Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mia's Review: The House of Robert Timms French Macaron

I've long heard of (and seen) Robert Timms Cafe and their monstrous sized french macarons but never had the chance to try them out.

And yes, I did notice that they're called macaroons but they really are french macarons.

As it was just a stopover 15 minutes coffee break for us that day, so we really did just had some coffee and I decided to stuff in a giant macaron at the same time. Haha, greedy me.
 Needless to say, I went for Choc Mint Macaron.

 Went for their Iced Latte and they turned out surprisingly good. Even with a generous dumping of ice, the coffee was still pretty strong and fragrant!

I always have the belief that if a place does iced coffee well, then they have good coffee. :)

A got a dog like bear latte art on his hot latte while YN got a cat like bunny!

And now back to business. My giant Choc Mint french macaron.

And to show you how big it is. Look, as big as an iPhone 4s.

Texture wise, it's still pretty well done.
A crisp outer surface of the shell that cracks beautifully when bitten and the inside rather moist and crumbly.
But the taste was.... MEHHHH.

First bite and I frowned, thinking. "Did they serve me the wrong flavour? I ordered Choc Mint!"
And then I even went to the display chiller to double check, this IS Choc Mint. Okay, WHAT?

There's absolutely nothing chocolatey about this macaron, not even the colour, pfft!
I could hardly taste the mint even, it was just a horribly artificial dead sweetness to each and every bite of the macaron shell and the thick layer of frozen filling inside.

No good, Robert Timms. This is not good.

I'm not sure if the other flavours are any good, enough I did come across one that claims the lavender was okay.
But really, try at your own risk. This giant macaron is $6 and it is worth that $6 in terms of quantity. I couldn't bear to finish it in the end. This is probably the 2nd time (after Bakerzin) I left unfinished french macarons on the table to be disposed off.

For more infomation on Robert Timms, visit their website HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Slimming 101: Duo Advance Body Define [Press Conference]

Earlier this week, I was really honoured to be able to attend the press conference for Slimming 101's latest technology, the Duo Advance Body Define treatment. 
If you're thinking that the name sounds a little familiar, yes Slimming 101 is the sister company of Beijing 101, and similarly, they have incorporated TCM principles with high-technology slimming machines and European botanicals to achieve healthy slimming through a safe and natural way. 

And of course, to bring the sexy back. *wink*

I really liked their interior decor, so cute and feminine chic at the same time. 

And of course, we started the event with a tour of the place. 

At Slimming 101, they provide patrons with a locker room that's equipped with not just a huge mirror with vanity counter, hair dryer and other beauty tools.

But also a (pretty) private sauna (for 2) and shower stalls too! And guess what, they're using shampoo and conditioner from Beijing 101. So you not only slim down your body, but also have the chance to get healthier tresses. Hahaha! 

 Their treatment room also comes in different colours, and I found a lime green one! 

Alright, let's move on to the highlight of the day, the Duo Advance Body Define treatment.

And here's the machine, which made this non-invasive treatment that works like an alternative to liposuction possible. 

And if you're wondering why is there a mini-sized head, this is because you can get your pesky double chin to disappear at Slimming 101 too!  

For the demonstration, we had fellow blogger cum sexiest and prettiest clown ever, Vivien Goh, as our model of the day.

The treatment, performed by one of Slimming 101's best therapist, Lynn, started off with the application of their body shaping essence.

After which, Lynn performed Slimming 101's Signature Meridian Therapy, which is a type of acupressure body therapy using TCM principles. By pressing down on our vital acupoints, it helps to clear blockage within our body and balance the flow of qi and blood. Some of the benefits of this Meridian Therapy includes, to increase our body metabolic rate, reduce water retention and aid in bowel movements.
And there's Vivien showing the true spirit of a blogger: You take photos anytime, anywhere.

And after completing the acupressure therapy, Lynn slathered on the treatment cream to prepare the tummy/skin for the treatment.

Here's the before photo.

And upon hearing Vivien's lament that she has a lot of back fats, Lynn immediately stuffed a piece of towel under her back to squeeze out as much of those pesky back fats to the sides for the equipment to target them as well.

