5 Top Festive Experiences In Singapore

Christmas always fills me with a sense of child-like wonder.  The nights twinkle with fairy lights and soft jazz drifts through the air.  It’s a magical season.  This year, I’ve picked my five favourite festive experiences that you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Singapore.

Enchanted Gardens


High on my list this year is Gardens by the Bay, where toys and childhood fantasies come to life.  The gardens have been carpeted with poinsettia, Christmas rose, winter heather and holly; and towering over these yuletide florals is an 11-metre tall pyramid decked with toys.

To add to the sense of festive magic, the Supertree Grove also features a Spiegeltent (a century-old travelling ‘mirror tent’ from the Netherlands); and hosts a European-style festive market with Christmas gifts and delicious food.

Don’t miss the nightly light shows at the Supertrees that are now synced with beautiful festive tunes; as well as the series of ‘live’ performances on the multi-tiered traditional German wooden carousel at the Flower Field.  Look out for classical opera, stand-up comedians, string quartets and Enid Blyton storytelling.  Schedule here.

The Iridescent River

Singapore River

Always alit with soft shimmering lights, The Singapore River is peaceful during weekdays, and a bustling hub of activities on weekends.  It’s one of my favourite places for an evening stroll in Singapore.

This Christmas, it comes to life with a luminous forest of LED-lit tree-like structures from Robertson Quay to Boat Quay.  Christmas carollers and roving festive troopers will also add to the merriment on specific days of the week.  I’m really looking forward to the Artisan Pop Up Christmas Market at Clarke Quay’s Central Fountain Square from 5-7 December, and the fireworks display on 12 and 26 December at 9pm!

Party Under The Stars

Picture by www.yoursingapore.com

Picture by www.yoursingapore.com

December always puts me in a party mood, and Zouk Out is arguably one of the best dance festivals in the region.  Last year alone, this sunrise beach festival welcomed more than 50,000 revellers from Singapore and around the world.

Besides a diverse and electrifying line-up of techno, trance, indie-electronic and hip-hop music, festival-goers can also expect ‘live’ performances, art installations, costumed buskers, food stalls, fireworks and endless fun from dusk to dawn.  Zouk Out will take place from 11-12 December.

Christmas Movie Magic

Picture by www.rwsentosablog.com

Picture by www.rwsentosablog.com

If you love Christmas blockbusters as much as I do, here’s a chance to spend the yuletide season with your favourite characters.  Universal Studios Singapore‘s programme this year is nothing short of amazing.

Catch the Sesame Street Saves Christmas Show, Dancing Christmas Light Show, Fairytale Remix Show, and other festive performances featuring beloved characters such as the Penguins of Madagascar, Marilyn Monroe, toy soldiers and Scrooge.  Plus, it’s one of the few places to experience snow in Singapore, and catch a dazzling display of fireworks on 12, 19 and 29 December.

#5 Cuban Festival in Singapore


One of the things I love best about travel is experiencing festivals around the world.  And this year, Capella Singapore re-creates a Cuban festival under the stars – El Ritmo de la Noche – for its New Year’s Eve Party.

Watch aerial performers whiz across the night sky, as well as fire dances, stilt walkers and magicians.  In the tradition of the best Latin American parties, a ‘live’ Cuban band Havana Social Club will also serenade you as you welcome 2016 with the finest champagne.  Join me on 31 December from 10pm!

For more exciting festive experiences around Singapore or Sentosa, speak to your personal assistants at Capella Singapore.



Best-Kept Auriga Spa Beauty Secrets

Singapore really comes to life during the festive season – with dawn-to-dusk feasting, dusk-to-dawn parties, and lots of shopping and gatherings in between.  That said, the festive frenzy sometimes sends me (and my skin) into over-drive.

This past month, back-to-back late nights were starting to take their toll.  So, with the party season coming up, I really needed a beauty reboot.  Fortunately, Auriga Spa’s Regional Director of Spa Alsu Abdulina read my mind, and invited me for a restorative experience.

The Ultimate Healing Journey

I’m personally not a fan of the new breed of ‘in-and-out’ express spa treatments.  So Auriga Spa’s back-to-classics and back-to-nature approach was just my cup of tea.  Instead of newfangled ideas and short-term quick-fixes, I embarked on the ultimate healing journey.

