Blogger Interview #2: A Smoker For 13 Years, This Daddy Blogger Quits After His 3-Year-Old Daughter Said …


“Papa, if you smoke too much, you will die, then we cannot be together.”


I’ve recently spotted a father smoking at a pedestrian crossing, with one hand holding onto his young daughter’s hand, and the other holding that lit cigarette. I instantly felt disgusted at how he could subject his young child to his second-hand smoke with not a thought for her health. So I have a lot of respect for fathers (and mothers too) who decide to quit smoking because of the young ones at home.

I got to know about daddy blogger Steven Teo via Facebook and mutual friends. And yes, admittedly, I was surprised at the number of children he has. FOUR! And the family lives in a 3-room flat!

I love those wall stickers, by the way :D

family blogger Steven Teo

[From left: Stacci, Steven, Laifong, Steffi, baby Louie, and Leroy. All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Steven Teo from]

Naturally, I have too many questions for Steven – why four children, how the couple coped with that miscarriage, how they navigate our crowded public transport system as the family doesn’t own a car, the financial burden of raising four children in Singapore, and so much more!

But first, that saying goodbye to cigarettes…

Back in May 2011, his firstborn (Steffi) came up to him just as he was reaching for his cigarette pack and uttered those words: “Papa, if you smoke too much, you will die, then we cannot be together.”

1) You decided to immediately quit smoking because of what your daughter told you that day? 

Well, I did smoke that last pack because I felt it was a waste of money to throw it away. :D

And I’ve always suspected that my wife had taught my daughter to say those words to me. But she has never admitted it.

At that time, I had been smoking for some 12 to 13 years, and Steffi said those words to me just as I was reaching for the cigarettes.

I mean… which smoker doesn’t know smoking is bad? We just have to find the right reason to quit. And usually that reason is not for ourselves. It’s usually for our family.

2) Few people know that before you had this huge family with 4 kids, there was a miscarriage. How did you both, as a couple, pick yourselves up and decide to continue trying for children?

Well, we thought we were still young. I’d gotten married at age 24, and my wife was my poly classmate. And we had already been trying for a while before conceiving. Despite the miscarriage, we thought we would try again.

And we didn’t expect that it would be so fast… my wife conceived Steffi within a year!

daddy blogger steven teo

3) I’ve also seen a recent Facebook post you did, in which you mentioned that borrowing or lending money to relatives is one sure way of never hearing from them again. What was that about?

I tried to borrow money from a wealthy relative, so I could purchase a bigger flat. Because it’s a resale flat, there’s a high COV (*cash over valuation) amount that I had to fork out in cash. I wanted to borrow 30K to 40K from that rich relative, not as a pure loan, but with collateral I’d put up. I knew I could pay it back.

But that relative did not contact me anymore after I’d broached the idea of a loan.

It worked out well in the end, thankfully, as we dropped the idea of the resale property and applied for a BTO flat, and with a big family, we were accorded priority status.

4) That question you’ve probably been asked a million times: Why FOUR kids? :D

The running joke among friends is that I don’t have a television set at home and so there is nothing to do at night! :D

People are always asking why we have so many kids that I’m used to those questions already.

I think one important factor, besides the love of children, is that we have strong support from my mother-in-law, who is actually our ‘neighbor’ – she lives just two units away on the same level. She loves kids, took great care of our firstborn, and encouraged us to have more children. She has 4 daughters, while my own parents have 4 sons, so you might say this runs in the family.

Baby Louie and that very photogenic Leroy:

Steven Teo family blogger

We don’t have serious thoughts about number 5 at the moment, but I think it’s still possible! :D

[Grace: Give this couple an award already! Come on! Any award! SG50 Most Inspiring Couple???]

5) Would it be possible for either you or your wife to quit and stay home to take care of the children?

It will definitely take a lot of courage to do so, though it is not impossible. I’ve been toying with the idea, actually. If it happens, we’ll definitely have to “tighten the belt” much more!

6) How does Blogging help relieve some of that financial pressure when you have 4 kids to take care of?

Blogging definitely helps with regard to visits to places of interest. A family of my size will have to spend quite a bit on admission tickets to places such as the Zoo or Universal Studios Singapore. With invites, my kids get to enjoy all of these attractions for free.

Aside from blogging, I’ve also won a number of Facebook contests, such as Friso’s Family Of The Month award, which gave us S$600 in vouchers that we used to buy milk powder with.

Last year, we also had a ‘Name Our Baby Boy’ contest on Facebook because we were at a loss for a name starting with ‘L’ for him. The older boy, Leroy, was named after a cartoon character in that ‘Stitch’ movie and he lives up to his name, being quite naughty. ;)

The youngest one was eventually named Louie, and we think the name suits him because he is cute, and also because it sounds like “lui” which is a hokkien term meaning “money”, and therefore easy for his grandparents to pronounce. :D

7) How do you deal with materialistic demands from children, e.g. wanting a new iPad or iPhone?

Steven Teo family blogger

I don’t really buy new things for my kids. From Steffi onwards, we have been thrifty and there are a lot of hand-me-downs. For instance, Stacci is wearing clothes that Steffi used to wear.

Through my mother-in-law and through contests, we get many toys. In fact, we have an endless supply of toys as birthday gifts and Christmas presents from family and friends. It has gotten to the point whereby I think the children don’t really treasure these toys, unlike people from our generation – we cherished the toys we had! I think it’s not a very good thing.

