Lamians at Jin Mu Dumpling, PIK


This modest restaurant’s left a big impression on me upon my first visit – now I know Jin Mu is the place to go whenever I’m craving for delicious lamian at a delicious price. Hands down, they have the supplest, springiest lamian in town.


For the pork dumpling lovers out there, you’ll love what they have for starters too. Jin Mu has up to 10 different pork dumpling dishes for you to savor one by one, plus 2 different pork-laden xiao long bao dishes for you to try.

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Nota Bene


Not everyone
thinks the way you think, knows the things you know,
believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act.
Remember this
and you will go a long way in getting along with people.

(Arthur Forman)





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9 natural skincare lines I trust


The more I delay gratification when it comes to splurging, the more I learn about the reality behind chemicals, preservatives, and other toxins that are prominent in a lot of cosmetic products out there. I promised you that I’ll be going further into the details some time soon, so stay tuned.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not going full-on 100% chemical-free from now on (after all, there are many products with minimal artificial preservatives that actually work). I’m merely taking more time to look into the ingredients list before making my purchases, meaning I’ll put a product back on the shelf if a chemical I’m avoiding is listed as one of the first 5 ingredients.

That being said, there are a couple of products I crossed off from the luxe list I put together some time ago. I’ll go more into that in the near future, but for now, I want to share the few ranges out there that I know I can trust to work miracles without inducing long-term side effects.

While some of these skincare lines aren’t completely 100% chemical-free and/or anti-animal testing, they all share the same philosophy, and that’s crafting effective products and keeping themselves eco-responsible. When the time comes when I have the luxury to haul everything these lines have in stores – and I mean every single product they have – I’ll do it.

Here they are, along with the 3 best products from the line:


1. Balance Me

1Balance Me is a UK-based cosmetic company that started in a home kitchen back in 2005, but is now trailblazing in the industry worldwide. What I love about them is their holistic philosophy (‘beauty that works naturally’): They believe in formulating their products only with the purest-grade of naturally active botanicals to deliver real results. These are my 3 favorites among the many award-winners from their line:

  • Extra Care Radiance Face Oil (IDR 626,400): This ultra-hydrating oil has not only won the recent Debenhams Beauty Club Awards for the best natural skincare product, it’s also won last year’s Beauty Shortlist Awards that puts an emphasis on its neat concoction of kukui, moringa, buruti, rosehip, and camellia oils, along with vitamin E, benzoin, and yarrow. You’re sure to keep that radiant glow all day and all year round with an extra layer of this oil under your daily moisturizer.
  • Cleanse And Smooth Face Balm (IDR 417,600): Rest assured there’s no trace of toxins lurking in this cleanser – it’s a 100% natural oil-based balm to wash away the dead skin cells and your make-up simultaneously. Although it’s recommended for dry to sensitive skin, a 125 ml package boasts an extensive mix of tried-and-true natural active ingredients for all skin types, such as the antioxidant-packed Arctic cloudberry, oatmeal, camellia, kukui nut, rosehip oil, and cocoa, mango, and shea butters.
  • Radiance Face Mask (IDR 374,100): This is another winner of the pack (Red magazine’s Best of Beauty 2012 for best new exfoliator). By now you should know that I love clay-based products (see this) (and this) because of how they’re so effective at drawing out skin impurities. This mask is no different, if not more – dull skin is gone instantly when you rinse off with this exfoliating treatment. It has ground walnuts (love nuts!!!) as an alternative for the harmful micro beads that’s prevalent in most exfoliators in the market, as well as a rich blend of fruit acid complex to reveal a brighter, healthier skin.


2. Utama Spice

bodybutterjpg-1868412_p9As I mentioned before, I discovered Utama Spice while window-shopping on one fateful day at Zalora. The Bali-based skincare and aromatherapy line is abundant with formulations that are handmade from scratch, meaning they’re way less processed than the average skincare product on the shelf and contains virtually zero synthetics, chemicals, and other artificial compounds in their products. Everything is loud and clear for the average Joe and Jane on the ingredients list, and I’m sure even the most well-read women on beauty and skincare would certainly love the following products Utama Spice offers:

  • 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil (IDR 41,800 for 100 ml / IDR 190,850 for 1 l): Unless you still live in a cavemen world, virgin coconut oil is the multi-purpose beauty and household staple of the modern woman’s arsenal. The ultra-mollifying oil is extracted from local coconuts, then cold-pressed by hand. I love that you can still smell the fresh coconut-y aroma upon opening. Check out PopSugar’s take on the many uses of coconut oil.
  • Cocoa Love Body Butter (IDR 87,230): I don’t know any other woman who doesn’t love chocolate, and this is pure chocolate indulgence. The 100% cocoa butter is so velvety and fragrant that you almost want to lick it. Long known for its healing properties for sensitive skin, cocoa butter also boasts a rich amount of fatty acids to provide maximum hydration as well as high antioxidant levels to fight the first signs of aging.
  • Temu-Temu Face Mask and Scrub (IDR 51,260): Temulawak, or Javanese ginger, is abundant in traditional Indonesian medicines, mainly as a laxative and as a gastrointestinal treatment, but also for treating coughs, runny nose, swelling, arthritis, as well as rheumatism, among the many. It also contains modern medicine’s trending anti-inflammatory substance, curcumin, which is normally found in curry. In this scrub, Utama has blended pure temulawak with powdered clay to maximize the detoxifying, calming, and skin-rejuvenating effects of the healer. I like to apply a little bit of it before I pat on my pressed powder and SPF whenever everyday I’m heading out. I think it’s responsible for preventing the pore-clogging effects of certain makeup products I use, but that’s just an anecdotal guess.


3. Jurlique

jurlique x sephora

Jurlique has been extracting all-natural, biodynamic ingredients for over 25 years to formulate their brews from the back of their organic farm in Southern Australia. It’s the perfect brand to lean on to if you want potent botanicals that delivers its juices directly on your skin. For starters, try these:

  • Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum (USD 54.00): This is one gentle yet potent herbal remedy for your skin: The multi-purpose serum is formulated to eliminate dullness, restore natural radiance, protect against environmental damage, and minimize the first signs of aging. To deliver all this, it’s concentrated with 15 different bio-intrinsic botanical extracts that altogether increase antioxidant activity as well as enhance the skin’s recovery cycle, along with Persian silk extract to protect against environmental aggressors, Wu Zhu Yu extract to boost circulation, as well as peach leaf extract to promote cell regeneration.
  • Skin Balancing Face Oil (USD 50.00): This is one of the few lightweight face oils in the market that works and blends well under makeup. Two drops of it works wonders without you appearing like a walking oil tank, as it’s brewed with a unique blend of  nourishing skin-softening oils, namely evening primrose oil, macadamia seed oil, rosehip oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, and safflower oil, not to mention how fragrant it is on your skin.
  • Rosewater Balancing Mist  (USD 24.00): I love how soothing the rose undertones come off as you’re spritzing the mist on your face. This is an Elle Essential product too, by the way, and I also love how it absorbs fairly easily on the skin. If you start now and apply the mist religiously, you’ll see a much more balanced complexion over time, thanks to to glycerin and marshmallow extracts that retains the luminosity of the skin, as well as the antioxidant-rich grapefruit seed extracts that simultaneously tones, restores, and hydrates the skin.


4. REN


I was first introduced to REN as early as when I was 18. I was convinced by all the clinically-proven results, and I had to partly thank this brand for educating me about the harmful nature of the synthetic ingredients that’s ubiquitous in most cosmetic products. In that sense, just because REN’s products still has other chemical preservatives (mainly to stabilize the active ingredients and to extend shelf lives) doesn’t mean I am completely forgoing the brand once and for all – I can’t deny the high-performing products I’ve used in the past and the fact that I’ve experienced no harm from using them. As I said before, I’m taking a more careful glance at the ingredients list of cosmetic products, but not necessarily deciding to become a die-hard advocate of chemical-free products. As long as they don’t make up the bulk of a product’s content, I’m more than happy to try it out. Here’s for starters:

  • Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (GBP 30.00): If you’re not a frequent consumer of papaya, you’re missing out on vitamin C and its skin-exfoliating enzymes. But fear not, because this mask delivers the same benefits in a small 50 ml bottle. This bioactive peel mask features an active fruit acids complex (made from passionfruit, lemon, grape, and pineapple) that significantly improves the skin tone, firmness, and radiance upon removal. Rinse on it frequently, and you’ll ward off your chances of developing blemishes as well as sensitivity to UV rays from the sun.
  • Resurfacing AHA Concentrate (GBP 30.00): This serum is one of the top-sellers of the line as it boasts the same fruit acids complex as the glycolactic mask that works to revitalize the skin. Basically, the host of potent AHA – glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids – all-around renews the complexion by reducing the appearance of pores and fine lines as well as improving moisture retention of the skin, leaving it looking bright, even-toned, and healthy. Apply it under other products everyday, and you’ll see a significant difference in the quality and integrity of your skin.
  • Bio-Retinoid Anti-Aging Cream (GBP 42.00): It’s clear by now that I’m a big fan of retinol. This product flaunts a form of retinol that delivers results without irritating the skin. Its retinoid analogue is extracted from the Brazilian white beggarticks‘ flower that works in conjunction with other bioactive ingredients to refine the skin tone, texture, and overall enhance the skin’s vitality. These ingredients include the DNA-protecting polysaccharide galactan as well as skin-lifting phycocolloids extracted from red algae, the detoxifying compound oleuropein from olive leaves, as well as the skin-softening hyaluronic acid extracted from yeast. Combined with hydrating inactive ingredients like rose water and glycerin, you’re on your way to achieving that youthful, rosy, and plumply look within weeks.


