Thursday, 30 April 2009

More Lacroix ... Chin Chin and Colour Me Beautiful

The glamourlicious Christian Lacroix Costumier Exhibition, currently on at the National Musuem, is turning out to be one long, delicious affair to remember. 

In addition to the lavish and spectacular display of theatrical costumes and sketches by the feted French designer, a host of activities have sprung up based on the main attraction.

If you missed the first two parts of A French Affair – a series of four specially designed workshops held in conjunction with the Lacroix exhibition, there are another two planned for next month (May) featuring cocktails and colours respectively.

In A French Affair III: Exclusive Cocktails Inspired by Christian Lacroix, discover champagne cocktails reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s Paris and London, inspired by the flamboyant dsigner famous for his catwalk excesses. 

This workshop includes inspirations from the centuries before, a period also of interest to Lacroix. While preparing the recipes, participants will perhaps understand more of his creative approach to design. 

This workshop is presented by Damian Sim, a “flavour impressionist” from Provocachic. The company specialises in flavour branding through cocktail recipe designs, which ask brands and individuals, “What would your story taste like?” Chin Chin, darlings!

Venue: The Salon, National Museum of Singapore
Date: 16 May, Saturday (3pm-5pm)
Price: S$35 (adult); S$28 (senior citizen, eg above 60)

In A French Affair IV: The Art of Make-Up, learn about the importance and subtleties of make-up for opera, ballet, and theatre and how it can work with the costume to complement and complete a stage character. How should the Prince in Swan Lake look? Or the Countess in Figaro? Enjoy a short guided tour of the Lacroix exhibition, followed by a discussion and demonstration of how to create a look for a character. 

This workshop is presented by Nicole Stinton and Larry Yeo. Nicole has more than 10 years of theatre experience in Australia and Singapore. In addition to being a highly regarded director, performer and lecturer, Nicole is the festival director in Singapore for Short+Sweet, the biggest short play festival in the world. Larry is an experienced makeup artist who started his career behind the make-up counter on the retail floor. Today, he is highly sought after for fashion and runway shoots and is passionate about making people look good.

Venue: The Salon, National Museum of Singapore
Date: 17 May, Sunday (3pm-5pm)
Price: S$20 (adult); S$16 (senior citizen, eg above 60)

For the workshops, pop into the Stamford Visitor Services Counter (10am-7.30pm daily) 
or call 6332-3659 or 6332-5642

The Christian Lacroix Costumier Exhibition is on until 7 June. 
At the Exhibition Gallery 1 and Canyon, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road
Daily 10am-6pm (S$8 for adults; free for children aged six and below)
Tel: 6332-3659

Web site:

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Lean and Loaded - Super Slim but Power Packed Gadgets

Good things come in small, thin and lightweight packages - at least that is what the marketers for the latest gadgets are saying these days. 

If you are constantly on the go and want all your gadgets to fit into your latest Bottega, you simply must check out these two beauties that have just hit the market. 

HP’s latest notebook, the ultra-thin, ultra-portable HP Pavilion dv2 Entertainment Notebook PC is lean by any specs, weighing in at only 1.64 kg and is just under an inch thin. 

It has dv2 capabilities which means that it offers superior entertainment using an optional external Blu-Ray optical drive and has a built-in Webcam and an integrated microphone for keeping connected. 

Not just lean but also well loaded, this baby uses Windows Vista® technology and a variety of high-capacity hard drive options up to 500 gigabytes (GB) for you to store those countless number of pictures or even movies (why the heck not? with that amount of storage capacity). 

Comes in two basic colours. The Expresso Black model is already available in Singapore at S$1,299 (including GST) whilst the Moonlight White makes its debut today on 30 April 2009 at S$1,399 (including GST) 

Check them out at:

At the next gathering of your iphone wielding girlfriends, silence the chatter when you whip out Samsung’s latest and bestest mobile model. 

This beauty wows not only in terms of looks but its features make it a superb all-in-one best buy (at least in my books). 

