Staycation at Naumi Liora

Hey everyone!

Planning a birthday celebration for your boyfriend can be really tricky especially if you’ve been with him for years. No matter how creative you are, there will come a time when you’d completely run out of fresh and unpredictable ideas to surprise him. Having dated mine for close to 6 years now, it was one of the biggest struggles I faced while trying to think of ways to make his birthday memorable a few weeks back. From portrait painting to handmaking a Pooh plushie (his favourite cartoon character) to taking him out for a luxurious meal, I had practically done everything my brain was capable of coming up with for the past 5 years.

But this year, after exhausting my brain cells, I decided to be lazy and ask him what he wanted for his 29th birthday directly. It was a no-brainer question. After all, we’ve been together for so long. I knew he had always wanted another staycation but apart from the dreaded packing process and the unnecessary money spent which could be put aside for our year-end trip, I hated to be away from my own bed. Hence I tend to avoid that subject. But since it was already his final year of his 20’s, I relented on the condition that he jointly organised the staycation with me 😆

(Plus a surprise gift – a Braun Buffel wallet – presented to him at midnight of his birthday. Yeah, couldn’t resist buying a present for him in the end #byebyemoney)

We shortlisted a few hotels and finally settled on Naumi Liora, a four-star 3-year-old boutique hotel smacked right along Keong Saik Road near Chinatown and Outram Park MRT stations. What caught our attention was its oriental-themed interiors, its 24-hour gym as well as its close proximity to amenities like cheap foot reflexology parlours (at People’s Park Complex) and hip eateries such as Lime House and Three Buns (review comin’ up after this). Ann Siang Hill is also not very far off from the hotel as it’s just a walking distance away.

Hotel Naumi Liora

Hotel Naumi Liora @ Keong Saik Road

Naumi Liora corridor

Naumi Liora corridor

Comfy orange guest chairs near the entrance

Comfy orange guest chairs near the entrance of Naumi Liora

Relaxation corner near the registration counter

Relaxation corner near the registration counter

We were greeted with a lovely scent and an array of tidbits when we entered the hotel lobby. Called The Nibbles, the little snack bar offers a great selection of complimentary treats which guests can help themselves to anytime of the day. There were crackers, jelly, miniature ice cream (choices may change from time to time), hot beverages and even alcohol (chargeable though) to wallow in when hunger strikes in the middle of the night. These snacks are also replenished daily to ensure optimal freshness.

Newspapers to keep you in the know about what's happening in the world

Newspapers to keep you in the know about what’s happening in the world

Nibbles

Complimentary nibbles

Ice cream

Ice cream. Not from a well-known brand but it was still quite nice according to my boyfriend 🙂

Coffee machine which also serves Milo, Mocha, Cappuccino, Latte and Teh Tarik

Coffee machine which also serves Milo, Mocha, Cappuccino, Latte and Teh Tarik

Vodka

Vodka

More alcohol

More alcohol

Payment was made using credit card at the time of booking but the money was not deducted from the bank account until we arrived at the hotel reception desk for check-in. We were also told to place an additional deposit which would be refundable upon check-out (to cover any damages caused to the hotel room).

Being a small boutique hotel housed in a 155-year-old heritage shophouse, there was only one (slow) elevator servicing 79 rooms across all three storeys. Our Liora Quaint room (the cheapest one because we’re poor students 😥 ) was a window-less room located on the uppermost floor. The corridor leading to it was narrow and dimly-lit with blue-tinted lights, sometimes giving me the creeps when I had to take the elevator down to the lobby alone.

Liora Quaint

We had the choice of a Queen bed or 2 Super Single Beds in this 15-18sqm room

Work desk

Work desk

Hangers

Hangers

Electrical sockets on both sides of the bed, plus a pair of complimentary bottled water

Electrical sockets on both sides of the bed, plus a pair of complimentary bottled water

Lovin' the hotel's generosity: here's 4 more cans of complimentary canned soft drinks in the refrigerator

Lovin’ the hotel’s generosity: here’s 4 more cans of complimentary soft drinks in the refrigerator

Oh what's this? Is this a wardrobe?

Oh what’s this? Is this a wardrobe?

No, it's the bathroom!

No, it’s the bathroom!

