Ming’s surprise birthday staycation at Village Hotel Katong and other shenanigans

I am SO RELIEVED my surprise plans for Ming’s birthday went smoothly! ((((PHEW)))) He had absolutely NO IDEA WHATSOEVER as to where we were headed or how we were gonna spend those 3 days. 

I basically told him to “pack light” and “follow me”. He did as I asked. I could have sold him off somewhere to be a slave and he wouldn’t even know it, hah! 

Weeks before, I secretly booked us a staycation at a quaint little Peranakan-themed hotel I’ve had my eye on for a while, located in an estate I adore SO MUCH, I practically grew up there!

It’s…..
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VILLAGE HOTEL KATONG.

My failed attempt at a pano shot of our room. Isn’t it beautiful? :)

My failed attempt at a pano shot of our room. Isn't it beautiful? :)

And this is a collage of our room! Looking at it makes me miss the place all over again.

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Am I really supposed to use this SKIN CLEANSER on my FITBIT?

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Have I told you about the time when I went on law internship, the time when my skin threw a MAJOR FIT? Like, full on ICKY BUMPY SKIN, RED RASHES kind of fit. 

That being my first step into “the real world”, I naturally felt stressed out – I couldn’t sleep well and didn’t poop for 2 weeks straight (no, you can’t unread this, bahahahaha!!!!). It certainly didn’t help that my office was located in an industrial park (read: air pollution level = INSANE).

I was so upset. Started to frantically research on skin care products I could use to help save my skin. They say you should begin with using the right type of cleanser, and one name kept popping up – CETAPHIL. Their Gentle Skin Cleanser was so highly-recommended throughout beauty forums and review sites, I picked one up pronto! 

I used a few other products alongside Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser to restore my skin to its original, unblemished state. Having had a positive experience with Cetaphil since then, I can confidently tell you it’s defo a brand I trust my skin with. :)

NOW let me also tell you that my beloved Fitbit Flex DIED recently, during one of my half marathon trainings (THANK THE UNIVERSE I also track my runs on the Nike app!). I was DEVASTATED. :'( Ming gave it to me on Valentine’s Day last year, and it was one of the things that made me a runner. But life goes on…. and move on I did – Ming got me a SUPER DOPE FITBIT CHARGE HR!

When I checked Fitbit’s site for care tips, I found THIS little nugget: Fitbit recommends Cetaphil for cleaning! I was like, whoa, this came at the right moment, cos I was about to write a proper review on Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser. 

Apparently, Fitbit recommends Cetaphil!   So, back to the cleanser. You’ve probably seen it before, many times.
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Am I really supposed to use THIS to clean my FITBIT?

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Why are you so unhappy?

“Why are you so unhappy?”

^^^^Found myself asking this question pretty often.

What IS it that makes us so unhappy?

Is it cos there’s something lacking in our lives? Are we facing too many problems? Or…. are we simply taking things for granted, and in the process of doing so, failing to see just how LUCKY we are?

I’ve thoroughly considered the above propositions, and I’m most inclined to believe those last bits in bold. I would know, I’m completely guilty. I’m a creature of routine. Day in, day out, I repeat the same pattern of living.

“OF COURSE I’ll get to workout tomorrow morning.”
“OF COURSE I’ll go to work after that.”
“OF COURSE I’ll return home safely after work.”

“Of course.” <– THIS makes everything seem like an entitlement, no?

Time to tweak things around a little perhaps? How about….
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“I’m thankful I managed a run this morning despite the rain!”
“I’m grateful I’m still employed!”
“I’m so lucky the train didn’t break down on my way home from work!” (Haha!!!! Sorry, I had to.)   

I’ve been thinking…. there are so many others out there struggling, trying to make ends meet, juggling work and personal problems, hoping for the best, DREAMING of living the kind of life that some of us are ALREADY LEADING…. yet, here we are complaining about trivial stuff, allowing ourselves to get upset over petty issues, dwelling on things that don’t matter…. when what we should really be doing is to APPRECIATE everything we are fortunate enough to be blessed with. 

I find myself needing the constant reminder that, not so long ago, the life I have right now is something I could only dream of.

Are there others leading better lives? Yes.
Are there others who are blessed with so much more? For sure!
But…. would I want to trade places with anybody? No, I don’t think so.
Cos happiness is not about having the MOST or the BEST of everything.

–> HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND. <–
The best part? YOU get to choose it. You wake up and decide to be happy.

This reminds me…. over the weekend I made a remark to Ming, I said….

“In a world where we can choose to be anything, I wonder why, in the past, I chose to be miserable all the time!”

^^^^Makes you think, eh? ;)

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When you’re a bad employee and don’t even know it

“The clock at the check-in reads 9:10AM but my watch says 8:59AM so I’m right on time.”

^^^^Sound familiar?

What about this?
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“Shall make a trip to the bathroom and start packing my bag at 5:45PM so I’ll be ready to make a mad dash for the front door at 5:59PM.”

Then perhaps you can relate to my piece on The Cambelles, entitled, “When you’re a bad employee and don’t even know it”.

Go on, have a read – don’t pretend to be an angel please. I feel like we must have all committed AT LEAST a handful of these “bad employee” crimes before, LOL!!!!

Aaaand…. as you read this, I’m in fact out of the office. Taking a few days off work to celebrate Ming’s birthday! :) Will be writing about that soon…ish.  

"When you're a bad employee and don't even know it"

For now, let’s just all be thankful that we are still employed. xx J 

Something sounded too good to be true. So I tried it out for you.

Fact #1: I am an ardent fan of Fjällräven Kånken bags.

Fact #2: Cos Fjällräven Kånken bags are EXTREMELY POPULAR and SELL SO FAST, they almost NEVER go on sale.

Fact #3: Some weeks ago, when I discovered an online discount code of 18% OFF Zalora purchases, I JUMPED at the chance to snag my VERY DOPE Fjällräven Kånken for CHEAP! I ended up paying S$105.78 for my bag…. which originally costs S$129. SAVED S$23.22!

Fact #4: On top of the 18% discount, I also received an additional awesome Zalora cashback of S$11.35 from ShopBack, which means I saved a total of S$34.57 on my bag.

S$94.43 for a Kånken? WHY NOT?
About that CASHBACK though…. I know what you’re thinking.
It sounds TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
RIGHT?

Just a bit of a background info here:
ShopBack is a site that pays you cash for shopping through them. That’s all.

See…. I did a little “EXPERIMENT” on behalf of all of us prudent shoppers.

I logged in to my Zalora account separately and applied the 18% discount code of “AMAZINGJUNE18” on my shopping cart – IT WORKED.

Soooo…. I thought since I was receiving the 18% discount EVEN IF I were to check out my shopping cart instantly WITHOUT going through ShopBack, there’s really no harm giving ShopBack a whirl to see if I’d really receive a cashback on top of my savings.

In the spirit of sharing good deals, perhaps I’ll just briefly take you through the system to show you how it worked for me, so you can enjoy some of these perks too.

FIRST, you sign up with ShopBack.

I’m SO SICK AND TIRED of long sign-up processes where they make you fill in about 542076207 forms, so here’s some good news – you can even sign up with your Facebook account. Dope.

First, you sign up with ShopBack.

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Who wants to look like a wrinkly prune?!

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I’ve got CARAMEL PUDDING LEGS >>>>> PROOF.

I don’t mind though; that uneven tan serves as a constant reminder of my evolution into a runner. See, on week days I train pre-dawn, before the sun rises, before the rest of the world awakes. On weekends, I choose to train under the hot sun; I CRAVE that warmth. 2 out of 7 days in broad daylight? That’s how I earned my tan.

Whilst I’m quite happy for the sun to leave marks on my limbs, I wear sun protection on my face and décolletage daily cos I don’t exactly enjoy having my freckles and neck wrinkles expand their territories. 

BECAUSE
WHO WANTS TO LOOK LIKE A WRINKLY PRUNE?!

Better take steps to prevent THAT^^^^, mmhmm?
So lately, I’ve been using this in place of my usual sunblock
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CETAPHIL UVA/UVB DEFENSE SPF 50+/UVA 28

Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defense SPF 50+/UVA 28

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I’ll just admit that I’m DAMN AUNTY lah, OK?

I’M DAMN AUNTY.

It seems like nowadays I refuse to settle on a purchase until I’ve done my research on all the possible discounts, offers and promotions available to ensure I get the best deal.

Damn aunty right?

And by “research”, I mean Google. No, seriously man – I can’t believe I used to buy stuff without bothering to check for discounts…. imagine the amount of money I could have saved!

Just last week, thanks to my, ahem, “research”, I managed to save a WHOPPING 18% OFF an item that hardly ever goes on sale cos it sells SO WELL, you’d better snag it if you can even get a 10% discount.

SEE?
I saved SGD19.62 on my order, 18% off the original price!
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How? BECAUSE I BOTHERED TO GOOGLE FOR DISCOUNT CODES. And I tell you, whilst you can find plenty of online discount coupons, only a handful of them work. The rest are either garbage or require you to use a certain bank’s credit card. Soooo…. I was SUPER THRILLED about the 18% discount! #somuchwin

Eh, I’ve always been skeptical about such third party online discount sites, OK? Cos they simply seem too good to be true. Who gives you a discount without wanting something in return? Besides, third party sites are almost always full of ads, or they try to con you into signing up for some email list, or register an account to access these “privileges” – you know, gimmicky stuff – then BAM! your inbox gets flooded by spam mail pronto. Urgh.

