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Monday, 23 January 2017

Outfit of the Day - white woollen coat over dark blue mini dress

"O Dionysus, we feel you near,stirring like molten lavaunder the ravaged earth,flowing from the wounds of your treesin tears of sap,screaming with the rageof your hunted beasts." - Euripides

No, this ain't what it seems. I was reaching out for just the wine cup, really I was!  Dionysus is no doubt one of my favoritest gods - being the one who precedes over wine, arts, pleasure and fertility. Wine and arts got me. I even dreamed of him once, out of the royal midnight blue.

This photo was taken in the Louvre, Paris. I was decked out in Winter gear of a white gingham wollen coat over navy blue mini-dress with high collar and fringe. In my hands was a Trench Coat for the cold weather outdoors - black, polyester with fur trim. Black tights completed the look.

Dress: Bought from Hong Kong
White Coat: Sixties (SGD$69.90)
Black Coat: H&M (SGD$129.00)
Necklace: Tiffany and Co

[Poem] Of Rolling Hills

The rolling hills, cloud-capped tops, 
They still bear our traces; 
Footprints, bodyprints and sighs, 
They still bear our memories. 

Oh how we danced on steep edges, 
How we tried hard not to fall; 
Tumbling down the rolling hills, 
How we tried hard to hold on. 

But I did wonder what it was like, 
To let go, and freely fall, 
Into the depths intriguing, 
Like how my heart plummeted. 

And I did wonder what it was like, 
To let loose, to destroy the grips, 
To soar towards the silver clouds, 
Like how you lift my spirits. 

The rolling plains, frothy hilltops, 
They still bear our traces, 
Faintly, in scents, echoes and touch, 
They still beckon to us at times.

Copyright © Winepoetess 2017

8 Reasons Why You Should Continue Shopping at the Malls

Photosource: https://vulcanpost.com/574152/10-stores-closed-singapore/

More and more of these articles are springing up, and while the eyes cast over familiar words such as "competition", "high rental" and "closing, the heart continues to sink with each paragraph (even Mustafa Shopping Centre is set for closure!). The mind wanders back to my malls experience, remembering the familiar layout and stores in each mentioned shopping centre, remembering the good times I had there, and maybe even the smells.

Granted, one knows that such a demise of the shopping malls might happen eventually, with increased shop rental, manpower, import / export fees and shoppers' shift of buying culture. Competition from online stores are more and more common; one may find familiar brands online or discover foreign brands which we previously had no idea even existed.

Even me - stubborn as a mule, loyal to conventionality and outdated user in the virtual world - me who proclaim many times that I will never shop online, have slowly fallen into the allure of buying certain things online. Well, imagine attractive pricing coupled with the fact that goods are delivered to my doorstep (i.e. no fun carrying a sack of rice home?), and the ease of being able to shop 24/7 (i.e. emergency shopping in the middle of the night?), have certainly contributed to me breaching my promise at times. Oh yes, there's also no need to jostle with crowds as well, except for the occasional congested network tussle during a Black Friday sale.

Well this new shift paradigm in buying culture certainly is good news for entrepreneurs and businesses who jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon immediately, but does not bode well for retailers with actual shopfronts. Fear grips my heart as I try to imagine a world without shopping malls in future, and people stop coming out because everything can be done in the comfort of their homes / offices.

While it is not likely to happen because I doubt the government will allow that, because shopping malls are essential for tourism's purpose, etc, here's 8 Reasons Why You Should Continue Shopping at the Malls, keeping the traditional buying culture alive:

1. Trying Before Committing
While an online order for clothes, shoes or skincare products might sound like a gamble - tossing in the money to see if we've got the dress we really want, lots of trial-and-errors, we are really playing the guessing game until we receive the orders. And then we are subject to risks such as goods not arriving, good being damaged, materials / colors being vastly different, sizes mismatch due to odd estimated measurements etc. Which results in the hassles of having to refund or exchange or not getting anything back at all.

Shopping at the malls eliminates some of these risks, as we get to try everything, feel them, feel their effects on us, before we finally hand over our cards.

2. Personal Service
When we shop online, we tend to spend more time researching and reading reviews about a brand or product. If we are unsure, we either ponder for a long time or just wing it and order, hoping that they are suitable.

When we are unsure in the malls, the helping store assistants would be more than delighted to advise and help in whatever way they could.

3. Have a Treat
One of the joys of shopping in malls is that there are plenty of nice cafes and bars for us to grab a bite or a drink when we are tired. This is a little difficult with online shopping - unless we are already seated in a mall browsing e-commerce sites.

4. Bonding with Friends
Do you remember how much fun there was when you went shopping with your girlfriends? The times when we appraised each others' choice of clothes to buy, tried on a new eyeshadow shade together, and laughed ourselves silly falling over Nine West heels during a mega sale?

We could hardly attain the same level of fun and bonding with online shopping. What, grab our Ipads and gather somewhere to shop online together?

