Friday, 30 January 2009

Breaking News! - "Treasure" Seekers, this way to Brown Sugar's "EVERYTHING MUST GO" Garage Sale

They say one (wo)man's junk is another (wo)man's treasure! Well treasure seekers PERK UP your ears and peel open your wallets! We have a GREAT shopping tip on how you can add some "gently used" lovelies to your collection from this EVERYTHING must go SALE! 

We are sure that you have heard of Brown Sugar, run by the same people who invented Prive! Opened in late 2006 at the StarDuS Club House at River Valley, their recent closure is being followed by a Garage Sale of restaurant goodies this weekend

All it takes is a discerning eye and a quick hand (to whip out that wallet and grab what you want) and some relatively new kitchen equipment, assorted tableware and accessories, a PC, a fax machine, a mini hifi, two large, sturdy dark walnut brown dining tables (seating for 12) with free table clothes thrown in and 24 dark brown chairs from their Private Dining Room could be sitting pretty in your home!

Set that alarm clock girlfriends, as experience dictates that the early bird definitely catches the worm! 

Sat & Sun (31 Jan & 1 Feb), 
Time: 10am to 6pm
At 277 River Valley Road, StarDuS Clubhouse, off Institution Hill Road
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

We Are One Month Old!

It’s been a month since Simply Fabulicious got started and we just want to say a heartfelt “THANK YOU!” for reading our blogazine and sending all those encouraging messages. Red eggs all around, please!

We welcome story ideas on things that you would like to see covered and any suggestions and feedback you may have to help us improve the content. Feel free to leave comments on our
blog site http:// or on our Facebook Page

If you would like to receive updates from us when we post, do please join us on our blogazine site as a FOLLOWER or the SimplyFabulicious group on Facebook. And if you like what you see, please spread the word to your friends and other fabulicious ladies you think would enjoy us too.

From The SimplyFab Team
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sole Support

Let’s all empathize here. You know how it is like when the kids are finally in bed, hopefully asleep and we finally get to have time to ourselves to vegetate, watch TV, read the papers or log onto the computer and catch up with work. Yes, we’re all familiar with the feeling……and of course, the silent desperation when they just don’t wanna go to sleep and you’ve got a presentation due to be finished by the end of the night for the office tomorrow.

Well, I stumbled upon a sure-fire means to get my kiddie to bed. Foot massage. Yes, tell me it’s too indulgent, spoiling the kid, spoiling the market….but believe me, darlings, this works. And no, I don’t do it all the time. Only when I’m desperate do I whip out this most potent secret weapon.

It’s easy – once I finish reading her the bedtime stories, I turn off the lights (except the nightlight), sit at her feet and do unto her little soles what I wish someone would do for mine. The best ingredient? Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Lotion which has some calming aromatherapy ingredient worked in which claims to help kiddie sleep better. I slather it on, which makes the kneading easier. And I have no particular massage technique – just press down the middle of the sole from toe to heel, then work around the heel and ankles, and the top of the feet…..and do it leisurely. It won’t work if you try to rush it through – they’ll sense your impatience. And no conversation please. She’s snoozing within 5 minutes – often even before I get to the other feet.

A friend offered another podiatric tip too. Whenever her kiddie gets the sniffles at night, she smears a layer of Vicks on her daughter’s feet at bedtime, rubs it well in, then puts on a cosy pair of socks. Seems that it stops the runny nose after a while. I have never tried it, but it’s an effective old wives’ remedy…..not that we are old wives of course! Banish the thought!

by EW
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Demystifying Opera

Everybody knows the iconic Sydney Opera House, and everybody loves taking photos next to it. However, Western opera is an art form not many of us are familiar with. But if you appreciate high drama and a good tune, it just might appeal to you.

Thwarted love, throbbing passion and tragic endings are the hallmarks of countless Western operas – there are emotions aplenty and marvellous music in Carmen, Madama Butterfly and Romeo et Juliette, just to name a few. You may wonder: Why are the divas generally larger than life (literally)? Why are happy endings such a rarity for our sad-eyed heroines?

You could get the answers to these questions, and more, at Demystifying Opera 101, an interactive workshop here at the Esplanade, conducted by Joseph Lee, a former opera singer and pioneer of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra Education programme, on 7 February at 2pm.

If you’ve ever thought about attending a Western opera production, but wondered if it might be your cup of tea, this workshop will help set you straight. In addition to learning more about Western opera, you will be able to try your hand at writing, then performing, your own mini opera. No prior experience is required.

