As we have experienced first-hand, the ‘new normal’ is marked by unprecedented uncertainty. For PR professionals in the travel industry, this means that storytelling in a post-pandemic world will have to grapple with unpredictability and the upheaval of emotions in society. Consumers will be drawn to stories that address this new normal, yet also point to a more hopeful future, stressing how they can be a part of it. This is a great time for brands to assert themselves, refocusing on what matters most.
The V&VPR team share our top tips on how brands can navigate these challenging times:
Determine what readers and journalists want
Aside from putting out amazing products and packages, there is a new expectation placed on brands to be more in tune with current trends and social issues. This is especially important to ensure your brand is always adapting, as the media landscape is ever-changing and must be consistently monitored. When the pandemic started to pick up pace around the world, scheduled stories on travel trends for 2020 immediately went out the window. Instead, brands had to look ahead and anticipate new trends that would arise in the new normal as a result of COVID-19, including a rising demand for personal wellbeing and social responsibility.
Appeal to and connect with a more eco-conscious and culture-conscious audience
What matters to you? The Earth is in need of love now more than ever. Sustainability is not just a choice, but a moral imperative, and consumers have begun to realise this. The same goes with culture-conscious choices, like the need for racial representation and gender equality. The most effective stories arise when the beliefs and motivations of your brand resonate with the desires and lifestyle of your consumers. This does not mean that brands have to hop on the bandwagon for every trend, but highlights the importance of maintaining your brand identity through combining it with the news around the world that matter to your target audience.
Highlight how your brand ties into the consumer’s journey
Cookie-cutter experiences will be less desirable, and meaningful content and experiences will hold more impact in the new normal, especially as consumers become more mindful of the privilege it is to buy or travel. What are your brand values, and how can you set up touch points for consumers to interact with your brand so that they know exactly who you are and what you stand for?
Think outside the box
What are you able to offer that stands out from the crowd? Do your research, gather your team, and think of something different. A great way to come up with new ideas is through the free association technique where random ideas are thrown out in an attempt to force connection between your current questions or challenge –– this usually results in ideas far separate from the mainstream.
Read the rest of our blog here.
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.
- #HOMEFORALL Campaign at Straits Clan – The Lo & Behold Group’s members club has forged a partnership with the Collective of Migrant Efforts among other NGOs and agencies for their #HOMEFORALL campaign. The initiative aims to help Singapore’s migrant workers with food support during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chefs Daniel Sia and Damian D’Silva have been working hard to prepare 450 meals per day, 7 days a week from the Clan Community Kitchen to the Goldmine Energy Tuas Factory-Converted Dormitory (FCD) and Eng Soon Dormitory. For more information on how to donate please visit their website.
- Beng Who Cooks for the needy – Jason Chua and Zhen Long have started Beng Who Cooks, preparing meals for anyone in the community who is unable to afford meals during this pandemic. The young hawkers are rustling up Singapore-style Poke bowls for those in need and pairing meals with drinks from their neighbouring stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre.
- Lunch Boxes from Alma – Executive Chef at Michelin-starred Alma, Haikal Johari assists medical professionals by providing twice weekly lunch boxes for the staff at National University Hospital. Partnering with the popular Woodlands Sourdough bakery, each box contains Angus beef burgers, beef pastrami sandwiches and sourdough sandwiches piled high with delights including roasted cauliflower, hummus and smoked cheese.
- SGPaySitForward with Ninja Van and Night Owl Cinematics – An initiative that enables everyone to give back to the community. People can buy a $25 care pack which will then be delivered by Ninja Van couriers to the doorsteps of vulnerable individuals and families in Singapore. The care packs include items that will stop the spread of Covid-19 such as hand sanitiser, surgical masks and antibacterial products. Their aim is to distribute 100,000 care packages by 1st June, visit their website to donate.
- Food support by DBS Bank – Singapore based DBS Bank has donated an incredible S$2.5 million towards food support for the city’s most vulnerable groups. This has been used to give out more than 200,000 meals to the elderly and low-income families through The Food Bank. The initiative has also supported ItsRainingRaincoats by providing more than 100,000 meals to Singapore’s migrant workers.
- Qatar Airways assists healthcare professionals – The airline gave away 100,000 free tickets to healthcare professionals, in a bid to thank them for their amazing work throughout this pandemic. Throughout April, Qatar Airways Cargo increased their around-the-globe services by transporting 50 million kilograms of medical supplies and aid relief to impacted regions.
