6 Vital Points to Massage for Health and Beauty

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Hey everyone!

In this day and age of face-paced living, it is almost impossible to relax yourselves especially when you’re residing in Singapore, where one in four workers here reported being highly stressed in a poll conducted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in 2013. Fortnightly pampering sessions like trips to facial spas, massage or nail parlours are reduced to once a month (none, for some) as you rise through the ranks with heavier responsibilities to shoulder because there’s just no time for that. As a former supervisor in a popular tuition centre who had to juggle work, study and love life, I can totally understand the fatigue from working long hours with little time to recuperate. At work, I had to run 3 outlets and be at my ex-bosses’ beck and call, sometimes even working past midnight to tie up loose ends. I worked over the weekends due to lack of manpower and hardly had time for leisure because most shutters would be down by the time I knocked off. With such hectic lifestyle (as with what most working adults are experiencing here, albeit I’m sure not as demanding as mine – that’s why I’m now out of there 😐 ), who would have the time for relaxation?

But do you know that it is very important to relax your body? Not only does it “trigger a flurry of genetic activity that is responsible for some important health benefits“, it also rejuvenates your body and slows down your ageing process! You don’t know how chao lao (old and haggard) I looked when I was slogging at the tuition centre three years ago. I looked frail with terrible complexion, had my hair falling out and fallen sick a couple of times in a short period. All these could have been avoided if I had found a better job hadn’t put so much unnecessary pressure on myself (trying to perfect myself at work) and relaxed. Ex-colleagues used to describe me as a kan chiong spider, overly anxious about everything.

Since I left my job, I had all the time in the world to pamper myself. I started indulging myself with full body massages (occasionally, coz so pricey omg) and foot reflexology and really felt the difference in my general health (slept better, getting sick less often, etc.). I did the latter typically weekly. Even so, you know how expensive such massages are in Singapore. Each 40-minute reflexology session costs at least S$30 at some places and doing it long term will make me go miserably broke.

Then one day, I had this sudden realisation that I could do the massage myself (learnt by secretly observing the masseur’s techniques ohohohoho!!). It’s a bit troublesome lah but I could save LOTS of money in the long run, so why not? And it works even better with this Warming and Facial Body Roller I had received from Panasonic to review as part of the requirements for being a finalist of the Singapore Blog Awards.

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Warming Facial & Body Roller EH-SP32 (S$189)

The Warming Facial & Body Roller is such an amazing tool – it comes with two detachable rollers (squeezing and stroking rollers) to suit use and preference and even has a heating element to create warming effect on skin! I largely enjoy using it because of this feature. It’s like putting a warm towel on your body.

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Detachable rollers for squeezing and stroking

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Adjustable temperature – Hi (approx 48°C) and Low (44°C) available

So now I’m going to share with you guys the areas on your body to massage, as well as some really simple (yet very beneficial) massage techniques I’ve acquired by observation and research combined with my takeaway from my recently attended workshop conducted by top health and beauty guru, Bryan Gan 老师!

IMPORTANT NOTES!

▪ Do not use the device with any lotions, oils, creams or alcohol wipes as doing so may damage the roller.
▪ Do not soak product in water or use in locations with high temperatures and levels of humidity as it is not waterproof.
Do not use the roller while wearing makeup as the makeup can get into the gaps in the roller and damage it.
▪ Do not wash the product. Wipe with baby wipes (no alcohol wipes) after use.

1. Face

Facial massages, although easy and intuitive, are often overlooked but do you know that by relaxing your facial muscles and connective tissues, you’re actually softening your expression-induced lines around your eyes, lips and brows, helps expel acne-causing toxins and de-puffs and brightens the eye area [1]? That’s right! By massaging your face often, you not only get a face lift naturally, you also save money on Botox! But remember, all facial massages are to be done in an upward direction. You don’t want your skin to sag as a result of the massage, right?

Psst.. If you don’t have a roller, just stroke with your fingers or massage in rotational movements 🙂

  • Set your temperature to ‘LOW’. Beginning with your contour lines, move the squeezing roller from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the ears so as to squeeze and lift. Also, clench your jaw and roll onto the masseter muscles (a.k.a jaw muscles, the upper part of your jaw that’s protruding out, both sides) 10 times. Push one end of the diamond roller into the masseter muscle and rotate around it. Do it 5 times for the first time and gradually increase it to 10 times. This can help to relieve constipation and migraine.
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Hehe like my illustration? Face modelled after mine with some modifications of course. Purposely added blush and bronzer to the face (contours) because I’m a beauty blogger after all mah

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Contour lines

  • Switching to the stroking roller, move it toward the outer side of the face so as to pull the corners of the mouth upward. Do this 10 to 15 times.

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  • Move the roller from the side of the mouth to the cheekbones. Do this 10 to 15 times.

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  • Move the roller from the corner of the nose to the ear and slowly move upwards to the area under the eyes. Do this 5 to 10 times because the skin there is more tender. This will help to soothe puffiness and relieve muscle tension under the eyes.

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  • Move the roller to your forehead in an upward direction. Do this 10 to 15 times. This will help to even out the skin (no more wrinkles!) above your brows.

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  • And finally, move the roller up from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the lower lip. Do this 10 to 15 times.

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2. Scalp

If you’ve been to salons to get your hair washed, you might have experienced having your scalp massaged for a few minutes. It’s one of my favourite moments in the salon because the feeling is so orgasmic and I’d sometimes fall asleep unknowingly. Well, scalp massage actually helps to increase blood flow to the hair follicles, thus promoting hair growth. It can also ease the tension you feel in your neck and behind your eyes.

I’d sometimes rub and knead the skin of my scalp with my bare fingers which can get tiring after a while. Now that I have the roller, it makes my life even easier! A technique that I’ve come up with, it’s not as enjoyable as having your scalp massaged by a professional but it’s still better than nothing. Use the roller with a teeny weeny bit more strength.

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Start with your hairline

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Then to your main scalp area

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Move the roller up and down towards the crown

3. Neck

If you have neck stiffness, this is something you should try! Neck stiffness is caused by stress, excessive computer use, head and neck trauma and bad posture. This in turn reduces the blood flow to cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, insomnia, and poor functioning of the immune system. Hence a good neck massage would help relieve that stiffness and rectify or prevent the above problems [2].

Using the squeezing roller, move it up and down and enjoy the grip! Then, move the roller down to the shoulder and back up to your neck again to give it a good massage! Feel the warmth of the roller, it’ll make you feel so good!

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Back

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Side

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(optional) I use the stroking roller to “roll down” my double chin. HAHA!

4. Stomach

The appliance also helps to tone your stomach and at the same time, activates the acupressure points around the stomach area to ease indigestion and bloating (have to be followed by peppermint oil), rid water retention and boost your immune system. Switch to the stroking roller, turn the temperature to ‘HI’ and move the roller up and down. As it’s going to get very comfortable, it’s best to do this exercise on your bed. Do this 30 to 50 times before sleeping 😉

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No supermodel abs to show sorry

5. Arms

If you’re a victim of bye-bye arms like me, this roller can help tone them! It also makes you feel so awesomely good and at the same time, invigorates your tired and aching arms (maybe from carrying all the heavy shopping bags! GSS mah)

  • Going back to the squeezing roller, raise your arm and move the roller up and down your underarm about 50 times (following the stomach exercise) or for around 3 seconds. You will feel the device gripping onto your flabs.

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The product can also be used on your wrist and elbow but I personally use it around my wrist to improve my lung circulation. In Chinese medicine, massaging the wrist (内关 nei guan) ensures smooth flow of Qi (oxygen) in chest and it is good for relieving pain when breathing. It also, among many other benefits, improves cardiac functions; prevents cardiovascular diseases such as angina, stuffy chest, palpitations. Perfect for asthma sufferers like me!

