Discover your fashion style

If you’ve been wondering where you can get that jacket that the actress wore, look no further because help is at hand. Check out StyleCrush, which has just been rolled out in Singapore.

StyleCrush is a style discovery platform that uses AI technology to let you find clothes and fashion items, including shoes and bags, that caught your attention.

All you need to do is to upload an image or paste a link of the item that you’re looking for and the AI system will connect you to the relevant shopping malls where you can purchase the products conveniently.

You can also create a wish list of the fashion products discovered through the search and place them in an album. It’s like a curation of your tastes where you can come back to and browse at a later date.

The platform is developed by Korea’s Odd Concepts, which is collaborating with Suggesty and Sta1 of Korea, and Qoo10 of Singapore to provide you with a wide variety of fashion styles.

Suggesty is an online mall selling AI-curated Korean designer brands internationally and will share its database and apparels with StyleCrush. Sta1 has more than one million products from over 6,000 brands.

Odd Concepts will work with more fashion and apparel e-commerce partners in Singapore and ASEAN countries to provide consumers with access to a greater variety of fashion styles.

Do check out StyleCrush the next time a fashion item catches your eye.

SafeEntry made easy

Simple and convenient visitor registration

For those in Singapore who do not have the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app, now’s a good time to do so. It will help greatly in facilitating entry into more than 40,000 malls and buildings using the SafeEntry app.

Developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) during the COVID-19 period, SafeEntry has been in use for visitor registration to assist in contact tracing.

The original version required the scanning of a QR code, followed by checking in and filling in personal and contact details. This is already much faster compared to the filling in of paper forms.

An enhanced version has been rolled out that simplifies this process further. With the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app (on both Android and iOS), all it takes is to activate the app and click on SafeEntry check-in in the opening screen. A list of buildings in the proximity will appear. Select the right one and check in.

Those who have enjoyed using the Parking SG app will notice the similarity. It’s easy to use and makes checking in really convenient.

Jewel a gem even during this period!

COVID-19 is sweeping the globe by storm, and many retailers are reeling from the effects of a drop in consumer spending as a result of a reduction of footfall in malls.

View of Jewel at night

Changi Airport’s Jewel, which was packed during its opening last year, was pretty quiet last night. Considering that it is the school holidays in Singapore, this is definitely not the norm or what its tenants had hoped for. Various travel restrictions imposed on the border have also affected the number of incoming passengers.

Most shops were opened but some had revised hours while others remained close during this period.

The Apple store was closed and will remain so until further notice. Lavender, a Malaysian bakery in Basement 2, also announced that it was closed till April 1, after the lifting of the ban from Malaysia on March 31. The Body Shop was closed when we walked past around 930pm though official hours stated that it closes at 10pm.

Notice of closure of Lavender

These closures aside, Jewel is still an incredibly attractive mall. I encourage locals to visit and support the shops during this period. Some of the attractions worth visiting include Canopy Park, Canopy Bridge, Sky nets (bouncing and walking), Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze, and Changi Experience Studio.

During my visit yesterday, we explored the Canopy Park which links many of the attractions. It has a Topiary Walk which displays animals in the form of floral and fauna, foggy bowls (the mist wasn’t turned on for health safety reasons I think), and Discovery Slide (only one was open). These attractions are free to access from now till March 31. On top of that, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Jewel from here!

Let’s support our local malls during this period, but please practise social responsibility! It doesn’t hurt that Jewel provides free three-hour parking (with a minimum spend of $10 in a single receipt)!

Catch a nap at CentralWorld

While many malls provide chairs or benches for shoppers to take a break, CentralWorld has upped the notch by offering tired shoppers a place to take a nap.

During my trip to Bangkok last week, I came across a red rectangular structure in the popular shopping complex. It looks like something one would find in a playground — a monkey bar contraption of sorts.