And here's how it's done.
Lynn basically press the head of the probe onto Vivien's skin before switching it on and then continuously moves it around in directions that resemble a figure of 8. This portion of the treatment will take 20 minutes and it comes in 2 parts, with the 2nd part, the fat blasting treatment, having the addition of a continous beeping sound from the machine as it started blasting fats from Vivien's tummy.
And according to Vivien, the beeping sound she heard was a lot louder than us, and it varies according to where the probe was touching, probably due to different content of body fats. Eg. the hip bone area was significantly softer as compared to the rest of the tummy area.

And here's the interim after photo, after completion of only one side.
The result was truly visible, as you can see that Vivien's left side still had 'kinks' whereas her right side, after receiving the treatment, has smoothen out and developed a slightly curvier waistline.
And of course, the patchy redness shows that the machine really did set her blood circulation going on.

And here's some testimonials from Slimming 101's satisfied customers.

Duo Advance Body Define offers a way to reduce localised cellulite, fat areas and overall body volume due to retention of water. It gives sustainable results and can reduce cellulite areas till up to 2cm per treatment.
Other than its cellulite reducing and fat melting abilities, the Duo Body Advance Define treatment also helps with skin tightening and rejuvenation, improve the skin's elasticity and tone by inducing the body to create more of its own collagen.
It's ideal for reduction of waist line, love handles, flabby arms, belly fats, hip and thighs.

And with that, if you're thinking that Slimming 101's incorporation of TCM principles its just adding in acupressure therapy along the way, no, that's not all!
Slimming 101 has their own in-house TCM therapists (doctor) to perform slimming acupuncture, give prescription and advise on diet plans as required. As their treatments are bound to work, they will refer customers with exceptionally slow or unsatisfying results after a few sessions to the TCM therapist to get an in-depth understanding of their body condition and find out what's keeping their weight on.
On top of that, they also provide womb and ovary care treatments for ladies who not only faces weight management problems but are also unable to conceive.

And here's Vivien having her body condition checked thoroughly by the TCM therapist. And she was truly shocked, and perhaps even nearly traumatised, to realise that her dietary habits consisted of everything that was wrong and bad for her body.

Ditch the cold drinks and sashimi, Vivien! Weight management is 30% exercise and 70% diet! :)

Slimming 101 Body Consultants is located at Funan DigitaLife Mall #04-07
For more information, visit their website HERE

And if you have that extra 10 seconds to spare, please support MollyMia over at Slimming 101's blogger slimming challenge page.

1. Like 101 Slimming Challenge FB page HERE
2. Like MollyMia's blog post link shared on their timeline (the 2nd last blog link shared)

Many thanks to all who showed your support! :)

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 25 August 2014

Mia's Review: Meomi Cat Cafe

Yup, the animal crazy Mia has visited yet another cat cafe!

 -credits to MEOMI-

This time, it's the newly opened Meomi Cat Cafe, located at North Bridge Road. They've officially opened on 22nd August, and the extremely kiasu me actually chat them up and managed to reserve slots on Saturday night. Whee~ :)

 -credits to MEOMI-

And here are their charges. As you can see, they're actually more expensive than The Cat Cafe ($15, flat, with complimentary soft drink) and can be considered 'on par' or slightly cheaper than Neko No Niwa ($12 for 1st hour with no complimentary drinks), for the additional dollar for the first hour actually gives you a drink. 

And sadly, due to a camera malfunction, I didn't get any shots of the cafe itself. Boo, I thought I managed to snap pictures of the cafe interior, but I just ended up with an empty memory card. T.T 

My first impression of this cafe was: Whoa, so small? 
I was first greeted with this 4-door shoe rack at the shop front, along with another shelf selling cute novelty items with cat prints, like pouches and etc, right opposite. After which comes the cashier counter and after it is the glass door that leads to the cats' area.

Indeed, this is the smallest of the 3 cat cafes I've visited, and with the upcoming Cuddles Cat Cafe at Scape boasting a whopping 2,500 sq ft area, Meomi Cat Cafe seemed (or rather, sounded) even smaller. But later on I became enlightened on why being small pretty much ended up as their cutting edge. 
The cats' area was lined by floor cushioned bench seats at the 2 sides, along with really small tables for patrons to leave their drinks/food. A rough gauge tells me that it can only comfortably house at most 20 (or just slightly over 20) patrons at one go. 
Coming from the cats' welfare, this is actually a huge plus point for them, as it not only prevents them from being overwhelmed by large number of strangers trying to harass play with them all at the same time, but also allows the staff to keep a lookout for misbehaving patrons. 

