DEC 2022



96 x 122 cm, Oil painting by Peter Watts Country Warmth

Find us at 9 Dempsey Road (open 10am to 9pm daily) Tel. 67326711 . . @redseagallery on socials .

Apart from Santa, who would you like to visit or have visit you this Christmas? I’ve had some odd visitors lately, including a couple of large monitor lizards – they’re pretty common out where I am, but I’m not keen on them... A large civet cat came a few times, too, but that was cool. Then, while I was standing in the garden talking to a colleague a few days ago, a wild boar ran past me! It was only about two metres away and running fast, but I think I reversed through the patio doors even faster. Doors were shut, little dog was checked to be inside – and I was a bit freaked out. I’m still a bit nervous about being in the garden. No idea how it got in or out, or where it was going … maybe looking for Santa boar? The good news is, we come bearing gifts this month…well, prizes actually. Fancy two nights in a private villa in Desaru? Or $200 shopping vouchers to spend in Palais Renaissance? See pages 22 and 123 to enter! If you’re still not sure what to get family or colleagues, we have some great gift ideas throughout the mag. There are plenty of Christmas dinner ideas for eating in or dining out too (from page 108). I’d get cracking on that soon. And there are lots of recommendations for Christmas trees – real and artificial – and decorations on the Expat Living website. My artificial one has lasted for about 10 years, it’s amazing. I can’t believe it’s time to pull it out again! I’m very excited about spending my first Christmas with both my girls since 2019. Hoping to have a bit of a switch-off between Christmas and New Year too. If you go anywhere nice, do send us a note and a pic to Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas, holiday time and New Year’s Eve – may your hearts and tummies be full!

REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief

Let’s make sure Christmas isn’t “boaring”! :)



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET




CONTACT US Call or WhatsApp: +65 9112 0652

General Enquiries: Advertising Sales: Subscription: Production: Editorial & Media Releases: Calendar of Events: Events: Websites: | Printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd ( Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 36 Carpenter Street, #02-01 Carpenter Haus, Singapore 059915

Cover: Nmita Doak’s home Photography: Delon Ho




A Singapore Christmas

Upfront 18

What’s on in the coming month Around Town: Walks, launches and parties Competition time – win $200 shopping vouchers Things you might not know about Singapore Subscribe or join us at an event





Home & Property 30 Décor news and store updates 36

How Jacqui’s home looks for Christmas Festive lights you can control with an app! Nmita’s last Christmas in Singapore Our readers rave about their rugs Buying Guide: Chairs for every room







Street Talk: Living on Braddell Hill

We meet Hoang Linh

Life & Family 64


The latest news for parents and kids Noticeboard: Want to adopt a kitten?

Looking for a new chair?



Chatting with a member of the St Andrew’s Society Christmas gift ideas at Cluny Court



Recycled kids’ clothes with an ethnic spin

76 78

A cool new children’s shop The importance of values in a school setting Help with visas and permanent residency Expert advice on divorce and mediation What to watch and read this month Giant Christmas gift guide for her, him and them!








On safari in South Africa

Wine & Dine 104 Restaurant openings and other foodie news 106 Discover a special honey from New Zealand 107 The new coffee machine from Nespresso 108 Christmas dinners, at home and dining out! 116 Recipe Corner: Tea-infused salmon 118 We try out a new rooftop bar in Sentosa Travel 120 Hotel hotspots and destination news 123 Win a getaway in a private villa in Malaysia! 124 The colours of Cape Town and the Kruger 128 How Christmas is celebrated in Sarawak


Our festive dining special!




A salon in Paragon

Style & Beauty 132 The latest shopping and fashion news 134 How Falak became a makeup artist 136 What to wear for holiday parties or get-togethers 138 All sorts of ideas for Christmas presents! 140 New beauty products and skin savers 142 What can Dr Marco help with? 144 A look at light and laser facial treatments 148 All-natural soaps and shampoos 150 Where to head for a new hairdo 152 BBL laser to blast those age spots! 154 Tried & Tested: Two skin and hair heroes Health & Fitness 158 Medical news and updates from experts 161 Two power workouts to try! 162 Health hacks for the holidays 164 Big advice for little teeth 167 15 ways to be a healthier family 170 Avoiding common childhood injuries 172 How to choose a counsellor 174 Look after your liver this holiday season! 176 Turning the tables on a deadly disease Regulars 178 Challenge yourself with our Puzzle Pages 180 December horoscopes – what’s coming next? 182 Important contacts and this month’s advertisers 184 Parting Shot: Tips for learning a language


Makeup star


Fitness ideas




WHAT’S ON ART N ASH Christmas Jewellery Show (3 TO 7 DECEMBER) Jewellery brand ART N ASH will be unveiling its new diamond and coloured stone collection across a series of private shows this month – expect creative pieces at competitive prices. It also has a prêt line called Everyday Elegance, ranging from $500 to $3,000, and it specialises in bespoke jewellery, too, making anything your heart desires. The address for the shows will be sent once you sign up for free here: christmas-show

