Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Merry Christmas with the Volvo XC60

Where do I start?

I was invited to test drive the Volvo XC60 over the Christmas weekend and since there was going to be lots of family gatherings to go to, and lots of presents to carry around, I was more than happy to take Volvo up on their offer. After all, I've heard many good things about the XC60 and how luxurious it is.

All I want for Christmas is a Volvo-vo!

Boy, I certainly was not disappointed. Now firstly, I'm a two-wheels kind of girl, so I can't pretend to know what "Drive-E Powertrains" means. But I do know that reducing the number of engine variants results in increased flexibility and makes for a very smooth drive. I suffer from severe motion sickness meaning I feel nauseous on practically every moving vehicle (except my bike) but I'm glad to say that I enjoyed the drive on the XC60 so much that I didn't have time to feel sick. And my mind was kept occupied by all the awesome things this car had to offer! Here are some of my favourite features:

1. In-car Internet Connection
A connection can be made via my mobile phone's Bluetooth tethering system. Intenet data is then transferred via Wi-Fi between the mobile phone and the Sensus Connect system. From here, I can play music from my Spotify playlist, or whichever other app on my phone. I can even check emails! SO COOL RIGHT. And to ensure safety, the web browsing screen is automatically turned off once the car goes over 7km/hr. (Thankfully, otherwise you get all these jokers browsing the internet while driving...)

2. Ingenious Voice-control
To offer the user maximum flexibility, the system can be operated via the steering wheel or the centre stack controls. On top of this, all calls and infotainment functions can also be voice-activated. Yay Handsfree!

3. ECO+ Mode
The ECO+ mode makes for further enhanced fuel consumption. So basically, when the car is on ECO+ mode, throttle reaction is dimmed to prevent heavy-footing.  Engine braking is also deactivated to conserve kinetic energy, while gearshift and lock-up points are also optimised for efficiency, reducing fuel consumption by up to 5%. (!!!)

The ECO+ mode also adjusts the car's air-conditioning to reduce the load on the engine for better efficiency. If we were in a colder country, this feature would certainly be very useful, because on a colder day, we wouldn't need the aircon to be that strong. Unfortunately, in SG... still a cool feature to have though, at least for those rainy days!

4. Engine Remote Start (Optional)
Now THIS feature is certainly useful for us here in Sunny Singapore. Ever hated those days where you parked your car in the sun and stepped into a sauna when you wanted to drive off?

Volvo Cars' Engine Remote Start is an ideal way to cool down your vehicle before leaving your home or the offive. The car will cool to the same temperature setting as when it was parked and will run for up to 15 minutes, ensuring comfort for all from the moment you enter the car. This can be activated from a distance of up to 30 metres, and to ensure safety, the car remains locked throughout when remotely started. The ignition is also cut when the driver unlocks it. Also, for those really concerned about the safety of the Engine Remote Start feature, do note that this feature will not work if the car is not put on 'Park' gear with all doors and hatches locked, if the car is low on petrol, engine oil or coolant, or if movement is detected in the car from people or animals. So, worry not, and drive safe!

5. City Safety
Next up is one of my favourite features of this car; The City Safety feature. I think ALL cars should have this! It would certainly help in preventing alot of early morning traffic accidents along the highway!

So what is this awesome feature I speak of?

City Safety is a support system designed to help the driver avoid low-speed collisions when driving in slow-moving, stop-and-go traffic conditions. Basically what happens is that the front sensor picks up if the car is following too closely to the vehicle in front, and triggers brief, forceful braking if a low-speed collision is imminent. Makes for pretty idiot-proof driving if you ask me. All Hail Volvo!

However, some people may be concerned that they will have less control over the car. Well, City Safety is designed to intervene as late as possible to help avoid unnecessary activation, and will not intervene in situations where the driver actively steers the vehicle or applies the brakes, even if a collision cannot be avoided. This ensures that the driver's actions are always in highest priority.

In case you'd like to know more, you may check out the video above.

6. Spacious Boot
Last but not least, I especially like that the Volvo XC60 is equipped with a large spacious boot. Perfect for shopaholics, roadtrippers, picnickers and Santa Claus. 

Thanks for the great ride, VOLVO XC60! I'll miss you! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ALIVE Museum; Singapore

WARNING: This is a photo-heavy post. Proceed with caution.

So, Chun and I visited ALIVE Museum Singapore over the National Day weekend, all ready to do some heavy-duty posing as part of our national duties. We chanced upon the ALIVE Museum in Insa-dong, Seoul when we were there in October, but because we were rushing to catch our flight in the evening, didn't manage to make time to go in. It's been on my mind ever since. Well, sort of. 

