My wish for 2017…

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If there’s one thing that I’d like to change about this blog, I guess it would be to blog more consistently. It’s always the same for me, I start off the new year making a resolution to blog more frequently and consistently and I do that for maybe 1-2 months and I fall off the bandwagon again. You know, life takes over when you’re busy balancing work and house matters like cooking meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry etc. I think I’ll try something new this round and I hope it works.

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My struggle with acne

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Well, well, well… where do I start with this series of posts? So a little background about myself for the new readers: I’m 31 years old this year (2016), and sadly, I am still suffering from acne. When I was younger, I thought that acne is part of puberty and was not too bothered by my pimples. When I entered my teens, I was very active in school and did quite a lot of sports. As far as I can remember, I had uneven skintone due to sun exposure, large pores and blackheads on the nose and occasional pimples when Aunt Flo was visiting, but my skin was still fairly alright. Of course, I was jealous of my other girl friends who still had flawless skin (think fair skin with tiny pores!) despite them going through puberty like me.

When I graduated from high school and went to do my diploma in another school, again I was faced with new friends who somehow possessed fairy-like skins. At this stage, I was 17 years old and started to dabble with makeup. I would apply foundation, powder, blusher, mascara and lipgloss to school. I started to place more emphasis on my skincare since I now use makeup. However, without the proper knowledge on skincare, there were a lot of trials and errors and self-diagnosing. Looking back, my skin started to break out more during this stage, probably because I was not using the right products and not removing my makeup well. I had more pimples (huge ones filled with pus), blackheads and whiteheads. While I know I shouldn’t, I love to squeeze them, causing more problems at the end!

All these while, my mother still maintained “it’s ok to have pimples. It’s all part of puberty”. But my growing phase came, stuck around for a while, and left (I took it that I’m out of puberty when my height stagnated), and I was still suffering from acne. There wasn’t any sign that my acne condition was getting better. In fact, it was getting worse as I got older.

Then I went to Australia for university for 2 years. It was my first time living in a temperate country, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my skincare. I mean I was already struggling with attaining good skin when I was in Singapore, what more with the changing seasons in Australia! When I was there, I was introduced to the plethora of skincare and cosmetic brands, and I became obsessed with cosmetics (oh, vain vain me) and really experimenting a lot. Needless to say, all hell broke loose with my skin when those experiments and it was the lowest point of my life where my skin is concerned. I finally decided to seek professional help.

My regret is that I took my condition lightly and did not take steps to educate myself properly. As a result of my low self-esteem caused by my acne, I do not have many photos from my university days (arguably one of the best experiences of my life) because that was when my skin was at its worst. When you look like a sea monster with so many papules on your face, your confidence level takes a hit, you get withdrawn and taking a photo was one of the last things you want to do. After all, why document your acne-filled face? Sigh.

So if you’re young and suffering from acne, and don’t let anyone tell you “oh, you’ll grow out of this phase soon”! It is your skin and your life, and if you find that acne is hurting your self-esteem, take action and seek help before it is too late!

In my next post, I will touch on the solutions I’ve tried, in my long arduous journey for flawless skin.

A few characters in my acne journey that I thought you should ‘know’:
1) My GP: I went to him for help when I was 15, and then again when I was 20. He prescribed doxycycline (antibiotics) and Diane35 (birth control pills), and also did laser treatment for me.
2) Kin Mun clinic: I went to Dr Victor Wee when I was 23. He prescribed Retin-A, AHA and BHA, and also introduced me to light therapy.
3) Dr Valentin Low: He was my mum and my sister’s aesthetics doctor for a period of time. He did IPL treatment for me.

Our shoes need some lovin’ too

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Sometimes I feel that I have a split personality, like how I see myself as an introvert when others see me as an extrovert. I later found out that there is such a thing as Ambivert. I think I’m one of those.

I also have a weird thing when it comes to taking care of myself. I place high emphasis on my skin (because I’m always battling acne. Damn those hormones!), and my hair (I cannot live without my hair conditioner and hair oils/serums), but I often don’t exercise enough thus those dimply thighs and flubber around my waist and hips. Oh, let’s not forget those flabby arms too.