I try to inculcate the right values in them, but it’s often a matter of ‘They ask, and they get’ from relatives and friends. They bank on their ‘cuteness’ to ask for the toys they want. It’s kind of scary, actually.

8) I’ve met other bloggers’ kids who can be quite unfriendly and maybe even a tad arrogant. However, your kids are so friendly, happy, and approachable! Why?

We encourage them to interact with our friends, and even with strangers. When Steffi was 18 months old, we sent her to a childcare centre to socialize with other people. We teach them to be polite, courteous to all, and to always put themselves in other people’s shoes – “Will you want your friend to treat you like that?”

And my wife also says that I’m like a big kid! :D We play a lot at home. You’ve probably seen me executing a balancing act with my 4 kids.

Steven Teo family blogger

And when there were 3:

Steven Teo family blogger

At the end of the day, each kid is different. Louie gave us a scare with Kawasaki Disease. He had an ongoing fever which didn’t subside even with medication. Only treatment via an IV transfusion of hemoglobin would work. This disease has to be diagnosed early or else there will be heart problems and enlarged arteries. Even though it was diagnosed early, Louie has an enlarged artery and this means he is at risk of coronary problems later in life, such as heart attacks or heart failure.

9) How do you navigate our transport system with FOUR kids?!

It’s always a problem on buses. My twin-seater pram (which can actually seat 3 kids) is allowed on MRT trains. However, open prams are not allowed on buses. So I have to fold the pram and get 3 kids on board.

Steven Teo family blogger

Most of the time, they will fall asleep during the ride, and this can be ‘sucky’ especially if I’m on my own with them. If you wake them up, they’ll throw tantrums and so I usually end up carrying all 3 of them. Yes, it’s actually possible to carry 3 children all at once.

10) What’s your advice for couples who are inspired by your example, and despite having no kids yet, want to aim for 4 children?

That Nike slogan! :D

My neighborhood friends all have 2 or 3 children. They see us with 4 kids, and how it can work out, and they go ahead and have 2 or even 3. The people you hang out with could help determine your number of offspring. :D

[Grace: Maybe I should stay away from Steven then. Hahaha! But his kids are the most adorable!!!]

And going on group holidays can be described in one word: Terrible.

The last trip to Bali (two years ago), which I organized, was just… MASSIVE. We had a total of 8 families and 13 kids then. Now, there’s an addition of 6 babies!

And at home, yes, with a big family and many kids, the guilt is inevitable. One kid or another will sometimes come up to me and say “It’s been a long time since I went out with you and Mommy alone”. So I try to bring them out on my own too. :)


Check out Louie’s face in the picture on the right :D 

Steven Teo family blogger

family blogger steven teo


Through Steven’s sharing, and via his blogposts, I get to appreciate the joys of being in a large(er) family. While I would personally heed the government’s (previous) call to stop at one, I do think Steven and his wife have made the right decision in making more cute babies.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s largely due to selfish desires that I do not want to have, say, two or more children. It’ll likely turn my life upside down (or right side up, I wouldn’t know). But, like Steven, I do also believe in spending as much time as possible with my kid(s) at home and engaging them in play. We can buy kids all the toys in the world but it’ll never be as good as a parent’s undivided attention during those minutes or hours of play. With the financial burden of a larger family, it is unlikely that I’ll be able to spend more time with my (future) children if I’m constantly thinking about making more money to pay the bills.

And I’m glad that Blogging is able to give Steven’s kids certain opportunities that they might not have had. Admission tickets to some of these places of interest are indeed pricey. And I, too, have been on the receiving end of some lovely invites and freebies because of my status as a blogger. I’ve been to places I’d probably never visit on my own, and done things I’d not attempt previously, such as climbing Mount Kinabalu or going seawalking! :D

And I do think that among the many things Steven has done right as a blogger, what I appreciate most is that he does not ‘pimp’ his children on social media, even though they are super cute. I think it’s morally reprehensible to make your young children your money-making tools and to be proud of it. From his blog and social media accounts, I get to know Steven as Steven, not as the father of that cute kid Leroy or that sweet Stacci. Because I believe even little kids should have their privacy respected and not have pictures or videos of them uploaded multiple times a day, everyday, for all and sundry to view.

And despite being the busy father of 4 children, Steven has also taken some time out to inspire other parents via the Health Promotion Board’s I Quit campaign. I believe his sharing has touched the hearts of many smokers who want to quit smoking but have never quite found the “right reason” to. I’m a Health Ambassador (on a voluntary basis) with the Health Promotion Board, and I’ve always had difficulties explaining to smokers at our roadshows about why and how they should quit smoking, having never been a smoker myself.

If you are a parent and also a smoker looking for a good reason to quit, I do hope you think about what 3-year-old Steffi said…

“Papa, if you smoke too much, you will die, then we cannot be together.”

What I Learnt From Meeting Tun Dr Mahathir

Dr Mahathir

I was really humbled and honored by this simple gesture: Tun Dr Mahathir held out his hand towards me for a handshake. I’d presented him with my book ‘Blogging For A Living’, and he asked if I made money from blogging. He made us all laugh when he said that he is also a blogger but doesn’t make a cent from his blog. :)

He then went on stage and wowed us all. Here are the top 3 things I learnt from Dr Mahathir:

1) Use Humor Effectively

Tun has a self-deprecating sense of humor, and he pulled off those jokes to great effect. We were cheering and laughing during his speech because he can even talk about political issues and deliver the message across in a humorous way. Of course, there were times when he spoke about other serious issues and we listened respectfully.

