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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Learn Something New This Week at Course Xpress & Great PAssion Sale

People’s Association (PA) is holding the first-ever Great Passion Sale from 7 June to 7 July 2014! This means that this is the final week to get a 10% off a course of your choice at your nearest Community Centres (CCs) and Water-Venture (VW) outlets. 

To encourage more residents to sign up for courses at these venues and to commemorate PA’s Community Day,  PA is offering a 10% discount off for all courses

In addition, PA has also introduced new “bite-size” courses under a new series named Course Xpress. This series of new courses are 1-hour in duration and are priced at $10 ( or even lower for PA members!). If you’re uncertain about whether you should invest in a full course, the Course Xpress will be a good opportunity for you to try out a class to see if you like it before committing the full course. 




PA has kindly sponsored me three courses of my choice and the first class that I've attended was Pilates - Matwork for Beginners. This was just one of the MANY classes that you can choose from. My other two choices are learning how to cook local hawker food (Hawker’s Delight - Local Delights At Home) and western flower arrangement. :) My first class is held at Punngol Vista CC (for the North-East district)

What courses are there? 
There is a wide variety of courses available, for the full list of Xpress Courses, please visit www.one.pa.gov.sg for the full list.  Some interesting ones are:


  • Hawker's Delight - Local Delights as Home, where I can learn how to cook hawker food such as Hokkien Mee and Nasi Lemak at home for my husband! 
  • Designed With Love - Western Flower Arrangement, I'm hoping this will come in handy when I decorate our new place with fresh blooms. :D
  • Get up to Speed on Car Maintenance, learn about latest features in the automobile market, and technical knowledge onengine management, brakes, electronic power steering etc. 
  •  Zumba Gold, modified Zumba to suit the pace and movements for active older participants and beginners (highly recommended for your parents)
  • Let's Learn Through Korean Through Songs!, where this workshop will enable you to pick up essential sentence structures and expand your Korean vocabulary.
  • Pilates - Matwork for Beginners, read on to find out about my experience.



Who should sign up for Course Xpress?
Students, homemakers, freelancers, suitable for the young and old. 

When are the Xpress Courses held? 
Xpress classes are held on weekdays before 5pm. Check the calendar as more classes will be introduced over the next few months. 

Where are the courses available?
More courses will be offered in the coming months, beginning with these 12 CCs: 
1) Bishan CC
2) Kolam Ayer CC
3) Teck Ghee CC
4) Punggol Vista CC (I went here for Pilates!) 
5) Tampines East CC
6) Nee Soon South CC
7) Senja-Cashew CC
8) Woodlands Galaxy CC
9) Bedok CC
10) Macpherson CC 
11) Bukit Batok East CC
12) Yew Tee CC 

Courses such as Learn to - Kayaking and Dragonboat - are also available at these Water Venture Outlets in Singapore: 
1) Bedok Reservoir
2) Jurong Lake
3) Kallang
4) Lower Seletar Reservoir  

The CCs are well-equipped and well-maintained


How much is one course? 
$10/lesson! OR less (for PA members)!

My Xpress Course at Punggol Vista CC had 4 students, the classroom was cozy and the instructor gave us plenty of attention to correct our movements and posture.  
We started with a basic introduction to Pilates, where the sport focuses on training the core using a technique called isolation. 

Core is probably the weakest part of my body. :(
I have never done pialtes before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was challenging!!!  

Brought my own mat. The exercise ball was provided by instructor.

We moved on to tougher exercises by mid-lesson, and I was trying to work my muscles. 



We were told to keep our stomachs in and feel the stretch/pull/ strength of the different muscles used for each exercise. When done wrongly, the instructor will also gladly come over to "help" you! Hahaha. I always treat it as one step closer to a healthier body. 

Work it, work work it!

*           *            *
In the early days, most CCs offered only useful life skill classes such as dressmaking and sewing, and now, they have many lifestyle courses for the public to choose from. 

Previously I have already signed up for a Kickboxing class (full term) at SengKang CC and the classes were really fun and I felt great after a good workout. With this 10% discount, my course will now cost me only about $50 for 6 classes, which is also less than $10 per lesson. Super worth it. 

It'll be good for your mind and body to start learning something new today. The Xpress Course series at the CC-es is really a good option if you're not sure you'll enjoy the activity. Sign up by 7 July 2014 to enjoy the 10% discount! 





Sunday, June 8, 2014

ION Orchard Insider Workshop

My favourite shopping mall is on the search for bloggers for their upcoming new blog (July 2014) and when I first heard about it I signed up in a heartbeat.



I would like to get my hands on first-hand news for new brands, events or hidden gems at ION Orchard. And after this ION Insider workshop, I have three to recommend.