  • Move the roller from the wrist toward the elbow. There is a “point of sleep” on your wrist where massaging it would make you feel drowsy (great if you’re insomniac). It’s located at the point where your ring finger and index finger meet when a line is drawn vertically downward from the fingers to the wrist.

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6. Legs

Despite being the most used part of the body, your thighs are sadly the most neglected part of your leg which you walk on all day. Unless you’re in for a full-body massage, no masseur (especially if he’s a guy) would dare to touch your upper thighs during a reflexology session. It’s a very sensitive area and touching it would give you goosebumps instantly. So yes, you are solely responsible for your poor overworked thighs.

  • To relieve muscle tension around the thighs, move the roller from the knee towards the upper thigh. Do it for about 2 seconds. I like to do it around my inner thigh though ^_^

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Like runners, ladies who love wearing high heels would often experience sore calves. The calves most likely get injured more often than not due to very intensive calves workout or running. Calf muscle injuries can greatly hinder your mobiliy because they are what help you walk, run or jump  so it’s important that you take great care of them.

  • To improve your systemic circulation and reduce scar tissue (happens when your calf injury is left untreated), move the roller from bottom to top. Do this for around 2 seconds.

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Last but not least, alright, this will probably disgust some of you clean freaks out there but hey, I realised that it can also be used on your feet! For obvious reasons, please only do this step after you’ve completed your facial massage haha. And of course, after you’ve washed your feet thoroughly. Feet massage has a truckload of benefits including promoting better sleep, improving blood circulation and relieving aches and pains and many more. After all, your feet are packed with nerve endings connected to every part of your body.

  • Use your squeezing roller and target different points of your feet. Since the diamond roller is quite huge, you can probably only massage the centre of your foot, grip the sides and the area beneath your toes (press the diamond against it – your Tai Yang acupuncture point is somewhere there). If you don’t have the roller, you mainly use your thumb.
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Side

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Press against the middle

There are in fact other areas of concern mentioned by certified massage therapists, like on the buttocks, spine (actually this is worth trying!) and collar bones but I’ve yet to explore them. Essentially, it’s the same massage technique using the squeezing roller – just move the roller up and down and enjoy the warmth and grip!

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In a nutshell… (tl;dr version)

It’s super easy and since the appliance is so portable, you can do it any time, any where, even in your office, in your car, while watching your favourite Korean drama on the computer screen.. you get the gist. What’s more, if you have aged parents at home, you can also help massage their hands or legs with the roller. But be warned, they’ll probably request for MORE sessions like this in the future because it’s seriously very comfortable. (Never mind lah, they like can already. Filial piety mah!)

Like this Warming Facial & Body Roller
by Panasonic?

Great news!

Panasonic Singapore is extending a very special offer to my Singapore resident readers from now till 5 July 2015! The Warming Facial and Body Roller EH-SP32 is now going at $159 (including delivery and GST) with ONE-YEAR warranty. Its usual RPP is S$189. It’s really a great offer and investment, don’t you think? 😉 Better than paying S$60 a month for foot reflexology!

How to order?

1. Email to hanwei.chew01@sg.panasonic.com with subject: “Blog readers’ promo – Panasonic Beauty (omy.sg)”
2. In the email, indicate product name, model, and quantity of purchase.
3. Indicate which blog you saw this promo from (fionaseah.com).

I will be back again to talk about another product range by Panasonic so do stay tuned for it!

If you guys like this post, do remember to cast a vote for me! Thank you so much 🙂

Thanks for reading ❤

Panasonic Singapore

Website | Facebook | Singapore Blog Awards

Cupcakes @ 51 FiveOne Degrees

Hey everyone!

Most of you might have read about the downfall of Crumbs Bake Shop (based in the United States and was once the largest cupcake company in the world) and how the gourmet cupcake trend has been on a decline over the past few years. Fortunately, most if not all of the cupcakeries I patronise in Singapore are still surviving even though queues have significantly shortened and some (the more indie ones) have also pared down their operating hours.

As an ardent lover of gourmet cupcakes, I’m always on the lookout for spectacular cupcakes that are sold in physical stores (so that I can try some flavours without having to meet the minimum order, unlike buying from online shops) and recently, I came to know about this cupcakery at Toa Payoh North (just across SPH building) which has already got me hooked and had me return for the second time (despite staying in the extreme west of Singapore). It may not be the most convenient place to get to, but trust me, the cupcakes are worth the 15-minute walk from the nearest MRT station under the scorching hot sun! And the calories.

So if you guys haven’t heard of 51 FiveOne Degrees, it’s about time you do. Apparently, it’s quite a well-known cupcakery too, having featured on The Straits Times, herworldPLUSThe Smart Local and many others I believe I have yet to stumble upon.

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Shop front

My first box of 51 FiveOne Degrees cupcakes was given to me by my boyfriend who discovered the gem one fine day when he decided to make a detour to his workplace. It was one of the best gifts from him ever.

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So pretty and summer-isque! I didn’t note down the name though because we were in a hurry 😦

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More cupcakes!

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They sell tarts too!

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And more tarts!

At S$3.80 per cupcake, prices are generally higher than those sold in mainstream cupcakeries like Twelve Cupcakes. 51 FiveOne Degrees, however, offers a discounted rate of S$20 for a box of 6. You’d be so tempted to buy more than you can stomach simply because it’s way cheaper to purchase in quantities. (It’s okay, you can always share them with your loved ones!)

With a wide variety of flavours to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice! It took me some time to finally decide on the 6 flavours because everything on display looked so appetising and ravishing, especially the swirled frosting and the carefully crafted candy glass!

Here’s what I ordered and a brief review on each of them:

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My cupcake selection 🙂 Top row (from left): Speculoos Cookie Butter, Cookie ‘n’ Cream, Lemon Grey // Bottom row (from left): Forest Berries, Red Velvet, Salted Caramel

Speculoos Cookie Butter is a classic vanilla bean cupcake with Speculoos cookie butter filling topped with buttercream, cookie crumbs and a fraction of a caramalised biscuit.

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Speculoos Cookie Butter cupcake (S$3.80)

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Speculoos cookie butter filling

A must-have for cookie lovers, this is the best cupcake flavour hands down and also my top favourite which I’d always pick as one of my 6 choices. The thick and creamy Speculoos cookie butter filling is the reason why the cupcake is so crunchy and addictive. It’s so good, it just makes you beg for more!

Forest Berries is a classic Madagascar vanilla bean cupcake baked with forest berries and topped with blackcurrant buttercream.

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Forest Berries cupcake (S$3.80)

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Forest Berries cupcake

The presentation is gorgeous and I especially love the little fondant flower placed on the swirls. The cupcake is slightly sour due to the forest berries that are fused into it, as well as the blackcurrant frosting. But on the overall, it’s alright to give this a miss because there are better-tasting flavours!

The Red Velvet cupcake is an all-time favourite classic made with a hint of cocoa and topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

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Red Velvet cupcake (S$3.80)

Moist and soft, it was baked to perfection with a vanilla cream cheese frosting so divine. But it would have fared better on my charts if there was filling in the cupcake.

Cookie ‘n’ Cream is a vanilla bean cupcake blended with cookie crumbs garnished with rich Oreo biscuit buttercream.

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Cookie ‘n’ Cream cupcake (S$3.80)

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Cookie ‘n’ Cream cupcake (pardon the terrible lighting)

I’m a huge sucker for anything Oreo (I love my Fried Oreo, Oreo Cheesecake, Oreo Milkshake, Oreo McFlurry, well, you get the gist) so this was one flavour I had to try. Visually, it looked stunning and appealing. But taste-wise, the absence of filling made it less memorable and the Oreo biscuit that was tucked into the frosting was already soggy by the time I ate it. The cupcake was perfectly moist and fluffy nonetheless and a (surprise!) full piece of Oreo biscuit was also baked into the bottom of the cupcake. On the overall, it’s worth a try but I wouldn’t buy it again.

