As we welcome back our national pastime of dining out with open arms, some of us are a bit more tentative than others. These days, dining in an enclosed space with strangers may seem slightly daunting at first, so to ease ourselves into it, we’ve been dining and drinking alfresco more often than not. The gorgeous weather we’re having these days doesn’t hurt either. So, enjoy your brunch with safe distancing and a side of sunshine at some of our favourite spots:

1. Wildseed at Alkaff Mansion

Cosied at the ground level of The Alkaff Mansion and surrounded by sprawling canopies, lies Wildseed café, a pet-friendly floral café and patisserie. Wildseed serves as a conduit for pet owners and families to congregate. Offering a hearty selection of brunch items, freshly baked cakes and luscious pastries, the blooming café that rests in the hill of Telok Blangah makes for a true escape from the bustling city.

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2. Open Farm Community

Open Farm Community is a farm-to-table restaurant with a garden brimming with herb and vegetable produce used in its European-fusion dishes. It boasts sweeping garden views from its terrace, or you could grab a seat on its timber-decked patio alongside your well-behaved pup. Around the grounds are play areas for restless children.

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3. The Knolls at Capella Singapore

Be swept away with majestic seaside views at this refined alfresco spot in Sentosa. Guests can expect a Mediterranean-inspired menu that sits in complementary contrast to the colonial Asian detail and classic antiques of interiors designed by Yasuhiro Koichi.

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4. The Summerhouse

Tucked away in the “idllyic Seletar countryside” is The Summerhouse — a romantic dining room with their picture perfect Garden Domes. Make it a night to remember for two with an ethereal experience under the night sky, and a delicious menu to boot.

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5. The Halia

Halia – Malay for ginger – is located in the one-hectare Ginger Garden of the Singapore Botanic Gardens where over 250 species of ginger with their stunning foliage and colourful flowers thrive. Channelling picnic vibes without the hassle, the open-air terrace lets you admire the stunning scenery of Singapore’s first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. 

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Barely a month ago, the world was rocked by the death of George Floyd – yet another Black life unfairly taken, and one that proved to be the breaking point and wakeup call not just for the USA, but the world. Globally, protests continue for racial justice and police reform; with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to fight systemic racism.

Education or re-education, learning and un-learning, are the first steps in understanding the individual’s place in the system. Then only can the movement be purposefully pushed forward in the hopes of creating lasting change. Here are some of the resources the team has found useful in our own journeys over the past four weeks, as we stand together to support true equality.

READ:

Layla Saad is a globally respected writer, speaker and podcast host on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation and social change. Meaningful and relevant, her book, entitled Me and White Supremacy, is a 28-day guide focusing on combatting racism by helping readers identify and dismantle white supremacy and biases within themselves.

A bold read for anyone who wants a deep dive into the truth of systemic racism in the United States is this book by Ijeoma Oluo. A New York Time Bestseller, So You Want To Talk About Race is a contemporary take on America’s racial landscape and the complexities of issues faced by African- Americans.

Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, Between the World and Me is a riveting analysis into racism in the United States. The book takes you through a historical journey through real events in American history as experienced by the African-American community.

WATCH:

Directed by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, 13th is a thought-provoking documentary that takes a deep long look into the history of United States’ prison system – revealing racial inequality, prejudice, and the disproportionate number of African-Americans who have been incarcerated. Available on Netflix, this powerful film tells an important story to all who will watch and listen.

Based on James Baldwin’s uncompleted manuscript, I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary explored through the notes and letters of Baldwin in the 1970s. The memoir touches on racism in the United States as well as the deaths of Baldwin’s close friends and civil rights leaders, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evans.

Based on the events of a true story, When They See Us is a web television miniseries that premiered in 2019. The series tells the story of the wrongful conviction of five African-American teenagers, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana, after a jogger was brutally attacked in Central Park in 1989.

LISTEN:

Hosted by journalists of colour, this podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. The fearless conversations explore how race impacts every part of society – from politics, pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.

Slay in Your Lane: The Podcast comes from multi-award-winning authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, who rose to prominence with their pioneering guide to life for young Black Women. The podcast explores topical news and popular culture from a Black British female perspective while expanding upon many of the same themes addressed in the book.

This podcast digs into stories that are not always shared out in the open. Hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba start conversations about what it means to be black and how we talk about blackness. It’s a celebration of black joy with a mission to dig deeper into stories that we don’t hear enough about.

