Material Moms, The Mothership

[Material Moms] Review: Mums and Bubs at Breathe Pilates – Delphine Tan

For busy working mothers, being able to combine quality time with Junior along with a fitness session sounds like a win-win situation, right? Find out what Material Mom Delphine Tan has to say about Breathe Pilates’ Mums & Bubs class! 

About one or two months after baby is born, the thought that crosses my mind the most often after “I wish I could get more sleep!” is “I really should get back into shape!” It’s easier said than done, however, especially if you are nursing and can’t be away from baby (or a breast pump) for too long. One solution is an exercise class that actually encourages you to bring baby along.

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Yep! That’s a baby right there between my legs …

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Which is more fun to work out with: ball or baby?

Mums & Bubs class at Breathe Pilates is perfect if you want to ease back into exercising after delivery but need to have baby with you all the time. If you want to attend without baby in tow, you are also more than welcome to. Baby should be able to support his own neck well but should not be crawling yet.

Clear instructions that were easy to follow were given throughout the class. It was my first time doing Pilates exercises on a reformer and I appreciated that the equipment provided the support needed by a post-natal body to safely carry out the exercises. The exercises chosen were suitable for regaining core strength and flexibility after delivery and not too strenuous.

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I would have liked it more if the exercises incorporated the baby directly; most of the time, we left baby lying down while we played a sort of peekaboo while doing our Pilates exercises on the reformer. That would be okay for most babies but mine is very restless and just wanted to be carried so he started fussing.

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Overall, it was an enjoyable session as it got me moving and definitely more interested in exercising! Mums & Bubs at Breathe Pilates is conducted on Wednesdays at 11.30am.

Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive (8 participants); and #13-02 Parkway Centre, 1 Marine Parade Central. For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

Delphine and family The Author: Delphine Tan still feels like a kid but is married to Adrian and mother to Anya, Adam, and David. Since she has no artistic talent and does not know how to cook, she spends her free time reading, blogging, and collecting matryoshka. Besides being addicted to caffeine, Delphine also suffers from the compulsive need to Instagram every single plate of food that she eats. 

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Branded Content, Health & Fitness

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] 30-Days Pilates Challenge – Matthew Fam

If a session of pilates leaves your legs wobbling by the end of its duration, try doing consecutive sessions in 30 days. Sounds crazy? Not quite. Breathe Pilates’ 30-Days Pilates Challenge is perfect for everyone of all fitness levels committed to a healthier lifestyle.

If there’s one workout you must get involved in, it’s this. Taking place in August 2014, the 30-Days Pilates Challenge provides first-timers an opportunity to commit to a fitness regime, while allowing seasoned practitioners to hone their practice. And we’ve got the lo-down on how manageable undertaking this challenge can be:

What’s so good about pilates?

It involves a contraption that skeptics may confuse for a medieval torture device. But you’d be surprised at the bevy of health benefits ranging from weight loss, increasing one’s muscle tone, to recovering from sports injuries! Its an all-in-one workout that’s part strengthening, part rehabilitating.

20130707_B6555175What kinds of exercises can I expect from the 30-Days Pilates Challenge?

There are three types of exercise you can expect to do during this challenge: reformer, tower, and mat exercises. And none of these involve impossible contortions, rest assured.

“Reformer and tower exercises make use of different parts of the reformer, a bed-like structure with a series of pulleys and springs. On the other hand, mat work involves the usage of simpler equipment such as therabands or free weights on mats to challenge the body,” shares Ru Shin, participant of last year’s 30-Days Pilates Challenge.

The focus of these sessions rotates throughout the week, so all your muscle groups get an equal chance at a workout. “We would be assigned different instructors during the challenge. They would alternate their focus between abdominal and spinal articulation, arms and legs, and cardiovascular activity.” Suffice to say, these 4 weeks will have fitness regimens specially tailor-planned for you.

Can I join the 30-Days Pilates Challenge if I have zero experience?

If being able to touch your toes feels like winning the Olympics gold for gymnastics, don’t give up your pilates-practicing ambitions just yet! This programme is suited for people of various fitness levels. “I was a total beginner!”, exclaimed Ru Shin of her experience.

