Wednesday, December 25, 2013

[Review] Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel


Photo By: Elin Chow

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel - I got this product when I visited Korea 2 months back. I must say this is a very good yet affordable product which I really regretted for not getting more.

What Nature Republic Says

- Its made of 92% Aloe Vera from Jeju island.
- Gently soothe sensitive skin caused by harmful environment
- Can be easily absorbed into skin due to its cooling and light texture
- Reduces skin stress, thus creating a healthy skin
- Improves elasticity of the skin

Benefits of Aloe Vera on skin

So what is all the rave about Aloe Vera and why is it widely use as a common ingredients in many of the cosmetic, skin and hair care products today?

Ancient Egyptians called the Aloe Vera plant as the "plant of immortality".

1. Healing properties

Aloe Vera has been widely used for medicinal purposes since the ancient Egyptian times, especially in treating sunburns. Due to its well-known healing and anti- inflammatory properties,  it is often used to relieve pains caused by burns, abrasions, psoriasis, acne, eczema and even bug bites.

In addition, the ability in Aloe Vera to reduce skin inflammations and itchiness also helps the skin to heal more quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.

2. Hydration

Aloe Vera  has an over 99% water content which helps to provide intense hydration without leaving a greasy or sticky feel on your skin. Apart from these, Aloe Vera  also contains an excessive amount of vitamins and antioxidants which are effective in improving the skin's firmness, thus creating a more healthy and youthful looking skin.

In another word, Aloe vera is a natural approach to ageless skin!!!

Benefits of Aloe Vera on hair

However, not only on skin, records has also indicated that the ancient Egyptians used Aloe Vera on their hair as well. This tradition has since been passed down to us due to the following benefits.

1. Hair conditioner

Aloe Vera acts as a very good hair conditioner which helps to moisturize and provide stronger and shiny hair. Researches has shown that Aloe Vera contains enzymes that promotes healthy hair growth. It also helps to reduce redness, itchiness and inflammation on the scalp. Due to its anti-fungal properties, it is also said to aid in reducing the amount of dandruff as well.

What I like About This Product

1. Intense hydration

With this product claiming to be 92% made up of pure natural Aloe Vera, it does provide very intense hydration to my skin. My skin feels very smooth and soft after each application.

I would say this product is suitable for all skin types. However, I will strongly recommend this for people with dry and flaky skin problems as Aloe Vera has traditionally being a popular remedy used to treat these conditions. So for people who suffered from dry skin, you might wish to give this product a try.

2. Texture and smell



The Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel comes as a translucent water-base gel, which can be easily absorbed by my skin. The gel itself feels light and does not leave an oily or sticky feel on my skin after application. I think this is hugely due to its high water base content.

Smell wise, it is very pleasant and fresh. This product has a very strong Aloe Vera smell that is very similar to a fresh Aloe Vera.

3. Packaging and Price



This product is packaged in a green plastic container, containing 300g of Aloe Vera gel at a very affordable price. I have forgotten how much I actually paid for this. However, I am pretty sure that this product does not cost more than Rm 15.  So if anyone of you is looking for a new daily moisturizer, I think it is very worthwhile to give this product a try. I believe the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel will not disappoint you.

Ways To Use

1. As daily moisturizer

For me, I use this product on every part of my body except my face and hair. The reason being I am actually very particular about what goes on my face and hair. I actually have a range of facial and haircare products I am loyally sticking to everyday. This is why I never use products for my face on my body and likewise the other way round.

2. As hair conditioner

For people who would like to explore, I suggest using this as a hair conditioner. It might bring you an unexpected effect since Aloe Vera has been traditionally used as a hair moisturizer to create shiny and healthier hair.

However, I suggest avoiding the scalp if you have sensitive or oily scalp. I used to apply fresh natural Aloe Vera directly on my scalp a few years back. This is because I was taught by my mum that Aloe Vera is effective in slowing down sebum production on my oily scalp, thus reducing dandruff. I deeply believe that this would be a solution to solve my long-term scalp problems. However, it worsen my scalp condition. My scalp became much more oily than before. Spots of redness started to appear on my scalp which caused me unbearable itchiness even after I washed my hair. Eventually I stopped using Aloe Vera on my scalp. Currently now, I have found another way to treat oily scalp. I will do a post on that much later on.

3. As pain relievers against sunburns

Given the cooling and soothing texture of the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel, the product itself acts as a very good pain reliever for sunburns. The gel may be a very effective preventive shield against the UV rays as well. However, please note that this will not be sufficient as compared to other sunblock products in the market.

4. After shave for men

For men, you might wish to apply some of the gel after shaving every morning.  Due to its healing and soothing nature, the gel might be able to treat some small cuts and irritations caused by shaving.

What I Dislike About This Product

If I really have to say something bad about this product, it will be the the huge packaging which makes it inconvenient when traveling. Apart from this, there is nothing else that is of a big issue to me.

Available In Many Other Korean Brands

Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel is actually one of the popular product in the recent years, with many other Korean brands launching a similar product. Among them, I believe the most well-known one will be by Nature Republic. I can typically find and purchase the Nature Republic Aloe Aqua soothing gel everywhere I am in Seoul. But do not worry if you could not get Nature Repulic brand products in your country. You could still purchase a similar product from other Korean brands as well.

Although the Aloe Aqua Soothing Gel is easily accessible, I have not been able to restock another container of it since I finished it a month ago. Unlike in Singapore, I find online shopping not as convenient in Malaysia. Its probably because I have little confidence in the postage and shipping companies here. In addition, most of the website I visited do not offer online payment mode (via Debit/Credit card) when I made a purchase. Due to all these reasons, I have switched back to my usual Nivea moisturizer which can be purchased easily at any drugstores and shopping malls.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marrying A Malaysian Part 2 : Obtaining a Long term Social Visit Pass (Spouse Pass) Malaysia

Hey everyone! Sorry for the long absence. For the past 2 months, I have been busy settling down and adapting my new life in Kuala Lumpur (K.L), Malaysia. I promised I will be back with my regular posts from now on. If anyone of us wish to read about certain topic or issue, please drop me a comment or email. I will be very happy to research and write about it.