I am talking about the new Samsung UltraTOUCH, a sleek full-touch mobile phone boasting revolutionary touch screen technology, sophisticated design and a host of multimedia features encased in a durable brushed metal frame. 

It also has one of the slimmest sliders in the market (if not, the slimmest) at only 12.7mm with a 2.8 inch AMOLED scratch-resistant full-touch screen that offers astonishingly bright and vivid colours. 

Don’t like the touch screen? Well, users have the option of a slide-out tactile 3x4 keypad as an alternative. 

Offer to take photos and bluetooth or email them on the spot. Why ever not when you can show off your skills with the embedded 8-megapixel camera complete with a dual power LED flash and a high quality 30fps@VGA video recorder. There is also a music player and a PDA function allowing speedy internet access. 

And the clincher .. in case you are in a car and stuck with a man who has driven you lost (and we all know how they hate asking for directions) whip out your phone and get into the GPS with its geo-tagging function. At least one of you will be the wiser for where to next. 

The Platinum Red model is currently available in Singapore and priced at $838 without contract. 

Check it out at: at

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Re-Live That "ROMANCE"

Inside story – there are 500 bottles of Romance Eau Fraiche - Ralph Lauren’s new Limited Edition fragrance up for grabs this May in the stores. 

I loved the original version of RL’s Romance, perhaps just the way that it made me feel whenever I wore it on our “date night” and the fact that “He” chose it for me as a surprise without me blatantly pointing to it and saying “buy this!” So, it’s been classified as what I call a smell pleaser. 

Scents are often about what they feelings they invoke and this new remake is supposed to be sparkling, fresh and lush, lighter and more playful than the iconic original version with ingredients like Lotus Flower, Guava, Waterlily and Musk. How not to like? Especially if you like girly (instead of heady scents) that make you feel like you have successfully rewound the clock and brought you to a happy place. 

Where and When:
Ralph Lauren’s Romance Eau Fraiche 
EDP 100ml retails at $119 
Available in May 09 at all leading departmental stores.
Tangs (Orchard & Takashimaya), Takashimaya, Robinsons (Raffles City & Centrepoint), Metro (Paragon & Sengkang), Isetan Scotts and BHG Bugis.

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Binge - Mother’s Day Feeds: 21st Century Or Traditional?

The mention of Mother’s Day seems to bring out stereotypical ideas of what a mom should like. Often, traditional meals with equally traditional entertainment - multicourse Chinese dinners with Peranakan pantuns for entertainment, for example. That would work perhaps for our mothers…and indeed, it may not be a bad time to give old mom a treat together with her grand kids. But how about delectable yummy mummies of the 21st century….like us? 

Where’s the free-flow martini sessions in honour of the glorified household slaves? Or a decadent girls night out so we can take a well deserved break?

Lots of Mother’s Day deals out there, and while there’s nothing that truly deeply cooks my goose, I have attempted to lay out the goodies for you, according to deals good for our Moms, and treats for 21st century ladies like us. Here goes:


If you like a bit of posh with your oysters and deep sea crustacean, go to The Greenhouse at The Ritz Carlton. Lots of good food afoot. At the Greenhouse, the International Seafood Buffet Dinner (9 & 10 May) serves the usual buffet line of briny suspects and much more, but here’s the treat – unlimited drinks including beers, juices, free-flowing Vintage Prosecco and house pour red and white wines best paired with the assortment of farmhouse cheeses. Like water into wine!

$84 per adult, S$42 per child (6-12 years of age)

For those who say chocolates are better than sex, ditch the guy and get a better one. 

But seriously, if you like your chocolate so much, go for the Chocolates and Nuts Weekend Afternoon Tea Buffet (9&10 May, 2.30pm – 5pm) at the Chihuly Lounge, also at the Ritz

The spread dials up the calories with desserts such as Manjari chocolate soup with tea-infused pear, ivory and lemongrass chocolate jelly with pineapple chutney and Guanaja chocolate rice pudding with sour cherries compote and vanilla chantilly, and others, as well as pastries, and unlimited servings of hot or iced vanilla hazelnut tea and chocolate orange.

