The Blogger

Hey people!

I'm Tracy Wong, a beauty and lifestyle public blogger who has been active in the blogosphere for the past 10 years. I aim to inspire readers to live life actively with a sense of adventure.

I love to write and I cover multiple topics in this little space of mine. You can click on my blogging portfolio below to find out more. I am also active on Instagram so you can keep in touch by following me on Instagram handle @gilmangirl.

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Ribbon Dress

Honeymoon @ Korea Day 4: UH Boutique Hotel & Namsan Seoul Tower

Hey people!

On Day 4, we checked out of our luxurious Shilla Stay Mapo Hotel after exploring the vicinity and enjoying breakfast from Paris Baguette.

And there, we began our journey of lugging our luggage to the subway station, climbing stairs once again before reaching UH Boutique Hotel in Myeongdong. Now, this is a boutique hotel, not a hostel, but when I saw our room, I could not help but go 'uhhhh' (pun intended) when I saw the bathroom.

To be fair, UH Boutique Hotel was a vast improvement from Canvas Hostel. It was decently clean and there was no peeling wallpaint, but the bedroom and bathroom were tiny! There was barely any space to place our luggage (we squeezed them right at the door). As for the bathroom, it was a tiny cubicle where the shower, sink and toilet bowl were so closely positioned that you basically wet the entire bathroom after a shower. I shall not elaborate further on the 'Korean-size' bath towels that were provided for us, which looked big enough to dry my face. And I speak from the perspective of a petite Asian lady here.

If there are two things to compliment about the hotel, it is that they provide free breakfast daily (although I got to disclaim that it is a simple breakfast of cereal and bread) and they are strategically located near the Myeongdong Shopping Street and the subway station.

After checking in, we visited the Namsan Seoul Tower, which required us to either get there by a cable car or a bus.

We chose a two-way cable car ride since it was getting dark and we did not want to waste time finding directions back.

No one told us that we had to climb such a steep slope to get to the Cable Car station. Holy cow, my poor legs!

By the way, the cable car was not the same as a cable car ride in Singapore. It was more like jam-packing 30 over people in a cable car and transporting them uphill. 

Nonetheless, the views were breathtaking!

Have you seen a sky with purple, pink and blue hues before? I have. 

I finally understood why the best times to visit the Namsan Seoul Tower are evenings and night times.

I never knew that the sky would take my breath away when the sun sets.

We climbed more steps to get closer to the Namsan Seoul Tower and we passed by lots and lots of love locks.

There was barely any space to put another lock, and I noticed that people were locking handphone covers as well. Strange!

You could actually pay to visit the observatory in the tower but we did not bother, so we left and returned to Myeongdong Street, where I had chicken ginseng porridge for dinner. Korea is famous for pumpkin porridge actually but I l did not know it until much later, so yeah, chicken ginseng it is!

On Day 5, we did more exploring so read on!

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post and feature is based on personal experiences.
In Koala Land

Honeymoon @ Korea Day 3: Shilla Stay Mapo Hotel & Ewha Womans University [SEOUL]

Hey people!

On Day 3, we left Busan (yassss, goodbye Canvas Hostel!) for Seoul.

Many people would choose to buy a KTX Rail Pass to get to Seoul in 3 hours, but YX discovered that it would save us at least half the cost if we were to take a bus from the Bus Terminal instead.

The downside was that we will arrive in Seoul in 4.5 hours. Since we were not in a rush, we decided to take a bus instead of the train.


As it turned out, the bus was clean and comfy, and I had a much better sleep on the bus than I did on my Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to Busan.

Once we reached Seoul, we took the subway to Mapo. Throughout our stay in Seoul, we had to climb stairs in subway stations (sometimes while carrying our luggage) and steep slopes, so be mentally prepared for that.

On another note, it's no wonder that the elderly in Korea looked so fit despite their age. They have to climb stairs and steep slopes everyday with their walking sticks! Oh boy, I salute them.

At Mapo, we stayed in Shilla Stay Mapo, which is a HOTEL.

Yes, you read it right. Not a hostel, but a 5-star hotel! Thank you to my dear hubby for treating me to this hotel stay as a wedding gift. After staying in a hostel with peeling wallpaint for 2 nights, this was luxury to me.

Since we would be travelling around in Seoul using the subway, we bought T-money cards, which is akin to Singapore's ez-link cards.

You can use these cards for tapping in and out of subway stations; as well as your purchases in local convenience stores. The cards cost 3,000 won each and you would need to top up your card periodically when you run out.

We should have bought these cards in Busan since they can be used there too, but we could not find a T-money machine while we were there. We realized later that you could buy your T-money card from the convenience store too.

We visited Ewha Womans University that evening and took photos of the campus before the sun sets.

It is unsurprising that this educational institution is a tourist attraction because look how MAD GORGEOUS the campus looks.

