Ms Skinny Fat.

Skinny.Fat. Sophisticated.Fun. Adventurous.Grounded. Material.Zen.

I'm a Caffeine Addict

Sipping on my 4th cuppa at Seven Seeds. Melbourne, Australia.

Breakfast Any Time of the Day

Perfectly cooked Sous Vide Eggs Benedict. Skyve Wine Bistro, Singapore.

A weakness for sweet things

My love for cupcakes. It all began at L'uisine. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

Itadakimasu

Colours of Autumn: Omakase Hidden Find at Giro Giro Hitoshina. Kyoto, Japan.

Wanderlust

The World is my Oyster. Home is where my heart belongs.

Frozen in Time

Shooting old school muscles on our off-the-beaten-path trip. La Habana, Cuba.

Riding into the Purple Sunset.

Decadent villa getaway complete with black golden sand. Alila Villas Soori, Bali, Indonesia.

Bagism is my religion

Latest addition to my bag family- The Proenza Schouler PS11 Mini Classic in Textured Brown. 2013.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Yufuin Ryokan: Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya

When it comes to picking a ryokan in Japan, i would say that it is hard to find something that sucks. Well, then again just make sure you do some research. For my Kyushu trip, i did my planning really late and little did i know that it kinda coincided with the Japanese long weekend and hence the popular ryokans in Yufuin and Kurokawa were all booked! The horror!

Well, i managed to find something in Yufuin (read my Yufuin travel review here) and it's call Yufuin Onsen Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya (由布院温泉 旅想 ゆふいん やまだ屋). My considerations for the ryokan in Yufuin was that it shouldn't be too far from the train station so that we didn't have to worry about transportation around the town.

Yamadaya is just a short walk away (7-10 mins stroll) from the station. On the way, we walked past the main stream and there are many ryokans along the streams. 

I liked that there are lots of open spaces in this ryokan.
Little garden right in front. 

Another open garden at the back. The outdoor onsen is located here too.

This is our room! Each room is decorated such that it looks like a little house by itself and it is amazingly spacious.

This is our sitting area/bedroom.
We also have another dedicated dresser/sitting area facing our private garden. 

I picked a room with a private hotspring. Well it turned out to be on the puny side. I don't have an issue using the shared onsen facilities but it's nice to be able to go in for a private soak any time of the day. :) The good thing is that there is a little shower by the side and i do not have to use the public one when i need to shower. 
Another awesome thing about Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya is that they have a variety of shared hotspring baths!

Clean facilities.

A mix of indoors and outdoors.

Private Family Baths. No booking required. You just need to lock the door from inside. :)

There is also a rooftop bath!
This is the outdoor garden bath i was talking about. Mandatory yutaka shot. :)
Then it was dinner in our own room! I didn't know what i ordered because i had to make the meal booking with the room and they didn't state what's on the menu other than some generic pictures. So i picked an option that showed sashimi and wagyu. Hee. Our first X course was the fresh sashimi with 6 little side dishes and this amazing plum with miso dish.  There was also a tofu dish.

Meat for our shabu shabu! Yum Yum!
Cold udon with eel. Not a fan of the eel but they had me at the udon.

I really love the meal times at these ryokans because they feed you sooooo well. I woke up early for another soak in the onsen before breakfast and it really helped with the appetite. I obviously don't need much encouragement.

Japanese breakfasts are my favorite because there's always a huge variety! And they served me my favorite pumpkin salad, fresh omelette and some pickled vegetables.
We also had freshly fried bacon. Dayums.
Overall, a lovely stay at Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya. Here are some details on the room that i've booked.
Room: Japanese Style Room (R8) with Shower and Toilet
Meal Plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Price: 18900Y/pax/night including accommodation tax and bathing tax (approx 200-400Y)



If you are looking for other ryokans in Yufuin, these are the others that i was considering. Hope it helps!

Kamenoi Bessou

Yadoya Ohashi

What do you look for when picking a traditional accommodation in Japan? Share it in the comments section!