Then we come to my material possessions. I only wash my clothes on the gentle cycle or wool wash if possible. I don’t use the dryer because they shorten the lifespan of my clothes. My bags are placed back into their protective dust bags after use if they originally came in one. My bags are also never placed on the floor (with the exception of my laptop backpack and Longchamp Le Pliage – those two are meant to be abused).

However, I just had a startling revelation that I don’t take care of my shoes at all. Late last week, I noticed that the rubber heels of one of my Maud Frizon flats had worn off, and I was now wearing down the wooden heel structure! I was instantly so upset with myself because I love my Maud Frizons and that is my favorite pair out of the 5 pairs I bought on my honeymoon. I had ZH bring the pair of shoes back to Bremen for repairs (because the cobbler is too far from me in my little town here).

Looking back, I have constantly abused my shoes. Earlier this year, I had to send my winter boots for repairs though they were only 3 months old because of the same problem. The heels had worn out. Previously, I always had to send my heels to the cobbler for repairs because I had worn down the heels so much that the rubber soles were gone and I was wearing down the NAILS in the heel stem. You could hear the nails filing down on the concrete pavement. Ugh.

I should make a routine now, to check on the state of my shoes, to clean them regularly after wear, to show them some loving care and repair them at the first sign of damage before it is too late and cause me some heartbreak. Those shoes will then last longer, I hope.

Do you have any tips to share? Or are you a shoe abuser, like me?

Staycation @ Swissotel Singapore

Oh my, I was looking through my Dropbox folder and saw that I have some photos from our May 2015 staycation at  Swissotel that have yet to be blogged. This staycation happened directly after our staycation at The Scarlet Hotel. Yup, I planned yet another surprise for Mr Goh and hahaha, my clueless husband is clueless.

After checking out from TSH, we went to Prego for a lunch buffet (which by the way, I thought was severely overpriced and just so-so because I don’t like ala carte buffets). Then I led him to the front desk of Swissotel. *cue surprised face from ZH* Hehehe… Check in was relatively quick, considering how busy the hotel was with the SEA games happening that week.

I had booked a room with Harbour View (paid extra for the view), but there was no view to speak off. My balcony was facing the direction of Funan Centre.

Swissotel Harbour View room

Needless to say, I was hugely disappointed and requested for a change of rooms. The replacement room was much better, though the décor was dated (the first room was in the newer wing, while the second room was in the old wing). The balcony faced the Esplanade and MBS directly and we were lucky to have sunny skies that day. By night, the view was even more mesmerizing as the lights of the buildings painted a different scenery from the day.
2015-05-31 15.27.06Swissotel Harbour View room - night2015-05-31 15.09.32

The location of Swissotel was unbeatable. We were not into shopping, so we just lazed around in the room and watched TV until dinner time, went to Suntec City for dinner and strolled back to the hotel via City Link and bought some bubble tea and MacDonalds as post-dinner snacks.

However, comparing Swissotel to The Scarlet, I think we both preferred The Scarlet for its unique décor. Swissotel feels like a business hotel to us with standard amenities and no unique touches.

“Give me, can?” or “Buy for me”

Rant alert.

In recent years, I’ve been irked by the above 2 phrases quite frequently. Whenever I post on Facebook like a good deal or some stuff I want to share with my friends, I would have a couple of friends who always like to say things like “I want. Buy for me”.

Now I wouldn’t mind it so much if they meant “could you please help me buy (and I will pay you when you’re back)”, but rather they meant “I want. Buy it for me (as a present for me)”. Say it once or twice, I’ll treat it as a joke (though it’s not even funny in the first place). Now that I find particularly annoying because if you always say things like that, it’s not a joke anymore. And really, are you that poor and that cheapskate to keep requesting for gifts?? Even more so if you’re not posting it as a question, but a statement. Like you’re ordering me to buy it for you as a gift.

