Unspoken rules of public transport etiquette

Because most people need a reminder now and then (yes that includes me)

IT IS NOT A FUCKING RACE
If you have been sitting smugly in your own tiny seat the entire journey, when the bus/train hits the last stop where everyone has to slowly alight, YOU YES YOU, the one who has been keeping the seat warm for 45 minutes, hang on to your damn ass and let the ones standing alight FIRST.
You got that? Good. Because let mama remind you honey, if you have been sitting down the whole damn way, there is no chance in hell you get to swing by me first to get down. Have some decent decency and courtesy to let the ones standing, swinging around by the pole and knee jerking every time the bus brakes, get down first, it is only fair.
I don’t know how important you are or where you got to be rushing out like that but cutting in front of everyone to alight first is not going to save you 2 hours of time, maximum I will give you is 2 minutes. If you are late, you are already late and you are not the only person having to go somewhere, WE ALL GOT TO BE SOME PLACE. So be patient and sit your ass down.

ELDERS, SICK, KIDS & WOMEN FIRST
Just in case, you lost all the good manners your parents teach you or you might have left your manners at home beside the umbrellas by your front door, if you see someone in dire and in more need, give your seat up, sincerely of course. Or you can be the dick and just pretend to be asleep.

If you are wondering if the woman is pregnant or not, my advise to you is stop guessing and stop staring at someone’s belly. That is invasive and just plain rude. By the time you finish guessing, everyone will have reach their destination. Just have some plain common sense and offer out of doubt, if you wish. The onus will then be on them. Either way. just be nice.

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KEEP YOUR BLESSINGS TO YOURSELF
Just for the record, I know, illness and ailments are inevitable. Like sneezing and coughing in the winter months, I get it, there is no way around it. You just have too. But will you just keep it to yourself, already?

I have men coughing out loud into the air in a bloody bus. Who are you blessing up there, child? Cover your mouth or put your face down into the crook of your arm when you sneeze and if one catches you off guard, say SORRY to your poor public transport neighbors!! If you are sniffling, do have a piece of tissue handy and blow that damn nose. If you have a tickly throat, bring a small water bottle or suck on a lozenges. We do not want to hear your new sniffles feat cough remixes early in the morning, DJ Khaled is not going to sign you up, so just stop.

Also, if someone is very sick near you in your public transport, giving them death stares won’t help. Staring at that certain someone will not make them less sick or make you less vulnerable to the millions of germs floating around. You can do what I do, I pretend to clear my throat 5 notches louder than usual, and this usually gets everyone in check.

I don’t know about you but 99% of me being sick is from the buses I take and again I reiterate, I know it’s inevitable but surely we can all be more civilized people when sharing that much of a space. When I get sick, I make my work peeps sick and it takes a bloody long time to get back on my feet and resuming normal routine.

So please people, don’t be nasty, thanks but I really don’t want your germs.

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THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR DAMN OYSTER

Sure, you need to be on the damn phone. Go on, answer that call. But trust me when I say this, I really do not care one bit what Aunty Joanna thinks of your sister’s new boyfriend or what your new colleague is wearing last Wednesday? Everyone talks on the phone, some just talk way louder and longer on it. Keep it to a minimum, there are 20 people around you at a finger’s distance and we do not want to share your humor on a joke your caller is telling you because guess what, we don’t care.

I rarely get calls when I am commuting but when I do, I will always not answer or tell my caller I will return the call as soon as I get off the public transport. Because if it is not urgent, why will you want others to hear in on your chats anyway? Unless you DO want people to hear in on your call. You attention seeker! Pfft.

And oh, do not get me started on people who abhorrently facetime/video chat with their party of 5 friends from their village. If you catch me staring at you from the back of your head, it is not because I am so desperately interested to see your celebrity friends on your phone screen, it is because your convo about who is bringing what to your garage party that weekend is so annoyingly loud, people from the next suburb can hear you. FML!

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DON’T BODY SHAME ME WITH YOUR SEAT WRIGGLES
This is my biggest public transport turn off. I personally find people who do this at the very top of my YOU-ARE-SO-RUDE-YOU-GOT-TO-GO list.

When you are sharing a seat with someone, try as you might, keep your feelings to yourself. The seat is only as such. If you know you cannot squeeze onto a seat, then for the love of God, don’t. Do not come in and slam your tush into a small seat and make it as such that I am that big of a person, so much so that you do not have enough space. Tough luck, friend! If you do not have space, stand the fuck up and let the next person sit. Do not wriggle uncomfortably, make grunting sounds and adjust yourself every 3 seconds. It is not my bloody problem that half of your butt is hanging out.

Also, if anyone comes sit with you, please don’t put your finger to your nose or pretend to rub your nose like as if he/she is trash. Even if your neighbour is smelly as a rotten rat, have more decorum and don’t act like as if you are Chanel no. 5. Be more classy and have compassion-you never know what he/she was up to or have been through, suck it up and hold your breath, it is a bus/train ride, not a 22 hour flight across the world.

If you want a more comfortable all-exclusive first class seat, then take the bloody cab.

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WHOAH, do I sound angry or what? Guys, all of you agree with everything I just said, don’t pretend like you are not-I am just the one blogging it down. Lol

But I get it, it is not all bad. I count my blessings every single time I get up on a moderately empty bus, or when I get a friendly driver and if the journey is comfortable and safe. I am grateful for minor wins.

There are some people who I also completely do not mind:
* Ladies who do their makeup in public transport
(you do you boo, I know we all have limited time in the morning, just wait for the bus stops to get that eyeliner on, though)

*Mothers who have to shush their noisy child
(completely get that, the loins of your life is crying)

*Sleeping people who are also the one ones who end up on your padded shoulder (I get it, you are tired and you did not get much hours to sleep in last night, there you can rest your little head on mama)

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What are your public transport irks? More importantly, what can you do or be to be a better commuter on your next ride? Are you mindful to give up your seat to someone who is more in need or to give way so that the person standing beside you has an equally more space? Some will say that they don’t care because you don’t know these people anyways, like “I will not see X,Y, Z tomorrow so let me just sneeze at the back of your neck.” Are you one of those or you can be a better person than that?

Remember folks. Be gracious, be kind and behave like a civilized human for after all, you are in a public transport and not your own damn sports car.

The end of an era

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Guess what guys, it is the end of another decade. I am not trying to be that suspense-esque and mystery chic and all but it is pretty much the end of the decade, literally and figuratively speaking.

Have you guys have had a great year so far? Ticking off all the resolutions you made in January or have they whittle down sideways in March? Has it been a funtastic year all around or has it been dotted with unexpected disappointments along the way?

Well, as for me, upon reflection of the year, I have to say while there are teeny tiny changes, most things do tend to stay the same, as it does in most years. Sometimes I still surprise myself when the new year rolls around and I don’t grow an unexpected horn on my head or something? As human, we all tend to forget that the switch from 31 December to 1 January is just yet again, another day.

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I made resolutions religiously. If you do not know this about me, I am a huge list maker. I even made list about putting on my bra and brushing my teeth every single day, pfft like as if I will forget (actually wait, hmm might have forgotten once or twice, the bra part that is).

All I am saying is, I love resolutions. I made them so early on in the previous year, it is staring at me in September. Do I ever follow them through? Heck no. Except that last year, being a conscious adult and all, reviewing my goals every 3 months, I was able to stick to my resolutions loosely. The only goal I could hit was the number of books I read, that was passable and absolutely doable because I do love reading, even if it is just my “rom-com/chick flicks” books. Don’t you judge me now, they are my thang.

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I will admit though, the saving money and losing weight resolutions which I have had for the last damn 20 years have never been achieved. I am bad at saving money as I am in watching what I put in my mouth. But, having said that, I manage to emerge through the year still being in a fair good shape. Sure sure, my knee troubles me every damn day like a muthapucker but I, still damn grateful, I have my overall health in check. And guess what guys, that gym membership that I had silently, I have been going for lunch time classes (thanks to my work girls <3). I mean, can I get an A for effort at least? Some weeks are pretty great, I will be awesomely motivated, some weeks are not. But that is fine, we are all humans and that’s my gist for this entry, it is fine to be just fine.

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If you guys need a random reminder, let me be the one telling you this:- Let’s not be too hard on ourselves, we have others already doing that for us. So, let’s be nice and kind to our wee selves. Let’s do away with those unnecessary questions in your head about if you are enough? The answer is fuck yes, you are enough as it is and I know you are doing the best damn job you can for yourself, so you deserve a great pat on your sexy back. If you do not hit the jackpot in any part of your life, that is fine my friends. For if you wake up another day blessed to be able to breathe, you can try again.

You don’t save a million dollars last year, that is fine, at least you still have your job-however crappy it may be. You don’t get to snag that dream girl, that is fine you have amazing friends and lovely families having your back. You don’t manage to lose that 5 or 50 pounds, that is fine, just keep moving and start small, you will get somewhere I promise you. You don’t manage to conceive, that is fine, go hug your partner instead, you still got love. You think your life is boring, hey guess what.. yes damn right that is fine, you got a roof over your head, you are safe and warm and you are healthy and breathing, basic necessities are damn okay too. We are all fine. We can do more and we can do better. Don’t give up!!

I am wishing one and all, a jubilant new year, the ushering of a new decade and may all the brilliance trail you along in each and every way. Stay awesome all you cutie possums!!!!

With this said, HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU SEXY THANG!

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How to-facial massage using precious stones

I know I am about a year or two late into this “jade-rolling” and gua sha trend but here is my honest defence. When I heard that everyone was playing around with this “jade thingy”, I was completely baffled as to how jade was able to pierce through the beauty community. Because back in my day, jade is to be worn and not to be rolled around on the face but I completely digress..

Having said that I am not un-loving the message behind these beauty tools per se, and the message is essentially facial massaging. Not floating my own boat guys, but I have been told many a times that I do look younger than my age and if I can credit that to one thing, it is honestly facial massages. I genuinely love giving myself a face massage with my own fingers on the daily (something I do almost every single day and night and now has become a second nature in my skincare routine).

As a child growing up, my mother always instill in me the importance of giving tender loving care to our face and body, even if it means a 30 seconds face massage daily. Long before beauty massaging tools came about, she taught me to use my finger tips to massage my pressure points on my face. Also fun fact, long before rice toner was invented, my mother has been using the remnants water of soaked rice to cleanse her face. How many of your Asian mothers out there have told you this, hands up???

Anyways, let’s paddle back just a wee bit and let’s talk about JADE.

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Jade is a precious stone, prevalent to the Chinese community as it is originated in China back in the 7th century (many many many moons ago). Jade, as a stone, also carries a deeper spiritual and healing meaning to it. Jade often symbolizes serenity, purity and tranquility. It also mainly signifies as a good luck stone and safety. Hence why, you will see jade usually worn as as a bangle around new born babies or as pendants and rings.

Jade rollers are undeniably a power beauty tool. The tool itself, has a big roller for the larger surface areas of the face and the small roller are for contours like around the eyes and the nose. Please be aware that the real deal of a jade can essentially cost alot of money out there, therefore if you are looking for an authentic jade roller, it will cost slightly more. If however, the jade roller is being sold at an incredibly low price, most likely it is a low quality jade which could possibly be made from glass, infused with jade colour. If you are not at all bothered with the authenticity of the precious stones being rolled on your face, then by all means, knock yourself out in eBay.

In addition to the jade, there are now, many beauty rollers out there being made from a variety of other precious stones; namely crystal quartz, onyx and even amethyst. Each precious stone, obviously bears their own significance and benefits.

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When I saw the amethyst-roller make its appearance in the beauty market, I was completely sold. I love amethyst as a precious stone and I personally felt that it is not as generic as jade/rose quartz rollers (no offence). So I bite the bullet.
Benefits of amethyst:
Amethyst has more healing elements with physical ailments and emotional issues, energy healing and chakra alignments.

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What are the benefits of a stone roller, you might ask?
Well for me, massaging my own face (using either rollers or fingers) just feels incredibly cathartic and therapeutic-like and it is an excellent form of self care. It gives you a private time to be mindful and just having a one-on-one time with yourself and your skin, instead of just going through your mundane everyday skincare routine and rushing out of the front door. Take time to love yourself.

Facial massaging relaxes all kind of muscle tension that is contained in our face.
*Tension around our cheeks, especially when you are smiling, talking or highly expressive with facial expressions
*Tension held in clenched jaws when you are sleeping
*Tension held around the mouth if you are prone to teeth grinding at night
*Tension, when we are just generally stress throughout the day

Stone rolling, generally stimulates good blood flow and helps to return your “chi” (energy) back to your face. Hence why, when you are stone-rolling your face, you will notice a slight blush or redness all over your skin which indicates positive circulation of blood movement. Stone rolling your face helps tremendously in smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines, de-puffing your under eyes and even help to ease any nasal problems. (Just think of a stone-roller on your face as a foam roller to your body)

In the long run, stone rolling is also known to tighten and tones the skin, and why will anyone not want that? It also has been said that, stone rolling helps in the contouring of high cheek bones. (um hello, I want one of that).

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Also stone rolling is extremely beneficial in the summer months for cooling down your skin, especially if you have rosacea or redness around your face. This brings me to my top tip for beauty tools, KEEP THEM IN YOUR FRIDGE. So when you are ready to use them, it will always be nice and cool on the skin. (of course please don’t put them in the meat section, I mean come on..)

I also find that facial massaging or stone rolling one’s face helps with the lymphatic drainage of the skin. So think of it as.. removing bad waste, toxin and extra fluid from your face (say bye bye to puffy cheeks).

Now for the million dollar question, how the bloody heck do you use these facial massaging tools?
Firstly and very importantly, you are to use them on cleansed face. Not on a face full of makeup or grime. The reason why you do not use it on dirty groddy face is to prevent nasty breeding of bacteria into the skin. Hell, no.

The next imperative tip is to note the two drainage points of the face which is (1) by your ears beside your temple and (2) by your collar bone. You need to note these two points as your end points as you simply do not want to be stone-rolling all over your face and be pushing toxins all around your gorgeous little face (defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)

So, when you are massaging your face, please remember that (1) for your face surface, you always want to massage it upwards and towards your temple and (2) from your chin, massage it downwards towards your collar bone.

I made a video on this on my instagram, so if you will like to see a quick clip on this, join me there.

I personally love using my rollers after applying my essences or serum. This could be any essences or serum of your choice, just ensure that it is not thick or tacky on the skin to ensure the roller has a smooth application to work on. You do not want to be dragging on dry skin. No no

Pretty sure, you guys will have known this but I am a big fan of sheet masks. I frequently use my rollers on my sheet mask which helps tremendously for the essences and serum on the sheet mask to penetrate deeply into my skin.

I have also rolled my face after applying a good moisturizer on it.

But, having said all that, my favorite step of rolling will be right after putting on my facial oil. I just feel that the extra sleekness of the facial oil makes it easier for me to roll and massage my face.

You can roll as often as you want, for as long as you want. But a good general rule of thumb is, you want to roll a specific area of your face at least 5 times each before moving onto another area.

Roll outwards under the eye:
Using the small roller, start from the inner corner of the eye and roll outwards towards your temple

Roll in between eyebrows:
Love this step, just for smoothing out those damn lines between your eyebrows. Good and free botox, if you were to ask me..

Also, I make sure that I roll along my eyebrows. I cannot tell you how relaxing this method is because I am someone who gets frequent tension headaches and this has help enormously. Saves me the trouble of becoming a panadol extra addict. Lol

And of course, you will not want to forget rolling your under cheeks/along jawline area. Start from the centre of your chin and roll upwards to your ears. Speaking of chin, I also use the small roller and go ham on my chin.

Let’s all not miss our neck area. Sadly I have deep line creases on my neck, so I am hoping that all these rolling can help to smooth the lines out. Fingers crossed..

Gua sha

Now brothers and sisters, let me touch on briefly about this gua sha tool. Gua sha is, yet again another ancient Chinese tool which predominantly incorporates scraping and pulling motion. In Chinese medicine, gua sha actually compliments acupunctures or cupping massages.

Gua sha generally provides medium to hard pressure which is beneficial for the back of neck for tension or migraine releases. You can also use it on your face, as for me, I personally use it for across my broad forehead and my jawlines.

Just like the roller, gua sha also increases blood circulation especially for bigger parts of the body areas. and relives muscle tensions (which is why gua sha is great for neck & back massages).

I mainly use the long edge of the guasha for the back of my neck with medicated oil to release neck aches and I also use the concave part of the gua sha to hug and massage my cheek bones and for depth-defining of the jaw line.

I really hope I made sense with my rolling and gua sha-ing jargon in this entry and I do recommend any of you guys to try incorporating facial massages in your skincare routine (be it with tools or your own trusty fingers). Like I say, spa yourself up. And last but not least, don’t forget to clean your rollers and gua sha after using it and store them in a clean setting, please. 🙂 Enjoy facial rolling, everyone!!!

For the love of reading

Guys, one of my resolutions this year in 2019 (amongst an exhaustive list, that is) was to read 30 books and I DID IT!!

I know, for some, 30 might not be much but it is a magical feat for me. Since leaving school more than a decade ago, I sadly lost my reading touch. This was hard for me because I grew up just loving reading. I remembered when I was about 5 or 6, my birthday rolls around and I got a present from my parents. As I was about to unwrap, my mom said that the present starts with the letter “B” and I went ballistic. B?? It must be books!!! I told them as I tore off the wrapping paper and I realized it was actually bloody Barbie. Even though looking back, I was unsure why will I think it will be books, seeing that the box was pretty huge, I was hoping it will be more books. I have a pretty great childhood but I was just a child who doesn’t like to play with toys that much. I was mostly curling up somewhere reading.

My prized possession as a child was my Polly Pocket (which I am proud to say I still have it with me) and all of my hard cover of Enid Blytons. I never like the Barbie I got and soon after, I chopped off her hair to a bob. I took off her legs and re-assemble it over and over. Barbies was not my jam back then. I never got toys for presents anymore. 

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Anyway, back to my reading story, at the beginning of the new year, I started this thing where I listed down every book I read to keep tab. I actually also listed down all of the Netflix shows I watched but it was becoming too much too fast, so I kind of stopped that after April. But books, yes, every single one of them read, was recorded. I owned most of these books and some others I loaned from my kind dear girlfriends from work. 

And you know what’s astonishing guys, I can tell you the first book I read this year. Table of eight by Tricia Stringer. I can also tell you that when I first started on this book. It was obviosly on the first day of the year in svelting hot summer, I was in my husband’s ute in Seaforth, waiting for him to meet a client on a job (I even remembered the duplex the client was living in) and there I was reading and sweating but still reading for the most part. Isnt it funny how our memories serve us? The things our brain chooses to remember or not. Hmm, food for thought.

I was on my 29th book, when I decided I wanted to make my 30th book as memorable as my first. So I choose to re-read this as the last ode of the year. I love all my Enid Blytons with the passion of a thousand sun. This one in particular, I managed to save it from my parent’s place and flew back with it just recently. It is effing priceless, it is precious, it has been memorable and so has been my reading journey for the year.

Stained personalized note from a decade ago

To start off the coming new year, my resolution is to read 40 books. Please hold me accountable and I will report this update in the next 11 1/2 months. Since I am into making reading memories now, I decided to go out and buy (well I made my husband pay for it to make it more “memorable” for me), the entire set of Liane Moriarty books (my no 1 favorite oz’ author, shall I add). All 9 of them books. I have read most of these from my dear friend tub tub’s collection but I figured I shall like to own them for my own personal collection’s sake since I enjoyed Liane’s penmanship tremendously.

And I shall re-devoured them, come new year. That’s my first 9 books sorted for the coming year. 

How about you? What are your reading goals and what is your literature preference of choice?

How (or where) I like my CAFFEINE to be in?

No no no nooooo

I will not be writing about the generic you-know-hows about coffee or coffee beans simply because I am not a big coffee connoisseur at all. I am also not a coffee snob so I cannot tell you much about a cup of coffee. But today, I will tell you the 3 unconventional ways I like my caffeine in. You will be humoured, I promise.

In my medicine

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If you know me personally, you will know that I am a walking pharmacy. I am also passionately called a drug dealer because I carry around 2 phones (for fun) and a bag full of fun medicine but we will get to that some other time.

I love my Panadol extra with a passion of a thousand suns (not neurofen, not ibupofren not anything else even though they generally might be of the same ingredients comprisation). Panadol Extra has 65mg extra caffeine in a capsule on top of your standard 500mg paracetamol, so all in all Panaol Extra has a bloody kick in it. I swear it heals my headache/migraine/neck tension in a click of the finger like you will not believe it (do I sound addicted? because probably I am). Haha.

In my eye cream

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You all know I love my skincare. I am slowing down in the skincare department just for a wee bit only because we are entering into warmer months here and there is nothing more that I want than anything sliding off my face 5 seconds into applying it on.

Eye products is something that I am not too crazy off but the one eye serum that I do swear by is The Ordinary Caffeine Solution. CAFFEINE FUN FACT: Caffeine is not only to be ingested, caffeine works wonders when applied topically especially around the eye area. Caffeine is an active ingredient and has proven to help in decreasing eye puffiness and under eye circle. Personally for me, I honestly do not see the difference in lightening dark under-eye circles but this mother of a product is bloody refreshing and awakes you especially in the dead of every morning. I will apply this every single morning and my eye area instantly feels taut, speaking of product that works, this is one really does.

If you want to read more on skincare recommendations, I have written a lengthy one here.

In a 3 in 1 packet drowned with sugar & creamer

I am Asian and I love my 3-in-1 coffee which is a disguise for literally drinking sugar and creamer more than the coffee content itself. I love all of the 3-in-1 especially those that I cannot find here (sad sobs to self). I appreciate you if you can make a mean cup of coffee but I will never be convinced to like no other coffee other than my 3 in 1. Some will say its not really coffee but lets not go into a sinful slide down the judgement road.

We have so many guests who have come through our door, be introduced to the 3-in-1 and are bloody converts. For that I am happy to take the 3 in 1 credit for. Wink.

So there you go guys, my funky ways of putting caffeine into my system. Stay caffeinated!!!!!!!!!

Turning 34

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I was completely not expecting to write a blog entry out of this.

I was just typing a little caption for the instagram (speaking of which, if you guys want to follow me, I am @erniewornie), and I kept typing and typing and I was like oh my goodness, I do have a lot to say. So, then a blog entry it should be.

Let me preamble this by saying that I am a happy catlady who just turned 34. I am also still happily married, because I know that just because I do not post IG photos on my birthday/anniversary, there are people who speculate so hard (about our marriage) their blue balls might drop off. 

Please also do not misconstrue my entries as a getway to depression. I am not depressed, I am just emotionally deep. If you have known me all my life and is still asking me whether I am genuinely happy in life, you must not know me at all and you should be ashamed of yourself. 

And if you are reading this and you have bouts of depression, there is no shame or shade in that. Remember, it is not a flaw. You, me and everyone else are just trying to figure life anyways. Go talk to someone now, get things out of your chest and be rid of all the negativity from your system. 

Ok lets go.

Throughout the years, when 2nd october comes around, my emotions ride in multiple waves.     

In my 20s, my birthdays were a big hit or miss. For some reasons I do not wish to ponder or broach on, all I can say is I wish some memories could be disassociated from my life on this very day. 

But then on hindsight, there were some years that when 2nd October comes around, I will be unexpectedly stocked & bloody excited for, especially on my 30th which I made a good vacation out of, my 31st when we got married & last year’s 33rd ).

Turning 34 this year, I have many reasons to be happy for. I am not ungrateful, I do count my blessings. Happy that I am alive to yet celebrate another year of life, happy that my parents are still around, still singing me the birthday song together for me (its a tradition), happy that my good friend got married in Italy, happy that her sister gave birth to her firstborn, happy that I am still married to the love of my life and marks yet another anniversary. I am happy on 2nd October for many many many reasons. 

This year, when the day rolls around, I was sadly mellow. I was a tad melancholy. You can say I was not a happy birthday girl. And I know why. 

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I believe I carry with me a little grief of the passings I have not fully acknowledged. I have been walking around for months, quite affected but pretending not to, guilt of a life that I lost. 2019 has been a very sombre year for me. 

As human, we have to fully unpack our emotions. We cannot pretend to be happy all the time and on the same token we cannot be so annoyingly unhappy all the time too. Life is quite clearly a bloody balance. We have to talk out loud to people who bother to listen to us about all of our misgivings and mistrials in life. 

It took me few good days to really sit down with my feelings and really address how turning a year older really impacted me. 30s is really flying by fast for me and sometimes I wish I can slow it down. I am at the stage in my life where I really want to have concrete settling grounds; a career I dont have to think of quitting and a house I dont have to think of moving. So that’s my transition from 33 to 34, in the next 12 months I want solid answers and I want changes. I am taking 34 slow and I want 34 to be my segway to the best second half of my 30s. 

Back to my emotion of waves I was mentioning at the start, it does not matter at all if its a low tide for me this year because you best believe it will be a fucking bang of high waves next year. I can completely feel it in my bones. 

All in all, what a time to be alive. 

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Current recommendations I’m obsessed with

Sometimes.. just sometimes I get completely besotted with some of the things I read, watch or listen (as is the case with my impending never-ending podcast obsession), I just want to say it out loud to anyone who will care to listen.

Current podcast I am obsessed with:
Dr Death by Wondery

Now you guys know I love my Mamamia podcasts with a side of random motivational podcasts on the daily, BUT upon a recommendation, I got hooked onto this true crime podcast which blew my tiny tiny mind. I do love crime shows but I prefer to watch them, so having to listen to true crime podcasts is a whole new genre for me. 

I was so hooked to Dr Death, the storyline of true events and the podcaster’s delivery from the get go that I just ended up listening to the entire 10 parts in a day. So who is Dr Death?

Dr Death is a nickname given and coined by media to a former american neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch who was supposedly a stellar and brilliant surgeon.

Little did any of his patients or let alone the public know that, Duntsch will throughout his career years cause over 30 paralysis and/or deaths in the operating theatres. He claimed to be the best in his field. He had advertorial videos of patients giving him the absolute standing ovation. He literally oozes with opulence, extremely excellent book-smart doctor but as soon as he operates on a patient, he will do exactly the opposite, as if he was trying to kill the patient on purpose? Perplexing? Oh yes!!

So how did he pretty much get away with murder? How did the hospitals he worked with literally turn a blind eye on his vile and heinous acts? 

This podcast will also unearth Duntsch’s unforgivable act of coaxing his best friend to have an unnecessary neck surgery performed by Duntsch himself, which resulted his best friend to be paralysed from neck down till this day and will also explore on Duntsch’s excessive drug and alcohol idiosyncrasies to the point where he will have a full blown drug-fest party every night and wake up in the morning to perform surgeries. Unbelievable but it did happened, and it did shake America. 

So is Duntsch just a cold blooded murderer or just plain horrible at his life-saving job (which is kind of impossible and mind blowing given that he had refined recommendations and graduated tops in his medical year)? 

Like I said, discovering Dr Death was like finding podcast gold for me, I was just completely enthralled by it.  The episodes are about 20 mins short (which is my favourite duration, if you were to ask me), palatable and bite size and I cannot recommend enough. If I were to hazard a guess, this will absolutely be turned into a documentary of some sorts and I cannot wait to watch that. 

Current Netflix obsession:
Exposed: Case of Keli Lane

Now I watched a ton of Netflix as much as the girl next door. I, however, am very picky about my documentaries. I am no nonsense about it and will not continue if the doco is shiet from the first 5 minutes,  so when Netflix recommended the documentary on Keli Lane, I just had to sit down and watch it.

Now, I heard about Keli Lane’s story from my podcasts over a year ago, but never knew more about it. Keli Lane hits very close to home-base as it is an Australian mystery. 

Essentially, we all know that there is no murder without a body, but as a result of  injustice, Keli Lane is currently halfway through serving her long tumultous sentence for the crime of murdering her 2 day old baby girl Teagan. Teagan was never found, in fact nobody besides Keli and the medical team who delivered her in 1996 has seen the baby since. So where is this child? Did Keli really gave her up to her natural father as claimed? Who is the child’s father? Was he fabricated? But the more important question is, who really is Keli Lane?

Raised in an astute northern beaches family with a strict mother and a policeman father, she has always been a competitive water polo player from young. She is fit, blonde, possesses a gorgeous smile and is very sociable.

So why does a girl from a good background ended up being pregnant from the age of 15 and by the time she had her 4th pregnancy at 19 with Teagan, her baby will eventually go “missing”. And where are all her other babies? How did someone unearth her mystery of the missing baby-the very same one that she told nobody about? And why is everyone including her polo mates who train 4 times a week with her and her parents who see her everyday not know she was pregnant over and over again? How has the society and system failed her? Was she a pathological liar? Did she really murdered her child? If these questions need answering, you have to watch to know. 

I have to say that on a personal point of view, I was pretty bah humbug and judgy with her cavalier attitude in general. I mean, if you were me watching, you will have the same race of thoughts too. Getting pregnant over and over again, wearing a white suit to a friend’s wedding in a church 2 days AFTER giving birth, I mean, it is only human to have those assumptions. But as I progress further into the documentary, I feel myself leaning to the other morale camp. I felt a pang of guilt for denigrating her. We will never know if something has happened in her life to have shaped her in a manner. I do feel that it was legal injustice all the same, this is a definite must-watch.

Honorary Netflix mention:

Image result for travels with my father season 3

Just wanted to squeeze this in real quick because these series are a bloody ripper of a hilarious gem and I laugh every 30 seconds into every episode. Essentially, it is a light-hearted travel show which follows a son who never managed to go for his gap year because he became a famous comedian early on in his life, who then decides that he is going to take some time off to do a gap-year style travel and who better to bring along, than his 77 year old father? The son is fun and wild while the father is rigid and square. Together, they are a humorous pair filled with idiotic antics of epic proportions. Oh boy I cannot stop laughing. You guys have to watch this!!

Current e-book I am digging at the moment:

I do swing from time to time between physical and e-book and currently I am waist deep in this e-book called Not bad people-Brandy Scott. This is Brandy’s debut book and I have to say, it is a promising read.

Not quite my usual rom-com favourite kind of reads and it did took me a couple of failed starts, but I eventually got into it. This book is all- based around the lives of 3 women in a countryside in Victoria who over a New Year’s eve night have released lanterns filled with resolutions and hopes into the air for the promise of a good year and that my friends, might or might have not caused a plane to crash.

Are they or are they not bad people then? Will they be unearthed and will their “innocent” act of floating their lanterns be unravelled by one of them?

Now the storyline itself is not the most gravitating stories but I will be sure to enjoy and finish it because I do need to know if a bloody paper lantern have caused that crash. Mama needs to know the truth.

Also this got me thinking and I do realise that I tend to be more inclined to watch or listen to anything that evolves around a trio-my favourite Mamamia podcast has always had 3 hosts since 2015, one of my favourite Netflix show, Good Girls is also around the lives of a trio of 3 women, and unsuprisingly I have also been in 2 separates group of friendship of a trio, where I essentially am the middle person.

Completely steering off tangent and am not sure if its coincidental but that’s for another entry in itself.

The loss of a dear pet

Few weeks ago, we lost our beloved cat to a sudden mysterious road accident/poison incident. She was a healthy, happy 6 year old little princess of ours. She insisted on leaving the house on a late Monday night which was not unusual as she was an indoor/outdoor but it was uncharacteristic of her, given that it is in the middle of the winter. Bizarrely, she did not return all of the next day Tuesday and by the 3rd day Wednesday, I knew in my guts something bad has happened. When I spoke to my workmates to send out prayers her way, I was recommended to post on a lost and found page in trusty ol’ Facebook, which I did. I was so glad I did.

I never would have thought that with the support of an online community, I could have received so much help in such little time from a group of strangers. I was notified by a member of the public that upon driving near our place, she spotted a black furry animal by the road. She said she was hoping it was not ours but I immediately knew it was our cat. My instinct on her has always been strong from day one. I knew she was gone. I could not bring myself to return home mid-work because I also knew I will shatter. What good will a breakdown be anyway? Immediately, I told my husband and he said he will drive home right that very minute and he will call me back in 15 minutes. He was confidently sure it was not our cat as she was unfailingly a smart and adventurous cat. Well, 15 minutes passed and he did not call me back after 2 hours. All my gut instinct told me that my suspicion is confirmed.

What that kind member of the public and my husband did not tell me was, our cat’s carcass have been left out cold for a day or more and that there were huge birds which have gathered and pecked on her. My poor poor baby. 

Following the days that went by after, there was not a single day I did not wake up crying. There was also never a day I did not cry myself to sleep.

To some, a pet is just an animal but to me she was an integral part of my life. She was not only a cat but she was an amazing companion in her own quiet manners. She was simply the best cat, growing up with many, this is a statement I don’t throw around lightly. 

She was not the friendliest, neither was she a purring lap cat but the long months and years of caring and nurturing for her paid off in her loyalty. She was such a loyal cat. She was never not without by my side when I am home. I even sleep cuddling her much to my husband’s annoyance. She was always always around. She hung by the front door when I am sitting at the front patio, she hung around in the backyard when I am doing my late night laundry, she hung around the garage waiting for us to come home when we take the car out on the weekends. She was the easiest cat to care for. She is polite and never rash. She will wait tirelessly by our pillows for us to wake up or wait by the toilet for me to finish my shower before asking to be fed. And she never ask for more, she was never a greedy cat. She will gently put her paw on me if she wants to be pet but she is never needy, always independent. She was like a guardian angel.

I have lost grandparents, aunties, uncles,  cousins, friends and many cats growing up and I knew what loss was. But I never knew the real meaning of grieving till I lost her. For many days, I could not let her go in peace and it broke me to shambles. Round and round I played in my mind, I question and doubted myself. Was it ever my fault? Could I have done more? Could I have done better? In silence, it broke my very being of existence to even live yet another day. For when she left, it was the biggest hole in my heart she took. I felt extremely extremely empty. 

I could not walked past the path she was last alive on without crying. I could not go to the kitchen without thinking of her feeding area without crying. I could not sit on the couch and look at every small corner where she sat on without crying. Everything reminds me of her. 

And what was even sadder was my husband felt the same way too. For days and weeks, we became the couple who sat by the couch watch tv in silence, wiping away our own tears as the night goes by thinking of her. The house felt so big yet so very empty, every inch of the house was marked by her presence, she was so very much missed. 

I never regretted the few short years I care for her, while it might be short but it was filled with exceptional love to the brim. I smothered her with love and I gave her the best of a life a cat can get. She was utterly pampered like a princess, just the way she deserves.

To cope with my grief, I gathered the blanket she slept on every day, her brush which have the last of her fur (I was hoping it has more because she was quite furry) and I wrote her a farewell note. In that note, I asked her for forgiveness. 6 years was too short of a life, she deserved to enjoy it more. I wrote that I hope she is enjoying kitty heaven and that I really want to see her again. In the meantime, I was really hoping to see her in my dreams. I printed photos of her and pasted it everywhere, by our wedding photo in the living room and in the bedroom. I kept her blanket beside me on my bedside table. I made her face my phone screensavers and I made a book out of all her photos. I wanted to make sure I will never forget her and that by any faintest chance, her spirit will come visit us, I just wanted her to know she is never forgotten. We both really miss her a lot.

Sure, I will always continue to adopt more cats but that special portion of my heart deserved especially for her will never ever ever ever be filled up again. There will be no other pet like her and that’s fine because while she might have left the world, she will never leave my heart.

For the love of skincare

I, personally, get very hyped and riled up about skincare routine, especially every time the colder months encroach. Hi, my name is Ernie and I will like to think I am a skincare addict. Harlow!!!

My back story is I was born and bred in Singapore and over 30 years of my life has passed before I packed my bags (3 gargantuan luggages in toto) and moved to Australia-the land of the free, where I have to live in both wintry and summery months. Side note: I know most of you would have been familiarised with Singapore as a city with the awe-inspiring layover airport and also from the infamous Crazy Rich Asian movie, however, for those of you who are unenlightened about this city/island, we do not have seasons and we folks live in predominantly a sweltering environment. Think 30 degrees summer all day every day with a 90% humidity and the occasional showers to be expected during the mid day. It is sweat-fest in Singapore (and I who abhor the heat with a passion, absolutely cringe every time I hear a tourist say “Ooohh I love Singapore’s weather. Like WHY?? You sweat and you stink, how is that love?). Anyways, I digress, I am not here to write about Singapore OR the climate change. I am writing about my skincare routine. (silent standing ovation)

From hereon, just a tiny disclaimer that all photos of skincare are mine 🙂

Over 30 years of my good life, all I ever do was to wash my face. In fact, I was using the same Neutrogena cleanser for maybe over 10 years, the same one being repurchased over and over like the wheels of a school bus goes round and round. Lol. (Not this particular cleanser from Neutrogena, but I did use an oil free deep cleansing cleanser for like eons). Honourable mention to the products in the hydro boost range, they are awesome possum.

Other than that, my skincare routine was perpetually non-existent and literally pathetic.

However, as and when I do a winter vacation which in my early 20s onwards, I have done at least once a year, I will chuck in a woeful moisturizer in the mix. BUT THAT WAS ALL.. and THATTTT, which I discovered in later years, is not favourable at all for my sad face which was taking all the toll.

To further aggravate the situation, I am also self-diagnosed with cranial hyperhidrosis which is excessive facial sweating, and I absolutely cannot leave the house with any layers of skincare on my face. It will actually slide right off my face and fall into a puddle of goo at the bus stop. Ooo, whats that? That’s just Ernie’s day serum from last week!

Back in my 20s with absolutely no skincare knowledge, my face had the fair share of angry breakouts, huge open pore marks, acne scarring and all the nasty things you do not want on your face plus I also picked and squeezed on my pimples and I also sleep with makeup on most nights-oh you know what I’m talking about-those FUN nights.

The amusing thing is, back in the days what I lacked in skin health, I compensate it with exorbitant makeup. I was the shiet nitzz in makeup and people back in my life can attest to that. Remember the hype of 88 eyeshadow palettes back in the day, ooo girl I have half a dozen of them. Fake lashes up to the heavens, sister can do it all.  I did not pile on the makeup because I love it for the most part. It was purely because I am inferior of my very infested skin as a result of all the negligent years, so I took a cowardly way out and cover them imperfections up. But also I was in my 20s and we have all been there before, haven’t we?

I remembered moving to Sydney few February-s ago, and my world physically and literally changed. It was for the most part of it still summer and even though I was perpetually very hot and very bothered, my face was shockingly tight and extremely dry which did not make absolute sense to me. I was in a skincare conflict & dilemma! My nose was cluttered with black heads, I have enlarged congested pores, the deep lines around the mouth were starkingly abhorrent and never will I imagine that I have crow feets around my eye. It was a brutally rude awakening.

Now now.. I have never had dry skin ever in my life, mine has always been on the border of  combination/oily but never ever ever ever dry. That was when I literally woke up with a jolt in life, big slap across my face with a chair, hand on heart said, I NEED TO SAVE MY SKIN. Like I need skincare products and I need a routine I can adhere to, I need to undo all the years of neglect because oh boy was it really showing on my face and time is tick-tocking.

So few years ago, the first thing I did was to go to Priceline and grabbed all of the natural, vegan/cruelty free products such as those from Sukin, Ordinary and Trilogy products. I wanted the improvisation process to be simple and dumb-proof and the last thing I want is to spend money and try out new stuff on my face and getting break outs. Ain’t no sister has time for that. Long story short, thankfully my skin loved the simplicity of the products and I could observe that my skin is well ameliorated.

Fast forward to a year ago, I wanted to UP my skincare game and have always wanted to try Korean skincare products and their ridoncolously long 10 step skincare routine, which I have been influenced by Youtube. (thanks Youtube, I am a believer).

So, I sipped on the Kool-Aid and did a giant order on NudieGlow (completely not sponsored, wish I am) an Aussie based website selling Korean skincare products. Photo below~This was a family group photo of all my western skincare products, bundled with the Korean skincare products from my very 1st order from NudieGlow back in June 2018. I was a proud mama and I knew I will be in for a great skincare journey of my life, I am not disappointed.

Side note of a disclaimer, I am not an expert aesthetician, neither am I a licensed dermatologist. My entry is not to be deemed as professional advises, just personal thoughts, opinions and methods. I try to dispense off these information to the best of my knowledge and some guidance from various websites.

Just before I dive into the specific products, the general order of my skincare routine which I have adapted from the 357 step of Korean skincare products, and modified into my own is as follows:

Morning routine:
Step 1: Water based cleanser
Step 2: Toner
Step 3: Essence
Step 4: Vitamin C serum
Step 5: Matrixyl serum
Step 6: Moisturiser
Step 7: Sunscreen
Step 8: Lipbalm

Evening routine:
Step 1: Oil based cleanser
Step 2: Water based cleanser
Step 3: Exfoliator (twice a week)
Step 4: Toner
Step 5: Essence
Step 6: Sheet mask (twice a week)
Step 7: Serum
Step 8: Moisturiser
Step 9: Oil
Step 10: Sleeping mask
Step 11: Lipbalm

Let’s talk the ways:
CLEANSING BALM

Double cleansing is a method made famous by obviously the Koreans which inculcate an oil-based cleanser first followed by a water-based cleanser to ensure the skin to be thoroughly cleansed. The gist behind using an oil-based cleanser first is because oil is beneficially useful in stripping off makeup and even waterproof sunscreen. Oil-based cleanser can either be in a liquid oil form or in a sherbet cleansing balm form. You will take a pump or a scrap of product onto your palm, apply it onto your face dry, work it in circular motions first, after which you will introduce water slowly to the face which will emulsifies the oil cleanser, gently removing all the residues of your day.

If you have oily skin like me, you can safely dispel your own myth of thinking that oil cleansers will make your skin oilier, this cannot be far from the absolute truth and I am a standing testament to that.

My absolute favourite is the Heimish All-Clean cleansing balm (cult favourite for obvious reasons), I personally love the slight mild herbaly scent and it gets the job effectively done in removing the gunk from my face. Other well known cleansing balm are from Banila which comes in several varieties for different skin concerns and my favourite cleansing oil is either from Biore or Klairs (which I have 7 million samples of).

CLEANSER

You will then want to follow up your oil based cleanser with a water based cleanser and that could be any of your old regular cleanser of your choice. Water based cleanser’s function is to generally remove sweat and excessive layers of dirt on the face. So what you cannot catch in the first layer of cleansing, you will want get it all off on this step.

You guys know that for years and years, I have always gravitate towards the Neutrogena cleanser (that still is a handy backup option), however these days, I am a colossal fan of anything green-tea in skincare, not a fan of drinking it but I LOVE putting it on my face. Team green tea all the way!!!

My favourites are either the Neogen green tea cleansing stick which as you can see in the photo, has real green tea leaves in it. Gosh, it smells uhh-maa-zing and the dried leaves does give a gentle exfoliation on the skin (not those crazy exfoliation like some apricot scrub we know off). This is my go to morning cleanser, it invigorates and wakes me up. It is also note worthy to point out that this cleansing stick is considered solid, so if you are ever flying and want to take this with you in your carry on, it will not constitute as a liquid. Winner!!

Another new favourite green tea cleanser which I am currently enjoying is the Innisfree green tea cleanser, super gentle non-stripping, pleasant scent -an all around great non-offensive simple cleanser. Comes in a hefty 150ml and with a little-goes-a-long-way policy, this cleanser will last you out for a very long time.

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You generally do not want to cleanse your face to a point where you feel an extreme tightness in your skin as tightness generally means that you have over-stripped the oil in your face, which can cause your face to send a signal to your brain to produce excessive sebum-hence the breakouts. I grew up with horrid over-stripping cleansers which only made me break out even more. Now that is not a win-win situation.