Vitality Pool

Vitality Pool

The moment I stepped into Auriga Spa, I felt removed from the fluster of the world.  Shrugging off my worries and slipping into my spa robe, I relaxed in the cinnamon-infused steam room, cooled myself down with the ice fountain, and then stilled my mind and body with the warm massaging jets of the vitality pool.  I was teleported to a secret universe where time stood still.

Rejuvenating Lunar Rituals

Since city life causes us to feel estranged from nature and our bodies, Auriga Spa’s treatments are designed to put us in tune with nature again.  The spa’s signature moon phase treatments are uniquely synced with the lunar cycle, and tap into its restorative energies.  My spa day happened to correspond with the new moon, so I was offered the New Moon Treatment for festive detoxification and renewal.

Unhurriedly, my therapist began by anointing and massaging my foot with a clarifying blend of juniper, rosemary and fennel oil.  Then, she treated me to an aromatic seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub.  After I rinsed off the salt, dead skin cells and impurities, she slathered on a purifying seaweed mud wrap to purge out toxins.

Auriga Spa (Clay Back)-2

While being cocooned in this warm soporific wrap, my face was thoroughly cleansed and massaged with an organic honey jasmine mask that smelled good enough to eat.  And to end the treatment on a high note, I enjoyed a soothing body and scalp massage.  My therapist had an uncanny knack for finding and easing every ache in my body so that I emerged from this treatment feeling as good as new.

Best-Kept Spa Secrets

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

To retain my post-spa glow for as long as possible, I quickly caught up with Regional Spa Director Alsu for her wellness tips.  Here are her four secrets to youth and beauty:

#1 Eat Your Way To Glowing Skin

True beauty comes from within, so the first step to inner radiance is eating right.  Cut down on sugar, which cause glycation and damages the collagen and elastin in your skin.  Also, consume carbohydrates moderately, especially refined carbohydrates which are depleted of nutrients.

Instead, trade these for superfoods such as antioxidant-packed goji berries and acai berries, nutrient-dense avocado and omega-3 rich chia seed.

#2 Nature Is The Best Healing Balm

Don’t overwhelm your skin – many modern skincare products contain harsh and strong ingredients that may deliver flash results, but also tend to over-stimulate your skin.  This causes inflammation and premature ageing over time.

Organic and natural products on the other hand may take longer to deliver results, but they nourish your skin from within, and won’t strip or irritate your skin.  Some wonderful natural skin-savers to try are aloe vera, seaweed and marine collagen.

#3 Exercise Is The Key To Youth

Exercise not only helps your body flush out toxins through sweat; it also boosts microcirculation, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to each of your skin cells for speedy cellular rejuvenation.

Regular exercise also shapes your body up, and keeps your muscles toned.  Alsu personally enjoys a mix of cardiovascular workouts such as cycling, high-impact exercises such as gym classes, and relaxing and toning exercises such as yoga.

#4 Stress Ages Your Skin At Record Speed

It’s no secret that stress damages skin cells and accelerates ageing.  So in today’s fast-paced urban environment, spa-time is no longer a luxury but a necessity.  Scheduling spa-time regularly has immense stress-relieving and anti-ageing benefits!

The best way to benefit from a spa treatment is not to zip in and out of the spa in a great hurry.  Make it a point to arrive early, take your time to enjoy the spa facilities such as the steam room and vitality pool, and prepare your body well for the treatment ahead.  Don’t forget that our skin repairs itself best when we are completely relaxed.

Embark on your own wellness journey at Auriga Spa.  For more details, call 6591 5023 or email spa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

Discover Iceland’s Reyka Vodka in Singapore

Having visited some 25 countries, Iceland is one of my all-time favourites.  The minute I touched down, Iceland’s stark beauty stole my heart.  Its immaculate snow-scapes, glaciers, volcanoes and geysers are lit with a soft ethereal light.

Glacials in Iceland

Glacials in Iceland

With a population of approximately 338,800 spread over a vast area of 103,000km2 (that’s more than 140 times larger than Singapore), this magical island is pristine, unspoilt and unfathomable.  It is a land where up to 80% of people reportedly still believe in elves and trolls!

