Sharing all about what its like bringing up 4 kids, running a business and staying fit and healthy.
Author: Dawn Sim
Mom of four girls and entrepreneur who enjoys elevating the lives of others through fitness, fun, and empowerment.
Follow me on my journey as a mom trying to do what’s best for kids and keeping myself sane, fit and happy.
Some things are as certain as death and taxes….. like ageing (cue the heavy sigh). As much as I exercise and hang upside down (from my hammock) and try my best to eat well to support healthy skin, I can’t help but notice how some parts of my face just seems to lose some volume. And this is largely due to the ageing of the body, gravity and bone resorption.
In particular the area around my temples and cheeks just seems a little more sunken and no its not because I lost weight because when I compare it to pictures taken 12 years ago when I actually weighed less than I do now, I can see the difference.
My recent visit to Halley Medical Aesthetics to speak with Doctor Terence Tan about Sculptra as a solution to my concern was highly informative and it was just the answer to what I was looking for to help my body generate its own collagen.
What is Sculptra?
“Sculptra is for long-lasting volumisation and it is for people who like the concept of having the body generate collagen for volumisation,” explains Dr. Terence Tan, Director of Halley Medical Aesthetics.
Unlike hyaluronic acid fillers, which are used to fill up a localised area of treatment, Sculptra is a type of collagen-stimulating filler that uses the ingredient, poly-l-lactic (PLLA), to stimulate the body to generate its own collagen for natural volumisation. The effect is natural, gives long-lasting volumisation, and is great for people who prefer letting the body generate collagen naturally for volumisation. A big hands up from me for this!
The unique thing about Sculptra is how it encourages natural collagen growth and rejuvenation from within the body in order to achieve transformation and rejuvenation. Now this does take time and patience, so don’t expect immediate results. Like they say, good things are worth the wait.
A total of three Sculptra treatments spaced six weeks to two months apart is required in order to achieve the desired result. I like this idea too because then there is a regular follow up to the process. The after-treatment care following each Sculptra treatment is also important for a smoother and natural look and this means having to massage the treatment area for 5 minutes, five times a day, for five days after each treatment.
I gotta say, I thought this massaging the face thing was gonna be tiring. But you know what? By day 3 I was actually enjoying it because it actually started feeling like a pampering session, haa!
Why is Sculptra different from Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers?
To start this off, you have to understand this about dermal fillers.
These are medical products that sculpt the face for more definition and can help to restore skin and facial contours to their former youthful appearance.
Dermal fillers are made of various kinds of materials that have been developed to be injected into the skin and can be grouped into two types:
– hyaluronic acid fillers
– non-hyaluronic acid or collagen-stimulating fillers
Hyaluronic acid fillers contain hyaluronic acid, which is an ingredient that is safe for most people. It is actually a natural compound found in our skin, and is responsible for many functions in our body such as hydration and lubrication of our joints. It also helps with tissue repair and stimulates the production of the connective tissue that keeps our skin looking supple (i.e. collagen).
Collagen-stimulating fillers, which Sculptra is on the other hand, uses ingredients that stimulate our body’s own collagen for that long-lasting effect. They are otherwise known as bio-stimulating fillers and contain safe, synthetically produced compounds that help to volumise the treatment area and stimulates the body’s fibroblasts to produce collagen. The results are long-lasting and the volumisation that you eventually achieve is all natural.
After consulting with Dr. Terence Tan, we established that I would be doing a facial rejuvenation with Sculptra and the areas we would be working on include my:
We took some before shots from the front and sides before some numbing cream was applied.
Once the numbing cream took effect within minutes, Dr. Terence Tan started to work his magic.
I have to point out how at ease I felt during the treatment and was able to carry on having a conversation with Dr. Terence Tan throughout the very short process. And two things I’d like to point out that made this possible are mainly the skill and experience of Dr. Terence Tan as well as the use of the micro-cannula needle.
The Micro-Cannula Needle ” Magic Needle”
In traditional cosmetic procedures, doctors use a rigid, sharp classic blunt-tip needle. Unfortunately, such needles tend to induce pain and ecchymosis, resulting in a longer recovery time. The Magic Needle which really isn’t a needle but a micro-cannula, is designed to gently slide into the skin and its flexibility allows the practitioner to control the movement.
Because of how blunt and flexible the micro-cannula needle is, there is minimal pain and less discomfort while getting better results as it distributes the filler more evenly.
A Preview of my Sculptra Results
Mid-way through treatment, Dr. Terence Tan took a photo to show me the rejuvenation ability of Sculptra by comparing the side with Sculptra injected with the other side that has yet to be treated. You can see from the photo that the right side of my temple is no longer sunken in and my right cheeks are fuller compared to the left, which is gaunt. My jawline is also more plump and youthful.
The Before and After comparison
The result of Sculptra is optimal only after the full regime of three Sculptra treatments is complete. Even then, Dr. Terence Tan explained that the lifting effect seen in these photos, which is the result of the saline mixed with the Sculptra, gives a good idea of how the treated area will eventually look once collagen generates and fills up the area.
I really like how there is no downtime and after this I was off to doing my usual activities again. Stay tuned to read about my experience and results in 3 months time! Time for me to go do my 5 mins of massage, 5 times a day for 5 days!
Halley Medical Aesthetics
277 Orchard Road #03-15
10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tel: +65 6737 8233
For more information, please go to:
For most people during this circuit breaker period, it might mean more time on their hands and maybe even an opportunity to learn a new skill like baking or finish reading those books they’ve been putting aside for the longest time. But for mothers like myself with school-going kids, that means we have to take on extra responsibilities to ensure that our little ones can cope with their Home-Based Learning and keep them occupied with activities that continue to develop and stimulate their minds and bodies. For working mothers like myself and with four kids, you can imagine the load on my shoulders. Now my two older kids in Secondary 2 and Primary 6 (taking her PSLE this year!) can be more independent so I don’t have to sit next to them to find materials and guide them through it. And thank goodness Nykki’s preschool My First Skool provides an extensive array of home-based learning resources which keeps her plenty busy and entertained while learning throughout this stay home period, so I couldn’t be happier that I had enrolled her into this preschool.
