Welcome to WorkingWithGrace! :)

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Hi! I’m Grace. Welcome to my blog, WorkingWithGrace. 🙂 I have interviewed a number of inspiring people for my blog, many of whom are celebrities, millionaires and entrepreneurs. Here’s one of them…

Meet Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Peter was one of my former interviewees, and here’s a quick clip for those who have never met him before:

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Since 2013, this blog has received awards and recognition from many brands. I’ve been blessed with awards such as these ones:

2013 Best Individual Blog WINNER at the annual Singapore Blog Awards
2013 Aries Gold Watches’ Blogger Contest WINNER
2013 Zespri Blogger Challenge WINNER
2013 StarHub Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 BRANDS’ Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 Influr Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 rolleyes x Panasonic Blogger Challenge WINNER
2015 SingSaver Blogger Contest WINNER

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I’ve been blogging since 2010 (that seems like such a long time now) 😀 I’ll be tagging some of my favorite 2017 blogposts here. Just scroll on to read the latest posts…

#1: CNY Floral Arrangement @ Bright Hill Evergreen Home

Bright Hill Evergreen nursing home

Continue scrolling to read more of my latest blogposts! 😀

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Inspirit House: Family Friendly Restaurant At Punggol Settlement

Inspirit House Punggol Settlement

In theory, it seems like Punggol Settlement is a great place to set up an F&B establishment as you can offer a waterfront dining experience that customers will love, but my take is it’s really tough to draw people there. If you don’t drive there, the place is pretty inaccessible though there is one bus service (expect a rather long wait). And there aren’t many fringe activities for people to enjoy – it’s just eat… then head home. The Punggol East Container Park might fare slightly better as there’s prawning, futsal and a billiard centre nearby. Even then, I’ve noted that one bingsoo place quietly ‘closed shop’ not too long ago. So whenever F&B outlets at either Punggol Settlement or the Container Park offer discounts via online sites, we tend to show them some support. That’s what happened with Inspirit House recently. 🙂

We ordered their Truffle Fries ($5.90) to nibble on while we waited for the mains of a Pork Loin Steak ($20.90) and Nonya Seabass ($18.90).

The fries were alright. Though if you need condiments to go along with it, you might have to pay a little extra (e.g. if you want cheese).

Inspirit House Truffle Fries

The Pork Loin Steak was enjoyable. I would say it was cooked to perfection. I loved how the pork remained tender, did not get chewy (which would have been a letdown) and the fatty bits were so delicious. Portion size was incredibly small though. And the salad leaves did not look too fresh – upon close inspection, they looked like they had wilted a bit, though I have to say they look decent in this photo. 😀

Inspirit House review

If you’ve noticed, we had both the pear and the chili sauce with the pork loin steak. I was asked which sauce we wanted with the pork, and it was hard to decide. I wanted to try the pear sauce (because doesn’t it sound yummy already?) but I also wanted to know if the chili sauce here is any good. *Staff said they make their sauces in-house. So I requested for the pear sauce, and to have the chili sauce served by the side. In any case, they served us both sauces in small cups. Which was perfect because I didn’t like the pear sauce, and the chili was a little too spicy. So heng ah, neither was poured directly onto the pork which tasted perfect on its own. 😀

As for the Nonya Seabass, the sauce enveloping the fish was a nice mix of sweet, sour and spicy. The (supposedly) poached carrots were so hard though. I prefer carrots nice and soft instead of almost raw. Thicker asparagus would have offered more ‘bite’ too (and less oil on the asparagus, please). 😀 The portion of rice was rather small as well.

Inspirit House Punggol Settlement

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I think they’ve put a fair bit of thought into decorating the place. I don’t know if I should call it a restaurant, as it feels more like a cozy bistro instead. And walking past Inspirit House previously, I’ve always thought it was a place you bring friends for an alcohol-fueled evening. 😀 Only after dining here did I realize it’s family-friendly. A diner at another table was a wheelchair-user, and there were so many of IKEA’s baby high chairs stacked at both sides of the dining area. You can see a few in this picture below:

Inspirit House Punggol

I like that it’s spacious enough, so you don’t feel like you’re eavesdropping on the diners chatting at the table next to yours. 😀 And service was pretty good, possibly also because it wasn’t busy even on a Friday evening at dinnertime.

