#2025 | here to stay: jemma for paypal

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Excited to finally announce this but you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me, whether by your choice or not, and I’m not even sorry about it. Paypal has engaged me for the coming year and you know what engagement means: they put a ring on it, and now we’re here to stay.

Partnering up with Paypal is certainly one of the more exciting gigs I’ve had, and I’m really psyched for the things to come. Meanwhile, our first campaign video together is out, and you can catch us below:

x
♥jem

#2024 | reunited

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imagesNew York, America

Reunited finally with my soulmate from halfway across the world. You hear all these stories about how hard long distance relationships are, and they are, but no one tells you that long distance friendships take commitment and effort too. Come on, Hollywood. Give us some friendship once in awhile.

Because our time together is so precious, much of it is spent engaged in intense conversations, heart to hearts, or happy silences, sitting by the pier and watching the sunset drip heavily over the brooklyn bridge.. it’s been eight years now, but every dose of time we have together I understand a little bit more about the person I’m with, and I’m grateful everyday that we’ve grown so much but so parallel to each other, that our lives are so different but so complementary. When we were eighteen there was this one night, another four am kinda night, where we were broke and curled up chatting over chinese take out somewhere along Maiden Lane, and G turned to me and said, I’d die for you, but I wouldn’t live for you. And I said: I feel the same.

It was only years later, really, that we realised how much of a privilege it was to be able to say those words to another person, how rare and precious it would become.

I feel the same.

x
Jem

#2023| Top 5 preflight buys on iShopChangi

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Changi Airport Terminal One
Dress: Velvet Dolls | Parka: Random Jap store | Bag: Pazzion Singapore | Luggage: Samsonite via Mandarin Gallery

Ola from New York, you guys!

I’m back again in the city of dreams, empire state of my heart. And before you guys start: yes, I was just here in December, and yes, I could have gone somewhere new.. but the heart wants what it wants, okay? And with that that selena gomez-esqe piece of love advice, moving on..

I touched on iShopChangi briefly in my previous travel posts, but I thought it was about time to do up a proper post on my top five pre-flight purchases in Changi Airport, a post for the Singapore Outbounds. iShopChangi is something I use a lot when I travel, especially if I’m doing a long distance trip or to see friends abroad. For some strange reason, not as many people know about it as you’d expect, but it’s one of those travel hacks that saves you a ton of time, so let me just quickly explain how it works:


iShopChangi?

iShopChangi is an online store under Changi Airport, where you can pre-purchase your duty-free items online before your flight, and then just pick them up and go when you reach the airport. This is great for people who already know what they want and dont want to waste time running around the airport getting your items, or if you’re taking a very late/early flight and the shops you wanna buy stuff from are likely to be closed before you board the plane.

For me in particular, I hate rushing for my flight because I’ve nearly missed my flight a couple of times due to miscalculating the distance between me and the flight gate, waiting in a line for something or the other, or just, you know, generally being distracted. And because there are certain things I always get when I’m going to fly, it’s just easier for me to pre-purchase it and pick it up, then go chill somewhere near my gate with a cup of starbucks or something. Ha!

So – my Top Five pre-flight buys

Perhaps a more accurate title would be my top five kinds of pre flight buys. I did this more according to category than anything, but you guys can tweak this according to your own needs.

1. Sunscreen

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(Available here)
No matter what country you go to, youre going to need sunscreen. I like having a small bottle in my handcarry just so I always have it on hand, rather than having to dig through my luggage to find it upon arrival. It’s not expensive either, and it’ll always be something you need, no matter where you’re going. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you dont need sun protection, ok? Sun damage is the worst!

2. Local Singaporean Snacks

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(Available here and here)

Ha! Bet you didn’t know you could buy Pineapple Tarts in Changi Airport. I always try to bring a taste of Singapore with me abroad, as a gift to either my friends, or my Airbnb host in whatever country I’m staying in. Throw back: how to be a good airbnb guest. But yes! I bring bottles of Kaya, which you cant really find authentic replicas of anywhere except Singapore or our region, or Ba Kwa/ Pineapple tarts, which you can order from Bee Cheng Hiang on iShopChangi.