Be it those recovering from an injury, disciplined gym users, or people whose idea of exercise is their daily walk to the refrigerator, this challenge is built for anyone along the fitness spectrum. “One of the great things about the challenge is that it suits nearly everyone- young (the youngest student was 14 years old and came with her dad!) and old.”

The small group setting ensures that trainers give you a more personalised coaching.

The small group setting ensures that trainers give you a more personalised coaching.

Will I be able to cope with the intensity of 30 days?

Relax. The trainers will not expect you to wrangle yourself into a pretzel. “The sessions increased in intensity as the weeks progressed, so by week 4, exercises were significantly more advanced than week 1,” says Ru Shin. Its gradual intensification means that you’ll be well accustomed to the basics before moving on to intermediate workouts.

At the same time, the challenge would not consist of superficial poses that one could easily replicate without the trainers. You will be breaking out a sweat. “After some of the sessions, my arms and legs were shaking like jelly. I even ached in places I never knew had muscles! It wasn’t smooth sailing. I had recently given birth at that time and wasn’t exercising regularly before starting the challenge. But after the first few days, I started to get the hang of it.”

Some participants of last year's 30-Days Pilates Challenge and their trainer.

Some participants of last year’s 30-Days Pilates Challenge and their trainer.

What’s different about this pilates challenge?

This is not the same as attending a pilates gym for 30 consecutive days. Its comfortable group setting allows you to ease into the rigour of workouts without feeling self-conscious. And you get individual attention from the trainers too, so you won’t be lost while awkwardly yanking random pulleys looking totally ridiculous.

“The group was just right- there were 5 of us- which enabled the trainer to pay attention to each student. The trainers were all very good. They demonstrated the exercises before letting us commence. Moreover, they would take the time to check that every student had proper postural alignment during the exercises!”

On top of that, Breathe Pilates’ emphasis on a holistic lifestyle transformation is underscored with an option for healthy cold-pressed juices you can enjoy after workout sessions.

How will I be able to commit to these 30 days in light of hectic work schedules?

Sure, it’s one thing to maintain discipline in a fitness regime, but how does that stand when busy work schedules get thrown into the mix? Here is Ru Shin’s tip: “I signed up for the challenge weeks in advance and was able to plan my schedule. I would start work earlier just to make sure I would be able to make it for the sessions on time. I also tried to push business trips just before or after the 30 days. I really wanted to do something about my fitness so I made it a priority to attend every single session. No excuses.”

Ru Shin and her daughter.

Ru Shin and her daughter.

What improvements can I expect after the 30-Days Pilates Challenge?

You don’t even need to wait 30 days for visible benefits from this challenge. “Even within the first week, I noticed improvements in my posture. As the weeks went by, I became stronger and more toned; my back was hurting less and I had higher energy levels throughout the day.  Most amazingly, a shoulder injury that I was nursing bothered me less. I was well on my way to recovery!”, says Ru Shin.

Yes. A fitter, healthier you is definitely within reach.

 

The 30-Day Pilates Programme lasts from 11 August to 5 September 2014, Mondays to Saturdays. Register now for an Early Bird Special of $650 (usual price $680)! Daily Juice option, $140, includes 3 bottles of 250ml cold-pressed juice provided for 30 days.

Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive (8 participants); and #02-05/06/07 Tides, 217 East Coast Road (10 participants). For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

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Branded Content, Health & Fitness, Workouts

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] Is Gyrotonic Right For Me? – Vanessa Tai

You may be a fitness newbie or a long-term Pilates practitioner. Whatever your fitness level, Gyrotonic serves to complement existing sporting endeavours. Vanessa Tai checks it out.

Okay, confession time.

When I first saw the Gyrotonic machine at Breathe Pilates’ Novena branch, I felt a tad underwhelmed. It just looked like a long wooden bench with rotational discs attached at the end. However, I soon discovered Gyrotonic was not as simple as it looked.

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My instructor Susanna explaining to me how Gyrotonic helps functional spinal movement.

But first, what is Gyrotonic?