Iceland at dusk

Iceland at dusk

So imagine how thrilled I was to be invited for The Herbal Tales experience, a bespoke Icelandic vodka cocktail tasting at Capella Singapore’s Bob’s Bar.  Created with fresh herbs and Reyka Vodka made from pure Icelandic spring water filtered through lava rocks, it conjures up the breathtaking beauty of Iceland.

As part of this exclusive experience, the bartender invited me to pick my own bouquet of herbs and spices.  I sniffed my way through Bob’s Bar’s very own herb garden, and finally decided on fresh rosemary and lemon verbena.  My bartender then expertly crafted my bespoke cocktail, and I was instantly teleported to the Arctic Circle again.

Bespoke Icelandic Vodka Cocktail at Bob's Bar

Bespoke Icelandic Vodka Cocktail at Bob’s Bar

Deeply intrigued, I caught up with Charlene Low, regional brand manager of William Grant & Sons (which includes Reyka Vodka under its portfolio of premium spirits).  She shares some rare insights and insider tips with me.

What is most interesting about Reyka Vodka?

Charlene: Reyka is an old Icelandic word for ‘smoke’ or ‘steam’.  We use geothermal energy to power our Reyka Vodka distillery, making it one of the greenest distillation processes in the world.  We also use lava rock in place of charcoal for filtration, contributing to its clean taste.

Share with us your tasting notes for this vodka.

Charlene: It is superbly clean, and slightly sweet with subtle aniseed and fennel, faint cream-of-soda vanilla and light peppery spice.

What herbs go best with vodka?

Charlene: Being such a versatile spirit, you can use your favourite herbs to create almost any cocktail.  The best way to do this is to use a Reyka Tonic as your base, add a slice of grapefruit and your choice of herbs.  I like mine with thyme and tarragon.

What are your best vodka mixology tips?

Charlene: Try a vodka martini – this puts the spirit at the forefront so you can fully experience and appreciate its subtle flavours.

What’s a popular Icelandic vodka cocktail?

Charlene: Foragers Ramble is popular in Iceland.  It’s a delicious blend of Reyka Vodka, homemade thyme syrup, cinzano bianco, Reyka bitters, dandelion and burdock bitters. I’d highly recommend it if you’re visiting Iceland.

Foragers Ramble cocktail

Foragers Ramble cocktail

For a bespoke Icelandic cocktail experience in Singapore, swing by Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore any Saturday or Sunday of October between 5-9pm.  More details on The Herbal Tales experience here.

Celebrate 50 Years: 6 Unique Singapore Experiences

If you’re in Singapore over the next few weeks, you’ve picked the best time to visit!  On the cusp of our golden jubilee, Singapore is one of the most exciting cities to be in.

We may be just a tiny red dot on the world map, but our small size simply makes us better at packing a lot of flavour into every experience.  And to celebrate our 50th birthday, our nation has gone the extra mile to orchestrate unique Singapore experiences in the month of August.  Here’s a peek at my personal calendar this month!

#1  Watch Fireworks Light An Iconic Skyline

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 11.41.12 pm

There’s something magical about watching firework light up the night – the dancing lights juxtaposed against a spectacular urban skyline is truly unforgettable.  Although catching the National Day Parade fireworks is a yearly ritual for me, I am particularly excited this year.  To celebrate 50 years of independence, the fireworks next month will be at an unprecedented scale, and specially designed to reflect the theme of ‘Majulah Singapura, or ‘Onwards Singapore’ in Malay.

This year, in additional to fireworks on National Day (9 August) and at the National Day Preview (1 August), you can also catch fireworks on 7 and 8 August at the Marina Basin.  The best part is, you won’t even need a ticket to the parade to witness these spectacular light displays.  Simply find a good spot along the Marina Bay Sands Waterfront, Esplanade, Marina Barrage or Helix Bridge for an unblocked view.

#2  Soak In Local Culture At Singapore’s First UNESCO Site

Singapore Symphony Orchestra  Palm Valley

I’m extremely proud to share that our garden city finally got its own UNESCO heritage site!  And fittingly, it is one of my favourite gardens in the world – the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  The minute you step into this green sanctuary, you will pick up a whiff of exotic herbs, flowers and lush foliage.  From the exquisite National Orchid Garden to the finely sculpted Bonsai Garden, our trees reflect our nation’s unique history, culture and personality.  I also love exploring the century-old heritage trees, which always inspire me to appreciate the fleeting beauty and transience of life.

