#2021 | Jemma for Nivea: Got Milk?

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Featuring: NIVEA’S Intensive Moisture Body Milk

I’ve long maintained that NIVEA is one of, if not the best drugstore brand out there. I grew up on NIVEA – their lip balms were an essential part of my childhood, as were their body moisturisers. Their body milk as well – although the last iteration of their body milk I used came in a pump version, which I remember thinking was pretty much a household product as a kid. And then, of course, I grew up and instead of just quietly minding my own business and using their products at home, I jabbered about it nonstop on the internet as well. Isn’t technology great?

Anyway. NIVEA has been Singapore’s top brand for hand and body moisturisers ever since forever (there’s actually data to back this up, I’m not just talking out of my ass) so I’d never thought their products really needed any sort of introduction. But recently it’s been made known to me that their moisturiser is so good that it actually has a 100% Money Back guarantee – if you don’t feel smoother skin within 14 days, you can get your money back this summer. Etcetera – see more here.

It was hilarious.

Firstly, the idea of aunties going up to the store trying to get a refund for a six dollar product – which is honestly way affordable for what, 250ml of moisturiser that gives you silky smooth skin? Ridiculous. And the idea that anyone would even want to return this product in the first place was simply ludicrous. It’s fantastic!

Anyway, it got me thinking. Although I’d been using their products for years – and their moisturiser has been their bestseller for basically since the beginning of time, ok – I was so used to having it around at home that I’d never really thought about using it with the notion of critiquing it in mind. Would anyone really be able to find it in their hearts to return the product? What if you were just super auntie and hell bent on doing it? I was determined to try.

Mission Money Back

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So here I had the 250ml bottle of NIVEA’S Intensive Moisture Body Milk for Dry to Very Dry Skin. What it promises is visibly moisturised skin within seven days, with a light and non-sticky application. Let’s pretend that I’d never lain eyes on this bottle before even though I basically grew up with it. What would my first impressions be?

Ok, fine. No complaints so far. The only thing I could imagine people complaining about if they were hell bent on complaining would be picking on the color of the bottle, which is the iconic NIVEA blue. But branding what, what to do? Other than that the bottle is just a pretty straightforward bottle with a matte finish and a flip cap that clicks into place to prevent accidental spillage. This version is $6.90 and available in all major drugstores and grocery stores, like Guardian, Watsons, Cold Storage, so on and so forth. They also have the $9.90 one, which is 400ml. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the one with the pump application.

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After applying it on my wrist area

The product smells exactly like what every other standard NIVEA product smells like – clean, fresh. It does have a very distinct smell though, so some people may find it strong. When I first poured it out I thought it would take awhile to absorb based on experience with other moisturisers in the same amount, but the product actually disappeared into the skin really fast, so I guess it does absorb very quickly. And it’s non greasy as well – in the picture above, I’d already applied it to the inner wrist area so you can see how non-shiny it is. It actually feels a little bit matte.

I kept it on my bedside book/multifunctional-use ledge so I could slap it on before bed and when waking up, and because it’s non-greasy it didn’t feel like it’d rub off on my sheets either, which was nice. The amount of product you see in the photo above is pretty much enough for one limb, like an arm or a leg, so it spreads nicely and I expect it to last forever. Obviously since this is a new bottle, I cant verify this, but I don’t expect I’ll have to replace it anytime soon based on how little product it takes to cover my skin.

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The thing is, I dont have particularly dry skin, and I’ve also grown up using NIVEA moisturisers, so it’s hard for me to definitively say if this product makes a huge difference right now because I’ve been using it all along anyway. But when I was applying it with the specific intention of critiquing it, I did notice things I didn’t notice before – like how it does create this immediate impression of smoothness upon application, and how it really isnt greasy in the least. I keep mentioning this greasy thing because it actually makes a difference to me and the way I live my life (lol!) I guess. I have the habit of being a bit obsessive over moisturising my feet, and whenever I’ve used moisturisers that are the least bit greasy it gets really slippery when I get out of bed to go about my day (my floors are marble).

Anyway, verdict. Mission Money Back is a no go.

I really cannot imagine anyone who would actually go to the trouble of returning this product because 1. why would you it is fabulous and 2. it is SIX DOLLARS. Just the thought of having to start the refund process, keep the receipt, take a bus down to the store, and return the bottle is so exhausting already, and totally not worth it for the six bucks. Your transport to and fro the store is probably half of the refund amount!