So, an aria is not a pizza from Spizza. Who knows, Puccini, Bizet and Verdi may yet find a place in your permanent CD collection. Tix at $15 per person.

Available at:
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
1 Esplanade Drive, Rehearsal Studio
Tel: (65) 6828 8377
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Excuse for an Escape

Many fabulicious ladies I know who fall into the long married or comfortably attached stage in life recognise Valentine’s Day for what it is – a perfect excuse for businesses to turn a quick buck from incurable romantics, selling a rose for $20 a stalk, or an otherwise ordinary dinner menu for say 30 percent more than usual. While I may be too tired or too cynical to suck up the hype, Valentine’s Day this year falls on Saturday, and even the Scrooge in me realises it is perfect timing to run away for a long dirty weekend, chill out session or shopping with the girls! Start on Friday evening if possible, or even better, earlier in the afternoon. We pick out a few attractive packages which some hotels in the region have dished out for the occasion.

The super chic, design-centred JIA boutique hotels in Hong Kong and Shanghai have rolled out a Spring Fling package from now until end February. What does that mean? Everybody say the mantra now, “Shop till you drop!”

Two nights’ accommodation cost HK$2,188 (approx S$425) at JIA Hong Kong, and RMB2,188 (approx S$480) at JIA Shanghai. They’ve tossed in brekkie for two – that’s for you and your man’s credit card – round-the-clock drinks, wine and cakes at the lobby, fruit and candies in the room and wi-fi connection in the hotel and other goodies. I haven’t been to JIA Shanghai (located on West Nanjing Road), but JIA Hong Kong is an intimate hideaway so stylish I don’t even understand it...but love the bathrooms! Best thing is, it’s a cool spot for shopping, right smack in Causeway Bay, and if it matters to you, you also get to immerse yourself in Philippe Starck surroundings and feel uber chic. How’s that for an escape from the kids?

Available at
JIA Hong Kong & Shanghai:
For reservations and information,visit

Got yourself a jungle man? Or just hoping to fire him up with a spot of head hunting in the wild rainforest? There’s the VD package from Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort in Sarawak, east Malaysia, land of horny bills and head hunters from now until March. The resort is secluded away in 20 hectares of the world’s oldest rainforest along Batang Ai Lake, and offers walking trails into the forest, sunrise over the lake, fishing excursions, day trips to Batang Ai National Park (two hours away by boat), and gorgeous sunset views from your patio. For RM 189 nett per night (room and brekkie) or RM319 nett per night with breakfast and dins, the package includes a complimentary dawn walk (guided, I guess?), welcome drinks and nature talk in the evening. How to resist? Just look at the pix! (Minimum two nights stay required.)

Available at
Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort
c/o Hilton Kuching, Kuching, Malaysia 93100
Tel: 60-83-584-388
Fax: 60-83-584-399

But if you can’t get out of town, there are still the local packages. One which caught our fabulicious eyes is the rather kitschy sounding "
Celebrate Love" Valentine's Day Package. The 2D/1N stay at Grand Park City Hall is available only on 14-15 February and you get a superior room for two. But look at the clincher – a Royal Chocolate Spa Bath! You don’t eat your aphrodisiac; you’re practically soaking it up for 25 minutes. (Lick, lick!) After that, there’s an hour-long aromatherapy massage, and the next morning? Champagne Breakfast in bed. (Bring your own bubbly to top up!....Ssshhh!) And it’s just $480++ for the two of you...not too bad, is it?

Available at
Grand Park City Hall
10 Coleman Street, Singapore 179809
Tel: (65) 6336 3456
Fax: (65) 6339 9311

“But must ‘couply activities’ always include alcohol?” someone once demanded. Ok, we don’t need to get heady. I have just the Fairmont Hotel’s Willow Stream Spa for two, costing just $289+ per twosome, especially good for those who don’t have much time to spare (read tired parents who just wanna run off for a bit while junior’s asleep at home with the maid). It starts with a tea service (see? No alky!) in the Couple Suite, then a half-hour hydrotherapy mineral bath for two, followed by an hour-long aromatherapy massage with ylang ylang and bergamot oils. That’ll keep you away for just over 2 hours - short, sweet and snappy!