After an afternoon of exploration, I particularly enjoy kicking back and enjoying an evening concert or outdoor movie screening accompanied by a cool evening breeze.  To celebrate Singapore’s birthday month, the Singapore Botanic Garden’s August line-up include local films such as It’s A Great Great World and Singapore Dreaming.  If you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, this will offer you an instant immersion in local culture and common expressions.

#3  Try The 50-Finger Massage At Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa

7. Couple's Spa at Auriga

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for spa treatments. Carving up me-time is my secret to staying young, and beating everyday stress.  Auriga Spa is one of my favourite places because it instantly transports me from the mundane demands of life and the ceaseless bustle of the city.

For the month of August, Auriga’s Spa director Shanti has designed the ultimate indulgence – the 50-Finger Massage.  As you can imagine, this 50-Finger Massage was inspired by SG50 and Singapore’s 50th birthday, so no expense is spared to ensure your utmost comfort and relaxation.  Performed by five therapists in synchronised motions, this massage soothes the legs, body, hands, neck and scalp, kneading away every tensed muscle in the body at once.  It takes one through Auriga’s four signature moon phase therapies – the New Moon to awaken the senses, Waxing Moon to loosen tight joints, Full Moon for balance and Waning Moon for detoxification and cleansing.  I felt utterly renewed after this treatment.

#4  Go Museum-Hopping Around Singapore


Museums are the best place to soak in culture, and Singapore offers some of the best museums in Southeast Asia.  From art to culture, history and science, museum-hopping is one of the best ways to indulge my inner geek.

One of my favourite museums is The National Museum – also the oldest museum in Singapore, and a haven of intricate artefacts.  Singapura: 700 Years is currently on display at this museum, and chronicles our nation’s transformation from a fishing village to modern Singapore.  Also worth a visit are the Asian Civilisation Museum, the Singapore Art Museum, and The ArtScience Museum.

#5   Shop For Quirky Souvenirs


Whenever international friends visit Singapore, I love presenting them with Singapore-inspired souvenirs.  However, one thing I do not love, is ‘Singapore Is A Fine City’ T-shirts.  If you’re looking for more design-driven and less clichéd options, two of my current raves are Naiise and Mandy T.

Naiise is a Singapore-based shopping portal that stocks curated designs by more than 250 brands from Singapore and around the world.  This includes homeware, art, T-shirts and fashion accessories that allude to local humour and expressions.  Many of these designs are modern, clean and intelligent.

Beautyphiles will also adore Mandy T, an artisan natural skincare atelier that will give many large brands a run for their money with tasteful and personal creations.  Mandy, founder of the eponymous label, is a former marketer and publicist who cooks up beauty remedies free from synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances, parabens and petrochemicals.  Many of her products feature fresh herbs from her very own garden.

#6  Toast To 50 Years Of Singapore At Bob’s Bar


If like me, you’ve had one too many Singapore Slings, it’s time to discover a new Singapore-inspired cocktail.  Exclusively for the month of August, Bob’s Bar unveils a new national cocktail crafted by bartender Vincent Zheng.

The Red Island is made with ingredients that represent the four main ethnicities of Singapore – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.  It is as complex and unforgettable as it sounds.  An ode to Singapore’s cultural diversity, this Shiraz wine concoction is an ideal way to round up my Singapore adventures.  Cheers to more amazing travels!

For more activities in Singapore, please visit the Capella Singapore’s website here, or contact your personal assistant for recommendations.



Super Summer Thirst Quenchers

Bob's Bar's Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Bob’s Bar’s Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Thanks to year-round summer in Singapore, ice cold drinks have become a hot weather survival essential.  Given that daytime temperatures average at 30ºC and nighttime temperatures rarely drop below 27ºC, there’s never a bad time for a chilled beverage.

When it comes to hosting, cold drinks are also the life of any party – you can always find a good crowd gathered around the cocktail bowl.  In fact, as far as Singaporeans are concerned, there’s no party without refreshing summer thirst quenchers!

Since making a good chilled beverage is an essential life-skill here, I’ve determined to learn from the best.  With that in mind, I’ve asked Bob’s Bar’s bartender Vincent Zheng, and The Knoll’s Pastry Chef Sam for their all-time crowd-pleasers.

