Saturday, 30 October 2010

By The Way - Make Way for Affordable Art

I stumbled into collecting art about 8 years ago when I walked past HaKaren Art Gallery in Tanglin Shopping Mall, and fell in love with a Fang Xiang painting in the window. I didn’t buy it then as I had never bought art before, and mulled and dreamed about it for almost a month before I finally went in on the Hub’s prompting and bought the piece. It’s a huge artwork over a metre on each side and now hangs in my living room; it still gives me the most pleasure of all the artworks I had subsequently bought over the years. That it has almost tripled in value is a side event; I bought it because I liked it.

Lessons in Nature by Fuad
from The Yellow Ribbon Project

I know there can be lots of snob appeal going on in buying art, but I just stick to those I like. Recently I went to the Yellow Ribbon Art Exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum and saw thoughtful and surprisingly good art by done some very talented inmates from the local prisons. I bought one that I liked a lot – Lessons in Nature which cost me only $475, all of which goes to a good cause. And it’s affordable, too. (You can still view and buy them online at

To me, art is like wine – all that matters is if you like it, and the snobby people can potter on their own way. If you ask me, I can’t understand some of those super-expensive contemporary Chinese art with chrome dogs with human heads, bright red thin men peeing, and sculptures of fat women with their boobs hanging out. It won’t give me pleasure, more likely nightmares….

The AAF in Amsterdam

Which brings me to Singapore (and Asia’s) first Affordable Art Fair (AAF) in 19-21 November – a fantastic event which brings art to people in an unpretentious, straight-forward way. Head down to the F1 Pit Building (1 Republic Boulevard) from 11am and drink in art for art’s sake. The AAF was created by London art dealer, Will Ramsay in 1999 and is now held annually in eight cities including New York, Amsterdam, Brussels and Sydney. Singapore joins in the fray this year, a skip ahead of Milan which rolls it out only in 2011.

Gallery: Villa del Arte  
Artist: Francoise Nielly
Title of Artwork: Nr 513

Gallery: Vue Privée
Artist: Alex MacLean

Title of Artwork: Phelps Dodge Large Open Pit Mine and Tailings 1, Bagdad, Arizona, USA (Cessna 172)

So what can you expect there? More than 60 galleries from around the world showcasing contemporary artworks ranging from painting, photography and sculpture to drawings and print works. Priced between $100 and $10,000, the bulk of it will be below $7,500, so bring your cheque books and sign away with abandon!

Gallery: Vue Privée
Artist: Yann Chatelin & Alexandre Dupeyron
Title of Artwork: Morocco – 1:17AM
Gallery: OVAS Art Gallery

Artist: Watasayamon Saenghiru
Title of Artwork: The Smile

No need to stick your nose in the air, you’ll get lots of other unpretentious activities like free printmaking demos, free talks by Sotheby’s Institute and even children’s workshops. Take it all in leisurely and stop by for food and drinks at the restaurant, wine bar and café. I will be there.

AAF Brussels
“The success of AAF has been built on debunking the myth that collecting art is only for the rich, its ability to reach out to people from all walks of life, in a new and engaging way,” said Camilla Hewitson, AAF Singapore’s Fair Director. “Most of us think that original art pieces are way beyond our reach, but the stunning success of AAF around the world has proved that this is not the case.” Hear hear!

Tix: Adults $10; Students and Seniors $7 (Pay by OCBC Credit and Debit Cards for a 20% discount off normal ticket prices)
-Ee Waun
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Friday, 29 October 2010

Breakaway - Last Minute Weekend Getaway to Bintan Lagoon

Sweeties! If you’ve forgotten to make plans for the long Deepavali weekend, here’s a blessed heads up – Make last minute bookings!! I just heard from the horse’s mouth that Bintan Lagoon Resort still has vacancies ….not because no one wants to go there, but it seems last minute bookings are de rigeur when it comes to long weekends. I used to go to the resort several times a year because of its stupendously delicious and accessible beach – to me, the best beach in the region, a broad, long swath of flat, powdery sand and crashing waves.

