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Spring is the most delightful season where temperatures are moderate, and daylight is aplenty. We may not have Spring in our little island of Singapore but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the season! Whether you’re looking to grab that glue gun or showcase your green thumbs, scroll on for 5 Pinterest-worthy, DIY floral projects to get you into the springtime mood.

 

1. Floral centrepiece

Image cred: Pinterest

Find a desired container, get some floral foam, purchase some blooms and you’re ready to go! The amount of flowers needed will vary according to the size of your container. Be sure to choose blooms of different colours and heights for a less uniform and more natural look. Check out some expert advice via The Spruce.

 

2. Floral bike basket

Image cred: Pinterest

Decorate your wheels with some floral details! Well, but if you’re more of a handlebars type of girl, this could work for your bike’s bars as well.

Takes 15 minutes
Materials

Take each large bloom, trim off the leaves and cut the stem off at about 4 inches. Hold the flower over the bike basket and affix the flower with a floral wire of 7 to 8 inches long. Weave the wire through and around the basket grids. Repeat the entire process with all your blooms, across the basket in a diagonal pattern. Once done, insert several stalks of filler flowers and greens. Wedge these in between the larger flowers and use more wire if needed. Add more to your liking and you’re all set.

 

3. Mini floral bouquets

Image cred: Jessica Keala on The Letter Muse

Mini bouquets are adorable, fun gifts that can be easily attached to a card. Choose any Spring blooms and simply arrange it to your own personal style.

 

4. Coffee filter peonies

Image cred: Pinterest

Coffee filter peonies are a unique and fuss-free alternative to fresh flowers because honestly, who has the time and budget to maintain fresh cut ones? Plus, there are a million colour possibilities with this easy-to-make DIY project.

Takes 15 minutes
Materials

Fold one coffee filter in half, in the sequence of the folding steps below (courtesy of The Stony Brook House). Then, cut the top off in the shape of an ice cream cone. For full fluffy peonies, layer several coffee filters on top of each other, poke a hole in the middle and connect with pipe cleaners of any desired colour. You may choose to dye your coffee filter peonies with varying shades of food colouring to achieve a realistic floral effect too.

Image cred: The Stony Brook House

5. Colander planters

 

Image cred: Pinterest

Forget flower pots. Use an old colander to hang spring flowers and update your balcony, or porch! Wrap one colander handle with some gardener’s twine and tie off with a dab of glue. Knot approximately 45cm of twine at each of the handle and repeat entire process with the opposite handle. Then, line the colander with sheet moss and fill with potting soil and desired plants. Ferns could be a good choice! Tie four lengths of twine together, hang and admire.
Not a fan of colanders? Use tea tins or even rainboots for this!

After you’ve tried our DIY suggestions, kick back to appreciate your handmade decorations and unwind with a cup of Floral Blossom tea.

Floral Blossom

There are two camps of people on Valentine’s Day. People who love the concept of a day to celebrate love and people who think it is a commercial scam. With prices of chocolate, flowers and stuffed toys hiked up almost twice the amount and with gaudy red and pink heart filled decorations, I don’t blame the people of the second camp. In fact, I agree. However, the romanticist in me also loves the idea of having a special day to spend together with your significant other just being appreciative.

Although Valentine's Day is over, the love with your partner isn't. With the recent passing of Valentine's Day, romance is actually still blooming in the air. So other than the obligatory grocery shopping date after Valentine’s to score all the suddenly cheap chocolate, here are some ideas that don’t completely succumb to the monstrosities of commercialism but still make your love special.

1. Black Panther Movie Date

While a movie at a cinema in the malls of Singapore is a great option (Black Panther on opening night anyone?), consider a movie under the stars or at a bar to change things up a little. It may be slightly more expensive, (Funzing has tickets going for $19 for pop up cinemas) but you do get complimentary drinks and a trendy venue.