 So, what exactly is ALIVE Museum? I'm sure you would've seen many of your friend's posts on various social media platforms where they are part of an interesting surreal piece of art. 3D art, to be specific. Well, ALIVE Museum Singapore is a collection of over 80 masterpieces, 9 of which are locally themed and unique to Singapore. It consists of Trick Art, Digital Art, Object Art, Experimental Art, and a Dark Room, which is to be released soon. This 3D illusionary museum offers a sensory experience that tricks one's visual, physical and environmental perceptions, bringing fantasy to reality using these different art forms, and if you are one who loves taking head-turning photos, then this is definitely the place for you!

Check out our photos!

Chun having a very serious discussion with Steve Jobs.

Me having a very serious discussion with ... this guy.

Chun attempting to undress the woman of his dreams. (Only to find she's got no body!)

Me attempting to appear as the woman of his dreams. (At least I've got arms and legs! And wings!)

Nah, nothing much, just hanging out with my BFF with our heads between our legs.

Gramppa, why is your tooth so difficult to pluck out?!

To be executed by helium balloons. OH, BUT WAIT!


Before I die, I WANT TO LIVE. (Oh so wise. I think I've got the cleverest answer there!)

Chun's failed attempt at jump shots.
Either he really sucks at jumping, or I really suck at taking jumping photos.
Because I was recovering from a recent road accident, I couldn't do any of the fun stuff like jumping and some of the high difficulty poses that I would've loved to do. But that didn't stop me from posing my best anyways. And because we're both fiercely competitive individuals, we had to keep one-upping each other with nicer poses at every art piece. In the next few photos, tell me, 


My AWESOME pose. Hair-flying and all.
His ... pose.
"Oh, Ellie, did you just touch me?" - Joanne
"Ooh! Again, again, again!!!" - Chun
 Ok, I have to admit, I was rolling over with laughter at this photo. The expression is hilarious. I mean, the expression of the giraffe in the background. (Not Chun, nope, Chun's not funny at all.) Heh.

At this point of time I think the key is to have fun and really go nuts with the posing. When we first got in, we couldn't seem to get the effect we wanted. I think it was possibly because my camera was catching too much detail and it just didn't look quite as realistic as I assumed it would. Chun, however, got some great photos on his iPhone. So you don't have to bring along a great camera and lighting equipment and all that to get some good, fun photos. Just your regular phone camera will do the job! Oh, and a good spirit of spontaneity and your sense of humour, of course.

Second thing to note is that there are Pose Point and Photo Point icons on the floor which would help you to maximise the art piece and get the nicest possible photo. Pose Point, of course, is where you stand and pose, and Photo Point, is the angle at which you take the photo from. 
Just in case you can't find it, THIS is what it looks like.
Some of our fellow museum-goers were VERY SERIOUS about getting good photos. To be honest, I was starting to feel slightly stressed. Luckily I had great company and we had a great dose of fun not just taking photos, but exercising our facial muscles with ridiculous expressions.


 "I couldn't decide if I wanted the right pole or the left pole." - Chun

And because they were about to close, one of their managers came over and offered to help us take photos at all the couple art pieces. So nice of him. He got us some of the best photos of the night.

Up, up and away! 

No birds were harmed in the taking of this photo.

  And presenting...

*Cue 流星雨 song*

ALIVE Museum Singapore is at Suntec City Mall #03-372 (Between Towers 3 & 4)

Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm

Ticket Prices: $25 (Adults), $20 (Children 3 - 12 years)

Current Promotions: Like ALIVE Museum on Facebook and get a FREE meal at Burger King Suntec with purchase of a full-priced ticket.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vintage Salon West Gate

Some 2 weeks ago, before I started shoot for this project that I'm on, I decided to give my hair some tender loving care. After all, we know how crazy hairstyling can cause damage to our tresses. And usually for work, the make-up department would tease my hair to give it some volume, and then spray on loads of hairspray to keep it in place. Overusing products isn't good for the hair, and teasing? No question about it, definitely bad. 

I've always wished I had better hair so that make-up artists would have an easier job. I mean, I don't blame them that my hair sucks. They've got to make it look good, and that really is quite a challenge. I would know. I face it EVERY DAY.

So I got down to Project Better Hair. I've decided to go for hair treatments more regularly, and with this latest collaboration with Vintage Studio, I'm on my way!

After a little bit of searching, I found their salon on Level 3 of West Gate. It's actually very conveniently located right near the MRT exit, but because I've never been to West Gate before, I voluntarily (yes, I admit it) got a little distracted by the wide variety of shops there.

Now, this salon sits amongst a couple of others, but stands out with its baroque-inspired decor. As I step in, I'm ushered to a quiet corner, and am given a nice hot cup of tea. A TV sits right in front of my "residence" for the next hour or so and I am kept entertained with Mr Bean Cartoons. Haha, I wish they had the original Mr Bean series though.

