Beauty & Shopping, Contests, Skincare

Beauty Review: Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser – Deborah Tan

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser

When it comes to anti-aging, Idebenone (pronounced eye-deb-eh-known) is the one ingredient that is widely recognised as one of, if not, the most powerful. Developed initially for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, the anti-oxidant is now used commercially in Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage range. The new Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser offers Prevage users with a cleanser to complete their skincare regime, and is also a great introduction to Prevage for new users.

Three-Dimensional Cleansing System
The Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser is a multi-action moisture-rich cleanser that effectively removes impurities, makeup, and surface pollution without stripping it of hydration. It does this with three distinct cleansing methods:

1. Surfactant System: a mild foaming wash that cleanses dirt and impurities from the skin’s surface

2. Mechanical & Enzymatic Exfoliation: a combination of active enzyme and bamboo beads sloughs away dead skin cells while promoting cell renewal for smoother skin

3. Deep Cleansing System: a mushroom extract and a hexapeptide complex detox cells and support skin’s natural exfoliation, leaving it more receptive to further treatments

The cleanser also contains glycerin and shea butter to ensure that it keeps your skin moisturised.

The Test
Sebum activity in skin typically decreases with age. This means, the older you get, the dryer your skin becomes. Sounds like a wonderful arrangement? No. Most of us start experiencing DEHYDRATED skin in our 20s. The air-conditioned environment of our offices does our skin no favours. It dries up the surface and causes our sebaceous glands to go into overdrive to produce sebum to keep our skin moisturised. This often results in an oily complexion on the surface but highly erratic, unhealthy skin that is thirsty for hydration beneath.

Cleansing with a harsh scrub isn’t the solution. You want a cleanser that leaves your skin moist and “wet” enough to absorb the treatments that come after because dry skin will repel the products and keep the active ingredients from going deeper.

So we cut an apple into 2 halves. The half on the left, we applied a scrub. The one of the right, we applied Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser. You can see from the picture how juicy each half of the apple is.

applewblobs

Left: with a normal scrub; Right: with Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser

We left both cleansers on their respective halves for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes

After 10 minutes

Then finally, we wiped away both the cleansers. Although you can see that the half with Prevage continued reacting with the air around it, it remained moist and juicy – in other words, ALIVE. Whereas the other half was clearly dried out by the scrub. You can see how dry its core looks in the picture below.

Left half is dry and robbed of hydration. Right half remains moist.

Left half is dry and robbed of hydration. You can see how waxy the area around the core has become. Right half remains moist.

Close up of the dried core

Close up of the dried core

My Verdict
I like how gentle the cleanser is on my skin despite its granular texture. After a month of using it, I have noticed how much brighter and more even my complexion has become. In fact, some days, I find I don’t even have to wear a foundation or a BB cream when I head out. Just last Friday, Denise remarked how great my skin looked and when I told her I had had no makeup on, she was pretty blown away.

As its name suggests, this cleanser is a “Treatment Boosting Cleanser”. Using it on its own will only minimally improve the appearance of your wrinkles. For visible improvements to your lines, you will need to complete your Idebenone regime with products such as the Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum and Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Cream.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser is now available at all Elizabeth Arden counters islandwide. It retails for $69 for a 125ml tube. This cleanser was given to Material World for review purposes and all opinions are the author’s own. Material World was invited to a press trip with Elizabeth Arden for the launch of this product. You may read our advertising policy here. 

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She hates it when people guess her age right. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

We have 3 cleansers up for grabs!

wincleanser

To win, simply follow these steps:

1. In the Comments section below, name the 2 products in the Elizabeth Arden Prevage range you most want for yourself. [Hint: You can find out more about the range here.]

2. Then click on the Facebook button below to SHARE this post with your friends. Remember to tagMaterialWorldSG” and “ElizabethArdenSingapore” in your post and set it on Public so we can verify you have completed this step.

3. Finally Private Message us your details (Name, Age, Gender, NRIC No, Mobile No. and Mailing Address) on our Facebook Page. Please state “Prevage Cleanser” in your message.

This contest ends Friday, 8 November 2013, and is open only to Material World’s Facebook followers so please Like our page here first. Good luck!

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Drinks & Parties, Entertainment, Lifestyle

Rock Out At Tang Music Box! – Deborah Tan

The Meeting Place at Tang Music Box

The Meeting Place – the first thing that greets you at Tang Music Box

When the Material World team was invited to check out new KTV joint Tang Music Box at Clarke Quay, we assumed it was going to be a newer, posher version of what we already have in Singapore where guests are greeted in a dimly lit frontdesk area reeking of cigarette smoke and alcohol. So, you can imagine the oohs and the ahhs that escaped from our lips when the lift opened to a brightly lit supermarket.

Yep. The first sight that will greet you when you arrive at Tang Music Box is a blinding array of snacks, craft beers, sweets, and shelves of hard liquor and Champagne. And we won’t blame you if you thought you had arrived at the wrong venue. We thought we got the address wrong too!

The supermarket – known affectionately as The Meeting Place – is part of the interesting way Tang Music Box charges its patrons. For a Small room that holds 4 to 6 people, on a Wednesday night, between 7pm and 1am, you need to spend a minimum of $90 at The Meeting Place on top of the cover charge of $12 per person. This is for a 3-hour block. Each person also has to pay $5 in copyright charges.

So, your party of 4 on a Wednesday night could cost you $158 before GST and service charge. Sounds like a pretty penny to pay for singing along to your favourite Jay Chou songs? Maybe. But the experience is worth it.

The charges for a small room.

The charges for a small room.

The people behind Tang Music Box obviously take their karaoke and nightlife very seriously.