$40 per adult and $20 per child (six – 12 years of age)

For reservations, call 6434 5288 or email

I haven’t tried the brunch at Carousel, at Royal Plaza on Scotts, but many friends have said it was good. 

Tragically, I just got word from the hotel – from the horse’s mouth! – that they are stopping brunch, the last spread being on Mother’s Day! 

So pick up the phone and make your reservations NOW! At $98++ with free flow Champers ($60++ without bubbly), it’s a very good deal. 

For the final blast on 10 May, they’re rolling out a massive buffet spread with every conceivable station you can expect – mezze, Japanese, rotisserie, chicken rice station, cheese, Asian favourites, BBQ, dim sum, hot pot, three dessert stations and lots lots more.

Call 6589 7799 or email for reservations…NOW

Speaking of Carousel, the bakery Gourmet Carousel – which I always thought was rather underestimated for its creative confections – have turned out some really cute sweets for the occasion. 

This sweet-as-pie heart-shaped Ispahan ($7 each - $48 for 1kg) and whimsical chocolate lollipop bouquet ($12 pcs for $45) are pretty enough to replace the usual bouquet, don’t you think?

Available from 4-10 May.

And finally, how about a progressive five-course dinner at BLU, on the stunning top floor of Shangri-La? 

Just the place to go for your fancy your foams, airs, dust and edible membranes. It’s a gastronomic roller coaster ride with Chef de Cuisine Kevin Cherkas, who dishes out super ingenious cooking with a gobs of theatrical humour, if you are lucky enough to be attended to by him. 

For Mother’s Day, he rolls out a five-course menu at $130 per person, available for dinner on 9 May. All mothers dining on the special set menu will receive a gift.

Call 6213 4598 for reservations


Restaurants with en suite shopping mall! How convenient is that? 

Hit the shops with good old Mum by 10am before the crowd comes in, then potter over to the Plaza Market CafĂ© at the Fairmont Hotel for a long slow brunch-tea (9 & 10 May, 12pm- 4.30pm). 

Asian food never fails to hit the spot – on the menu are Baked Mini-Mutton Rendang in Flaky Puff Pastry, Shallow-fried Prawn Chee Chong Fun, Braised Kong Bak with Steamed Chinese Bun, Roti Prata, Nyonya Laksa, Pulut Hitam, Putu Mayam with Brown Sugar and Fresh Coconut, and other toothsome delights… sangria too. Need I say more?

$39.50++ per adult (inclusive of Sangria Punch); $19.00++ per child (6 - 12yrs)
Call 65 6431 6156 or

If Mummy likes her Chinese delicacies, haul her off for a luxe Bird’s Nest Weekend Brunch at the Four Seasons’ Jiang Nan Chun. 

Available throughout May, including Saturdays, it features a spread of 100 appetisers, soups, dim sum, main courses and desserts in unlimited servings, and the Bird’s Nest Special menu of 41 dishes such as bird’s nest with winter-melon and shark’s fin soup, steamed cod with bird’s nest and minced ginger and bird’s nest porridge with dried scallop.

$63++ per adult, $32++ per child; Call 65 6831-7220 for details and reservations

Then there’s the all the you can eat a la carte lunch at Pan Pacific’s Hai Tien Lo (Level 37) from 1- 10 May, at $68++ per adult, ($38++ for children between 6-12 years old) or an a la carte buffet brunch at Keyaki restaurant featuring teppanyaki, sushi, robatayaki, tempura.

Call 6826 8240 or email

And how about a bit of uppity uppity culture? At the Shangri-La, the Rose Verandah – the quintessential bastion of femininity – is dishing out an afternoon tea of international cuisines and desserts, together with an ikebana exhibition by Ikebana International, Singapore Chapter, on 9 & 10 May.

