Colours in a bowl


Feeling victorious with the soft yolks as eggs are hard to get right, consistently…. and I can’t stand overcooked eggs, unless they’re enjoyed with sambal in a plate of nasi lemak.

Ingredients: Soft boiled eggs, butterhead lettuce, cucumber, red onions, dried cranberries, walnuts, orange cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, lemon, extra virgin olive oil

My Skincare Regime

I’m sitting outside typing out this post, under the shade while the boys play at the playground or cycle around the area. We try to do this every morning so they get their daily sun (for eye development & I’m pleased to say their eyesight is perfect) & exercise so they strengthen their minds & body. Exercise makes you a mentally strong person, do you know that?

Yes I’ve been instructed to keep away from the sun for 3 weeks following the laser treatment for my warts, as shared in the previous post. This is to allow the skin to heal properly. And if you ever do a facial involving laser therapy, you have to do the same. I went for a trial session some time this year & the staff failed to tell me that. In fact she failed to explain that what I was getting was indeed laser therapy…but that’s a whole different long story I shall not get into.

Some time early last year I wrote about my skincare journey. I’m trying to recall the things that have happened since…. But I can’t. All I remember is somewhere along the line, things went bad mid this year when I started to develop sensitised, red & itchy skin. Then I thought it was the environment & weather. The field next to our housing area was torn apart to build new flats & our place no doubt became more dusty. And there are always construction & road works happening around us. This is Singapore. It is normal.

Because my skin became so red & blemished, again I plunged into research & reading trying to understand what was happening to me. Perhaps I should have gone to a dermatologist right away but I didn’t, thinking it was just a matter of finding the right skincare products. What I learned, whether right or wrong I can’t be 100% sure, but just going by feel, was this.

Firstly, skin health is closely related to immunity, so my skin not behaving was related to my general health & that could explain the warts that should have gone off on its own, but decided to multiply instead. Secondly, I was going on the natural path & have put some essential oils on my face that were too strong or not suitable. I found out that some essential oils cause photo-sensitivity ie skin becoming red & sensitive with sun exposure. Couple that with not being diligent in applying sunblock, that surely worsened my facial skin. And apparently with using oatmeal to wash my face day & night, I may have been over-exfoliating & that again isn’t good for the skin barrier.

So any of the above could have caused my face to deteriorate. Since then I’ve changed the way I look after my skin by doing the following:

– fortifying my health with multi-vitamins & fish oil. If you know me, you’d know I hardly eat unhealthy foods. But even that wasn’t enough to improve my immunity. I was surviving on medication the 2-3 years in Singapore. Enough is enough, I thought. I have to accept that I need extra help & since taking these supplements my health has slowly improved but it was the fish oil in recent times that have really improved my skin sensitivity, no longer red, raw & itchy. Also, I have been taking more yogurt (Yakult & plain yogurt) and fermented foods (I love miso paste and kinchi) to improve my gut health. Gut health = skin health as the good bacteria clears unwanted things from re-entering the body (if you’ve heard of the term leaky gut syndrome, it is exactly that) causing an inflammatory response ie the immune system goes into overdrive. Why allow your body to do that?

– I stopped using oatmeal to wash day & night, instead keeping it for twice weekly exfoliating & I usually let it sit on my face for longer to absorb the milky goodness of the oatmeal. I now use a gentle, milky cleanser from Pure Heals (Sephora stocks this brand if you want to try). I think it has a kind of preservative but otherwise mostly safe. But I’m still trying to find one that is totally safe.

-When I exfoliate twice weekly, I also do a mask. Once a deep cleansing one, once a deep hydrating one, products from Pure Heals as well.

-I moisturise my face A LOT! In the mornings after spraying a hydrating toner (Sukin), I apply a light moisturiser I got from iherb that didn’t do well when I had sensitive skin but now taking it well. After it fully absorbs, going about my work at home for half an hour, I return to apply aloe vera gel a friend kindly recommended, then I protect my skin with sunscreen. That keeps it good for the entire morning. Yes, just the morning. I can no longer expect my skin to stay good, or the products to work for the entire day. It is just wrong to expect that. My skin in my 30s isn’t like when I was in my 20s. So by lunch time I spray on my hydrating toner, slap on another layer of aloe vera followed by sunscreen…. And do that again late afternoon. And oh boy! My skin loves me for it. It has been looking so good. So I now know that once a day moisturising isn’t good enough. Besides, sunscreen doesn’t last long. You need to slap on according to the product’s instructions ie every 2 hours or 4 hours etc.

– at night I use a different toner, something that is more deep cleansing & pore refining, then a richer moisturiser from Sukin. And just before sleeping I layer it with a choice of tamanu, avocado or rosehip oil depending on what I feel like. I also apply teatree oil on any pimple or blemish. In the morning when I wake my skin looks awesome so I know I’m doing it right. Previously I would wake with a layer of oil on my face. Now it is completely hydrated, plumped & matte.

