About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

LollyTalk: How Many Rock Candy Brands Are There In Singapore?!

LollyTalk

I’ve tasted rock candy from Sticky, Sweet Enchantment and perhaps 1 or 2 other establishments. But I recently had the opportunity to step into the LollyTalk store at Plaza Singapura (#B2-20) and tasted their rock candy offerings.

In this picture above, I have 3 packets of candy for a giveaway – I’ve picked the Limited Edition Minions Mix, the Rainbow Mix, and the Monster Mix. They cost S$4.30 per 70g packet.

What sets LollyTalk apart from the other brands has to be their ‘Acquired Taste’ rock candy.

I tasted Chili Lime and Spicy Mango. The former was too spicy for my liking, but I liked the Spicy Mango so I got a pack to take home. Plum Guava is their bestseller, and there’s also Menthol Grape, Menthol Honey Lemon and Honey Lemon.

This selection costs S$4.90 for 50g.

~

I’m not too optimistic about the viability of the rock candy business in Singapore. I think it’s a tad too competitive, with so many brands. So for the mass market, one has to stand out with unique flavors that just keep customers coming back for more. (Best if they are hard to replicate)

Then, to make the business sustainable, one has to get a strong foothold in the corporate gifts and wedding favors business.

We are turning out to be a nation of sugar lovers, aren’t we? Laoban beancurd craze, doughnut craze, cupcake craze, rock candy craze, honeycomb with frozen yoghurt craze. What’s next?

I don’t quite understand what the fuss about fro-yo is all about, but I do appreciate the taste and creativity that’s gone into making the rock candies. Want to win a pack? Pop by my facebook page on Saturday. This one’s gonna be an international giveaway. :)

How Many Cameras Can I Fit Into Maku Store’s Camera Bag?

image

Maku Store has everything from key pouches to luggage. And it also has camera bags! Here, I review their Sky Blue & Neon Orange one (S$49.90) which I find super spacious!

image

Inside the bag, I have 1 DSLR, 1 Lumix and 1 Instax camera. And there’s still more space!

The pouch in front is great for storing an ezlink card, SD cards, tissue, and a few other things for a photoshoot!

It’s hard to find a camera bag that can fit all my cameras and still look good. So this one is for keeps.

The only downside is that, beyond the sling, it doesn’t have a small handle / strap at the top of the bag.

All things considered, it’s affordably priced, offers a lot of room, and is so eye-catching.

Get yours now at Maku Store (#03-20 Bugis Junction). Show the staff that you are a fan of my facebook page, and theirs, and you get 15% off your bill. Check in-store for more promotions and other T&Cs. :)

Gucci Perfume Giveaway! Merry Christmas, folks! :D

When these perfumes were delivered to me this week, I KNEW I had to do a giveaway because there was no way I’d be able to use them all after this review. I still have quite a few perfume bottles sitting around in a cabinet at home, so… lucky you! :D If you win one of these, you are very lucky indeed!

Perfumes

And I’m a huge fan of Escada perfumes. I love this one (the name, especially) and I just had to keep it so indulge me. :D That’s why this blogpost is titled ‘Gucci Perfume Giveaway’!

Yes, I’m giving away both bottles of Gucci goodness – the Gucci Guilty (50ml) and Gucci Première (also 50ml). Both these scents are very sophisticated, but first, let’s start with the one I am keeping: The Escada Joyful.

Escada Joyful

At first whiff, Joyful smells like regular air freshener, but it is generally very ‘happy’, refreshing and awakens the senses. It is great for people who are not ‘morning people’. :D Middle notes remind me of leaves, and greenery, and really bring me back to Nature. Nature in a bottle, this is! After which it settles into a delicious scent that I just want to smell more of. The moral of this review is to never judge a perfume by first whiff! LOL.

[If you’d like to get Escada Joyful, go purchase it from stores! Sorry, I’m keeping this baby! :D]

Gucci Guilty

As for the Gucci Guilty perfume, my goodness, the bottle is pure decadence. It would sit pretty on ANY socialite’s dressing table. At this point, I don’t know how much this perfume costs (I’ll have to check out the press release for that – you’ll find the pricing at the end of this blogpost) but I don’t think I want to know either. This bottle speaks of luxury! The scent itself is light, not over-powering like I thought it would be. Kind of fruity, with a sweet middle note. It’s even – dare I say it – comforting! Like what you’d expect a kid’s mom to be wearing. You’ll definitely be snuggling up to Mom if she’s wearing Gucci Guilty and be a mama’s child (guilty as charged).