Salted Caramel is a classic Madagascar vanilla bean cupcake filled with a Fleur De Sel caramel core and topped with buttercream.

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Salted Caramel cupcake (S$3.80)

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Fleur De Sel caramel core

I sank my teeth into the cupcake and felt the thick and gooey caramel filling oozing into my mouth. It was incredible and of course, sweet. The core was relatively big and it occupied most of the middle of the cupcake, enough to satisfy any caramel lover.

And finally, we have Lemon Grey, an Earl Grey cupcake with a lemon curd core topped with lemon buttercream.

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Lemon Grey cupcake (S$3.80)

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Beautiful icing rose

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Lemon curd core

Taking a short break from the usual sweet treats, this cupcake has got nice and refreshing citrusy flavour which would instantly perk you up from your post-lunch slump (thus making it an ideal choice for your takeaway dessert during the workdays). It is tangy and perfectly balanced by the mild sweetness of the Earl Grey cupcakes. Definitely worth a try! 🙂

Apart from cupcakes, people also flock to 51 FiveOne Degrees from all over Singapore for their chiffon cakes which apparently are their best sellers! Widely adored for their soft and cottony texture, these chiffon cakes come in 3 flavours – Premium Chocolate, Orange and Pandan – and they typically sell out by noon. We bought the Pandan one for S$13.50. Not sure if the same price applies to the other two flavours.

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Pandan Chiffon Cake

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Pandan Chiffon Cake

By the way, did you know that this cupcakery is owned by a 23-year-old Singaporean girl? Her baking skills are truly astonishing especially at such a tender age. I will definitely return again to try the filled tarts and more cupcakes. New flavours for the latter are introduced every now and then and I’m pretty excited to find out what great flavours are in store! The catalogue on its Facebook page and website isn’t up-to-date though, so they only way to know all the flavours is to visit the physical store.

That’s all for this review 🙂

Thanks for reading! ❤

51 FiveOne Degrees
203 Toa Payoh North
#01-1113
Singapore 310203
Tel : 6526 9328
Operating hours: Mon-Fri – 11:55am – 8:55pm
Sat – Sun – Closed
Website | Facebook

Durian Fiesta 2015 & Taiwan Porridge Buffet @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Hey everyone!

It’s the time of the year again when the familiar pungent smell of durians fills the air of Geylang and many neighbourhood centres. Lovers of the world’s smelliest fruit crowd around durian stalls island-wide, looking to sink their teeth into the creamy, sweet (or bitter, if you’d like it to be) and fibrous flesh. Many businesses have also joined in the craze by incorporating the king of fruits into their menu – typically in buffet style – to entice durian lovers like myself who want to try something different. However, prices for such durian feasts tend to be on the high side so I had to narrow my choices down to one. And after much deliberation (RWS’ durian buffet looks really tempting too but is unfortunately way beyond my budget), I decided to give Durian Fiesta at Goodwood Park Hotel a go!

Incepted in 1983, the Durian Fiesta returns annually to much fanfare. This year, to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence, it has also introduced 6 new creations made with D24 durians to the line-up of the durian-centric goodies, twice as many as usual. They are the Instagram-worthy Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake, Durian Carrot-Walnut Cake, Mini Durian Chocolate Wafer Rolls, Durian Macarons, Durian Egg Tartlets and “Mao Shan Wang” Horn which can be purchased at the hotel’s Deli starting from 16 March 2015.

The highly-anticipated dessert buffet with durian pastries was only available from 30 May during dinner and lunch at the Coffee Lounge. It was so popular that tables on the first week were fully snapped up when I tried to make my reservations. I had to wait ’til the following Friday to successfully get one :\

For S$35.80++ per person (or top-up S$28.80++ for Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main
course order), patrons would be treated to a nice selection of food at the buffet table, including some of the new creations that can be quite expensive if bought à la carte (à la carte prices in brackets).

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Durian puffs, one of the signature items offered at the buffet (U.P. S$8.55 for 2 pieces; S$21.40 for 6 pieces; S$51.35 for 20 pieces)

A signature at Goodwood Park Hotel, these pretty puffs have lavish swirls of creamy D24 durian carefully wedged between fluffy choux pastry cases.

I loved the thick and intensified durian puree and it’s such a fun pastry to eat because you can easily pop a few of these into your mouth due to its small size! But I felt that the puffs would be a lot nicer if they were refrigerated. Those I had were kept in room temperature for some time so it kinda lacked the shiok factor.

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Durian Mousse Cake (U.P. S$11.75 per slice; S$68.50 for 1.3kg cake; S$128.40 for 2.5kg cake; S$176.55 for 3.5kg cake)

The star that launched the inaugural Durian Fiesta in 1983, this legendary cake is ultimate indulgence with generous lashings of pulpy D24 durian mousse.

Probably the main highlight of this buffet, the cake scores high on presentation (love the little cubes of durian pastry studded on it) and taste. Described by my boyfriend as thick, moist and delicious, the cake was 100% pure rich durian which can be quite gelat (Singaporean slang for flavour overdose caused be having something overly sweet, salty, spicy and etc.) after a while so unless you’re obsessed with durians, you wouldn’t want to go beyond one slice.

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Durian Cappuccino Cake, back by demand after a 3-year absence (U.P.  $11.75 per slice; $62.05 for whole cake weighing 1 kg)

Back for the first time since its inception in 2011, this alluring cake is a 30cm-long stack of cappuccino
mousse, lush durian mousse and chocolate sponge ensconced in yellow-gold crumbs of vanilla sponge.

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Durian Macarons (U.P.  S$22.45 for 6 pieces)

Given a local slant are these French confections comprising creamy, pulpy durian sandwiched between crisp dark chocolate shells – simple, but satisfyingly decadent.

As a macaron lover, I was really looking forward to the durian macarons at the buffet! But they left me rather disappointed because I didn’t think that the (mild taste of) dark chocolate complemented well with the durian center. Boyfriend, on the other hand, felt that he was overdosing on sugar. You know, as boring as it may sound, I seriously wouldn’t mind if the macarons were made entirely of durians. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! 🙂

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Durian Wafer Roll (U.P. S$32.10 for 10 pieces)

Delicate in size but brimming with flavour, these thick wafer cylinders curled around pulpy durian cream are blanketed in dark chocolate and finished with chopped nuts for extra crunch.

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Making of Durian Crêpe

Making of Durian Crêpe

Making of Durian Crêpe

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Durian Crêpe (U.P. S$9.65 per piece; S$68.50 for 8 pieces)

Featuring creamy durian pulp neatly enveloped in ultra-thin crepe, this stellar dessert makes for a simple yet satisfying treat.

The mini durian crêpe was prepared in full view of the patrons and regularly replenished because they ran out so quickly. But we personally felt that they were nothing short of ordinary. The palm-sized crêpe was thin and not crispy at all (the chef could perhaps leave them on the pan for a little longer). Its only saving grace was the generous amount of durian puree wedged in the middle.

The above pastries pretty much constitute more than three-quarter of the durian dessert buffet. As you can see, not all the much-hyped new creations were included in the buffet. The food choices were indeed very limited too (in fact I was kinda astounded to see the limited selection of food the first time I entered the restaurant) and I wouldn’t recommend paying close to S$40 (seriously, with that kind of price for a substandard buffet, I’d rather spend it all on a few kilograms of 红虾 durians) for it despite the presence of regular sweet treats to make up for the shortcoming. Don’t expect to leave the place with a satisfied tummy if you’re merely there for the dessert buffet.

