Meeting With Latest Tiger Uncage Personality- Gnome & Bow Founder, Quanda Ong

Last week, we were very privileged and honoured to meet with latest Tiger Uncage Personality, Quanda Ong, and he shared with us some really helpful advice about starting a business.

In case you are wondering what Tiger Uncage is all about, the campaign was started by Tiger Beer to salute young adults across Asia who dare to pursue their passions and overcome barriers that may hold them back from realising their full potential. Previous personalities who have been featured include molecular gastronomy Chef, Han Li Guang of Restaurant Labyrinth, and popular online comedians, Tree Potatoes.

Embodying the Uncage proposition, Quanda’s obsession with details and uncovering hidden design led him to kick-start his relentless journey through researching materials, designs, and manufacturers to launch his own collection. After three years of brainstorming, Quanda swapped his calculator for a ruler and shears; leaving his two and a half years in the banking industry to become a full time storyteller, or a ‘Master Talesmith’ as he calls it.

In the pursuit of making his dreams a reality, his brand, Gnome & Bow was brought to fruition through a crowd-funding appeal in 2013.

“Unsatisfied with my job in the private banking sector, I knew that I had to chart my career in something that was creatively fulfilling. With a natural instinct to protect me, both family and friends warned me against leaving the stability of a nine-to-five job, but looking back I could not be happier that I dared to take the plunge. I am so honoured and stoked to be recognised as an Uncage personality, and truly feel that my personal journey resonates strongly with Tiger’s proposition. As an independent designer, every day brings exciting opportunities, and I will use this as yet another fresh beginning”, shared Quanda Ong, Founder and Designer, Gnome & Bow.

When asked what advice he would give to budding entrepreneurs, Quanda Ong said, “It is very important to have the passion and drive for whatever you are about to embark. However, what is even more important is that you carve out your own unique selling point / niche area and differentiate yourself from others.” Quanda Ong also highly recommends the book, “What Color is Your Parachute 2015: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-changers” by Richard N. Bolles.

Having closed a chapter with its first collection based off a twist on Aesop’s Fables, Book I: The Hare & the Flying Tortoise, Gnome & Bow’s sophomore collection turns toward a darker and more poignant source – Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Drawing inspirations from a classic novella by the famed Scottish author, the collection explores and reinterprets the idea of duality, change and acceptance. The theory of a dichotomous human nature is explored and evident throughout the collection, with wallets and cardholders designed to showcase two contending faces of human nature: the rational, reserved side versus the wilder, more uninhibited inner self.

These two sides are represented by the two colours chosen for the collection – Deep-sea Blue embodies the classy and collected Dr. Jekyll, while Jungle Green characterises the spontaneous and thrill-seeking Mr. Hyde. This concept is especially synonymous with Tiger’s Uncage proposition, where the ‘cage’ represents one’s submission to societal norms at the cost of his/her passions and personal interests, and being ‘Uncaged’ celebrates our whimsical nature and unique motivations.

Crafted from full-grain US cow leather, Quanda Ong has designed an exclusive Tiger UNCAGE x Gnome & Bow cardholder in Deep-sea Blue. Evident on the outside is a loop stitching that is in signature Tiger orange, contrasting beautifully with the glossy blue exterior. Other story design elements include an emblazoned crest, symbolic of the uncanny semblance between a fountain pen and a tattoo gun.

An emblem that represents the coming together of two home-grown brands can be seen on the flipside, with a debossed quote from the novel that reads: “It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it” when the cardholder is opened. The quote taken from the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde serves as a reminder for one to feed their uninhibited side and pursue their curiosities.

The collection that is once again designed to showcase Gnome & Bow’s pursuit for classic, elegant aesthetics whilst embracing the art of storytelling is available from 28 November 2014 on and selected stockists from SGD$125 onwards. The exclusively designed Tiger UNCAGE x Gnome & Bow cardholder will be available for sale at Keepers: Singapore Designer Collective and on Gnome & Bow.

As a way to reward its loyal fan following, Tiger Beer is also providing five lucky Facebook fans an opportunity to win the limited edition cardholders, encouraging fans to share how chasing their curiosity opened the door to a memorable experience for them. The competition will run from 28 November till 5 December 2014 so do check out Tiger Beer Singapore Official Facebook Page!