5. Making New Friends
Sometimes shopping alone leads to conversations with other like-minded shoppers and we end up gaining a new friend during the shopping trip. Try it - one never knows how far a simple comment such as, "I noticed you tried on this dress earlier on, and it looks good on you," or "I like books by the same author as well" could go.

Having said that though, please don't start going around boutiques harassing every single shopper in the hope of making friends. This might lead to a rather unsightly out-of-mall escort by the security guard.

6. Good Form of Exercise
Imagine this - if we are already holding a job that requires us to sit down for at least 7 hours a day (including lunch hour), and we claim that we have no time to visit the gym after work, are we sure we'd still want to sit down for another hour for online shopping? Get out there - crawl the malls looking pretty - this is exercising without breaking a sweat.

7. Minimizing Financial Risks
Anything that goes online has its fair share of risks, and may be subject to information theft, monetary pilferage or even the simple technical glitches that cause major inconveniences. Save yourself from being exposed to such risks by shopping and paying in person (cash for smaller items).

8. Sustainability
If you wish to see your favorite brand / merchandise around for the next few years, please, please show your support by turning up and buying something. Even in today's context, not every brand or shop has a comprehensive e-commerce website; even some very big brands are unable to list all their stocks online. Therefore please keep the shopping culture alive by visiting them (often).

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Outfit of the Day - silver satin floral dress

People will stare. Make it worth their while.” - Harry Winston 

 Heading out to celebrate Baby's birthday. Yes, its a silver kind of night.

Silver satin body-hugging dress with plunging neckline and thin-spaghetti straps.

Dress: bought from Hong Kong
Necklace: Tiffany and Co
Earrings: Chomel

[Poem] Painting You

Tonight, I wish to paint you, 
Paint your face full and white; 
Leaving it colorless, like a corpse 
Paint you in the light I see you. 

And tonight, if I paint you,
It would be with piano music 
In the background, a glass of red, 
Breezes billowing through the drapes. 

I wish to splatter paint all over you, 
Red, blue, white, yellow, black; 
To bring the colours back to your life, 
To see your cheeks rosy again. 

Yet all I see is darkness, fading lights, 
Peeling paint off the walls, 
Your pale face monochromatic, 
And the colours start swirling...

Copyright © thearcticstar 2016

[Invited Tasting] CNY 2017 Yee Sang Istimewa and Daily High Tea @ The Peranakan (Revisit)

442 Orchard Road #02-01 Claymore Connect, Orchard Hotel, Singapore 238879
Tel: 6262 4428
Opening Hours:  11.00am to 10.00pm (daily)

Our first visit to The Peranakan Restaurant @ Orchard Hotel (review here) left a very good impression, therefore we were excited to return a second time. What's on the agenda this time round? Well, Yee Sang Istimewa for the upcoming Chinese New Year (yes, they are opened throughout the CNY holidays) as well as High Tea Set.

Before we delve into the tasting session, here's a peek at their Chinese New Year Menu 2017. If you are thinking of dining out during Chinese New Year,  bringing your family for a treat, or having something special like Straits cuisine, consider the interesting and quality food at The Peranakan. 

The Yee Sang Istimewa (aka Peranakan Yu Sheng) comes in different selection - Smoked Salmon (SGD$38.00 for small / SGD$68.00 for large), Abalone (SGD$88.00 for small / SGD128.00 for large) as well as Smoked Salmon & Abalone (SGD$118.00 for small / SGD$168.00 for large).

Yes, the decoration is elaborate and stunning, with roosters riding high on the vegetables dish. While the Yu Sang dish looks uncannily like our conventional Chinese Yee Sang, the Yee Sang Istimewa has the added goodness such as chilli padi, lemongrass etc - 25 spices for an added exotic flavor, and also the use of Keropok for extra crisps. Needless to mention, the taste was very good.

Moving on to another of their daily delights - The Peranakan High Tea set, available daily from 11.00am to 5.30pm. Each set is SGD$48.00 for 2 persons, consisting of about 14 items including either a pot of Malacca Tea, Coffee, Lemongrass Tea or Pandan Tea. Items include both sweet and savoury items - very value for money.

Savoury Items comprise:
  1. Mee Siam (vermicelli in a rich sour-spicy gravy with little pieces of dried tofu aka taupok)
  2. Kueh Pie Ti (crispy flour cups filled with stewed turnip and shrimps)
  3. Hae Bee Hiam on Toast (dried spicy shrimp paste) - delicious!
  4. Braised Pork Buns (aka "Kong Bak Paus") - tender and sweet pork meat.
  5. Ngoh Hiang (minced pork meat roll with chestnut), deep-fried. This was one of our favorites.
  6. Nasi Ulam Istimewa (rice with raw herbs, lemongrass, minced threadfin fish, salted threadfin fish, chopped long beans and toasted coconut) - we'd tried this the first time round and enjoyed it.

