Sea the sights and tease the taste buds with Marina at Keppel Bay and Bayswater Kitchen

What could be more relaxing than a cruise on a yacht out in the open sea to a private island where you get to experience serenity and the gorgeous view of white sandy beaches and lush greenery? Well this sorta experience isn’t really that out of your reach with the yacht charters available at the Marina at Keppel Bay. And you can even top it off with a splendid meal at one of the four exquisite waterfront restaurants of Bayswater Kitchen, Prive, Ristorante Palermo and Sushi Jiro located at the Marina with a lovely view to boot.

Miss Kiki and I had the pleasure to experience sailing out to Lazarus Island one fine morning on The Admiral and topped it off with a mouth-watering lunch at Bayswater Kitchen where we tucked into a platter of delectable seafood. What’s even more special was how it was my little girl’s actual birthday! What a way to start off the celebrations for her.

Let’s go let’s go!

The weather was just perfect which meant we had to slather on the sunscreen and whip out the sunnies! The first thing that happened after we settled down in the yacht and put our stuff aside was to attend the safety briefing given by the crew. Safety is of utmost importance here and I appreciated how the staff here emphasised so much on it.

The Admiral

This is the flagship yacht of Marina at Keppel Bay and also the very same one which we sailed to Lazarus Island in. This Grandbanks 52 Europa was designed specifically for luxurious cruising and can accommodate up to 20 pax onboard. You can even cater for dining to happen onboard either at its lavish lounge with a large hand-crafted teakwood table or upstairs on the top deck where you get to enjoy the sea breeze.

All ready to hop onto one of the two kayaks that were brought along on The Admiral.

On the top deck of The Admiral
Pretending to be the captain. Don’t worry, the real captain and crew are handling the yacht 😉
Now there’s the real captain steering us safely to Lazarus Island right behind Kiki.

Spacious interior

Not only is there a pantry where you can bake, heat up food, serve up drinks at a bar counter and chill food in a refrigerator, you can basically whip up meals here as easy as pie! And still have plenty of room to serve it up to guests lounging around like Miss Kiki here.

Lovely interior with plenty of room for us to sit and dine
The master bedroom
So perfect for the kids!

 

The stairs that lead to the bedrooms at the lower deck.

 

In the lower deck, there were 3 bedrooms and even shower facilities which Kiki and I used right after kayaking at Lazarus Island. The kayaks were conveniently brought here on the Admiral and I’m so glad we packed our swimmers along with us!

Lazarus Island

A few key words to sum up this private island…. serene, pristine and charming.

Only two large yachts like The Admiral we sailed in can dock at Lazarus island at any one time, which limits the number of people who can visit this place. And for nature lovers like myself, you will be happy to know that the flora here are largely untouched and there is just so much greenery all around the moment you disembark and start exploring the island. The whole place was well kept and clean from trash and debris, and what I learnt, beach clean ups do happen here too.

So ready to jump into the water!

It was literally smooth sailing as we took less than 45 minutes to get from Marina Keppel Bay to Lazarus Island and the moment we arrived, I couldn’t wait to visit the white sandy beach that I heard about from friends who have visited this gorgeous untouched island just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.

You may wanna bring your sandcastle building tools when you come here!

Don’t forget to pack along insect repellent if you’re planning on sending some downtime at the beach here though. Although we were reminded that there may be sandflies here on the beach, we didn’t get bitten at all and did of course remember to apply the sunscreen and insect repellent.

Kiki loves the nature vibes on Lazarus Island!

This experience isn’t far from reach with the yacht charter promotions that Marina Keppel Bay currently offers. Right now when you charter a 15 pax package on the Admiral or any third party yacht, you’ll receive a $50 dining voucher from one of the restaurants at Marina Keppel Bay such as the Bayswater Kitchen that I tried. Scroll down to read about it.

And with 20 pax or more, you’ll get $100 in dining vouchers.

Find out more about the Admiral and the other yacht charter fleet here.

Further information:

Address:

2 Keppel Bay Vista, 098382

Telephone number: +65 63038448

Website: www.marinakeppelbay.com

Instagram: @marinakeppelbay

Bayswater Kitchen

This lovely restaurant opened its doors just a little over a year ago within Marina at Keppel Bay and its hard not to feel relaxed and laid back when you’re greeted by the spacious and breezy alfresco dining and cozy indoor seating options. There’s plenty of natural light and to me its just the perfect setting for weekend family lunches.

The Nautical vibes with its wooden furnishings and blue and white décor are so apt for a seafront restaurant and its menu largely comprising of Mediterranean food would have seafood lovers smiling from ear to ear. Just scroll through and you’ll see what I mean. But do take note that there are also vegan and vegetarian options for those who are choosing to go plant based 😉

Check out the adorable Peppa Pig cutlery set for the little ones!

I do highly recommend ordering the Seafood Platter to share (minimum 2) if you enjoy tucking into a variety of seafood including fresh Oysters (from the Netherlands), mussels, clams, beer battered cod and soft shell crabs. The tuna tartare here with its avocado puree and lime dressing is another one of my favourites so try it as a starter and get a boost of Omega-3s with your meal.

The Chef’s Seafood Platter! I highly recommend ordering this
The seabass was so juicy and flavourful. You can tell that its very fresh seafood that they serve up here.
I just love it when I don’t have to make much effort to de-shell the tiger prawns like they do for you here.
The tuna tartare here is one of the best I’ve tried.
One of the kids menu items which Kiki had. The mash is so good.
Linguini dish also offered on kids menu. Portions are rather generous.

What makes me like this place so much as a choice location for family dining especially those of us with young kids is the playground located right in front of the restaurant. We all know how the little ones have such a short attention span and the moment they’re done with their meal they just wanna run around and expend all that extra energy.

So yeah…. Let them have their endless amount of fun sliding, climbing up and down the 3 decks, swinging on the monkey bars and what nots while you and your special half savour your drinks and desserts. My newly minted 4 year old had so much fun here at the playground that I literally had to peel her away so we could head off to our next destination.

