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Om and Away to Island Yoga

I was thrilled when I received news about the confirmation of my yoga retreat with Island Yoga from Om and Away. Om and Away is co-owned by a friend of mine, Charlyn and they organise local and destination yoga and wellness retreats (they’ve got some all the way in Australia, Spain and more!) I had previously booked myself a retreat as a birthday gift with Om and Away in August 2017 but that one resort that I visited was more of a wellness retreat in a luxurious villa with personal training at the gym, spa and massages. Island Yoga, on the other hand, is a full fledged yoga retreat hideaway with shalas, spaces for sound baths, and also provides Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) courses on a regular basis. I was so excited about retreat.

Island Yoga is tucked away on a little island called Koh Yao Noi. It is quiet, simple and tranquil over there, and it’s amazing how this small place is packed with so many nice people! :p

Getting there
I flew in to Phuket from Singapore and took a taxi from the airport to Bang Rong Pier (about 600 baht). From the pier, there are boats departing almost every hour. The pier is pretty small and everything you need would be close to each other so it is not difficult navigating around. There are two different kinds of boat to take you there – speedboat or long boat. Pick the former is you want to get to your destination faster. :p

I am super afraid of boat rides by the way, but this one wasn’t as bad as how I had imagined it in my head. (Another proof of the saying “Worrying means you suffer twice”. Haha!)

Once we arrive at the pier in Koh Yao Noi, there would be buses (they are actually more of little trucks really) and if I am not wrong, these are the only mode of public transport available on the island. It costs 100 baht to get to Island Yoga from the pier, the ride was about 15 minutes and because we truck-pooled, we made quite a few stops before arriving at the destination.

Island Yoga felt welcoming the moment I arrived. It felt homely and everyone I met and spoke to were friendly and helpful. There are different kinds of rooms available based on your preferences and budget. I chose one with my private bathroom and AC. Heh! :p And I am glad I did because the weather can really get quite warm in the afternoons.

There was a short orientation session (felt like school, super cute, I like) held by one of their staff and she brought the newcomers around the premise to show us the common areas, the pool, the yoga shalas etc. The main food area is an open air cafe (which very quickly became my favourite place because the food was SO FANTASTIC) with a cosy reading corner, and noticeboards showing any upcoming activities at the retreat. All guests are free to just jot their names down if they would like to take part. 🙂 They offered tours around neighbouring islands, beachside dances, makan trips, and you can also book private massage or classes if you wish to.

We were also introduced to a few nice restaurants or cafes around the island in case we want to head out in the afternoon during the free time. 🙂

The next day started bright and early at 6.15am by the beach. It was quite an experience for me because it has been SO long since I woke up so early and I had forgotten how the early mornings felt like. I stumbled to the beach all sleepy-eyed and saw this:

It was a new experience for me – having my morning cup of coffee at the break of dawn on the quiet beach with a bunch of other sleepy people. (I just assumed everyone is still waking up heh!) The moment the sky broke into beautiful colours of dawn was magical. ❤

Morning coffee + Taichi sessions became something that I looked forward to every single morning. :’)

The beach front at Island Yoga is quite interesting, the beach is really shallow and at low tide, the sea goes out a couple of hundred of meters. So you can literally walk out INTO the sea (a big distance from the shore) and still be in shallow waters.

But this was the perfect place for waking the body and mind up slowly with Taichi. It was the sound of the wind and waves, and the feeling of feeling the seawater seeping from under my feet as I tried my best to flow with the graceful Taichi stances – it was indescribably moving. There was a fluffy and warm feeling inside me at the end of every morning Taichi session which I cannot quite explain or put into words.

Every sunrise is different, but they are all equally beautiful.

Island Yoga offers two yoga sessions a day for all guests. Additional lessons or sessions can also be booked, based on the availability of the instructors. They offer Reiki sessions and sound baths, just in case you’re interested. You can also visit their website for more information.

The two shalas they have are beautiful in the wooden finishes with huge windows opening up to lush greenery and the sea.

I was actually not supposed to even have my phone in the shala so these are illegal photos haha!

If you are wondering whether you are “eligible” or “qualified” enough to go to any yoga retreat, stop right now. Because yoga is for everyone! Heh. I had that same worry before I set off for this yoga retreat but the moment the first yoga class started, I knew all my worries (again, Worrying means you suffer twice) were redundant. There are two different classes – one for beginners and the other for intermediate/advance). And even in the beginners class, the instructors made sure that there are variations so that everyone can reap the benefits out of every single class.

The shalas are clean, well-ventilated and spacious, well-equipped with mats, blocks, straps, pillows and more. The morning yoga session was usually something a little more dynamic and yang, and they are a great way to kickstart one’s day! I also like how the morning sessions are 2 hours long – it gives the class the opportunity to slowly ease into the practice and also sufficient time to take rest and take in the benefits of the session at the end of the class. I always leave the class feeling fulfilled and, empowered, almost!

Evening sessions, on the other hand, is mostly yin-style, slow-paced and a little more intimate. For every single evening session that I’ve had at Island Yoga, I fell asleep every.single.time. Hahaha! There is so much to learn – the breathing, what it does to my mind, etc – it will do so much good for my insomnia and anxiety problems.

– – –

In the afternoons, I have a few hours of free time and I always spend 1 or 2 at the pool.

The cafe/restaurant is open all through the day and they have a wide variety of food, healthy shakes available. I am in love with the minced chicken Thai style salad (Larb Gai, can you believe it? I’m actually salivating in my mouth as I type this lol) and the shakes they serve! There is nothing better than chilling at the pool with a book or Netflix with a yummy shake in the lazy afternoons.

Or if you’re up for a little bit of exploration, Island Yoga also offers full-day motorbike rental at a really reasonable price of 300 baht. It is really easy getting around the island because there is only one main road that takes you around the island, there are properly paved roads so you don’t need a driver’s licence to ride there (Hehehehe).

That is Aileen riding us around to 7-11 in town.

Fun fact – they only recently had their first 7-11 on the island in 2017 or 2018. The AC in there is super powerful and we liked it so much that we literally did most of our shopping in 7-11. Haha!

– – –

Koh Yao Noi is a beautiful place and it really offers more than just a getaway from the city, or a yoga “workout” trip. As with every place I had visited, it was always how open my mind and heart was that would determine how the trip will turn out. With Koh Yao Noi and Island Yoga, it is just made so much easier because of its people, energy and pleasant surprises all around for you to discover.

Special thanks to Om and Away for whisking me away from my hectic schedule back home for a little bit of utopia.

2019 Skin Goals

2019 has just begun and I have high hopes for this year. Just like many of you, I have lots of goals on my list since it’s January. I’ve learnt that it is more encouraging and optimistic to set short term goals to keep track of my progress and keep myself perked up. It serves as a constant reminder of my ultimate goal too.

Small steps – like getting sufficient sleep, having positive thoughts, maintaining an active lifestyle, learning how to manage stress and anxiety. These all would help me achieve my goal of being a better version of myself. I read somewhere that the quality of one’s life is directly related to the quality of one’s thoughts, words, sleep, fitness, purpose, environment, relationships and diet.

We are what we eat – and that is why I have been paying more attention on my food choices and diet of late, be it for health or beauty. I’ve been reading about skincare and collagen recently and did a little research about collagen supplements.

Firmness, plumpness and radiance of our skin are retained when we can maintain a good amount of collagen in our skin. We all know that the skin produces less collagen with age, but there are also other factors that contribute to collagen damage. I’m here to share what I’ve learnt!
I used to think that collagen is only essential for firmer skin, but collagen actually does a lot more work than these. Collagen is a kind of protein and thus comprises of amino acids. Apart from ensuring elasticity and regeneration of the skin, here are its other uses!

Joint Health – Helps loosen stiff joints
Sleep Quality – Promotes better cognitive function and a healthier sleep cycle
Digestive Aid / Weight Loss – Aids in healing digestive tract and to repair mucous lining, and improves digestion / regulate metabolism

And also, it helps to reduce and prevent cellulite appearance, promotes hair growth, and perform many many more miracles! :p

From our mid to late twenties, the natural production of collagen slows down, and because collagen is also constantly prone to damage from free radicals, UV rays exposure, etc, it is essential to replenish the collagen levels in our bodies.

Some foods rich in collagen:
Wild Salmon, Leafy Greens, Citrus, Eggs, Soy, Tomatoes, Bone Broth, Avocadoes, Garlic, Oysters
Another great and fuss-free way of consuming collagen would be via supplement. Collagen Re Force from ORBIS contains an abundant 10,000mg of collagen peptides which can be easily absorbed by the body for replenishment.

There are lots of collagen supplements in the market. But this next unique feature about Collagen Re Force that I’m going to mention sets it apart from the rest. Replenishment alone is not enough. So ORBIS has cleverly added Lemon Balm extract into the drink; this ingredient helps the body with the process of breaking down damaged collagen to be reused to regenerate new, healthy collagen!

There is also Long Pepper extract to promote smooth delivery of collagen to required areas of the body, and Vitamin C extract which is essential for collagen synthesis. In a nutshell, this drink is everything you need to make sure you get a sufficient collagen intake, and that your body has the “tools” to process and produce more of it.

Next thing, how does it taste?

I’m not big on the taste of some collagen drinks because they can get a little “fishy” (if you know what I mean) at times. And some of them can taste a little too artificial too. This one however, is honestly quite yummy and I actually sometimes wish the bottle is a little bigger so that I can enjoy its taste for longer (especially when I drink it while feeling thirsty lol).
It is delicious when served chilled and has a fruity pear flavor. I’ve formed a little habit of having it as a nightcap now. Just shake lightly and take a swig of your daily collagen intake, and then sleep and let your body drink it all up! :p

This year, I’m all about forming good habits and to be a better version of myself. Hopefully I can also get a better version of my complexion and health too! With bettering myself being one of my goals this year, hopefully it will apply to my complexion and health too! I think it is important to form good habits and I can certainly get used to improving my diet with supplements. And Collagen Re Force makes it even easier for me since it’s delicious. I do look forward to my collagen drink every night. Heh. Have you got any goals related to your health or well-being this year too?

Collagen Re Force comes in boxes of 10 (50ml/bottle) and is priced at S$56 per box. Click here for more deets!

From now until 24 January 2019, all ORBIS members (membership is free with any purchase) can also purchase Collagen Re Force at S$49/box and S$142/3 boxes.

Time Out

A 3-days Lululemon retreat with like-minded people stopped me in my tracks and forced me to look inward – something I haven’t done in a long time. It is something I didn’t dare do for a long time because in the recent years, I had never really liked what I found inside me.

I’d like to document what went down at the retreat as a reminder to myself.

I cannot remember the last time I truly honoured myself and practised mindfulness; when was the last time I truly tasted the food on my plate? Truly connected and had a conversation with my inner voice? Truly allowed myself to be in the present moment? Truly, completely, even brutally be honest with myself?

Was every “Thank you” or “Sorry” I uttered heartfelt? Do I always mean every word I say? Do I have to say every word I let out of my mouth?

For three days, there was meditation, yoga, discussions, dancing, talking to each other and lots of talking to ourselves.
We all brought our selves, a journal, a pen, a listening ear for that voice inside.

It started with simple questions, like
“Where in my life do I feel stuck?”
“Where do I know that something needs change but I don’t know how to approach it?”
“If I have approached it, why haven’t I experienced any change?”
“What are some beliefs I’ve created for myself that have limited my future?”

There are a million and one things in my life that I’m feeling stuck at.
And I think it all boils down to a lack of self-awareness and confidence.

Self-Awareness: knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions

(Nope, haven’t got much of that.)

I guess a lot of us have been tuned by reality and life itself to make decisions based on logic and rational thoughts, overlooking the fact that we need to acknowledge our feelings (and even intuitions) to make effective decisions. I think deep diving into “feelings” is a scary thing. I’d like to think that I do that quite often – almost on a daily basis – though always in fleeting moments. I brush the emergence of these thoughts aside because it stops me from functioning “up to expectations”. Other times, I thought perhaps I should not dwell and mull over things so much. I often get lost and end up feeling more confused, it does me no good and it just brings me down. In fact, I know many would find it easier to brush it aside; leave it for another day or even repress feelings to avoid a confrontation with oneself . I’m someone like that too. Simply because that is the easier way out.
“Time will tell”, “it will go away”, “I’ll figure it out naturally, eventually”.
Confrontations of any kind is intimidating, imagine how immense that fear would be, and how difficult it would be to work things out within oneself. If self-awareness and mindfulness was easy, why do we even need to practise it?

During one of the sessions, we were told to imagine us at a birthday party for our 100-year-old selves. (Honestly, my first thought was, I hope I don’t live till a hundred)

Imagine you’re at your 100th birthday party. You can hear the bustle around you, people chatting, laughing – these are the people who love you and care for you. Your family, your friends, your children, your future children, your grandchildren, your future grandchildren, people whom you’ve inspired, whose lives you’ve touched – they are all gathered in one space just for you. Suddenly, you heard the clinging of a glass, someone is going to make a toast to you.

We were told to write that toast.

I sat there and stared down at my journal. I couldn’t think of one nice thing to say about myself. I looked around and saw my mates scribbling away, and I asked myself if there was something wrong with myself. Then I thought, “Could it be because I secretly do not wish to live until 100?” Then I tried to outsmart the logical Peggy and imagined myself writing my own eulogy. I still couldn’t come up with anything.

What do I want to be remembered for? What in my life is worth celebrating? What about myself am I proud of? What do I want to do to make myself proud? Who is Peggy? Do I not like the person that I am?
I don’t know.

It bothered me. I think I haven’t made peace with a lot of things within me.

On the third day of the retreat, the 20 odd 30 people in the group were made to form two lines, facing each other. The first person at each line took turns to walk down the aisle, and to put their ears to every person in the lines to hear what they have to say about us – words of affirmation, something they feel from us, vibes or whatever. I was a little uncomfortable at first because I haven’t had the opportunity to speak and interact with every single one of them. I didn’t want to say something for the sake of saying. I was awfully quiet throughout the retreat and kept to myself quite a fair bit until towards the end of the retreat. In fact, I found it intimidating to even speak up in a roomful of vibrant and loud personalities. Besides, it has only been 3 days, how would I know much about anyone in such a short period of time? I flustered and started to look at their faces, trying to prep myself with answers in my head.

But as bizarre as it sounds, as each and every one of them walked towards me, I knew exactly what to say. You know? That strange way two persons can connect to each other, or how you can feel the energy off somebody even without much interaction or long periods of time spent together? Odd.

But the thing that totally caught me off guard was something else…

They whispered into my ear that I am witty, that I am smart, that I am quietly powerful, that I am brave, that I have a beautiful mind while I walked down the aisle in silence, looking at the floor. I glanced up and uttered a sincere and heartfelt thank you whenever something they said moved me.

Why do people who hardly even know me have good things to say about me when I cannot even find one thing in my life that is worth toasting to?

I broke down.
Do I even say these words of affirmation to the people whom I hold close to my heart? Words are so powerful. I regret so many things that I’ve ever said. Why did I even allow that to happen to myself?

It is 5:23am now and I am just blabbering.

One thing is for sure though, I need to ask myself more questions more frequently, and to listen to what the Peggy inside me has to say. What gives me joy? What makes me different from others? What/who/where makes me feel most alive and reminds me of who I truly am? What makes me feel vulnerable, and why? What do I value? What are the things I make myself do even when I don’t want to? What moves me and touches me deeply? What depresses my spirit and weighs me down, and why is that so?

Why is it hard to strip myself naked even for myself?
Freedom to me is to be able to accept and be at peace with one’s self and circumstances. Am I free?

The gathering of 30 strangers, who were made to sit in a huge circle to “discuss feelings, insecurities, vulnerabilities and goals” started out as an uncomfortable idea for me. “It feels like university orientation all over again,” I said. “And it was more than a decade ago when I’ve last done something like that.”

It is like an orientation indeed, except this time, we are a group of 30 strangers who gathered together to each orientate within ourselves.

All of us need a bit of soul searching sometimes. Dig deep.

Celmonze The Signature

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I love facials and my super thirsty skin was dying for a good hydrating treat, so I was absolutely thrilled to visit Celmonze The Signature for their innovative Aquoderm facial treatment!

A little more about Celmonze before I take you along with how the customised facial was like; Celmonze The Signature has a whooping 31 outlets throughout Malaysia and has been in the beauty industry for more than 17 years.

They provide different solutions for different skin types (check out their website to read more, they have 13 different types of solutions for 17 different skin types) and a trained skin technician will be there to answer any questions you have about your skin woes.

The session started with a consultation with Grace, the friendly therapist. In a nutshell, we established that my skin is in a relatively healthy and good condition apart from the dullness and uneven skin tone (yes, biggest problem for me), occasional blemishes, slight sensitivity on my cheeks and generally dry skin. Grace couldn’t help but also commented on my dark eye rings and how she thinks Signature Facelift Massage using ICA (Ironing Crinkle Away) method will help improve the overall blood circulation and detoxification. Oh, the Signature Facelift Massage helps with lifting the face too, by setting 7 types of facial muscles! The Signature Facelift Massage is included in every Innovative Facial Treatment.


I was recommended to their Aquoderm Skin Corrective Treatment.

Aquoderm is a treatment for oily/acne-prone skin, dehydrated skin or sensitive skin by correcting skin’s pH through power of AQUA.

What is AQUA?

A plant and water-based solution enriched with vitamin B3, Hyaluronic Acid & Lactobacillus with anti bacteria and an inflammation properties.

And the end result? Healthier skin which is well-balanced and hydrated, at a neutral pH of 5.5.

How does Aquoderm work for different skin types?

If the user has oily/acne skin caused by overactive sebaceous gland to compensate lack of moisture, oily skin will be acidic and it will lead to acne and clogged pores. AquoDerm works by providing moisture-binding ingredient, which will restore the balance of water and sebum production resulting in less oily and acne prone skin.

Sensitive skin and dehydrated skin is result of too alkaline skin, which often caused by frequent peel or exfoliation. AquoDerm rectify the skin condition by soothing sensitive skin and follow by providing moisture-binding ingredients to correct the skin’s pH. Without powerful and effective soothing ingredients, “angry skin” wouldn’t be able to absorb the moisture and skin will remain sensitive and unresolved.

And this is what I’ll be using for the day (the photo above of the entire set in the box is actually good for 5 sessions!)


– – –

Celmonze The Signature interior


The Aquoderm Treatment starts with cleansing, exfoliation and extraction. Here is me all cosy and wrapped up (looks a little like a Pope outfit, but ok, that’s besides the point. I’m sorry haha).

My left cheek is a little red because it’s pretty sensitive over there. My dark eye rings are also beyond hope.


I’ve always been terrified of extraction during a facial because it really leaves me in tears after that, but my therapist (I’ll include her photo later!) is super skilled; the extraction was almost painless and very thorough.

The first mask application sets out to rejuvenate the skin while hydrating. This is also accompanied by their 15 minutes Signature Facelift Massage to encourage better absorption of the products, improves circulation and it also comes with instant lift benefits!


My therapist was very experienced, and she also did the Facelift Massage on one side of my face first to show me the Before/After (which I stupidly didn’t photograph!). The jawline appeared slightly tighter on the side she worked on. She also spent more time around my eyes, commenting that the dark eye rings is a result of bad blood circulation around that area.

On the whole, very pleasant and comfortable experience.


Here is how it was like before I start the second part of the treatment where my skin get a good “drinking session”!

The second mask refines pores, reduces marks, repairs and purifies skin against bacteria. The AquoDerm treatment will end with AquoDerm Refine Serum, which is an intensive serum that penetrates deeply to clarify-away a broad range of skin crisis like acne, pimple, blackheads, and oily or dry skin and followed by sunblock (OH I LOVE THEIR SUNBLOCK) application.

And and and, the second mask also comes with a hot stone massage which was super dope! I’ve tried hot stone massages on my back and feet, but never during a face and decollete massage! The hot stones were left on my chest area at the end of the massage and it was so comforting. **cries**

It was so relaxing, IT. PUTS. ME. TO. SLEEP. ALMOST. INSTANTLY.

Here is the After picture.


I know it might just looks like it’s shiny. This photo is pretty unflattering but it is an honest representation of my actual skin condition. (Oh by the way, all the photos of my skin are unedited with no filters yeah?) My skin really felt a lot more supple and refreshed after the hour-long treatment. All the blackheads on my nose and cheek area were also quietly murdered by my therapist (Well done! Heh!).

If you look closely, you can also see the slight marks under my eye which was a result of the Signature Facelift Massage. But they disappeared towards the end of the day. The redness on the cheek looked less pronounced too, thanks to the soothing ingredients of AquoDerm treatment.

– – –

Another satisfied woman.


I was curious about the skincare they used on me after the facials, so just in case you have thirsty skin just like me…


They have a whole range of hydrating products also called Aquoderm Skin Corrective. These are great for individuals with dehydrated and sensitive skin. The texture is MAD light, it really almost disintegrates into water once it touches the skin.

And here’s how the packaging is like (ignore that little tub on the right though):


And another star of my facial, my therapist! Thank you so much!



Celmonze The Signature is available at three locations in Singapore

1) Celmonze The Signature Tampines
Blk 406, Tampines Street 41 #01-19, Singapore 520406
+65 67897879 / +65 8838 3223

2) Celmonze The Signature Heartland Mall Kovan
Heartland Mall Kovan, 205, Hougang Street 21, #03-10 Singpore 530205.
+65 88288287 / +65 62826287

3) Celmonze The Signature Rivervale Mall
11, Rivervale Crescent, Rivervale Mall #02-01j Singapore 545082
+65 88261082 / +65 63860757


You can also enjoy the exact same facial treatment I went through (worth $268) for F.R.E.E! We will be picking 5 lucky winners and if you’re chosen, you’ll get to bring a friend along (because good things must share mah!)

1. LIKE Celmonze The Signature on Facebook

2. TAG A FRIEND on their Facebook here

3. FILL IN YOUR INFO through this link

Winners will be notified by 31 January 2018. Contest ends 15 January 2018.

If you’ve registered but wasn’t chosen, Celmonze The Signature will be giving out a complimentary travel kit (worth $98) if you do decided to go try out the Aquoderm Facial Treatment at a very special price!

*Do note that the promotion only applies to new customers. Terms and conditions apply.

Hairy Issues

I know what you’re thinking about – “Dude, you’re not losing hair. What are you doing at Beijing 101?”
That was exactly what ran through my mind when I first received the invitation from Beijing 101 to try out their treatments. But still, I went with an open mind. I have to say that I’ve learnt a lot about the condition of my scalp and hair from that one visit. And yes, even people with hair do go to Beijing 101 too.

The session started with a consultation with the experts who would use the machines to assess the condition of your scalp and find out more about some of the concerns you might have on your hair/scalp. For me, I don’t think I’m losing hair (hopefully never in my life) but I do get dandruff sometimes. And because I put styling products in my hair everyday, I wash my hair twice everyday (once with shampoo, once without) and because of that, the scalp can get quite dry sometimes. That dryness causes a little bit of itchiness, which then leads to scratching, which leads to even more problems. I think I’m starting to make myself sound really gross. Lol!


I hereby show you pictures of my disgusting-looking scalp, ladies and gentlemen!
(I went with clean hair; washed without shampoo, with no styling products on)

Little bit of flakiness here.

Little bit of tearing of scalp from the scratching there. *cries*

So apart from the treatment for hair loss that they’re most well-known for, Beijing 101 also provides and educates their clients with hair prevention treatments and knowledge. From what I understand after a chat with the therapist, a lot of their customers are actually young adults who visit them for concerns like post-natal hair thinning, prevention of hair loss (especially for people with family history of the similar problem) and also people who generally want to maintain a head of healthy scalp and hair.

Enjoying a cup of tea during the consultation. Heh!


Think of treatments for the scalp like a monthly facial for your skin. It made a lot of sense after the therapist said that, because prevention is really better than cure. And I really don’t want to be bothered by hair loss problems in the later part of my life. *pouts*


Just a little tidbit, the therapist also said something about oily scalp vs hair loss. Basically, the hair follicles should not be clogged. So if you have issues with an oily scalp, you’ll be more prone to hair loss problems in time. BUT it is also essential to have some natural sebum produced by your scalp to maintain a healthy scalp. I know, it sounds real tricky to maintain that balance. So? Just leave it to the experts. Heh!

The therapist did a herbal (oh, everything they use at Beijing 101 is Chinese herb-based) hair mask for me after a super pampering head wash and Beijing 101’s Signature Meridian Herbal Treatment which involves acupuncture massage on the scalp that helps with detoxifying and encourage blood circulation.


Ahh! I almost forgot to mention. You get to choose which kind of massage you prefer too.

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The hair mask has a really comforting herbal smell which I totally dig. The therapist also asked if I would prefer something that smells less herbal (good for those who doesn’t like the smell of Chinese herbs) but I just asked her to go ahead with the Chinese herbs with me.

I’ve picked a massage that will help relief tension in my head, neck and shoulder area. I am constantly on my computer at work; clearing emails, doing up artwork etc. The technique the therapist used on me significantly helped with taking away the stiff shoulders and neck I often suffer from. You really gotta use a good head massage. And you won’t know the kind of magic it has after you’ve tried a good one! :p

20 minutes…

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I had another overview of the condition of my scalp immediately after the treatment. Of course, the scratch marks are still there but the redness and flakiness have reduced a little, say 30%? The therapist said that it would usually take at least 5 treatments to see a significant improvement in the condition of the scalp. But it was obvious that it didn’t look as scary as the BEFORE photo.

Just a reminder – here’s the BEFORE:


And the AFTER:


My virgin visit to Beijing 101 opened my eyes to the importance of hair and scalp health, and how prevention of hair-related problems should start young (while one still have a relatively healthy head of hair, heh!).