Gucci Première

Gucci Première is a bit of an enigma for me. At first, it smells floral (I’d even say it reminds me of jasmine) then it starts to smell a bit like a unisex perfume. LOL. After which, I thought it reminded me of perfumed stationery – you know those perfume letter sets you’d write on and send letters to a penpal? Ultimately, I have decided that it is a great perfume that takes you from day to night. If you’re a party lover, or want to get a gift for a party lover pal, this is the one.

(Of course, these are all my personal opinions! :P Go check them out at individual counters and stores. Just remember to spray them onto your skin and then walk around the store first, then get a final whiff before making your buying decision.)

Pricing:

Escada Joyful: $87 (30ml) $122 (50ml) $158 (75ml)

Gucci Première: $106 (30ml) $129 (50ml) $181 (75ml)

Gucci Guilty Stud Edition $122 (50ml)

{ Giveaway }

To win either the Gucci Guilty or Gucci Première perfumes, make sure you are a fan of my facebook page first, then complete these 3 simple steps between 27 Nov 2014 and 14 Dec 2014:

*Please note that I’ve taken 2 sprays from each bottle, then resealed the packaging so it looks as good as new. If you don’t mind this, then…

1) ‘Like’ my Gucci Perfume giveaway post on Facebook

2) ‘Share’ my Gucci Perfume giveaway post on Facebook

3) Comment on THIS blogpost and tell me which perfume you want: Gucci Guilty or Gucci Première. You may pick ONLY one.

Important Note: Please take part ONLY if you are a resident of Singapore, and can collect your prize on 21st Dec if you win.

~

Winner Announcement: 15th Dec, 2014 (Monday)

Prize Collection: 21st Dec, 2014 (Sunday)

~

Good Luck and Merry Christmas in advance! :D

Nihon Mura at Punggol Plaza

There are many coffeeshops in Punggol but no malls like people in other neighborhoods are used to. We have this tiny “mall” called Punggol Plaza. At the basement, there is a Nihon Mura outlet, where the wet market is. Despite its odd location, it manages to draw in the crowds.

The prices are reasonable, the food is decent, and the service standards are good when the place isn’t packed full of diners.

But what I found most fascinating was the sushi rice machine:

image

Each time she reaches out her left hand to grab the rice roll nearest to her, the ‘plate’ swivels and the Suzumo machine automatically dispenses yet another identical-looking rice roll. This definitely helps up productivity levels in this outlet. Even I would feel confident making sushi here. LOL.

The chawanmushi served here does not look the most awesome but it tastes ok:

image

One main I would always order is the Salmon Ikura Don ($9.90) though the thickness of the salmon slices during your visit is dependent on which staff member is on duty that day, I think.

image

And our common favorite? The Ribeye Beef Shabu Shabu ($10.90)

image

Rice costs an additional $1.50 but they can top up the broth for free.

This meal cost us S$27.99 inclusive of 10% service charge and 7% GST.

If you are ever in the area and don’t know what you should eat, you can pop by Nihon Mura at 168 Punggol Field #B1-05.

Tel: 63878192

Laneige BB Cushion – Grab the Holiday Set with Great Freebies!!!

Laneige BB Cushion rose gold

I’ve been in love with this awesome BB cushion product from Laneige since I got my hands on the first set for a review. I don’t usually wear makeup, but when I do, it’s just this BB cushion and a touch of blusher and that is it.

This holiday season, the limited edition case comes ringed in this rose gold shade and it’s super pretty. As you know, each set comes with a refill and is priced at just S$59. But if you purchase it now, you get all these additional items:

  • 3-color eyeshadow palette
  • Travel-size Water Sleeping Pack (20ml)
  • Travel-size Foam Cleanser (2 x 10ml)

This is impossibly good value for money! I’ve also been told that if you don’t open the product, it’ll keep for another 2 years. So why not buy it all now? :D

And that’s not all! If your final receipt comes up to S$150 or more, you get an additional Basic & New Water Bank Moisture Kit which comes with 5 travel-size products PLUS a black-and-pink travel organizer! :D

It’s definitely time to sparkle with this amazing BB cushion. Go grab your set now!