- General Electric and Ford create ventilators – These companies have joined together to manufacture the life-saving devices at a facility in Michigan, America. An expected 50,000 ventilators will be made with different settings to help improve blood-oxygen levels.
- PPE by H&M – When fashion giant H&M shut their doors, they pivoted to assist those in need within their communities. As well as donating to local charities, the H&M Group began producing personal protective equipment to hospitals.
- Jack Ma’s donation to curb Covid-19 – Co-founder and former Executive Chairman of Chinese technology corporation Alibaba Group, Jack Ma has donated millions towards the coronavirus vaccine research, as well as putting together a handbook of medical expertise from his home Zhejiang province in China. Ma has also ensured a major widespread operation through providing medical supplies, such as face masks and lifesaving equipment, to more than 150 countries.
- Twitter and Square CEO pledges $1 billion donation – The biggest donor so far within the coronavirus pandemic is Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square. Dorsey has already donated (at time of publishing) US$87 million out of his US$1 billion pledge.
- Captain Sir Tom Moore raises over £32 million for NHS Charities – A heartwarming story of an incredible 100-year-old war veteran who walked laps around his 25m garden in Bedfordshire, England. Tom’s initial plan was to raise £1,000 for the NHS, however he eventually raised an amazing £32,794,701 from more than one and a half million supporters. To mark his fundraising efforts and to celebrate his 100th Birthday, the Queen has awarded him with a knighthood as Honoury Colonel.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- #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.
Two weeks ago, the Singapore government announced an extended ‘circuit breaker’ period in Singapore with the hopes of limiting the spread of Covid-19 — this “soft lockdown” means that the vast majority of the country is working from home, limiting outdoor activities to ‘essentials only’ and for those with access to technology, using those tools to stay in touch with family and friends.
The coronavirus pandemic has not only shaken the economy, but the prolonged period of isolation and social distancing have certainly taken a toll on mental health, giving rise to higher levels of anxiety and depression. Locally, it was reported that over 6,600 calls have been made to the National Care Hotline in Singapore, after it had been set up for just two weeks.
It has never been more important to prioritise our mental health. At V&VPR, we often talk about the importance of holistic wellness and the effects of each choice we make having an impact on our overall wellbeing. It’s understandably easier to care less, or indulge more, when it comes to our food and drink choices these days. Coupled with news of consumer alcohol sales going up during the Circuit Breaker period, we wanted to understand more about the relation between our food and drink choices and our mental health.
We brought together Asher Low, co-founder of Singapore non-profit organisation Limitless — whom V&VPR supports on a pro-bono basis — as well as nutritionist and host, Charlotte Mei, on Instagram Live to chat about their experiences during the Circuit Breaker; tools for coping, and how eating right and working out always makes us feel better. Asher is a certified social worker who founded Limitless to help youths in the fight against mental illness, poverty and social inequality. Follow Limitless on Instagram for the full conversation available soon on IGTV. In the meantime, read on for highlights of the interview.
Part 1: Fighting Cabin Fever — Stay Connected, Keep Moving, Keep Learning
Four weeks into the Circuit Breaker and with another month to go, many of us have started experiencing cabin fever syndrome, a distressing feeling of restlessness and irritability from extended periods of staying indoors. To combat these unsettling feelings, Asher suggests to focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do: keep in touch with friends and loved ones on a regular basis albeit virtually over the multitude of apps and video conferencing platforms available such as Houseparty and Zoom. Our personal favourite is virtual movie night with Netflix Party. Both Asher and Charlotte support a regular fitness routine for improved mental health — in fact, keep it fun and exercise with friends on-screen to provide you with added motivation!
Another common feeling you may experience in lockdown is a loss of control. It is overwhelming to feel like while you may be doing your best to keep safe and healthy, there may still be other factors outside of your power – for example, having a family member or housemate working in essential services that has a higher risk of exposure to Covid-19, having your entire daily routine turned on its head, or feeling like your space is encroached on since the home is perpetually ‘full’ now. Asher and Charlotte recommend taking back control by focusing on productivity. Choose habits and hobbies that you’ve never tried before such as cooking a new dish outside of your repertoire, learning how to play a music instrument or picking up a new language online. Note that this doesn’t mean you have to be high achieving all the time – setting small goals for yourself is an excellent way of providing a sense of focus and purpose. The objective here is to try — don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve all your goals for the day. “If you slip up or are just having a bad day, it’s okay. Stay positive and pick yourself up,” Charlotte advised. “Look back and find out what your triggers are and come up with solutions to cope with those moments.”