All in all, I think my virgin visit to Beijing 101 was a pleasant one. However, I wish I had the chance to speak with the TCM physician at the outlet. So if you’re planning on visiting Beijing 101 to check on the health of your hair and scalp, remember to sneak in a session with their physician too! 🙂

Enjoy Hair Gro Treatment @ $42 (U.P $366) and get a complimentary Hair Glow Essence (worth $68). Hook up anyone else whom you think might be interested in trying them out! Click here to sign up!

Ain’t I Soppy?

Oh ain’t I soppy? I was looking through my older posts on this blog and it basically just felt like an emotional rollercoaster; even when I was the person who wrote all of those posts. I think I am trying to become a different person – not exactly sure whether I will like this new person but for some reason, I this change (or rather, growth) felt somewhat necessary. Deep down somewhere, I know I am still that hopeless, dependent as fuck, soppy, jealous, overly-sensitive and emotional psycho. But yes, I am currently working on subduing those undesirable traits. I am learning to embrace the change. It almost feels like a coming-of-age story, except I’m already starting on the third decade of my life. But we never stop learning more about ourselves, do we?

I used to write shitload about how I feel, what I did, who I saw, where I went. But these days, things seems and feels the same day in day out. Not much ups and downs. A lot of things either felt like they weren’t even worth a mention, or, on the other end of the spectrum – too surreal and valuable that putting them into words would not do justice to the magnitude of the effect they had on me. I have also learnt how not to put too much or all of me out there for anybody. But that ain’t me though; I do things “out loud”. If I love someone or something, you wouldn’t even need to guess or doubt my affections, it would be hard to miss. But that is also scary, isn’t it? Especially when tables are turned one day, then it’s not going to be fun being left hanging out to dry.

See, why am I starting to be soppy again.

Yilan Travels

I met up with tour guide Ken and fellow Singaporean Zipeng at the airport and went on our little Yilan adventure!


There is no other place more perfect to kickstart the 4-day stay. The design of Lanyang Museum was made to resemble rock formations around Wushih Port area where the museum stands adjacent to.


Through our brief stop at the museum, I learnt a lot about the Yilan County – its history, its inhabitants, its folklore and festivals. The most interesting one I’ve learnt was the Pole-Climbing event held annual in conjunction with the Lunar Ghost Festival. You have to click that link to read more, it’s insane!


From the museum, you will also be able to see Guishan Island (龜山島) on a clear day. It was a pity though, that we were unable to take a ferry out to visit that island due to bad weather. According to our guide Ken, there are also ferries that would bring visitors out to watch dolphins and whales! And because Yilan is a seaside town, there is also a plethora of fresh seafood available at the many restaurants located by the bay.

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Dinner was at this beautiful restaurant (which has a gallery attached to it) called Formosa Pearl 掌上明珠. The coordinator of the tour had been exclaiming about this restaurant even before the trip started and it got me really thrilled! True enough, this place did not disappoint, and I was completely blown away by the entire dining experience. The menu changes everyday and handwritten (in Chinese calligraphy style ok! And it’s different on every table) on each table, every plate, every cup were handmade, and the food!

Simply divine!

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Here’s a shot I took from one of the observation deck at the Formosa Pearl.



Accommodation: Original Spring 原湯



Nothing is better than having natural spring water available in my hotel room! There are actually plenty of hot spring hotels/inns all around the area but this one I spent the first night in was real cosy and comfortable. There is also a little fish pedicure just outside the lobby, and it’s a free service for all hotel guests!

The first day in Toucheng (頭城), Yilan, albeit being a rather short one, was enough for me to look forward to knowing what else this beautiful county has to offer.


The day started early the next day from Toucheng, down south to continue exploring the rest of the County. Breakfast was at Hang Khau Hotel & Kaffe.

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Apart from being a quaint little boutique hotel, Hang Khau also boasts of a cute little cafe that serves real good coffee and hearty breakfast sets (those croissants were real delectable!), and a retail corner that has quite a collection of books and locally-designed products for sale. Location was great too; being only a 5-minutes walk away from Yilan Train Station.


I also took the opportunity to write a couple of postcards for the folks in Singapore! I have a penchant for writing letters la.
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I guess the perks of travelling with Zipeng, the talented photographer is this:


I remember saying “No one reads like that, Zipeng” after this photo was taken. Hahahaha!
(Unless I’m out to seduce someone lol)

There was something about this part of Yilan that had me totally mesmerised – traces of artistic and literary expression everywhere, and slightly hipster la. Haha. 滿滿的文藝氣息!

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Yilan is also the hometown of one of my favourite illustrator/author, Jimmy Liao (幾米)! *excited*

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And here I am again with the characters from Starry Starry Night (星空) by Jimmy Liao…

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7 years after meeting them for the first time in Beijing!

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I also bought another two books from the retail store near the open air theme park. Much cheaper compared to the prices in Singapore! Heh.


I’d also like to recommend this super delish, super GARLICKY noodle dish!

Address: 260, Taiwan, Yilan County, Yilan City (泰山路239之1號泰山路239之2號)

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A B S O L U T E L Y    Y U M M Y

Onward to Luodong Township to experience how it’s like to be a organic farmer for a day for one hour.

