With the recent establishment of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, those of us in Singapore will be able to travel, quarantine-free, to a total of 11 countries – Brunei (closed for leisure travel), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, the United States, and South Korea (from November 15 onwards).

As much as we’re all thrilled to travel overseas again, travelling will not be as easy of a process as it was pre-pandemic. With all the extra regulations implemented to ensure the safety of all travellers, the whole process to travel overseas can get understandably confusing for some. If you intend to travel using the VTL scheme and are in the midst of researching how it works, here’s a comprehensive guide on quarantine-travel to save you all the hassle and stress.

How the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme works

The VTL scheme applies to all those who are considered fully vaccinated, meaning that two weeks must have elapsed since you’ve received the full regimen of any vaccines on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (which includes Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).

Under the VTL scheme, fully vaccinated Singaporean/PR travellers will no longer need to quarantine at the destination country and upon return to Singapore. Instead, you will be required to take a number of Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests, depending on the regulations set by your destination country and Singapore.

While it is generally not required by most countries (with the exception of South Korea) to take a designated VTL flight to your intended destination, it will be mandatory for you to take a designated VTL flight back to Singapore in order to be exempted from quarantine upon arrival.

VTL flights available

These are airlines that are currently offering VTL flights: Singapore Airlines (SIA), Scoot and national carriers of the countries under the VTL scheme.

Pre-departure checklist

To keep things simple, here’s a checklist of the obligatory tasks that you need to complete before your departure from Singapore:

Digital PDT certificate

Upon receiving a digital PCR-test results certificate issued to you by the clinic, you will need to digitally authenticate and endorse this certificate via https://www.notarise.gov.sg/ before you travel. This indicates that your result and certificate was legitimately issued and authenticated by MOH.

After notarising this certificate, a QR code of your digitally authenticated and endorsed test certificate will be e-mailed to you within 15 minutes. For those who have presented your NRIC at the clinic, your SingPass app will also have this QR code stored in your account. Present this QR code to foreign immigration and customs authorities to verify the authenticity of the digital certificate.

Arriving at your travel destination

Besides the mandatory pre-departure tasks, it also strongly recommended for you to check the MFA website for the latest advisories applicable to the country that you’re visiting, as well as to visit the embassy website of your destination country to keep yourself informed on the relevant health requirements imposed on travellers from Singapore (e.g. PDT or vaccination certificates).

Embassy websites

Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Britain, and the United States

Heading back to Singapore

As mentioned above, to complete the VTL scheme, you will need to book a VTL flight back to Singapore. Additionally, you will also be required to take 2 PCR tests to re-enter Singapore – one to be done 48 hours before departure to Singapore and the other done upon arriving in Singapore.

The pre-departure test to Singapore must be taken at an internationally recognised or accredited clinic, laboratory or medical facility. You should also obtain a copy of the test result that meet the following conditions:

The on-arrival test in Singapore will cost $160 (including GST) each, and you are strongly advised to register and pay for the relevant tests via the Safe Travel Concierge (STC) website provided by Changi Airport. After this test, you must remain self-isolated until the result is confirmed to be negative. In this time, you should not take the public transport and avoid coming into contact with other household members who do not have the same travel history, arrival date and self-isolation requirement.

Children under 12

Children under 12 are ineligible for vaccination, and thus, have to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult who is also travelling under the VTL scheme. This is generally the guideline for the other countries, with the exception of South Korea, who does not allow children or people who are unvaccinated to travel under the VTL.

This information is valid as of October 20 2021.

In an accelerated digital age, consumers are given the freedom and tools to share their opinions  widely and easily. Add on the global agendas to combat climate change, challenging social and political issues, plus a pandemic — we can agree that we’re riding a huge wave of change. As communicators, it’s never been more important to be deeply entrenched in our clients’ brands and extend our positions from being the connector between the media and our clients, to being fierce brand guardians with strong commercial acumen. 

Market prediction and being industry experts are crucial for public relations practitioners to become proactive drivers of change. In this article, we unpack big changes that have been shaking up the industry and present the top 5 trends that PR professionals need to adapt to to  remain relevant and competitive. 

