Category Archives: Lifestyle

My Wedding Memories

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This is (as usual) a really backdated post, so please bear with my reminiscence.

I got married 6 months ago and it was indeed one of the most beautiful and sweetest memories I had so far in my life.

When I started planning my wedding, like all web-savvy brides, I prowled through the web for inspiration to make my wedding as beautiful as it could be. Pininterest,  Instagram, Taobao and other bloggers.

To be the perfect wedding, I realised it must look really lovely in pictures so I racked my brains how to make it look pretty and not cause me a hole in the pocket. I am grateful I have a sensible husband who canned many of my ideas as his practicality rationalised my whimsical wants.

So, I compromised and now looking back, I am glad I compromised. My wedding was not Pininterest perfect, but it was perfect to me as all who loved me were there and the pictures turned out great even when I did not spend as much as what some other brides would have.

Sharing some of my favourite memories from my big day last year.

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My gown was a bustier with a sweetheart neck-line, accessorized with diamantes, a silhouette toga as well as the monstrously fluffy train. I wanted a gown that was as couture as possible and I couldn’t have asked for a prettier gown. It might not suit everyone but I was happy with how I looked.

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It was like the dramas which I watched, but it was real. Watching your husband beam as he walked into the room to pick you up, the moment is indeed priceless.

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The classic bride in the car moment.

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The first few moments of us in our room were spent eating glutinous rice balls in a sweet soup (signifying a blessed and happy union) and him taking out the pins from my hair. Only the husband is allowed to do so, one of the many Chinese rituals which I learnt along the way.

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The people who kept us sane – the bridal party of my bridesmaids and his groomsmen. Without them, we could not have gone through everything smoothly and happily.

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My traditional Kwa, the classic wedding gown of a Cantonese bride. Many prefer wearing the cheongsam for its classic silhouette and how it can be designed to show off the bride’s figure but I wanted to wear the Cantonese wedding kwa as a nod to my heritage. Plus, I learnt to appreciate how ornate the embroidery and opulent the dress can look.

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Our shoes when we were kneeling down for the tea ceremony. His were Dior Homme and mine were from Elisa Lutz. This shot is such an interesting way to look at our wedding ceremony 🙂

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This series of pictures is as Pininterest as it gets. We took a slight detour off to Singapore Botanical Gardens to take some pictures and of course, it was the perfect opportunity for me to wear another gown. This gown was rented from another vendor, Bridal Closet, apart from my original gowns. I love how the purple and bronze iridescent looked so flowy in the daylight and how my bridesmaids’ dresses look absolutely classic and timeless. These pictures always bring a smile to my face.

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Some shots of the decor from the banquet at night. One of the frills I fought for was the candy buffet bar by JOandJARS. I had such a lovely time working with Petrina and she shared my aesthetic eyes to conjure my green and purple Garden theme using gem biscuits, lace cones and the prettiest flowers combination. It went so well with the apple theme that we picked for the ballroom decor. Not the typical colour scheme you expect from a banquet dinner but both of us really liked how it looked.

I would let the pictures do the talking 🙂

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I did not put up many photos of guests as I wasn’t sure if my guests would take kindly to their photos being posted on this blog. Nonetheless, I think my fellow contributors would not mind having their photos featured as part of this wedding post.

I will end this post with my favourite picture of the night – it is a really goofy and unglamorous picture of us.

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A little story behind this picture – my husband was opening up the bottle of champagne and the cork hit the ceiling. Loe and behold, it ended in my father-in-law’s champagne glass. That probably explain why our expression is so classic. But this is really us, we are goofy and not the most polished of all couples. This way, we are perfect for each other.

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Customise your iPhone Icons – Cocoppa

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Don’t be a typical iPhone user. I found this totally cool site which shows you how you can also customise your iPhone to look as cool as those of Andriod users!

Tada!

(WARNING:  ABOUT TO BE A PICTURE OVERLOAD)

First, go to the App store and download the app “Cocoppa.”  IT’S FREE.  Yeehaw!