Sweet Items comprise (items may be subject to change):
  1. Pandan Gula Melaka Cake - we tried this the last time round and preferred the durian version
  2. Pulot Enti Kelapa (blue glutinous rice served with gula melaka and dried shredded coconut) - as good as ever
  3. Pulot Enti Durian - blue glutinous rice with durian) - rich and aromatic as per the first time we'd tried
  4. Kueh Kodoh (aka "goreng pisang") - deep-fried banana fritters. 
  5. Pineapple Tarts - enjoyed the buttery crust and generous fillings (so much, that I bought a tub home)
  6. Egg Rolls - thick and eggy fragrance was distinctive
  7. Durian Puree with Toast - creamy and robust.
  8. Tapioca Cake 
Overall, this was a very filling and fulfilling meal. Chef Raymond's even brought in special Chilean wine with rooster label specially to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Order a glass or bottle to go along with your meal. Chinese New Year Cookies are already available - pineapple tarts, peanut cookies, almond cookies, shrimp rolls, etc.

Thank you Chef Raymond and The Peranakan for the impeccable service, delicious meal and stunning settings once more; as well as appreciation for Hence for extending the invite.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Afternoon Tea at Oromo Coffee @ Shaw Tower

100 Beach Road #01-41B, Shaw Tower, Singapore 189702
Tel: 6299 5325

Looking for a quiet cafe for a mid-afternoon caffeine boost around Beach Road, and I stumbled upon Oromo Coffee at Shaw Tower.

The cafe appears spacious from the outside, with its full-glass windows and cushy couch seats by the window. The black sign board and menu board by the entrance were both eye-catching and inviting as well.

It was only when we went in, we realized that it was a kind of co-shared space with Subway. Either that, or Subway patrons from the borderless next door have all stationed themselves comfortably on tables and chairs at Oromo Coffee.

It struck me as weird, since Oromo Coffee has its own menu with items such as sandwiches, simple pasta dishes etc. They also have some cakes and desserts for those with sweet tooth. Coffee beans hail from over the world, according to their Facebook page.

Green Tea (SGD$4.90) was served in a glass teapot with simple white cup by the side. Two sugar gem cookies were served on the tiny saucer, in lieu of biscotti.

Cappuccino (SGD$4.50 for regular / SGD$5.50 for large) - foamy, bittersweet (rather bitter, in fact), smooth and creamy. This was also served with 2 of those colorful sugar gem cookies.

Overall, quiet place for afternoon hangout or work. The hot savoury meals and Blackforest Cake might make me want to return to try someday soon.

Outfit of the Day - black low-cut tight dress with gold buttons

"Women who wear black lead colorful lives." - Neiman Marcus

This was another dress that got to me instantly - see the plunging neckline and high slits? This tight-fitting dress comes with gold buttons and latch to look slightly formidable but classy all the same.

Dress: S Lady (SGD$189.00)
Bangle: Hermes
Watch: CYMA

[Poem] Where are the Fangs?

He caresses her gently, slowly, 
With his probing tongue, 
Inching in closer as he tastes 
Her soft skin so sweet. 

She feels his tongue on her earlobes, 
Lightly nibbling, his hands fondle 
Between her arms, sending sensations 
Indescribable, while she waits for the pain. 

He sniffs her hair, lingers at her neck, 
Slowly moving southwards 
To where she trembles badly 
Waiting for a palm or stab of the tongue. 

She smiles, watching his red lips work, 
Nervous for the agony of his bite, asks, 
"You're so gentle baby, where're the fangs?
" He chokes, chuckling, "I'm an actor, a mortal."

Copyright © thearcticstar 2016

Friday, 20 January 2017

Afternoon Tea at Suzette Cafe @ Esplanade

8 Raffles Avenue #01-13 Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802
Tel: 9652 5092

A pretty and new cafe built on passion with a love for crafts, Suzette Cafe is the most recent addition to Esplanade Mall's dining scene. Sister company of Lola's Cafe (review here), this dessert cafe has one of the most pastries I have seen in a cafe.

The decor is minimalistic and monochromatic, with pretty little touches around the cafe. Service was friendly and polite, with the girls patiently explaining the various flavours and key ingredients to us nicely. Besides cakes, they also serve some savoury dishes, coffee, tea and beers.

We were attracted to the Earl Grey Banana Cake and Lychee Rosewater Cake (SGD$8.00 each), which we purchased.

We also saw many other tempting delicacies such as Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Salted Caramel Poporn Cake, and Cinnamon Cream Cheesecake etc.

Tarts are also available, such as Lemon Meringue Tart, Black Sesame Matcha, and Hazelnut Coffee Tart etc. Everything looked delicious.

The Lychee Rosewater Cake was fluffy with layer of mascarpone and lychee fruit pieces, delicately aromatic of rose's lovely notes. This is definitely a cake most ladies would love.

The Earl Grey Banana Cake was lightly coated with a chocolate sauce. Cake was softly-texturized and moist, redolent of earl grey's aroma and filled with bits of sweet banana.

I will definitely be back for more cakes.