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Other food items available: Chocolate Banana Cake

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Sour Sop

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Rocher Roll

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Cheesecake, if my memory doesn’t fail me. It’s actually not bad!

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Ang Ku Kueh

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Kueh Lapis Sagu

Knowing that the dessert buffet wouldn’t fill us up, Boyfriend and I had opted for the Taiwan porridge à la carte buffet which is also inclusive of the dessert buffet with durian pastries. Although slightly more costly at S$49.80++ per person, the price difference of S$14++ gives you full access to free flow of sweet potato porridge and classic dishes so that you can eat to your hearts’ content. Furthermore, each guest also gets to enjoy 1 serving of D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread, created in celebration of the nation’s golden jubilee. Without a doubt, this buffet steals the limelight with its much wider variety and bigger portions of food as compared to the dessert buffet and it would be foolish not to settle for this buffet option when you’re there. After all, it’s what Goodwood Park Hotel is well-known for!

All dishes were freshly prepared in the kitchen and served to our table. Here’s what we ordered:

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Taiwanese Sausage (appetiser)

Apart from Taiwanese sausages, there were also Salted Fish with Salted Egg, Baby Squids in Sweet Oyster Sauce, Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds and Shredded Bamboo Shoots with Chilli Oil that you can order for appetisers.

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Fried Omelette with Prawns and Onions

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Fried Omelette with Chye Poh

“When in doubt, choose both.” Hence, we got two different types of fried omelette because we simply couldn’t choose. Both were good and loaded with generous servings of prawns and chye poh. The omelette itself was thick and perfectly golden too!

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Wok Fried Beef with Black Pepper

Tender and tasty, the beef slices were sublime with the right chewy texture and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It would be better if more black pepper was sprinkled onto the beef though.

Another beef dish on the menu was Wok Beef with Spring Onions and Ginger which sounds absolutely mouth-watering, I know. I would order that as well if my stomach hadn’t filled to maximum capacity. 😐

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Stir Fried Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce

I ordered some greens to complete the meal and to hopefully relieve some of my body heat (from eating too much junk food recently). The Kai Lan was fresh and super crunchy. I loved it so much that I even called for a second serving.

Not a fan of Kai Lan? No worries. There are also other vegetable dishes to choose from including Stir Fried Broccoli with Garlic, Stir Fried French Beans with Dried Shrimps, Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish, Stir Fired Eggplant with Minced Pork and Stir Fried Kang Kong with Sambal. With so many varieties to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like or excites your palate 🙂

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Sautéed Chicken with Dried Chilli (宫保鸡丁)

Soft and savoury, the diced chicken glistened with the tangy coating sauce. The dried chilli also gave it an added tinge of spiciness. Yummy! 🙂

Also available are Sautéed Chicken with Spring Onions and Ginger, Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste (虾酱鸡) and Stir Fried Chicken with Black Beans. The menu also includes pork dishes such as Muy Choy with Pork, Steamed Minced Pork with Prawn Paste, Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce and Shredded Pork with Preserved Vegetables.

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

The highlight of the meal, we had our money’s worth out of this steamed Sea Bass. The fish was reasonably big for 2 people and had incredibly fresh and tender flesh. The layer of fried garlic enhanced the overall flavour of the fish and gave it an extra crunch (saying this even though I absolutely detest fried garlic because I accidentally took a bite of the fish with some fried garlic and actually liked it!).

Unfortunately, fish dishes are only limited to one order per table so we didn’t get to try the other fish item on the menu – Deep Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce. However, you get to enjoy unlimited serving of the Sautéed Prawns with Dried Chilli which is also on the seafood menu.

As we were already partially satiated from the durian buffet, we didn’t have the stomach space for more porridge dishes such as beancurd (boyfriend’s favourite). Beancurd lovers would be ecstatic to know that there are 4 different types of beancurd dishes to choose from namely Chilled Beancurd in Japanese Soya Sauce and Pork Floss, Braised Beancurd with Minced Meat, Braised Beancurd with Chicken and Salted Fish and Home Styled Tofu.

Towards the end of the meal, we were served the D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread but to our disappointment, it turned out to be entirely different from what we had expected.

We got this:

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D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread (S$7.50++)

..when we were actually expecting this:

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Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (S$11.75++)

Imagine our surprise when we were served the actual Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread. I couldn’t help but feel slightly cheated. 😦

Granted, it was probably our fault for misreading the name but surely Goodwood Park Hotel could have done a better job at coming up with a more distinctive name for the rainbow bread, right? Or perhaps, place a picture of the product somewhere on the menu to avoid confusion (especially) among first-timers like us because I’m sure we weren’t the only ones being misled.

But anyway, we tried the one with the rainbow bread (a scoop of D24 durian ice cream sandwiched between bread) and subsequently bought a piece of the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (a layer of vivid-coloured cake hugging the core of the D24 durian ice cream) before we left the restaurant. Countless photos of the latter have been making the rounds on various social media platforms so it was absolutely necessary to try it or my durian buffet experience would be incomplete. Both of them contain luscious D24 durian ice cream but of course, the one embedded in the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake was bigger, richer and more satisfying which tasted a lot like the actual fruit. For S$11.75++, you’re actually paying for the novelty. It’s delectable but a little too expensive for a cake slightly bigger than the size of my.. palm? Still, I’d recommend durian lovers to give it a try 🙂

On the overall, the dessert buffet with durian pastries was a hit or miss and definitely not worth the price tag. But the Taiwan porridge à la carte buffet was commendable and certainly warrants a second visit.

Durian Fiesta Price Options (16 Mar 2015 – 2 Aug 2015)

$35.80++ per person (Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries only)
$28.80++ per person (Top-up of Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main course order)
$49.80++ per adult, $24.90++ per child (Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, inclusive of Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries)

Dine-in prices are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing GST. Child price is for children aged 6 – 11 years

That’s all I have for this review!

Thanks for reading ❤

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Durian Fiesta: 16 March 2015 – 2 August 2015
Deli operating hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Coffee Lounge operating hours: 12:00pm to 2:30pm (lunch),
6:00pm to 10:30pm (dinner)
Tel: 6737 7411
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Reservations

REVIEW: MAC The Matte Lip 2015 Lipsticks – Whirl, Persistence, Stone, Antique Velvet, D For Danger, Instigator & Matte Royal

Hey fellow beautyholics!

I haven’t been blogging much about beauty lately because I’ve been swamped with work and other commitments that makes sitting in front of the camera for more than 2 hours seem impossible. Ever since getting shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s Singapore Blog Awards, my schedule has been packed with events after events as I hope to get the latest scoop on some of the latest beauty products so that I can introduce them to you guys! I will be covering what I’ve tried in more detail soon, but first…

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The Matte Lip (don’t you just love the colours of the petals? So sweet and feminine!)

It’s time to review a new set of MAC lipsticks from The Matte Lip collection! Like, finally some Mattes after all the stupid Lustres. As you may already know, this collection debuted last year with just 8 stunning new shades. But this year, the cosmetic giant decided that it should make a huge comeback by expanding its offering of this “classic suede-like finish with 12 new (and repromoted) shades of Matte and Retro Matte Lipstick” on top of 8 other existing Matte shades (some were previously not available in Singapore stores) that will also be included in this collection. Holy moly, great news for me but definitely not my wallet. Being the extreme Matte enthusiast I am, I carted out a record-breaking 7 lipsticks (it was a real challenge to choose) at once on the day of release, thereby starving myself for the subsequent month because I was so, so broke 😥

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The lipsticks featured in this collection are Runway Hit, Kinda Sexy, Steady Going, Please Me, Naturally Transformed (new), Velvet Teddy, Men Love Mystery (new), Pink Pigeon, Tropic Tonic (new), Flat Out Fabulous, All Fired Up, D For Danger (new), Stone (new), Whirl (new), Persistence (new), Dangerous (repromote), Ruby Woo, Heroine, Studded Kiss (repromote), Antique Velvet (new), Instigator (repromote) and Matte Royal (new).

