Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Binge - Mooncake Madness Part 2

Oops! Mooncake season is cranking up momentum, and we have to get our long delayed Part 2 of Mooncake Madness out quick.
So here is….our pasty sequel to Madness Part 1(http://simplyfabulicious.blogspot.com/2010/08/binge-mooncake-madness-and-chang-er.html), with our picks of what we think legendary Chang Er will fancy….

Just in case you missed our Part 1 (which you can access via the convenient link above), we’ve grouped the mooncakes according to:
Chang Er’s Faves: Traditional or down-to-earth flavours that we think would be universally enjoyed.
Lunar Lights: Creative, unusual, yet with wide appeal
Off Into Orbit: So wild it’s orbiting round the moon. Watch Chang Er fly after it!

2am: dessertbar
Chang Er’s Faves: No one here but us snow skins.
Lunar Lights: Valrhona chocolate truffle snowskin mooncake in various flavours – yuzu dark chocolate, basil white chocolate, crunchy praline and chocolate truffle in lotus paste and enrobed in delicate snow skin. ($45 nett for 8 pieces); premium durian ($48).
Off Into Orbit: Former MGS girl and owner Chef Janice Wong just launched PB & J ($14, above), a peanut butter and jam mooncake dessert which, while not exactly going round the sun, is so light, we think levitating a little. A snowskin mooncake made for one, it features peanut butter churned into espuma, with layers of wild strawberry and quince gel and served with strawberry shortbread ice-cream. So ‘Chang Er-meets-Americana’!

21A Lorong Liput, Holland Village
Email: cravings@2amdessertbar.com

Majestic Restaurant
Chang Er’s Faves: Star chef Yong Bing Ngen’s (he’s such a sweetie!) has churned out one of the best basic mooncakes I have tasted this season. Not too sticky, just moist and very smooth, his Baked White Lotus Paste with single, double or four yolks (from $25 for 2 pcs) is a sure bet, and it’s low in sugar to boot.
Lunar Lights: People have raved endlessly of his Mini Snowskin with King of Durian ($52 for 8) and his Baked Low Sugar Pandan Lotus Paste Piglets with yolk (from $30 for 2) are the cutest porkers! Want one please!
Off Into Orbit: Do you think Chang Er will fancy a Mini Snowskin with Kwei Feh lychee liqueur ($48 for 8)? See sparks fly when you get two legendary beauties together! Meoooowwwwrrrr! Fsssssst!

New Majestic Hotel
31 - 37 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: 6511 4718

Haagen Daaz
Chang Er’s Faves: Considering that the imperial court had their minions heave down ice from the mountains for the pleasure of the emperor and his concubines, we suspect Chang Er will not find ice cream mooncakes too alien. (Though, yes we know she wasn’t a concubine….) But no baked babies here, though….
Lunar Lights: Cute ice cream mooncakes in Macadamia Nut, Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Ice Cream flavours, with a Mango Sorbet ‘yolk’ inside, packed into gift boxes of three (Petite, $38), four (Classic, $68) comprising one Cookies & Cream, one Chocolate and two Macadamia Nut Ice Cream Mooncakes, and five (Precious, $62) featuring one Macadamia Nut Ice Cream Mooncake and five mini Vanilla and Belgian Chocolate Mooncakes.
Off Into Orbit: Ice cream is so universal there’s nothing that crazy from HD. But you don’t want to be the peasant leader trying to stuff secret messages into these meltable confections for your ancient revolt though! It won’t get to the next village without a cooler pack!

Your nearest Haagen Daaz or call 1800 732 1566

Swissotel Merchant Court
Chang Er’s Faves: Sold at the hotel’s Ellenborough Market Café, their traditional Baked White Lotus Mooncake with Pine Nuts ($52 per box of 4) and White Lotus Paste Mooncake with Single Yolk and Macadamia Nuts ($50) are all low sugar. Madam tasted them and they were indeed very nice….
Lunar Lights: Milk Rocher Snowskin ($52 for 8) with milk chocolate praline cream with almonds and white lotus paste – Yums! And how about a little alky-infused pleasure? The Vodka Orange Snowskin ($52 for 8) with white lotus paste and a white chocolate praline core sounds particularly sweet. Perhaps it’ll go down well with Brandy or Grand Marnier?
Off Into Orbit: Durian truffle a white chocolate praline core ($54 for 8)…we’re not so sure about the pairing….could be nice, could be so rich it’ll clog my pipes!

