Category Archives: Luxe

Namaste in the Forest

The Rainforest Fringe Festival in Kuching, Sarawak this year (6-15 July) is inviting all festival goers and yoga practitioners to a spiritual retreat in the forest.

The three-day event (9-11 July) is brought in by Under Armour and is meant to introduce Sarawak as an “intact” and “untouched space for a clear mind” says the event’s curator, Joe Sidek.

“We want to promote Sarawak as a destination where all yogis from around the world can converge and use the splendid rainforest as a canvas and home for their retreat,” adds the Penang-based Sidek, who is also director of the George Town Festival.

“Its all about Sarawak, her people, culture, food and history and above all, positioning the state as an international platform.

“What we are doing is to get people who may have not heard about Sarawak before, to become our indirect ambassadors.

“And it is through these international eye-balls and the proud Sarawakians both in Malaysia and elsewhere, that we get to show the world what Sarawak has to offer,” Sidek adds.

The yoga retreat, priced at RM1,600 per person, will be held at Cove 55, billed as an ethnic-inspired hideaway where Mount Santubong welcomes the South China Sea.

The yoga package includes:

• Return ground transfer from town to Cove 55

• 2x nights twin sharing room*

• Meals: 2x breakfast, 1x lunch & 2x dinner

• Yoga sessions by celebrity yoga instructors

And here’s something about the instructors …

Denise Keller

Denise Keller is a Singaporean certified yoga instructor, model and former VJ for MTV Asia. She completed her Yoga Alliance 200 hr Teacher Training & Certification with PURE Yoga, and her 300 hr advanced training with Bryce Yoga.

Her other credentials include Yoga Medicine with Tiffany Cruikshank and Pre-natal training with Michelle Papa.

She has conducted large events like the TLC Festival and Soulscape as well as private corportate events and workshops. Learn more about her at her website or Instagram @denisekellerofficial.

Hendri Take

Hendri Take is a yoga practitioner and entrepreneur. He is Certified and registered at the Yoga Alliance 200-hour Yoga Flow Teacher Training and Winner of Influence Asia Awards for the category of Health and Fitness back in 2015 in Singapore. Visit Hendri’s blog by clicking here or Instagram @hendritake.

The themes of Hendri’s classes are: Catching Fire and Grow the Strength. Hendri will teach Vinyasa yoga (Strength, balance, and core stabilization).

Some housekeeping notes:

• Please note that no payment will be taken upon initial registration.

• Please note that if you book as an individual you may be assigned a rooming partner. Please contact if you would like more information.


#rff #rainforestfringe #kuching #2018

(All images courtesy of Joe Sidek)


Rooms with a view

She used to be a most gracious hostess when showing us around the high-end properties that her former employer built to sell on the island.

Nothing much has changed today, except that the still-gracious Christina is now her own boss at TZ Suites Sdn Bhd, and “sells” a different category of properties.

She is just as busy these days on her feet as she goes about curating enjoyable and comfortable stays away from home for Penang residents and visitors.

The single and double-roomed suites at The Straits Quay Apartments in Tanjung Tokong on the island, are one lot of her offerings to those who want to drop off the hotel circuit for a change.

Standing above the (still picturesque) Straits Quay Retail Marina (where a good number of eateries are located together with a supermarket and convenience store) are several apartments which are being managed by TZ Suites as holiday rentals.

The view alone from the generous balconies of the units overlooking the Andaman Sea are enough to scream “holiday” and “tropical isle.” I don’t think I was alone in just wanting to sink into a chair on the balcony and chill with a good book (or think of this vantage spot to enjoy the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve)!

Swimming pools nestled among frangipani trees, a gym, clubhouse, sauna and barbeque area are among the facilities within the apartment complex, if you think you want to tear yourself away from the seaview!

Clean sheets and fresh towels greet guests who are checking in and while you may need to pack s toothbrush along, shower gels and shampoos have been thoughtfully supplied in the well-appointed bathrooms.

WiFi is available for your convenience (and to perhaps update your social media platforms or send multiple photos to family and friends of the gorgeous view!) and you can do your laundry in your rented unit as well.

The kitchen is equipped with all basic amenities (fridge, hot plate cooker and other utensils) but in Penang and seriously, would you be wanting to cook your own meals?!! Nearby food attractions range from hawker fare, seafood options and Nasi Melayu and its accompanying curries and condiments.

The two bedroom units can accommodate up to 12 people while the one bedroom, up to 6 guests.