Kinda reminds me of my university exchange days in the States where I got to walk along beautiful garden lawns to my lecture halls.

Damn, I miss being a student again. I know I am too old to be one, but I kinda blend in, do I? :P

I swear the campus looks way better in real life than they do in my photos.

Once you are done exploring the campus, do not just go off yet!

You should definitely drop by the Ewha Womans University Fashion Street because this is the place to go if you want to buy fashionable yet affordable apparels, as well as beauty products. As the shops cater to students, they tend to be budget-friendly, and they were a lot cheaper than the shops in Myeongdong Shopping Street.

Even though the shops were generally selling winter wear, I managed to buy a handful of pretty tops that could be worn in the summer for 5,000 won and 10,000 won. That amounts to approximately S$6ish to S$12ish which is very reasonable for the quality and design of the clothes.

For dinner, we ate along the Fashion Street at Mr Healing Cafe, and tried Bibimbap and Cold Buckwheat Noodles.

Man, the Bibimbap puts all the bibimbaps I have eaten in Singapore to shame. Still not a fan of cold buckwheat noodles, but YX loves them, so to each his own.

On Day 4, we checked out of Shilla Stay Mapo and headed to Myeongdong. Read on, please!

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post and feature is based on personal experiences.
From The Top

Honeymoon @ Korea Day 2: Yonggungsa Temple, Taejongdae, Songdo Skywalk & Gamcheon Culture Village

Hey people!

It's Day 2 in Busan and we went on a full-day Klook Tour.

We booked a Busan East Coast Cultural Day Tour for S$46.86 each (after a $5 discount as a first-timer of Klook) and explored 4 locations - Yonggungsa Temple, Taejongdae, Songdo Skywalk and Gamcheon Culture Village.

I normally like to walk to attractions, but some of them are really far away, so it's advisable to book a tour to cover these attractions instead.

Our pick-up location and time were very convenient. We only needed to report at 9.30am at Haeundae train station to wait for our shuttle bus. Thus, we ate some free paninis provided by Canvas Hostel for breakfast before walking to Haeundae train station.

Yonggungsa Temple

Our first stop was this beautiful temple located by the sea, very unlike many temples in Korea which are located in the mountains. It is filled with statues, pagodas and.... LOTS OF TOURISTS.

Yonggungsa Temple is also one of the 3 temples in South Korea that is dedicated to the Goddess of Buddha.

There are a number of Buddhas in the temple so people tend to go there to pray for all sorts of wants - wealth, health, good academic grades and children.

If you want a son, you can rub the belly of the Buddha of Granting a Son. Judging by how dirty the Buddha's belly was, I guessed lots of people want sons.

Tried Ginseng Yakult after leaving the temple and boy, it was unusual. I'd say that you would need an acquired taste for this. :P

Taejongdae & Yeongdo Lighthouse

Our second attraction was Taejongdae, a natural park with cliffs facing the sea and a Yeongdo Lighthouse.

To get to the observation point, we had to take a Danubi train, although some brave souls chose to walk up the steep slopes instead. *clap clap clap*

While waiting for the Danubi train, we tried a Taejongdae King Fishcake which was yums! Share if you must - it was pretty big!

We climbed up and down several slopes before reaching the best observation point for the Yeongdo Lighthouse.

It was hard to get a good photo with the hordes of tourists behind me, so this was the best version.

What panoramic views of the cliff! I cannot get enough of the view! How could people think of commiting suicide here?

Lunch - Jajangmyeon

Time for lunch!

YX had a mental list of the food that he wanted to eat in Korea, and was absolutely thrilled when the tour guide told us that she would be bringing us to eat Jajangmyeon.

The fried Jajangmyeon was so delicious.

The combination of tastes from the black bean sauce and the caramelised onions were like a matchmake in heaven!

This was another version of Jajangmyeon but YX ended up eating for me because it was spicy. Thanks hubs!

Songdo Skywalk

On to our third location!

Besides Haeundae Beach, there is a Songdo Beach that is popular in Busan, so there we were!

We went on a Songdo Skywalk, strolling along a long bridge with glass floors.

I expected us to be higher up actually since the bridge was called a 'skywalk' but we were a lot lower than I thought, so no worries if you have a fear of heights!

This makes a potentially romantic paktor place for couples, don't you think?

Gamcheon Culture Village

Saving the best for the last was Gamcheon Culture Village, nicknamed the 'Machu Picchu' of Busan.

Don't you just love the bright, colourful houses?

Best photo of the day!

The quaint Culture Village was very enjoyable to check out, with its interesting cafes, cute wall murals and plenty of photo opportunities.

There was a long line of people queuing to take photos with The Little Prince. I wonder why.

