Helpling - A Domestic Helping Hand

[Sponsored]


I started engaging part-time domestic cleaner to help clean up my house regularly when my live-in helper left in 2009.  In these six years, I have engaged a few of them.  They were generally women in their 40s or 50s, and were recommended through word-of-mouth.  They normally charge $15-20 an hour.

The main reason why I engaged part-time cleaner is to free up my time. Although I don't work for a company, my time is not free, and I still measure my time.  I would rather spend 3 hours coaching AJ, exercising with AJ, reading, doing my exercises, trading the stock market, catch up with friends, attending a workshop, etc than to do housework. I  measure my time spent, and asked myself could it be used to get better value instead. In the sense, I make sure my time is spent on higher value matters, tangible or intangible.

Helpling offered me a trial session to try out their service a few months ago. Honestly, I was sceptical in the beginning. All these while the cleaners I engaged were through word-of-mouth recommendation. Even though I may not have met them until their first day of service, I have, at least, some feedback of them from the referrals. 

I sat on this offer for a long while until we came back from our Batam trip during the June school holiday when our regular cleaner could not come to clean our messy house. So I engaged Helpling because I was desperate already.

Much to my surprise, the cleaning service turned out to be one of the best I have ever experienced from my past cleaners.  Even booking for the cleaning service was a breeze.  I was so happy with the online booking service and the cleaner that I just booked my second appointment today!

Here is what I like about the online booking platform:

1. User-friendly
The platform is pretty user-friendly and instructions on how-to-book-a-cleaning-service are clear.  One can hardly get lost in this cyberspace.


Step 1 - Click 'Book a Cleaning'

Step 2 - Select the hours you need for general cleaning. Click add-on buttons for more service needed.

Step 3 - Enter your address

Step 4 - Choose the frequency of cleaning service you need and date and time. 

Step 5 - Enter your credit card details. Payment will only be deducted after the service is performed.

Step 6 - Key in extra information for Helpling to take note of if necessary. THE END!

Within minutes, you will receive a notification email acknowledging your booking request.

Helpling will send you an email, usually within 24-48 hours, notifying you on the cleaner assigned.

2. Insurance Coverage
All Helpling cleanings are backed by a public liability insurance policy of up to $1 million, and the policy is underwritten by one of the largest general insurance providers in the world. This covers damage to property caused by their cleaning partners, among others. This is something you will not get from those aunties engaged through word-of-mouth.

3. Book the Same Cleaner

We all know how important it is when we are able to get a reliable cleaner. Yes, at Helpling, you are able to book the same cleaner that you like. I am happy with the service I have gotten from the cleaner who came previously, so I am engaging her again.


Things to Take Note:

1. Keep All Your Valuables
To avoid all unnecessary suspicion on your lost of items, it is best to keep your valuables locked in a safe and secure place.  This will avoid unnecessary disputes.


2. Set Your Expectation Right
Please do not expect the cleaners to do the cleaning job in miracle speed. What you could do in 2 hours is probably what they can too. Should they be more efficient, it is a bonus. 

3. Give Instructions Clearly
It is important to give clear instructions. Different home owners have different preferences, so do not expect the cleaners to read your mind or think that it is a norm so everyone must know. 

4. Read The FAQs and Terms and Conditions
Before you start booking a cleaning service with Helpling, do read up the FAQs and Terms and Conditions listed in their website to avoid any misunderstanding.


Good news!  Now you can try out Helpling service and receive 1-hour off your first cleaning. If you are looking for part-time cleaner, it is really worth trying their service.  
Simply click on this link to enjoy your 1-hour off:


Hope you will enjoy their service as much as I do!


PS: You may read more news on Helpling here:

1. The Straits Time
2. Today
3. AsiaOne


Holiday Inn Resort, Batam

[Review]


We have just returned from our annual camp held in Batam Holiday Inn, physically 
exhausted but spiritually recharged. I have already washed two loads of laundry and the third one is awaiting. The house is in the mess, my part-timer cleaner flies me kite, she went back to Batam without informing me. Now I got to get help from Helpling to clean up the house.

My church tries to go to different oversea resorts for church camp every year. This really gives us a chance to experience different types of accommodation on top of our usual vacation stay.

This year we went to Holiday Inn Resort in Batam. Because of its brand name, we had expected that it should be of at least 4-star service standard. 



The Lobby/Reception. It looks big and grand and gives the impression that it can play host to 1000 guests.


We chose a 2-bedroom apartment so this is the living hall.

As you can see here, the living area itself is already very spacious. Wait till you see the Master bedroom.

The kitchenette. The hotels replenishes 4 bottles of distilled water daily. Tap water is not drink-able.

The Master bedroom that comes with king size bed. Technically, it can fit in 2 queen size beds with still room to roam. 

The other bedroom has 2 single beds

The ensuite bathroom room in the Master bedroom

The common bathroom

The toiletries are replenished everyday

View from our balcony. The highest is 12 storey. We stayed on the 4th.


Sandpit next to the pool

There are two pools. One open pool, one sheltered pool.  The shelter pool is small, and the weather was good, so we only used the open pool.



The ballroom where we had our daily spiritual meals

We are not fussy campers, particularly in church camps.  We tried to be as accommodative as possible because it is not easy for the camp committee to plan for a camp.  There are many logistic issues and planning behind the scene, nitty-gritty stuff to look after, in order to ensure campers are comfortable, fed well, have their needs met (especially parents with young children and the elderly). 

However, maybe the brand name has already discreetly formed our impression without us knowing, I must say, the hotel facilities and services are a let down on the whole.

