Bringing balance to a life of overeating: COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Singapore

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I have never been able to make jumping onto the treadmill, hitting a ball across the court or doing laps part of my weekly routine. I hate exercise. Which is terrible given that I eat and drink far more than my body can metabolise in its natural state. Then, I discovered Pilates. And I was hooked. Until our son, T arrived. I simply haven’t made the time to take classes since becoming a mother. So, I was thrilled to be invited to try out a class at the newly launched COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Singapore. It was a well-timed impetus for me to get a workout. Continue Reading →

A La Mode by Greg Cohen – everybody loves ice-cream

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I love ice-cream, you love ice-cream, she loves ice-cream, he loves ice-cream. Who doesn’t love ice-cream? That was the thought and inspiration behind the new series of photography from Greg Cohen, who set out to photograph 150 people enjoying their favourite flavour. I was much taken by the alive-ness of the images and how each one beautifully depicts a distinct personality to the subject. Continue Reading →

House cocktails: Bitter Monk, Gold Rush and a yet-to-be-named frothy rum thing

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Do you have a house cocktail? You know, that one drink that you both love making for friends and also happen to be able to put together exceedingly brilliantly? That one drink that you almost always start a dinner party off with or hand to guests as they walk in the door when dropping by?  Continue Reading →

Pierre Herme macarons in Hong Kong

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Macarons – the gorgeous gorgeous little things. I’ve been a fan of these delicate yet intensely flavoured, colourful and dainty to behold sweeties for a while now. And actually, come to think of it, they’re not even toooo fattening, relatively speaking (no butter in macarons!).  Whenever I was in Paris, I would invariably hand-carry back at least two or three boxes of the precious little biscuits from the better-known patisseries – Ladurée, La Maison du Chocolat and Pierre Hermé. Continue Reading →

Roza’s Sauces. All natural goodness from Brisbane, Australia. My favourite sauce company.

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I make a lot of sandwiches these days. One, my wife S love sandwiches. And two, they’re easy to throw together in the morning. (I actually make toasties, having purchased a toastie machine from Tang’s a few months back, but that’s not the point of this post.) I would say that we eat sandwiches (toasties) for brekkie at least four mornings out of seven. One of the most important elements, to me, in making a great sandwich is a great sauce (spread). And while I’d like to pretend I have the time to make my own from scratch, the truth is that I reach into the fridge and grab a jar or two. But since I’m almost always reaching for a jar of Roza’s Sauces, I know that my sandwich will turn out simply stunning.  Continue Reading →

Kamalaya Koh Samui – a holistic wellness retreat beyond compare

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Often, I find myself needing some time off. Time off from the world, from long work days followed by longer dinners, from my computer(s), from my cell phone, from happy hour cocktails, and just from the world… I was seeking a break where I could nourish my body and empty my mind. So I did a lot of research and asked around, considering various options from yoga ashram in India to a Chinese medicine retreat in Northern Thailand. In the end I discovered the best of both worlds in Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand. Continue Reading →

The perfect guesthouse in Gion (Kyoto, Japan)

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As mentioned in an earlier post, my wife and I decided to take our two year old son to Kyoto for a weeklong holiday. Because we wanted to visit during sakura (cherry blossom) season, we actually booked our tickets almost a year ago and started looking for places to stay, at the recommendation of friends in Kyoto, in early September. Because sakura season (which is the end of March and early April) is so popular, most places get snapped up months in advance. I actually advice booking your own accommodations no later than August the previous year if you can plan that far in advance. Continue Reading →

Shave and a haircut… two bits… well, a bit more at Truefitt & Hill Singapore

Experience true luxury at Truefitt & Hill

For most of us guys, a shave is something we do in the mornings, as part of our get-ready-to-go-to-work ritual. It is not something we necessarily associate with luxury. That is, until we experience our first really exceptional wet shave, performed by someone else. Continue Reading →

Supporting local talent: When I was four

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A couple of years ago, my friend Lynda gifted me with a canvas tote bag that had a quirky and beautifully illustrated print. It was a gorgeous print of a loaf of bread with its Chinese name enclosed in dotted boxes. I thought the design was pretty ingenious. If you were in primary school back in the 1980s (yes, you can start figuring out my age), the bag will bring back memories of writing Chinese characters within the dotted boxes and figuring out the correct hanyu pinyin (汉语拼音). Another huge reason why I love this bag is because it features one of my favourite things to bake – bread. This is one foodie gift I greatly enjoy carrying around.

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A fun workshop in decorating Aizu lacquer

Two lacquer plates as decorated by me and my guide

As you can see from the posts that have come before this on, there are many things to see and do when vacationing in Tohoku. There are wonderful onsens to bathe in, great drink to be tasted and purchased, and incredible food to eat. There’s also a rich cultural heritage to explore. One city worth stopping in is Aizu Wakamatsu, which is the main city in Aizu, in the western part of Fukushima. Continue Reading →

The Matsushima Oyster Festival and a visit to Entsuin Temple

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Matsushima, a small city near Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture (in Tohoku, Japan), is worth visiting any time of the year. The Japanese consider the views of Matsushima Bay, teeming with more than 260 small islands, to be one of the most beautiful views in the country. As you may or may not know, the Japanese love making lists. Especially lists that rank things. They are also a people obsessed with natural beauty, man-made beauty and festivals. So, for centuries, they have designated and celebrated things like the country’s top three gardens, Kyoto’s top five Zen temples, Japan’s top three festivals featuring floats, Kamakura’s top ten wells, etc. Most famous among the many designations might be Japan’s three most scenic places. Selected several hundred years ago, they are Matsushima, Miyajima and Amanohashidate.  Continue Reading →