On a more personal note, we really like the wallets, name card holders, and bags that are creatively designed by Quanda Ong. The details of the design are very intricately and meticulously thought about and we are quite tempted to get the Linden Billfold Wallet from Gnome & Bow’s first collection, “The Hare & The Flying Tortoise” that cost SGD$185. Furthermore, the leather goods come packaged in Gnome & Bow’s Signature Storybook Box and that really makes it a perfect gift for loved ones.

Do check out and like Gnome & Bow’s Official Facebook Page for more details!

First Ever Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival Is Now Here In Singapore @ Jurong Point

Japanese food lovers are in for a real treat as Japan’s number one online shopping mall, Rakuten, is bringing its renowned food festival, Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival, to Singapore for the first time. From 25 November 2014 to 4 December 2014, shoppers will be able to taste and experience Rakuten’s food offerings from all over Japan in an offline setting, at the newly-opened Japanese-themed WAttention Plaza at Jurong Point.

Since its inception in 2010, the largely popular food festival [known as Rakuten Umaimono Taikai in Japanese] has become one of the most anticipated food events in Japan.

The festival is Rakuten’s way of presenting the best of Rakuten’s online food merchants to shoppers in a retail environment, thus merging the offline world that customers live in and the online world that Rakuten operates in.

The 10-day festival will feature over 100 types of premium seafood, exquisite confectioneries, delicious desserts, and many other delectable delights from Hokkaido, Yokohama, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Shizuoka.

Food enthusiasts will be introduced to a variety of new-to-Singapore specialty products presented by 11 merchants from Rakuten Ichiba in Japan and many of them are award-winning and have received accolades; including Rakuten Japan’s ‘Shop of the Year’ award.

In this blog post, we will be shortlisting 3 merchants that you ought to check out at Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival!

1. Tsukiji Ryotel Takewaka

Established for over 20 years, Tsukiji Ryotel Takewaka sources fresh and seasonal seafood from Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji market for their products. Its chirashi bowls are intricately packaged by masterchefs in the style of parfaits, a visual treat that enhances the taste of freshness with every spoonful.

Also known as the Japanese Seafood Parfait, the chirashi is made with premium Japanese rice, topped with ikura [salmon roe], salmon, and tuna belly. With the colourful mix of seafood and vegetables, diners can even replace chopsticks with spoons to enjoy the savoury seafood parfait to the fullest.

2. Sasaya Syoen

Founded in 1918, Sasaya Syoen is deeply rooted in tradition with its handmade sweets. The sugar is expertly pulled by its confectioners to give a real and authentic taste. The warabi mocha is one of its most popular products, along with other seasonal pastries and sweets, which are all ideal as snacks and gifts.

Using the finest bracken powder produced domestically, each bracken rice cake is exquisitely handemade by a master Kyoto confectioner and it will melt in the mouth. We highly recommend that you dip the warabi mochi in some soybean powder and it will make a perfect treat.

3. Ginza Sembikiya Patisserie

Founded in 1894, Ginza Sembikiya was originally a fruit specialty store. In the 1960s, it began developing creative methods for people to enjoy tasting fruits while remaining loyal to the shop’s dedication to using only quality premium fruit products. The result is artisan fruit-infused confectioneries, which very quickly became a hit among locals, as well as tourists looking to bring back omiyage [souvenirs] for their friends and loved ones.

Using only Fuji apples produced in Japan, its attentive confectioners ensure that the tartness and sweetness of the apples are retained. The apples are simmered to perfection to a texture as smooth as silk. Flavoured with a hint of cinnamon, the apple filling is encased in Ginza Sembikiya’s interpretation of a baumkuchen, a layered cake originating from Germany.

Our Personal Opinion/Review of Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival 2014

Though the Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival is held at Jurong Point, this is truly one gourmet festival that foodies shouldn’t miss because there are many new-to-Singapore food and beverage product offerings. Our recommendation is that you bring at least SGD$50 as some of the food and beverage products can be priced on the higher side [after all, some of the food and beverage products are specially imported all the way from Japan]. Should you not have enough spare cash, some of the merchants do accept credit cards.

If you are looking for some specialty products from Japan, the Rakuten Japan Gourmet Festival is a must-go!