2) Social Media As A Knife – Wield It Well

He shared that social media is like a knife which can be used to carve out beautiful things, or it can be used to stab people in the back. It can be good for society or it can make society less ‘liveable’. “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and social media gives us all “absolute power”, so we need to learn to use it wisely and judiciously.

I cannot say that I have always used social media or whatever (little) clout or influence I have wisely. Sometimes, I see nasty comments made about me, my book, my students, etc, and I take that “passive-aggressive” route and call that person certain unflattering names (but nothing crude, vulgar or excessive) on my social media accounts, knowing that the latter is not among my followers. Still, I was wrong.

3) “I Made A Mistake…”

In answering a question posed to him about Vision 2020, Tun uttered these 4 words which surprised me.

And yes, this is the approach I have taken too, for the unflattering words that I used to describe my ‘hater’; I made a public apology on my blog. And the latter has even requested that I remove the blogpost with that apology, so you won’t see it anymore.

On my part, it’s ‘case closed’. I apologized, and tried to live up to my name – Grace. For whatever mean things that were said about me, do I deserve an apology? I think so. But will I get one? I’m not hopeful.

And finally, yes, it’s incredibly childish to do a post about me after deleting all your own comments about me, and reaching an amicable settlement in court. It is definitely ‘below-the-belt’ to upload such a post AND TAG me on instagram just before I went on stage.

But I have not read the blogpost, and will not read it either. I’ll leave my lawyer pals to do that while I go have teh tarik.

Thank you for the extra blog traffic and followers on social media.

SG50: What Does It Have To Do With Me (FLY Social Exchange)



I received an invite from FLY Entertainment to attend this panel discussion held yesterday evening. Knowing Irene Ang is involved in this, I suspected that it would not disappoint. And I was right. It was an evening of fun and laughter.

Irene helped kick off the discussion by asking the panelists what SG50 meant to them.

Patricia Mok: Celebrating how Singapore has been independent for 50 years. It is now more expensive to stay here but still very safe.

Daniel Ang: A lot of heritage food is gone. Some hawker stalls are gone due to higher rentals, no successor to hand the business down to, etc. You will also get fewer likes if you Instagram char kway teow instead of waffles. :D

Kelvin Ang: When bringing kids to the playgrounds, one can’t help but lament the loss of those sand-filled playgrounds from the past. Now we have mainly those pre-fab and plastic ones.

Hayley Woo: Offers a platform for more work. But also celebrating our freedom / independence.

Tosh Zhang: Progress.

Pat Law: There is no one democracy that survives a hundred years. Cause for celebration?


Qn 2: How can you make a difference for the next 50 years?

Pat Law: We jump the gun a lot to rant and complain. Instead of complaining, use the time to do something useful for the country. Stop blaming the government. Easy to say “hey govt do something”. Walk the talk.

Irene: We take our peace for granted. Pretty girls can go home at 3am and still feel safe, right? ;)

Pat Law: Half my business is for profit (bread-and-butter). Two years ago, our tote bags sold out within 24 hrs. Next week onwards, once every month, we will be documenting LKY through the years. 10 tote bags will be launched every month, from the Aug 9 1965 crying scene onwards. Proceeds go to charity. Why this project? We didn’t get here overnight. They did what they had to do to get us to where we are now. We are the ultimate ‘startup’ country.

Tosh: (when asked what NS means to him) I didn’t understand why, at first, we had to give the best 2 years of our lives to the country. But after training and listening to our commanders, we now understand why NS is necessary. We have such a small nation and with no military, ppl will “F” with us. We need a military.

Hayley: (when asked how she can contribute to SG) 传宗接代 – having kids.

Kelvin: (when asked about cyberbullies) Involve kids in posting and teach them which are the right and wrong things to post. Don’t post immediately when you reach a place in case of stalkers. Post a bit later. When FB allows then kids can have accounts. Be flexible and adaptable for the next 50 years.

Daniel: (When asked why it is important to protect SG’s old school bakeries. Is food so important to us?) Food is a big part of our culture. We connect over food and discussions about food.

Irene: It is hard for F&B businesses to find workers and even harder to ensure good service (e.g. some who work in a bar even have the cheek to say they cannot work during the World Cup season). Be kinder as influencers; give these businesses another chance.

[Daniel went back to an unnamed restaurant 4 times in a bid to give their terrible service a second chance, or four. He urges us to not be too judgemental or give 0 stars in our reviews so quickly.]

Irene: If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.

Patricia: Don’t complain till the point that the point is pointless. Be constructive e.g. if you feel the need to fight for similar benefits for singles (that married couples get).

Bobby Tonelli: How can we combat this rising trend of xenophobia?

Pat Law: Our unemployment rate is not as high as in some other countries and many locals are not keen on certain jobs. My dad sells oyster omelette and is paying $10 per hour yet still cannot find locals to work for him.

There was once when my Mini Cooper (a vintage one) was parked on a downward slope. Tried to reverse but the car still rolled forward towards the other car parked in front. Three foreigners (Caucasians) helped push my car back up. Just because someone is white doesn’t mean he is a bad person. Don’t attack. Just have a civil argument. Don’t be rude or racist.