(From April 16 to May 31, 2018, TZ Suites is offering a 15% discount for its 2 bedroom unit which is priced at RM580 per night and RM450 a night for its 1 bedroom unit. The discount does not apply to weekends, the eve of public holidays and public holidays)

More details are available by calling:

Christina Lau (+60103682498) or Bee Hong (+60146042498) or simply drop an email to

(Images courtesy of TZ Suites Sdn Bhd)

Inspiring Enterprise

Fashion with a conscience

The Tamil word for thread is `nul’ நூல் and both Evlyn and Anne have made South Asia (India and Sri Lanka) their initial hunting grounds for all things crafty and artisanal.

Their new enterprise is aptly called `Southern Nools’ (threads from the south) and the long-term plan is to sustain the business by making it a social enterprise which is aimed at empowering women.

For a start, the siblings are offering quirky and fun items like yoga bags, healthy copper mugs, book covers, meditation cushions, cheerful mandala-inspired totes and a host of other colourful and quality merchandise.

Their debut at the Straits Quay weekend market last week served as a good test-bed to gauge consumer trends and interest and they will be back there on Saturday and Sunday (March 24-25, 2018) with more offerings.

The girls share their story below, and the photos weave more colours and tales:

“At Southern Nools we draw our inspirations from the elements of Mother Earth and the four beautiful seasons of the year to bring you and the rest of the world our eclectic array of designs,” they say.

‘Nools’ or ‘Nul’ means thread in most parts of Southern India and Sri Lanka. The thread is the central point in retaining the fabrics outlook, appearance and lifespan although it only represents less than 1% of the entire outfit., they share.

“While the fabric captures the essence of bringing alive its tapestry of colours, the thread remains the spindle that spools it together. “

Handloom weaving is a heritage handed down from generations. Masterpieces are created from the blessed and creative hands of skilled weavers. These hands represent the simple and humble artisans who brings alive the fabric that adorns its wearer. Southern Nools celebrates all designers through the richness and diversity of traditional and classic fabrics.

“We take pride in weaving together the magic of Mystical India and the Wonder of Sri Lanka through the windows of exotic exuberance set in the splendour and grandiose British era.

“Our passage of timeless collections is designed with fine attention to detail. At Southern Nools we believe in quality, uniqueness, comfort and sophistication with a flair. Our clothiers and collections carry the proud trademark of stitcheries and the spontaneous placement of colours and designs inspired by the eccentric brilliance of Mother Earth.

“Our philosophy is rooted in integrity, simplicity and contemporary elegance handcrafted with a conscience.”

The Southern Nools story goes beyond threads and spools.

“At the heart of Southern Nools is the mission to empower and create unlimited potential with life skills, entrepreneurial growth and leadership for the marginalised and the differently abled in society. We hope to not only empower our local community in Malaysia and beyond, but also to enrich their lives with dignified earnings and a life changing future.

“At Southern Nools we strongly support and promote Fair Trade as a path towards a sustainable economic development for these communities and their families.”

At Southern Nools “There Is A Season For Everything” and “There Is Something For Every Season”.

“Southern Nools is about making a difference in people’s lives. Each smile, each little thing, each blessing, each gratitude is an affirmation of our purpose and mission,” is the promise of Evlyn and Anne.

Watch this space …..

#southernools #thereisaseasonforverything #pb2j #blessingsinlife #fairtrade #empowerment #threadsandspools #india #srilanka #socialenterprise

Let’s go luxe

Luxe shoppers take note!

Michelle the magical queen of happening events, is uplifting Penang’s retail scene by a notch this coming weekend.

The Luxury Shopping Showcase event takes place on 9 Feb (Friday) from 3pm-7pm and 10 Feb (Saturday) from 10am-5pm at

Suite 010, Heritage Wing at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel on Farquhar Street in George Town.

After her successful debut in presenting global label Cocoon by Randi Kristoffersen to us last year, Michelle is now bringing it back to Penang shoppers.

This designed and made-in-Malaysia export, is one of the world’s premier nightwear brands – think silk, satin, silk-velvet and the finest cashmere (www.cocoonbyrandikristoffersen)

Discerning shoppers are also in for a treat with the launching of a new collection from luxury linen brand, The Sinclair Company by Anne Sinclair.

The collection is said to include easy-to-wear dresses and separates in lightweight European linen and available in limited quantities in sizes ranging from 4 to 14.

“No appointment necessary, admission is free and credit cards are accepted,” says Michelle.