The design of each room is inspired by a cosmopolitan city such as Hong Kong, Tokyo or New York. Unlike other karaoke joints where each room looks like a living room with just very dim lights, the ones in Tang Music Box are made to look like a mini club. High bar stools encourage people to mingle. You can easily cross the room to chat with a friend and not feel like you are getting in someone’s line of vision. There are 25 rooms in total and they even have a Club room that can hold up to 30 people!

With the folks behind Tang Music Box.

With the folks behind Tang Music Box.

Its AWESOME sound system is from BMB and you can expect to find the latest and newest hits on the KOD (karaoke-on-demand) touchscreen monitors. Ever called up a song only to be presented with 3 versions and you end up selecting the cheesy one with the talents rolling on the beach, trying to look like they are madly in love with each other? THAT wouldn’t happen at Tang Music Box. This KOD system lets you PREVIEW each option so you know for sure if the song you “ordered” is the live concert version (extremely important if you want to sing Beyond’s 海阔天空) or the MTV version (also important for fans of ol’ school boyband-songs).

Well designed rooms make it easy to mingle without getting in anyone's way

Well designed rooms make it easy to mingle without getting in anyone’s way

There was just one thing we felt that could be improved: During our tour of the place, we were told that the touchscreen monitors did not come with remote controls. Well, unless someone in your party is a control freak, it is – honestly – a bit inconvenient to park yourself next to the screen to choose songs. What happened was one of us would stand at the screen, choose like 10 songs, get tired and then go back to her seat. The next person would choose another 4 or 5 songs before the entire process repeated itself. We found it was socially-awkward to “insert” (get your song to “cut queue”) your song, especially when you have to trudge across the room to do it via the screen.

And really, when you have two friends busy choosing their songs in the corner of the room, it can feel as if you are singing to no one and things can get a bit lonely – not exactly why we go to KTV, right?

Lili is pleased with the great beer selection.

Lili is pleased with the great beer selection.

But other than this minor inconvenience, Tang Music Box will impress the most seasoned karaoke aficionados. The Meeting Place concept is a big WIN. I love that I’m able to choose my snacks and drinks rather than be served boring mixed nuts and prawn crackers. If you need another drink or more snacks, you can simply walk out to The Meeting Place and help yourself. What the management wants is for people to NOT stay put inside their KTV rooms. They want patrons to stretch their legs, walk around the place, and make friends! The ambiance is lively and vibrant, making it great for both family outings and crazy parties like hens nights or birthday gigs.

While Vanessa focuses on more important things at hand.

While Vanessa focuses on more important things at hand.

Overall, we had a great time at Tang Music Box and we loved that the KOD has an insane number of songs that cater to different tastes. If you are after a KTV experience with a difference, then Tang Music Box is really the place you gotta check out.

Tang Music Box is located at 3B River Valley Road, The Foundry, Blk B, #02-03/04, Clarke Quay (it’s just above Highlander). Tel: 6338 6659 and 6338 0081. Email: enquiry@tangmusicbox.com.sg

The Material World team was invited by Tang Music Box to review the establishment. All opinions are the author’s own. You may read our advertising policy here.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She is working on perfecting her rendition of Heart’s Alone. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

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Branded Content, Infographics

[Infographic] Stress & Women In Singapore – Deborah Tan

More than a month ago, we invited the readers of Material World to take a survey on stress. Through this survey, we had hoped to get an idea how stress affects women aged 25 to 34 physically and emotionally. Here’s what we have learnt:

1. An overwhelming 75% of respondents say they are more stressed NOW than they were 2 years ago

2. Slightly over 70% of respondents say although they feel stress on a daily basis, it is still at a manageable level

3. The effects of stress are most likely seen in weight gain (25%) and exhaustion (33%)

4. 72% of respondents say they deal with stress by going out for a good meal. About half say they deal with stress by going for a work out.

Beauty brand Shiseido has recently found out that stress has a negative impact on our skin because when subjected to stress, our skin cells lose hydration and become irregular in shape. This causes gaps to form between our skin cells, making it easier for pollution, bacteria and irritants to invade our skin.

Together with Shiseido, Material World produced this infographic to highlight how stress is affecting women in Singapore. Respondents did not know this survey was carried out in conjunction with Shiseido and were not offered any form of remuneration for their time. Although they were asked if they would like to try a skincare sample, they were not told which brand this sample would be from.

We hope you’ll enjoy this infographic as much as we did producing it.

Happy Monday and don’t let stress get you down!

Brought to you by Shiseido Ibuki

Brought to you by Shiseido Ibuki

The survey “Stress and Women in Singapore” and the infographic were done with the support of Shiseido to help raise awareness for their new skincare range Ibuki. All opinions expressed by the survey’s respondents are INDEPENDENT of Shiseido and were not vetted by the client. All product information offered are for the purposes of education and awareness.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

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Deborah Tan, Love, Marriage, Opinions, Relationships

“Why” Is The Question To Ask Here – Deborah Tan

At what point does cheating happen in a relationship?

Is it when you catch your boyfriend/husband in bed with the other woman?

Is it when you see suspicious SMS messages in his phone?

is it when you hear from other people that they have seen him out and about with another woman?

Is it when you see flirtatious messages on his Facebook Wall?

Or, is it when he has decided that he’s going to try his luck and look around for someone to cheat with?

coupleonbedThe reason for my asking is obviously to do with news that a dating website targeting married people may be launching in Singapore and this has given rise to debates about whether the presence of such sites contributes to the erosion of family values and whether starting this service in Singapore undermines the trust between husband and wife. This contentious website is AshleyMadison.com.

Like there isn’t cheating happening in marriages and relationships in Singapore as we speak.

Off the top of my head, there are a number of ways I could cheat on my boyfriend, and he on me:

1. How about adding strangers on Facebook and Instagram and start exchanging “friendly” messages with one another? After all, 1 in 2 Singaporeans are apparently okay with adding complete strangers as “friends” on their social networking sites.