Irene: It boils down to our sense of entitlement. We have to practise tolerance. Doesn’t mean Singaporeans are the best and foreigners are the worst!


Grace: It was definitely a thought-provoking session for me. :) If you were to ask me what SG50 means to me, I’ll say it is a time to think about what we can do for our country.

If you are a writer, perhaps a book on our history or a certain aspect of our culture?

If you are a parent, perhaps tell your children about how far we have come and teach them to remain humble, hardworking, resourceful and resilient?

If you are a blogger, perhaps a blogpost on SG50 and your thoughts to inspire your readers? ;)

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Gardens by the Bay, MBS Skypark & Dinner at Carnivore: MigUpSG

I missed the first MigUp in Singapore so I made sure I didn’t miss today’s, even though I’ll be traveling to Penang tomorrow and I haven’t quite gotten my luggage packed yet! XD Bloggers from Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines came by for a meetup organized by (hence it is called a MigUp).

If you’re signing up for an account on migme, add me at :D

We had the company of the good folks from Changi Recommends – I can’t say very much about Changi Recommends right now as I’ll only be getting my wifi device tomorrow at the airport for my holiday in Penang.

A group picture at Marina Mandarin. Spot me:

Marina Mandarin Hotel Singapore

First stop: Gardens by the Bay

Juliana from Gardens by the Bay was an absolute darling. She was uber patient towards this group of bloggers who made her job as a guide very difficult as we tended to disperse in all directions to take photos of the Gardens, OOTD photos, etc.

Inside the Cloud Forest – my fear of heights always acts up a little here:

Gardens by the Bay

It was really nice to meet (in person, finally!) Valyn, a blogger from Penang. Been following her on instagram. And I have to say that I like Malaysian bloggers a lot. (But not if they have been staying in Singapore. This country changes them. LOL)

Valyn Lim

A ‘gong xi gong xi’ pose – a bit too early but whatever:

Gardens by the Bay

I’d say the Gardens look beautiful all year round. It’s just that it’s now really into the festive Lunar New Year mood, with fake giant firecrackers and all. I’ll probably only visit during TulipMania, unless I want CNY-type photos. And I’ll probably go in a cheongsam to match the decorations.

Next stop: MBS Skypark

57 storeys up, and still less scary than the Cloud Forest. LOL. We noted that the Infinity Pool was really packed with people though. It seemed more crowded than a public pool in the heartlands.

No swimwear, just windswept hair:

MBS Skypark

Final stop: Dinner at Carnivore

Carnivore MBS

I have never been to Carnivore before this as I’m not exactly a meat lover. So, as you can see in the picture above, I was glad there’s a salad bar. LOL! I love the roast potatoes – the best carbs on that plate.

The servers came by with different cuts of meat, but I had only one favorite. It was tender, fatty, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. I think it was beef cheek but I can’t be sure now, after a food-induced coma. Didn’t get to try the chicken heart *gulp* and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

All in all, a day well spent in the company of nice bloggers. Special shoutout to the friendly bloggers I got to chat with a little: Rian (from Indonesia) and Anton (from the Philippines). Anton gave me his namecard, and I’m now checking out his website: (cool stuff!)

Off to bed now. And I really can’t wait for the next MigUp – wherever it’ll be. :D

*Want to join Migme as a blogger? Fill in your Mig ID and other social media stats in the Google Form here.

‘Blogging For A Living’ in Malaysia, & Coaching Sessions in SG! :D

Blogging For A Living

Totally skipped the Monday blues yesterday. :D On top of mailing out yet another autographed copy of my book to a Malaysian buyer from Selangor, I received an email from someone in Penang asking if I conduct blogging workshops overseas, and a reader from Sabah writing in to tell me he bought my book from a Popular bookstore in Sabah! Amazing!

If you’d like to get an autographed copy of ‘Blogging For A Living’, simply drop me an email. :) I’m absorbing the postage charges for all book buyers from Malaysia. You’ll pay the same price of S$22. Get in touch with me via email (gracewwg AT gmail DOT com) and I’ll advise you on the payment procedure.


Last Sunday, I had a personal coaching session for Khan, whom I got to know via BNI. Here’s his handwritten testimonial after the session:

Blogging For A Living

Khan is in his 60s but he is not my oldest student. That title is still Steven Lek’s! [Steven blogs at and was last year’s Top 10 Finalist (Individual) at the Singapore Blog Awards 2014!]

Coaching someone who is more than twice my age can be challenging at times but I love a good challenge. For adult learners above the age of 55, here are some tips:

1) Come prepared with a written list of questions, then tick them off one by one as you get them answered. Remember to take notes!

2) Ask, clarify, and don’t be shy about asking again.

3) If something is too confusing or too technical or just too hard to remember, ask if you can get a video of the instructor teaching. This is what I have volunteered to do for both Khan and Steven. I know it is very helpful for them. Most phones have video-recording capabilities so make full use of them!

There is no shame in learning something new from someone younger than you. After all, 活到老学到老.