Available at
Fairmont Hotel Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6431 5600

Sweeties!! Look at what we almost missed in our piles of press releases! Chin chin at The Berkeley in London all of February. Starting at £299.00 per night – the exchange rate is about 2.1 now…..hasn’t been so low in ages! – the 'From London With Love' package includes lots of in-room treats like Miller Harris rose-scented mini candles and indulgent bath oils, home-baked Valentine biscuits, rich chocolate truffles, Champagne breakfast in your room, and a late check out. Not to mention that at The Berkeley, you’ll be wrapped up in top of the line luxury smack in the middle of Knightsbridge. Famous two-Michelin star Marcus Wareing cooks here, so book yourself a fancy dinner for two. In room, romantic movies are available on request, and ipods are already downloaded with lovey-dovey tracks ready for a bit of ooh la la,….but Harvey Nicks and Harrods and all those delicious boutiques are just downstairs!! What to do? What to do? (Breathe, breathe…multitask, split your time…) On VD day itself, the hotel promises to turn its heated roof-top pool into a “candlelit midnight sanctuary”. What’s more, it’ll be open until midnight and the roof will be “retracted for a night of star gazing”! Oooh!...Titillating!

Available at:
The Berkeley
Knightsbridge, London
Tel: +44 (0) 207 107 8830 or

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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Oxpicious Picks Part 3

It’s official. The economy is set to shrink up to -5% this year. So even if it’s the last few days before CNY and there’s still plenty to do, let’s shore in as much auspiciousness as we can in the hope that it’ll help buoy us over this tough bovine year. Here’s a few more things we found lurking around town, which may give you a little leg up…

AwfullyChocolate is giving a modern spin on ‘nian huo’ with its Sweet Fortune Chocolate Box ($138). Each box holds an 8-inch chocolate cake, two boxes of tia maria chocolate truffles, a bottle of Cotes Du Rhone Perrin Reserve Blanc 2006 white wine, eight mandarin oranges and two packets of awfully chocolate hongbao. Without the wine, the box costs $108 and truffles are also available at $16.80 per box of six.

Available at:
AwfullyChocolate outlets
Tel: 6345 8212 / 8222 7871
Or email

We all know the non-stop eating over CNY can be pretty daunting, especially for our girths and womanly curves. Perhaps a lighter offering for dessert – if there’s room for any! – will be a welcome change for all afflicted with a sugar overdose.

How about the Sheraton Towers’ water chestnut cake with osmanthus? Possibly one of the lightest we have seen among the hotel offerings so far.

Available until 9 Feb at
Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant
Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel
39 Scotts Road
Tel: 6839 5623

Squeeze in an extra reunion meal over afternoon tea at Tian Fu Teahouse at their two locations - TOP of UOB Plaza and Tian Fu Teahouse at Parkroyal on Beach Road. Choose from two menus which feature two teas paired with yu sheng, followed by 10 gourmet dim sum varieties. You can even get the tea master over to your table to talk you through the tea pairings.

For that added spot of good luck, I’d take my tea at its outlet at UOB Plaza, for according to feng shui masters, its location – right smack in the business and financial hub – is one of the most auspicious feng shui sites in all of SE Asia. Tea starts from 2.30pm until 6pm.

Available from 25 Jan – 9 Feb:
Top of UOB Plaza

60th floor 80 Raffles Place
UOB Plaza 1
Tel: 6535 6006

Parkroyal on Beach Road
7500 Beach Road Singapore 199591
Tel: 6505 5722
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Museums for Free

Gong Xi Fa Cai! If distributing countless hongbao in the Year of the Ox has left your wallet considerably lighter and narrowed down entertainment options for the family, take advantage of some freebies in town this festive season. There are only so many pineapple tarts and fizzy drinks you can devour at one sitting. In between visiting relatives, stop by the National Museum’s Chinese New Year Open House. In addition to free admission to all its galleries and activities, free gifts will also be given out. While you are soaking up all that good, useful information, your little ones can enjoy the interactive guided tour History Alive! for children aged five to nine.

27 Jan, 10am-5pm
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
27 Jan, 10am-5pm
Tel: (65) 6332 5642

If you need a break from the endless snacking and gossipy rellies, there is also free admission to the Singapore Philatelic Museum on the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year. Among its offerings: the main exhibition, aptly named A Cow and Bull Story, where you can find out more about our bovine friends; The Eternal Cow guided tour featuring paintings and sculptures by P. Gnana (2.00pm-2.30pm); a Chinese lion dance performance (3.00pm-3.30pm); and a guzheng performance (4.00pm-4.30pm).