“Call us on +60164570221 if you can’t find us! We’re in the old wing, ground floor of the E&O Hotel.”

(Images courtesy of Michelle Grimsley)

Ode to the Penang Lang (people) and their love for food

It’s that time of the year when food and presents figure in our personal and corporate space, all in the name of Christmas.

Sculptural jeweller Jonathan Yun has come up with some real novel ideas to gift oneself or loved ones.

Charmingly called the ‘makan2’ series, necklaces, bracelets and stackable rings have been carved out of sterling silver into exquisite items which pay homage to the Peranakan (Straits Chinese) culture.

“The makan2 series is an extension of my miniature series dedicated to all things Peranakan,” Jonathan says.

“As you know the Penang Nyonya take their food very seriously so its an ode to the delicious food as well as a playful take on the beautiful culture of the Peranakans.”

How much more playful can one get by stacking chopsticks with a plate and spoon and carrying them off with class and style?

Prices start from RM209 and go up to RM1,299 for these quirky pieces.

Pop into Jonathan’s shop at 150 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 Penang and be blown away by his other pieces while you are there.

(Images courtesy of Jonathan Yun)

Penang Goes Luxe

A rare sino-Islamic porcelain blue and white brush pot with Arabic inscriptions is one of many rare items being showcased in Penang this weekend during an exhibition of luxury collectibles.

The late 19th century Qing Dynasty artefact, measuring 13cm x 13cm and carrying a tag of between RM5,800 and RM 7,800, will nestle alongside an exquisite 1950s/1960s handpainted figurine of a laughing Buddha with children perched on his shoulder and arms.

The “Famille Rose Porcelain Buddha” which stands at a height of 30.5cm, is priced between RM10,500 and RM15,000.

These fine items will be joined by other antiques, fine art, luxury watches, automobiles and jewellery during the RHB Premier International Luxury Collections Week from Oct 27-29 at Gurney Paragon Mall.

(Images courtesy of CHT Network)

Helloooooo Kuching!

The man who placed George Town on the world festival map is now taking his crazy brand of style and fun to Borneo.

Joe Sidek, the director of the George Town Festival wants Kuching to rock on the fringes of the internationally-acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in July.

He is curating and presenting the Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) and promises it to be a 10-day (7-16 July) spectacle of the best which Sarawak has to offer by way of art, food, fashion and music. 

“The festival happens right in the bustling capital town of Kuching in Sarawak and will provide the ultimate lead up to the annual Rainforest World Music Festival. 

“The inaugural Rainforest Fringe Festival will also give prominence to Sarawak’s rich indigenous arts and culture, giving festival goers a true sense of the beauty and energy of the state, its people and rainforest,” says Joe.

Festival-goers will rediscover Sarawak through film screenings, fashion showcases, photography exhibitions, art and craft bazaars and other displays of Sarawak’s highly underrated trove of local talents.

The Old Court House in Kuching will serve as the venue for most events – such as a craft and vintage market, talks, exhibitions and various movie screenings – tied to the fringe festival.
The “Sarawak: Theatre of Clothes” fashion gala will showcase exceptional and multi-talented fashion and accessories’ designers originating from Sarawak.

In upholding their Sarawakian roots, these designers such as Datuk Tom Abang Saudi, Eric Ong, Ramsay Ong, Tanoti and Neng Kho Razali have made their mark on local and international high fashion runaways and will bring to the festival, their show-stopping works.

A special fashion treat awaiting those coming to the fringe festival would be Singapore-based contemporary womenswear label Ong Shunmugam. The label owner is Malaysian-born Priscilla Shunmugam, whose work is designed and made across Asia and offers ready-to-wear ranges and bespoke designs. She is working with `Pua Kumbu’ the traditional patterned multi-coloured ceremonial cloth used by the Ibans and in Sarawak for the fringe festival.

“Music is the way nature speaks to us. It is found in the splash of a waterfall, the rumble of the wind and the flutter of a bird’s wings …These are our music; it means Sada Kamek in the Iban language.”

The Rainforest Fringe Festival will open with an official concert `Sada Kamek’ at the Kuching Amphitheatre, with a line-up of Sarawak-born performers like Dayang Nurfaizah, Noh Salleh, Tony Eusoff, Nading Rhapsody, At Adau, Pete Kallang, Alena Murang and Matthew Ngau.

(Images courtesy of Joe Sidek and the Rainforest Fringe Festival)