Ladies from the association will also be there to mingle. $45 per adult and $23 per child. Add $13 for free-flowing Domaine Ott Rose Wine, Charlotte Street Shiraz Cabernet and Semillon Chardonnay. Call : 65 6213 4486 for reservations. 
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Thursday, 23 April 2009

This Weekend - Peranakan Museum Turns One…Little Nonya Rocks!

Singaporeans just can’t seem to get enough of all things Peranakan. The highly popular Little Nonya drama serial, which ended its run in January, catapulted homegrown actress Jeanette Aw to fame in her role as the long-suffering Nonya lass Yueniang, winning a generation of new fans for Peranakan food, culture and attire as the blockbuster set in the 1930s unfolded over a span of 70 years.

While I am glad I don’t live in an age and culture which dictates that women should stay at home and develop important, marriage-enhancing skill sets such as cooking, sewing and embroidery, I am happy to enjoy the results of such grinding labour: lip-smackingly delicious Peranakan dishes, gorgeous kebaya tops and intricately beaded shoes to die for.

This year, the Peranakan Museum turns ONE, and what better way to celebrate than to party like a Peranakan! Come, all you Nonyas, Babas and wanna-bes, put on your finery and enjoy a host of festivities this weekend – including a food and craft bazaar, colourful stage performances, food demonstrations and all things Peranakan. (Watch out for more details closer to the date.)

Enter the world of the Peranakans: The Peranakan Museum showcases the world's finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artefacts, displayed in 10 galleries. Step into them and immerse yourself in this unique Southeast Asian culture, the result of years of intermarriage between travellers from distant lands who journeyed to Southeast Asia, married local women and put down roots.

The boutique museum explores the culture of Peranakan communities in the former Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang and their links with other communities in Southeast Asia. Three floors of permanent galleries illustrate important rituals, practices and the material culture of the Peranakans, as well as how this unique fusion culture is viewed today; two temporary exhibition galleries host special exhibitions throughout the year.

Peranakan Museum Turns One!
25-26 April (Saturday and Sunday)
Peranakan Museum
39 Armenian Street
Opening hours:
Mon: 1pm-7pm; Tue-Sun: 9.30am-7pm (to 9pm on Fri)
Tel: (65) 6332 7591
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Breakaway - All You Need To Know About Capella

The latest resort to fling open its super posh, extra large double leaf doors recently is Capella Singapore, perched just beyond the bridge into Sentosa. Just past the roundabout on the right hand side, the turn in towards the hotel is so nondescript ascending the slope that I was surprised to find such an expanse of land beyond. Stretched across a lawn, you see at a distance two pristine colonial buildings that mark the main entrance of this new resort. Ooh. Very grand!

Moi was invited to the media opening of the hotel, and to cut a long story short, here are a few essential things I sussed out from the outing.

1.Bob’s Bar is not a smoky sports bar with yodeling yobs and fake-accented SPGs. It is the resort’s beautiful haven for libation, on a sweeping verandah overlooking the pools, villas and heritage trees below – and beyond that, a vista of the ship-laden seas. A good, new place to go for drinks if ambience and romance is high on the agenda.

2.Don’t know about the food, but Cassia, the Chinese restaurant is pretty stunning in a dramatic contemporary way – a bit of Greta Garbo glamour merged with a bit of Shanghai jazz-era hedonism. Come in slinky cheongsam and seduce.

3.If you like a good riddle, look out for the strange landscaping. Looks like overgrown lalang peppered with such prehistoric-looking fern trees, you think a dinosaur would appear any moment. Bali rice terraces? In the middle of Sentosa with all its rich colonial history? Baffling.

4.The rooms there are made for a romp. They are larger than most - starting from a generous 893 sq ft for the Sentosa Suites to a whopping 1991 sq ft for the Garden villas – and so very pretty! Most will give you a view of the sea without you even having to roll out of bed! Watch out for the towering doors leading to the loo. Reminds me of the vermillion gates of the Forbidden City.

5.In-room romp not good enough? The four Constellation Suites each have its own private rooftop Jacuzzi! Hmmm – like I need to ask…..what to do with that?!
6.Three pools in the middle of the property, with one that is adults-only.