Yufuin Onsen Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya
Address: 2855-1, Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu-shi, Oita, 879-5102 Japan
Tel: 0977-85-3185

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CREATORY 23-24 Aug 2014

Yes it's finally Wednesday and here's something to help you get through the rest of the week! #HIPSTERALERT CREATORY, a weekend festival that showcases an integration of Singapore’s top creative minds in the areas of food, music, art, design, architecture, entertainment, beverage and retail will be happening 23 - 24 August 2014.
Things are gonna get really delicious at Tasty Plaza where Creatory is going to be located at. Nothing screams more hipster than a repurposed industrial building that house a like-minded community of tenants passionate about the craft of creating tasty products. Oh and guess where it's gonna be? The upcoming hipster enclave Macpherson estate. So yes to the latest local food incubator where factory meets art and design. 

So here is what's up at Creatory. There will be over 40 participating partners presenting innovative food & beverage experiences from some of Singapore’s most popular chefs, restaurants and bars, live art installations, DJ and music performances and also opportunities to attend pop-up workshops. 

I'm gonna be starting with some dinner by Chef Ryan Clift of The Tippling Club, nibble on Japanese roast pork by Preparrazi and gourmet sausages by &Sons and then desserts by Janice Wong x Desinere of 2am:dessertbar. Of course there are a lot of other options and there's no saying that i may just change my mind on my dinner menu. 

After dinner drinks are a must and i'm certainly getting my favorite drinks from L'Aiglon and 28 Hong Kong. Operation Dagger is something to watch out for as well (i recently checked them out at their super cool bar).
On top of all that feasting, there's gonna be shopping (at Naiise), exhibitions (Kult) and partying as well.

Be Hipster, Support Local. And i'll see you guys there this weekend. ;)

37 MacTaggart Road
Tasty Plaza
23-24 August 2014
11am until late
$28 for day pass, limited tickets at door
A complimentary shuttle service will also be provided to and from Tai Seng MRT station




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Repit Brush Hair Tutorial

Back to catch up with Yanni, my pretty doctor friend, at her work place before facial! Thank god for a girl friend who knows these things way better than i do. Since i religiously started on the skincare regime she recommended, my face is less oily, pores are more refined and my skin color more even. Yay!
Headed off to do the Essential Facial at the DRx Medispa. According to the condition of my skin, i didn't do my usual Essential Facial Plus because Plus has an additional step which is microdermabrasion and that is not suitable for acne prone skin or when you have a pimple breakout. If you're not sure, the therapist will assess your skin condition first before recommending the right facial. 
We started with the ultrasound deep cleansing and then moved on to the extraction. I was surprised that there wasn't much to extract this time. Well if you recall, my virgin facial experience was super painful but this time it only took a few squeezes. Whee! I guess all that slapping on skincare products on my face worked. After extraction, we proceeded with the Vit C infusion using ultrasound. Vit A is also available but that's more for acne prone skin. 
Ended off the session with a hydrating mask. Minty and cooling it was! 

I then popped by to say hi to the principal trichologist Peggy at the Tricho center and the sweet Stella gave me a tutorial on how to use the Repit Brush (imported from Korea) which is exclusive to the DRx Medispa.
Well let's just say that life would be a lot more perfect if you can wake up to beautiful bouncy curls or if you have a bunch of hairstylists working their magic on your tresses every day. Gosh this was hard!
I was not too great at curling my own hair. What you don't see here is Stella's disapproving look. Haha. Nah just kidding. Practice makes perfect!
You gotta keep brushing your hair till there are no knots and then bring the heated brush to the end and keep twirling. When the hair has sufficiently curled, or with the help of your palm, make sure it stays around the curler and the roll it upwards. Be careful not to touch the metal strips though and don't be overzealous with the curling or you may fry your ends. The tip is to reduce the heat at the start, familiarize yourself with the brush, then up the temperature next time.
With a bit more guidance, this was how my curls turned out.

