Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

There's no doubt that I'd prefer to fly by Singapore Airlines whenever possible but for short weekend getaways that are within a 4h flight time radius, my go to is Jetstar. My experience thus far is that they do have the best flight timings- late outbound on a working  Friday and early inbound on a Monday morning. Heh. I've only been affected by their travel delays a couple of times, thankfully none of which resulted in any disruptions to my plans.

Packing for Budget
When traveling on budget, my advice is to travel easy and travel light. I usually don't bother with check ins because that means a quicker in and out of the airport.
Choosing a Seat
Since I'm so tiny and I only take budget for short flights, the seats don't bother me. But if you're big and really need to stretch out, plus the fact we don't allow knee defenders, I'd suggest paying a wee bit more for emergency exit seats. The Jetstar ones are really a lot more spacious! It also helps that you're closer to the front and can disembark quickly. That is certainly helpful for beating the long queues at HK or BKK

Airplane Meal
I love airplane food and I see it as an important component of traveling but I typically wouldn't pay extra for meal service on budget flights. The reason being that I would have been stuffing my face silly pre-flight and I really can't stomach more. Well, but if you have to, especially for those late flights, Jetstar's meals are really quite delicious. I sampled their offerings on one of my short getaways and here's the inflight meal review!

There are 4 hot meals available, each priced at $11 and you save a buck when you purchase a meal in a combo, so that's $14 for a meal plus a drink.

My favorite has to be the Chicken Tikka Masala. I was surprised by the juicy and tender chicken which was cooked in a flavorful spicy gravy. And that Biryani rice was fluffy and delicious too! I sure wouldn't mind having this again. 
Next on the pecking order would be the Chicken Rice. This is better than some of the coffee shop chicken rice available in Singapore. Fragrant and well flavored rice paired with a thick and juicy roasted chicken steak. Don't miss out on that piquant chili sauce! S finished all of it. 
The Udon Noodles with shitake mushrooms, peppers, baby shrimps and toasted sesame seeds would work fine if you prefer something that's not too heavy/rich in flavors. The noodles may be a little mushy but it's not too bad a dish.

Skip the Vegetarian Thai Green Curry. The braised pumpkin and eggplant were mosh and the green curry sauce was oily and tasteless.
For desserts, you could get a taste of Twelve Cupcakes' cupcakes. However, I've heard that it's kinda dry. I guess cupcakes don't survive that well in the air. 

From now till 9 Oct 2014, Jetstar is giving fans the chance to win a pair of return flights to a destination of their choice, when they buy a cupcake onboard Jetstar Asia flights, or purchase three cupcakes at any of Twelve Cupcakes’ stores. 

So yea, tips for traveling budget! What's your budget travel survival tips?
Restaurant Week is gonna be back from October 25th to 2nd November 2014. The 9th edition is something special as DiningCity is introducing its first ever Kids Restaurant Weekend for the first time on 18-19 Oct. Yes the kiddos get a preview and parents who bring them will also get a first taste if they bring their kids that weekend. 
Well, for the regular folks without the kiddies, this RW is all set to take you on An Experiential Journey Through Chocolate as each restaurant will be featuring an inventive use of chocolate in their RW menu. Chocolate Beef Cheek Ravioli anyone? 

Here's highlighting some dishes we tried on our RW preview. First stop, Bacchanalia.
Head Chef Ivan Brehm served us a Cauliflower Gratin. It doesn't look much but the deep fried cauliflower florets were crispy puffs that was lightly crunchy and slightly chewy after soaking in the white truffle and cheese foam. The gremolata added some light refreshing fragrance to the dish.
We were then chauferred to our next stop, Amarone at Capital Tower. I always walk past it because my dentist is in the same building but I've not had time to head in for a proper meal. 
Chef Domenico Cioconi served us the Brazino alla Siciliana, a grilled sea bass with Sicilian dressing, cherry tomatoes, capers and olives.

Well the dish was decent, considering how I'm not a fish fan. The Sicilian dressing was by robust and tangy, which I liked, but the fish was good on its own. We just thought it strange for them to highlight a fish dish as it's not typical of an Italian restaurant.

We ended the night at Hilton Hotel's rooftop restaurant Il Cielo. This certainly has been a hidden gem in town! Desserts/drinks with a view anyone?
We had the Dolce Ponce, a bittersweet chocolate dessert of coffee froth, rich chocolate and rum mousse with a crunchy sugar cane crumble at the bottom. The flavors were rich but the texture wasn't quite. I'm not quite used to a room temperature dessert so this took me by surprise. I still don't know how to make of this. However, the lunch and dinner menu for RW do look interesting enough for a return visit. 