But, upon closer examination, it was more than that. Using a combination of metal poles and platforms, the structure lets shoppers sit, study, slouch, and even sleep. Picture a bunk bed and you’d have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

The lower zones provide seats at different heights so the young and tall all have somewhere to sit comfortably. Even the “tables” are tilted at different angles so there’s something for everyone.

From the looks of things, some shoppers really know of this place. They came prepared for a nap, equipped with pillows and sleeping bags.

There are a few ground rules — no unaccompanied children under 12, no shoes in the upper zones, be careful while resting, and no climbing or jumping. Certainly makes sense as these make the structure a better place for all to use.

Do check this out next time you’re out shopping at CentralWorld. And remember to bring a pillow if you’d like to catch a nap.

Mesmerising Jewel!

Singapore has a new attraction. And it’s one that excites Singaporeans across the nation. So much as that an estimated half a million people squeezed into Jewel Changi Airport for a preview earlier this month.

When my turn came two Saturdays ago, I decided to avoid the Jewel car park and park at Terminal 3 instead.

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Jewel is connected to Terminals 2 and 3 by link bridges that come with travellators so visitors can save some energy for when the action starts.

The sound of waterfall greeted us as we stepped into the building. It was like the sound of the Pied Piper and all of us were drawn towards it.

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Much has been written about the 40-metre tall HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and the centre piece of Jewel. Facebook and other social media posts were filled with photos and videos from others who have seen it.

But, whatever has been read or seen online is nothing compared to the real thing. We felt like we were in a scene out of Avatar as we walked past trees towards the viewing gallery at Level 2.

Many were already waiting in anticipation for the light show as we inched our way to a good spot to watch and catch some good shots.

The waterfall was a delightful sight to behold. Though it’s man-made, it is so wonderfully designed. Just looking at the curtain of water flowing down from the roof to the basement made me feel so proud to be a Singaporean.

A burst of ooos, ahhhs and wows accompanied the lights that came on.

The half-hourly show was enchanting with the play of lights. It’s a must-see so make sure that you plan to stay till night time when you visit.

Besides the glorious waterfall, there are many other insta-worthy photo spots, including the Shiseido Forest Valley, which features more than 900 trees and 60,000 shrubs.

Shop and eat
Shopaholics will feel like they’ve entered a combination of Marina Bay Sands and Vivocity (two mega malls in Singapore). Jewel is huge and packs more than 280 shops and eateries. Locals were drawn to A&W, which went off grid many years ago, and Shake Shack.

For me though, the sight of Zara, Marks and Spencer, and Lim Chee Guan, the famous bak kwa store, is enough to convince me that this place is worth many more visits. My family calculated that it’d take more than two years of weekend dining to complete all the eateries here.

Play and enjoy
Catch the latest movies at the cinemas, including Singapore’s first dedicated children and family hall and next-generation IMAX hall which comes with laser.

By mid-May, children and the young at heart will certainly go wild as several Canopy Park attractions will open at the highest level. These include bouncing and walking nets, hedge and mirror mazes, discovery slides, foggy bowls, petal garden, topiary walk, and the canopy bridge.

Thoughtful planning
Sometimes, it’s not the bells and whistles that draw the crowd but the desire to provide good visitor experience. With its many levels of parking, one could be forgiven for forgetting where the car is parked. Here’s where a car finding system lets you enter the licence plate of the car and gives you the exact location. Now, that’s what I call “great deployment of technology”.

Thought is also given to travellers, since the mall is located at Changi Airport. Get this — up to 24 hours early check-in is available for 26 airlines, including Singapore Airlines. Those who cannot check in can store their luggage at Baggage Storage at Level 1 for between S$10 and S$45 for 24 hours. Even smaller items such as travel pillows can be stored at S$5 for 24 hours.

Asia’s first Yotelaor offers smartly designed cabins for travellers to catch some rest, work out or do some work.