I don't like my curls too tight so the bigger 26mm brush ($280) suited me better. The 22mm ($250) worked ok for me too though. The humidity in Singapore makes it impossible to hold temporary curls for long, especially without products. However, I’m still thankful I’m able to attain DIY salon-worthy hair! The Repit brush is great for investment and definitely doesn’t harm hair as much as regular curlers (which i'm also terrible at using).

With Peggy! She's always so bubbly and her positivity is really infectious. I updated her about my reduced hair fall and she reminded me once again to eat more so that my hair will be as luscious as hers. Haha. Love her! 

The signature Essential Facial (without microdermabrasion) is 40% discounted at $69 (before GST) if you quote me when you call to make an appointment with The DRx Medispa.

The DRx Medispa
302 Orchard Road, #14-02/#16-02
Tong Building (next to Paragon Shopping Centre)
Singapore 238862
Tel: +65 6223 1555
Mon to Sat: 10am to 8pm
Sun: 10am to 6pm

Monday, August 18, 2014

BYCH Hot Yoga

As many of you would know, I love love love hot yoga. For people who think that it isn't a work out, you cannot be more wrong and this is coming from a yoga convert. I used to think Yoga is really easy and boring/static until I tried a couple of classes (flow, vinyasa, ashtanga) and then I've not looked back since. But if you're looking at only doing yoga to lose weight, then you better be doing 4h of non-hatha classes a day for an extended period of time.
So i tried BYCH Hot Yoga at Raffles City Shopping Mall some time back. BYCH offers the classic hot yoga series which is practiced in a 40ºC studio. Well essentially it's Bikram and it comprises a fixed sequence of 26 standing and floor postures. Think of it as Hatha yoga in a very very hot and humid studio.
I was wondering how to pronounce BYCH and then I noticed that the floor mat says it all. My girlfriends  commented on how it's a perfect place for me since I'm quite the bitch (sometimes only ok and only to annoying people!). 
Well I guess it's another way to get lazy asses to work out. Sometimes we need some tough love to whip us into shape. So no whining once you step onto the mat. It's all for the good of your body. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later when you see your 6 pack.

This is the first carpeted studio i've been in and it supposed to prevent slipping and to protect muscles against strain. An antimicrobial preservative is used on the mat covering to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria and so the room doesn't smell bad as well. Yoga mats (called Mowels) are used during the class and washed and tumbled dried after each use.
These reminded me of those baby mats to prevent babies from wetting the beds. It looked and felt the same. 

Loose clothing are not allowed at BYCH. I think you're encouraged to wear as little as possible to prevent heat exhaustion as well.
The class hasn't even started and i already started to perspire! Students are not allowed to use towels to wipe their perspiration during the class and that really annoyed me because i really perspire a lot! That made it really hard to hold my poses because i can't grip my toes or ankles tightly. The waterproofed underside of the mat was also kinda slippery and there were moments that i simply had to step off the mat to balance in the poses.
No photo-taking during class duh. Here's my take on Bikram. I don't mind doing it occasionally but i'm not a fan because i don't have that sorta determination and mental strength to follow the exact instruction given (i'm such a free spirit). Static poses really bore me and i cannot imagine myself doing the same sequence over and over again. Well, BYCH also offers a 55 minutes Cardio class which suits me better.

That said, there are many people who only do Bikram. The instructions given by Chin Rei (the instructor) were clear and i could follow the sequence easily. Just a reminder, there's a lot of talking in a Bikram class, as in the instructor will be talking the whole time to guide you through the poses so if you cannot take that kinda environment, then Bikram is not quite for you.
Post 90 minutes Bikram class. Thoroughly soaked from head to toes. My fingers were wrinkled from all that perspiration that i cannot and have nowhere to wipe off on. It felt really good to perspire so much! I wouldn't say that it's a strenuous workout on the body as compared to cardio but it was tough mentally and physically (for those not used to hot yoga).
I didn't quite like the lockers as they are all closely packed and stacked high. Not too shorties friendly. Meh. Good showers with delicious organic bath products (almost edible really). I certainly welcomed the nice shower after the class!