Going there is a brainless, effortless task which makes it a perfect last minute resort (no pun intended). Just toss in some clothes and swim suit, and hop on the ferry and before you’ve finished doing your last minute emailing to colleagues, you’re there! The good news is, this refurbished resort a quick swim away from Singapore has a deepavali package - from S$272 nett.

Make sure you reserve at a seat for dinner at its new beachfront restaurant 3 Degrees on 5 November, and see sparks fly at its special 5-minute fireworks display. If you are the partying sort, there’s Bollywood style boogieing at Silk Club.

But I’d rather just stay at the restaurant, smack bang on the sand and space out. The restaurant itself consists of three sections including alfresco dining, air conditioned main restaurant and the beach bar and upper sundeck, accessible from the beach, with sunloungers, drinks and munchies.

Book at and get a 5% rebate upon check out.
- Ee Waun
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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Binge - Deepavali Dining

Every year, my neighbour, Mr Kumar, a most successful businessman and intensely generous soul, invites the entire neighbourhood to his place for a Deepavali bash. As it is every year, his parties are drop-dead superb affairs with a lavish spread that stretches his entire garden, with full lamb on a spit, revolving shwarma with chef to slice slivers of meat into your wrap, ice kachang made on the spot, a full, bottomless and generous bar, laksa served a la minute, popiah rolled as your order, and lots more. No wonder the neighbours all turn up without fail, and that’s where we have our yearly get together full of goodness and community spirit. Last year, he even had a roving photographer take pictures of guests and had it beamed directly on a huge TV screen. That family certainly knows how to throw a party! It’s a pity that this year, I will miss it, as I’m pottering off to Shanghai for the weekend.

But Deepavali is such a lovely festival to celebrate, with tiny flickering oil lamps prettying up the night and symbolizing good conquering evil. What’s lovely too is the rich, complex Indian food that we simply must indulge in to get into the mood, us being multiracial Singaporeans. Happily, the restaurants and hotels are getting into the groove lately, doling out Diwali goodies for the season. So where to head to for our spicy fix next weekend?
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre’s evergreen Tandoor restaurant, known for being one of the best Indian restaurants in town, is serving up Diwali Food Mela. Leave the diet at the door, and wolf down all-time faves like Chaat, Handi Biryanis, Dosai, Kebabs, etc, from 6-7 November. ($42.00 for adults and $19.50 for kids). From now till 10 Nov, sugar up with Indian sweets or gift them in the form of the restaurant’s festive gift sets packed with Almond and Pista triangles, Pista and Cashew rolls, Apricot and Saffron Burfi, Khaja Dry Fruit and Nut Fudge and Moti Chur Ladoo. Blasting the underarm hang can wait.

Tel: 6730 0153
Want gifts of absolute gorgeousness and sweet saturation? Grab the mithai gift boxes from Rang Mahal, another bastion of swoon-worthy Indian cuisine, located at the Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore. The Premium Mitthai Jewel Box (30 pcs+ 1 bag of signature spiced nuts; pix at top of post) is $80 and features an intricate rhinestone and mirror piece; while the more modest Ladoo collection (above) is absolutely cute and chirpy at $55. No need to say more, just look at the pretty pictures.
Tel: 6333 1788
Over at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, stylish Asian restaurant Straits Kitchen doles out the goods from 2-12 November with traditional yums like Tandoori Chicken, Roti Prata, Lamb Kofta, Dhum Briyani, Barawan Capati and saturated sweet treats, including my favourite Gulab Jamun, Kesari and Barfi. Prices range from $41-$52 per adult, and $19.50 - $26 per child, depending on time and dates. Extra goodies are tossed in on 4-6 November.
Tel: 67381234
For Bollywood tunes, ghazals, live music and a real Diwali treat, head to Shahi Maharani at Raffles City on Diwali day itself (5 Nov) and dive into a pan-India spread - chaats from Mumbai, succulent Kebabs from Lucknow, curries from Kashmir, Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Sindh, and desserts from Bengal. Listen hard enough – aren’t the Dum Biryanis and Jalebis calling your name? $59 per person.
Raffles City Shopping Centre #03-21B
Tel: 6235 8840
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Monday, 25 October 2010

Buys - What's blowing into your wardrobe this Fall? Part 3

In sunny Singapore, Fall focuses on Tribal and homegrown brand, alldressedup offers up a year end collection that answers the call of the wild. 

