Thursday, 8 January 2009

Perk Up! - Get Yourself A Gift

Grim, grim, grim. Nothing but a deluge of bad news for months on end: companies gone bust, job cuts, pay cuts, depression looming around the corner. There’s only so much gloom and doom a girl can take. While there’s no denying the seriousness of the situation, now isn’t the time to sit at home thinking bleak thoughts, gripped by hopelessness and fear.


I refuse to cave in to negativity. The dawn of a new year – the Year of the Ox, on Jan. 26 – is a time for hope and change (an end to the bad, and may all good things come to pass) – and retail therapy. I am Singaporean, after all, and the occasional shopping foray is far less harmful than smoking, drinking and fatty fried foods. Belt-tightening and austerity measures are all very well in the greater scheme of things, but it is the small pleasures in life – like the warm glow of satisfaction from a well-chosen purchase or a calorie-laden treat -- that keep us going. Plus the indisputable fact that a drastic reduction in consumer spending would tip the economy into an even more perilous state.

In that frame of mind, I cast aside the money-saving articles dutifully filed away in my Money file, retrieve my dusty credit card from the back of the drawer, and head on down to my favourite new find: Shiroi Floret, a tiny gem tucked away in the basement of Parkway Parade, which beckons with its lush blooms and irresistible bric-a-brac.

I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for, until I see it. There it is: a foot-high, fragile-looking fan coral (dried, not endangered, if you care to know) mounted on perspex, nestled earthily among some dried spices and seeds. The spidery-veined coral fronds resemble a bare-branched tree in winter, stubbornly clinging onto life amid the harsh surroundings. Perfect for our times.

True, the customized piece by Ash and David (fine arts-design lecturer and former mechanical engineer, respectively, who are deeply passionate about their craft) costs three times as much as a live, six-foot fir tree. But it is beautiful. I am thrilled with my purchase. More importantly, my ‘tree’ and all it embodies – resilience, life and hope amid adversity – will last long after the season’s festivities have ended.

You can spend far more sensibly than I did at Shiroi. A simple hand-carry bouquet starts from S$18, and a floral arrangement including local delivery from S$120. Of course, if you’re feeling a little extravagant…there’s that elegant bronze Buddha statue, traditional Burmese lacquer ware, vintage European cup-and-saucer sets, a very English silver cake stand, and other assorted temptations.

Time to get out of here, before I bust my budget altogether.

Available at:
Shiroi Floret
80 Marine Parade Road,
#B1-83M, Parkway Parade
Tel: 6538 8108


Beauty doesn’t come cheap. Who doesn’t want to look good, whatever the weather or state of mind? But there’s no reason to pay full price when there are bargains galore to be had.

More bang for the buck is just what we need in these recessionary times. Best Buy Cosmetics kicks off its Lunar New Year sale with a selected range of skincare, makeup and fragrance items at up to 90% off regular prices. Brands on offer include SK-II, Dior, Chanel, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clarins and Biotherm.

Best of all, sample sizes are available for sale, and these are great for traveling. The sale runs through Jan. 23. Local delivery is free for orders above S$50. Order online or via phone before 5pm for next-day delivery (note: delivery only on weekdays).

Available at:
Best Buy Cosmetics
Tel: 6747 5162


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