Okay, back to the post, as I have mentioned in one of my previous post, Marrying A Malaysia Part 1, I have legally registered my marriage to my Malaysian husband in K.L back in September. Currently, I am residing in K.L on a one year long term social visit pass (LTSVP), previously known as the spouse pass. Apart from that, another good news is I have also managed to secure a stable job in this entirely new city after having my work endorsement application granted by the Immigration Office.

As such, similar as before, I am documenting my experience in preparing all the necessary documents here for people who are in the same situation as me. Hopefully, I will be able to guide you through the whole complicated process in obtaining a LTSVP in order to reside and work permanently in Malaysia.

So why do you apply for a LTSVP, but not a permanent resident (PR)? This is due to the immigration laws of Malaysia. Different from Singapore or many other countries, a foreign spouse can only start applying for PR status after holding a LTSP for at least 5 years. Of course, he/she must remain be legally married to a Malaysia citizen in order to apply for a LTSVP.

Compared to those foreign spouses who married Malaysian many years ago, I must say I am a very lucky one. Thanks to the various changes made in the immigration laws in 2010, the application process has now be simplified and straightforward.

The LTSVP application must be submitted at any state immigration office, "Pass and Permit division".  In my case,  I did my application at the Jalan Duta office. The entire process will take a week to complete.

However, before you proceed to any state immigration office, I suggest having the documents listed below prepared to prevent a wasted trip.

1. Original and copy of Mykad of Malaysian spouse (all pages) - 2 copies

2. Original and copy of passport of foreign spouse (all pages) - 2 copies

3. 2 passport photo of Malaysian spouse

4. 2 passport photo of foreign spouse

5. 4R size wedding photo
You will need to paste your wedding photo in the center of a piece of A4 plain paper.

6. Original and copy of marriage certificate (Malaysia or foreign if married overseas)
If you have registered your marriage overseas, there are extra steps to complete before you could proceed for the LTSVP application.

7. Form Imm 12, Form Imm 55 & Form Imm 38 (2 copies each)
These forms cannot be downloaded online. Please Q up at the reception desk at the "Pass and Permit division" to get the forms from the immigration officer.

However, for me, Form Imm 55 is not required for me. This is for people who need to ask for a visa extension to remain in Malaysia while waiting for their LTSVP to be approved.

Once you have gotten the form from the officer at the reception desk, please fill them up accordingly. The forms are in Bahasa Malayu. For LTSVP application, I will really recommend for the Malaysian spouse to tag along during the whole process.

After you filled up the forms, please proceed to the Commissioner of Oaths office. There is one located at the ground floor in the Jalan Duta Office. Pass them the forms for them to do some stamping. This will cost you RM10. In the case where you do not know how to fill in some parts of the form, please do not worry. The officers at the Commissioner of Oaths office will be able to help you to complete them at a fee. If I did not remember wrongly, it cost another RM10.

After having everything above completed, please proceed back to the "Pass and Permit division". Get a number ticket from the reception desk. Submit all the documents to the immigration officer once your number is called. You will be given a receipt and ask to go back again a week later.

You are required to pay an amount as security bond before collecting your LTSP. The amount varies depending on your country of origin. You could refer here for the rate.

Normally, the initial LTSVP will run from 6 months to a year depending which country you are from. In the case for Singaporean, I am granted with a initial LTSVP of a year.

Work endorsement

For foreign spouses who wish to work or who has already found a job, please prepare the following documents listed below for your work endorsement application. The application itself should be simple and fast. In addition, it is free of charge.
 
1. Passport of foreign spouse (original & copy)

2. IC of Malaysian spouse (original & copy)

3. Resume/CV

4. Job offer letter

5. Stamped employment contract (Stamp Duty 10RM)
Please get your employment contract stamped at the Income Tax Office. The stamping will cost you RM 10. However, I paid RM 30 to the officer at the Commissioner of Oath office to have them bring the document to the Income Tax office for me.

6.Company forms 9, 24 & 49
To be provided by your employer

7. Company License
For certain industry only. I am not sure which industry required this. Please check.

8. Letter of application
Get this from the officer from the reception desk at the "Pass and Permit division".

9. Letter from husband if Malaysian citizen is male to allow female spouse to work
I simply typed a letter out and got my husband to sign on it.

The work endorsement application can be submitted together with your LTSVP application if ou have already found a job or after your LTSVP application has been approved. The whole process will take you only 3 working days.

So far, working in Malaysia is not bad thing for me. However, for foreign spouses who wish to be employed, there are a few things to note:

1. Paper qualifications are quite important and crucial in securing a well paying job. However, it is not as important as compared to Singapore.

2. For those who managed to get employed, please be prepared that 26% of your monthly income will be taxed. According to the taxation laws in Malaysia, foreigners will only become a tax resident after he/she has continously reside in the country for more than 183 days.

Having live in Singapore, which I believe has one of the lowest tax rate in the world for all my life, this came as a big surprise for me. However, I could only silently accept this and pray that time will pass faster.

3. You might face a lot of problems while looking for a job due to visa issues. As most of the employers are still unfamilar with the LTSVP, they might be reluctant to even offer you a chance for an interview. My only advice is not to give up on hope and keep applying for as many jobs as possible. Explain to the employers if they asked about the LTSVP and convince them that you have no problems in getting employed.

