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There are several perks of being single: opportunities to find your unique voice, time that is completely yours, freedom to explore whatever or whoever you want and a space that only you can fill. However, with the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, it is hard to remember these when walking through a mall bombards you with Valentine’s Day deals and barely covered babies brandishing arrows. It is no secret that society sometimes tends to overemphasise romantic love at the expense of platonic and even self love. These are some things you could do when you feel the commercialised love getting you down. Embrace the time to grow and enjoy singlehood!

1. Make a good playlist to dance to

You know how before music streaming became a thing, couples used to make mixtapes or burn CDs with meaningful songs for each other? Do that but on your chosen music streaming site and with all the tracks that you love. That’s right, pour yourself a glass of wine (or whichever preferred beverage) and bust out those dance moves. Not only is it great exercise, you can shimmy yourself into confidence and a happier life with more endorphins.

2. Treat yourself to good food

 

Honestly, my first love is food and if you are the same, then this might be the way to go. Treat yourself to buying from your favourite place; never mind about the calories for this one day. Alternatively you could make/bake your favourite dish as well!

3. Watch a movie by yourself

There is something exciting about being able to call the shots. You pick the movie without judgement, the snacks without catering to anyone else and the toilet breaks. You can freely weep or laugh without fear of disturbing anyone else. My choice for the occasion is Pacific Rim. There’s a story with enough meat to get into but also is balanced with robots and monsters punching each other.

4. Read a book by a park

Image cred: mvp on Unsplash

I can sense the scepticism so let me tell you why this is perfect for hanging out alone on Valentine’s Day. First of all, parks are very relaxing places – pick a place with ample shade and a breeze blowing – and in the midst of nature you can be sure to be energised. Plus in parks you’ll be mercifully free from Valentine’s Day hype. Add a great book to that and it sounds like a dream come true. I recommend detective stories like Agatha Christie’s Destination Unknown or if you would rather be exposed to more than your experience of life I suggest essay collections by people who are different from yourself. I’m reading Scaachi Koul’s One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter which is a lot less sombre than the title will have you expect.

5. Look at Art

Singapore has great exhibitions going on right now. If you want to feel inspired in your own life with the ideas that people have and decided to explore, then this may be something you should think about doing. If spending an afternoon or evening with the works of painting masters is something that excites you then you should definitely check out Century of Light at the National Gallery.

6. Make art

Image cred: Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

This could be anything! Write something or draw. Take a class in water colour painting, batik printing or stamp making. Freeing your mind from the routine and dabbling in something you have never done before will help to enhance your creativity.

7. Call a good friend

Romantic love is very hyped up this time of year but you know what else important for life? Platonic love. Friends are always there to pick you back up if you fall. Have a friend you have wanted to call and check in with for ages? Now is the time. Not only would a reconnection make you feel good, your friend will probably be happier too.

8. Do some yoga

Image cred: Austin Neill on Unsplash

Taking care of your body and mind is important. What better way to do both as you flow from one pose to another. Take a class, follow along with a YouTube video or even go to a beach to practice.

9. Finish your Chinese New Year errands

A little more on the practical side here but Chinese New Year is right around the corner. If you do not finish the tasks your parents, grandparents, or you yourself assigned at some point you can expect a lot of nagging. So save yourself the headache and finish it tonight.

10. Make a Move on Your Crush

That’s right, if you feel like now is the time then let her/him know how you feel. Who knows? Maybe the pre-packed Valentine’s Day magic will increase your chances on a date with the person you have been eyeing for weeks now. If you want to see other people attempt to ask their crushes out to fortify yourself, check out the #ValentinesDayChallenge hashtag on Twitter.

Now go forth and make your Valentine’s Day special for yourself!

Written by: Annmaria Patteri

It seems to me that it was just a few months ago that I was making New Year resolutions for 2017. And yet, here we are nearing the end of it. This year was an overwhelming one – we’ve had everything from controversial elections to royal wedding bells. But we’ve all made it to our favourite part of the year – the end. If you, like me, think the year passed way too quickly for comfort and want to let loose a little before greeting the brand new year 2018, here are 5 events happening around Singapore where you can let your hair down.

1. Marina Bay Singapore Countdown

 

If you think New Year’s Eve is all about fireworks, then Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is where you should be at. But there aren’t just fireworks this year – you can expect carnival rides and games, a charity trail, fringe events and projection mapping displays. There are events happening all around the Marina Bay and Civic Districts so there would not be any chance of you getting bored sitting in one place.
Where: Marina Bay and Civic Districts; closest MRT is Promenade
Entry fees: Free entry

2. Haji Lane NYE 2018

 

Fireworks aren’t your thing? Perhaps you want to go back to the carefree days of the 80s and 90s and groove to the smooth beat of some RnB and Hip hop. If so, then head on over to the Haji Lane Street Party: NYE 2018. Hosted by Piedra Negra and Blu Jaz Cafe, with beats by DJ Jag and DJ Gravity, this is a party where you can dance your heart out.
Where: 241 Beach Road, Singapore 189753; closest MRT is Bugis
Entry Fees: Free

3. Silent Disco Asia

 

The thought of dancing appeals to you and your friends but everyone wants different music. Well, you can dance to your own beat at Silent Disco Asia happening at the ArtScience Museum. You’ll be spoilt for music choice as you can dance to the tunes of three DJs spinning at the same time. Plus, being at the ArtScience Museum guarantees a spot to see the fantastic fireworks as well.
Where: ArtScience Museum; closest MRT is Bayfront
Entry Fees: Tickets cost $60. You can book here.

