The Brief? To hit the GSS on a budget and to score as many bargains as possible in one afternoon. Selina Altomonte is one gal who knows her way around a department store and was more than up for the challenge…
Shopping with two kiddies in tow is not what we’d call a dose of retail therapy, but our Editor in Chief has learnt how to nail the sales while keeping two little ‘uns entertained. Duly armed with a loaded UnionPay card (card number starting with 62), the official GSS card that will secure you further discounts at multiple retailers, Selina set off in hunt of the biggest bargains at VivoCity. We caught up with her post GSS shop-a-thon to get the lowdown on her favourite buys, biggest steals, and handy hints on how to make it through the GSS unscathed!
Hi Selina! You are super-mum to two beautiful boys and an avid foodie. You’ve been working your own special brand of lifestyle magic for years in the magazine scene in Sydney and London and now call Singapore and HoneyKids Asia home (taking up residence as Editor in Chief). Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve called sunny Singapore home for almost two years now – I grew up in Sydney and moved here with my husband and little boys from London… after four laksa-deprived years there I can safely say I’m in my element living in Katong! Funnily though, our apartment here is the most minimalist home I’ve ever lived in: I’m a maximalist by nature and love picking up special pieces from places I’ve travelled to and lived. If I had it my way, I’d decorate my pad like a cabinet of curiosities.
We have it on good authority that you’re no stranger to a bit of retail therapy. Since moving to Singapore have you developed a soft spot for the GSS?
This is my first real GSS! Last year I was too busy getting into the swing of a new life and a new job to make the most of it and I was a Singapore shopping newbie. Now I’ve got my fave boutiques and brands that I knew to hit up as soon as the sales launched. I even snapped up some matchy matchy tees on sale by Le Petit Society – now that’s getting into the GSS spirit.
Life changes once you have kids – your shopping focus moves away from designer goodies to more practical items for family life (or toys!). What was on your shopping list for this year?
Full disclosure: I might have a bit of a reputation as a shopping enthusiast… I have a weakness for a good frock, so I couldn’t resist darting into Topshop and Warehouse to loot the sale rails. But we’re a foodie family, so investment pieces for me right now are for the kitchen!
I was on the hunt for a Le Creuset piece to add to my little collection, and some grown-up cutlery. A lot of our household essentials were picked up on the fly, thinking our stay in London would be for just a year… six years on it’s time to upgrade!
Of course, I wanted some fun stuff for the boys, and have been waiting to get them a huge set of good, old-school Lego. And by ‘the boys’, I mean my husband too.
I made a couple of impulse purchases that are a surprise huge hit with the kids: a drinks dispenser for family barbecues and parties, and a mini popsicle maker to make cool treats on hot days. They’re playing with these more than the Lego. Oh dear.
What’s the best bargain you scooped this year?
Definitely my Le Creuset griddle pan – at 50% off it was like hitting the jackpot. This was my favourite purchase too – it will last a lifetime!
Everyone loves the GSS, so it can be a busy time at the shops for a mum! Do you have any tips on tackling the GSS?
If you’re going to bring the kids, have a strategy: make a list and zero in on it because we all know there’s a short window before little ones hit the wall. Break things up with a treat at a cafe, and even then, come armed with snacks in case you need to resort to bribery while you squeeze in that extra bit of browsing time!
GSS is on island-wide! Where did you do your shopping?
We hit VivoCity for the sheer variety, and because I usually do a lot of my shopping online, I couldn’t resist a visit to Tang’s and Robinson’s – browsing a huge department store is a bit of a novelty for me nowadays!
Do you have any great family-friendly stores you would recommend to other mums?
For lovely wooden toys and puzzles I can’t resist The Children’s Showcase, and my other fave is Naiise – great local design with cool stuff for kids and grown-ups! The i12 Katong branch has plenty of room to zoom a pram around too…
This year’s GSS official card is UnionPay, the global payment network that serves the world’s largest cardholder base and has presence in 160 countries and regions. With one UnionPay card, you’ll get access to heaps of discounts and giveaways (on top of the existing GSS discounts) AND bargains on jewellery, hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, and more! Check out this list of participating retailers.
Don’t have a UnionPay card? Visit http://www.unionpayintl.com/sg/info for information on how to apply for one.
This article is sponsored by UnionPay International.