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Nightly Netflix n Skincare routine anyone?

If anyone has used this moisturiser and returned it, I’d actually be interested to hear it because I honestly cannot imagine anyone not being satisfied with the product. Also, six dollars. I cannot get over the price because it is only six dollars! Okay, that’s saying six dollars too much. Six. Dollars.

Final verdict: Worth the hype.

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PSA: REMEMBER TO SHARE IT WITH A DRY-SKINNED LOVED ONE TODAY.

#2020 | bits and pieces with the bbf

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my best friend came home for a short ten days just last week, and flew back off to the uk this morning. before he touched down we lived under the impression that ten days was a long time, enough, in any case, to do everything we had wanted to do together – which mostly involved eating lots of local food and roaming around complaining about the weather. it turns out that we should have known that when it comes to the people you love, enough is never enough. it’s been coming to ten years and we still never have enough time, even though every time we part ways it is impossible to pinpoint exactly what rubbish we were talking about. friendship, i suppose. it’s been a good ten years. :)

x
♥jem

#2019| Jemma for Airbnb: Sydney Warehouse Livin

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imagesSydney, Australia
Airbnb/jemma

Yet another one to add to my list of interesting slash unique Airbnb finds.

Last September I was in Sydney, technically for Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, but in reality I’d flown seven hours to spend some precious hours with dear friends that I hadn’t seen in ages. The great thing about globalisation, I suppose, is that opportunities to live and work abroad are aplenty in the modern day and age, the bad thing about it is when these opportunities happen to the friends around me. I kid, I kid. (Or do I?) Selfish reasons aside, I’m genuinely grateful to be privileged enough to be able to fly over for reunions when I can, and September was, well, lovely.

And of course every travel opportunity is an opportunity to stay somewhere new, somewhere unique, a little pocket of experience that I find myself privy to without having to commit to the whole lifestyle: think about it, the ability to live in an igloo for a week without having to commit to the eskimo lifestyle! And so on. This is airbnb.

In September I found myself doing my favourite thing, which is essentially scrolling through endless pages of airbnb listings which feed my voyeuristic side, and I finally settled on this incredible converted warehouse in Alexandria, as in, the Grounds of Alexandria, you know? Instagram speak. Pfft. But seriously – this place was a huge expanse of space by city standards, a double storied place with the bedroom upstairs, loft style. Open concept living. And if I lived in a city that allowed me to convert my warehouse or garage into my own bachelorette’s pad, you’d bet I’d do it.


Said Grounds of Alexandria, which was in the same neighbourhood as my Airbnb pad

Bachelorette’s pad it was. Nellie and Isabel crashed with me when they were in Sydney, and the kitchen that bled into the living room and lounge area meant that we could always chat across the space no matter what we were doing, and it felt incredibly cozy despite being such a large space. During the second half of my trip, I had Jenna and Bert come crash as well, and only in retrospect did i identify what this was – a giant slumber party in my rustic converted warehouse.

It fit so seamlessly into Sydney for me, and although I know the word is passé, I really dont know how else to describe the place besides resorting to the word ‘cool’. I mean, living in a warehouse! It was my artist’s co-living space dreams come true. If I ever had the opportunity to move to a big city to work on my writing, it’s exactly what I’d imagine myself to do – share a converted living space with other similar types: musicians, artists, writers – and of course, here I am assuming that they’d want to live with me. Ha. (But – and I do try to be objective – I’d like to clarify that I’m a pretty damned good housemate to have.)

One more thing – and the cherry on top of the cake, really. The lady who owned the place must have been mad close to her neighbours, because they knocked a tiny hole in between their apartments to create a tunnel where their cats could freely roam between the houses. I was told about this beforehand, of course, but it didn’t do anything to stave off my delight when a couple of tabby cats rolled into my living room one evening when I was minding my own business. Another morning I woke up, and a cat was napping on my feet. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that this is my idea of perfection.

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with one of the tabbycats

My one regret was that i only had a very brief brush with Kylie, my host – I generally try to dedicate some time to hanging out with my airbnb hosts to try and get to know them and the city via them a little better, but it just so happened that Kylie was out of town when I came to visit, and so she left self-check in instructions, and I pretty much just slipped myself in. What that did do, however, was assist me in operating under the illusion that I was living, you know, alone, in a new city, by myself, independent and all. Ha! Look at me, playing at being all grown up. If you must know, it was fun.

Experience refurbished warehouse living here as well.

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Sunset walks in the park near the airbnb pad

I’m aiming to stay in a yurt next. Isn’t life exciting, you guys?

x
♥jem

PS. $35 off your first brush with airbnb, don’t forget. register here!

#2018 | Small things

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Was nursing an awful bout of the cold this past week, which meant waking up to feel like absolute rubbish every single day and then going about work in this ridiculous Singaporean humidity. I don’t often fall sick so obviously when I do I feel like it’s the end of the world; I don’t remember what it last felt like when I was sick, and so everything gets blown out of proportion and I convince myself that I’m dying of some rare cousin of the flu.. and so on. Melodramatic, I am.

Tonight. Still sick, although recovering. We were holding the edges of our gowns and running in heels down the USS cobbled road back to the Far Far Away castle after having snuck out of a party to crash a theme park ride. As we were perspiring buckets and cursing the weather, there was an almighty bang and light exploded above our heads. Fireworks. We nearly stopped but didn’t – we were already running late. But just that: the deserted park, the gowns, the fireworks, the friends – and despite feeling like shit the whole week, I suddenly thought to myself, the week has been a good one. And for that I am thankful.

x
♥jem

#2017| The Anyhow guide to JB

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Johor Bahru, Malaysia

In the spirit of spontaneity and youth, a group of us made a trip down to Johor Bahru earlier in the week. Somehow or other, I have survived twenty three years a Singaporean without ever having made it to JB, because I have no idea why. Anyway. As a first timer in JB, all I did, really, was follow my more experienced friends around. But so many of you have requested details on the trip that I decided that in the spirit of Christmas, which is of course nowhere near, I’d cobble together a post on JB. If none of that made sense to you, good! Know that it is the same for me.

Getting to JB

You can now take a bus to JB, which is what I did, from Yishun MRT. It’s a bus service called AC7, all the way at the end of the bus interchange. It costs $2.50 per ride, and you can use your ez-link card but not a paywave ezlink. The reader doesn’t register it. So if youre using a bank card as your ezlink, just pay cash for this trip.

The bus takes about twenty minutes to cross the causeway, and you pass customs, and tada! You’re in JB. The minute you get off the bus, you’re at Citysquare Mall, which is where you can do some shopping, or a massage, or whatever, if youre on a daytrip.

You can find other ways to get to JB here.

Staying in JB

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There are a bunch of hotels near the customs, but the one we stayed at is called Holiday Villa. It pretty much feels like a four or five star hotel. Ok, maybe a four star hotel, because they dont have bathrobes and the wifi is awful from the hotel bed – the nearer you are to the hotel corridor the better your signal is. But it’s only SGD50/night per person for a 2 people room, so honestly, no complaints.

Plus it comes with breakfast and a sick infinity pool!!

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If youre going with friends and getting more than one room, which is what we did, request side by side rooms and you can get the hotel to open up a connecting door between them so you basically have one big room where you all can yell at each other to get ready, quick, all day!

You can get to the hotel via cab, its about ten minutes from City Square mall. A cab should cost you about 12-14ringgit. But if you take an uber, it works out cheaper. I cant remember by how much exactly, but it’s rather significant.

Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre
Taman Century, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
http://www.holidayvillajb.com.my

Things to do in JB in the day

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Probably go cafe hopping.

JB has a growing cafe scene, spawning a whole generation of youths who cross the border just to cafe hop. Crazy obsession or not, the fact remains that JB does have a ton of cafes, most of which seem to pander more to the instagrammable side of things than to your taste buds. Don’t get me wrong – they dont serve bad food. But the things I’ve eaten in JB cafes are undeniably average.

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Salted egg yolk churros

This is from a cafe called The Replacement. What are they replacing? Don’t ask me. But with the artistically strewn kinfolk back issues around the cafe, little cacti growing out of teacups, and the copious amount of natural light, it’s obvious what kind of vibe they’re going for. This is the kind of place you would come if you were the type of person to say: these salted egg yolk charcoal churros are lit af.