Choosing a preschool for our precious little ones can be a daunting task and even after making a choice, it might not be what we expected in the first place. Trust me, I’ve been through the whole process before. With my two older daughters who were born in France but started their preschool days here in Singapore, I actually changed schools for them before settling them down in My First Skool where they completed kindergarten and thoroughly enjoyed their time there. In fact my third daughter also went through My First Skool throughout Nursery and Kindergarten and my youngest one Nykki is still there and enjoying her early childhood years just like her older sisters.
The key difference among the four of them though, is that Nykki is currently going through Home-Based Learning with My First Skoolwhich her sisters never got to experience. With the current circuit breaker measures, it really is a first time experience for us all having to adapt to schooling from home and this comes with not knowing what to expect. But I must say, I’m impressed with how My First Skool had very quickly put together home-based learning resources and support for the children and their parents so that we can continue to keep our little ones engaged and developing throughout the circuit breaker.
My older girls Nyx who is in Secondary 2, Nya who is taking her PSLE this year and even Nyla who is in Primary 2 can be very independent and complete their school assignments as well as tuition work by themselves while I briefly supervise and ensure that they’re logged in to their live virtual classrooms on time. They usually have their assignments from various subject teachers listed online and they have to ensure that all assignments are checked off, while their tuition assignments are completed and scanned back to their teachers for marking. Even Nyla’s art and craft lessons are also carried out via live virtual meetings now and once they’re logged in I can pretty much leave them alone to do my work.
With Nykki who is 4 years old now, you may think that I need to sit next to her the whole time when she is completing the activities and worksheets given to her by My First Skool. But actually with many of the activity sheets that allow her to learn independently as well as the zoom live sessions where she is kept engaged by her teachers, it actually gives me a breather so I can once again do my own work and even teach my own virtual classes! The regular check-ins on the well being of the children by their teachers during these live classroom sessions actually are great for parents like myself to see how we’re coping during this challenging period.
Of course I appreciate the parent and child bonding type of activities that allow parents to do meaningful stuff with their little ones too. I actually learnt a thing or two from some of these activities myself!
My First Skool’s Home Based Learning Resources
I really appreciate how the various home-based learning resources prepared by the teachers cater to the children of different levels and are thoughtfully chosen to keep the children engaged and interested. It really helps a lot in addition to the regular live sessions that we have with her teachers.
There are worksheets and activities that help us bond even more with our kids and entertain them at the same time while they’re learning. And I really like the fact that they’re updating their Youtube regularly to help parents like myself share videos with our kids which we know will benefit them instead of having to search and pore through tonnes of videos which may not be appropriate.
The kids get to follow the simple step-by-step instructions to make lovely crafts using materials that they can easily find from home like paper towel rolls and paper plates, etc.
2. Language and Literacy.
Having their teachers guide them through fun phonics songs and activities gives them continuity in their learning even though they’re not physically in the classroom.
3. Mother Tongue Learning.
I love how they are also able to continue learning from their teachers conducting lessons over these video resources in their mother tongue. Especially when I’m still working from home and I can get very busy sometimes, I will have her sit next to me and she learns through these videos with me by her side to explain when the need arises.
So easy to use. So once some of the videos start, I can sometimes continue to do my work next to her.
These are such great ideas and simple-to-follow videos that are also nutritious and tasty! And it really helps me see what the kids eat at school because they’re mostly recipes and videos of the in-house cooks of My First Skool sharing their healthy and mouth-watering dishes.
I love letting my kids troubleshoot and solve problems by themselves. So I was very pleased when there were activities involving the kids having to build a pom-pom drop wall and using materials that they can easily find at home to build it.
There are also loads of Home Activities that have been prepared for the children of My First Skool to keep them learning and developing each day. One such activity is also an experiment that teaches them the importance of using soap to wash their hands. And Nykki also particularly like the activity we did on counting money. She even set up her own mini supermarket at home to test her new skills!
Comparing the Various Pre-Schools’ Home-Based Learning Resources
Based on the various points, I’ve made a comparison to help you understand what you should look out for when it comes to a more holistic home-based learning program. And I’m really glad that I have the support of My First Skoolthis circuit breaker period to keep my little girl engaged, intellectually stimulated, creative and active.
1.Ease of Use
How user friendly is the resource and can you easily access it. My First Skoolchildren have access to My First Skool portal which allows us not just access to the worksheets and links to videos that their teachers put up. But it is also where we can easily communicate with their teachers as well. In fact My First Skool’sHome-Based Learning page is available for everyone who needs good quality home-based learning resources to help their kids to continue learning and developing during this stay home period.
2. Age Appropriateness
Are the resources segregated to various age groups/levels and are each of the videos, worksheets and articles suitable for children of different stages of preschool all the way to K2. In fact, My First Skool even has HBL resources for infants which parents can use to help stimulate their little ones.This is hard to come by as not many pre-schools have resources catered for infants.
3. Mother Tongue
Are there resources available through the school’s home-based learning program which caters to the various Mother Tongues? I really appreciate how My First Skool has Mother Tongue worksheets videos and audio books for the children to learn with. As a matter of fact, the extent of resources available for Mother Tongue is rather impressive as they have many videos on storytelling, 手指谣，故事舞台, and even motor skills development activities such as eye-hand coordination to engage the children.
4. Resource/Effort Intensity
Are the quality of the resources put up of good standard and fulfil the needs of the students? The videos put up for the activities, language and literacy and Mother Tongue learning prepared by the dedicated teachers of My First Skool are so engaging and fun and very relatable too. As with videos specially made for the children of various pre-school ages, more effort is put in by the teachers of My First Skool to film and edit them so that it can be more engaging for the young ones when they watch the videos. With over 300 videos to date, they have way more compared to other pre-schools. And in order to offer even more learning resources for the children, My First Skool has even made the effort to collaborate with their partners including Active SG.
Especially with the activities to teach the children about the need to practice good hygiene, Nykki had such much fun sharing about them with her sisters too! Knowing that these resources are prepared by their teachers and regularly updated also sets my mind at ease.
5. Variety across various learning domains
Does it cover the various learning domains which include Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, Cognitive, Social/Emotional, Self Help/Adaptive and Morals. The fact that My First Skool has different formats (e.g. videos, worksheets, audiobooks) rather than just worksheets as compared to other pre-schools makes sure that the children don’t get bored and have a variety of learning domains to keep them intellectually stimulated.