2. How about me resurrecting my partying habits and hitting the clubs at Clarke Quay every Saturday night? I’m sure with adequate alcohol and appropriate lighting, it is possible to find someone attractive enough to have a one-night stand with.

3. How about I sign up for dancing classes and start developing feelings for my dance partner or instructor? With the close proximity and sexy dance moves, I’m sure it’s quite easy for people to find love again under such circumstances.

4. What about just going to work and meeting new people every other day? Like, maybe I should start looking for a job in a male-dominated industry like finance and find myself a rich man to have an affair with.

My point is … ANY CIRCUMSTANCE and ANY OCCASION can lead to cheating. And whether or not a website that serves as a “conduit” for adulterous activities is allowed to launch in Singapore isn’t going to alter the fact that a CHEATER IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIND A WAY TO CHEAT BEHIND HIS PARTNER’S BACK.

I’m not condoning the use of AshleyMadison.com here. I’m not saying it’s OK to use a website to cheat. I’m not saying it’s alright to cheat as long as you do it discreetly.

What I’m saying here is there are deeper issues as to why people are cheating on their partners in Singapore and it’s been happening for a while. Hello? Have you seen the bus with the ad that says, “CatchCheatingSpouse.sg”?

If someone wants to cheat, he or she can do it just about anywhere.

The bigger question to ask here is WHY would someone cheat? Why would someone put their marriage, family and reputation on the line for a brief affair?

club dancingThey do it for the thrill. An overwhelming number of people are most likely to quote this as a reason why they would cheat. Many years of marriage have led to boredom, to your spouse taking you for granted. Sex becomes routine, predictable … and that is if you even have sex at all. The excitement of getting back into the “game” again makes a person feels attractive and desirable.

They do it for the connection. Often, people cheat with their co-workers and their bosses. Time together leads to emotional and physical connectedness, and given the amount of time we in Singapore spend at the office, I would posit that the OFFICE is a more conducive place for cheating than a website.

They do it because they have no respect for their partners. It’s easier to blame something or someone when a partner strays. But really, the crux of why they do it is because they have NO RESPECT for their other halves. They feel they are entitled to abuse the trust someone has invested in them, they believe they can get away with it because they are (1) successful (2) rich (3) good-looking and that their partners will stay with them for these very reasons.

At the end of the day, cheaters need validation. They do it to feel wanted, to feel desired, to feel loved, to feel special. Sometimes, it involves a change in attitudes and habits, sometimes, it involves you walking away from them. The fact is, once they have taken that first step to stray, they will find a person to do it whether it’s via a website or at the office.

Stopping a website from launching in Singapore isn’t going to stem the problem at its roots. It’s merely taking one option out of the many available to those who are serial cheaters, and delaying the inevitable for those who are toying with the idea of cheating. The website is not introducing into Singapore a new concept called cheating and that is what we need to be mature enough to acknowledge.

inception

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and thinks cheating is actually more tiring than it is thrilling. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, Fragrances, Makeup, Malls & Boutiques, Skincare

[Shopping Alert] Beauty Treasures Around The World – Deborah Tan

If you’ve got nothing planned for the weekend, be sure to make your way to TANGS Orchard for “Beauty Treasures Around The World” by L’Oreal Luxury Brands.

Presented to you by brands such as Lancome, Kiehl’s, Biotherm, YSL, Shu Uemura, Giorgio Armani Fragrances, and Clarisonic, this one-of-a-kind beauty event promises to take you on a journey around the world to experience the iconic products of each of the brands mentioned above.

To participate, get your hands on a Boarding Pass.

boardingpass

The super whimsical boarding pass!

 

Upon presentation of this boarding pass, you will be given a Beauty Passport.

The cover of the Beauty Passport

The cover of the Beauty Passport

 

Now, your job is to “travel” to the different “destinations” and collect “passport stamps”. To get a passport stamp from a brand, all you have to do is sign up for the experience at its counter. What are the experiences?

Lancome: A 2-minute Aura Service where you’ll be taught how to bring out the glow in your skin

Clarisonic: Get a free hand demonstration using the No. 1 cleansing device recommended by US dermatologists

Kiehl’s: A 5-minute personalised consultation where you’ll also receive 5 complimentary samples!

Shu Uemura: A skincare consultation and a complimentary Eye Or Lash Makeover

Biotherm: A mini eye and hand massage for you. And, for your guy, he’s get a 1-minute power cleansing using Clarisonic and Biotherm Aquapower

Yves Saint Laurent: A signature Ritual Lumiere and your sample of the awesome foundation Le Teint Touche Eclat.

Giorgio Armani Fragrance: A 5-minute scent discovery journey into the world of Armani Prive and a travel fragrance vial upon the completion of this journey

See the super cute Biotherm "passport stamp"?

See the super cute Biotherm “passport stamp”?

And the best part for all beauty junkies out there who refuse to travel out of the country without a decent stash of products for your skin, hair and body, once you get 4 stamps in your Passport, you get to buy a Beauty Box filled to the brim with goodies from the 7 brands for just $20!!!!!!

The stuff every jetsetting beauty junkie needs for just $20!

The stuff every jetsetting beauty junkie needs for just $20!

For just today, October 26: 
These 7 brands will be extending a 10% discount off all their products at TANGS Orchard and Vivocity! Start your Christmas shopping now so you can enjoy insane savings WHILE making sure your loved ones get the best presents money can afford.

There are more great prizes and gifts awaiting you at TANGS Orchard so be sure you get ready for the beauty journey of a lifetime today. This event ends October 31, 2013, so don’t miss it!

