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HOME/LIFE LOT TIE LIFEST YLE / ISSUE 4

S E T T H E TA B L E

STRESS AND THE FESTIVE

LET THE FEASTING BEGIN

SEASON

Three beautiful table styling ideas to set the scene for a lovely Christmas meal

Knowing what the triggers are for stress and how to overcome them

A delicious Christmas meal with something for everyone to enjoy


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LOTTIE LIFESTYLE

HOME / LIFE Issue 4


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t has been a long few months between issues f o r t h e H o m e / L i f e m a g a z i n e. W h a t c a n I s a y ? S i n c e m y l a s t i s s u e i n Ju n e ( ye s , Ju n e ! ) I f e l l i n t o a l u l l . I g o t d e n g u e - w h i c h t o o k t i m e t o r e c ov e r from and in general I was feeling lacklustre about l i f e. M y b r a i n , w h i c h i s u s u a l l y f u l l t o t h e b r i m o f ideas and thoughts and questions that I would like to e x p l o r e a n s w e r s t o , w a s e m p t y. D e p l e t e d . M y u s u a l inter nal probing and creative brain fell silent. And e v e n t h o u g h i t i s ye t t o r e t u r n t o i t ’s u s u a l s p a r k y s e l f , I h av e f o r c e d i t o u t o f h i b e r n a t i o n . I d o n’ t l i k e this feeling and I’ll be damned if I’m just going to let it rumble along without making a really big effort to shift it. So here I am, writing this opening paragraph t o t h e l a t e s t , C h r i s t m a s i s s u e, o f t h e m a g a z i n e a n d trying to find my voice again.

M

y intention for this months issue is to bring yo u a s m u c h C h r i s t m a s c h e e r a s I c a n afterall, this will be an unusual and altered Christmas for most of us. Despite our wishes to r e t u r n h o m e t o b e w i t h f a m i l y ( o r h av e t h e m v i s i t u s here) it is not to be - I know I am not alone in this being our first Christmas away from extended family a n d i t f e e l s u n s e t t l i n g t o n o t h av e t h e u s u a l t r i p w i t h a l l i t ’s t r a d i t i o n s t o l o o k f o r w a r d t o . A n d w h i l s t I d o n’ t w i s h t o s u g a r - c o a t t h e s i t u a t i o n a n d b e f a l s e l y u p b e a t , I b e l i e v e t h a t a h e a l t hy d o s e o f s t o i c i s m a t the very least, is necessary in this moment.

T

h i s ye a r o u r f r i e n d s w i l l t r u l y b e f a m i l y. In m y t w e n t y s i x ye a r s o f l i v i n g a w a y I h av e only spent one Christmas with friends. It was Notting Hill, London circa 1998 and Christmas was s p e n t w i t h a g a g g l e o f w a i f s a n d s t r a y s w h o , l i k e m e, h a d n’ t r e t u r n e d h o m e. I t w a s a d a y o f t h e u s u a l ( a n d n o t s o u s u a l ) C h r i s t m a s t r a d i t i o n s - a d e c o r a t e d t r e e, a large Christmas lunch and inexplicably after lunch (or perhaps not given how much booze we drank) a game o f s t r i p p o k e r. I d o n’ t b e l i e v e I ’v e h a d a C h r i s t m a s l i k e i t s i n c e ( p r o b a b l y a g o o d t h i n g ) . T h i s ye a r w e w i l l celebrate Christmas with our family friends (whilst k e e p i n g t o t h e 5 p e r s o n l i m i t ) . I h av e w e av e d i n t o the day the traditions of their family to combine with


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LOTTIE LIFESTYLE

HOME / LIFE Issue 4

ARTICLE

ours. Both families will bring their little games, delicious food and Christmas traditions that we e a c h h o l d d e a r. We w i l l n o t b e a l o n e i n o u r s a d n e s s at being away from Grandparents, Uncles , Aunts, Nieces and Nephews but we will be together in our d e s i r e t o h av e C h r i s t m a s D a y b e o n e o f c h e e r a n d m e r r i m e n t a n d l ov e. L i k e s o m a n y o f t h e m o m e n t s f r o m t h i s ye a r, i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o r e m e m b e r yo u a r e n o t a l o n e. Yo u r c l o s e f r i e n d s , yo u r w i d e r c i r c l e of acquaintances and the broader community are a l l f e e l i n g t h e s a m e a s yo u . I n t h e s e m o m e n t s w e n e e d t o l e a n o n o n e a n o t h e r, b e t h e r e t o c o n s o l e and when all is said and done “pull on our big b o y p a n t s � ( a s t h e M a yo r o f P h i l a d e l p h i a s a i d i n r e f e r e n c e t o Tr u m p a f t e r t h e e l e c t i o n ) a n d c r e a t e for ourselves a very merry Christmas.

Lot t i e


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C O N T R I BU TO R S HELEN BARKER “S tress

and the

F estive S easons ” page 74

Helen is a Singapore based Psychologist who helps people to figure out the answers to life’s deeper questions and to get better at what they do. As a mum of four she approaches Christmas with some trepidation, which she plans to manage this year through relentless delegation, fabulous coffee and dressing her kids in comedy festive attire at all times

ANGIE MA “I t ’ s T ime

to

F east ” page 38

Angie is part brand strategist, part food curator of secret dining happenings and part food geek. She is the founder and chef of Once Upon A Secret Supper, a secret dining society in HK, Melbourne and Singapore that hold creative theme pop-up dinners for the foodie community.

TSARA CHIAPPINI “S ymbol

of

H ope

and

H appiness ” page 62

Tsara arrived in Singapore from London just before lockdown. A former communications director and mum to two small humans. Despite loving the tropics, is missing the seasons and the chance to wear a cashmere jumper, jeans and boots to the pub while imbibing a large glass of red.

JOSEPHINE BYRNES “O h C hristmas T ree ” page 58 Josephine is a Jill of many creative trades, currently an event and interior stylist .. who, despite poorly navigating the universal shit show, spiritual exhaustion and low grade despair, is desperately seeking moments of giddy joy and occasional wonder. For now, a somewhat curtailed Christmas will have to do - so she’s throwing herself in.

SIMONE JACKSON “N o T ime L ike page 66

the

P resent ”

Simone does a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a lot of daydreaming in between. Feeling very grateful she has her wonderful Singapore family to celebrate Christmas with.

Editors Note: A huge big thank you to the above amazing group of women who helped me to pull this issue of the Home / Life magazine together. Tsara, Simone and Josephine did hours of research to bring you articles on where to find a Christmas tree, which beautiful wreaths to buy, where to eat out, how to wrap presents and which charities you can give to. Angie developed and cooked an amazing collection of dishes for you to try and Helen wrote an article on how to deal with Christmas stress. All in all it is a huge amount of work and I am beyond grateful to them as they supported me in what I am trying to do and gave their time and writing skills to this magazine out of the goodness of their hearts. Thank you. xx


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HOME / LIFE Issue 4

CONTENTS

OUR CHRISTMAS

8 - 11

A TIME TO GIVE

12 - 13

SET THE TABLE

14 - 33

A Touch of Traditional Modern Australian Singapore Minimalist

LET THE FEASTING BEGIN

34 - 53

Cocktail and canapes Christmas Tree bread Roast Pork and Spiced Caramelised Apples Salad and Roast Potatoes Spiced Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Tart Christmas Baking

WHERE TO BUY

54 - 57

Providores, Butchers

OH CHRISTMAS TREE

58 - 61

A Christmas tree buying guide

A SYMBOL OF HOPE AND HAPPINESS

62 - 65

Wreath buying guide

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

66 - 67

Wrapping presents

GIFT GUIDES

68 - 71

EATING OUT

72 - 73

STRESS AND THE FESTIVE SEASON

74 - 76


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F RO N T C OV E R

A B O U T T H I S M AG A Z I N E This is an interactive magazine, so when you see a hyperlink, something that is underlined in blue, you can use this to click straight through to a product or business. The content in this magazine is not Advertorial. Which means we didn’t collect any payment, be it cash or products / services in kind, from businesses that are mentioned in this magazine. All the information you will find in these pages are our recommendations plain and simple and completely independent. All of the imagery is created (and belongs) to me, Lottie Lifestyle, unless otherwise stated. We have done our best to make the content provided accurate at time of publishing. If you find an error, let us know and we will fix it. w w w. l o t t i e l i f e s t y l e . c o m


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OUR CHRISTMAS From sno wy Sweden to sun drenched Australia, ‘pigs in bl a n k e t s ’ o n t h e t a bl e o f a B r i t i s h f a m i l y a n d S i n t e r k l a a s s r i d i n g o n a d o n k e y f o r t h e B e l g i a n s, e x p a t f a m i l i e s i n S i n g a p o r e s h a r e t h e i r C h r i s t m a s t r a d i t i o n s.

I L L U S T R AT I O N B y Fa b l e @ b y _ f a b l e


CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

MALIN Swedish In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the evening of 24th December. If the children have behaved during the year, Father Christmas himself comes knocking on your door and brings the Christmas presents for the children. As it’s way up North, it’s very dark outside and the children stand at the windows trying to spot him walking through the snow. (Father Christmas is usually a Grandfather or a neighbour dressed up and around 4-5pm there are a lot of Santa’s walking the streets!) We have a huge variety of food, a Smörgåsbord of traditional food smoked salmon, eel and different kinds of pickled herrings. We also enjoy meats such as sausages, marinated ribs and of course the famous Swedish meatballs. Lots of bread and cheese and after a meal like that it’s hard to move for the next few hours. We all have real Christmas trees and lots and lots of candles to keep the dark at bay. Most children will have enjoyed an advent calendar leading up to the 24th. For us it is always a big family gathering, of different generations, friends and family. VICKY British The British love Christmas. Christmas is a well-deserved time of joy in the middle of those long dark winter months that last from October to March. You can see why Brits need a big celebration in the middle. Traditionally on Christmas Eve, 24 December, families attend midnight mass. This is a candle-lit, atmospheric church

service with Christmas carols and, of course, a nativity scene. There is an atmosphere of excitement and ‘goodwill to all men’. Children lay out a snack for Santa Claus (normally a glass of sherry – he has a bit of a ‘jolly old soak’ reputation) and a carrot for the reindeer. It’s always an early start the next day. In our home Christmas stockings are found by the children on the end of their bed stuffed full of little gifts. Weirdly (and never thought of this until now) at ours there is always a coin in the toe followed by a tangerine. Bucks Fizz (orange juice and champagne) flows from around 11am and Christmas lunch is turkey, brussel sprouts, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, pigs-in-blankets (chipolatas wrapped in bacon) and lots of vegetables. All this is washed down with loads of wine followed by the Christmas Pudding. My family has small silver charms that have been passed down the generations that are baked in the pudding. (Oddly no one has choked on them over the years…..but I do remember spitting out a mini horseshoe at 6 years old. Lucky?). There is a moment when all the lights are put off and the Christmas Pudding is doused in brandy with a sprig of holly on top and brought into the dining room aflame. Brandy Butter is served with the Christmas Pudding for maximum over-indulged, slightly-sick-now feeling. After all this, we retire to a sofa and play games. It’s a day of family jokes, excited children, over-indulgence and ….joy. I love it.