*Prices are before GST and service charge

*Opening hours: 3pm to 12am (Tues to Thurs), 3pm to 1am (Fri and eve of PH), 11.30am to 1am (Sat), 11.30am to 12am (Sun and PH). Closed on Mondays.

*Tel: 69206388

*Address: 3 Punggol Point, #01-05, The Punggol Settlement, S(828694)

BoBo Fish Ball’s Thoroughly Enjoyable 5-Part Video Series On Facebook

I got to know about Bobo Fish Ball’s 5-Part Video Series only because a pal shared a post on Facebook, encouraging friends to watch till the end. So I did. And thoroughly enjoyed it. Actress Roz Pho plays the role of ‘Bobo’, an “underappreciated mom”, who runs away from home one night, and at Haw Par Villa, she meets a Fish Deity who offers to grant her three wishes. But he (or it?) wants a little “something something” in return. 😉 So what happens then? Watch and find out…

(*If the videos aren’t working here, watch them over on Facebook 😀 https://www.facebook.com/bobofishball/videos/vl.365801030534641/1900251973324352)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Final:

I think the plot’s brilliant. I didn’t expect Bobo’s third and final wish to be just that. Seemingly stupid mortals are actually pretty smart, no? 😀 And the whole concept of using this video series to promote BoBo Fish Ball’s products is just so clever. The food looks so yummy in just about every scene that you’ll almost forget it’s weird how this family seems to be eating fishballs at every meal!

Bobo fish ball singapore

Also, I wonder if it’s just me – at first I thought the actress was Jae Liew (see screenshot below). And when Roz is all dolled up, she resembles Rebecca Lim from certain angles too. In any case, stellar acting! I enjoyed watching this video series immensely. Seems like it makes more sense to upload videos to Facebook instead of doing a standard TVC which people can’t like, share, and comment on. (Much cheaper too)

roz pho bobo fish ball

Hopefully, by the time Chinese New Year comes around, people will still remember BoBo Fish Ball’s videos and get their products for steamboat dinners and such. There’s a competitor brand called DoDo that sells roughly the same items:

Bobo and Dodo fish balls

Truth be told, I usually get DoDo’s products as the logo is attractive: smiley boy with open arms. What about you? 😉

Tracking Our Smartphone Usage + Cooking A Lutein-Packed Meal :D

mobile phone usage in Singapore

You probably know of someone who’s a smartphone addict, right? You might even have spotted quite a few of them “glued” to their cellphones while they’re crossing the road, walking to the MRT platform, or even have them bump into you accidentally as they aren’t watching where they are going. In fact, the Chinese have a term for these mobile phone zombies – 低頭族 (literally: folks with lowered heads). You may or may not have a smartphone addiction problem but have you actually tracked how much time you spend on your handphone every single day? I have, and I can tell you the result is surprising!

As I’m curious about how much time other people spend on their phones as well, I invited two of my friends (Philip‘s 50 years old and Steven is 70!) to track their screen time for a week too. Guess who spent the most time on the phone? 😀

My phone usage (around 4 hours) vs. Philip’s (almost 7 hours) and Steven’s (8.5 hours)

singapore handphone screen time tracking

*Steven’s on holiday (as usual) so he made me tell you this: He’s using his phone more often than usual for photo-taking, uploading of pictures to his social media accounts, etc, and that retirees aren’t actually that “free” so please do not be mistaken. 😀

I’m actually quite surprised, though, that both of them spent more time on their phones than I did / do. In fact, Philip (who’s 50) spent over 12 hours on his phone on one particular day! He wasn’t catching Pokemon – it was just a really busy work day for him. 😀

Truth be told, I don’t spend as much time on my handphone compared to these two as my phone’s pretty old. I’m using the Samsung S5 which refuses to die. But it does run out of battery juice pretty quickly so I try not to do too much work on it. I abhor phone calls too (so please don’t call me) and I got myself out of just about every Whatsapp chat group as just reading the messages alone consumes too much precious time.

