Wednesday, May 7, 2014

3-in-1 Anti-aging, Brightening and Moisturising mask

I've been using this face mask for a long time! Very moisturising for the skin, smells good enough to be eaten. It has mild exfoliation properties.
Things you need:
  • 1 tsp of roughly grinded rice powder - You can grind your own rice or purchase rice mask, e.g. Skin Food Rice Mask.
  • 1/2 tsp of green tea powder - tea leaves are not a good idea because it doesn't stick well to the face.
  • 1 tsp of raw honey - I'm using Manuka honey.
  • Some pre-boiled and cooled water if you're using rice powder. Skip the water if you're using Skin Food Rice Mask.
  1. Mix the rice powder, green tea and honey in a clean bowl. Add water bit by bit to dilute the mask into a semi-thick consistency. It shouldn't be too runny.
  2. Apply to face and décolleté.
  3. After leaving it on for 15 minutes, wet your fingers and gently massage your face in circular movements for 1 minute.
  4. Rinse off thereafter. Preferably, use twice a weekly.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Annie's Way jelly masks & Supreme Diamond Light Feather mask sheets

If you're looking for a good face mask, I have a recommendation. Nothing I use is expensive but it's effective. That's what matters most. This is not a sponsored post; I write good reviews when the products show good results and vice versa.

I found this Taiwan made mask called Annie's Way (hate the name!). Nothing fancy or glamorous about its name here but the products, work like a miracle.

Annie's Way has gel type masks that come in a jar and face mask sheets. I'm using both types. The Arbutin + Hyaluronic Acid Jelly mask is wonderful! Instant brightening effect and skin stay soft and supple throughout the night. The trick here is not to wash off the mask but towel it off. Not a good idea to tissue it off because the leftover mask residue is really sticky. So, use a damp towel instead. I also bought the new Charcoal black jelly mask, which is more for oily skin, to draw out impurities from the skin.

The other type of mask that I'm using is the Annie's Way Supreme Diamond Light Feather mask sheet. It claims to prevent wrinkles, whitens, tones and moisturises skin in 1 easy step. An easy alternative for me when I need something quick to perk up my skin. The mask sheet is so thin (it looks almost transparent on my face) and its essence doesn't dry out as fast as other typical mask sheets in the market. The effect: my skin is well moisturised after each usage although the brightening effect is not as good as the Arbutin Jelly mask.

Currently Annie's Way is available in Malaysia. You can get it at any MaskSlim outlets. Not available in Singapore yet, I've checked. The good news is Mask Slim is also available online.

They're having good promos now. Jelly mask is selling for RM76.50 per 250ml jar at MaskSlim online store. If you shop at their outlets, the jelly masks cost RM85 (normal price) but it comes with FOC 3 pieces of mask sheet that cost RM7 each. Jelly masks are also available in trial/travel packs costing RM8 per 25ml pack. The Supreme Diamond Light Feather mask is selling for RM9 per piece. The promotion now is purchase 5 pieces, and you'll get another 5 pieces for free!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Green Tea Milk Bath: Anti aging & Moisturising

Milk contains vitamin A, D and E, some proteins and fats. Our skin will not be able to absorb those vitamins from milk through bathing (unless through consumption). However, milk proteins and milk fats do wonders for the skin by moisturising it. It also helps to soothe dry itchy skin during cold weather.
It is important to use whole milk for milk bath. Skim and low fat don't work as well as whole milk because the milk proteins and milk fats are what we want.
As for green tea, it is well known for its anti-oxidant properties either through consumption or topical use. Its sun protection properties are also well documented. Therefore, in my morning bath routine, I always include green tea as an extra sun protection.

Snow fungus - a natural loofah to gently exfoliate my face while soaking in the bath.
Bath ingredients:
• 1 litre of whole milk (i.e. full cream / fresh milk)
• 3 tbsp of green tea powder, or 5 teabags of green tea
1. Run a warm bath.
2. Stir 3 tbsp of green tea powder with warm water in a mug. If using teabags, infuse them in hot water for 5 minutes.
3. Pour the green tea into the bath water. You can also throw in the teabags if you like.
4. Just before stepping in, pour the milk into the bath water.
5. Soak for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. Apply light lotion all over your body to seal in the moisture.
Tips: Letting your hair down to soak in the milk goodness helps to condition dry, brittle hair. Be sure to rinse off before stepping out of bath to avoid smelling like stale milk though.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I won't always be this small, mommy.

When they were babies, it was so tough with all the sleepless nights and night feeds that never seem to end. Now that they're older, I'm missing the baby bits.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Punishable Offences & Penalties: Overstaying, Breach of Pass/Permit's Conditions & Harboring Illegals

Taken from Immigration Department of Malaysia (under Enforcement)

Overstaying in Malaysia

Living in Malaysia after a pass / permit has expired or revoked.

Section 15 (1) (c) Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155).

Section 15 (4) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155) provides a fine of not less than RM 10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:28 by Immigration Department of Malaysia

Violation of Conditions stipulated in the Pass/Permit

Working or Undertaking Activities That Are Contrary To the Conditions of the Issuance of a Pass or Permit. Breach of the pass, permit or border passes conditions

Rule 39 (b) Immigration Regulations 1963.

Upon conviction punishable by a fine not exceeding RM 1, 000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 March 2012 02:13 by Immigration Department of Malaysia

Involvement As An Employer Hiring /Harbouring Illegal Immigrants In The Premises

The act of employing one or more persons other than citizens or Entry Permit holders who do not have a valid pass.

Section 55 B Immigration Act 1959/63


  • A fine of not less than RM 10,000 but not more than RM 50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both for each illegal immigrant under his employ. 
  • A person who employs more than 5 illegal immigrants at the same time is liable to imprisonment of not less than 6 months but not more than 5 years and is subject to whipping of not more than 6 strokes.

A person shall not knowingly harbour any person whom he knows or has reasonable grounds for supposing to have contravened the Immigration Act 1959/63.

Section 56 (1) (d) Immigration Act 1959/63


  • A fine of not less than RM 10,000 but not more than RM 50,000 is imposed on the offender who harbours an illegal immigrant. 
  • A person who harbours more than 5 illegal immigrants at the same time is liable to imprisonment of not less than 6 months but not more than 5 years and is subject to whipping of not more than 6 strokes.

Any person (occupier) who allows any illegal immigrant (PATI) to enter or stay in the premises where he has direct interest and control as a supervisor or manager.

Section 55E Immigration Act 1959/63


  • A fine of not less than RM 5,000 but not more than RM 30,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both for each illegal immigrant. 
  • For the second offence, a fine of not less than RM 10,000 but not exceeding 2 years or both.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 04:03 by Immigration Department of Malaysia

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What to expect if you choose to hire illegals

A photocopy of a fake passport. Spot the mistakes?

Ever since I wrote the post on How to apply for maid's JP visa yourself, I've received tons of comments and questions asking for advice. I'm no pro in this field but I try my best to help employers (and even maids/workers) who are clueless about the system. 
From all the comments and feedback, I gather that employers are getting more desperate due to the long waiting period and the steep agency fees which come without any guarantee that the new hire is going to be acceptable (chances of getting a good maid is 1%, thus acceptable is a better word). 

I also have workers who wrote in to me regarding their employers who insisted them to foot their own cost of work permit renewals, as high as RM 3,000! There were more complaints about maids these days too, from stealing to lying and runaways.

Due to all those problems, no doubt it gives rise to bogus agents who claim to be able to do illegal stuff in a legal way with a fraction of the cost. Some employers asked me, "Sounds too good to be true?". Of course! If you don't know already, there's no free lunch in this world. And these bogus agents love to target runaway maids who need new passports or work permits as much as a desperate employer who's urgently in need of a maid.

Here's a summary of the most common services provided by bogus agents:
  • Overstay - Renewal of maid's work permit which has expired months or years ago without having to pay overstay penalty or face deportation. 
  • Transfer of maid's work permit after her contract expires without having to go back to home country and serve the cooling off period of 3 months.
  • Transfer of maid's work permit to a new employer after first year of service, and/or above 3 times. (FYI, a new maid is only allowed to do transfer in her first year of service but not more than 3 times.)
  • Renewal of maid's expired passport and issuance of a new work permit under new employer's name.
  • Issuance of new passport, complete with police report of lost passport and a new work permit under new employer's name.
  • Provide temporary maid under other employer's name to you for more than 2 weeks.
  • Free lancers (maids) who claim to have their own visa/work permits.

There you go. All the above are illegal and not do-able! So when some self proclaimed agent comes to you and offer some of the services stated above for a mere RM 5,000, run! If you're thinking twice (or trice) about trusting the bogus agent, let me highlight to you the consequences that may happen along the way.

Possible consequences (very likely to happen!):
  • Fake work permit sticker (yes, it does exist!)
  • Fake passport (also printable - see the pic above)
  • Hiring a maid who doesn't has a work permit under your name violates Rule 39(b) Immigration Regulations 1963 (Malaysia) that upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not exceeding RM 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or both.
  • Maids who claim to have own work permits are illegals. They are either runaway maids or their work permits are fake. No other possibilities for sure. Harboring illegals are punishable under Section 55 B, Section 55 E and Section 56 (1)(d) of Immigration Act 1959/63 in Malaysia.
  • Agent keeps asking for more payment along the process. No refund on previous amount paid if you decide to drop the application/renewal. Therefore, you have no choice but to keep paying since your maid's passport should be in agent's hand by now.
  • Agent disappears with your maid's passport and the partial payment.
  • Getting caught by the enforcer!

The worst part is you can't lodge a police report when any of that happens because you're paying for an illegal service in the first place. So no, don't hire through black market. Illegal maids and agents don't solve your problems, they will make it worse for you.

Read on the offences and penalties for overstaying, breach of pass/permit's conditions and harboring illegals here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Escape Hunt Bangkok: Guidelines for the Murder Mystery

If you prefer to play the Murder Mystery by your own, do not continue reading these guidelines. Here goes.....
  1. Look under the furniture. Don't leave anything unturned.
  2. Nothing is on the ceiling. Don't bother looking for clues in places which are unreachable.
  3. The belt is for wrapping around something to show the codes. That something is made out of cardboard.
  4. There are 4 pieces of domino blocks to be found in the first 2 rooms. It gives the clue to one of the books.
  5. One of the book's page contains important information. Look through that page properly for subsequent clue.
  6. There are 3 rooms in this game before you find all clues.
  7. The 2 telephones holds vital clues. One of the clues is in the phone.
  8. The small torchlight is essential. Find the batteries!
  9. Some clues appear in the dark. Use the torch on the wall.
  10. There are many codes to be found. The codes are to open the numbered padlocks.
  11. The murderer will be found in the last room.
  12. Know your world map well. It's the key to open the brief case that contain the key to your freedom.
All the best, players!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Escape Hunt in Bangkok, Thailand

During our weekend getaway in Bangkok, Thailand, dear hubby suggested we try out this live escape game called Escape Hunt. If you're into the popular online Escape Room games, you're sure to enjoy this.
Escape Hunt is very much similar to the online Escape Room games where players have to find clues and solve the mysteries before finding their way out. In Escape Hunt Bangkok, there are 3 types of game scenarios to choose from, namely The Murder Mystery, The Robbery and The Bangkok Bomb. The latter is not contained within a locked room and players have to find the clues within the building.
Since dear hubby and I dislike running around looking for clues, we chose The Murder Mystery. We managed to escape the locked room within 58.1 minutes. A close shave indeed!
The Murder Mystery storyline involves a famous Thai lady who was murdered years ago but the murderer was never found. Obviously our task is to find out the murderer and clues to escape the looked room where the Thai lady was murdered.
Each game duration is 1 hour, with a minimum of 2 players. Each player pays 900 THB but price is cheaper with more players. If player is stuck, he may request for clues, with each clue costing him 1 minute being deducted from the 1 hour play time. No bags, mobile phones and cameras are allowed in the room so I couldn't snap any photos during the game. Nevertheless, it was a very fun game and I highly recommend it.
Currently, Escape Hunt has 9 outlets around the globe. The 10th outlet is targeted to open in Singapore next month. Yay! We are definitely going to try out the Singapore outlet when it opens.
*Note: I'm not going to spoil the game by stating the clues locations. Guidelines stated are just to prep players.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Nivea In-Shower Extra Whitening Skin Conditioner

Big yay!
Look what I found during my Bangkok trip? The new Nivea In-Shower Skin Conditioner with extra whitening power! No SPF though! The unforgiving hot sun has moulded me into a skin-whitening beauty junkie. Anything that has extra whitening power and SPF in it attracts me like magnets.
Earlier this year, I wrote a review on Nivea skin conditioner and I wished it has the whitening with SPF variation. When I spotted it in Boots, Bangkok, I quickly grabbed a few bottles without hesitance. Selling for 1050 THB each, it's way cheaper than the ones sold in Singapore.
However, after trying it out, I was actually quite disappointed. The unpleasant slippery feeling and stickiness after towel-drying remain similar to the variation for normal-skin that I've purchased earlier this year. The scent is indifferent as well, except that this one has Camu Camu for skin whitening effects and the one for normal-skin contains Sea Minerals.
Since whitening power need consistent usage to see result, I cannot write how effective the product is, for now. My skin is definitely smoother, but not softer. Like hair conditioners, it sort of 'coat' the skin with a layer of moisture for long lasting smoothness. Although it should have come with SPF for extra points, I am just as happy to have it for I-am-too-lazy-for-lotion days.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The wonders of peeling gels

Peeling gel exfoliators are becoming a hit in Asia, especially in Taiwan, China, Korea and Japan. I am one big time user of peeling gels. It is better than conventional granular face scrub, if you ask me.
Peeling gel is not similar to chemical peel. It is a type of cellulose gel that 'scrub away' corneous layer (dead skin) accumulated on the top layer of the skin. It has proven to be effective, at least to me. This post is a personal comparison reviews between 4 brands of peeling gels that I have been using over a period of 1 year.
The brands are:
1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel (Japan)
2. Gowoonsesang Brightening Peeling Gel (Korea)
3. Coreana Premium Peeling Magic (Korea) - brand name changed to Lavida on newer packaging.
4. Ginvera Nutri White Marvel Gel (Singapore)
Which peeling gel is most effective for me? The winner is Cure Natural Aqua Gel!
In spite of the fact that each one of them states it should be used once or twice a week, I'm using the peeling gel every alternate days.
Cure is the mildest of all. So I can actually use it every night to thoroughly removes traces of make up. It is unscented and preservative-free too.
For whitening or brightening purposes, Gowoonsesang is the best. My skin was instantly brighten but it can be too drying to be used every alternate days. Thus, I am using it once a week in place of Cure. For best results, use on towel-dry skin despite the instruction says it should be used on damp skin.
Ginvera is the most affordable of all four but I dislike the gel scent. However, it does the job pretty well, I say. It leaves the skin feeling squeaky clean.
At the bottom of the list is Coreana/Lavida. The gel texture turns watery once I gently scrub it on my skin but the cellulose residues seem to stick onto my fine facial hair when I'm done scrubbing. Rinsing off the gel takes a lil' more effort too.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Warming the body with ginger bath and moisturising honey

Ginger is well known for its potent antioxidants and they are really good for the body and skin. Think anti-aging! Besides having it for my afternoon tea, I love to use it for my bath especially before bedtime or during cold and wet weather when my body need that extra warmth. To make soothing ginger bath, you need a couple of ginger roots and some honey. Honey contains antioxidants, enzymes and anti-bacterial properties. Besides being used to treat hard-to-heal wounds, honey is super moisturising for skin. I use Manuka honey because I am also using it for my ginger tea.

There are 4 common types of ginger, namely blue ginger, young ginger, old ginger and yellow ginger (turmeric). Blue ginger is said to contain the highest amount of antioxidants. For my tea and bath purposes, I use young ginger. You may also use old ginger but it is not advisable to use yellow ginger because it will stain your clothes and the white bathtub. Cleaning the stain thereafter will be a hassle!
To make warm ginger bath:
1. Wash the ginger roots and slice them into pieces.

2. Boil the sliced ginger roots in a small pot for 5 minutes.

3. While waiting for the ginger water to boil, prepare the honey. Dilute 3 to 5 tablespoons of honey (depending on the size of your bathtub) into a cup of slightly warm water. Do not use hot water because it will destroy the enzymes of the honey.

4. Prepare the bath water (ideally warm to touch as hot bath tends to dry skin out) and pour the ginger water and honey into the bathtub. To test the water temperature, dip your elbow and upper arm into the bath water. Add cool water if it's too hot.

Soak in and enjoy your warm ginger bath for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stay at home mom should earn $115,000 p.a

Says who?

According to an article in Forbes 2011, SAHMs should charge $115,000 per annum for their 'work'. That's about $9,583 per month. In USD! I think that's more than our PM's pay la! But definitely less than our PM's wife's who is infamous for her diamonds and Birkins. Ok, let me add a few more 'S' to it. Birkinsssss.

"Do you plan to work?"
"Aren't you bored of staying home all day with your two kids?"
"You should be doing something. Something productive, like work. It's good to be financially independent as a woman."

Those are the top 3 questions/remarks that I have encountered numerous times as a SAHM. Key word: WORK. As in salaried work.

At first, it was ok. Now it is starting to irk me every time someone asked me such a question. Whether I have plans to go back to work, my answer is no, not a full time 9 to 5 office bounded job. Yes, it's good to be financially independent, I know. I wished to have some side income so that I can splurge a lil' on Bottega and Chanel. It is not that dear hubby doesn't buy me one, but because I know it's not easy to be a single-income family these days. Moreover, a Jumbo Chanel can't store my kiddos' clean diapers and water bottles (yup, tried that once). Back to using Longchamp. Lightweight, with huge storage space.

Whether I am feeling bored, yes, things can get pretty mundane. Being a SAHM means schedules and routines. I have to wake up before my kids are up. I adhere strictly to their sleeping hours so I don't have to deal with unnecessary meltdowns in public. It is stressful. It is boring. It is a routine duty. While working ladies in their pretty make ups, trendy dresses and designer handbags are sashaying down the streets to grab a cold beer with friends after office hours, I am in my shorts and baby tee with my hair tied up in a messy bun cooking up a nutritious meal for my family. 

And people say I should work. Hello dear, I am working. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no annual leave, emergency leave, and medical leave. I am paid in the form of allowances, which are supposed to be used for the family groceries, kiddos milk powder and diapers. How 'interesting'. But the best perk is derived from my kids' laughter. It just melts away all things bad.

Here's an eye opener on what a SAHM actually does at home. And the one article that I really felt being understood was the one written by a husband (a real gem!).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Radiant skin with Laneige Water Supreme Base SPF 15 PA+

I used to have at least 15 minutes after shower to put on my make up. That was before I have my 2 kids. Nowadays, I have 10 minutes max, including shower time before the 2 monsters come screaming and pounding on my bathroom door. 10 seconds late in opening the door and I swear the door will see a hole through it.

If you're looking for a short cut to healthy, bouncy skin, try Laneige Water Supreme Base. I have been using it for almost a year now and it works wonders on my dull skin. It's great for mothers like me who barely has time to put on full make up but still wants a great looking skin with minimal efforts.

Laneige has 3 colours for the Water Supreme Primer Base:
• Light Pink (to even out skin tone)
• Light Purple (to brighten up dull skin)
• Light Green (to reduce redness on skin)

I am using the purple one. Just like the name suggests, it doesn't only act as a base to hold your foundation but it helps to maintain moisture on your skin, resulting in supple and translucent skin. It also has SPF 15 to block out harmful UV rays.

After a light moisturiser, I apply an even layer of the primer base (2 to 3 pumps) all over my face and neck. Due to its watery texture, it doesn't feel sticky on my skin.

Fluid texture

Yes, that's my dry looking hand. Evidence of brighter, dewy skin.

I hardly use foundation nowadays (unless for special occasions) but I replace it with loose powder, just to set a matte finish on my skin. After that I use an eyebrow pencil to fill in some mahagony brown onto both eyebrows and dab on some tinted lip balm on the lips.

Now, here comes the downside. It is too sheer to be able to cover any blemishes unlike BB creams. Its function is to achieve radiant looking skin. If you've dry skin, this product is definitely for you.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nursery schools: Is it necessary?

She's turning four this year. She's supposed to be in nursery school (or N2*), according to all Singaporean mothers, grandmothers and aunties I met.

Here she is, still not enrolled in any nursery. The one question that I encountered from all these people was, 'WHY?'.

I may not be an expert, but here's my two cents worth of reasoning as a mother.

I'm a stay at home mom or SAHM as they call it. I know of many SAHM who send their toddlers (yes, as young as 18 months old) and children to pre-nurseries and nurseries. It seem like a 'must-do' here. I am not against nurseries, but for me, I don't feel there's a need to hurry them off to a classroom yet.

Seriously, do you really think the teachers have time to monitor emotional outbursts of your child, whether it is due to real frustration or merely attention seeking? How do the teachers teach empathy to your child in a class environment? Even with a good 1:5 teacher-students ratio, I doubt the teachers are able to give full attention to all five of the children's needs. Just imagine yourself taking care of five children, all age 3 at the same time. How effective can you correct mistakes, impart knowledge and making sure all five understand at the same time?

Kids their age, need parents to teach them day-to-day, basic skills. Skills such as being cooperative, helpful and obedient. Learning to feel for others like empathy, sympathy and apologetic. Learning to express negative feelings such as frustration and anger. They need to learn to love others (besides their family members) and feeling secure and confident about themselves. When all the correct basics are mastered, good manners come automatically.

Once they're ready for their kindergartens, they should have all that the above mentioned, instilled deep in their minds and hearts. Then, the education of alphabets and numbers amongst others may begin.

In Singapore...
N1 = Nursery 1: For children aged 3.
N2 = Nursery 2: For children aged 4.
K1 = Kindergarten 1: For children aged 5.
K2 = Kindergarten 2: For children aged 6.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fermented rice powder, grandma's beauty ritual

I'm back to Singapore again after a considerable long break for Chinese New Year. The weather seems to be hotter now, and I'm not liking it. I wished it could stay 25 - 26°C all year long. The last I checked, it was 33°C. Damn hot laaa!

I'm in dire need to cool myself. Switched on the aircond, set it to 18°C but the air doesn't seem to be cooling enough for me. I almost wanted to shut myself in the refrigerator, then I thought of my grandma's bedak sejuk which I got it from her during my visit to Ipoh on CNY! Wow, this got to be my skin saver (no joke).

Jasmine flower, used to lightly scent the bedak sejuk. - pic from wikipedia

Grandma's homemade bedak sejuk.