GREET Belgian Christmas starts in Belgium early. In November, Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) comes from Spain on a boat and brings goodies and mandarins. Every city has a welcoming ceremony for them (we even welcome him here in Singapore). Then on 6th December the children look out for Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet who bring toys and candy during the night. The children are told that Sinterklaas walks on his donkey on the rooftops and the zwarte pieten slide down the chimneys to bring gifts. Because Sinterklaas comes in early December, we do not have a Santa Claus - so children only know this character from the movies. At Christmas we come together as a family and enjoy food and smaller gifts. In Belgian, our celebrations of Christmas and belief in St Nicholas stem from the catholic church, so in the Catholic tradition, we attend midnight Mass on 24th December and celebrate Christmas on this day. We used to always eat turkey, but these days we tend to enjoy other delights like oysters, foie gras and salmon with toast. On 25 December we eat a multi course meal with lots of champagne and wine (of course!) SABRINA American Our family revels in the holiday season! It starts with letters to Santa that go out mid-November so that Santa has time to build or source the gifts. December 1st the Elves on the Shelf magically arrive and they watch over the house

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changing their posts every night until they disappear Christmas eve. The advent calendar makes its appearance on Dec 1 along with our wooden nativity set that the kids can play with. Watching Christmas movies is a long-time tradition in our house and I have pretty much seen them all and I usually watch these while wrapping gifts or writing up my Christmas cards. We usually put up the tree as soon as school gets out while blasting carols. If we are in Vermont for the holidays we go on a horse drawn sleigh ride and on a train ride with Santa where elves sing and dance. We usually go to see a Christmas production or two like the Nutcracker ballet (I’ve been every year since I was five years old) but this year we will watch it online. Friends join in on the fun with a gingerbread house decorating party where they each decorate their own house while eating all the candies and getting wild on sugar. The kids are also in the habit of donating at least ten good quality toys each in the lead up to Christmas. Christmas Eve is a family dinner of honey baked ham, apple cornbread dressing, maple bourbon sweet potatoes, bacon green beans, cream cheese mashed potatoes, cranberries, stuffed artichokes, and warm apple crisp with ice cream for dessert. We then open one gift and go to church service. After which we read Twas the Night Before Christmas, leave some homemade sugar cookies out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, and put the kids to bed then we watch It’s a Wonderful Life with fresh made hot chocolate with vanilla whipped cream. This year I want to make my own marshmallows. And don’t

forget the matching Christmas pajamas! This year I bought them for the WHOLE family- aunts, cousins, grandparents so that we can feel a bit more together while on our zoom call Christmas morning. Christmas Day we wake up when it is still dark to see what Santa left under the tree then open stockings and gifts, play, and call the family while eating breakfast and drinking more hot chocolate. Everything is slow and we just celebrate being together and the reason for the season. A NGIE Australian / Chinese We start the day with my 2 cheeky boys aged 3 and 8 checking if Father Christmas ate all the cookies, carrots and milk. As the chef of the family, it is my responsibility to cook Christmas lunch so I usually start prep 2 days before. Being Aussie-Chinese and having had lived in Europe for the last 15 years, the menu can be mixed and include lots of flavours and ingredients. Champagne and the best red wine from Dad’s deepest parts of the celler is a must. We always have seafood for starters as it complements the hot summer Christmas Aussie weather. Usually oysters with the Asian dressing, sashimi with wasabi, garlicky grilled prawns on the barbie with coriander/chilli pesto. Dad will also BBQ some of his famous Xinjiang style cumin, chilli lamb skewers that are best eaten straight off the BBQ with a glass of red wine in the other hand. For the main I like to cook Aussie lamb or Pork belly and crackling. My sister in law will usually bring 2 lovely sexy salads. We then all collapse in a food

coma. Dad will fall asleep snoring on the coach red faced and drunk. The kids will play water guns or in the treehouse in the garden or run about upstairs. Then we have coffee and dessert before opening the presents by the Christmas tree. Dessert changes every year, last year I made a triple layer chocolate mousse cake, the year before I made coconut pannacotta with mango and passionfruit and coconut crisps. We then pass out and watch some cheesy Christmas carols or TV and then drive off for Christmas dinner at my mother in laws. Phew! HILA Israeli In Israel the majority of people celebrate Hanukkah in December. Christmas is mostly celebrated by the Christian Arabs who make only a small percentage of the population - and yet, they make Nazareth, Jaffa, and part of Jerusalem very festive & colorful. As an American-Israeli family we like to celebrate both holidays. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights is celebrated by lighting the Menorah every night for eight days. We sing the holiday songs, eat traditional doughnuts and fritters – mostly fried food to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah (the legend of the tiny bit of oil that made light for eight nights instead of only one). We do try to balance it nicely with healthy salads, wine, and Christmas ham. In Hanukkah the kids play with dreidels, collect gold chocolate coins, and of course gifts are a big part of the holiday. Our home is


CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS 11

filled with warmth & light from the menorah candles, blending with the lights on the Christmas tree. We love inviting our friends in Singapore (family) to celebrate and hum along as we sing the Hebrew holiday songs. CHARLIE Australian / British As an Australian, it is hard for me to separate Christmas from summer. Christmas starts in the first week of December. We have a Santa advent calendar that I hide around the house and the kids have to play “hot or cold” to find it somewhere in the house. The lead up to Christmas is full of long leisurely days with BBQ’s in the evening and catching up with friends and family. On Christmas Eve the kids leave a carrot on the grass for the reindeer and a tipple and mince pie for Santa along with a letter that they have written to him. During the night of 24th December, the children are told that Santa flies around the world pulled by a group of reindeers, visiting all the children to leave a stocking of gifts. When the kids wake in the morning they open their stockings full of little gifts and chocolates. The bigger gifts from family are placed under the tree in the week before Christmas and once the extended family is all gathered on 25th December, we drink champagne and eat canapes and open gifts. Despite the fact it is usually a hot sunny day, we enjoy a Christmas meal for late lunch - roast turkey, glazed ham, vegetable salads, roast potatoes, stuffing and gravy. Regardless of who is hosting Christmas, my Mum always makes a traditional English Plum Pudding for dessert and she hides coins in the pudding for each of the kids to “discover”. Before eating it, Dad douses the pudding in brandy and helps to set it alight while we all “ooh”

and “ahh”. After lunch, we head down to the beach or if we are in the City, to the park. The next day is Boxing Day and it is the start of the cricket. So the day is spent at the beach, listening to the cricket on the radio and eating left overs. Christmas is happiness and sunshine. HELENE French Traditionally, the French would celebrate Christmas with their family on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, Parisians take a walk along the Galeries Lafayette to admire the department stores’ magical, spectacular Christmas window displays, while eating roasted chestnuts they bought from a street vendor. Some families go to mass in the evening - Midnight mass is still a religious tradition for many. At night, children, parents and grand-parents reunite to share a festive meal. Foie gras, oysters and smoked salmon for starters, a stuffed turkey as main dish and the traditional dessert called “bûche de Noël” (Yule log) are some of the delicacies the French place on their dining table. Not forgetting champagne of course! Depending on the family tradition, they would unwrap their gifts before or after dinner on the 24th. For those who respect tradition, the unwrapping of gifts laid under the tree by Père Noël will happen on the 25th in the morning. French people place a pair of their favourite shoes under the tree so Father Christmas can “give” to the right person. The French usually meet on Christmas Day (25th Dec) as well, to share another festive, gourmet and never-ending family lunch.

Boxing Day is not celebrated in France but we do celebrate Epiphany (the visit of the 3 Kings to baby Jesus) on January 6th. On this day we meet to share a Galette des Rois (Kings’ Cake). Joyeux Noël à tous! Merry Christmas to you all!


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A T I M E TO G I V E While Christmas is often marketed as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ for some the reality can be acutely different. This year has brought certain hardships into full focus and it’s worth remembering that while we may be all weathering the same storm we are not all in the same boat. And as we hug our loved ones a little closer this year we should bear in mind that there are many in the community who may be in need of a little kindness. ’Tis the season of goodwill after all and for that there are many ways we can each do something if we can. Be it donating items or money to charitable causes or bidding for auction lots raising money for charities across communities affected by COVID-19 around the world. Donating is clearly a straightforward and effective approach in this pandemic period. However, the option to volunteer time may prove to be more rewarding. Volunteering also enables all the family to get involved. It is never too early to teach children the importance of being kind to others and to appreciate that not everyone is as fortunate.

W O R D S Ts a r a C h i a p p i n i


CHARITY AND GIVING

giving.sg is a platform that matches donors and volunteers to charities in Singapore on either a ad hoc basis or regularly. Some roles may require a specific set of skills but the majority of needs are accessible to everyone and causes range from helping the elderly to supporting children and youth groups. One project is looking for those with a love of art and craft to help decorate a home of senior citizens in Serangoon. The minimum age for helpers is 13 years old and a love of creativity is a pre-requisite. Visit the website or the instagram page @giving.sg for updates and details on how to help build and be a part of a #cityofgood. Then there is Willing Hearts Singapore, a secular nonaffiliated charity that operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes 6,500 daily meals to over 40 locations island wide 365 days a year. Beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low income families, children from single parent families, migrant workers or those on the bread line. The centre actively encourages volunteers to get stuck in. Roles include preparation of ingredients, packing lunch boxes, cleaning and washing up and general help. Children from as young as five are welcome as long as they are supervised. Understandably there will be concern on how to keep volunteers safe during the crisis but all individuals will adhere to

the general safe measures set out by the government and a little bit of common sense goes a long way. If however, time is short and you’d rather donate money the following suggestions of causes close to home and abroad may help point you in the right direction: Via the Ray of Hope crowdfunding charity website (fully certified), It’s Raining Raincoats (IRR) founded by Dipa Swaminathan, a Harvard educated lawyer and Singaporean in 2015 was created to help improve the lives of migrant workers. The raincoat symbolises the protection IRR provides them from their metaphorical thunderstorms. The charity has been arranging thousands of meals and providing care packs, data card top ups and essentials since the outbreak started. While there was an outpouring of aid during the peak of the crisis, some of their sources of funding are starting to run out so any support is appreciated. We Give Collab - is a sales platform on Instagram set up by four French ladies who want to support communities that are being affected by COVID-19 in France. The principle is simple and combines solidarity and play: partner brands and artists donate creations which are for sale on their Instagram page @we_give_collab. There is a post for each item on sale and participants comment /

bid and once the playing period is over, the We Give Collab team give a virtual hammer blow, the winning participant pays the pledged amount and then receives the item from the brand. While the French site is up and running the UK version is set to launch shortly and aims to support causes assisting women suffering domestic abuse and families struggling to afford to feed their families around the country. Childfund Australia is an independent international development organisation that works to reduce poverty for children in many of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Their Gifts for Good campaign aims to deliver joy during the festive season. Gifts include COVID-19 protection kits, a safe and sound bundle including blankets and mosquito nets, and fruit trees and vegetable seeds to enable self-provision. Whatever your situation and feelings towards charity at Christmas, Celeste says it best, in the annual Christmas advert from the UK stalwart retailer, John Lewis, this year when she sings the words ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful, if everyone gave a little love’. Thats definitely something we can all get behind.