**I use my green tea stick cleanser in the morning and double cleanse in the evening. Without fail, non-negotiable. You can double cleanse both morning and evening, it is purely preferential.

EXFOLIATOR
Exfoliators can be in one of two variations; physical or chemical. Both technically performs the same function and again it is up to your preferences.

Physical exfoliators are usually in the form of mild to grainy scrubs. I am not a huge fan of this as you ought to be uberly gentle as not to micro-tear your skin with over-exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliators are usually immersed with chemical actives like AHA & BHA to encourage and introduce new cell turnover, so just think of it as sloughing away dead cells of your skin-out with the old, in with the new.
Without being too technical and from my amateur knowledge, AHA is alpha hydroxy acid which is a common derivative for lactic acid or glycolic acid-can be found in milk or grapes amongst others. BHA is beta hydroxy acid and a common derivative is salicylic acid, abundantly found in tea tree skincare products for acne clearing purposes.

My tried and true favourite exfoliator is surprise suprise the Neogen green tea bio peel (of course it has to be green tea). These peels also come in the grapes and lemon form. It has 30 pieces of exfoliating pads which you only need to swipe across your face and let the actives do its marvellous job in giving you that glow. These exfoliating pads are a holy holy holy grail for me as it visibly smoothens my skin and my pore seem to have shrunk over time. I exfoliate my gorgeous face twice a week, no more than that.

From someone who has not exfoliated since the ugly apricot scrub saga back in my late teens, now I just cannot go a week without my green tea chemical exfoliating pads.

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**For absolute beginners who have not used actives prior, please start slow, once a week or half a pad in the beginning. Over-exfoliating in any form physical or chemical can exacerbates the skin horridly, causing burns and tears. Be mindful!

TONER
You’ll see how many toners this sister have, because I love me a good toner.

Now, Korean toners are milestones different from the standard western toners. Western toners are usually, mostly laden with alcohol although most are getting better these days. Alcohol while great to be consumed, is not fine and dandy when overly applied on the face as we all know from basic science, that excess alcohol dries out the skin and nobody has time for dry skin. Long gone are those generic toners, and here comes the Korean toners that is packed with a punch.

Generally, you want to apply toner as soon as you cleanse. You will like to think of cleanser as removing the bad and toners replenishing back the good onto your face. Apparently so, you will hear this over and over in Korean skincare videos, toners are use to balance the PH of your skin-when cleansing your skin, you might have slightly disturbed your skin PH, hence toner will come into place to joosh the PH up and put everything back to its good place.

Especially so in the winter months, I have a personal principle of putting toner within 60 seconds from cleansing my face, for fear that my face detects dryness. You can either apply toner with a cotton pad but I go rouge and apply toner from palm to face-cutting out the middle agent altogether.

My absolute holy grail toner is the Whamisa’s organic flower toner. This toner is made up of 97.5% organic ingredients (from a bunch of flowers and good stuffs lol) and derived from the fermentation process (yes fermentation, like kombucha but for the face). I love the slightly thicker consistency of this toner as compared to the watery ones and it 100% hydrates my skin, leaving it supple and ready for my other 3467348 skincare products to be layered on.

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Other favourites are the Huxley Sahara toner-gorgeous gorgeous scent albeit being slightly higher in alcoholic content-this is a summer fave for me.

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A couple other toners in rotation that I am currently using and enjoying is the I’m from rice toner which lives up to Gothamista’s hyped rave. I’m from is a relatively new brand for me but this rice toner is such a calming delight-made from more than 77% rice extract, expect fresh milky goodness of a toner just hydrating your skin. Reminds me of my childhood when I will be in the kitchen with my mum and when we got around to cooking rice, my mum will always tell me that the water residues from premium quality grains are beneficial for good skin. Guess what Mum, should have taken your idea and patent it up. Great recommendation for colder months!

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Last but not least, you all know I got to include a green tea thingy somewhere, yes? Innisfree green tea balancing ex toner is a relishing delight for post gym shower- well balanced, light and refreshing toner. Great for everyday usage!

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ESSENCE
Essence is a completely new ball game for me in terms of skincare. If you are into minimalism and do not particularly find the use of essence, you can completely skip this step.

The rule of the thumb in Korean skincare routine is all about layering, while there is no hard and fuss rule in it, you always want to apply your products from the lightest to the heaviest consistency. Some products can double up as toner/essence or essence/serum, again this is purely preferential. Always access your skin needs and make good judgement from thereon.

How does essence come into your routine? Essence is after cleansing and toning and way before serums and moisturisers, treat it as a lightweight serum if you may. Nothing serious in your routine, just treat essence as casually adding an extra layer of hydration.

My very first essence that I tried was the COSRX snail mucin essence. Grossed out at the word, snails? Don’t be. Cosrx assures you that no snails were harmed in the collation of the product. This essence, made from 96% of snail secretion is super thick and gooey, has zero scent whatsoever, however tacky and sticky it feels, it applies like any normal lightweight essence would. My biggest observation from this product is that- my acne scarring improved and lighten down tremendously and even after using it for both day an night for over 4 months, the product was not even half way used-which is a great thumbs up.

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And I have not even gotten to the best part yet, my favourite essences!!!
I have come full circle to embracing the love of Huxley essences, hands down holy grail.

Huxley is predominantly a range of skincare products made out of pear and cactus-gosh is not that just a delight as it is? I have tried a couple so far, my absolute favourite is the Grab water (OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT BLOODY THING). This beaut is made of 85% cactus extract and is nothing short of stunning, it applies like a dream and I have to literally scrap dry the bottle within a month of using it because my skin adored it so much.

Currently, I am trying out this new Huxley oil-essence and despite being called an oil, it is more of a thicker essence consistency and equally works like a charm, splendid for colder drier months.

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If you are in the market for a light essence of watery consistent, you can try Missha first treatment essence. This product is a supposed dupe for SKII toner, I cannot vouch for this seeing that I have not used SKII toner before. However, a friend who has used both, has opined that they are incomparable. I am not a big fan of this essence per se because it is super duper runny (feels almost like water straight up) because I personally love skincare products with a little weight and texture to it, but if it is warm out there and you just need a dewy, thinned-down toner/essence, this is a good one to go by.

SHEET MASKS

Wow, where do I start with sheet masks? If there are 2 things in the name of skincare that I am head over heels for, it will be sheet mask and sleeping mask (more on that just below), but sheet masks are pure love for me.

I adore sheet masks with a passion. No matter the season or temperature or whatever is going on with the world outside, when I pull out a sheet mask, I can guarantee you my day or night is going to get resplendently better. I am the best person to tell you all about self-care because I am all about unwinding and relaxing at the end of each day, a good Yankee candle burning, a warm bubble bath and definitely a hydrating sheet mask is a highly resounding YES on that self care list.

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Sheet masks are, as the name suggest a sheet of mask packed with serums in it, ranging from anywhere between a buck to $50 a pop, there are all kinds of sheet masks to suit your fancy. I even tried the 111 skin rose gold sheet mask, that sucker was like $36 a piece, I better be earning millions if I want to upkeep that lavish lifestyle.

I generally apply sheet mask twice a week on exfoliating days, just for an extra oomph of self tender loving. While I love all sheet masks in general, if you were to ask me to choose my favourites, its either a toss up between Innisfree green tea sheet mask and Dr Jart ceramidin sheet mask (picture below). LOVE THEM!!

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Here’s a few fun pointers for sheet masks.
Firstly, sheet mask is an extension of a serum, therefore you are not to wash off a sheet mask off as compared to a regular clay mask that needs rinsing. If you are rinsing your face after a sheet mask, please just take your money and flush it down the toilet-pretty much the same concept.

Secondly, before putting on your sheet mask, make the most out of it, by scrapping out the serum from the package first and applying it on your face. You can also use the remnants of the serum for your neck, chest or hands. Now personally for me, I will generally put my sheet mask on my face for 10-12 mins as you do not need to wait for the sheet mask to dry off on your face which will then defeats the purpose of hydration. I will then roll the sheet mask into 2 and put it on my neck for a couple of minutes before tossing it off.

SERUM
Now where do I start with the almighty serum? Serum is to be fitted into your regime, after cleansing , toning and essence and before moisturising. I think of serums as a product that I use to address my skin issue directly.

I completely understand that identifying the right serum for your skin can leave you utterly perplexed and even more discombobulated than you already are. Fret not, girls.

Way before I did not know any better, I took the smartest approach in using an all-rounder serum. A basic, natural, non offensive simple serum-Sukin super greens serum. This serum has great veggies in it-kale, spinach and spirulina and has none of the bad ingredients that is completely irrelevant for your skin. I enjoyed this serum immensely, I used it for a good year in the beginning. It has a somewhat runny milky consistency which is both light in warmer weather and great for layering before your advanced serums.

However, as I progressed and as I discovered that I need a stronger serum, I have shelved this serum but still till this day, from time to time, I still take this serum out especially in summer when my skin does not feel like it need much.