Foreseeable is a podcast by Global-is-Asian, the flagship digital platform of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Each episode addresses a different social or cultural issue in Singapore, with local and international experts sharing their thoughts, opinions and predictions. Tune in to their episode on racial integration in Singapore, particularly poignant in the current international climate.

Step inside the confession booth of Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for The New York Times. They devour TV, movies, art, music and the internet to find the things that move them – to tears, awe and anger. Episodes like “Being Black in the Age of Wokeness” and “Still Processing: Being Biracial” are not to be missed.

Check out the rest of our blog here for the latest updates on current affairs, travel and wellness trends.

Kindness and community have never been so important. During these unprecedented times there has been an amazing rise in incredible thoughtful kindness from individuals, brands and companies to support those in need throughout the pandemic. The impact of the Covid-19 virus has changed our outlook and the way we live our lives, shining a light on the importance of human connection and a sense of community.

Check out some of the amazing Singaporean companies, international brands and donors that are giving back during this time – from helping frontline health professionals to building lifesaving machinery and assisting less fortunate members of the community.

Singapore’s Initiatives:

International Contributors:

Famous Donors:

For more information on Covid-19 topics, please visit our blog here!

Throughout the past month, the number of Covid-19 patients in Singapore has surged. Worryingly, the vast majority of those infected have been Singapore’s migrant workers living in dormitories. To curb the spread, these accommodations have been declared as isolation areas and unsurprisingly, many have also been identified as Covid-19 clusters. 

The climbing toll aside — at publishing, Singapore has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia — the Covid-19 outbreak has also brought migrant workers’ cramped living conditions to light globally. Many Singaporeans came to truly understand the living situation of the country’s 400,000 migrant workers for the first time, including financial insecurity and lack of access to healthcare, on top of cramped conditions. 

A silver lining is that many in the local community started to ask the same question: how can I help our unsung heroes? Studies have shown that how we choose to spend our money or time impacts our happiness and emotional well-being. Evidently, giving to those less privileged than us activates the reward area of the brain which makes us feel happy. 

A number of volunteer-run organisations as well as charities in Singapore have rallied together to assist our migrant workers with daily necessities while they’re in isolation; from monetary contributions, donation drives for meals, snacks, beverages, games, clothing, data cards and more are also ongoing in our city. We’ve highlighted some ways that you can help. We ask that you consider extending a helping hand to our migrant workers who build our roads, our buildings, and ultimately, our city — for which, we are deeply grateful. 

Donating money

  1. Migrant x Me is a social enterprise that is committed to raising awareness of the migrant worker community. Continuing to build an inclusive Singapore through fundraising efforts, donations go towards long-term education programmes, emergency funds for workers in need, future events to bridge the local and migrant communities. Throughout this pandemic, the money has also gone towards forming care packages including data top ups, vitamins and masks.
  2. Healthserve is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing healing and hope to migrant workers. Through their medical clinics, casework, social assistance, advocacy, research and outreach programmes they work to address the complex and intertwined needs of migrant workers – from medical to legal, physical to emotional, mental to social. All donations from 10th April will be directed to HealthServe’s general fund to support their operations that helps more than 10,000 migrant workers every year. All outright cash donations for $50 or more will receive from IRAS 2.5 times the value in tax-deduction.
  1. Migrant Workers’ Centre is a non-government organisation whose mission is to champion fair employment practices and the well-being of Singapore’s migrant workers. MWC has set up a fundraising campaign where charitable donations will go towards food and accommodation costs as well as everyday essentials such as toiletries. It has also partnered with Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach to distribute care meals and packs to more than 250 dormitories. 
  1. TWC2 is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to promoting equitable treatment for migrant workers, they strive to help workers through difficulty and throughout this pandemic they have been assisting in a number of different ways. You can donate through their giving page and the money goes towards phone top-ups so that the workers can speak to their families and friends back home. 

Volunteering

  1. Majulah Belanja has joined together with other charities to raise funds and collect goods. The charity is focusing on addressing immediate needs such as food, basic necessities, promoting meaningful occupational engagement for health & well-being and consolidating resources for an online support hub. Volunteers can assist to ensure that the needs of those in Singapore’s dormitories are met through answering requests on their website – from phone chargers, to fans and toiletries. 
  1. ItsRainingRaincoats is an initiative that aims to spread kindness to migrant workers in Singapore by improving the lives of workers through imaginative, innovative and authentic strategies. They recently launched Mad Wish, Making A Difference While I Stay Home. At this time, where migrant workers are stuck in isolation and the vast majority of the Singapore workforce works from home, the organisation launched a remote programme for learning English. As many migrant workers have expressed interest in improving their English, it is an ideal time to skill up. Conducted purely online, anyone can volunteer as long as you can speak English and can spare 45 minutes a week!