Polynesian tribal traditions produce an atelier-like collection that is exotic, sophisticated and stunning.  Inspired by tribal tattoos, their environment, adornments and weapons – sand, forest green, camo, ash grey, olive, burnt orange, dried blood, turquoise, ivory, anthracite,
oxidized silver, hematite, antique bronze, and dark ink tones. 

There are some interesting details to the collection this season, one of which is pin tucks that contour fabric to the body for jersey tops and dresses. 

The other is threadwork incorporating matt metallic sequins applied onto areas like necklines and sleeves, adding a hint of casual glamour. Other innovations include braided cords used not only to add detail but also to bunch the fabric of jersey items, creating fluid drapes and flattering folds. 

Look out for bags and accessories that are inspired by tribal adornments with edgy,  modern finishes. 

Slouchy nappa leather and hand-knitted bags also feature  with structural details like matt, metallic hardware, tribal scarification motifs, and knotted leather, metallic snake chain and meshcord shoulder straps. 

Match the outfit with accessories including  necklaces adorned with feathers, wire mesh, metallic snake chains and petersham ribbons all corded together into exotic statement pieces.

- Elaine
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Buys - What's blowing into your wardrobe this Fall? Part 2

I particularly love Juicy Couture during the Winter as the brand manages to to add that right amount of attitude and colour to brighten what would otherwise look like a drab black season. I used to think this was a brand for skinny, young girls but I think with the right pairings, any one can carry the looks below with style and ease. 
I like this look - casual, clean and chic rather than sloppy. I am inspired to look less like I tumbled out of bed and more like I made the effort to co-ordinate. Rushing out to buy this camel coat this weekend!

And if I really have to wear sweat pants, I promise to liven the look with a hint of colour! Love those ear muffs - this season's MUST buy! 

It will take me some courage to wear that headband but that seems to be the look this year. Love the bag and the jeans jacket. Totally inspired now to be less jaded and more juicy!!

- Elaine
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Buys - What's blowing into your wardrobe this Fall?

Temperatures are cooling in Hong Kong this week and the shops have taken cue and rushed out all their Winter wardrobe wins. I have not quite got down to putting away my Summer stuff because 25 degrees is still hardly considered Winter but I have to admit that I have been curiously poking my head into a few stores to see what Winter has blown in. 

At Club Monaco, the key material is 'Lace', this November and find hints of it subtly sewn onto gloves, scarves, clutches and overlaid on the edges of skirts and shorts. 

Winter whites and camel team up with faux fur in trappers and cowls. 
Also look out for some festive pieces with metallic sparkles. The accessories too take on a sparkle. Find Bib necklaces and bracelets adorned in rhinestone and gems.

If the weather is still warm where you are at. look out for hues of nude, beige accented with pink. The look is tulle skirts and silk shirts and shorts that offer sheer and shine for a sophisticated look. See:

- Elaine

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Binge - For Barista 'wanna-bees', the Lattissima is a 'must-buy'!

In search of a coffee machine? There has never been a better time then now to get the ultimate all-in-one. Nespresso has just launched their new "Lattissima" a state-of-the-art machine that promises to hone the "home barista" in you. In short, you can run your own professional cafe at home, well almost, with the right ingredients and Nespresso capsules, of course! 

SimplyFab was invited for a recent private preview at the brand's swanky IFC boutique. At the same time, the lovely "coffee ladies" there brewed me a cup of their latest flavour, a limited edition blend called 'kazaar' and showed me how to brew a special recipe with it which I will share in a later post. 

