After a few days fossicking around the street stalls of Singapore I found this little orange number in a second hand store for $20. Slightly too big for me with a purple strap I wasn’t taking too, my mum quickly gave it some love and it’s now one of my treasured finds. I paired it with my yellow satin heels from Zara and shot the look within the serene walls of Chijmes, Singapore. This is one of my favourite shoots to date. Thanks Tori for capturing the essence of this magical place perfectly.
It’s been a big year, professionally, emotionally and physically. I’ve ticked off some significant boxes on my ’30 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 35′ bucket list; I’ve achieved a lot professionally, I’ve travelled, dated, spoke in front of over 200 people and made a few more best friends who I now simply couldn’t do life without. I couldn’t feel more accomplished as I say goodbye to the beast that was 2017, but it certainly has taken it’s toll. I haven’t given my body a minute to rest and it’s something I know I am often guilty of.
We often escape the city in search of a relaxing weekend, but it’s never really a full switch off. We either wander the streets, explore the beach or go for long walks and make the most of every minute. But that’s not a real rest. A few weekends ago Tori and I locked ourselves inside the walls of the luxurious Grand Mercure Hotel, situated right in the heart of the city. We shut off. Sipping our champagne while perched on our north facing windows, we peered down onto the bustling city street. We didn’t feel guilty for being inside on such a beautiful day. Closed off from the distraction of a computer, chores and life admin, we wrapped ourselves up in our plush white robes and lazed about enjoying all the amenities, the crisp white sheets, the deep tub and the deliciously prepared food brought right to our bed. It was just what I needed and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. From every smile that greeted us in the hallway, to the judgement free look we received when ordering our french fries and Brussels Sprouts (its our thing) the personal touch on our experience was felt during each and every minute.
As you will see, the place is an absolute dream. From the fitness and yoga studio where you can select and follow hundreds of interactive fitness classes to their intimate library and sky high Attic Bar which celebrates the sparkling city and harbour views, the Grand Mercure is a holiday in itself and I cannot wait to go back in a few months and refuel within their walls again!
Follow them on Instagram for more from this blissful inner city escape
Ketz-ke is the fashion child of local New Zealand designer Jenny Drury. As a lover of bold colours, unique prints and statement pieces, I was immediately drawn to her gorgeous collections. My personal style is a mix of local and international brands and designers, high end pieces and cheap finds, so I took a few of her pieces over to Singapore, the city of colour, and styled them against its beautiful backdrops with a few of my local market finds.
The Wonder Shirt with my yellow pants from Tiong Bahru Markets
Bubbles Top with my yellow pants from Tiong Bahru Markets
Singapore is one the most popular stop over destinations for New Zealanders. Whether we are on our way to Europe or off to the islands of Indonesia, we have all spent our fair share of time window-shopping Changi airport. I often hear that this is as far as many of us go and Singapore isn’t given the chance to be stamped in our passports. It’s just another big city, it’s too much hassle or too expensive to stay a few days or we just want to get the 30 odd hour flight to London over and done with.
Well, Singapore is one of my favourite cities, I go every year and fall more in love each time. So I want to share some of my favourite experiences then that next time you book your flights, you will go beyond the walls of Changi, stamp your passport for the first time, take the $25 – $40 cab into the city and fall in love just as I have.
But where on earth do you start when trying to plan two days in such a bustling, diverse city of must dos? Well, Booking.com are celebrating their latest campaign ‘First Times’ and have asked me to partner with them to share my love and inspiration for those first time travellers to Singapore (and every booking made via this Booking.com link over $80 will receive $40 back!) Yes, you can hop on Google and tick off the token attractions but in my experience it’s not the attractions that pull on my heart strings, it’s the little less frequented spots, unique to Singapore that in most cases only the locals and expats (and now me) know about.
I’ve pulled together the best bits to squeeze into a two-day stop over that I guarantee will have you booking a full ten-day holiday back!