 

Further information:

Address:

Marina at Keppel Bay

2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Singapore 098382

Telephone number: +65 6776 0777

Email: info@bayswaterkitchen.com.sg

Instagram: @bayswaterkitchen

Website: http://www.marinakeppelbay.com/dine/bayswater-kitchen

 

 

Gaya Island Resort: A Hidden Island Paradise

Travelling to a luxury resort for a vacation is one thing, but when it comes to bringing children along it’s another thing altogether. They need entertainment, a safe and clean environment, and kid-friendly food…. lots of it in my case since I’m travelling with a girl army. They eat around the clock since they’re always so active!

View of the pool and private jetty

Gaya Island Resort

Just a stone’s throw away from Singapore, we only needed to take a short flight from Changi Airport to Kota Kinabalu before taking a 20 mins drive to Jesselton Ferry Terminal and enjoying a quick 5 mins boat ride to get to this beautiful island resort located along the pristine coast of Malohom Bay. How convenient is that!?

I flew in to Kota Kinabalu with the kiddos via Air Asia and very conveniently got a taxi which drove us to the jetty that had quite a number of dining options available just next to the Gaya Island Resort transfer centre where we had to register and await for our speed boat to arrive. 

At Jesselton Ferry Terminal waiting for our speedboat to arrive
The girls really enjoyed taking the speedboat ride which also takes us to the private beach nearby…. Tavajun Bay.

The first thing we noticed upon arriving at the jetty of Gaya Island Resort was the crystal clear waters revealing the coral and fish that call this island their home. There were also hornbills flying overhead towards the lush green trees decorating the resort.
As we headed towards the main island via the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but appreciate the various shades of blue and green from the clear waters. The area here is also home to green sea turtles, macaques, and so much more. And this says a lot about the conservational efforts and respect for the environment and nature that the resort has for its surrounding. 

The welcoming sight of the clear waters once we got off the speedboat.

The moment we arrived at the jetty of the resort I just felt like jumping into the crisp blue waters to snorkel and swim with the friendly fishes meandering about the corals and jetty. And there were actually several guests who were doing that already. We just had to wait till we were all settled into our rooms and got into out gear for water activities! And there are quite a few choices when it comes to water activities that you can do here.

The kids and baby friendly pools here are just perfect for chilling on a sunny day.
The kids snorkelled here a couple times and spotted various types of fish and crabs!
You can go kayaking too
A sanctuary for wildlife too

What I really love about the resort is how its built on an an island within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. And in this ancient rainforest, the children and I were surrounded by beautiful creatures and plants that have called his their home for eons. Its always so heartwarming to see humans and wildlife living harmoniously and it shows when you see how the corals are flourishing along the shore and the fishes swimming around are plentiful. We also saw hornbills and eagles flying around, and monitor lizards lazing about in the marshes. This gorgeous resort is actually committed to ecologically-sustainable practices to minimise its carbon footprint within the environment. Another ginormous big yes from the girl army and I!

Nature Walk

One of the highlights of our stay here was visiting the conservation centre and joining in the guided nature walk by their very seasoned and knowledgeable guide. The trail we went on showed us parts of island that made me think of scenes from Avatar the movie. Remember to bring your walking shoes or sneakers when you visit! This is a must do when you come here.

Inside the Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre waiting for the tour to begin.
The 7 Wonders on Gaya Island Resort
Just a few of the different wildlife that flourish here
Trees that are ancient and their massive size and towering heights look like a scene from Jack and the Beanstalk!

I couldn’t help but feel humbled being around such magnificent fauna with so much history. The variety of plants and animals here is just amazing and our very experienced guide taught us how to identify marks left behind by animals to show that they were around us.

Nya found the exoskeleton of a cicada.
A giant gecko taking a nap in the space within a tree trunk.

Note: The monkey on my back is not part of the highlight on the trail.

The children and I were constantly intrigued by the presence of wildlife around us although you had to look closely in order to see them. We could definitely hear them clearly though, like the birds, insects, giant gecko and flying foxes.

Our guide was able to show us various types of edible plants and mushrooms found throughout the walk and its so amazing how we tend to take a lot of the rainforests for granted. Kudos to Gaya Island Resort for the conservation efforts made to protect our natural environment.

The Gaya island marine centre
Image credit: Gaya Island Resort

Because of how the resort is set within a nature reserve, human activities are restricted and this allows sensitive wildlife like sea turtles to continue to call this place home.

Launched in October 2013, the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre rescues, treats and cares for mainly the endangered Green Sea turtle, but has also done so for one critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. I was so amused to learn that the Green Sea turtle got its name because that the colour of its fat! And its really due to its steady diet of seagrasses and algae.

Nykki checking out the nursery where the baby sea turtles are waiting to hatch.
Inside the Marine Centre
Inside the Marine Centre. Image credit: Gaya Island Resort

The Marine Centre here actually produces coral fragments that will be put into the sea to help rebuild the reef and outside of this turtle rescue centre is a 14,000-litre recovery tank which provides a safe and stable environment for the sick or injured sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation. There is even a combined effort between Reef Check Malaysia and YTL Hotels whereby the resort conducts a school outreach programme with the local primary school. By using a combination of audio-visual materials, creative activities and fresh pastries from the resort kitchen, the programme aims to engage the children while simultaneously educating them on recycling and the need for conservation. Such a meaningful initiative and I truly do hope to see more of such efforts spread throughout other resorts around the world.

Tavajun Bay

Dining on a private beach less than 5 mins away by speedboat, the girls and I got to feast on Thai dishes specially prepared by the chefs here and we got so excited when we spotted a shy family of wild pigs. 6 piglets and their mom peered out from the thicket nearby while we had our meal and I was really happy to know that we were able to share this space with the wildlife here that didn’t lose their home because of humans coming to visit.

The private jetty of Tavajun Bay. Check out the crystal clear waters here!
Our first course has arrived!

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! The kids and I really like their Yam ice cream!

You will have to pre-book for your dining experience here on Tavajun Bay though so do plan ahead and remember to bring along your snorkelling gear and sunscreen if you intend to spend some time in the pristine waters frolicking among the coral reefs.