Fun trivia! The writers behind the Beauty Passport are none other than Material World’s founders Deborah and Denise. This passport also contains cool ideas on what to do and where to go if you should ever travel to the brand’s city of origins. So be sure you don’t leave TANGS Orchard without grabbing a copy of the Beauty Passport! 

Denise and I wrote the copy for this passport!

Denise and I wrote the copy for this passport!

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and needs the new grey Clarisonic Mia2 for Christmas. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

 

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Deborah Tan, Opinions

The Story That Nearly Caused Me A Heart Attack – Deborah Tan

sandwichesAlso known as “I Can’t Believe She Is Going To Make 300 Sandwiches To Earn An Engagement Ring”.

If you’ve not heard about this story, here’s the long and short (or, should I say “footlong and 6-inch”) of it:

New York Post senior reporter Stephanie Smith is on the quest to make her boyfriend 300 sandwiches because, while they were watching “Return Of The Jedi”, he commented that she was “300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring”. Thus, she embarked on this project – backed up by a beautiful blog – about her putting bread, ham and cheese together in exchange for her Happily Ever After.

I think she has made 190 sandwiches to date.

I’m just going to get straight to the point here:

The idea of a woman having to “earn” a promise of life-long commitment and love from a man is abhorrent.

There is just no other way to look at this. Ignore the blog. Ignore the beautiful pictures of sandwiches. Ignore the feeble attempt to be the “culinary” version of Sex & The City. This is a story of a woman who is looking for love between two slices of very, very stale bread.

It could jolly well be an elaborate public-shaming project. Smith might have started this to bring our attention to the Neanderthal that is her boyfriend. But, no. This woman is serious about this. And, that is what scares me.

She writes, “Three sandwiches a week, times four weeks a month, times 12 months a year, meant I wouldn’t be done until I was deep into my 30s … How would I finish 300 sandwiches in time for us to get engaged, married and have babies before I exited my childbearing years?”

Her oven is obviously dying to bake something other than rye bread.

In a recent post titled “The Best Compliment To Give A Man”, she posted a picture with the quote:

He’s the type of boy I’d make a sandwich for.

It is clear that Smith’s boyfriend doesn’t consider her the type of girl he would give up sandwiches for!

This whole sandwiches-for-bling thing might be something that’s done in “good fun” but as a woman, I cannot find it in myself to go, “Ha ha ha!”

Just like the old times ...

Just like the old times …

For one, there are many, many men around the world who seriously still believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Smith’s attempt to woo her boyfriend with food is a slap in the faces of movements aimed at empowering women in the workplace, aimed at giving girls education, aimed at changing the stereotype that a woman has to “earn” a man’s love.

Second, by reinforcing such douchey behaviour, Smith is telling us that marrying a man with misplaced priorities is better than having no man at all. Even the introduction of her blog says, “My boyfriend E is obsessed with two things: Star Wars and sandwiches …” We just know he’s going to make her dress up as Princess Leia for the wedding. I hope she also gets that after 300 sandwiches, he’s going to have to look like Jabba The Hutt rather than Han Solo.

Now, you might say I’m directing my anger at the wrong person, that Smith isn’t the one I should be criticizing, that I should be letting rip at the boyfriend instead. How could he say something like that? Well, if my boyfriend told me I was 300 one-arm pushups away from an engagement ring, the sane response isn’t to start a blog and record my progress. The only appropriate response is to chop off both HIS arms!

The appalling thing in this whole project is the lack of any effort to put the boyfriend in his place. If he felt Smith needed to “earn” her engagement ring, perhaps the message here is that he was of the opinion that she was not The One for him.

I think the bigger message that everyone is missing from here is that you don’t “work for love”, you don’t have to feel you need to “earn it”. If someone tells you that, perhaps he’s never seen you as The One for him IN THE FIRST PLACE. And if that’s the case, 3,000 sandwiches wouldn’t even cut it. If you feel you need to “earn” someone’s love, perhaps it’s time to assess whether you have a confidence issue. Why would you be inadequate? Why would YOU – just YOU – be not enough?

In closing, I think there are three things every couple can learn from Smith and her sandwich-loving boyfriend:

Not funny

Not funny

1. You should never be made to feel like you need to WORK for love
Of course, every couple should work AT love. A relationship is an ever-evolving thing with shifting dynamics, new issues to iron out, etc. Together, you work AT making it work. No one person should ever feel like he or she isn’t contributing or, worse, is UNWORTHY of the other person’s love.

2. You should be enough 
If your partner makes you feel you need to do something more, that you need to complete a task to be the person he or she wants to marry, my best advice is that you walk away from the relationship. He or she wants something else and sadly, it’s not you.

3. Love has no condition 
It sounds cheesy, I know! But if your man feels he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, he will just ask you to marry him. There shouldn’t be a “When we save $10,000, we will get married”, there shouldn’t be a “When you lose weight, we will get married”. NO! If he needed the “perfect” condition to marry you, then I dread to think what it would take for you to stay married to him.

To TV channels and publishers out there … if you guys ever give Smith a book deal or a TV show, I just want you to know that it would be the greatest insult to women all over the world.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and is now officially allergic to sandwiches. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Character & Soul, Material Moms, Self-Improvement, Young Minds

3 Things Your Bully Would Not Expect You To Become – Deborah Tan

I caught an interesting programme on the BBC World Service this morning. It was about bullying and I found one of the points brought up in the show very interesting. The interviewer and his guest, Dr. Helene Guldberg, basically talked about how parents these days are more likely to misdiagnose the dynamics between children and that they can sometimes step in too early, calling out any behaviour they disapprove of as bullying.

Who's bullying who?

Who’s bullying who?