With over 100 restaurants and more establishments coming on board, I believe I would be giving RW a shot again this time. Priority Bookings will be offered to American Express Card Members from 22 September 2014 and booking for the public will open from 27 September so watch out for the e-mailers! Catch you guys around!
I'm a brunch monster but there's only that many times I can be satisfied with yet another Eggs Benedict or English Breakfast or the regular pancakes and waffles. So when Bochinche opened and started offering an Argentinean brunch, I was all up for it. Argentinean cuisine is a mix of cultural indigenous and Mediterranean cuisines and you may find some similarity in some Spanish dishes.
Located at Martin Road just above Common Man Roasters (read review here), Bochinche is the quieter and more sophisticated sister restaurant for the adults with their selection of cocktails, tapas and mains alongside breakfast items.
The Provoleta, almonds & honey ($17) is a must try if you love cheese. This is the perfect sweet and savory dish with the strong nutty proveleta melted with sweet honey and almond slices. Eat it quick and eat it hot. When the pan ceases to keep the cheese gooey, ask for a reheat and you'll get some nice brown crispy crust!
The proveleta doesn't come with any bread (come on, not even a piece??) so make sure you order yourself some. The house baked Pan & manceta ($7) was nicely done, some better than the others but we each found a type that we preferred. Eat them with the cheese or salted butter that comes with. 
The Organic poached eggs on toast, braised ossobuco & chives hollandaise ($25) is about the same thing as that served at Common Man Roasters. Eating this for the second time, I wasn't impressed once again. I loved the flavors of the rich golden yolk but I could taste the distinct vinegar, which also ruined the texture of the whites. The braised veal was also lacking in flavors and no amount of bland hollandaise could help salvage the dish.

The Smoked salmon & scrambled eggs with red onions, capers & dill cream cheese ($24) seemed really common man but I was surprised at how the simple ingredients came together. The secret ingredient is the dill cream cheese, and it gelled the creamy scrambled egg with salty smoked salmon perfectly.
Skip the coffee and head downstairs for that instead. I've no idea how the same beans could make such distinctly different cups (actually I do but I don't wanna be an outright bitch about it). So just listen and stick to cocktails perhaps. 
All in all, Bochinche is a nice alternative to the crowded brunch spots in the Robertson Quay area. They also offer heartier options such as their Chimichurri Burger and also sweet dishes such as their peach brioche french toast. 

22 Martin Road, #02-01, Singapore 239058
Tel: +65 6235 4990
Tues - Sun: 12 - 3pm, 5.30 - 10.30pm (bar opens till late)
Weekend Brunch: 11am – 3.30pm

Croatia, the lovely gem in the Adriatic Sea, remains as one of my top travel destination thus far and I'm glad that it's getting a lot more attention from the international travel community these days! Since my trip 2 years back (has it been that long?!), many friends have explored this Central European country, no thanks to my recommendations and her gorgeousness of course. So yes, I'm revisiting her awesomeness with more posts! So here's highlighting a must visit city which is Dubrovnik.
Well, if you've heard of Game of Thrones, then you'd probably know that this is the city that inspired the set. But before that game was made popular, this hidden/ well kept secret has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. You'll only get its beauty when you see the pristine walled city glistening in the summer sun.

There are plenty of 5 star hotels and they are about 10-15 mins walk from the Old City. They are sorta nearer to the beach but they're not beachfront and hotel chains are way too uncharismatic for a place like Dubrovnik! So where to stay then? Well, here is our hidden find.
Villa Adriatica! If something appears in every postcard of Dubrovnik, you know you're guaranteed a good view. It's located right outside the city gate and we wake to the gorgeousness of Dubrovnik every morning on our huge terrace! There's no need to squeeze with the 1.7million cruise ship tourists to see this beauty and we could always easily escape back for a shower or a cat nap. Yawns. 

Food options are plenty in Dubrovnik. Well it's a tourist city. We were fearful of walking into tourist traps but the prices of food are reasonable and the quality decent due to the heavy competition. If you are doubtful, it's time to get lost in the labyrinth of alleys which hide small restaurants, cafes and bars that you would never have found ordinarily. One of which is Lucin Kantun.
Lucin Kantun is a tapas/restaurant tucked away in Od Sigurate. We went with our regular Croatian order of squid ink risotto, calamari and grilled seafood. There are other small delicious morsels including a variety of cheeses, hams, dips and more. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere lovely.
For hearty and freshly made pizzas and pastas, Mea Culpa Spaghetteria and Bistro is a good choice. I believe this is a chain but they do their thin crust so well! I absolutely loved the ham and blue cheese slice.
While the restaurants in Dubrovnik serve good drinks, nothing beats Cafe Bu┼ża for its cliffside location. We walked through little alleys and a hole in the stone to arrive at this spot with a view of Lokrum Island. And yes you may jump into that azure blue. 

If you happen to be in Croatia in the height of summer, the only way to avoid the crowd is to visit the city during the off peak hours eg. in the early mornings or late afternoons.
City Wall Walk. Dubrovnik is one of the best-preserved medieval walled cities in the world and a tour around it is a must. See Fort Revelin, Minceta Tower and other Dubrovnik landmarks on this 1.5h leisurely stroll. If walking is not an option, then the kayak tour around the walls will show you a different side of the ancient city.
Cable Car ride. As cheesy and horribly touristy as it may be, a cable car ride to the top gives you a unparalleled view of the city. On a clear day, you can see up to 60 km (37 miles). You may also choose to hike up/down (it's a good workout). We scooted around the viewing platform and went up higher to get a quiet and undisturbed view of the sunset.
Lokrum Island. To escape the cruise-aders, boat over to Lokrum Island to frolic with peacocks and sunbathe on the rocks. 
This is a much preferred option than to squeeze with the gazillion tourists on the sad piece of sand outside Dubrovnik. Pack a picnic with you and just hang out by the Adriatic sea.
Dubrovnik is a certainly a must visit for Croatia but the tourist crowd could get really annoying. I'd suggest that you take things easy here to avoid them at all costs. 