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Have you ever wondered how much ‘screen time’ you clock every day? Add the time spent on your handphone plus your computer plus time spent watching television or reading an ebook on your ipad. I bet you are spending a lot of time with your digital devices… and consequently getting exposed to blue light from them.

And don’t forget about blue light from the sun AND fluorescent and LED lighting! 😛

Point is, we’re constantly being bombarded by blue light. And what are we doing to protect ourselves? Your answer might be… “nothing”. (>_<) But you’ve definitely felt the ‘effects’ of using your digital devices for prolonged periods of time. Ever experienced dry, tired eyes that doctors term ‘digital eye strain’? And what happens in the long run? 😉

Why the fuss over blue light exposure, really?

Blue light does more than just tire your eyes out. Blue light reaches deep into the eye and can potentially cause damage to the retina. Doctors warn of its involvement in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) too! If you’re concerned about AMD and/or cataracts and want to protect your eyes starting today, make sure you up your intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin so as to block out blue light.

In a recent study, researchers also noted an improvement in the “overall sleep quality, and reduced frequency of headaches, eye strain and eye fatigue, as well as improvements in visual performance measures in the macular carotenoid (Lutein) group compared with the placebo group.” So, besides blocking out blue light, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are great for overall health!

Not sure how you can get a sufficient dose of Lutein and Zeaxanthin (which are found in food)? There is a simple solution: just drink a bottle of BRAND’S Lutein Essence. Just one bottle a day is all it takes.

BRANDS Lutein Essence

If you’d like to win BRAND’S Lutein Essence and give it a try (I recommend drinking it chilled – so tasty) then here’s another giveaway for you! 😀

{ GIVEAWAY }

As the first giveaway featuring BRAND’S Lutein Essence was well-received, I’m back with another one! 😀 This time round, I’m picking three winners to each receive a $120 Blue Light Protection Kit from BRAND’S! Each kit will include:

2 packs of BRAND’S Lutein Essence
$50 Nanyang Optical voucher
Eye drops
Eye mask

And all you need to do is to head over to the giveaway post on my Facebook page and submit a photo of your meal with at least 2 food items containing Lutein. 😀

Here’s my dinner on Tuesday night:

food high in lutein

The prawn dish has broccoli, carrot and brussel sprouts (underneath) – all good sources of Lutein. The salmon dish has ‘crispy skin salmon’ sitting on a bed of spinach (great source of Lutein) and mushroom. And there’s also the stir-fried tomato and scrambled egg dish (*eggs contain Lutein, but as I have shared in my previous post, there isn’t enough for our daily requirement unless we’re eating over 80 eggs, which is plain impossible).

So snap a picture of your meal and you’re on your way to winning this fabulous prize.

Pretty simple, right?

brands lutein essence

If your meal is full of Lutein goodness, you just might be one of the three lucky winners of BRAND’S Blue Light Protection Kit featuring their Lutein Essence! Entries will be judged based on creativity, number of food items with Lutein and how delicious they look! 😀 There is no limit to the number of entries per person (as long as the pictures belong to you). All the best!~ 🙂

Hennsley Mattress Review: How To Pick The Right Mattress + Costly Mistakes To Avoid

Hennsley Singapore mattress review

Mattresses (usually) last a really long time, and as my parents have been picking out mattresses for me my entire life, it was not until recently that I went and purchased a mattress for the first time. Mom’s great at maintaining mattresses (she’ll rotate or flip them around so the mattress doesn’t sag or get a depression from where I’m used to sleeping). I thought that picking out a mattress should be a piece of cake: lie down on the various beds in the showroom and pick the one that feels the comfiest and is within my budget. Right?