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Gather your friends a n d s e t t h e t a bl e for a gorgeous Christmas celebration


ENTERTAINING 15

S E T T H E TA B L E C r e a t i n g a b e a u t i f u l t a bl e s e t t i n g f o r p e o p l e t o e n j o y a m e a l t o g e t h e r i s p o s s i bl y o n e o f m y f a v o u r i t e s t y l i n g m o m e n t s. H e r e a r e m y t o p t i p s f o r t h e p e r f e c t t a bl e s e t t i n g. . .

1. Place Names Are Not Needed. If these are good friends joining you for Christmas day, let go of formality. I am not a fan of place names. This isn’t a wedding - it’s lunch with friends, so ditch the pretty Pinterest version of tablescapes that include place names. Let people sit where they want. If you have invited good friends everyone will enjoy each other’s company so there is really no need to make sure certain people sit together. I always find that conversation flows so much more when you feel relaxed about where you choose to sit and who you chose to sit next to. 2. There Are No Rules. Don’t worry about following fussy ‘rules’ around how to set the table, instead bring some personality to your table. Gone are the days where cutlery needs to be laid out “just so” and in the correct order. Use your eye and a sense of style to decide on where to place the cutlery - on top of the plate, all to one side of the plate, or on either side of

the plate in a traditional format - the choice is yours. Think about the overall style of the table and allow the elements of the table such as napery, cutlery, glassware and florals to follow suit. If you are creating an informal share table, you may wish to place all the cutlery in jars dotted down the table. 3. Have A General Theme Having an idea of a general theme for your table will help you to make styling decisions. In the following pages I am giving you three looks which you can use as a guide. Having a colour palette you are sticking to is a sure fire way to keep your table looking cohesive. 4. Don’t Obstruct the View It can be quite frustrating to not be able to see the people sitting opposite you, so try to keep items in the middle of the table low level, or slim enough that they can be seen through. A wonderful table setting will add beauty and a sense of occasion to the meal but shouldn’t impede the real reason

that everyone is gathered around the table in the first place - which is to socialise, chat, have fun and enjoy a meal together. Don’t let the styling overtake practicality. 5. No Scents Keep the scented candles for another area of the house. You don’t want your guests to be trying to enjoy their smoked salmon while breathing in ‘frangipani’. Keep candles to unscented versions and try and use florals that are not heavily scented as well. 6. Get the Basics Right A beautiful linen tablecloth and some lovely napkins will go a long way to making your table look gorgeous. Add in any kind of greenery or florals and you are 90% of the way there. 7. Practice Ahead of the Day Set up one place setting ahead of the day and have a general play with florals or greenery so you know how you will set up the table on the day.

W O R D S , S T Y L I N G A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y: C h a r l i e C a m e r o n


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1

Option

A TO U C H O F T R A D I T I O NA L

S T Y L I N G A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y: C h a r l i e C a m e r o n


ENTERTAINING 17

Top clockwise: Gingham napkin in ‘petrol’, Linen placemat in petrol edging, Stonewashed vintage cutlery, glass tumblers in blue grey, all Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Crackers homemade. Fir wreath excluding decorations, Far East Flora


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ENTERTAINING 19

SH OP TH E LOOK

Cone and Tape Candles

White linen tablecloth

Stonewashed Vintage Cutlery Set

Gingham Napkin in Petrol

Red, silver, navy and a touch of white is the perfect palette to create an up to date traditional Christmas table. Add Italian stonewash vintage cutlery and some traditional Christmas greenery to complete the look.

Candle Buying Guide: Dark Red Dusty Red Silver White

Linen Placemat in Petrol Edge

Blue Grey Glass Tumbler


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TA B L E S C A P E H OW- TO A To u c h o f Tr a d i t i o n a l


ENTERTAINING 21

Step 1: Lay your tablecloth, placemats and place your candles. Once your table linens are laid, start by placing your candles down the centre of the table. Space them unevenly to create interest and mix the height, colour and style of candles between tapers and cones.

Step 2: Add greenery. This centrepiece of greenery was created using artificial moss as the basis. It is a great alternative to real moss as it can be stored in a bag and reused. It has a lovely soft realistic texture and is easy to use. For this look we used a combination of ‘medium green’ and ‘lichen’ moss to provide variety and depth of colour. For a table of 8-10 guests, I suggest 2 bags of each variety. Once your moss is placed, add pine cones and small glittery baubles Nestle them throughout the moss.

Step 3: Add LED battery lights Once the greenery is all in place, wind LED bud lights through it. Tuck the wires in amongst the greenery and hide the battery pack under the moss. Step 5: Finishing touches Make or buy a cracker and place at the top of each place setting.

Step 4: Place your napkins Tie your napkin in a knot and place it on top of your plate. Add a sprig of greenery and a pinecone.


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Option

MODERN AU S T R A L I A N


ENTERTAINING 23

Top clockwise: Glass tumblers in olive green Shop Lottie Lifestyle, Dinner plates Crate and Barrel, Sabre bamboo cutlery, Gingham napkins in kaki, all Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Crackers homemade.


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ENTERTAINING 25

SH OP TH E LOOK

Cone and Tape Candles

White linen tablecloth

Sabre Bamboo Cutlery

Gingham Napkin Set in Kaki

Candle Buying Guide: Olive green Dark green Gold Mint green Misty rose Pale pink

My take on a modern Australian tablescape that brings a pretty, but laidback, approach to Christmas styling. Kaki greens, soft peachy pinks and a pop of orangey-red from native flowers.

Olive Green Glass Tumbler


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TA B L E S C A P E H OW- TO Moder n Australian


ENTERTAINING 27

Step 1: Lay your tablecloth and place your candles. Start by placing your candles down the centre of the table. Space them unevenly to create interest and mix the height, colour and style of candles between tapers and cones.

Step 3: Add LED battery lights Once the greenery is all in place, wind LED bud lights through it. Tuck the wires in amongst the greenery and hide the battery pack under the moss.

Step 2: Add greenery. As with the traditional setting, for this look we used a combination of ‘medium green’ and ‘lichen’ artificial moss to provide variety and depth of colour. For a table of 8-10 guests, I suggest 2 bags of each variety. Next, de-pot a variety of mini succulents and nestle them at intervals in the moss. Keep the roots of the succulents in tact and put the soil to one side so you can repot them afterwards.

Step 5: Place your napkins For this look I folded the napkin in half and then in thirds lengthway. Easy.

Step 4: Lay your plates, cutlery and glassware

Step 6: Finishing touches Make or buy a cracker and place on top of the napkin. For a burst of colour, we also added the head of a protea to each place setting.


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SINGAPORE MINIMALIST


ENTERTAINING 29

Top clockwise: ‘Ripple’ tumblers The Editors Market, Stonewash vintage cutlery, Gingham napkins in perle, all Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Crackers homemade.


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ENTERTAINING 31

A contemporary sophisticated Christmas tablescape in silvers and whites. White orchids add a touch of Singaporean beauty.

S HO P THE LO O K

Cone and Tape Candles

White linen tablecloth

Stonewashed Vintage Cutlery Set

Candle Buying Guide:

Gingham Napkin Set in Perle

Dark grey Light grey Silver White


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TA B L E S C A P E H OW- TO Singapore Minimalist


ENTERTAINING 33

Step 1: Lay your tablecloth and place your candles. Start by placing your candles down the centre of the table. Space them unevenly to create interest and mix the height, colour and style of candles between tapers

Step 2: Add florals. For this table setting I used small phalaenopsis orchids snipped from a potted orchid. I used vintage glass jars, but any small clear glass vases or jars will work. Place the flowers unevenly between the candles.

Step 3: Place your napkins For this table setting I folded the napkin long ways in 3 and then let it hang down over the plate.

Step 4: Make mini wreaths Take a small sprig of eucalyptus and gently bend it into a circle shape. Using f loral wire, secure the circle by winding the f loral wire around the sprig. Allow some of the leaves free for a more deconstructed wreath look, or tuck them into the circle and use f loral wire to secure if you want a perfect circle. Leave as is, or embellish as I have done here with a mini silver bell, a homemade star ornament and a tag with a Christmas message.

Step 5: Add glassware, cutlery and a cracker. Make or buy a cracker in silvers and whites. Add vintage stonewashed cutlery and crystal glassware to complete the look.


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A contemporar y Christmas menu

RECIPES Angie Ma

S T Y L I N G A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y: C h a r l i e C a m e r o n


FOOD AND ENTERTAINING

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LET THE FEASTING BEGIN What to cook on Christmas Day? If this was a typical Christmas then the answer might be simple - it would probably be whatever you usually cook. British...? It's likely to be roast turkey and glazed ham. French..? It seems that foie gras and oysters are the go. And if you are Swedish, then you will probably find yourself looking forward to pickled herrings. So whilst the meal we create on Christmas Day can encompass a range of delights depending on where we come from, one thing should always be common - the food needs to be delicious, somewhat fuss free (to enable us to entertain and enjoy the day) and able to be shared. When it came to creating a Christmas menu for this issue, I turned to my friend and Founder of Once Upon A Secret Supper, Angie Ma. She has created a menu that will appeal to many - it is delicious, contemporary and has a lightness that means you can feast all day. From cheesy garlic pull-apart bread to roast pork belly with the crispiest of crackling, there is a little something in this menu for everyone.


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FOOD AND ENTERTAINING

Start as you mean to go on... Spiced Pear Prosecco served with Smoked Trout, Fennel and Herbed Crème Fraîche blinis, and Oysters with an Asian style dressing.

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Pear, Cardamon and Prosecco Cocktail - for 6-10 cocktails

Smoked Trout with Herbed Crème Fraîche and Fennel

Oysters served with Asian style dressing

Christmas is all about bubbles! This is a super easy cocktail made with a fragrant, cardamom syrup that can be premade and put in the fridge a week before. All you need to do on the day is fill the glass with the pear, cardamom syrup and top with some chilled prosecco. Viola!

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller Makes 20

We always have oysters for Christmas as a treat for the adults to pair with Champagne. They are the perfect party starter in the Singapore heat. This asian style dressing is delicious and super easy as it can be pre-prepared. I’ve found an oyster supplier in Singapore that delivers lovely shucked Canadian oysters for a very reasonable price. Details on where to buy below.