Our tour ended late and our bus was caught in a jam so by the time we alighted from the shuttle bus at Haeundae train station, it was time for a late dinner.

Dinner - Grilled Eel

We went to satisfy YX's cravings for grilled eel at one of the seafood eateries along the streets of Haeundae.

It was pretty expensive at S$33 and YX was sorely disappointed that it did not taste the same as what he envisioned. But oh well, you never try; you never know.

On Day 3, we left Busan for Seoul, so read on!

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post and feature is based on personal experiences.
Ze Cartoon

Honeymoon @ Korea Day 1 : Haeundae Beach, Canvas Hostel & Centum City [BUSAN]

Hey people!

Korea is a destination that needs no publicity - many of my friends have already been there since years ago. However, YX and I have never been to Korea, so we chose it as our honeymoon destination.

As it turned out, what a marvellous choice. There was so much to see, do and experience, and I liked that the destination was inexpensive. Since I want to remember my trip, I have prepared 8 travel entries to document my journey so read on and follow me if you are interested!

This year, Singapore Airlines launched direct flights from Singapore to Busan, Korea so we grabbed the promotion and booked our flight tickets.

After a rather uncomfortable overnight 6-hour flight and two movies later, we landed in Busan and took the subway to our hostel.

We were too early for check-in so we left our luggage at the counter and headed to explore Haeundae Beach. It was a family-friendly beach, and the weather was perfect for strolling along it.

There was a Gunam Cultural Plaza Street near Haeundae Beach that had lots of eateries as well as a smaller street selling seafood.

We had our first meal in a Korean restaurant (that had no English name, so I can only share a picture) to have pork and rice soup. We later learnt that this dish was a specialty in Busan, and was rare in Seoul.

It was the best dish ever, because nothing beats indulging in warm soup during a chilly weather.

The broth was so flavourful to the point of being addictive. Evidently, I was all praises for my food.

The food in Korean restaurants generally costs around S$7 to S$15ish nett per main course and they come with plenty of side dishes, so you will definitely be full.

If there are two of you dining together, you will have to order two main courses, as it is not allowed for two people to share a main course.

We headed back to Canvas Hostel for check-in thereafter. I was quite disappointed at the hostel because while it looked nice, clean and artistic in pictures, the bathroom walls and sink were actually peeling. I know I should not have high expectations since we did not pay much to stay there, but I was honestly glad to stay for only 2 nights.

The Airbnbs in Korea were surprisingly expensive and cost as much as a hotel stay so I would recommend staying in a hotel instead if you do not mind forking out a higher cost. Otherwise, stay in a hostel like me and pray hard that you get a decent room.

Bordering on a severe lack of sleep also meant that we were absolutely tired after returning from Haeundae Beach so we took a nap for 2.5 hours, before heading out to Centum City for dinner.

Centum City is like an Orchard Road of Busan, with department stores and high fashion brands along the streets. It's not really my thing, but if you like designer goods, perhaps Centum City is worth checking out.

We had dinner at a food court at one of the malls and shared a pork neck grill set. Headed back to our hostel to turn in early that night because Day 2 is a full day of Klook tour!

Read on at the next entry!

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post and feature is based on personal experiences.

For Beloved One: Melasleep Brightening Lumi's Key Essence & Bio-Cellulose Masks

Hey people!

Now that I am no longer in my 20s, my skin type has changed from oily to dry. During the 'not so good' days, my complexion can look a tad dull. It is a matter of time that I would fall into the 'ageing skin' zone, where I would need to rely on other kinds of beauty products to slow down the signs of ageing.

Gone are the days when I would wear heavy makeup everyday to mask my imperfections. Now, there are so many times when I have gone out of the house bare-faced, but confident and comfortable in my own skin. Since I do not depend on makeup, having a good skin foundation is important to me.

The kind of skincare products I look out for now are either the ones that are highly moisturising, or those that can brighten my complexion.

If you have read my previous review on For Beloved One Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence & Bio-Cellulose Masks, you would know that I LOVED the brightening range and have been using them since then to maintain my skin. Today, I am gonna introduce you to another brightening range, which is the For Beloved One's Melasleep Brightening Lumi's Key Essence & Bio-Cellulose Masks.

Let's start with the Melasleep Brightening Lumi's Key Essence ($68), shall we?

If you have dark spots, pigmentation or uneven skin tone, this essence is for you. Although I do not have pigmentation problems, I do get dark spots from post-pimple residual marks and my skin tone is generally uneven, with parts of my face (e.g. forehead and chin) looking darker than the other areas (e.g. cheeks).

The essence is formulated with the following key ingredients to improve the luminosity of your skin:

i) Lumiskin - Brightens skin tone
ii) Wonderlight - Slows down melanin generation
iii) Multifruit BSC Complex - An alpha hydroxy acid formula that fades dark spots and reduces dull complexion.