– I sometimes apply makeup before heading out and I found putting a layer of aloe vera gel is the best prep for my skin. It makes the foundation goes on smoothly and my face stays matte for a long time. Just amazing.

So there you go, my current skincare regime. I hope I haven’t left out any other important details. I think it is good for me to jot all these down so I can look back at some point in the future, be thankful for the good positive steps I’ve taken to improve my overall skin health and well being but also to continue to learn and improve on what I already know right now. Life is a journey. We never stop learning.

Last but not least…

For sunscreen, try the Kiss My Face brand which I now use and absolutely love. No oily residue whatsoever. It rates highly on iherb & it got the BEST rating on Paula’s Choice, a website that provides well-researched information on hundreds of skincare products of different brands for safety & efficiency. Again, I read & discovered that if your sunscreen is filled with harmful chemicals, it is good for about an hour after which it damages your skin more than helps it. And I love the Paula’s Choice website, it allows me to make informed decisions before I purchase a certain product to try.

If you have any awesome tips and information, feel free to share them with me.


 Amazing the amount of products we need for our face. I’m sure mine is already considered few, compared to other women in Singapore. I’ve got a bottle hidden behind that mask, which is a serum I apply every now and again. And I think I need to have a light but hydrating eye serum for day time. The list of wants never ends, LOL


A Little Vanity is Healthy

(I so need to update this entire blog, arrghhh. I have friends who blog consistently & I’m feeling like I need to do something with mine, just don’t know if I have the time….And this is my attempt to revive my writing for the 42nd time! Double arrgghhh)

Am I vain? Yes and no. Yes, because I like to look at myself in the mirror. I like to look good. Growing up, my sisters and I would dance around silly, we play modelling by wearing our mum’s clothes and strutting down a pretend walkway. We even play Miss Universe where we take turns to hold the title and wave our hands smiling at the pretend camera..ok this is getting embarrassing, I won’t say any more. Today, I still like trying out different clothes I have or in the shops to see how the latest trends look on me. I rummage through my sister’s wardrobe when I visit them. I watch make-up tutorials on YouTube to learn how to enhance my eyes, do an egg facial (sounds yuck but it really feels good after) and do my own manicure. So yes, I am your typical vain woman.

But I say no to being vain as well. Because I don’t like spending too much time & money to look good. I won’t sign a two-thousand dollar package on spas or facials that requires me to use up 3 hours of my precious weekend just on self-pampering. I won’t spend on expensive skincare products. I don’t take 2 hours to beautify myself before going out. I have yet to pay for a pedicure. Yes, that’s right. I have never once stepped into a shop to do a pedicure (maybe one day I will).That doesn’t mean to say I roll my eyes at someone else who does. But these are things I don’t do. And don’t even mention Botox or other more invasion beauty treatments one could have these days to make yourself look better, slimmer, younger. Again, no judgement on those who do. Just something I never thought to explore.

So my skin has been problematic in the past few years which I put down to the move to Singapore and changes in my environment. Then I started running more so being exposed to sun for longer periods worsened my skin. I would often forget to apply sunblock. Also, I always thought that it is unnecessary to protect my skin if I were to just walk to the market or Kai’s school and back. No harm. Just a little sun here and there won’t hurt.

But I started to realise I have spots on my face. Instead of upping my vanity, say no to spots and do something about it, I just put it down to normal imperfections one could have as they age …I’m all about ageing gracefully right? Taking it as it comes, right? Don’t be so vain, right? But then, the spots grew bigger very slowly. One pop up just above my eyelid and grew to the point it became noticeable to others. And that was when I thought, things growing in size isn’t normal. I better get it checked. The GP who does minor procedures cut it off, said it was some kind of wart and it was infectious. The term “infectious” should have rung a warning bell in my head, but his blasé attitude about it and failure to tell me more made me forget about my other spots for a while. That was mid this year. Then recently I noticed one area at the side of my face started increasing in size, went back to the doctor and he blasted this freezing thing to kill the growth. This time, I was adamant to get more information out of him. Again, I found out that the growth is a kind of wart, it is infectious, can spread, and will continue to grow in size. And that made me decide I need to see a dermatologist to remove other spots using laser.