Just on first impressions, the Latissima is no where as sexy looking as the Platinum Cube (I am a proud owner). However after I was properly introduced, I have to say that quite honestly, one classy lady to another (LOL) that I was suitably impressed! 

This is by far, the simplest fuss-free coffee machine to operate, clean and use. Everything is as you see, from cup warmer to milk frother is detachable and all fitted into one space-saving square box stand! 

The main difference (for me) between this machine and all the other brands that I have come across is in the four buttons on the machine body meant for you to select the type of coffee you want to enjoy - Lungo, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Espresso. 

The Platinum Cube only allows you to dispense coffee capsules and you use the accompanying Aerocino (milk frother) sold separately to determine the kind of coffee you want as after all the difference between a cappucino and a latte is basically in the amount of milk used. 

There are two additional buttons, one for water and one for milk and the Latissima controls the milk flow for you a the touch of a button so that if you want a gourmet coffee, you don't have to think too hard about how much milk to add to get what you want. Press 'capuccino' and just the right amount of milk gets dispensed and frothed into your cup. If you want it black, omit the milk. 

I liked the 'Water' button which allows you just dispense hot water throughout the various parts of the machine for self cleaning or you can get creative, put a teabag into a tea cup and use it to make a cuppa. In the Winter, warm up your cups on the flat top of the machine - now that is what I call using up all the sum of its parts!  PS. the machine comes in creamy white (seen here at HK$4,688), mysterious black (HK$4,988) and premium silver (HK$6,688)to match that dream counter top!  Now don't you want one already?

Available at Nespresso boutiques at The Elements Mall at Kowloon Station (2nd level, shop #2096) and IFC Mall in Central (Shop 1021, Podium Level One). 

- Elaine

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Gadgets - Just Need To Have Olympus' Retro Glam Pen Digital SLR Camera

For all the camera-toting, snap-happy sisters out there who take their photos seriously, the Olympus PEN camera is just the thing. I use a beefy SLR myself which gives me lots of pleasure, but if I had seen this pretty baby earlier in scarlet mock croc, I would have bagged it for myself first! Not only does it pack all the retro-glam in its lightweight, compact body, with full digital SLR capabilities including taking movies, voice recordings and art filters, you can also change its skin as you like, from mock croc to red leather, complete with swash-buckling leather strap!

All these lovely accessories (and more) can be picked up at Olympus’ new online store at opened, and is the second in Asia after South Korea. Such a girly camera for us, but it packs a serious punch too, so don’t underestimate the ladies here.

If your man is the photography buff, the Olympus digital PEN E-P2 Special Black Flash Edition (right) is  a great Christmas prezzie, in all its nostalgic gorgeousness complete with a metal body, a small M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake lens, retro flash and classic cap, and 8GB SD Card. Available from late this month, it’s priced at S$1,598. Look at the pictures – it’s hard to resist!

PS. The cameras are also available in most major retailers and dealers. More details at

- Ee Waun
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Binge - Worthy Watering Holes and New Grazing Pastures - Part 2

More on the wild and wonderful in Hong Kong - here are a few more NEW hotspots to check out the next time you have a girls night out.

Don't let it RAYNE on your parade. Pour on the smiles at Rayne, a new urban Chic Wine And Cocktail Bar On Wyndham where amazing cocktails, top class service, and the latest lounge and house music awaits. This glamorous space designed by Natasha Usher of Nude Designs, a Hong Kong based design and architecture firm and brings hints of "chinoiserie together with art nouveau design motifs". Look out for water features, sculptural lights, signature furniture pieces creating a stylish Bar and Lounge that will add a feminine touch to Hong Kong's vibrant night scene.

Shop F, G/F Yu Yuet Lai Building,
43-55 Wyndham Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2840 1955

Over in Central, HUSH beckons. Nestled above the daily hustle of Lan Kwai Fong on Glenealy, hush brings you the peace and tranquillity you need after a long day.

