Festivities in Singapore! A Portfolio | Singap’Life #2

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… even in Singapore! Well, in fact the town has been looking like Santa’s village since the beginning of November… so even before I arrived in Singapore, one month ago! Does it surprise you that much? Wait until you see what it looks like… I believe “kitsch” is the right word to describe it!

O’Christmas Tree, O’Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Thy Branches

Fairmont Hotel
ParkRoyal Hotel on Beach Road
Mickey Mouse Christmas Tree at Raffles City Mall
Chijmes Square
Raffles City Mall
A purple one at Somerset!
A white one at Orchard!

With Candy Canes And Silver Lanes Aglow…

Christmas Logs… not iced though, because they would melt in approximately one second being brought outside!
A Christmas special meal… in a salad!

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright…

A Chimney at the Park Royal Hotel
A ‘Stranger Things’ inspired decoration in a pub!
A Reindeer at the Park Royal Hotel!
The Cartier ‘Eye’ on Orchard Road!
A Beautiful Ceiling on the Ion Orchard Mall!
A Strange-Looking Decoration on Orchard Road!
A Giant Open Bauble on Orchard Road!
Same Ion Orchard ceiling in close-up!
Purple Extravaganza at Somerset!
A Mini-Christmas Village on Orchard Road!
The Disney Theme of Orchard Road!
Photo-Booth on Orchard Road!
Alley of Stars at Somerset!
Mickey Baubles in the trees of Orchard Road!
What a Shiny Rainfall!
THE Ion Orchard Mall Ladies and Gents!
A Shiny Carousel under Shiny Lights!










Moving To Singapore For Love: Brianna’s Story | Expat’ Interview #1


Hey Brianna, thank you for joining me on this adventure! Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and about your expatriation in Singapore? What was your motivation to go?

Well, I’ve always wanted to start my own business and I fell in love with a New Zealander working as an expat in Singapore. So I’ve expatriated myself to be with my loved one, and I wanted to experience something new!

What was the turning point for you?

When he asked me and I lost my job in the US. It gave me no excuse and I had nothing to lose.

How did it felt then?


How long have you been there?

It has been 2 years.

What made you choose this place in the world in particular, besides the fact that your boyfriend was living there?

Singapore is modern, there are lots of opportunities for traveling, and so many other expats who are new and in a similar position as me.

How many languages do you speak?

I speak two languages, Polish and English.

As an English speaker, you already knew the official language of Singapore (one of them actually). How did it help? Do you recommend learning it beforehand?

It helped with making friends, and just daily life in general. If you don’t speak English, you don’t particularly have to learn it beforehand.

Did you encounter any difficulties?

Yes, getting a job and finding a place were a difficult part, and also making friends: in fact I still struggle to make friends, and the ones I have are mostly other expats, not locals.

What do you think is the reason for that?

Singapore is not an easy place to blend in as an expat’: there are just too many different cultures with not a lot in common and people tend to stay to themselves.

I see what you mean. Having said that, what do you think was the most difficult part of your expatriation?

Keeping myself busy and dealing with loneliness.

Looking back on it now, what would you have done differently upon your arrival there?

Explore more instead of sitting at home feeling homesick.

And what would you have done differently during your preparation?

I would have spent more time saying goodbye to my family and favorite places.

On your day of arrival there, did you really feel lost? How so?

Yes. I thought, ‘what now?

Where did you get the most/best information about the place of your expatriation?

My boyfriend and meeting other expats giving me advice.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to come live as an expat’ in Singapore?

Go out and make friends.

Duly noted! Now, about the adjustments you needed to make during your expatriation: how about the food there?

Yes it needed adjusting. Most things were spicy and Asian food. Coming from the US, there aren’t too many options for western food.

Did you need an adjustment to the people? How so?

Yes. I wasn’t used to the big city rudeness and I have a hard time walking through large crowds of people.

Did you need an adjustment to the legislation?

No, not really.

Even though the Singaporean legislation is one of the most restrictive in the world?

I guess I found some laws quite strange and bizarre and sometimes I think the government is a bit too strict with ridiculous things such as the ban of chewing gum, not being fair about same sex marriage laws, etc. But none of the laws here have affected my daily living lifestyle so I don’t mind and I am respectful of the country’s legislation. Although I believe strongly in better rights for the lgbt community here.