Does it have interactivity such as worksheets, videos, live sessions and activities that engage the children. Apart from the live virtual classes that we log in to with her teachers and classmates, I like how it also helps parents bond more and do more activities with the littles ones. The recipes are one of our favourite things to try out together, and it teaches her how food is prepared thus giving her more appreciation of the in-house cooks at school too.
Here’s a table that can help you identify which schools currently check off on the above criteria. My First Skool is currently the only one with a link on their website to some free online home-based learning resources. For the other schools I had to seek out mummy friends with children in the other schools to inquire and they include:
Home-based learning resources really should be easy and convenient for us as parents to use for our precious ones and I love the fact that My First Skool offers it on different platforms and not just for parents of children from My First Skool, but even for those who aren’t. Go to their Home-Based Learning website to find out more about My First Skool’s wealth of HBL resources and get a sneak preview of the curriculum which a My First Skool child goes through.
You can now register your interest to go on a Live Centre Tour of the school’s various centres during this Covid-19 period. Such a great initiative which considers the safety of the children from the school as well as convenience for parents who are keen to inquire more. Through this LIVE centre tour, you will get an opportunity to go on FaceTime with centre leaders of your preferred centre to learn more about My First Skool curriculum. You will also get to “walk” through the learning environment of the centre virtually through the video call. How cool is that?
In addition, you’ll also get a goodie bag worth $80 when you complete a Live Centre Tour and successfully enrol your child into My First Skool by 31 July 2020! Click here for more details on the promotion!
For someone who has little time to waste and a million things to do in a day, you can imagine how delighted I am to know about Rejuran Healer. This anti-aging skin treat not only boosts our own skin’s ability to regenerate, it also helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores amongst other key benefits.
Here’s my experience of this “new concept healer” for our skin when I visited Aesthetics Central Clinic at Clarke Quay.
Upon arrival at the clinic, I was very quickly registered by the attentive staff and showed the way to the well decorated and stocked up washroom where I can freshen up and remove my sunscreen before the treatment with DoctorRyan Tan.
I love how the powder room is so thoughtfully stocked up so one can comfortably remove any trace of makeup, sunscreen or grime before settling down for their treatment.
What is the Rejuran Healer?
This non-invasive Korean skin treatment contains salmon DNA that can reverse the signs of aging and rejuvenate your skin so you can achieve tighter, firmer and more youthful looking skin.
The effect of Rejuvan Healer takes about 2 weeks for you to notice the changes but the result is worth the wait as it reverses the thinning of the dermis and heals damaged tissue to reveal healthy and elastic skin that looks naturally beautiful.
How does it work?
Rejuran Healer contains Polyneuclotides (PN), a substance that is present in all living things and are essentially the building blocks of DNA. In fact, Polyneauclotides have been used to accelerate healing for diabetics, those with autoimmune disorders, pigmentation, skin grafts and even hair loss!
The Polyneuclotides from salmon have been found to be the most compatible with humans while being heat-resistant. It’s also ideal because of how it does not trigger an immune response and simply assists our body to naturally heal and protect our skin while correcting the signs of aging.
What makes this such a desirable skin treatment is how it stimulates the regenerating power of our own skin and improves skin elasticity by making the outer and inner layer (dermis and epidermis) healthy and restoring damaged skin caused by aging and environmental factors. The key selling point about Rejuran healer is healing and protecting our skin from the inside which can then allow us to confidently face the world (literally) without having to pile on all that makeup to cover up which could actually lead to other skin issues.
Key Benefits of Polyneuclotides on the skin:
Pore size reduction
Improved skin hydration
Reduction in fine lines (especially around the eyes and cheeks)
Improved skin elasticity
Reduction in acne scars
Better skin recovery from injury
The Rejuran Healer Treatment
As the Rejuran Healer has to be injected into the skin with a very fine needle, numbing cream has to be applied first. Once the numbing effect has set in, the rest of the treatment just takes less than 20mins to complete! I was really pleasantly surprised at how quick it was. And there zero downtime!
I was able to chat with Dr. Ryan throughout the treatment while he explained to me how it works and why its such a great choice for one to achieve healthy and youthful looking skin naturally.
The moment the treatment was done, I quickly took a selfie and voila! Not even a single sign of redness or skin irritation. I was ready to go about the rest of my day make up free!
If you’re like me and truly appreciate having healthy skin that doesn’t require you to pile on tones of make up in order to cover blemishes, dark circles and scars, then I highly recommend paying a visit to Aesthetics Central Clinic to experience the Rejuran Healer.
Contact number: +65 6221 8221
Address: 8 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central Office One, #11-90, S059816
What could be more relaxing than a cruise on a yacht out in the open sea to a private island where you get to experience serenity and the gorgeous view of white sandy beaches and lush greenery? Well this sorta experience isn’t really that out of your reach with the yacht charters available at the Marina at Keppel Bay. And you can even top it off with a splendid meal at one of the four exquisite waterfront restaurants of Bayswater Kitchen, Prive, Ristorante Palermo and Sushi Jiro located at the Marina with a lovely view to boot.
Miss Kiki and I had the pleasure to experience sailing out to Lazarus Island one fine morning on The Admiral and topped it off with a mouth-watering lunch at Bayswater Kitchen where we tucked into a platter of delectable seafood. What’s even more special was how it was my little girl’s actual birthday! What a way to start off the celebrations for her.
The weather was just perfect which meant we had to slather on the sunscreen and whip out the sunnies! The first thing that happened after we settled down in the yacht and put our stuff aside was to attend the safety briefing given by the crew. Safety is of utmost importance here and I appreciated how the staff here emphasised so much on it.
This is the flagship yacht of Marina at Keppel Bay and also the very same one which we sailed to Lazarus Island in. This Grandbanks 52 Europa was designed specifically for luxurious cruising and can accommodate up to 20 pax onboard. You can even cater for dining to happen onboard either at its lavish lounge with a large hand-crafted teakwood table or upstairs on the top deck where you get to enjoy the sea breeze.
