[Review] 3 day juice detox with Punch Detox

I recently tried out one of the latest detox crazes: a juice cleanse, this time from Punch Detox, a cleanse company started by two ladies in Hong Kong who discovered the wonders of juice cleansing after having children, and they've recently started business in Singapore.

There are three different levels of cleanses: Level 1 (which I did), Level 2 (a bit more hardcore with more green juices) and Level 3 (super super hardcore with three green juices instead of the fruit). If you're a newbie, I'd go for Level 1, like I did. 

I'll admit, one of the things I loved about the cleanse is that I didn't have to think about what to eat for three days - and no washing up - BIG bonus.

You're juices are numbered from 1 through to 6, and you drink them at regular intervals that suit you. I'd start my first juice at 7 in the morning, and finish my last between 8 and 9pm on average when I got back from work. 

My thoughts on the six juices: 

1. Citrus Punch (Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne Pepper, Agave Nectar, Filtered Water) - yummy, refreshing and zingy. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I'm pretty sure this will put a spring in your step without the need for coffee! 

2. Green Punch (Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Bitter Melon, Parsley, Spirulina, Green Apple) - this tasted surprisingly nice considering it's virtually all greens - my favourite juice of the lot. 

3. Red Punch (Beet, Carrot, Ginger, Orange, Goji Berry, Red Apple) - My favourite fruity juice, this is antioxidant rich with the beetroot and goji berry. 

4. Fruit Punch (Pineapple, Lime, Watermelon, Acai Berry) - this one was a little too sweet for my liking, but refreshing - by this point of the day and after the red punch I would've preferred something a little 'greener'. 

5. GazPUNCHo (Tomato, Cucumber, Cilantro, Garlic, Sea Salt, Cider Vinegar, Olive Oil, Cayenne Papper) - according to many reviews I read before doing this cleanse, this was a lot of people's favourites, but for some reason I just wasn't a fan, at all (blergh). I think it's possibly the idea of drinking something savoury that was the killer? Upon advice, I tried putting this into a bowl and heated it up like a soup, but it still wasn't my cup of tea. In the end, I left this out. 

6. Nut Punch (Raw Cashew, Raw Almond, Cinnamon, Agave Nectar, Sea Salt, Filtered Water) - refreshing, filling and soothing, and perfect to drink when winding down in the evening.

How it felt: 

After and throughout the cleanse, I definitely felt myself feeling progressively clearer headed, calmer at work and surprisingly - not hungry at all. Overall, I'd say the cleanse is definitely worth trying at least once - I made much healthier choices after food-wise, too. It was a pretty smooth ride for me, (to the shock of my SG friends, I'm not much of a foodie!) but it isn't as easy for everyone. If you find yourself STARVING, grab an apple, some carrot sticks, or cook up a veggie stir fry - something to munch on, but sticking to fruit and veg will help you stay on track.

One three-day cleanse will set you back $330, which is, in my honest opinion, pretty pricey, but I would consider doing one again before a big event, I did feel 'cleansed' afterwards, both mentally and physically.

It's important to note that you have to go into one of these with the right mindset - they are not for weight loss but rather for cleansing and giving your digestive system a break. I didn't weigh myself before or after the cleanse because that wasn't my priority, but I definitely felt 'lighter' and healthier.


Chic Stays: MesaStila Resort, Central Java

If anyone asks me where to head to in Asia for a real holistic escape and retreat, the MesaStila hotel in Central Java, Indonesia, is the first place that springs to my mind. I visited on a short press trip last year, and it truly blew me away. The journey to MesaStila from Semarang airport (a convenient short flight from Singapore with SilkAir) takes just an hour by car.

The resort (it feels strange to even call it a resort, because of the way it is so seamlessly set into the landscape!) is spread over twenty two acres on a working, thriving coffee plantation. You're completely surrounded by tropical vegetation, greenery and spectacular views of eight mountains. It all feels very "back to nature".

A nature view of the resorts infinity pool

One of the most beautiful things about staying at MesaStila is the accommodation. The property has 23 different villas, all traditional Javanese structures and architecture, but all with modern facilities and decorated with different antique art. I must admit, my villa and four poster bed were so huge I could barely sleep, I was so excited! Other unique touches include different bath tubs (mine was a huge stone construction) but others were made of beautiful tiling (picture below) or brass. 

