DEC 2019


Delicious Food Great Hair Cool Clothes Gift Ideas Getaways & Peace!

A fab handbag and a holiday in Japan WIN

Great ideas for decorating!

EDITOR’SNOTE Last night, I watched the BBC’s My Grandad’s War with Gary Lineker. It features a war veteran, Bill, whose story is told in one of the books available on our website ( Blood and Bandages ). He’s 104 and amazing – as were the other veterans interviewed in the show. Lineker’s grandad was in Italy during WWII, where the Allies enjoyed a massive victory in 1944 only for it to be overridden by the D-Day landings a day afterwards. The campaign involved years of being dug into the side of mountains. Snow and mud were a sideshow to the mortar shells and bullets that were constantly being fired on them. It was hell on earth. But in the end, they won through. Apart from making me realise the importance of the phrase “lest we forget” – because the world really would have been a different place today if they hadn’t kept going – it was a reminder that love will always win. But it’s a personal choice. We can either choose to get caught up in hate, and other “unuseful” feelings when things aren’t good, or we can move through it and come out the other end to live another day better. Like many others who went through similar experiences, Lineker’s granddad never spoke of his time in the war. He went on to live a long and full life. The other veterans interviewed on the show openly admitted to the terror of it all, but said it was difficult to explain it to others – and they also didn’t want the pity. They’d done their job, and they moved on. So, over Christmas (when braving temperatures of minus 35 degrees Celsius in the middle of Canada!) my focus is going to be on being grateful for what I have. Not moaning about the cold – which has been my own choice – and remembering others who haven’t had a choice about where they were sent or what they had to endure.

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Happy Christmas everyone, and please let’s remember to remember.

Author of the book Singapore- based Liz Coward, with Veteran William Earl (Bill) and Gary Lineker in Italy for the making of the film.

View from the top



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET


Special Projects MELINDA MURPHY Chief Operations Offi er COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers HARSHARAN KAUR | LIZ COWARD Contributing Photographers KEN TAN (WITHINIMAGES.COM)

CONTACT US General Enquiries: +65 6812 1780 | Advertising Sales: +65 6812 1781 | Subscription: +65 6812 1783 | Production: +65 6812 1787 | Editorial & Media Releases: Calendar of Events: Events: Websites: |

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Amelia Ann’s Christmas home; page 40




NEWS 20 Calendar Updates: 26 Readers’ Letters 28 EL Forum:

Gift ideas of all shapes and sizes 89

What’s on in the coming months

Our online antics and our upcoming events 30 Singapore Pages: Exploring the island’s past and present HOME & PROPERTY 34 News 40 Festive Décor: Bring the spirit of Christmas to life! 44 Sustainable Styling: A mindful teak supplier 46 A Business Gives Back: Bedding for the needy 48 Store Spotlight: Finding Japanese crafts and homeware 51 Old to New: Give your furniture a vintage refresh 53 Inside Story: Readers and their rugs 56 Smart Moves: Upcycling to create a unique home 64 Interior Designers: Readers’ recommendations 66 Buying Guide: Seating of all shapes and sizes 72 Street Talk: What it’s like living on Hillview Avenue

LIFE & FAMILY 78 News 80 Noticeboard: Birth announcements and pet adoptions 82 On the Screen & Page: The Christmas Edition 84 Out of Offi e: Our plans for the holidays! 89 Great Gifts: Perfect picks for your loved ones 98 Smart Shopping: Dempsey’s guide to gifting 100 Eco Efforts: Gardens by the Bay’s green thumb 101 What’s On: Festive fun at The British Club 102 Around the World: A look at NYE superstitions 106 Around Town: Photos from openings, events and more

110 Birthday Bash: Centre Stage turns 20! 112 School Life: Three boarding options 114 Legal Lowdown: Expert voices and advice




Festive foods in town or at home 131

WINE & DINE 124 News 128 Bar Tab: A new spot for a tipple 131 Festive Feasting:


Seaside retreats in Sabah

Your guide to holiday dining, in and out!

142 Recipe Corner:

Christmas favourites to add to your repertoire

TRAVEL 150 News 155 Destination Focus:

Sri Lanka insights and reader tips

158 Borneo Bound:

Island bliss off the Sabah coast

162 Cambodia Calling:

A weekend getaway in Siem Reap




Win a handbag and beauty hamper, worth $700! 169

STYLE & BEAUTY 168 Style News 170 Soireé Season: Dress to impress!

178 Beauty News 180 Hair Heroes:

Two salons for a fab wash and blow

182 Tried & Tested:

The EL team’s favourite hair products HEALTH & FITNESS 190 News 192 Super Smiles: Keeping your kids’ teeth in check 196 Managing Stress: Top tips on calming your worries 199 Power Workouts: Quick blitz programmes! REGULARS 203 Numbers & Websites 204 Horoscopes for December

Frocks and accessories for your Christmas bash! 170

206 Advertiser List 208 Parting Shot: Those we leave behind







The Great British Ball (7 DEC) Enjoy a champagne reception with tunes from a festive choir, followed by a delicious three-course Christmas dinner. Entertainment for the night includes a raffle draw, live auction, games and live music by The Countdown Band. Shangri-La Hotel. Santa Run For Wishes (7 DEC) At this annual fundraising event, choose to take on 2.5km, 5km or 10km runs. There will also be a carnival with festive games and kiddy rides. All proceeds go towards Make-A-Wish Singapore. Singapore Sports Hub.