Ingredients: 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1-2 large strip of lemon peel 14-16 cardamon pods 2 medium pears peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes Bottle of brut prosecco chilled Slice of pear and sprig of thyme or rosemary for the garnish Method: Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamon pods and remove the outer shell. Then grind to crush the seeds but not into fine powder. Place the pear, sugar, water, lemon peel and cardamon pods over medium heat until it boils. Reduce to medium heat and gently simmer 20 mins. The pear should be super soft. Leave to sit 30 mins so all the nice cardamon spice infuses into the syrup. Strain and remove the lemon zest and large cardamon seeds. Push the soft pear through the sieve to make the puree. There will probably be some small cardamon powder left, just leave it in. Pour into the jar and fridge until serving. It will keep 1 week in the fridge. For the cocktail fill the glass with ⅛ to ¼ cup of syrup (depending how sweet you like it), top with chilled prosecco and garnish with a slice of pear and thyme.

Ingredients: 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly shaved on a mandolin 1/2 lemon juiced, or to taste 1 golden shallot, finely chopped splash of extra-virgin olive oil salt and fresh pepper to taste 200 gm smoked trout Herbed crème fraîche 300 gm crème fraîche Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon ¼ garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tbsp each finely chopped chives, spring onion and dill Method: For herbed crème fraîche, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and refrigerate until required. Combine fennel, lemon juice, shallot and olive oil in a bowl, season to taste and toss to combine. To serve, top blini with herbed crème fraîche, smoked trout and a little fennel salad, and dress with an extra frond of dill.

Ingredients: 2 dozen shucked oysters 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons sugar 1 lime leaf with middle vein torn out and very finely chopped into small pieces 1 small red chilli deseeded and thinly slices 2 tsp very finely chopped coriander Spring onions finely sliced for garnish Method: In a small bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar and mix until sugar dissolves. Add lime leaf, chilli and coriander and mix well. You can pre-prepare this earlier and then put in the fridge until serving. Just before serving, Place the oysters on crushed ice, spoon on a tablespoon of dressing and garnish with finely chopped spring onions.


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S HO P THE LO O K

Spectra Cocktail Glass www.maissone.com

Cowrie Cheese Board www.maissone.com

Handmade Ceramic Platter www.shoplottielifestyle.com

Brass Dessert Fork www.shoplottielifestyle.com

Top clockwise: Handmade ceramic platter and brass forks, Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Appetizer plates, napkin and dip bowl, stylists own. Previous page: Spectra cocktail glass, Cowrie Cheese Board, Glitter Baubles and Succulent Wreath, all Maissone. Vintage mirror tray, styists own.


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WORDS Angie Ma

S T Y L I N G A N D P H O T O G R A P H Y: C h a r l i e C a m e r o n


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CHRISTMAS TREE CHEESY GARLIC BREAD OMG! This is the reaction when friends and family bite into these cheesy, garlicky hot bread balls of deliciousness. This is the recipe that takes the most effort but it is so worth it. You can make it on Christmas day or it is also good as a canape for Christmas drinks. It is essentially a pizza dough filled with mozzarella and brushed with garlic, herby butter. Makes 32 bread balls. INGREDIENTS 500g bread flour, sifted and extra for flouring surface 250ml warm water 15g of instant dry yeast 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tsp salt Pinch sugar

250g shredded mozzarella cheese 1 egg beaten for egg wash 100g butter melted Handful of rosemary and parsley finely chopped 2-3 garlic cloves minced

METHOD Dissolve instant yeast and pinch sugar with about half of the water 125ml for about 5-10 mins until frothy. Add flour to the mixer bowl and on low speed add the frothy yeast/water mixture. Then slowly add the rest of the water and olive oil and salt. If you don’t have a mixer, just bring together the flour and wet ingredients slowly with a wooden spoon and then your hands. If the dough isn’t coming together add a little more water 10ml at a time. Add only enough water so it comes together in a ball. If it gets sticky add a little more flour. Knead on low speed for 10 mins or with hands for 10-15 mins. You know it is ready when you punch your finger in and it bounces back and is elastic. Oil the bowl lightly with some olive or vegetable oil and place the dough in and cover loosely with a damp, clean tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place about 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the fan forced oven to the highest setting 240-250C. Punch the dough down and knead a little until a ball and divide into half. Put one ball back into the oiled bowl and cover so it doesn’t dry out. With the other ball, divide into 16 equal pieces (you will need to divide the other ball into 16 pieces as well later making 32 pieces). It’s best to use a kitchen scale for this. It will be approximately 25g per ball. Cover the balls loosely with another clean, damp kitchen towel or cling film so they don’t dry out. With each ball knead a little, bring the corners in a few times to make a ball to strengthen the dough. Then roll into balls and flatten into a disc. Get a nice big pinch of mozzarella cheese and shove into the centre. Bring the corners in and roll into a nice ball shape. Place on a very large baking tray. You will want to get 7 balls at the bottom row of the tree. Cover loosely with cling film so it doesn’t dry out. Repeat for each ball and then make a row of 6 above, 5 above and so on until just 1 at the top of the tree. Add a final 2 balls at the bottom to make the tree stump. You might have 1-2 balls left. Just place these randomly on the side as these can be your taste testers. Brush with egg wash and bake in a super hot oven for about 12-16 mins until golden brown. Whilst baking, melt the butter in the microwave or small saucepan and add the chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the bread is out of the oven, brush immediately and generously with the garlic, butter mixture. Enjoy hot out of the oven!


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FOOD AND ENTERTAINING 43

Soft warm dough balls glazed with salty garlic butter and stuffed with mozzarella...this Christmas tree bread is a huge crowd pleaser.

Above: Vintage stamped spoon Shiva Designs Bespoke. Dip bowl and ribbon, stylists own.


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FOOD AND ENTERTAINING

Perfect Pork Belly and Crackling with Poached Spiced Apples Feeds 8-12 people This is a foolproof pork belly and crackling recipe. The brilliance of this recipe is that it can be made in the morning and put aside so you can free up the oven for potatoes or bread before Christmas lunch. If you can, buy a quality piece of free range pork. The secret to a good crackling is to dry out the skin and remove the moisture as well as scoring the skin well. Start the preparation the day before as you will need to dry out the pork in the fridge. Ingredients: 2kg of quality free range pork belly 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds Cracked pepper 3 bay leaves 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil 1- 1 ½ glasses of dry white wine 1-3 cups of water 4-5 apples peeled and just cut halfway, seeds in ok 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon vinegar Juice of ½ lemon ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon allspice You will need a retractable craft scalpel - ensure it is clean Aluminium foil Method: Wash and pat dry the pork belly with paper towel. Pat it very dry to get rid of the moisture on top and bottom. Place in a medium sized roasting try, cover with a tea towel and lay in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin and ensure there is no moisture.

Preheat the oven to very hot 220230C. Make a triple layer aluminium rectangle boat for the pork, with the 4 edges being no more than 1cm wider than the pork. In mortar and pestle grind the spices finely, then add coarse sea salt, pepper and grind roughly and set aside.

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add a bit more water if you need to. Cook on low temperature for about 2 hours. At about 1 hour, add another 1-2 cups of water so that the meat doesn’t dry out but keep the water under the top layer of fat. Check that pork is soft and falling off by lifting and pulling out a bit of pork with a fork. If it is still tough put the pork back in for another 15 mins or until soft and easily falls off.

Use a stanley knife to cut into the skin and fat in lines 1cm apart. Adjust the depth of the knife to be deep enough to cut into the fat but not cut into the meat. These deep cuts will help the skin crisp up. Massage a bit of olive oil onto all sides of the pork. Rub the salt/ spice mix very well into skin and into the crevices. Ensure the salt/ spice mix gets into the crevices as the salt will react with the pork to make the crackling.

Toss apples with honey, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, spice. Place cut side down in a small roasting tray at the low temperature 160C oven whilst the pork cooks for about 3045 mins until very soft. Spoon over juices halfway through cooking time. Take out of the oven and rest aside.

Place the triple lined aluminium boat in the medium sized roasting tray, put the bay leaves at the bottom and lay the pork inside. Ensure the sides are snugly against the meat no more than ½ cm away. This boat will capture the rendered fat and the pork will cook in its own juices so it doesn’t dry out.

Alternatively let it sit in the kitchen uncovered until 20-25 min you are ready to serve. Heat oven to 160C and warm the pork and apples for 10-15 mins before serving and let it sit for 10 mins to let juices seep back in. The crackling should be hard and crunchy and pork will be soft and juicy. Carve with jagged bread knife to cut through crackling and soft pork.

Roast on high heat 220-230C for 40-50 mins until golden brown and when you tap it with the back of a knife it is hard and sounds hollow. If some parts are still not hard and crunchy, add another 5-10 mins in the oven. Open the oven and crank down the heat to 160C. Pour in the wine and 1-2 cups of water into the boat. You want the liquid to reach just below the fat layer so

Let the pork rest for at least 15 mins before carving to let juices to seep back in.

Place the cut pork on a large wooden board with a bowl of spiced apples.


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Perfect Roast Potatoes Par boiling them is cooking them halfway so that they will be fluffy on the inside when you cook them on high heat in oil in the oven. You can par boil them earlier in the day and set aside, then roast and crisp them up just before serving. Ingredients: 1kg potatoes washed and peeled Olive oil 4-6 garlic cloves crushed 2 sprigs of rosemary Salt and Pepper Olive oil or Vegetable oil Method: Pre-heat oven to very hot 220230C. Cut the potatoes into small thumb sized pieces. Ensure the potatoes are cut to the same size. In a medium to large saucepan boil water to par boil the potatoes. Place the potatoes carefully into the boiling water. Depending on how big the pieces are, cook for about 5-8 minutes in boiling water until you can poke a fork through easily. Using a colander, drain the potatoes and shake the potatoes around to break the sides a little. This makes them fluffy and crisp up better later. In a small roasting pan warm olive or vegetable oil about 0.5 cm deep for 10 mins. Carefully add the rosemary sprigs, crushed garlic cloves and potatoes, some cracked pepper and generous amount of salt into the hot oil. Roast for 25-40 mins on high 230C turning after 20 mins. The length of time will depend how big your potatoes pieces are.

Season with more salt and pepper if you like and serve. Orange, pomegranate, mint and spinach salad

SH OP TH E LOOK

This is a lovely fresh salad with juicy oranges, tart yoghurt dressing and vibrant pomegranate red and mint green colours to complement the pork. Perfect for the humid hot Singapore weather. Ingredients: Salad 4-6 juicy oranges 250g baby spinach washed and dried Handful of mint leaves Half red onion chopped finely into rounds Seeds of half a small pomegranate Dressing ½ cup of natural greek yoghurt Squeeze of lemon Zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon of honey Pinch of salt Method: Cut the peel off the orange and slice into nice rounds wheels. Place spinach in the salad bowl and place orange, mint leaves, finely chopped onion and pomegranate on top. Mix the yoghurt dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle on top. Add more pomegranate seeds and mint as garnish.