Grab a coffee and an almond croissant while you gather your thoughts in one of Singapore’s oldest heritage sites. I think we can all agree that the biggest struggle for travelling kiwis is trying to find a café that can serve a decent coffee, but nestled amongst the local eateries is Tiong Bahru Bakery. Where east meets west, it’s become a tourist attraction in itself with the smell of their freshly baked pastries and ground espresso drifting down the streets each morning luring in crowds of addicted expats and locals. Sit outside and watch groups of friends chattering away or grab your coffee takeaway and …
Wander through the streets! Dubbed as the Ponsonby of Singapore, Tiong Bahru offers a more relaxed, boutique, local experience than the bustle of Orchard Road or the arctic temperatures of the shopping malls. Keep an eye out for these spots:
Walk to Bakalaki Greek Taverna for an early lunch – 5 mins walk
The quality of the eateries in Singapore is setting a very high standard for international gastronomy. Beautifully decored spaces preparing equally beautiful dishes are what I have come to expect from this city, and Bakalaki is one of my latest additions. Whisked away to the heart of Greece, we sat outside in the balmy breeze enjoying THE BEST Greek salad served with a big slab of decadent feta and a lamb Moussaka. The darling men running the restaurant treat you like family, a genuine welcome as if it were their home. We were treated to fresh Baklava to take home and a shot of their delicious Lemoncello.
Cab to Blair Rd – approx. 5 mins from Tiong Bahru
The Shop Houses of Singapore paint the city with their vibrant colours, striking tiles and cute shutters. You can’t miss them and like me will find yourself hanging out of the cab window trying to snap a picture. But the residents of Blair Road have taken the ‘pretty colourful shop house’ to an entire new level. Their homes are pieces of art with detailed trimmings, delicately painted tiles and mix of bright, bold colours. Unlike some of the other neighbourhoods, Blair Rd is relatively quiet making it the best area to take pictures without cars parked outside and the distraction of the shops and cafes on the street level.
Cab to Chinatown – approx. 10 mins/$10
Now time to experience the hustle and bustle! The jam-packed lanes of Chinatown are filled with little knick knacky shops, but thankfully no knock offs or overpowering vendors hassling you. Wander through the fashion stalls; especially the little Indian ones as the women have an eye for beautiful unique fabrics and I have picked up a few of my favourite pieces here.
Walk down Smith St, across South Bridge Rd and up Ann Siang Hill Rd a bit to Club Street
A popular Friday night drink spot where crowds of expats and locals spill out onto the streets as they hop from wine bar to boutique beer cafes. But during the day Club Street takes on a calmer vibe as it shows off its rows of charming, quaint shop houses dressed in leafy vines and hanging birdcages. Catch some shade and cool off over a beer or lemon iced tea at Jerry’s.
Cab to Haji Lane and Kampong Glam – approx.15mins /$10+
Haji Lane and around, is the heart of the colour of Singapore! I could shoot in these streets all day, in fact we nearly did! From the blue and white tiles that frame the Turkish restaurant to the black and white smiling faces painted on the walls – as if they are photographs! Haji lane has compacted a burst of colourful, culture and ambience into its surrounding neighbourhood. It is also where you can find the up and coming local fashion designers. Reasonably priced yet influenced by the trends coming off the catwalks, I found my mustard high wasted pants here for $20 and my red stilettos for $60. I’m often asked about both of those purchases and I love how I can say that my style is truly influenced from my experiences abroad.
Cab to Atlas, Park View Square – or take the 5min walk from Haji Lane.
Anyone with a taste for art deco decadence will be left speechless walking into this grandiose establishment. Inspired by the glamorous architecture of Europe and New York, Atlas has created an experience like no other. Take a seat at the bar and peruse one of Asia’s finest collections of gin, spirits and champagne or settle into one of their booths for an afternoon tea.
Cab to PS Café Tiong Bahru – approx. 10mins/$10
Enjoy a glass of wine from their vast collection and one of their famous hand made pizzas. The decor and ambience of the eatery contrasts with the takeaway-dining concept, but that’s what I like about it. With walls of wine against the black tile and brass fit out, you would expect a full fine-dining experience. But at PS Café the pizzas come out in takeaway boxes with plastic cutlery, all made to share over a glass of wine or G+T. Feeling like you might be in the streets of New York, each pizza is served with their home made hot sauce, just a little Singaporean twist so you don’t forget where you are!
Yes, Chijmes is featured on all the Trip Advisory sites however it is still one of the most picturesque landmarks I’ve explored in my travels and something anyone new to Singapore must experience. What was once a Catholic convent, providing a school for girls, and an orphanage and housing for nuns, is now home to a range of charming restaurants covered in lush hanging greenery and European inspired verandas. Take a walk through the old archways, white spiral staircases and tiled corridors of this magical slice of serenity.