I went to the dermatologist yesterday. He looked at my face for…5 seconds..pulled out a paper, mumbled something then said “ahhh altogether treatment will cost $800…” …..????!!!!…..Eight hundred dollars? Errmmm…Can I get back to you, I need to talk to my husband (the accountant!!!) about this. To cut the long story short, I went ahead with the laser treatment after poking and prodding about my condition, my lack of medical insurance to cover the cost etc etc. Personally, I think many doctors are such poor communicators and educators. If more information were to be relayed to me by the first doctor, I could have done something about it earlier rather than later. Maybe this isn’t life threatening so it isn’t important to talk about it? I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m now seated in front of my computer with red spots….Over 20 of them…all lasered out. Had I been a little MORE VAIN, I would have told myself, I don’t want an imperfect complexion, I want to do something about it. But being NOT SO VAIN, I thought it is just…well, me. I have never had perfect skin. I can live with these imperfections. Thankfully, I was A LITTLE VAIN because spending time looking in the mirror made me notice changes in the spots I had. In all these time, I’ve been also reading more about skin health and the book I have said there are more incidence of young people are having skin cancer on their face because of prolonged exposure to phone screens and wifi. Wifi signals also disrupts sleep patterns which affect your skin’s ability to heal at night. I’m not sure how much of that is true but I’ve since completely switched off my phone during bedtimes. And I’m thankful the spots I have are benign.

Other information about skin health I’ve learned include:

– skin health relates closely to the health of your internal systems. Any changes (which we have always put down to normal ageing process, a thinking that should change) in the skin is a sign that something is wrong on the inside. Inside could mean mental, emotional health or your internal organs. Skin health and gut health is closely related as well. Look after your gut, you look after your skin and vice versa.

– there are food that provides natural SPF, the same food that protects you from ill health…Fruits and vegetables, fish oils, food rich in good bacteria just to name a few. Apple sunscreen according to the directions stated on the product. Sunscreen applied in the morning won’t last and give you protection throughout the day. Keep on applying.

– how you cook your food is important. Eating food cooked in high heat in the absence of moisture ie grilling, frying, roasting, barbecuing causes your skin to age faster. It is better to cook food with water ie boiling, steaming, poaching etc

-too much sugar in your diet in the form of carbohydrates or just plain sugar, ages you very quickly as well. It breaks down collagen in your skin. So it pays to cut sugar and carbs from your diet.

-dim, dark surrounding just before bedtime, plus enough sleep and rest is so important for skin repair. I think we all know that at the back of our minds but we don’t do this enough.

There are plenty more information I have read. And I’ve since fine-tuned my diet base on what I’ve been reading. Basically, I now know that if I take steps to look after my skin, I’m directly affecting my inner health and overall well being. I mean, who desires to have flawed skin? Who wouldn’t appreciate a nice, smooth and clear complexion? When you look at yourself in the mirror and are happy with what you see, you feel good about yourself and you have that base level of confidence to face the day and achieve things.

So look after yourself. Be a little vain. If there are changes you notice in your body, whether a growing spot on your face or pain that doesn’t go away, don’t leave it unchecked. Deal with it. Ask questions. Read to know more. Ask for help. Be healthy and fit so you can be happy and live the life you want.

The kids noticed my face this morning and ask what happened to me.

“I have yucky stuff growing on my face and the doctor used a laser gun to zap zap zap it all away!”

They screamed and ran off .


Telok Belangah Hill Park (Henderson Waves)

Last Saturday morning, Ray didn’t have his usual football session. So we decided to make use of the morning by taking the kids to the park for walking exercise and green therapy. I’ve been wanting to visit Henderson Waves since seeing the bridge featured on a documentary. So we drove to the nearest parking spot, parked the car and went on foot to explore Telok Belangah Hill Park where the Waves are located.


Even though the weather was warm by late morning we didn’t feel it as there were many towering trees around. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by nature


The start of Henderson Waves. I really like the wooden structure and how it blends with the surrounding


The bridge is so vast and the 360-degrees view amazing


It is a ‘wave’ because there are wave-like structures on one side of the bridge and serves as a sheltered spot for rest and play


View of the city centre from over the ‘waves’


View of the sea, ships and high-end condominiums over the other side. We walked further towards where the cable cars are but did not hop on it. Save it for another time


Then we ended our lovely morning with lunch at Vivocity just nearby and more play at the shallow water on the mall’s rooftop. Singapore in all its urban development and changes still has ‘green’ areas for our enjoyment.

Self-control and patience

This morning I walked to the market twice without being tempted to buy any hawker food, despite not having had any breakfast in the morning. When I had realised what I had done, I was pretty proud of myself. What stopped me from spending $2.50 for a packet of yummy noodles or chicken rice? It wasn’t the price of food, it wasn’t the distance of the market, I mean I was already there. Twice! In fact it would have been easier to purchase the food for lunch, instead of cooking something for myself, which I’ve been faithfully doing everyday.

