Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DIY: Framed Sunflowers

I just got back home last weekend. And while still jet-lagged, I managed to finish framing and mounting my dried sunflowers that I brought back from France with extra-special care and painstaking effort.

My freshly framed dried sunflowers

Click and scroll for the whole DIY story...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fitness Tips: Xtendbarre and Yoga

Searching for fitness activities is never an easy task, especially if you're not really the sporty type. When I was much younger, I never really craved for fitness activities. Being fit seemed to just come easy and happen naturally despite the unhealthy eating habits. But as the years go by, being fit starts to require extra effort... and even most especially after having a baby.

I have been regularly practicing Xtendbarre and Yoga for more than half a year now, and I would like to share some of my experiences, what worked for me, and some tips on how to keep yourself motivated:

Find an activity that you love

Be on the lookout for activities that would not only keep you fit but would also be fun to do, otherwise it will be difficult to be motivated. One of the things that worked for me is Xtendbarre. I have been doing it regularly for more than six months now, and I'm totally loving it. For those who are not familiar with this fitness program, it's a mixture of Pilates and Ballet, designed to tone your body (with special attention to the glutes and legs) and to strengthen your core. It's fun because it feels like you are dancing when you are doing the ballet movements. But be warned, you may think that just because it is fun, it is not strenuous.


Doing some stretching before the class

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mother's Month

In our household, we have two Mother's Day celebrations -- the second Sunday of May, as most of the world know it, and the last Sunday of May, otherwise known as Fête des mères in France. But why limit myself to just two days when I can choose to celebrate Mother's Day the whole month? And in celebration of Mother's Month, I am writing this blog to impart some useful tips and talk about my experience on being a mom of four years... whether you like it or not. I rarely ever write about being a mom, so please bear with me.

My daughter and I at Federation Square in Melbourne, April 2016

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Three Years at Being a (Not-So-Smug) Mom

my little kitten and moi
I’m not really in the habit of talking about being a mom so much, as I think it bores and annoys most people. I remember back when I was single, I thought about parents, especially new parents as smug, self-righteous and overbearingly annoying, especially when they are bragging about their kids and offering you unsolicited advice on how to become a good parent even when you're not even a parent yet, or have no plans of being one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

French/Schengen Visit Visa for Spouse of French Citizen

My family and I are planning to have a three-week holiday in France and visit some Schengen Countries at the same time a few months from now. Since my Titre de séjour has already expired late last year, I now have to get a visit visa from the French Embassy here in Singapore. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered how fast and easy it is now for me to get one, being a spouse of a French citizen.

Here are the procedures:

First, you prepare the requirements listed in the downloadable document that contains the list of the required documents you need to furnish the embassy: passport (orig and photocopy), IC (orig and photocopy), re-entry permit, passport-size photo, your spouse's passport or ID card, your spouse's birth certificate and livret de famille.

Fortunately, we already have all the required documents since they were also needed when I applied for the Titre de sejour while I was in France.

Then you need to fill-in the application form which can also be downloaded from the web site.

Next, you schedule for an appointment, which can also be done online. You have to remember that the appointment slots are quick to be taken. When I logged on to the web site in April, the next available slot was already for the month of May.

You go to the embassy on the date of your appointment and at the time that you have chosen.

They will then take your fingerprints and take a photo of you for the visa, after which, they will give you a receipt and a claim stub where the date and time when you can claim your passport with the visa is written. Mine was after four working days! I couldn't believe how fast it is! This is quite extraordinary for the French Embassy!

And the best part of it all is that it's valid for FOUR years and it's FREE! :)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Titre de séjour

Ten thousand papers and many moons later, I finally got mytitre de séjour. For those who do not know, this is a card that entitles you to live and work for a certain period in France.

Before I started living here in France, I processed everything that I needed to be able to stay here for a long time with my husband back in Singapore. I got a visa from the embassy which is valid for a year's stay. And upon my arrival here, I needed to undergo a medical exam and several not-so-useful seminars regarding the country's history, social integration, and blah blah blah, to be able to get a stamp on my passport that says I have completed all the necessary requirements to be able to stay here for a year.

And now that this visa expired, I had to undergo another set of tiresome procedures to be able to get that titre de séjour that will allow me to stay in this country for yet another year, detailed as follows:

1. First and foremost, you have to call this OFII office to ask them what you have to do for the renewal. It’s not always the same all the time, from what I gather. After several attempts at calling, my husband finally had the luck to be answered by a human at the other end of the line, and he found out that I'd have to wait for a letter from them stating that I have met all the requirements to stay here for a year, the requirements being those seminars and medical exam that I took upon arrival.

2. Upon receiving the letter in step 1, you have to go to the prefecture of your region to get the list of requirements for the renewal. You cannot just simply ask this information over the phone or download the document containing the list on the internet, etc. because they like to make you queue for two hours just to get that all-important list. They will schedule an appointment for you to submit all the requirements in the so-called list. By now, you already know that everything in this country works only with appointments.

3. You submit the list on the day of your appointment. Note that this appointment is not the exact time that you will be served. They will make you wait at least two hours again, like the last time when you queued for the list, so it's no use to go there earlier than the time of your appointment. On this appointment, they will give you a piece of paper with your picture on it called récépissé de titre de séjour. It’s a paper saying that your titre de séjour is in progress. It will be valid for two months.

4. After a month, you will receive a letter that your titre de séjour is now ready for claiming at the prefecture. Thank god, during this time, there is no need for an appointment. You just go there and take a queue number.

5. You go to the prefecture to claim your titre de séjour and have to pay 106 euros of timbres fiscaux (tax stamps). This timbre fiscaux is something you buy outside of the prefecture. You can usually get them at places called Tabac Presse, a small convenience store like 7-11. I went to the prefecture on a very rainy day, so there were very few people in the queue, so that this time, I only waited an hour to finally get it.

The maddening crowd at the prefecture the first time I went there to get the list of requirements for the titre de séjour

And then again, you may or may not have to repeat all of these steps for the renewal of the titre de séjour next year. And you have to note that this card is not even what they call a residence card. To be able to get this one, you'll have to stay for god knows how many number of years in this country first, enough to accumulate heaps or mounds of thousands of papers that they will require of you. Franchement, it's not very environment-friendly.