Cab to The Fullerton Bay Hotel 10mins / $10
Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at Clifford Pier. Another grand establishment Clifford Pier, part of The Fullerton Bay Hotel, is a fresh, white, elegant dining room set under a curved sky-high ceiling. It is positioned looking out over Marina Bay. A grand piano plays to its elegantly dressed guests as they sit to enjoy an afternoon high tea. I find myself fascinated by the tables of wealthy looking people and families, wondering if this is their version of a Sunday roast? Even without the high tea experience, stroll the boardwalk around the pier, which is completely open to the public even though it is part of the hotel. Some of Singapore’s magnificent modern architecture can be seen from the boardwalk surrounding Marina Bay.
From the lobby area, take the lift to…
The Lantern Bar, on the rooftop of Fullerton Bay Hotel. Curving around the infinity pool are lounging whicker chairs and pool cabanas perfect for an afternoon cocktail served with crispy-coated peanuts. The Lantern Bar in my opinion provides the best view across to Marina Bay Sands, elevated above the busy Collyer Quay you can sit back and enjoy the view in a relaxed atmosphere.
Cab to Duxton Hill and Tanjong Paga Road 10mins / $10
Duxton Hill will have you holding your phone out at each step. A series of larger shop houses, Duxton Hill is another popular dining destination for expats. Here you will find one of my favourite shops houses – the canary yellow double shop house complete with its fanned white shutters tucked amongst the trees. Enjoy an afternoon stroll up the hill peeking into the mix of fine dining and casual beer gardens. Plan out a few additions to the next trip like I did!
Take the two min walk back down the hill to enjoy a …
Cocktail at Tipling Club. If you are a cocktail enthusiast like me, then Tipling Club is where you want to spend your final night in Singapore. Located in a shophouse, on the corner of Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar Rd, Tipling Club has been featured as one of the worlds best bars, a statement I can now second. The bar is cocooned under a ceiling of hanging spirits. On the corner of the bar you will find little perfume sticks used to capture the scent of each cocktail allowing their guests to “taste test” each cocktail before ordering. Each cocktail is designed to reignite a memory. I had The Grass while mum stayed in her old ways and ordered a classic dry martini (her staple). The whole place has been restored to retain the Singapore ‘of old’
Cab to Merci Marcel in Tiong Bahru 10mins / $10
I spent my last night dining at Merci Marcel, the newest eatery to join the Tiong Bahru family. A French Bistro so pretty a photo simply cannot recreate. With leafy tropical plants and yellow and gold tones, its sumptuous interior was capturing the attention of all passersby. Sit inside at the bar or couches, or the chic (Instagramable) outdoor courtyard. The menu offers a range of shared plates and larger dishes. We had the Duck Rillettes, Chickpea Crème, Roasted Asparagus and Sautéed Mushrooms. Having spoken to a few other neighbouring diners it sounds like you cannot go wrong with this menu!
That’s it! My ‘how to fall in love with Singapore in two days’ made easy! Print this out and you cannot go wrong AND to make your planning even that much easier, every booking made via this Booking.com link over $80 will receive $40 back! Booking.com guarantee the best prices for any type of property from small independents to five star luxury and no booking fees … ever!
Looking for accommodation in Singapore? M Social is centrally located on Roberston Quay. Not only close proximity to the CBD and Marina Bay it also has the most romantic night walk along the river. Perfect date night stroll.
The boutique hotel offers a range of cute, cozy rooms, roof top pool and bright colourful dining spaces, an easy inner city stay for your stop over. Pop over to Booking.com to check out their rooms and rates.
What experiences have you had in Singapore? I go back every year so would love to hear some of your finds and experiences.
* $40 NZD credited back to your nominated account through Booking.com once you have successfully completed your stay. Deal valid for one booking only.
Disclaimer: Booking.com uses third party cookies to help provide personalised ads and analyse their traffic. This information may be shared with our advertisers, where it may be combined with other information you’ve given their website.
I was recently introduced to Shiseido’s new Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette. As a devoted collector of fragrances, including aromatic candles, I don’t fall short of words to explain the power of a fragrance. I have heard that scent is the strongest tie to memory and this thought intrigues me.
It got me thinking about all the people we meet over the course of a lifetime, all the connections we make with thousands of people every year, what is it that makes only a portion of these people memorable? So, to help launch Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette I’m going to share my thoughts on impressions and my experience with leaving a memorable one…
Life is about being receptive to those around us, being open to new people and extending our familiar circle into the unfamiliar. That’s what we do. My circle continues to grow as I become more consciously aware of the good in others, learning to absorb their qualities and shape them into my own.