When you have the app downloaded and open to the home screen, it should look like this:

First, let’s tackle an easy app like Facebook.  Make sure that your screen is displaying “Icons.”  You can check at the top where it reads: “Icons” “Wallpapers” and “Stamps.”  “Icons” should be in dark pink if selected.
Next, scroll down all the way to the bottom.  Don’t even bother going through the “search” options they offer. Let’s search for “Facebook” icons.
On the next page, you’ll see tons of icons pop up.  Choose your favorite and click on it.
Once you’ve clicked on it, it should take you to a new screen.  Click on the banner that says “Set up link.”
Next, you’ll be setting up the app to go with your new icon.  In this case, when we’re using an app that was downloaded from the App Store, so hit “App Search.”
Now, Facebook is super popular so it pops right up first thing.  But you can also search for your app in the search bar too.  That takes a little digging.  In this case, click on the Facebook icon.
Next screen, you’ll put the name of your app in the box and hit “OK.”
Next, you’ll want to open the link in Safari to be able to add it to your home screen.  So, hit “Yes” when the box pops up asking you to go to Safari.
After you hit yes, it will take you to a new Safari page.  You’ll want to hit the “Share” button at the bottom to be able to add the icon.  It looks like a box with an arrow coming out it it.  Hit it.
Finally, a box will pop up.  Hit the icon that says “Add to Home Screen.”
Name that little app whatever your heart desires…..
And voila!!  There she is, my friends.  Your pretty, new personalized icon for you to enjoy.
FYI.  You do have to keep your old icon for you to still have the actual app.  So I put all of my old icons together in a folder** (which I aptly named “Unpretties”) and put on the last “page” of my home screen so I wouldn’t see them.  **You can create a folder by holding one app and putting it over another.  That creates folders which can hold multiple apps at a time.  Example:
Now, this post will be one of several explaining how to make your iPhone prettier by using this app.  Use this post to download new icons for any app you’ve downloaded from the App Store.

Happy customizing…..

Credits: Super Messy Mommy

xx

[LOTD] Denim X Denim Part 2

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It has been a long-standing dream to do a denim on denim outfit. It’s incredibly hard to pull off denim apparels in one outfit as it can be a massive overkill.

I decided that in my denim on denim outfit, it needs to fuse different types of denim for the look to work. It feels like what I could possibly wear to college, if I am a college kid now. Of course, that’s a huge if.

Denim over-sized shirt – G Star Raw

Destressed denim with bling embelishments – Platinum Mall, Bangkok

Rubber flats – Zaxy

Grey backpack – Porter (which I borrowed from my hubby)

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The bag itself is a statement piece. In fact, this is my husband’s Pièce de rĂ©sistance (most outstanding, notable, or defining of the collection, Wikipedia). This is from the Porter Duke collection and it was so coveted it flew off the shelves almost immediately being stocked here in Singapore.

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It was incredibly comfortable and I had so much fun with this outfit even though it was a huge challenge for me.

And, my favourite part of this photoshoot was our impromptu friendship photo-series.

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This series is a reminder how Sweetpots is really more than just a beauty/fashion/lifestyle blog. It is how we celebrate our friendships by indulging in what we love best with the people we adore.

[LOTD] Dressing Up for Winter

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My great European honeymoon never fails to bring the fondest memories to mind. Indeed, when we considered the various countries to go for our honeymoon, Europe seemed like the place where everyone would go to. This decision to go to Europe was definitely a wise one.

Had the chance to see many beautiful places and tick off many things in my bucket list. Oh yes, and be with the man of my life.

 

In France, outside Notre Dame

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Definitely difficult to pack for 20 odd days of winter without reusing stuff.

Black puffy coat (loved that I could cinch my waist, lest risk looking like the Michelin man)

Turquoise knit turtle neck, Uniqlo

Purple tartan scarf, Taobao (the hugely popular Chinese equivalent of Gmarket)

Red leggings, Taobao

Waterproof boots, North Face (best buy ever! Kept me dry, warm and stylish at all times)

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At the Louvre with the signature glass pyramid 

We ventured to colder places, and one of my favourite places was the Black Forest of Titisee, Germany. It was picturesque and of course, cold.

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See what I mean? It was where I totally wanted to be a Uniqlo ambassador. At  SGD$39.90, the waterproof, wind-proof pants was what kept me warm and dry every single time.  Fyi, this is apparently the place where blackforest cake was created.

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Rolled up my North Face boots (see what I mean about versatility?), put on some ear-muffs, and a red checkered scarf, I was all set to challenge the cold of Kleine Scheidgg in Switzerland.

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My childhood dream – to do a snow angel in actual snow. The kid in me died from happiness to fulfil this dream, especially for a kid from the tropics.