Cluny Court’s Christmas Fair and Market (UNTIL 15 DEC) Held over four weekends, this annual fair will see a great mix of stalls selling festive goodies, gifts, decorations, party outfits and more. Also, drop by Santa’s grotto for a photo op with the kids (Until 15 December). Donation boxes will be available at the fair and Santa’s Grotto for donations to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Hours: 10am to 7pm, Friday and Saturday; 10am to 5pm, Sunday. 501 Bukit Timah Road. HotLotz Christmas Live Auction (6 DEC) Enjoy wine and experience the excitement of a live HotLotz auction sale this December. The festive auction will feature branded jewellery, luxury watches, silver and a stunning selection of artwork. Register online to see auction catalogues. 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15 Cendex Center. Directed by Ivan Heng, this new musical tells the story of Wendy and her brothers who go on an adventure with Peter Pan. The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre @ Wild Rice. Tickets from Sistic. The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions (7 DEC) For its inaugural edition, the music event will be celebrating female artists. Expect more than a dozen acts at the show, with many making their Singapore debuts. There’ll also be relaxation corners, shopping and F&B stalls to check out. Pasir Panjang Power Station. Tickets from Apactix. Peter Pan in Serangoon Gardens (UNTIL 28 DEC)

The Great British Ball


Dylan Moran (12 DEC)

The popular Irish comedian will be performing a new show, Dr. Cosmos , this December. Hear his take on love, politics, misery and everyday life. University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS. Tickets from Sistic. A Christmas Carol (13-15 DEC) British Theatre Playhouse and the British Club have collaborated to stage a reprise of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol . The Christmas classic will be performed by British stage, television and film actor Clive Francis, with an after-show party at the club’s rooftop bar. Book online at Elizabeth Suite, The British Club




Single Mothers (20-21 DEC)

Written by Dwayne Ng, this new play features the lives of three women, Kar Leng, Sunitha and Jessica. It looks at what it means to be a mother and the sacrifices they make for their children. The Arts House, Play Den. Tickets from Sistic.


The Super Santa Christmas Show (6-8 DEC)

With original music and loads of audience participation, the kids will love this fun and interactive Christmas production. Join Super Santa and The Superdudes to help save Christmas. There’ll also be a meet- and-greet with Santa and the cast after the show. Tickets from Sistic. SOTA Drama Theatre Monster Jam (7 DEC) This family-friendly motorsport event is back for another fun edition. Watch the drivers pull cool stunts such as backflips and vertical two- wheel skills, and see them race at top speeds. National Stadium. Tickets from the Singapore Sports Hub website. Singapore Comic Con (7-8 DEC) This year’s event line-up includes DC Comics illustrators and toy designers. Gaming fans can also look forward to rubbing shoulders with professional gaming influencers and celebrities. Sands Expo & Convention Centre. The Snowman (12-15 DEC) This fun live show tells the story of a young boy’s snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. Together, they set off on an adventure, meeting Father Christmas, reindeer and dancing penguins. Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Tickets from Sistic.

The Super Santa Christmas Show


Ian de Souza: Clear Light (UNTIL 8 DEC)

The Australian artist will be holding his debut exhibition in Singapore, featuring his latest series of abstract ink paintings. The Private Museum IN Exhibition 2019 (UNTIL 10 JAN) Enjoy the works of students from 16 international schools in Singapore. By displaying their artwork in a professional setting, students are encouraged to continue to pursue their passion for art. Australian High Commission The Lives of Women (UNTIL 19 JAN) This exhibition is the second of the three-part series showcasing facts and figures that reveal the progress – or lack of it! – made by women in education, work, public life and society in Singapore. These facts will be illustrated by referring to some of the 160 women in Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame (SWHF). National Museum of Singapore, The Concourse Disturbing Narratives (UNTIL 8 FEB) Featuring over 30 artists from around the world, this exhibition showcases a variety of works, from paintings, drawings and photography to videos, sculptures and installations, all of them exploring emotions of fear, uncertainty and irrationality. The Parkview Museum

Monster Jam





NUS Bizad Charity Run 2020 (11 JAN)

Kebaya Homies

This annual fundraising event is back for its 10th edition this January. Proceeds will go to TOUCH Community Services (elderly care). Runners can choose to take part in a 5km fun run or a 10km race. National University of Singapore. Kebaya Homies (15-19 JAN) This production by The Necessary Stage explores the traditional kebaya garment through some time-travel cabaret. Hear stories and the history of this culturally significant clothing. Esplanade Annexe Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. 2020 SMBC Singapore Open (16-19 JAN) England’s Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson from Sweden and American Matt Kuchar – gold, silver and bronze medalists respectively at the Rio 2016 Olympics – will be among the big names competing in the US$1 million Singapore Open in January 2020. Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club.