Sharp, measurable results beyond ‘PR value’ 

A decades-old point of contention in the PR industry has been how PR success is measured. Through the years, agencies have worked out various mathematical formulas to place a commercial value on earned media, often defined as ‘PR value’. But as the world becomes more sophisticated, how do smaller businesses — who may not necessarily invest in proprietary technology — measure consumer sentiment and outcome? This is where, we believe, developing tailored deliverables that are tied to commercial success is key. Whether a  campaign drives an increase in room nights over the same period, or driving page visits from a specific piece of content, PR teams need to put on their mettle and demonstrate the power of great storytelling.

Well-researched, socially-aware campaigns

In this era, consumers are not simply demanding quality products but are actively sourcing purchases that align with their personal values and commitments. With more people putting conscious consumption into practice, highlighting your clients’ ethos and commitment to social responsibility will play a big role in reaching your target audience. As consumers are constantly being exposed to advertisements and products pitching for their attention, providing meaningful creative content will ensure better reception. Finding platforms and social media channels that will give brand leaders an opportunity to voice their views can allow consumers to connect with the brand on a greater level by understanding the heart and mind behind it.

Selecting relevant and socially responsible KOLs

How long has it been since a Kardashian-endorsed product generated sky high sales? Besides, a celebrity level budget being out of reach for many brands, finding KOLs that demonstrate authenticity is becoming a rarity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as when brands do manage to find the right one(s) to collaborate with, it could go a long way in generating brand love. PR agencies should be aware of potential KOLs on multiple levels – micro, macro, and nano – as well as what this means in multiple markets and social media platforms, as well as the average engagement levels  of influencers. Be an avid user of social media, so that you can keep an eye out for upcoming talent which could allow you to foster important relationships early on. 

Rethinking events and consumer activations

In most countries, the road to opening up after the pandemic has been slow which means the possibility of holding large scale consumer activations or events in the near future are slim. While this has definitely thrown a cog into the usual running of public relations, it has also been an opportunity for agencies to get creative and even increase their reach and effectiveness in these unprecedented times. Because of this, online and hybrid activities have become more commonplace. And while we’re all eager to see life go back to normal, it is entirely possible that many of these new changes are here to stay even after the pandemic. Therefore, PR agencies should not view this time as a temporary waiting period before returning to traditional consumer activations and events is possible. Rather, effectively experimenting with new strategies and identifying which ones will remain relevant post-COVID will set PR agencies on track to adapt to the long term changes we will see in consumers and their behaviours.

Debunking the traditional definition of PR and deep diving into digital

In an age of algorithms and data-driven marketing, a key question to ask is where PR fits in the consumer journey given these new adaptations. Consistently serving to help clients build relationships and highlight noteworthy aspects of their brand, we believe the PR role remains of high value and acts as the strongest brand guardian in a time of constant change. As PR agencies and in-house teams work more cross-functionally than ever, it provides an opportunity to connect multiple marketing functions to drive better search, earned, and shared results and build a great reputation. In fact, a data-saturated world benefits PR teams tremendously if they are able to capitalise upon it by generating relevant and meaningful content which will translate to better content that drives conversion. 

As we are homebound for the next couple of weeks; takeout meals and food delivery apps are our BFF’S once again. Whilst all of us had braced ourselves for a new phase considering the spike in cases in the community in the past weeks, these new (yet all too familiar) social distancing measures announced last Friday still came as a huge bummer.

But life has to go on. Gym bunnies might take this time to push themselves to achieve their optimal fitness goals with some virtual workout ideas, but here’s something for the rest of us who prefer to seek consolation in the glorious world of food. Since dining-in has been banned until cases in the community are controlled, we’ve rounded up some delicious takeout and delivery options for you to dabao or order in from home.

Delicious doesn’t always mean unhealthy, though! We get that clean eating and plant-based alternatives are all the rage right now, whereas takeout food doesn’t exactly have the best rep for being ‘nutritious’. While we love a carb-loaded meal or two occasionally, these food heroes listed below are proof that takeout meals can be clean and nutritious just as they are satisfying. From fresh, carb-free pasta-like dishes and quality sushi to Israeli street food and authentic Sri Lankan vegetarian fare, there’s little chance that planning your stay-at-home meals will still be a bore.