A warm and classy interior with leather sofas and a private patio, enjoy live acoustic music on selective weekday nights and groove to the DJ's beats on weekends. Sip on any of their fine molecular cocktails

G/F, 2 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2537 2281

Not exactly new but still one of my favourites, ROKA at Pacific Place has a recently expanded cocktail menu with ten new listings that utilize fresh ingredients with traditional Japanese wines, liqueurs and spirits such as umeshu, sake and ROKA’S signature spirit shochu, an ancient spirit distilled from grains like Barley and Rice.

Try their new exciting Martini style cocktails such as Yuzu Sour with smooth refreshing citrus flavours and the Shiibuya Passion, named after the popular Tokyo fashion and business district that perfectly balances the sweetness of fresh Strawberries and Passion fruit with Ginger. Other selections include tall cocktails such as 5 cherries composed of dark cherries marinated in shochu and the refreshing yet cheeky tanuki orange that refers to the comical Japanese stories of a mischievous raccoon dog called tanuki.

Sake lovers can in addition savour popular new sake tasting sets, ideal for two or three to share at HK$ 475, featuring three different sakes including famous Akishka “bambi”, Junmai sake, served in a collectible printed bottle that is all the rage in Japan. On the tasting menu is the refreshing Shirayuki, HonjozoI and a unique sparkling Hitotoki Rose sake. Beer lovers, try any of the three of Hitachino Nest Beer’s most popular ales to Hong Kong. Known for its ‘Owl’ logo, it has found international fame from Europe to the United States.

Pacific Place, Level LG1, Shop 002, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3960 5988
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Friday, 15 October 2010

This Weekend - Warehouse Sale to Help the Needy

If you’ve not a lot planned tomorrow, do a good deed and go the the "Every ONE Can” warehouse sale at 39 Keppel Road #01-02/04, Tanjong Pagar Distripark tomorrow, 16 October, from 10am to 6pm. This is organized by FoodXervices Inc Pte Ltd, a leading food distributor in Singapore, and ONE (SINGAPORE). Buy essential items like rice, noodles, tuna, bread, toilet paper, and proceeds will go to Evercare Welfare Centre (EWC), a volunteer welfare organisation that assists needy individuals and families in the Tiong Bahru area.

“While the economy has turned around, there are still those who find it difficult to put food on their tables. As we are in the food business, FoodXervices Inc is doing what we can to help those in need,” said Nichol Ng, Managing Director of FoodXervices Inc. They hope to fill two whole trucks with food supplies.

Shoppers can also pick up groceries at wholesale prices for their own use, including FoodXervices’ home grown chestnut ice cream, KooriMo. In fact, half the proceeds from ice cream sales will go to the charity drive as well. If you’re not into going down physically, do your bit by buying online at
Meanwhile, yes, we know the picture is a little 'Auntie', but charity doesn't have to be glamorous to be a worth doing, right?!
- Ee Waun

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Binge - Get Ruffled and Truffled!

Can you smell it? The distinct scent of wild garlic with earthy undertones in the air?

Yes, Truffles are back in season at US$2,000 a pound or more at auction and the big boys in the restaurant business in Hong Kong have their stash all ready for the tables. 

It is essential not to cook this delicacy, but only to use it raw, shaved or grated onto a hot dish. So, get ruffled, hot under the collar and follow your nose to:

WHISK on the 5F of The Mira Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui where Singapore's Chef Justin Quek is back for a five-day stint from 13th to 17th October to unveil the Alba White Truffle having just returned from Piedmont, Italy from his annual pilgrimage to hunt down this delicacy. 

Try the Maine Lobster Salad Vinaigrette; Egg Royale with Goose Foie Gras and White Truffle Shavings; Tagliatelle in White Truffle Cream with White truffle Shavings; Pan-roasted Beef Rib Eye, Autumn Vegetables and Natural Jus; White Truffle Ice Cream, Praline, Caramel Roasted Nuts; Coffee, Tea and Petits Fours for HK$1380 +10% service charge, with additional shavings for the true truffle aficionado, at HK$60 per gram. Reservations at: (852) 2368 1111.