Did you need an adjustment to the climate? How so?

Yes. It’s so humid and hot year round. I miss seasons.

Did you need an adjustment to clothing? How so?

It’s so hot and I only wear clothes that I can sweat in. I don’t put as much effort into fashion, hair, and makeup like I used to. The hot humidity makes it hard.

Did you need an adjustment to the customs?

A little bit.

How so?

I find the “singlish” slang to be very hard to understand. It’s english, but they throw in a bunch of other words and phrases that I don’t understand as a native English speaker. I’ve also had to deal with hatred just because I am an American. And getting used to the hawker street feed was hard for me at first. But now I love it!

I see. Did you also need an adjustment to the way of living? How so?

Yes. Things here are much more expensive and you spend most of your time indoors.

Did you need an adjustment to the work life? How so?

Yes. This is the first time I am full time working for myself.

Did you need an adjustment to anything else?

Yes, I had to get used to the time difference making it hard to sometimes call family and friends back home.

Your last word? 🙂

Singapore is a fun place to grow and enjoy life in the modern clean city but I wouldn’t stay here forever.

Well thank you so much Brianna! It has been a real pleasure interviewing you!

Brianna de Gaston is a very successful YouTuber and Instagram influencer. She creates great content about her expatriation in Singapore, but also about fashion, lifestyle and traveling! Check out her social media:

Brianna’s YouTube Channel: Brianna in Singapore

Brianna’s Vlogging YouTube Channel: Brianna and James

Brianna’s Instagram Account: @briannainsingapore

Brianna’s Twitter Account: @briannadeg

Brianna’s Blog: http://www.globalfashiongal.com/

Brianna’s Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/GlobalFashionGal

If you also want to be involved in my ‘One Goal: Expatriation!’ project and share your thoughts on your expatriation on my blog, please check this post.

*© Photos: Brianna, Brianna in Singapore.

Are Lonely Planet® Guides Worth It? | Review #1

If you’re anything like me you cannot choose when you have too many choices to choose from. That’s exactly what I felt when I was looking for the perfect travel guides before my world tour. Here’s what I thought about Lonely Planet® ones!

For these reviews I’ve chosen 5 criteria (the MAPAR review :D), to which I can add bonus points if there are any:

  • Maps
  • Accuracy
  • Pictures
  • Advice quality
  • Readability

Of course those are completely subjective, and I will of course express my free opinion on each of them. If you disagree with me or think I’ve left something out, please leave me a comment!

Main criteria

Maps *****

©Lonely Planet

There are lots of maps, and very good quality ones! Depending on the version of the guide you get, you can also have a detachable folded map, the size of a tourist one (if you get what I mean) with top sights and venues on it!

I’ve given 5 stars for Lonely Planet ones because they were all I could ever wish for in a travel guide: coloured, big enough, some of them very detailed, and most of all, I didn’t have to buy any more!

Advice Quality *****

©Lonely Planet

All in all the advice throughout the guide was good, and dependent on any kind of reader. There are pieces of advice for everyone and anyone, from families with small kids, to young adults looking for fun and even for LGBTs in particular!

The downside was that sometimes, those were quite cliche, which discredited the whole thing. But when the advice was good, it was delightful to follow it!

Pictures *****

©Lonely Planet

I think this picture speaks for itself: the images in Lonely Planet® guides are amazing.

Very high quality, very beautiful and inspirational, a good size even in small versions of the guides, they are all you could look for in a travel guide to help you figure out how the destination looks like, feels like, and to inspire you even before you’ve arrived to your destinations.

Accuracy *****

Throughout our month of travelling, in 2 different continents and 3 different countries, we sometimes only depended on the Lonely Planet® guides I’d purchased. And while most of the time we didn’t have any problems, we did have some disappointments here and there: hours of restaurants, venues or stores that didn’t match the real ones, places closed down for good or replaced with other ones when we arrived in front of them…

This happened one too many time for me not to mention it, although it is to be expected with printed travel guides, sometimes having been written months or even years before you get them in your hands!

Readability *****

©Lonely Planet

Compared to other guides, let me tell you the Lonely Planet® ones are a delight to read! They’ve got colours, bullet points, logos, sections, big titles, boxed texts, highlights, and most of all, their normal paragraphs are a good size to read! You would think it is a given, but apparently not from what I’ve seen…

Therefore this is definitely a good point for Lonely Planet®.