Singapore Philatelic Museum
23-B Coleman Street
27 Jan, 9am-7pm
Tel: (65) 6337 3888

That’s not all. On 27 Jan, visitors will also enjoy free admission to the Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and Peranakan Museum. So, take your pick and enjoy the cultural buffet!

The exhibition of Korean Contemporary Art (on until 15 March) at SAM features more than 40 works by 12 artists and seeks to examine the development of contemporary art in that country over the last five decades.

Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road
Free admission to all exhibitions and activities from 1pm-5pm
Tel: (65) 6332 3222

Neither East Nor West: Asians in Monochrome (on until 1 Feb) is a photo exhibition documenting fashion, famous figures in the early 20th century (having a portrait taken then was a tremendous luxury afforded only by the Who’s Who of that time), historical events and photographic technology. This exhibition features portraits from the Lafayette collection, including those of important Asian dignitaries who played a significant role in bridging the gap between East and West, as well as Europeans who were relevant to the development of Asia.

Asian Civilisations Museum
1 Empress Place
Free admission all day, 9am-7pm
Tel: (65) 6332 7798

Head for the star attraction Serenity in Stone: The Qingzhou Discovery, (this exhibition runs through 26 April; admission charges apply on regular days). Not to be missed, the exhibit features rare sculptures from one of the most important archaelogical finds of the 20th century. Over 400 stone sculptures dating back more than 1,400 years were unearthed in Shandong province, China, in 1996. The 35 serene-looking sculptures displayed in this exhibition are among the best preserved of the items from the Qingzhou find, and are striking for their sheer size and exquisite workmanship.

Peranakan Museum
39 Armenian Street
Free admission all day, 9.30am-7pm
Tel: (65) 6332 7591

Oh, and one final piece of good news: Those born in the Year of the Ox (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997) enjoy free entry to the Peranakan Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum, from now until 9 Feb.
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"IN" with the OX - GET WHIMXICAL

If, like me, more than half your wardrobe is in shades of black (if not ALL black!), then this is just what you need to perk up your outfits when you go visiting the Aunties and In Laws this Lunar New Year.
Part of the New Year Festive Collection, Whimxical has specially designed necklaces made from enamel and coral beads with gold chains and a red satin ribbons at $50. There are also bracelets and drop earrings to match. If you fancy a certain colour or look, Leveena also takes orders for BESPOKE pieces.

But what's Whimxical?” is an online store owned and operated by Leveena Sadanandan, regional marketing person by day and self-taught costume jewelry designer by night.

Leveena started this hobby a little over a year ago with only $150 as her start up capital. Taking inspiration from the diversity of colours in her travels and the world around her, she blends unpredictable designs with lush colours and materials to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her materials are sourced mainly from the US, Australia and Europe and include earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and phone/bag charms that start from $30. Prices include unregistered snail mail within Singapore and items come in an organza pouch, safely packaged in a bubble wrapped envelope with a return address in case of lost mail.

FOR SIMPLY FAB READERS ONLY! - Get a 10% discount for your Whimxical purchases. To order, check out the Whimxical website and drop Leveena an email with the product code number (eg. E34, N37) of your selected pieces. Don't forget to mention “Simply Fabulicious” to enjoy your discount!

Available at:

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Pack Those Bags - 8 Long Weekends Await in 2009!

Look what we stumbled upon! Published in The Straits Times on 22 February 2008 – yes, almost a year ago - there are apparently eight long weekends in 2009 to take advantage of (as compared to the four long weekends that we had in 2008). The article provides tips on which days you can apply for leave to maximize your vacation time. Save this “holiday” chart somewhere as it was published in the same story in The Straits Times.

Detailed article found online at AsiaOne–

With this in mind – here are some great options for you to think about for the next break in early April or a slightly longer one in May. Happy Planning!

Breakaway to Turi Beach

If you prefer not to wander too far away from home, we highly recommend the Turi Beach Resort on Batam. This resort beautifully combines rustic charm with modern amenities for a great weekend getaway and all their rooms face great ocean views. An indulgent spa with 60-minute massages that start at S$58 nett, a recreation centre that offers great water sports, two fabulous pools and good in-house dining will mean that you don’t even have to venture out of the resort.