On the morning of the workshop I couldn't make it on time for breakfast, but from what I gathered, breakfast was really good at Bécasse Bakery. 



BÉCASSE BAKERY is a French inspired luxury artisan patisserie and bakery located on level 4 (#04-27 to 32) at ION. This is their first outlet in Singapore and it offers an all-day breakfast menu, as well as an all-day dining menu from noon. The other bloggers shared with me briefly what they had, and I believe they had the classic savories of Eggs Florentine and Croque Madame.  T^T Can't believe I didn't get to try that. 




Located on the same level and next to the bakery was our second stop, Crate&Barrel. Having worked in the furniture industry for the past 2 years, I have read and heard much about the brand.  This American company carries a wide range of housewares, accessories and furniture. 

The product designs are simple, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.

click to enlarge

The showroom is neatly categorized based on lifestyle - outdoor, bedroom, study, kitchen etc.


Nearer to the entrance is the outdoor range where you can find your ice cooler, picnic tables, plates and even portable grills etc!  The Picnic Cooler (above in red) looks so chic and handy, and it even comes with bottle opener. Nice. You can also spot the Table In A Bag at the bottom rack, which is actually a portable folding table.



One of the featured products is the Hickory Wood BBQ Grilling Plank, imported and made in USA. Grilling your meats on it will give them the smoky barbecue flavour! The instructions are also engraved at the back, in case you didn't know how to use it.


We spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen section because it was huge. Lots of glassware in interesting shapes for juices, cordials and water, it's perfect for parties and weddings. There is also a rack full of useful kitchen tools such as the cute 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer by OXO. They also have garlic chopper, herb mincer, strawberry huller and the cherry pitter.



I thought the showroom layout was brilliant because they would place a product like the Egg Platter next to a cookbook that will guide you to make the perfect deviled eggs. Saves me (the shopper) time by helping me locate the  right book for the right tool.


In the middle of the showroom facing the cashier counter is the small gifts section. Here you can find items like candles, totes, flasks, ring dish and journals. I highly recommend this section for your Christmas shopping.


The dining setups are lovely, and here you can look for inspirations for your dining area with a large selection of drinkware, dinnerware and serveware.





Colour up your rooms with bold, vibrant placemats like these!


Entertain friends and family at home with your very own popcorn tub and cooker.


Bakers will appreciate the fine selection of baking tools they carry, such as mini ramekins, reversible double griddle, and cast iron mini cocotte.


My eyes are set on these chairs for my parents' place as they are moving house now. <3 nbsp="" p="">



Go further into the showroom and you'll be able to find other accessories like lamps and study desks.

Crate & Barrel is located at #04-21/22, and #03-25. 

***


Our third stop is also on level 4. Next to the escalator you will see VOM FASSThis German company offers exclusive cask-aged vinegars, exquisite oils, select wines, spirits and liqueurs and, direct from the cask. 


Although the shop space is a little tight, you can still see barrels of liquor stacked against the walls when you enter.

On the other side of the room are racks of flasks containing sweet liqueurs, gourmet vinegars and oils. 


We got to try the popular Elderflower Liqueur, which tastes really nice and sweet almost like lychee! 

For cooking or making salads, you may want to try their Waldburg Star Apple, which is sooooooo good. It turns out that it is a preparation of concentrated apple juice and apple vinegar stored in oak cask to give that intense fruit aroma.  


The best part about VOM FASS is that you get to customize the bottle. If you don't think you need that much quantity of any liquids in the shop, you can opt for smaller bottles and come back for a different refill every time with the same bottle. 


An example here is a pre-packaged mini bottled whiskeys in five different flavours (you can mix-n-match your own). 


They also have unique flasks and glass bottles suited for special events like F1 (see above race cars in the flasks!) and you can print names on the bottles. I would say these are perfect for gifts if you want a more personal touch. 


Before we left, we were also shown a beautiful pink vodka with gold flakes displayed in a diamond bottle. <3 p="">
P.S. You can request for just the gold flakes to be added in your desired liquor. 

VOM FASS is located at #04-25.

***

Yes, it's GSS season!
Our last stop for the day is one level down at Penhaligon's! Penhaligon's is the place to go to if you're looking for luxury, one-of-a-kind perfumes and gifts for your loved ones.


After a short introduction by the gorgeous Caroline (she's so pretty seriously), our group was split into two. In my group, our experienced perfume consultant was Shafiq (I didn't have to photoshop his picture because he is naturally good looking :O). He told us to describe ourselves or the scents we like in three adjectives before letting us smell the different scents in their collection.

I chose fresh, fruity, sweet.


