The Singapore Report

I was recently invited, along with my Significant Other, to join my father on a business trip to Singapore. I had visited the city before and, let’s just say, it wouldn’t quite make my Top 20 Favourite Cities In The World list.  In three words, I would describe it as ‘sterile, boring and soul-less’. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but when you’re from scenic Cape Town and have been lucky enough to spend time in culture-rich cities like Rome, New York and Paris, the city of Singapore leaves a lot to be desired.

However, when we were offered the chance to travel in the spoilt-rotten comfort of a private jet and attend the world-famous Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, I decided to give this city another shot. Who wouldn’t;)?

The Hotel

The Singapore Shangri-La
The Singapore Shangri-La, Orchard Road

We were booked in at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. I had previously stayed at the Shangri-La in Shanghai and, let’s just say, it was like comparing creme brulee to vanilla sponge cake. If the Singapore branch had been my first taste of the luxury Shangri-La group of hotels, it would have been my last. Let me summarise.

The pros: It’s close to Singapore’s designer-lined Orchard Road, and the fabulously decadent ION shopping mall. The in-house nail bar did a good job of my mani and pedi and they’re well-stocked with loads of OPI, Shellac and Gelish colours to choose from. The cons: the rooms and common areas are in need of a serious style injection and refurbishment, the breakfast buffet restaurant The Line felt more like an eat-all-you-can dormitory hall than a five-star foodie spot and the housekeeping service was unsatisfactory. The verdict: my last stay in Singapore was at the Mandarin Oriental in Marina Bay, a far superior hotel on all accounts.

Day 1 (Friday)

Raffles Hotel
The Raffles Hotel

For our first night out in Singapore, I decided to introduce Marco to the Raffles Hotel, a glamorous and old-world Singaporean institution. Dinner at the Long Bar Steakhouse took the meaning of ‘pricey’ to a whole new level, when a couple of glasses of bubbly and two steaks (one being Wagyu) left us about USD600 poorer! I guess that’s what you get for dining in one of the world’s most expensive cities, in one of that city’s most luxurious hotels.  The verdict: good steaks, good service, decent decor, but not quite worth the price tag.

Touristy and cheesy as it may be, I could not let us leave without at least one Singapore Sling at the world-famous Long Bar, frequently rated by travel guides as one of the best bars in the world.  Coming to Singapore without having a drink at the Long Bar is almost like visiting Cape Town without seeing Table Mountain. The verdict: fabulous drinks, great live music and a bustling atmosphere make this bar a must-visit.

Day 2 (Saturday)

The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Marina Bay
The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Marina Bay

We spent the day shopping at Takashimaya on Orchard Road where I picked up a few fabulous printed blouses from Diane Von Furstenburg‘s new collection. Verdict: this mall is a huge (almost too big and too busy) department store, which I would not recommend if you dislike mall-crazed crowds.

Diane Von Furstenburg
Diane Von Furstenburg

For pre-dinner drinks, we met up with some fabulous friends currently living in Singapore. They treated us to drinks at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, a well-known five-star hotel right on the beautiful and modern Marina Bay. This was followed by a feast of truly delicious tapas dishes at trendy Spanish restaurant Catalunya. Patatas bravas, truffle finger sandwiches, croquettes and suckling pig were just some of the mouth-watering treats we tucked into, whilst enjoying the spectacular views. The verdict: I would recommend both these spots for a fabulous dinner-and-drinks night on the town.

Day 3 (Sunday)

The Chanel Little Black Jacket
The Chanel Little Black Jacket

The majority of Day 3 was spent dragging my poor father and boyfriend along in my hunt for the iconic Chanel Little Black Jacket. We eventually found My New Love at the Chanel branch in Takashimaya mall. They both deserve a medal for patience.