Want a Balinese get away? Try their Raini Wing with Balinese-style rooms in a house on stilts with traditional teak furnishings, thatched roofs and high ceiling fans (from $125++ per night on weekdays and $150++ per night on weekends). For the more modern spa resort feel choose the stylish rooms in their NEWLY LAUNCHED Tirta wing (from $175++ per night on weekdays and $210++ on weekends). Rates are for twin sharing for two persons and include breakfast for two and return land transfer from Nongsapura Ferry Terminal. Now that’s what we call a REALLY good deal!

Available at:
Turi Beach Resort
Nongsa, Batam
Tel (62-778) 761 080
Fax (62-778) 761 042

Learn Scuba-Diving With The Kids At The Hilton Phuket
Scuba diving classes are free when you check into the 685-room Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa. The Resort has now partnered with leading scuba diving company Sub Aqua Dive Centre to provide a free introductory lesson in scuba diving at the pool three times a week for in-house guests. For the young ones, there's also a 'bubble-makers' class held at the pool every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

But if you prefer to just unwind, get pampered at the luxury spa, cool off in any of their three pools or just chill out to the sound of the waterfalls. Set on Karon Beach, the resort stretches over 75 acres of tropical gardens not too far away from some of Phuket's major attractions, too.

Available at:
Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa
333 Patak Road, Karon Beach, Muang,
Phuket, Thailand 83100
Tel: 66-76-396-433
Fax: 66-76-396-136

Pack Light with Carlton’s Mirage or Groove
Need to retire your old and battered luggage? Try Carlton’s new “Mirage” or “Groove” luggage ranges.

Mirage is their featherweight, top-of-the-line range of trolley cases and cabin bags that are spacious, lightweight yet surprisingly hardy. While the bag may look huge and bulky, the 50cm cabin bag weighs just 2.8kg with a 35-litre capacity, while the 80cm version is 4.8kg with a 124-litre capacity. Available in black, blue, red and orange. Trolley cases (expandable) start from $89 to $219.

For a more casual and urban look, try Groove. Just as light yet hardy, this nifty bag has plenty of pocket space and is ideal for weekend travel. Available in stone brown, black and cobalt blue in various sizes. Prices start from $219.

Available at:
Robinsons Centrepoint, Level 4, New Wing
The AA Travel Store at #01-39/40 at HarbourFront Centre Tel: 6376 2256
The Carlton Store @ The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #01-28 Tel: 6534-9865
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Oxpicious Picks Part 2

Are we ramping up to CNY yet? Got your crisp new notes, gaudy collapsible plastic pineapple, and pussy willows? We’ve been combing through the cornucopia of competitively creative curiosities on offer from hotels and restaurants and here are a few more picks that caught our eye since our post last week.

While I’m sure we are waaay beyond trying to earn brownie points with relatives (close, tenuous or just plain imposed), this food-filled pastry ‘ingot’ from Peony-Jade and Quayside Seafood is bound to please any traditional-minded relative. The Prosperity Golden Ingot ($$138++, serves six) is filled with golden conpoy, dried golden oysters, pork knuckles, black moss and shiitake mushrooms encased in a crust and oven-baked for four hours. What’s more, it comes with a mallet so you can pound open the crust...just like an edible, Chinese piƱata. What a hoot to have at your CNY spread!

By the way, if no one’s cooking for the reunion dinner but Grandma wants to stay home, the restaurant also offers takeaway set menus: an eight-course menu ($168) for three to four people; a nine-course menu ($268) that feeds five to six and a nine-course menu ($388) for 10 people. These menus all include a ‘yu sheng’ dish. Call the restaurant for details.

Available 18 Jan – 9 Feb at:
Peony-Jade, Clarke Quay (Tel: 65 6338 0305); Peony-Jade, Keppel Club (Tel: 65 6276 9138); and Quayside Seafood (Tel: 65 9181 8467)
(One day’s advance order required)

If you need to do your little CNY giveaways (they call it “nian huo”, don’t they?), I’d say something more elegant and lady-like is a more suitable reflection of the giver…even if your recipient likes them loud, glittering and gaudy (preferably with plastic please!). We like this very tasteful foursome by the Four Seasons Hotel – The Prosperity Box ($48++), which contains four pastries filled with water chestnut, pineapple, rose-flavoured lotus paste and black sesame. Isn’t it packaged just sumptuously? Then again, why give it away and deny yourself the treat? Goodness knows, we work hard enough!

