Pikachu Deco Latte

Pikachu Deco Latte

Coffee has been a decorative art form for quite a while now. It is pretty routine for your barista to hand over a latte skilfully topped with a heart, leaf or (if s/he’s an expert) bear or swan. Track down the right café and it is perfectly possible to have a 3D foam kitten nestling into your mocha, or your photo spray painted in edible ink onto the cream topping your frappuccino.

All these treats require a professional hand, or even an expensive piece of technology, so it is nice to see a cute and amusing alternative which you can easily create at home.

Fresh from the Mega Pokémon Centre in Tokyo, here are Pikachu Deco Latte toppers for hot drinks (although I don’t see why they wouldn’t work just as well with cold). They come in packets of five different designs, and there are four different packets to choose from, all featuring your favourite pocket monster. At Y540 a packet, these are incredibly cheap for the entertainment value.

Just open up one of the individually wrapped sachets inside and – using the special lift up tab – carefully position the design of your choice onto your coffee. The discs are made primarily of gelatine and will dissolve into your drink if you leave them long enough, but mine lasted perfectly well for as long as it took me to finish my coffee.

These make a great souvenir, or gift for the Pokémon Go fan in your life!


Umbrella Trees

Category : Other

Here in tropical Singapore, it doesn’t pay to venture far without your umbrella. Not just for the inevitable downpours that strike without warning, but also as protection from the sun on cloudless days. A popular choice is the dual purpose brolly that has a special silvery coating to ward off the dangerous UV rays.

The local trees are also terribly important for the shade they provide (the ang sana tree in particular is nicknamed the ‘umbrella tree’) and it’s a rare tree that doesn’t have a snoozing workman underneath it at lunchtime or the weekend.

Project Oasis, an arts and culture group formed by Little India Shopkeepers and the Heritage Association, has taken this idea and produced a wonderful art installation beside the Serangoon Road – fake trees topped with colourful big umbrellas to shade the seating areas underneath. There’s a whole collection of them in different colours, filling out a vacant lot and looking remarkably realistic and amusing.

The artist who dreamed this up is Marthalia Budiman, and it is such a great idea I hope it is not just a temporary installation.


Art Cafe

Category : Other

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I have mentioned Arteastique before, as they serve a fascinating range of teas including medicinal, alcoholic and ice cream float varieties. The Art part of the name, however, is something else again.

Half the café is taken up by a studio crammed with canvases on easels. For S$48 for a 2 hour session (including a free tea, of course) you can help yourself to all the paints and brushes you want and create your very own masterpiece.

Daughter #2 and I tried this out one afternoon in the holidays and, although neither of us is especially artistic, we had an excellent time. You can pay more and join a class, but for the most part it is just an opportunity to splash paint around and express your inner Van Gogh.

I was wondering what would happen to the finished work, and was expecting to return and collect it on a later day when it was dry. The alternative – trying to carry a 50×50 cm canvas covered in wet acrylics onto a crowded MRT train – was fairly horrifying, but the solution turned out to be ingenious.

Using a specially designed cardboard cover and a hefty stapler, the staff had our wet paintings packed up in such a way that the painted surface was completely protected yet untouched by the cardboard – I was very impressed.

My painting went straight into the recycle – it was just a therapeutic exercise after all, but it was so much fun I will definitely be back to do some more.