Yoshino, Japan's Most Famous Cherry Blossom Spot ( 吉野 )

yoshino japan most famous cherry blossom spot
Mount Yoshino ( 吉野山 ) in Nara Prefecture, is Japan's most famous Sakura ( 桜 ) spot. Well-known for the mountains there, it is one of the best places to see Cherry Blossoms with over 30,000 cherry trees covering the area.

mount yoshino hitomesenbon sakura festival
Sakura Festival in Yoshino typically starts in late March or early April and reaches full bloom around early to mid April. I was there late April last year, but thankfully still managed to catch a glimpse of these beautiful pink clouds.

cherry blossom yoshino yama viewpoint guide
You may like to know that Yoshino, together with Mount Koya and Kumano, was designated a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site named the " Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range " in 2004.
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Yummy Avocado Shake with Gula Melaka Recipe ( 椰糖鳄梨奶昔 )

yummy avocado shake with gula melaka recipes
Incredibly popular among the health conscious, Avocado aka Alligator Pear ( 牛油果 / 鳄梨 ) has as many as 20 different vitamins and minerals to get you excited. It is said that people who eat avocados tend to be healthier.

There are a wide range of uses for the healthy fruit such as Guacamole, a Mexican dip. Avocados are also frequently used for milkshakes in countries like Philippines and Indonesia.

yummy avocado shake with brown sugar syrup
I love my Avocado Shake with Gula Melaka or otherwise known as Palm Sugar, but the ones sold outside is always either too sweet or too milky. DIY your very own Yummy Avocado Shake with Gula Melaka Syrup ( 椰糖鳄梨奶昔 ) now, and it is so easy to make!
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Mosche Colour Promo: Free L'oreal Serie Expert Hair Care Set!

loreal serie expert vitamino color lipidium absolut repair
Hey beauty junkies, it’s time to change a new hair colour cause we are Giving Our Readers a Set of L'oreal Serie Expert Hair Care! Into Organic Hair Colours? No worries, Mosche Grand Hyatt got you covered too!

Depending on the condition of your hair, readers who quote LUXURY HAVEN will either receive the L'oreal Serie Expert Vitamino Color A-OX Travel Set or the L'oreal Serie Expert Lipidium Absolut Repair Travel Set with a minimum spending of SGD 150 on Hair Colouring at Mosche Grand Hyatt.

Get healthy hair now with L'oreal Serie Expert Vitamino Color A-OX, which prolongs colour radiance while nourishing, conditioning and boosting shine; or L'oreal Serie Expert Lipidium Absolut Repair is a breakthrough in damage repair for very dry, damaged hair!
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Luxury Haven, Top 30 Singapore Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow in 2018!

feedspot top 30 singapore lifestyle blogger award
Luxury Haven has done it again! Last November, Luxury Haven was Ranked No. 5 in Top 75 Luxury Lifestyle Blogs on the internet, and we have just received news that we are also in the Top 30 Singapore Lifestyle Bloggers and Websites To Follow in 2018!

singapore top lifestyle bloggers to follow
Once again, these blogs are ranked based on following criteria by Feedspot:
  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review
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Todaiji Temple in Nara, UNESCO World Heritage Site ( 東大寺 )!

todaiji temple in winter
Nara Park is home to three of the six temples and shrines on UNESCO’s list, and Todaiji Temple ( 東大寺 ) is one of them. If you are wondering what the difference between a Temple and a Shrine is, the Shinto religion is practiced at a shrine while Buddhism is practiced at a temple.

japan nara park great eastern temple
Renowned for their Daibutsuden aka Big Buddha Hall ( 大仏殿 ), Todaiji Temple is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the " Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara ", together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara.
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White Pepper Bak Kut Teh with Watercress Recipe ( 西洋菜白胡椒肉骨茶 )

teochew white pepper bak kut teh watercress soup
Popular in both Malaysia and Singapore, Bak Kut Teh ( 肉骨茶 ) is a fragrant Chinese Pork Rib Soup available in a black or white broth, basically herbal or peppery.