4. Super Night New Year’s Eve Dinner at The Ritz Carlton

 

Wouldn’t a sumptuous and extravagant dinner be a great way to wrap up the year and ready yourself for the new one? Not only would you be able to relish a great buffet dinner, there are unlimited pours of champagne and wine. Additionally, if you want to continue to party in style, there is live entertainment at the dance floor at Chihuly Lounge.
Where: The Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore; closest MRT is Bayfront.
Entry Fees: Reservations required. From SGD 388 per adult. From SGD 194 per child (12 years and below)

5. A Wander Soirée: Countdown by The Quay

 

At A Wander Soirée, not only will you be entertained by our very own 987FM DJs – Sonia Chew, Joakim Gomez, Charmian Tan & Gerald Koh, you can also be pumped up by sets from a local band, Shirlyn & The UnXpected. With street drummers, Poi dancers and The Mirror Man, you can be sure to enjoy the festivities. If all that gets too boring for you, you can also party it up at the clubs nearby like Attica Singapore, f.Club Singapore, Get Juiced, Level Up and Zouk Singapore or grab a bite to eat at the myriad of restaurants and bars.
Where: Clarke Quay Fountain Square; closest MRT is Clarke Quay
Entry Fee: Free
So there you have it, a list of places you could go to usher in the New Year. No matter how you choose to spend New Year’s Eve – dancing at a party surrounded by friends, sipping champagne at a classy dinner or even at home with a glass of wine and fuzzy slippers on – you should relax and bask in the jubilation for all that you have done for the year. Now, onward to the next!
Happy New Year!

Written by Annmaria Patteri

A number of things come to mind when one thinks of wine: a romantic evening, a relaxing day, a great accessory for a bath and a lovely drink for a much needed light buzz after a long day at work. It is the ultimate 'adult drink', the grape-based drink that goes well with virtually anything! Personally, I enjoy a light fruity moscato over red wines because I like sweeter flavours so herbal wine is definitely on the other spectrum of my taste scale. There has to be a logical reason behind the very existence of this subset of wine. And I am nothing if not adventurous so I gave it a chance and did my research (of course), and to make it more fun, I wanted to look into DIY wines. It won't be the easiest process but it is certainly highly rewarding! It isn't everyday you get to serve DIY wine at your cocktail parties, no?

Getting the poor elephant out of that tiny room, herbal wine is definitely far less common than the traditional grape wines and they are simply herb-based wines. Herbal wines are either a dry-herb infusion or a fresh-herb infusion. The former infuses at room temperature and for a longer period of time, while the latter infuses in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

On the archaeological record, the earliest wine-making activities go back to as far back 6,000 years ago across the globe. It has been used as a populist medicine that stimulates the nervous and circulatory systems and offers a strong boost to digestion. All types of herbs are used to achieve these results, as well as offering other health benefits such as improving one's mood, promoting internal movement, cleansing the organs and supporting various bodily system functions. Apart from the numerous health benefits, did I mention it actually tastes fragrant, floral and light? Much like a spring/summer breeze on a nice sunny day by the ocean. You're welcome for that spark in your imaginary dreamscape.

Now, moving on, I will share the process of making DIY wine or home-brewed wine and a recipe for you to kickstart at home. Your resulting wine should taste like a cup of quality tea with a slight alcoholic taste; basically the wine version of herbal fruit tea.

The Fermentation Process

Simply put, the fermentation equation for an aspiring winemaker is as follows:

Sugary liquid + yeast (and the occasional friendly bacteria) + time = delicious fermented beverage (Christensen, 2013)

Fermentation is what turns a regular fruit like grapes into an alcoholic beverage. Yeast is required to transform the sugars in the juice/liquid into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide (a by-product).  The total duration for complete fermentation can take up to 3 weeks. Deliciousness and perfection takes time and cannot be rushed!

What equipment you will need

What ingredients you will need

Lets start brewing!

