that there were so many colours to choose from that you are bound to find something that suits your decor. We went with an Ash Caribbean and an Ash Apple which is half grey and half blue/ green and it was a perfect match for our home colour scheme!

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An Ash Caribbean for the living area

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An Ash Apple for Jah’s room and another position to use🙂

We also love the fact that the Doob bag is a double-layered design which means no little bean bag pellets spilling out and you can remove the cover for cleaning. The bean bag also comes with a 1-year guarantee and free delivery within Singapore (so no lugging beanbags in your car boot from the store).

I am super grateful for the Doob Bag in Jah’s room! It has become my trusty companion when I need to put Jah to bed..no more sitting on the floor or on thin mattresses…I can lounge comfortably while he falls asleep in his bunk bed…:D

Disclaimer: JahBella received 1 Large Plopsta’ Doob Bag for the purpose of this review. All additional Doob Bags were purchased. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

JahBella’s Mummy

 

 

Should I get a Digital Lock and what Functions do I need?

As we were making the many decisions for our new place, there was one feature which we couldn’t quite agree on. The need for a digital lock. Being the embracer of new technology and everything automated, I was all for a digital lock. Come on it’s fun :p I mean convenient :p Joel on the other hand, doesn’t really care much for new technology (yes my loving husband who offers to take my 6 month old handphone so that I can take over the latest model that came from his newly re-contracted line.) I digress.

But yes so we went back and forth on this decision until yours truly finally won the ‘argument’ and loving husband grudgingly went along with it. After all, Happy Wife = Happy Life right?

So here are some of the main considerations that helped us to decide that we wanted a digital lock and the type of digital lock we eventually settled for.

Why even change your lock?

Because our unit is a brand new one and we would have given our keys to several people (i.e defects team, painter, contractor etc) at some point, we were concerned that duplication was done. In all honesty, I wasn’t too concerned about this but if it gives Joel a peace of mind then yes we will change our lock. Since we’re were going to incur that cost any way, why not go one step further and make it digital.

What functions do you want?

Digital locks offer a few key functions – pin code, guest/ one time pin, fingerprint, access card, RFID tag, Bluetooth/ handphone access. Some locks offer all functions (cost more) whereas others have different combinations of the above functions (cost less). Because there are so many different models out there, we decided to shortlist by the type of function we needed.

Fingerprint 

I immediately knew that fingerprint was the one function I had to have. I mean what’s the point of a digital lock if I can’t play with have the fingerprint function. Furthermore I figured that this is the most convenient function to have because there was no pin to remember or access card to lose, it was just me and my fingerprints.🙂

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Fingerprint sensor on the top of the digital lock

Pin Code

Because Joel was concerned that a fingerprint system may have issues reading certain people’s fingerprints, we decided that we needed an old school back up like a pin code. This is a valid concern because I have seen people who have fingerprints that are harder to read or hands that are too dry or too moist for reading to be 100% and fast all the time. So we decided a pin code would be a simple enough back up.

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Digital lock ‘awake’ for pin code entry

Guest pin code 

The choice of this function helped to narrow our choices significantly because not many models offered this options especially when coupled with the above 2 functions which we needed. The guest pin code was perfect for us because we usually have our extended family coming over while we are napping with the kids or when we are on the way home from activities. The guest pin code allows us to give them access to the house without being physically present and without giving them permanent access without us knowing who came by and when.

Access card/ RFID tag

While most people would have this function as their first default function for a digital lock, we decided otherwise. I disliked the thought of an extra piece of access card which we would have to carry around, potentially lose and then have to worry about who now has access to our unit because of a lost access card.

Bluetooth/ handphone access

Let’s just say this function was too high tech for me to suggest to a non new technology embracer and yes again I didn’t want the heart attack and headache of worrying about foreign access to my house on top of everything else, should I lose my handphone.

So in the end, we decided on a model which has a fingerprint function, with pin code and guest pin access. The model we chose could also be overridden by a master key or jolted by a regular 9V battery in case the battery goes flat (which shouldn’t happen because you will be prompted 2 weeks in advance to replace the 4 AA size batteries).

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View of lock from inside our house. Door auto locks upon closing and you can lock/ unlock with a press of a button. 

I have to say that after using the lock for a few days, I am super happy with the choice to get a digital lock. In fact even Joel has had a change of heart. Just this week, he forgot his keys to our rental place and needed to get in urgently. He had to get my keys from me in order to get in and he confessed later that he realised a digital lock would have saved us both a lot of inconvenience that day. So yay for me, happy wife is always right! :p

Hopefully this post will help you decide if the digital lock is for you and what combination of functions would work best for your home.🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

 

Nickelodeon Slime Cup 2016 – Event Listing

Attention all fans of SpongeBob SquarePants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol! Or at least attention all parents of these little fans!

If you are wondering what to do with the kids this weekend then come join us at the Nickelodeon Slime Cup 2016!

We have been really overwhelmed with getting our new house ready in the past couple of weeks so it feels really great to get back to some ‘normal programming’ with the kids, this coming weekend.

And what better way to usher in a ‘regular weekend’ then some Slime!! I know Joel and Jah are really excited about it…come on, its Slime!!! Girls are made of sugar and spice and well boys I’m pretty sure are made of Slime, green gooey slime! :p

Nickelodeon Slime Cup 2016 will be happening this weekend at City Square Mall.

 

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Besides the Life-sized Foosball, Load ‘n Lift and Slime Sumo, amongst other sporting activities, there’s also fun for the toddlers at stations ranging from the Slime Salon, where kids can adorn themselves with war paint, character silhouettes and tattoos, to the Slime Strike, where kids will have to ready their aim with a slime-filled water gun.

So come join us for this indoor obstacle course event with games, sports, meet & greet sessions and did I say Slime already? :p

Remember to bring an extra change of clothes for the family😉

For more details and timings, check out this link 

See you there!

JahBella’s Mummy