2. Show Off Your Cooking Skills

What is sexier than a person that cooks? Trust me, the way to most people’s hearts is their stomachs, so if you decide to cook for your significant other, you may be surprised by how fun and romantic a dinner date could be. Plus if you guys cook together, not only would you be able to show off your skills, you could lip-sync love duets to each other while waiting for the food to be cooked. Quality time spent.

3. A Dinner Date at a Restaurant

But of course if neither of you can cook or do not have the energy to, don’t fret; a romantic restaurant dinner is also an option. I know Valentine’s Day dinners can get expensive. However if you look carefully you may find three course or even 4 course dinners for less than $50 a person. At Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar you can get 3-course meal for $44.50/person. The course, Love me Tender, is only available for Valentine’s Day and you get a glass of wine each to go with your dinner.  So impress your date without damage to your wallet. Plus since the place is near Botanic Garden you could also take a slow stroll by the Gardens.

4. Treat Yourselves to Some Live Music

Maybe you’ve always wanted to serenade your lover to some live music. And here in Singapore, you won't have to worry about the place to go because there are numerous bars and restaurants that offer live-singing, especially those of romantic songs that both you and your partner deem to be special. Even if you miss them for the occasion, do not worry because there's always the next date.

5. A Sports Date

If your significant other likes to be active and would rather not sit down for another dinner then maybe you could do something completely different from the usual date ideas that involve eating and shopping. Play a sport that both of you like or try something completely new. This could not only be a opportunity to show off that gym bod you have been working on but it could also show you how well you work together. If you are up for it, Clip ‘n Climb, the company from New Zealand which promises a theme park like rock climbing facility has opened its first Singaporean outlet in Tampines. With 17 different walls that are 8m high, you can be sure that your date will not be boring. Entry prices range from $18 for members, $22 for People’s Association or Safra members and $25 for guests.

Written by: Annmaria Patteri

Composting can be confusing, with the never-ending options of components you can add to your pile. However, to balance the composition of your compost, you’ll need a good mix of nitrogen-rich wet greens, and carbon-rich dry browns. Here are some items you can easily obtain to add into your pile of compost.

1. Newspapers

A staple brown, newspapers will add carbon to your compost pile. Be sure to shred them first because a bundled mess of newspapers will hinder the necessary flow of oxygen.

2. Eggshells

This is another readily available item you can add to your compost pile, as we all know how quickly a household can go through a carton of eggs.

Adding eggshells to compost adds calcium to the makeup of your heap. This important nutrient, when added to soil, helps the plants to build cell walls and grow better and faster.

Wash them before adding into your compost so that you don’t attract any critters and reduces the risk of disease which raw eggs pose.

3. Dried leaves

Another commonly used carbon-rich brown, dead leaves can be easily found around your house. However, you do need to shred them before adding them to your pile. Layer them with fresh grass clippings or other greens, and moistened with water.

4. Fruit and vegetable trimmings

Scraps like cores, peels, skins, and stalks from vegetables and fruits are some other things you can compost instead of simply disposing them. You should keep them buried deep in your compost heap to prevent pests from appearing.

5. Tea bags

 

Compared to loose tea leaves, tea bags are more complicated to compost because they can be made up of a variety of materials, and not all of them may be natural fibres.

If you drink Nilufer Tea's organic and pesticide-free herbal teas, you can empty the contents into your compost pile and discard the bag.

6. Cereal boxes and other cardboard materials

It is critical that all the cardboard you use for your compost is shredded into small pieces because large pieces take longer to decompose.

Remember to turn the pile every five days to speed up the decomposition. In six to eight months, the compost should be ready to use.

7. Plate scrapings (excluding meat and bones)

Compost in a DIY bin typically doesn't get hot enough to break down meat or bones. So if you do want to use plate scrapings in your compost pile, avoid these items.

8. Juice pulp

 

If you’re the type who juices a lot, you can actually salvage the skins, peels and pulp for your compost pile. Not only does the fibrous pulp break down quickly, but it enriches your compost with a variety of nutrients too.