3. Electronics: Storage Space

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(Available here)
The last time I went abroad I bought a GoPro from duty free (great investment, btw), and this time I got a WD My Passport Ultra portable hard drive. It’s great for people who travel and take lots of high res pics, and for people who have trouble deleting things (like me). What can I say, I hoard, ok? Don’t judge!

But electronics are one of those things you can get in duty free at a great rate, because they’re tax-exempt as long as you’re flying out of singapore. The prices reflected on the website and instore at duty free are already the prices without GST. The savings tend to be quite substantial – I had a look also at the duty-free / in town price difference if you wanna buy a Mac, and its about a hundred bucks. But you’ll have to lug it with you on your trip, then bring it back later. So it’s up to you.

4. Hair Care

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(Available here)
This is crucial for me because my hair is bleached to death. But hey, your version could be travel sized moisturisers for the plane, sleeping masks, and so on. Mine is a very intensive leave in treatment for the hair, which I apply liberally at intervals throughout the flight. To each his/ her own, am I right?

5. The Splurge: Travel Exclusives

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(Available here)
Now, this may not apply to everyone, but I find that travel exclusives make great gifts for people, or even for yourself if you’ve always wanted to stock up on that particular skincare product that’s mad expensive outside. They’re normally travel sized, or full sized products paired with travel sized samples. It’s still pricey, but less so than if you’d get them in town. I personally also know lots of people who stock up on their makeup and skincare before their flights because of the tax exemption, so this is kind of an extension of that too.

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I think that’s about it – my top five pre-flight buys! Of course, there’s also the pre flight cuppa that I always have out of habit, but people tend to like those fresh, so, you know. Get it yourself when you reach the airport. But otherwise, pre-buying your other items saves you a load of time, effort, and stress running around before your flight, and it’s so great that our local airport offers this service so definitely take advantage of it!

In the spirit of GSS, iShopChangi is launching GSS promos in mid-June, which is perfect timing since it’s just about when all of you start jetting off for the summer – lucky draws, additional tax savings, free gifts, etcetera etcetera. Full details here:


The Great iShopChangi Sale (13 June to 10 July)
iShopChangi’s GSS Promotions

1) Daily winner will be picked to shop for free (capped at $500)
– Total of 28 winners, selected randomly from new orders made on iShopChangi
2) For the first 10 days of the GSS promo (13 – 22 June), shoppers get to enjoy double GST savings i.e. additional 7% off on top of GST savings (with min. spend of $280)
3) Over 50 special GSS deals only available during promotional period
4) Receive a free gift with every purchase during promo period, while stocks last
5) Stand 2x chance to be a Changi Millionaire with every online purchase of min. $50

*More details here

I’m particularly keen on the last point, because the allure of randomly becoming a millionaire just by shopping is too much for me – I’m really huffed about the fact that despite traveling so much and spending a disproportionate amount of money on makeup/coffee/dutyfree items at the airport, I am still unfortunately not a millionaire yet. I actually asked Changi whether anyone has won it yet and turns out the guy who won it the last time just bought some really random thing, and he just entered for fun. For fun! He became a millionaire by winning a lucky draw he did for fun!! Life is sometimes not very fair. Write that down, kids.

Anyway, even though I am not a millionaire yet (thx Changi), Changi Airport Group is still giving out shopping vouchers to you guys (thx Changi), proving that you dont have to be dirty rich to be generous. Again, write that down, kids. Rule of life.

We’re giving away $50 vouchers for iShopChangi to 3 of you. There are terms and conditions and they are below, in italics. But if you want to win, all you have to do is to comment on my instagram photo telling me what your favourite pre-flight buy is. Sah easy! And Changi will pick three of you, and you will get e-money, and you can have nice things. Go do it now.

So three of you will be very lucky very soon. But for the rest of you, you’re also winners. And you know why? Because we’ve given you the gift of time, time saved not having to run around buying your essentials before your flight. Boom.