Crowning glory
As such an iconic mall, Jewel will surely cement Changi Airport’s position as the world’s best airport. It’s the crowning glory to an amazing airport that I take great delight in whenever I’m travelling. I’m mesmerised and foresee that my family will be spending lots of time here, and find any excuse to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Zoku stainless steel bottle keeps fluids at the right temperature

IMG_20181019_161722.jpgWater bottles. I’ve an affinity with them since I was a child. Plastic, glass, metal, hybrid, you name it, I’ve got it. In fact, the reason I have so many is because I have the tendency to lose them while young.

Some were lost when I left them behind in a football field or volleyball court while others were forgotten at various spots where I stopped for a bit of fun.

Besides losing them, I was also a specialist in spoiling them — OK, the quality wasn’t quite as good back in my growing up years. The plastic cover will break or leak due to wear and tear — more tear than wear, I figured.

These days, I don’t buy water bottles. People either give them to me or I get them at events.

Last October, I received a water bottle that I really like. The Tiger brand is renowned for its sturdiness and the size was just right for my sling bag.

After nearly a year of use, somehow the top cover gave way and could not be fixed. I was disappointed and for the first time in decades, contemplated buying a replacement.

But, God knew what I needed and at a recent event, I got one. Typically, water bottles given as memento tend to be the cheaper kind — those that end up in storage or being given away to others.

This one was special. The Zoku stainless steel bottle was sturdy and solid. The hallmark of a good water bottle is its ability to keep water or other liquid contents at the same temperature when poured in. And this one excels. The ice remains in solid form even after a day or two and the water is icy cold — my kind of water after a long walk.

Here are five things I like about the Zoku stainless steel bottle:

  1. Nice colours. The range of metallic colours make them suitable for all — men, women, young, and old.
  2. Good build. It feels solid and fits nicely in the palm.
  3. Temperature retention. This is very important. Whether you like it hot or cold, it stays hot for up to 15 hours or cold for up to 70 hours.
  4. Smooth opening. The polished thread-free mouthpiece makes it easy to drink without that feeling of something poking at the mouth.
  5. Easy carrying. The removable paracord lanyard makes it easy to bring the bottle around.

Priced at S$31.90 at Qoo10, it is not overly expensive. What you get is a water bottle that will last and one that you will be proud to carry around.

Zara blazers are hot!

IMG_20180628_133811.jpgComing from a tropical county, I’ve often wondered how people in temperate countries still could wear a blazer even in summer.

The jackets and suits that I own are perfect for Singapore’s air-conditioned buildings but not suitable to be worn outdoor in the 30 plus degrees Celsius weather for long.

Hence, I was delighted when I spotted a blazer in Zara during my trip to Taipei (it was sweltering). Priced at around S$120, the light blue blazer came with a half-inner lining so that it doesn’t feel so warm.

Flamingo pin.jpgThe material has a netting sort of texture, making it an easy match for both formal and business casual wear. For an added touch, Zara paired the blazer with a red flamingo pin on the lapel.

When I wore in the first time in Singapore, several persons stopped and gave me the thumbs up.

Yesterday, I visited an exhibition at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and decided to check out Zara. That same blazer was up for grab at S$59.90 — that’s half the price. And the choice of colours was more than in Taipei.

I couldn’t let the opportunity pass so I bought one in navy blue. Guess this sort of even out the price per blazer.

When I told the cashier that I had bought a similar blazer at the original price in Taipei, she commented that many overseas shoppers were very happy when they come to the shop. It seems that such sales are not common in Zara outlets elsewhere.

Many other items are going at reduced prices at the Zara outlet at 10 Bayfront Avenue, B2-08 & B2-113, The Shoppes at Marina Bay. Think the sale should also be on at the VivoCity outlet.

So, if you’re into Zara clothing and are looking for great bargains, now’s a great time to drop head there.

 

Mango dessert that leaves one longing for more

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Mention Swensen’s and memories of rich ice cream desserts decked with interesting sweet condiments come to mind. When the ice cream chain first arrived in Singapore, I remember hanging out there once or twice a week after tennis sessions with my friends.