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 Near the Flower Clock in Geneva

Braved the cold winds to take a picture to show something besides my big fluffy black coat. A grey turtleneck woolen dress , printed cardigan, both from Uniqlo and a purple scarf from H&M. I had to hold onto my scarf and dress as the winds were absolutely wild.

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The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Here, I tried to inject a bit of colour by wearing cobalt blue jeans. Oh yes, I was using my new Desigual satchel but it’s not very visible under that big fluffy coat.

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In Lucerne, Switzerland

My husband said I looked like a kid. Indeed, I was going for the preppy look – white turtleneck, navy sweater, both from Uniqlo and winter shorts from Taiwan. What makes it more colleagiate was probably the orange Ferragamo hairband I got at an incredible steal – EU$40 at the outlet store.

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At the Harry Potter Studio Tour, UK

It was such a treat to see all the beautiful sets from the Harry Potter series. I would strongly recommend the butterbeer as it is really every bit as tasty as described by J K Rowling. My Desigual satchel can be seen a little more clearly here and I was wearing a striped knitted cardigan from Primark with a black and white checker board scarf.

Recollecting all these memories is definitely a blast from the past for me.

xoxo

 

25 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Fast

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No-stress strategies that make shedding pounds as easy as pie.
By More.com Health Editors

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Small Changes, Big Results

Despite what you may think, weight loss doesn’t have to entail deprivation and hours-long sweat sessions at the gym. Here, 25 easy-to-implement lifestyle changes that will help you slim down in a snap.

Downsize Your Dishes

Replace large dinner plates with smaller salad plates and you cut one-third of the calories in each meal, according to Milton Stokes, RD.

Reel in Weight Loss

Swap fish for beef or chicken twice a week. Fatty fish, such as salmon, contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, says certified wellness coach Jackie Keller. And one study found that people who ate fish for lunch, instead of beef, ate 11 percent fewer calories at dinner.

Start Walking

The neighborhood-waistline link is an emerging area of obesity research. One study found that people who live in the most walkable communities are on average six pounds lighter than those in the most sprawling suburbs.

End Automatic Eating

By midlife many long-term dieters have learned to rely on scheduled mealtimes—rather than their body’s signals—to decide when to eat. Just because the clock says 1 p.m., that doesn’t mean you need a big meal.

Shop the Perimeter

Challenge yourself to avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store—where most of the processed food products are usually located. Instead, shop primarily along the perimeter, where whole foods are stocked. By staying away from the center, you limit yourself to purchasing fresh produce, meat, seafood and dairy instead of frozen dinners, cookies, chips and more. This will make it easier for you to avoid temptations and to purchase healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables.

Cut Back on Cocktails

Alcoholic beverages tend to be high in calories and may lower your inhibition, making you more likely to let down your nutritional guard. Opt instead for light hot chocolate or a cup of hot tea, both of which can help you keep your hands and mouth busy while socializing.

Trim the Fat from Your Meat

Although you’ll need some fat to enhance flavor, if there is excess fat on the edges of your protein, trim it off before cooking it. In doing so, you’ll not only reduce the overall amount of fat in your diet, you’ll also reduce the most harmful type of fat: saturated fat.

Put Your Workout In Your CALENDar

If you leave exercise to chance, you won’t fit it in. Make workout appointments that can’t be broken. Either carve out the same times every week and stick to that schedule or, if you don’t have a set routine, plan a week or even a month ahead.

Do a Little Something Energetic Everyday

Vow to do an activity that will get you breathing hard for at least 10 minutes, seven days a week. “Even if you just set the timer on the kitchen stove and vigorously clean the house or run up and down the stairs, you’ll do something good for your heart—and your waistline,” says Andrea Metcalf, a Chicago-based trainer.

Wake Up With Fiber

Study after study confirms that we eat less over the course of the day if we start with a good breakfast. And the one component that’s often missing is fiber. Try to include a complex carbohydrate, such as whole grain toast, or a high-fiber fruit or vegetable, such as raspberries, in your morning meal. It will help fill you up, making you less likely to graze the rest of the day.

Graze All Day

Eating five or six smaller meals instead of three larger ones can help prevent both hunger and overeating. Mini meals steady blood sugar levels, and slow down the release of insulin, a hormone that can cause your body to store more fat, explains Maye Musk, RD, a New York-based nutritionist.