Ellenborough Market Cafe
20 Merchant Road
T: 6239 1848

Hua Ting Restaurant
Chang Er’s Faves: Hua Ting at Orchard Hotel is all about being traditional, so I bet its Bountiful Selections package would be pretty reliable. The Traditional box ($52.00 for 4 pieces) gives you White Lotus Paste with Double Yolks, White Lotus Paste with Macadamia Nuts, Lotus Paste with Single Yolk and a most auspicious Seeds of Harmony.
Lunar Lights: The chefs are tastefully restrained here with their new flavours - Mini Snow Skin with Pumpkin Paste and Melon Seeds and Mini Snow Skin with Almond Paste and Melon Seeds ($7 per piece).
Off Into Orbit: We like red too, but in our mooncakes? Hua Ting’s mini snow skin mooncakes with Beetroot with Red Wine and Cranberry Paste ($7 each) is just waaay over the moon for me.

442 Orchard Road
Orchard Hotel
Tel: 6739 6666

- Ee Waun
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Binge - Worthy Watering Holes and New Grazing Pastures

You got to hand it to the Club and Restaurant owners in Hong Kong! They truly understand 'cool' and the whole 'after-hours' party vibe thingy and they make every pulsating effort to maximise space and location when it comes to living it up in square-foot starved Hong Kong. 

If you are looking for somewhere new to see and be seen at, then such is SHORE, the latest and newest in Hong Kong's elite Club scene featuring a sprawling (by HK standards) 10,000 sq foot split level bar and restaurant that will open this September on the 3rd and 4th floor of L Place at 139 Queen's Road Central.

The venue also has a 1800 sq ft outdoor lounge and looks set to be the next hip and happening party venue. (I can already hear the glasses clinking!) So if you are looking for an excuse to slip on that slinky Summer backless number matched with your grossly expensive and under-utilised Manolos then take your royal self and the girlies for a drinky poo at this spot. Expect a drink list that includes fine wines, premium champers, exotica cocktails coupled with salad platters, starters and grill items to nibble on. The actual food, we hear, is not bad either with seafood and succulent dry-aged steaks from around the globe prepared by Executive Chef Jason Black who has been heading Hong Kong’s Zest and Frog Face Fish restaurants since 2005.

There are two zones in the restaurant aptly called ‘Onshore’ and ‘Offshore’, separated by a winding staircase in the centre. Designer Kinney Chan has adopted natural materials like wood and granite with soothing tones including ‘underwater’ ocean blue to conceptualize the onshore and offshore themes. DJs play from 8pm nightly. Call (852) 29151638 for reservations.

Not too far away and also in Central at 208 Hollywood Road, check out our Singapore homegirl, Yenn Wong's (founder of JIA Boutique Hotels) latest venture called 208 Duecento Otto, a neighbourhood restaurant and bar inspired by the New York style Italian eatery and bar concept. This two-storied 4000 sq foot venue was formerly a meat storage warehouse is named after its street number at 208 Hollywood Road and  combines a lively bar downstairs serving delicious aperitivs, cocktails, an excellent wine list, including over 20 by the glass and a selection of Italian wines paired with pizzas and antipasti for casual all-day dining. A more intimate upstairs dining room that seats 90 with a private dining area for 18 offers both indoor and  outdoor seating that overlooks Hollywood Road. 

Nothing like a Chef called Vinny to complete that Italiano mafiaso feel. Executive Chef Vinny Lauria  comes to Hong Kong from the renowned Babbo New York – consistently heralded as one of New York’s favourite restaurants.  Vinny brings a New York interpretation of rustic Italian cuisine including his signature Napolitana pizzas that follow in the tradition of Yenn’s award-winning Italian restaurant at JIA Shanghai, Issimo. 

Worth a trip even if it is just to oogle at the design which was put together by Turkish design company Autoban. 208 is the company's first Asian interior design project and they were named “Best Young Designers" by Wallpaper* in 2004 and subsequently designed the Witt Istanbul Suites, a Condé Nast Traveller Hot List hotel in 2009. Love the raw materials that permeate the venue – steel pillars, marble table tops and solid walnut floors and ceiling. The interior walls are covered in specially designed blue and white ceramic tiles printed with Chinese illustrations. Playful and interesting Autoban furnishings add a whimsical element to the space. On the bar table, Italian words narrate the traditional recipe for Italian pizza. 