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum: Impossibly Cute!

Initially, I didn’t quite know what I’d like for Christmas. But now I do. :D

Have a look at these items from the Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum collection 2014! Devastatingly adorable and absolutely irresistible they are! I’ve picked out my favorites:

Chocoolate Tsum Tsum

Possibly the cutest sweatshirt ever:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum

Socks you’ll never want to take off. So grab more than one pair!

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum socks

For happy feet:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum shoes

Prettiest handphone case I’ve seen this year:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum collection handphone case

This backpack makes me smile:

Chocoolate x Tsum Tsum backpack

Priced from $23.90 to $179, these items will be available in Singapore from December 11, 2014 onwards, at i.t Bugis Junction, #02-11 and i.t Orchard Gateway, #01-18.

You can bet your last dollar that I’ll be there to check them out. :D I really do like that sweatshirt! :D And that backpack… my goodness!

If you’d like to see which are the other items in this collection, head over to this article by Her World Plus.

Maybe Baby: How Much Does It Cost To Have A Kid?

Baby

[Pic Credit: Google / blogcdn.com]

Because him and I are often guilty of ‘thinking too much’, we recently spoke about the issue of kids (in the future) despite not even getting our flat or signing wedding papers yet. Strangely enough, I had come to the conclusion that we would need half a million dollars before having a kid would be something I want to consider.

He was quick to pooh-pooh the idea of half a mil. If half a mil is a prerequisite, no one would have kids.

I guess I was just thinking about expensive pre-schools, costly after-school enrichment lessons, additional tuition, and the best and the finest ANYTHING that any kid can possibly want or have. And of course, the minimum of three holidays a year that I still want to enjoy. Oops.

Our government isn’t helping. Those ads at the MRT station about fertility and all are a tad insulting, and frankly, pressurizing. While I’m calculating how much it’ll cost to have a kid, I don’t like the idea of a government trying to help me estimate how many eggs I supposedly have left.

I had a nice catch-up session with a blogger pal on Wednesday and since she has a 7-year-old kid, I thought the question should be posed to her – “How much does it cost to have a kid?”

She said that for having a baby, and picking a private hospital instead of KK Hospital, it’d probably take slightly less than S$10,000 in Medisave and perhaps just S$400 out of pocket like she did. Her friends chose KK and they had to pay significantly less.

So, ok, I take back my words. Half a million dollars is not needed for having a kid.

I do want to ensure that the environment my kid is born into is a comfortable yet challenging one; he/she should have all the resources required to develop any innate abilities and ‘gifts’, yet not become overly ‘soft’ and needy.

If the kid has musical talent (which I don’t), I hope to get the best teacher and the best school for my kid. But I’d still want my kid to plan his/her own timetable, select the preferred classes, and work really, really hard at developing whatever talent there is.

As for mainstream education, I hope I don’t turn out to be like those parents who DEMAND that their child goes to the top schools (But every school a good school? What nonsense. We just agree publicly and laugh privately), scores top grades, and makes the family proud.

I know that this kid can easily say “I didn’t ask to be born. Why are you asking so much of me? Did I tell you to bring me to this earth?!”

Any parent who expects more of the child, beyond that he/she grows up happy and healthy, is ultimately being selfish.

There are some who expect their kids to be lawyers, doctors and accountants, just like everyone else in the family.

There are those who think that 98/100 is a horrible test score if another kid in the same class scored full marks.

There are also the lot who believe that they have their kid’s future all mapped out. What rubbish! You have your kid’s future all ruined if you force him/her into any particular career of YOUR choice!

Me?

I just want to ensure I still have a life after having a kid (if I do indeed have one).

Will I be able to do the same work I enjoy? Will I be able to get my 10 hours of beauty sleep on days when I really need it? Will he be willing to change the diapers, feed the kid, and bathe the baby when I’m just too tired to do any of these?

Will I be pressured into having a male child to take on someone’s surname? (In which case, I’d rather not have any kids and just declare myself not mummy material)

Sometimes I just think I’m not ready for kids. I like kids, don’t get me wrong. If someone else’s kid cries, poo-ed into a diaper or is just being disagreeable, I simply hand the bugger back to the mother. If I am THAT mother, oh no…

And he tends to say that I’ll be ready when it happens… or rather, I have no choice but to be ready even if I’m not. LOL.