This post is solely based on my experience. The approval of your LTSVP is subjected to the immigration office. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment here. I will try my best to help you.

For foreign spouse who plans to marry and reside in Malaysia on a long term basis, you may wish to learn more about the following topics too. If you are interested to know how to:

1. Register your marriage in MalaysiaMarrying A Malaysia Part 1

2. Extend your LTSVP and work endorsement: Marrying A Malaysian Part 3: How To Extend Long Term Social Visit Pass (Spouse Pass)

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Friday, October 11, 2013

[Review] Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream

Photo By: Elin Chow

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream - I swear this is my most favorite night cream of all time. 

I started using this product about a year ago after my faithful night moisturizer ran out. After having tried some of its samples previously, I decided to switch to this Aqua cream from Nature Republic instead. 

What Nature Republic says

The Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream is a high performance hydrating cream which infuses extra moisture and refreshment back to skin with an energizing complex of deep sea minerals from maritime plants while extract of chlorella, seaweed, plankton and water-soluble collagen and hyaluronic acid help to strengthen skin's ability to defend itself against external aggressors and dehydration. 

Types of Super Aqua Max Watery Cream

There are mainly 3 types of Aqua Creams, each differentiate by 3 different colors, targeted for 3 different skin types. 

1. Pink color suitable for dry skin type
2. Green color suitable for combination skin type
3. Blue color suitable for oily skin type

What I like about this product

1. Tailored to 3 different skin types

Firstly, it's good that Nature Republic has launched this product in 3 different colors, customized for users with different skin types. This means that this Aqua cream is suitable for everyone! "So... isn't it better for Nature Republic to launch one product that is suitable for all skin types? There are so many such products in the market now" I believe many users would have asked me this question.Well, my point of view is there is no one such perfect product in this world. To me, it is just an impossible thing to achieve. That is why I seldom purchase products that stated "suitable for all skin types" on the packaging. So, as someone who has combination skin like myself, I bought the green bottle.

2. Texture and smell

The  Aqua cream feels light and cooling on my face once its application. Due to its watery consistency, this cream can easily be spread and absorbed quickly by my skin once applied. I am also very pleased with the fact that the Aqua cream does not leave a sticky or oily feel on my face after application. 

The Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream comes with a really pleasant floral scent which I love very much. The scent is not very long-lasting, but it does linger on my skin for about a few hours before fading away. 

However, the effect of this Aqua cream is not very lasting and probably would require reapplication after a few hours. Although the moisturizing effect is not extreme, it is just works perfectly well for someone who live in such a hot and humid country like me. For people who live in extremely cold countries,  I believe the Aqua Cream alone is definitely not going to be sufficient to keep your skin moisturized in the cool and dry weather.

3. Packaging

The packaging for this product is great. It comes in a green container made of hard plastic glass. The reason I love this is because it makes the cream look expensive as compared to many other korean products. As Nature Republic is actively promoting themselves as an Eco-friendly company in order to attract more customers to buy their products, of course, the box of this Aqua cream is also made from recyclable paper as a selling point. In addition, a plastic spatula is provided when you purchase this product for hygienic purposes.

4. Price and availability

Price wise... Not too expensive I guess. I think it is pretty affordable for a 80ml cream. It costs me around SGD 15 to ship to Singapore. I have also purchased a few containers of this when I visited Seoul last month. The Aqua cream currently retails at 11000 won each in any Nature Republic stores. It will cost a bit more if you choose to purchase this in any of its retail stores you find in your home country.

As for accessibility, I personally feel that Nature Republic has fewer retail stores compared to other korean brand stores (eg. The Etudehouse, The Faceshop etc) in Singapore and Malaysia. I think it is easier to purchase Nature Republic online and ship them to my country than to visit their retail store here.

What I Dislike About This Product

There is nothing I actually disliked for this product. I will probably continue to use this as my most faithful product.

How Do I Use This Product

The method of applying the Aqua Cream is just like any other facial creams available in the market. 

1. Cleanse my face thoroughly with a facial cleanser to remove any grease or dirt from my skin. For this, I will usually reach out for my EverSoft Ginkgo with Grapefruit Facial Cleanser.

2. Pat my face dry with a clean towel

3. Using a cotton pad, I will proceed to pat in some toner on my face. For this, I will always reach out for my most favorite toner - the Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion

4. After I am done with the toner, I will then massage the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream onto my face. 

Final Thoughts

For people who are interested to try this product out, it is important for you to choose the one that is tailored to your skin types. However, please remember that what may be suitable and works well for people around you might not be the best for you.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Familial Occupation - Prostitution

Photo credit: Caravan Magazine

I have been reading up about India for the past few weeks, especially on the topics of child abductions, human sex trafficking and rapes that are reported to be happening at a terrifying in the whole nation. I was deeply disturbed and disgusted by everything I have read, but at the same time, made me realized how fortunate I am.  Among so many I have read and learn, I chanced upon an article that had interested me and led me to further research about the topic. What I am about to write are purely information and details I have gathered and complied from many different sources and also my personal opinions on the various issues. Of course, I will be glad if any reader could provide and share more insights on what I have written.

Introduction: Prostitution as Tradition within the Bedia Caste

The Bedia caste, one of the lowest member in the India caste system, is an exception among the many castes in the male-dominated society. Against the traditions of the majority Indian communities, the Bedia viewed prostitution as a family business that is passed down from their ancestors for generations after generations. Daughters who are born to Bedia families are obliged to enter the sex trade once they have reached their puberty, with their fathers and brothers (the males) usually acting as the pimps. Unlike in other cultures and societies where the men are normally the sole breadwinner, the women are the one who are responsible for the subsistence of the whole family. The  Bedia men, on the other hand, usually do not engage in any paid employment in any part of their life as it is their tradition to rely on the income derived from the women sex work. 