PASTA BAR BEST FOR GLUTEN-FREE AND CARB-FREE LASAGNE

Famous for their handmade, authentic pasta, we fell in love with their gluten-free and carb-free lasagne options in Circuit Breaker 2020 — and they are currently back on the menu! Our favourites include the Spinach packed vegetarian lasagne that is loaded with green goodness and cheese. If you are looking for a gluten-free, carb-free, and meat-free option, the vegetarian zucchini lasagne ticks all the boxes for a healthful, guilt-free meal. The beef-based zucchini lasagne is also a delicious option to get in a carb-free, protein-packed meal. We have got to have sides and go for their kale salad, and sautéed broccolini are our top picks!

Customers ordering in for the first time can avail of a 15% discount via the code: LOVEPASTA

Their full menu can be accessed here, along with island-wide delivery details or takeaway options.

LUKES CHOPHOUSE BEST FOR WELL-SOURCED SEAFOOD

Luke’s isn’t known to be a ‘healthy’ joint, right? Nope. But their well-sourced meat and fish options cooked to perfection with the best flavours and seasoning hits just the right spot. Their sustainably-sourced, seafood dishes are our top favourites and include the Tuna Tartare, Smoked Trout Dip and Crab Cakes with a side of asparagus. Let’s not forget their delicious Tomato Salad with Seared Tuna and their deliciously nourishing Kale Salad with Seared Tuna.

Their full menu / online shop can be accessed here, along with takeaway details.

PRIVE BEST FOR PLANT-BASED ALTERNATIVES

Prive delivers their entire menu island-wide and boasts an extensive menu of plant-based dishes. From plant-based meat alternatives like Tindle and Impossible, there’s something for the whole household with their wide variety. Check out our top favourites that include the plant-powered breakfast ideal for brunch, the Impossible Sliders and their Hainanese TiNDLE™ “Chicken” Chop.

Their full online menu can be accessed here, along with delivery details.

THE KIND BOWLBEST FOR VEGAN VIETNAMESE

The Kind Bowl was born in line with the current global effort to live sustainably and the greater awareness of conscious consumption. As sustainable consumption and plant-based diets become increasingly popular among Singaporeans, the Kind Bowl offers its customers a one of a kind, nourishing meal that makes you feel good, inside and out. Its menu offers an eclectic array of Vietnamese cuisine that is safe to say it is absolutely ‘pho’nomenal. Our top choices include the Kind Pho bowl and Bahn Mi.

Their full menu can be viewed here, along with their delivery partners and island-wide delivery details.

KOTUWA BEST FOR VEGETABLE-PACKED CURRY

Add some spice to your life with the scents and spices of Sri Lanka right to your doorstep with Chef Rishi Naleendra’s (of Cloud Street and Cheek Bistro fame) authentic menu that serves up a variety of vegetarian curries, string hoppers and kottu rottis. We love their enormous array of vegetarian dishes, which are our go-to on our visits. Check out their delicious sauteed beetroot curry, jackfruit curry, dahl and get a side of pol sambal for good measure.

Their full menu can be viewed here, and they offer delivery options along with takeaway services.

TATSUYA BEST FOR CLEAN, PREMIUM SUSHI

Few do it better than Tatsuya for those looking for good clean sushi that doesn’t get too funky (but still uber premium). Renowned for its top-notch Japanese menu, fans of the restaurant can enjoy various menu items, from Seared Maki to Aburi Sushi. Our top favourites include the assorted sashimi box and the sea eel roll with crispy salmon skin – all packed with omega 3’s.

Orders can be placed via email or phone:

6737 1160 / 6887 4598

Whatsapp them, for the menu: 9325 0907

MIZNON BEST FOR PLANT STUFFED PITAS

A fast favourite among the CBD crowd, Miznon home delivers authentic Israeli street food with the fluffiest house-made pita bread and what we feel are the best falafels in town right to your doorstep. With a wide variety of meat-free options, Miznon offer’s vegan-friendly substitutes as well. It is hard to pick our favourites, but the delicious falafel burger and the white pita take our top spots along with a hearty side of beans.