Judging by the word 'Melasleep', you might assume that it is a night product that has to be used before bedtime. Despite the name, this bottle of essence can be used twice a day, once in the daytime and once before you sleep. I really enjoyed using this essence because it has a lightweight consistency and absorbs very quickly into skin with a few light pats. My skin felt soft and smooth after drinking up the essence, and I could complement its effects with a moisturiser thereafter.

I am always looking forward to wearing a Bio-Cellulose Mask from For Beloved One because the high quality mask never fails to have such an immediate result on my skin.

In my journey with For Beloved One, I have used their Bio-Cellulose masks to prepare my skin for my pre-wedding photoshoot and wedding last year, where I knew that I would be photographed from all angles, with close-up shots. Although my wedding is over, I am still maintaining my skin with them to achieve my desired flawless complexion.

The Melasleep Bightening Lumi's Key Bio-Cellulose Mask ($63 for 3 pieces) contains similar brightening ingredients such as Lumiskin and Wonderlight. On top of them, the product is also infused with another key ingredient, the Matrixyl 3000, which repairs skin using a 3D collagen formula. Matrixyl 3000 also strengthens the skin's elasticity and increases the luminosity of your complexion. This mask is perfect for people who yearn for a more radiant and youthful complexion as it not only brightens your skin tone but battles the effects of ageing as well.

My first impression of the Melasleep Bio-Cellulose Masks was their generous amount of essence. In fact, they were so soaked that the mask was practically dripping with essence when I pulled it out from its pack. Nonetheless, the mask adheres to your face tightly, ensuring that your skin absorbs the essence, nutrients and goodness of the masks optimally. You do not have to worry about the mask slipping and sliding as you go on your daily activities for the next 15 minutes.

The texture of the mask gives off a cooling sensation and makes the masking process very relaxing. My favourite part is peeling the mask off to witness an instantly rejuvenated, brighter and velvety smooth skin. It made me feel SO GOOD about myself!

Interested to go on your skin brightening journey with For Beloved One?

Drop by any Sephora outlets in Singapore or hop over to
Sephora Website to get your hands on For Beloved One's Melasleep Brightening Lumi's Key products.

Do follow me on my Instagram account @gilmangirl as well, because I will be giving away TWO boxes of Melasleep Brightening Lumi's Key Bio-Cellulose Masks very soon! Let us get our skin radiant and revitalized for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, my friends!

Disclaimer: This review is done in collaboration with For Beloved One. Reviews are based on personal experiences.
Side Profile

Enjoy a Royal Bird's Nest Facial at newly opened My Cozy Room (Devonshire Road)

Hey people!

In my years of collaborations with different beauty studios and spas, I have tried many kinds of facials. But I have never come across something as unique and exotic as a Royal Bird's Nest Facial.

This is a new and premium facial that was recently launched in boutique spas,
My Cozy Room and I was honoured to be invited to try it during its pre-launch.

My Cozy Room is an award-winning boutique spa and happens to have the 'Best Facial in Singapore' according to Google reviews. It has also opened a new outlet at Devonshire Road a couple of months back, which is within walking distance to Somerset MRT Station.

Their first boutique spa is located at Cairnhill Road, which was out of the way for me so I was glad that there is another more convenient outlet. I liked how they retained the elegant gold, princessy concept of the boutique spa though.

The boutique spa is also located at the 2nd level. Once you arrive at the ground floor, be prepared to change into a pair of slippers and climb a flight of stairs to get to the entrance.

The moment I entered the boutique spa, I was served a warm cup of tea by a very hospitable staff and asked to fill in my personal particulars before my consultation.

During my consultation, I was asked to share about my skin concerns. I told them about my dry and sensitive skin type, as well as my uneven skin tone.

I also shared that my skin turns red easily when in contact with heat. This was an important detail because the Bird's Nest Facial that I was about to go through had a Radiofrequency segment that involved heat, so the staff ensured that a cool Radiofrequency device was used on my face instead.

The Bird's Nest Facial is a 2-hour session, so it is ideal for customers who are not in a rush with back-to-back appointments. Just take it as 2 hours of pampering me-time from the hustle and bustle of your life. You are gonna love it.

I was brought into the facial room where I changed into a pink robe and got ready for my facial.

As I came directly from work and had light makeup on, the facial started with double-cleansing using a Royal Jelly Cleanser to get rid of the makeup and impurities from my face.

Many of the beauty products used in this facial are infused with Bird's Nest extracts. Not only were they immensely nourishing and hydrating to the skin, they smelled fantastic too.

When it comes to exfoliation, there are multiple techniques. Beauticians might use a scrub or a peeling gel, while others might depend on a device for exfoliation.