Vincent prefers beach parties, and shares Bob’s Bar’s spin on the classic mojito.  Chef Sam, on the other hand, is known to host intimate dessert gatherings, and suggests an elegant cold-infused tea with tart apple notes. I simply couldn’t wait to have my first sip!

Recipe 1: Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Bartender’s notes: “I had my first mojito many years ago at a Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand.  Since then, mojitos have been my drink of choice for beach parties.  This Bob’s Bar recipe replaces soda water in classic mojitos with sugar cane juice. Since rum, the key alcohol in mojitos, is made of sugar cane, this recipe accentuates the rich flavour profile of rum.” – Vincent

Serves 1

45ml white rum
60ml fresh sugar cane juice
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Crushed ice


Combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve in a tall glass


  • If you don’t have a blender to create crushed ice, you can replace it with ice cubes. However, if you are using ice cubes, be sure to gently crush the mint leaves with your fingers to bring out their fresh aroma.
  • For a large party, you can also make this in advance.  Prepare it in a cocktail bowl and refrigerate. Simply scale up your ingredients according to the number of guests you are expecting. However, be sure to leave the mint leaves out, and only add them before serving to prevent them from oxidising and turning brown.

Recipe 2: Apple-Infused Iced Green Tea

Chef’s notes: At least once a year, I’d throw a dessert party for my closest friends, and this subtle tea makes an excellent pairing with my creations.  Unlike hot tea, cold brewing draws out fewer tannic compounds for a lighter-bodied tea with less bitterness.  This is elevated with sweet and tart apple puree – apple puree from jarred baby food works just fine.  You can skip the sugar or artificial fruit syrups! – Chef Sam

Serves 6

4 teaspoons of premium green tea leaves
6 cups of water
4 bottles of baby food apple puree


  1. Freeze the baby food apple puree in ice cube trays overnight.
  2. Combine tea leaves with water in a large pitcher.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  4. Strain tea to remove tea leaves.
  5. Add frozen apple puree cubes and serve.


2If you love cocktails and spirits, swing by Capella Singapore’s Bob’s Bar to savour our fresh-pressed cocktails, and curated vintage and artisan collection.

And have a chat with our enthusiastic bartenders such as Vincent. They’d be happy to share recommendations and mixology tips!





Summer Ice Cream Profiteroles

Ice Cream Profiteroles

Ice Cream Profiteroles

What does summer tastes like?  When I posed this question to Capella Singapore’s Pastry Chef Sam, he didn’t have to pause to think twice.

“Ice cream profiteroles and summer are a match made in tropical paradise,” he shares.

This dough keeps well for three days in the freezer, so you can prep for a summer party in advance, or savour it slowly over a few days.  “Dessert is a luxury that should be enjoyed on a daily basis – not just reserved for special occasions,” he adds.  So get creative, and fill it with cream, ice cream or enjoy it on its own.

However, that is not the only reason Chef Sam is so fond of these little gems.  They remind him of the cream puffs his favourite aunt used to make for him in his younger days.  And they certainly take me back to my own carefree childhood as well.

The chef’s three tips for avid or aspiring home bakers: have patience, infuse a sense of warmth into your creations, and keep your flavours simple and well balanced.

And his tip for avid foodies such as me? Tuck in before it melts!

Pastry Chef Sam making gorgeous profiteroles

Pastry Chef Sam making gorgeous profiteroles

Summer Ice Cream Profiterole Recipe
Makes 20 servings

250g milk
250g water
3g salt
10g sugar
200g butter
300g all-purpose flour
10g baking powder
8 eggs
Ice cream or sorbet of your choice
Fresh berries for garnishing


1. In a pot, bring milk, water, salt, sugar and butter to a strong boil.

2. Add in sifted dry ingredients to the pot, stir and cook till mixture comes together into a ball without clumps.

3. Remove the dough from the heat and add half your beaten egg mixture, slowly stirring with a spatula.  Then, add the other half until the dough is glossy.

4. Pipe one-inch balls onto a sheet tray lined with baking paper.

5. Bake at 180ºC for 25 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and cut horizontally in half.

7. Fill with your favourite ice cream, and serve in a champagne saucer or on a plate garnished with fresh berries.


To enjoy perfect profiteroles or other exquisite desserts, join us for a meal at The Knolls. Say ‘Hi’ to Pastry Chef Sam while you’re here! He helms Capella Singapore’s pastry team.