Singapore

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MARINA BAY

I was lucky enough to visit Singapore at the end of November, for a few days of exploring before heading on to Australia. The city-state and island nation is just 85 miles north of the equator and so, as you can imagine, was one of the hottest places I've ever visited on earth! Temperatures during the day were in the mid-30s, and during the night never fell beneath 25 degrees - all of which was a bit of a shock to the system, having flown in from the deep-winter of London. 

I was keen to explore, having never been to this part of the world before. It's an interesting and beautiful country - somewhat unique given it's position in Southeast Asia but with a large proportion of residents being foreign workers from Europe, America and the Middle East. Many of the famous spots in the country  (Marina Bay, Helix Bridge and Sentosa) are less than a hundred years old, and much of the city is formed on land reclaimed from the ocean - giving everything a distinctly modern feel. 

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EAST COAST PARK

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GARDENS BY THE BAY

I spent lots of time exploring some of the country's stunning beaches and gardens, such as East Coast Park - a beautiful beach park stretching over 10km from Marina East in the south to Bedok in the north, and Gardens by the Bay - a nature park which houses some spectacular lightshows, a 'cloud forest' and giant conservatories. Both of these are an absolute must if you visit Singapore. 

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Lewis Hamilton Pit Garage - Singapore Grand Prix

Singapore is a special place for many reasons, but it holds a particularly special place in my heart because it's the home of the Singapore Grand Prix. The only full night-race in the entire worldwide F1 calendar, it's even more special because it's held as a street-race - meaning that (aside from the race weekend in September) the racetrack is on roads that are fully accessible to the public. The pit-lane is adjacent to Raffles Avenue, and you can walk down the stretch of tarmac where Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso et al drove their 200mph machines just a few weeks ago - all for free. Having watched F1 for many many years on TV, it was a bizarre yet incredible experience to be standing on a racetrack, completely deserted, on a Monday afternoon - and one that is almost unique in the world of motorsport. 

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Singapore GP Pit Lane 

Taking a trip into the city centre, I was keen to explore what the city had to offer in terms of skincare. As you can imagine, being a major international city, many of the products available in stores are imported from the U.S, Europe and China. You can find a familiar selection of well known brands and household names at the city's various department stores including Tangs, Isetan and Metro.

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While browsing Tangs department store at VivoCity in downtown Singapore, I did manage to come across one brand with it's roots firmly in Singapore; the wonderful Handmade Heroes. The founder, Linsey Lim, began making homemade products at the age of 16, and since then has had success selling her line across department stores in Singapore, as well as in Malaysia, the U.S and the UK. I tried out the 'Ultra Sexy Lip Scrub' (available in a variety of flavours - my favourite being the yummy coconut sugar!) - a lovely light scrub which leaves your lips feeling deliciously smooth. The capsule range also includes dry shampoo, face masks and lip tints - all highly affordable, vegan, and cruelty free! 

Calvin Draper-Wright