A little way down from this cafe sits a stall that proclaims BEST CHICKEN CHOP IN JB. I dont know if it’s the best, per se, but it definitely beat cafe food. All of us ordered the grilled chicken chop with mushroom sauce because we are boring. But boring or not, it was pretty damned good.

Get a massage

We went to this place called Thai Odyssey in City Square mall, which is apparently one of the best massage parlours in JB. It’s even got certifications turned into wallpaper and plastered everywhere so youre sure to know it’s the best. It certainly has a very nice, classy vibe. Full body massages start at 100ringgit per hour, which given our current exchange rate, is about thirty plus SGD. Would recommend.

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Thai Odyssey
MF-20, Innercity, JB City Square Shopping Centre,
Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Things to do in JB in the night

Walk the street markets and randomly eat things.

There are pasar malam style markets that start about midday to late at night. They sell all sorts of things, like trinkets and basically food. You should reconcile yourself to the fact that most of what you will be doing in JB consists of you putting food into your mouth. Don’t fight it. Just let it happen.

The markets sell all sorts of food, like fried food, bread, fruit, and basically any other local eats that Malaysia is known for. A thing to look out for is the laksa van. Malaysia’s laksa is of the sour, sardine-y variety, which is very different from the coconut milk one we have in Singapore. It’s different, but I like it. Definitely worth a try.

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If you like it, there’s a famous asam laksa place in the basement of the mall opposite the Holiday Villa hotel as well. It’s known to be a laksa factory, or something like that.

Go to hipster town to basically eat some more

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Remember what I said about making peace with eating in JB? This place called Kilang Bateri is basically a converted old container warehouse full of shops, restaurants, and bars. I didn’t shop much, but I did get my phone screen protected with a tempered glass screen protector for 10ringgit. I believe it’s 10SGD in Singapore. Steal!

The bars there are all quite cool, in the old fairy light, live music style. Very grungy, and it’s the kind of place you say has ‘character’, I suppose. The best thing I would recommend trying when there is this restaurant called i-Shell Out, which is basically a seafood restaurant that is ridiculously affordable for what it is.

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They basically cook and pour out everything on the table in front of you, and you eat off it. Don’t worry, it’s clean – they put a plastic sheet on top of the table before starting. Above, you see bamboo clams, lobsters, veggies, clams, prawns, and some kind of otah. It came up to approximately 6SGD per person, and we even had a jug of lime juice to go around. In Singapore this would easily cost five times the price. So yes, this is also very, very recommended.

Kilang Bateri

Jalan Tampoi · +60 7-232 5121
Opens 12:00 noon to 12 midnight.

Getting around in JB

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but you will find it a lot cheaper to take an Uber around over cabbing, which is already very affordable. If you have a big group like us, get an Uber XL, which can hold six people, as opposed to splitting into two cabs. This means that you might want to get a SIM card – the data cards are about 30Ringgit for 1GB, from what I saw, and only one person in the group needs to get it. That person can be in charge of calling all the ubers, etcetera.

Other Misc Things

There is a Left Luggage right when you exit the checkpoints at the border, before you enter CitySquare mall. It’s 20Ringgit for a huge locker, which all six of us shared. This is useful to know if you want somewhere to store your bags after checkout while going shopping.

Right opposite the Left Luggage there’s a great Rotiboy outlet. You’ll smell it a mile away. Rotiboy is a love it or hate it thing, and I’m on the LOVE IT side. It’s basically this bun that is crispy, warm, salty, and which smells and tastes amazing.

Shopping in JB is very popular, mainly because of the exchange rate. Because I didn’t really do much shopping (lazy, etcetera), I cant vouch for this personally. But from what I hear, uniqlo and nike/adidas shoes are cheaper there.

Costings

Lastly! The total amount of money I spent on this trip was 150SGD, inclusive of the hotel stay, which we paid in cash upon arrival. We changed money at the Yishun money changer before crossing the border, and the rate we got was about 2.88. If you change it in JB it’s 2.8. So not much difference there. For a two day trip inclusive of a great hotel, nonstop snacking and eating, and a massage, I’d say this is a pretty good price.

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But with all trips, it’s the company that truly makes it great. So go with your friends, have a ton of fun, and come back with stories to tell. And there you have it: my anyhow guide to JB.

x
Jem