I think about those who have left an impression on me. The local barista who greets me, with a friendly smile in the morning, silently encouraging me to exude a friendly vibe for the rest of the day. Or, a work colleague who inspired me, just by watching the way she uses her charismatic confidence to get things done. I like the way these impressions influence how I develop my character.
Here are a few ways in which impressions were left on me, some of the things I actively try to weave into my character:
Eye contact. I sparked a conversation with someone at an event recently. They invested in the connection by not taking notice of any other activity or people around us, rather they were completely attentive and held eye contact throughout the chat. I realised how important this is and maybe how forgotten it can be, especially at busy events.
Listen. I love to listen to interesting descriptions or episodes told from someone’s life story. I have a few experiences that have sparked some interesting conversations like living in Japan, managing a snowboard team or that my mum lives in Singapore. I’ve met people with personal ties to Singapore; and loved sharing experiences and local insider tips like the best cocktail bars or vintage stores. I’m hoping one day we will be there at the same time to enjoy these things together.
Wear something different. People who wear a bold print or a statement heel are usually granted a place in my memory. It can be as small as a piece of jewelry, a stacking of interesting rings or how you tie a neck scarf that can communicate a creative or a confident side of your personality.
Choose your words wisely. Pleases and thank you’s! Over use them if you have to. I also try to acknowledge a person as if they were already my friend. I often hug people on the first meeting, sometimes even an air kiss to each check. This is completely by personal preference, but for me I think it can show an approachable, warm side to someone’s personality.
Smile. It’s contagious, attractive and warming.
As they say, scent is the strongest tie to the memory, so once you have made a memorable impression, set it with a scent that represents your unique story, your qualities, experiences and gestures. I’ve always chosen light natural fragrances. The Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette is light, warm, welcoming and fresh. It’s gorgeous to wear and captures the essence of my personality; it compliments me and acts as a silent introduction to who I am.
Available at selected Department Stores and Pharmacies, for your nearest stockist visit www.shiseido.co.nz
Eau de Toilette 30ml $79
Eau de Toilette 50ml $109
Eau de Toilette 90ml $149
I have an attachment – it’s golden, it’s warm, it’s everlasting. It’s the attachment I have to my to my Poppa. He’s not here now but I remember how he would stand at his kitchen bench sipping his whiskey from a special glass, describing the virtues of various brands. He even brewed his own for a while, in a genuine old oak barrel and would proudly say it was the best he’d ever tasted….that sounds like a Scotsman doesn’t it!
My mother told me, how he and my grandmother would stop on their way to Auckland, at a little hillside waterfall to collect the purest brook water for their wee dram. He came from Scotland, so of course the ‘wee dram’ is in my blood.
When I was invited to experience the smooth and delicate taste of the Auchentoshan American Oak single malt whisky, I was honoured to write and experience something that would reignite such a cherished memory and connect me with my heritage. Auchentoshan American Oak and its story has the depth of Scotland and Glasgow at its heart and I am proud to have inherited age old Scottish traditions from my poppa. He was just like whiskey to me – liquid gold.
But I’m part of a new breed of whisky drinkers. Those who still enjoy and appreciate a refined taste but look for a bit of an edge. Auchentoshan American Oak is exactly that. Refined, unique, served with a twist. It’s a smooth, delicate, premium pour – all sounds a bit like my taste in men actually! Lucky for me, this night was spent with my darling friends Vlad Tichen and Jaheb Barnett. Establishing themselves as Auckland’s most influential fashion bloggers, they too have crafted the refined, unique, premium look, embodying the qualities and nature of the whiskey and the Auchentoshan brand.
The experience, celebrated the individual signature serves created by three bartenders from top urban establishments The Lumsden, Britomart Country Club and MyBar. What was once reserved for an elite few, a new whiskey experience is making its mark as a modern ritualism. I had been a whiskey sour drinker for years so was already sold on the idea of a whiskey cocktail, but this night, Auchentoshan was served with various ales, – a completely new, yet surprising experience for me!
Bars across Auckland are introducing and pairing this beautiful whiskey with selected ales to create their own signature Auchentoshan and Ale serve.
Auchentoshan meets the Epic Static IPA, the Sparks Repetition and the Auguring Bones – Lazy Bones.
Auchentoshan shaken with sugar syrup, honey, sours and topped with Sawmill IPA.
Named the Auchy Ale, they served it with fresh lemon, sugar, topped with Urbanaut NZIPA
Follow the journey on: