By Huang Lijie
Fans of James Bond who have lived the high life of the fictional British secret agent only vicariously in the cinema need no longer seek solace in fantasy.
Indeed, why settle for quantum leaps of imagination when one can live and look the part of agent 007 convincingly by walking the streets of London the way he does?
Zig-zag down the River Thames in a high-speed inflatable boat a la Bond
Life! gives you the lowdown on where to go in London to dress, sup and travel in style like the dapper espionage agent.
Yes, we will even show you how to live life on the dangerous side, without running afoul of the law.
And because this mission is about keeping things real, the guide offers options that make the Bond dream possible even on a budget.
For two lucky readers, however, the fantasy will come true without them having to shell out a single penny.
VisitBritain, Britain's national tourism agency, and Sony Pictures, which is distributing Quantum Of Solace, are co-sponsoring a four-day trip for two to London, valued at $31,000.
Dressed to kill
For a look that spells super spy on a black-tie mission, look no further than a smart shirt from bespoke shirt maker and tailor, Turnbull & Asser.
The 123-year-old British clothier has been dressing Bond for the silver screen since the fictional English agent debuted on film in 1962 in Dr No.
What makes the shirts exceptional, beyond their made-to-measure fit and attention to details such as collar and cuff design, is the top-quality cotton fabric used to make them.
Stroke a swatch of the cloth and you will understand two things: why Bond feels sexy and looks sexy wearing the shirts, and why femme fatales in Bond movies cannot keep their hands off them.
If the clothier's bespoke services are off your spending radar, try its ready-made collection next door.
Get a smart shirt from Turnbull & Asser
Turnbull & Asser, 23 Bury Street (for bespoke services) and 71-72 Jermyn Street (flagship store), London, Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm, Saturdays, 9.30am to 6pm, closed on Sundays (both outlets). Bespoke shirts cost from £165 (S$394) and ready-made shirts from £115.
Thrills and spills
Dabble in a little Bond-like daredevilry by zipping down the River Thames on a rigid inflatable boat with London RIB Voyages.
The 50-minute high-speed boat ride, which hurtles down the waterway at a maximum speed of 65kmh, promises an exhilarating, action-packed ride with furious zig-zags and sharp turns.
When you have had time to catch your breath, don't forget to listen as the tour guide highlights points of interest along the river such as the Houses of Parliament.
London RIB Voyages, British Airways London Eye, Riverside Building, Waterloo Millenium Pier, Westminster Bridge Road, London, 9.30am to 6.30pm daily, £32.50 (adults), £19.50 (16 years and under).
World's oldest barbershop, Truefitt & Hill
Clean, close shaves are de rigueur for double-O agents in Her Majesty's secret service, and we don't just mean finger on the trigger sort.
We're talking about cut-throat razors to the jaw while you recline comfortably in a barber's chair being groomed for greatness.
To put your best face forward, turn to Truefitt & Hill, the world's oldest barbershop and barbers to His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Don't miss its traditional hot towel wet shave, £35, which comes with a relaxing massage.
Truefitt & Hill, 71 St James's Street, London, Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturdays, 8.30am to 5pm, closed Sundays.
Seek the sun
Sunseeker's luxury motor yachts, which have been featured in three previous Bond films, will again dazzle on the big screen in Quantum Of Solace.
Visit the British yacht maker's headquarters in Poole Harbour for a view of the yachts, moored at the dock, from the opposite side of the quay.
To get an exclusive tour of the shipyard and come up close to the yachts, however, you will have to try your luck at the contest co-sponsored by Sony Pictures and VisitBritain.
Sunseeker International, Sunseeker House, 27-31 West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset
Wine and dine in style
Fine dine at Scott's
Bond may not be a gourmand, but as a gentleman with fine taste, he sure knows his food and it is all thanks to creator Ian Fleming's haute tastebuds.
To sup in true Bond style, a meal at Fleming's favourite restaurant, Scott's, is a must.
The seafood and oyster restaurant is an institution on the fine-dining scene and for good reason, as its fish dishes are nothing short of sublime.
If you are feeling indulgent, order the roasted shellfish, £75 for two, which comes laden with lobster, razor clams, scallops and Red Sea prawns.
A steal on the menu, however, is the seafood platter for two, at £28 per person. It overflows with oysters, crabs, prawns and other shellfish delights.
Scott's, 20 Mount Street, London, Mondays to Saturdays, noon to 10.30pm, Sundays, noon to 10pm
Shake it up with flair
It is no secret that Bond likes his Vesper martini, comprising gin, vodka and vermouth.
Shaken, not stirred, is the way to go, with a twist of citrus peel as garnish.
Bond's favourite Vesper Martini
Do take up a cocktail-making class, £29 per person, at hip nightspot Zebrano to impress friends with your bartending flair.
Zebrano, 18 Greek Street, London, noon to 3am daily
Win James Bond trip
VisitBritain and Sony Pictures are co-sponsoring a trip worth $31,000 for two to live the life of secret agent James Bond in London.
It includes two economy air tickets to London, three nights' accommodation in a five-star hotel and a high-speed boat ride down the River Thames.
To win, log on to http://www.visitbritain.sg/ or write your answer to the following question on a postcard and send it to:
VisitBritain, 600 North Bridge Road, 09-10 Parkview Square, Singapore 188778
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond
Question: The Ultimate James Bond Experience prize includes a high-speed boat ride down which London river?
a. Singapore River
b. River Thames
c. Mississippi River
Participants are automatically signed up for the VisitBritain mailing list.
Quantum Of Solace opens in cinemas here on Nov 5.
5 things to do
1. Get under the skin of the famous spy and his creator at the Imperial War Museum's special Bond exhibition, For Your Eyes Only, which runs till March next year in London. It explores the life and work of Ian Fleming and includes props from Bond movies.
2. Hit the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, 145km outside of London. The area was a training ground for secret agents during World War II. The museum is also home to some fast cars used in Bond films, including the Ford Mondeo used in Casino Royale.
3. Stay at the five-star hotel Grosvenor House in Mayfair, which has been frequented by royalty and celebrities since its opening in 1929.
4. Fleming loved his scrambled eggs. For a version that wobbles seductively on the plate, visit casual eatery Ottolenghi's Islington outlet.
5. Check out the Francis Bacon exhibition at the Tate Britain, which runs till Jan 4 next year. The British painter's exploration of bestial urges of violence, lust and fear in man on canvas offers a peek into the primal instincts that drive a secret service agent.
1. Don't worry about the safety of the thrill-seeking ride down the River Thames with London RIB Voyages. Life jackets are provided.
2. Don't try and snap pictures of your food at Scott's. The restaurant has a no-photography policy. But you can snap one with the restaurant's friendly doorman, who is sharply suited and dons a bowler hat.