I used to be nice and friendly and still reply to such comments, but now I can’t be arsed to do so. I simply just ignore their comments and reply to others. Because if you don’t feed such behaviour, it dies off after a while. I think that’s the best way I can deal with the situation without ruining the friendship.

Make ahead meals?

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Ever since I started work again, I’ve been making lots of freezer meals/make-ahead meals for my husband and myself since I’m not there during the week to cook his dinners, and I sometimes get a little lazy to do the whole she-bang all by myself every day. (Check out my new tag “freezer friendly recipes”)

Some staples that we love: veggie meatballs, pre-marinated chicken breasts, pickled cucumbers, Korean style banchan (spinach in sesame oil, beansprouts in sesame oil), Chinese dumplings, shoyu eggs, breakfast wraps. -> Recipes will be available as soon as I get some nice photos!

I know of some people who think that make-ahead meals are a big no-no because “not fresh”, but I think it really depends. If you know how to store the food properly and heat it thoroughly before consuming, they can taste just as good as freshly prepared! I don’t think the nutritional value of make-ahead meals is significantly much lower than freshly prepared meals… well, at the very least, they beat a packet of instant noodles anytime. Though I don’t mind some instant noodles from time to time… Shin ramen, Mama creamy tom yum, Tung-I chicken & onion… mmm yum.

I also know of some who say “must faster consume, if not spoil” even though the items have been in the freezer for only 1 week or so. Erm, if your frozen item is meant to be consumed quickly, then there’s no reason for a “make-ahead” meal is there? Of course, I’m not saying to store the food in the freezer for 6 months or even a year, but surely a week or 2 in the freezer is fine!

But as you can see, most of our staples are for savory dishes, and I’m sorely lacking recipes for breakfasts. It gets a little boring to eat breakfast wraps again after 7 consecutive days, and please don’t get me started on those breakfast casseroles where you prep everything the night before and put it in the oven to bake in the morning. I always wonder who has that time to wait 40 mins for a casserole to bake in the morning! And that’s not including the time to pre-heat the oven and the time to let the casserole cool before you can finally dig in! Who wakes up that early on a workday morning?

So I wanted to reach out to the handful of peeps who are reading my blog (thank you very much for taking time to read my senseless and disorganized rants, by the way), do you have any breakfast ideas that can be prepped ahead of time, and ready to go in the morning? Please let me know!

Long overdue

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Hmm… where do I begin? So I finally got my German residence permit and work permit done after months of waiting for an appointment and then having incomplete paperwork by the authorities, and then more waiting (German bureaucratic system!). Everything fell in place rather quickly after receiving the permits because you know, everything else and everyone else were kinda waiting for the legal papers to be done.

So I packed up a suitcase (or two…, or three) and moved within the week to a new location, a place where I thought I would feel out of place. To be honest, I’ve been here for a month now, and sometimes I do feel out of place especially during the evenings and nights. I miss the bright city lights and traffic noises which I’m accustomed to. I feel safe in that kind of environment, like I’m not alone.

This village is so quiet that I hardly see more than 5 people on the way to work (or to home). Granted, it’s only a short 10 minute walk, but I would expect to see more people on the streets when it’s peak hour! Also, now that it’s winter, the sun sets earlier and it gets dark around 6.30pm, so I feel scared to walk alone then. So I try to leave work on time (that means 4.45pm, or 5pm latest), go to the supermarket and head home as soon as possible. The street lamps are pretty dim and few here, so I can’t see far ahead, only a small area around the lamp posts.

Though I hate the darkness, I sometimes look up to the dark sky in the evening or night, and I see stars in the clear sky and I try to appreciate life for what it is now. After all, if I were in a city, there would be too much light pollution for me to see any stars. There is no need for hustle and bustle every single day. And like what I joked with my colleague today, at least there’s a train station here!

Mr Goh has also started taking German lessons which take place every Monday & Wednesday after work, so I guess I have more free time to catch up on blog posts, experiment more with my cooking and baking, and also revising my German (I’m also starting lessons with a private tutor).

I will finally have time to finish up those draft blog posts from eons ago. Till then, toodles!