Preference of Babies Girls to Boys

Unlike the traditional Indian communities which generally celebrate the birth of sons, Bedia community prefer the birth of daughters more as girls are seen as a potential source of income for the family. Often, young girls in the Bedia community are taught their future profession by their mothers even before they reached puberty. Oxytocin injection, or in some case, known as the love hormone,  is said to be commonly used in the Bedia community to help speed up the maturity in young girls, making them desire for love and sex and also look like a woman.

Virginity Auction

In India, similar to many traditional Asian cultures, virginity of a girl is still highly valued where men believe that having sex with a virgin will help to purify and cleanse their soul. Thus, most of them are usually willing to pay a premium in order to 'break' a virgin. 

However, different from many other castes in India where thousands of young girls are raped and sold into sex slavery, a Bedia girl can only enter the sex trade after she has her first period. The virginity of the young girl will then be auctioned where the highest bidder will get to visit her as many times as he wants in the next few days or weeks. After her first client left, a lavish party will be held where guests from all nearby Bedia villages are invited. The young girl will also be adorned with new jewellery and clothes during the party. This is so because the Bedia community traditionally believe that keeping the money from the auction  sale is inauspicious. Usually, at the party, alcohol is served and a goat is slaughtered to celebrate this happy "event''.

Besides the party, a ceremony called "nanthi utarna" which literally means "taking off the nose ring" is held to signify the girl is ready  to enter the sex trade. 

Marriage

Bedia women rarely get married. Bedia women who got married are not permitted to stay in the sex trade. This would mean that the family will lose a source of their income. For years after years, the Bedia community is being treated as an outcast which makes them incapable to secure any paid jobs anywhere in India.

The Bedia men, however, do get married. The norm within the Bedia community is to pay a large bride price to marry someone from outside the community. The women who are married to Bedia men are exempted from the sex trade. However, their daughters who are born to them will have to continue the community's centuries old tradition.

Besides that, there is another 'rule' in the Bedia community. That is Bedia men are prohibited to marry or engage in any sexual activities with women from their own community.

Respectable within Own Community

Unlike other prostitutes who came from other caste systems, Bedia women are highly respected within their own community. They tend to enjoy a highly social status than women who are married in from other community. This is because they are the sole-breadwinner of their family. Without them, the Bedia community would not have survived. 

My Thoughts

I feel quite shameful for myself after learning about these. I feel shameful for whining about my life every now and then. I feel shameful for not knowing how to appreciate life. I feel shameful for me not knowing to feel contended with what I have. I saw how beautiful these Bedia women are. How they are sacrificing for their family. Although they may not be very willing and have complained about their fate, they still understand that they have to accept that this is life and the only way for survival. It is her love for her family that gave her strength and courage.

Many would have sarcastically say that they could have gone for a change. This is the 21st century! Initially, I have thought so too. However, I realized how difficult it is for the Bedia community in India to change. Here are a few reasons.

Financial

Frankly speaking, I believe no women in the world would like to be a prostitute when there are other alternative jobs available which could generate a decent amount of income for the household. However, in India, well-paying jobs are scarce. The income which the majority of the population is earning is barely enough to support themselves, not to mention to feed a whole family. Thus, prostitution became the only choice for the Bedia women where it is said that they could earn 4-10 times the amount which most unskilled earned in India.

Resistance to Changes

For centuries, Bedia people have been taught to live in this way for generations after generations. The Bedia men have long been accustomed to their "comfortable" living. They are used to hold no responsibility for anyone in their life since they traditionally do not get employed for any paid jobs. It will be difficult for them to give their ''comfortable'' up and work day and night to support an entire household.

The Bedia women, on the other hand, may not be willing to give up their highly respected social status in their community due to their financial capabilities.

Education

Majority of the Bedia population are uneducated. This makes the women becomes easy targets for various crimes. I believe education will have the power to bring about significant changes to the traditional Indian communities.

Resignation to Fate

Many of the Bedia women have accepted and resigned to their fate. They have a deep misconception in their mind telling them that prostitution is what they are supposed to do. It is their destiny. Even those who do not have such misconception thought that it is too late for a change now. They believe that the damages are done and what is the point of changing now.

Although the Indian government and social workers has done many to educate and help the Bedia community, changes are still slow. It will probably takes them many more decades to change the traditions that exist within the society. 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

[Review] The Face Shop Raspberry Roots Sleeping Mask


Raspberry Roots Sleeping Mask by The Face Shop, this is actually the first product which makes me love and hate at the same time.

What The Faceshop Says

Raspberry roots from Himalayas are rich in anti-oxidant that helps in skin lifting, pores tightening and intense hydration for the skin.

This sleeping mask is claimed to be one of the best selling product from The Face Shop. However, I found this product to be a bit over-rated instead. Out of curiosity, I have bought this sleeping mask about a year ago after the sales assistant strongly recommended this to me.

Most of the online reviews from other users have claimed that this product has worked a miracle on their skin and did what it has promised to deliver. However for me, I did not feel much of a difference after application of the mask.

Skin Lifting & Pore Tightening?

No, I don't think it has helped me to achieve tighter skin or smaller pores.  It is true that my face do feel some tightness after washing the mask away with clean water. But it does not help much in improving my skin condition.

Hydration

Yes, the sleeping mask helps in hydrating to a certain extent. But it is not very intense. Personally, I thought any moisturizers could have done a better job.

Skin Redness & Itchiness 

I do not have sensitive skin and have never experienced any itchiness on my skin after the application of any creams, moisturizers or lotions. Yet, this sleeping mask have caused some redness and slight itchiness on my face after use. I could not leave the mask overnight on my face without washing before I go to sleep as it have caused me breakouts on the following morning.