Their full menu can be viewed here, along with the details of island-wide delivery.

CURIOUS PALETTE BEST FOR A NUTRITIOUS PACKED BRUNCH

A concept by the Stranger’s Reunion, this little eatery situated in the heart of the Bugis area is just as its name suggests and offers fusion concoctions of Eastern and Western dishes. With a menu that spans brunch, dinner, bar-bites and dessert, and dairy-free beverages, there’s something for the whole household round the clock. Our favourites include but are not limited to the roasted cauliflower salad, the curious breakfast and hotcakes (who doesn’t love pancakes?)

Their full menu can be viewed along with the details of island-wide delivery and self-collection.

BEE’S KNEES @ BOTANIC GARDENS BEST TO KEEP THE FAMILY HAPPY

Situated in the heart of botanic gardens, stop by at this delicious little eatery and takeaway some tasty food after a casual jog or cycle around the beautiful gardens. Bee’s Knees has a wide selection of delicious comfort food for breakfast through to dinner. From sandwiches and nutritious grain bowls and pizzas and decadent desserts, a must-try for families with little children. Our personal favourites include their Breakfast bundles (perfect for families) and the Oriental Grain Bowl.

Their full menu can be accessed here, along with delivery details and takeaway options.

GOURMET TAKEOUT’S FROM GRAND HYATT SINGAPORE BEST FOR CHOICE

Whether you’re planning to unleash your inner MasterChef with gourmet groceries this lockdown or daobao a hot feast from one of its award-winning restaurants, Grand Hyatt Singapore’s online shop has it all. You can order signature balanced meals from its famed restaurants like mezza9, Pete’s Place and StraitsKitchen, and even stock up your fridge with the same high-quality and sustainable gourmet produce used in these restaurants to practice your culinary skills at home.

Their food menu and an online grocery shop can be accessed here, along with details on delivery options and self-collection procedures.

The beauty industry is known to be a trillion dollar industry, with Clean Beauty trending in skincare across the world.  The rise of the sustainability movement has never been more prevalent to look after Mother Earth, along with the desire to lead a cleaner lifestyle — including diet— free from toxins, nasties and anything overly processed. But what about our skin? Although there is currently no regulated definition, clean beauty products are designed with a sustainable approach to the health of the environment, planet and our skin. This includes products with non-toxic formulas, plant-based ingredients, cruelty-free certification, biodegradable or recyclable packaging, and transparent labelling. Social impact company abillion published a report on the rise and demand for clean beauty products, with countries like Mexico and the UK showing potential as “emerging vegan beauty markets”.

Evidence of the widespread clean beauty trend can be seen in the rise in demand for vegan and cruelty-free beauty products by consumers alike. Body and skincare products currently dominate the clean beauty market, comprising more than half of all beauty reviews. The abillion report spotlights consumer attitudes towards sustainable beauty and promising markets for skincare, cosmetics, hair and fragrance products. An increase in demand for sustainable beauty options was observed across product types, with body and skincare dominating the market, comprising more than half of all beauty reviews and experiencing 8.5 times growth during 2020. Similar growth rates were also reported for hair and fragrance products.

Indie beauty retailers like Tatcha, Drunk Elephant and Indie Lee were the first few brands in the market that developed a loyal following but individually could not make a dent in the overall cosmetics market. Once consumers became aware of the importance of clean beauty, the demand for conscious beauty began to grow. Eager to snatch a share of this increasingly lucrative market, big-name players followed suit. Within the past two years, Sephora created icons to distinguish their “clean” products. Shiseido announced it would acquire Drunk Elephant for $845 million, and Unilever, which now owns Ren, said it would buy Tatcha for a reported $500 million.

Flexitarians have the highest level of engagement with beauty products, followed by vegetarians and omnivores. According to the report, plant-based members have the lowest concentration within the clean beauty segment but have the highest engagement with food-based products. This shows the higher likelihood of flexitarians pursuing a more holistic sustainable consumption module outside the food space than individuals who identify as plant-based or vegan.