Not too long after purchasing the first mattress, I felt it was time to go get a replacement. (Don’t ask me about the brand of the first mattress – it may not have been the most comfortable for me, but I’m sure it’s good for other folks). And this time, I went with a local brand and decided I should find out why the showroom beds are always more comfortable. 😛

Hennsley sells premium bedding products like mattresses, pillows, bedframes, etc. It is not to be confused with Hemsley which sells bathroom accessories (I know. The names look so similar). Hennsley’s pillows and mattress protectors can be purchased online at lazada.sg and you can also check out the mattresses at Courts showrooms (Courts Megastore, Courts Toa Payoh and Courts Jurong Point), or visit the Hennsley headquarters in Ang Mo Kio.

Hennsley Mattress Singapore

The delivery was a little wonky. I’d chosen the 2pm to 6pm timeslot. They changed it to 12pm to 2pm, which I could still accept. Then they arrived just after 11am, and thankfully I was at home. So, here’s a heads-up for you: Be home.

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3 Important Things To Note When Selecting & Purchasing A Mattress

#1: What you see or feel at the showroom is not what you’ll eventually get

You’ll be getting a brand new mattress delivered to you, versus the ‘seasoned’ one at the showroom. Previously, what I’d tried and liked at the showroom was a relatively soft mattress that many people had sat on, laid down on, maybe even bounced up and down on… for who-knows-how-long. And some customers are probably ‘heavyweights’ too. I found the showroom mattress comfortable and soft, and as I’m a side sleeper (read: I tend to sleep on my side), the mattress allowed my shoulder to sink in comfortably.

What gets delivered is an entirely firmer mattress which I’m not used to. So when I picked a new mattress from Hennsley, I chose one with a ‘Pillow Top’ and ‘7-zoned SoftTouch Pocketed Innersprings’ to ensure that it’s soft from the outset.

The arrow’s pointing at the pillow top portion, which my previous mattress did not have:

Hennsley Singapore mattress review

To check out Hennsley’s range of mattresses, you can click on the link below:

http://www.hennsley.com/our-products/mattresses/

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#2: The pillows truly make a difference

Coupled with (normal) pillows that were bundled into the first deal, I experienced a ‘stiff neck’ regularly due to poor sleeping posture.

As with the mattress, I’m not taking any chances this time, so instead of two similar pillows with the mattress, I opted for one memory foam contour pillow (with a 3-year warranty) and a latex bow-shaped pillow (with a 5-year warranty). Turns out I prefer the memory foam one better.

Hennsley pillows

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#3: Couples should shop for mattresses together

This is something I learnt while picking the second mattress. If a couple (especially the newly-wed) have differing preferences for a mattress, it’s good to find out early, especially since mattresses can cost anything from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands!

In other countries, there are half-and-half beds. So one person can get the firmer half while his/her partner enjoys the softer half. I’m not sure if this is even available in Singapore, but I suppose you can always get it customized. (And if you happen to be especially tall, you can get your bed and mattress customized to your height too!)

If you don’t want to splurge on a customized bed, then the least you should do to ensure a good night’s rest for both of you is to shop for the mattress together. Lie down on the bed together then have your partner ‘toss and turn’ or get in / out of bed and you can decide if the mattress allows for all that movement without disrupting your sleep. I’ve found my Hennsley mattress fairs a lot better in this aspect.

*And no, don’t get the salesperson to do this experiment with you because your spouse is at work and can’t come shopping. To encourage you to get the pricier mattress, the salesperson might jump onto the cheaper one (you’ll definitely feel that movement if you are lying there with your eyes closed).