Gyrotonic was developed in the 1970s by Julio Horvath, a former swimmer, gymnast, and ballet dancer whose career as a professional dancer ended abruptly after several serious injuries. In a bid to self-rehabilitate, Horvath developed a series of exercises that formed the basis for today’s Gyrotonic. In a nutshell, Gyrotonic is a system of exercise that incorporate movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming, and even tai chi.

Health benefits of Gyrotonic

As with other forms of Pilates, Gyrotonic requires you to be mindful of the connection between your breath and body. Some of the purported health benefits include an improved posture, increased strength and stamina, and reduced tension on your joints.

What can you expect from Gyrotonic at Breathe Pilates?

Before you embark on any class at Breathe, you will be given a one-on-one consultation where either the instructors or resident doctor would assess which is the most suitable exercise for your needs.

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Intention of movement is one of the key principles of Gyrotonic. Here, Susanna is ensuring my posture is properly aligned before I engage in movement.

Intention of movement is one of the key principles of Gyrotonic. Here, Susanna is ensuring my posture is properly aligned before I engage in movement.

My instructor for that day, Susanna is a 12-year Pilates veteran who has been practicing Gyrotonic for the last four to five years. She told me she was a dancer by training, which was immediately apparent from her graceful carriage and the fluidity of her movements. She explained that since it was my first session, she was just going to focus on one area of the body – my lower back. For regular sessions, however, you are likely to be exercising your entire body. Just remember, the machine is there to facilitate your movements but it’s actually making you do the work, not the other way round.

The Gyrotonic exercises seemed easy enough in theory; one of them involved me straddling the bench and pushing the rotational discs outward. However, there was a certain technique to it that I found difficult to grasp. I guess it was probably because my core muscles are “sleepy” from years of lack of use, so I found it challenging to isolate my core muscles as I pushed the rotational discs outward.

Thankfully, Susanna was very patient, even plonking herself behind me on the bench at times to guide me through each precise movement. That’s the great thing about Gyrotonic sessions at Breathe Pilates – because each session is one-on-one, you’ll get your instructor’s undivided attention.

Of course, one session is not enough to experience the full benefits of Gyrotonic. It will take at least five to 10 sessions before you start to grasp the principles behind Gyrotonic and feel the physical improvements. That said, I did feel the nagging tightness in my lower back and shoulders ease up significantly after that first session.

So, is Gyrotonic right for you? 

The beauty of Pilates and Gyrotonic is how they were designed to be a fully functional system of exercise. What that means is, the movements you do in class are designed to help you to move with grace, balance, and coordination in your day-to-day life. Depending on your needs, these exercises can be tweaked to be gentle or intensive, or even rehabilitative.

While Gyrotonic is certainly open to anybody of any fitness levels, I reckon the people who would reap the most benefits are likely those who are seeking relief from pain in the joints, shoulders, and lower back.

Susanna demonstrating the other uses of the Gyrotonic machine.

Susanna demonstrating the other uses of the Gyrotonic machine.

Material World worked with Breathe Pilates to review their Gyrotonic classes. All reviews are the author’s own and were not vetted by the client. You may read our advertising policy here.

Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive; and #02-05/06/07 Tides, 217 East Coast Road. For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

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Health & Fitness, Workouts

Going Upside Down at Breathe Pilates – Denise Li

AntiGravity Fitness has made fans out of Gwyneth Paltrow, Pink, and Madonna. So, is it really worth trying? Denise gives it a go.

Many people think I’m a super brave and gung-ho person but, truth is, there are many things out there that scare me. I like hiking but I’m afraid of falling while descending. I am terrified of heights so I don’t think I will ever bungee-jump in my life. I have mild claustrophobia and I will insist on having the aisle seat in the cinema, or not watch the movie at all.

Yeah … I have a whole host of pretty random fears, so it wasn’t without a little trepidation that I went for for the AntiGravity Fitness trial at Breathe Pilates, especially after I Googled for images of it and saw what it entailed.

It looked closer to acrobatics than any form of yoga that I was familiar with and I must admit … I was not looking forward to being suspended in mid-air for an hour. I mean, I can’t even bear to watch Pink doing her thing cos I’m terrifed that she’ll fall.