5. Tata Harper


“When I set out to create my own skincare line, I wasn’t looking to replicate products that were already on the market,” stated Tata Harper herself. “My founding mission was to give the skincare industry a fresh start with highly effective and luxurious anti-aging beauty products that were completely free of synthetic and chemical ingredients. I believe people deserve beauty products that deliver the results they want, without putting their health at risk. As a company we seek to challenge the assumption that ‘natural’ means less effective. I’m passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty industry that’s committed to safety, honesty, and sustainability.”

If that doesn’t convince you to try any of her products this instant, I don’t know what will. They’re all 100% natural, you see:

  • Replenishing Nutrient Complex (USD 45.00): This is, like, multivitamin for skin – apply this fragrant serum daily for a weightless barrier of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and other micronutrients that protect against the harmful toxins our skin picks up everyday from the environment. Some of the rich list of ingredients include the skin-balancing arnica, the oxygenating alfalfa, moisturizing jojoba, as well as rose geranium. If you want healthy-looking skin for the rest of your life, start taking your multivitamin today.
  • Resurfacing Mask (USD 55.00): Not only did ELLE magazine awarded it as the best eco-friendly products around, the highly-touted mask actually works if you want to achieve that clean look after you’ve just had a clay mask treatment as well as that rosy, healthy glow when you’re out in the sun. It’s based with French pink clay, is BHA-rich (a.k.a. clears and prevents acne), and added with pomegranate enzymes to double up its pore-minimizing powers.
  • Rebuilding Moistuizer (USD 100.00): This matte gel boasts a rich source of hyaluronic acid that works to give the skin that soft and plump look instantly and moisturizes the skin down to its core. Not only are you getting an all-day hydration with just a thin envelope of it (as well as firmer-looking skin if it’s starts to sag from aging), you’re also armed with bio-active ingredients, namely honey, that regulate sebum production for a healthier complexion and to prevent buildup congestions and breakouts.




You can trust KORRES to treat your skin ailments because it’s got a homeopathic and pharmacy heritage to back its present products that was fostered well beyond when it was born two decades ago. Considering how much the company’s invested in the ongoing research on how natural ingredients interact with the skin’s biochemistry, there’s no question as to whether you can rely on KORRES for the long haul to show your skin some TLC:

  • Quercetin & Oak Anti-Aging & Anti-Wrinkle Firming Face Serum (USD 62.00): Take this serum. If you want to reduce wrinkles but avoiding retinol because you’re afraid it’ll make you look lobster-red for the most part of the day and irritated pretty much all day long, this is a fab alternative and just as effective to turn back the clock for your skin. It also features myrtle extract to help boost skin elasticity as well as mourera fluviatilis extract that contains moisture-binding compounds so you’ll look hydrated all day long.
  • Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Facial (USD 45.00): This refreshing facial is a must-have if you want immediate results. It’s loaded with the very building blocks of healthy skin – up to 2.5 times more protein than a regular yogurt, as well as the essential vitamins and minerals that literally work overnight to reveal a silky-smooth skin. You’ll see the startling improvements in tone and especially in elasticity by morning.
  • Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial (USD 48.00): Although the bestseller of the line will always remain as the Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream (the company’s first ever skincare product, FYI), I personally prefer this nighttime treat, just because it’s a nighttime treat and that skin renewal works best during sleepytime. The fluffy facial is basically a more concentrated formulation of the 24-hour moisturizer that promises to improve the overall tone and texture of the skin. The facial, which boasts an ingredient list that is 95% natural, is added with vitamin C to maximize collagen production, as well as blady grass root extract that regulates the moisture levels of the skin. Its signature ingredient, the wild rose oil, is purported to heal the skin and repair fine lines, and rose water, which covers 15% of the cream, works together so you’ll wake up with a brighter, suppler, and much more hydrated skin.