9. Used paper towels and napkins

Paper towels and napkins are considered carbon-rich browns and can be used as a substitute for dried leaves. Make sure they’re not overly greasy so they can decompose quickly. This is because oil and grease reduces the amount of air in your compost, eventually leading to the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which creates an unpleasant stench.

10. Hair (human or otherwise)

Yes, you can actually compost hair! After all, it is simply protein filaments and thus, natural. Spread the hair out so that the larger surface area can help it to break down faster and easier. It’ll take a bit more than a month for it to break down enough before you can add it to your garden soil.

11. Pencil shavings

 

Most pencils are made from cedar, a wood that insects hate. Using pencil shavings in your compost pile and subsequently soil therefore, prevents pests from appearing.

12. Latex balloons

Latex is a biodegradable material. So if you have tons of them lying around after a party, toss them in your pile – they’ll be gone within six months.

13. Pet droppings

If you’re set on minimising your household’s waste output, you may want to try composting your pet’s droppings. However, if you do, remember never to use it in any garden that is growing edible vegetables and herbs. Let it compost for a long time so as to kill off as many harmful microorganisms as possible.

Composting doesn’t have to be a confounding process, so get to it, and you’ll be doing a great service to the environment!

Eggs are highly nutritious, versatile, inexpensive, and easy to use in many dishes, and that’s why they make breakfast foods. Egg whites are packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and copper, while the yolk contains essential fatty acids. So if you’re stumped on minimalist egg-based recipes, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these five ways to step up your egg game, even when you’re rushing out of the house in the morning!

1. Quinoa bowl with egg, mushrooms, and spinach

The best part about quinoa bowls is that you can use any ingredients, add a sauce to spice things up, and you’re good to go. Known as a super grain, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat.

To get started, prepare a portion of quinoa for the base of your bowl. For a distinct burst of flavours, you can cook it in chicken stock first. Add a couple more ingredients that you desire like shredded chicken, tomatoes, grated cheese, or even avocado. For that melt-in-the-mouth effect, you can top it off with a fried egg with a set egg white and runny yolk.

The possibilities are endless ingredients-wise, but you can check out this recipe for some inspiration!

2. Super omelette with tomatoes, potato slices, and cheddar cheese

 

Again, many different ingredients can be used to make an omelette. Because they cook quickly, you would want to prepare all the fillings beforehand. Whichever ingredients you decide on, remember to cut them into smaller pieces so that your omelette doesn’t tear when it’s folded. You can use ingredients like ham, baby spinach, shredded cheese, and onions. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even add broccoli, corn, or chilli.

Nothing beats a wholesome breakfast omelette like this one.

3. Veggie skillet frittata

If you’re someone who struggles with flipping omelettes, maybe frittatas would be more up your alley. The trick to making the perfect frittata is to make sure to fully cook any ingredients that might release moisture into the eggs, such as mushrooms and tomatoes. You can also add more substantial ingredients like chicken, smoked salmon, or asparagus.

Get your frittata fix by following this simple recipe, or get creative with your own!

4. Salmon and egg wrap

 

If you’re going for a more substantial breakfast to get you ready for the day, a breakfast burrito or wrap would be the way to go, especially if you’re someone who likes to get a morning workout.

Salmon contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which increases your body’s metabolism, and determine whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Using it as an ingredient will turn anything into a great pre-exercise meal. You can also have this for dinner if you had something heavy for lunch.

You can use either the egg or a flour tortilla as the wrap. The tricky part of making a burrito is wrapping it so that its contents don’t fall out. Warming your tortilla makes it a little more pliable but don’t heat it up for too long as it’ll become crispy. Once you begin rolling, remember to make it as tight as you can from the start.

Find out how you can get wrapped up in your delish burrito here.

5. Flourless banana bread

 

You’ll need exactly five ingredients for this, including eggs: oatmeal, bananas, maple syrup, and baking soda. Blend them all together and bake it for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

It’ll take some time, but if you make a large batch, you’ll find that the sugar in the bananas will actually continue to make the bread moister and sweeter the next day.