And if you have the privilege of space, having just one spot that solely belongs to you can also drastically help with feelings of control. Whether it’s having your own work desk, your own bed to return to, or a corner of the living room that no one else can intrude upon, can make a significant difference in your mood.
Exercise is also an amazing coping mechanism especially right now as it produces endorphins that trigger positive feelings. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going for a long run or doing an hour-long workout – doing something small is better than doing nothing at all. We enjoy Nike Training Club for its free workouts that start from just 5 minutes! If you’re not feeling up for exercise, how about cleaning up your room instead? Decluttering is a great way to physically and mentally detox, and burn some calories while you’re at it!
Anxiety and feelings of depression are common issues faced by many around the world right now – unsurprisingly, the Limitless team has also been receiving a higher number of messages and calls during the Circuit Breaker period. Asher and Charlotte both agree that a good way to try and overcome the feeling of helplessness is to practice gratitude – don’t dwell on the negatives but instead, try and keep track of the good things. This doesn’t mean to be aloof or avoid the situation, but to take a moment and understand that while it is a difficult time, it is only temporary and there are many things we can look forward to in the future. A few easy ways to practice gratitude: keep a journal and write down three highlights of your day every day — these can be things that you’re grateful for, goals you’ve reached; or as Charlotte has been doing this year, simply write down one achievement — whether you deem them big or small — on your calendar daily.
Part 2: Eat Well, Feel Better
Diet and mental health are very intertwined, and food should be seen as a positive aspect of life. However, in today’s world consuming food is almost always portrayed as a fattening or guilty activity, and this has caused a lot of disordered eating and anxiety in people. Eating right can vastly boost your mental health, and spending some time cooking healthy meals for or with your loved ones can be an excellent bonding activity.
Let’s start by reframing our relationship with food. Charlotte’s key piece of advice is to not have a restrictive diet, instead focus on good ingredients you can add to your meals (rather than reminding yourself of what you shouldn’t eat). Food should be seen as a form of enjoyment, and an activity that brings people together. It is intrinsically good, providing us with the energy and nutrition we need to survive, and we have license to enjoy it to the fullest – but in moderation. “Make peace with your relationship with food, and this will translate to your relationships with people as well,” she says.
The portrayal of healthy eating in the media often calls to mind boring salads, steamed foods and high price points. Charlotte debunks this by noting that healthy food can come in many different forms and cuisines – and can be vibrant and wallet-friendly as well. In Singapore, a common staple for many of us is cai png, which literally translates to rice with dishes, available at almost every hawker centre and neighbourhood coffee shop. This economically friendly meal is not known for being particularly healthy, but Charlotte considers this an acceptable option, if we turn the concept on its head: Based on the plate concept, we swop the ‘base’ of white rice — which usually takes up at least half the plate — for vegetables instead; a quarter plate of rice, and a quarter plate of protein (opt for healthier options like steamed fish, tofu, or stir fried meat). This ensures a nutrient-dense, filling meal.
Right now, making frequent trips to your corner cai png stall may not be the most viable option, so Charlotte also suggests healthy, affordable ingredients to add to your diet at home. As a trained nutritionist, Charlotte candidly states that scientifically, there is no such thing as a ‘superfood’ (Note: We checked, and yes it is purely a marketing term) — so don’t worry about being able to spend on pricier items like chia seeds, kale, and blueberries. We have perfectly nutritious options in our backyard — that is, easily accessible via wet markets and supermarkets. Leafy vegetables like chye sim and watercress, and plenty of fruit like apples and oranges, should form the base of our diets. Canned foods can be healthy as well! It’s not necessary to buy whole fresh fish to get your vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, instead consider shelf-stable canned tuna, mackerel and sardines. Canned beans and canned corn are also an amazing, versatile additions to your pantry.
Want to whip up a quick, deliciously healthy recipe? Charlotte shares her favourite 3-ingredient meal, starring her ultimate go-to ingredient: eggs!
Egg & Cucumber Toast
Time: 10 minutes
- 2 eggs
- Slice of bread — sourdough is ideal, but bread that you have will do
- ½ cucumber
- Using a mandolin or knife, slice cucumber thinly.
- Toast bread (butter optional)
- Prepare eggs to your preference — scrambled, hard boil, poached, etc
- Assemble sliced cucumbers on toast, top with eggs, and add salt and pepper to taste
For more information on Limitless and their services visit their website here.
If you are coping with anxiety and depression, please do not hesitate to reach out to the helplines below.