7.Peacocks roam the grounds – pretty birdie, but don’t go too near. They can be quite a handful I am told.
8.If you’re teetering on stilettos, be warned: the grounds beyond Bob’s Bar involve dark stairs and rather steep little slopes. You’re not going to tumble down, but three-inch get-ups are going to be a mincing challenge. I know – I tried!
9.If you’re staying for a weekend, check out the private lounge and library for guests. I took a peek and the little spread of snackeroos laid out looks pretty yummy. Cookies on a stick, chocolates, more cookies, and I think I discerned the outline of some brownies….and coffee too. I like!

10.They’re offering some introductory packages this year:
The Capella Experience package where you stay for two nights and get a complimentary third night, valid through 31 May.
The Auriga Experience with in-villa Champagne breakfast for two, followed by any signature Auriga (that’s their spa) treatment of their choice, or the Capella Escape package, a weekend getaway with a complimentary treatment at the Auriga spa thrown in (both valid through 31 Dec). Quick quick –“staycation” destination.

1 The Knolls
Sentosa Island
Tel: 65 6377 8888
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Buys – Food For The Good Of All

On Enjoying Tea
If one cannot indulge in the libation of fermented grapes, then find happy recourse in that of fermented leaves. But do so at the height of elegance, and reject the mediocrity of inferior tagged and stringed specimens ubiquitously boxed in quantity. Not just the leaves but the accoutrements must also necessarily be fine to engender any satisfying degree of felicity. A good variety of blends will further enhance the enjoyment of libation.

Consider the Pink Garden Tea ($188) set by TWG Teas. In the box are a 100g tin of Pink Garden Tea, an artisan blend of delicate green tea with fragrant notes of Provencal cherry and accented with regal garden roses and two Glamour tea bowls, handmade in Limoges, France of the finest bone china in French Rose and luxuriously lined with luminescent mother-of-pearl inlay. Each bowl is painstakingly shaped to resemble the silhouette of a flower, and offers a streamlined contour designed to follow the curve of one’s mouth. The mother-of-pearl inlay ensures that the interior of the tea bowl remains a light, neutral colour, allowing one to visually appreciate the unique liquor of the particular tea infusion one is savouring.

Makes a good gift unto oneself or to one’s Mother on the occasion of Mother’s Day.

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
9 Raffles Place
#01-22, Republic Plaza

Basement 2
Takashimaya Departmental Store
391 Orchard Road

Drink and Make the World a Better Place

More on beverages…go forth and save the world one step at a time. Apart from turning off your lights when you leave the room, and buying your CNG car, there’s more you can do now to make the world a better place. You can buy Boncafe’s 'Colombian' and ‘Master’ blend Fairtrade coffees - the company’s first Fairtrade products - for your morning brew.

Fairtrade is defined as “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers. Fairtrade products are produced and traded in accordance with these principles — wherever possible verified by credible, independent assurance systems”.

The BoncafĂ© ‘Colombian’ coffee is a single origin coffee from South America, roasted for a heady aroma, rich flavour and balance of acidity and body. The ‘Master’ blend has a combination of South American and African beans, darkly roasted to complement the bitter-sweet and sour taste profiles of both.

Prices range from $6.90 to $7.20 and available in good supermarkets.

Hampers of Taste
Do we not cringe at the sight of mediocre food hampers, stacked in towering, cellophane-enrobed pyramids and bearing less than desirable packages of inferior peanuts, caramelized popcorn and other cloying, almost-expired confections? It is a sight to cringe at.

Thankfully, there are increasingly more tasteful and thoughtful hampers emerging. The latest to come are those from online grocer Launching in May, the Greengrocer Gourmet Food Hamper is packed for the foodie.

To start, there will be four different hampers to choose from, packaged with gourmet items, wines and champagnes. These include chocolates with white truffles, white truffle oils, assorted pasta like squid ink linguine, tomato basil garlic fettucine and smoked capsicum linguine, cream of balsamic vinegar, pasta sauces as well as a $50 green grocer voucher. What’s more each item is tagged with a description and even recipe suggestions.