While their concerns for their child’s wellbeing and safety are valid, Dr. Guldberg explained that this intervention could lead to a child being unable to cope with social situations and deprive him of a chance to negotiate Life’s many power dynamics on his own. Of course, she did say that if you do notice that something is wrong with your child and you know that he’s being bullied in school, do step in and take action.

But let’s back-track a bit and look at the part about parents intervening too early.

From the stories I hear from my friends who have kids in school, the mothers of today are definitely a lot more outspoken and protective than the mothers of yesteryear. I have heard of mothers keeping track of their kids’ Facebook activities to ensure they are not victims of cyber-bullying, I have heard of mothers of kids in the same class starting Whatsapp group so they can immediately bring everyone’s attention to “sticky” issues like a child being too aggressive in class or a teacher’s inability to control her students.

There have been times I wished our parents had the whole social media thing going when we were kids, but most days, I am glad they didn’t. They sent me to school, they trusted that the teacher was going to be able to do her job, and no news was good news.

In my time, if a parent called up your folks, if your teacher wanted to see your dad … it was often time to get ready for a good hiding. The only times our parents saw each other were during birthday parties and at school plays. Unless the bullying got out of hand like you returning home with a visible bruise on your face, our parents generally assumed (at least on the surface) things were fine.

Of course bullies existed back in the 80s. Of course some of us had it bad. And, looking back, I’m kinda glad that I went through it all by myself.

“Did you ever tell your parents when you were bullied?” Vanessa asked when I told her about the programme.

“No!” I said, with a scandalised look on my face.

“Why?”

“Because I felt it was my battle to fight. Also, I knew if I survived it, I would be a stronger person for it.”

Here are three valuable lessons I learnt from my years of trying to overcome bullying on my own – things I am sure I would not have picked up if my parents or teachers had intervened in my predicament:

Now I'm stronger than yesterday

Now I’m stronger than yesterday

1. You learn to count on yourself
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if figures of authority could see the bullying that is happening and do something about it? Often, they don’t, because they are either too busy or too absent to care. Instead of wishing someone would rescue me, I decided to just count on myself and find my own ways of coping with the bullying.

2. You learn to read people a lot better
Whether you’ll be liked, whether you’ll be accepted … you learn to see, in every new social situation, how you can fit in. Some of my friends in later years have told me that I am super “adaptable” and that I adjust easily to new environments. I think it’s just that, somehow, as a bullied kid, you learn to never quite stick out until you’re very sure of the situation and the people that operate within it. Once you establish who your friends are, it’s easier to expand your circle of influence from there.

3. You learn to manipulate your words
Ever heard of the Chinese saying, “Jian ren shuo ren hua, jian gui shuo gui hua”? The direct translation is, “See a human, talk like a human. See a ghost, talk like a ghost”. While the image of a duplicitous person who manipulates her words may not be a flattering one, you need to know that how you say or write something can have an impact on how you are perceived by others. “I think you are wrong” versus “I believe you might have misunderstood what I was trying to say” is a good example of how you can be perceived as less harsh if you used the latter line when in a conflict with a friend or colleague.

I think as parents and as adults, we want to ensure our kids don’t grow up in the same shitty environment that we did. Somehow we believe that we could have been happier if we had been Mr. or Miss Popular in school. But this instinct to protect will deprive our young of a chance to build the strength and skills needed to navigate the harsh realities of adult life. We don’t want them to go through the hurt and the humiliation we did as teenagers, but we forget that we are also not giving them a chance to prove themselves, to fight their own battles.

Before I end, I do want to make it clear that every bullying case is different. If you or your child is going through a particularly harrowing experience, please know that you don’t have to suffer alone and that you should get the attention of someone who can help.

Learn to kick some ass

Learn to kick some ass

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and ignores her now-friendly former bullies whenever she runs into them on the streets. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, International Fashion

What The Hell Is A “Spanx Ass”? – Deborah Tan

Contrary to what the Kardashians and other “fashionistas” have been telling you, shapewear is not as figure-flattering as you may have been led to believe. Don’t get me wrong. I think shapewear is a great invention and when I first read about Spanx, I was blown away.

I’ve always wondered how to get the smooth lines at the hip-thigh area when you wear a clingy wrap dress made of jersey material. I remembered thinking to myself, “I like how a pair of stockings holds everything in but I don’t want it to go all the way to my feet.” When I read about how Spanx came about in a copy of US Glamour a great number of years back, I was like, “WOW. So it is possble!”

When a local department store brand finally brought in Spanx, I put my money down to get a pair. An ex-colleague told me she “Spanx” it every day and that Spanx was “life-changing”. So once again, I went in with high expectations, looking forward to going into the office with a new, svelte figure.

But it was not to be.

It didn’t take me more than half a day to decide that I didn’t like Spanx-ing it. The fact that it required a great deal of huffing and puffing to get it, first, past my thunder thighs, and second, over my pendulous ass, was enough to make me question if I could do it on a daily basis.

To get my pair of Spanx on, I had to lie on my back on my bed, put both my legs up in the air, and PULL!!! Then once the torturous piece of shapewear got past my thighs, I would then plant my feet down and lift my hips and PULL!!!! It was hard work … I thought I was going to dislocate my wrists or something.

When I finally got it on, I put on my dress, expecting to look like a Victoria’s Secrets model. What I saw was the “Spanx Ass”.

How do I describe the “Spanx Ass”?

Imagine a bunch of potatoes put into a loose sack. That’s how your hip-thigh area might look like without Spanx. Then someone comes along with a machine that can suck the air out from the sack. The machine extracts all the air and pulls the sack tighter around the potatoes. Tighter and tighter it goes until it pulverises all the potatoes into a smooth mash, and the sack finally becomes one hard lump, no lines, no dimples, and no softness.

No softness.