All 22 of them are said to be permanent but I don’t know how true this is because I cannot seem to find those that were released last year on the website anymore. And speaking about the website, it recently underwent an overhaul and now it looks terribly user-unfriendly and difficult to navigate. I would need some time to get accustomed to this new design so no screen grabs of official swatches for now.

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Overview

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My swatches for The Matte Lip.. 7 of them

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Packaging

In general, the colours are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind. My only gripe is the appearance of the bullets. Nearly all of them came with slightly melted sides or clusters of significantly large (gross-looking) white bumps or spots which I thought were mould at first but are apparently what chemists call “wax bloom” – a term to describe the excretion of oils on to the surface of a lipstick caused by a change of storage temperature. It is perfectly harmless but can look quite repulsive at first glance. I’ve had “sweating” lipsticks from my past MAC purchases but never one with wax bloom, which makes me wonder if other lipsticks from the same batch share the same condition. Therefore, it’s advisable that you check the bullet at the MAC store before purchase (that is, if these imperfections put you off).

#1 Whirl

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Whirl is a dirty rose with Matte finish (US$16)

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Wax bloom on Whirl

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Whirl

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Whirl

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Whirl

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Whirl

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Whirl

This shade is no stranger to those who have been following the makeup trend sparked by Kylie Jenner, who lined her lips with Whirl (lip liner) to achieve her signature pout (and let’s just ignore the fact that she did lip fillers for a second, alright? 😀 ). It used to be a lip liner-exclusive shade and I’m so glad it’s now made into a lipstick too! It unfortunately accentuates my lip lines a little but it’s forgivable because it’s such a lovely neutral! 🙂 But the last time I checked, Whirl was temporarily out of stock on the website. I’m sure it’s gonna be one of the first few to sell out when it’s launched in stores so make sure you’re fast enough!

#2 Persistence

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Persistence is a peachy cinnamon with Matte finish (US$16)

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Persistence

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Persistence

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Persistence

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Persistence

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Persistence

The nudes in this collection are seriously doing very well! Persistence is another favourite of mine from this release. It’s slightly darker than Whirl and has great coverage and consistency which applies like a dream. It’s quite long-lasting too; I wore this out once and it lasted for more than four hours!

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Swatch comparison for Whirl and Persistence

#3 Stone

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Stone is a muted greyish taupe brown with Matte finish (US$16)

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Get what I mean? :\

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Stone

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Stone

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Stone

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Stone

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Stone

If you fancy dirty colours, this would interest you! It’s a very unique shade – kinda reminded me of Styled in Sepia because of its rust-like colour – but somehow it makes me look 10 years older (still worth experimenting though). Stone isn’t entirely opaque, I feel, but like the first two neutrals, it’s very creamy and slightly emollient. Take a break from your usual neutrals and try this for a change! 🙂 This is another popular shade that is not available on the website at the moment.

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Swatch comparison for Stone

#4 Antique Velvet

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Antique Velvet is an intense brown with Matte finish (US$16)

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Melted spot

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Antique Velvet

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Antique Velvet

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Antique Velvet

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Antique Velvet

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Antique Velvet

As the name suggests, it exudes some kind of a rustic charm and is very velvety, making application a breeze. It has a subtle sheen to it and very evidently, not very drying on the lips at all. It is very opaque and has great coverage, giving my lips a fuller look.

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Swatch comparison for Antique Velvet

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Swatch comparison for Antique Velvet – Film Noir comes close

#5 Instigator

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Instigator is a deep blackened plum with Matte finish (US$16)

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Melted spot

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Instigator

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Instigator

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Instigator

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Instigator

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Instigator

This Matte shade looks more like a Satin to me. Smooth but with fairly good coverage, it leaves an uneven finish on my lips. Still, it’s has great colour payoff and this kind of deep plum shade is absolutely alluring, don’t you think? The tiny hint of sheen also makes the lips look hydrated. Instigator was first introduced in Winter 2013 as part of the Punk Couture collection.

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Comparison swatch for Instigator

#6 D For Danger

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D For Danger is a brick red with Matte finish (US$16)

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D For Danger

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D For Danger

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D For Danger

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D For Danger

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D For Danger

My camera couldn’t quite capture the true colour of this shade but trust me, it’s not the usual boring red I had always lamented about in my other reviews. This is a berry red! And it’s so pretty. I have absolutely no complaints about this shade. It has light consistency and good pigmentation, and it wears long and comfortably on my lips. This is the red lipstick to get from this collection.

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Swatch comparison for D For Danger

#7 Matte Royal

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Matte Royal is a deep blue with Matte finish (US$16)

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Wax everywhere

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Matte Royal

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Matte Royal

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Matte Royal

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Matte Royal

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Matte Royal

I tried to be more adventurous in my choices and went for something more unconventional (although I most likely wouldn’t be wearing it out because I’d get stared down for putting on such a weird and funky colour). Matte Royal, however, doesn’t apply evenly although it has a relatively creamy texture. It took me a few layers to fully conceal some parts of my lips. It also came out rather streaky on me so all in all, this doesn’t live up to my expectations. It is temporarily sold out on the website though 😕

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Swatch comparison for Matte Royal

And that’s all from me! I contemplated buying a few more shades from this collection (Tropic Tonic and Studded Kiss are on my list) until I read about the release date for the upcoming Giambattista Valli collection (it’s in early July, by the way!). The lipsticks will cost a fortune for sure, since it’s, you know, designer pieces?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

Thanks for reading ❤

The Matte Lip (2015) is now available on MACCosmetics.com and will be on sale at Singapore outlets from 31 July 2015 (subjected to change).

Combating Hair Loss with Plantur

MEDIA INVITE

Hey ladies!

What do you consider to be some of your best physical features? According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen, most Singaporean women regard their eyes to be their pride and joy – not for me, however, because I have slit eyes and eyelids with irregular creases that always interfered with my eye makeup application. For me, apart from my 瓜子脸 (oval-shaped face), I’d say my hair comes second and I believe many people share the same sentiment about their mane, which made the top 4 in the research. Countless advertisements for hair products (shampoo, hair dye, hair supplements, hair loss clinics and whatnots) flash across our TV and computer screens every day in between shows and video clips, sometimes even on our movie screens, proving the great emphasis we place on our hair in our daily lives.

It’s understandable. I mean, we all know that hair plays an essential part in our social lives. It’s your hair (other than your face) that matters most to first impressions and it’s also what completes your appearance (that’s why we have “bad hair days” and not “bad eyes days” or whatsoever.. right?). Hence, it’s not surprising when the study revealed that most Singaporean women think that looking ugly is the greatest concern related to hair loss. A staggering 9 in 10 Singaporean women also felt that hair loss affects their self-confidence and mood tremendously and out of these respondents, 58% and 51% of them felt helpless and depressed respectively.

My struggle with hair loss

In fact, even though I consider my hair to be one of my best assets, I’ve too got my fair share of hair woes. Just five months shy of turning 25 and already I’m experiencing thinning hair at my crown. It’s a perpetual problem. My hair has always been under constant strain and tension from regular braiding and having tight ponytail (it’s part of the rules in all Singapore schools to have the hair tied up at all times if it extends beyond the uniform collar) since my primary school days because I absolutely detest wearing my hair back loosely and needing to retie over and over again. This habit had caused me to lose a substantial amount of hair along my frontal hairline (became more visible when I was in Secondary 3 and was even taunted in class for that. Humiliating much :\ ) and sometimes even my scalp would hurt when I let it down.