Pre book for your lunch at the main lobby
The Spa village

One of my many highlights of the stay here…. a pampering session at the Spa Village! This is a must do when you visit the resort here as well another one of their locations at Pangkor Laut Resort. The sitting area at the spa is really cosy and being surrounded by all that greenery and open space out in nature just gave me that mental peacefulness and calm even before my treatment started. 

A cooling welcome drink and wet towel to freshen me up before being led to one of the treatment rooms where I would fall asleep midway during the luxurious oil massage.

Each one of these rooms has a gorgeous view of the greenery outside and I just couldn’t help but open the balcony doors to check out the view.

Right after the treatment, I get to relax on the couch with a warm ginger tea. Parents like myself…. just chill. The resort has babysitting services available so your little ones can be well taken care of while you pamper yourselves at the Spa Village!

Dining Options

With a girl army in tow, there is no doubt variety and flexibility is very much appreciated. Which is why we dined mostly at the Feast Village offering a buffet spread of diverse cuisine from the Asia-Pacific region. The welcoming dining space showcases a bakery, Japanese/Korean, Asian and Western selections which is sure to appeal even the pickiest of eaters and the little ones.

The kids and I really like the spaciousness of the restaurant at Feast Village and there’s always something here in the buffet spread that makes our differing pallets water. You can even make special requests from the kitchen if need be, just like i did. Kudos to the service and kitchen crew for such amazing service and attention to detail!

I was particularly pleased with all the local desserts and sweets that were offered at each meal. I was able to share with children about the various types of local pastries here which they rarely get to see back home. And its always so amazing to be able to get a flavour of each culture whenever we travel.

Happy faces even though its early in the morning at breakfast because…. waffles and pancakes are on the menu!

If buffets aren’t your thing, there are several other options available including the dining experience on Tavajun Bay which I mentioned earlier. But I also highly recommend dining at Omakase, a two-storey Japanese restaurant perched on the hillside of the island with a stunning view of Malohom Bay and Mount Kinabalu. You can choose from one of three Japanese omakase-style dining experiences available, ranging from teppanyakishabu-shabu and nabe. The kids and I went for the teppanyaki experience and boy did they love it. This is a kid-friendly joint so don’t worry about leaving the little ones behind.

The menu for our teppanyaki dinner tonight
Even Miss Kiki enjoyed her meal here!
Watching the chef display his culinary skills.
Every dish here was a delight.

Don’t forget to make a reservation for your meal here at Omakase to avoid disappointment as seats are limited.

The other dining experience I highly recommend for you to take during your stay here is the Singgah Singgarung night where you get to enjoy your barbecue dinner on the mangrove beach along to a showcase of native arts, activities and delicacies. The kids got to experience Kadazan music for the first time as we even participated in their tribal dance! 

The talented and oh-so-friendly tribal dancers
The kids even got to make some crafts with coconut leaves before settling down for their buffet barbecue meal along the beach.
The gardeners and landscapers are all so talented! You absolutely have to check out the massive sand art that they make at low tide.

You can also dine at The Fisherman’s Cove and the Pool Bar and Lounge while you’re here. And for those who are here as a couple, there’s also the option for a Private Dining experience.

Cultural Exposure

Travelling to me is always a great opportunity to be exposed to other cultures and on this trip the kids definitely learnt a lot about the culture of Borneo. Through the Singgah Singgarung night where they watched the dancers and listened to the traditional music, the local specialty foods which the restaurant staff were so kind to explain more to the kids about and even the through art as they made birds and insects with the coconut leaves. 

As a parent, I couldn’t be more appreciative of the experiences that my kids got through this trip. 

On the second floor of their retail store Chijmes is the studio where you pick up some traditional Borneo craftwork skills.

Sign up in advance for the craftwork activities as spaces are limited.
Yoga session

Held in a very uniquely designed yoga room, I was very pleasantly surprised by the layout for our mats and how exclusive the class was. And I enjoyed it because it wasn’t overly crowded and the instructor was able to watch each practitioner closely. The studio is located within the Spa Village which means no kids allowed. So parents, do plan in advance and arrange for babysitting services with the resort should you need to. The instructor was very kindly introduced through information placed at the lobby so you’ll know what to expect and I do recommend attending the classes while you’re here. It really is a unique experience to be practising at the studio space here.

The studio here boosts a very high ceiling and a gorgeous view of the greenery outside.
The Rooms

As each room accommodates up to 2 adults and 2 children aged 12 and under, we took up 2 identical rooms and each one had such a magnificent view of the flora and fauna outside. I really have to commend the service staff here for the quality of their service and friendliness. The moment we opened the doors to our rooms, we were welcome but these adorable towel elephants and a warm welcome message as well as a complimentary bottle of the local traditional rice wine – lihing

How cute is that??!!!
This wine actually tastes so refreshing!

Thank you Gaya Island Resort for such an amazing and memorable stay for the Girl Army and I. The efforts and actions made to conserve and protect the wildlife and natural surroundings here are commendable and I will highly recommend families with young children to make this one of your next destinations for your family trips.

For those residing in Singapore, don’t miss the Family Escapade Offer that’s valid only during the Singapore School Holidays where you’ll get to enjoy 3 nights stay at the luxury resorts by YTL Hotels at Gaya Island Resort, Pangkor Laut Resort or Tanjong Jara Resort that includes all meals and return transfers for 2 pax and enjoy complimentary stay for up to children aged 11 years and under in a villa/room! Head on over to https://www.ytlhotels.com/sg/family-escapade for details.

Gaya Island Resort Address

Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Reservations

+60 3 2783 1000 or
travelcentre@ytlhotels.com.my

 

Ultra V-Lift HIKO Nose Threadlift at Aesthetics Central

For someone who shies away from wearing sunglasses because of how they sit on my face and create lines on my cheeks, this treatment comes as a blessing because I can now wear my glasses that don’t just shield my eyes from the damaging rays of the sun, but also the blue light emitted from my mobile devices and laptop.