Available 2 - 23 Jan at:
Jiang-Nan Chun
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
Tel: (65) 6831 7220
(Three days’ advance order is advised)

Then there’s Goodwood Park Hotel’s Mandarin Orange Pound Cake ($48++)….if, for nothing else, the packaging alone. It's auspiciously round, sports two lucky fish and mandarin orange flavoured. Granny will like! 

According to the press release, it’s back by popular demand. Given its repeat performance, then, perhaps this little beauty is more than skin deep! I'll take one

Available 6 Jan – 9 Feb at:
Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Tel: (65) 6737 7411

Eight-treasures goose, eight-treasure soup, eight-treasure tea....all things eight-treasured is a Good Thing for the season. But struggling with the eight treasures in the kitchen may be a task we can do without. 

Min Jiang at One-North offers for takeaway a 2-kg braised Prosperity ‘Fa Cai’ 8 Treasures (boneless) Duck ($138++, serves six) stuffed with ‘eight treasures’ of barley, black moss, sea cucumber, dried scallops, flower mushrooms, Lingzhi mushrooms, fresh chestnuts and water chestnuts. Pretty impressive for your CNY spread at home.

Available 9 Jan – 9 Feb at:
Min Jiang at One-North
Tel: (65) 6774 0122

Crossing borders and blurring lines, they’ve now taken “lo hei” into the realms of Sunday brunch at The Greenhouse at the Ritz Carlton. At $145++ per head, it’s a pretty penny to pay, but then again, they’ve laid out a premium spread too. Aside from vintage bubbly, you’ve got a foie gras station, the loh hei station with abalone and fish, lobster station where you get Boston lobsters, Spanish tapas, oysters (two kinds at least), sashimi, roasts, a cheese spread with 65 varieties, the usual brunch offerings and hot dishes, desserts and a whole lot more...basically, a gargantuan spread with almost everything you might desire. Taking place only on 1 Feb (which falls on the 7th day of CNY and therefore symbolically ‘Everyone’s Birthday’), the Ritz Carlton’s Lo Hei Vintage Champagne Brunch is pricey, but hey, it’s ok to give in once in a while. (Having said that, 6-12 year olds have to pay a whopping $72.50 each, so I’d leave them at home!)

Available 1 Feb only at:
The Greenhouse at Ritz Carlton
7 Raffles Avenue
Tel: (65) 6337 8888
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Flab Attack – Three Tested Quick Fixes

I am dreading the countdown to end January when I have to meet all the “well-meaning” relatives and friends that I see only once a year, at most. And why? Because someone is sure to utter those five detestable words, “You put on weight, ha?” What do they expect? A response? An explanation?

I started on my grand plan to hit the gym in late October but got seriously thrown off course when seven different sets of visitors descended upon me in Hong Kong. That meant spates of entertaining and having a ready excuse to eat carelessly in the name of hospitality. In December when I finally decided it was gym time again, a friend suggested that maybe a quick fix to my flab attack would be a better strategy before starting at the gym. I duly did my research and found three different diets which I enthusiastically tried and tested – yes, one after the other.

I have since concluded that shortcuts do exist but the results are naturally temporary. Good old-fashioned exercise with a large dose of discipline and self control are still the way to go. I am not sure what I will say at Chinese New Year this year to my annual jury. Perhaps, I will turn around and say “thank you” and that “life is treating me well!” Hopefully that’s one that will close the topic and give me some respite – till we meet again next year – to get cracking at the gym! For the hopeful, here are the Quick Fixes that I tried.

The Lemon Detox Diet
Kilos lost: 2 kgs (as I gave up after 3 days)
Time frame: 5 days

Basically this diet is sold as a detox diet for cleansing your system, so it’s a NO food, all-liquid diet. Disaster for me, as you have to drink this maple syrup concoction mixed with lemon juice, water and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It supposedly gives your body all the nutritional value it needs to support you over a short period of time, even when fasting. I tried it for two out of the five days and gave up on the third because by the end of Day 2, I was not feeling great and instead of achieving light-headed clarity, I was just clearly irritable.
Check it out:

The “Rice” Diet
(I call it this as it is based on rice being the only allowable carb)
Kilos lost: 1.5 kgs
Time frame: 1 month

I actually consulted a “holistic pharmacist” in a well known pharmacy in Hong Kong who dished out some rather interesting advice and a change in my diet which I was to follow strictly for 1 to 3 months.