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May 2014 – before the cat fight

Like the 7 in 10 women who responded to the survey, I also wish I had naturally full hair so that I wouldn’t have to rely on artificial fixes. I’ve always felt ashamed of my brittle and lifeless locks. In recent years, I’ve rebonded and dyed my hair and treated my scalp a few times, as well as tried various volumising and hair setting products – which ironically cause more damage than good to my hair (and wallet) – just to “revive” it or conceal my flaws. Not wanting to spend more unnecessary money, I’ve now resorted to bunning up my hair whenever I’m heading outdoors (no thanks to the hot weather). My condition became worse last year when I got into a cat fight with my sister (lolz) and a couple of hundred strands of hair fell out as a result of all the hair-pulling, leaving a 3cm bald patch on my head on top of my existing ones. I attempted to cover them up by combing my hair around but most of the time it just reverted to its normal position unknowingly. :\

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Also May 2014 but after the cat fight 😡

I’ve tried…

Following my uncle’s advice, I hang my head over the edge of my bed while I blow-dry my hair every night for up to 5 minutes to “stimulate blood flow to the head and encourage hair growth” and have also reduced my salt and oil intake. Although I did see improvement in my hair by the second month, the central part of my crown is still noticeably widened especially in pictures where I am facing downwards and my scalp in full view. So embarrassing 😥

Another advice given involves massaging the scalp with honey (or aloe vera). I haven’t personally tried it because I cannot stand the thought of putting sticky substance on my hair. Ewwwww…

But how credible is my uncle’s advice?

Plantur Talk at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

I had the opportunity to clarify my hair loss doubts with some experts in that field – Dr Pirkko Brusila, a specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics from Germany, and Dr Alvin Wong, an aesthetic doctor from SKN MediaAesthetics at a talk about female hair loss for Plantur last week. I asked if there’s any scientific basis to the advice given by my uncle and apparently both doctors agreed that they’re baseless. Therefore I cannot explain how hanging my head upside down helped me to regrow some of my lost hair (could be due to other factors like my higher magnesium and iron diet which are great for overcoming Alopecia). But both doctors were on the same page about letting the hair down (and not tie it/bun it all the time like me) to let the scalp breathe. This will help to reduce hair fall.

Did you know?

It is perfectly normal to lose up to 150 strands of hair a day.

In addition, speaking to the doctors also helped to debunk some common hair misconceptions I had, including the correlation between high salt (sodium) intake and hair loss. There is absolutely no medical evidence that eating too much salty food would cause your hair to fall (but of course too much salt is bad for your health la). Similarly, hair cream marketed to prevent hair loss do not have any scientific evidence behind their claims. However, what may actually promote hair growth is scalp massage using combs, hairbrush or anything that is not too harsh on your scalp.

Did you know?

Natural ageing, bad genes, medical conditions (e.g. irregular periods, acne, thyroid disorders, eczema & dandruff), pregnancy, menopause, stress, poor diet (e.g. anorexia) and external environment (humidity, heat & pollution) are some reasons why women lose hair.

During the talk, the audience was also advised on how to combat hair loss, including having a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, reducing stress and anxiety, not smoking, avoiding tight ponytails and.. (you wouldn’t believe the last one)

Applying caffeine to your hair!

“Whaaaaaaat??”

That’s right. It is scientifically proven that caffeine helps to halt hair loss!

However, it’s not the same as drinking coffee because not everything from there goes to your hair follicles. You’d have to apply the caffeine directly to your scalp for it to be effective as a hair loss treatment. But how?

The Plantur series

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Plantur series

By using hair products with caffeine, of course! And Plantur is just about the right product for the purpose of preventing hair loss. Developed by Dr Wolff Research in collaboration with the dermatology department of university clinics, the products – Plantur 21 and Plantur 39 – contain the Nutri-Caffeine Complex and Phyto-Caffeine Complex respectively.

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Plantur 21

The Nutri-Caffeine Complex in Plantur 21 helps protect against an energy deficit in the hair roots and prevents degradation of the important energy carrier cAMP while Phyto-Caffeine Complex protects the hair roots from premature exhaustion of hair growth and at the same time, provides the hair roots with sufficient energy to grow.

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Plantur 39

From the above, you should be able to guess the distinction between the two ranges of products: Plantur21 is targeted at younger ladies between the age of 21 and 39 while Plantur39 is for women from the age of 40. Both of them are available in three formulae.

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Plantur 21

Products under Plantur21: Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo & Nutri Conditioner

Products under Plantur 21: Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo & Nutri Conditioner

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Plantur 39

Products under Plantur39: Phyto-Caffeine Tonic (for massaging into the scalp), Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo & Conditioner

Products under Plantur 39: Phyto-Caffeine Tonic (for massaging into the scalp), Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo & Conditioner

Since I fall in the targeted age group of Plantur 21, it’s only apt that I explain in more detail about it 😉

An additional effect of the Nutri-Caffeine Complex comes from the valuable micronutrients biotin, magnesium, calcium and zinc. All these were mentioned by the doctors as beneficial for healthy and vigorous hair growth.

Caffeine activates the hair roots and improves hair growth

Biotin regulates the hair roots’ energy levels and contributes to maintaining healthy hair growth

Zinc is the most important trace element in the hair and a growth factor for healthy hair roots. (Another source of zinc is dark chocolate yay great news for chocolate lovers!)

Calcium and magnesium improve the hair roots’ resistance

Plantur 21

The Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo was developed for colour-treated and stressed hair and it also contains conditioning agents that repair the externally stressed hair. The Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, on the other hand, provides protection from an energy deficit in the hair roots, thereby preventing premature hair growth disruption. It is to be applied and massaged into the scalp once a day (daily) without rinsing it out.

Plantur 21 Conditioner

Last but not least, the Nutri Conditioner is formulated especially for dull, colour-treated and stressed hair caused by frequent bleaching, colourations and heat treatments (e.g. blow-drying, straightening – argh, guilty as charged!) It contains micro-nutrients and caffeine (duh), which prevent the valuable ingredients absorbed during application of Plantur21 Shampoo from being rinsed out.

If you have poor hair growth and premature hair loss, it’s recommended that you use both the Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo AND the Nutri-Caffeine Elixir. The latter is more suitable for women who do not wash their hair every day (but omg, why wouldn’t anyone wash their hair every day in this hot and humid country? O_O).

Based on the description above, the order of application would first be the shampoo, followed by the conditioner and then the elixir. That was also the exact sequence used at my Plantur Hair Wash Experience after the talk ^_^ The lady who washed my hair spent a good 10 minutes massaging my scalp with the Elixir! *secretly beaming with joy inside*

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Pre-hair wash. Smiling broadly even though I suffered from major food poisoning that morning v_v

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Post-hair wash!

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Celebrity treatment hahahahah kidding. Blow-drying time!

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Love my post-blow dry hair ❤

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After applying the elixir and getting my hair styled (wavy) by the talented stylists at J’s Salon, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel (address below)!

My hair definitely felt a lot healthier and lighter after the wash!

And there you have it – the Plantur series 🙂

Plantur 21 and 39 hair care product range are available in selected Watsons, Guardian, Unity, NHG pharmacies and independent pharmacies as well as NTUC Fairprice, Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets islandwide. Prices are S$18.90 for a shampoo, S$12.90 for a conditioner and S$19.90 for the tonic/elixir. Pretty affordable eh? 🙂

Plantur is strictly only for the ladies, by the way! But fret not guys, there’s also another range of products formulated just for you! It’s the Alpecin series which also uses the special caffeine formula to prevent hair loss. Prices for that are also rather similar to Plantur – S$12.90 for Alpecin C1 Shampoo (hair loss shampoo), $15.90 for Alpecin Double Effect Shampoo (hair loss and dandruff) and $17.90 for Alpecin Liquid (hair loss tonic).

Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG          Johanneswerkstr. 34-36         33611 Bielefeld, Germany          Sitz der Gesellschaft ist Bielefeld. Geschäftsführer: Dipl.-Ing. Eduard R. Dörrenberg, Ass. jur. Christoph Harras-Wolff, Dipl.-Kfm. Carsten Heins.

Thanks for the awesome experience, Plantur, Golin PR and J’s Salon! If you’re at J’s Salon, you’ve gotta try their specialty drink Longan with Red Dates! It’s SO GOOD, I tell ya!

Alright, hope this is informative for you ladies 🙂

Thanks for reading! ❤

J’s Salon
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road Level 3
Singapore 169663
Tel: 68340012

PARK @ Holland Village

Hey guys!

My internship officially ended and apart from the fulfilling and rewarding experience I’ve gained from this opportunity (will talk more about my experience in my upcoming University post), I was also exposed to many great eats at Holland Village which is just an MRT stop away from where I worked. Holland Village is known for its eclectic mix of restaurants and cafés, making it a favourite haunt for foodies as well as working adults from nearby places like Buona Vista. Therefore, it is usually bustled with people (including students from schools around the area) especially during lunch hour.

Despite living in the Western side of Singapore all my life, I hardly travel to Holland Village so most of the food establishments there were new to me. But thanks to my wonderful colleagues who seemed to be a lot more well-versed in food trends than me, I now know where to head to when I crave for affordable Eggs Benedict or any American breakfast dish in general. Seriously, there’s a lot of cafés and restaurants selling such hipster food at Holland Village so naturally prices are kept to a reasonable level to keep up with the competition (all clustered at the same area). *secretly happy*

So, my young colleague friends (actually also interns like I was) brought me to this rather popular café that is apparently owned by local television and film actor Adam Chen. If you’re familiar with the place, you should know which establishment I am referring to because there’s only one celebrity-owned café there lah.

Yup, it’s PARK. Unlike its direct competitors D’Good Cafe (will review soon) and Hatched, it’s very conspicuously located beside the traffic intersection at the open junction of Holland Avenue and Holland Road. I remember seeing it a few years back when I was at Holland Village but it was closed (was on a Monday) so I never got the chance to visit it. After a long wait, my chance is finally here!

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PARK @ Holland Village

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PARK @ Holland Village

Indoor seating can be quite limited and it fills up fast especially during peak hours. Outdoor seating is available but I’m not fond of those tall chairs placed outside as I don’t like the idea of having my legs hanging free (and not forgetting they make getting down a whole lot more troublesome).

I think it’s also worth mentioning (to the boys) that the ladies who served us were friendly and… exceptionally pretty. Ah, eye candies to ogle on top of the good food offered at PARK. You’re guaranteed to have a smashing good time there! 😀

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(Friend’s order) Steamed Milk with some really old school biscuits

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Steamed Milk

If you’re yearning for a drink that is sweet and comforting yet healthier than the usual hot coffee or chocolate, perhaps Steamed Milk would make a great choice! It’s something I seldom see on the beverage menu as a standalone item too because it’s usually a dessert, like Steamed Milk custard, right?

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(Friend’s order) Eclair – maybe a new addition because it’s not found on the menu online

This is strictly for huge eclair lovers only because it’s nothing special really, just a blown-up refrigerated eclair.

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Truffle Fries (S$11++)

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Truffle Fries – “Our perennial favorite of fries tossed with white truffle oil and paste, sprinkled with a layer of parmesan cheese.

My colleagues and I had been to PARK together twice and both times we ordered the truffle fries because we really loved it! Depending on personal preferences, I love it for the added generous amount of truffle oil and of course, the grated cheese that melded beautifully with it. The fries were perfectly crispy as well and remained that way towards the end. However I do feel that it’s slightly overpriced because I could get equally good (or even better) and a way bigger portion elsewhere for the same price (or top up $4 for Truffle Shoestring Fries, that’s impossible to finish, at P.S. Cafe). Nonetheless, it’s probably the best truffle fries at Holland Village if you don’t wish to travel so far to satisfy your craving.

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Park Wings (S$9.50++)

We ordered the wings on our first visit and didn’t like them as they really tasted meh – overly dry, bland and lacked the distinctive flavours of the “variety of spices” (really interested to know what kind of spices were used though because I generally love anything with spices) stated on the menu. You wouldn’t want to reach for the second piece after the first and it didn’t help that we kinda overordered and were satiated by the time we finished out mains. But determined not to waste any food, a few of us forced ourselves to finish the wings. It was a torment. 😐

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(Friend’s order) Baked Eggs with Chorizo Sausage in Cocotte (S$15.50++)

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Baked Eggs with Chorizo Sausage in Cocotte – “Baked free range eggs, chorizo sausage, tomato sauce, and vegetables in casserole. Served with rosti, mushrooms, mixed greens, bacon and grilled tomato.”

This is undoubtedly one of the more popular dishes at PARK but I didn’t get to try it because I was too engrossed in my own food. Still, my friend only had good things to say about it and just looking at the pictures (and the ingredients – gosh, that’s a lot of stuff in there) can already make you salivate. I mean, you can never go wrong with runny baked eggs 😉

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Egg Royale (S$16.50++)

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Egg Royale – “Poached egg sit on toast, snow pea and smoked salmon, mixed greens, rosti potato, and sautéed mushrooms, served with home-made hollandaise” One thing not mentioned in the description is the unlimited supply of streaky bacon that came with the dish.

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Egg Royale

Perfectly runny eggs, thick and satiny Hollandaise sauce coupled with a heaping serving of healthy sides which I could never finish (oh là là the grilled cherry tomatoes that burst with juiciness in your mouth). The streaky bacon was way too much and slightly overdone. But on the overall, the dish was good and worth the money. And to prove my unwavering love for the Egg Royale, I actually ordered the same thing on both visits.

Apart from Egg Royale, there are also the standard Eggs Benedict and Egg Florentine (don’t know why only the “eggs” in Eggs Benedict is in plural form oops sorry for the grammar nazism) which really impressed me because finally we have a cafe that knows the different variations of Eggs Benedict. Click here to read more on the different types of Eggs Benny and be enlightened. You’re welcome.

Right after our hearty and satisfying lunch, we figured that we had some time and energy for camwhoring (we kinda devoted most of our Friday afternoons to intensive camwhoring sessions, especially after I bought a new selfie camera). Please bear with me while I share with you three of my favourite wefie shots outside PARK!

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Too much free time after lunch

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Everyone loves to camwhore using my camera hahaha

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❤ Miss this group of people so much!

And that’s about it!

Thanks for reading 🙂

PARK
281 Holland Ave
#01-01
Singapore 208996
For reservations, SMS no. of pax, time
and date of booking to +65 9721 3815 or
email info@parkgroup.com.sg
Operating hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays, Sundays – 11:00am – 12:00am,
Fridays and Saturdays – 11:00am – 2:00 am,
(kitchen may close a few hours prior to official closing)
Closed on Mondays
Website | Menu | Facebook

Nara Thai @ ION Orchard + The Entertainer App

MEDIA INVITE

Hello guys!

What comes to your mind when you think of Bangkok? Being a shopping haven for both locals and foreigners, it’s inevitable to think about all the trendy apparels and accessories you can get at a bargain price at the Land of Smiles. For me, I get reminded of the food carts that line the streets of Bangkok and I still miss them fondly even though I haven’t set foot in that city for almost 5 years (due to my preference to travel to somewhere different and further for my annual trip). However, these foods are somehow not really common in Singapore (not sophisticated and restaurant-quality enough?). Hence, whenever my craving for Thai food kicks in, I’d usually settle for safer choices like Green Curry (kaeng khiao wan), Tom Yam, Phad Thai or Pineapple Fried Rice and (the obligatory) Mango Sticky Rice for dessert which often are signature dishes and will never go wrong at local Thai restaurants.

