Singapore Top Travel, Beauty, Food, Lifestyle Blog

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Tropical Girl's Guide To Dressing Up Fashionably Warm For Winter

Hey all!

I've been receiving a lot of enquiries from readers wondering how to dress for winter, especially when it’s sub-zero temperatures in places like Seoul!

Yes, I'm a tropical Singaporean girl through and through. But with the amount of travelling I do and experiencing winter so frequently (I did subzero temperatures twice, this year alone), I feel somewhat qualified to speak my piece. I've amassed a bit of experience and a whole lot of tips and hacks in my arsenal on how to look stylish and still stay warm, even at -5 degrees!

So here you go:

A Tropical Girl's Guide to Dressing Up Fashionably for Winter!

I have a confession to make.

I friggin’ HATE winter puffer jackets that make me look like a bazhang (aka dumpling). I just cannot. I know they are amazing when it comes to keeping me warm, but looking like a dumpling is not an option.

[Coat from Uniqlo, scarf from ZARA]

I only own ONE puffy jacket from Uniqlo and I think it looks amazing for a puffy jacket lol.

But I usually keep it for situations like:
1. It’s so cold that I don’t really care even if I’m looking like a ba zhang
2. I’m somewhere in the wilderness cos then i think it’s acceptable to look non-fashionable - Puffy jackets do have a rather sporty appeal to them isn’t it?

[Coat from ZARA, snood from Hong Kong, thermal inner wear from Uniqlo]

But if I could look like THIS at -5 degrees (i.e. meaning to say somewhat fashionably stylish) then Y NOT, right?

I’m actually a very basic kinda girl. Not really the most adventurous when it comes to winter dressing, but let me share with you what works for me.

1. Find a great coat!

As seeing how your coat is the one main staple of any winter outfit, it is of paramount importance that you find a good-looking coat that fits you to a T!

Down jackets are more than warm, but a chic coat in a good fabric like wool or cashmere, or even fleece-lined offers the benefits of both decent protection from the cold, as well as keeping you stylish. On the downside, wool coats and the likes usually tend to be heavier, but it’s a trade-off for me haha I rather look a little more glamorous on my holidays, thank you very much.

[Coat from ZARA]

I love coats with detachable hoods! You can switch them up for different looks. This is the same coat as the one in the first picture of this post! Looks very different without the fur hood doesn’t it?

I own quite a few winter coats. Every time I see one I really like and it’s within budget, I’ll tell myself OK LETS BUY ITTTT. It’s quite difficult (IMO) to find a good winter coat that fits well and looks stylish at the same time. In Singapore, there are only a few places that sell fashionable winter wear at affordable prices, and I always find myself back at ZARA for their stylish range of winter wear!

You'll have so much more selection when shopping overseas, especially during winter season.

Tip: Remember to get your coat in the right size - It should be just slightly too big for you. You want to be able to layer under the coat without it feeling suffocatingly tight on the shoulders/arms!

[Coat from Taiwan, beanie from F21, turtleneck/knit dress from Seoul]

I got this coat from Taiwan! It’s made of wool and is fairly thick. I wore it on my last trip to Seoul in January when it was about -5 deg. Of course, the trick to really staying warm in subzero temperatures brings me to my next point...

2. Thermal wear is a must

No way you can wear one of these coats with just one layer inside and expect to stay warm. I’m sure you already know mine and everyone else’s open secret. Uniqlo's Heattech wear!

Their thermal wear is really affordable, and comes in a variety of colors and styles. I’m basic so I just go for the regular black scoop neck design and black leggings. 

More importantly, they have the regular version, extra warm version and ultra warm version! If you’re really really afraid of the cold, layer your heat tech!

I only have the regular and extra warm versions, so on days that I really needed to bundle up, I actually layered two layers of thermal wear inside. On top of that, I wore another knit piece or sweater! Uniqlo also does heat tech fleece turtle necks and tops which help to keep warm too.

Some readers have also recommended me fleece-lined leggings from Taobao/Qoo10 that keep warm even in -20 deg! I probably need to get myself a pair of those leggings to see how well they work.