Not only is there a pantry where you can bake, heat up food, serve up drinks at a bar counter and chill food in a refrigerator, you can basically whip up meals here as easy as pie! And still have plenty of room to serve it up to guests lounging around like Miss Kiki here.
In the lower deck, there were 3 bedrooms and even shower facilities which Kiki and I used right after kayaking at Lazarus Island. The kayaks were conveniently brought here on the Admiral and I’m so glad we packed our swimmers along with us!
A few key words to sum up this private island…. serene, pristine and charming.
Only two large yachts like The Admiral we sailed in can dock at Lazarus island at any one time, which limits the number of people who can visit this place. And for nature lovers like myself, you will be happy to know that the flora here are largely untouched and there is just so much greenery all around the moment you disembark and start exploring the island. The whole place was well kept and clean from trash and debris, and what I learnt, beach clean ups do happen here too.
It was literally smooth sailing as we took less than 45 minutes to get from Marina at Keppel Bay to Lazarus Island and the moment we arrived, I couldn’t wait to visit the white sandy beach that I heard about from friends who have visited this gorgeous untouched island just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.
Don’t forget to pack along insect repellent if you’re planning on sending some downtime at the beach here though. Although we were reminded that there may be sandflies here on the beach, we didn’t get bitten at all and did of course remember to apply the sunscreen and insect repellent.
This experience isn’t far from reach with the yacht charter promotions that Marina at Keppel Bay currently offers. Right now when you charter a 15 pax package on the Admiral or any third party yacht, you’ll receive a $50 dining voucher from one of the restaurants at Marina at Keppel Bay such as the Bayswater Kitchen that I tried. Scroll down to read about it.
And with 20 pax or more, you’ll get $100 in dining vouchers.
Find out more about the Admiral and the other yacht charter fleet here.
This lovely restaurant opened its doors just a little over a year ago within Marina at Keppel Bay and its hard not to feel relaxed and laid back when you’re greeted by the spacious and breezy alfresco dining and cozy indoor seating options. There’s plenty of natural light and to me its just the perfect setting for weekend family lunches.
The Nautical vibes with its wooden furnishings and blue and white décor are so apt for a seafront restaurant and its menu largely comprising of Mediterranean food would have seafood lovers smiling from ear to ear. Just scroll through and you’ll see what I mean. But do take note that there are also vegan and vegetarian options for those who are choosing to go plant based 😉
I do highly recommend ordering the Seafood Platter to share (minimum 2) if you enjoy tucking into a variety of seafood including fresh Oysters (from the Netherlands), mussels, clams, beer battered cod and soft shell crabs. The tuna tartare here with its avocado puree and lime dressing is another one of my favourites so try it as a starter and get a boost of Omega-3s with your meal.
What makes me like this place so much as a choice location for family dining especially those of us with young kids is the playground located right in front of the restaurant. We all know how the little ones have such a short attention span and the moment they’re done with their meal they just wanna run around and expend all that extra energy.
So yeah…. Let them have their endless amount of fun sliding, climbing up and down the 3 decks, swinging on the monkey bars and what nots while you and your special half savour your drinks and desserts. My newly minted 4 year old had so much fun here at the playground that I literally had to peel her away so we could head off to our next destination.
Marina at Keppel Bay
2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Travelling to a luxury resort for a vacation is one thing, but when it comes to bringing children along it’s another thing altogether. They need entertainment, a safe and clean environment, and kid-friendly food…. lots of it in my case since I’m travelling with a girl army. They eat around the clock since they’re always so active!
Gaya Island Resort
Just a stone’s throw away from Singapore, we only needed to take a short flight from Changi Airport to Kota Kinabalu before taking a 20 mins drive to Jesselton Ferry Terminal and enjoying a quick 5 mins boat ride to get to this beautiful island resort located along the pristine coast of Malohom Bay. How convenient is that!?
I flew in to Kota Kinabalu with the kiddos via Air Asia and very conveniently got a taxi which drove us to the jetty that had quite a number of dining options available just next to the Gaya Island Resort transfer centre where we had to register and await for our speed boat to arrive.
The first thing we noticed upon arriving at the jetty of Gaya Island Resort was the crystal clear waters revealing the coral and fish that call this island their home. There were also hornbills flying overhead towards the lush green trees decorating the resort.
As we headed towards the main island via the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but appreciate the various shades of blue and green from the clear waters. The area here is also home to green sea turtles, macaques, and so much more. And this says a lot about the conservational efforts and respect for the environment and nature that the resort has for its surrounding.
The moment we arrived at the jetty of the resort I just felt like jumping into the crisp blue waters to snorkel and swim with the friendly fishes meandering about the corals and jetty. And there were actually several guests who were doing that already. We just had to wait till we were all settled into our rooms and got into out gear for water activities! And there are quite a few choices when it comes to water activities that you can do here.
A sanctuary for wildlife too
What I really love about the resort is how its built on an an island within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. And in this ancient rainforest, the children and I were surrounded by beautiful creatures and plants that have called his their home for eons. Its always so heartwarming to see humans and wildlife living harmoniously and it shows when you see how the corals are flourishing along the shore and the fishes swimming around are plentiful. We also saw hornbills and eagles flying around, and monitor lizards lazing about in the marshes. This gorgeous resort is actually committed to ecologically-sustainable practices to minimise its carbon footprint within the environment. Another ginormous big yes from the girl army and I!
One of the highlights of our stay here was visiting the conservation centre and joining in the guided nature walk by their very seasoned and knowledgeable guide. The trail we went on showed us parts of island that made me think of scenes from Avatar the movie. Remember to bring your walking shoes or sneakers when you visit! This is a must do when you come here.
I couldn’t help but feel humbled being around such magnificent fauna with so much history. The variety of plants and animals here is just amazing and our very experienced guide taught us how to identify marks left behind by animals to show that they were around us.
The children and I were constantly intrigued by the presence of wildlife around us although you had to look closely in order to see them. We could definitely hear them clearly though, like the birds, insects, giant gecko and flying foxes.
Our guide was able to show us various types of edible plants and mushrooms found throughout the walk and its so amazing how we tend to take a lot of the rainforests for granted. Kudos to Gaya Island Resort for the conservation efforts made to protect our natural environment.