Safe travels, happy jetsetting, you guys.

x
Jem


Previously mentioned terms and conditions:
*Valid till 31 Dec 2016 (2359hrs, SG time).
The eVoucher is in Singapore currency and is only valid in a single transaction at iShopChangi.com
The eVoucher is only for bona fide outbound, inbound and transit passengers travelling through or arriving in Singapore Changi Airport.
The eVoucher is valid for one-time use per customer, is non-exchangeable, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions, offers, eVouchers etc.
The eVoucher is considered redeemed if the customer cancels the order.
Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd reserves the right to vary the terms and conditions herein at any time at its discretion.

#2022 | Absolute favourite things to do in Gold Coast

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imagesGold Coast, Australia

My first brush with Gold Coast was at the tender age of ten; I remember the beach, the koala sanctuary, and the new pen pal i made at the hotel’s breakfast buffet table, who never replied any of my letters. Ah! Bittersweet memories, that. Fast forward fourteen years and I felt my heart had recovered from rejection (the five stages of grief are real), and the time had come to take on the Gold Coast again.

This time the trip was part of a campaign with Tourism Queensland and Scoot Airlines, and I was issued the challenge of rediscovering the city in the best way possible. And if you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I legitimately cannot resist any sort of challenge, even if it consists my worst fears. I just can’t. Life is short, y’all! That was actually how I got over my fear of heights – someone challenged me to jump off a cliff in Italy. And I did. Boom!

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll document my favourite parts of the trip in more detail down the road, but for now I thought it was about time I cobbled together a post on my top five absolute favourite things to do in Gold Coast, for anyone looking to go…

1. Take a Surfing Lesson

This is arguably my favourite part of the trip, hands down the best decision we made.

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The first impression you have rolling into Gold Coast is the incredible waves that are just crashing nonstop on the beach. The place is called Surfer’s Paradise, for goodness sake. It would be a travesty not to even attempt it. I mean, we didn’t have to be good, but we could at least try, right?

Turns out it was so great that we actually went back on our last day for another lesson – and if our itinerary had allowed for it, we would have done another, and another lesson! Surfing is AWESOME. I have to first up clarify that I am not good at it, nor am I naturally inclined to balancing on a board while a wave smacks me from behind. But it doesn’t matter. It’s so incredibly fun, and it’s a total workout! We paid $60 for a 2 hour lesson, which is $30 per hour. THAT IS SUPER REASONABLE FOR A HOLIDAY ACTIVITY. And it’s a new skill, which you can practice again when you go to any country that has surf spots, like Bali.

I HUNDRED PERCENT recommend surfing. The place I went to was Go Ride a Wave, which is located on the beachfront of Surfers Paradise. If you book it in advance it’s cheaper, obviously.

http://gorideawave.com.auSurfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
Address: Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia
Phone:+61 7 5526 7077
9am – 5pm

Lessons start like 930am everyday or something, so book early and turn up on time!

2. Balloon across the Queensland Hinterlands

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It was my first time going on a hot air balloon – and a pretty unforgettable one. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’m actually terrified of heights. I always have been, and although it’s better now, I still get the jitters when I look down from a high place where I could slip and fall and basically die. But the opportunity to take a hot air balloon seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I really didn’t want to give it a miss.

Turns out taking a hot air balloon is one of the most peaceful experiences in the world. It’s incredibly calming, and at no point do you feel like youre in danger. The ballon gently rises and then floats steadily over the best views really slowly, and it doesn’t feel in the least like it might ever tip over. The edges of the basket go all the way up, so you cant accidentally fall over. And when you take a sunrise slot like we did… it’s simply incredible.

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The view from the balloon – the cattle grazing below dont even feel real!

Now, hot air ballooning isn’t cheap. It’s about AU280 per adult. But, like skydiving and paragliding, it’s something that I count as a once in a lifetime experience, and it can’t be done in Singapore. So I felt like since we were already in the Gold Coast, it was definitely an experience worth investing in.

The package we got was from Hot Air Gold Coast, which was 280AUD and included a champagne breakfast after. It was really great!!! Would recommend the entire experience if you have cash saved up, because it’s one of those things that is really once in a lifetime, and you cant really do it everywhere, only in really specific places in the world.

www.hotair.com.au

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3. GO TO A THEME PARK!