Check out how you can make this here, and munch away!

Some egg dishes can feel a little heavy on the mouth. That's why we recommend herbal tea to accompany your meal or to wash your food down afterwards. For some great choices of herbal tea, here are some great selections and tasty ones from Nilufer Tea. You can get them here!

Kick start your day with a smoothie to increase fruit and vegetable intake in your diet. Smoothies are nutritional powerhouses that provide you with essential minerals and vitamins. Great as a nutritious breakfast or an energising afternoon snack, smoothies are fun to make and do not have to be as complicated as you think. However, smoothies come with caveats too. Store-bought smoothies may expand your waistline with artificial ingredients and excess sugar. But fret not, I’ve some healthful smoothie recipes to share. Fresh and fuss-free, each recipe packs a ton of flavour and allows you to whip up your delicious concoction in a flash. Here are five basic yet fabulous smoothie recipes to try at home.

 

1. Apple Avocado Smoothie

My favourite smoothie recipe is a somewhat-strange mishmash of apple, pear, avocado and spinach but when combined together, these ingredients create a luscious blend of flavours. The use of avocado in a smoothie may sound bizarre but be reminded that avocados will give your smoothie a dreamy creamy texture and a boost of heart-healthy fat, so nourish yourself and blend away without fear.

Image cred: pixabay

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Juice the apples and pear first then add the fruit juice, avocado and spinach into your blender. Blend until smooth then add a drizzle of Manuka honey. To keep myself satisfied for longer, a teaspoon of chia seeds and some protein powder are my favourite smoothie add-ins. But of course, feel free to leave any of these extra ingredients out.

 

2. Berry Banana Oat Smoothie

Image cred: pixabay

With a medley of berries, half a ripe banana for natural sweetness and some oats for fullness, the Berry Banana Oat Smoothie is the perfect power-packed breakfast to sip on the go. Why, you may ask? Berries are loaded with antioxidants, bananas are a great source of potassium and oats provide soluble fibre – vital nutrients for your digestive tract. It’s easy to prep and berry easy to drink so there’s no excuse for you to skip breakfast anymore!

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

For a creamier and frostier smoothie, I use frozen whole fruit to achieve a quick and thick effect. Blend all ingredients until smooth then pour, drink and love. Lactose-intolerant friends may substitute milk with almond, coconut or soy milk for a dairy-free alternative. Oh, and here’s a sneaky tip… Omit the oats to turn your smoothie into a healthier version of a banana split dessert.

 

3. Peach Perfect Smoothie

Image cred: pixabay

Reinvent the old berry-banana routine and make a fresh, juicy Peach Perfect when peaches are in season. If you tend to get in a rut with the addictive berry-banana smoothie combination (like me), I’d recommend you to give this a go.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Blend all ingredients until smooth and spark it up with some ground cinnamon for a pinch of yum.

 

4. Tropical Mint Smoothie

Image cred: pixabay

Beat the heat with a refreshing Tropical Mint Smoothie. Fruity with a fresh finish of mint, this glass of green goodness will have you forget about the weather in a minute. If the green colour scares you, imagine you’re on a beach under a tropical palm tree and let your worries be washed away with the sound of waves. I promise you won’t even be able to taste the kale.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Blend all ingredients until smooth. I garnish mine with a wedge of pineapple and some coconut flakes to create a virgin green Piña Colada. It’s a definite winner for alcohol replacement. Enjoy!

 

5. Rooibos Tofu Smoothie

Image cred: Natalia Dworniak on Unsplash

Stave off colds with Rooibos Tofu, a powerful immune-booster with unconventional smoothie ingredients. It works when you’re tired of bananas or want to cut back on carbs. Red rooibos tea is an excellent base for a smoothie as it produces a herbaceous sweetness, without the caffeine. Protein-rich tofu creates a lovely thick texture whilst frozen grapes and raspberries deliver a deep flavour of additional antioxidants.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Steep tea for 8 to 10 minutes, discard teabag and chill in refrigerator. Once cool, blend the tea with all other ingredients until smooth and serve cold. Add an optional scoop of protein powder for a tea-rrific workout drink.