A Case for Nature Conservation

A Case for Nature Conservation by Christopher Ang (11 DECEMBER) New York-based Singaporean Chris Ang is a well-respected international conservation photographer. This presentation, taking place at Hard Rock Cafe from 5 to 7pm, will be a visual essay of what Chris has witnessed in the field over the years. His aim is to inspire and invite people to fall in love with nature, hoping people will better protect what they love. All proceeds from the event go to wildlife conservation non-profits. Tickets cost $80 each and can be purchased at (search for “Christopher Ang”). Lampshade Workshop with The Lampshade House (13 DECEMBER) Ever wanted to make your own lampshade? This relaxed and creative two-hour evening workshop from 7pm to 9pm introduces you to the simple techniques and tools required to make a basic 30- or 35-centimetre drum lampshade. A range of modern and tropical print fabrics are available for you to choose from, too. The price is $200 including materials, a glass of bubbles/wine and cheese. Sign up here: lampshade-house-2 .

Haji Lane Workshops (6 TO 15 DECEMBER) Artist Idris has a gallery and working studio in one of the heritage shophouses on Haji Lane. Idris has his community of artist elves running special festive workshops to unleash your imaginative “self elf” – just in time for Christmas! Highlights include bespoke cards personalised with

Nations Cup 2022 (4 TO 10 DECEMBER) The Nations Cup is the biggest annual netball tournament in Singapore. First held in 2006, the event returns in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. Six teams will compete at the OCBC Arena, including the Singapore Opens team and the Singapore A-team. nationscup22

your name, specially commissioned bisque ceramics, Christmas

baubles, stitch-up felting and mosaic objets d’art. Each session costs $65, with all materials and light

refreshments included. There will also be prizes for best in session. Choose from eight different sessions at (search for “Xmas Festival Art Workshops”).




Christmas On A Great Street (12 NOVEMBER TO 2 JANUARY) This year is the 39th iteration of the annual festive event on Orchard Road. You’ll see the famous shopping street transformed with glistening light displays, a variety of engaging pop-up activations and musical entertainment. The event further strengthens Orchard Road’s position as a lifestyle destination, offering immersive experiences beyond retail. leading galleries, many of whom will be making their Singapore debut, ART SG is Southeast Asia's largest ever art fair and Asia’s Pacific’s biggest art fair launch in a decade. Taking place across two floors at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, the event is accompanied by a line-up of groundbreaking art installations, engaging panel discussions and experimental films. Tickets start at $30 each and can be purchased at . ART SG (12 TO 15 JANUARY 2023) Presenting over 150 of the world’s

LinkedIn – How to Generate More Leads for Yourself or Your Business (16 JANUARY) Keen to generate more leads and enquiries from LinkedIn? Can you do more to expand your reach and drive traffic to your website? Are you up to date with all the new features that LinkedIn has rolled out? Elizabeth Taylor from Digital Direction will address all of this and more in this Masterclass at The Hive Carpenter on Monday 16 January, from 10am to 12pm. Tickets are $120 each and interested parties can register here: generate-more-leads .




School Centenary To mark the 100th anniversary of Holland International School, a theatre performance was staged to celebrate one of the oldest international schools in Singapore.

Trial Class Having just opened their cool new space in Cluny Court, the Sweaty Betty team invited a few influencers and editors to try some outfits and take part in a Tabata class. We survived ... just! Follow the brand for news of free classes and more.

Night of Magic, Wine & Cheese This fun night hosted by the American Association of Singapore featured fab magician Ming Da, along with wines from Petersons and cheese from Little Farms. We still can’t figure out how Ming did what he did... he stumped us all!




HRT Talk Our lovely readers were treated to a beaut i ful brunch and interesting chat about HRT with Dr Tash Mirando of Osler Health International, held in a private room at COMO Cuisine.

TreeTop Walk Expat Living readers were entertained by the resident monkeys looking for snacks along the 7km hiking path at MacRitchie Reservoir. This time, the heavens showed some mercy and only opened after the walk was over!

Pilates, Yoga & Beach Bootcamp Early prevention is key! That was the underlying message of our bootcamp held for Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Thank you to BFH Training, Mojo Yoga and Aly from FitNut Loft!

Trick or Treat! Kids dressed up in their Halloween best at Cluny Court for some trick-or treating. Who could have refused them a treat?!



Be one of 5 lucky winners to win $200 CDL Gift Vouchers to use at the refreshed mall on Orchard! Located in the premium shopping district of Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance is an exclusive shopping destination and a treasure trove of unique experiences and offerings. Now, the mall has a new look – and an array of impressive new concepts! These include fresh dining venues such as Ishinomaki Dégustation, Caviar, Estuary and Cakebar, as well as lifestyle additions like LuxeHouze for watches, ceramic ware at Artifactt and boutique gym Mutiny. It’s also home to many popular established names: PS.Cafe, Merci Marcel and whiskey library The Writing Club, among others. Palais Renaissance is owned and managed by leading property developer CDL. Experience the sleek new Palais Renaissance

A big congratulations to our October winners ART N ASH personalised diamond necklace: Julianne Browne $300 END Curtain voucher: Lisya Alalu, Claudine Gordon & Katie Ash $250 Happy Bunch gift box: Rachel Boyle

390 Orchard Road 6737 6992 |

Simply scan the QR code or visit the Competition section of our website ( before 31 December 2022!