Take your time to select your preferred mattress, and always remember point #1. And oh… here’s a bonus point: Get the biggest bed that’ll fit your room. Big is always better when it comes to beds, unless you (and your partner) sleep like the dead. 😛

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When shopping for a mattress, the advice from my pals was to “get a good one” as mattresses can last for many years (usually 10 or more) and if you get one that’s unsuitable, poor sleep quality will surely impact your quality of life. I’ve heard of people who don’t bat an eyelid at paying for a $30,000+ mattress, but Hennsley’s value-for-money promotions are more wallet-friendly. During their ‘Free Upgrade Promotion’, my mattress cost just $3,399. If you’re looking for a new mattress, do pop by the showroom and take advantage of existing promotions while they last. 🙂

Hennsley’s HQ / showroom is at 3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62, #04-16, Link@AMK, Singapore 569139. Tel: 6266 9580.

Meet The MINIONS At NEX! :D

minions meet n greet nex

I got to meet the MINIONS last week! 😀 And I’ve only just gotten down to blogging about it as I’ve caught the most horrible cold. Thankfully, I enjoyed my favorite ice cream at Swensen’s before I fell ill. 😀 If you want to go for the Meet & Greet with the Minions, you have to pop by Serangoon NEX tomorrow (or Saturday or Sunday) 1.15pm or 7.15pm. I am such a big fan of the minions! I brought my minion plush with me, and you’ll see him in a little bit.

When I brought Bob to the Despicable Me movie previously, the very cute Shaw Theatres uncle at Seletar Mall pointed at Bob, who was in my arms, and said I’d need to get a ticket for him. 😀 We had a good laugh thereafter. Such human interaction is so necessary… I fear for the day we’ll be watching movies without meeting any cinema staff. Anyway, when you pop by NEX, there’s more than just the Meet + Greet*.

*Redeem a photo pass with $30 minimum spent in one receipt. Photo passes are limited to 50 passes per session. Each pass admits a family of 4.
 All passes are available 1 hour before each session from the Atrium, Level 1. Strictly 1 pass per shopper/NRIC per day.

The kids were going WILD with the fun song and games…

nex christmas 2017

My photographer pal asked me whether I’ll be game to get up on stage and jump and dance around to entertain the kids in the audience. Hats off to them, man! I think I’ll pass… 😀

Don’t miss the final 3 days to catch the Minions!

minions singapore meet and greet

Trying Swensen’s Combo Meal with my pal, Bob…

swensens nex

What I enjoyed most on that plate were the “rainbow potatoes”. There’s also grilled turkey, snail sausage and tempura prawns. I should have asked them what’s in that snail sausage. 😀 Recipes found online include pork, but Swensen’s is halal, right? 😉 So… it’s anybody’s guess what’s in that sausage.

I’ve always been a fan of Swensen’s Sticky Chewy Chocolate ice cream though I have to say the Sundae was a tad disappointing because of the small portion size…

swensens sticky chewy chocolate

Exploring Pasir Ris | Georges @ The Cove, Prawning Venue, Spotting Chicken + Boar

Exploring Pasir Ris

Our “lazy Sunday” last weekend very suddenly became an exploration of another part of Singapore on our bikes. The initial (rough) plan was to visit a fish farm while on the way to Georges @ The Cove located at Pasir Ris Park. But Life is always full of its own surprises, and we ended up discovering lots of chickens in the Sungei Api Api area, stumbling upon a herd of wild boar late at night (the horror!) and cycling past big dogs trotting towards us. Thankfully, there were no misadventures, and we lived to tell the tale. 😀

Here’s a quick video:

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Catch the previous post about our cycling trip to Ang Mo Kio here.