Donating goods

  1. City of Good is a vision of a Singapore where individuals, organisations and leaders come together to give their best for others. It is run by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. The #SGUnited portal has been put together by NVPC after consulting with charities on their needs. There is also an online form specifically for donating in-kind to migrant workers. 
  1. It’s Raining Raincoats is also pooling volunteers and resources together to match donors and migrant workers. They update their social media channels regularly as they have their ear to the ground on changing daily needs. For more information on how you can help, follow their social media channels for details on donating goods such as old phones, games, colouring pencils and more. 

Making masks

  1. #CYC300kMaskChallenge is run by heritage made-to-measure tailor CYC. If you have a sewing machine and some basic skills, we urge you to join the movement. CYC provides the template for anyone who can commit to making 300 masks in 10 days or less. While they have enough volunteers for now, those interested can still sign up to be part of their waiting list or database for future needs. 

For more inspiration to get you through this circuit breaker, check out the rest of our blog here.

Listening to podcasts are an ideal to pass the time when cooped up at home during this Covid-19 pandemic. Offering an alternative to visual entertainment, podcasts can transport listeners to another realm, educate, entertain and inform. Here are some of V&VPR top 5 favourite podcasts: 

A favourite, this podcast is hosted by DJ Lauren Laverne features notable guests who she ‘sends’ to a desert island. A story of their life, each guest gives eight tracks, a book and a luxury that they would take to their desert island. Guests include a range of incredible people from Footballer Ian Wright, to Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. The series goes back to early 1940s, and so there’s a plethora of editions to listen to. Be sure to listen to the incredible David Nott, who shares his experience as a Doctor in disaster and war zones. Sit back and enjoy as stars share the soundtrack of their lives.

A current affairs podcast that brings you up to date with the latest news and happenings each week day. The Daily’s host is celebrated journalist Michael Barbaro of The New York Times who summarises emerging news stories and discusses cultural issues with guests.

Singer song-writer Jessie Ware co-hosts this hilarious podcast about food and family with her fabulous mother, Lennie. Each week guests from the worlds of entertainment, culture and politics drop by for a bite and a chat.

A thrilling listen, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder have co-created this investigative journalism podcast. The anthology features three different seasons, each one focused on a different true crime story. If you haven’t listened to it yet, this is a great and binge-worthy podcast to get you through the next few weeks.

The popular New York Times column that was recently turned into an acclaimed TV series on Amazon. This podcast features notable personalities reading the popular columns about the stories and mysteries of modern love. At the end of each episode, each hosts interviews the original writers to discuss post-column life and love.

For more inspiration to get you through isolation, visit the rest of our blog here!

With all of us practicing social distancing and staying at home, livestream videos have become part of our everyday life. Companies and brands are now offering armchair travellers a virtual travel experience to some of the world’s most far-flung places. Here are V&VPR’s top picks to make isolation more thrilling:

Journey into the wilderness with Singita

Singita brings the stories of Africa to your home. Wildlife enthusiasts can either enjoy the calming sounds of Singita and listen to Africa’s enchanting bird song, or journey into the bush for a virtual game drive – allowing guests to get up close with some of Africa’s incredible wildlife. Curating the ultimate safari experience, Singita’s lodges are placed in 6 different regions of Africa and each lodge employs the very best guides and trackers to teach guests about the African wilderness and it’s magnificent inhabitants. Accompanied by Field Guides Ross Couper and Johan Ndlovu,

viewers can enjoy an African safari in either Sabi Sand and Grumeti Reserve, whilst sitting on their sofa, Singita’s virtual game drives are available for everyone to enjoy. Visit Singita’s Vimeo channel here and see what you find!

Witness the animals at Australian Reptile Park

The wildlife sanctuary on the Central Coast of New South Wales closed their doors back in March. However, keepers are still hard at work feeding and looking after all the animals. This award-winning wildlife park is making educational videos for school kids to assist parents who are now homeschooling their children. Named ‘Animal Tales With Tim Faulkner’ the live-streaming videos are of zookeepers showcasing their favourite animals and answering viewer questions. This includes feeding Elvis, the MASSIVE Saltwater Crocodile, play time and cuddles with dingoes, feeding cuddly koalas and virtual tours of different areas within the Park. Staff at the wildlife sanctuary are extremely excited to bring their animals into everyone’s sitting rooms. Live streams are available on the Australian Reptile Park’s FacebookInstagram and TikTok pages.