Bon Iver (17 JAN)

: Contemporary classical icon Ludovico Einaudi will be making his Singapore debut this January. He is known for his beautiful film scores, best-selling solo albums and stunning live performances. Esplanade Concert Hall. Indie folk band Bon Iver will be in town for a new live performance showcasing tracks from their fourth album released earlier this year. The American group was founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The Star Theatre. Tickets from Sistic. Singapore Aquathlon (19 JAN) This annual race has various categories to choose from, including a kids’ distance with a 200-metre swim and a one-kilometre run. Sign up as an individual or in a team. Casuarina Grove, East Coast Park. Ludovico Einaudi (28 JAN)

For even more things to do every week, go to our online calendar or sign up for our newsletter





November2019 Issue208

November Feedback


BEST LETTER We want to hear from you! Send us your thoughts on the magazine, or on any subject under the sun. For best letter, Anna will receive a divine candle from To Be Calm. Each month, there’ll be



Vote inour READERS’CHOICEAWARDS andyou couldwina trip to theMaldives!

Wha t a go rg e ou s magazine this month, Rebecca. I’ve spent the morning slowly reading it all and I’m really impressed with everything you put into it. Well done! – Anna P




one of their signature candles to choose from .

MCI (P)031/02/2019



Ed: Thank you, Anna. That’s lovely feedback, and it’s good to know that “long-timers” still find it relevant and interesting.

Words of Wisdom I loved your editor’s note about driving in the November issue of Expat Living. Raj the taxi driver would make a great life coach – his words lingered and resonated with me! – Shimaali F-G Ed: Yes, he had a real passion for life, and he also talked about loving what you do, whatever it is, which is also refreshing!

EDITOR’SNOTE I am dithering onwhat to do about a car – lease one or buyone?So, I’vebeen cabbing abit.And learning as Igo! Mymost philosophical journeywaswith a driver called Raj, a retired businessmanwho had a very clear view on life. “Life is like driving a taxi,” he said. “If you’re the driver in life, youknowwhere you’re going. If you’re apassenger in life andhaving a snooze in the back, you could endup anywhere.” Raj continued: “Like a driver, you need to focus on the big screen in front of you; that’s why it’s sobig andwide.The rearviewmirror isvery small– it’swhereyou’vebeen already, andyou shouldonlyglanceat itoccasionally.And the sidemirrorsare just fora safetycheck forwhere you are rightnow.” Thank you, Raj! It’s a perfect anecdote, and linked into something I’d been thinking about for some time. I knew I’d been diverted fromwhat I needed to get on and do, and that itwas apattern. It seems that justwhen I amnear successon aparticular thing, I find something to do that slowsme down. Too busy looking to the sides and not focusing on the frontwindscreen! Aside fromRaj’swordsofwisdom,we’vehad somebrilliant talksatourELevents recently. One that resonated inparticularwasAndrewHallam’s talkonuncertain times.Hismessage was thatno time inhistory is certain, so stopprocrastinating and get onwith it!Whether you’re investing, saving or growing something, it’s the samepremise. Andnowweneedyou todriveourReaders’ChoiceAwards! It reallyhelpsmotivate those whoaredoingagood job in their field,and itencouragesothers todobetter too.Plus, there are some fabulousprizes for you towin.Turn topage28 to seehow to vote.

Christmas Plans? Dear EL, we are “newbies” to Singapore and we’re tossing up what to do on Christmas Day. Do most expats go away? Do those who stay here celebrate the day at home, or is there a good vibe in the restaurants and hotels? Any recommendations would be good! – Scott Ed: Welcome, Scott! Plenty of people are in town for Christmas, and there are loads of great places to eat and drink. On page 131 of this issuewe have some suggestions, along with ideas for catering at home. Our website hasmuchmore on this, too, plus tips for short breaks if you do decide to travel.



View from the top



Upcoming Awards Hi, we’ve had feedback from our clients that the survey for the Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards is too long, and it includes too many personal details, such as date of birth. – Mina Ed: Thanks for this, Mina. The average time spent on the survey is about five minutes, so we don’t feel it’s too long – particularly for the kind of prizes up for grabs (over S$16,000!), and the fact that you’ll be helping a company you believe in. Also, we do need to know the demographics of who is recommending which company, including some basic personal details. But we will try to slim that side of things down next time!

Email us at




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DATE: 4 December 2019 TIME: 10am – 12pm PLACE: Originals PRICE: Small 11” wreath, $119, or Large 13” wreath, $149 Christmas Wreath Making


Lunch with Dr Sylvia Ramirez

DATE: 6 December 2019 TIME: 11.30am – 1.30pm PLACE: 10 Scotts, Grand Hyatt Singapore PRICE: $30, including 3-course lunch


with Cluny Court & The Big Blow

DATE: 13 December 2019 TIME: 9.30am – 11am

PLACE: SPRMRKT at Cluny Court PRICE: $20, including refreshments


LIFE & FAMILY THE SINGAPORE PAGES Investigating the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers!


CHURCHES & CHRISTMAS As the festive season is upon us, we thought it might be fun to explore some of Singapore’smost beautiful churches. What’s your favourite? Be sure to check out the websites for info about Christmas services!