The Hokkien version is simmered in a broth of herbs and spices with dark soy sauce added, hence the darker colour and a stronger taste, while the Teochew version uses garlic and white pepper or even Star Anise, and has a lighter colour.

ya hua bak kut teh recipe
Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh ( 亚华肉骨茶 )
Personally, I prefer the clear soup with a peppery taste while most of my Malaysian friends tend to go for the Hokkien herbal soup. One of my favourite Bak Kut Teh eateries is Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh ( 亚华肉骨茶 ). They serve many side dishes such as Braised Beancurd and Peanuts, Taupok, and different varieties of vegetables. Inspired by Ya Hua’s version of Slice Fish with Watercress in Pork Rib Soup, I came up with my very own Mouth-watering White Pepper Bak Kut Teh with Watercress ( 西洋菜白胡椒肉骨茶 ).

singapore white pepper watercress pork rib soup
Although I enjoy drinking the Cantonese Watercress Soup where the veg is cooked till mushy, I also like Ya Hua’s version where the veg still retains its green and crunch. Let’s try cooking, shall we?
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Insight Vacations Celebrates 40 Years with Savings to Europe!

natas travel fair insight vacations portugal
Portugal, Photo Credit: Insight Vacations
Insight Vacations, an award-winning global leader in premium escorted travel, is thrilled to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this April. While some might argue that 40 is the new 30, Insight couldn’t be happier to look back and remember every unforgettable moment of the past four decades and all the experiences and innovations that have been made a reality. Throughout the years, Insight has perfected the art of guided journeys and has accomplished these milestones with passion, knowledge and outstanding travel expertise.

“This significant milestone is the time to look back on all that we have accomplished, we’re so proud to have brought transformative travel to our travellers and can’t wait for them to see what we have planned for the next 40 years,” says Evon Ler, President of Insight Vacations Asia“ With our Anniversary Celebration, space is extremely limited on this superb collection of 40+ Premium Journeys and as these special offers won’t last, we encourage travellers to book their holidays with us as soon as possible.”

Travellers can choose from a wide selection of guided vacations including Britain and Ireland, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and Russia, European Discoveries and USA and Canada including the following 3 unforgettable journeys:
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Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Live Ikebana Flower Arrangement Show

keio plaza hotel tokyo ikebana flower arrangement
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo ( KPH ), one of Japan’s most prestigious international hotels located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, will host a special Spring “ Ikebana ” Flower Arrangement Exhibition entitled “ Japanese Hospitality through Flowers – Dreams of Spring and Sakura Cherry Blossoms ” from March 31 (Saturday) to April 15 (Sunday), 2018 in the third floor main lobby area of their Hotel. This exhibition is hosted in collaboration with renowned “ Ikebana ” flower arrangement artist Hiroki Maeno. The centerpiece of this exhibition will be a large 2.7 meter tall by 5 meter wide flower arrangement using different types of 200 “ Sakura ” cherry blossoms from various parts of Japan.

Hiroki Maeno will hold a live performance to demonstrate his “ Ikebana ” flower arrangement skills in front of the large centerpiece flower arrangement from 5:00p.m. on April 5 (Thursday), 2018. Also Maeno will also give a complimentary presentation explaining his views on the importance of Ikebana as a part of Japanese culture.

This flower arrangement exhibition have been held four times a year and timed with the arrival of each of the four seasons since April 2015. His flower arrangements have been received with great admiration by the numerous guests visiting their Hotel from Japan and around the world, and have become a popular spot for commemorative pictures.