An infinity pool at their largest villa (just where the Indonesia president hangs out, you know) 
A pond view from the coffee plantation
Pretty flowers in the room

Gorgeous beds await!

Each villa has a different (equally huge) bath tub
What's more, MesaStila can put together a tailored retreat program for you depending on your needs (body cleansing, de-stress, fitness and more). They arrange nutritional plans and tons of activities on site, including mountain biking, yoga, hiking and more - great for those in need of a health-kick. 

On a final note, you cannot leave MesaStila without visiting their spa. In fact, aside from all of the above, I would go back to MesaStila JUST to visit their spa! One of the only genuine hammam spas in Asia, it's gorgeous inside with stunning facilities (you have to use huge the steam room) and a tranquil atmosphere, and the staff were so friendly - not to mention I had one of the best Javanese massages of my life.

For more information or to book rooms head to their website, or alternatively you can plan your visit through the lovely folks at The Collektion. 

Selfie! A happy me in my villa's gorgeous bathroom

[Beauty] My Sun Care Essentials

I have to admit, I wasn't always one to slather on the SPF. Those who know me know that I'm a complete sun-lover, and used to happily while away hours and hours tanning on the beach with minimum protection. It wasn't until I moved to Asia and started my job as a beauty editor that I really got to understand the damage that unprotected sun exposure can cause to your skin.

Sure, sun damage may not become visible when you're younger, and most of us come back from holiday thinking we look so much better and healthier with a tan (hey, I'm certainly one of them!) but if you start applying suncream you'll definitely thank yourself in ten years time when you have less wrinkles, dark spots and skin discolouration.

Oh and, a complete beauty myth to debunk - applying sunblock does not mean you won't tan ladies, you'll still get that golden glow, just without the risk of frying or burning (ouch). If you're big on tanning oil, apply once suncream has been absorbed into the skin (and all of this before sun exposure, this is what I do).

But, out of the tons of SPF products out there, which should you choose? Well, below are my current favourite (and recommended) sun care products to help get you started. Stay safe on the beach!

Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh SPF 50, $24 
A handy little spray cream which is so easy to apply quickly. Just be sure to apply it indoors, as if you're outside the spray can be carried away off your body by the wind and you're not getting quite as much protection as you think (this was my tried and tested mistake!)

Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect SPF 30 (also available in SPF 50) 
I love this suncream because of the shimmering lotion. It looks amazing to enhance a holiday tan day or night, and smells absolutely divine. I don't think it's available in Singapore and I stock up when I'm back in the UK, but you can buy it here from Amazon.

Lancaster SPF 50 High Protection Sun Control, $55
A newly launched product, I took my recent holiday trip as an opportunity to give this a test-drive. My verdict: super lightweight protection for the face, nice smell and consistency (non-sticky is a must!) and had my sensitive skin feeling comfortable all day. I didn't feel the need to triple cleanse to take it off either, like I have before with other sunscreens.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue with SPF 30, £45
When I need a little coverage on the beach or am heading out into town, I love this new tinted moisturiser. It's only light coverage, but gives a really nice glow and finish, plus you have the sun protection in there as an extra bonus. Pick up a tube from Sephora.

Bioderma Photoderm Spot 50+, $44.90  
This has been my favourite SPF for a while. It does just what it says on the packet. Protects skin, prevents any uneven darkening, is super lightweight and non-greasy, and stays on all day. One of my must-haves.


Ending the blogging hiatus!

Just a little something I've been working on....
Oh my gawd, HI! 

Well, I've certainly been MIA from this blog for a while now. I can't believe the last time I officially posted was August last year??? Time flies ridiculously fast.

BUT but but, it has been for sort of a good reason. I've been superhumanly busy doing none other than launching a fashion and beauty magazine called LIV for Expat Living Publications. I'm sure if you're a subscriber you would've seen it by now - it gets sent out with the main magazine as a supplement on a monthly basis.

Isn't it gorgeous??  

Anyway, it's definitely a work of love and I adore it, but it certainly has meant that my time for blogging and sharing has been, well, minimal - and I apologise to all the brands events I've had to miss because of it (my inbox is not pretty), however, in a late New Year's Resolution (let's call it my Chinese New Year resolution, can?) my aim is to blog twice a week, every week to get this little style diary back on track. 