In this Bird's Nest Facial, a bird nest-infused Golden Exfoliator was used to get rid of my dead skin cells in the most gentle way possible without stripping the skin from moisture. After which, a steamer was used to open my pores and prepare for extraction.

Occasionally, they would spray a toner mist in between steps all over my face before patting the essence in.

Time for extraction!

Although I am no longer acne-prone, I do have whiteheads at my nose and chin. Thus, the beautician had to spend a while to extract these pesky whiteheads from my skin. In fact, she was so meticulous that she managed to extract a huge and stubborn whitehead near my eyebrow.

I also requested for the beautician to trim my bushy eyebrows, and she did a splendid job for me.

In order to disinfect my skin after extraction, this high frequency electrical device was used all over my face.

I was a tad freaked out by the sound from the device because it really sounded like electrical currents and I was worried that I would get zapped. Thankfully, it was a painless process and there was no stinging at all, but I still could not wait for this part to be over. :P

Next up, a cool Dynamic Radiofrequency device was used to aid the absorption of a Bird's Nest Complex into my skin. This Complex is made up of swiftlet nest extract and silver vine fruit extract to nourish and brighten the skin, improving its luminosity.

The cool temperature was extremely soothing, and the process felt like a relaxing, gentle massage. I was so glad I shared about the effects of heat on my sensitive skin during the consultation. Otherwise, I would not have been able to experience this!

The Yellow Jade Facial Massage was useful for lymphatic drainage, lifting of facial contours and blood circulation, and was absolutely enjoyable too.

I just wished the process was longer.

Got to wear a Premium White Nest Alginate Mask for 20 minutes in the last part of my facial. Formulated with Swiss Alps Spring Water, Algae Collagen Essence and concentrated Bird's Nest extract, this cold mask will heal redness as well as hydrate and rejuvenate your skin.

While waiting for the mask to harden on my face, I was given a shoulder massage too. The remaining 10 to 15 minutes was for me to get as much sleep as possible before I was woken up during mask removal. 

Excuse the dark mark near my eyebrow - that was the huge whitehead that the beautician had managed to extract from my skin. I was warned that it would leave behind a mark, but the mark would heal in no time.

In terms of overall complexion, I could see that it was more dewy after the facial. I also looked fairer and my skin felt plump with moisture. The effect lasted for around 2 days, and I realized that it made my makeup look much better too.

My Cozy Room not only pampers your skin with nourishing Bird's Nest skincare products; they also take care of your beauty from the inside by feeding you with a delicious and healthy Bird's Nest beverage too. 

Tried a bottle of Bird's Nest with Chrysanthemum from Kinohimitsu and it was awesome! It was tasty and not overwhelmingly sweet. Besides, there was a generous lot of Bird's Nest in there.

I also got to bring home a box of Bird's Nest with Jasmine, where I shared them with my family. They were full of praises for the Bird's Nest beverage and I personally felt that it tasted better than the Bird's Nest with Chrysanthemum. They also have a Bird's Nest with Butterfly Pea which I have yet to try. One tip though - keep it in the fridge because it is best consumed when chilled. :)

If you are looking to treat your skin with Royal Bird's Nest Facial at My Cozy Room, I've got good news for you.

The Royal Bird's Nest Facial currently retails at $388 per session but first-time customers residing in Singapore get a 50% discount. These customers also get to enjoy a complimentary bottle of Bird's Nest beverage after their facial. A
ppointments can be made through a phone call at 6753 0030 or Whatsapp at 8811 0030.

Hurry and get your skin pampered before the Chinese New Year festivities! Do also check out My Cozy Room at its Website, Facebook and Instagram.

My Cozy Room
125 Devonshire Road
Singapore 239884

Disclaimer: This post is done in collaboration with My Cozy Room. Review is based on personal experiences.
Ribbon Dress

Weekend Getaway to Batam: Exploring Nagoya Hill

Hey people!

Before 2019 ended, I went on a weekend getaway to Batam with YX.

The last time I visited Batam was at least 15 years ago when I followed my Mum and her friends to Batam. I was in secondary school and had little interest in travelling then so I honestly could not remember much. Now that I am an adult and can appreciate travelling and exploring with my hubby, it was worth a visit.

I had won a pair of Majestic Fast Ferry round trip tickets from My Cozy Room Spa's Facebook contest, and was given till the end of December 2019 to utilise them.

Thus, we decided to visit Batam on the last weekend of December.

Always excited to travel with this guy!

It was mad crowded at Harbourfront Ferry Terminal and we took a while for security clearance, but it sure beats getting stuck at the customs to Johor Bahru for 5 hours.

The 1-hour ride was more comfortable than I thought, with comfy seats in an air-conditioned ferry.

By the time we disembarked from Batam Center Point International Ferry Terminal, it was 11am at local time. As Batam is 1 hour behind Singapore, it was actually lunch time and I was hungry!