My favourite turned out to be Vaara (top pic), which is a celebration of Jodhpur, created by Bertrand Duchaufour for His Highness the Maharaja Gaj Singh II. The fragrance is meant to capture the colorful spirit of this fascinating part of India. It was a balance of fresh, fruity, sweet, with a bit of musk.

All fragrances come in two sizes, 50ml and 100ml. You may also notice the signature fragrance bottle is still the original design from more than a century ago: clear glass with a distinctive ribbon-wrapped stopper. Special scent like the Iris Prima has a genuine leather label, very nice touch I must say. The Sartorial and Endymion are gentlemen's favourite, for the sensual yet  sophisticated modern man who appreciates the English tradition.


 The shop is well-decorated and the shopping experience was really pleasant. It's nice to have someone guide you along, explaining the stories and ideas behind each scent.

At Penhaligon's, they specialize in Scent Profiling,  where the consultant build a profile based on your likes and dislikes, personality, background, how you usually dress, what kind of fragrance you're looking for and what you would like your fragrance to say about you. You are then introduced to a selected group of pre-scented fragrance spills, and from there the choices will be narrowed down to The One.

Penhaligon's also recommends Fragrance Layering, a technique to lock down the fragrance down to the skin and making it softer and longer lasting. Scents should be applied in the following sequence:
- Fragrance bath oil
- Spritzing fragrance onto skin
- Applying hand and body cream
- Dusting talc

I once knew a friend who smells so good throughout the day (yep I secretly keeps smelling her when hanging out), I'm guessing that's what she did because I always see her carrying and applying scented lotion.

Ladies, they also have a very nice area where you can take pictures, as demonstrated below hehe:


Penhaligon's is located at #03-16, next to the escalator.  

***

We went home with these -



I love the colorful plates from Crate & Barrel (saving them for my new house!),  gourmet liquids from VOM FASS and a travel atomizer with the scent of our choice from Penhaligon's. :D   




On a closing note: Chermaine, thank you for the invitation!

ION Orchard 
2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
How to get there by train: Red line, Orchard station

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sport Brings The World Together

Many sportsmen I know don't consider Dance a sport. In my defense, until you try it yourself, you wouldn't know how tough training and rehearsals can get. I used to dance 4 times a week in my 'glory' days, and each session was even more intense than the 10KM runs.

Ever since I joined the corporate work life, I understand how we (and especially the girls) gained weight so quickly. Our arms become heavier, tummy that led to love handles, and inner thighs that now rub against each other even while walking to lunch. It's quite depressing, really.

It doesn't help that I've stopped dancing some 5 years ago and it's not easy to maintain my body weight ever since. While I am now far from my ideal weight/shape, I am not giving up just yet. However, I think everybody has their own exercise routine.

Fighting.  As in, my mental fight of "mind over body" lol

For me,  I tend to be unmotivated doing it alone, slacking, giving lots of excuses to myself ... so I prefer to do things in small groups (midnight jog with my friends around the neighbourhood), classes (have done Yoga with my husband and currently doing kickboxing at nearby CC) or mass activity (10 -12 km runs).

My trail run results last year.  :)

A recent run in Feb, will work harder!! 
I am considering taking up more classes, as I really enjoy the aches the day after a workout, knowing I've put in hard work to strengthen and tone my body/muscles. I also feel mentally relieved from buildup stress after a good session.  I'm also proud that I'm quite strong for a girl my size/height. :)

Unknown to others, my local sports hero is actually blogger Fay Hokulani. Her journey from flab to fit is truly inspiring and she has the figure I dream of having one day!


So pretty and so fit!

While on this topic about leading a healthy lifestyle, you may be interested to participate or support in the Community Games and Community Sports Festival 2014 (CSF), which has already started on 16 March and will last till 30 June 2014.


The Community Games (CG) is a multi-sports competition held in various locations in Sinapore, featuring seven types of sports - Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Football, Netball, Sepaktakraw and Table Tennis. The Games aim to connect residents from all walks of life and enhance social cohesion and community bonding, linking people through mass participation and involvement.

One of the highlights for this year’s CSF is the introduction of the Community Sports Challenge, a modified game adapted from the actual sport, to create wider outreach and interest to those who has never participated in a sport. The Community Sports Challenge’s emphasis on teamwork and promotes bonding and fun in their quest to be the best team in the competition. The challenges include Mini Pong, Archery Tag and Football. Each challenge is further divided into four categories which suit the different age groups: Children, Senior, Parent and Child and open categories. Challenger who sets the first record of each Sports Challenge of its categories wins the game. 

For more information, visit  www.redsports.sg/cg2014.
Follow the latest sports updates via their instagram (@CommunitySportsClub). 

I Hopefully I'll get to make new friends with new sports activities I try! Stay fit & healthyguys!  :)
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