It took my grandma 6 months to make those skin saver, okay. I took out a small piece, place it on my palm and add in 6 to 7 drops of cold water to make it into runny, watery paste before slapping it onto my face, neck and arms! While doing this, I sat in front of the aircond for maximum syiok-ness!

I have been using bedak sejuk (direct translation: cooling powder) ever since I was a toddler. They do not have miracle creams or face mask back in those ancient days when grandma was young. Just like everyone else, grandma made her own. Have you heard of using rice water for clearer and brighter skin? What about fermented rice nutrient called Pitera that every beauty junkies would pay a bomb for? Tsk... my grandma's cooling powder has it all!

So, allow me explain briefly how it was made and what it is good for. Raw rice (grandma used white rice) is soaked in the water for 6 months until all the rice are fermented, dissolved and turned into white sendiment at the bottom of the 4-inches deep tray. She would change the water once a week. At the end of the 6th month, she poured away the excess water and added in white jasmine flowers to the sendiment before drying it under the sun. Once the sendiment is completely dried, she would break them into small pieces before storing them in an air-tight container. I remembered the whole kitchen would stink when the fermentation took place.

Good for:
1) Preventing heat rash (prickly heat) on skin.
2) Minimising large pores.
3) Control excess sebum production on oily skin.
4) Improves skin texture for sure! You should see my grandma's skin. She's 83 but her skin's as smooth as my 3-year old. (It is 100% au-naturel so don't expect overnight miracles with short term usage).

Now that she doesn't live with us anymore but in Ipoh, I missed her nyonya cookings, bedak sejuk and homemade aloe vera gel mask very much. But above all, I miss her the most!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Colours of the Spring Festival 2014

Khiong Hee Huat Chai! 

May all of us survive the economy and become more 'hor-se' in the year of Horse.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chinese New Year madness

Every year comes CNY, I have mixed feelings (except those times when I was a kid, I looked forward to celebrating CNY). I am partially excited and half dreadful of the traffic conditions to drive up north. It'll easily take 5 to 6 hours (sometimes more). I still remember there was once during my college days, I was stuck in the traffic jam for 7.5 hours, alone! I almost died of frustration. There are not many alternatives besides driving, due to the inflated flights prices and bus is not even an option with 2 young kids on tow. From past experience, if I'm to give my grandma a ring to tell her that we are not going, the conversation would sound like this:

(Translation from Hokkien dialect)

Me: Hello, Ah Mah... we might not be going to Penang this CNY. Traffic is going to be very bad la. Flight are expensive too.

Grandma: AIYO! Why didn't book flights earlier? No proper planning ar, u all? I booked 10 tables already... for CNY dinner. Now you're saying you're not coming? Haiyo... how? I have to cancel? Why you didn't plan properly? Every year also got CNY mar. Book flights few years in advance la. Cannot ar? Ang pao also packed for your kids. Now only you're telling me not coming? Drive la. Cannot drive meh? Leave early in the morning. Reach here around lunch time. Not very jam la. CNY is only once a year. How can you not be here with the family? Really not coming ar?? What did your husband says? He agrees? How now? Sure you're not coming?
(Repeat the above 3x)

Me: Ah Mah... I'm just joking la. See you on CNY.

Grandma: Oh, OK. Good, good.

Hung up the phone, grabbed my credit cards and proceed to book the overpriced flight tickets or alternatively suffer hours of standstill traffic with 2 screaming monsters in the car.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nivea In-Shower Skin Conditioner

Couple of months back I invested in the new Nivea whitening serums which did give some satisfactory results on my skin tone. Walking under the blazing hot Singapore sun barely a year has turned my skin so dark and dull that I knew I have to regain my original skin tone with some combinations of effective whitening products.
When I saw Nivea skin conditioner in Caring pharmacy, I knew I simply have to try this. It's a big WOW to lazy mommies like me. I am never a fan of body lotions (even when I was single) because it's a hassle. Now that I have 2 kids on tow, applying body lotion is even a bigger hassle. Skin conditioner is the answer to my laziness!
The new skin conditioner by Nivea has nothing to do with whitening but it claims to leave the skin feeling silky soft, with the convenience of using it in the shower. So, that means I can simply slather it all over my body and rinse it off thereafter. No mess and no need to wait for the lotion to be absorbed. How convenient is that?
Upon first time usage, my skin is:
• silky smooth to the touch (when skin is completely dry).
• mildly scented.
• soft? No, not really. More like smooth.
• feeling moisturised all over (including hard-to-reach places and butts crack). Okay, that was gross but hey, it's an honest review.
Do I like it? I'll give 2 out of 5 stars for the innovation and convenience. For the other 3 stars, Nivea has to improve on:
• reducing the slippery feeling it gives me after rinsing.
• reducing the sticky feeling on my damp skin after towel-drying.
• making the skin soft to touch besides feeling smooth.
Currently, Nivea in-shower skin conditioner has 2 variations; for the normal skin and dry skin. I will repurchase only if Nivea comes out with whitening variant with SPF for dull skin.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Balik kampung, tanam kangkung.