St Andrew’s Cathedral The main sanctuary with its soaring ceiling has a blue and white motif, a large pipe organ and stained glass panels, making the church feel very grand and a bit formal. The current church stands at the oldest Anglican site of worship in


Singapore – the original foundation stone was laid back in 1835. After the spire of the original structure was twice struck by lightning, a new church was built using convict labour from India; it was consecrated in 1862. Designed in the neo-Gothic architectural style, the build’s grand façade would have been particularly prominent from the sea before all the land reclamation took place. A large extension was finished in 2005. Did you know? Famed American Paul Revere had a daughter who lived in Singapore, and she gifted a Revere Bell to the church in 1843 on the condition that it be used to sound a curfew at 8pm every night. It did so until 1874. The bell is now displayed in the National Museum

Looking back on 2020, it was a year when we said farewell to one of Singapore’s iconic structures, with the Sentosa Merlion ceasing operations in late October. Here are some facts and figures about the huge sculpture. Age in years; the Merlion was built in 1995, designed and sculpted by Australian artist James Martin. Height in metres. The huge structure included two observation decks – one at the mouth and one at the top of the head. 320 Number of scales, each shaped like an octagon, or the Taoist bagua symbol. 4 Number of teeth, thought to represent Singapore’s four ethnic groups – Malay, Chinese, Indian and Eurasia. Remaining number of Merlions in Singapore (including a pair of 3m Merlion statues on Mount Faber, along with the famous 8.6m original statue at Merlion Park). Cost, in millions of dollars, of the new “Sentosa Sensoryscape” project that will take over the Merlion’s spot, including a linkway between Resorts World Sentosa and the beaches to the south. 25 37 6 90

and is the only Revere Bell outside the US. 11 St Andrew’s Road |

St Joseph’s Church The striking Gothic R e v i v a l - d e s i g n e d chu rch wa s bu i l t b y P o r t u g u e s e missionaries in 1846. Outside, there is a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima; inside, Portuguese tiles called azulejos can be found,

and the interior arches of the Catholic sanctuary are all painted blue, a striking contrast to the white walls and red carpet. At the time the church was built, Bukit Timah was smack dab in the middle of the jungle. This meant the Catholic priests had to battle secret society gangs and robbers to bring faith to the Chinese coolies who worked the gambier and pepper plantations. Did you know? The building’s history includes the story of a coolie who was killed inside the church by a tiger. Different times indeed! 620 Upper Bukit Timah |




Fact File


Cathedral of the Good Shepherd The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the Cathedral Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore. Completed in 1847, it’s the oldest surviving Roman Catholic Church in Singapore

and is a gazetted National Monument since 1973. The spire is said to have been inspired by St Andrew’s Cathedral, but the inside has a very different feel. The slightly arched ceiling features gold-leafed medallions and the floor has a distinct, tiled pattern. There is a pipe organ and the altar is made of white marble. Did you know? The church has just been restored, including returning it to its original colour scheme of white and dark yellow. The project won the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Award for Restoration. Queen Street | Church of the Blessed Sacraments This intriguing-looking Catholic church was built in 1965 and designed by YG Dowsett. Some say the church with its blue slate roof looks like origami, folded to resemble a tent – and that’s kind of the whole point: the architecture is supposed to symbolise the “tent of meeting” in the Old Testament. The inside is pretty cool, too, with brick walls and a sloping ceiling made of wood. The result is a church with a very cosy feeling. Did you know? The main sanctuary is built in a cruciform shape and where the four points meet the roof, there are panels of stained glass, bathing the entire room in an unusual glow. 1 Commonwealth Drive |

The names of many of the island’s roads, lanes and alleys have interesting stories behind them. Here are just a few. #1 Lavender Street: Sounds like a pretty place, right? In fact, the name – given to it in 1858 – was a sarcastic dig at the foul- smelling Kallang Gasworks that were located in this area at the time. #2 Lorong Pisang Asam/Batu/ Emas/Hijau/Raja/Udang: These six small roads near Beauty World MRT station are all named after varieties of banana. #3 Mandalay and Irrawaddy: The famous Myanmar town and river give their names to two roads in Balestier. In fact, the same neighbourhood has 16 streets named after Myanmar landmarks!

Novena Church The Novena parish dates back to 1935 when one of the first Redemptorists arrived in Singapore, and the church has since been through several incarnations. The current building received a $54 million makeover two years ago. It’s very large, with beautiful

columns, arches and stunning stained-glass windows. The official name is Church of St Alphonsus, but it’s been called Novena Church for years. The first Novena devotions began in 1949 with about 80 people attending. By the 1990s, 15,000 devotees were attending the ten sessions every Saturday, which is why the entire neighbourhood is now referred to as Novena. Did you know? A “novena” generally refers to a period of nine days of prayer, from the Latin word for nine (novem). 300 Thomson Road |

Think you know Singapore well?Which shopping mall is shown behind this Christmassy scene?

Last month: The thoroughfare that featured in our October issue was Emerald Hill Road. See these pages in our February issue for the answer!