That was the one thing that I didn’t like about the “Spanx Ass”. To me, the result looked like my flesh had been compacted so tightly together, my bottom looked as hard as a rock. Hardly feminine, in my opinion. There was smoothness but there wasn’t any bounce. There was curve but no lift. The “Spanx Ass”, I decided, was not for me.

Here’s an illustrative explanation of “Spanx Ass”:

The lumps and dimples on the left are smoothed out, but there’s something “hard” looking in the After:

I applaud its ability to smooth out lumps and dimples ... but ...

I applaud its ability to smooth out lumps and dimples … but …

One of the Kardashian sisters with her back-view captured. A separate picture revealed she was wearing Spanx under her dress. Although the silhouette is smooth, the “Spanx Ass” is evident in that it looks like too much junk packed into a small, tight trunk:

It does not, unfortunately, “lighten” up the look of your behind

Without Spanx, the butt should have a clear drop at the cheeks before the thighs:

The cheeks should finish in a nice round shape before the thighs begin

The cheeks should finish in a nice round shape before the thighs begin

With Spanx, it just looks like a slope:

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Doesn’t look very bouncy or soft

Shapewear or Spanx may work well to create a smooth, lump-free silhouette but they just don’t have the same softness and bounce of natural buttocks, especially when women with more generous hips and thighs wear them. If they work for you, then by all means go ahead and continue Spanxing it. For me, I have found that I’d rather get a seamless thong or get a dress made from a more forgiving material than jersey, or one in a cut that doesn’t require the material to cling to my hips.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hasn’t worn Spanx since the first time she tried it. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Food News, Lifestyle

4 Carnivore-Approved Healthy Eating Places – Deborah Tan

Are you one of those who have to have meat at every meal? And if you don’t, you just feel like something is missing and you leave feeling unsatisfied? Well, that makes the two of us. I need to have meat. Even if I’m tucking into a healthy salad, I have to have some kind of meat in there to break the texture.

But this single-minded obsession with meat wasn’t healthy and, as I learned, causing me to miss out on a lot of places with food that are as tasty as they are wholesome. And, ever since I “accepted” that I was going to have to eat at organic and vegetarian cafes (the boyfriend, unfortunately, is a big fan of “clean eating”), my dining options have widened considerably. If I wasn’t feeling a full and heavy meal, an organic/vegetarian cafe is a good alternative – better than simply popping into Subway or a fastfood joint.

So here are four places highly recommended by folks around us, approved by the team, and loved by carnivores like Denise and I.

The Living Cafe
779 Bukit Timah Road

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At The Living Cafe, the food does not contain red meat, cow dairy, white sugar, preservatives, additives and artificial colouring. While not strictly vegetarian, they do have a wide range of raw/raw-fusion dishes. I go there whenever I feel my system is a bit choked up with junk and gunk. They do a wonderful raw-food burger (TLC Burger) and I love their Flaxseed Chips. But initiates, you can try the Grilled Chicken Or Fish Brown Rice Bowl. Packed with flavours and textures, it is one satisfying, healthy meal in a bowl.

North South East West
200 Tanjong Katong Road

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Despite what several websites and people may tell you, it is still in operation. I was amazed by how popular and crowded this 100% vegetarian restaurant got at lunchtime. The menu is EXTENSIVE. You’ll find local delights like laksa, satay beehoon, Hainanese “pork” chop rice, and Western dishes like baked rice and “fish” nuggets. I tried the Hainanese “pork” chop rice and found it tasty without being greasy or too salty. The curry was flavourful and very addictive. It can get quite hectic so don’t expect this to be some Zen, chill-out place.

Real Food
The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #B1-52
Tai Wah Building, 110 Killiney Road

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The outlet at The Central is always crowded, I prefer the one at Killiney. Now, if you are in a rush, or expect your food to reach your table in under 10 minutes, don’t go to Real Food. Here, they make everything in small batches and from scratch. The person taking your order will also alert you if something you want is going to take a while to make. I love their Dumpling Noodles, a plate of it has like 5 full dumplings! If you are looking for something sweet, the French toast with apples and cinnamon is AWESOME (it’s so yums, I have to post up the picture too!).

realfood2

SunnyChoice
The Rail Mall, 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road

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If you order the nasi lemak or the bak kut teh, you are going to be IMPRESSED. SunnyChoice doesn’t “fake” the meat-component of these dishes. Instead they just cook stuff like mushrooms, toufu, and eggplant creatively to give these dishes the textures meat-eaters expect to have. The bak kut teh is my all-time favourite – it’s got a strong herbal taste and the mix of veggies and toufu guarantees a filling and satisfying meal. Another thing to order at SunnyChoice is the Hakka Abacus – bite-size discs made from yam. Only, instead of minced meat, they are using a flavourful stir-fry of shredded mushrooms and carrots. Again, this is such a yummy eat, I have to show it here.

sunnychoice2

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and hasn’t stopped thinking about the french toast at Real Food. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Character & Soul, Deborah Tan, Opinions, Self-Improvement

The Character Trait That’s Preventing You From Being Successful – Deborah Tan

Last Saturday, Vanessa and I arranged to meet at the track at 7am to run. As the boyfriend had a 100-mile race event that morning, I had to drop him off at MacRitchie first before making my way to Evans Road. I think Vanessa must have been too eager to run because, for once in her life, she was there BEFORE the agreed time.

She must have wondered why I wasn’t there EARLY because at 6.59am, she messaged me, “Debs, are you even awake?”

Anyway, her message got me thinking about something I have been intending to bring up for a long time.

latefeatpicWhen it comes to keeping an appointment, can you be counted on to show up, come what may?

I asked Vanessa, “Do I give you the impression that I’d bail on you?” She said no (thank god!) and asked why. I later explained to her that a couple of years ago, I was really into wakeboarding and would have continued if it weren’t for the fact that it was too tiresome getting people to show up when they say they would.