The Gaya island marine centre
Because of how the resort is set within a nature reserve, human activities are restricted and this allows sensitive wildlife like sea turtles to continue to call this place home.
Launched in October 2013, the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre rescues, treats and cares for mainly the endangered Green Sea turtle, but has also done so for one critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. I was so amused to learn that the Green Sea turtle got its name because that the colour of its fat! And its really due to its steady diet of seagrasses and algae.
The Marine Centre here actually produces coral fragments that will be put into the sea to help rebuild the reef and outside of this turtle rescue centre is a 14,000-litre recovery tank which provides a safe and stable environment for the sick or injured sea turtles undergoing rehabilitation. There is even a combined effort between Reef Check Malaysia and YTL Hotels whereby the resort conducts a school outreach programme with the local primary school. By using a combination of audio-visual materials, creative activities and fresh pastries from the resort kitchen, the programme aims to engage the children while simultaneously educating them on recycling and the need for conservation. Such a meaningful initiative and I truly do hope to see more of such efforts spread throughout other resorts around the world.
Dining on a private beach less than 5 mins away by speedboat, the girls and I got to feast on Thai dishes specially prepared by the chefs here and we got so excited when we spotted a shy family of wild pigs. 6 piglets and their mom peered out from the thicket nearby while we had our meal and I was really happy to know that we were able to share this space with the wildlife here that didn’t lose their home because of humans coming to visit.
You will have to pre-book for your dining experience here on Tavajun Bay though so do plan ahead and remember to bring along your snorkelling gear and sunscreen if you intend to spend some time in the pristine waters frolicking among the coral reefs.
The Spa village
One of my many highlights of the stay here…. a pampering session at the Spa Village! This is a must do when you visit the resort here as well another one of their locations at Pangkor Laut Resort. The sitting area at the spa is really cosy and being surrounded by all that greenery and open space out in nature just gave me that mental peacefulness and calm even before my treatment started.
A cooling welcome drink and wet towel to freshen me up before being led to one of the treatment rooms where I would fall asleep midway during the luxurious oil massage.
Each one of these rooms has a gorgeous view of the greenery outside and I just couldn’t help but open the balcony doors to check out the view.
Right after the treatment, I get to relax on the couch with a warm ginger tea. Parents like myself…. just chill. The resort has babysitting services available so your little ones can be well taken care of while you pamper yourselves at the Spa Village!
With a girl army in tow, there is no doubt variety and flexibility is very much appreciated. Which is why we dined mostly at the Feast Village offering a buffet spread of diverse cuisine from the Asia-Pacific region. The welcoming dining space showcases a bakery, Japanese/Korean, Asian and Western selections which is sure to appeal even the pickiest of eaters and the little ones.
The kids and I really like the spaciousness of the restaurant at Feast Village and there’s always something here in the buffet spread that makes our differing pallets water. You can even make special requests from the kitchen if need be, just like i did. Kudos to the service and kitchen crew for such amazing service and attention to detail!
I was particularly pleased with all the local desserts and sweets that were offered at each meal. I was able to share with children about the various types of local pastries here which they rarely get to see back home. And its always so amazing to be able to get a flavour of each culture whenever we travel.
If buffets aren’t your thing, there are several other options available including the dining experience on Tavajun Bay which I mentioned earlier. But I also highly recommend dining at Omakase, a two-storey Japanese restaurant perched on the hillside of the island with a stunning view of Malohom Bay and Mount Kinabalu. You can choose from one of three Japanese omakase-style dining experiences available, ranging from teppanyaki, shabu-shabu and nabe. The kids and I went for the teppanyaki experience and boy did they love it. This is a kid-friendly joint so don’t worry about leaving the little ones behind.
Don’t forget to make a reservation for your meal here at Omakase to avoid disappointment as seats are limited.
The other dining experience I highly recommend for you to take during your stay here is the Singgah Singgarung night where you get to enjoy your barbecue dinner on the mangrove beach along to a showcase of native arts, activities and delicacies. The kids got to experience Kadazan music for the first time as we even participated in their tribal dance!
You can also dine at The Fisherman’s Cove and the Pool Bar and Lounge while you’re here. And for those who are here as a couple, there’s also the option for a Private Dining experience.
Travelling to me is always a great opportunity to be exposed to other cultures and on this trip the kids definitely learnt a lot about the culture of Borneo. Through the Singgah Singgarung night where they watched the dancers and listened to the traditional music, the local specialty foods which the restaurant staff were so kind to explain more to the kids about and even the through art as they made birds and insects with the coconut leaves.
As a parent, I couldn’t be more appreciative of the experiences that my kids got through this trip.
Held in a very uniquely designed yoga room, I was very pleasantly surprised by the layout for our mats and how exclusive the class was. And I enjoyed it because it wasn’t overly crowded and the instructor was able to watch each practitioner closely. The studio is located within the Spa Village which means no kids allowed. So parents, do plan in advance and arrange for babysitting services with the resort should you need to. The instructor was very kindly introduced through information placed at the lobby so you’ll know what to expect and I do recommend attending the classes while you’re here. It really is a unique experience to be practising at the studio space here.
As each room accommodates up to 2 adults and 2 children aged 12 and under, we took up 2 identical rooms and each one had such a magnificent view of the flora and fauna outside. I really have to commend the service staff here for the quality of their service and friendliness. The moment we opened the doors to our rooms, we were welcome but these adorable towel elephants and a warm welcome message as well as a complimentary bottle of the local traditional rice wine – lihing.
Thank you Gaya Island Resort for such an amazing and memorable stay for the Girl Army and I. The efforts and actions made to conserve and protect the wildlife and natural surroundings here are commendable and I will highly recommend families with young children to make this one of your next destinations for your family trips.
For someone who shies away from wearing sunglasses because of how they sit on my face and create lines on my cheeks, this treatment comes as a blessing because I can now wear my glasses that don’t just shield my eyes from the damaging rays of the sun, but also the blue light emitted from my mobile devices and laptop.
My recent visit to Aesthetics Central where I very quickly got this non-surgical treatment done within an hour was really pleasant from the moment I met the reception to the time I was done and off to pick my kids up. There really wasn’t any downtime at all! Read on to find out more about my immediate post-treatment thoughts and experience.