Mega Mall Batam Center is connected to the Ferry Terminal via a link bridge so we headed straight for the mall to hunt for food.

At Mega Mall, we decided to share a meal at Indonesian eatery, Es Teler 77 before hopping over to fast food chain, A&W to share another meal.

Shared a plate of Mie Goreng and a cup of tea at Es Teler 77 with YX. It was yummeh!

I loved that they used Indomie noodles and included plenty of keropok. Additionally, it was only around S$3.50 for the meal!

We hopped over to A&W next, as I had cravings for curly fries and root beer float.

We ordered a set meal which came with a New York Coney hotdog, but it was a major disappointment. The hotdog looked nothing like its photo display and was dripping with an overwhelming amount of sauce. Although I managed to satisfy my cravings for the fries and the float, I did not find the meal worth it as it was no cheaper than the fast food set meals in Singapore.

We took a cab to Nagoya Hill, which was a 20 minute ride from the Ferry Terminal and Mega Mall Batam Center. The cost of a cab ride from the Ferry Terminal to Nagoya Hill or vice versa ranges from S$4 to S$7.

Taxis are largely available at major shopping malls and you should get a taxi that charges by meter as much as possible. I would also recommend downloading the Bluebird app to book a Bluebird Taxi because it would help to save you around S$2 to S$3, as compared to hailing a cab from the shopping malls.

One of the touristy must-buys in Batam is Kueh Lapis, i.e. Indonesia layer cake.

They are everywhere and come in an assortment of flavours! Thanks to my sister-in-law's recomendation, we ordered Original and Prune Kueh Lapis from the brand, Layer Cake at Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall. It was delicious and fragrant! :)

There is an entire stretch of spas and massage parlours outside Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall, and you will definitely be spoilt for choice.

The spas and massages are very popular among Singaporeans as a 1-hour session can cost you around S$20+, which is very affordable compared to the spas and massages in Singapore.

YX and I went for a 1-hour traditional full-body massage at Spa Central Nagoya. As the spa was crowded with customers, I was glad we booked our appointment beforehand instead of doing walk-ins.

I have seen plenty of good reviews for this spa and it was frequented by many Singaporeans as well. We really enjoyed our massage because it was very comprehensive and professionally done. It's funny because I never used to appreciate massages, but I learnt to love them as I grew older. My stiff shoulders, sore back and aching legs could definitely benefit from massages as well.

When I was done with my extremely soothing massage that left my body and mind rejuvenated, we rested at the lounge area with a cup of hot ginger tea and light snacks.

After the spa, we shopped around at Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall and I bought my Dad prawn crackers at his request. I tried to look out for clothes and shoes as well but I was not interested in the styles at the shops. Eventually, it was time for check-in and we headed to our hotel (more about it later!) for some rest. 

YX's buddy recommended us to try the food at Bakso Kota Cakman in Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall so we ate there for dinner.

The menu was entirely in Malay and we did not know what to order so we chose based on our gut feel. As it turned out, it was the best meal of the day for its price and its taste.

Our Mie Ayam Bakso was absolutely flavourful and costs only S$2.20. Unbelievable!

Ayam Goreng Kremes + Nasi was pretty substantial as well for a S$2.30 meal.

Even though we were served chicken breast (which I am not a fan of), the meat was surprisingly tender instead of dry. Thumbs up for that!

In Batam, you should definitely watch a movie while you can because the movie tickets are only S$4.50 per pax at Cinema XXI. Besides, you get to enjoy the movie in a luxurious and comfortable cinema setting.

We booked our tickets to Jumanji: The Next Level and went for our movie after dinner. OMG, the movie was hilarious and YX and I were laughing so hard!

Do bear in mind that Cinema XXI does not allow patrons to bring in drinks and food, and they will have to be kept in a locker before one proceeds to the theatres. Nonetheless, they do have staff who will enter the theatres to sell food and drinks before the movie so you can buy from them if you are hungry.

We stayed overnight at a 3-star hotel, The Hills Nagoya Batam, which was conveniently located across the road from Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall.

A night's stay at this hotel costs us around S$70ish but I happened to have S$30 worth of AgodaCash, so it helped to offset the cost greatly.

Was pretty pleased with the interior of our hotel room as it was homely and clean.

We had a superior king bed to sleep on, although my only gripe was that the blanket seemed a little... yellowed. Other than that, I liked the bathroom as it had a separate shower area away from the toilet bowl and sink, and most importantly, it was clean.

The next morning, we had a complimentary buffet breakfast at Aopa Resto.

We woke up early for breakfast because YX complained that he was hungry!

The buffet spread was largely a selection of Malay and Western dishes, coupled with fruit.

I did not have high expectations for the buffet since past patrons have encouraged to skip it, but I guessed the food was decent overall.