Our home country is in the news again... for the wrong reason. This time it's about kangkung a.k.a water spinach.

The netizens were pretty creative about making this a sarcasm: 10 things you can do with kangkung.

By the way, have u seen the new look of our Proton Perdana? And no, you won't be seeing me driving one since I don't support replicas.

Now, I got to find a way to 'hide away' my passport while queuing up at the immigration to avoid embarrassment.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A good person

A random thought.

The world need more good people, not religious people. There is a difference.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quarter-motherhood life crisis

"There is often a moment in a young mother's life when she looks at her life and no longer recognizes herself in that life."

"While motherhood does have the potential to shape us into these amazing, improved versions of ourselves, in the beginning, it feels much more like we shrink from the nobility of it all. In that moment when we glance at the piles of laundry, hear the temper tantrum in the background and see our current reflection in the mirror, we don’t feel strong or dynamic. We feel lost and overwhelmed."

-Motherhood identity crisis quoted from


These days, there are just too many crisis. From financial crisis to midlife crisis and now motherhood identity crisis. Along the line, there is also something called quarter-life crisis. Then, there's mid-motherhood crisis. I am definitely experiencing something in between, perhaps a mixture of quarter-life crisis and midlife crisis, blended with motherhood identity crisis. With no exact fit of the above, I'm coining it as quarter-motherhood life crisis.

I have 2 young preschoolers to keep (all) my time occupied. I feel blessed, but sometimes I feel stuck in a rut with Barney replaying at least 3 times a day on my tv. Besides getting constant no for an answer, my daily routine is far from exciting and it's starting to feel like a chore. That are my feelings on good days. On my bad days, when both of them are screaming and having monstrous meltdowns, I want to jump into my bathtub and soak in till the sun comes down. Then I start to question my decision of having children before I hit 30 (not that I don't love them but all mothers will agree that children can be overwhelming at times) and that's how my quarter-motherhood life crisis starts.....

I wish to:
1)... look like 26 again.
2)... feel 21 again.
3)... sleep as much as I want.
4)... have biweekly facials and spas.
5)... shop till I drop.
6)... colour my nails midnight black.
7)... put on make up & party till dawn.
8)... earn a 5-figure monthly income in my pyjamas.
9)... wear a 5-inches stilettos.
10)... go for vacations after vacations.

But the bitter fact is:
1) Someone just called me 'aunty' and I have a pair of saggy breasts.
2) I feel like a high-paying maid.
3) I sleep 6 hours a day. I need at least 8.
4) I pamper myself at home with pre-chilled el-cheapo face mask because I am a budget tai-tai.
5) My daily retail therapy includes shopping for vegs and meats at the wet market.
6) With black coloured nails, my staunch Christian parents-in-law would think I befriended Judas.
7) I start yawning every 10 seconds once it's past 10.30 p.m these days.
8) I'm still working towards the FIVE.
9) I'm thinking of wearing my Louboutin to the pasar so that I can get a better view of the fishes for sale.
10) Vacation with children is not a vacation.

Oh. And I want a solid Range Rover to go with the above wish list.

Do I regret motherhood? No. But I miss my party life.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Realistic ways to quit smoking

Cigarettes addiction is real. It's like a piece of fresh, bloody meat to a hungry great white. When the craving kicks in, my mind will go blank and all that I want at that very moment, is a few puffs of that cancer stick. I used to be a heavy smoker, at least 20 sticks a day, sometimes slightly more if I need to stay up late.

For many years, my new year's resolution started with 'Quit Dunhill'. It was until June last year that I finally kicked the deadly habit. Every one tells me to quit but no one mention anything about relapse. Do you know recovering from a relapse is harder than quitting cigarettes the first time? Your mind is telling you that it's okay to have one stick, then another stick, and another one, because you have done it before (quit smoking, that is) and you can easily do it again. Then BAM! You are hooked again and you're back to square one!
What's an easier way to quit smoking for a first timer? Answer is, when you are mentally ready to do so. And what's the easiest way to quit smoking after a relapse? Cold turkey. 

Of course that's easier said than done. I KNOW, because I have been there, done that. So having gone through all the 'quit smoking' processes and relapses, I am writing this to help those who really want to quit smoking and those who are going through a relapse and struggling to quit.