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It was quite an experience at the Lotong Agricultural Farm! Well, being a city dweller, I’ve never had the opportunity to plant seedlings into the ground or collect gourds from vines. The owner of the farm was really friendly and knowledgeable, and he was about to answer all kinds of questions I threw at him (I’m pretty inquisitive! Heh.) What moved me the most was how passionate he was about his harvest and his part in educating city dwellers like me about his beautiful organic crops.

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Baby watermelon, so cute!

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Herbivore Of The Year. Hahaha!


There was really no time to waste while in this beautiful county. I think I ate so much that day, I was almost constantly in a food coma state. I’m not complaining though, how can one possibly complain about all these good food?

It was my first time doing a homestay with a local family. These people were so immensely nice that I immediately felt at home the moment I checked in. The house was spick and span and felt like a home away from home; everyone there – from the receptionist (who’s just this really nice girl in her late teens who takes care of everything from paperwork, checking guests in and out, and cleaning of the rooms, etc) to the owner of the house, the owner’s Dad (super cute Ah Gong!!!) were insanely nice.

My heart can still feel the warmth as I type right now. Gahhhhh.


The view around the house is 很美!
The owner is also a huge customized-bicycles enthusiast who has quite a collection of fancy wooden bicycles.

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View from my room!

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I also visited the night market with the freshest air. Heh! Why so? Because the market is along the long stretch of road with paddy fields on both sides! 90% of the stalls in the night market sells food, and I think most of the people I see there are locals too.

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More sights around beautiful Yilan!

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Homestay accommodation:
電話:0978178269 (李小姐) 、(03)9641737

粉鳥林秘境 Fenniaoling Beach

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This is a little secret beach with a very hidden entrance! Isn’t it interesting? Thank goodness there were kind folks who carved the stones around the opening to the easiest route to the beach, if not it might be even harder to get to the beach from the outside!

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By the time we were at Fen Niao Ling, we’ve already travelled quite a fair bit down south through Yilan. Most of the drive we did was along the coastline and I was greeted with beeaaauuuuitful sights of the Pacific Ocean along the way. I think this is really quite a far cry from what I’ve always thought of Taiwan (considering the fact that I’ve only been in Taipei prior to this)

On the way to our next accommodation, we went for some 乌醋面! I like my vinegar and this is totally god-sent for me.

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那山那谷休閒農場 Na Shan Na Gu

0978-088-555 小陳

My third and final accommodation for the Yilan leg of the trip was also the most unique of all. I spent the night in a tent! It was at a campsite with all the amenities like shower, lighting, electricity readily available. But 那山那谷 is more than just a regular campsite! The owner 小陳 (Xiaochen) and his family lives right by the campsite and they organize a lot of outdoor activities for their guests.

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Check out how my campsite looks like! Now imagine how breathtaking the view is like in the morning. The bird chirping, the insects creaking, the toads croaking, the sounds of nature, the clean, cool and crisp morning air. It was such an experience spending the night in an environment like that. Pardon me, because I have really never went camping like that before. If you haven’t done anything like this before as well, I recommend 那山那谷! 强力推荐 ❤

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This is 小陈 Xiaochen and 馒头 Mantou bringing us out for breakfast before showing us around the area! Aren’t they cute! Super friendly and down-to-earth people!

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We trekked through this area too! But I didn’t have my phone and couldn’t take any photos at all. I just really love this place! 😀

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And then they spoilt us by feeding us AGAIN!

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Thank you, all the good people I met in Taiwan. You guys made the entire Taipei-Yilan experience so enjoyable! ❤

Travel to Taipei by Taoyuan Airport MRT

Taipei – I love that place.
Full of friendly people, divine street food everywhere, there is always something interesting to watch on TV (I’m secretly amused by how they tend to exaggerate everything; even the news is often slightly dramatised :p), and oh, the shopping!

On my recent trip, I finally had the opportunity to step out of Taipei and venture into Yilan.
The four days spent in Yilan had totally changed how I would answer the question “How is Taiwan like?” from now on. Before I even begin, I would like to specially thank my amazing tour guide Ken Wu, 工頭堅 for bringing us around Yilan and tirelessly sharing the history, his personal experiences and stories about his country and insights about life as a Taiwanese. The conversations with the locals were also always delightful!

Before the Yilan leg, I spent 3 days in Taipei with Taiwan-addict Sharon. But before I begin proper on what happened while in Taiwan, I would like to dedicate this post to the very impressive Taipei Taoyuan Airport and it’s spanking new metro system!

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The newly open Taoyuan Airport Metro (opened less than a year ago!) took me directly to the city centre, in just about 40 minutes! For those of you who haven’t been to Taipei, this is actually a really big deal because it has made the journey from airport to city SO much easier. One will no longer be at the mercy of bad traffic or fear of worrying about splitting up into groups to fit into taxis if you’re travelling with a huge bunch of friends! :p

My favourite thing about the airport express, however, was how I was able to check-in my baggages in town and make my way to the airport without lugging things around.

On my way back to the airport from the city, I learnt that there is also a bag drop service made available along with the new Taoyuan Metro service! On top of the prompt and reliable transit from city centre to the airport, you can now check-in your bulky baggages directly at the service counters in city centre and take the metro without the hassle of having to lug those big bags around.

This is how it was like at Taipei Main Station that was located in the city centre. Scan your passports, leave your bags, and then take the metro to the airport directly! It is really as easy and seamless as that!