Made our own noodle soup from this counter and I satisfied my egg omelette cravings. You can never go wrong with egg!

As YX had a wedding lunch to catch that day, we set off to the Ferry Terminal by 9.00am and boarded the ferry by 10.30am. It was home sweet home for us thereafter.

That concludes my 2D1N at Batam. Although it was a simple trip, it was enough for me to relax and recharge before the new year. If you are planning a weekend getaway to Batam next time, you know where to go! :)

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post and reviews are based on personal experiences.
Vixenish Eyebrows

Reflections of 2019: I Fell, Stood Up and Walked Again

Hey friends!

Today is New Year Eve, and also my last day at work. When 2020 begins, it will be a 'New Year, New Job' for me.

As I threw away my work lanyard into the bin, I thought back about how hard 2019 has been on me. Not long ago, my career threatened to fall apart just a month before my big day. It not only made me intensely insecure and fearful, but also affected my self-efficacy and trust in people. In despair, I questioned what financial security, success or even happiness meant to me. Do I really need to climb the corporate ladder? Will earning more make me happier? Am I happy where I am now? Should I continue to work for others? Should I start out on my own? Should I be a freelancer? Am I still chasing my dream, or living it?

I have never been in a situation when I would feel so looked down upon and so despised in my life. I have never had people telling me that I was falling behind for my age, or that I do not fit in, or that I was different from the rest. I always knew that I was different, but I have never thought that I would need to feel ashamed for being me. Should I be sorry that I did not fit into a mould, or should I embrace my individuality? Will I find a place where I could truly thrive, or should I create my own?

Photo credits to blog.sivanaspirit.com

It was only nearing my wedding that I decided to put a close to all the unhappiness that I have been facing. I was tired of fighting an internal battle; decided that I was too old for this shit, and went out there to look for my next opportunity.

The stars were aligned after that, and slowly, my confidence grew. It was as though I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My greatest blessing was that I was given another chance to try again, and for that, I am eternally grateful. In the midst of hectic wedding preparations, a bad job market and high unemployment rates, I went for a job interview and managed to secure myself of a job by the very next day. The new job came in perfect timing and I was given a favourable offer by the time I marched down the aisle. My new employer knew about my upcoming wedding and honeymoon, and was willing to wait for me to tender when I returned. I guess the Heavens were watching over me after all.

People can think the worst of you, but you need to believe in yourself and your own capabilities. My only goal now is to look forward and strive not for money, but for greater self-efficacy in my new job. A good friend once told me that if I could find a job that I love, there will not be a need for 'retirement plans', because you will be so happy to continue working till you die. Not everyone can work in their dream job due to practicality reasons, so I hope that I could at least find meaning in what I do and contribute my strengths to it. I pray to be appreciated and valued for who I am, and not who I need to be. Although my previous job has hurt me the most in my career, I am thankful for some colleagues that have brightened my life with their presence. While some people you meet in life are lessons, trust that there will be many others who are blessings.

Besides a job change, another highlight in 2019 was that I got married to the love of my life.

Although planning a wedding is stressful, all I could remember were the good things as I looked back on my big day: 1) how happy I was to walk down the aisle and witness the proud faces of my family, relatives and friends; 2) how my emcee, bridesmaids and groomsmen worked in unison to ensure that the wedding ran smoothly 3) how beautiful my gowns were, 4) how lucky I was to marry YX and 5) how enjoyable my post-wedding life was.

I also went on a honeymoon to Korea with YX and experienced beautiful moments: Enjoying the cool Autumn breeze; walking hand in hand along a path with vibrant red maple trees and a field of yellow pine leaves; keeping warm with delicious and tasty soup broths and getting a kick out of good shopping hauls.

Korea was a country that I had longed wanted to visit, but on one condition: I wanted to go there during Autumn with a special someone. I finally did it.

I have actually prepared 9 blog entries on my honeymoon and had targeted to publish them in December 2019, but other blog reviews and advertorials got in the way. No complaints though! I am happy with the opportunities received, and I will be sharing about my honeymoon in January 2020 instead. Please look out for them! :)

Although I did not have much time to travel this year with work responsibilities and wedding preparations, I got to visit 3 other memorable places within Singapore:

1) Staycation at The Outpost Hotel

Would you believe that this was my first staycation experience, and it had to be in a new 5-star hotel on Sentosa Island?

Best of all, YX and I won this staycation by looking alike as a couple! I am not kidding - we were Trick Eye Museum's Most Lookalike Couple and this was our reward. It was SPLENDID.

2) Royal Carribbean - Spectrum of the Seas

Going on a Royal Carribean cruise has always been on my 'to-go' list for short getaways, so I never thought that I would explore the cruise one day with YX during its Maiden Call.