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First up, here’s our makan at Georges @ The Cove. It offers splendid sea views, with people paddleboarding, and you can even watch soccer matches here. I really could get used to dining here. 😀 We ordered only the burger and a full rack of pork ribs for our early dinner…

georges at the cove review

The burger was decent. Nothing to write home about, really. Just a decent burger you might want to enjoy with fries and a coke. *burp*

georges @ the cove pasir ris park

The pork ribs came divided in half. The half I picked tasted ‘normal’, while he kept raving about how soft his half of the pork ribs were. So I had a bite from his side and… he’d gotten the portion which was fattier and hence more delicious. Thankfully, we’d ordered the full rack instead of just half (we might have ended up with only the firmer half). The BBQ sauce looks like it was squeezed out of a bottle haphazardly, and there was too much sauce anyway so I had to scrape it all off with my knife. Too few fries too, if I may add! 😛

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Then he brought me to this prawning + fishing place that I didn’t know existed. We just hung around to watch these folks prawn and catch tiny fishes. By tiny, I mean ‘nasi lemak kuning fish’ tiny. On our second visit this week, we managed to catch 3 fish, and someone else gave us 3 more fish. 😀

Prawning at Pasir Ris

Then we checked out the resort, malls, etc… and even got rewarded with a nice view of Wild Wild Wet.

Wild Wild Wet

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While getting bubble tea, I watched a mother trying to direct her kids to behave properly within a snow globe photo booth. I found this hilarious. 😀

Snow globe Photo booth

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Not sure where cycling will take us to next, but I’m looking forward to exploring another part of Singapore. 😀

BRAND’S Eye Health Talk: What Blue Light Does To Your Eyes, And How To Get Enough Lutein

Brand's Eye Talk 2017

At BRAND’S recent eye health talk, held in partnership with StarHub, I came to realize new things about eye health I didn’t know before. For instance, that I can go for Lasik surgery a second time – which would be great since my myopia (with astigmatism) symptoms are back again, about 7 years after I had Lasik done. And for the rest of the audience, what probably came as a revelation to most is that we don’t have to wait for cataracts to “ripen” and risk complications in the process, the role our diet plays in promoting eye health, and what Lutein and Zeaxanthin are and how important it is to have them in our diet to combat digital eye strain because of the blue light from the environment and our increased usage of digital devices. Read on for my 5 takeaways from the session, and find out how you can win BRAND’S new Lutein Essence (which I’ve tried and enjoyed) from my giveaway.

Finding out I need glasses again… (>_<)

Brand's Eye Talk

Doesn’t come as a surprise since we can’t escape from all sources of blue light…

blue light

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Here are my 5 takeaways from the talk which featured 3 speakers: a prominent ophthalmologist, a nutritionist and BRAND’S own scientist:

Dr Leonard Ang

#1: Dr Leonard Ang: Don’t wait for cataracts to “ripen”

There is no age restriction, so you can go for the surgery even if you are 80 or 90 years old. The treatment is permanent too, unlike glaucoma which requires constant maintenance. But the key is to get it done early, so it doesn’t lead to complications in later stages.

And if you’re wondering how prevalent this is, well, more than 30% of people in Singapore, age 45 and above, have some form of cataract. This figure goes up to a stunning 80% for people over 60!

#2: Apart from taking breaks, there are many other ways to combat Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain

Just 2 consecutive hours on a digital device can cause eye strain and fatigue! And I do often spend more than 2 hours in front of my laptop. 😦 That blue light can also increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which slowly leads to a loss of vision. I’m definitely worried. While cataract surgery is safe and fast (10 – 20 minutes) these days, I do want to keep my eyes healthy for as long as possible to avoid multiple surgeries, especially if I’m getting Lasik done again. <- The tearing and discomfort is not something I look forward to.

#3: Julina Halim: We don’t get enough Lutein in our diet

Julina Halim

Lutein goes directly to your eyes, and is concentrated in the macula. Unfortunately we don’t consume enough of it. We need about 6mg a day, but we get only about 2mg (or less) from the food we eat, but supplements can provide up to 10mg. Having too much fibre in your diet, however, slows down the absorption of Vitamin A and carotenoids, impacting the absorption of lutein in food.