Hike the most iconic rock climb in the world

Yosemite, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is a diverse, natural landscape. Home to more than 400 species of animals, including the magnificent American black bear, rare snowshoe hares and endangered bats. The park’s iconic, El Capitan, stands over 900 metres tall, with a vertical cliff face. From the comfort of your sofa, you can now Scale the mountain with top climber Lynn Hill and her team. The experience promises to teach more climbing skills, techniques and the necessary equipment needed to ascend this incredible height. Explore the park with these 360-degree images, accompanied with sound effects from the Ahwahnee Meadow and Nevada Fall.

Wonder at the Northern Lights

Renowned for its magnificent beauty, the aurora borealis is a dazzling natural phenomenon. The northern lights are visible from countries at northern latitudes, including Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Lights over Lapland takes travellers on a journey through a series of stunning 360-degree videos, starting at the famous Icehotel before venturing into the wilderness on a reindeer sleigh past sights such as Lake Torneträsk and an Arctic birch forest. Explorers will wonder at a series of time-lapse videos, showing the lights dancing overhead with vibrant colours and impressive arcs of deep green.

Escape with these virtual travel experiences, or Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration!

In light of the developing Covid-19 situation, we are all doing what we can to #SaveFnbSG, and Singapore’s restaurants and bars have got some fantastic offers for everyone to indulge in over the next month:

Indulge in some of the city’s best menus at home

Asian fusion restaurant Butcher Boy invites guests to indulge in meaty menus at home. Offering either delivery or pick-up options, Butcher Boy’s new take-away menu includes classics such as Butcher Boy Bacon & Cheese Burger, the flavoursome Fried Chicken Yuzu Kewpie Bao and the exquisite Crispy Primrose Farm Pork Belly. These mains can be accompanied by delicious sides including the famous Szechuan Brussel Sprouts. Diners can pair their feasts with a selection of premium wine and beer, or their favourite cocktails.

Pasta Bar, the go-to artisanal pasta restaurant has launched ‘Fresh Pasta Home Cooking Kits’ and ‘Bake Yourself’ Lasagna Trays (from $120)that can be delivered, or picked up from the restaurant. Accompanied with cooking instructions, the kit has everything consumers need to feed a family of 2, 4, 6, or more. Offerings like Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, fresh Rigatoni can be combined with a variation of delicious sauces such as 24-hour beef Ragu, Pesto ‘Genovese’, and San Marzano Tomato & Basil. For diners who wish to add wine or starters to complete the meal, options for a Salami Platter, Burrata, and a selection of wines are also available.

How about an at-home Mexican Fiesta? Papi’s Tacos has created a take-away package for groups of 4-12 to liven spirits during this tough situation. Available for order on their website, the DIY tacos come with a choice of three fillings ranging from their signature grilled fish, chorizo sausage, shrimp, and mushroom. No true fiesta is complete without delicious Mexican drinks, with pre-mixed margaritas in either classic lime, strawberry, spicy mango, or grapefruit.

Enjoy a drink, or two at home

Employees Only provides drink enthusiasts with quality cocktails to enjoy at home during this time. Employees Only has launched pre-batched cocktails available in 350ml including the likes of the Old Fashioned, Negroni, Martini, or a refreshing Cold Brew Martini. The offers range from each sold individually at $80, a selection of 3 at $220, or flights of 5 at $350. The famous EO Negroni is also available in a large 750ml format that’s perfect for 6 or more people at $150.

Elegant and refined, Nyetimber has been dedicated to the production of the finest English sparkling wine for the past 30 years, and numerous accolades and awards have positioned the brand as an internationally renowned producer, surpassing all expectations of what can be achieved in English winemaking. Nyetimber is available to purchase online in Singapore at Analogue Wine Merchants.

Importer of fine wines, Angra Wines is passionate about sharing some of the world’s best wine in Singapore. Now offering a flash sale across many top wines, Angra Wines has up to 50% off on delicious vintages. For more information, please visit the wine list here or call +65 6532 7791 to order. 

Advocates for extraordinary spirits, EC Proof are offering an incredible warehouse sale on a range of discounted items from recipe books to glasses or even your favourite spirit, EC Proof will have you sorted for any at-home cocktail evening! For more information, please visit their website or call +65 8228 0113 to place your orders today. 

Together we can #SaveFnbSG!

Check out the rest of our page here for more insights and inspiration!