The express trains were clean and comfortable to be in, but what’s more important is that the travelling from Taipei city centre to Taoyuan Airport is now made so convenient, reliable and fast.

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The Taoyuan Metro service runs from 6am in the morning all the way until 11pm at night everyday. They also have two different types of trains (express and commuter) which leaves every 15 minutes. To be honest, both trains are equally fast. An express train takes 40 mins from Taipei Main Station to the airport and a regular commuter train takes about 50mins. So there is absolutely no need to worry about missing trains or long waits at the stations.

The train stops at all terminals in the airport as well:


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And for those of you who prefer a more pictorial overview:

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And the price for a trip from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan International Airport? An affordable NTD 160 (which equates to about 7 SGD).
Here are also a few pointers for those of you who are looking at the In-town check-in and baggage drop-off service available in the city centre:

  1. Opening times: 06:00-21:30 (services will close three hours before flight departure)
  2. Passengers can only have in-town check-in service on the flight date and complete it no later than 3 hours before departure.
  3. Caution: In-town Check-in Services are unavailable for independent children younger than 12 years old, groups, and passengers with pets and extra-large/extra-long baggage.
  4. Airlines with In-town Check-in Services

I guess the new addition of AirAsia to the list would be a good news especially for us travelling over from Singapore since it’s quite a common airline to fly with for the locals. But seeing how new the metro system is now, I’m very certain the list of airlines the In-town Check-in service supports will be growing significantly in the near future.

And till then, safe travels!

United Nails Supply

There is something therapeutic about doing DIY manicures and pedicures. I know very well how it is always pampering to visit the nail salons to have our nails done, but to me, painting nails is almost like painting on canvas or doodling on paper – fun, helps kill time and perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons at home. Heh!

I was introduced to this new brand of nail lacquer recently and it is a brand that I’ve never used before. I hardly do such product reviews, but I’d really like to share a little more about this two new nail and heel-care products I got my hands on.

Creative Nail Design (CND) Shellac has been developed since 1979 and has a massive collection of more than 500 beautfy products that actually extends nail polish – from colour coatings, nail enhancement coatings, nail essentials to spa products.

My current obsession is this perfect hue of red called Decadence. It comes with a top coat and also a small bottle of SolarOil which does an amazing job of nourishing the cuticle and nail itself.

You might be thinking “Ok, what’s the big deal? I can find similar shade of red in other brands”
I’ve tried many different brands of nail polishes; from drugstore brands to the more luxurious ones which are only available in departmental stores, and the quality of the polish is really important. Especially reds because I can be quite lazy when it comes to base coats and low quality ones will just leave you with horribly stained nails when you remove the polish.

The CND Shellac polishes I’ve tried so far has really good oclour pigments and really easy to apply (think – no more ugly tiny bubbles after the polishes dry up!) The polishes are quick-drying, and this is really good news for me because I’m one of those nutcases who would often have the sudden idea of wanting to paint nails 30 minutes before bedtime. #truestory Removal of nail polish is really fuss-free as well, and it does not discolour my nail at all, even without base coat. Ok, I just have to emphasize how I was really blown away by how QUICKLY the polishes dry up on the nails! It’s super high-shine too, so if you’re really lazy (like me), you can even do away with the top coat and still have nice glossy nails!

(Pardon my horrible painting skills lol, need more practice!)

I play a lot of guitar at home and am totally not protective of my nails while going about my daily chores, and the polish I’ve had on lasted about 2 weeks. Pretty damn awesome for DIY manicure if you ask me! :p

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This other favourite product that I whisked away from unitedNAILS Supply is the Allpresan PRO Footcare series of products!

The best seller from this range is the foot foam creams they formulated for various concerns for the feet. From caring for dry rough skin, to cracked skin (omg hello all heels-lovers, here is your savior), foot deodorants and anti-fungal protection for those who has to be in covered shoes all day. Cracked, dry and not-so-pleasant smelling feet is just not sexy at all ok, people? Heh.

The best thing is – this product is not just one to protect you against the elements, but it also helps improve your skin texture and condition WHILE providing protection!

Application of the cream is made easy breezy with the brilliant foam applicator! Allpresan PRO Footcare has the patented, breathable BarrioExpert Technology which creates a fine, protective mesh on the skin after application which protects the skin from external factors while caring for your skin. I am quite particular about how the cream feels on the skin after application, and am proud to say that this one is not greasy, so you won’t have to sit around in your chair and wait 15 mins before being able to stand up and walk around without leaving footprints everywhere! Hahah! And because of the foam texture of the cream, you actually end up with A LOT more products (in volume) than say, cream from a tube.

United Nails Supply (UNS) is one of the leading nails and beauty distributor in Singapore, and their products can be found at these stores:

M Spa @ Tanglin Mall #03-19
Manicure Room @ Nex #01-48
Shangri-La Nail Spa @ Chua Chu Kang, Lot 1 #02-01
M Nail Bar @ Chua Chu Kang, Lot 1 #02-K9
Princess Manicure @ West Mall #05-07

So the next time if you happen to swing by these salons to get your nails done, feel free to request for United Nails Supply’s products from your friendly manicurist! 🙂

So yes, this is all you have from me today! Suddenly feeling all girly doing a review on beauty products on my blog! Hehe! ❤