All right, let's move on to my experience at the cafe, shall we? 
Upon entering, we were asked to choose a tag (I chose Junior, the Scottish Fold!) for a form of identification (ordering and billing) purposes and issued a ticket stating our time of entry. 
After a quick briefing of the Dos and Don'ts (they have a house rule put up on the wall as well), we were then asked to leave our shoes at the shoe rack and sanitize our hands before entering the cats' section. 

Our complimentary drinks (choice of orange or lime) sitting on the really small table, and Curley perched at the back. 

And at a corner, right in front of the washroom (both humans' and the cats'), is the cats' toys section. I'll highly recommend getting the 'cat wand' with a dragonfly/butterfly at the tip as the cats seemed to like them best as compared to everything else (apart from Mario, whose favourite is a ball). 

When I got there at 7pm, all the cats were up and actively playing and interacting with the patrons. Let's start with the cats' introduction, shall we?

 -credits to MEOMI-

First up, Junior the Scottish Fold. This boy is also the maknae (youngest) of the group. 
I had to use this shot from the cafe management because it's so cute and it totally reflects Junior's temperament. 

Junior is a very chillax, bochup boy. This was taken a while after their meal time at 730pm and he just flop down on his back, belly up legs splayed and dozed off for... a little while. 

I love his coat pattern, a nearly artistic spray of black among grey. And it's really soft too! 

 But of course, a cat will still be a cat. Play time!

Trying in the most chillax manner to catch the butterfly at the tip of the wand.

*gimme that gimme that... MEOW!*

Haha, Junior looked so adorable I just had to upload both the videos I took of him. I was totally multi tasking! Swirling the wand, videoing, and laughing at how cute he looked. 

Another picture of Junior multi-tasking as well. Doing splits while catching the cat toy. *rofl*

Oreo, the American Shorthair. It took me a while to differentiate between Junior and her, due to the similar coat pattern. 
But of course, Oreo is actually visibly smaller than Junior and is an extremely shy girl. This explains why this is the only decent shot I have of her. According to the staff, Oreo is the only cat that doesn't allow her humans to carry her. 
So, try to 'catch' her if you can. But of course, patrons are NOT supposed to be carrying the cats at all. ;p

Next up is an American Curl, Curley!
This cute, playful girl is named so because of her cute curled up ears. And if you noticed, she has a 'tiger left paw' too! 

 Curley half chilling-half staring at me while Junior and Mario unknowingly photobombed her. 

Yes, Curley seemed to love chilling beside this particular cat toy. 

And let's see Curley in action with the butterfly! 

Another one of my favourites, Mario the Munchkin! Look at his adorable short legs and nugget-like paws. 

Sociable yet not exceptionally playful, Mario does react well to the well-loved butterfly....

 Stalk, stalk, stalk, stalk...

Caught it! Meooww!

But, Mario actually loves another toy much more. Way more than this pesky butterfly. And the staff calls it, the Mario Ball!

Basically you get the ball, throw it up to the highest shelf in the cafe, and Mario will fetch it down for you!

Seeing is believing. That's the Mario Ball in his mouth as he made his way back to ground after retrieving the ball. 

And of course, as I've said, Mario does like the butterfly too. :)

Then there's Coo, the Maine Coon, and also the largest cat in the group. 
The fluffy ring of white around her neck actually reminded me of a lion's mane. But Coo is a girl! 

As compared to Mario, Junior and Curley, Coo seemed more aloof, just like a Queen. See me waving that cat toy like crazy (yellow-green-blue blur) and yet she just lay there, full of poise, and staring straight at the camera like a supermodel.
Great job, Coo. Nice. 
And apart from her white ring of fur around her neck, Coo also has distinctive rings of white fur on her paws! It made her look as if she's wearing white socks (She's an MJ fan?) all the time. 

And of course, the Queen has her own fetish. It seems like she kind of prefers black socks instead? 