 

My recent visit to Aesthetics Central where I very quickly got this non-surgical treatment done within an hour was really pleasant from the moment I met the reception to the time I was done and off to pick my kids up. There really wasn’t any downtime at all! Read on to find out more about my immediate post-treatment thoughts and experience.

Meet Dr. Ryan Tan

After filling up the necessary forms detailing my medical history and background, I finally got to meet Dr. Ryan Tan and I must admit I was so impressed after the treatment when I found out his real age! Nope I’m not revealing it here, but you will be surprised when you do meet him in person and ask for his age.

 

I felt very reassured speaking to Dr. Tan and knowing where he obtained his medical and aesthetics qualifications (National University of Singapore and the National Skin Centre) and how confident he is with his skills that he even does treatments for his family members and himself.

 

About Ultra V-Lift and The Process

This non-invasive procedure involved using fine, absorbable PDO (Polydioxanone) suture threads inserted into the the nose bridge and columella of the nose that:

  • Gives a very natural definition to the nose bride
  • Creates a lift to the nose bridge
  • Improves the profile of the nose and straightens it at the same time
  • Lifts the tip of the nose subtly to create a sharper tip
  • Creates a more slender look to the typical flat Asian nose

 

I personally appreciated the lift to my nose bridge where it was just flat because now I can wear my glasses without having it slip on my nose and sitting on my cheeks instead. No I don’t have shortsightedness but I do wear glasses that protect my eyes from the harmful rays of the sun and electronic devices.

 

This I feel is so much better than nose fillers or even rhinoplasty because with fillers it doesn’t give the lift and definition that the V-Lift nose Threadlift can provide, and with the surgery involved with nose implants its just too invasive and the downtime taken to recover can be extensive and painful. Not to mention the cost involved with undergoing the invasive surgery!

 

The PDO threads used in the V-Lift Threadlift treatment do get broken down by the body and becomes fully absorbed over time but during the process which takes about a year, it actually stimulates the body to form new collagen fibres around it which is why the lifting effect on the nose can actually last for longer. Sometimes the effects can even last for 2 years, but this really depends on the individuals.

 

What I really like about this treatment, is how there was no downtime needed after the treatment was done in a few minutes. I actually went about my usual day and even took my kids out to play after school since it was a Friday!

The Procedure

I was pretty amazed when I asked how long the treatment would take and the friendly staff there told me it would take no more than 20 minutes! In actual fact, if I didn’t consider the numbing process, it actually took about 10 minutes for the painless insertion of the ultra fine threads.

 

So it all starts with numbing the area and because I was short on time, I asked to skip the use of the numbing cream, which is actually part of the process. Now understand that I am not queasy when it comes to needles, possible because I’ve had 4 children and the number of blood tests and emergency C-sections that I’ve gone through. Haa! But really the process was so quick that before I knew it I was out of the treatment room and smiling to take a picture with Dr. Tan.

A tiny amount of anaesthetic was injected to ensure that there was no discomfort so I’d say this was the only sting that I felt only because I chose not to use the numbing cream and wait for the effect to set in.

After the anaesthetic worked its magic and the numbness set in, the doctor proceeded to insert the threads. There are actually two lengths of threads to be inserted:

  • The long V-Lift threads were inserted to lift the nose bridge
  • The short V-Lift threads were inserted into the tip of the nose to give a more sculpted look and lift

 

When administering the anaesthetic, one of the nurses was using a small massaging device that worked to distract my nerves from the prick of the fine needle, and it worked beautifully! Thank you for that nice touch Aesthetics Central team! I was actually talking to the doctor throughout the process.

 

The numbing set in really quickly so the doctor became putting in the threads, which didn’t cause me any discomfort at all. I was so impressed by how quickly it was done!

Just like they had told me at the beginning, it took less than 10 minutes!

There are a few things to take note with this treatment though. In a very small percentage of patients, there may be some bruising and swelling. Also for those who habitually rub their noses, this can result in thread extrusion, which basically means that the threads may push out from below the skin and this will require a simple trip to the clinic to be fixed.

Before and After
Before. Nose tip is rounder and bridge is very low
After. More definition and nose bridge is lifted. Ready for my glasses!
Picture taken with Dr. Ryan Tan right after the treatment was done.

Right after the treatment I could see an immediate although subtle difference. Here’s a picture taken just after I left the clinic to go pick my kids up.

As you can see there is no swelling or bruise. The only thing noticeable is a tiny red dot on the tip of my nose, which went off in a few days. This is where the threads were inserted.

I was able to wash my face as usual even after the anaesthetic wore off. And I liked how the clinic even gave a tube of antibiotic cream to apply to this tiny puncture to prevent any chance of infection.

This was me with my kids playing that same day just an hour and a half from the time I left the clinic.

All in all I’m extremely happy with the results and to anyone looking to define your nose or like me to give a lift to your nose bridge, I’d highly recommend a visit to Aesthetics Central. They do have a range of other treatments available at the clinic including:

  • Skin treatments to remove scars, tattoos, acne and pigmentation
  • Non surgical Face Lift Infini FRF treatment
  • Eye wrinkle and eyebag treatments
  • Skin rejuvenation

And so much more. You can find the extensive lift of their treatments at Aesthetics Central Clinic.

Address:

8 Eu Tong Sen Street,

#11-90

The Central, Office Tower 1

Singapore 059818

 

Contact details:

Tel: 6221 8221

SMS/Whatsapp: 8448 8636

Email: aestheticscentralclinic@gmail.com

Pangkor Laut Resort: Media Stay Review

Visiting Pangkor Laut Resort by YTL Hotels this month was literally like living out a page from a story about paradise. From the numerous hornbills and eagles flying around and nesting on the island to the gorgeous views of sunrise and sunset here…. and not forgetting the world class spa services here, I just couldn’t wait to wake up each morning to experience life on the island resort during my stay.

Located approximately 4.8km off the west coast of Perak, Malaysia, this privately owned island spans across 300 acres and houses 140 villas and 8 estates where one can find that perfect luxury island escape.