3. Keep your extremities warm by accessorising

[Scarf and coat from ZARA, cute beanie from random shop in Hongkong]

When you’re looking at subzero temperatures, one of my preferred layering options might be:
Regular heat tech (top and leggings)
Extra warm heat tech (top and leggings)
Knit sweater

But all that is not enough, because the parts of your body exposed to the air as well as your extremities (that lose body warmth the fastest) will be the coldesttttt when you’re in such freezing conditions.

You’ll definitely need the following to help keep yourself warm:
Ear muffs
Face mask
Thick socks

You might end up like this when it gets too too cold. Beanie to protect ears, face mask to cover face. Don’t underestimate how much they help!

I have a variety of cute beanies and colourful scarves to keep me warm cos I think it’s the best way to add a pop of color to your winter outfit. Generally I like a bit of color though some people can pull off monochromatic outfits very well. With a bright color or print on you, you’ll stand out more in pictures too.

Tip: Remember to look for gloves with touch-screen capabilities - This will allow you to use your phone without removing your gloves and freezing your digits!

4. What to wear under your coat?


If you’re wondering what kinds of tops to wear over your heat tech, the best options are long-sleeved knit sweaters, turtleneck style tops and thick wool fabrics. I like turtleneck tops for winter because they offer an extra layer of protection around my neck - When it gets real cold, that extra bit of fabric really helps!

Knit sweaters can be really cute too, and I love this one that I bought in Hongdae, Seoul, paired together with a wool pencil skirt. Just remember that most of the time, what you wear inside won’t even be visible because it’d be under your thick coat and scarf anyway.


Jeans, leggings or skirts?
This is always a dilemma when it comes to packing for winter. I usually bring along a combination of all three! Let me share a little on how I layer them!

Jeans are a basic and generally go with most outfits.

I usually go for a basic dark wash cos that’s the most versatile. You probably don’t want to wear jeans on it’s own because the fabric doesn’t really block out the cold, so what you can do is to layer one heattech leggings, followed by jeans. It’s a hassle to go to the loo cos you’re gonna have to button/unbutton/unzip, so I’m warning you first!

Jeans made of a more elastic fabric will also work better cos you’ll have one more layer of heattech inside your jeans! Even better if you find drawstring elasticsed jeans because they can’t be seen underneath your tops/coats anyway. I usually do jeans if I’m going for a less girly look.

Skirts can be a little trickier for layering and I’ll break it down into two types, fitted skirts and flare skirts.

With flare skirts, they are a little more challenging to layer because you don’t get a good silhouette if you have longer coats! 

Flare skirts go really well with shorter jackets, though! Of course, you still wanna layer with heattech leggings underneath! (Side-note, this leather jacket was definitely not enough to keep me warm at -5 degrees. I brought out a large coat to layer over this after I got the shot I wanted :D)

Fitted skirts work way better with long coats, on the contrary.

Most convenient of all bottoms are leggings and leggings on their own! You can pull off leggings as pants if you are wearing either a long top or a long-ish jacket. Or you could layer a long tee shirt on top, as long as it covers the butt, you’ll look decent!

(My ridiculous fur shrug is from ZARA, on sale. I mean, how often do I get to wear cute furry things? I relish every opportunity to.)

Leggings on their own are great cos going to the toilet is so easy. It also feels much less restrictive! I layered up two heattech leggings this time in Seoul and it worked for me.


I don’t do dresses as much in winter because I generally find it easier to just layer tops with jeans/leggings, but wearing dresses pinafore style with a turtleneck inside can be a stylish way to wear a dress during winter!

Another pinafore with turtleneck inside combi!You can also tell that I recycle my winter accessories a fair bit, like this printed scarf I got in MNG Spain some time ago, it’s one of my favourites.

5. Footwear

I’m definitely a boots person when it comes to cold weather!

Boots help to block out the wind, and of course because I can’t wear them in Singapore, so I try to utilise them to the maximum whenever I get the opportunity to.

Boots come in a huge variety of styles and patterns!

I have boots like these: Under the knee leather boots, got these in Taiwan earlier this year! Tall boots are great because they also serve the function of being able to block out the wind and cold, another layer of protection against the freezing cold!