With an increasing number of companies mandating a work from home policy, employees are now tasked with a new challenge – to remain just as efficient outside of their regular working environment. Here are a few of V&VPR’s top tips to stay productive:

Nothing says “it’s a work day” like a regular morning routine, so why should working at home be any different? Stick to the rhythm of a normal work day and get dressed to mentally prepare for the day ahead.

As tempting as it might seem, avoid working in bed and set up a designated workspace. This will help maintain a good sitting posture, avoid any distractions and most importantly, leave the work behind at the end of the day.

For people living with families, partners or roommates, working from home without distractions can be a challenge. Let them know about the new arrangement and set specific working hours during which you prefer not to be disturbed.

Take a 15-minute break every 75 to 90 minutes and ideally, this break doesn’t include any screen time. Some of our favourite suggestions include exercise outdoors, doing a home workout or having a tea-break with a friend. Popular fitness gurus Cassey Ho and Kayla Itsines have created short at-home workouts that are ideal for times like these.   

Make sure to check in with your team regularly through messaging platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp, or even video calls on Skype or FaceTime. Keeping each other updated is a good way to ensure everyone remains united and on the ball, even when physically apart.

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the recent travel restrictions enforced, many of us are looking to support Singapore-based hotels for a staycation, or two! Here are V&VPR’s favourite staycation packages:

Six Senses Maxwell

Located in Singapore’s bustling Chinatown, Six Senses Maxwell is set in a block of heritage shophouses and boasts a state-of-the-art spa, gym and a rooftop pool. The Weekend Great Escape offer includes daily breakfast, 30% off a-la-carte menu items and 30% off select treatments at Spa Pods.

InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay

The boutique riverfront hotel is situated on buzzy Robertson Quay and offers guests the perfect staycation. The Weekend Special Offer includes complementary use of Tokyo Bike’s for guests to discover the sophisticated neighbourhood and enjoy the vibrant dining and lifestyle offerings on the hotel’s doorstep. Guests will also enjoy breakfast at Marcello, full access to the gym and lap-pool and late check out on Sunday – to enjoy an afternoon stroll along the river.

Capella Singapore

Located on Sentosa, Capella is the ideal sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city life. The property resides on 30 acres of lush rainforest and is a serene destination to relax and rejuvenate. The new Sentosa Golf Getaway allows guests to enjoy a round of golf at the award-winning Sentosa Golf Club, voted the “World’s Best Golf Club”, before retreating to the privacy and luxury of Capella Singapore. Specifically tailored for couples, the Perfect Time for Two package allows guests to pamper themselves with a rejuvenating spa retreat at the property’s award-winning Auriga Spa. The getaway is complemented with delicious breakfast at The Knolls, and cocktails at Bob’s Bar with stunning views of the South-China Sea.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore’s most famous landmark, and for many a bucket-list hotel with its picturesque infinity swimming pool, Marina Bay Sands is offering an exquisite staycation package. The bundle includes a complimentary room upgrade, early check in, breakfast at RISE restaurant, Spago Bar & Lounge, Adrift or in-room dining, access to the famous swimming pool and 1-for-1 cocktails at Adrift. This offer is also inclusive of free cancellation – allowing guests to book with confidence.

Sustainable eating has become the biggest trend over the last couple of years. Eating sustainably urges us to choose foods that are healthful to our bodies and the environment. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong that are taking a sustainable-approach, here are a few of V&VPR’s favourite haunts in Hong Kong:

Roganic

Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.

John Anthony

A restaurant that pays tribute to a new-world culture that celebrates diversity, juxtaposition and a melting pot of influences, John Anthony pushes the boundaries by fusing Chinese food with a Western twist. The restaurant is eco-friendly, with sustainability included in every aspect of the design – from upcycling plastic into coasters, menus made from recycled paper and floor tiles made out of reclaimed terracotta from old Chinese village houses. The wines are all from environmentally responsible vineyards, and spirits from distillers that focus on craft distilling. The kitchen uses a food composting system to reduce its waste, and menus are curated with fresh ingredients from ethical suppliers.

MANA!

MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.

Kaum @ Potato Head

Potato Head is home to various original lifestyle concepts, including authentic Indonesian restaurant Kaum. The culinary collective has developed engaging relationships with ethnic tribes and small-scale producers in Indonesia to craft a menu that showcases genuine flavours that reflect Indonesia’s heritage

Oolaa

Oolaa is a chic restaurant and bar that debuted in Hong Kong in 2009. Serving a selection of tasty seafood dishes that are all MSC Certified, Oolaa ensures sustainable practices using responsibly sourced ingredients.