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH): 1800 283 7019
Emergency Helpline (IMH): 6389 2222
SOS (Samaritans of Singapore): 1800 221 4444
Check out the rest of our blog here for more tips and inspiration to get you through quarantine.
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!
Take this stay-at-home period as the perfect opportunity to practice more self-care and self-love. To help give your mind and body a boost of TLC, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to transform your home into a glorious, luxury hotel spa for the day!
07:00AM – MEDITATE
Start the day with Singita’s inspiring sunrise meditation.
Lead by Singita’s Wellness Manager, Renée Rosettenstein, this session will ensure viewers relax and commence the day de-stressed and invigorated. Accompanied with a beautiful shot of the rising sun over the expansive African wilderness, this calming meditation is the ultimate way to welcome a new day.
10:00AM – PREP
Create your own sanctuary.
Scent is vital in recreating a spa experience, and our top pick is the Volcanic Stone Diffuser from Curators Collective in Jugiong, NSW that releases the essential oils of amber and spices. Adding a few drops of essential oil to these black volcanic stones permeates the air with soothing, therapeutic fragrance. Get yours through this link.
Next, get comfy with soft, delicate matching pyjamas. Located deep in wine country, Edited and Co, is a boutique in Mudgee that sells sophisticated, soft-to-touch fleece tops and track pants worthy of that opulent at-home spa day you have planned. Available in grey and vintage white for a sophisticated feel, shop for a pair of chic and comfortable pyjamas here.
11:00AM – FACE
Face mists are a wonderful way to rejuvenate and refresh your skin at the start of the day.
Using this simple recipe from Capella Singapore, you can prep your own bottle of Cucumber Mint Face Mist using natural ingredients such as cucumber, mint and lemon. Cucumber has vitamin C which can help soothe skin and keep it revitalized; while lemon promotes an even skin tone, and mint has anti-inflammatory properties – a perfect combination for maintaining a healthy glow with or without makeup.
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 bag of mint tea
- 1/2 cup distilled water
- 1 spray bottle
- Juice the cucumber and add in the lemon juice.
- Steep the mint tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes. Allow tea to cool.
- Combine the cucumber-lemon juice and cooled tea together in a spray bottle.
- Store in a spray bottle in the refrigerator.
- Use to start and end the day and as many times in-between.
13:00PM – SCRUB
An at-home spa day just isn’t complete without a luxurious body scrub.
Aside from helping you keep your skin soft, smooth and hydrated, body scrubs also aid in stimulating blood circulation and improving the overall tone and health of your skin. Capella Singapore divulges the recipe to their Himalayan Salt Scrub with ingredients such as grapefruit essential oil that will help to stimulate the lymphatic system and eliminate excess water. It also helps to boost circulation and diminish the appearance of cellulite.
- 1 Cup Himalayan Salt
- ½ Cup Coconut Oil
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 5 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Container or Jar
- Combine Salt, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil together in a bowl.
- Add in Grapefruit Essential Oil to your preference.
- Put mixture into a container.
- To use take into shower and apply to body in circular motions. Focus on elbows, knees, feet etc. as needed. Rinse with lukewarm water.
*Note of Caution as this has oil it can make surfaces slippery
Lips require care and attention as well, and this quick-and-easy scrub is especially useful for preventing dry and chapped lips, ensuring you always look lovely and fresh for your next Zoom meeting. Capella Singapore’s DIY Coconut & Honey Lip Scrub is great for keeping your lips soft, exfoliated and hydrated.
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 5 drops Essential oil of choice (Citrus is good)
- 1/2 Tbsp Warm Water
- Combine Coconut Oil and Honey together.
- Add in Sugar, Essential oil and Warm Water for correct consistency.
- Put mixture into a container. Store in the refrigerator.
- To use rub on your lips in a circular motion for two minutes, rinse with lukewarm water.
15:00PM – SKIN
While the popular Endota Spa in the Southern Highlands town of Bowral, NSW is closed at the moment, you can now jump online and pick up amazing Endota products that will help you achieve that glorious glow at home. Their Brightening New Age Mini Kit contains cleansing gel, a detox mask, brightening serum, eye cream and firming moisturiser for a mini facial you can do yourself.
Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, NSW has its own luxurious Bouddi spa pack that you can purchase online which uses essential oils inspired by the Bouddi (meaning ‘heart’ in the local Aboriginal language) wilderness. The pack contains a body wash and body lotion hand blended and packaged at Bells Day Spa with ingredients such as Orange, Rose Geramium & Patchouli essence.
