Unicorn Cafe

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Unicorn Cafe

Tragically, no actual unicorns, but a great many toy ones and enough rainbows to make your head spin. Welcome to the Unicorn Café in Bangkok!

This is hidden down a side soi off Sathorn Rd, and was surprisingly hard to find, but once you are engulfed by the swirling pastels of the decorations, you wonder how you could possibly have missed it. There’s even a large plastic unicorn in the window which looks like it escaped from a circus carousel.

This is definitely a destination for young Asian girls. You can dress up in a unicorn onesie, lounge with large plush unicorn toys on pink sofas and take selfies to your heart’s content. There are rainbow coloured cakes and drinks on the menu, unicorn souvenirs to buy, and everything including the floor and ceiling is a riot of swirls, stars and –obviously – unicorns.

I did order a cake and a drink, although since they were a triumph of decoration over taste, I did not actually consume very much of either. It was all highly entertaining, however, and well worth a visit.


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Ice Cream Tuk Tuk

When I was young, long summer afternoons were punctuated by the arrival of the ice cream van, its unique jingle heard from streets away so that every child in blast range ran home for sixpence to spend on frozen treats.

By the time the van had parked and the driver opened up the side to turn his van into a shop, we would be standing in line debating what to buy. It might be the multi-coloured Rocket lolly, the pink and white Fab dipped in chocolate and dusted with sprinkles… I always loved the ‘99’, a cornet with a swirl of soft ice cream stuck with a Cadbury’s Flake.

So I was really happy to see this ice cream tuk tuk in Bangkok. Sure, it was not moving but was parked in the middle of a mall, and I realised later it was a ‘chain’ with tuk tuks in a number of shopping areas. But it was selling a wonderful range of decorated ices like the Coconut Cool Cat and Angels Berry, and quite transported me back in time for some very happy memories.

 


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Watermelon Powder Spray

You may well ask.

I saw this in Bangkok and was intrigued, although in retrospect I think I should probably have left it on the shelf.

Watermelon powder spray is supposedly made with 100% Thai herbs and seems to be some sort of a breath freshener. The directions on the packet say: ‘once you feel uncomfortable in your mouth or throat, directly spray on them. It can use several times a day depending on personal situation.’

The powder comes in a small bottle with a nozzle, and you spray it on by squeezing the sides so it puffs out of the top. This is not a particularly pleasant sensation, and reminded me of those Japanese medications which come as a sachet of powder that you tip into your mouth – infinitely more difficult to swallow than a tablet or a spoonful of linctus.

What comes out of this bottle looks like brown dust and has a bitter taste which did not appear to sweeten or freshen my breath. I really didn’t like it and will not be using it again.


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Pout Enhancer

Fancy fuller lips without risking painful and potentially disastrous injection of fillers? You might want to take a look at this – a small plastic contraption which is designed for instant but temporary enhancement.

When used properly, Fullips (patent pending – ‘proudly made in the USA’), is supposed to help you get that fuller, pouty look, and as a bonus, should also help lines around the lips become less noticeable.

For best results, you are supposed to wet your lips and the area around your mouth, as this should help provide better suction. The idea is to place the lip enhancer over your lips and suck in air gently. As you create an airtight seal, you can feel your lips being sucked into the enhancer, although there is a warning that you should not suck too hard as this can bruise your lips. After 15 to 30 seconds you should break the suction by using your finger under the edge of the enhancer. The whole process can be repeated (carefully) until you have achieved the desired effect.

With a bit of practice you will apparently be able to target specific parts of your lip area if you like. According to the instructions, you can even turn the enhancer sideways to focus on just the centre of your lips (apparently a neat trick if you are suffering from age-related thinning of the lips), or you could treat just the top lip to even out the shape of your mouth. Three different shapes of enhancer are available, or you can buy the complete set.

Once you are happy with your new look, you can apply lipstick and gloss as usual, plus maybe a touch more lip liner under your lower lip to increase the illusion of depth. The effect is temporary, obviously, but if you do it right it might last you through a special evening.

There is a warning that you should not use this product if you have had any medical procedure on your lips such as injection of fillers. In fact, you should probably steer well clear if you are suffering from any mouth related problem, although under normal circumstances, using this enhancer should not hurt.

I came across this in Bangkok and thought it might amuse at least one of my daughters, but had to try it out myself first. And it really feels odd to use, although I expect you could quickly get the hang of it with practice. To be honest, although I followed the instructions carefully, I could not see any difference afterwards. It was just pretty uncomfortable whilst I was doing it, then left my lips feeling slightly sore and bruised.