Sabre Bamboo Cutlery www.shoplottielifestyle.com

Handmade Ceramic Salad Bowl www.shoplottielifestyle.com

Gingham napkin in Kaki www.shoplottielifestyle.com

Handmade Ceramic Platter www.shoplottielifestyle.com


FOOD AND ENTERTAINING 47

Juicy roast pork with the crispiest of crackling is perfectly accompanied with a fresh zesty salad and everyone's favourite roast potatoes

Above: Handmade ceramic platter, salad bowl and servers, all Shop Lottie Lifestyle. French vintage board, vintage knife, small side bowl and ribbon, stylists own.


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S P I C E D G I N G E R B R E A D, S A LT E D C A R A M E L & C H O C O L AT E TA RT


FOOD AND ENTERTAINING

Spiced Gingerbread, Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart This classic salted caramel, chocolate tart is made Christmassy with a spiced sweet pastry. The combination of butter pastry, salted caramel and chocolate is the perfect indulgent ending to an epic Christmas meal. It’s best to make this dessert the day before or even 2 days before so you have one less thing to worry about prepping on Christmas day. No sugar thermometer required. Ingredients: Sweet pastry 320g plain flour 100g packed brown sugar 180g cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes 1 tablespoon of ground ginger ½ teaspoon of allspice ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon of salt 1 free range egg yolk 2 tablespoons of iced water Salted caramel 380g caster sugar 190 ml water 85g butter 180ml cream Pinch of salt Chocolate glaze ½ cup cream 140g good quality 70-80% dark chocolate chopped For Decoration Cherries or cranberries Egg white Caster sugar Rosemary sprig Large tart tin 10 inches/25cm wide Baking paper Baking beads or Rice Method: Start by making the pastry case. Make sure you have the air con on so the

butter doesn’t melt too quickly in the Singapore heat. Put flour, sugar, salt, spices in a bowl and mix. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mix until you have rough crumbs. Or use the low setting on the mixer/processor until you get crumbs. Just make usre to not overmix! Add egg yolk and mix with a wooden spoon or mixer on low speed. Then add iced water slowly a little at a time and use your hands to slowly bring together the dough to form a ball, pressing the dough bits together. Flatten into a round disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. It keeps well in the fridge so you can even prep the dough the 3 days before. Preheat the oven to 160C. Place a round circle of parchment paper on the base of the tart tin and butter the sides of the tin so ensure the pastry doesn’t stick. Roll the pasty about 5mm thick and then place on tart tin and use a butter knife to cut off the excess. If there are cracks, seal with some extra pastry and smooth. Prick the base with a fork. You will have some pastry left over which you can put in the fridge to keep for up to 3 days or freezer for 1 month. Place a large piece of parchment paper to cover the entire pastry and weigh down with baking beads or rice ensuring all the sides are weighed down. Bake blind for 25-35 mins until light brown. Then remove baking paper and baking beans/rice (save the rice in jar for next time you need to bake blind). Bake for another 10-15 mins. You know it is ready when you poke the middle and it is crumbly and doesn’t indent. Put aside and cool. In a small bowl melt the butter and cream - either in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Set aside.

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In a medium metal stainless steel saucepan (you don’t want to use a black/dark saucepan as you won’t be able to see the colour of the sugar change), cook the sugar on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do NOT stir! Then turn up to high heat and boil. Do not stir. Keep a watch when it starts to turn light yellow as in a few minutes it will turn light golden to light copper. When the colour turns amber copper colour, take off the heat and very carefully slowly pour in the melted butter and cream and whisk in. Be careful pouring as the cream will react with the hot syrup and will splatter. Return to low heat and stir constantly for 5 mins until syrup has thickened. Add a pinch of salt and then set aside to cool for 10-15 mins. Then pour into a pastry shell and put into the fridge to set at least 30 mins. For chocolate ganache, put chopped chocolate into a medium sized bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until just boiling and pour on chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted, mixed in and glossy. Pour onto the chilled caramel and set for at least 1 hour. I like to make this dessert the day before so there is less prep on the day. For decoration you can brush some cherries or cranberries and rosemary with white egg and then sprinkle with caster sugar. Put in the refrigerator to set and become hard. Bring out of the refrigerator 10-20 mins before serving to bring to room temperature so the caramel is easier to cut through. Garnish with sugared cherries, cranberries and rosemary.


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CHRISTMAS BAKING


FOOD AND ENTERTAINING 51

Bring a festive feel to your home with some Christmas baking. Involve the kids and make gingerbread cookies to give as gifts or loop with string and hang on the tree as decoration. Above: Ceramic tea-light houses and glitter baubles both Maissone, Linen napkins in ‘tobacco’ Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Vintage wooden spool, scissors, glass vase and string, stylists own. Fir branch from Far East Flora.


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SHOP THE LOOK

Glzed House, Tall www.maissone.com

Glazed House, Short www.maissone.com

Wooden Bauble ‘Lichen’ www.maissone.com

Mini-Sugared Baubles www.maissone.com

Sabre Bamboo Cutlery www.shoplottielifestyle.com


FOOD AND ENTERTAINING 53

SPICED GINGERBREAD COOKIES I love making spiced gingerbread decorations for the tree and for gifts as it fills the house with a lovely aroma of warming Christmas spices. My two boys love Christmas baking too so it is a family event in the lead up to Christmas. The wonderful, intoxicating smell of baking gingerbread reminds me wandering the gorgeous little Christmas markets in Austria, Germany and Northern Italy. One year I spent Chriistmas in Krakov, Poland and literally every shop, restaurant, square had gingerbread tree decorations so when you enter, the smell of a crackling fire and gingerbread just engulfs you. Happiness! INGREDIENTS 3 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoons of baking soda or powder 1 tablespoon of ground ginger 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon of ground cloves ⅓ teaspoon of ground nutmeg ⅛ teaspoon of ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon of salt ¾ cup of unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup of dark brown packed sugar 1 large egg, room temperature ½ cup molasses or dark corn syrup Royal Icing 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups of sifted icing sugar 1 egg white 1 teaspoon of lemon juice Piping bag and small nozzle

METHOD In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and spices and side aside. In a mixer, beat the butter, sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat on medium speed until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be thick. Divide into thirds and form into a ball and flatten into a disc, Wrap with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Put the air con on so the dough doesn’t soften too quickly. Remove the dough and let it sit for 5-10 mins before you are ready to begin rolling out the dough. Preheat the oven to 180C and line baking sheets with baking paper. Take out one of the discs and roll the dough until ⅛ inch thick. Cut the dough using Christmas shaped cutters and transfer to the baking sheet. If your kitchen is very warm I suggest rolling out the dough on the baking paper and then pulling off the dough around the cookie cutter so you minimise moving the dough and becoming soft. Baking 6-8 mins until they turn golden brown on sides and become a little crisp. Cool on the baking sheet before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely. To make the royal icing put sifted icing sugar into a medium sized bowl. In a very clean mixer bowl add the egg whites and lemon juice and a few spoonfuls of the icing sugar. Mix on medium speed and keep adding a little bit of icing sugar slowly at a time. When all the icing sugar is incorporated beat on high until stiff peaks form. You should be able to tip it upside down and it wont fall over. Put a little icing into a piping bag and ice your cookies. Alternatively place in a sealed container with cling film snuggly on the icing so there is no air in contact with the icing and it doesn’t try out. Once your cookies are iced, you can put them in a large airtight container to dry overnight on the bench or in the refrigerator. Place on the Christmas tree or wrap as gifts.


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CHRISTMAS FOOD W here to go and what to buy THE ESSENTIAL LIST OF SUPPLIERS FOR ALL YOUR FRESH FOOD REQUIREMENTS


WHERE TO SHOP - FOOD 55

THE FISHWIVES, Cluny Court Turkeys and hams are available now for preorder from The Fishwives at Cluny Court. Their delicious Hams are certified free range from Barossa Valley in South Australia and they are also offering a ham glazing service - either fully glazed or completely prepped ready for the oven.

You will also find Welsh Red Currant Jelly and Cranberry Sauce and Wicks Manor sausage meat for stuffings. Sashas Fine Foods also stock a small range of organic vegetables including brussel sprouts and parsnips. If you are looking for alcohol, they stock Silent Pool Gin , Prosecco and French Champagne

Their turkeys are sourced from France and are brined and oven ready - they also offer a thawing service for the turkeys as they are frozen.

https://sashasfinefoods.com/collections/sashaschristmas-shop

You can also find ethically sourced wild caught seafood , King prawns, Tiger prawns and whole or sides of Akaroa, New Zealand Salmon.

LITTLE FARMS Novena, River Valley and Holland Village

The Fishwives also stock lots of Panettone and Christmas puddings including Gluten free and Vegan options from Australia, as well as a variety of cakes, biscuits and chocolates and a divine French Champagne . Fishwives also have range of Christmas Hampers, and are very happy to make up a custom one for you too. https://thefishwives.com/ SASHAS FINE FOODS Sashas Fine Foods bring in Wicks Manor hams from the U.K, and Rhug Estate Organic Geese (unfortunately the cut off date was November 12). They are currently sold out of their Kelly Bronze Turkeys but stay tuned as they are hoping to get more in. They still have triple terrine of Scottish salmon available as well as Beetroot Gravlax and sides of Mt.Cook New Zealand Salmon.

Little Farms have ready to cook festive fare for preorder by December 17th. Items include Norbest Turkeys and Amaretto Glazed Turkey Breast Roulade, half leg Greenvale Hams, house rubbed lamb roast and King Island ribeye In addition, they have an already cooked selection for pre-order from the Little Farms Cafe by December 7th, for delivery between December 22nd - 26th. This includes maple walnut glazed roasted turkey, balsamic and honey glazed bone-in ham, roasted Free Range chickens and rosemary potatoes , sweet potato casserole and parmesan crusted sprouts. You’ll also find Chocolate Yule Log Cake , Berry Napoleona Log Cake and a range of Pannetone and chocolate treats . Little farms have a huge range of delicious fruit , vegetables as well as condiments and dressings. They also plan to have Festive Hampers available this year. Contact them for more information. https://littlefarms.com/


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HUBERS BUTCHER , Dempsey Huber’s have an extensive range of festive products for preorder by December 15, for delivery 19th December and self collection until the 24th December. There you’ll find turkeys of all sizes, defrosted by delivery, duck, goose and hams that have been cooked and scored or glazed for you. There is also beef, lamb, pork and venison and four different ready to cook stuffings. As well as a huge range of condiments, stocks , gravies and jus. They also have a range of chocolates, cakes, biscuits, cheeses and fresh vegetables https://www.hubers.com.sg/

All these are available for preorder only and there is a discount if you order before December 4th. Ryan’s carry a lovely range of wild caught fish and seafood from Noosa seafood in Australia. They have seasonal pies and desserts and a couple of new festive Hampers one of which is gluten free. https://www.ryansgrocery.com

THE PROVIDORE, Tan Boon Liat Building The Providore have a choice of 22 lovely festive hampers as well as some fab ‘Festive Tipple’ gift sets, a range of Panettone, fruit cake, chocolates, delicious condiments and cheeses and a Provençal chocolate Advent calendar.