 For all who prefer individual attention, instead of learning in a group in my blogging workshops, you may drop me a note here to arrange for a personal coaching session:


And now, to answer YOUR question if you are wondering what gives me the RIGHT / AUTHORITY to conduct blogging workshops…

Just the truth and solid proof:

Blogging Workshop

Simon received his award from Minister of State (MOE and MCI), Ms Sim Ann:

Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners

I am not a self-proclaimed best blogger in Asia Pacific, don’t have pineapple stickers on my car, and neither have I been in a tyre commercial. What matters to me is that what I know, I can teach, and also replicate that success for my students. If I can teach a 67 year old to blog, I’m quite sure I can teach you. If my students can win accolades at the Singapore Blog Awards (organized by SPH, and not awards given to us by companies we have 5% shares in), I think I’m pretty good at coaching.

If I am all talk and no action, you can say it’s all fluff and bullsh*t, but here I present to you only solid PROOF. :) Of course, if you are not into chasing awards and accolades, and just want to have fun blogging, that’s fine too, you’re welcome to join any of my workshops.

See you around! :)

Blogger Interview #1: She Sold Her LV Bag To Pay For Plastic Surgery

Warning: This blogpost contains some graphic images of the aftermath of plastic surgery.

I’ve interviewed many people for this blog – from celebrities to millionaires and young entrepreneurs. So why not bloggers too? :D I had many questions for Miss Lemonade, a Singaporean blogger who blogs mainly about plastic surgery – what a niche! I wanted to know if she thinks [insert name of celebrity blogger] had plastic surgery (she confirmed my suspicions!), how sponsorships work, how she makes money from her blog, and so much more!

But first… here’s how we met…

I got to know Emmeline, a.k.a Miss Lemonade, at a spa’s launch event. The only reason I kept in touch with her was because she made a great first impression on me. ‘Glam’ would be my description of her outfit that day, and she looked very pretty sitting there in the waiting area. I did not expect her to be so friendly. So I ‘liked’ her facebook page and was kept updated about her plastic surgery adventures, or what she calls ‘beauty trips’.

Emmeline helped open my eyes (pun intended!) to the world of plastic surgery, why it’s so addictive, why some people kill themselves after the surgery, and what many people don’t know about before signing up for their first surgery.

Her transformation:

plastic surgery blogger

[All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Miss Lemonade]

Procedures that Emmeline has done:

1) Fat graft (from leg to cheek, to get rid of the ‘sunken cheek’ look)

2) Botox on her jawline

3) Dimple creation

4) Double eyelid surgeries (3 times in total) The first two in Thailand failed, but the final one in Korea was a success

5) Nosejob (2 times) – Using silicon in Thailand and cartilage from her ear in Korea

6) Liposuction (thigh) in Korea

“The success of your surgery depends on Luck and whether you can find the right doctor. But even a good doctor can have fail jobs too.” – Emmeline


1) First up, share with us how your blog name, Miss Lemonade, came about.

I used to love drinking lemonade. And when I couldn’t think of a good blog name, I settled for Miss Lemonade.

2) Why did you sell your LV bag to pay for surgery?

I bought that first LV bag with my bonus from work. I had been thinking about getting eyelid surgery for years but never took the next step because I didn’t have the money. One day, I thought that I just had to start somewhere, so I sold the bag, and booked that appointment.

Now, I book my air ticket in advance, and every month, I’ll convert some of my pay to the required currency (where my surgery will happen). No more procrastination.

3) How do sponsorships work for you? Do you get paid too?

This year alone, I’ve received about 20K in sponsored surgeries.

I don’t get paid for writing the blogposts but I earn commissions for referrals from my blog. Yes, there’s no way of tracking whether the hospitals pay me the right amount of commissions but I have a full-time job so this is a nice side income.

4) Why is plastic surgery so addictive?

First you change your nose. Then you think about changing your eyes to match your new nose. And then you feel something is still ‘missing’, and you go about changing that nose again or another facial feature. And this ends up becoming an addiction.

Your mindset must be right. Be responsible to yourself: know what you are doing and why you need to do this. Is it necessary? Will it improve anything?

5) Do you feel the same inside, despite the multiple surgeries?

I’m still me. But my character has changed for the better. I am happier, more confident and if I had stayed as the previous ‘me’, I would not have grown. In the past, I used to be fearful of even asking strangers for directions.

I had to take that first step. I can fail but I must not give up.

6) Any horror stories to share regarding plastic surgery?

For my first eyelid surgery, I read reviews on a forum which said that a particular Thai doctor was good. I went to Thailand, located the clinic, and found it to be rundown and dirty-looking. But I decided to just give the doctor a chance based on the positive reviews.

The doctor did not listen to me, for one. And I felt a sharp pain in the middle of the surgery (maybe the anesthetic had worn off). My whole face swelled up and my eyes looked scary. After two years, my eyelids still looked as if they had just been ‘cut’.

But it was my first time going for plastic surgery. I had no prior experience and just popped into that clinic based on reviews.

Emmeline’s most recent plastic surgery:

plastic surgery blogger

The bandage can only be removed after 7 days so you cannot wash your face. You can’t wash your hair too unless it is done in a salon. If water gets in, you risk getting an infection. Yes, the skin under the bandage will itch so you’ll have to scratch gently.

7) Is that bad experience the reason why you are blogging about plastic surgery now?

Yes. There is very little information on forums. Those with experience don’t share much, so I’m helping those with zero knowledge get the information they require before going for their first surgery.