Body lotion and soap

Body lotion and soap. Shavers, toothbrush, toothpaste and other bathroom necessities available upon request

Shampoo and body wash but of course, we brought our own

Shampoo and body wash (replenished daily as well) but of course, we brought our own

At S$140 per night, the room met my needs and expectations and was more spacious and comfortable than I thought. I loved the high ceiling that created a light and free atmosphere and the relatively strong Wi-Fi signal (even though it was only two bars of coverage at most throughout our stay). But the television reception was very weak and the picture quality of all channels was poor and grainy. Boyfriend also wasn’t very pleased with the type of shower faucet used in the bathroom. He was expecting the same ceiling-mounted shower head he saw on other blog reviews (which in fact is only available in Liora Porch, the highest range of rooms in this hotel) but was given the standard kind -_- Well, he has no one to blame but himself for not making sure before booking the room 🙄

Another perk of staying in Naumi Liora is the free access to its 24-hour fitness room as mentioned earlier. In order to avoid the morning crowd (assuming that there was any), we usually go to the gym during unearthly hours like 1 or 2am to burn some fats. The fitness room is hidden beside the stretch of hotel rooms on the ground level (turn left the moment you exit from the lift). It’s pretty small with only one set of every common exercise and workout equipment so unless you don’t mind waiting for other people to be done with the machine you want, you should only go there during weird timings when it is guaranteed to be vacant.

Naumi Liora gym

For more privacy, you may even LOCK the door as you work out. But of course, it can always be opened by any hotel room access card from the outside hahaha

Bottled water and towel

Wow at the hospitality of the hotel. Free-flow of bottled mineral water and clean towels for everyone who uses the gym!

Weights of all sizes

Weights of all sizes! I can only lift the lightest one sadly. Damn weak sia me 😦

Fitness ball (reflections don't count) and yoga mat

Fitness ball (reflections don’t count) and yoga mat

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One treadmill and elliptical trainer (yes only one. The other is merely a reflection on the mirror hehe). There’s also a stationary bike at the other side, not shown in this picture. All of them are equipped with a TV screen 🙂

I hardly work out in the gym but after this experience, I still prefer to jog around in the park where I get to bask in the morning sun and enjoy the natural breeze and greenery.

As the hotel does not have its own dining room, breakfast is served at two separate places along the same street until 10am everyday. Based on reviews, if you have opted for Western style, you would receive coupons for The Study beside the hotel. However we, perhaps being guests of a lower-range room (don’t know about you but the clear-cut difference in treatment doesn’t quite jive with me here because I don’t like to be deprived of the freedom to choose when it comes to food 😳 ), didn’t get to choose so we were automatically given Asian style. Therefore our breakfast for both days were fixed at Tong Ah Eating House (a coffee shop) just three shops down the walkway outside the hotel, which… okay lah, was quite good too 🙂

Breakfast coupons

Breakfast coupons

Tong Ah Eating House

Tong Ah Eating House

We got to pick between two popular Singaporean breakfast choices – Nasi Lemak and the traditional Kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs. Tourists who are planning to accommodate at Naumi Liora may consider opting for the Asian style to have a taste of what the locals eat for breakfast 🙂

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak with Iced Milo

Very fragrant rice and meaty fish

Very fragrant rice and meaty fish

Kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs with a cup of Teh

Kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs with a cup of Teh. Kaya was thick and sweet!

Ended up only eating half of it because boyfriend accidentally poured too much dark sauce :cry:

Ended up only eating half of it because boyfriend accidentally poured too much dark sauce 😥

I personally enjoyed the meal a lot and it’s honestly one of the most generous portions I’ve ever had for a hotel breakfast. Seeing how pathetic the spread of food for the Western style is on other reviews, I’d most likely opt for the Asian one anyway so alright I forgive you Naumi Liora 😛

View from the hotel lobby

View from the hotel lobby

Next up, I will be reviewing Three Buns where we dined at on boyfriend’s birthday so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Naumi Liora
55 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089158
Booking: (+65) 6403 6003
Enquiries: (+65) 6922 9000
Email: iora.aide@naumihotels.com
Website: http://www.naumiliora.com/

Mom’s Birthday @ Crab Party

Hey everyone! Hope your week has been great so far 😉

My Mom celebrated her birthday last week and being the eldest child, I had the responsibility of deciding where to take her on her special day. With so many restaurants to choose from, deciding where to eat can be a real headache. After narrowing down my choices, I finally decided on Crab Party which has been my go-to restaurant to satisfy my crab craving (mega love the Butter Cream Crab there!) ever since I was introduced to it six years ago.