These are lifesavers! UGG boots that are fur-lined, water-proof and also give me good footing even on snowy or wet ground. Good for even subzero temperatures. They are not super pretty but have a rugged charm. I've also worn them even for trekking in the snow before, that’s how hardy they are!

I also own a pair of Hunter boots: I got them online on shopbop at least 2-3 years ago and I wear them very often, especially in autumn to mild winter climates.

Hunter boots are great cos they’re waterproof and are so easy to wear. On the negative side, they are a bit heavier than regular boots and they might not work so well for icy grounds cos they’re not slip proof like my UGGs. I sized up half a size and it fits me with allowance, which is necessary for wearing thick socks in cold climates.

Low booties like these are great for normal walking around in city areas!

I especially like black suede booties cos they are most flattering when worn with black leggings. Bought these two pairs from Hongdae in Seoul! The black ones go with everything and are comfy enough for me to walk about the entire day.

Sneakers go well with coats/jeans/leggings too, but I personally prefer boots for their style factor!

6. Not warm enough? Heat packs to the rescue!

If you’re really really afraid of the cold, just do whatever it takes to stay warm, even if it means being all wrapped up from head to toe!

What works for me might not work as well for you, and it all depends on your personal tolerance to the cold. Still not warm enough? Don't forget to stock up on these useful little packets that can be slotted into your pockets for extra warmth. These are lifesavers especially for freezing fingers that feel like they're about to drop off!

7. Bonus Tip! Keep a bottle of fabric freshener handy

On a somewhat-related note, a small bottle of fabric freshener could be your best friend on your winter vacation! You will be re-wearing your thermal wear and coats plenty of times, and that stale smell of Korean BBQ lingering on your clothes won't be pleasant when you have to don on the same coat the next day.

Air your coats well by hanging them up in the open, and be liberal with the use of fabric freshener that helps to kill bacteria and remove odours to keep you smelling fresh all the time. Because one just can't stay away from Korean BBQ, especially in winter, can they?

Closing Note

No-one ever said that you had to choose between looking stylish and staying warm! On this ending note, I hope this post has been useful somewhat for all the tropical girls out there! 

If I’ve missed out anything you wanna know more about, or if you’ve got your own hacks and tips to share, please leave a comment! Meanwhile, stay toasty and stylish this winter!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Europe/UK Sep'17: Fraser Suites Queens Gate, London - I Love Serviced Apartments

This trip to Europe and the United Kingdom encompasses a series of firsts for me. My first Europe road trip (drove inter-country from Berlin to Prague!), my first time in London (yeap that's right!), my first time watching a musical on West End, and also, my first time staying in serviced apartments - I'm now a convert, thanks to Frasers Hospitality!

I was put up at Fraser Suites Queens Gate for a few days during my time in London - My first taste of what staying in a serviced apartment feels like, and boy, could I get used to it! ;)

Why stay in a serviced apartment?

It being my first time staying in serviced apartments in all of my thirty years, I have to rave about how complete the entire experience felt - It was the luxury of a hotel with the comforts and facilities of home married together in one space!

Hotels are a wonderfully indulgent experience and great to stay in for short periods, but those travelling on longer trips (be it for leisure or business), will most definitely enjoy the flexibility and space a serviced apartment can offer you.

*Feels like home, but even better

With a larger square area to boot, separate spaces like a kitchen/bedroom/living area, a serviced apartment was such a pleasant change and felt like I was coming "home" every day although I was in a foreign country!

*Increased productivity

The separate living spaces also aided productivity somehow, instead of going straight to my hotel bed and going straight to sleep like I usually do, it was possible to set up a comfortable work space in the living room away from the bed.

*Home-cooked meals

When staying in a foreign country for an extended period of time, chances are that you'll really start to miss the comforts of home-cooked food! What with the amazing array of produce available in London, we were able to whip up our own dinners and suppers that were both economical and delicious.

*More bang for your buck

For long-term stays, a 4* serviced apartment might cost the same or even slightly lower than a 4* hotel room, yet you get so much more space and additional amenities/faclities! This makes even more sense if you're travelling as a family or in a small group of 3-4 pax, which will lower the costs per head even further.