8) Will you go for more surgeries? What if you strike the lottery now and suddenly have a lot of spare cash?

I won’t do more surgeries. The money will be put to better use for my kid’s education.

I’ll still need the maintenance work such as fat grafting though. As we age, we lose facial fat.

9) Which surgery was most memorable for you?

After my first nosejob, I teared in front of the doctor. Before that, I had no nose bridge, my nostrils were very wide, and I didn’t expect much change after the surgery. But my looks definitely started to change after I got my new nose.

10) Any advice for people going for their first beauty trip?

If you are below the age of 23, it is likely that you still do not know exactly what you want. Many bloggers go for plastic surgery and many girls want to go with this ‘trend’. However, they don’t know if they can deal with the outcome.

“Don’t go in with a lot of expectations or you’ll feel disappointed. You won’t emerge as another person! Plastic surgery is just for enhancement!” – Emmeline

Many ladies go for plastic surgery because of what their friends have experienced, or due to influences from the media and from watching amazing transformations in TV programs. What they do not know is that these TV programs show the ‘before and after’ but not the 9 months in-between! When your face starts swelling beyond recognition, you just might be unable to accept it. A girl in Korea committed suicide because of this reason!

[Grace: Thus Emmeline shows all the gruesome pictures and candidly shares about which procedures are painful]

plastic surgery blogger

Dealing with the downtime is not easy. Most people don’t know what to expect and when your face is swollen, you will start asking “What am I doing to myself?!” It is really not about the surgery or the recovery… it is about the downtime. Can you accept it?

You’ll be looking weird for six months to a year. Can you accept what other people are saying or thinking as they look at you?

Most people think that the swelling will last for only 2 weeks. But there will be micro swelling for six months to a year, before you get your ‘final look’. My nose is a bit slanted now because of the micro swelling. But I will not blame the doctor. I’ll give it the time it needs, and see the final result before I make any judgments.

So go to a few clinics and talk to the doctors. If you feel good about the clinic and service, then proceed with the surgery. Don’t blame the bloggers if something goes awry – what worked well for them may not work well for you.

In Korea, depending on which hospital you select, there is usually a 1 to 2 year warranty period for the procedures. So you can return to fix anything that doesn’t look right.

One of my readers became really gorgeous after her nose job but went and removed the silicon after because though she looked more beautiful, people could tell that her nose had been surgically enhanced. If you want a natural-looking, no-trace-of-surgery look, don’t go for plastic surgery. It’s not going to happen.


Thank you for sharing, Emmeline! :D I now feel very lucky that I was born with double eyelids and dimples. I definitely will not be able to cope with the post-surgery downtime. You are one brave lady! Thanks for educating us all about what going for plastic surgery really entails. Most bloggers don’t tell us about the bloody, gruesome bits, and only post the glam, masked parts. So your honesty is very much appreciated! :)


Like Emmeline, I do my best to present to my readers as objective a review as possible. Even when I am paid to review a product, I like to be upfront and honest about what is great about the product and what improvements can be made to it. I’m in my 5th year of blogging now, and I know I have a responsibility towards my readers, and that with every blogpost I put out, my credibility is at stake. Even when I conduct interviews with inspiring individuals, and a (trusted) reader tells me about something this interviewee has been doing that is not legal, ethical or moral, I will remove that interview blogpost.

I’ve learnt a couple of things from Emmeline:

1) To be honest, brave and unafraid of showing the less-than-glam side of you. Bruised eyes, bleeding nose, battered face? No worries. There is no need to be photoshopped or airbrushed to perfection, because that won’t be the real you.

2) To connect with readers, and be a genuine person. I do look forward to forging relationships with my loyal readers, and I am pleased that I’m friends with some of them. They have my mobile number and we chat via Whatsapp too. Over time, these fans have become my friends and we trade beauty secrets and makan recommendations outside of the blogosphere. :) Though I’ve yet to go on any overseas trips with my readers, I do look forward to the day when I may have that opportunity.

3) To be humble and approachable no matter how famous / successful / pretty you are. One can be pretty on the outside but ugly inside. So, yes, I’m deathly afraid of surgery and therefore cannot ‘enhance’ my looks, but I can (and will) work on cultivating inner beauty. Having blogged for 5 years now, I do occasionally fall into the trap of thinking that I’m better than someone else. But deep down, I know that’s not true. Every individual has his own failures and successes, fears and strengths. That is why this blog was started as an interview blog, in which I can seek out and learn from inspiring individuals because every single person has something interesting to share – it could be a lesson, an experience, a mistake, a failure, a triumph, a fear, a struggle?

I hope you have enjoyed reading this interview post, because I have definitely relished the opportunity of interviewing a fellow blogger. :)

Sushi-Making with Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman

I won a contest on social media platform, migme, and got to fly to Jakarta to meet Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman. Apparently, he’s very popular in Indonesia and can be considered a household name. I’ve never even heard of him before this trip, but I found him to be really friendly and funny. Tarra speaks good English though I don’t speak a word of Bahasa, so filming this episode entirely in Bahasa was a tad challenging as I had no idea what the chef was saying. Thankfully, I’ve made sushi once before…

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

In-between takes, Tarra and I had questions for the chef. And we found out that:

1) He doesn’t like sushi (wow!)