Breathe Pilates has a cosy studio located on East Coast Road, and the room where the AntiGravity Fitness is located can accommodate six at any one time. After our teacher Sandra introduced herself, we jumped straight into it. And I mean STRAIGHT. INTO. IT.

The “hammock” that we used for the class is actually way stronger than it looks. It’s able to carry weights of up to 1000kg, which is equivalent to the size of a baby elephant. That set my mind at ease somewhat … until I saw what we had to do.

The first move we did was a basic inversion. Sandra made it look really easy …

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… But when it came to my turn to do it, I froze. I got as far as to hook my legs around the hammock. What I found scary was letting go to let my hands touch the floor. Rationally, I knew the hammock was strong enough to support my weight, but there was a mental barrier I couldn’t cross, and Sandra had to gently coax me to release my hands. As I did, I felt my body rock forward, though I’m not sure now if it was just my wild imagination. I started perspiring like crazy because I was so tense, and could see droplets of sweat fall onto the floor.

You can't see it here but my face was red from the blood rushing to my head.

You can’t see it here but my face was red from the blood rushing to my head.

Thankfully, the rest of the class was a whole lot less intimidating. After I relaxed somewhat, I found myself easing into some of the moves and positions. Some the moves were familiar ones that I recognised from yoga – mountain peak (back slightly arched, hands in prayer position), crescent moon (somewhat like mountain peak but your arms and back are stretched backwards even more), chair pose; the only difference was that these were modified such that the hammock was either supporting you, or you were using it as a grip to get deeper into the move. There were also a lot of “swinging” movements where you let the hammock support you as you allow your body to swing forwards, backwards and around. Those moves were so much fun to execute!

Trying to get into Warrior III ...

Trying to get into Warrior III …

I discovered my favourite move towards the end of the class. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called now, but this is what it entails: you’re supposed to put the hammock on your hips and walk forward until it’s taut over your hips. Then, you bend forward and let your legs slightly lift off from the ground. As my hips are easily the stiffest part of my body, I loved how this move helped to stretch them out.

Stretch out those stiff hip flexors!

Stretch out those stiff hip flexors!

Another move I like (though I realise that the pic makes it look a lot like bondage …) was this one. I use my shoulders a lot for boxing, so this really helped ease those tense muscles.

This move is perfect for people who spend long hours hunched in front of a computer too.

This move is perfect for people who spend long hours hunched in front of a computer too.

So … would I do AntiGravity Fitness again? I must admit that if you had asked me at the start of the class when we had to do the scary inversion, I would have said NO. But as the class progressed, I started to really enjoy myself. And when it was time for another inversion – this time with my hands outstretched to the sides instead of touching the ground – I had sorta-kinda gotten used to being upside down by then and relaxed into the move.

AntiGravity Fitness is great if you’re already a seasoned yoga practitioner looking for a spin on your usual workout, but I’d say it could also be good for you if you’re a largely sedentary person looking for an enjoyable workout. It’s supposed to help improve your flexibility, strength (especially core strength, I think) and bring you to a heightened awareness of your body to support efficient movement so you’ll have better posture, fewer muscle aches, and improved muscle tone.

As for me? Well, since I had already deemed 2014 the year of facing my fears, I think my fear of not having both feet on the ground is as good as any to confront head on (pun fully intended).

AntiGravity Fitness is available at Breathe Pilates, #02-05/07 East Coast Road. Tel: 9835 5683

Material World was offered a trial session at Breathe Pilates and was not paid for this review. All opinions are the author’s own.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

[If You Like This, Be Sure to Check Out …]

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] At Full Stretch

26 Things To Put On Your March Watchlist

The Power of Powerplate

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Beauty & Shopping, Health & Fitness

26 Things To Put On Your March Watchlist

The first quarter of 2014 is almost completed and what exciting things have you done or checked out? This list of 26 things should inspire you to get out and get exploring!

A is for AntiGravity Fitness

Anyone game to hang out?

Anyone game to hang out?