Fraser Suites Queens Gate

Back to Fraser Suites Queens Gate! I really enjoyed my stay at both Fraser Suites Queens Gate and Fraser Suites Kensington (minimum stay policy of 7 days - I'll be talking about this property in a later post), both are located just a short 3-minute walk away from Gloucester Road tube station, an 8-minute walk from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and 10-minute walk from Kensington Gardens park.

Dressed in: Uniqlo coat, Uniqlo turtleneck, American Eagle jeans, Zara booties

Taken outside Fraser Suites Queens Gate, in a gorgeous neighbourhood with stunning Victorian architecture that exudes a timeless classic charm reminiscent of the 19th-century heritage and ambience.

I stayed in Fraser Suites Queens Gate's One Bedroom Apartment - Suitable for business travellers with smaller family units, and extremely spacious for two pax with separate living, dining, kitchen and bedroom areas.

Home away from home was made even better with complimentary Wi-Fi access, daily housekeeping services, 24/7 reception and concierge services, 24/7 security and CCTV surveillance. My stay was completely worry-free as the apartment was well-equipped and I felt safe and secure at all times, knowing that I could call on reception around the clock.

My eyes lit up upon setting foot into the bathroom! I always appreciate the luxury of a bath tub when I'm overseas, a hot bath is the best thing to look forward to after an entire day out travelling and exploring. The bathroom was spotlessly clean and well-maintained with a stack of white fluffy towels and a shelf-full of amenities.

L'Occitan toiletries provided for the utmost indulgence, so very much appreciated!

What sets a serviced apartment apart from just a regular hotel room, of course, is the kitchen facilities.
The kitchenette at  Fraser Suites Queens Gate doesn't just come with a convection stove and a microwave, but even a kettle, a toaster and a set of knives! Should you need to heat up food or prep a simple meal, you're all set.

If you're staying at Fraser Suites Queens Gate, you might also be happy to know that there is also a breakfast selection available at The Dining Room as well!

My favourite part of the entire apartment of course, the bedroom. I got an excellent night's sleep on the luxuriously comfortable bed that I almost didn't want to get up from in the morning.


View from the balcony!

Just a few minutes walk away, you'd reach Gloucester Road station, from which the rest of London is easily accessible! We took the tube to Camden Market and Oxford Street, and I'll be sharing in another upcoming entry about my quick and dirty guide to spending a few days in London. More to come on that!

First time in the tube deserves a picture :D

Although I've promised that I'll be sharing my quick and dirty guide to London shortly, I need to talk about this restaurant, because it's just within walking distance to Fraser Suites Queens Gate and is so good!

A big thank you to Justina from Fraser Suites for bringing us out for dinner at this lovely tapas restaurant, it was a wonderful meal. If you're staying at Kensington, you really ought to spend an evening in this place!

Casa Brindisa South Kensington

7-9 Exhibition Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2HE, UK
Phone: +44 20 7590 0008

Classic Spanish tapas and charcuterie in a lively, glass-fronted restaurant with an open kitchen.




We had an array of tapas, which are little plates/snacks in Spanish cuisine, now evolved into a sophisticated art such that tapas restaurants such as Casa Brindisa serve up an entire menu of tapas to make a full meal.

I loved every single dish - Each one was executed with perfect culinary precision and exceedingly well-balanced, from the textures to its rich flavours. They say that London is the melting pot of Europe and I really can't disagree, this was as good as I ever had in the original tapas city of Barcelona, Spain. Highly-recommended!

After a deeply satisfying meal, it was just a ten minutes walk back to Fraser Suites Queens Gate, where my night was spent in sweet slumber.

London has turned out to be one of my favourite cities on the continent of Europe, and I've fallen in love with the charm of this old yet modern city, with its rich culture, diverse history and beautiful sights. If you're looking for a great place to stay in London, Fraser Suites Queens Gate is a lovely property that will most definitely make London feel like your second home.

About Fraser Suites Queens Gate

39B Queen's Gate Gardens, Kensington, London SW7 5RR, UK
Phone: +44 20 7969 3555

Fraser Suites Queens Gate's website here

Fraser Suites Queens Gate is just one of many gorgeous properties managed by Frasers Hospitality. Thank you, Frasers Hospitality for putting me up! I'll be sharing on more properties across UK/Europe, so stay tuned :)

Europe/UK Sep'17


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