66 Buying Guide: Sit down in style


34 New & Notable: Hot shops and what to buy right now

51 Retro Revival: Give your old furniture a new life

72 Street Talk: The perks of living at Hillview Avenue



Are you looking for some elegant new furniture or statement outdoor pieces for the newyear?Our friends at Black&Walnut and Boulevard Outdoor Inspirations are offering EL readers a massive 40 percent off everything in store – but only until 31 January 2020. All you have to do is take the coupon (on page 61) into one of their six stores, and you’ll receive this great discount. But you do need to take the coupon with you and present it at the time of purchase! Visit and for the showroom addresses and to get a taste of their vast range. Outdoor 40 Percent Off! Furniture and


Collection for the Future If you’re looking for the latest technology combined with comfort, style, function and value, take some time to check out the Courts’ Furniture 2020 Collection. There are as many as a thousand different customised styles of sofas and dining sets available (all with short waiting times), along with elegant new recliner and incliner multi-seaters, gesture-controlled smart desks, and pressure-sensing and app- controlled smart office chairs. You’ll also find 100 percent natural marble imports from Italy, Greece and Turkey, and Courts’ first modular mattress with customisable dual sides. To view the new range, visit or pop into one of the many stores located island-wide.




This festive season, add a touch of glam and luxe to your home with show-stopping textiles from Armani/ Casa By Rubelli. The latest collection features Giorgio Armani’s distinct hallmark of elegant Art Deco, oriental motifs, as well as geometric patterns. The runway-inspired colour palette of luxe metallic and jewel tones of ruby red and jade green will inspire you to dress up your home in classic Armani fashion. The range of elegant textiles includes pleated fabrics, micro patterns, embroideries and more. Available now at Altfield Interiors, #07-10 Central Mall Offi e Tower, 1 Magazine Road . Fashionable Interiors

Gettin’ Steamy Karcher has just launched its new steam cleaner, the SC 3 Upright EasyFix, which is capable of deep-cleaning your surfaces without using any chemicals. The EasyFix eliminates 99.99 percent of household bacteria in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way by using just water – a healthy and eco-friendly way to deep clean your home. It’s also ideal for families with children and allergy-sufferers, as it reduces irritation caused by exposure to strong chemicals like bleach. From $398. Festive Fragrance Christmas might be stressful, but To Be Calm has the answer! Created in Singapore, the brand specialises in beautiful gifts and nourishing body products made with an array of pure essential oils. The wellness products, which can help you energise, relax, sleep or simply rejuvenate your soul, are now available in distinct seasonal fragrances. Want to win an amazing To Be Calm Seasonal Collection Hamper (worth $350) this Christmas? Visit for more details on how! WIN!

Tech Troubleshooting Tekkie Help, a Gold winner for IT Services in our Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards Gold Award, is not only able to come to your home or office to fix your technology issues, it now provides group training sessions to help you get the most out of your technology. Check out the interactive Apple Mac sessions, which will help you get the most out of Mac OSX, better manage and organise your photos, create a robust backup strategy and more. Other courses include Microsoft PowerPoint Essentials and Microsoft Excel Essentials. For more information and to book, visit .




Sonos Gets Google


Oh, What a Year!

Happy Christmas from all of us at HotLotz, and thanks to everyone who has bought and sold with us in 2019. We’ve had a really fun year! Sourcing from the secondary market is not only smart, but it’s also “sustainability in action” and means fewer raw materials used and less waste in our landfills. Plus, you get thoughtful, one-of-a-kind pieces – and you might even pick up a piece of history or a designer treasure! Some of our favourite sales this year have included:

A 2.02-carat radiant-cut diamond surrounded by a halo of brilliant-cut diamonds and diamond-studded shoulders.


Love the brilliant sound experience you get from a Sonos speaker? Well, now you can get Google Assistant (as well as Alexa, once available in Singapore) on the Sonos Move, SonosOne andSonos Beam. As the first to bring multiple voice assistants to the same sound system, Sonos lets you decide who you want to answer your questions. You can start a song, queue a TV show, check the weather or control your smart home, all on your Sonos – even choose which assistant you want for each individual speaker. With the Google Assistant on the Beam in the living room and Alexa on the Sonos One in the kitchen, you can ask “Hey Google, play dinner music” or ask “Alexa, what’s playing?” Plus, they make a great gift this holiday season! Special offer: From 3 to 29 December, save $40offa Sonos One (usual price, $329) – visit Challenger, Harvey Norman or .

From a private Singaporean art collection and not seen for 30 years. Aw Tee Hong has practiced art for over half a century and is getting very impressive results in sales. If you’re yet to experience the excitement of a live auction, join us on Friday 6 December at 8pm for the HotLotz LIVE Christmas Gifts Auction. We’ve curated a fantastic selection of gifts to bid on, plus there will be drinks and nibbles in the saleroom. Come and experience the thrill of a live sale – the pop- up bar will be open from 6pm!

GELORA ARUS BY ENG TOW Sold for $21,600

From the home of Australian architect Kerry Hill, one of the most influential of his generation. His projects included the amazing Datai resort in Langkawi!

Invitation to Consign Looking forward to 2020, we are seeking consignment for the following specialist sales: Asian Collectables & Works of Art, Fine Art, Jewellery & Watches and Designer Luxury. Contact us at if you have items you’d like to consign.