But even the nicest food gets bland after awhile. And surely there is more to Thai food than these few mainstream dishes as evident from what I saw at Bangkok. If so, where can I find them in Singapore?

As if to answer my thoughts, Nara Thai introduced a new and refreshed menu inspired by Bangkok’s famed grilled street food! Thai food lovers like myself are in for a treat with 15 new dishes ranging from $7.90 for the Ma Muang Khara Mel (Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce) to S$88.90 for the Ruam Mit Talay Yang (Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter).

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Nara Thai Cuisine Singapore | 我像不像泰国妹? 😀

First opened at ION Orchard in September 2013, Nara Thai is a restaurant where anybody with a passion for good food can enjoy authentic Thai Cuisine in a relaxed ambience with good service. Named one of Singapore Tatler’s best restaurants from 2007 to 2014, it is known for its Kuay Tiew Rua (Boat Noodles) and Phunim Phad Pong Karee (Stir-fried Softshell Crab with Yellow Curry) while serving a la carte dishes that are derived from authentic recipes which have been adapted into a modern context.

Diners can expect the following dishes from their refreshed menu:

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice (S$2)

My low-carb diet took a backseat that evening because I was so intrigued by the rice colour. But to be honest, this blue rice tasted just like any basic white rice – plain but fragrant and fluffy. However, what makes it so unique (apart from the colour) is its health benefits. Steamed with dried an chan (Thai for Butterfly Pea Flower, from which the rice inherits the blue colour), it is laden with powerful antioxidants and is also said to treat depression, soothe the heart-mind, relieve stomach and menstrual cramps and known to be beneficial for healthy hair growth (source). So ladies, go easy on your diet and enjoy your plate of Blue Jasmine Rice with the rest of your dishes! 🙂

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Gai Tord Gra Tiem | Crispy Fried Chicken with Garlic (S$10.90)

Not really the highlight of the dinner but the chicken was entirely boneless (awesome!) and really tender. Plus, it was cut in nice proportions thus making sharing very easy at my table for four. The fried garlic (although I don’t fancy fried garlic at all) gave the chicken, which skin was already very crispy, an extra crunch.

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Moo Yang Jim Jaew | Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip (S$13.90)

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

I don’t know why Singaporean Chinese love anything pork – pork leg, pork belly, pork tenderloin but never (or seldom) pork neck! Pork neck is actually very popular in Thailand and a lot less fatty as compared to pork belly. It has the perfect balance of fat, muscle and tender flesh. It actually tasted very delicious and soft with the right amount of saltiness and went especially well with the Tamarind dip which was sweet and refreshing to the palate! One of the top favourites among the bloggers present that evening, it was also the first to empty on the table.

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Kai Jiew Cha Om | Cha Om Omelette (S$12.90)

Cha Om is the feathery shoots of a shrub called Acacia penneta and it emits a revolting smell in its raw form (like stink beans/臭豆 argh) but miraculously disappears when it’s cooked. Apparently, it’s very common for Cha Om to be fried with beaten eggs in Thailand and Myanmar, giving you the above Cha Om Omelette! I call it the Thai version of our Fuyong omelette. It’s a very homely dish widely prepared in Thailand and definitely very tasty 🙂 Best eaten with the chilli sauce served with it!

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Ruam Mit Talay Yang | Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter (S$88.90)

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Grilled whole squid

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Mussels

The platter, good for two to three (but in my case it was for four, so the actual one should be of relatively smaller portion), was a combination of 5 different seafood that are also sold a la carte – Pla Kra Pong Yang (Street-style Grilled Whole Sea Bass), Kung Yang (Black Pepper Tiger Prawns), grilled whole squid, skewered scallops and mussels with chili lime marinate. Squid was a little too dry for my liking but I really enjoyed the succulent scallops and fleshy butterflied Tiger Prawns which were coated with a generous layer of crushed black peppercorns and minced garlic! Shiok. Mussels were great and tangy too!

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Pla Kra Pong Yang | Street-Style Grilled Whole Sea bass with Thai Herbs (S$32.90)

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Lemongrass removed from the Sea bass

The street-style grilled Sea bass is stuffed with lemongrass (as can be seen from the picture above), kaffir lime and galangar and subsequently slow-cooked on the grill. Every fish served at Nara Thai, including this Sea bass, is handpicked by the chef personally at Jurong Fishery Port during wee hours of the morning everyday to ensure optimal freshness. Indeed, the Sea bass (which also happens to be my favourite type of fish, whoopie!) I had was really tender and aromatic. To my bewilderment, the crispy skin isn’t meant to be eaten at all so it was a little stiff and hard to tear (still safe to eat nonetheless if you get fragments of it on the flesh).

Finally, a signature Thai dessert to end a splendid meal.

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Ma Muang Khara Mel | Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce (S$7.90)

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Coconut ice cream topped with basil sauce

The coconut ice cream tasted exactly the same as the one found along the streets of Bangkok but with a subtle dash of basil sauce to give it some zest that wasn’t too overpowering. The mango was absolutely fresh and sweet too! I just wish that we were served individual portions of this awesome dessert instead of having to share haha 😛

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With my +1 for the event!

Thanks Nara Thai and Originally Us for having me at the food tasting session 🙂

And that’s all for my review!

But hold on, if you’re planning to try out the food I’ve featured, do read on because I have another awesome recommendation for you guys!

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Do you fancy some 1-for-1 food offers? If you do, you have to check out The Entertainer! Some of you might have already heard of The Entertainer book which contains a truckload of 1-for-1 vouchers at the hottest restaurants, spas, leisure (yes, overseas hotels included!), beauty, fitness centres and international renowned hotels (and when I mean the hottest, I mean well-known ones like Spruce, Yoshinoya, Marble Slab and many more!), available for sale at selected bookstores. If you’re more of a techie than a bibliophile, you will be pleased to know that The Entertainer is now available as an app!

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Like the book, the app has over 1000 one-for-one deals but with new offers added through the year. You can expect savings totaling over S$89,000 from the app and what’s more, it’s completely free for 14 days! Of course, if you’d like to know more irresistible 1-for-1 deals within the trial period, you can make an in-app purchase of just S$60 (discount code below) to unlock them all 1000+ of them at once! 🙂 Do the math and realise how much you will save with the upgrade! Trial ended? No worries, you can still do so after the 14 days.

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Full users (those who paid S$60) get to enjoy 1-for-1 main course deals* at Nara Thai, one of the participating merchants. Every merchant comes with 3 buy-one-get-one-free coupons (mostly for main course for food deals) and the most amazing thing is that they are not restricted to one per product purchase! In fact, you can even combine ALL 3 in one transaction for a party of 6 (omg why wasn’t I introduced to this app earlier when I was having my internship?!). Once you have used up all 3, you can actually get more by trading coupons with your friends! All coupons are valid for the entire year excluding eves of and public holidays (weekends OK!). It’s fuss-free and really easy to use 🙂

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*1-for-1 Main Menu Item at Nara Thai. This includes appetizers, drinks and desserts. Do take note if you’re planning to use this offer for your main course (i.e. don’t order anything else)!

The app is available for download at theentertainerme.com or via your appstore (Android/iTunes) while the book retails at S$75 at selected bookstores. If you’re getting the full version on your phone, do quote “2015ALVIN” upon purchase to enjoy a 10% discount!

Have fun and thanks for reading! 🙂

Nara Thai Cuisine (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-21
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6634 5787
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

Nara Thai Cuisine (Westgate)
3 Gateway Drive
#03-07
Singapore 608532
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

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