T&Cs: Vouchers are valid until the end of June 2023 and can be used at participating outlets



Investigating the island past and present, with tips, trivia and time travel – and the occasional tricky challenge for readers!



We’ve all tried these cheap and tasty snacks found across Singapore – here’s a fact file on them!

#1 What is a curry puff? It’s a small pie consisting of a pastry shell (usually in triangle or semicircle shape) with a filling – chicken and potato curry is the best known – then baked or deep-fried. #2 In Malay, they’re called epok epok, though many foodies will point out that they’re not really the same thing, differing in pastry style, fillings and more. #3 They perhaps have different origins too. Epok epok may have developed from the empanadas that Portuguese settlers in the Malay Peninsula enjoyed. The curry puff, on the other hand, was probably inspired by Cornish pasties, which Brits in the 19th century longed for; Indian chefs of the day then gave it a samosa spin, with the addition of curry. #4 While chicken and potatoes is a traditional filling, other common ingredients include sardine, egg and beef. #5 Curry puff variations are often denoted by a spot of food colouring on one side. #6 There are more exotic fillings too. Durian, red bean, yam and even custard appear in “curry” puffs from time to time. Last month, the popular chain Old Chang Kee was offering a special kids’ edition called a Cheesy Corn’O. #7 Speaking of Old Chang Kee, it started in 1956 and today has dozens of outlets all over Singapore, as well as outposts in Indonesia, Australia and the UK. #8 Maxwell Road vendor J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff is one of 67 F&B places listed in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore 2022.





Less-well known – and perhaps understandably, if you read the mediocre reviews – is Hitman: Agent 47 . This 2015 action thriller is based on the Hitman video game series and was originally set to have Paul Walker in the lead role before his untimely death; Rupert Friend played the role instead. Around half of Hitman was filmed here – the rest in Berlin – and the Singapore setting is clear even from the movie poster; it shows the ArtScience Museum and other landmarks. One of the extras in the cast is referred to as “Gardens by the Bay man”. More dramatically, Robinson Road in the CBD is used as the scene of a shoot-out – the area was shut down for four days for filming. One notable sequence shows the road jam-packed with blue ComfortDelGro cabs! You can also get a glimpse of the old MPH bookstore that traded at 63 Robinson Road until it closed a few years ago. Other locations that appear include Changi Airport, Chinatown, Marina Barrage and Parkroyal at Pickering. The latter is where the cast stayed, including British lead Hannah Ware. She later reflected on her Singapore experience: “One thing I found hard was the humidity. I’ve never been somewhere so humid! But the food was really, really good, and everyone was just so nice and polite. It’s just a lovely place to film. It’s beautiful, in its own way – really stunning.” Not toomany Hollywood or international films use Singapore as a backdrop. Crazy Rich Asians (2018) is an exception, of course: it includes a wedding at Chijmes, meals at a hawker centre, plus Sentosa beaches, Raffles Hotel, MBS and more.

Think you know Singapore well? What structure is shown in this picture?

Last month: November issue’s phtoto showed an overhead shot of Kusu Island.



SINGAPORE IN THE 1870S Nineteenth-century explorer, photographer and writer Isabella Bird was the first woman to be made a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. In 1880, she published a book, The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither , describing her travels in China, Vietnam and other parts of Asia, including Singapore. In this excerpt, she describes a tour fromRaffles to Tanglin. Let us drive from Raffles Square through this cosmopolitan city and out to Tanglin. Beginning at Cavanagh Bridge, at one end of which stands the Singapore Club and the Post Office, is the ocean Esplanade – the pride of the city – that encloses a public playground of 15 acres, reclaimed from the sea at an expense of over two hundred thousand dollars. Every afternoon when the heat has fallen from 150 to 80 degrees, the European population meet on this Esplanade park to play tennis, cricket and football, and to promenade, gossip and listen to the music of the regimental band. The drive from the sea, up Orchard Road to the Botanic Gardens, carries you by all the diversified life of the city. The Chinese restaurant is omnipresent; by its side sits a basket of sugar-cane, each stick two feet long, cleaned and scraped, ready for the hungry and thirsty rickshaw coolies, who have a few quarter cents with which to pander their appetites. On every veranda and in every shady corner are the Kling and Chinese barbers. The barber is prepared to shave your head, your face, trim your hair, braid your queue, and pull the hairs out of your nose and ears. There is no special quarter for separate trades. Madras tailor shops rub shoulders with Malay blacksmith shops, while Indian wash-houses join Manila cigar manufacturers. Once past the commercial part of the ride, the great bungalows of the European and Chinese merchants come into view. The immediate borders of the road reveal nothing but a dense mass of tropical verdure and carefully cut hedges, but at intervals there is a wide gap in the hedge, and a road leads off into the seeming jungle. At every such entrance there are posts of masonry, and a plate bearing the name of the manor and its owner.