17:00PM – EAT
End your spa day right with a nutritious meal, inspired by nature.
Singita’s menus are known for offering plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, and new health bowls have been introduced alongside natural infusions and loose-leaf teas. To finish your day of wellness on a good note, re-create the taste of Singita with this recipe for Sweni Lodge Beetroot Tart.
- 250g cooked whole beetroot, boiled and peeled
- 50ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons treacle sugar
- The juice of 1 orange
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 egg, whisked
- Place the vinegar, orange juice, sugar and rosemary into a small pan and simmer over a very low heat for roughly 5 minutes or until you have a syrupy consistency. Allow to cool.
- Scoop out 8 “balls” of cooked beetroot using a melon baller and place them into the vinegar and orange juice mixture. Coat the beetroot evenly with the syrup.
- Place your puff pastry on a floured work surface. Using a round template (e.g. a tea cup, saucer or side plate) cut out a round piece of puff pastry. Remember the size of your template will determine the size of your tart!
- Next brush the round of puff pastry with the egg wash and place on a greased baking tray.
- Place your beetroot balls on top of the puff pastry, arranging them in a symmetrical pattern. Keep any left over vinegar and orange mix for plating.
- Place the tray in a preheated oven at 180°C for ± 10 – 12 min or until the puff pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our blogpost on how to create your own at-home spa day. For more wellness inspiration, check out 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 Facebook, Instagram 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!
We can’t physically run wild right now, but that doesn’t mean our imaginations can’t. To help ward off cabin fever and help you kickstart the planning for the wondrous trip you’ll be desperate to take when the world recovers, we’ve rounded up some of the places we’d love to travel to right now…
Go on a history and culture-rich hike across Tajikistan
The Walk Tajikistan itinerary with Scott Dunn showcases breath-taking landscapes with an insight into the country’s colourful history and culture. This itinerary is crafted for the discerning traveller – hiking across the remote mountain system of the Fann Mountains, renowned for its phenomenal panoramas and stunning azure alpine lakes. Visit two of the less famous Silk Road destinations, including one of Asia’s oldest cities, Khujand, and venture to Iskanderkul, nicknamed the ‘jewel in Tajikistan’s crown’, home to the Iskanderkul Lake with ethereal blue and green waters and a magnificent waterfall.
Encounter gentle gorillas on a trek through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park
For a truly immersive experience in the Rwandan wilderness, we recommend a stay at Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Set on 178 acres at the edge of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the lodge was named after a legendary silverback gorilla, known for his humility and gentle nature. This is where you’ll be able to take part in life-changing gorilla treks for a humbling, soul-centring experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitats. Surrounded by greenery, the lodge also has on-site nursery which has provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for Singita’s extensive reforestation initiative to increase the range and numbers of the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Spend a weekend on an island paradise in Indonesia
The exquisite island of Sumba is an hour’s flight from Bali – a bucolic haven far removed from tourist hotspots. From plunging waterfalls to pristine beaches with world-class surf spots, this amazing destination is replete with plenty of #InstaWorthy sights and activities for your travel bucket list. If you’re looking for the ultimate island getaway experience, Nihi Sumba Resort is your dream accommodation. Placed first in Top 10 Hotels for Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Awards, the property boasts a selection of off-script experiences that are hard to beat – including swimming with horses, surf lessons at Coconut Cove and watching turtle hatchlings released into the ocean.
Explore the best of Australia’s nature in the Blue Mountains, NSW
Just a 3-hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is known for its dramatic scenery, cascading falls, lush valleys and greenery – a true paradise for ecophiliacs yearning for fresh air and open spaces. The Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort is a luxurious eco-retreat that will sweep you off your feet if you’re looking to stay and explore the area. Ensconced in 4,000 acres of natural wonder, go for a horse-riding session through winding trails and native eucalypt woodlands, or take part in an authentic ‘walkabout’ in one of Australia’s untouched stretches of natural, protected bushland. Unwind at the end of a long day in your own private plunge pool – we won’t tell if you decide to go for a skinny-dip!
Immerse in a unique modern safari experience in Tanzania
For the true adventure seekers, it doesn’t get any wilder than this – located on a dramatic riverbend in the remote Lamai triangle in Tanzania, Mara River Tented Camp is a permanent camp with a modern take on the classic East African safari. Set on 98,000 acres of untouched wilderness in northern Tanzania, guests will have access to some of the world’s most prized and private game-viewing opportunities, including breath-taking views of the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest. Get involved in game drives, guided bush walks and stargazing in the evening under the African night sky.
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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!
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