It used to offer their desserts in two sizes — standard and Swensen’s size, which is double the normal ones.

We used to challenge each other to take on Earthquake in Swensen’s size. If the person can finish the entire dish in one go, the rest of us will pay for it. One of our friends took up the challenge once and he gobbled everything down — to the last drop! We paid for it with our pocket but he paid for it with a massive calorie infusion.

Looking back, it was kind of a silly challenge considering that our tennis workout was intended to help us stay fit and loose weight.

Must-do
Anyway, I was in Bangkok last weekend and a visit to Swensen’s is usually a must-do, simply because the desserts cost less than in Singapore.

While looking for a place to rest our tired feet at MBK, my wife and I looked for the ice cream outlet and found it at level 3.

Before heading in, I noticed a standee promoting its mango offerings and was drawn to one that comes with bingsu, the Korean-styled ice shaving.

As it was priced at 219 baht (about S$9.20), we decided to share one.

We were told to wait for 15 minutes so I guess the dessert must take some preparation.

When it arrived, we were mesmerised. The bingsu was topped milk and mango syrup plus a couple of mint leaves and a piece of Swensen’s chocolate, and surrounded by chunks of mango.

After digging in, we discovered a large scoop of mango ice cream supported by green sticky rice at the bottom.

Swensen’s accompanied the dessert with additional milk and mango syrup on the side.

Simply heavenly
The taste was simply heavenly! The rich, creamy taste of the ice cream blended so well with the light, cold bingsu and slightly saltish sticky rice.

It was pure delight for the senses. The additional milk and mango syrup came in handy once we cleared the outer layer of the bingsu.

When we were done, there was a craving for a little more. But, on hindsight, the portion is just nice for two persons.

My conclusion is that this dessert is really worth a go, if you happen to be in Thailand. It left me longing for more.

Swensen’s has taken the traditional mango sticky rice and given it a major boost with bingsu and ice cream.

I’m not sure how long this item will stay on the menu though — guess it depends on the mango season.

Yummy and crispy coconut chips

FruitLand Young Coconut Chips.jpgKnowing how my family loves coconut chips, I made a beeline to King Power Duty-Free while on a quick transit in Bangkok.

The shop is big and filled with shelves of local snacks. It took me a while to find what I was looking for — in a shelf inside the shop.

I wasn’t familiar with the brand and packaging as it was different from those that I bought from a shop in Platinum Fashion Mall.

For peace of mind, I decided to do a taste test — something which I don’t usually do. The toasted coconut chip tasted crispy and wasn’t overly sweet. As it was made from a young coconut, the flavour was just nice, not too overpowering.

FruitLand Young Coconut Chips was priced at 150THB per 80-gram box with a free box for every five purchased.

You may order the chips at King Power.

 

Palladium World: Underrated but a gem in its own right

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In a city with so many shopping malls, it’s understandable why Palladium World does not ring a bell. The mall is diagonally across the road from the world famous Platinum Fashion Mall.

It’s hard to fathom why the mall is not drawing more crowd especially as it’s connected to The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, a huge hotel with great conference facilities.

But, a look at the stores the mall inside show that they can compete with their more illustrious neighbour in terms of pricing and offerings. OK, there aren’t as many stores but there are enough to keep most happy.

Besides stores selling clothes, accessories and souvenirs, there are also many massage parlours where shoppers can take a short breather, be massaged and recharged for another round.

The top few levels are filled with IT shops selling computers, gadgets and lots of IT and phone accessories.

What I like about Palladium:

  1. Space: The corridors are wide enough to walk without having to rub shoulders with others.
  2. Shops: There are enough stores here to keep me occupied for a few hours.
  3. Smaller crowd: Don’t think this is good for the mall as a whole but I enjoyed the ability to move around easily without having to be rushed.

The one area of improvement is the food option. The food court in the basement has limited offerings and doesn’t look appealing.