CULINA , Dempsey

https://shop.theprovidore.com

Culina have Deistel Turkeys currently available and will be receiving their hams in early December.

QUEER BEETS , Greenwood Ave

They have a regular selection of meticulously sourced seafood and fresh vegetables and cheeses and festive treats from France and Italy

New kid on the block, Queer Beets, are bringing beautiful Daylesford Products from the UK into Singapore, among other delicious things.

They also do beautiful bespoke hampers filled with their carefully chosen range of products . https://www.culina.com.sg/

They currently have available Daylesford organic Christmas cakes and traditional puddings, a limited number of candied peel panettone and their jelly folk trees.

RYANS GROCERY , Great World City and Binjai Park

In early December they will have organic hams from the UK and sides of organic Irish salmon and Irish smoked salmon , all in limited quantities.

Here you’ll find high quality festive fare especially catering to various dietary requirements. This year they some lovely precooked , ready-toheat-up choices of precooked organic turkeys, roast beef and roast pork. They also stock frozen Norbest and organic Diestel turkeys , pork, Wagyu beef and ribs, prepared lamb crown and beef wellington and a Turducken all ready for you to cook at home.

Queer Beets also stock organic vegetables boxes, and a range of honeys, teas, biscuits and candles all of which would be lovely in a homemade hamper.


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SIDECAR HANDCRAFTED Sidecar have expanded from just handcrafted sausages to an entirely hand picked, all natural additive free, online Gourmet Butcher and Deli, just in time for the holiday season. These guys really know their food and here you can find ranch raised Turkeys, a variety of delicious hams, Irish ducks, Australian lamb and beef as well as carefully sourced seafood, a variety of pates and caviar along with their handcrafted in Singapore gourmet sausages. They also have a range of precooked ready to eat offerings available also. Stock is limited stock, so preorder your Christmas delivery by December 14th https://sidecar.com.sg VERDOORA Verdoora are known for their beautiful fresh produce from Italy arriving into Singapore each week - take your pick from burrata, parmesan and a variety of Parma hams and charcuterie, fresh tomatoes and Mozzarella - all of which you can find these on their website.

partners, they are always great at guiding you toward suitable choices for your occasion. You can also purchase one of their gift baskets and make up your own Hamper . https://www.cheeseshop.sg BOLOGNAIISE - The Fab Food Collective Delivers fresh, hearty, small batched comfort food to your door. Their Christmas menus will be out early December, but check out their Beef Wellington, Salt Baked Sea Bass and Roast Chicken to see what’s in store. And I’m sure their amazing looking pies - Cherry, the beautiful reimagined Apple and Lemon Meringue Pies would be delicious on any Christmas table. Follow them on Instagram to find out their monthly menus and for their online order form . https://www.instagram.com/p/ CGPIN9VneR7/?igshid=1nsyas1wu71fn PHOON HUAT

They also have personally sourced the best Classic Panettone and Pandoro (available for preorder until November 15).

A great place for all your baking ingredients. There are several outlets or you can visit their online shop at Redman.

https://verdoora.myshopify.com/

https://www.phoonhuat.com

THE CHEESE SHOP

THE OCEAN MART

The Cheese Shop has two locations now in Joo Chiat and Jurong as well as their website for easy online ordering.

Order your oysters shucked or unshucked. They have very good quality Canadian oysters and offer delivery. Get your order in early.

If you need help choosing from their extensive range of cheeses, charcuterie, wine and a variety of cheese

https://theoceanmart.com


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HOME / LIFE Issue 4

OH CHRISTMAS TREE WORDS Josephine Byrnes


CHRISTMAS DECORATING

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T H E WO N D E R F U L A RO M A O F P I N E W H E N YO U S T E P T H RO U G H T H E F RO N T D O O R I N S TA N T LY S AY S “ C H R I S T M A S ” The possibilities for a modern Christmas tree are endless and while in the Tropics you may want to hang stars from a Frangipani, drape a Palm with twinkling Toucans or grab a dry branch and cover it in paper snowflakes, however if you find yourself hankering for familiar traditions and all the Christmas magic that go with them, here are some spots to start your search for your traditional tree this Christmas.

Noble, Nordmann or Fraser Fir...which fir tree is best? The Noble Fir has long been considered the “King” of Christmas trees. It has a rich fragrance and regularly spaced branches and a smooth taper from bottom to top with a bluish green tint. Noble fir trees have a naturally symmetrical shape, with wellspaced, sturdy branches that are perfect for displaying ornaments. The firm needles tend to fold upward on the branch. It has good needle retention when properly cared for and its scent is pleasantly strong and long-lasting.

The Nordmann Fir is a full tree with bigger rounded needles, a deep rich color, dense foliage and light fragrance. The Nordmann Fir is a very full tree in terms of both branches and foliage. The needles are a dark green with a glossy upper-surface and a contrasting silvery white undersurface. The Nordman fir has excellent needle retention that makes it a great choice for any climate. Its light scent makes it a good choice for people with allergies.

The Fraser Fir is a uniformly pyramid-shaped tree with strong branches that are turned slightly upward giving the tree a compact appearance. It has a lovely balsam scent. The underside of the needles have a silver appearance, and the branches are quite stiff which make the Fraser an excellent choice for hanging ornaments.

Previous page: Image by Olenka Sergienko


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W H E R E TO BU Y ?

FAR EAST FLORA , GARDEN CENTRES www.fareastfloragarden.com

JI MEI FLOWERS www.jimeiflowerscom.sg

One of the best ranges of real Christmas trees in Singapore. They import from the US both the Noble and Nordmann Fir trees.

Beautiful Noble and Nordmann fir trees available in all sizes and they’ll open a few of your size for you to choose from and also offer a disposal service

The trees range from 4ft to 11ft , though sadly their larger trees are in short supply this year, due to fires at their supplier during the summer. They have multiple locations (some under different names) and all locations display trees in rows for you to choose from. Shipments come in from early November to early December Order by 30 November for discounted prices. Disposal service also available - ask when buying or choose option if buying online. Far East Flora, Thomson 555 Thomson Road Singapore 298140 Far East Flora, Queensway 590 Queensway Singapore 149072 Goodwood Florist , Thomson 565 Thomson Road Singapore 298184

SING SEE CHOON 5 Simei Lane , 528710 www.singseesoon.com/collections/christmastree ECO-SCAPE 201A Jalan Eunos, 415803 https://www.eastec.com.sg Both of these nurseries bring in Fraser Firs. They are available to preorder now with disposal option, on the above links. SONG LANG GARDENS 378 Tanjong Katong Road, S437134 www.facebook.com/SongLangGarden

Bedok Garden & Landscape No.4A Bedok South Road Singapore 469279

Whilst they don’t offer their trees as early as some of the bigger nurseries, if you like getting your trees a little later and for a decent price then Song Lang Gardens is a good choice

CANDY HORTICULTURE www.candy.com.sg

PRINCES NURSERY 53 Sungei Tengah Road, S698998 www.princelandscape.com

Noble and Nordmann fir trees in lots of sizes including very large ones as of writing. All are available to preorder with disposal service, or walk in from mid November

You’ll need to preorder your trees early at Prince’s. The regular sized ones usually go pretty quickly , but you might be in luck if looking for bigger sizes here


CHRISTMAS DECORATING

CORONA FLORIST AND NURSERY 388F Clementi Road, S599473 www.corona.com.sg The same goes for the unfortunately named Corona Nursery- a great option for those in the west, but they sell out quickly , so get your order in! IKEA www.ikea.com Alexandra and Tampines If you love a Scandinavian tree (called a Caucasian Fir which is another kind of Nordmann) then head to Ikea. These firs have wide, sparse, super strong branches that provide lots of space to hang beautiful decorations. Available in two sizes - 1.6 or 2m, the trees include a base and are very affordable. Unfortunately, you can’t see them unwrapped, but my experience is they are lovely trees and last for ages. Just remember that you’ll need to organise your own disposal. Head into a store to choose your Christmas tree, they are not available to order online. If a faux tree is more suitable for you, below are some recommendations. VANDA WIN 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #03-25/26/27, KINEX, Singapore 437157 http://www.vandawin.com.sg It’s always fun to have a wander around They have a good range of quality faux trees , they’ll advise how to get the most out of them and how to set it up for maximum magic at home. POLLYANNA CONCEPTS https://pollyannaconcepts.com Pollyanna Concepts make quality faux foliage and

supply faux trees to Tangs, Orchard and Vivocity Metro, Paragon and Takashimaya. MASON DECOR https://www.mason.com.sg/shop/christmas/ christmas-trees/ Mason Decor have a range of realistic faux trees.

BALSAM HILL https://www.balsamhill.com If you are looking to invest in a faux tree for years to come, the most beautiful faux trees can be found in the U.S at Balsam Hill. You will need a freight forwarder and be prepared for the shipping costs but this is truly a place where you can dive into Christmas heaven.

DECORATING YOUR TREE For some lovely quality tree ornaments that are a little bit more special, try Maissone www.maissone.com Stylodeco www.stylodeco.com Crate and Barrel www.crateandbarrel.com For plain baubles at affordable prices, try Ikea www.ikea.com The christmas pop up shops held at the basement of Tangs, Ngee Ann City and Paragon

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A SYMBOL OF HOPE AND HAPPINESS Our guide to buying a wreath


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Previous page and above: Wreaths by Charlotte Puxley

W O R D S Ts a r a C h i a p p i n i

The home is set to be at the heart of our Christmas celebrations this year and while many of us may wrestle with the disappointment of not travelling away or being with overseas relatives, the simple pleasure of decorating the home with stunning Christmas decorations will not fail to uplift the spirits. What better than a Christmas wreath, it’s very symbolism meaning everlasting joy, filled with fragrant foliage, some with dried fruit, others with decadent ribbon to evoke festive cheer. As a former Londoner, nothing would quite ignite the excitement for Christmas like the sight of wreaths of all shapes and sizes popping up on doors of houses and buildings in the capital. The Christmas wreath on the door holds a promise of festivities inside be it by way of a mince pie, glass of bubbles or a fire raging in the hearth. While we may not require the fire in the tropics, the wreath is still a sure sign of a warm welcome and a promise of something special to come.