Challenge yourself to a whole new type of workout experience this March at Breathe Pilates! Introducing AntiGravity Fitness, a revolutionary form of exercise to help you build a stronger core, improve joint flexibility and cardiovascular stamina. Using a hammock, participants hang vertically inverted to help realign the spine. AntiGravity Fitness is available at Breathe Pilates’ East Coast studio, for more information, visit www.breathepilates.com.sg now!

B is for Bright Eyes

Wake up to brighter-looking eyes this March!

Wake up to brighter-looking eyes this March!

Show your eyes who’s the boss with Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Eye Illuminating Cream. With ingredients such as ume, molasses and centella asiatica, this eye cream promises to brighten the eye area and improve skin density in just 4 weeks.

Origins can be found at Isetan Scotts, Metro Paragon and Robinsons Orchard.  

C is for Clearly Corrective White

This masque is perfect for quenching thirsty skins too!

This masque is perfect for quenching thirsty skins too!

March is a BIG month for one of our all-time favourite brands, Kiehl’s! This month, fans of Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White can look forward to the return of the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution in a JUMBO size. Also, be prepared for FASTER results as the brand welcomes the arrival of Kiehl’s first-ever sheet mask, Clearly Corrective White Hydrating & Clarifying Treatment Masque. Each masque is the equivalent of 3 weeks’ use of the Dark Spot Solution and together, the duo can give you a significant boost in clarity and radiance in 3 weeks.

Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Clearly Corrective White series is available at all Kiehl’s stores islandwide now!

D is for Denise

She doesn't just deliver punchy copy. Denise delivers a mean punch too!

She doesn’t just deliver punchy copy. Material World’s Denise (far right) delivers a mean punch too!


Material World’s Denise will be taking part in her first boxing competition at Executive Knockout, an event organised by Impakt Gym. Some of the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards ONE(SINGAPORE), so if you want to show her your support and do your part for a good cause, get your tickets at this link today!

E is for Earth Hour
Saving the environment just got a whole lot sexier. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore just announced that the cast of the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx – will be in Singapore on 29 March to commemorate Earth Hour. The stars would be helping turn off the lights across the Marina Bay area at precisely 8.30pm.

F is for Fossil

Don't you just love the super-cute icons on the watch face?

Don’t you just love the super-cute icons on the watch face?


Fossil celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and it has launched a series of limited edition watches to mark the occasion. We’re dying to get our hands on the Townsman Watch. Only 984 pieces are available worldwide, and it features vintage Fossil motifs – such as an old-school telephone and robot – as indexes. Definitely one for the collectors among you!

G is for Ghibli
Studio Ghibli, that is! This is the internationally acclaimed animation studio that brought you classics such as “My Friend Totoro”, “Grave of the Fireflies”, and “Spirited Away”. Sadly, founder and director Hayao Miyazaki has announced that the upcoming “The Wind Rises” would be his last film. In celebration of his illustrious career, Golden Village is holding a special screening of several of his most popular films. Click here for details.

H is for Hotel Clover The Arts
Awkward name aside, we have to applaud the people behind this new boutique hotel for being so supportive of the local art scene. Each and every one of its rooms has a mural designed by students from the various art and design schools, or an independent professional artist. Definitely Instagram-worthy!

Hotel Clover The Arts is located at 58 South Bridge Road. Tel: 6439 7089

I is for iTunes Gift Cards

A quickie gift idea many will appreciate.

A quickie gift idea many will appreciate.

Gifting is now made even easier! iTunes Gift Cards are now available in Singapore in denominations of $30, $50, $100 and $150. You can get them at selected resellers such as Challenger, Courts, istudio, epiCentre and InFinite.

J is for Jewellery

Who doesn't love a beautiful bling? Find yours now at TANGS Orchard, Level 1.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful bling? Find yours now at TANGS Orchard, Level 1.


Those with a weakness for pretty shiny things should definitely pop by multi-label concept boutique bycanary at TANGS Orchard, Level 1. Specially curated by former actress/style icon Lum May Yee, bycanary features a selection of exquisite jewellery and designer pieces discovered through her travels and friends. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for a friend, or even for yourself, this is the place to go.