Sold for $11,300 The watch was bought as a gift to the consigner to celebrate his

acceptance into the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975!

From all the team at HotLotz, have a happy, healthy holiday. We’ll see you in 2020!

MATTHEW ELTON is the founder of HotLotz, which holds curated auctions of hand-picked, eclectic items every week. Visit for auction catalogues, download the app, or pop in for a visit at 120 Lower Delta Road, #01-15 Cendex Centre.




AMELIA ANN takes decorating for Christmas to a whole new level.

“My middle name is Christmas,” laughs Amelia Ann as she stands bathed in the warm light from the thousands of festive lights dotting her living room. “In fact, I like Christmas so much that this house was built for it. When we designed the apartment, I made them put in a fake mantle so I’d have somewhere to put a swag.” And what a swag it is. Amelia has woven together three different vines and then added white peacocks (made with real feathers), small, warm white LED lights, and champagne and gold-coloured ornaments.

Large crystal icicles hang down, too, along with a very special, vintage-like glass ornament she bought at the Salzburg Christmas markets. “The markets were amazing, really exciting. Whenever I go into a Christmas shop, my hands start to tingle and my knees go weak. I need to look at everything and then my brain starts whirling, thinking about what I can do with everything. I often buy something now for later so I have it when opportunity pops up.”




I end up doing a yoga pose of sorts on top of the ladder to get just the look I want

How it all began Amelia’s passion startedwhen she decorated her first tree back in 2004. The next year, she entertained clients and friends for holiday drinks. The holiday party became an annual institution and, as the guest list grew, so did her Christmas collection. This year, she decided to use her champagne and soft gold ornaments, but she also has a collection of red and bright gold ornaments and another silver colour scheme, too. She chooses which to use depending on her mood.

“The year I decided to change from red, I went to Pollyanna Concepts and picked out what I loved. I put it all on the table and started to build and layer. It’s all a curation really.” She bought all the big pieces at once several years ago and got a 30 percent discount by going straight to the source. It took her about five hours to piece it all together before she walked out with her prizes. Then she shopped around for the smaller pieces, something she continues


ornaments that open. She sometimes hides notes or candy inside, making dinner around the table all the more special. Another touch is the way she intentionally builds the table decorations low so they don’t get in the way of conversation. The jaw-dropping tree The real showstopper, of course, is the eight-foot faux Christmas tree. “I always had a real tree until my daughter was born. I didn’t want her getting into the sap so we switched.” The tree is not pre-lit. Oh no. Rather, Amelia wraps the entire length of each branch individually, using about a thousand lights in total. “It’s important to put the lights all the way back to the trunk to give the tree depth.” After the lights go on, she then adds a few types of lighter-coloured, frosted branches and three different kinds of swag, which she secures to the tree with floral wire. The lighter branches and

to do. She takes a photo of her tree with her and looks at it to make sure it fits in before she buys something. Christmas at Amelia’s is always a work in progress. Getting the decorations up Amelia mixes her own essential oils, another passion of hers. So, to get her in the mood, she creates a special holiday scent that floods the home. Then she gets busy, decorating everything herself, taking about a week to trim the 2,000-square-foot apartment. Two taller pieces in her home are topped with asymmetrical decorations she builds one piece at a time. “Asymmetrical is important because you don’t want your home to look like Lego, though the mantle should be balanced. When I do the taller pieces, I go up and down the ladder a lot. I look at what’s working and what isn’t and climb up again. I end up doing a yoga pose of sorts on top of the ladder to get just the look I want.” The dining table is set with metallic poinsettias,

swag help offset the 500 ornaments, which look like glass, but are actually plastic. “To really have an impact, you need

white branches with golden ornaments woven together to get a magical look. There are also some special

30 to 50 of the same type of ornament.” She tops the tree not with an angel, but rather a whimsical collection of branches. “The tree was kind of bald on top, so I had to come up with some way to cover it up,” she smiles. “But I love it. There are so many memories tied up with it – it’s especially sentimental for me.” Across from the tree sits Amelia’s pride and joy, her piano. To balance the tree, she dresses the piano using a white branch and spectacular, long gold swags. In the middle of it all sits Lakshmi, her goddess. “She deserves a nice place to sit,” Amelia explains. A Singaporean raised Catholic, Amelia now weaves together her religions kind of like she weaves together her decorations, taking what she likes from each and melding them together. “I generally use odd numbers when I put things together, and with the swag, I often weave three different kinds together. I want there to be a bit of whimsy and for it to look wild, while not going ‘cray-cray’!”




Storing it all Believe it or not, Amelia stores everything in her apartment – except the tree, which she wraps with shrink wrap to keep dust-free before taking it to a warehouse. The rest of the items are lovingly wrapped individually in special anti-acid and moisture- absorbing tissues. “It takes a lot longer to put it up than it does to get it out,” laments Amelia. “Decorating is a lot more fun than packing! But I have so much fun doing the decorating that it’s all worth it. Truth? I would like nothing more than to do this for a living!”