7. Estelle & Thild


Estelle & Thild is the beauty secret of Swedish women. Since 2007, the company has been sourcing nature’s finest extracts to formulate its products, all of which are EcoCert-certified organic, and optimizing these pure bioactive ingredients to deliver solutions for daily skin care. The eco-conscious brand also prides itself in their use of sustainable technology to concoct every range of their products, and within less than a decade, the brand’s gained some serious reputation around the world. Try these bestsellers for a start:

  • Super BioActive Age Control Serum (GBP 59.00): This year’s Elle Beauty Awards winner is rife with skin-beautifying ingredients. It stars marine-derived astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant and sunscreen, squalane, a naturally-occurring lipid in the human sebum, the deep-moisturizing shea butter, antioxidant-rich blackberry extract, resin extract from mukul myrrh trees, which contain compounds that smoothen and adds plump to the skin, as well as wrinkle-reducing levulinic acid. Apply the serum under your makeup and at night before you go to bed for a supple, youthful complexion around the clock.
  • Rose Otto Facial Oil (GBP 45.00): Feed your skin with the daily essential omega-3s, -6s, and -9s with this face luxurious oil. It’s a rejuvenating mélange of jojoba, almond, avocado, sunflower, bilberry seed, sacha inchi, damask rose oils to provide all-day moisture balance as well as minimize free radical damage. Condition your skin with this oil routinely to maintain that youthful appearance.
  • Lily Micro Scrub (GBP 26.00): This is Swedish skincare at its best: You can finally remove all the last remaining dead skin cells with the white micro crystals in this scrub to reveal a fresh, polished skin. They also help to enhance microcirculation as you massage it gently throughout the face, and it won’t dry you out as it’s fortified with sunflower and olive oils to soften and plump up the skin. This scrub is also cultivated with elderflower, which helps to decongest the skin and avoid breakouts. Exfoliate with this twice a week, and you’ll see a purer and naturally-glowing skin in no time.


8. Pevonia Botanica


If you want lasting spa-quality results, try Pevonica: They’ve catered to licensed aestheticians for over two decades to address some of the most common skin issues across all ages and ethnicities. By putting together effective and the safest ingredients from nature, they’ve continuously delivered results and has now become an indispensable line across professional spas worldwide. Check your local spa to see whether they carry these industry favorites:

  • Lightening Gel (USD 52.50): What you’ll see is all too sweet in one tiny 30 ml bottle: A standout ingredient that is proven time and again to brighten, lighten, and even out skin tone is arbutin, a melanin inhibitor that is featured in this fragrance-free formula. So for those suffering from persistent acne scars, dark patches from sun damage, age spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation, this is your pick-me-up that is guaranteed to work. Azelaic acid is also another proven ingredient in this gel that targets to heal acne, inflamed skin, and bumps and lesion, and the antioxidant-rich mulberry extract in this product works synergistically with arbutin to alleviate redness and restore the natural complexion of the skin.
  • RS2 Care Cream (USD 80.00): This moisturizer is one of the bestselling products of the line for good reason. There’s green tea, licorice, and chamomile in the jar to calm, soothe, and decongest the skin, particular those suffering from rosacea, a condition whereby the skin becomes prone to facial redness, flare-ups, hypersensitivity, allergies, microcirculation problems, and sometimes swelling. Fair-skinned people are most vulnerable to it, although no one really knows why. This moisturizer has proven itself to be the best hydrating products out there without irritating the skin. Aside from treating and healing rosacea symptoms, the RS2 cream also provides protection from UV rays during the day.
  • Myoxy-Caviar Timeless Repair Cream (USD 197.50): There are several power players in this silky cream, namely squalane, skin-firming caviar extract, vitamin A, vitamin C, safflower seed oil (rich in vitamin E), retinol, skin-conditioning algae oligosaccharides, as well as nature’s best emollient, hibiscus extract. While the cream actually targets women in their 40s, if you’re still in your 20s and early 30s, you’re basically pampering the skin with extra oxygenation as well as reversing the natural aging process every time you apply this cream on your face.


9. Ole Henriksen

a223331.201One of the first natural skincare lines I’ve got my hands on was Ole Henriksen, and loved it ever since. What first triggered the cosmetician himself to break into the cosmetic industry was his own experience with severe acne problems when he resided in Jakarta years ago. What lingered was his lifelong passion in effectual skincare and crafting results-driven treatments using the most effective botanicals from nature.