The 4,000 square foot restaurant and bar seats up to 90 for dining, and has a cosy private dining room for up to 18 people on its lower level. 208 Duecento Otto opens its bar on 11 May, with food service including pizzas and antipasti for casual dining over drinks. Call  +(852) 2549 0208 for reservations. See: www.208.com.hk

- Elaine
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Friday, 27 August 2010

Buys - Extreme Toiletries For The Girls Only....

We think this is soooo crazy, it’s simply fabulicious! We can't believe it, but Kotex - yes, the sanitary napkin brand! - has just taken the glamour factor to the extreme. They'll be launching Kotex Luxe, a design-forward pad with attitude if you can imagine such a thing! But just see for yourself right here....!

We couldn’t believe our eyes when a teaser arrived at our door – a be-ribboned box of Kotex cupcakes! How ridiculous was that? We were intrigued. I badgered the PR lady about it, but she just kept mum. Well, a fortnight later, she sent the info – new Kotex pads with six snazzy designs, and they promise there will be more new motifs in time to come.

If you've been successful in wearing matching underwear everyday (hats off to you!), here's one more thing to co-ordinate - 6 Kotex designs to match your personality or mood for the day. Are you the cheerful and sweet girl-next-door? We think the pink and orange floral will suit you. A vintage-loving boho chick? How about the Indian-inspired teal and purple spirals? Glamourpuss may like the mauve butterflies and the fizzy fireworks is just the thing for party girl.

It comes with Micro-Max technology, comprising “a super absorbent ultrathin core that provides maximum protection – and its soft cottony cover”. It’ll be available in supermarket shelves only from 13 September, but there are giveaways of iphone skins (see left) and cupcakes online a week before that…..which makes it kinda around now….Check it out at http://www.kotex.com.sg/

With these things on the shelves, we'll be taking a break from all-white for a while.....
- Ee Waun
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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Beauty - Beauty Store Junkie Fabulicious Finds

The Beauty Store Junkie has been out this past week trawling Sasa, Colour Mix, Bonjour, Watsons and Mannings in Hong Kong with my very informed and fabulicious friend Connie. She gets her info from all the trashy Cantonese convenience store tabloids sold in Hong Kong.

She picked up 3 simply fabulicious items from WATSONS which I am recommending to you:

If you like your sunblock and foundation all in one, then try this product aptly called 'Sunkiller'. It has a SPF50+ Sunblock with a coloured liquid foundation based that also has BB Cream (Blemish Balm) properties which means that it tightens the pores and actually helps in healing any scarred or damaged skin. 

I tried and found that it provides a very good base for your make up and can be used with loose powder and a minimum of concealer if you want to hide or disguise any unsightly spots. Sold at Watson's in Hong Kong - am pretty sure its coming to Singapore soon (if not already there). 

A great alternative to the more expensive BB Creams (which do not have as much sunblock protection as this product).

This product claims to do for lashes what stilettos do for legs. The grip and extend brush apparently grasps each lash and coats it from every angle. The formulation contains a pro-vitamin B-5 that gives the lashes length and a patent shine. 

Safe for all contact lens users and opthamologist tested. The idea is the sweep upwards from root of your lashes to the tips and build till you get the desired look. Do not let it dry between coats. Do the same for the lower lash. I tried it and found it waterproof and wonderful! Go buy!  

This brand is not to be confused with Vichy as both are available at Watsons. VINCH is a French brand that sells facial masks that contain spring water from the French Alps. Extra moisturisng and completely soothing, the nickel and nobelium trace elements in the spring water supposedly clean out the pollutants in the skin. Oxygen from the spring water is released into the skin cells (not sure how this works as it is not clearly explained on the packet, exactly how this happens) but suffice to say that the oxygen comes into contact with the skin and releases nutrients to revitalise it. A single packet was going on sale for only HK$4.90 (less than 1SGD). We also bought the Milky Whitening Mask to try, which I will do, tonight!  

- Elaine
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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Breakaway - Fireworks or Seashore for the China National Day weekend?