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Moving on to specific serums.. I use a Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) serum in my morning skincare routine amongst a couple others and in the evening, I tend to use a serum which mainly contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) or Retinol (Vitamin A).

My go to Vitamin C serum is the Klairs Vitamin C. If you are unfamiliar with Vitamin C, it is basically an anti-oxidant which brightens your skin complexion and helps with uneven skin tone. I particularly love Klairs’s vitamin C because of its oilier formulation and of how it glides very smoothly onto the skin. It also only contains 5% of ascorbic acid so it is a gorgeous recommendation for beginners. This product is one of many that has been faithfully standard, I keep repurchasing it over and over again.

Now, there will be times when my trusty Klairs vitamin C runs out and there will be a niggly voice in my head that tells me to try a higher dose of vitamin C serum. With that, I have tried both Tiam 20% and Wishtrend 21.5%, both of which thankfully my skin could adhere to and handle and that my skin loves.

Vitamin C is a highly unstable product and goes off when exposed to heat, water or air-hence why you see many ladies putting their Vitamin Cs in a closed drawer or in the fridge. Gentle note that once your vitamin C turns brown, chuck it because it pretty much means that the product has gone bad. Think of an apple-eat it when its nice and juicy, chuck it when it is oxidized and brown.

Remember that like any other products, start from the bottom and work your way up, you simply do not want to start with the higher concentration and burn your skin off. Also do remember to pile on the sunscreen as vitamin C is known to boost the efficacy of sunscreen.

And then, we have The Ordinary
I am an avid Ordinary fan. I love their mix and match policy and that all skin types are different-therefore not one product is going to accurately tailor to your needs. Plus, I just appreciate how affordable all their products are. If someone were to ask me what is Ordinary-I will say, think of its a sandwich. In a sandwich, you have different ingredients, bread, meat, cheese, vege, sauces, etc-yes? What if you are lactose intolerant and do not want the cheese or what if you allergic to pickles? Instead of selling you an entire pre-made sandwich, Ordinary is selling you the individual ingredients that goes into a sandwich (in skincare form of course). Ordinary is a very scientific brand and if you are into these technicalities mumbo jumbo, you will love this brand. Got me? Okay good.

If you google Ordinary, one of the highly recommended products is Buffet. I tried that and it broke me out for no good reason. I will not bore you into details of what you should be using from Ordinary but I will tell you what I have been using.

My skin cannot leave without Matrixyl. By that I meant, when I forgot to pack Matrixyl for a 2 week vacation back to asia, my skin broke out uncontrollably in grittiness. To date I have used about 5 bottles of this and will continue to do so. Matrixyl is a peptide (scientifically speaking are amino acids compound) and matrixyl principally takes care of wrinkle prevention. I started buying Matrixl for the sole purpose of my deep laugh lines and in between my eyebrows and so far, its been working great. I use Matrixyl every morning as my 2nd serum.

I have also started using their Hyaluronic acid (HA) as a separate product to boost my skin’s hydration. Bear in mind that Matrixyl also has a small portion of HA as well.

Another can’t live without for me from Ordinary is Niacinamide (Vit B3). If matrixyl is a morning love for me, niacinamide is an evening love for me. Niacinamide’s function is to help improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles and dullness. I use Niacinamide about 4 times per week as an evening serum. So what do I use as an evening serum 3 other times of the week? I use retinol.

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Now, I am no expert in retinol and I do not wish to dabble too deep into the derivatives of Vitamin A and blah blah but just know that retinol and anti ageing is GOLD goals. That’s all I am leaving you with.

I started using Verso’s sample retinol serum couple of times and while I love that product, I realistically cannot afford it at almost $200 a pop and in my opinion, it is not sustainable for replenishing purposes. Alternatively, I moved on to Ordinary’s 0.5% retinol in squalene which is a super low concentration of retinol in squalene form (predominantly derived from olive oil). I was being very mindful to start low and slow especially when dealing with actives. I was halfway through this bottle when I realized that I wanted to up the ante just a bit, kicked the retinol up a notch.

Hence why I moved on to using granactive 2% emulsion which I completely enjoyed and have seen reasonable results with. While the squalene was an oil version, emulsion is a milky serum-y version and I enjoyed this form much better.

Do I need serums? Completely up to you. I will not be too bothered with it if you have generally a good skin care health. However, if you do want to dip your toes into the serum pool, I totally recommend starting with a basic serum without the harsher active ingredients- for eg: Sukin green serum. You can also give Ordinary’s buffet a try and see if that works for you. Otherwise, a serum has just popped into my mind-Missha time revolution ampoule, so this was a supposed dupe for the Estee Lauder Advanced night serum and I actually enjoyed this serum while I was using it a while back. Not that this matters but it comes in a luxurious dark purple glass heavy bottle and it just makes the experience a little more lush. The reason why I did not repurchase this was because I have heaps of other serums which I wanted to try but I will love to reconcile with this serum in the near future.

MOISTURISER
Moisturisers, as we all know it, is pretty standard in any skincare even right down to the super basic of a regime. In finding a good moisturiser, you need to initially determine your skin type (if you have not done so already). The reason why is, the last thing you want is a bad moisturiser which does absolutely nothing for you. If you have oily skin, you will not want to use a heavy cream which just sits on your face and break you out-instead opt for a gel consistency moisturiser which hydrates. If you have mature skin or drier skin by nature, you will want to look out for slightly thicker moisturiser to leave your skin supple and nourished.

As mentioned earlier, I enjoy the range of products in Neutrogena’s hydro boost collection; mainly this gel moisturizer and their sheet masks. This gel moisturiser is a no-brainer and fool-proof product, slapped it on and dries within seconds, giving your skin the basic hydration you need. Above and beyond that, what I really love about this gel moisturiser is, it is packed with Hyaluronic Acid (HA). And what does hyaluronic acid does to your skin? It supples, makes it bouncier like a baby’s butt. You better not tell me you don’t want them cheeks to be as bouncy as a baby’s bottom.

Do you need a separate moisturisers for day and night? Generally no, however as someone who just loves skincare, I do use 2 different moisturisers purely because during the day, I generally need a lighter moisturiser and during the evening, I prefer a thicker moisturiser that has more sealing properties.

My night moisturiser of choice is the Dr Jart ceramidin cream. I have spoken about this product endlessly and why I am completely besotted with it. You can read it in my winter essentials recommendations but just trust me when I say, putting this on is like putting on a layer of silky, smooth lard on your face.

You all will think I can rest easy without showing you my green tea moisturizing goodies? I am also currently using the Innisfree green tea moisturiser in my post gym shower routine, as a compliment to its toner and I cannot emphasize how genuinely refreshing this combination is.

SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen is a touchy subject for me, knowing that I have missed 30 good years of my life NOT putting any sunscreen on my face. What I lacked in knowledge then, I made it up with abundance application of sunscreen now. How much sunscreen do we need? General rule of thumb is 1 to 2 teaspoons of sunscreen on face and neck, and of course, topping it up after few hours, if you are particularly sweaty or you are generally outdoors doing water activities.

The biggest myth about sunscreen is not wearing it during non-summer seasons and the most popular misconception is not wearing sunscreen because “I am not going outside”. Why not? The sun will always be there every morning irregardless even in the snows and the sun rays will still penetrate through the window when you are indoors and you will still catch UV rays from lamps or lights, so why should we not stay sun protected at all times?

If you are asking which SPF is better, always remember that any SPF is better than none-SPF 30 is better than no sunscreen at all. Kindly be mindful of being sun safe and sun smart. Wear a hat and not bake in the sun incessantly.

My go to sunscreen is both from Neutrogena-both of which are in the ultra sheer forms. I absolutely abhor and detest any kind of thick gooey, ceramic clay-ey scunscreen-why people sell these is a question on its own? Because I am naturally a sweaty person myself, I find that the ultra sheer versions are so easy to apply and does not leave a white cast on my face. It also does not break me out.

I did use a Japanese sunscreen from Shiseido Anessa for a good 8 months last year and I love it to death. Sadly, I cannot get it here (got that in Singapore) so I moved on swiftly to Korean sunscreen and a particular favourite of mine is the COSRX aloe soothing cream-smells awesome and feels great on the skin.

OIL
Oil is a crucial step in my skincare, chiefly in the winter. I do not know about you, but during the colder months, my nose peels despite of all the amazing hydrating products which I piled on my face. There are many varieties of facial oil out there but my favourite has always been the rosehip oil from Trilogy which came a very long way with me (Remember my story about my dry skin when I first moved to Australia, this rosehip oil single-handedly combated the dryness).

Despite it being an oil, it absorbs beautifully on my skin without leaving any oil residue whatsoever. While facial oil can be used both day and night, I find that just by incorporating it in my routine has assisted my skin in being oil-balanced-which means I am no longer excessively oily during the day for no reason. Putting an oil in my evening routine also gives a nice feeling of “sealing” all the products together.