Launching in May in time for Mother’s Day, has included a set of complimentary gifts for all hampers ordered for this occasion, including an specially designer Greengrocer apron, flowers and recipe book. The online grocer plans to launch more varieties of hampers in the coming months so keep your eyes peeled.

Hampers currently range from $130 - $200.
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Thursday, 16 April 2009

THIS WEEKEND - To the Film Festival and then The Esplanade

A Grand and Celebratory Cultural Injection

How about a cultural injection this weekend? Head to The Esplanade Concert Hall at 7.30 pm this Saturday (18 April), for Romantic Fantasy Worlds, in which The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra performs two symphonic masterpieces not to be missed. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a celebration of Mendelssohn's 200th birth anniversary, while the Conservatory Orchestra closes its sixth season by bringing on stage one of the largest and grandest orchestral showcases with Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

The orchestra will be led by Wang Ya Hui, the music director and conductor of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra.

Widely acclaimed maestro Wang was the first Singaporean to enter the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia as a conductor and one of the few Asians to be enrolled there.

Her talent was acknowledged by the international community when she clinched top prize in three of the world’s most prestigious conducting competitions: the 1998 Nicolai Malko Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark; the 1996 Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition in Athens, Greece; and the 1994 Tokyo Competition in Japan. 

Wang made her debut appearance at the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen under the patronage of Queen Margarathe II of Denmark and later led the Royal Danish Orchestra and Ballet on a national tour of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in 2000. In 1999, she conducted her first opera, Strauss' Salome, with the Danish National Opera and in 2002 conducted performances of Puccini's Madame Butterfly throughout Denmark with the country’s major orchestras. 

No stranger to working with worldclass artists, she has collaborated with notable names like cellist Janos Starker, flutist Peter-Lukas Graf and guitarist Christopher Parkening. In December 2007, she was personally invited by Grammy award-winning soprano Renee Fleming to collaborate again at the Baltimore Opera Gala Concert in the U.S. 

Since the start of her professional career, Wang has been the assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Ohio and the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, among her many roles.

Concert details:
Saturday (18 Apri), 7.30pm 
Esplanade Concert Hall
S$15 (excludes SISTIC fee) 
Tickets sold at all SISTIC outlets; 
SISTIC hotline: (65) 6348 5555 or

Walk A Big Road next Monday

Make Monday, 20 April ‘date-night’ and surprise your man with a pair of tickets to catch the film, A Big Road which premiers at the National Museum as part of the 22nd Singapore Film Festival. 

Shot in and around Shanghai, this 88-minute feature film is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It was produced and directed by two Singaporeans – Los Angeles-based Damon Chua, and theater director Alec Tok, who is based in New York. 

Supported by local film company, The Dream Academy, A Big Road brings you into the world of Minjie, a young woman caught between the past and the present; between life and death. As her spirit wanders about the city of Shanghai and its suburbs, we bear witness to the downtrodden existence of a beautiful daughter named Yulian, and the erotic liaisons of a virgin, Xiaofang, caught in the empty demi-monde of her wealthy older patron. 

The arrival of an infant sets off a series of events that open a new chapter for all three women, whose dreams, desires and desperate yearning soon meld into one. Hope eventually prevails in this surprising journey from death to life. But enough of the spoilers, watch it and be your own judge.

This film is a second initiative by Damon Chua, who produced the made-in-Singapore feature Perth in 2004, and Alec Tok’s first directorial effort. Alec is a familiar face in Singapore's theatre and film industry as an actor, director, filmmaker, and art director, most notably on Eric Khoo's Twelve Storeys (1997). Alec was also formerly the drama director for the Singapore Armed Forces' Music and Drama Company and the artistic director for oneKindtheatre, a Singapore-based theatre company. 

Where and when: 
Premiers on Monday, 20 April 
The National Museum 
Get your tickets at: 

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