You can see how from one side of the island you can catch the sunrise and a skip and hop away on the other side you’ll be able to catch the gorgeous view of the sunset.

Getting There

We took the morning flight from Singapore to Ipoh via Scoot which lasted about 1 hr 15 mins and after a 1.5 hr drive from the airport to the jetty where we took a 15 mins speedboat ride to arrive at this island resort.

Total travel time: approximately 3 hrs

That’s the speedboat that takes us to the island.
Check out the clear water! This is just seconds before we docked.
Our frozen treats upon arrival!

We arrived before lunch and received a very warm welcome from staff who waited for us at the private jetty and our luggage’s were scooted off to reception while we leisurely walked towards the main lobby and took in the sights. I even saw a huge parrotfish having his meal around the jetty.


The Villas

These are the Spa Villas at Spa Village

There are different room options here at Pangkor Laut Resort and where I stayed at the Spa Villa, these bungalows on stilts are luxuriously fitted with an oversized bath with a ceiling mounted rain shower. It also has its own roomy balcony with a gorgeous view of the sunrise and overlooks the Straits of Malacca. I really enjoyed waking up early each morning to watch the sun peek out from the horizon here.

Nestled within the Spa Village, it does have more privacy and even its own lap pool overlooking the sea.

The lap pool

I could literally sit here all day. The pool is actually next to the bar and chilling with a cool refreshing juice here is bliss. I got to see eagles, hornbills, flying foxes and squirrels during my dip in the pool here, not to mention watching the colours of the sea change as the clouds drifted in the sky overhead.

The beds are so comfy and like all villas here, each room is also equipped with a writing desk and a minibar with tea and coffee making facilities.
Love the spacious bathroom with the rain shower!

One of the things that struck me about the room was the spaciousness of the bathroom, and the tub! I think my youngest daughter would’ve described it as a pool.

It actually looks more like a jacuzzi and I thoroughly enjoyed the generous space as well as the option to open the windows (look out for fishermen out at sea though! lol).

The veranda at the villa I stayed at.
There are various types of Villas here and each one gives you an amazing view.

Strolling along the boardwalk which links the villas and different parts of the island, you can see a myriad of sea dwellers here including puffer fish, pike, parrot fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and so much more. As someone with a keen interest in wildlife and wanted to be a zoologist when I was little, I totally geeked out watching these critters and more.

One of the many cabanas you can find on route to Spa Villa.
Watching the sun rise from the verandah of my villa.

There are various Villa options here at Pangkor Laut and each one of them has its own outdoor verandah or balcony with sun loungers:

  • Garden Villa
  • Hill Villa
  • Beach Villa
  • Sea Villa
  • Spa Villa
  • Suria and Purnama Suite
  • Pavarotti Suite

Whether you prefer your room to be nestled high above the hills and nestled among the greenery or out at sea and above the water on stilts while you listen to the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep, one of these options is sure to meet your preference. I just really appreciated having my bungalow above the water and being able to sit on the verandah to watch the sun rise in the mornings.

Dining Options

There are several restaurant options here on the private island and every meal here is infused with a little flavour from the history of the place.

Feast Village
One of the several restaurants here on the island – Feast Village (Image credit: Pangkor Laut Resort)

The buffets at Feast Village never disappoint and I love how they even have gluten-free options available. This is where you can find a wider variety of food options for your meal and if you’re lucky, you’ll even see some curious hornbills while you’re here! Yes there are several tourists who don’t know better and feed the hornbills food from the table. It’s not ideal and this is the reason why they date to venture so close to us humans. Within The Feast Village you will also find a patisserie, café, chef’s table and even a wine cellar where guests can purchase wines of their choice.

Chapman’s Bar

Outdoor dining at Chapman’s Bar along the beach. You can watch the sunset here from this part of the island.

Chapman’s Bar is named after a famous British Colonel who sought refuge here at Emerald Bay before he managed to escape via submarine in 1945. Facing a gorgeous white sandy beach, you can watch the sunset from there and even pick up some sand dollars if you look close enough!

This is a sand dollar. Makes me think of the Flintstones!
You can choose to sunbathe on the beach or stay in the shade in front of Chapman’s Bar.

 

Royal Bay Beach Club

Dining here at this terrace allows you to overlook the sea and the infinity pool at lunch or dinner as this restaurant only opens at 11am. The restaurant here serves up Asian and international fare and I highly recommend trying the chendol! it does remind me of a chubby bunny.

I call it the chubby bunny chendol.
I love the many healthy options available on the menu and the portions are just right for me too.

Uncle Lim’s
View of Uncle Lim’s at night. Image credit: Pangkor Laut Resort

 

Named after the chef who had been with the resort since its inception, this restaurant serves up Nonya and Hockchew Chinese-styled dishes and every dish we tried did not disappoint. Each item on the menu is inspired by the ingredients found locally and you get an amazing view of the sea while dining here.

I always enjoy listening to the sound of the waves and being able to see stars twinkling bright in the sky at night. Right here…. you get to do both.

Fisherman’s Cove
Image credit: Pangkor Laut Resort

The unique menu comprising of seafood at this restaurant is created by chef Wai who focuses on sustainable fishing practises and uses the freshest ingredients when preparing the dishes.

Just a short walk away from Spa Village, there is a dress code required with shirt, full-length trousers and shoes for gentlemen and smart casual wear for ladies. This fancier dining option at the resort allows youngsters from age 16 and above to join the adults here.

Jamu Bar

Located within Spa Village, this restaurant is right next to the pool and you can just chill on the loungers while taking in the gorgeous view of the sea and Straits of Malacca. Jamu Bar offers healthy salads and speciality drinks and I always order the fresh juices from here to sip on when.

Image credit: Pangkor Laut Resort
Jamu Bar is right next to lap pool and you either lay on the loungers with your drinks or get a table at the bar.
The Straits

Overlooking the Royal Bay, advanced booking and proper dressing is required for diners looking to have a meal here and experience a specially crafted meal catered to one’s preferences. You’ll get your own private dining booth and enjoy privacy but do note that only diners above 16 yrs are allowed.