Step #1: Have a solid reason to quit.
(You don't need 10, just 1 super solid reason to do so.)
Ask yourself, why do you even want to quit? For relapse, remind yourself the reason you quit in the first place. Let's admit it. Cigarettes are very pleasurable indeed. In fact, my brain used to be so dependent on nicotine that it can't function without me taking a puff. It gave me the boost I need to function daily. It made me feel more relax, it calms my nerves and in return, I can think better. So why do I want to quit? Because I don't want my life to be controlled by cigarettes. Because I don't want to suffer and die of a painful death. Have you seen man living with cancer before? Just watch Breaking Bad. (Word of caution: Movie series are as addictive as ciggies.)

Step #2: Purchase some 4mg nicotine lozenges.
(Lozenges are expensive but they're cheaper than cigarettes in long run.)
I have tried nicotine patches, gums, inhaler and lozenges. Don't bother trying the patch and inhaler. Smoking is also a habit besides an addiction. When I wake up in the morning, I make myself a mug of coffee and I smoke. When I'm restless, I smoke. When I'm angry, I smoke. When I'm drinking and partying away, I smoke. When I have some free time on hand, I smoke. After a meal, I smoke. It's a vicious pattern, an unhealthy habit. To break the vicious habit, you need to replace the smoking part with something proactive and nicotine patch isn't going to help. Lozenges, on the other hand, is something proactive because you need to open the child-locked top, take 1 piece and pop it into your mouth and slowly suckle at it. One piece of lozenge will last you 2 to 3 hours in the mouth. Do not chew!

Step #3: Timing it wisely.
The timing of when you have your last stick (last stick for good) matters! The best time is, before bed time. When the craving kicks in, instead of going out to buy a pack, march right to bed! Brush your teeth thoroughly, triple wash your hands so there is no odour left to remind you of smoking.

Step #4: The last stick in the pack.
(Enjoy it while it lasts!)
There's no need to bid goodbye or whatever so. Please, people! Just enjoy a quiet moment with your last ciggy while mentally preparing yourself that this is the last stick. You'll realise how good it taste! Lol. Should you have leftovers in the pack, I'm sorry but you'll have to throw it away. As an ex-smoker, I know it's still better to smoke them all rather than throwing any sticks away, right? So go ahead, smoke them all till the last stick.

Step #5: Warn your loved ones!
You will go bonkers during the first week of quiting. Your emotions will go haywire and tempers shall flare at the slightest bit of irritation. You're agitated, restless, frustrated, exhausted, feeling sick and moody. But, somehow, your appetite will grow and you'll feel hungry. Prep yourself and those around you well enough with nicotine withdrawal symptoms to avoid the possibilities of you biting their heads off.

Step #6: Distract yourself.
You wake up in the morning and the first thing you usually do is to light a stick. The craving is so strong, and your throat is still sore and dry from smoking. Today's the first day you're quiting cigarettes. So what do you do? Distract yourself! Eat some chocolates, suck on an ice cube, have breakfast. Do something you don't normally do. E.g. If you normally make yourself a cup of coffee to go with ciggy, try taking a shower first. After that, munch on some bread before making your coffee. If you normally smoke in the toilet while taking a dump, avoid the toilet. Go to the kitchen first and munch on something sweet like chocolates, or you can opt to shower first. The key is to alter your daily pattern and break the habit. You need to continue doing this for the first 7 days or until your cravings for morning ciggies have mellowed down. Don't forget to suckle on the lozenges too!

Step #7: Stay away from convenience.
(For at least 2 months. Yes, you heard me.... 2 months!)
These are the danger zone blinking in RED. Smoker friends, pubs, parties, boozes, convenience stores, cigarettes counters, etc. Yeah, you have to stop all that. Zero connection. That's the hardest part, I know. There were times when I was walking pass a convenience store on my way home and I swear there was a strong magnetic force that drew me in to purchase my cancer sticks. And saying no to smoker friends' invitations for a cuppa? Worst feeling ever! Suddenly, they became the devils because I chose to be an angel. Urgh.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let's get the New Year started!

I started off my new year with sore throat and a red nose. Besides the fact that I was down with cold and cough on new year's eve, I had much fun at a friend's house party. It wasn't just any party, but it was 'the party' of the year. Thinly sliced fresh salmon sashimi, deliciously baked chilled lobsters, juicy roast pork with the right amount of crisp on its golden skin, lightly sauteed cod fish drizzled with fragrant soy sauce, heavenly roast lamb and all types of boozes from Macallan 25 years to endless flow of Moet & Chandon and beers. I was feeling slightly feverish but I remembered my science teacher in school used to tell us that alcohol kills germs so Moet should work well on flu bugs. And I swear, the fever did went away after the second glass of Moet. Ah ha... Education didn't go down the drain afterall.