What would you do to get a unique experience in a touristy city? 

Brows frame a person’s face. Without a right set of brows, a person could look untidy, tired, or even suspicious. No seriously. You know how first impression counts no matter what people say. So even though i'm super minimalist when it comes to dolling up, the 2 things i cannot live without are my concealer and my eyebrow powder. 

I'm sure you girls would understand like how you'd get bad hair days, or bad clothes days, or bad shoes days, there are also bad brows days. Sometimes no matter how you draw your brows, they just don't go on right and it leaves you all messed up for the rest of the day. So to combat that issue, i decided to give eyebrow embroidery a go. Say hello to my new brows!
No i'm kidding. I would never go out like that! This is the first step of my eyebrow embroidery experience at Allure Beauty. I decided to give them a shot after reading the good reviews online! The numbing cream is applied immediately so that it'll take effect once you decide on the brow service and shape you want.
After comparing the various pictures of the brows on actual customers, of course i went for the Signature brow. Shorter strokes are used and the strokes follow the natural grain of your eyebrows, thus giving it a more natural look. The Angelic Eyebrow is for those who need some help with hair growth.
Before the actual embroidery, the therapist would shape your brows first and then pencil in the ideal shape. It's all based on the Da Vinci Golden Ratio to create balance.
One of the principal trainers determining the ideal length and arch for my brows.

We went through several rounds of editing the shape of my brows before she was finally satisfied with her artwork. Perfectionist but I like! She showed me a natural and a slightly thicker and flatter Korean brows and I decided on the natural one. Here's a before and after picture of my brows.

I have rather sparse brows which are quite thin even though I've been threading for the past couple of years. They're also quite spaced out. I was delighted to see how much fuller they are after she drew them on. No more pains with drawing my brows in a bit!
A customized color will be blended according to your skin tone and hair color. Nope it's not green! Bad lighting in this picture oops. And it wouldn't turn green like tattoos do. The color is inked onto the skin using a sterile blade but the cut is only on the surface area, hence it is not permanent like eyebrow tattoos. The eyebrow embroidery will last about 2-3 years typically. The good thing is that it allows for changes in shape and color to suit your current face shape.

The first session took a good 3 hours because the brow expert was really particular about achieving the right shape. So we alternated between lying down and sitting and viewing from various angles and on different devices just to make sure my brows are balanced. My skin was quite sensitive for the first session so it was on the red and sore side. Am not gonna scare you with those pics.

The aftercare includes waterproofing your brows for a week and application of the soothing cream when required. The paint will peel off naturally as your brows heal. Try to keep itchy fingers away, if not the color will not stay that well. How do I know? Because I had the itchy fingers and my brows didn't turn out too well. I had a patch on my left brow which was kinda empty because the color didn't stay. Boo! This is expected though as the color will only be about 50% of what was first inked. So for the first month before my touch up session, I still stuck with my eyebrow powder.

The touch up session after 1 month is necessary to make the brows darker and fuller. Thankfully the general shape remained when I visited the City Square outlet.

The process was the same but this time I finished the session in less than 2h! Yay.

My brows were darkened a bit more this time. A lighter color was used the first time round because the brow expert was afraid I wouldn't be used to the dark brows.
As my skin condition was a lot more stable than the first time, there was no redness at all and I loved how natural my brows were even immediately after the session.

Amazing hur!

So this is the immediate after picture. Some bloody streaks but that's expected. They use blades after all.

This is my day 2 pic! Love the shape! 

I'll update with my current eyebrow state soon but I must tell you how I absolutely love my eyebrows now. And I don't even need eyebrow powder anymore!! 

Now on the dollars and cents. Prices increase as you opt for more individual strokes. Allure's basic eyebrow packages start from $198 and so Angelic brows are the most expensive. The therapist's qualification also factors into the cost. Senior therapist price would be $1380 (before GST). This includes 2 free touch-ups (after 1 month and another after 1 year). For treatment with a principal trainer, an Allure Signature Eyebrow Embroidery session would cost $1680 excluding GST.

Well here's something to cushion your wallet a little! Allure is offering a $100 discount off their Signature Eyebrow Embroidery if you quote Cheryl / Ms Skinnyfat for a session with their Senior Therapists. This is valid till 9 Oct 2014.

I must say that Eyebrow Embroidery is the best beauty invention ever and it's definitely worth the investment.

Allure Beauty Salon
Tiong Bahru Plaza #05-04A.
Tel: +65 6270 8845.
West Mall #04-10.
Tel: +65 6898 2242.
City Square Mall #03-29/30
Tel: +65 6509 8859