Note: every recipe follows this basic procedure:

  1. Prepare a sweet liquid
  2. Add yeast and stir the mixture frequently and well
  3. Allow to ferment
  4. Bottle
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Once you have your equipment and ingredients ready, the creative process is relatively fun and easy. When you become more confident in mixing fruits and herbs, you can wean off known recipes and experiment on your own to find your very own creation. Here is a recipe to get you started on your wine-making journey:

Image cred: photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

Blackberry-Hibiscus Wine

Ingredients
14 cups water
900g granulated sugar
1360g fresh blackberries
113g dried hibiscus
2 Campden tablets
1 packet dry wine yeast
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
A pinch of tannin
Instructions

  • Sanitize your bucket, lid, airlock and spoon.
  • In a stockpot, boil water and add and stir sugar until it dissolves in the water, then add the dried hibiscus and remove the pot from heat. Let it cool, then pour the mixture through a sterilized strainer into a bucket.
  • Place the fresh blackberries in a mesh bag in the bucket. With clean hands, mash the bag so that the blackberry juice is extracted into the mixture.
  • Crush 1 Campden tablet and stir into the liquid. Place the lid and attach the airlock, and let it sit for a day.
  • Prepare the yeast starter by scooping out one cup of the liquid with a sterilized measuring cup into a canning jar. Add the yeast and cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Shake it well and let it stand for about three hours.
  • Add yeast starter, tannin, and yeast nutrient and stir vigorously, then replace the lid and airlock. Repeat the stirring for seven days using a sterilized spoon. (you can tell the mixture is fermenting because you will start to see bubbles appear in the airlock. Fun fact: the bubbles are carbon dioxide that are produced by the respiring yeast cells!)
  • In a week, sanitize a gallon jar (and its lid and airlock), cheesecloth or muslin, funnel, and spoon. Line your funnel with the cheesecloth, then slowly pour the mixture from the bucket into the jar. Close the lid tightly.
  • Let the mixture sit in a cool, dark, dry area for at least 4 weeks (you can age it for up to 6 months or more if you like!). If you age it for longer than 4 weeks, you’ll want to occasionally siphon it off from lees, or the sediment that collects at the bottom of the jar. To do this, sanitize a stockpot, racking cane and tip, and hose and siphon the mead from the jar to the pot. Then repeat the funneling step above, transferring the mead back into the jar from the pot.
  • When you’re ready to bottle the mead, crush a Campden tablet into the jar, stir, and let sit for at least 24 hours, then siphon the mead into sanitized bottles and cap (or cork).
  • Tip: Label your bottles with the dates they were made to keep track of the age!

If made right, this home brewed wine should taste almost like an herbal fruit tea and you'll be the talk of the party no doubt! Watch out wine stores, DIY wine just might be the next big thing.

If you are a scavenger for good deals and artisan goodies, then you need to keep your 2 December free. Why, you ask? That's because on 2 December 2017, from 10am to 6pm, Shop Wonderland is holding their very first Christmas Market! You will see self-made entrepreneurs from all walks of life coming together to showcase their goods and share their passion through small trinkets that you can get for yourself and your loved ones, or even for the Christmas gift exchange with your colleagues or at parties.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbyT6JYHFEl/?hl=en&taken-by=shopwonderlandsg

If you follow their Instagram and our Instagram, you will find that we, Nilufer Tea, will also be part of the Christmas festive market! Not only are we bringing you the joys of our organic herbal teas, we will also be bringing you quality yoga wear by Liquido.

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“The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ – steady effort in the direction you want to go.” –Sally Kempton 🙏✨💖 #liquidoactive #iwearliquido #boldfearlessandfree #boldleggings #weloveprint #colorfulvibe #yogapose #yogi #yogapractice

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Originated from Australia, Liquido takes pride in providing only the best quality apparel, not just for yogis, but for every active person. Designed by Brazilian designers who are inspired by the brightness, sunshine and tropical setting of Brazil, the bold patterns and bright colours bring joy and excitement as you exercise and do yoga. If you are a person who prefer something that is minimalistic, you can still find your perfect fit at Liquido as they also have a line that is dedicated to simpler designs and solid colours.

While you can shop online, there are simply too many designs for one to fathom and the additional shipping fees may not be worth your budget. That's where we come in! We have filtered out some of the best designs for your selection and so all you need to do is to come down and get your quality yoga wear.

Of course, our usual suspects will be there. With such cooling weather bestowed upon us at this time of the year, what is better than cosying up with a cup of comforting warm herbal tea? We will be selling our range of organic herbal teas for your delightful tea parties and Christmas dinners, so come on down to get some!

Of course, besides Nilufer Tea, you can also browse other booths that are going to share their wonderful collection of items. For instance, you can get your cute mugs and accessories from The Little Drom Store, beautiful lingerie from Perk by Kate, and also something for the guys at Shop Little Man. After all, Christmas is a season for everyone!

For hesitate no more! Mark your calendars and keep your 2 December busy by visiting Shop Wonderland. And if you need a little more convincing, some cakes should do the trick:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb_BIpiHWQ4/?hl=en&taken-by=shopwonderlandsg
Shop Wonderland
134 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068600

 
And as usual, if you are a busy bee, you can also buy our teas here.

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