K is for Kimrobinson accessories
Apart from offering premium hairstyling services, Kimrobinson also carries their own line of designer hair accessories. This season’s collection draws its inspiration from the freedom, florals, and bright hues of Spring/Summer, so you can expect chiffon-floral headbands encrusted with Swarovski crystals, playful crepe de Chine scrunchies, and girly duppioni-silk-ribbon.

Kimrobinson accessories are available at #02-12, Ngee Ann City. 

L is for Ladies’ Watches
The world’s first Casio G-Factory ladies concept store has opened at 313@Somerset, housing the latest models from the Baby-G, Sheen and G-Shock collections. From now till March 31, 2014, you stand a chance to win a getaway for two to Bali with any purchase of a Baby-G or Sheen timepiece.

The Casio G-Factory ladies concept store is located at B1-19 313@Somerset.

M is for is Micellar Solution
A good makeup remover is perhaps the most important thing you’ll need in your skincare regime to ensure your skin stays clear, bright, and healthy. Micellar solution is the Next Big Thing in skincare; it basically acts as a “purifying magnet” to attract oil and impurities, removing them from the surface of your skin with just one swipe. Formulated for dry and sensitive skin, L’Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution can be used on your lips and eyes, and also doubles up as a toner and skin soothing lotion. When it comes to having clear, healthy skin, there’s no such thing as magic … but we think micellar solution comes pretty close!

L’Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution is available at Watsons, Guardian pharmacies, and Sa Sa.

N is for New Music
As music lovers, we are constantly looking to discover new artistes who cater to our preferred music genres. While Spotify still appears to be king in music streaming services, European-based Deezer is definitely one to watch. With unlimited access to over 30 million licensed tracks from artistes from all around the world, Deezer lets you discover new music, share your favourites with your friends, check out editorial recommendations, and more. The coolest part about Deezer is its Offline Mode feature, which allows you to listen to your pre-selected tracks offline – perfect for our oft-unreliable 3G network. Click here to start your Deezer experience.

O is for Optimal Efficacy Against Dark Spots

Radiance in a bottle!

Radiance in a bottle!


In order to escape this heatwave unscathed, we need to stay smart. Apart from ensuring you have adequate sun protection, you’ll also want to ensure any existing dark spots don’t get darker. Biotherm’s Liquid White Spot Focus Dark Spot Corrector is formulated with red algae extract and white lotus extract, and features a new anti-dark spots technology to fight both the signs and origins of hyper-pigmentation.

For a full listing of Biotherm stores, click here.

P is for Pasarbella & Friends Go To Town

Looking forward to lots of yummy food!

Looking forward to lots of yummy food!

As part of i Light 2014, Pasarbella will be setting up an outdoor market called “Pasarbella & Friends Go To Town”. Featuring traders and purveyors offering a smorgasbord of gastronomic treats, foodies will be in for a treat. This market is open from 7 – 30 March 2014 at Event Plaza @ Marina Bay Sands. Opening hours are 4.30pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri) and 10am – 10pm (Sat & Sun). Admission is free!

Q is for Quirky
Our favourite way of giving our look instant oomph is with a pair of statement sunnies. That’s why we can’t wait to get our hands on a pair of shades from the Craig & Karl and Le Specs collaboration. Aussie pop culture creatives Craig Redman and Karl Maier have had their work displayed at the Louvre, and have done work for the likes of LVMH, Nike and Apple. Now, they’ve put their unique, one-of-a-kind spin on this collection of sunnies and we’re in love.

The Craig & Karl X Le Specs collection is available at Playlab (TANGS Orchard), ASH and Define Happiness (69 Haji Lane).

R is for Ride in Singapore Cable Car
Singapore Cable Car turns 40 this year! Remember those good ol’ days where you and your family piled into a cable car to get into Sentosa? Now you can relive those memories with a Cable Car joyride! From 1 March to 4 May 2014, all DBS/POSB, NTUC cardholders, and SingTel customers get a special 40 percent “Thank You” discount. Click here for details.