Ok so, now I've officially made that announcement perhaps the pressure of other's reading this will make sure I stick to it? That was sort of my game plan but hey, we'll see how it goes. 

To be honest, I think there was a lesson for me in all this: to not let work take over to the point that I don't invest time in myself, my personal interests, hobbies and the things I love. I admit this could risk sounding a bit soppy confessional but, I really regret letting this blog's content slide - it was the one thing that brought me so many opportunities and meetings with funny, interesting (sometimes weird) people in Singapore when I first moved. Funnily enough, my traffic hasn't dipped much (maybe I have some google and I was recently featured on this list for the top 50 fashion bloggers in Singapore (eh??) but there you go. 

Anyway, here's to a fresh start! 


Beauty round-up: August 2014

Marc Jacobs Omega Lash Mascara 

The VOLUME! As someone with quite a lot of long fine lashes, on a night out I like to add one or two layers of mascara to add some definition, especially around the corner of my eyes. It literally takes only one coat of this mascara to really thicken up the look of my lash line. I also LOVE the aesthetic of the Marc Jacobs packaging. Available at Sephora

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin concealer 

I needed to pick up a concealer whilst I was in London a few weeks back, and as I'd used Maybelline concealers in the past, this caught my eye and I thought I'd give it a try. Great coverage, but the range of colours is very limited. Not a beauty must-have, but pretty decent if you're after a daily concealer. 

Soap and Glory Smoothie star scrub AND moisturiser 

Oh my god, this stuff smells INCREDIBLE. That is the first thing you'll most likely think when you open either of these generous-sized tubs. I remember walking past the Soap and Glory counter and representative at Sephora's recent press day and stopping to ask what she was wearing - well, it was the Smoothie Lightly Whipped Body Buttercream, which contains a blend of yummy almond, pistachio and sweet vanilla. Very moisturising and feels utterly indulgent to apply, I'm slathering this on every morning. Beforehand, I use the Oat, Sugar and Shea Breakfast scrub to polish my skin (I'm an exfoliating nazi) and I literally smell this every single time before I use it. Just go and buy both - this is such a lovely body care duo, you won't be disappointed! Again, these two are available at Sephora.

The yummy, gorgeous smelling Breakfast Scrub (as you can see, I've already finished half my pot!) 

Peter Thomas Roth CC Eye Concealer 

I've recently really gotten into eye creams and have become quite conscious of using SPF, so I had to try this CC Eye Correcting Concealer from Peter Thomas Roth, which also contains SPF 30. There are two sections to this number, one wand is for concealing, the other is an illuminating/highlighting. I apply the concealer around the eye and dab it in, and then apply the highlighter to my cheek and brow bones and inner eye corners - really lifts the face, and I must say the concealer is very flattering and probably one of the best I've ever used!


Treatments to try: De-stress retreat at ESPA, Resorts World Sentosa

I recently headed along to the gorgeous ESPA on Sentosa Island to try out their 'Day Retreat' package. Hidden away opposite the Equarius hotel, this huge spa is breathtaking, and is spread over 10,000 square metres of gorgeous tropical forest.

I opted for their 'De-stress retreat', (you can choose from detox, weight management, or fitness options, too) which included a lifestyle consultation, followed by use of their spacious sauna with picturesque views, traditional hammam steam room and pools, followed by a one and a half hour blissful body and foot massage.

Aside from the beautiful grounds and treatment rooms, another bonus is that you can arrive a few hours before your treatment time to make full use of the amazing facilities - they even have a fully kitted out gym and restaurant on site serving up super healthy meals. I'd thoroughly recommend ESPA if you're looking for a pampering getaway close to home. And if you'd like to extend the experience, they offer 1 to 3 night stays in partnership with the Equarius hotel.

For even more spa reviews and recommendations in Singapore, check out the Expat Living Annual Spa Guide 2014.

Getting organised with my new Filofax Original

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a complete stationery freak. Combine that with an almost irrational obsession for pink products, et voila - the A5 Filofax Original in the most gorgeous hot pink shade

But why such a bright diary, I imagine you thinking? And so, an anecdote: Susannah leaves diary [somewhere] in office. Susannah panics when home and asks colleague if they've seen diary. Colleague asks Susannah to describe diary. Susannah muddles on about diary having pictures of dogs on cover. Colleague can't see it. Susannah hot foots it back to office only to find diary on a different desk, with illustrations of people on it, NOT DOGS. 