When choosing a facial oil, choose one that is organic and cold pressed to ensure that you are not just buying and slapping a random oil which can irritate your skin. Kindly also bear in mind that a facial oil is completely different to an essential oil-essential oil is not to be placed anywhere near your face.

SLEEPING MASK
Now, for my 2nd favourite kind of mask-sleeping mask. Just a quick recap that I also mentioned about sleeping mask in my top winter skincare essentials previously. If you miss that, you can read it here.

What are korean sleeping mask, you may ask? I will briefly answer it by saying it is just a fancy name for a thicker consistency of a night moisturiser with potent ingredients-just like a night cream on steroids.

In the winter, we all know that the ghastly horrid cold nights are the worst. From the time I did my evening skincare to the time I hit the sack, due to the cold air circulation despite the heater blowing all night long, my face will be tight like the sahara dessert. Hence why, I am such an ardent fan of the sleeping mask in winter. I will apply it like how I will apply a moisturizer, but instead of working it into my skin, I will sloppily slap it on my face like a thick gunk of goo. Leaving a sleeping mask thick on your skin helps your skin to have an extra layer of protection against the harsh cold air. You need not worry as a good sleeping mask will do its job in absorbing nicely into your skin without making it feel dry or taut while you snooze.

You can also use sleeping mask in a couple of other situations:- Firstly, if you sleep in an air conditioned room and always wake up to dry skin, you can try applying sleeping mask too to combat dryness and secondly, you can also whip out your sleeping mask in a long haul flight, similar concept to protecting your skin from the undesirable air circulation in the plane.

My favourite sleeping mask is the Laneige water sleeping mask-this is a godsend of a product, lightweight gel consistency, tranquil scent and just a dream to apply. I always find waking up in the morning a pleasure, noticing that my cheeks are always supple and just visibly nourished from the previous night’s sleep.

Now sleeping masks unlike a night cream is only to be applied 2-3 times a week due to the potency of the ingredients, apply it as a final step and leave it overnight. Let it work its wonders and fret not friends, sleeping mask will not mess up your pillow any more than your usual skincare products.†

Another honorable mention for a sleeping mask is the Klairs Vitamin E mask which has the most unique consistency I have ever seen in any skincare product. It is in layman term described as a mask in a jelly form. It does emit a strong scent and it is slightly tackier than the Laneige seeping mask but is a good alternative.

LIPBALM
Last but not least, please do not forget your gorgeous lips.

I have an un-confessed lipbalm addiction and like most things, it always have to be Nivea lipbalm. Just like my body lotion, I have one in my handbag, in the car, by my bedside, on my office desk, you get the picture. Recently I got to try Carmex lipbalm too-got it in an Asos advent calendar (speaking of which, will totes go down the advent calendar rabbit hole, come December this year) and I also love the Carmex libalm, but I am so loyal to Nivea, I keep repurchasing over and over. You need a good lipbalm post-haste, whatever you choose, just keep those puckers supple and not dry.

And please for the love of bamboozle, do not lick your lips as licking your lips does nothing except to further aggravate the drying. So please lipbalm the heck up.

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That’s it, guys. My long, exhaustive and completely ranty skincare entry has come to an end. I hope if you have have read thus far, have enjoyed my 2 cents insights and appreciate the grueling effort that I put in. I have spend many many months buying products, testing them out and taking pictures so I can do a good write up for you guys. There are MANY MANY other skincare products which I am currently using which did not make it into this entry because this is already too lengthy or the products are not making the cut.

I will always be interested in experimenting with skincare products because the importance of having great skin trumps above and beyond a fully made up face anytime. If you have any pointers yourself, let me know and always help a sister (or brother) out. Toodles!!

A fat girl’s opinion

Few days ago, I read an article outlining events around a Nike store in London which brazenly put out a plus size mannequin on display. While there were jubilant cheers all around, there were also a speck of outroars from those haters that quipped about how Nike is promoting obesity.

See, I have been nonchalant all my life about how fluffy I am but now ya’ll nasty people got to ruffle my feathers, so I have a word or two to say.

I was born as a big baby to an unexceptionally teeny tiny mother and I have been overweight ever since I was a little child. Obesity has never been a colossal issue for me. If you were to ask me though, obesity for me is like asking if a blind-since-birth person will be better off with sight. I do not and have yet to know any difference between being fat or thin in my life, simply because I have been fat from day dot.

However, in this day and age, what’s with social media and the general perception of the public masses that skinny is the way to go and skinny is beautiful, I will not lie and say every now and then YES, I do want to know what it feels like to be of a normal size 6-12 and not go shopping and be stared by the awkward sales girl. Yes, it will be nice to enter these shops and not have the same awkward sales girl tell you that most of their items comes in bigger sizes. Yes it will be nice to follow your friends to go shopping and not have to pretend to ruffle through accessories and shoes, because we all know a plus size girl cannot fit into the standard size of the clothes being sold. Yes it will be nice to go to a doctor for a check up and hear your weight is of an acceptable BMI index and not in the morbidly obese range. Yes it will be nice to know that you finally not have high blood pressure and that you need not be put on medications in early 30s. Yes, it will be nice to be more assured that the reason why we have yet to conceive is simply because God has not gifted us yet and not because of my weight issue. Yes, it will be nice to not sweat for once in a summer’s day and be consciously aware that everyone you talk to is looking at you dripping from your forehead. Yes it will be nice to go for a walk and not be completely out of breath in 3 minutes. Yes it will be nice to join others for a run or be in nature all sporty and fun. Yes it will be nice to not just be complimented as “she is so pretty but she is big”.

Being plus size, fuller figured or chubby is not any greater or lesser than anyone of any sizes out there. A person is a person despite of anything and everything else. We are made up of all kinds of components in life, race, culture, skin colour, language spoken, education, family background and quite clearly different shapes and sizes. So who the hell gives anyone the right to demean someone just because they are 50 pounds heavier than your average Jane? Why are we in this day and age, come so far in other advancements in life but still can be reeling in shallowness in our thinking she/he is big so that’s that. That is just sad.

When I was dating my husband, a friend’s mother told my husband that the girl he was with (me) is a nice girl but she is big. And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with being a big girl? Are big girls not smart? Are big girls ugly? Are big girls disgusting? Are big girls embarrassing?

Being fat does not make me a person with a bad heart, if anything, fat people like me usually have a more personable, awesome personality just because we have to bloody make up for our weight shortcomings. Have you ever think about that? Fat people like me can’t just stand by the street and have the world accept me as gorgeousness (if you do, well thank you), I have to stand by the street and crack a joke, and be all nice and coy, bend over backwards and juggle 25 plates over my head just to prove that I am worthy of something, well guess what, fuck that shit, I never cared anyway.

I have no idea what Nike was trying to do but if I can coin a guess, Nike was absolutely not promoting obesity, Nike is promoting diversity and attempting to be inclusive, just like how we are in this day and age trying so hard to be diverse with our acceptance of non whites and gay people. It is probably with much perhaps, that they are trying to break the stereotypes that our figure cannot be realistically depicted to one standard mannequin. They are also most probably trying to reach out to masses because in truth fact, not just skinny people in size 6 in cropped tops do work out, other people does to. So what are the haters not so happy about-bigger size people cannot wear active wear? bigger size people cannot work out? bigger size people have to cower in our houses and be ashamed of ourselves? Ya’ll just plain nasty.

I am a woman who wears size 18 or 20 in clothes and I am not ashamed of that. I get my active wear from either Asos, Target or Decathlon. Do I wish for more shops sell a broader range of sizes? YES I DO!! and why are stores not doing this already, is beyond my disbelief. Despite of my size and weight, I am unabashed to say that I have a more kick-ass flexibility and balance than most people out there can in a yoga class. When I go for a workout class, I pushed hard because I have 50 kilos to lose and not 5 pounds of water weight from a “rough weekend”. When I hang out with people, I genuinely am vested in a deep relationship with people because I know I don’t make new friends in a club every weekend. I might die of a weight related disease in 5 years or I might live up till 100. That’s all up for debate. Who are we to say?

My point is, instead of segregating the population as blacks v whites or gay v straight or asians v non asians or degree holders or high school leavers or office workers v non office workers or more aptly, fat v thin, do not segregate at all. Like as if you have not learned that We.are.all.unique.individuals.

To all my fun sized people of the world, if you want to take 1 thing away, it will be to never allow the bullshit of the world bring you down. If someone says fat people die earlier of weight related disease, slap their face-they are not God. If someone like my husband who till this day makes fat-shaming jokes every time I take my cheese or butter from the fridge, slap their face. If anyone is giving you the side eye just because you might have overdone it with Maccas anywhere in the bus stop, on the train, in school or at work, also slap their face. Let them judge all they want but no one and I mean absolutely no one can let you feel like shit.

If you have an opinion about fat people, then do not be a fat person. You can do you and you can be all fine and dandy in your non fat life, wearing your non fat clothes doing your non fat activities with your non fat friends. Do whatever you want, just leave us fat people alone :)