I know this isn’t the coolest option to some of you because Gold Coast is so known for its theme parks that people may feel like it’s too unexciting now or whatever, but i dont care, i freakin love theme parks!! I went when I was a kid and I loved it, and I just had to go again. We did Dreamworld this time, which has a ton of really great rides, and we must have gone at a really good timing too because there was virtually no queue for any ride we wanted to go on, even the really hardcore ones!

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I am a major roller coaster addict, kind of like Marie Ann Schmidt in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Because sometimes you just want to scream, and a coaster is the only place no one will stare at you weird, right? Ok, that’s a bit too dark. Never mind. Netflix originals, you guys!

But Dreamworld doesn’t just have rides, it also has its own wildlife sanctuary, where kangaroos bounce around happily waiting for tourists to buy them treats, and really weird birds fly around happily.

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You have to pay to take a picture with a koala, but otherwise most of these activities are free. And everything you pay for, a large percentage goes directly to their Wildlife Conservatory fund. If you hang out around the wildlife sanctuary in Dreamworld and ask any of the people working there, they’ll happily explain to you the way this works. But either way, it’s really great – and all the animals there look pretty chill and well taken care of.

4. Have a fine dining experience

Now, this is something that may or may not float your boat, because it depends on how budget conscious you are. But a fancy dinner is something that, dollar for dollar, costs a lot less on the Gold Coast than it does in Singapore.

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We went to Kiyomi, a really nice Japanese restaurant in Gold Coast. The place was elegant, service was impeccable, and food was on point. It was basically fancy, okay? The omakase we had was seven courses, and I remember it costing about a hundred per person, though when I cross checked it online it said 140/pax. Still. If you’re going ala carte, the dishes are pretty decently priced too – definitely not as expensive as a fine dining experience back home. Is it cheap? No. But if you’re in Gold Coast over a special occasion, anniversary, birthday, etcetera, you might wanna consider splashing out here instead of back home. It’s definitely a more affordable way to try fine dining, IMHO.

5. Take a private tour of the Hinterlands

I left this for last because it was so impressive, but it’s also one of the more costly experiences, coming in second to balloon riding. Southern Cross 4 Wheel Drive tours very kindly hosted us for a private half day tour of Mount Tambourines, and this is exactly what it sounds like – a four wheel drive tour, complete with a guide!

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I’ve never been keen on following a tour group or a guide when traveling because I do find that I prefer to plan my own time, I hate the idea of waking up at six to join a bunch of people i dont know on a giant tour bus and be yelled at all day by someone with a megaphone. But the few tours that I did do – walking tours in Budapest, Rome, etcetera – I did find that I got to know the respective cities in ways that I never would have had I just roamed around myself.

With Southern Cross 4WD, the benefits of intimately hosted tours really shined through. We got to pretty much customise the tour to our needs (aka stopping at certain places to take pictures, etcetera) and still we managed to learn so much about Gold Coast in such a fascinating way. Our host brought us through the rainforest and showed us the different types of really freaking fatal insects that lived in holes in trees and what not, and the way he described them to us.. man, it was full of love. It made everything so much more interesting. He also knew the best spots to stop and take pictures, the best places to get a nice glass of wine in between stops… and he taught us to throw a boomerang!! Talk about the full Outback experience.

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Photospot suggested by our wonderful host, obviously.

If you’re keen on trying this out but want to save money at the same time, you can hop on their normal tours instead of booking a private one. Their normal tours are only about 10-12 people big anyway, so I feel like yeah, it’s still pretty intimate.

This I definitely recommend because we really felt mindblown by how much we enjoyed it!!! It’s also something you can’t do on your own – theres just no way you can get the same experience from googling the information, you know? So yeah. Definitely a recommend.

This is the one we did: http://sc4wd.com.au/tours/private-tour/mount-tamborine-tour/

So, yeah, that’s about it. I did lots and lots of things in Gold Coast, but these were my favourites! I have a whole other post I want to write about the incredible food we ate… but that’s a post for another day. Hope it was helpful to those of you looking to hit the Gold Coast anytime soon – and don’t forget, SURFING LESSONS. You will never regret it.

Thanks for sending us on this campaign, Tourism Queensland! Luv.

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x
♥jem

#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.