#1 Use floral wire to hang ornaments so they stay in place and don’t fall. #2 Wind the lights like a ball of yarn before decorating the tree. This makes it easier to pull the lights through. #3 For every foot of tree, you need one string of lights. #4 Use LED warm white lights rather than bright white lights. #5 Make decorations asymmetrical except for mantle pieces. Odd numbers are best. #6 Use 30 to 50 of the same ornaments to make an impact. #7 Whenever possible, go to the wholesaler.

Sources • Check out the wholesalers at KINEX Mall, particularly Steve Florist, Vanda Win, Daco and Ming Sing. • Pollyanna Concepts has great decorations; find it at Robinsons. • For smaller pieces and ornaments, try AliExpress, Metro, Robinsons and TANGS.



Perfection in We’reallencouragedtokeep in mind the “3 Rs” – reduce, reuse and recycle – when we shop these days, and the teak furniture available at Naturalis Historia can help us do just that. question the constant need for new that drives consumers in the market here. “Nothing has a story anymore. If a piece of furniture gets damaged or breaks, people just buy a new one. This doesn’t need to be the case. We would like to help people make it as easy as possible to reuse and repair. These pieces can grow with you on your journey while you’re in Singapore and beyond. These little mishaps tell a story. They add to the personality and beauty of a piece.” BY KATE MARSDEN Imperfection

In Singapore, even the most unsuspecting of places can be home to furniture gold. The Hillview industrial complex is one example; it would scarcely register a blip on the radar of most shoppers, yet it’s there you’ll find a warehouse and showroom of reclaimed and hand-crafted teak furniture and more that’s a must-visit for anyone on the hunt for homeware. Singaporean VELMA MANOHARAN is the director and one half of the creative engine behind Naturalis Historia. As someone who has travelled extensively to source products, Velma has grown to

was hands-on and thorough. “Over the years, people have shared with us their frustrations about what they couldn’t find – or what was lacking on the pieces they could find. We took this feedback on board. We also found that expats tended to have particular needs; if you’re on the move all the time, you have different requirements for your furniture.” With this in mind, Velma and her team in Singapore set about designing features that travel and pack easily. This functionality drives Velma’s vision. “Just tell us what you want and need, and we can design it for you. You can even sketch something!” So, if you’re looking for an original piece to accompany you on your global adventures – one that can be tailored and altered to your evolving tastes and needs – you’ve hit the jackpot with Naturalis Historia. Little mishaps tell a story – they add to the personality and beauty of a piece.

When it comes to sourcing teak for furniture, Velma’s suppliers in Java work in unison with a team that dismantle joglos , traditional Javanese wooden houses. The wood then goes to a workshop in Indonesia to be repurposed by local artisans. “These old houses have been homes to over three generations of families. We love that our furniture gives these materials a new lease on life!” The research that went into developing their range of upcycled teak furniture

48 Hillview Terrace, #07-02 6909 3464 |




While it can be easy for businesses to get caught up in day-to-day work- related issues, many continue to seek ways tooffer charitable support for the community. We meet one here. Giving to Singapore &Sumba BY KEL FLANDERS

Tina and Nico

– minor wear and tear is acceptable, as long as the mattress has retained its shape and still provides adequate support for

a comfortable sleep. Most importantly, we have to match the required mattress size to fit the receiver’s existing bed frame.” Help for Sumba

This isn’t the only programme championed by European Bedding. “We’d been looking for our next charity organisation to support – another one that we could truly connect with.” It was during a dinner with the founder of the Sumba Hospitality Foundation (SHF), Inge De Lathauwer, that Stefan realised SHF was ideal. “I was inspired by Inge’s dedication, vision and determination.” The Sumba Hospitality Foundation has a mission to help the eastern Indonesian island of Sumba to grow as a sustainable tourism development, which involves the local people, protects the environment and showcases the natural beauty of the island. “The SHF has a full boarding permaculture school and a green hotel for underprivileged Sumbanese youth. It provides students with a vocational education, focusing on practical skills in a nurturing environment, while also raising awareness of their cultural identity.” Stefan says that these values matched perfectly not only with the values of EuropeanBedding, but those of the company’smattress brand, Heveya. “We also

Besides making super comfortable mattresses from organic latex and other bedding products from good-for-the-earth sustainable materials, European Bedding also focuses on giving back. Managing Director STEFAN MAGNUS has a passion for the

environment, which initially drove him to source latex from an organically certified plantation. “We wanted our supplier to be carbon neutral certified with a Fairtrade certificate. Now, all of our products have an eco-friendly aspect (organic, carbon neutral, sustainable and FSC certified). But we also looked to see how we could make a difference from a local level. So, when our clients receive a new mattress

liked the fact that sponsoring individual students created a personal connection that allowed us, and ultimately our customers, to see the results of the fundraising.” The company sponsors two students to attend the school, Tina and Nico, who regularly send letters and pictures documenting their progress. “We love hearing about what they’ve learnt, their activities, and their family and friends. They’re always so appreciative. We’re looking forward to going to Sumba to meet them towards the end of the school year.” So, if you’re in the market for a latex mattress and some supportive organic latex pillows, all set on an FSC- certified bed base, visit European Bedding’s Tiong Bahru store. Try out the 100 percent natural organic latex, with a soft, washable bamboo cover, wrapped in a set of lyocell bamboo sheets!