In case you were not aware, there are a couple of public holidays aka long weekends around the corner in Hong Kong. So mark 23 to 26 September and 1 to 3 October and start planning ahead.
If you are local and want a room with a view of the National Day fireworks whilst staying in the heart of the action, surrounded by food and shopping, then The Excelsior, Hong Kong at Causeway Bay is the place for you. Catch the spectacular National Day fireworks display set for 1 October over Victoria Harbour from your window when you book into their Golden Week Holiday Package starting at HKD1,388* including:
  • One night’s accommodation in a Superior Room
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two persons at Café on the 1st
  • HKD138 dining credit at any of the hotel’s restaurants and bars
  • 15% discount on any facial or body treatment at The Excelsior Wellness Centre
  • A HKD400 supplement for an upgrade to a Deluxe Harbour View Room

* Rates are subject to 10% service charge, valid from 23 September to 10 October 2010 with a minimum two-night stay and are subject to availability. Call +852 2837 6840 or email: exhkg-reservations@mohg.com or use the hotel’s direct online reservations service at www.mandarinoriental.com/excelsior.

If you prefer to getaway from the crowds in Hong Kong, then find peace and tranquility at The Mandarin Oriental, Sanya situated between a backdrop of lush verdant mountains and the sparkling South China Sea. This resort has its own exclusive coral bay where you can spend some quality time with your loved ones whilst enjoying the epitome of luxury. Guests get a night of classic Cantonese flavours and superb seafood at the resort’s Chinese restaurant Yi Yang, and experience the award winning Spa Village, complete with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and luxury pampering from CNY 2,488 per night. Package includes:
  • A 3 night stay in a Terrace or Ocean View Room
  • Round trip airport transfer from Sanya International Airport
  • Breakfast for two adults and up to two children
  • Either dinner for two at the resort’s Chinese restaurant, Yi Yang, or a luxury 1 hour 20 minute Body Treatment for one at the Spa Village
  • A CNY 200 Spa voucher
  • Complimentary Tai Chi and Qi Gong from a Shaolin Kung Fu Master and Yoga from an Indian Yoga Master, based on the resort’s activity schedule

* Rates subject to 15% service charge and a local city tax of RMB11 per night per person from 28 September to 15 October 2010. A minimum 3 night consecutive stay is required. Reservations at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya’s Reservations Office by e-mail at mosan-reservations@mohg.com, by phone +86 (898) 8820 9999, or by booking online at www.mandarinoriental.com/sanya

- Elaine
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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Buys - Juicy Couture 'Back to School' Haul

My apartment in Hong Kong is right on top of a huge mall and it does not help that I am tempted each day by the likes of Juicy Couture, Club Monaco, Joyce and the Manolo Blahnik store every time I step  out for an errand. 

Suffice to say that I took a quick peek into what I call 'the Palace of Pink' last week to oogle at their 'Back to School' new collection of funky stationery, bags and book binders that would make Paris Hilton look pale. 

And I have to conclude that they make wonderful Christmas presents so if you are in the mood to stock up, take your pick from these lovelies. Perfect for the teeny in your life or the office mate that has not quite outgrown pelican pink! 

- Elaine

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Bytes - Mac plus iPod Offer from Apple

Its true what they say about the Mac. Once converted, no one ever goes back to the PC. Well, if you have been itching to get one then do so before 7 September because if you, or a family member or friend is a student, teacher in University or attending a Polytechnic, Junior College or Institute of Technical Education in Singapore, you get a discounted iPod touch with every Mac purchase plus what Mac calls an 'education discount' that parents can also enjoy.

More info at:

Better still if you head to Nubox, an Apple Premium Reseller that has just opened a brand new store,Nubox@Tampines on 20 August (which is TOMORROW!) you get to enjoy a number of special offers and promotions available in this new store.

First 50 customers who purchase a Mac will receive a 320GB hard disk, a $20 voucher, a sleeve or mouse, a palm guard and a keyboard protector. A complimentary Dexim silicon case will also be given for the purchase of any type of iPod.

- Elaine
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Breaking News - Eat at Coriander Leaf and Help Pakistan's Flood Relief Effort!

Simply Fab loves life, and lives it fully. So when we saw this bit of news just in, we just had to write about it to spread the word as best we can in our own little way.