The report outlined a sharp growth in consumer interest for sustainable beauty products. Driven by the awareness of cruelty-free, environmental and health concerns, demand for skincare, cosmetics, hair and fragrance products has grown significantly in the past year. With sustainable and conscious living becoming an increasingly important social issue across all industries, the clean beauty industry is here to stay and help consumers transition to a more eco-friendly and self-aware lifestyle.

This year V&V is partnering with Talking Philanthropy 2021 ahead of their upcoming philanthropic thought-leadership virtual forum, which is taking place on the 14th of May. Organised by the international fundraising and philanthropy advisory firm, Global Philanthropic, the forum will bring together some of the world’s leading organisations and academic institutions.

This year the conference will focus on the theme of Asia-Pacific: Supporting a Philanthropic Ecosystem. The forum aims to bring leaders from around the world and the region to spotlight the structural issues surrounding philanthropy in APAC and provide a macro perspective on the key issues that need addressing in order for philanthropy within the region to flourish.

The multi-regional event will be co-hosted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the National University of Singapore, and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Noteworthy partners of the forum include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the conservation charity; BirdLife International. 

Throughout the day, there will be a series of panel discussions, research presentations, and case studies, discussing each of the following sub-themes in the context of Asia-Pacific philanthropy:

According to Ben Morton Wright, Group CEO and Founder of Global Philanthropic, “Philanthropy in Asia is at a critical tipping point. Governments of emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific are crucial to unlocking the philanthropic potential in the region, making them the target focus for world leaders in philanthropy. Talking Philanthropy 2021 will be a game-changer to help us all address the world’s greatest inequalities during these challenging times.”

Talking Philanthropy aims to inspire attendees and speakers to begin conversations with governments and philanthropic practitioners to revisit regulation and ensure a conducive environment for philanthropy and identify areas for further research. The complimentary event is free for all to attend and one can register for the forum through the following link – https://asiapac.globalphilanthropic.com/talking-philanthropy/

As #EarthDay2021 rolls around this week, sustainability is at the forefront of everybody’s minds. Yet, it’s not enough for companies to talk about sustainability just one day out of the entire year, which is why we’ve rounded up a list of top brands that walk the talk year-round. With sustainability at the core of their brand values and offerings, you can rest assured that every penny you spend with them will be guilt-free.

Singita

Every aspect of Singita’s day-to-day operations is centred around its 100-year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. They’ve highlighted clear sustainability targets for 2025, including using renewable technologies with the goal to become carbon neutral, water saving measures and waste management.

One of their most notable projects is the drive of clean solar energy in the Kruger National Park. 78% of the power required to run Singita Kruger National Park was provided by solar energy, resulting in a remarkable reduction in carbon emissions. In addition, Singita’s ongoing conservation efforts are undertaken alongside its non-profit partner funds and trusts where progress is evident through the transformation of the areas under Singita’s care. This includes the recent birth of the first black rhino calf in Tanzania in decades at Singita Grumeti.

Inge Kotze, Singita’s General Manager of Conservation, strives to form strategic partnerships in conservation and supports projects that promote the preservation of Africa’s biodiversity. She also oversees an all-woman Conservation team who are responsible for Singita’s Biodiversity and Sustainability initiatives, as well as its Community Partnership Programmes.

TiNDLE 

TiNDLE is founded on the belief that doing one’s part for the planet should be easy, enjoyable, and most importantly delicious. Comprising only 9 ingredients, TiNDLE Thy uses 74% less land, 82% less water and produces 88% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional chicken. Currently available across a range of cuisines at 11 different restaurants in Singapore, eating green has never been more delicious.

This April, TiNDLE has partnered with homegrown heroes, ecoSPIRITS and Brass Lion Distillery, to bring a sustainable edition of 28 HongKong Street’s Proper Dinner series. The limited time menu will feature Chef Melvyn Tan’s TiNDLE spin on the bar’s iconic Fried Chicken n’ Waffles topped with homemade herb butter. With every component of the dish made from scratch by Chef Mel himself, this version may just be the most sustainable and freshest take on the nostalgic American bar food in Singapore. Complete your meal with a Brass Ring Cocktail, a low-waste, gin-based cocktail by Chris Saw, Singapore’s reigning Sustainable Bartending Competition winner.