It would never have occurred to me to try changing my lips in any way, so this is not something I would consider adding to my arsenal of beauty products. But I am interested to hear the opinion of whichever daughter gets her hands on it first…


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Mirror Adverts

Remember when public advertising was restricted to posters? I can still recall the surprise when I first saw cinema-style adverts on giant screens outdoors, usually at big crossings where they must have been a huge distraction to drivers. Smaller screens popped up swiftly in subway stations and malls, and now even bus stops run adverts alongside information on the next service to arrive.

I’d started to think that space was running out, with most available options covered, but it turns out I was wrong.

I walked into the Ladies at a mall in Bangkok to discover that as I approached the mirror, it lit up with adverts just for me. I am not even sure how this works, although motion and proximity sensors must be involved. But somehow the advert is perfectly clear whilst still enabling the mirror to be used as normal.

Taking photos of this in action was slightly tricky, and I gave several local girls a good laugh at the crazy farang lady who was obviously living in the dark ages. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have anything like this in Singapore. Yet. I await the arrival with interest…


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Joyous Ear Pick

Category : Beauty

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Any self-respecting doctor will tell you that the smallest thing you should put inside your ear is your elbow. Not that I know anybody who follows this rule, because the temptation to twiddle about with a cotton bud after a shower is almost irresistible…

And in certain places – notably India and Nepal, where professional ear cleaners wander the streets with their little bag of tools touting for business – scouring out the ear canal is an important part of your hygiene routine.

Since I was grabbed in Kathmandu and subjected to an unexpected and unwelcome ‘sample’ scrape round one ear (not a painless process!), I have been rather wary of those ear picks which end in little scoops for removing wax and dirt. The possibility of doing your ear a mischief with them seemed high.

But then I saw this neat little travel scoop, with a lid and a clip to make it easy to slip into your pocket for on the go cleaning. I’m not going to use it, but it pleases me enormously that such things exist… From 7-11 in Bangkok, where you can get virtually everything you need in miniature for those spontaneous not-going-home-tonight adventures.


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Sequin Lipstick

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OK, I suppose I might have guessed this was never really going to deliver what it promised, and the fact that there was no ‘tester’ available should have warned me… but at only 35 Baht in Bangkok’s Chinatown, it was potentially too cool to be left behind.

In my defence, there did appear to be a sequin effect embedded into the colour, but in practice there was barely any shade noticeable on the lips, let alone glitter. Never mind, we live and learn, and this amused me enough at the time to make the purchase worthwhile.


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Light Up Menu

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I know I am not the only person who has trouble reading menus in the dark. By this I usually mean the menus you get at dimly lit cocktail bars, where I apparently cause no end of embarrassment to my daughters by using the flashlight on my phone.

Imagine my delight in Bangkok, at the Moon Bar on the 61st floor roof of the Banyan Tree Hotel, when presented with a menu that lit up. I have no idea how the technology behind this works, only that the pages sprang to life as the covers opened, and my only problem then was choosing what to order.


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Secret Bars

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This is becoming a really popular trend, especially in Asia, where every big city seems to have a handful of ‘secret’ bars. Of course, if you already know they exist, maybe they are not so secret after all, but it can still be lots of fun tracking them down and working out how to get in. Often there is a password, hidden somewhere on a Facebook page; sometimes you’ll find a guy loitering down a back alley who is there to point you in the right direction.

Pictured above left, this Bangkok phone booth, round some corners and down a side street off Sukhumvit soi 11, needed the right number dialling in the otherwise out-of-service phone. The wall at the side turned out to be a door which clicked open with the code, giving access to a Cuban-style speakeasy.

Other favourite secret bars include one in Singapore where the password gets you through a wall panel in a supposed tailor’s shop, then via a mirrored ‘changing room’ into a quirky cocktail bar. Another, see above centre and right, has odd symbols on the pavement and wall to point the way down a sinister looking basement staircase. Rumour has it that in Manila there is a hidden bar through the back of a 7-11 storeroom, but I confess we did not manage to get there.

These places are not exactly advertised, so type ‘secret bar in (wherever you are)’ into your search engine, and follow the clues!


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Low Tech Pedi

Category : Beauty

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This just really tickled me… at home in Singapore, having a pedicure involves an elaborate procedure that finishes with popping your toes into a contraption which uses ultra violet light to harden the polish. In Bangkok, you get a girl with a plastic fan. Of course, the whole thing was a tenth of the price, and the polish turned out to have stained my nails, but I am still laughing to myself about this picture. So it is all alright!

 


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