Coriander Leaf and The Screening Room, two restaurants owned by Samia Ahad, are doing their bit to raise funds for the flood relief effort in Pakistan. The restaurants are offering two special menus – one at $60++ and one at $120 ++ – where 20% of the proceeds will go to aiding the disaster relief effort. So whether you’re entertaining clients, or just nipping out for a lunch treat, it’s not a lot to head over there and enjoy your day, knowing that part of your money is going to a good cause.

The $60 menu is a three-course meal with choices like Cold Sesame Noodles with sesame dressing, Salt and Pepper Tempura Calamari with arugula; a main course of Tandoori Chicken, cucumber-yoghurt relish, and butter naan, or Baked White Miso Gratinated Cod, and a dessert of mini Valrhona chocolate cake, plus a glass of wine.

The more expensive menu is good for sharing, comprising four of Samia’s delicious signature sharing platters – Asian, South Asian, Mezze and Dessert platters, perfect for sharing. Served in four courses, they are paired with four wines including prosecco, which makes this a great deal for a good deed! You’ll be sipping wine and enjoying foods like Crab Cakes with homemade tomato chutney, Smoked Duck, Mango and Pomelo Salad, a particularly luscious roasted red pepper and walnut dip, Lamb Kebabs, Manjari Chocolate Fudge Cake and lots more. We’ve had them before and can tell you, it makes very enjoyable sharing-with-friends food.

Of the two restaurants, I like Coriander Leaf in particular, with its laid back, resort feel…plus its high ceiling, spacious setting and windows overlooking the river at Clarke Quay. Ironically, Samia’s offering customers an easy and enjoyable way to help those struck by unimaginable hardship. Further down the road, she's planning art exhibitions and auctions and other activities to help rasie funds. 

When you think that one-fifth of Pakistan’s population has been displaced by what has been known as Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years, with perhaps 1600 dead and 20 million people desperately needing help, having a meal and some wine to help is not asking for much. So head over with friends, drink some wine, eat some great food, have a good time and know you’re doing something to help.
- Ee Waun
Coriander Leaf
3A River Valley Rd, Clarke Quay, #02-03
Tel: 6732 3354

The Screening Room
12 Ann Siang Road
Tel: 6221 1694
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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Breakaway - Want Snow In Your Suit? Ski To China's First Club Med in Heilongjiang

If sand in your suit doesn’t float your boat, how about snow? Club Med Yabuli opens in November, and it’s Club Med's first resort in China. This pretty new property with "Canadian-palatial style architecture" (didn't know there were palaces in Canada!) brings you up the mountains and onto the ski slopes of icy Heilongjiang, and a stunning view of the Yabuli Mountains.  
Ski season here starts mid‐November until early April. With the ski field just outside your door and the longest mountain trail in China, you can slip and slide over 30 km of trails (suitable for all ability levels) with a fun-filled vertical drop of about 530 m – isn't that just cosy?

For newbies like me, Club Med Yabuli has the largest beginner teaching terrain in the country serviced by ski school for all levels of skiiers and non-skiiers, and a network of five ‘magic carpet’ surface lifts. There's also a heated eight‐passenger gondola and six‐passenger chairlift which connect the trails from the resort centre, mid mountain and mountain top. If you’d rather not hurtle down slopes at breakneck speed, there’s also ice skating, tubing and sleigh rides. (I’ll take the latter with a hot mug of something superbly alcoholic, thank you!)

Oh look! Relief! There's a spa!

Fancy a dip? I reeeaaally hope that's heated...!
Here I lay me down to sleep, 
Rest, my sore bum and tired feet....

Suitable for all ages, it’s a 4-Trident premium property (which means luxe for your bucks!) with 284 rooms including 27 suites with mountain views, and 22 deluxe rooms, plus three restaurants.
Chinois chic and apres 'tea'?

If you fancy a taste of this, there’s a good deal going on - $300 off each adult and $150 off the price per child for their Premium All-Inclusive Snow Package.
So as an example, a 6D/5N do at Yabuli will cost you S$3145 per adult and includes return flights on SIA and China Eastern. The same deal is also available for Club Med Sahoro and will cost S$2700 per adult. You have to book by 29 August and travel between 27 Nov and 6 April 2011, for a minimum of five nights.

Call 1800 CLUB MED (258 2633) or visit www.clubmed.com.sg
- by Ee Waun
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Breakaway - NATAS Club Med Deals to Die For!

Simply Fabulicious women love deals…especially when it includes a holiday!