Create your dream bedroom workshop Learn to style your bedroom like a pro Fresh Wreath Workshop Create your own authentic touch for the festive season

9 DEC 10am 2 DEC 12 DEC 7pm 13 DEC

Christmas Extravaganza At Design Orchard

Lampshade Workshop Create your own personal shade

Scan to register or visit




DEC 2022



Christmas Gifts & Fab Prizes

DEC 2022


Christmas Gifts & Fab Prizes

Your subscription includes free access to the digital edition on the Magzter app

Scan the QR code or visit


Your travel kit will include BIOEFFECT EGF Essence, EGF Day Serum, EGF Serum, EGF Body Serum and a hydrating cream. BIOEFFECT was founded by three Icelandic scientists who discovered a way to bioengineer a plant-based human replica of EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) in barley plants. This skincare is clean, pure and plant based, suitable for both male and female. To learn more, visit


Gift set is limited to the first 80 subscribers and will be delivered to you within a week of your order. Subscription orders received after 15 December will start with the February 2023 issue.


Gallery 278

36 EL’s Jacqui shows us her Bedok home in Christmas mode! 52 Take a seat and check out our shopping guide for chairs 58 The lowdown on living in Braddell Hill


Outdoor Perfection OHMM’s new Verano collection, with its colourful and distinctive open weave, gives a playful breeziness to contrast against its smooth powder-coated legs. The tables are available in various sizes and fitted with scratch- and weather-resistant high-pressure compact laminate tops, and the frame is powder-coated aluminium. There are more elements coming soon, too, including lounging options. For more info, head to .

If you’re looking for long-term accommodation with exceptional service on the side, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard are a great option; what’s more, you can enjoy up to 25 percent off when you book directly with them. Evoking a sense of nature with their rattan and bamboo elements, the suites have separate living and dining areas, fully equipped kitchenettes, home theatre systems and spacious bedrooms with king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms. Wellness facilities include a hydrotherapeutic spa, an ionised water pool with jacuzzi, and a fitness centre. Buffet breakfast is included, as well as housekeeping services from Monday to Saturday excluding public holidays. To find out more, call 6884 5222 . SUITE Stays

Tableware Charms Is your tableware looking a little tired? Premium stoneware, porcelain and fine china brand Welcome Home has added to its range. Serena Blue is a new colour addition to current best-selling collections Alicia and Clara. Then there’s the Celestials collection ( pictured ), which comes with an elegantly designed gold band. Perfect for the upcoming festive season! To view the full range, go to .




London Calling! Looking for a London investment? UK property developer Barratt London has launched its latest London development, Bermondsey Heights. The new South East London development is in the heart of Bermondsey’s regeneration area. Its main tower will comprise 26 storeys of residential accommodation with commercial units beneath. The 163 private one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will feature landscaped courtyard gardens, a roof terrace and children’s play area. With an expected completion date of spring 2025, the properties are being sold in Southeast Asia by One Global Group.

Purer Paint Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased is an interior paint that was recently launched in Singapore by brand owner AkzoNobel. The premium sheen finish paint is formulated with natural bamboo charcoal that purifies indoor air by removing hazardous pollutants. The paint’s pure air technology actively removes common and harmful air pollutants such as formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted by carpets, furniture and construction materials.

When was the last time your computer was checked for any security threats or malware? Have you had all the fans and vents vacuumed out recently? Any idea if your backup is working – or if you even have one?! So many people forget that computers need lots of TLC (just as cars need regular servicing) to ensure the computer and your data are protected from malicious activity and also to prolong the device’s life. Tekkie Help is offering a special offer to come and check your computer and give it a full service for a special discounted price. The health check includes: • Scanning for malware and removing any malicious apps, trojans and so on • Cleaning out fans/vents to prevent overheating • Checking hard drive health and repairing any bad sectors • Checking you’re on the latest operating system • Running any firmware updates and checking for potential security breaches • Checking you have a backup in place and that it’s working • Checking the computer log for any unusual activity The session will take one to one-and-a-half hours for a single computer and up to three hours if you have multiple devices. This really is super important to do, so if you don’t need Tekkie Help to do it for you, then make sure you do it yourself!

To book an appointment, call 8113 8682 or visit




Scandinavian Style Award-winning design company Bolia has expanded to the Asia-Pacific market, with its first flagship store located at 215 Henderson Road . The store showcases the Bolia design collective, including more than 60 international designers who all share a passion for sustainable solutions and new Scandinavian design. The furniture and home accessories are designed with the ever-changing Scandinavian nature as a starting point, with each piece tailor-made to suit the specific needs of a person’s home.