Not long after, one of the stylists approached and commences my Classic Hair Treatment. We make our way to the hair-washing area and he does his magic. I must say, this is the very first time I've had a hair wash in a salon where they massage your head, neck, shoulders, AND back! On a hot, sweaty day, it was just what I needed. In fact, it was ah-mazing!!! He really cleaned me up there and I stepped out, about half an hour later feeling very, very refreshed. 

Next, he applied the various treatment products, (with more massage!) and finally, left me with one of those big steaming things. 

This is the range of products that he used. I really like that the shampoo has a minty feeling to it. It makes me feel like my scalp has been really cleaned.

After another 20mins or so, I was done! My head of soft, refreshed and happy locks felt like a million bucks. I made a promise to myself to take really good care of my hair from now on.

Ever since, I've been complimented on my hair a couple of times! #FirstTimeEver AND, the makeup artists that I've worked with from then have not insisted on teasing and pulling all my hair back in a ponytail (the default bad hair hairstyle). I also let my hair down a lot more then I ever used to. 

I'm happy, happy, happy, and can't wait 'til my next treatment. 

Thanks Vintage Studio!

Vintage Studio West Gate can be found here: 
3 Gateway Drive
Singapore 608532
(Next to Jurong East MRT station)

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Entertainer App Part Deux

So anyways, it's been some time I've been using The Entertainer App, and I managed to get myself TWO good deals. (yea yea I know it's not much but I've been very busy with work okay.)

I got myself a Buy One Free One Intense Moisturizing Treatment for hair at this place in Turf Club Salon. Being the atas place that it is, I never imagined I'd be able to afford anything there! But because of The Entertainer App, I can! hahaha I can't wait to head back for my second treatment.

Funny though because when I was there, when I presented the stylist the app to key in his passcode, he didn't know quite what to do. His boss wasn't around and he had to call her, but they gave me a reciept anyways, and told me just to come back the next time round, and they'll have it done for me. Hopefully it works out right!  

Anyways, I'm in dire need of a holiday and a good friend of mine, who's currently located in Bali has been bugging me to go visit her. Hence, I thought I'd just try my luck and see if there are any offers on The Entertainer App, and hey-ho-whaddya-know, they do! LOADS and LOADS of villas on offer! I felt the butterflies in my tummy start to come alive again!


Plus, it's a REALLY good deal! You get ONE NIGHT FREE, and although you can only use maximum one of the one night free coupon, you can use the 20% OFF coupon on the other additional nights! I'm SO excited!

And for those who don't want to travel too far away, GUESS WHAT?!

Travel Planning, HERE I COME! 
Good things must share! Find out more about The Entertainer App here!  And, if you'd like to get this awesome app for yourself, there's even a discount code! Just type in @joannemariesim to get 20% off!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good Deals Galore!

So I headed down to Extra Virgin Pizza at United Square for this very interesting event. I had no idea what this "The Entertainer" app was about. I only knew that there was free pizza and seriously, who can say No to pizza? I know I can't! So I found myself sitting in the outlet, staring at the menu, wanting to order every single pizza on the menu. 


As always, the first choice was the Hawaiian. Actually what popped up first was the meatball pizza and I was torn between that and Hawaiian, but the Hawaiian was one of their best sellers so I guess I had to try it!

And because The Entertainer App allows users to get One Free of whatever they purchased, I bumped myself up and got a seafood pizza as well. 

As we waited for the pizza, the nice people from The Entertainer came over to share a little bit more about their app. (Oh yes, I forgot I was actually here to learn more about the app. I got distracted by the pizza.)

Although I'm not really one of those that uses many apps on my phone, I'm telling you, this The Entertainer App is really awesome, especially if you dine out a lot and you're always with a friend. And also if you are very auntie and want to get the Best Deals out of everything. You get to use the Buy One Get One Free promos on SO MANY different brands and outlets! 

It's not just limited to food promos. You can get classes, spa treatments, and even (Cue Shocker Music) TIMEZONE CREDITS!!! This app is a winner. 


Best part of all? There are no small prints and conditions like "you must purchase at least $xxx to qualify for this offer." It's Buy One Get One Free, no questions asked.

The Entertainer started in Dubai and was actually a book of coupons that you had to spend money to purchase. Of course, with that small amount you use to purchase the book, you earn back very quickly by simply using those coupons to get the Buy One Free One offers. This basically translates into 50% off whatever you can find in there. Sounds like a good deal, if you ask me! The best part is, they've now made it more convenient for users by putting it into an app!

Before we could go on any further, my pizza arrived, and the manager certainly put the "Extra" in Extra Virgin by giving me a complimentary Pizza to try!! (I guess I really do have "Pizza Lover" written all over my face...) He said that the Pistachio Pesto is TO DIE FOR and that I must try it for myself.  

And there I go. EVERYTHING ASIDE. It's Pizza Time! 

Check back in a couple of days to see how The Entertainer app has changed my life! Or if you just can't wait, find out more here

*psst* There's even a discount code! Just type in @joannemariesim to get 20% off!

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