#4: Block blue light and prevent incident cataracts with sufficient intake of Lutein + Zeaxanthin

filtering blue light

In a decade or so, I might be one of those folks having cataracts and considering surgery options. So what I can do now is to take care of my eyes by having adequate eye breaks from digital devices (follow the 20-20-20 rule Dr Ang recommends), wear sunglasses when I’m outdoors, and have a pair of glasses which blocks blue light for when I’m facing digital screens. I used to own a pair that was sold at Watsons, and I’ve indeed realized my eyes get tired less quickly when I’m wearing them. But after they were dropped and broke, I’ve yet to replace them.

Getting enough Lutein from my diet is also important, so dark green leafy vegetables like kale are now appearing on the dinner table. If I’m eating out, then a supplement would definitely come in handy.

#5: BRAND’S, long known for their chicken essence, now has a Lutein Essence too

Brands Lutein Essence Singapore

Apart from Lutein and Zeaxanthin, there’s also Vitamin E in that petite bottle. You’ll only need to drink one bottle of Lutein Essence a day, with or after your meal. Each bottle has 10mg of Lutein, which is more than enough for your daily requirement. So don’t worry about needing to drink it 3 times a day with each meal (because you don’t have to).

Dr Tan Zhen Wei from BRAND’S Health Supplement Division also shared that you can get Lutein and Zeaxanthin from the food you eat, if you consume enough of them, which can be anything from 80g of spinach to 84 eggs…

lutein and zeaxanthin in food

~ GIVEAWAY ~

Brands Lutein Essence

I’m picking 3 winners to each take home TWO boxes of Lutein Essence (worth $45.20).

Head over to my Facebook page for the giveaway! 🙂

Book Review: ‘GURKHA – Better to Die Than Live a Coward’ by Kailash Limbu

Gurkha Kailash Limbu

If you’ve ever been curious about the Gurkhas, you’ll love reading this book. I was keen to find out why these men are so brave, why some would classify them as “mercenaries” and really, what makes them loyal soldiers. Reading this book, I’ve indeed gotten to know the Gurkhas a bit better – their selection process, what it was like fighting the Taliban, and even what they (really) think about joining the police force in Singapore. 😛

5 interesting things I learnt from this book:

  1. Gay sex is highly unusual to them. The author saw Afghan men with young “tea boys” following them everywhere, and he said this is “very shocking”. Back in the villages in Nepal, “sex between men was completely unheard of”.
  2. They strive to be the next Gurkha commended for his bravery – “For us, there is nothing greater a man can do than act courageously in battle, and we take enormous pride when one of our number is commended for bravery.”
  3. Cowardice is not an option – Kaphar Hunnu Bhanda Marnu Ramro – ‘It is better to die than be a coward’ (the Gurkha motto)
  4. Joining the Singapore Police is not their first choice – “Those who didn’t get into the British Gurkhas still had the chance of joining the (Singapore) police. But although nobody said so, we all thought that going into the police was definitely second best. For myself, I decided I would be a British Army Gurkha or nothing at all”. The author believed that “there wouldn’t be much chance of seeing action” in Singapore.
  5. They don’t give up, ever – “we Gurkhas would carry on fighting right down to the last man. And even if we ran out of ammunition we wouldn’t give up. We’d use our kukris. And if we lost our kukris, we’d fight with our bare hands.”

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Truly an ‘unputdownable’ book. I’ve had Nepalese schoolmates since primary school but have never found out that ‘Limbu’, ‘Gurung’, and ‘Rai’ were more than just family names. They also refer to the different castes / tribes in Nepal. There are also the Chetris, Magars, Sunwars, Thakurs, and others. 🙂

I love how the author intersperses bits of history and recollections of his childhood with his account of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, so it never gets boring. I highly recommend you get a copy of this book.

GrabShuttle Plus: Good Way For Getting Around Punggol

grab shuttle plus

If you’re wondering how GrabShuttle Plus works, well, I’m learning something new after my second and third rides (all free, by the way, thanks to their promo code for 4 free rides). Today, we boarded a ‘new’ shuttle bus, which you see in the picture above. This one can easily seat about 24 people. And as usual, it’s a pretty exclusive ride with no or few other passengers on board. 😀

My first two rides were booked a few days in advance so I could head to the bus stop way ahead of the planned arrival time of the GrabShuttle. This evening, we decided (on a whim) to have dinner at the Punggol East Container Park, and so I booked a ride for us.