Striking New Space Journey East has completely revamped its #03-02 Tan Boon Liat Building showroom. The company’s signature orange colour is a key focus of the space, contrasting to a neutral backdrop. The striking showroom showcases furniture from District Eight, dBodhi, United Strangers and its own pioneer Vintage Collection. Customers will also discover a newly launched series

of rugs, Floorish, plus a range of colourful décor accessories. You can even get a drink at the beautiful new bar counter, covered in a mosaic of classic subway tiles and colourful orange grouting.

Making Moves Known f o r i t s c oo l r ang e o f Scandinavian, bohemian and mid century style furniture, Born In Colour has moved into that fab furniture go-to, the Tan Boon Liat Building. The move was spurred on by the need for more space to showcase their collections in a more thematic look. Check out the collections at #05-05 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road .

Retro Arrives Smeg, the eminently retro and hip Italian appliances brand, has opened its flagship showroomat #01-01 The Heart, MarinaOne . This marks Smeg’s first Southeast Asia experiential showroom, showcasing its extensive collection of large and small appliances. The space highlights Smeg’s iconic and colourful fridges and countertop appliances, along with their sleek kitchen ranges, all in one central location in the heart of Singapore’s CBD.







at Jacqui’s JACQUI YOUNG, one of our long-time team members at Expat Living, shows us around her Bedok home as she gets ready for the festive season. PHOTOGRAPHY BEATRICE CONTRINI

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey here. We’re originally from the UK and we moved to Singapore in 2005 after my husband was transferred with his job in the oil and gas industry. That was to be a two-year assignment. I was working for InterContinental Hotels at the time and my plan was to join the team here. But, after moving country for the first time and taking time to settle into our new home, a position came up with Expat Living, in the sales team. I’ve been here ever since – 17 years and counting, working with the most amazing team and looking after lovely clients across a few areas but mainly Wine & Dine and Travel. I wanted a house with a front door as I had the crazy idea living in a condo would make us feel like we were in holiday mode. Having never lived in an apartment, we didn’t even look at condos at that time. Our first house was a cluster townhouse in Bukit Timah that had originally been a family home before it was torn down and rebuilt. The family all still lived there in their separate units; they made us feel very welcome and treated us like family. What kinds of properties have you lived in?

ABOUT THE HOME Size and type: 4-bedroom semi detached house Location: The Kew area of Bedok Who lives there: Jacqui, David, Harry (16), Lizzy (14) and Fe



We love your home! Tell us more about it. We have a few moves under our belt in Singapore. After our original townhouse, we were in a lovely (but very old) black and-white bungalow at Pasir Ris, opposite the park. We then moved to Siglap in East Coast where we spent eight years, and although we loved the location of our last place, we didn’t love the house. Our renewal was due and we found this lovely gem just a few minutes away. We love it here. The house was brand new when we moved in so everything was working like a dream, and we have a lovely quiet street, nice neighbours and the best landlord ever. We love the open concept of the house, and the fact that our living and dining area is raised up a level makes it always nice and breezy. We have a Balinese-style master bathroom that is open to the elements and took some getting used to, but we do have some lovely greenery and plants to spare the neighbours! How would you define your interior style? I like to keep things modern with an elegant touch, and this house fits our style completely. I love a home to be bright and airy, and living in the tropics is perfect for that. I have millions of plants indoor and outdoor – they are everywhere. What’s your favourite corner or room in the house andwhy? I love our outdoor space. The pool area is nice for chilling out at weekends, and we have an outdoor dining area at the front of the house which is raised and not overlooked. We also have a roof terrace the length of the house but have yet to transform that space – it’s on the list.




I love a home to be bright and airy – living in the tropics is perfect for that

Where do you source your furniture and décor? When we first arrived, we bought a houseful of modern teak furniture fromGallery 278 that we recently revamped with some sanding and painting; and we added some more pieces of furniture, mirrors and artwork from my lovely friend Caroline at Arete Culture – I love everything there. My colour palette is a light mix of pastels so I also love ASF Home Store at Tiong Bahru for their Walter G cushions and large planters, and Island Living for their resort-style décor. Teak &Mahogany is amazing for outdoor furniture; we’ve had ours for years and it looks brand new. A sentimental painting that was the first thing we bought when we arrived here; Lucky, our huge bright-pink street dog that sits in our colourful family landing area – we adopted him from the Who Let The Dogs out campaign at Mandarin Gallery a few years ago; and probably my coffee machine as I can’t survive an hour without one! What are three of your favourite items in the house (apart from David, of course!)?



Your home looks incredibly festive! Tell us a little bit more about your decorating for Christmas. I’m in love with pastels and the pretty colour schemes and combinations trending now. I love shopping for new Christmas decorations (which drives my husband mad!), especially Bed Bath N’ Table for their unique tree decorations, along with the shops in KINEXMall that always seem to have the best tree displays to tempt me into another colour scheme. Christmas trees: are you in the real or fake camp and why? We do love a real tree but the past couple of years they haven’t lasted so we decided to save the trees from now on and buy a fake. I have a beautiful one which does actually look very real, from Steve Florists in KINEX Mall. Do you follow any special Christmas traditions? The NORAD Santa Tracker! We tune in and track Father Christmas from the moment he begins his journey, plus we always have bacon sandwiches for breakfast on Christmas morning before the big feast. Who do you usually spend Christmas Day with, and where? Every other year we are home in England with the family, which is the best. It doesn’t seem like Christmas for us here with the heat. When we do stay, we hang out with best friends and their families either at brunch or at someone’s house.