A Naiise Christmas Pop-Up Store With Food, Retail, and Workshops!, one of Singapore’s fastest-growing online design retailers will be launching its fourth pop-up store, A Naiise Christmas Pop-Up, at 72-74 Dunlop Street, and it will open from 15 November to 24 December 2014, 12-7pm daily.

Collaborating with leading lifestyle, design, and food partners in the community, Naiise will transform two shophouse units on Dunlop Street into a cosy space for the public to dine, shop, and personalise their own gifts this festive season. Spanning 300 square metres, the pop-up store is located in two restored shophouses on Dunlop Street, a bustling area on the fringe of Little India.

Through the use of locally-sourced vintage and restored furniture by Re-Store Living, Chinese art deco inspired home accessories and furniture by SCENE SHANG, and vintage industrial teak furniture by Mountain Teak; Naiise aims to create a warm, modern-vintage setting that complements the signature shophouse setting and charming neighbourhood.

This pop-up edition by Naiise will feature F&B for the first time, with a third of its space dedicated to that. Collaborating with leading restaurant food partners like The Cajun Kings, Park Bench Deli, Kith, Burnt Ends, and Morsels, A Naiise Christmas Pop-up store will feature fresh menus headlined by one restaurant partner every week.

A variety of food products crafted by local artisan food makers will also be available throughout the week. Also, The Cajun Kings will join forces with Burnt Ends for a special night of roasted hog barbeque on 7 December 2014, from 2 pm onwards, at the newly constructed open-air rooftop between the two units. The pop-up store’s F&B operations will be supported by kitchen specialist Mudian Crafted, with lightings designed by Zorse Plus One.

The other two-thirds of the pop-up store will be dedicated to retail and workshops. Leveraging on its strong online retail platform, Naiise will be selling design products from more than 150 independent designers from Singapore and around the world, making the store a must-go destination to pick up unique Christmas gifts.

Naiise, together with their partners, will also conduct workshops, giving participants the opportunity to learn various crafts and skills while creating unique DIY Christmas gifts.

Exclusive products and services, like fresh festive blooms by Poppy Floral Studio, vinyl records and turntables by Retrophonic, and as well as a personalised gift-wrapping service, will be made available at A Naiise Christmas Pop-up store.

Not forgetting the spirit of giving at Christmas, Naiise is partnering with Club Rainbow to grant Christmas wishes for 100 children who are suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Visitors at the pop-up store can grant any of these wishes displayed on their Christmas tree.

By working together with leading lifestyle partners and focusing on providing honest offerings across retail, food, and workshops, Naiise hopes to create a unique, feel-good and memorable experience for everyone this festive season. A Naiise Christmas Pop-up celebrates the spirit of Christmas with the larger community, reflecting Naiise’s philosophy of making design approachable and accessible to everyone while nurturing a growing community that appreciates good designs.

Retail Highlights
• Festive floral blooms by Poppy Floral Studio
• Spin your own vinyl records from Retrophonic or even purchase them!
• Grant A Wish to 100 children from Club Rainbow at our charity Christmas tree
• Personalise your own gift wrapping with stamps designed and hand-crafted by local designers
• Shop design hampers, artisan food hampers and stocking fillers under $20
• New brands: SCENE SHANG, LA:Bruket, AssembliShop, Murdoodles, General Object, The Blend&Press Co, Cacaosians, Nutteree

F&B Highlights
• The Cajun Kings x Park Bench Deli – Po Boy Sandwiches
• Morsels
• The Cajun Kings x Burnt Ends – Whole hog roast on 7 December, 2pm onwards
• The Cajun Kings x Artichoke – Fried chicken x chicken skin ice cream
• Kith Café
• Chef On Wheels
• Bettr Barista

Workshop Highlights
• DODT – Silk screen printing
• Green Issues by Agy – DIY re-fashioning clothing
• Murdoodles – Bookbinding
• Poppy Flora Studio – Floral arrangement
• Raag and Bone – Macrame Planter Workshop
• Stale and Co. – Brass jewellery making
• Typesettingsg – DIY letterpress printing Christmas cards
• The Handmade Tale – Rubber stamp carving / canvas making

[Test Drive Review]-The New Renault Clio R.S. Hatchback

One month ago, we had the exclusive privilege of taking the new Renault Clio R.S. 5-Door Hatchback out for a spin and we had such an exhilarating time that even till now, we really miss driving this pocket rocket! In this blog post, we will be sharing about our driving experience with the Renault Clio R.S. and what we think about it.