Wakeboarding is an expensive sport and since the instructor has only one boat, you need to book your slot early. Every hour is about $95 and if you book it for 4 hours, the total cost is $380. Now, if there are 5 of you, each person would then pay $76. The stress comes when someone changes their mind the night before, or that very morning. First off, it is not possible to find a replacement easily and at such late notice. Secondly, if your group cancels on the instructor, he can’t find another group to take up your spot that easily too.

It was through wakeboarding that I found out for myself which of my friends are responsible and can be counted on and, which of them are just people I’d never call if I got into an accident or got kidnapped.

And I’ve also found that those in the latter group tend to find it hard to excel in anything they do.

Whenever I’m due to meet someone from that group, I’d find myself doing what I have come to call the Paranoid Routine:

1. The day before, I’d message him/her, “So we are set for tomorrow?”

2. A couple of hours before we are to meet, I’d message again, “See you later?”

3. Before I leave to meet him/her, “I’m on the way. You’d better not be late.”

It is extremely exhausting when you have a friend who doesn’t feel the need to show up on time and as promised. I didn’t become friends with you to be your nanny or your secretary. And, if you can’t be rat-arsed to show up on time, does it mean, deep down, you really don’t respect my time at all?

On the other hand, I have friends that I can count on to show up … even if they are on their deathbeds. If we make a promise to meet at a certain time and place, I know eventually they will show up. They may be a couple of minutes late, their phones may be down … but I know I will see them.

Yep ... that's sooo true!

Yep … that’s sooo true!

And I think that is the difference between a good friend and a not-so-good one. It’s not just about showing up. It is the message behind the act of not fulfilling your promise that is the key here. Why do you think it is okay for you to let me down?

If I go out of my way to make sure I do everything possible to keep to our appointment, surely you should return that courtesy? If we have promised each other to do something together, the only excusable reason for not showing up is … sorry to sound morbid … Death.

This particular trait – the act of making darn sure you show up as promised – is something I feel a lot of stuck-in-the-rut people are missing. It’s more than just being punctual, it’s about being aware that there are others counting on you to be present, and you have to be there no matter what.

It is something that makes you not just a good friend but also a good co-worker, a good sister, a good daughter, and a good entrepreneur. If people know you can be counted on, they are more likely to want to include you in their projects. If people know you are never going to go MIA on them, they are more likely to entrust you with greater responsibilities. The saying “Showing up is 80% of the success” is 100% true.

Before I end, here’s a general rule of thumb I usually follow if I’m not going to be able to keep my appointment:

1. If a replacement is needed, I try to find it before I tell the other person I’m not going to show up. The onus to send someone in my place is MINE, not anyone else’s. 

2. If no replacement is needed, I try to give at least 24 hours’ notice.

3. If it’s a sudden emergency and I have no choice, I try to let the other person know before he/she makes his/her way to the meeting point. 

4. In future, I make sure I damn well not disappoint this person again.

The fear of letting people down … that’s the trait many of us are missing in this self-centered age and time.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and hates it when she has to wait more than 15 minutes for anyone. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, Contests, Fragrances, Skincare, Spa Treats

Beauty Review: The Body Shop Honeymania Range – Deborah Tan

Say the word “Honey” and I’m there like a teddy bear. Not because I’m a sucker for terms of affection but because I love this sweet gooey treat and especially crave it when I’m sick. I love mixing honey and ginger together as a drink, I love pouring honey over freshly baked scones, and I love it drizzled over fried foods too. Unlike sugar, which is just sweet, honey has … nuances of sweetness that give it personality.

When The Body Shop revealed that they would be launching a new range with Honey as its hero, I was like, “You guys gotta let me have it!” Thankfully, they did.

When the entire range arrived for me, I took them out of the bag and placed them on my table as a reminder to start using them ASAP. The scent was distracting and I was so afraid ants would start crawling onto my work desk because they really smell like the real thing!

The Honey used in The Body Shop Honeymania range is really as good as Mother Nature would give it:

1. It is hand-harvested from only the ripest honeycombs

2. This Community Fair Trade honey comes from the Sheka rainforest in Ethiopia and is protected by UNESCO. By supporting those involved in this trade, The Body Shop is helping to protect precious rainforest land from being taken away for economic purposes like farming

3. The bees are allowed to roam freely and hive wherever they want. Unlike bee farms, the community has learnt to work harmoniously with the bees using traditional methods to keep them calm, thus reducing the need for chemicals

Having sampled the goods for close to three weeks, here are my 3 favourites:

#3: Body Scrub, $30.90
BBB Honeymania Scrub Open HR_INHNYPS012
It’s creamy and, when you’re inside a hot, steamy shower, it’s seriously the most indulgent thing to use on your skin. I love that it’s thick and doesn’t foam up into a soapy confection. If you are unaccustomed to having your skin feeling soft and oiled up after a scrub, this may not be for you. But once you get used to how pampered your skin feels after using it, you may just never go back to soapy scrubs ever again.

#2: Eau de Toilette, $22.90
BBB Honeymania EDT HR_INHNYPS010
I really wanted to choose the shower gel but this EDT won out because it allows me to have this honey-licious scent about me hours after my bathtime! When I’m feeling particularly lethargic or moody, a quick sniff of my wrist and I’m back being sunny and happy again.

#1: Body Butter, $30.40
New BBB Honeymania Cream face on HR_INHNYPS021
As if The Body Shop could ever go wrong with its Body Butters! And in this instance, to be encased in creamy moisturiser scented with honey … aaaaahhhhh … it’s really every bodycare addict’s dream. I love how natural the body butter smells and how it sinks into the skin so easily. There is none of the sticky film you’d associate with a rich moisturiser. I’m so tempted to bring this along to my next massage appointment so that my therapist can use it on me. But … this brings me to my final point …

I would love for a honey-scented body oil to complete this regime!!! The Body Shop, if you’re listening to this … please consider this request of mine and launch a Honeymania body oil ASAP.