And there's Frowny, the Ragamuffin! 

I don't understand why she's called Frowny actually. She has such a pretty face and princessy demeanor. Plus, a pair of soleful blue eyes. Aww...

The poor girl was having diarrhoea that day and she was randomly spurting loose stools all over the place. She wasn't very happy about getting cleaned, though she didn't really kick up a ruckus.

But not to worry, she's definitely eating well. Love all that fluffiness, especially in that tail!

And she was also fairly active that night, even trying to go after the Mario Ball.

Lastly, there's Luna, the local breed!
I'll say she's definitely one of the more hyperactive cats here, which explains why this is really the best shot I could get that has her totally fitting into the shot and not in a blurry mess.

Like so.
She was getting all hyped up over the toy and leaped up to catch it. Very active indeed!

And what did I say happened at 730pm?
Dinner time!

Luna actually didn't really like wet food, so the staff topped up the dried food bowl for her.

And what's after a meal?

Some cleaning up?
Curley goes nom nom nom...

Mario goes nom nom too....

And Junior totally nailed it with the ever so carefree bochupness.

And only after the biggest eater, Junior, has polished up every remaining scrabs of food, Curley came searching for more. Haha!

And for Coo, what's after dinner? TV time!
When the staff came over with a remote control, saying it's cat's TV time, I thought he's going to air some cats related TV programme. Little did I know that it's literally a show meant for the cats, involving loud mice squeaks and many hamsters and rodents running on and off screen.
And according to the staff, Coo is the usual fan. And true enough, once the mice squeaks sounded, she immediately pranced over to the TV and sat down, watching the TV screen intently.

And apparently, being at the floor wasn't close enough. She even jumped on top of the box to watch!
How adorable!

And now on my thoughts on Meomi.
I really liked how it's done up simple, small and cozy. The small size really made it easier for patrons to spot and interact with cats. And of course, the cafe was fully installed with high 'wall-bridges' for the cats to escape from the human clutches whenever they feel overwhelmed.

The staff (cat-keeper on shift) did spend a substantial time inside the cats' section over the 2 hours I was there, but it didn't felt suffocating or stressful (to the patrons) at all. In fact, he was extremely approachable and was interacting more with the patrons, introducing the cats and their special tricks/behaviours to the patrons, genuinely seeking feedback from the patrons and etc, rather than hogging the cats, as observed by some, at the other cat cafe.
There was also NO children (much less to speak of rowdy children traumatizing the cats) around when I was there, even though Meomi does welcome 'little humans' as well, and even gives a special discounted rates to kids.

And then on the issue of cat-sources. I've been following ALL the cat cafes on facebook, officially opened or not, and apparently there's already one who has received some negative comments, declaring 'no support' simply because most of their cats were bought from pet shops and not adopted.
And it's also pretty obvious that most of the cats at Meomi are pedigree, bought from pet shops. However, they did attempt to adopt from rescue shelters but were turned away when the shelter found out that they're adopting cats for a business entity.
And after much thought on this, I actually agree with the shelter's decision. I'm pretty much also a 'Adopt, Don't Shop' person when it comes to pets. But to adopt mature cats with a history, and possibly highly individualistic temperaments, as a pet cafe's resident cats really can be worrisome for the shelter, as the cat's quality of life after adoption pretty much rounds up to a question mark.
Can a group of animal-loving entrepreneurs re-train these rescued cats into highly sociable, human-loving, playful and yet gentle and mild temperamental cats that are ideal for a pet cafe? Is it even fair for the rescued cats to be mass adopted into a business entity instead of getting a proper home to itself in the first place?

And I shall leave that to your own thoughts. But feel free to leave a comment and throw me your opinions to carry on with the discussion, if desired.

And lastly, Meomi also has a loyalty programme, issuing this 'Friends of Meomi Loyalty Card' to all patrons and awarding them one stamp per $15 spent. And with every 4 stamps, you'll be entitled to a reward that ranges from a free 1/2 entry to a full day entry + drink + pastry!
And the card itself is so adorable, with the 2 meowscots gracing the 'cover' of it.

Meomi Cat Cafe is located at 668 North Bridge Road.
For more information, visit their Facebook page HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo
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