Easy for men to say.

They are not the ones who have to decide whether it’s natural birth (which supposedly comes with intense pain) or a C-section (which leaves that scar).

Just do a google image search for caesarean scars and you’ll find images like these:

caesarean scar

I don’t think I am ready to be cut open yet I think the C-section is the lesser of two evils when it comes to the level of pain involved. I cannot imagine a baby popping out down south – I’d probably feel like I’m being split into two.

So men who callously say that we’ll be ready when it happens deserve to be stabbed with a fork… multiple times. (I know you are reading this. Watch out, darling). Men just give of their sperm (which they likely wouldn’t miss anyway) BUT women?! Some women give up their careers, their personal lives, their hobbies, their beauty sleep, and more, just for the kid. Of course, there are stay-at-home dads (Bravo, gentlemen!) but they are still in the minority.

And my response to those who like to say “Oh, but a kid will bring you such joy, and complete your life, and the joys of motherhood are nothing like you have ever experienced”…

Answer me:

1) Do women usually look more tired or less tired after the birth of a child?

2) Do women generally have more or less confidence about their body and self-image before or after the birth of a child?

3) Do women tend to have more time for themselves before or after having a child?

4) Do women often experience more success at work before or after having a child?

5) Are stress levels higher before or after having a child?

I’m sure you know what I am driving at. ;)

I’m not so certain about a child “completing” my life or (future) marriage. I’ll be happy if it doesn’t wreck it. My life is ‘complete’ as it is.

So there is no straightforward Yes or No answer to whether I’ll have a kid in future (assuming we are both perfectly capable of producing offspring).

Baby? Maybe. Just maybe.

Winner Announcement!

Been organizing quite a few giveaways lately. I do feel like a Santarina now. LOL. Sometimes I do feel a bit arm-twisted by giveaway participants. Some will even privately message me to demand that I pick them to win certain prizes. I either scold these peeps or ignore their messages. I’m nice, but don’t ever try to take advantage of me. :P

One dude also left a comment on a giveaway saying that since I am unable to attend his wedding, I should pick him to be the winner of the giveaway. I didn’t quite get that, even if it may be a joke.

He has won at least 3 prizes in my previous random-pick giveaways as he takes part in just about all of them. I definitely have to make sure I don’t pick repeat winners from now on, or they will think I am OBLIGED to send all the prizes their way. Hmph.

(And no, don’t invite me to your wedding unless we are best friends. Ok? Read one of my latest blogposts about my take on wedding guests.)

Anyhow… here are the winners for 3 of the recent giveaways:

1) For the SUPER limited edition Maku Store wallet: Daphne Loo

2) For the ‘Playing Big’ books: Samy Rajoo, Clarence Chin and Priscilla

3) For the Valrhona chocolate: Catherine Vinluan, Rachelle Therese Feliciano Gonzales, and Mei Fang

For giveaway #1 and #2, winners are to send me their mailing addresses by 22nd November 2014, 23:59hrs in order for prizes to be mailed out. Email gracewwg (at) gmail (dot) com.

For the chocolate winners, I’ll be in touch with you via email today. So check your email inbox! :D

Thank you all for participating! :)

There’s still the movie ticket giveaway right here. Winner announcement on 25th Nov.

How Many Guests Do You Need At Your Wedding?

Wedding

[Pic credit: Google / perugia-farmhouse.it]

When a friend you’ve not spoken to in a long, long time suddenly contacts you on a social media platform or via text message, it is likely that the person is getting married, is selling insurance, or is in an MLM business and wants to rope you in. ;)

I encountered #1 yesterday night.

I didn’t quite know how to respond when the person invited me to his wedding, more than one year in advance. I’m flattered he thinks I need the wayyyy-in-advance notification, but puzzled as to why me.

The last time I agreed to attend a wedding of someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long while, I took it as a gathering of ex-Student Council mates. An expensive gathering, no doubt. But our President was getting married, and it was a good time to catch up with old friends.