Favourite thing about Singapore and the region? It’s always warm – I hate being cold. We love being able to travel around the region too; it’s so easy to take short breaks and Changi Airport is just the best for transit times in and out. We are very grateful for home help too – Fe has been with us for over 16 years now and we would not be without her. What do you do for fun (that’s printable!)? We love travelling, staycations, hanging out with friends and trying new places. For exercise, it’s walking for me.




East Coast Restaurants & Cafés The Winery (“for wines, platters and tapas”) Next Door Spanish Cafe (“lovely Spanish food”) Little Farms Joo Chiat (“for great produce”) Baker & Cook and Plank Siglap (“I love their pizza”) | Etna (“for Italian”) | Wine TTG Wines | Home Décor & Accessories Arete Culture | ASF Home Store | Island Living | House of AnLi | Ginko Collection | IG @ginkocollectionsg A Raft of Otters | IG Badger & Fox | Hairdresser Expat Hair Studio | Nails & Pilates The VIVA Group |





The festive season is here, but there’s no need to crack out those boxed-up, tangled up fairy lights you’ve had for years. If you’re a fan of twinkly lights as part of your Christmas décor, check out the aptly named… Twinkly Lights! These are LED lights with a huge difference – they’re app controlled, with customisable pattern and image options. You can even set the flashing tempo to music. Be warned, though. Set up Twinkly Lights at home and you may end up a Christmas lights tourist attraction! We chat with SHANE CHEW from Twinkly’s exclusive distributor in Singapore, Burns+Myers, to answer all our lighting questions.

Pictures only tell half the story – scan this QR code to check out Twinkly with its magical animations!




Are Twinkly LED lights difficult to use? No! You just purchase your lights and download the Twinkly app. Then, register and link up your app and you can control your lights remotely via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. But the app is more than a remote control, it features thousands of effects. These can be used as is or customised to create your own. Always wanted a rainbow or falling snowflakes across your Christmas tree? Twinkly Lights are your answer. How do they work? You use the companion Twinkly app to map your decoration – for example, your Christmas tree. It will scan the tree to create a virtual layout. This enables it to control the whole group of lights as one single object. The app determines the position of each single LED light. A 3D model of the tree is created in seconds, and then the Christmas lights, sequencing or patterns can be controlled and customised. Can I customise my Christmas décor by choosing any colour I like? Say, a candy cane scheme on my Christmas tree? Absolutely! You can fully customise the colour of each individual LED. Twinkly LED lights perform 16 million colours, 16 million shades of white, or both, and the effects gallery is continuously added to. You might want to keep the kids away from your phone as you may never get it back! It seems a shame to box them up again after Christmas. Can I use them all year round? You definitely can – they can be an atmospheric backdrop at a party, for example, or you can use them to create ambience at a wedding or steal the scene at Halloween. Even light them up in the colours of your favourite football team. Fairy lights are a popular way to add ambience; the fact that you can adjust them with a huge variety of patterns makes Twinkly LED lights a huge step up. Is there anything else I can use them for? Twinkly has made a move into the gaming market, enabling the lights to work with best-in-class gaming products. With native Razer Chrome RGB support and HP Omen Studio, Twinkly has joined the world’s largest lighting ecosystem for gaming devices. This makes them a great gift for any gamers you might know. Perhaps there’s a teenager in your family who would love Twinkly LED lights to create an immersive gaming experience that glows with the game colour?

Twinkly Lights are only available in Singapore via exclusive distributor Burns+Myers; they cost between $200 and $800. Choose from Strings, Festoon and Curtain lights and the music dongle in-store. There’s also a “1+1” warranty special available in an ongoing social media campaign, so you can enjoy an extended two-year warranty on your lights versus the standard one-year warranty. Happy days!



Christmas isn’t just the most magical time of the year – for global citizen NMITA DOAK, it’s also a time to reminisce on Christmases gone by, to recreate traditions and decorate her home in truly twinkly Christmas style. Nmita doesn’t believe in doing things by half; she goes all out every season with a new divine Christmas theme. Newly relocated to North Virginia, we speak to her about how she creates a memorable Christmas for her family no matter where she is in the world!