VIVANT

The world’s first live streaming wine experience platform, VIVANT is redefining how consumers learn about wine and supporting a more sustainable future for the industry, featuring the world’s best tasting wines from responsible winemakers practicing sustainable, organic, and biodynamic viticulture. VIVANT only works with responsible winemakers who take care of their little piece of the planet and pledge to keep it free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in order to produce better quality wine and improve the environment for future generations.

Patina

Opening in Q2 this year, Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, will advance the establish trend of purposeful travel; from zero-waste kitchens and recycling marine plastic, to offering free dive lessons to local children to nurture next-generation respect for the environment, this resort is driven by its commitment to perpetuality. 

At the 100% solar-powered kids’ club – Footprints – kids will have the opportunity to turn recycled ocean plastic into models using 3D printing and sign up for free diving lessons to nurture next-generation awareness of the local ocean environment. The resort will also be offering free PADI dive certifications for local Maldivian children.

Ambitious in its plans to tackle marine plastic pollution, Patina Maldives will be implementing a comprehensive coral propagation project, as well as leading regular team and guest clean-ups – with 10kg of marine plastic collected for every stay.

With World Health Day fast approaching, there’s no better time to start eating healthier, especially if it has made a regular appearance on your new year resolutions for the nth year now. Hopping on the plant-based diet bandwagon, whether full-time or occasionally, has proven health benefits. As the pandemic rages on in most parts of the world, it makes sense to adopt a more healthy and nutritious diet to support our immune systems.

Research shows that plant proteins are cleaner than animal proteins due to the absence of industrial pollutants from industrially-farmed meat, such as growth hormones, nitrites, heavy metals and saturated fat. Plant proteins are naturally more alkaline-forming compared to animal proteins, which are highly acidic. As such, meat proteins increase the risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. According to health professionals, people on vegetarian or vegan diets (which often rely on plant protein) are at a lower risk of certain diseases, including cancers, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and ischemic heart disease.

Animal proteins, such as meat, eggs and milk, may have the advantage of being complete proteins and providing all nine essential amino acids. Still, they also come with higher calories and other health risks. Try switching them out for plant-based complete protein options such as quinoa. It is true that some plant proteins only contain part and not all nine essential amino acids that we need. You can overcome this easily by filling your bowl with various plant proteins, especially since they are lower in calories than their meat counterparts!

Hesitant to make that leap of faith immediately? Go flexitarian instead! While a poorly-researched vegetarian diet could result in various nutritional deficiencies, including iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and protein itself, a flexitarian diet allows you to reap the health benefits from eating more plant-based foods while still ensuring that you’re getting all your needed nutrition. It also helps cushion the dietary transition, so your cravings are still satisfied!

If you’re not the biggest fan of salads, we’ve got good news for you. The meat alternatives market is booming, and we’re here for it. Brands like Impossible, OmniFoods and the newest kid on the block TiNDLE, are putting out plant-based “meat” products that taste like the real deal – minus the meat! With the range of plant-based alternatives on the market, easily swap out animal proteins in your favourite dishes with a close vegan replacement and continue tucking in. There’s a chance your veggie-hating friends might not even notice the difference!

If you’re keen to give plant-based meats a try, hop over to our feature on The Soothe, where we have rounded up 20 top restaurants in Singapore that serve delicious meat alternatives on their menus.

March is one of our favourite months, with a special day dedicated to women and women only. This International Women’s Day, we’d like to give a special shout-out to women who are leaders in their field, inspirational icons for young girls everywhere and living, breathing evidence that there is nothing women can’t achieve.  

Piya Thamchariyawat, Creative director of EDG Design

The design world is a male-dominated one, but women designers are making waves of their own and gaining due recognition. Principal and Senior Creative Director at EDG Design, Piya Thamchariyawat is an award-winning designer with an astounding portfolio of concepts and projects around the world. Building on twenty years of experience with EDG, Piya directs design for the firm’s Middle East, Asia and Australasia projects and leads the firm’s global conceptual projects.