If you’re planning a holiday between 1 November this year and 28 Feb 2011, Club Med is offering two tempting NATAS deals: every second adult travels free, or children below 12 years old travel free with an accompanying adult. Essentially, they are 1-for-1 deals…..one child free when accompanied by one adult, or one adult travels free when booking together with another adult. Only thing is, you have to make your move this month, or like a fleeting vision of bliss, it is gone!

We can’t help salivating copiously over the resorts in Mauritius. A 5N/6D immersion in La Plantation d’Albion (see the pretty picture above) which will go for S$2,330 per adult and from S$1,400 per child....

and the same length of stay at Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers will set you back S$1,810 per adult and from S$1,090 per child below 12 years old. (This by the way excludes flight, I’m afraid.)

We are also lusting after Club Med Kani in the Maldives! Don’t you want to stay in one of those lagoon suites over the water? Beads and bangles hanging for an exotic look as you waft about in your 1960s retro caftan?! This resort is on the island of Kanifinholu, 20km from the capital, Male.

At the same time, the resorts nearby are also fabulicious for their super-easy access – a hop, skip and jump from Singapore and you’re sipping martini by the pool a couple of hours later. The advantage here is – less travelling time, more hours of sheer holidaying. 

Rememebr, you have to act fast to catch this one. DBS credit card members and Club Med members enjoy priority booking from 16–22 Aug 2010, then it’s open to everyone else from 23–29 Aug 2010. The deal applies to Club Med Bali, Bintan Island, Cherating Beach, Phuket, Kani, for a minimum of 4 nights, maximum 7, and La Plantation d’Albion and La Pointe aux Canonniers for a minimum of 6 nights, maximum 7.
Either way you choose, grab the credit card and go! Don't say we didn't tell you! :)

Call 1800 CLUB MED (258 2633) or www.clubmed.com.sg
- Ee Waun
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Friday, 13 August 2010

By The Way - Addicted to Silicone

I have to confess that the desperate housewife in me is truly addicted to silicone! These days it seems to be a compulsory in today's modern kitchen.

Why I fell in love? Heat resistant (up to 270 degree celcius which makes it resistant to heats hotter than a standard stove), extremely flexible, non porous, dish washer friendly, almost virtually stain proof, pliable and easy to clean, its hard not to like especially when it comes in a variety of attractive colours and moulds that shout "buy me".

Some facts about silicon: made from silica, this non-metallic chemical element comes from the carbon family and is found in almost all rocks, clay, sand and soils. This material is a polymer in which silicone and oxygen alternate in a chain and are bound to various organic radicals, such as phenyl and methyl. Discovered in the early 1800s, but not used commercially until the 1940s, silicone became a household name in 2004 with the introduction of silicone brushes and subsequent bakeware and other kitchen products.

I realised, yesterday evening, as I was happily frying my chicken wings dipped in shrimp paste (hak cheong kai) in my tiny 50 square foot kitchen in Hong Kong, that silicone tools have truly invaded my kitchen.

My trusty wooden frying ladle now sits at the bottom of my utensils drawer savouring its early retirement as I have found new favour in a pair of beloved 16 inch silicon grip tongs that my savvy sister bought for me on my last visit with her in Perth, Australia from 'The Good Guys', a place I have crowned 'silicone heaven'. From the oven to the frying pan, these 'frying tongs' are just so much easier to use and magically manoeverable in so many more ways.

I have also said a quick goodbye to my faithful quilted cloth pot holders in favour of a pair of stylish fire engine red silicone grip glove mitts that make sticking my gloved hand into a 180 celcius degree hot oven, seem almost natural.

Then there is the cuty pink Princess cup cake mould from Le Crueset that has replaced my once favourite metal muffin pan and the Le Crueset seaweed blue colander that now sits on my counter in favour of its Ikea counterpart which was kept hidden in the recesses of my cupboard since forever. My latest craze, my new pastry glazing brush which is so easy to clean as the silicone bristles are stand alone and don't come off easily or stain. 

My conclusion: 'Simply Fabulicious'! 

- Elaine
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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Breakaway - Watery Holidays: Luxe Cruising, French River Barges and Historical Sites Under the Sea

Fabulous holidays are always planned way in advance, and now’s probably as good a time as any to start doing your research for your year-end getaway. We came across some really nifty holiday destinations/options that are high on luxe and a little different from the usual tried and true. We picked out some to share. Here goes….