The Rooms
Although the rooms are really huge, they are poorly maintained. The room that we stayed is dusty, we know because AJ's nose is sensitive to dust.  I wonder when was the last time they vacuumed the carpet and dry clean the curtains. The sofa cover is fabric, so I did not quite want to sink onto it too. The consolation is there was no bed bugs.

The Facilities in the Room
The rooms are equipped with ironing board and hair dryer, if you need to iron your clothes, you only need to ask for the iron. Wifi is provided throughout the hotel premise and there was no lagging connection.

We were fortunate not to have any faulty items but some of our campers were not so fortunate.  Some had bulbs blown which took days to have them replaced, some were given wrong room access cards and they were made to disturb other guests in those rooms (how embarrassing)!

The Food
We suspect that the resort may not have much experience handling large group (we had more than 200 campers).  Meals in buffet style were served throughout, however, one should expect some popular food items to go empty quite fast.  The service staff were slow in observing that, and thus food replenishment was slow.  In some dishes, particularly soup-based, they simply added water to leftover.

The Facilities in the Resort
There is a small gym in the resort, nothing to shout about as there are only 4 machines there. I did not use the gym but some campers did. I did not hear any complaints about it.

The lifts in the resort are old.  There was an occasion when the lift door could not open when it reached my destination. I was alone in the lift. Fortunately I did not panic, I tried to press a few buttons to try to get the lift to other floors or open the door.  Eventually I did get out without having to press the alarm button. From then, I barred AJ from taking the lifts alone.

The two pools are quite dirty.  Throughout our 5-day stay there, I didn't observe any cleaning. I don't know how often they clean the pool, definitely not once a week!


This is our second visit to Batam. We stayed in Nongsa Point Marina 2 years ago and it was a lovely stay, whereas this was a far cry.  We did not complain to our camp committee, I merely penned it here for Trip Advisor's review.  There are many hotels/resorts stay in Batam. One has no lack of choice, choose wisely, read all the credible reviews before you book.


Actualyse.com - A Useful Education and Learning Resource Website

[Media Invite]


Discovering the strength and natural inclination of a child is particularly interesting, and, in my opinion, important to help nurture a child. A child's strength usually stems out from his/her natural inclination and that's how he/she develops preference for certain interests. It takes close observation to discover a child's strength and area of smartness, sometimes some tests may help to discover these too.

When we discovered something unusual about AJ when he was very young, we engaged professional aid to help us confirm our observations.  But these days there are many free tools available which one can use to explore elementary discovery, one of which is the Multi-Intelligence (MI) Survey available on Actualyse's website.



AJ has done an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test when he was 5, so I know where he stands. But I am also interested to know what other areas he might be good at so that we, as parents, could help nurture him further.  So I got him to try the MI survey on Actualyse's website. I tried it on myself too.

Interestingly, AJ and I shared some aspects of MI, which didn't come as a surprise to me as he did have some of my traits and I know him quite like a book, haha ... ... Go and try, and have some fun discovering your child's or your own areas of intelligence.

Actualyse.com is an education and learning resource website established by Isabelle Loo, an ex-educator. It is a one-stop education and learning resource portal. Apart from having a directory of teaching schools, the portal is also integrated with multi-disciplinary, life-long learning materials, enrichment schools geared at developing diverse talents, specialists to treat learning issues and professional courses for skill enhancement.


Additional features like Catalyst Library, Forum and Buzz! will complement the directories, creating a platform for an online community for parents, students and experts keen on education and learning.

Just last week, I was invited to Actualyse's event on Nurturing Natural Intelligence (1 of the 8 MIs) at The Plant Story. Oh boy! I had so much fun making a rainforest terrarium!  I do not have green fingers, and I am glad to know that I need not have them with terrarium! They are so easy to maintain and I now know that having a miniature urban garden right at home is possible.

Photo credit: Actualyse

Photo credit: Actualyse


My creation!



Actualyse.com will be pumping up more activities in the coming months so do sign up as a member (free) to enjoy the benefits of this platform!



A Studio Apartment @ 8 Bassein

About 2 years ago, the husband suddenly brought up the topic on Education Saving Policy for the little boy.  It had not come to my mind that we need to get one for him. But since he brought it up, I invited our mutual friend in the insurance industry for coffee.

So he went through with both of us the education saving policy that his company has to offer.  I was not convinced.  The return-on-investment was too low for my liking.  While some may argue that I should not look at it like an investment, and I should see it as a guarantee amount set aside for AJ's university's needs, I choose to see it as an investment tool.  With that same initial amount I can fork out, if I were to invest it well, the returns will be many fold, so there is no reason why I should get the education saving policy. And I convinced the husband to drop the idea.

With that sum that we had, we bought a studio in district 11 (core central region - CCR).  I was drawn to this area because it is in CCR, very near to Tan Tock Seng Hospital & Mount Elizabeth Hospital which mean rental potential is better, near Novena Square which provides shopping and dinning needs, and only 8 minutes walk to Novena MRT station. It is also a freehold apartment, which is becoming a scarcity these days.

And it did turn out to be a great potential. 3 months later, the government announced that that region will be transformed into Healthcare City Novena. With this masterplan in place, all residential units in close proximity to Healthcare City Novena will benefit greatly in the rental market as more foreign professionals working in this City look to live near to workplace.



Finally, last month the building received its Temporary Occupation Permit (T.O.P), and we got the keys to the unit. After some rectification works, installation of lights and furnishing up the unit, our studio apartment is ready for rent.



Living Room


Bed on Platform

Kitchenette


Study Area

Bathroom

If you or anyone whom you know may be interested to rent this brand new unit, kindly contact this handsome guy below.