Piyanuch pairs innovation with style, operational savvy with design impact to create signature guest experiences. She has a keen understanding of how to take a project from her mind’s eye, to a sketch, to a drawing set and through to opening. Thanks to her strong understanding of the importance of the human experience, the savvy designer has a knack for developing deep-rooted conceptual DNA for each project she works on, ensuring strong, interesting stories are reflected through her expert design.

Alicia Pan, Girlboss and Co-founder of Yoga Movement

Co-founder of Yoga Movement (YM), a yoga teacher with over 500 hours of training under her belt, and a former singer-songwriter, Alicia has carved a multifaceted career and legacy for herself. A go-getting boss lady who can definitely kickass (figuratively AND literally – she’s into Muay Thai and boxing, and dabbles in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), Alicia’s success is no accident, even if it wasn’t the path she envisioned initially.

When YM opened its doors in 2012, Alicia had small aspirations: to deliver yoga to the people in a small-scale boutique studio. Demand boomed, and quickly exceeded their first studio’s capacity. One thing lead to another and before long, Yoga Movement has grown into an iconic fitness-lifestyle brand with over 100,000 yoga enthusiasts clocking a whopping 25,000 visits a month, and six studio concepts under their belt to date — including their brand new Orchard Flagship Studio.

VIVANT’s Women in Wine Live Experience

To celebrate the occasion this year, VIVANT will be directing the spotlight onto women winemakers who are brewing up their own success in the field. The “Women in Wine” Live Experience invites all wine enthusiasts to hear from female wine leaders, who will be sharing their inspiring journeys that has brought them to where they are today, as well as highlight the multifarious opportunities offered by the wine industry.

Meet established women winemakers from different wine horizons, like Claire Lurton, owner of Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Bordeaux), and Amélie and Cécile Buecher, owners and winemakers at Vignoble des 2 Lunes (Alsace). The experience also features an exclusive conversation with Paz Levinson, star sommelier of Anne-Sophie Pic Group.

Cherie Spriggs, Head Winemaker at Nyetimber

The first ever woman to be named ‘Sparkling Wine Maker of the Year’, Cherie Spriggs is writing new chapters in wine-making history. Her illustrious career in the art of winemaking began in 2007, where she joined the team at Nyetimber, England’s leading producer of sparkling wine. Since then, Cherie has played an instrumental role in the brand’s growth, including their recent expansion to Asia. Her feat is testament to her skills as much as it is to Nyetimber’s dedication to excellence. The team is expecting to produce two million bottles a year by 2030, up from one million today, with the entire industry producing at least 20 million bottles.

Travelling is something we just can’t do at the moment, but there is a way to temporarily quench the wanderlust — through virtual travel. We know, we know, it definitely isn’t the same, but hear us out! Walk Japan is a pioneer of luxury travel walking tours, taking small groups to the undiscovered places of Japan. As a way to continue to explore the beautiful country, they’ve launched a new series of virtual travel tours — Talk Japan. It’s a brilliant way of visiting the gorgeous country without leaving the comfort of your couch.

These captivating talks are a gateway to connect with Japan from the comfort of your home and you can register on their website for free. While we may not be able to physically trek through the rolling hills of Kunisaki or the snowy peaks of Hokkaido, they do insights into Japan’s vast history, culture and traditions.

Whether you’re looking to seek out Walk Japan in the future to travel or are simply interested in the wonders of this incredible country, do join for a virtual experience of a lifetime. Here are some upcoming talks for March and April.

What matters is water: ‘How I grow rice in my village’

Japan isn’t a wealth of natural resources but water is abundant across the nation. The rice paddies are a testament to this as they are flooded in the spring with each field shimmering with reflections of the setting sun and the surrounding countryside. Steaming bowls of white rice are essential to Japanese cuisine and invariably appear at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rice is also transformed into a range of other treats including senbei crackers, mochi cakes and, of course, sake.

Given its abundance, rice may seem like a straightforward crop to grow. However, in his talk, virtual travel tour leader Takuya Ugajin takes us through the dedicated year-round process of controlling huge volumes of water he needs to grow his rice in Nagano Prefecture. Takuya also enlightens us in the unique role that water played in forming Japanese Shinto beliefs and shrines.