My resolution(s): must purchase diary that is a) easily describable during said hectic situations and b) one with a design I cannot mis-describe or get, well, wrong and c) one that is SO bright - almost to the point of vulgarity - that I won't, I can't ignore it. And its working. Just scroll down and look at all those artful and awfully productive-looking scribbles. 

I'm starting to think that many people were on the same wavelength as me with this little number, as its often sold out across the island, but you can try your luck at any of their stockists, or, failing that, opt for an equally lurid shade.


Adopting a dog in Singapore: My experience

Again, it's been a while since I last posted - but I do have an excuse (I promise it's a good one this time). I've been busy with a new addition to my family.

To be honest I didn't see this one coming either, but two weeks ago I went ahead and decided to adopt a rescue dog (this was after a month of decision making, fyi), and I'm 100% happy with my decision - so......introducing our furkid, Doodle! :)

Doodle is a two year old mixed breed (or mutt/mongrel as many affectionately call them here...*rolls eyes*) and she is absolutely gorgeous. She's very cat-like (independent, aloof and quite wary) but at the same time very affectionate and gentle. She knew basic commands when I met her, but she knows a lot more now and it turns out she's a fast learner.

I found her at +SOSD SaveOurStreetDogs, one of the dog rescue organisations here in Singapore when I attended one of their regular adoption drives back in March.

For those that don't know/don't realise, most of these rescue organisations are completely volunteer run, meaning all those working are setting aside their own personal free time to help rescue, rehabilitate and re-home Singapore's street dogs. Hats off to them, it is very hard (and emotionally demanding) work and I'm honestly not sure how they do it at times - serious respect.

It's been nearly two months since Doodle came home with us, and one of the main things I've noticed as the owner of a 'Singapore Special' is that people react to your dog in a number of ways:

1) Shock and horror - there is a stupid stigma here that all street dogs will bite, be ferocious etc.
2) Curiosity - she's obviously a gorgeous dog and people try and figure out what mix she is (I'm biased, of course).
3) Fear - she is not a tiny dog but is definitely not big by any standards (16kg - considering medium sized dogs are considered anything from 10kg to 25kg, she is a smaller medium size), so a lot of people (especially locals) would rather walk the other way. Unfortunately, here in Singapore many people own smaller dogs due to restrictions put in place for their apartments - so anything bigger than a pom or a toy poodle is considered gigantic, so they aren't used to it.

Personally, I don't get the ignorant mindset that surrounds Singapore Specials. All of the dogs that go through the rescue centres are rehabilitated, obedience trained and are some of the most gentle and smart dogs I've ever come across. I never had a serious problem with Doodle (perhaps because I believed in her from the start and didn't come to look for a rescue dog with negative presuppositions etc.)

Another thing many people said to me before adopting a dog was that I couldn't. I worked full time. I don't have anyone around to stay with the dog. Sigh. Ok sure, this sort of argument has its points, but if I don't work, how would I even earn money to keep a dog? I'm not a lady of leisure (although my Dad would tease me otherwise). Are you telling me that EVERYBODY who owns a dog stays at home and doesn't leave the house without it? Didn't think so.

So, one of our potential furkid criteria was that they were a) slightly older and b) low to medium energy. This worked out for us perfectly, especially as the great thing about SOSD was that they allowed us what they call a 'homestay' with Doodle before we finally decided on adoption, sort of like a trial period for both parties to see if things worked out. As she had passed the puppy stage and was completely grass-trained, she doesn't chew on things or make a mess in doors. After her morning walks and food she pretty much sleeps all day and lazes around the flat - but she is always excited to see us when we come home (the cutest thing EVER).

All in all I wanted to write about this because the whole thing has been a really positive and enriching experience for me. It wasn't something I went into lightly - I got a lot of advice and did a lot of research beforehand. But for those considering (and working full time) it CAN work for you. You just have to be very honest with yourself about your routine and lifestyle. :)

xo Susannah

I've also written a more detailed post about adopting or fostering dogs (and other animals too) in Singapore over on the Expat Living website, which should be helpful if you're considering.