That night, we eventually made it to the Singapore Grand Prix, the only Formula 1 race held at night-time. The heat, humidity and deafening noise of the cars whizzing by us at lightning speed were not quite my idea of the perfect night out. Of course, most people don’t go to these kinds of events to watch the actual sport. Unfortunately, we didn’t last long enough to make it to the mingling stage of the evening, as – by the fourteenth round of watching the same thing over and over again – we decided to head back to the hotel for a glass of bubbly and chicken fingers. (Apparently, the drool-worthy David Beckham was in the same suite as my father, who had been invited by some fancy bank. Had Golden Balls been in closer proximity to us, on the stands, I am sure my verdict would have been somewhat more positive.)

The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix

Pros? As we entered the arena, Tom Jones was up on stage singing Sex Bomb. That was pretty cool. Other performers at this year’s event included The Killers, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.  It was exciting to be there, amongst the rallying crowds, watching cars fly by faster than I’d ever seen before…for the first hour. Cons? The noise (I know I sound like a granny, but seriously it’s impossibly loud. I ended up buying very dorky (:) protective head phones), the food (really really bad takeaway stalls are all that’s available) and the monotony of watching the sport for someone who doesn’t know or really care all that much about the intricate technicalities.  The verdict: The event itself was a bit of an anti-climax, but nevertheless got me ticking off an item on the Bucket List.

My Favourite Wireless Headphones

beats-wireless-white
Beats Wireless Headphones in White

Truth be told, I was hesitant to run this post as I wouldn’t want anyone thinking this it’s been paid for. There is a LOT of marketing going on around Beats By Dr Dre Wireless Headphones. But know this: there are few things I dislike more than paid-for posts or bloggers who sell their souls to big advertisers. That ain’t me.

Last night, while mindlessly surfing the net on my laptop, my nifty other half quietly and inconspicuously got the wireless headphones I purchased a while ago, during a trip to London, synced up to his iTunes and…placed them on my head to play me a song. To put it mildly, I was instantly and magically transported from a mundane, internet-surfing, vanilla world into a land of crystal clear, energizing and soul-uplifting music – the kind that makes you want to get up and boogie all by yourself in the living room (you know, like those hot chicks always do in cheesy radio station ads).

To put it another way: whilst listening to whatever tune it was (I don’t even remember which particular one was playing when I was overcome by the wonder of Beats By Dr Dre), I actually found myself looking forward to next week’s gym sessions (a Very Rare Occurrence). I should probably add, this is kind of the reason why I bought these wireless babies in the first place: running/jogging/training is enough of a challenge, I don’t need annoying and tangly wires running up and down my arm, just so that I can tune out of cardio hell and into my favourite playlist of embarrassingly corny gym tunes. I want ease, I want comfort and, of course, I want crystal clear sound. Thank you, Dr Dre, you have provided.

Awesome Photo by Jean-Pierre Uys
My 30th Birthday Party. Awesome Photo by The Incredibly Talented Jean-Pierre Uys.

Pros Controls on the ear cup let you switch tracks and adjust volume without pulling out your music player. Headphones, though wirelessly enabled, can also be used with a wire (to connect to non-synced devices on aeroplanes, at the gym etc.) Headphones are rechargeable with a USB power cable and they don’t take batteries. They’re also pretty easy to sync up to your bluetooth devices.

Cons All the Dr Dre headphones are super expensive, but after trying them out, I can see why. They cost in the region of USD 279.00, depending on which country you’re in. (Tip: try buying them at any international airport to at least get them tax free.)

Stockists Visit beatsbydre.com and select your country for information on where to buy.