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The Wildflower Florist https://www.wildflower-florist.com For green lovers wanting to create the wow factor, look no further than the splendid wreath of fragrant eucalyptus, thistle, nuts and other seasonal offerings in a loosely-styled display, tied with an olive green ribbon by The Wildflower Florist. This larger than life wreath will not fail to be a talking point for any guests visiting over the festive period. Available from 1 - 23 December Size: Base 35cm, completed wreath 45 - 50cm Price S$158 Order two days in advance. Delivery will be complimentary but limited slots are available. Grandiflora x Culina at Como Dempsey https://www.grandiflora.sg Grandiflora x Culina at Como Dempsey has created understated and elegant wreaths with an emphasis on a natural, textured and organic look using firs, pine cones with flashes of colour from seasonal flowers. Each piece will be similar but different in its own special way depending on what materials are available at the time of ordering. The wreaths come with a hanging hook and come in a variety of sizes. Available from 16 November. Last order date 18 December Sizes range from 22cm, 25cm and 35cm Prices from S$250 for the 22cm, S$350 for the 25cm, and S$500 for the 35cm Order one week in advance. Complimentary delivery island wide.

Charlotte Puxley https://charlottepuxleyflowers.com The divine multitasker comes from Charlotte Puxley. These elegant and luxurious creations can be used

traditionally on the front door, or add a touch of magic to the table. The wreaths are handmade using fresh pine foliages and a selection of dried elements with christmassy hues depending on what style you choose. For those that love the glamour of golden touches the majestic Golden Greetings will appeal, Rolling with the Reds offers tons of festive red, or Nude by Nature has a paired down elegant feel thanks to its earthy tones and dried apple. Each wreath comes with a touch of glamour by way of a Tencel linen ribbon in either navy, red or cream and you also have the chance to add a candle and holder if using it as a table decoration. The wreaths come in three different sizes. Available now. Last order date 16th December Size: 12 inches, 14 inches, 16 inches Price from S$145 for 12 inches, S$200 for 14 inches, S$265 for 16 inches Order three days in advance. Delivery from S$18 Guaranteed to last one month.

Ask a French Flowers https://askafrenchflowers.com A delicate and whimsical creation by Ask A French Flowers offers an artistic interpretation of the festive tradition inspired by the simple beauty of wild nature and a still life painting. Made from dried and preserved flowers, no arrangement is ever the same. A perfect choice for those wanting something a little different. Available now. Delivery until 23 December. Size: 30cm Price: S$160 including delivery Orders must be placed 24 hours minimum in advance. Contactless delivery included or pick-up in Joo Chiat/ East Coast Road between 12pm and 6pm.


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Raffles HRH Queen Elizabeth II once famously told The Cambridges to ‘enjoy Singapore when in Raffles’. For a touch of Raffles at home over the festive season, look no further than their classic fresh wreath, specially created by floral artists to evoke grandeur and glamour. The bountiful display includes fragrant eucalyptus, pine cones, white berries and natural dried cotton flower buds. Price: S$150 Size: 36cm Collection & Delivery begins on 15 Nov - 27 Dec at a flat fee of $25 per location. Please allow 2-3 days from placing the order for delivery to be arranged. Silk Flowers Singapore https://silkflowerssingapore.com For those eco-conscious shoppers, keen to purchase something that can be lovingly packed away each Christmas and brought out again and again. Silk Flowers Singapore has created two wreaths this year using artificial foliage, flowers and berries including high quality silk eucalyptus and hydrangeas on a wooden base wreath and pomegranate and pine cones on an evergreen base. The wooden wreaths will be available to purchase on their website but if you wish to see both creations in person the team will be appearing at a festive pop up on the island towards the end of November. Stay tuned to their website for more details. Price: S$140 plus $10 for battery operated lights $5 delivery cost on orders below $150. Complimentary deliveries on orders on and above $150. Wreaths are pre-made and will be delivered within 1-3 days.

Make Your Own Wreath Workshops https://www.creativeworkz.com.sg And for those who frankly want the chance to do it themselves then there are a host of wreath making workshops. Not only giving the opportunity to try something new but to feed creativity and allow a moment of escapism with friends in a light-hearted environment. One workshop is being held by Creativeworkz Floristry Academy located within Goodwood Florist on Thompson Road. Scheduled on 19 December from 2pm - 4pm, the team will show you how to create a simple but stunning wreath using fresh pine and an assortment of seasonal greens touched with soft dusty pinks and hints of gold for a traditional feel. Price: S$107

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR WREATH FRESH To keep the pieces looking beautiful over the festive period our florists shared the following tips: • • •

keep out of direct sunlight For moss backed wreaths an occasional spray of water will help prolong its life Eucalyptus does not require water and will dry out perfectly


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HOME / LIFE Issue 4

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

WORDS Simone Jackson ST YLING & PHOTOGRAPHY Charlie Cameron


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As a recipient of a plastic bag hastily thrust upon me with mumbled seasons greetings (thank you dear husband) I can appreciate the effort of a gift wrapped item. Growing up my mother owned a homewares shop. Each Christmas, with her business partner, they would plan a gift wrapping scheme. Red and green would never been seen… far too obvious. Some years they would go wild with hot pink and orange (it was the 1980s) whilst others were kept classic with bottle green and silver. I am sure many of the customers came to the shop just to make sure they had a beautifully wrapped gift under the tree. A wrapped gift adds to the element of surprise and thought behind showing someone you care. The moment where you peel back the paper brings out the child in everyone. Gift wrapping does not need to be expensive or fussy and importantly, it is possible to be eco-friendly. Sophistication and sustainability can coexist. Most gift wrapping paper is not recyclable so sticking to classic brown paper is the best base. If you are keen on printed paper look for locally produced and printed with vegetable ink. To keep the eco credentials strong try washi tape in a contrasting colour or craft brown to camouflage with the paper. Taking inspiration from my mother create a colour palette and do not feel constrained by the traditional colours - blush, saffron and forest green all complement each other. Both gold or bronze can provide a touch of glam. Classic textured ribbon such as velvet or grosgrain add a luxe look. Beautiful ribbon can be reused for future gifts, hair accessories, napkin rings or even curtain ties. Brown string provides a lovely earthy feel. Wrap it several times around a package and adorn with foliage such as rosemary, eucalyptus or olive twigs. All dry wonderfully so can be left under the tree in advance. Grab some twigs and tie together to make misshapen stars. Cinnamon sticks, dried orange or gingerbread people can be lovely touches as well. Though might be Christmas comes early for our local insect friends. To really make an effort try spritzing your package with frankincense or pine oil or attach muslin bags of cloves and star anise. Christmas scents can instantly transport us to another time and place. Shipping tags are classic, practical and not just for Christmas. Add your own touch through stamps, calligraphy or try you hand at marbling. And for those large and awkwardly shaped items a paper tablecloth or a sheet work perfectly. Wrapping always seems to take longer than you think so try to allow plenty of time and make sure you have some treats by your side and don’t forget the extra tape.

Above: Brass scissors, ‘There’s No Time Like the Present’ ribbon, both Shop Lottie Lifestyle. Brown and white paper, Art Friend. Washi tape, Daiso. Shipping gift tags hand made by Simone Jackson


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HOME / LIFE Issue 4

BEAUTY AND THE BHUTANESE

GIFT GUIDES T h i s y e a r, i f y o u c a n , t r y a n d s u p p o r t s m a l l b u s i n e s s e s l o c a t e d i n S i n g a p o r e f o r y o u r s t o c k i n g f i l l e rs o r g i f t s u n d e r t h e t r e e . H e r e i s a r o u n d u p o f w h a t I a m l o v i n g.


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Gift Guides

FOR THE HOME

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1. Kettle Teapot, Glass $165 Maissone | 2. Broome Oyster Fork Set of 4 $39 Affordable Style Files | 3. Dinosaur Designs Tortoiseshell Salad Servers $180 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 4. Gingham Napkin set of 6 in ‘Summer Sorbet’ $125 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 5. Hexa Brass Candle Tray $89 Maissone | 6. Bud Vase Set of 4 $69 Maissone | 7. Sabre Set of 4 ‘Vintage Cream’ Cutlery $85 Shop Lottie Lifestyle 8.Sabre Bamboo Butter Knife $24 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 9. Walter G Krabi Guava Set of 4 Napkins $70.90 Affordable Style Files 10. Marrakech Flair book $140 Bungalow 55 | 11. Bottle Grinders $149.95 Maissone | 12. 24carat Gold and White Salad Servers $165 Bungalow 55 | 13.Cowrie Cheese Board Square $39, Maissone | 14. Elsyee Champagne Glasses set of 4 from $85 Bungalow 55


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GIFT GIVING

Gift Guides

FOR THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE

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1. Travel Trivia $29.90 Affordable Style Files | 2. Cocktail shaker gold $82 Maissone | 3. Cocktail Bar Set gold $95 Maissone | 4. Men’s Linen Pyjama Shorts in Lake Blue $85 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 5. Monograph Playing Cards $29 Maissone | 6. Saya Shave Lotion $32 Affordable Style Files | 7. Uashmama Roma Grey Small $299 Affordable Style Files | 8.”Off Scot Free” letterprress gift certificate $16 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 9. Fever Tree The Art of Mixing book $39 Maissone | 10. Hamilton Decanter $295 Bungalow 55 | 11. Set of 3 Notebooks ‘Victories, Regrets and Expectations’ Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 12. New Vintage 4 Piece Duncan High Ball Glass Set $295 Bungalow 55 | 13. Versailles Coaster Set $125 Bungalow 55


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Gift Guides

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1. Camille Trinket Dish $55 Bungalow 55 | 2. Bjork & Berries Botanist Hand Cream $30 Ulo Travel | 3. Frankincense & Juniperberry Essential Oil $49.90 Affordable Style Files | 4. Eve Lom ‘Kiss Mix’ Lip Balm in Demure $42 Ulo Travel | 5. Cami Top in ‘Howie’ $85 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 6. Synergy Oil Burner $209 Affordable Style Files | 7. Lalla clutch in ‘Poudre’ $89 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 8.Pyjama shorts in ‘Howie’ $85 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 9. Vanderohe No. 1 Purifying Cleansing Oil $132 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 10. Vanderohe No. 1 Enhancing Perfume Oil $70 Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 11. Jaja Hammered Bangles $160, Ashepa | 12. 24carat Gold and White Salad Servers $165 Bungalow 55 | 13. Maison Balzac ‘Bonne Nuit’ candle $70, Shop Lottie Lifestyle | 14. Tangier Sq Box With Lid $75 Bungalow 55


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E AT I N G OUT Satiate your wanderlust and Christmas spirit by visiting a pocket in Europe without your passport. Intimate gatherings in cosy settings are so 2020 and festive dining does not need to be limited to the big day, many restaurants are creating sensational seasonal dishes to make this time of year extra special. Booking a table could be the much needed antidote to not being able to travel

WORDS Simone Jackson


EATING OUT

THE ENGLISH HOUSE BY MARCO PIERRE WHITE 28 Mohamed Sultan Road, 238972, Singapore +65 6545 4055 / WhatsApp: +65 9021 3170 info@theenglishhouse.com Part whimsy, part nod to the colonial past The English House by Marco Pierre White wraps you up in the elegance of yesteryear. Marble topped furnishings sit in a warm candlelit glow. Quirky memorabilia and a black and white picture gallery of Britain’s who’s who provide oodles of eccentric English personality. The Festive Menu embraces traditional favourites such as turkey (Royal warranted from the Rhug Estate) and trimmings including pigs in blankets and bread sauce followed by Christmas pudding. Festive Menu available: 1st – 23rd & 27th – 30th December/ Christmas Menu available: Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day/ Boxing Day THE FAT PRINCE 48 Peck Seah Street #01-01, Singapore 079319 +65 6221 7794 info@fatprincesg.com The Fat Prince is reminiscent of a London gastro pub. The alchemy of low lighting, club style furniture and jewel toned velvets make it very easy to settle in and enjoy the atmosphere. The impressive bar sits like a jewel in the crown. Perch on a stool and enjoy concoctions such as Meyhane Delirium (milgaro tequila, pomegranate, citrus, cardamon infusion tonic). Sticking to its Mediterranean menu the food may not be the usual Christmas fare, however the festive menu pulls out some spectacular dishes including Flame Grilled Argentinian Red Prawns with Green Gazpacho and Spiced Roasted Duck Breast with Caramelised Endive and Pumpkin Puree. There is no such thing as bad ordering at The Fat Prince.