You can get your fix of rooibos tea here!

Smoothies are incredibly easy and convenient to make. At the same time, they hold a wealth of rich essential nutrients. If you are lacking time to make a wholesome meal, make a smoothie. It's the next best thing.

 

It is an understatement that mornings can be a chore - some (or rather, many) mornings consist of scrambling out of bed and stuffing a spoonful of cereal into your mouth on the way out of the door. Yet, there’s a reason why it has always been said that the first meal of the morning is the most important - it provides us with energy required to function for the rest of the day, and benefits our health in the long-term by reducing the risk of obesity and high blood pressure.

Still think breakfast is a hassle to prepare? If so, you will be surprised at how these 5 healthy vegan breakfast ideas will be ready in the blink of an eye, and also incorporate heart-healthy ingredients into your diet - like organic peanut butter and acai berry. Read on to find out more!

Rainbow Acai bowls

Image cred: Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

The acai berry has recently gained worldwide acclaim for packing a ton of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and amino acids. Acai bowls have been all the rage on instagram, with the colorful bowls flooding our feed. Adding acai berries can benefit your health by boosting energy levels and improving metabolism.The acai berry can be bought in frozen form for this acai bowl recipe, and the puree can be prepared the night before to save time the next morning. This is a great vegan breakfast idea to fill up your stomach quick!

  1. Prepare the acai puree: add 1 banana, acai berries, strawberries, blueberries and a splash of milk to a blender and blend till smooth.
  2. Slice up different colored fruits such as bananas, kiwis, strawberries, blueberries and mango to be used as toppings.
  3. To prepare the acai bowls, pour the acai puree into the bowl, then arrange the different fruits according to the colours of the rainbow. Sprinkle granola, drizzle maple syrup and you’re done!

Blueberry and Coconut Pecan Vegan Cookies

Image cred: Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

These vegan cookies are jam packed with nutrients and fibre, and is a foolproof recipe to make the night before a hectic week starts.

  1. Prepare 1 ½ cup of oats, 1 cup of coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon of flaxmeal, ½ a teaspoon of salt, ¾ cups of chopped pecan and ½ a cup of dried blueberries.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients above with 3 mashed bananas,1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
  4. Press 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Feel free to replace the blueberries in the vegan cookies with dried dates if you prefer.

Organic peanut butter toast with chia seeds

Image cred: Alisa Anton on Unsplash

On mornings where all you can spare is half an hour, toast with organic peanut butter is the way to go. Simply toast a few slices of bread, spread peanut butter on it, sprinkle some chia seeds and you’re done! Top with your choice of fruit, like strawberries or bananas. Chia seeds are jam packed with nutrients, and has six times more calcium than milk. So, go ahead and add them to your toast for an extra crunch.

 

3 ingredient pancakes

For vegetarians, this is an easy breakfast recipe that only requires 3 main ingredients: bananas, eggs and flour to create fluffy, nutritious pancakes.

Image cred: Alison Marras on Unsplash

  1. Mash 1 large banana and add 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour and 1 large egg. Stir well.
  2. Spoon batter into a nonstick skillet and cook for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Serve with blueberries and maple syrup or honey.

Banana, Peanut Butter and Dried Date Smoothie

This smoothie is perfect for rushed mornings when you just don’t have time for breakfast. Simply put everything into a blender, pack it into a tumblr and have your breakfast on the go!

  1. Prepare one cup of unsweetened plain almond milk, 1 ripe banana, 4-5 dried dates, 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter and ¼ cup of ice.
  2. Place everything into a blender and blend until smooth.

Now, with these 5 easy and healthy breakfast ideas, there’s no excuse for you to be skipping breakfast anymore. If you’re looking for some fragrant quality tea to accompany your breakfast, do check out Nilufertea.

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