Normal double page, with a boxed text for highlight – ©Lonely Planet

Bonus Points

Special Pages

©Lonely Planet

Even if the guides I’d chosen weren’t that big, they had a lot of content! Enough to have special pages and sections all throughout the book.


On the left: This Top Itineraries double page gives you advice on full-day itineraries you can follow as if you were with a professional travel guide all day long! I’ve tested some of them myself, and they were pretty good to allow you spending good days with plenty of things to see and do!

On the right: This section is by far one of my favorites! It allows you to really get an idea of how your destination and its inhabitants are like. There’s information on the place nowadays, its history, customs, architecture and even language!


What a delight when the travel guide you’re reading has a funny tone or inspire you to visit everything in the destination you’ve chosen? Well Lonely Planet guides combine those two characteristics!

Not only are they very inspirational, but their writers are sometimes particularly funny! I’ve found myself laughing quite a number of times while reading them, and it made it all the more enjoyable 🙂

Recap: The Best Guides Out There?

Top points:

  • Readability
  • Pictures
  • Maps

Low points:

  • Accuracy
  • Advice Quality

Bonus points:

  • Special pages
  • Tone

Well to say that I would need to review each edition of travel guides out there. But from what I can tell, they really were good travel companions through my whole month of travelling, and I’ve managed to read them cover to cover and still wanting more! I will for sure buy more Lonely Planet® guides for my next travels.

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat

Lonely Planet guides on which I based this article:

  • Singapore, 11th edition, Ria de Jong, ©Lonely Planet 2018
  • L’Essentiel de New York, 3e édition, Regis St Louis & Michael Grosberg ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Best of New York City, 2nd edition)
  • San Francisco en quelques jours, 4e édition, Mariella Krause, Alison Bing & John A Vlahides, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket San Francisco, 6th edition)
  • Tokyo en quelques jours, 6e édition, Rebecca Milner & Simon Richmond, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket Tokyo, 6th edition)
  • Kyoto et Osaka en quelques jours, 1re édition, Kate Morgan & Rebecca Miller, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket Tokyo & Osaka, 1st edition)

A Mega-Trip To Remember | Summer 2018

As this blog is intended to be all about travelling and expatriation, what better first article than one teasing you (briefly) where I went this summer?!

As it happens, my father and I decided to take a one-month trip, all around the world, in places neither of us had been before!

For my part, I had only been to some European countries, mainly Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Can you guess what I felt when we finally decided we were going to actually do this huge trip around the world?! Some of the cities I had always dreamt to see, all in one go, this was a true dream come true!

And it didn’t disappoint me!

2 continents, 7 of the biggest cities in the world, 1 month of travelling


From Paris, we started our mega-trip by setting off for New York City, from which we then went to the following places:

  • San Francisco, US
  • Las Vegas, US
  • Los Angeles, US
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Singapore, Singapore

A total of 3 months of preparation beforehand, 29 hours spent on planes, 24 hours spent in airports around the globe, around 100 kilometers of exploration on foot, more than 10 hotels tried out, dozens of venues explored, more than 50 restaurants experimented, and 5 travel guides devoured from cover to cover.

The experience I got from this trip feels absolutely incredible and I find it unbearable to keep it to myself.

My ‘Honest Logbook’ Series: A Disclaimer

During this trip, I’ve written a lot about my thoughts, the tips and tricks I learned along the way, but also about my surprises and disappointments; it is only right I share them all, along with reflection about what I’ve witnessed in the countries I went.

In the future I intend to travel even more, and expatriate myself (again – but this shall be related in a future article), therefore gathering and sharing even more thoughts and knowledge about other countries and places.

Of course I wouln’t be able to do that without giving an opinion on those different matters. I would never intend this opinion to offend anyone, therefore I ask you not to forget that this opinion is my own, and that liberty of expression should remain a fundamental right. I should hope every single one of my readers is informed of this fact, and cannot be shocked by anything I say here.

In any case, feel free to comment on what I say, inform me on subjects I may have overlooked and spread positivity for better understanding. I will for sure answer each and every one of you, and even share dialogs I may have on this platform if I think they could benefit us all!

Signing off,

Lilly a.k.a. The French Hat

*Map created for free with Travellers Point!