Image credit: Pangkor Laut Resort

The Spa Experience

Entrance to Spa Village

There’s no doubt that the spa here is of world-class standard. And I experienced one of the longest spa treatments during my visit here. All in all I spent over 3 hours here getting pampered from head to toe starting with the therapeutic foot-pounding, to the various bath houses (Balinese, Japanese, Malay and Chinese) followed by a luxurious massage that took me to Lala Land partway through. I highly recommend a visit to the spa while you’re here and choose from the many treatments available from their spa menu here.

Preparing for the foot pounding.
Enroute to my massage after experiencing the four different baths across four different cultures.
Part of the Japanese Bath House.

 

The Malay Bath experience.
This is where you get to experience the different herbal steams and aromas.
At the Chinese bathhouse, you get a great exfoliating scrub.

 

Wildlife on Pangkor Laut

One of the things that impresses me and makes this resort stand out is how they respect and care for the wildlife here on the island. Hornbills feel safe enough to reproduce here and you can even join in the nature walk and get to learn more from the resident naturalist about the native wildlife here.

I learnt about why the flying foxes here choose to roost on only on tree here on the island even though there are tonnes of the same tree scattered all around. We identified cinnamon trees, got to see the nests of the hornbills and much more.

Our very knowledgeable guide.

 

Flying Fox midflight
A huge pufferfish swimming just outside my room!
The tree of bats. There’s only one such tree here on the island. The bats don’t roost anywhere else!
Hormbills are a common sight here.

I love the conservation efforts put into encouraging the hornbills to breed and increase their population, especially with the deforestation that’s happening elsewhere in the region.

Plan your next visit there and find out more about their various rates via their website or check out their offers available here. I hope you’ll get as much a fantastic experience like mine, if not better!

Address: Pangkor Laut Island, 32200 Lumut, Perak, Malaysia

Tel: +60 5 699 1100

Heavenluxe Bedsheets Review. Sheets as Heavenly as the name implies.

The importance of good quality rest

Have you ever experienced waking up feeling exhausted or that you haven’t really slept well? Some of us actually experience that every day and think its a norm. Its not. And it can be because of several reasons:

  1. Shift work, resulting in disruption to our circadian rhythm.
  2. Family obligations or demanding jobs that require our time and attention
  3. Medical reasons such as depression, sleep apnea, hormonal imbalances and other chronic illnesses
  4. And the environment that we sleep in.

Chronic lack of sleep can result many detrimental effects on our health and can affect our memory, mood, sex life and our appearance. So its definitely something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

One of the factors that is easily within our control is our sleep environment and that includes the lighting, noise, temperature and our bedding.

HEAVENLUXE bedsheets are made of Austrian Tencel™

I really like the fact that Heavenluxe uses Austrian Tencel™ to make their sheets and pillowcases because it is significantly more comfortable that cotton sheets, and especially so in our environment here in Singapore. We don’t need to stay warm, in fact we need sheets that keep us cool and dry.

Here are the other reasons why I like these sheets so much:

  1. Heavenluxe’s Austrian Tencel™ sheets have ZERO environmental impact as part of their manufacturing
  2. Free from harmful pesticides and insecticides unlike cotton which uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides.
  3. Requires 96% less use of water
  4. requires 30% less energy to manufacture.

Eco-friendliness is such a plus point of this company and I’m extremely happy that I’m using a product that supports it.

These bed sheets and pillow cases are crazy comfortable!

The material used in Heavenluxe’s lyocell fabric is made from eucalyptus wood pulp which also happens to be a renewable natural material. Compared to even bamboo fabric, eucalytus tencel is even more eco-friendly and the material is more breathable. The waste products that result from making these fabric are more biodegradable, cause minimal impact on the environment and are considered harmless.

Even my hair loves these sheets and pillow cases!
No more crazy hair!

You know how you sometimes wake up and your hair ends up looking like you got electrocuted?

Well I get that sometimes when I sleep on lousy pillowcases and bedsheets. That frizzy look occurs when we sleep on bedding that causes the rubbing of our hair against rough materials. And I don’t get that at all with the smooth fabric of Heavenluxe’s Austrian Tencel™. Love it!

So yeah, I’m definitely feeling more well rested when I get to sleep on Heavenluxe’s crazily comfortable sheets and pillowcases and I actually look forward to going to bed because its just so cosy! You really have to feel it for yourself.

Find out more about Heavenluxe and how they also contribute to local charities to benefit children with each sale they make by visiting their website at https://heavenluxe.com

Instagram: @myheavenluxe

 

 

Car Review: The KIA Stinger

I waited so impatiently to finally get to drive this baby around and I now fully understand what all the hype is about around the 2018 KIA Stinger GT. This high performance 5-door sports saloon is the first rear-wheel drive model that KIA has ever produced.

Powerful Performance and Sound to boot

Designed with passion fuelling the ideas behind its every detail, the Stinger definitely gave me a driving experience that displayed power, agility and practicality. The most powerful of KIA cars to date, this car features a twin-turbo V6 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This smooth ride delivers 370 horsepower and with the engine room and dash getting extra insulation and padding that quiets the joints of the body pillars and frames, its no surprise how quiet and smooth the drive can be, unless you’re playing your favourite tunes with the 15-speaker Harmon/Kardon premium sound system.

Even the side mirrors and doors are designed to reduce noise and drag. This sound system even includes subwoofers that resonate in the hollow parts of the frame and body.

I was so impressed by the quietness within while driving when I turned off the audio. But when the music was on….. WOAH. You’ve gotta sit in it to experience the magic of having the vibrations move you. I truly felt the beats from the tunes I was playing.

 

Smart and Thoughtful Design

What’s strikes it as such a comfortable car to drive has got to its ventilated front and back seats that made it oh so comfortable to drive even on those scorching hot days. It’s able to also bring heat to backs and bottoms of passengers on cold days. Both the seat cushion and seatback feature airflow perforations to keep your body in state of comfort.