It wasn’t my Mom’s first time at Crab Party, having brought my parents to dine there once in 2012 on Father’s Day. They too loved the food and were full of praise for the crab dishes. But prices are pretty steep and the place can be quite inconvenient if you don’t drive.

It is also noteworthy that the crabs sell out very quickly so it’s important that you ask to reserve your preferred number and size of the crab when you call to book a table.

The following is what we ordered!

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Salted Egg Chicken (S$12+)

We were tossing up between ordering Butter Cream Crab and Salted Egg Crab but I was dying to have the taste of the butter cream I missed to much linger on my tongue once again. So we got the best of both worlds! The chicken came in bite-size pieces (like KFC’s Popcorn Chicken) coated with savoury salted egg seasoning. Every bite was sensational!

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Kailan with Beef (S$15+)

We had some greens to balance out the guilt! The beef was glistening in the restaurant ceiling light, making the entire dish look so appetising and enticing. The beef was great and had a consistent chewy texture. But I enjoyed the greens more because they were really fresh and crunchy!

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Black Sauce Big Prawn (S$25+)

This was ordered by my Mom who is a huge prawn lover. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the size of the prawns because they were nowhere near “big”. Worst of all, the flesh was rather mushy – a sign that the prawns were not fresh. Overall, this dish was a disappointment.

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Mantou (S$1+ each)

Boyfriend and I went sans rice that day to allow more stomach space for the hot and crispy Mantou (steamed buns) which we would dip into the chilli gravy and butter cream sauce below.

Crabs were chargeable at S$65/kg which is pretty much on the high side. To have a peace of mind, we usually ask for our crabs to be weighed before we place our orders. We certainly don’t wish to get a rude shock when we receive our bill at end of the meal.

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Favourite Chilli Crab (medium, 1.6kg, S$104+)

Chilli Crab is the restaurant’s signature dish and of course, my folks’ favourite style of cooking crabs. The gravy was sweet and spicy enough for me but definitely not for my parents whose tolerance for spicy food is sky-high.

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Butter Cream Crab (medium, 1.6kg, S$104+)

We ordered another crab because boyfriend and I aren’t really into chilli. And most importantly, we didn’t want to compete with our elders for the crab pincers *chuckles* Our pincers were all very meaty because both crab were medium-sized, which made our meal even more gratifying.

The Butter Cream gravy was divine as usual. Sweet, thick and smooth, the gravy propels you to heaven with a single taste. It’s one of the best Butter Cream Crab I’ve had and I’m so glad standards remain unchanged throughout the years. I feel that it tastes even better with Mantou 🙂

Okay hope you guys like this short update! I have more posts coming up so please bear with me 😉

Thanks for reading!

A Tribute to Mum @ Café Brio’s (Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel)

Hey everyone!

It’s the start of a brand new month again and we are fast approaching midyear 2015! But like the month of December, May is another month of endless spending for me. Not only is Mother’s Day around the corner, my Mom’s birthday happens to be in May too. And because my Mom enjoys being pampered, I usually don’t hold joint celebrations although both days are just a week apart.

Coincidentally, my boyfriend’s mother was also born in May – more than one year and a day before my Mom. Thus it makes remembering her birthday a cinch because she would celebrate hers on the following day of my Mom’s. However, due to our conflicting schedules, very seldom we would celebrate her birthday on the actual day. It’s often done in advance so as to avoid the Mother’s Day crowd and surcharges (and also because being Chinese, you know, belated celebrations are usually frowned upon). This year we had it at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel because of a two-week long Mother’s Day buffet promotion going on at Café Brio’s.

For just S$48++ per person, you get to treat your beloved Mom to a pre-Mother’s Day hi-tea cum local barbeque buffet on 2 May and 9 May (basically, the two Saturdays prior to Mother’s Day), or a Mother’s Day lunch or dinner cum seafood barbeque buffet for S$68++ and S$78++ per person respectively on 3 May and 10 May.

Café Brio’s A Tribute to Mum

Thank Mum for her dedication to the family with a gratuitous buffet spread, featuring Osaka crab salad with Champagne gelee, jumbo king prawn with asparagus spear and mild spicy tomato cream sauce and seafood on ice. She’ll love the beef steak, slipper lobster, scallop on half shell, salmon fillet and stingray at the barbecue station. Sweeten her taste-buds with lovely peach melba roulade and mini chocolate glazed cupcakes.