Best of NYC Fashion Week 2013

david-beckham-harper-beckham-anna-wintourThe week of 5-12 September 2013 saw the Spring 2014 collections of some of the world’s most influential designers unveil themselves to the world. Of course, most of us (including yours truly) would have been been willing to exchange a front tooth for a spot in the front row (or ‘FROW’, to those in the know) at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. Personally, I would have called dibs on the seat next to David Beckham and little Harper (right there where dear old Anna W sat, at the VB show:)

Anyway, back to business, my thoughts on fashion, in a nutshell, are the following: clothes (as beautiful or sculptural or theatrical as they may be) are for wearing, not displaying in a glass case at a museum. Yes, that gets done too, I know. But – at the end of the day – fashion exists as a means for us to express ourselves, hide our flaws, accentuate our assets and feel fabulous.  And, in any event, as the brilliant Yves Saint Laurent once said, “fashions fade, style is eternal”.

So, with that in mind, I have taken the pieces I’d most want hanging in my wardrobe from this year’s September shows and created a little style gallery for you to view and, hopefully, draw inspiration from. Just click on any of the images below to flip through the pics in slideshow format.

World’s Best Décolletage Cream

mma001_mamamio_boobtubebustneckfirmingcream_100ml_sizedproduct_800x960During my mid-20s, I started noticing (with a fair amount of disdain, I might add) some fine creases developing on the surface of my décolletage. Since those pesky little lines were most prominent in the mornings and took a while to ‘fade’, I couldn’t help but think that my preferred foetal sleeping position (pretty much curled up in a ball) was to blame. (If I am being completely honest with myself, though, I’m sure my years of sun-tanning and of course the inevitable decrease in skin elasticity as we grow older, have played their parts as well.)

Whatever the cause, I needed a solution! After seeing many dermatologists and trying what could easily have been 20 (very expensive) product ranges, I came across the international cult favourite Mama Mio Boob Tube Bust & Neck Firmer. After about four to five nights of applying a generous amount of this cream to my décolletage, I saw a noticeable difference: my skin looked firmer, smoother and significantly younger in the morning. It was almost as if the magic ingredients in this product kept my skin from forming lines during the night-time in said curled-up foetal position. If you’re looking for a miracle potion to tighten, firm or smooth out your bust/neck area, this is as close as I believe you’re going to get. Try it.

Featured In Vogue, Heat, Allure, OK!, The Daily Telegraph, Glamour (to name a few).

PS If you don’t believe me (or the magazine clippings shown above), perhaps you’ll take Jessica Alba’s word for it: apparently, she’s a die-hard fan. The best part? This range, originally developed for pregnant mommies-to-be, is completely organic and free of harmful chemicals. That’s a major bonus, in my books. Any cons? The dispensing mechanism for this lotion could be better, as the pumps on Mamo Mio products sometimes stop working after a few uses. Price Approximately £29.50 or the equivalent in your national currency.

STOCKISTS

Cape Town Dante Wellness Spa, Sea Point. mama-mio-boob-tube-bust-neck-firmer-[2]-1963-p

Other Check out the Mamo Mio website to find your nearest stockist or order online.

Why I Adore Chanel’s Iconic Foundations

S161436_XLARGEFor dry or mature skin, there is – quite simply – no other foundation quite like the iconic Chanel Vitalumiere: it’s light-weight and looks completely natural, yet provides just enough moisture and coverage to give you an instantly radiant complexion. It’s got the whole ‘dewy skin’ thing down pat and revives tired skin in a second. (If your skin tends to be oily or prone to breaking out, this product will be too rich for you.)

For combination to oily skin, you’ll do well to invest in the high-coverage and mattifying version called Perfection Lumiere. Its long-wearing semi-matte finish hides all kinds of skin sins without that dreaded caked-on effect.

Lastly, if you’re one of those lucky B’s who happen to have perfect skin, you probably won’t need anything heavier than the Vitalumiere Aqua.

Note This best-selling foundation range doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from about USD55. Make sure you buy the right version for your skin type (oily, dry or combination) and the right colour shade (there are over 20 to choose from). Take a friend with you, get the store assistant to put some tester product on your face and walk outside to check the shade in the sunlight. In-store lighting will not give you an accurate reflection.

Stockists

Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban Edgars

London Selfridges Beauty Department

New York Macy’s Beauty Department