Meet Dr. Ryan Tan
After filling up the necessary forms detailing my medical history and background, I finally got to meet Dr. Ryan Tan and I must admit I was so impressed after the treatment when I found out his real age! Nope I’m not revealing it here, but you will be surprised when you do meet him in person and ask for his age.
I felt very reassured speaking to Dr. Tan and knowing where he obtained his medical and aesthetics qualifications (National University of Singapore and the National Skin Centre) and how confident he is with his skills that he even does treatments for his family members and himself.
About Ultra V-Lift and The Process
This non-invasive procedure involved using fine, absorbable PDO (Polydioxanone) suture threads inserted into the the nose bridge and columella of the nose that:
Gives a very natural definition to the nose bride
Creates a lift to the nose bridge
Improves the profile of the nose and straightens it at the same time
Lifts the tip of the nose subtly to create a sharper tip
Creates a more slender look to the typical flat Asian nose
I personally appreciated the lift to my nose bridge where it was just flat because now I can wear my glasses without having it slip on my nose and sitting on my cheeks instead. No I don’t have shortsightedness but I do wear glasses that protect my eyes from the harmful rays of the sun and electronic devices.
This I feel is so much better than nose fillers or even rhinoplasty because with fillers it doesn’t give the lift and definition that the V-Lift nose Threadlift can provide, and with the surgery involved with nose implants its just too invasive and the downtime taken to recover can be extensive and painful. Not to mention the cost involved with undergoing the invasive surgery!
The PDO threads used in the V-Lift Threadlift treatment do get broken down by the body and becomes fully absorbed over time but during the process which takes about a year, it actually stimulates the body to form new collagen fibres around it which is why the lifting effect on the nose can actually last for longer. Sometimes the effects can even last for 2 years, but this really depends on the individuals.
What I really like about this treatment, is how there was no downtime needed after the treatment was done in a few minutes. I actually went about my usual day and even took my kids out to play after school since it was a Friday!
I was pretty amazed when I asked how long the treatment would take and the friendly staff there told me it would take no more than 20 minutes! In actual fact, if I didn’t consider the numbing process, it actually took about 10 minutes for the painless insertion of the ultra fine threads.
So it all starts with numbing the area and because I was short on time, I asked to skip the use of the numbing cream, which is actually part of the process. Now understand that I am not queasy when it comes to needles, possible because I’ve had 4 children and the number of blood tests and emergency C-sections that I’ve gone through. Haa! But really the process was so quick that before I knew it I was out of the treatment room and smiling to take a picture with Dr. Tan.
A tiny amount of anaesthetic was injected to ensure that there was no discomfort so I’d say this was the only sting that I felt only because I chose not to use the numbing cream and wait for the effect to set in.
After the anaesthetic worked its magic and the numbness set in, the doctor proceeded to insert the threads. There are actually two lengths of threads to be inserted:
The long V-Lift threads were inserted to lift the nose bridge
The short V-Lift threads were inserted into the tip of the nose to give a more sculpted look and lift
When administering the anaesthetic, one of the nurses was using a small massaging device that worked to distract my nerves from the prick of the fine needle, and it worked beautifully! Thank you for that nice touch Aesthetics Central team! I was actually talking to the doctor throughout the process.
The numbing set in really quickly so the doctor became putting in the threads, which didn’t cause me any discomfort at all. I was so impressed by how quickly it was done!
Just like they had told me at the beginning, it took less than 10 minutes!
There are a few things to take note with this treatment though. In a very small percentage of patients, there may be some bruising and swelling. Also for those who habitually rub their noses, this can result in thread extrusion, which basically means that the threads may push out from below the skin and this will require a simple trip to the clinic to be fixed.
Before and After
Right after the treatment I could see an immediate although subtle difference. Here’s a picture taken just after I left the clinic to go pick my kids up.
As you can see there is no swelling or bruise. The only thing noticeable is a tiny red dot on the tip of my nose, which went off in a few days. This is where the threads were inserted.
I was able to wash my face as usual even after the anaesthetic wore off. And I liked how the clinic even gave a tube of antibiotic cream to apply to this tiny puncture to prevent any chance of infection.
This was me with my kids playing that same day just an hour and a half from the time I left the clinic.
All in all I’m extremely happy with the results and to anyone looking to define your nose or like me to give a lift to your nose bridge, I’d highly recommend a visit to Aesthetics Central. They do have a range of other treatments available at the clinic including:
Skin treatments to remove scars, tattoos, acne and pigmentation
Visiting Pangkor Laut Resort by YTL Hotels this month was literally like living out a page from a story about paradise. From the numerous hornbills and eagles flying around and nesting on the island to the gorgeous views of sunrise and sunset here…. and not forgetting the world class spa services here, I just couldn’t wait to wake up each morning to experience life on the island resort during my stay.
Located approximately 4.8km off the west coast of Perak, Malaysia, this privately owned island spans across 300 acres and houses 140 villas and 8 estates where one can find that perfect luxury island escape.
You can see how from one side of the island you can catch the sunrise and a skip and hop away on the other side you’ll be able to catch the gorgeous view of the sunset.
We took the morning flight from Singapore to Ipoh via Scoot which lasted about 1 hr 15 mins and after a 1.5 hr drive from the airport to the jetty where we took a 15 mins speedboat ride to arrive at this island resort.
Total travel time: approximately 3 hrs
We arrived before lunch and received a very warm welcome from staff who waited for us at the private jetty and our luggage’s were scooted off to reception while we leisurely walked towards the main lobby and took in the sights. I even saw a huge parrotfish having his meal around the jetty.
There are different room options here at Pangkor Laut Resort and where I stayed at the Spa Villa, these bungalows on stilts are luxuriously fitted with an oversized bath with a ceiling mounted rain shower. It also has its own roomy balcony with a gorgeous view of the sunrise and overlooks the Straits of Malacca. I really enjoyed waking up early each morning to watch the sun peek out from the horizon here.
Nestled within the Spa Village, it does have more privacy and even its own lap pool overlooking the sea.