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France. The sort of place you would like to think you discovered, however the booked out tables tell otherwise. The service is warm and sommelier ready to recommend the perfect French wine to accompany your meal. True to its Burgundy roots the menu includes traditional terrine, endive salad and of course Boeuf Bourguignon. In addition to the normal menu there will be some Christmas specials selected for this time of year including Pan seared Foie Gras, French Oscietra Caviar and Baked-oven Mont d’Or Cheese. Closed on 25th & 26th Dec THE WHITE RABBIT 39C Harding Road Singapore 249541 +65 6473 9965 eat@thewhiterabbit.com.sg The White Rabbit at Dempsey offers an immediate sense of reverence and occasion. The high ceilings of this former church create wonder and the circular banquettes are perfect for an intimate huddle with friends or special family meal. Enjoy an alfresco aperitif at The Rabbit Hole. A hideaway with both classic and contemporary gin cocktails garnished with herbs from the garden and house-made tonic. Throughout December there is a festive three-course set lunch ($48++). The European inspired menu features BeetCured Salmon, Ibérico Pork Collar Ham and Persimmon Carpaccio. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day also have special prix fixe menus. OSO 27th Floor, Oasia Hotel Downtown, 100 Peck Seah Street, S079333 6327 8378 reservations@oso.sg

There is a set menu option or a la carte. Christmas Special (Available from 14 to 24 December 2020): Set menu priced at $98++/person

Oso Ristorante’s menu may not be the cure but is certainly the balm for anyone dreaming of Italy. Outstanding dishes such as homemade ravioli filled with roast turkey or roasted pork, in porchetta style, served with braised chestnuts and hazelnuts are just a hint of what is included in their extensive December set menus.

BISTRO GASTON 25 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089132 +65 6909 8120 info@bistrogaston.sg

If you could eat Christmas the dessert menu would be it Panettone cake served hot with mascarpone mouse or Alps mountain spring pine frozen semiffreddo with carmalized pine kernals. Dining chair travel does not get much better than this. Buon Natale!

Stepping through the doors of Bistro Gaston is like blinking then opening your eyes to a cosy, rustic restaurant in rural

3 course set Lunch at $48++ per guest (Available from 1 – 30 December except on 25 – 27th December)


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STRESS AND THE FESTIVE SEASON ‘tis the season to be jolly?

WORDS Helen Barker

For all the wonderful joy that goes along with this time of year, it’s also the time when we can feel at our most stretched, stressed and, quite frankly, overwhelmed. So how to keep the stress in check, keep our Christmas cheer and avoid mulled wine fueled meltdowns?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you not to drink the mulled wine. That would be silly. I’m also not going to preach about the importance of preparation; making gravy months in advance, having all your presents wrapped and ready by October, sending 100 hand written Christmas cards with perfect photos of your children in festive attire on the front… none of these are in my personal repertoire, so I’m not going to tell you they should be in yours. Plus, from a mental health perspective the idea that these sorts of things constitute the benchmark of what is required for a happy Christmas to occur is, I find, distinctly unhelpful. Unless you enjoy doing them of course… then (santa) hats off to you.

just try hard enough, is the root to your own special version Christmas insanity. People are people. Sometimes lovely, sometimes irritating, even (often) those we love. They do not magically stop being these people at Christmas, despite the best efforts of many a marketing campaign to persuade us otherwise.

So here’s, the thing. The idea that this one period of time can be made perfect, joyful, beautiful and happy if you

We don’t stop feeling all the feelings, in fact we feel them all the more. Our relationships, our children, our own

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments of family joy, hilarity and general good cheer. But, for most of us, these will be punctuated by some combination of dissatisfaction, frustration, tiredness, sadness, loneliness and indigestion. That’s normal (the last one maybe less so, you might want to ease off the mince pies).


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parents, the values, beliefs and traditions of our youth. Things come into play at Christmas that for the remaining 11.5 months of the year are of no consequence whatsoever. I remember feeling downright furious with my husband for his reticence for us to attend a family service on Christmas morning when we were newly married. When he questioned the logic of my unwavering commitment to this once a year churchgoing given the absence of any religious belief in my day to day life I was aghast, ‘THAT IS WHAT WE DO AT CHRISTMAS!’. I mean he may as well have asked me why I insist on making outdated 1980s canapes or start drinking after breakfast, or why a box of Quality Street* is required. It just IS. PERIOD. So here it comes, step one in my Christmas guide to keeping your sanity. 1. Know your triggers and plan for them Do you feel your blood pressure rising as the kids rip off the wrapping like feral beasts whilst looking for the next present on the pile? Make a plan, now. Games in between, a family secret santa to reduce gift amounts, spacing the gifts out over the day, whatever works. And if they’re old enough then talk to them about it so they’re involved – small people are often surprisingly resourceful in suggesting solutions to the issues we fret over for them. Are you worried about getting emotional on face time to family you can’t be with? Consider sharing with them now how you’re feeling and working out together, in advance, how to make your Christmas connection time fun and special. Funny hats, quizzes, memory games, cooking shared recipes, all can help to bring you closer and to create a special feeling despite the distance. And there’s nothing wrong with a good cry together too on the day, but having a shared plan where you acknowledge how you are likely to be feeling can dissipate the fear of ‘what if I cry’ for them, as well as for you.

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menus, decorations, gift sourcing all can be divvied up and assigned. With a bit of creative thinking even the youngest and oldest members can ‘do’ something. We do a ‘secret santa’ each year where everyone pulls 2 names out of a hat for the extended family and is given a budget, and access to wrapping paper. Does it always work perfectly? No. Is it ‘good enough’? Yes. Make that your mantra and you’ve got a chance of coming out of this feeling on the right side of the Christmas cheer equation. Do you tend to get overdone and exhausted by Christmas day and spend it feeling a bit short tempered and strung out? Book yourself some ‘me time’ beginning, middle and end of your festive season. Whether it’s a drink with a friend or some scheduled time to just disappear quietly on your own, having this planned in advance can be a lifesaver. Don’t hesitate, do it now. Ok, so now you have your ‘triggers’ under control we’re ready for step 2. 2. Busting that stress. Here’s a science thing. The stressor and the stress are not the same thing. Err what? The stressor is the source of stress, eg, fitting your Christmas shopping around your already overfull work / life schedule. The stress is the effect of this on your brain and body. We tend to focus on the former, as a way of trying to alleviate the latter. This doesn’t work, because that’s not how we are designed. Knowing this is key.

Do you take most of the responsibility for Christmas on your shoulders and end up feeling a bit overwhelmed?

Let’s break it down. In this example I have a whole bunch of feelings and thoughts about the Christmas shopping that I’ve yet to do. These trigger a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that are released into my system each time I have a thought or feeling about the shopping. And because the task isn’t usually completed in one big event, these continue to be released. There is no proverbial escaping the sabre tooth tiger and arriving home back safe to the village. The adrenalin, cortisol and so on continue to be elevated inside us, with a long term corrosive effect. That ‘strung out’ thing we get? - this is what causes it. So how to get it ‘out of our system’?

Assemble a team. Who else is part of your Christmas? Everyone should have a role. Games, dishes, activities

Well the good news here is that there are choices – its not a one size fits all approach. But the ways our bodies process


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the stress fall into 2 main categories; 1. movement and 2. connection. Movement. So this might be running or anything that gets your heart rate up for at least 5 mins, or until you feel the stress in your body start to dissipate (not everyone can sense this, it takes practice) eg. •

Busting out 5 mins of moves to your favourite tracks

Star jumps / going up and down the stairs / jogging on the spot / Taking a brisk walk

And if exercise isn’t a good option for you then this works a treat

Lying on your bed and progressively tensing every muscle / area of your body for 10-15 secs, getting the muscle or area as tight as you possibly can, the releasing. 2 rounds of the whole body is ideal.

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Now I am aware that connection is not as easy to come by in these times of enforced aloneness. But the good news for those at home without pets or people to hug, (or that they want to hug) is this – connecting to your own breath can do the job. For a proper stress regulator try this: Breathe in for 4, hold for 7, breathe out for 8. Do this for at least 5 minutes or for as long as feels comfortable. Do NOT do this whilst driving, roasting your turkey or anything that requires even moderate concentration. It puts some people to sleep in minutes. Seriously. For a mid turkey crisis technique try this one instead, breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4. Enough to stop the cycle, unlikely to leave you kipping on the kitchen floor. My go to for that is the mulled wine. Happy Christmas everyone x

Connection. We are hardwired for affection, and this is as useful in regulating the stress response in our bodies as movement. Both together work wonders. So what is ‘enough’ affection to regulate our system? Well this varies by individual and by the stress response evoked, but the following are all proven to be effective: •

A long, tight hug. Over a minute is ideal. You may need to explain this to your hugger first ;) Anyone will do.

A long (5 minute) snuggle and play with a pet. Any mammal is good. I’ve never met a reptile who can snuggle.

A good long kiss (yup, that’s a proper snog where I’m from). Not your average married one mind. We’re talking 5 mins of pashing.

Looking into the eyes of another human being for at least 2 minutes without looking away. Awkward if not explained. Still a bit awkward even then, but properly wonderful. No requirement for you to know or even like this person for it to work. Clever that.

Helen Barker is a Singapore based Psychologist and Coach. She works with individuals and businesses, helping them to navigate the messy complexity of work and life, to get better at what they do, and to find joy and meaning along the way. As a mum of four boys she feels particularly well acquainted with the full remit of Christmas stressors, which this year she plans to solve via the mediums of chocolate log cake, red wine and taking her own advice (maybe). www.theilluminatedmind.com


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