Texture & Smell

The sleeping mask itself is a translucent pink gel. Although it feels light on my face, the sleeping mask still feels a bit oily on my combination skin. As for the smell, I have to say I totally love the fruity smell! It makes me feels fresh and happy. And also, I love the lovely packaging as well. The fact that it is packaged in a bottle with a pump makes it more hygienic too.

Price

Price wise... I can't really remember how much I have spent on this product. But products from The Face Shop are always not on the cheaper end. It's probably around SGD 20++ if you got this from their retail stores.

I dare not say this is a very bad product, rather I would say that it may not be suitable for my skin. The only thing I like about this sleeping mask is my face feels softer and smoother after application. Will it repurchase this again? Probably not, since I never even get to finish the first bottle which I have purchased.

Read my review on The Face Shop Raspberry Roots Depuffing Eye Gel too.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Art of Japanese Green Tea - Sencha


Sencha (煎茶), a Japanese green tea made from dried tea leaves. Originated from Kyoto, Japan, it is said to be the most popular tea in Japan. So... What makes Sencha become one of the most loved tea in not only Japan, but in other parts of the world too?

Benefits of Sencha




1. Aids in oral health


There are a large amount of Fluoride in Sencha which helps to strengthen tooth enamel, thus reducing cavities. It also helps to reduce plaque buildup and bateria inflections which often result in bad breath most of the time.

2. Increase immunity


Sencha has a high level of antioxidants properties, which is known to be even more powerful than Vitamins C & E. It helps to fix damages caused by free radicals, thus increasing our immunity to illnesses and diseases

3. Lower high blood pressure & cholesterol


Researches have shown that the consumption of Sencha will helps to regulate blood sugar levels. thus lowering the chance of  heart diseases & strokes from occurring. It is said to have some effects in treating cancers & acne too.

4. Weight loss & beauty


The large amount of antioxidant properties in Sencha helps in reducing wrinkles and hydrates our skin, thus retaining a youthful looking skin. It also aids in repairing inflamed & damaged skin, treating acne and unwanted scars.

Sencha is also known to be included as part of the diet in many weight loss and slimming programmes available in the market as it helps to increase metabolism in our body and allows fats to be burn more effectively.


5. Mild simulant


Sencha can be a  replacement of coffee due to the high level of caffeine in it. It helps people to focus and relax during work and study efficiently.

However, despite its many benefits, one should always remember to consume anything in moderation. This is not an exception for Sencha too. Due to it moderately high caffeine level, some people might experience some side effects like nausea, anxiety, hypertension or insomnia when consumed in large quantities. Caffeine is also known to be bad for pregnant women too as it might result in miscarriages and birth defects.


I am a lover of Sencha too and I almost drink a cup of this every single day. It has become part of my daily diet. However, the bad part is it can be quite an expensive drink.


Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Salt Water as Facial Wash


Photo credit: Guardian Liberty

I used to have very oily skin during my puberty days, which has caused my skin to be prone to acne and blackheads. I have large pores that seems to be clogged up with excess sebum all the time. I have tried all kinds of products available in the market, but sadly, none of them could really solve my problems until my mum suggested me to try washing my face every night using sea salt water.

The idea of washing my face with salt water was weird. I was worried that trying it would only worsen my condition. Nevertheless, I still summoned the courage to try and mirculously, it has not only help to clear the excess oil on my face, but also get rid of acne and blackheads! I am glad that I actually took a try.

Why Sea Salt?

1. Purifying properties

Sea salt is known for its purifying properties, which will provide a great detox treatment for the skin. This helps to reduce the size of our pores and remove blackheads.

2. Natural antiseptic properties

 Salt has natural antiseptic properties that helps to promote faster healing. This means that people with acne problems, cuts or other blemishes to heal in a shorter time.

3. Kills bateria

I believe many of us are already aware of this. For instance, I believe everyone of you would have experience sore throat/ulcers in your life. Usually, the doctor will always recommend that you gargle down some salt water frequently as to kill the bateria that has caused the inflammation.

However, salt is also known to be quite drying, especially for people who have sensitive or dry skin. In this case, I would think that salt water might be too harsh to be used on the skin as it might have cause more irritation and worsen the condition. But it varies for different people too.

How Do I Use Sea Salt?

The method is not difficult. Simply add some sea salt into lukewater water and wash your face with it when the salt has dissolved. I would start with adding the salt in hot water first to get them dissolved before adding in some cold water. After washing, simply rinse your face clean with cold clean water. You could apply your acne creams or daily mosturizers afterwards.

*Note: I do not use this everyday. I stopped when I feel some irritation or drying and started again after letting my skin rest for a few days.

But whatever it is, I do not believe that there is one single thing in this world that will solve all the problems. Prevention is better than anything. That is why I always believe that good and healthy skin starts with good daily habits.

1. Healthy diet

This means lesser fried and junk food and more fresh fruits and veggies in your everyday diet.

2. Water

It is important to have sufficient water everyday. So drink lots of water!

3. Personal hygiene

Have a good personal hygiene such as washing your face and taking a shower everyday. Of course, it is bad if your over- washed your face too as it will often dry out your skin instead.

4. Sufficient sleep

Sleep is important. That is why girls always call it our ""beauty sleep". Having enough sleep everyday helps our skin to regenerate itself, thus promoting radiant and healthier skin.

5. Stress management

Most of the time, stress is the main cause of breakouts. Therefore, learning to manage stress is important. Try doing things that makes you relax after work or study everyday.

After using salt water as face wash for a year, I stopped the routine, My acne has healed. I have combination skin now instead of super oily skin. Though my blackheads problem is not completely cured, my skin has already improved a lot. I have achieved almost perfect skin! I am happy to say I have found my confidence back.

Benefits of sea bathing

Just in case that I have wriiten above are not sufficient to convince you, I suggest you could probably try taking some time off and go for a swim at the beach regularly. You may be able to discover that the seawater will be able to help you solve some of your skin problems such as severe acne, eczema or irritations.

Researches has shown that seawater acts as a natural cleanser for our skin. The salt and potassium chloride found naturally in the seawater helps to wash away irritants that cause allergies to our skin and speed up the healing process on the wounds. Due to its antisepetic nature, seawater is said to be effective in reducing skin inflammation. In additon, seawater is also known for its detoxifying ability which helps to regenerate the growth of new skin cells.

However, please remember to apply sunblocks before you go to the beach. Sunburns are definitely bad for your skin. Avoid staying to long under the sun too as your skin will be damaged by the harmful UV rays.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

[Review] Cure Natural Aqua Gel


Photo By: Elin Chow

 The Japan No. 1 exfoliator
A bottle sold every 12 seconds in Japan!

This is basically what Toyo Life Japan has claimed.  Let's see what this product has to give to be able to create such a huge rave in one of the most competitive market in the world.

What Cure Says

Made up of 91% activated hydrogen water
No fragrance,  colorings and preservatives used
Gently remove layers of dry, dead or rough skin to obtain clear, firm and ideal skin
Suitable for all skin types

Before I begin, let me briefly explain why it is important for every of us to exfoliate our skin on a regular basis.

The Importance Of Exfoliation

The main purpose of exfoliation is to remove the dead skin layers that has built up on my skin every single day. These dead skin layers are often known to have caused pimples, dark spots and other skin problems to most of us. By removing the dead skin layers, it helps to speed up our skin renewal process and thus, absorbing all our expensive skin care products better.

What do I like About This Product

1. Removes dead skin efficiently

Cure Natural Aqua Gel is my saviour! It really helps to remove the flaking dead skin that are sticking out of my skin surface, thus helping my face to absorb my serums and moisturizer better. My face always feels smooth and soft after use. It also gives me a very clean feeling. I believe it's because my skin could "breath' better now after having all the dead skin piling on top removed.

2. Packaging




Packaging wise, I think it's really good too. The product itself comes in a transparent bottle tube pump with a clip lock. I would say this is very hygienic and user friendly. The clip lock prevents wastage from spills and leaks, making it great for travelling. But most importantly of all, the product lasts me for about a year before I have to repurchase it again. But it differs for different users as it depends how often they use the product. 

What I don't like about the product




Cure Natural Aqua Gel is actually quite expensive as compared to other exfoliation gel available in the market. I remember I have gotten my first bottle at around SGD 50 at the Watsons store. However, I think the price has increased recently again. If I am not wrong, the product is currently retailing at SGD 60 now.

For such a popular product, it is quite sad that it is not very accessible to everyone. I believe this could not be found in many of the big stores in many other countries. In fact, I have difficulty finding this in Malaysia too. It can be a high turn off if people have to purchase this online every now and then. I think it's really time for Toyo Life to expand their distribution channels.

How To Use This Product

I use this during my showers, around once a week. Before you apply this gel on your face, please ensure that your skin is completely dry. I do not use this on any other parts of my body because I think it is a very big waste. 1-2 pumps of the product shpuld be enough to cover your whole face. Gently massage the gel onto your face, especially areas that are dry and rough.

As you massage, you would have noticed that some little white balls started to form and came off from your skin. According to Cure, these little white balls are actually dead skin that are just removed from your face. Once you are done, rinise the gel off with clean water.

However, I would recommend using a gentle facial scrub after having the gel washed off to remove any remaining dead skin that might be sticking on your face. When you are done with this step, then proceed to cleanse your face with your usual facial cleanser. For me, I would normally use my EverSoft Ginkgo with Grapefruit Facial Cleanser.

Before I wrote this review, I have read many other reviews online too. There are some points I would like to clarify. People has complained that:

1. It does not remove black/white heads!

Cure Natural Aqua Gel has never claimed that it will help in removing black/white heads. Many people often associate facial scrubs with exfoliator gel. However, they are somewhat different in nature. Even facial scrubs does not remove black/white heads as it has always claimed. The main function of Cure is to remove dry and dead skin ONLY. 

2. Smell awful, like alcohol!

Well, this is very subjective, which I could not comment on much. But this is not a very big issue for me because I never really notice about the smell every time I use it. 

3. It's like water, keep sliding off my face

It is a water based gel made up of 91% water. The most important thing is to keep your face dry. If you live in a very cold country, you have to keep it in room temperature before using it. 

Every products work differently for everyone. Even if it has claimed to be suitable for all skin types, it might not work for certain people too. Each of us is born differently. The best thing is to get samples to try it out first before purchasing, especially for people with sensitive and dry skin.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

[Review] Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

Innisfree No Serum Mineral Powder - I swear this is the best finishing powder I have found so far.

Singapore, a tropical island, a country which is hot and humid throughout the whole year. Often, I would find my face covered in sweat and sebum, which looks even worst when I have my face makeup on. I believe there are no girls in this world would like their face to look super shiny, especially after they have spent a lot of time and effort to put their makeup on.

I came upon the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder Pact a year ago. Out of curiosity, I made my first purchase online, hoping that this product will deliver what it has claimed. Surprisingly. it works greatly!

What Innisfree Says

Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder provides excellent absorption power which helps to absorb huge amount of sweat and sebum on your skin. Containing Jeju natural mint ingredients , the powder helps to keep a balance of oil and moisture on your skin, thus creating a healthy skin. It is Parabens free, Talc free, artificial pigment free, animal natural material free, mineral oil free and artificial scent free.