S is for Smith Street Taps
Daniel Goh of The Good Beer Company, and Meng Chao of Brewer’s Craft, are well-known in the local craft beer industry. These two industry pioneers have banded together to bring you Smith Street Taps, which brings you a wide range of artisan draft beers. Located at Chinatown Complex (just a few stalls down from The Good Beer Company), you can look forward to an international selection of beers, from Norway to New Zealand. Hic!

Smith Street Taps is located at #02-62 Chinatown Complex

T is for Tea at Axis Bar and Lounge

Scrumptious eats at Axis Bar and Lounge

Scrumptious eats at Axis Bar and Lounge


This March, Mandarin Oriental Singapore caters to the health-conscious with its Wholesome Afternoon Tea, $42++ per guest, $80++ for two. The menu features healthier alternatives such as organic ingredients, whole grains and seeds, but that doesn’t mean blah-tasting food. You’ll still be treated to yummy treats like salmon & petit pois pie, carrot and pumpkin seed cake, and organic maple syrup and pecan tart.

Axis Bar and Lounge is located at Level 4 Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Tel: 6885 3500

U is for UV Rays
Lately, we’ve been getting more than our usual dosage of harmful UV rays thanks to this relentless heatwave! In addition to using sunscreen lately, try incorporating some whitening products into your regime to stave off dark spots. Za True White EX has a truly comprehensive regime, but if you buy just one product, make sure it’s the True White EX Essence Lotion. Doubling up as a toner and a moisturiser, we love its cooling texture, and how smooth and moisturised our faces felt applying it.

Za is available at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies.

V is for Hair Vinegar

Sells out the moment it reaches Singapore so you'd better grab a bottle asap!

Sells out the moment it reaches Singapore so you’d better grab a bottle asap!

Don’t let the word “vinegar” scare you off! Yves Rocher Rinsing Vinegar is based on a traditional botanical remedy that is used to enhance the shine of your hair. Used regularly, it also helps keep your hair radiant. Best of all, it has a delicious raspberry scent that leaves your hair smelling fresh. The store consistently sells out the Rinsing Vinegar so be sure to grab a bottle as soon as you can.

Yves Rocher is located at #02-16 Westgate.

W is for Wednesdays at Bochinche

Cheese and wine = best way to end a Wednesday!

Cheese and wine = best way to end a Wednesday!


Looking to jazz up your midweek with some great music, cheese and wine? Check out Bochinche’s Beat Packing District, which runs every Wednesday night from 7pm to 11pm. At $39, you get to enjoy a carafe of house wine (red/white) and the Argentinian restaurant’s signature Provoleta (melted cheese served with warm homemade bread). Plus, chill out to groovy live house music by DJ Anderpants, and enjoy 20% off the bar menu all night.

Bochinche is located at #02-01 22 Martin Road, Tel: 6235 4990

X is for An XXX Weekend
After undergoing an extensive renovation for nearly five months, Singapore’s first luxury boutique hotel The Scarlet is now open for business again. Swankier and bolder, the guestrooms and suites in particular now boast more personalised design concepts so you can be assured your stay will be nothing short of memorable.

The Scarlet is located at 33 Erskine Road, Tel: 6511 3333

Y is for YSL CC Cream

Can't wait to try this new CC cream by YSL.

Can’t wait to try this new CC cream by YSL.


The brand already has a legion of fans for its awesome Touche Eclat Radiant Touch, and now, it is set to corner the radiant-complexion market with the launch of its CC creams. Expanding on its Forever Light Creator range, YSL will be bringing in CC creams that claim to have skincare benefits on top of cosmetic ones. Most famously, these CC creams tap into the brand’s expertise in glycanbiology to smooth skin texture and lighten dark pigment spots.

YSL can be found at TANGS Orchard.

Z is for Zits

Cleansing is the most important step and here's one that'll help you keep the zits at bay.

Cleansing is the most important step and here’s one that’ll help you keep the zits at bay.