Head to Spain and the rest of the Mediterranean on super-luxe Crystal Cruises in October. Sailing from Rome, it calls in Barcelona, home of Gaudí’s masterpieces; Valencia, Málaga, birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and Almería, known for its coastline and beaches. On shore, you get bought around to culinary and cultural experiences on Crystal Adventures to see places like Gaudí’s La Pedrera House. The 11-day cruise which leaves on 31 October also goes to Naples and Sicily, Valetta in Malta and Tunis. The cruise has a two-for-one promotion starting at US$5,080, including US$1,000 per person shipboard credits.

Talking about America, the cruise liner will be doing four 11-day cruises between New York and Montréal departing on September 19, September 30, October 11 and October 22. It includes overnight stays in Montréal and either Boston or New York, plus visits to Newport, Rhode Island; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Québec City, Québec and either Bar Harbor or Portland, Maine. Pop on shore and see the land - cliffs and lavish estates in Bar Harbor and Newport, the cobbled streets and French shops in Québec City, or Portland’s art district! Two-for-One (double occupancy) promotional fares start at US$4,275, with US$500 shipboard credits per person and complimentary air transportation from many North American gateways.

Details: www.crystalcruises.com

Still on the waters, how about drifting down the waterways of France on a slow going barge? Afloat in France (part of the Orient Express group) runs five ‘luxury boutique barges’ and plies the waterways of Burgundy, Provence, the Rhône Vallée, Languedoc-Roussillon and the Loire Valley region. Round up some friends and charter an entire boat – they carry from four to 12 passengers - then drift from one French town to another with your own chef, tour guide and professional crew!

There’s lots of sightseeing to do, and amazing experiences which can be tailor-made to suit you - like wine tastings in chateaux, to rambles in the countryside and walks through historic towns and antique markets, even private gala dinners on board, hot air ballooning or golf. It’s no hardship holiday ‘cos you sleep in comfy cabins, and spend the day lounging on the sundeck when you’re not off sightseeing once the barge moors, and every meal is part of the deal. The itinerary can be tailor-made to suit you or you can pick from the existing ones. The boats ply from now until 24 October when the season ends for the year. Obviously the more people the better value – a two person charter of the Alouette starts at £12,960 for a 6-night journey while a 2 night cruise on the Napoleon starts from £29,940 for eight (or £3742 per person).

Details: www.orient-express.com

How about a diving or snorkelling trip in glamour-ridden Portofino? Check into the Hotel Splendido and they will arrange all manner of exotic dive excursions into history at the bottom of the sea between Camogli, Portofino and San Fruttuoso. Swim to the Spanish carrack Iveglia, a weapon carrying wooden sailing ship, built by order of Emperor Charles V, and sunk in 1579; see an German World War II U-Boat that lies between Punta Chiappa and Cala dell’Oro; the Christ of the Abyss, a 2.5 metre tall bronze statue placed 18 metres deep in the bay of San Fruttuoso and the remains of a 2nd century BC Roman ship and many other submerged monuments. There’s also the marine life near Isuela, one of the finest dive sites in the Mediterranean, and midnight dives reveal iridescent seahorses, red sponge, moray eels and octopus, lobsters, damsels, mullet and sea bass.

But if diving is not your thing, send the rest to sea and recline in land-locked luxeness!

- Ee Waun
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Monday, 9 August 2010

Buys – ALT! Who Goes There!?

When you need retail therapy, check out the new store ALT at The Heeren in Orchard Road, Singapore. Expect three storeys and 23,000 promising square feet of shopping, from mainly fashion to beauty and lifestyle for the girls!

This is where you’ll get alternative brands like Broadcast, a leading fashion label from Shanghai that provides high-quality and contemporary ready-to-wear, BSC Panadda, Thailand’s top selling range of make-up and fashion apparel, Paris Hilton hand bags and accessories, local fashion label Skye by Ana Liew featuring party dresses and reversible tops, skirts and dresses, plus other international brands too like Steve Madden, Nine West and Ed Hardy by Christian Audiegier.

Check out the lingerie section on the second floor where underwear is organised not according to brands but by design and style types. On the 3rd and largest level, get cult brands and merchandise including novelty gifts, beauty and wellness, lifestyle gadgets and even men’s grooming products, confectionery, stationery and pets’ accessories.

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