Tell us about your family and your journey to Singapore. My husband Bill and I are both Kiwis, but we’ve lived an expat life for over 14 years. We’re parents to our darling children Zhanna andWyatt and fur-child Ralph.Wemoved to Singapore after a stint inDubai and instantly fell in lovewithGramercy Park condo in Orchard. It was smaller than our home in Dubai but had wonderful facilities such as a 50-metre pool, aqua aerobics pool, kids’ waterpark, tennis court, gym, barbecue pit and a large grassy area. We were lucky to have such a brilliant community. As one of the first families to move into the condo, we had a fabulous choice of apartments and ended up on the 22nd floor with stunning views from Dempsey Hill to Marina Bay Sands. Right, we’ve just moved to the US after five years in Singapore, and have settled in Tyson’s Corner, North Virginia. We’re currently living in a condo which is a short walk to the kids’ school and a 20-minute drive to downtown Washington DC. The kids have settled in so well and have nice friends. We have a gorgeous community which felt instantly like Gramercy Park. I’m beyond excited to see what our future holds. We’re in the process of buying a new home in the area, which is a thrilling project. For fellow expats out there considering a relocation, rest assured it’s been an easy transition. We were sad to leave Singapore behind, but we take solace in the fact that we’re only a flight away. Your home is a veritable Christmas wonderland. What inspires your decorating theme each year? Deciding the theme for Christmas is dependent on what is going on in our lives at the time. During COVID lockdown, I opted for a sheep theme, which brought a little of New Zealand to Singapore. The year I was pregnant with Zhanna, I had a pink-themed tree, and then later a tree decorated in blue when pregnant with Wyatt. You’ve now relocated to the States; how did you find the transition?

Deciding on the theme for each Christmas depends on what is going on in our lives at the time As the kids have grown, I’ve loved taking them to the store and letting themeach pick a decoration. One year, I’ll have a beautiful tree with all the decorations selected by the children. Christmas to me is about creatingmemories to treasure. It doesn’t have to be over the top; it’s about building on the small things I’ve collected over the years. Do you follow any special Christmas traditions? Every year, I take a Christmas family photo for good old-fashioned Christmas cards tomail out to family and friends. It’s a little tradition I’ll always hold onto. I’ve been looking back at old photoshoots and I’m surprised, and a little sad, at how fast my children have grown.




I celebrate with friends and family for the whole month and usually arrange a mixture of events. With restrictions now gone, it’s easier as I can host larger groups. I adore cooking Christmas turkey and my favourite Jamie Oliver Christmas cookbook comes out every year. I have this really yummy pistachio and cranberry stuffing I’ve made for years (I make a little vegetarian one for myself!). I’m in my happy place cooking and watching my family and friends happy, sharing stories and singing carols. Growing up, my sister Jamini and I loved Christmas, and even though my parents are Indian, they enjoyed celebrating with us too. We’d set up a Christmas tree and put real socks out as our stockings. Thankfully, Santa always visited! We didn’t take part in traditional Christmas celebrations, but we’d have a picnic on the beach with mum’s yummy Indian potato and fresh peas dish. I’ve now incorporated this childhood favourite into our Christmas smorgasbord. Creating gift boxes for my kids and their friends with lots of fun activities and games is another special tradition of mine. It’s hard for young kids to sit at a table for a long period of time, so each box is designed to keep thembusy. Seeing themall sharing, playing and giggling together bringsme somuch joy.



out throughout the day so the kids really appreciate what they’ve received. We’ll enjoy a festive family breakfast and listen to Christmas music while cooking our late afternoon feast. We like to wrap up the day satiated and sleepy with a nice family Christmas movie on the couch. Why is Christmas your favourite time of the year? I have so many wonderful Christmas memories. To me, Christmas is about being with the people you love – and, if you can’t be with a loved one, calling them and letting them know you’re thinking of them. Everyone we’ve met over the years from one country to the next holds a special place in our heart. From my family to yours, I wish you all a sparkling and magical Christmas. May 2023 bring many fun adventures you will treasure!

You’ve lived all over the world! How do you decide where to spend Christmas? Having lived abroad so long, we like to go back to New Zealand and take turns between my family in Wellington and Bill’s family in Hawkes Bay. When it’s Bill’s year, the whole family gets together (more than 30 relatives), and we have a fun day together enjoying a true NZ summer Christmas barbecue. However, over the years we’ve moved further away, sowe take advantage of the opportunity to travel.We’ve had skiing Christmases in Chamonix, St Moritz and Zermatt. Building snowmen is the best. In Zermatt, we woke up Christmas morning and saw that the roof of the neighbour’s house had footprints to the chimney with no other prints leading up to it. My kids’ reaction to this was priceless… they knew Santa was for real! On Christmas Eve, I gift everyone matching pyjamas and a Christmas Eve story. We have a family cookie decorating session while drinking hot chocolate (and mulled wine for the adults). In Singapore, we used to turn the air-conditioning right down to make it feel like winter. On Christmas morning, I wake up early to be a part of the excitement. There’s always half-eaten carrots, notes to Santa with replies, footprints and a few oats scattered around from the reindeer. After all the fun, we open a few presents, but I space this What do you do on the actual day to create memories?





Youmight have the ideal furniture and your favourite art on the walls, but what’s underfoot can still have a big impact on a room. Our readers tell us why they chose their rugs.