from us, we encourage them to responsibly recycle their old one.” The company selects good second-hand mattresses and donates to local Singaporean organisation Beyond Social Services. “It’s a great charity dedicated to helping less privileged children, youths and their families break away from the poverty cycle. When customers buy a bedding product from European Bedding, they’re investing in a better life – not just for themselves but also for others and the environment.” But can second-hand mattresses be re-gifted? “Yes; we make sure the mattresses are clean, with no visible stains. Overall presentation matters

32 Eng Hoon Street, Level 2 9628 9610 |



No need tomake the pilgrimage to rural Honshu or the suburbs of Tokyo for your fix of quality, handmade Japanese crafts and homeware. Leave your passport at home, jump in a cab and head to Duxton instead!


H ULS Gallery Singapore is the local go-to for lovers of Japanese design in Singapore. The concept for the space was born in 2017 from a desire to introduce quality artefacts curated in Japan to Southeast Asia. In doing this, the gallery aims to add cultural value to living spaces both locally and regionally. The space is located in an open pedestrian street on Duxton Hill. Inside, you’ll find ceramics, lacquerware, glass, textiles, wood and bamboo works produced by over 50 Japanese small-batch manufacturers and artists. These distinctive pieces are traditionally crafted and sourced from local artisans across Japan. In keeping with the country’s reputation for upholding precision and tradition, the designs and production methods have been handed down from generation to generation. Today, a new wave of artisans are actively working with the global business to bring these handmade creations to the rest of the world.




In July this year, the HULS group made the leap from global to local by opening up shop in uber- trendy Akasaka in Tokyo. If you happentobeinthe neighbourhood, the new gallery can be found on the second floor of the Akasaka ZEN Building.

HULS is more than just a gallery. It offers a range of services including consulting with chefs and restaurants to create unique custom-made tableware, and assisting architects and interior designers in procuring paper, textiles and lacquer for any interior design projects, both personal and commercial. It can also provide gift planning for consumers and corporate clients – which means no more anxiety over finding the perfect item for that VIP or awards ceremony prize. The pieces that HULS curate are beautifully designed, easy to use and bring a sense of style to everyday objects. A good example of this is the new KORAI collection ( above right ). These pieces were launched in an exhibition in November, “Kogei and Scent – A Time for Reading”, and are now available for purchase.

• The KORO paperweight is a fine example of how the new collection embodies the concept of “ ryo ” or coolness. Made of solid brass, the organic shapes are moulded from pebbles found along the riverside, imparting them with the sense of healing that can be found in nature. • The REN is awoodenmobile showcased for the first time at Milan Design Week 2019 and then introduced at the HULS store in Tokyo. It’s another example of the KORAI range helping to create a feeling of tranquillity by inviting nature indoors. The mobile is made by using a traditional technique of assembling wooden strips without the use of nails to form various designs and patterns. This particular design emulates ripples

on the water and seeks to bring a physical sense of calm into a room.

• After something more functional? The HITSU cup and carafe are beautiful pieces crafted from clay and decorated with white glaze. They’ve been finished with a unique brush pattern inspired by the delicate surface of water, making them the perfect gift for any coffee or tea drinker. More simply, if you have any questions about Japanese design, visit the gallery or get in touch with the team.

HULS Gallery Singapore is at 24 Duxton Hill. 6225 6331 |



In with the Old, Out with theNew


Buying something new on a whim to replace existing, functional furniture is becoming a bit passé. If you have a piece that’s looking tired or bland, why not check it in for a slick new makeover? Sustainability and upcycling get to the heart of what local home-painting company Retro Dec is all about. The team has been refurbishing buildings across the island since 1995, so changing lanes into furniture restoration and interior styling seemed like a natural progression. One of Retro Dec’s signature services is furniture whitewashing . The great thing about this process is that it transforms the colour of your furniture without smothering the woodgrain. That way, you get to retain the wood’s detail while giving it a dapper new white finish. Among other benefits, this look is popular because of its versatility. Whitewashed pieces can be integrated into many different styles, so it’s incredibly useful for both indoor and outdoor settings. It means you can complement the tropical, alfresco feel of a lot of Singapore’s outdoor spaces, and it works as a welcome addition to any balcony, dining room or courtyard. Another popular and on-trend service offered by Retro Dec is distressing. This is when furniture is intentionally restored to give it a lived-in look and feel. (Clean lines and block colours aren’t the order of the day for everyone!) The rustic and vintage look has had legs for at least the last 10 years, and there is no sign of that changing anytime soon – so, ask how the Retro Dec restoration team can give your furniture a bit of personality and a more pre-loved vibe. It’s difficult to maintain a fresh and individual- looking space when you move home (or country) frequently, especially if you can’t afford the investment of buying unique pieces every time. Because you may not have the time or know where to go, your home starts to look the same as everyone else who’s just moved here, or moved home (again!). This no longer needs to be the case. If you have any pieces that need some resuscitation, the team at Retro Dec are at the ready with a little “CPR” – colour, polish and restore!

Get in touch with the Retro Dec team by visiting for a quote. You can also WhatsApp them at 9823 1248.


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