Focus On Your Food

The more you grab meals on the go and then multitask, the easier it is to lose track of how much you’re actually consuming. Be more mindful when eating (feel the textures, inhale the aromas), because engaging your senses slows down the process, leaving you more satisfied.

Cook With Herbs

Add herbs instead of salt, butter or cheese. They make food more flavorful, without adding extra calories or fat.

Finish Eating By 8 PM

You will wake up feeling hungry so you’re ready for breakfast.

Shun Sugar-Free Foods

They often contain sugar alcohols, low-calorie sweeteners that linger in the intestines where bacteria ferment them, causing gas and bloating. Mannitol is especially known for this, but be sure to check a product’s ingredient list for any sugar alcohols-they commonly end in “tol.” If you’re concerned about calories, eat a smaller serving of the full-sugar version.

Revamp Your Rewards

When you’ve spent a week working overtime or have stuck to your workout goals for a month straight, it’s only natural to want to reward yourself. Just don’t do it with food, says Keller. Instead, treat yourself to something you want more, such as a massage or new party dress. “Deprivation is a real downer, but having a system of rewarding yourself for healthy behaviors will help reinforce it for you,” says Keller.

Pre-Cut Your Produce

With a hectic schedule, it’s easy to become dependent on packaged foods instead of fresh ingredients. Buy pre-cut produce, or take the time to cut it up some fruits and vegetables as soon as you get home from the grocery store. That way, when you’re pressed for time, you’ll have something healthy to add to soup, salads, scrambled eggs or stir fries. “Aim for 3 to 5 servings of fruit and 5 or more servings of vegetables daily,” says Keller.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

A cute dress can motivate you as much as a bikini. Keep an article of clothing that you’re dying to wear out—and look fabulous in—visible, says Keller. The daily reminder with help you stick to your dietary goals.

Snack on Sour Cherries

When University of Michigan researchers fed tart cherry powder to rats as a tiny portion of their diet, the animals lost 17 percent of their belly fat in just three months. Another trial with crushed blueberries also reduced fat. “In certain fruits there may be components, particularly anthocyanins—the antioxidants that create their dark colors—that have a protective effect,” explains Steven Bolling, MD, director of the University of Michigan’s Cardioprotection Research Laboratory.

Get More MUFAs

The south-of-the-border staple provides high doses of monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs (as do nuts, olives and flaxseeds). “Eating MUFAs can help prevent the deposition of fat around your middle,” says David Katz, MD, director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center. In Katz’s research, women who switched to a 1,600-calorie, high-MUFA diet shed a third of their belly fat in a month.

Guzzle Green Tea

Overweight and obese adults who sipped a sports drink with a high concentration of green tea extract every day and also followed a moderate exercise routine dropped 7.7 percent of their belly fat in three months, reports The Journal of Nutrition. By comparison, those who exercised the same amount and drank a regular sports drink lost just 0.3 percent of that fat. The assumption is that sipping regular green tea would have the same effect. While the exact mechanism is not yet known, green tea’s phytochemical compounds may speed up the body’s metabolic rate, trigger the release of fat and/or promote fat burning, speculates study coauthor Kevin C. Maki, PhD, chief science officer for Provident Clinical Research and Consulting, an independent clinical research site in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Leave Serving Platters in the Kitchen

Location, location, location: In a Cornell University study, when serving plates and bowls were kept on a kitchen counter rather than on the table, women ate 10 percent fewer calories. There’s only a split second between experiencing the impulse to eat and then heaping second, even third, helpings on our plates, notes study author Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “Keeping the platter away from the table interrupts this automatic feeding and provides enough of a pause that you ask yourself, ‘Am I really that hungry?’ Half the time, people say, ‘No, I’ve had enough’.”

Consider Coconut Oil

Found primarily in the meat of the palm, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride that’s metabolized faster than other saturated fats—so fast, in fact, that digesting it burns more calories than the oil contains. In a study published in Lipids, Brazilian researchers gave women either soy oil or coconut oil supplements to take for three months. At the end of the study, both groups lost a weight, but only those taking the coconut oil had less abdominal fat.

Add an Acid

Dress steamed veggies with vinegar to boost your body’s ability to burn fat, suggests a new study. For six weeks, Japanese researchers fed two groups of mice a high-fat diet, supplementing one group’s intake with a daily dose of the main chemical in vinegar. Those who consumed the acetic acid developed less body fat than the ones who didn’t ingest it. In a follow-up study, people who downed three tablespoons of vinegar diluted into two cups of water daily experienced similar results after 12 weeks.