But why invite me if you and I haven’t actually spoken or met up in a long, long time? We are not buddies who go out for coffee, don’t remember each other’s birthdays, and I don’t even have your phone number! Hmm…

And you might wonder… so who am I going to invite to my own wedding?

I don’t think I’m inviting any of my relatives. I’ve only exchanged text messages with one cousin this year. And she reads my blogposts sometimes, I think. The rest of the people I see only during Chinese New Year.

And during Chinese New Year one time, a still-upset uncle demanded to know why I did not attend his daughter’s wedding. And our conversation went something like this:

Me: “I haven’t spoken to her in a long time [Which was an understatement. I’ve not spoken to her ever, I think, except for the once a year Happy New Year greeting] , and I’m not even like one of the bridesmaids or anything.”

Angry Uncle: “No… This is about family, and (blah blah blah, I cannot remember what he said)”

Me: “It’s about the money, right?” ;)

Uncle: …

My Dad is very generous when it comes to red packets and even if anyone in our small family unit is absent, he’d still put in the same amount into the red packet as if that person had attended the dinner too.

So I could not understand what the fuss was about. I don’t even know what that cousin’s name is. Yes, honest to God, I cannot, for the life of me, recall what her name is. And I’m supposed to attend her wedding? HUH?!

As for my wedding, I’m not inviting people I haven’t spoken to in ages. I’m only inviting those who are closest and dearest to me. People who actually remember my birthday, for one. People I meet at least once every other month, and people who constantly ask when I’m getting married because they claim to have their angpows ready for me.

It’ll definitely be a small, intimate gathering of friends who are truly (with tears in their eyes) happy for me, that I am not going to be left on the shelf. Hur hur.

Thankfully, my Dad’s the real enlightened sort. He’s constantly telling me to plan my wedding according to my own wishes. If I’d like to do away with the expensive banquet, I should do away with it. His latest take on the whole issue is that we should just splurge on a honeymoon instead of paying a hotel and inviting all these people we haven’t seen in a while.

Must we stick to tradition?

Why do we even need a lavish banquet? Why do we need to invite so many people and pray and hope their red packets ‘cover’ the amount we paid for the expensive ballroom, that lavish spread, that designer gown, the costly photography and videography package, etc?

It doesn’t really make much sense.

As for wedding couples who actually tell guests how much to put into the red packets, and would happily announce to all guests present about how much is in each red packet collected and who gave how much… shame on you all!

As my personal trainer and friend shared with me, that celebration should not be about the dollars and cents. Just invite a small group of close friends for a dinner and take it that you are treating them to dinner and expecting only that they give you (JUST) their blessings for your marriage. He told me that those blessings are really important, and I just nodded my head in agreement.

So… for the people I eventually decide to invite to whatever form of wedding reception we put together…

Your presence is requested, but not expected. Come only with blessings. Bring that red packet only if you must (since you’ve been telling me about it for years now). The meal’s on me. All I ask is that you have a really good time.

Lunch at Mezza9 – Grand Hyatt Singapore

image

I had lunch today at Mezza9 at Grand Hyatt – it was my first time having a meal there, apart from the time I attended Stella’s wedding there. Stella is the mom of my twin godsons. Gee, I feel old now.

Anyhow, I googled ‘Mezza9′ while on the road (I wasn’t the one driving) and got my hopes up at the mention of “Mezza9 at HYATT – The Award-Winning Restaurant & Bar”.

image

And you know what people say about how the higher your expectations are, the greater the disappointment?

I ordered the lobster set in the picture above. It costs S$54++.

The seaweed soup was close to tasting bland. The chili lobster wasn’t spicy at all and the “chinese white noodles” it was sitting on were laksa(?) noodles and not quite exciting either. The steamed prawn dumplings were good but not extraordinary like what I would expect from an award-winning restaurant. Haha! And as for ice cream? The two tiniest scoops of chocolate ice cream I have ever seen. It was like ice cream in ‘bite size’.

I think the Thai fish cakes and spring roll appetizers, ordered by those who picked the lunch sets, were good.

The wagyu burger was served with a burnt patty so… there is no need for any other comment. :P

For about 20 dollars more, the dinner buffet at Marriott Hotel would be more enjoyable and better value for money. :D

Still, the company I had for lunch was great! The rush to get there after zumba class was worth it. :)