I went on a tour led by the staff from Royal Carribean to check out the highlights of the ship, watched an enjoyable concert in their theatre and enjoyed a sumptuous 3-course Western meal in their fancy restaurant. Such is life. :)

3) Sentosa North Cove

Sentosa South Cove may be no biggie but Sentosa North Cove is. One will probably be able to access the residents-only premises if they are invited over by a friend who lives there. Your friend is also possibly one of the most affluent in Singapore.

I had the chance to explore Sentosa North Cove thanks to YX's client who invited us over, and man... it sure looked different there. It was like entering a peaceful, exclusive island with rows of gorgeous and artistic houses that I could only dream of owning. Thanks for giving me a peek into the life of the rich.

As for my life in the public blogging, social influencing or whatever-you-call-it scene, thank you for giving me an alternative platform to create, connect and thrive. I chose this path 10 years ago because I always knew that social media was my outlet for expression as well as a space to call my own. Over the years, I have earned a good amount of readership and followers, made friends with long-term readers, collaborated with many sponsors and brands, and worked on many memorable projects. It is indeed a large part of my life and identity. Best of all, I enjoyed every moment of it.

I am also very excited for my upcoming collaborations in 2020 but I am gonna ask for you to stay tuned to them! To my readers and followers, I also have giveaways coming your way next year!

In sum, may the tears I have shed in 2019 water the seeds I am planting for 2020. For 2020, I pray for a better life than I had in 2019. And I hope it gets better from there. :)
With cap

For Beloved One: Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence & Bio-Cellulose Masks

Hey people!

I know for a long time that I was never a fair-faced beauty, and my complexion can look dull during stressful days.

By dull, I mean that there are times when I have looked a tad yellow or tanned, and it gives me an unhealthy look overall. How I envy my friends who have fair complexions and rosy glows on their cheeks!

But does it mean that all hope is lost for me?

Fortunately, there are beauty products in the market that could help you to brighten your skin tone, hydrate it and make it look healthy again.

This year, my trusty beauty brand from Taiwan, For Beloved One, released two key products from their Flawless Brightening range to help ladies like me achieve their desired complexion, and I am gonna introduce them to you.

Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence (S$68 for 30 ml)

This bottle of essence contains several ingredients that reduce melanin production and contribute to skin brightening, namely:

1) Ethyl Ascorbic Acid - lightens melanin formed on skin
2) Brightenyl - blocks skin's production of melanin
3) Carnosine - improves skin's elasticity and protects skin from environmental damage
4) Gycolic Acid - accelerates metabolism of darkened cuticle and renews skin

The essence has a watery and lightweight consistency that gets absorbed into the skin in a jiffy. I love how it does not leave behind a sticky residue and seems to also prep the skin to absorb other skincare products better.

You can use the essence twice a day after cleansing and toning, and before application of moisturiser.
At $68, I would say that it is a tad pricey for its quantity but if it works, I guessed it is worth every dollar. 2 pumps of essence is all I need each time I apply this product so hopefully, it would last for a while.

Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Bio-Cellulose Mask ($63 for 3 pieces)

I swear by For Beloved One's Bio-Cellulose Masks and I have been using them to prep my skin for major occasions such as my pre-wedding photoshoot and my actual wedding day.

For Beloved One's Bio-Cellulose Masks are typically known for their immense hydrating properties, and I have relied on them to rejuvenate my skin instantaneously, particularly during the days when my skin was dull, dehydrated or problematic. As they have the ability to maintain my complexion for a longer period than regular sheet masks, I only needed to use them once every 2 weeks.

I was overjoyed to see that For Beloved One has Bio-Cellulose Masks to target skin brightening and complement the effects of the Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence. My skin did looked fairer, radiant and well moisturised right after I removed the mask!

With A-Grade thickness and high air permeability, these masks adhere tightly to the face and effectively seal the essence to the skin. They also contained Ethyl Ascorbic Acid and Brightenyl to lighten dark spots and reduce the skin's production of melanin respectively. Carnosine protects the skin from environmental damages and works closely with the other key ingredients to give rise to a bright and radiant complexion.

As each mask retails at $21 per piece, it is possibly the priciest masks I ever owned. Nonetheless, the masks are high quality and reliable because they truly do what they promise. My hubby even commented that my skin was very smooth. If you have a big occasion to prep your skin for, these masks are worth the investment. 

Interested to go on your skin brightening journey with For Beloved One?

Drop by any Sephora outlets in Singapore or hop over to
Sephora Website to get your hands on For Beloved One's Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid products. You're on your way for a brighter and more beautiful you!

Do follow me on my Instagram account @gilmangirl as well, because I will be giving away TWO Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Essence this week! Will you be one of the lucky winners? Join and find out! :)

Disclaimer: This review is done in collaboration with For Beloved One. Reviews are based on personal experiences.