It really is my mental strength and self-control. And I have so much of that. Being a fit and healthy individual takes a lot of inner strength. Perhaps that is why we are naturally drawn to healthy and fit people. We see them as desirable because inside the wall of muscles, there is a strong character, a person who is disciplined, hardworking, able to take control of his life and not give up. Nobody ever says, “errr….your arms are so well-toned…you’re sure you want this life?” No. Usually people go “woah! Look at you, I wish my tummy was as flat as that”. And that’s the same reason why being overweight or obese isn’t just a physical disorder. It is a mental, emotional one. What stops you from eating all the food available around you? Your beliefs about nutrition and how it affects your body together with your self-control.

There’s so much that could be said about other areas of our lives where we need to exercise self-control and patience, not just when it comes to health and fitness but I’m using that as an example because of what happened this morning. I think both virtues come hand in hand. When you exercise self-control to say “no” to certain things, you need patience to wait for other things to happen. Saying “no” to this guy even though you’re dying to be in a relationship, then waiting for the right guy to come along, for example.

And I think these characteristics are so lacking in today’s society where you are encouraged to have something now, rather than wait. We want immediate results. We want quick action. We want instant noodles. But in life, there are many areas in which we have to wait and things don’t happen immediately.

And so I believe that these virtues should be cultivated in little ones. No child is ever too young to learn. A one-year-old should have some moments where he is asked to wait for his food. A three-year-old can be taught to wait for Christmas before opening his presents. Give them opportunities to exercise these important virtues, but guide them along the way and praise them in their achievements.

On Sundays my boys would get sweets from Sunday School teachers. I’ve been telling them to have the courage to say “no” to those things if they were offered some. But I don’t force them. I observe to see if they have the strength to do it themselves. And sometimes they come running to me exclaiming happily that they did not take those sweets. At times if I see them with a handful, I’d say to them, “keep it, don’t eat until you’ve finish your lunch”. And it may be over an hour before they get to finally enjoy their treats. Its a given that they can’t open their presents til Christmas even though the parcels are under the tree a full 3 weeks before. Every morning, they don’t get to switch on any screen ie TV, computer to look at. They have to wait until after kindy to enjoy a bit of screen time.

As adults, what are the areas in our lives where we need to practice self-control and/or patience? Those characteristics help us stay on-course and work towards whatever goals we have for ourselves. For me, I keep those goals close in my heart so that I’m constantly reminded of it. I pause to look at the consequences of my actions and decide what I want to do knowing those consequences. Perhaps there’s more but at the moment, I can only come up with two.

As parents, you have to be brave enough to say no to your children sometimes. Giving in all the time isn’t a healthy thing to do and it’ll affect their inner strength as they grow up. Helping your children accept “no” from you now can mean they grow up as adults that can accept a “no” from themselves. I hope that makes sense.

And I don’t know why rejecting hawker food can bring so many other thoughts to my mind this morning.

Weekend gardening at Jamie’s Italian

It all started when I saw a video website dedicated to featuring different interesting Singaporeans and what they do for the community. This particular video caught my attention, one about an urban farmer in Singapore. Urban farmer?? Singapore?? Such people exist? I knew then I had to get in touch and get involved somehow. The video introduced me to a local social enterprise known as Edible Gardens and after doing a bit of research on the internet I found that I could join the Edible Community Garden group on Facebook and so I did (it is a closed group so you have to send a message to get invited). Every Saturday we get invited to various gardens to work on. One I’ve been to was a plot at the back of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall at Balestier (I of course should have blogged about that). 

The Saturday that have just gone past, we got invited to help plant close to 100 pots of herbs to beautify Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant, Jamie’s Italian at Vivocity, due to open soon. Not one to pass on a chance such as this, I informed Ray I was going, kids were greatly encouraged to participate. I was happily surprised when Ray decided to skip his morning soccer to join us.

We (the adults) enjoyed ourselves filling a planter box with different soils and planting rosemary and thyme in it. There were so many people helping so we only needed to do one. The boys were however distracted by the train ride they thought they deserve as they watched the mini train go past on the walkway just outside the restaurant. We did let them hop on it after the planting session.

I must say I’m really happy to be given this opportunity to do something I truly enjoy. I’ll no doubt be involved in various projects they have in the future, some on a continual basis like the one on the grounds of Sun Yat Sen Hall, or a one-off project such a this. To top it off, we were given free pots of herbs to take home.

zP1050238A mobile planter box (its on wheels)


The row of rosemary and thyme creates an aromatic screen


Some people were tasked to take cuttings and plant them in little pots which I believe will sit on each dining table


Happy kids…at least happy enough to have this photo taken before the whining about the train ride began again


The boys with our pot of oregano, which I’ve left with the provision shop uncle downstairs as it would mean this pot will get enough water and sunlight. Yesterday evening I cooked a vegetarian pasta dish and added some basil (also given) and oregano and gave a portion to the shop uncle to have a taste. Hope he liked it.