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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Nourish Your Skin for only $5


Trying to balance my skin’s moisture is like walking a tight rope. Too much, it’ll become as oily as a wok. Too little, my cheeks start to flake and the T-zone overproduces sebum to compensate. Since returning from my Europe stint, for 2 weeks my skin has been trying to acclimatize without success.  Cheeks felt rough despite exfoliation at home.

So I got introduced to Himalaya nourishing cream. A family owned label since 1930 and now sold in 89 countries. As my parents are au-naturale fanatics, I checked its ingredients. Using 100% herbal actives of aloe vera and winter cherry, I decided to give it a try. Natural herbal actives are known to possess excellent moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antioxidant effects. Winter cherry is an Indian herb (like our ginseng) that if consumed supports healthy brain function and manage daily stress. However, for skin uses, it is a stimulant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

I did a quick search and Amazon reviews are very positive!
It is light and non-greasy with a wild flower scent. My facial therapist always gives me the same feedback; my skin is dry at the epidermal layer despite the surface being soft and smooth.
Upon application, my skin quickly absorbs Himalaya nourishing cream. After a few days of use, my skin (especially around the nose) stops flaking.

It is great for daily use, I have combination skin and Himalaya seem to balance it out well. The light cream is quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving a sticky after feel (important for our humid weather) yet providing enough moisture to keep it supple.

Best of all, it comes in 50ml and is a 2-in-1!Having traveled many weekends in Europe on Easyjet, who is SUPER STRICT with carry-on lugguage. Only ONE piece is allowed. Which means no handbags even.
This would be considered 3 pieces, I would be denied entry!

I have to be really minimal in packing so I can leave space for new shopping! If only I had Himalaya nourishing cream then! It is a 2-in-1 that can be used for the face and body! Gentle enough for the face, rich enough for the body. Especially in Europe where the air is dry, moisturizing the body is just as important as the face!

Even better is, at such an affordable price (from $5.90 at Watsons, Giant, Little & OG Department Store), it can also be used on the body! You won’t feel the pinch slathering dollops of Himalaya cream.

Remember my lesson learnt from a Russian strip club? Soft smooth skin is what makes us woman! 
Nothing in my house contains sodium lauryl sulphate, a chemical found in floor detergents, anymore. So am glad Himalaya makes the cut to join the ‘family’.

Beauty doesn’t need to come at a price afterall.

Email me your name and contact number with the answer to ‘what is the main herbal ingredient in this multi-use nourishing skin cream? First 10 correct emails win. Winners will have to collect cream from agent. Contest ends 14 Feb.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

7 Alternative Things to do in Berlin

Berlin is one of my favourite European cities because its vibe. Where i, with my strange fashion and interests would fit in like fish in water. I don't know if its because of her poignant history that made her to be accepting of all cultures, interests and fetish.
You can join a free walking tour with Sandemans to cover all the historical landmarks including Checkpoint Charlie where for 2 euro you can pose with the guards, or pay 5 euro to get genuine passport stamps that don't exist anymore.
I joked with them, asking if they are full-time models.

Otherwise, here are some suggestions of alternative things to do when in Berlin!

1. Trace Mr. 6
The difference between graffiti and street art, both which Berlin has aplenty is that graffiti artists are punks who want to be famous (for getting away with it) while street artists have a message to convey about society. There are some 650,000 sixes scrawled in the city over 18 years but no one knows what is the message behind that 6. Find street art and graffiti in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. If not, just keep your eyes peeled as you explore Berlin as you are bound to be able to find something!
Infamous Berlin wall
Building spotted while walking around aimlessly
2. Bearpit Karaoke
Every Sunday afternoon at 3pm, Joe rocks up to the stone circular amphitheater in Mauer Park with his makeshift outdoor karaoke set. This was my favourite thing to do in Berlin as i thought this was an ingenious entrepreneurial idea!
Brave members of the public can plan or spontaneously take up the microphone and unleash the inner star or banshee in them. The singers don't have to pay to sing, but Joe goes around every now and then with a can for donations. Everyone generously gave because they were all having such a good time. The atmosphere was contagious.
If everyone gave 1 euro, i reckon Joe makes at least 300 a Sunday without even performing!
People use bearpit karaoke as a wedding proposal ground,  a bachelor's dare or a hen's night out. There are the occasional eccentric characters who amped up the entertainment value. When i was there, there was a kid who dressed like an Undertaker complete with a flowing trench coat but had great showmanship. There was also a girl with blue pixie hair dressed like a cat, complete with whiskers drawn. The friendly crowd's roars and applause sometimes removes the inhibitions in people, like tearing open his shirt of gyrating sleazily. 
You have to be there seated among the wild crowd to feel emotions stirring inside you. Certainly inspiring.