Based on my Googling experience, I conclude that there are only a few sites publishing up-to-date discount codes that ACTUALLY WORK. I’ve come across sites that prompt you to click multiple times to “REVEAL CODE NOW!” only to show you a bunch of useless letters that don’t work. Sites that generate 5824907690276 annoying pop-ups FOR NOTHING. It gets a little frustrating sometimes, it’s like being taken on a wild goose chase.

We’re like, what, 2 weeks? into the Great Singapore Sale and I can tell you, I’m waiting for more discounts to come up before I spend my hard-earned money today on stuff that’ll most likely go on 50% off next week. Good discounts are worth waiting for, no? #auntymodeON

You’ve probably already Googled “discount code Singapore” like I did, and trust me when I say I know how painful and disappointing the process can get. To save you some agony, I’ll let you in on this small shortcut – one of the sites I discovered that generates Great Singapore Sale discount codes. In fact, it’s the one I used to get that 18% discount. Getting good deals is so PAINLESS now. What are some of your favourite discount sites? Share share leh! xx J

Would you still go to work if you weren’t paid?

My question to you today is: Would you still go to work if you weren’t paid?

Would you?
I wouldn’t.

MAY was full of cynical thoughts. These thoughts revolve mainly around WORK and MONEY. I’ve been thinking…. will I be stuck doing this FOREVER? 10 years in the same line of work and surely there’s GOT to be an end to this. Every day I remind myself that I’m doing this for money. 10 years in the same industry and if I’m still here, then the career’s a pretty good fit, no? Realistically, as long as I’m getting paid, whether I love the job or not is irrelevant; I’m simply offering my services in exchange for food on the table.    

They say do something you love and you’ll never work another day. Problem? I don’t know what I “love” to do. Do you?

They also say work like you don’t need the money. I totally get that, I do. But until I’m doing what I “love”, that wouldn’t apply.

And they, too, say that you shouldn’t waste your life and time on something you don’t truly like. If you’re not happy where you are, MOVE. Change. Such wise words, but easier said than done.   

Assuming I take a leap of faith and quit my current job to pursue what I “love”. From a pragmatic angle, what I “love” to do may not pay half as much. Will I be happy doing what I “love”, when I’m starving and struggling to make ends meet? Will I then regret my decision and hop right back to where I came from so I can continue to be trapped in this cycle of cynical thoughts until the day I die?

I don’t know.

What I DO know is that, at this moment as you cast your eyes over these words, I lack the bravery to take that leap, to make that change. I won’t even use “I can’t” as a lame excuse to stay put, cos I know I CAN. It’s only a matter of choice.

Whilst I ponder over that issue, I should also say that sometime mid-May, I finally opened the door and let a couple of people out of my life…. for ever, I hope. People I once held dear to my heart and thought were so important. Turns out they really don’t give two shits – then so be it. Adios and may our paths never cross.     

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How to behave (or not) at a job interview

After having spent 10 YEARS in the same line of work, I’m beginning to wonder if this is IT. You know, if I’m going to be spending the rest of my life doing this, as in…. am I stuck doing this job FOREVER? Whilst 10 years isn’t exactly a super long period, it ain’t short either. I’m amazed I’m still here.

You know, the other day I was just thinking of the time when I was back in the job-hunting game after leaving my second job – that was what, about 4 or 5 years ago maybe? – sending out application after application, attending interview after interview, only to be ridiculed. You should have seen the crap offers I received. I felt quite humiliated, discouraged and depressed back then, bank account dwindling, but I’m glad those days are OVER. When I finally landed a reasonable offer, I told myself, “OK, THIS IS IT. No quitting unless you want to be poor again. No giving up unless you want to be humiliated again.” Never looked back!

With that job-hunting episode in mind, I thought it’d be fun to write a piece on how to behave (or not) at a job interview, which is the title of my piece for the month of May on The Cambelles.  

Well, if you’ve ever been asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?”, you can certainly relate to my post. If so, I hope you are amused. ;)

"How to behave (or not) at a job interview"

I’ll be interested to learn about your job interview horrors and other ridiculous questions you’ve been asked before. We can all have a good laugh over a cup of tea then. xx J

I KAINDA like this body wash….

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I ADORE bath and body products. I usually have a few on rotation. I especially like fruity types…. and rose-scented ones. Whilst I have my favourites, I am constantly on the lookout for new, interesting varieties to try out.

Recently, KAINDA sent me a bottle of SENSUOUS BODY WASH (ooh, sensuous…. hmm). Prior to this, I’d never heard of the brand. But I’m always open to new stuff so…. if you’re curious too, I’ve done the homework for you.

The first thing I noticed about the bottle, was the silhouette of that SEXAY LAYDEE – well, damn, if I could look like that – I thought she could be the female version of Robin Hood, what with her bow and arrows.

TURNS OUT I WAS RIGHT.
BECAUSE.

The name “Kainda” actually means…. *DRUMROLL, PLEASE*
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“The Hunter’s Daughter”!

Kainda Sensuous Body Wash

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