All Mums will be presented with a heart-shaped cookie.

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Here are some highlights of the hi-tea buffet last Saturday 🙂

Pastries and Desserts

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Mother’s Cup Cake Tower

I was instantly drawn to the colourful display of the cake tower upon entering the buffet. They’re so adorable, don’t you think? But for the longest time, these red velvet cupcakes were left untouched, probably no one wanted to ruin their nice arrangement. It was interrupted by me in the end, haha. The cupcake was moist and sweet. Would help myself to more servings if not for being weight-conscious.

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Chocolate Brownie

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Nonya Kueh

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“Lovely” Peach Melba Roulade

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Chocolate Cream

Topped with golden chocolate pearls, these chocolate mousse were so alluring, I couldn’t resist taking one for myself. I only ate half of it (it was so hard stopping myself) because the thickness of the chocolate made me feel so sinful, oh my God. It was good nonetheless!

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Durian Swiss Roll

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Ice Cream – Mango, Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate flavours

They were surprisingly soft as the scoop glided through the ice cream with ease. There are also waffle cones for you to scoop the ice cream onto them. I took 2 scoops – mango and vanilla 🙂

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Chocolate fondue

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Not sure what this is but I think it’s a kind of Nonya kueh

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Mini Nine Layer Kueh 九层糕

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Mini Egg Tarts

The egg tarts were a little tasteless in my opinion, and it would be better if the crusts were a little crispier and more flaky. It was a shame because I really love egg tarts and was looking forward to devouring most of them. But I really like how shiny the egg custard looked 🙂

Japanese Cuisine

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An array of sushi

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Sushi again

I kinda shunned this section because it’s rice overload. I wished there were Sashimi! But most of the sushi were gone by the second hour of the buffet so I guess they are decent.

Local Delights

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Wok-Fried Vegetables

Don’t judge me – this is one of my favourite dishes that afternoon, so much so that I actually went back to the buffet table thrice for it. I’m really not much of a greens person but the bok choy was really delicious and soft.

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Glutinous Rice

I took a small spoonful of the rice and was actually yearning for more. It was really nice and well executed 🙂

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Stir-fried Tiger Prawns

Probably the most popular dish on the buffet table, the tiger prawns were gone in a flash shortly after we took our food, thanks to the convenience of shelled prawns. Seriously, I doubt they would be so sought after if they had their shells intact. They were scrumptious, fresh and slightly bigger than normal prawns though (which is a bonus for buffets). But replenishment was kinda slow so we actually had to wait a bit before we could go for a second serving.

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Wok-fried Singapore Chilli Clams

The clams were generously huge and meaty for a buffet. Not to mention, they were pretty fresh too. The chilli gravy was divine. If you’re a fan of chilli crab, you would like this as much.

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Mantou

I suppose the steamed buns were meant to be dipped into the gravy of the chilli clams above. But they were a little too tough for my liking.

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Fried fish

Dim Sum

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There were mini Bao and Siew Mai (not in photo)

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Fried crab meat sticks

You know that the buffet is extremely kids-friendly when they have a section dedicated to simple fried food like the above. Apart from crab meat sticks, there were also fried tapioca. Fried crab meat sticks are also my personal favourite which I often snacked on during my secondary school days so I was really excited to see them at the buffet.

Sandwiches

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Focaccia Bread filled with Tuna Mayo and Green Salad

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Mini Soft Bun with Chicken Floss… and some tortilla chips?

The mini soft buns tasted like BreadTalk’s Flosss lah with the sweet cream and generous layer of floss, just that instead of pork floss, it’s chicken. The bun itself was soft. Not bad! But I wouldn’t binge on bread at a buffet.

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Mini Croissant with Turkey Ham and Cherry Tomato

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Apricot and Rum

Salad

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Beetroot salad

I attempted to cleanse my bowels with some beetroot salad. Was apprehensive at first because I had only tried beetroot in juice form but this was surprisingly good and fun to eat.

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Fussili Pasta with Semi-Dried Tomatoes

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Glass Noodle Salad with Top Shell

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Garden salad

Barbecue

The barbecue corner can be found outdoors (near the section where the dim sum is) which isn’t very conspicuous if you’re not attentive enough.