With 5 modes to choose from the Drive Mode Select that can easily be switched at the turn of a dial located just behind the shift lever, I actually wished I could be driving this car somewhere else in the world where the speed limits are higher, haa! It was a great experience switching between the different modes that adjusted operations of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. Even the engine sound could be manipulated!

I literally went oooooh when I first saw the Head-Up Display turn one once the engine started! Visible both in the day and night, the key driving information like your driving speeds is projected onto your windshield in your line of sight so that you can safely focus on the road ahead.

I also really like the wireless charging ability for my mobile phone, meaning there’s no messy wires laying around and getting tangled.

Daytime display
Night time display. Clearly visible even when it’s raining.

Fivedoor Fastback Layout

With 406 litres of cargo capability, this fivedoor fastback layout means plenty of space for me to store all my workout gear, my baby’s stroller and much more! I can even reach all these items easily because the rear hatch lifts to reveal a very broad opening.

The rear seat backs even split and fold 60:40 so you can even put longer items into the car. And with the Smart Power Tailgate, I can conveniently load my stuff into the boot even when my hands are full carrying my kiddo or bags. All you have to do is have the key with you when you stand close to the rear of the car and the lid of the Smart Power Tailgate opens automatically within 3 seconds! Definitely a great help for mommies like me.

Driving this car definitely made it a joy for me to be zooming around instead of just a means to get from one place to the next. Thank you KIA for making driving fun again!

Go for that drive at KIA Motors soon to experience what I did.

KIA Motors: 239 Alexandra Road Singapore 159930

Website: http://www.kia.com/sg/main/.html

 

 

Review: The LG G7+ThinQ

Been using the G7+ThinQ by LG for the past 3 weeks and as an avid user of the iPhone, find out why I’m now sold onto the amazing camera features of this smartphone.

The first thing I like about the G7+ is the fingerprint sensor at the back of the phone which I miss after I switched to the iPhone X because I don’t have to raise the phone to my face in order to unlock the phone quickly.

You might wonder, what’s with the long name and the “ThinQ” at the end? Its basically LG’s artificial intelligence platform that allows users to connect a number of its products with this feature together, so you could control your washer or access your refrigerator via your phone. All part of making your house a smart home.

The finger print sensor conveniently located below the camera.

After using the phone for some weeks now, I’ve truly fallen in love with the features of its camera, especially when I compared the images and videos taken from the same spot with different phone cameras. Here are two videos taken of my aerial yoga practice in my living room with the LG G7+ and my iPhone X. Because of the wide-angle camera feature of the G7+, I’m able to capture a lot more of the surroundings.

Wide-Angle camera

Screenshot from iPhone video.
Screenshot from G7 video. Click to watch the full video

You can see from the screenshots above that from the same spot where both phones were placed to record at the same time, a lot of the surroundings and even Nykki talking to me in the background has been cropped off. A wide angle definitely helps me be able to capture a lot of the moment. I also like how the video looks brighter, and both videos are not edited.

The wide angle feature is all thanks to the G7+ ThinQ using the same dual cam setup that LG uses – 16 megapixel camera, optical image stabilisation, and paired with a 16 megapixel f/1.9 wide angle camera. I tried using the camera to take videos in the night too and because of its Super Bright camera mode for night shots, images did turn out pretty good although the shutter speed can be a little faster.

I really can’t get enough of the wide angle feature which allows you to take 107 degrees photos, and this is something unique to LG as it is the only manufacturer to have a wide angle camera phone currently in the market.

Being able to capture everything I need in that one shot because of the wide angle function instead of having to stand too far away is just one of the main reasons why I love this camera phone.

Super Bright Camera Mode

The ability to capture night time images with its Super Bright mode is very much appreciated when taking shots like these outdoors after sundown (image is not edited). I used another camera phone to take this shot too but it just turned out too dark.

Portrait Mode

Tried out the portrait mode of the phone it blurs out the background pretty well even when I zoomed in so I give it a thumbs up here too.

Long Battery Life

Considering how much I use my phone throughout the day to reply emails on the go, take photos and videos, go on phone calls, update my social media accounts and go on FaceTime with the kids and my husband, I’m very impressed with the battery life of the G7+. With a 3,000 mAH battery capacity, I’m able to go for 2 days without charging the phone at all. I can’t say the same for my other phone though.

All in all, I’m really happy with the camera features of the phone and as a long time Apple user I’m actually tempted to switch to an Android phone just so that I can utilise the superior camera on this phone! Oh the dilemma….

 

 

21 Days Reset with Body Inc.

Taking on a detox program for 21 days might seem daunting for many. But if you think about the time we spend putting toxic stress on ourselves through modern lifestyle, its makes perfect sense to commit to a detoxification program once in a while.

I recently completed the 2OneReset by Body Inc. and I have to say…. I only wish I’d done this earlier. Even for someone like myself who is considered very healthy, I was flabbergasted to realise how much toxins there were in my body because of sugar and processed foods consumption that takes time to be eliminated from our systems. Although I had a visceral fat level of 3 on a scale of 1 to 12 (1 being on the extreme good end and 12 on the other end), I was motivated to bring it down further to a 2 or 1 by incorporating the treatments and natural supplements from Body Inc. to safely achieve that.

First consultation with Jacelyn to assess my needs.

 

Jacelyn explaining more about the dangers of having high levels of visceral fat and what can be done to lower it.

One of the key indicators of optimum health is our visceral fat content although more often that not we tend to look at just our BMI (Body Mass Index) and Body Fat Composition. So what is Visceral Fat?

  • body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity and around internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines (different from the subcutaneous fat that is stored under our skin)
  • high levels of visceral fat is associated with a number of health risks including type II diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • research shows that the size of our belly is a relatively reliable indicator of the health risks associated with visceral fat.

A holistic approach towards better and optimum health.

With fully qualified and certified practitioners in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbal Medicine, Osteopathy and Naturopathy, there’s no doubt that they use non-invasive and natural means to help you on your path to wellness. Natural ingredients are heavily used as part of the process and I really appreciate that they are not one of those quick-fix proponents.