I’m not sure where the shuttle bus was to begin with. But I made the booking at 6.05pm and our ride was supposed to come by at 6.10pm. We had barely enough time to collect all our things (wallet, handphone, etc) and rush out of the flat, running down the stairs to get to the bus stop. The shuttle came by at 6.09pm!

I received SMSes to tell me when the shuttle service is around the corner already and I’m the next to be picked up, and I can also track my ride to see where it is exactly using the app. For folks who like everything to be efficient, and loathe waiting around for a bus or LRT train yet don’t want to walk / run, this is perfect. It’s like having a chauffeur at your beck and call. Just get ready to be at your bus stop within 5 minutes if you pick the earliest / fastest shuttle service!

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Dinner at the Punggol East Container Park was at this place called Pump Station 1965. Service was great, though I found a sickly sweet smell in the air rather disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s from shisha, or a diffuser, or something else. But it was rather uncomfortable. Still, we didn’t want to sit outdoors as I was afraid it’d rain, as it does so often these days.

A small piece of unagi (for $10.90, I think) but tasty enough. Thai minced pork with rice was good too.

pump station 1965 review

The vongole spaghetti was a disappointment, though. But the clams were cleaned very nicely; so props to them.

pump station 1965 punggol

*We used a Fave voucher for this meal, so with the Fave discount + Fave promo code + ShopBack cashback amount, this meal probably cost around $18 for 2.

There’s an Uncle Ringo carnival nearby too. But there were few people at the games booths. Quite depressing, actually. Not the bustling sight when it was near the Punggol MRT station. I guess having the fun fair here at Punggol East is not the best idea.

Uncle Ringo carnival punggol

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For getting around Punggol, I think the shuttle service is a good idea. Perhaps we’d book a ride to Punggol End next. No need to look for a parking lot, and neither do we have to wait for the SBS bus service (which isn’t that frequent anyway). 🙂

Punggol Settlement (Food Review) – Just The Place 1 For 1 Mains

Punggol Settlement restaurant

Punggol Settlement is very quiet these days; if you’re looking for a dinner spot that’s not crowded, has a nice sea view and offers value-for-money promotions, you might just want to head there. Some restaurants have taken to Groupon (a.k.a. Fave) and Eatigo in a bid to boost their business. Others have simply folded. We had dinner at Just The Place using a Groupon voucher and I’ve shot a quick video you can see below. 🙂 In other news, that awesome waffle / ice cream place ‘Wayne’s Chill Out’ has shut. They never really put up a sign or statement online to say that they’ve shut for good, and more than once, I’ve seen people walk past thinking it’s Wayne’s off day but that longing for ice cream is clear on their faces.

That “chat” between the terrapins is based on real conversations 😀

When the food was served, his first comment was “Looks promising, ah”. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. The Seafood Marinara ($22.90) had plump prawns, squid and clams. But the portions of fried fish were small. And the sauce lacked one thing: spice. Adequate spice would give it that “oomph” the dish sorely lacks. This dish tastes so mild that I believe parents can feed it to young children without any issue. I would love to have some ‘heat’ in it; maybe some chopped up chili padi?

Just the place review

As for the Cajun Boneless Chicken ($18.90), I have to say that the sides certainly outshine the lead. The baby potatoes and the mushroom ragout are DELICIOUS. The chicken itself is visually appealing, but offers no surprises taste-wise.

Just the place punggol settlement

Would we be back for the 1-for-1 mains, which we’re told could be offered till the end of the year? YES! Next time, we won’t bother with getting a Fave voucher. 😀

Just The Place is at #02-07/08 of Punggol Settlement. Tel: 6702 7370.