What I Like About This Product

Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder really did what it has claimed. It helps to control the excessive sweat and sebum and reduces the extra shine on my face.



The powder is white in color, but became transparent after applying on the skin. This means I would not need to worry that it will not suit my skin tone. However, I am not sure whether it makes your skin looks healthier or not. But it does give me a matt and fresh-looking skin. The effect is almost long-lasting throughout the day. Often, most of the time, you will find that it is almost not necessary to touch up the powder again after the first application. So if you are someone who is lazy to refill your blotter papers every now and then, it will not be bad to consider this product as a good alternative.




Usually, I will find such oil controlling products to be rather dying on my skin. Most of the time, the powder would have caused my makeup to look cakey and undesirable. However, I was surprised to find the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder to be different than other oil controlling products in the market. The powder does not feel dying on my skin at all. In addition to it, it makes my skin feels very soft and smooth!!!

One of my main concern when picking up new products in the market is the list of ingredients. On top of developing a new product that caters to the needs of the majority, a company should also consider the health of its consumers. For people who also shared the same thoughts as me, I believe the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder would become a good choice for you.

In addition, as to offer its consumers different choices, Innisfree has launched 2 types of packaging for this product. One in the pressed powder pact form and the other comes in the loose powdery form. I actually found both of the packaging very compact, lightweight and travel friendly, which in fact make it great and easy to carry around in my purse wherever I go.

What I Dislike About This Product

The packaging is quite small for the price I paid. I have to keep re-purchasing this again and again because it finishes up fast. However, being small will also mean that it is more portable to carry it around with you wherever you go. For people who loves cute packaging, Innisfree will never offer the kind of products you will love. But this is never an issue for me as I am more concern with the product quality rather than the packaging.

Please note that this is a low-coverage range. Therefore, it is not effective in concealing the flaws on your skin. Rather, it helps to control oil and keeps your makeup clean on your face. I recommend to use this over foundation or BB- creams. I am using this product as a finishing powder over The Face Shop Face It Essence BB Base. That is a makeup base which I thought that has worked really well with the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Online Matchmaking & Dating Sites

Recently, social matchmaking and dating website has become more and more common and popular in many countries, including Singapore. Generally, most of the people associate social networking sites online with teenagers only, however, it is not surprising to discover that it is also quite popular among the well qualified professionals or people from much older age group.

I was one of them. 2 years ago, I met my husband on a social matchmaking website known as Singaporelovelinks.com. We started dating on our first meeting after chatting online for only a week. 2 years after, never have I thought that I am getting married to a guy whom I have met online.

I remembered I signed up as a member on the website due to curiosity and boredom. Frankly, I have never expected some guy will come across my profile and leave me a message. Surprisingly, I replied him. We chatted online almost every night for a week. After a week, I initiated a meetup.

Truthfully, I really could not remember why I have initiated a meetup with a complete stranger who I didn't know in real life at all. I feel worried, scared, nervous but excited at the same time. Through our conversations, he just gave me a very good impression. However, I thought he was my ideal boyfriend type.

Unexpectedly, I made another shocking decision of my life. I accepted to be his girlfriend when he asked me on our first meeting. I am his first too. I remember my first reply then was "do you like me?" He nodded in silence. I thought for a while and replied him, "ok, let's try and see how it works out".  Instantly, he started laughing. His smile are so wide and he couldn't seem to stop. I could his heart and his sincerity.

I am thankful that I actually signed out on the website in the first place. At first, I was really skeptical about social networking website as the virtual world is always known to be full of lies and deceit. Can I say I am lucky that I actually met someone honest and awesome? Yes, indeed I am very lucky.

So, why is online social matchmaking and dating platform getting popular and common in today society? There are many reasons that led people in finding their mate online.

1. Shy in Nature

Some people are just too shy to approach people of their opposite sex, thus minimizing their chances in finding their mate.

2. Small Social Circle

Most people usually only tend to mix around with their colleagues and long-time school friends during their free time. This is especially true when they started working and eventually became too busy to meet new people.

3. Low Self Confidence

Approaching new people takes courage. Some people lacks self confidence to approach new people, especially people of the opposite sex. This might due to some physical inferiority that the person has for him or herself.

Whatever the reason is, online matchmaking and dating sites might be a good alternative. However, please keep in mind that there are always hidden 'dangers' lurking around in the virtual world. There is no guide but it is for you to judge. Just keep in mind that you should not be expecting too much from the person you chat with online till you get to meetup. Even so, a meetup shouldn't guarantee you a romance. It takes 2 right persons to be together. For this, I think fate will play a very major part too.

Marrying a Malaysian Part 1: Registering Your Marriage In Malaysia

Cross-border marriage generally gives us more headaches when it comes to its legal preparation as compared to "local marriage". I am not an exception too.

I am a typical Singaporean girl who will get married to my Malaysian boyfriend soon. Just in case where you are also a foreiger planning to register your marriage in Malaysia with your Malaysian spouse,  you will realise how complicated the preparation of the legal documents can get.

I am documentating my experience in preparing and submitting some of the paperwork to relevant authorities in both Singapore and Malaysia in order to get the approval to register my marriage in Malaysia.

Before I start, let me explain why am I choosing to have my marriage registered in Malaysia instead of Singapore where the processes are often seem to be more hassle-free. The main reason is to simplify the whole process for my long term social visit pass application in order for me to settle down permanently in Malaysia.