Mauer Park also has a regular market selling wares, food and all sorts on Sundays. Highly recommended.

3. Party in Unexpected Spots
Berlin has such large empty spaces with an attitude that "anything goes" that allows many pop-up clubs or secret parties. I did not attend any when i was there, but i have heard stories with awe. Like the party which you enter via a real man-hole, and that party a friend discovered by chance because she found it odd that people were queuing for the toilet of a kebab shop. It was the entry point into a tunnel under the bridge. As a tourist, it may be hard to be in the know of such unexpected party spots, but you will fare well in the regular clubs. It is the only party city in the world where you can enter on Thursday and not leave till Sunday. You can literally party till you drop and they wouldn't throw you out. You can sleep inside the club, wake up get breakfast and party again. Stattbad Wedding is a permanent club in a defunct 100 year old swimming complex.

4. Eat Under a Railway
Burgermiester located under railway Schlesisches Tor is surely worth a hunt. So is the best kebab i've eaten (next point).
We arrived at night and a queue was snaking, club music was thumping and everyone was pumping mayo and ketchup on their fries. The buns were toaster to perfection with the beef patties succulent. The burger is about the size of a large man's fist. I had the chilli cheeseburger while my friend had the bbq. For a beer, 2 burgers and one serve of fries, it was 12 euros.

5. Eat the Best Kebab and Currywurst
I've never been quite a fan of kebabs but i've eaten kebabs in Singapore, Australia, Greece and Belgium. None of them tasted as good as Mustafa's Kebab at Mehringdamm 32. There was a 30 min queue wait but this is no deterrent for Singaporeans. They were so good that we thought of doing a takeaway for breakfast (kiasu) or even detour for kebab rerun the next day! It was THAT good. The secret is in the mint sauce, hummus, feta cheese and fried capsicum plus aubergines inside. All for only 3-4 euro!

Further down the same street is another famous stall Curry 36. Apparently a signature of Berlin, currywurst is deep fried sausages drenched in ketchup with a generous sprinkle of curry powder. I personally felt it is not a great miss if you didn't eat it, but you'll feel you haven't fully experienced Berlin if you didn't taste it. The secret is in the ketchup and curry powder. If the tomato sauce is home-made and if the curry is spicy enough. We ate 3 different stalls and Curry 36 is indeed the best. It felt like a recipe i could replicate at home though.
6. Take the smell of Berlin home with you
Frau Tonis Perfume is located near Charlie Checkpoint and i happened to walk past it. My scent was finishing and i thought maybe i would indulge and go for something uniquely me. In a store completely decked out in white, pale yellow and white liquids in laboratory bottles lined up in the middle for you to sniff. Push the bottles that you short list forward to make a selection that you can then blend to create an individualistic scent. It was pretty pricey and i didn't find the salesgirl very helpful although she is friendly. The clinical atmosphere was also intimidating. However, i know i will be walking the streets of Singapore smelling uniquely me.

7. Leave your Mark
While you take the scent of Berlin home with you, you should also leave your mark in Berlin to fully experience being a Berliner. Visit an abandoned building and bring a toolkit along!
In an abandoned ice factory

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Life in Switzerland

Facing some harmless stereotypes
An ego stroke being called exotic
Buildings are so close to each other and i can see the reflection of the Alps
My humble abode
Bought my first living thing companion, a fly trapper
Our first meal
At my doorstep
The important French phrases to know
Teaching kungfu
Buying a tomato plant from IKEA and eating them
The neighbourhood's happy hour
Summer time means eating on the balcony with friends
Solo meal times are best
My dive instructor
Diving in lake Geneva
Catching purple sunsets
Showing up in matching tees to roller blade
Plenty of solo travels
Exchanging cultures
Brow raising Swiss gym fashion
Talking to random strangers
Experimenting recipes
Feeding friends
Simple joys like bubble tea
Trying new flavours
Teaching yoga
My office space
Chasing swans in the lake
It's a kid's playground
Took 56 shots of this fork
The lake, the mountain, the beauty below my apartment
BBQ in the outback
Met my rock solid boyfriend
Lotsa merry making
Fav spicy salami pizza at Pizza Taxi
My home deco
Giant dogs
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