In hot and humid urban Singapore, it’s no wonder that many of us suffer from acne even as adults. Laneige Trouble Relief Line is a skincare line specially formulated for acne-prone skin. The star ingredient here is the Hinoki Cypress Polysaccharide extract to help reduce the growth of the bacteria responsible for causing acne. Our favourite product is the Cleansing Tissue. Use with a little water to create lather before using it on your skin. For an acne product, we loved how soft, clear, and moisturised it left our skin after use.

For a full listing of Laneige stores in Singapore, clink on this link.

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Branded Content, Health & Fitness

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] At Full Stretch – Tan Lili

About one month ago, after a week of near-crippling lower back pain that often jolted me awake in the middle of the night, I went to see a doctor. I found out I have degenerative disc disease (DDD) – a condition in which at least one of the intervertebral discs of the spinal column degenerates – and was told not to do long-distance running for a while. Given my strange obsession with running events, my medical diagnosis clearly didn’t sit well with me.

But first, DDD isn’t as serious as it sounds; as we age, accumulated wear and tear on the spine from daily stresses and injuries will eventually lead to this condition, which affects about 85 percent of people aged 50 and above. One tell-tale sign of DDD is chronic lower back pain that sometimes radiates to the hips and worsens after long periods of sitting or standing. Others include chronic neck pain, headaches and vertigo. For some people diagnosed with this age-related disease, they don’t even experience any related symptoms.

Except I’m not 50, and I’m experiencing all kinds of lower back and neck aches. Besides physiotherapy, which is the most recommended treatment for DDD, my doctor also advised doing exercises like Pilates to help strengthen my core muscles. So, when Material World was introduced to Breathe Pilates, I thought the timing couldn’t be any better.

Unlike most Pilates studios, Breathe Pilates offers more than just Pilates; they specialise in clinical Pilates with a focus on rehabilitation and prevention of injuries, and work with healthcare professionals like orthopaedic and sports doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists. You’ll get a customised programme that caters to your health and body needs, so you reap maximum benefits during your sessions.

Since I was new to Pilates, I tried the beginner’s class called Reform and Be Released. To be entirely honest, before my session started, I thought I’d get bored and restless after a while – I’ve always preferred fast-paced cardio to strength-training workouts.

Boy, was I mistaken.

It started relatively simple. Soon Kuen, my Pilates teacher for the day, first taught me the proper breathing techniques and helped me understand the natural positions of my body. Then came the use of the reformer, a Pilates machine that looks all sorts of intimidating. Halfway through the first exercise, my arms started trembling; five minutes later, I was already breaking out a sweat!

Cue trembling arms and a bruised ego.

Cue trembling arms and a bruised ego.

"How does she make it look so easy?" My look of disbelief says everything.

“How does she make it look so easy?” My look of disbelief says everything.

It was incredibly hard to stabilise the movement using only my core muscles while remembering to breathe properly and keeping my body position neutral, as Soon Kuen pointed out my tendency to engage my shoulders and arms. Some exercises, especially the one where I had to press my thighs against the shoulder rests and push forth using only my gluteal (aka butt) muscles, I could barely move the board past an inch.

Trust me, pushing the board closer towards your arms using your gluteal muscles isn't as simple as it looks.

Trust me, pushing the board closer towards your arms using your gluteal muscles isn’t as simple as it looks.

After about 40 minutes on the reformer, I was introduced to the Pilates chair. This time around, I had to do a series of spine stretches.

Stretching, I can do.

Stretching, I can do.

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By the time my session was over, my body felt like it had just been pulled in all directions – and I mean it in a good way! I left the studio feeling more refreshed as well. Deborah, who was there with me, even noted I walked taller and with a spring in my step! What surprised me most was that two days after my session, my arms and legs were still aching from the workout.

Of course, my lower back pain didn’t magically disappear after one session, and I still have plenty to work on my body positioning and movement. But with the clinical approach of Breathe Pilates, I’m hopeful that I’d be able to reap long-term benefits with more sessions. (I know where my ang pow money is going to this year!)

Classes, from $31 each, are on a one-to-one basis and up to five in one group. Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive; and #02-05/06/07 Tides, 217 East Coast Road. For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

Breathe Pilates worked with Material World for this post for a review of Breathe Pilates. All opinions are author’s own. 

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