The following below are the steps to complete before you could file a marriage application with the relevant Malaysian authories:

1. Obtain a Single Status Letter from your home country

It is a requirement for all foreign spouse to obtain a Single Status Letter/ Letter of Impediment from your home country. In my case, it's Singapore. However, unlike other countries, Registry of Marriages (ROM) Singapore is unable to issue such letter. I have obtained an original certified true copy of search result of marriage records from ROM Singapore instead to show my eligibility to marry. Singaporeans can apply for a copy of the result of marriage records here : https://app.rom.gov.sg/emrs/rom_emrs_cpmty_start.asp

** Note: The Single Status Letter is only valid for 6 months if there is no date stated on it.

2. To attest and certify the Single Status Letter
After getting my original certified true copy of search result of marriage records from ROM Singapore, I proceeded to Minstry of Foreign Affairs, Consular Service Office, Singapore to have the piece of document legalized. The process took less than 10 mins to complete. There is a SGD 10 service fee charged for this. You could check out on the link below for more details.

After getting the document stamped by the consular office, I proceeded to the Malaysia High Commission in Singapore to get it certified. However, this time, the process took about 3 days before I can collect the stamped document from the Malaysia Embassy in Singapore.

** Note: Please remember to bring along a copy of your NRIC/Passport before you proceed to the Consular service counter.

3. To reside in the district of marriage for at least 7 days

All foreign spouses are required to reside in the district of marriage for at least 7 days before the application of marriage can be filed to the relevant authorities in Malaysia. So, I booked a bus ticket and stayed in Malaysia for a week.

4. Re-certify the Single Status Letter at Wisma Putra, Putrajaya

Be sure that you are have fulfilled step 3 before you proceed to visit Wisma Putra. Similarly, at the Wisma Putra, proceed to the Consular service section to have the Single Status Letter certified. Be prepared to wait for longer time this time. The whole process took about 2 hours for me.

5.  JPN Office, Putrajaya to submit the marriage application

Before you proceed to the Marriage & Divorce counter, please check if you have the following documents with you.

Original & Photocopy of:
 
1. MyKad, MyPR or Malaysian green card (that is still valid).
2. Passport and photocopy of pages with personal details, the latest arrival date in Malaysia and a valid visa or pass for non-citizen.
3. One (1) colour passport-sized photograph per applicant.
4. Approval letter from the Immigration department for the student pass and temporary employment pass holders to register their marriage in Malaysia.
5.1. Birth Certificate for non-citizen ( I think this is only for applicant age below 18)
5.2. Decree nisi absolute (divorce certificate), if applicable.
5.3. Death certificate of previous spouse, if applicable.
5.4. Single Status Letter

When you have these documents ready, please proceed to the counter. The officer should hand you Form JPN.KC02 for you to fill it up. Please note that Form JPN.KC02 is entirely in Malay language.

6. Submit Letter of Approval to respective JPN office

The last step is to bring the Letter of Approval issue by JPN Putrajaya to the respective JPN office which you have choose to have your marriage solemnize. Please have the documents listed in step 5 ready again for re-submission at the respective JPN office.

** Note: For Malaysian who wish to marry their foreign spouse, you could only choose to have the marriage solemnize at the JPN office. Solemnizing at other venues such as church or temples will not be allowed.   

Written above are all my experiences in completing my marriage application in Malaysia. For those who wish to have a much clearer view, you may wish to check on the website below. http://www.jpn.gov.my/en/servicesmarriageordivorce

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!

Monday, August 5, 2013

[Review] Skinlite Nourishing Red Ginseng Mask


I love sheet masks! I never used to love them as much before when I was in my teenager days. For some reason, I find them rather "oily'' for my combination skin which is very prone to breakouts at that time. However, as I reached my early 20s now, my skin condition gradually improves as my hormones began to stabilize. My skin no longer feels as much oily as the past days. On the other hand, it has gotten drier around my cheeks areas where I often find my skin flaking off.

Women in today society are really blessed with choices. There are so many different brands and types of sheets facial masks in the market currently. Choosing one from the store can sometimes becomes a frustrating chore. However, I always think the most important point is to find one that suits your skin the most.

Now, why do I say this? I used to think that facial masks are all similar only to realize how wrong I really am.

For me, Skinlite Nourishing Red Ginseng Mask is one of my favorite mask of all time.

What Skinlite Says:

- Formulated with Red Ginseng Extract, Collagen and Vitamin E.
- It is made from Oriental Red Ginseng, burst with energy vitamin
- Helps to vitalize and nourish your tired skin.
- Natural pulp sheet helps to prevents skin trouble and provides close adhesion to the face.

What I Like About This Product

So why is this a must have mask for me? The following below are the reasons:

1. Hydration

It makes my skin feel hydrated and glow healthier. Although some people has commented that the essence might be a bit insufficient, it still works awesome for me. I prefer a facial mask where I have all the essence being absorb into my skin than having them dripping non-stop down my face.

2. 100% pulp

This would mean that this mask would provide close adhesion and fits prefectly well on my face. I really hate mask that are 'loose' and does not stick fit and tight to my face.

3. Solve my minor skin trouble

Whenever I have minor skin trouble such as redness or break-outs, I will seek help from this mask. I really feel that it helps to regenerate my skin and speed out the recovery processes. Not only that, it also helps to reduce dullness and redness on my skin caused by stress and tiredness.  However, if you have very serious skin problems, that would be a different story.

4. Smell like Ginseng

I must be talking nonsense. Of course it smells like Ginseng. If you are a Ginseng lover, you will love it. On the other hand, if you are someone who just hates the smell of traditional medicine, this mask might be a little turn off for you.

By the way, Skinlite has a range of facial masks. This is the one I love the most. If anyone is interested, you can get the masks from Sasa Stores. The mask usually retails at SGD 1.90 each. However, Sasa stores often have a buy 2 @ SGD 1.90 promotion for the skinlite masks. It will be a good opportunity to grab some of them at that time.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for any latest updates on my blog. So stay tuned!