One component of this 21-days program is to consume the nourishing and detoxifying supplements that contain beneficial ingredients to our health such as Lingzhi, Cordyceps, Vitamin B, Omega oils, and so much more.

The other component involved treatments such as the Ion Osmosis Detox treatment, sauna therapy and the deep IR (infrared) lamp treatment to benefit the digestive organs. All these treatments have detoxification benefits and are non-invasive which I fully appreciate. And after each session I always feel so much lighter somehow.

The Ion Osmosis Detox was the one treatment that I did each time I came by to Body Inc. and it works by using electrolytic effects between the electrodes and water to produce large amounts of negative and positive ions. It is based on ionization of water and osmosis of these energy ions to draw toxins out from the body through the 20,000 pores on the soles of our feet under the effects of the electric field. I tend to see the end result (which takes just 30 mins) as a mirror of the set of my health. It clearly shows when I’ve consumed too much sugar and starches, when my lactic acid levels are high, if my body is experiencing inflammation or when my dietary fat consumption is excessive. Of course it also shows a lot more than all this if you see the chart below.

Over the course of the program I noticed that the water at the end of the treatment (originally clear) became less brown, thank goodness. This basically means that my body now contains less free radicals.

The water starts off clear
At the end of the treatment it usually becomes this shade of brown for me because of the free radicals in my body. But it also contains some black and green specks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sauna treatment and deep IR treatment was also fairly comfortable and I actually do see myself going back for these treatments once in awhile even though I’ve completed the 21 days course.

In the midst of the deep IR treatment.

All in all I’d have to say I’m always impressed by the amount of attentiveness and professionalism by the staff here whenever I drop in and they never fail to answer the questions that I have.

Upon completion of the program, the improvements I’ve noticed for myself include:

  • consistent energy levels throughout the day
  • more clarity of thought
  • better quality of sleep
  • reduction in visceral fat to a 2
  • clearer skin

I had made it clear that I had no intention of losing weight since my body fat levels are already considerably low at 21%, and on average people tend to lose 6 to 7kg on this program, so Jacelyn encouraged me to consume more food and I did. Even so, by the end of the 21st day, my body fat dropped to 19% and my muscle mass increased although I did lose 1kg.

This definitely is a sound program to be on and is sustainable even in the long run. And coming from someone who studied nutrition, it truly is about educating individuals to eat intelligently for our needs and to allow our bodies to heal, detox and rejuvenate the way it was meant to.

Thank you Body Inc. and Jacelyn for the amazing experience. I will definitely be dropping by for the treatments on and off just to undo the stress of what our modern environment tends to do to us.

A happy camper indeed!Thank you Body Inc.

My yearly visit to Japan 2018

The reason I’d travel here each year.

I love travelling to explore different places and discover new things.

But for me to travel long hours to the same place multiple times, there has to be a very good reason….. and here she is- my sister and my only sibling.

I always knew I’m a very lucky girl ever since I was little because I’ve been gifted with such an amazing older sibling who looks out for me and shares the same views and beliefs. She’s the reason why I emphasise so much about sibling love to my kids and I credit this wonderful human being for shaping me into the person I am today. (Yes mom and pops, you guys too!)

The list of all the craziness we were up to all week!

I’d go through anything with you (about that naked onsen though…) and I know we’ll have fun through it all.

Each time I’m here with you it’s a new experience and more unforgettable memories that I’ll hold dear for life.

We checked off the shenanigans list (and then some) that you prepared so we can be silly together while I’m here, we spotted herds of wild deer in the nearby mountains, hunted for wild mushrooms, visited an owl cafe and reptile store and so much more. I have managed to escaped your plans to make me go for naked onsen together for a few years now…. but I have a feeling that I’ll resent and give in to that ridiculous idea soon, just cos I love you so much!

Thank you for scaling mountains and hunting for waterfalls with me.

Thank you for introducing me to wonderful people who declared the #Dawnpose.

Thank you for taking me out to wonderful places and my first experience to a Sake Festival.

For making me feel so loved and cared for…..

For making sure that I’m safe and surrounded by positive people like yourself.

Thank you for being such an important part of my life Jie. I love you. Till my next visit again to Japan.

xoxo,

Mei

Elegant and timeless backpacks by Gaston Luga

What do you look for when choosing a backpack? For me it has to be functional, stylish and practical. The reason why I’d carry a backpack is because you can distribute the weight over both shoulders and be able to lug heavier stuff around. And this is why I’d always choose one that can carry the bulky stuff I need like my laptop, charger cable, purse, phones, water bottle, snacks, etc. This list obviously gets longer if I’m moving around with my kids.

Packing both her stuff and mine into one single backpack.

 

I really like the minimalist look of the backpacks from Gaston Luga which originates from Sweden. The elegant style and practical details so typical of the backpacks from this brand gives it that Scandinavian minimalism look which suits all different occasions whether I’m taking the kids out to the beach or if I’m packing my laptop and work essentials to head to a meeting.

The comfortable shoulder straps don’t give my shoulders abrasion.

What makes the backpacks from Gaston Luga so perfect for travelling is how each bag has a special passport and travel ticket pocket to allow for easy accessibility and safety. This has now become an elegant leather detail in every single Gaston Luga backpack.

I really like the minimalist look of the Pråper White

I love the details of the backpack and with the expandable metal hook closer I can adjust it to fit depending on how much I pack into the bag. There’s even a laptop pocket within it, along with four smaller compartments to contain my phone, wallet, keys and other smaller items so they don’t end up swimming around inside. The inner lining of the bag is made of 100% cotton and the colour is just so pretty!

Suitable for whether I’m headed outdoors or just working indoors.

There are four metal studs under the bag which give it extra protection from abrasive or rough surfaces and also adds to giving it a cooler look. The basic colours of the bag also make it so easy for me to match it with whatever I’m wearing. Whether I’m dressed for meetings, work or play.

Just for my readers, use the discount code thatmomoffour to get 15% off your purchase from Gaston Luga and enjoy free shipping! You’ll even get a free canvas tote bag with your online purchase and this is only available for a limited period.