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
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