Mary, Singaporean

I’ve bought four carpets/rugs from them so far: • A large, cream rug for the living room. I was looking for something with a neutral, cream colour but textured, to act as a subtle backdrop to the rest of our neutral furniture. It’s by far one of my favourite rugs. • A low-pile polyester runner for the kitchen in a vibrant terracotta print. I wanted something that was easy to clean and in a print that wouldn’t show stains easily (because hello kitchen spills!). We also had to get something that was unusually long because of the dimensions of our kitchen; very few local brands carried such stock. • A tasselled runner for the master bedroom. I have a lovely dark herringbone wood floor in the bedroom but it felt a bit bare without a carpet. This monochromatic tasselled wool runner adds a bit of character to the room and makes it feel a bit cosier. • A large rug for the study, under the desk. I love this rug as it’s incredibly soft, so feeling it between your toes is a delight! It’s also large enough to encompass our study table, and it grounds the space. I’m happy with my purchases and the customer service provided by Joanna and Loom & Stone. She’s always helpful and thoughtful in her selection and recommendations, and responsive to all my queries. I’ve lost count of how many followers (frommy house account @House_No_6) have asked about my rugs too!

I moved into a reconstructed family home in June and needed a variety of rugs to bring a sense of warmth and cosiness to the space. Because of the size of my home, I needed large rugs preferably with natural fibres, and this was proving difficult to find for a reasonable price. I had hired an interior stylist, The Ochre Home, and they recommended Loom & Stone products to me. Joanna sent product samples over to my home and walked us through a variety of options. I shared my concerns on things like maintenance, cleaning and styling, and Joanna provided ideas and alternatives. It was great to see and feel the products in person and went a long way in helping me feel reassured about my purchase.

Loom & Stone WhatsApp: 8889 6867 | IG: @loomandstone |


Dimity and Yoichi Kobayashi, daughter Rosie and cavoodle Billy, Japanese-Australian

We relocated to Singapore from Hong Kong this year, and I was devastated when our rug turned up largely stained and unable to be saved. It was a piece that I had bought while we were living in Sydney. I think rugs have a magical ability to really pull a room together. They instantly ground a space and can add colour, texture and warmth. Our living room rug is where we open our presents on Christmas morning, where my daughter took her first steps and where she first met her grandparents – it hosts so many cherished moments. I searched high and low before I found my way to Living DNA. With shopping, I’m a love-at-first-sight kind of girl. I just know . I also like to feel a connection and alignment with a brand. I think that’s important for items that we bring into our home. We bought the Lithe Cream rug from Living DNA – I loved its washed-out matte look and the fact it wasn’t too silky. Over the years, I’ve learnt that viscose is a perfect choice for us. You get that soft luxe feeling, like walking on clouds, but without any of the woolliness and heaviness of a traditional

wool rug. I also favour warm neutral colours and loved the colour palette the store offered. I felt so comfortable with the Living DNA team that I didn’t even view the showroom! And the most impressive part was the follow-up service. As can happen, some muddy footprints made their way onto the rug in the first week. The team stepped me through the treatment and with a bit of care and patience, my rug was as good as new. I’ll definitely shop there again.

Living DNA #01-10B Space@Tampines, 18 Tampines Industrial Crescent 8511 3584 |




Fatema ZR Choudhury, American

I’ve been in Singapore since 2020 and I decided it was time to spruce up my apartment, so I was looking to purchase a carpet. I had heard about The Cinnamon Room through Expat Living and Facebook. Since discovering the brand, I’ve bought several carpets from them but also a ton of other interior decorating items and gifts. I love the space, the selections and the whole concept of The Cinnamon Room – and talking to and buying from Visha is great. Overall, the whole experience has been amazing. I love the store and will absolutely buy from them again.

The Cinnamon Room range is now stocked at Emperor’s Attic and Grandome • #01-10 Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road | 9011 0380 • #01-05/06 Citilink Warehouse Complex, 102E Pasir Panjang Road | 8040 0884

Melvin Yeh, Singaporean

I was looking for something that would complete the look of my home. The Gallery 278 x Aratemete collaboration has a gorgeous collection of area rugs that are customisable at reasonable prices. It’s really nice to be able to pick out a rug in the size, colour, texture and style that you want. I like that it becomes a focal point in my home and that it isn’t just a mass production one off the racks! We were recommended Gallery 278 by friends. Both Gallery 278 and Aratemete have beautiful home furnishings and accessories of superb quality that are rare to find nowadays with so many cookie-cutter products around. They also do customisation, which is great for Singapore homes that don’t always fit overseas ready-made rug sizes. I bought a customised minimalist flat weave rug from the store. It has a subtle texture and complements my other furnishings. There was a huge colour range to select from, which made me spoilt for choice! The sales team and the designers were able to narrow down my desired palette, making the customisation process easier than I expected. My whole shopping experience was seamless and enjoyable. The team from Gallery 278 and Aratemete are both friendly and meticulous. I would certainly go back to them to furnish my other rooms.

Gallery 278 203A Henderson Road (Wing A), #11-01 & 02 6737 2322 |


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