2) Where sushi-making is concerned, he is self-taught (double wow)

Here’s the unagi sushi that the chef did for us as a demo:

Sushi from chef

It’s really interesting how the end of 2014 has been for me. I’ve already done a ‘cooking video’ with local blogger extraordinaires Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) and Dr Leslie Tay (check out the blogpost here), and now this video is with Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman! I take it as a sign that more food videos are in store for me. LOL.

I’m very particular about the way my food looks, so I didn’t make 8 pieces (as had been done in the demo) and served up just 4 bigger pieces with the ends chopped off. We also had to spell out the word ‘migme’ on our dish, so I wrote it in mayonaise on a piece of seaweed instead. The squeeze bottle wasn’t cooperative so the writing turned out wonky.

Three pieces of sushi, after Tarra ate one for judging:

sushi for Tarra Budiman

I didn’t have the guts to tell the chef that the reason his sushi didn’t get clean ‘cuts’ is because he didn’t clean his knife with a wet cloth in-between slices. I definitely struggled with mine too, as the cloths were all dry. So there you go… sushi-making tip from me to you!

Sushi-making with Tarra Budiman

In this picture above, the chef is the dude in the red uniform, the guy next to him is the Indonesian winner of a migme contest (he happens to be a bricklayer), Tarra is in the blue shirt, and there I am making sushi under those bright lights.

In the end, I won the sushi-making contest as the sushi I made was judged to be of a more consistent height and all, but Tarra gave both of us contestants a cap each from his own brand ‘Shining Bright’!

And of course, I got it signed by Tarra! :D

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

Tarra Budiman Shining Bright

Tarra Budiman Cap Giveaway


Looking back, it IS kinda crazy to fly 1.5hours to Jakarta, take a 1 hour cab ride to my hotel, and another car journey of 2.5hours in horrible traffic to get to the Japanese restaurant for this sushi-making experience! The filming lasted a really long time as it is generally ‘rubber time’ in Indonesia, and people do not exactly turn up on time (maybe due to traffic) and nobody is in a rush to do anything.

By the time I got to my hotel and was ready for bed, it was about 2am Singapore time. (@_@)

But I did meet some great folks from migme: @reynachan from the migme Indonesia team was awesome (thank you for going snack shopping with me!), Tarra was not intimidating though he’s a big shot in Indonesia, and lotsa thanks to everyone who took me around for food (I wish I remember names better). :)

More on the flight, hotel and taxi-hiring experience in a bit. Stay tuned. :)

International Gift Exchange: My Presents To & From the Philippines and Malaysia :D

It’s this blog’s 4th anniversary this month! :D And I thought it should feature presents of some sort. Last year, on the 3rd anniversary, I brought 3 blog readers to Orchard Road for a sponsored shopping trip (out of my own pocket). And this year, I thought I’d go further.

I’ve been doing an international gift exchange, and it’s currently still ongoing. But here are the presents I’ve sent out and received thus far…

[First gift to and from the Philippines]

International Giveaway

For this “gift”away, the presents must be made in the gifter’s home country. And only 1 gift is required. So for the very first gift, I sent the limited edition bottle of ‘Splash’ EDT from Singapore Polytechnic to Hoover from the Philippines. :D It was made by SP students to celebrate the school’s anniversary. And what did I get in return? A sling bag and two Philippine jeepney models in a beautifully gift-wrapped box. It was such a delight to unwrap that box, I tell you! :)

And the participants in my gift exchange do not follow the rules, or well, that one rule about just one gift required. So I sent to Hoover another package with Sticky rock candy which come with Uniquely Singaporean words like “Paiseh”, “Jialat”, “Wah Lau”, etc. It felt like I was literally sending a piece of Singaporean culture overseas – and I think he was quite amused by the candy too…

International Giveaway

And I think he definitely loved the cologne:

International Gift Exchange

For my second gift to the Philippines, I decided that I’d better add in a little something extra, in case the person is a generous gifter like Hoover. There was a pasar malam near my home at the time so I ordered a personalized key chain for Melanie:

International Giveaway

Unfortunately, though, the gift from her end never made it to me. Here’s the explanation she sent over:

International Gift Exchange

I didn’t hear from her regarding the key chain and rock candy I sent over as well. *shrugs*

Another person I sent the rock candy to was Cherry from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. And she sent me an amazing gift box filled with items like keychains (4 of them!), a purse with pearl accessories, a notebook, and a handmade pouch with 2 similar, smaller pouches inside. She even went so far as to detail each item in her really sweet letter.

I was so touched that I put together another present for her, with items I purchased in Bangkok during my recent holiday trip – with a makeup pouch from Naraya, a drawstring pouch, pretty earrings and a bracelet.

Gifts from and to Cherry (Sabah)

International Giveaway

And then for my gift to Kim Tan from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, I decided I had enough of the rock candy. And so I sent her a gift with two items from Ang Ku Kueh Girl, a decidedly local brand. :D Of course, I got her the handmade soap shaped like (what else?) ang ku kueh… and a journal from their online store.

She knew I’m a huge Hello Kitty fan so she sent over some Hello Kitty cookies, wet wipes and a hello kitty x tokidoki accessory.

International Giveaway

What I’ve gained from this experiment in the form of an international gift exchange is:

1) The immense joy from opening presents. If you’ve read about the 5 love languages, mine is ‘Gifts’. So receiving presents makes me really, really happy. If someone were to help me carry some groceries, or offer some words of praise, or spend loads of time with me, I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much as when I was given a meaningful little gift.