The Body Shop Honeymania range is now available at all The Body Shop stores islandwide. This range was given to Material World for review purposes, all opinions are the author’s own.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and takes her honey by the tablespoon like cod liver oil when she’s too lazy to mix it into water. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

WE ARE GIVING AWAY 3 SETS OF THE BODY SHOP HONEYMANIA RANGE TO YOU!

Honeymania Group shot HR_INHNYRS010Each set of Honeymania costs $104.50 and consists of the following products:

1. Lip Balm, $10.90
2. Eau de Toilette, $22.90
3. Bubble Bath Melt, $26.90
4. Shower Gel, $12.90
5. Body Butter, $30.90

To win, simply follow these steps:

1. In the Comments section below, tell us, “Why do you love honey?”

2. Then click on the Facebook button below to SHARE this post with your friends. Remember to tag “Material World” in your post and set it on Public so we can verify you have completed this step.

3. Finally Private Message us your details (Name, Age, Gender, NRIC No, Mobile No. and Mailing Address) on our Facebook Page. Please state “The Body Shop Honeymania” in your message.

This contest ends Friday, 28 September 2013, and is open only to Material World’s Facebook followers so please Like our page here first. Good luck!

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Food News, Lifestyle

The 2 Snowskin Mooncakes I Would Buy – Deborah Tan

It’s the time of the year again when I get asked left right center whether I prefer snowskin mooncakes or the traditional baked ones. Apparently, every year a lot of emphasis is placed on mooncakes because they are restaurants’ and hotels’ most commercially successful festival food. Yep, even more so than Chinese New Year goodies and Christmas log cakes.

My answer? Baked ones, if I have to choose.

Because my all-time ultimate favourite mooncakes are the Teochew flaky ones with a sweet-savoury paste rumoured to be made from pork lard. My grandmother used to buy these huge lard-cakes (that’s what my sister and I call them) from Geylang. Some people have told me that would be Thye Moh Chan – the pastry brand that was bought over by Breadtalk when it announced it would be closing shop, but since I can find no mention of lard in any of the pastries on the brand’s website, I don’t want to jump to any conclusion.

I will always miss my lard cakes.

Personally, I dislike snowskin mooncakes the most. I hate the liberties that have been taken with them in terms of flavours, and I hate that they always turn out too sweet. I have not met a snowskin mooncake I like … until I was given the ones by St Regis’ Yan Ting.

Although there are 5 flavours from St Regis’ Yan Ting’s lineup of snowskin mooncakes this year and only two won me over.

1. Pure “Mao Shan Wang” Durian Snowskin Mooncake ($108 for 8)
I don’t like durians so these were given to Denise and Lili to try. As they cut into the mooncakes, I was assaulted by a powerful acrid pong that sent my head spinning. If that was any indication of how “durian-ish” this mooncake is, I think durian-lovers will love this one. I could even see the fruit fibres in the paste when Denise brought a piece to her mouth. Yuck for me, yay for them.

st-regis-green-tea-snowskin

Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Melon Seeds

2. Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Melon Seeds ($66.80 for 8)
My favourite of the lot! The green tea flavour was distinctive without being overpowering. There was a certain cleanness to the taste of this mooncake. It wasn’t too sweet and the paste was definitely not cloying. The snowskin, thankfully, wasn’t sticky and my knife went through the whole cake cleanly.

3. Mixed Berries Snowskin Mooncake with Strawberry Paste ($66.80 for 8) 
My least favourite. Too sweet, too much berry-flavour, and the entire thing tasted like strawberry-custard pudding. From what I’ve observed over the years of dating an “ang moh”, these fruity flavours tend to go down better with foreign palates. I guess it’s because these taste the closest to a western dessert. For me, I just wish people would stop adding berries to mooncakes.

st-regis-purple-sweet-potato-snowskin

Purple Sweet Potato Snowskin Mooncake

4. Purple Sweet Potato Snowskin Mooncake ($66.80 for 8)
An unexpected favourite. Sweet potato is not a tuber I would voluntarily eat. Whenever I dine out and the dish has “sweet potato fries” on the side, I always request for them to be changed to normal ones. But I was told this was very good so I took a bite. It was very good. None of the sweet, earthy flavours you tend to associate with sweet potatoes. The sweetness in this mooncake comes through only as an aftertaste. Perfect with Chinese tea, this is a very light snowskin mooncake that would find favour in those without a sweet tooth.

st-regis-royal-milk-tea-champagne-truffle-mooncake

Royal Milk Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste and White Chocolate Champagne Truffle

5. Royal Milk Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste and White Chocolate Champagne Truffle ($68.80 for 8)
I was most disappointed with this. I like tea, I like Champagne … but put them together, the result wasn’t quite what I expected. Everything went well until I bit into the Champagne Truffle. I hate Champagne truffles in mooncakes because I feel most people put them in there for “gimmick purpose”. The well-balanced sweet and milky flavours of this mooncake was abruptly ended by the sharpness of the Champagne. If break-up had a flavour, this mooncake would be it.

Until someone creates a meat-filled savoury mooncake, the Green Tea and Purple Sweet Potato mooncakes would be the perfect Mid-Autumn treats for those with no sweet tooth.

St Regis gave the mooncakes to Material World for review purposes, all opinions are the author’s own. You may order your mooncakes from St Regis by calling Yan Ting (Tel: 6506 6887) or emailing them at yanting@stregis.com .

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes someone would create a meat-filled savoury mooncake soon. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

HappyEndingsSurvey_256

 

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