Large Flower Arrangement by Hiroki Maeno “ Japanese Hospitality through Flowers – Dreams of Spring and Sakura Cherry Blossoms ”
  • Date: March 31 (Saturday) to April 15 (Sunday), 2018. * Exhibition closes at 6:00p.m. on the final day.
  • Venue: Main Lobby, 3rd Floor of the Main Tower
“ Ikebana Flower Arrangement Performance ” by Hiroki Maeno
  • Date: April 5 (Thursday), 2018, from 5:00p.m. * Approximately 40 minutes
  • Venue: In front of the large centerpiece flower arrangement in the Main Lobby, 3rd Floor of Main Tower
For Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Exhibition Information: +81-3-5322-8061 (Lobby Gallery Direct Line)
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See Cherry Blossom in Nara and Feed the Deer ( 奈良公園の散り桜と鹿 )

singapore travel blogger nara park japan deer
Travelling to Osaka soon? Make a day trip to Nara ( 奈良 ), which is a just short distance away by train from Osaka. Nara Park ( 奈良公園 ) is known for its free-roaming deer and houses some of the World Heritage temples. Regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, Nara’s deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a national treasure.

singapore travel blogger explores nara park feeding deer
singapore parenting blog osaka nara park tour
Last April, I had a great time visiting Nara Park with friends. We had so much fun feeding the deer, a unique experience compared to all my other travels. It was also a beautiful sight with Sakura flowers blooming everywhere in the park. So this February, I decided to take my family there; I wanted to show my prince the lovely Nara. The three of us flew from Singapore to Osaka and stayed there for about 2 weeks, and then making day trips to Kobe and Nara. Winter is especially cold this year, with a -2°C on the day we were there.

Well, I have also included a video in two parts – Spring and Winter, so you guys can see the different scenery. Hope you will enjoy reading as much as I had fun writing this post.
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Chillax at Bintan Lagoon Resort from IDR 3,850,000/Person!

singapore getaway natas travel bintan lagoon resort promotion
For the swinging singles and 2-to-go travellers, the Chillax package allows you to get away from the madding crowd with this excellent value for money deal. Bintan Lagoon Resort (BLR) is a short ferry service from Singapore sited on its own private stretch of beach in Bintan Island overlooking the South China Sea. The Chillax package offers great value for those in search of sun, sea, food, golf and 50 plus activities or complete ‘do nothing’ relaxation.

bintan lagoon resort chillax package atv
The Chillax package includes return ferry service, deluxe room accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and plenty of complimentary activities including ATV Tours/Jet Ski, Ninebot Tours, Archery and more as well as stipulated discounts off food and beverage and recreational activities There is never a dull moment at Bintan Lagoon Resort!
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Stir-Fried Japanese Hanabira Mushrooms with Prawns ( はなびら茸とエビの炒め )

linkedin stir fried japanese hanabira mushrooms with prawns
Known as “ Kinoko “ ( キノコ ), there are many types of Japanese Mushrooms and those commonly seen in the supermarkets are Shitake ( 椎茸 ), Maitake ( 舞茸 ), Eryngii King Oyster ( エリンギ ), Shimeji ( 湿地茸 ) and Enoki ( エノキ ).

tokyo midtown gourmet supermarket hanabira take mushrooms
I am a huge fan of mushrooms, and I found an interesting species of mushroom called Hanabira-Take ( はなびら茸 ) during one of my fine dining adventures at Hama Steak House in Tokyo. Easily mistaken for Snow Fungus, the texture of the Hanabira Mushroom is much thicker and definitely tastes mushroomy. It was so delicious that I went in search for it in Tokyo, and found it at a gourmet supermarket in Tokyo Midtown. It was selling at ¥ 266 ( aprox SGD 3.20 ). I was ecstatic and determined to buy back and experiment with it, and so glad I did cause it is selling at double the price in Singapore.

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Instagram Round-Up at Luxury Haven: Beauty, Food, Lifestyle

singapore lifestyle blogger instagram round up
Hey guys, it has been a long while since my last Instagram Round-Up post in 2016. Fast forward two years down the road, I have to admit I am still not very active on Instagram. Somehow, I can connect better with Facebook; generation gap perhaps?