2) A better understanding of what a really good gift is. Imagine putting a gift together for someone in another country; someone whom you’ve never met before. If you put that gift together with as much love and heart like Cherry from Sabah did, I can only infer that you must be one generous, big-hearted, and loving person. And the best part is, people tend to respond in kind.

3) Networking with bloggers across our borders. Kim happens to be a fellow blogger and she has invited me to join her for reviews in JB. :)

4) Understanding that not all gifts are suitable gifts. I’d bought some Tiger Brand plasters and AXE brand oil thinking that these made-in-Singapore items would be fantastic as gifts. The fiance stopped me from sending them out, saying that recipients might not be happy about getting them because one uses these things when unwell, right? Uh-oh. Not so good thinking there on my part. OOPS. Thankfully, no harm done.

So yes, some people might wonder why I’m doing this international gift exchange. My answer to them is “why not?”. It’s freaking fabulous! I’ve learnt so much and loved the gifts I’ve received so very much, and I think I’ll keep it going! :D

~ To Participate ~

If you are not a resident of Singapore, you are most welcome to take part. You simply have to send me a gift that is made in your country and I’ll send you one from Singapore.

To get started, drop me a private message on my Facebook page right HERE.

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House at Sentosa Cove

Blue Lotus

[*Update: Click HERE to find out why I am NEVER coming back to Blue Lotus again!]

Tucked away in one corner of Sentosa Cove is Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House. I love the lanterns, really! :D

Their Signature Chili Pomelo Crab is apparently a must-try dish here! Compared to my previous crab dinner at Dancing Crab, an atas location like Sentosa Cove means you can’t really feel at home unless, well, you actually stay at Sentosa Cove. :P

Here’s what we ordered:

Blue Lotus

We ordered the lemongrass prawn sticks (S$18) for starters [bottom right in the picture above]. I thought it was unimpressive. It’s just oddly bland on its own and depends on the citrus spicy sauce for flavor. Like I said, I’m not impressed by this dish at all.

Similarly, the fried french beans with minced pork in xo sauce (S$22) was nothing to shout about despite its promising name. This dish was also a tad too salty. Thankfully, we’d ordered white rice.

The wok-fried kagoshima wagyu beef tenderloin with peppercorn (S$48) was lovely. The beef was tender and juicy and my only complaint is that for S$48, I should have gotten more of those bite-sized chunks of beef! I want more!

The signature chili pomelo crab (S$7.80/100g) was really good though. The pomelo added an interesting touch to the dish – I found it strangely addictive when slurped up with the saue! :D The crab was fresh (how delightful!) and the sauce they made from fresh tomatoes (not ketchup, mind you), chili padi and a host of other ingredients was yummy, if not a tad too spicy.

To end the meal, we had lemongrass gelo with lime sorbet (S$9), which was simply wonderful! A great mix of sweet and sour, it will leave you craving for more! Possibly the most intriguing jelly dessert I have ever eaten! #MustOrder

Where drinks are concerned, I liked the fresh coconut juice (S$8). The iced honey & lemon (S$6) was not the most pleasant. I guess I really should have gone with their iced lychee tea (S$6) which comes with real lychee! #IfThereIsANextTime


I’m very impressed by how their menu and prices(!) can be found on their website, albeit without stating which are the recommended dishes to try – you can only find this on the physical menu at Blue Lotus.

Promotion: There is a 1st Anniversary Giveaway going on from 2 July to 29 September. Receive a S$50 Blue Lotus voucher with every S$200 spent in a single receipt. Check in-store for details!

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House
31 Ocean Way, #01-13 Quayside Isle
Singapore 098375

Singapore Blog Awards 2014: Please VOTE! :D

Because of a new Singapore Blog Awards ruling (which I found quite lame), this blog is not participating in this year’s blog awards. HOWEVER, two of my blogging students have successfully made it into the finals on their first attempts! So I would like to request for your help in voting for them! :D

First, here’s the ruling I was telling you about:

Singapore Blog Awards 2014

I can safely say all blogs are “commercial” platforms. Do bloggers turn away advertisers? I’d think not. At least I don’t know of any blogger who turns down all advertorial requests.


Please help vote for my 66 year old blogging student and dear friend, Steven Lek, as well as travel blogger, Simon Chan! :)

Here’s how you can participate and also win some cool prizes along the way:

Step 1: Go to the Singapore Blog Awards site, click on Editors’ / Judges’ Choice

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 2: Log in with your facebook account so they know you are not a robot. Your info will be kept secure! :)

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 3: Decide whether you want to participate in the Lucky Voters’ Contest

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 4: Scroll down till you see the Best Individual Blog and Best New Blog categories

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 5: Click on the circle to reveal the list of finalists and vote for Steven

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 6: Click on the circle for Best New Blog and vote for Travelled Paths

Singapore Blog Awards

To Win A Mystery Prize

Send your screenshot to Your screenshot should look like this:

Singapore Blog Awards

If their pictures appear in the circles, it means your vote has been counted. Also, I should be able to see the date and time in your screenshot of your desktop! :) [Mine’s in the bottom right hand corner!]

OR if you are using your handphone to vote:

Singapore Blog Awards

THANKS for voting! You Are AWESOME!

1 Vote Per Day If You Can! :D