Overall not a bad experience at BYCH. Convenient location, cosy studio with decent facilities. Check them out if you're interested. For more reviews on beauty and wellness, do check out Wellnessly, a new media platform.

BYCH Hot Yoga
252 North Bridge Road #02-14
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6339 6639

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SHIMA Teppanyaki Restaurant, Goodwood Park Singapore

We Singaporeans love our Japanese food and we're really lucky to have great and affordable options on our little island. It's easy to rattle off sushi, bento and ramen joints but i'm usually stumped when it comes to teppanyaki. Well here's introducing SHIMA, a fine dining teppanyaki establishment at Goodwood Park Singapore. SHIMA has been opened since 1980 (i regret to inform that i did not know of its existence prior!) and recently reopened after a month-long renovation.
The refurbished SHIMA is now made more comfortable with better exhaust piping so one could dine without smelling like bbq meat. They have also retained their one-inch thick cast-iron griddles that were custom made in Japan. Well, the 'wok' has been seasoned for 34 years of seasoning to produce delicious flavors (don't worry it's clean).
We had the good fortune of having Chef Victor Yok, SHIMA's Sous Chef who has been with the restaurant since it opened, cook for us. The menu of the night featured items from the Weekday Teppanyaki Lunch Buffet. It's a steal at $49.90/pax! The buffet lunch is also available on weekends for $59.90 with a few additional dishes.

I enjoyed the fresh buttery Salmon sashimi and the yummy California Maki. Well that is because the seafood is air-flown twice a week from Japan’s Tsukiji Market to ensure quality and freshness. The sushi rice was very well seasoned too! If you do not fancy teppanyaki, you could just visit SHIMA for sushi and sashimi. :)

Prawn and Shisamo tempura are also available under the buffet spread but i didn't like the powdery prawn and the thick batter.
From the mains, we enjoyed SHIMA’s signature Poached Salmon ($25 ala carte) which featured a Norwegian salmon gently simmered in SHIMA’s secret sauce.

The meat was cooked to a nice pink center. I don't lie about such things. Picture evidence for your validation. I would say that the sauce is kinda sukiyaki style but less sweet.
The oysters are darn good too and they are so fresh and fat! Super yummeh! The regular ones were cooked with garlic and some special sauce and some of us went for round 2.
SHIMA is highly diner focused and will customize their service to suit each guest. Vegetarian Teppanyaki options are available upon request and Chef also entertained our special request of Oyster Omelette ($30 per 120g, not on menu)! And i say this is the best oyster omelette i've had in my life!

Premium beef at SHIMA is sourced from the best farms in Japan and America, and Wagyu-lovers can feast on top-notch A5 Wagyu ribeyes from esteemed farms in Kagoshima ($140 per 100g) cooked to
preference. The lunch buffet usually serves Australian Tenderloin. We had the US Tenderloin ($45 per 120g) from the ala carte menu which was juicy and tender. Very very nice.
SHIMA doesn't let any precious ingredient go to waste and the wagyu fats from the steaks are used to make the fried rice! Best seasoning ever.
SHIMA makes all their sauces in house and that's why the meats are so delicious too. I rather enjoyed the Teriyaki Chicken cubes which were succulent.

If you do not fancy Teppanyaki, like i mentioned, you could do other types of Japanese food here at SHIMA. Sushi, Shashimi, Shabu Shabu and Yakiniku are available in the other dining rooms. There is also the option of private dining room with a minimum spend of $100 spend/pax.
We ended off dinner with desserts. The goma ice cream was really smooth and tasty! SHIMA also does seasonal fruits imported from Japan so you could also sample the fresh produce without having to fly to Japan.

SHIMA is certainly my new go to for Teppanyaki! Set Menus are priced at $90 onwards.

SHIMA
Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6734 6281
Daily: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 10pm