I could literally sit here all day. The pool is actually next to the bar and chilling with a cool refreshing juice here is bliss. I got to see eagles, hornbills, flying foxes and squirrels during my dip in the pool here, not to mention watching the colours of the sea change as the clouds drifted in the sky overhead.
One of the things that struck me about the room was the spaciousness of the bathroom, and the tub! I think my youngest daughter would’ve described it as a pool.
It actually looks more like a jacuzzi and I thoroughly enjoyed the generous space as well as the option to open the windows (look out for fishermen out at sea though! lol).
Strolling along the boardwalk which links the villas and different parts of the island, you can see a myriad of sea dwellers here including puffer fish, pike, parrot fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and so much more. As someone with a keen interest in wildlife and wanted to be a zoologist when I was little, I totally geeked out watching these critters and more.
There are various Villa options here at Pangkor Laut and each one of them has its own outdoor verandah or balcony with sun loungers:
Suria and Purnama Suite
Whether you prefer your room to be nestled high above the hills and nestled among the greenery or out at sea and above the water on stilts while you listen to the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep, one of these options is sure to meet your preference. I just really appreciated having my bungalow above the water and being able to sit on the verandah to watch the sun rise in the mornings.
There are several restaurant options here on the private island and every meal here is infused with a little flavour from the history of the place.
The buffets at Feast Village never disappoint and I love how they even have gluten-free options available. This is where you can find a wider variety of food options for your meal and if you’re lucky, you’ll even see some curious hornbills while you’re here! Yes there are several tourists who don’t know better and feed the hornbills food from the table. It’s not ideal and this is the reason why they date to venture so close to us humans. Within The Feast Village you will also find a patisserie, café, chef’s table and even a wine cellar where guests can purchase wines of their choice.
Chapman’s Bar is named after a famous British Colonel who sought refuge here at Emerald Bay before he managed to escape via submarine in 1945. Facing a gorgeous white sandy beach, you can watch the sunset from there and even pick up some sand dollars if you look close enough!
Royal Bay Beach Club
Dining here at this terrace allows you to overlook the sea and the infinity pool at lunch or dinner as this restaurant only opens at 11am. The restaurant here serves up Asian and international fare and I highly recommend trying the chendol! it does remind me of a chubby bunny.
Named after the chef who had been with the resort since its inception, this restaurant serves up Nonya and Hockchew Chinese-styled dishes and every dish we tried did not disappoint. Each item on the menu is inspired by the ingredients found locally and you get an amazing view of the sea while dining here.
I always enjoy listening to the sound of the waves and being able to see stars twinkling bright in the sky at night. Right here…. you get to do both.
The unique menu comprising of seafood at this restaurant is created by chef Wai who focuses on sustainable fishing practises and uses the freshest ingredients when preparing the dishes.
Just a short walk away from Spa Village, there is a dress code required with shirt, full-length trousers and shoes for gentlemen and smart casual wear for ladies. This fancier dining option at the resort allows youngsters from age 16 and above to join the adults here.
Located within Spa Village, this restaurant is right next to the pool and you can just chill on the loungers while taking in the gorgeous view of the sea and Straits of Malacca. Jamu Bar offers healthy salads and speciality drinks and I always order the fresh juices from here to sip on when.
Overlooking the Royal Bay, advanced booking and proper dressing is required for diners looking to have a meal here and experience a specially crafted meal catered to one’s preferences. You’ll get your own private dining booth and enjoy privacy but do note that only diners above 16 yrs are allowed.
The Spa Experience
There’s no doubt that the spa here is of world-class standard. And I experienced one of the longest spa treatments during my visit here. All in all I spent over 3 hours here getting pampered from head to toe starting with the therapeutic foot-pounding, to the various bath houses (Balinese, Japanese, Malay and Chinese) followed by a luxurious massage that took me to Lala Land partway through. I highly recommend a visit to the spa while you’re here and choose from the many treatments available from their spa menu here.
Wildlife on Pangkor Laut
One of the things that impresses me and makes this resort stand out is how they respect and care for the wildlife here on the island. Hornbills feel safe enough to reproduce here and you can even join in the nature walk and get to learn more from the resident naturalist about the native wildlife here.
I learnt about why the flying foxes here choose to roost on only on tree here on the island even though there are tonnes of the same tree scattered all around. We identified cinnamon trees, got to see the nests of the hornbills and much more.
I love the conservation efforts put into encouraging the hornbills to breed and increase their population, especially with the deforestation that’s happening elsewhere in the region.
Plan your next visit there and find out more about their various rates via their website or check out their offers available here. I hope you’ll get as much a fantastic experience like mine, if not better!
Address: Pangkor Laut Island, 32200 Lumut, Perak, Malaysia
Have you ever experienced waking up feeling exhausted or that you haven’t really slept well? Some of us actually experience that every day and think its a norm. Its not. And it can be because of several reasons:
Shift work, resulting in disruption to our circadian rhythm.
Family obligations or demanding jobs that require our time and attention
Medical reasons such as depression, sleep apnea, hormonal imbalances and other chronic illnesses
And the environment that we sleep in.
Chronic lack of sleep can result many detrimental effects on our health and can affect our memory, mood, sex life and our appearance. So its definitely something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
One of the factors that is easily within our control is our sleep environment and that includes the lighting, noise, temperature and our bedding.
HEAVENLUXE bedsheets are made of Austrian Tencel™
I really like the fact that Heavenluxe uses Austrian Tencel™ to make their sheets and pillowcases because it is significantly more comfortable that cotton sheets, and especially so in our environment here in Singapore. We don’t need to stay warm, in fact we need sheets that keep us cool and dry.
Here are the other reasons why I like these sheets so much:
Heavenluxe’s Austrian Tencel™ sheets have ZERO environmental impact as part of their manufacturing
Free from harmful pesticides and insecticides unlike cotton which uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides.
Requires 96% less use of water
requires 30% less energy to manufacture.
Eco-friendliness is such a plus point of this company and I’m extremely happy that I’m using a product that supports it.
The material used in Heavenluxe’s lyocell fabric is made from eucalyptus wood pulp which also happens to be a renewable natural material. Compared to even bamboo fabric, eucalytus tencel is even more eco-friendly and the material is more breathable. The waste products that result from making these fabric are more biodegradable, cause minimal impact on the environment and are considered harmless.