Exterior Appearance

The new Renault Clio R.S. is passionately sporty. Dynamic, distinctive, and stimulating, the Renault Clio R.S. sets hearts racing. Equipped with an F1-style aerodynamic front plate, R.S rear spoiler, and gloss dark metal rear diffuser with integrated chrome rectangular twin exhaust tail-pipes, one can truly feel the sporty passion of the Renault Clio R.S.

The LED daytime-running lights forms a distinctive lighting signature that is recognisable by day or night and the F1-style aerodynamic front blade is inspired by Renault’s F1 expertise, reducing drag by channelling airflow under the vehicle to improve penetration through the air.

The R.S. rear spoiler and gloss dark metal rear diffuser accounts for 20% and 80% respectively, of the extra down force generated at the rear for optimum aerodynamic efficiency.

18-inch Gloss Black Radicale Alloy Rims & Red Brake Calipers For A More Aggressive Stance

In terms of the exterior appearance, the new Renault Clio R.S. is extremely stylish and can be easily mistaken as a two-door hatchback. The new Renault Clio R.S. has a fluid, compact, and muscular silhouette. With its coupe-like profile, confident lines, and cleverly hidden rear door handles, the new Renault Clio R.S. exudes an unmistakeable presence on the road.

Interior Appearance,

Extrovertly bold, the new Renault Clio R.S. is provocative and expressive with its impeccably finished interior.

Tasteful additions of red anodised inserts on the steering wheel, gear knob, side air-con vents and side door panels, together with exclusive contrast red stitching on the steering wheel, gear knob gaiter, and seat upholster, are readily associated with the notion of passion.

Upholstered in premium bovine leather, the R.S-badged sport steering wheel is sculptured to offer a firmer grip for a more aggressive drive.

The gloss black centre console with chrome trimmings houses the Renault R-Link multimedia system with a 7-inch coloured touchscreen and automatic air-conditioning controls.

The interior appearance of the new Renault Clio R.S is definitely catchy and very sporty. The rear seats are spacious enough for three adults and it can be folded down to create even more space for luggage and shopping bags.

What We Think Of The New Renault Clio R.S.

At the first impression, we were fooled into thinking that the new Renault Clio R.S. is a two-door hatchback because its door handles for the rear passengers are so well hidden. In contrast to the dominantly elegant black interior, a number of catchy red details draw the attention to the shapely cabin structure.

A stylish pocket rocket, the Renault Clio R.S. is also capable of providing a very comfortable and yet sporty drive. For the car enthusiasts, the superior performance of the Renault Clio R.S. is not to be taken lightly because it can be adapted on demand to suit its driver’s moods and desires, according to the intended journey type. At the push of the RS Drive button, its unmistakably sporty characteristics become apparent at once!

Under The Hood of the new Renault Clio R.S.

How the new Renault Clio R.S. adapts so instantly is that it adjusts the response and parameters of the engine, Efficient Dual Clutch [EDC] transmission, steering, throttle inputs, and Electronic Stability control [ESC]. For the ladies, the new Renault Clio R.S. is very easy to handle and it delivers all the qualities expected of a Clio, such as a quiet ride, a high level of travelling comfort, and low running costs.

From its well-padded seats to its accommodating suspension, the new Renault Clio R.S. attains levels of comfort far higher than one would expect from a car of such sporting temperament. Despite being heavy-footed throughout the test-drive, the fuel consumption of the new Renault Clio R.S. is very remarkable. Then again, for Singapore’s rather congested roads, it would be more prudent to save even more fuel by being light-footed. It takes 6.7 seconds for the new Renault Clio R.S to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and we always find ourselves at the 80 km/h mark within 3 seconds.

Designed by Renault Sport Technologies, the new Renault Clio R.S. is made in Dieppe, Nomandy, France, and it targets those who appreciate beautiful cars and exacting purists alike.

In a nutshell, the new Renault Clio R.S. is versatile, understated, and user-friendly, but every bit as efficient as before. Fitted with a remarkably high level of standard equipment, the new Renault Clio R.S is also more fun and easier to drive. For more information about this high-performance hatchback, do check out Renault Singapore Official Website or schedule a test-drive and feel the prowess of the new Renault Clio R.S.!