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All kinds of freshly barbecued Satay

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Barbecued sausages

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Barbecued sausages

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Barbecued wings

Asian Desserts

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DIY Ice Kacang

It was a messy affair making my own Ice Kacang because I suck at using the shaved ice machine, but it was tons of fun! It was even more satisfying being able to decide how much of the syrup you want to drizzle over the mountain of ice (though mine was pretty much a hill.. or perhaps, a pile of gravel) because I totally went crazy with them. My creation was so sweet it could give me diabetes.

There was also a corner that served Laksa (prepared by a chef) and had several pots of western soup. I tried Creme of Mushroom but it was a tad tasteless (still decent and worth a try on the overall) so be sure to look out for those when you’re at the buffet!

Last but not least, if you’re going with your Mom, she will be given a heart-shaped cookie as mentioned in the blurb above!

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Aiya, a bit broken liao.

There will still be another (last) session of Hi-Tea cum Local Barbecue Buffet this coming Saturday before the café reverts to their normal menu so be sure to make a reservation for that one. After all, it’s only S$48++ for a wide spread of food (even though it’s only hi-tea). It’s a steal if you ask me. And I’m sure your Mom would have a whale of a time there too!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Café Brio’s @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel (beside Zouk)
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
For reservations, call 6233 1100 or email dining.gcw@millenniumhotels.com
Website: A Tribute to Mum at Café Brio’s

THROUGH THE LENS: Happy FIRST Birthday, SkinnyMint!

Hey everyone!

If you recall, I underwent a 28-day teatox programme earlier this year courtesy of SkinnyMint which saw me lose a total of 3kg by the end of it. I had never lost so much weight in such a short time (despite exercising regularly) and I am indebted to SkinnyMint for steering me towards leading a healthier lifestyle. Having gone below the 60kg mark, I am now more determined to maintain my lifestyle changes like consuming less refined grains such as rice and bread even after the completion of the programme. Judging from the reviews on Instagram (#skinnymint), the tea seems to be working remarkably well on many people! My boyfriend who witnessed my transformation was also convinced to try SkinnyMint 😀 And he’ll probably start teatoxing during his semester break.

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Yay my chubby face

It has been a year since SkinnyMint set foot in the Singapore market and I was very honoured to be invited to their birthday party at Lantern@Fullerton Bay on 25 March 2015. It was cosy event graced by a few popular bloggers like Yan Kay Kay, who is also one of their ambassadors. I shall let the pictures take you through the party 🙂 Enjoy!

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Makeup of the day. Toned it down a little out of respect for the passing of Singapore’s founding father, whose lying-in-state happened in the same week.

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Fullerton Bay

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Our view from Lantern!

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The floating platform

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We were the first to arrive!

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Our door gifts! Thanks SkinnyMint 🙂

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Cocktail tables

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Venue lined with SkinnyMint-themed balloons

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Lovely cake pops!

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They had great cocktails and mocktails!

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Red Lantern (Tequila, Watermelon & Cucumber Lemon) and SkinnyMint Special (Gin, Cucumber, Herbs Liqueur, Apple Liqueur, Blue Curacao Liqueur, Apple Juice and Fresh Lime) cocktails

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Hahaha us having fun taking pictures of the food.

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Nuts

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The appetisers served were really goooood although I felt a little queasy after downing a cup of cocktail (note to self: never drink alcohol on an empty stomach).

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Preparing Crêpe Suzette

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And the condiments to go with.

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More of the appetisers!

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One of my favourite couple pictures that night, photographed by SkinnyMint’s professional photographer hehehe.

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Chocolate mousse for dessert!

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With the amazing Dee, Relationship Exec of SkinnyMint 🙂 The dress on me was an inspired Prabal Gurung piece (the one Kate Middleton wore for her Singapore visit in 2012) from Taobao! Cheap and good. Haha.

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And of course, with the babes of the night! Audrey of WahBanana and blogger Yan Kay Kay.

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What’s in the goodie bag 😉 The one tied with ribbon is a pair of LuluLemon Wunder underpants – perfect for yoga and gym sessions! And I guess it’s about time I start teatoxing again. Woohoo thanks SkinnyMint for keeping me in shape. 😀

I’m not exactly the most sociable person around and I was very glad to have met so many amazing and friendly people at the party, especially those working for SkinnyMint, because they made me feel so much at ease. 😀 Of course, I also have to thank my boyfriend for networking on my behalf when I was trying to recover from the queasiness.

Those interested to try the 28-day Teatox programme may find out more about SkinnyMint here.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more updates comin’ up 🙂