In short, this diet requires you to eat only rice-based products (brown rice if possible) as rice is supposedly more digestible than wheat or flour products which contain gluten. (Gluten contributes to that love handle around your tummy.) You also have to exercise daily and make sure that you perspire. (A no-brainer that anyone would lose weight if they did this daily). No desserts allowed, eating a plate of leafy greens with lunch and dinner was compulsory for roughage and you have to stay away completely from chicken and beef (only seafood and pork allowed). Apparently chicken takes one week for your body to digest and beef, two weeks. You have to also drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of water daily to flush out the toxins in your system. (Makes you pee a lot!) A typical daily rice diet would look like this:

Choice of a cup of regular coffee or tea with a choice of any one of the following:
a. Chee cheong fun (one or two strips with cha siew (pork) or prawn and a tiny amount of sauce for taste)
b. 1 apple and two egg whites
c. 1 cup of any rice-based cereal with skimmed or soy milk

Lunch and/or Dinner
Black tea or coffee, a plate of leafy greens (with a bit of oyster sauce, is fine) and an apple, with a choice of either one of these:
a. A bowl rice with a small serving of fried or steamed pork or seafood as a side dish
b. 2 pieces of lightly breaded lean pork chop or fish (preferably grilled rather than pan-fried)
c. Sushi (5-8 pieces with some soy sauce)
d. Kway teow, bee tai mak or vermicelli soup (as long as they are rice based) with seafood or pork
The basic rule for dinner was to halve the lunch portion.

Of course, I never got past a month of following this as once my visitors came, my diet went out the door. But I did see results whilst I was on it only because I went to the gym a little more regularly than usual and I also was forced to eat at home as it was difficult to go to a restaurant and be faced with countless things I could not eat!

The NTUC Income 3-Day Diet
Kilos lost: 1.5 kgs
Time frame: 3 days

I personally liked this one best as I found it very ‘do-able’ and it fits my personal quick-fix criteria. However you need three full days at home to do this because it requires a specific menu that you have to shop ahead for and prepare. But the results are at least achievable and I did feel better and my palate ‘cleaner’ after 3 days.

The diet preaches that you cannot vary or substitute any of the foods listed, and to use the diet for only three days at a time up to a maximum of twice a month. It actually claims that after the three days you will lose up to 2 kg. Here goes:

Black tea/coffee, 1 grapefruit, 1 slice toast, 2 tsp peanut butter

Black tea/coffee, 100g tuna, 1 slice toast

1 slice chicken ham, 1 cup long beans, 100g beetroot, 100g vanilla ice-cream, 1 small apple

Black tea/coffee, 1 egg boiled/poached, 1 slice toast, 1/2 banana

Black tea/coffee, 100g cottage cheese, 5 Ritz biscuits

2 chicken sausages, 100g broccoli, 50g carrots, 1/2 banana, 100g vanilla ice-cream


Black tea/coffee, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 slice toast

Black tea/coffee, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 5 Ritz biscuits, 1 small apple

100g tuna, 100g beetroot, 100g cauliflower, 1/4 honeydew, 100g vanilla ice-cream

Only salt and pepper can be used and no other seasonings. Where no quantity is given, there are no restrictions other than common sense. Toast cannot be buttered (or ‘margarined’!). Tuna, string beans and beetroot can be frozen.

Check it out: It's not actually available online anymore. I found this years ago on NTUC Income’s website and have saved it all these years. I'm sure you remember the supermarket selling the diet as a three-day food pack at that time. I'm guessing that you can probably write to them for more info.
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

No Happily Ever After

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl get together. Boy and girl split up. In real life, there is no happily-ever-after guarantee. Sad but true.

So, what do you with the detritus of a failed romance: dump ‘em or keep ‘em? Or, better yet, turn ‘em into art. The Museum of Broken Relationships, part of this year’s M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, is a quirky traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. The collection of love artefacts from failed relationships, which include contributions from ordinary folks, highlight the symbolism of love tokens and how these items contain the memories and passions of past relationships.

By exhibiting these memory-filled objects, Croatian artists Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic hope to create a space for “secure memory” and “protected remembrance” through the preservation of our collective scarred emotional history. The artefacts displayed include photos, a bicycle and handcuffs. Intrigued? Head down to the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, perchance to resolve some still-lingering emotional baggage of your own. Singapore is the first Asian stop for the exhibition, which has already been showcased in Croatia, London and Berlin.
(Exhibition ongoing, until Jan 18. Admission is free.)

Available at:
Museum of Broken Relationships
Level 2
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
1 Esplanade Drive
For details, log onto, or
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