[Our 2014 Top Recommendation]- JannPaul Diamonds @ Far East Shopping Centre

We were introduced to JannPaul Diamonds some time ago and it is really a big pity that we haven’t got to know them earlier because if not, we would have just customised our wedding bands there!

Established in 2009, JannPaul was started by three friends, two of whom are second-generation diamond specialists with families already in the jewellery industry. With noble efforts in wanting to educate the general public on diamonds and to squash the myths that come with the luxury price tag, the partners behind JannPaul have banded together in the hopes of realising their common passion. As the ‘mythbusters’ of the local diamond industry, JannPaul is best known for their unique concept of providing Diamond Education Sessions to their clients in their selection of Super Ideal Cut Diamonds, lasting from 1.5 to 2 hours each session. These non-obligatory sessions serve to educate potential clients on common mistakes that they make when choosing diamonds and as well as provide some helpful tips on diamond procurement.

Casey Lai, a man knowledgeable in the ‘science’ behind diamonds gave us a very thorough insight to choosing diamonds and we now know more than just the 4Cs of diamond basics. We were introduced to the Holloway Cut Adviser, the ASET Scope, and the Ideal Scope. With these 3 tools combined with the knowledge of the 4Cs, one would be able to procure the best diamond that is wallet-friendly.

Holloway Cut Adviser

The Holloway Cut Adviser estimates a round diamond’s appeal based on its potential Light Return, Fire, Scintillation, and Spread. Most people prefer stones that rate 1-2 on a scale where 0-2 is Excellent, 2-4 Very Good, 4-6 Good, 6-8 Fair, and 8-10 Poor.

You will need Total Depth %, Table % and Crown degree and Pavilion degree angles from AGS and 2006 GIA and IGI reports.

Holloway Cut Adviser gets no info on symmetry, polish and minor facets; use it only to reject likely bad performing diamonds to narrow down your final selection.

ASET Scope

The ASET Scope tells us where the reflected light from the diamond is coming from. Blue is directly overhead, green is from low angles, and red is in the middle. The ASET Scope is the preferred tool for evaluating fancy cut diamonds.

Ideal Scope

The Ideal Scope reveals areas of the light return, leakage, and obscuration of the diamond. It is easy to use and all you have to remember is that red is desirable and indicates light return while diamonds with too much white areas indicates problems with light leakage. The Ideal Scope is the preferred tool for evaluating round diamonds.

Had we known about all these 3 tools earlier, we would have made a more informed choice when buying diamonds. So for all you guys out there, do make use of these 3 tools when you are shopping for the engagement ring!

Most jewellery stores in Singapore may not have the ASET Scope or Ideal Scope and even if they have, they might not tell you and at most, they will only show you the Hearts & Arrows Scope. You can purchase an ASET Scope or an Ideal Scope from this website and have it shipped to Singapore.

However, if you don’t want to spend too much time evaluating diamonds, you might want to consider JannPaul’s Super Ideal Cut Diamond that is cut in mathematical proportions in which every facet is placed at the exact angles to create a perfect balance between optimum brilliance and the scattering of light.

As one of the first local jewellers to incorporate 3-dimensional technology for their ring customisation service, JannPaul is able to formulate realistic images of the ring before manufacture. This also allows for clients to try on life-size wax replicas of the ring, making the customisation process a breeze for anyone, and especially first-time engagement ring buyers. A cut above the rest, JannPaul does not place limitations on the number of customisation changes on their rings and instead look towards servicing and satisfying their client’s needs.

With one of the widest selection of the extremely popular Hearts and Arrows diamond cuts in Singapore, JannPaul boasts a range including the Solasfera, Cushion Brellia, Angel Cut, and Brilliant Lady diamond cuts. JannPaul’s latest collection is the Verragio Rings which features very beautiful and intricate designs that will certainly wow the ladies.

With an increasing clientele base, JannPaul is gaining in popularity both locally and internationally; and for a fair price, JannPaul is definitely the place for excellent quality diamonds! For more information and updates from JannPaul, do like JannPaul’s Official Facebook Page and if you would like to learn more about diamonds, do check out JannPaul’s Official Website!