Nonetheless, let’s check out some of the interesting instagram shots that I had shared:

beauty influencers nuskin ageloc lumispa event coffee academics
Hair By: Mosche Grand Hyatt
NuSkin ageLOC LumiSpa Event at Coffee Academics,
introducing their a dual action skin care system that offers skin renewal and deep cleansing benefits.

masons home curva bean bag lounger hello kitty
Masons Home Decor Curva Bean Bag Lounger
in my Hello Kitty room
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Black Garlic Spaghetti with Cheese Sausage ( 黑蒜芝士香肠意粉 )

healthy black garlic spaghetti with cheese sausage recipe
It is known that Garlic has been used as a medicinal herb since centuries ago where its benefits have been scientifically proven. Then came Black Garlic, which has begun to surface in recent years and slowly gaining popularity due to its many health benefits. Black Garlic is rich in amino acids and has almost double the amount of antioxidants when compared to White Garlic.

superfood black garlic health benefits
These blackened cloves do not come cheap, hence many home cooks have started “ fermenting “ their own like one of my girlfriends. I was blessed to receive a small container filled with her hard work. Black Garlic is actually " caramelized " garlic. It has a sweet, prune-like taste, and texture is a bit mushy.

hokto kinoko bunashimeji mushrroms pasta recipe
I must admit that it is an acquired taste, and my family are still not accustomed to both its taste and texture. Hence, I decided to add the ingredient to make this Exotic Black Garlic Spaghetti with Cheese Sausage ( 黑蒜芝士香肠意粉 ), and toss in vegetables such as Bunashimeji Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes, and Baby Spinach, and drenched in a healthy dosage of Camelina Oil. Of course, you can always omit the sausage for a healthier version.
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March School Holiday: Free Admission to Sentosa and FunFest!

sentosa funfest cartoon network we bare bears
Start the school break on a high and recharge at Sentosa – The State of Fun, this coming March holidays. An adventure of a lifetime awaits families, with an exciting line up of activities featuring the wildly popular characters from Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears! With Free Entry into the island via the Sentosa Express and vehicular gantry throughout the period of 10 to 18 March, there is no reason to miss out on the Fun. Plus, admission through the Sentosa Boardwalk will also be free.

sentosa palawan beach we bare bears inflatables
FunFest with We Bare Bears
Kickstart your festivities at Palawan Beach, which is set to be transformed into Singapore’s largest inflatables playground by the beach! From 10 to 18 March (10am to 6pm daily), bouncy castles, inflatable slides, traversing walls, and obstacle courses are set to delight the young and young–at-heart at this mega playground!

For the very first time in Singapore, visitors can also get up close to over 300 inflatable bears from Cartoon Network’s We Bear Bears! Indulge in even more photo-worthy moments by stepping into the sea of We Bare Bears inflatables across Palawan Green and Palawan Beach. Various We Bare Bears photo points will also be available across the island for visitors to a snap a selfie with their favourite bears – including the bears’ favourite mode of transport – the three layer bearstack. A 50-feet tall inflatable stack will welcome fans and families as they walk into Palawan Green!
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EHA Refreshing Medical Facial: Klenskin Shower On Sunscreen

eha skincare media event klenskin shower on sunscreen
Hair By: Mosche Grand Hyatt
At a recent media event by EHA Skincare introducing the Klenskin Shower On Sunscreen SPF 30, invitees were treated to a buffet dinner, an EHA Refreshing Medical Facial Treatment Voucher, and of course, the most talk-about Klenskin Shower On Sunscreen.

The facial voucher came at a perfect timing, as I had just recovered from flu after my Osaka trip. I was badly in need of some pampering, and my face was thirsty for nutrients.

klenskin shower on sunscreen review
Priced at SGD 280, the 90-minute EHA Refreshing Medical Facial Treatment incorporates Klenskin in its cleansing step to deep clean of any surface impurities and protect it from any UV damage.
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