For the most part, Ole Henriksen’s products are mostly targeted for those of us who are looking for anti-aging treatments, but I think it’s wise to start early while you can (I started using their Truth Serum Collagen Booster when I was 19). Here are just a few of Ole’s fantastic products:

  • Sheer Transformation (USD 90.00): This is seriously the best stuff you can find in the skin-whitening department. The oil-free cream boasted a combination of pea extract and sugar, as well as licorice, which has been clinically proven to improve skin tone and diminish pigmentation from acne scars, sun burns, and other discoloration problems. Not only does it help treat pigmentation, it also maintains the youthful texture of the skin: The sooner you start incorporating this silky-smooth cream into your regimen, the better you’re equipped with the nutrients to delay the natural aging process.
  • Invigorating Night Gel (USD 45.00): This AHA-rich concoction is designed to work in conjunction with your natural sleep cycle so you’ll wake up with a much clearer, smoother, brighter skin. As you may already know, sleep restores the skin’s overall health and repairs the damages it has gone through the day. Consequently, the skin-renewing, wrinkle-fighting AHA complex in this oil-free gel works best as you sleep at night. I love it also has a wee bit of licorice extract to lighten up the acne scars and the sensitive patches of my skin.
  • Pure Perfection Creme (USD 50.00): I love this product! Aside from being a highly commended creme by Natural Health magazine in 2010, it’s basically a miracle worker if you’re prepping for a bright and plumply baby skin by morning. Although this moisturizing creme was formulated to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, I find it can benefit all skin types of all ages due to how effective it is to nourish the skin. It’s got tons of AHA to accelerate cell turnover, it’s injected with primrose oil (which is rich in essential fatty acids), and altogether backed by collagen-producing vitamin C, along with citrous lemon and orange extracts to boost skin health. What more could you ask for?


Over to you: Which of these fab natural skincare lines are you looking to try right now?



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This or that: Bathing suits


I’ve always thought that the one-piece looks old. Then I saw ROMWE’s sexy, non-boring ceramic print swimsuit.

But if you’re more of the two-piece gal, try this sporty racerback set from Alex Wang instead. It’s on sale.

Which is your go-to bathing suit: The one-piece or the two-piece?



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Afternoon bites at Paulaner Bräuhaus


If you’re craving for foods served with the big portions and delicious being so, then you’ve come to the best place in town.


Before my recent visit to Paulaner Bräuhaus, or Paulaner, now that we’re on a first-name basis, I had completely no idea what German food is like and how the rugged Germans will always have a soft spot for beers. Now for those of you who are fellow fans of the brewski, you’re sure going to love this dining spot, because the cold ones here are completely home-brewed, a.k.a. 100% legit.
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Summer essentials: Summer rock + Geek chic


There’s no better time to rock those crops and minis that’s been hiding in your closet than this time of the year. I must say, I’m lucky to be living in a part of the world where the sun is pretty much all year round, though this season remains to be the warmest of the year. That’s why I came up with these 2 looks to inspire a little spree for your wardrobe this July. Like so many stars, I’m really loving the crop top these days, just because putting in on in and of itself is a daring move. For the latter look, though, I’m staying within my comfort zone. There’s only so much skin you can show with confidence :) So, enough blabbering from me now. Here are my top picks for rocking the heat:


Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 8.20.49 PM

Handmade straw fedora by Artesano (unisex)
Pastel pink patent leather heeled sandals by Alexander Wang
Pink pineapple print crop top from  from ROMWE (super cute!)
Black smart skort from River Island
Classic logo chain wallet by McQ
Awesome Maleficent iPhone case by Suga Hope Shop
Saint Laurent’s signature black leather bracelet
Instax camera mini featuring Shanghai Girl,
☑ EOS smooth sphere lip balm in Sweet Mint
Intense 88-shadow matte palette from ZOEVA
Killing Me Softly blush palette from Nars
Cool evil eye brass cuff by Dream Collective (the all-seeing eye …)
Little red “Lovers I Had And Liked” notebook from Archie Grand
Super fine Schwing! liquid eyeliner from The Balm
Round orange sunglasses DD04 Mykita Edition by Damir Doma



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Gold-tone metal aviator sunglasses from River Island
Blue cork sole sandals by Marc Jacobs
Blue “OK, Here’s The Plan” notebook by Wild & Wolf
Nikon 1 S1 pink digicam 101MP
Play For Her eau de parfum by Givenchy
☑ EOS smooth sphere lip balm in Summer Fruit
SPF 70 contonuous spray sunscreen by SUN BUM
☑ Multi-pocket mint green backpack from ROMWE (ultra cute)

Cotton geek t-shirt from MODEKUNGEN
Blue water bandage skirt from 2be Bebe
Aubrey rose iPad mini case from Cath Kidston
☑ The multi-purpose STEAMCREAM

Tiny asterope butterfly necklace in yellow gold by James Banks
Natural i-Divine Storm eye palette from Sleek
Aquatic aloe vera moisturizing skin treat by C’VA



Over to you: How are you showing your skin this summer? Do share some of your must-have items for the warm weather.



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