H one, at Shop 4008, Podium 4 at IFC Mall in Central also boasts a stash of white truffles from Alba. From now till 30 November, try their starters including the Beef Carpaccio with Celery Heart, Shavings of Parmesan Cheese with White Truffle (3gms - HK$498, 5gms -HK$658), Cream of St.Georges Mushrooms, 62 C Bio Egg, Burrata Cheese, Herbs Infused Oil and white Truffle (2gms-HK$298), Bruschetta with Soft Scrambled Free Range Eggs and White Truffle (3gms - HK$ 418). The creamy egg yolks from the Maran eggs complement well with the soft white truffle and the quail eggs on top bring in extra smoothness to this delicately prepared white truffle starter. For mains, go with the Vialone Nano creamy Risotto with Parmesan Cheese, Meat Juice and White Truffle of Alba (3gms - HK$ 588, 5gms - HK$ 788), Homemade Ravioli filled with Potato, Mascarpone and Egg Yolk with White Truffle (3gms - HK$ 588, 5gms - HK$ 788) or the "Tajarin" from Piemonte with Occelli Butter and White Truffle (3gms-HK$588, 5gms-HK$788). 
Have you had Truffle Ice cream - apparently it tastes and smells heavenly! Reservations at: (852) 2805 0638.

Domani at Level 4, Pacific Place, Admiralty serves up in October, a Risotto allo Zafferano con Crudité di Scampi- a saffron risotto with raw scampi (HK$160), Quail breast stuffed with stewed prunes 24 month aged parmigiano reggiano fondue, maderia sauce and honey (HK$240) and also a white truffle cream and honey duck egg (HK$100) for dessert. Reservations at (852) 2111 1197.

St George's at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui serves up nine spectacular Alba white truffle dishes from 25th October to the end of November. Michelin-star Executive Chef Philippe Orrico has segmented the menu into four styles - 'Traditional', 'Classical', 'Creative' and 'Modern'. In the "Traditional" section, try Risotto Carnoroli with Alba White Truffle, the dish of choice for Italian wedding banquets. In the 'Classical' try the Veal Banquette, Pearl Onion and Alba White Truffle. In the 'Creative' section, try the Roasted Scallops, Risotto Rice Cream with garlic and Parmesan, Apple with Cinnamon and Squid with Alba White Truffle and in the 'Modern' section, get a bite of his mouth-watering dessert, White Chocolate Feuillantine and White Truffle Ice Cream. All Alba White Truffle dishes start from HK$368, plus 10% service charge. Reservations: (852) 3988 0000.

- Elaine
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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Buys - Branded Shades with the Bug Eye Look!

In the market for a new pair of shades to keep out the glare? We bring you our choice of simplyfab branded picks. 

Store away the small round Pu yi's, apparently big bug eyes are still IN. See Liz Hurley in her Hogan's - love how her brown hair frames those bug eyes. Gorgeous even when she is casual!

To stand out, go for funky handles and coloured frames.  

From Hugo Boss - Model number 0289 at S$310. Love this pair as it looks a lot like a coveted Chanel piece that I have been lusting after 
but am just too cheap to buy!  

Gucci Model - Number GG3139 (price unavailable). Gucci is always a safe bet. Can't go wrong with that double G logo in the corner!

Marc Jacobs - Model Number MJ316 (price unavailable). I actually like this piece quite a lot. It has that aviator look and I like the colour of the lenses and frames. Less than stark black - the grey softens the total look!

Bottega Veneta - Model Number BV144s at S$560.00. Free as a butterfly, this whimsical pair adds a bit of fun to your face and wardrobe.  

Alexander Mcqueen - Model Number AMQ4157/s at S$510. 
The late King of quirky cool invents this pair with the funky handles. 
Not sure how it sits on the face but its worth a try!

Maxmara - Model number MM1078/s at S$400. A bit like the Hugo Boss (and Chanel) love the frame colour and the lovely lens colour. Go try! 

- Elaine
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