Even my hair loves these sheets and pillow cases!
You know how you sometimes wake up and your hair ends up looking like you got electrocuted?
Well I get that sometimes when I sleep on lousy pillowcases and bedsheets. That frizzy look occurs when we sleep on bedding that causes the rubbing of our hair against rough materials. And I don’t get that at all with the smooth fabric of Heavenluxe’s Austrian Tencel™. Love it!
So yeah, I’m definitely feeling more well rested when I get to sleep on Heavenluxe’s crazily comfortable sheets and pillowcases and I actually look forward to going to bed because its just so cosy! You really have to feel it for yourself.
Find out more about Heavenluxe and how they also contribute to local charities to benefit children with each sale they make by visiting their website at https://heavenluxe.com
I waited so impatiently to finally get to drive this baby around and I now fully understand what all the hype is about around the 2018 KIA Stinger GT. This high performance 5-door sports saloon is the first rear-wheel drive model that KIA has ever produced.
Powerful Performance and Sound to boot
Designed with passion fuelling the ideas behind its every detail, the Stinger definitely gave me a driving experience that displayed power, agility and practicality. The most powerful of KIA cars to date, this car features a twin-turbo V6 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This smooth ride delivers 370 horsepower and with the engine room and dash getting extra insulation and padding that quiets the joints of the body pillars and frames, its no surprise how quiet and smooth the drive can be, unless you’re playing your favourite tunes with the 15-speaker Harmon/Kardon premium sound system.
Even the side mirrors and doors are designed to reduce noise and drag. This sound system even includes subwoofers that resonate in the hollow parts of the frame and body.
I was so impressed by the quietness within while driving when I turned off the audio. But when the music was on….. WOAH. You’ve gotta sit in it to experience the magic of having the vibrations move you. I truly felt the beats from the tunes I was playing.
Smart and Thoughtful Design
What’s strikes it as such a comfortable car to drive has got to its ventilated front and back seats that made it oh so comfortable to drive even on those scorching hot days. It’s able to also bring heat to backs and bottoms of passengers on cold days. Both the seat cushion and seatback feature airflow perforations to keep your body in state of comfort.
With 5 modes to choose from the Drive Mode Select that can easily be switched at the turn of a dial located just behind the shift lever, I actually wished I could be driving this car somewhere else in the world where the speed limits are higher, haa! It was a great experience switching between the different modes that adjusted operations of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. Even the engine sound could be manipulated!
I literally went oooooh when I first saw the Head-Up Display turn one once the engine started! Visible both in the day and night, the key driving information like your driving speeds is projected onto your windshield in your line of sight so that you can safely focus on the road ahead.
I also really like the wireless charging ability for my mobile phone, meaning there’s no messy wires laying around and getting tangled.
Fivedoor Fastback Layout
With 406 litres of cargo capability, this fivedoor fastback layout means plenty of space for me to store all my workout gear, my baby’s stroller and much more! I can even reach all these items easily because the rear hatch lifts to reveal a very broad opening.
The rear seat backs even split and fold 60:40 so you can even put longer items into the car. And with the Smart Power Tailgate, I can conveniently load my stuff into the boot even when my hands are full carrying my kiddo or bags. All you have to do is have the key with you when you stand close to the rear of the car and the lid of the Smart Power Tailgate opens automatically within 3 seconds! Definitely a great help for mommies like me.
Driving this car definitely made it a joy for me to be zooming around instead of just a means to get from one place to the next. Thank you KIA for making driving fun again!
Go for that drive at KIA Motors soon to experience what I did.
Been using the G7+ThinQ by LG for the past 3 weeks and as an avid user of the iPhone, find out why I’m now sold onto the amazing camera features of this smartphone.
The first thing I like about the G7+ is the fingerprint sensor at the back of the phone which I miss after I switched to the iPhone X because I don’t have to raise the phone to my face in order to unlock the phone quickly.
You might wonder, what’s with the long name and the “ThinQ” at the end? Its basically LG’s artificial intelligence platform that allows users to connect a number of its products with this feature together, so you could control your washer or access your refrigerator via your phone. All part of making your house a smart home.
After using the phone for some weeks now, I’ve truly fallen in love with the features of its camera, especially when I compared the images and videos taken from the same spot with different phone cameras. Here are two videos taken of my aerial yoga practice in my living room with the LG G7+ and my iPhone X. Because of the wide-angle camera feature of the G7+, I’m able to capture a lot more of the surroundings.
You can see from the screenshots above that from the same spot where both phones were placed to record at the same time, a lot of the surroundings and even Nykki talking to me in the background has been cropped off. A wide angle definitely helps me be able to capture a lot of the moment. I also like how the video looks brighter, and both videos are not edited.
The wide angle feature is all thanks to the G7+ ThinQ using the same dual cam setup that LG uses – 16 megapixel camera, optical image stabilisation, and paired with a 16 megapixel f/1.9 wide angle camera. I tried using the camera to take videos in the night too and because of its Super Bright camera mode for night shots, images did turn out pretty good although the shutter speed can be a little faster.
I really can’t get enough of the wide angle feature which allows you to take 107 degrees photos, and this is something unique to LG as it is the only manufacturer to have a wide angle camera phone currently in the market.
Being able to capture everything I need in that one shot because of the wide angle function instead of having to stand too far away is just one of the main reasons why I love this camera phone.
Super Bright Camera Mode
The ability to capture night time images with its Super Bright mode is very much appreciated when taking shots like these outdoors after sundown (image is not edited). I used another camera phone to take this shot too but it just turned out too dark.
Tried out the portrait mode of the phone it blurs out the background pretty well even when I zoomed in so I give it a thumbs up here too.
Long Battery Life
Considering how much I use my phone throughout the day to reply emails on the go, take photos and videos, go on phone calls, update my social media accounts and go on FaceTime with the kids and my husband, I’m very impressed with the battery life of the G7+. With a 3,000 mAH battery capacity, I’m able to go for 2 days without charging the phone at all. I can’t say the same for my other phone though.
All in all, I’m really happy with the camera features of the phone and as a long time Apple user I’m actually tempted to switch to an Android phone just so that I can utilise the superior camera on this phone! Oh the dilemma….