11th March 2021 11am JST 

‘What I think about Ueno when I think about Ueno’

Tokyo’s Ueno Park is a popular spot for ohanami, the Japanese celebratory spring picnics that are held under the full-bloom of sakura cherry trees each year. The tradition of Ohanami is highly anticipated by all and are extremely fun despite sometimes being raucous social occasions. In Ueno, however, before the bloom of the sakura blossoms, it saw a dramatic unfolding of events in the late 19th Century.

Professor Bill Steele reveals in his virtual travel tour how Ueno Park became a battlefield during the Boshin War (1868-69). He describes the unrest and uproar of the age and pays heed to the heroic soldiers, who are fondly remembered to this day in Japan and commemorated with statues in the park.

1st April 2021 11am JST

‘Read before you drink: unlocking the secrets of your sake bottle’

Walk Japan tour leader and head researcher for the Sake Industry News newsletter, Shima san brings her sake expertise to her virtual talk on Japan’s libation to the gods. Shima san delves into the variety of Sake available, introducing us to the different grades and complexity of flavours available. She also provides insights on how to choose a sake to accompany different occasions and tastes, and how to just simply imbibe for the pleasure of Japan’s most unique beverage.

22nd April 2021 11am JST

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About Walk Japan 

National Geographic has described Walk Japan as “one of the 200 Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”. The company leads the way in providing the most fulfilling and enjoyable tours available in Japan. Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of regular, scheduled tours for Japan and is researching more for the future. It also creates and runs private, custom tours tailored to customers’ particular interests. These include private tours for families, friends, societies, companies and schools.

The lunar festivities are upon us again. While we could still get our annual fix of CNY goodies, lucky bamboos and (hopefully still thick and hefty) red packets, some things will have to change for the year of the Metal Ox. Having dived straight into social distancing and WFH after last year’s lunar new year celebrations, this year’s reunion dinners and visiting will have to be a little less cozy this year. Nonetheless, a little bit of distance can’t keep us from enjoying ourselves, especially with Valentine’s Day falling on the same weekend! Here’s what we think would jazz up this long weekend whether you’re spending it with family, friends or your other half.

Cheers to love (or not)

Reunion dinners for eight are still on. Impress your nearest and dearest with a bottle of Asakura Premium from Kyushu Spirits’s new koji whisky line, crafted meticulously with the century-old fermentation process from the island of Kyushu in combination with western wood-aging techniques. With scents of honey, vanilla and coconut from the oak cask, a hint of soft white florals and boasting notes of honey work with hints of buttery brown sugar and cinnamon with a touch of yuzu zest on the tongue, this golden bottle is sure to keep everybody huat and happy.

There are few things more romantic than a bouquet of roses, but we’re definitely swooning over the Rosé Multi-Vintage, a sunset pink number from Nyetimber. With vineyards earnestly cared for by husband-wife duo, Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, you’re sure to feel the love bubbling in every sip.

For the lovebirds who are planning to stay home this Valentine’s weekend, the folks at Vivant will be going live with three master producers of seductions’ favourite beverage. Grab a bottle from their specially curated Experience Kit, cuddle up and delve into The Roots of Champagne with your significant other.

Meanwhile, anti-valentiners can head out and join like-minded souls at Neon Pigeon, where singles are celebrated with tomahawks and cocktails. The design team at EDG have captured the essence of the modern Izakaya, marrying it with an underground vibe, creating a gritty, urban environment to unwind over creative cuisines and beverages. 

Find time for self-care

If all the festive snacking has got your guilt meter through the roof, you can head down to Yoga Movement’s new design-centric Orchard flagship studio to burn off some of those pineapple tarts. The studio offers the seven signature YM class types as well as Pop Up classes, YM’s version of themed classes. There’s no need to fret even if you’re just an aspiring Yogi as all classes are multi-levelled – from Basics for foundational yoga postures, to Power Flow or Hot classes that will get you working up a good sweat. After your sessions, go ahead and grab a cuppa at the Yoga Movement coffee bar, where you can wind down and watch the bustle of Orchard Road rush by.