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These have been around for a while now, but they still surprise me with how useful they can be.

Everyone has those moments when a wardrobe malfunction or an unexpected need to be culturally sensitive brings sudden embarrassment. You can pre-empt the possibility of one and carry these around in your bag in case of the other.

Alternatively, they can spare some blushes if you are wearing anything slightly see-through.

Essentially, they are large circular fabric stickers, in a tasteful shade of nude, which cover up your nipples. They go on and peel off quite easily, without leaving an annoying residue – in fact the adhesive is only round the edge of the circle so there is no chance of irritating your delicate areas.

They are cheaper, easier to carry ‘just in case’ and less liable to slip than the reusable silicone alternative. These are the Japanese version, and at less than S$1 a set, they are a steal!

Security Garter

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This little gem was tucked away towards the back of the Silk Air in-flight shopping magazine. Retail opportunities at 38,000ft always provide me with great entertainment – there’s stuff in there you really have to raise your eyebrows at, especially the prices.

But this actually looked like it might be an interesting buy. I mean, there are nights out when a handbag is a positive annoyance, and (as daughter #2 would tell you) even having your valuables safely zipped away inside one is no guarantee you will not have them pinched in a night club crush.

So, a lacy garter with multiple pockets for all your essentials, including phone and keys, seemed like a neat solution, and something a lot less likely to be accessed without you noticing. Obviously, you’d have to be wearing a skirt long enough to cover it, but it still strikes me as a promising idea. A snip at S$55.

Eyeliner Transfers

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I have to stop buying/trying these sort of things – they look so cool on the shelf yet prove almost impossible to apply properly in real life.

These particular transfers, with their artistic variations on the regular cat’s eye flick-style eyeliner, looked amazing. But somehow they seemed to be printed the wrong way up. It might be better if the main body of the line curved down rather than up, so it would be easier to get them in the right position on your eyelid. You’d need to have that eye closed, of course, but still…

As it was, once the messing about with wet cotton pads was done, there were distinct gaps between transfer and eyelashes which needed filling in with a steady hand. At only SS2 per packet, I can’t really complain, but these things are probably more trouble than they are worth.

Inside-Out T shirts

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Two for the price of one, not to mention the fact that you can take only 1 item on a short trip and quick-change into something ‘different’ whilst keeping plenty of space in your bag for shopping.

I wish more clothing firms did this sort of thing… there are the odd examples from travel specialists like Patagonia, from whom I bought the T shirt in 2 shades of blue.

The silky one is another story. I found the fabric in Hanoi, and brought some home to show the local ‘lady with a sewing machine’ who does alterations and repairs.  She was not impressed. I had to go back numerous times over the space of 3 months before she could be persuaded to give it a try, but in the end I was pretty pleased.

Shame I won’t be getting another one in a different set of colours – apparently it was incredibly difficult to sew without contrasting hems, and she told me very firmly there was no way she was making any more. Never mind, there’s a lot of life in this one.

Nail Plates

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Diwali is coming, and all things Indian are very much to the fore here in Singapore. I saw this kit at a festival market stall, was persuaded to sit down and give it a try and well… we all know how that ends!

The metal plate is laser engraved with intricate designs, you coat the pattern of your choice with nail polish, scrape off the excess, then use the sticky tamp to pick up the design and roll it onto your nail. You have to work fast, before the polish dries, but with a bit of practise you can quickly turn your nails into works of art. A coat of glossy top coat and you are ready to impress.

There are several different plates available, each with 18 different designs. I decided on the ‘bridal’ version, despite the name, because it had a nice mix of pretty patterns that reminded me of henna designs.

This kit is actually manufactured in the UK, but despite coming all that distance was still quite a steal at S$22. I can see I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.

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Cityscape Rings


Once I had realised what I was actually looking at, I couldn’t get enough of these rings. It is such a clever idea to take the landmark buildings of a city skyline and wrap them in miniature around your finger.

I spotted London and Hong Kong, had to take a guess at a couple of others, but snapped up a small collection as cool and quirky gifts.

They are Korean made, from AccessoryHolic in Seoul, and I just know they are going to be a big success. They cost  just under 10,000 won a pop, which isn’t necessarily cheap, but what price ingenuity and imagination?

Heels Diva

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Singapore is a great place for dressing up. A typical outfit for a day at the office here seems to be the sort of cocktail dress and high heels combo that you’d probably only see at Christmas in the UK, and  makes morning rush hour on the MRT a fascinating experience.

If you are already dressed to kill by breakfast, you need a great deal more bling in your handbag to carry you on from work to a night out. This is where these shoe accessories come in.

From Heels Diva, amongst other brands, they come as a variety of clips, chains and even heel wraps which you can slip on in seconds to transform your shoes into something special. The clips in particular can be added to front, back or sides of your shoes to suit your current fancy. All of them are small, light, and easy to pop into place.

They aren’t even terribly expensive, with prices ranging from S$20 to S$40, so it is easy to build up a small wardrobe of different designs which makes it look like you own way more pairs of evening shoes than you actually do. One or two in your suitcase can also transform the single pair of heels you packed to cover a variety of unexpectedly smart situations on a holiday or business trip.

We love these!

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Makeup Transfer

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This one was a struggle from beginning to end.

Like all transfers, you have to cut it down to size first, then position it carefully before wetting the paper to let transfer the pattern to your skin. Doing this around your own eyes is not easy, as you can’t really see what you are doing until it is too late to put things right.

In this case, the pattern – whilst very pretty in the packet – was so big that various parts of it stuck to each other as soon as daughter #2 opened her eyes. OK, so maybe it hadn’t been given long enough to dry, but it was still way more tricky than it needed to be.

Even at only S$2, this kind of thing is not good for much but messing around on a lazy afternoon or – potentially – as a fun embellishment to a fancy dress costume. Good luck!

Dragon Ear Cuffs

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It must have something to do with Game of Thrones, but I am seeing dragons everywhere. Take these fabulous ear cuffs, which slip easily over the edge of your ear and give you the whole fierce dragon-taming look in seconds.

These came from the immense and magical 24 hour emporium that is the Mustafa Centre in Singapore, for a ridiculously low S$4.95, and could not be left behind.

Daughters #1 and #2, you’re welcome!

Twelve Ways

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There really are 12 ways you can wear this particular item of clothing, and probably more if you are especially inventive.

Twelve Ways is the name of the item and the Canadian company which invented it. They call it the most versatile piece of clothing you will ever find, and it is certainly an ideal piece to have in your travel wardrobe.

At $85, and available in a variety of colours, it has zips and draw strings that create a ruched effect, and can be worn as a top, a skirt, a dress, and accessorised up or down as you choose. By adjusting the different parts you can make things longer or shorter, open them up for a split seam effect, and generally run the full gamut from smart to slinky.

Best of all, the polyester/spandex fabric doesn’t wrinkle, packs really small, and is easily hand washed in cold water in a hotel sink. Following a visit by daughter #2, I no longer seem to have one of these in my collection of travel clothing. Looks like I shall be ordering another very soon.