Say Sayonara to Excess Salt

Sodium is an essential nutrient that helps our bodies maintain the right balance of fluids, but most people are getting way too much, which can lead to water retention. Nearly 75 percent of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed foods, so choose fresh or frozen foods whenever possible, select unsalted nuts, seeds and beans, and stay away from the salt shaker: One teaspoon contains 2,300 mg of sodium—800 mg more than the maximum amount the American Heart Association recommends getting daily.

My Staycation Diaries – Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore

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I’ve been thinking about doing a series about my recent indulgence, staycations, Since last year, Mr H and I have been going on quite a few staycations for different special events – birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.

Hotels we have been to so far include Marina Bay Sands, Fullerton Hotel, Studio M and Oasia Hotel.

Since I am way too lazy to back track, I’ll start from my most recent Valentine’s Day staycation at Pan Pacific Orchard, located at Claymore Road Singapore.

Why did we choose Pan Pacific Orchard?

It is the lesser known hotel in the Pan Pacific group and honestly, if not for a fairly good corporate deal, we would not have taken another look at this hotel located at the periphery of Orchard Road.

Nonetheless, its location is great – next to Orchard Hotel and the infamous Orchard Towers and relatively near to the Orchard MRT station. It was obviously even better for me as I could walk from my work place to the hotel for check in.

Location: 4* (1 * deducted from the relative difficulty to find the main entrance)

How’s the service there?

I would say the staff members are helpful – I was waiting for a fair bit to check in and a member of the staff opened up a new counter to serve me. However, in his inexperience, he gave me a room that was not ready for check-in yet and I got a huge shock when I saw one house-keeping staff member sitting on the toilet bowl (fully clothed!) playing on her smart phone.

Needless to say, I went down to get it resolved. I managed to get an upgrade to a suite (yay!) to appease my displeasure. The truth is, I was so flat out tired from work I wasn’t even able to be angry.

The suite was bee-yoo-ti-ful. Let the pictures do the talking.

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The very plush bed that got us sleeping so soundly at night

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The walk-in closet, every woman’s dream and some lucky women’s reality

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His and her sinks, one of my favourite features in a bathroom. Oh, the sunken bath-tub deserves a huge mention.

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Pampering toiletries – extensive range (includes mouth wash!)

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The living area which we didn’t spend that much time hanging out in

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The mark of a good hotel in the eyes of the caffeine fiend – hello Nespresso machine and TWG tea bags

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Just a sneak peak of the next LOTD from me – my Valentine Day dinner get up.

They were also fairly responsive in getting us a switch in rooms due to a leaking window problem. So yes, I had 2 suites experiences but the suites were identical so it’s not such a big deal after all.

Service: 3.5 * (Appreciate the proactive attitude, but could have been more careful)

So, what would I recommend or not recommend?

Definitely the food.

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We kinda stumbled upon 10 @ Claymore, the restaurant of the hotel. It was raining too heavily and Mr H and I could not bear braving the torrential rain to get food. Thus, we dressed up to a lovely buffet dinner downstairs.

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It was given a gourmet award by the Singapore Tatler and I have no doubts why. The food was delectable and of good quality.

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It was not just great dinner, but great breakfast as well. We really enjoyed our meals there and for those who like Korean eye candy, there are quite a few good looking Korean service staff there to make your day!

Oh yes, there is a mineral water swimming pool that sounds really intriguing but I didn’t get to use it.

What I would think twice before recommending would be the St Gregory Spa. I was rather disappointed because it is a rather well-known spa and I would have expected better massages there.

The good news is for hotel guests, you get a $50 voucher off for services more than $120 (if I am not wrong). So I paid $90 for a 60 minutes Javanese massage, usually priced at $140.

The counter staff was really helpful but the masseuse was a bit too chatty for my liking and I would like more emphasis on those dreaded knots on my back and shoulders. Also, she tried really hard to sell me a body scrub service which frankly gets the thumbs down from me. It was not as relaxing an experience I wish it could be.

Overall verdict: For $270 per room per night (without corporate rates), it is not exactly the most affordable option. However, I would return for another staycation with the lure of 10@Claymore and the comfort of the room.

Hope this staycation series would strike a chord with the readers at Sweetpots!