Friday, September 25, 2015

Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream Review + Giveaway Worth S$405!

[This is a sponsored product review, written based on my own personal experience over the past 9 weeks. No monetary compensation is involved. The content is original and opinion expressed here are 100% my own.]

“As we age, we produce less collagen and pigmentation becomes more mottled resulting in sagging, discolored skin in the challenging neck and décolletage,” said Joel Schlessinger, MD, a leading US dermatologist and Director of Advanced Skin Research Center in Omaha, NE. “Triple Firming Neck Cream helps rebuild the skin’s matrix, encouraging pro-collagen and hyaluronic acid and protecting skin’s essential cells, to lift and firm skin and even tone to diminish the appearance of age spots.”

I cannot agree more.

When I was approached to try Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream, I was very hesitant because reviewing beauty related products were not in my cards. Moreover, I am quite fussy over the products that I choose to use on my sensitive skin and anything unsuitable will result in breakouts or rashes. Though I knew at the back of my mind, I needed help with the obvious neck creases that has been plaguing me in recent years. I would have liked to think that I did try to take good care of my neck as much as possible, by conveniently extending the application of my facial moisturizer on it. I have never noticed any improvement of sorts and was not that concerned about it. I guess this is what happens when it is not a specific targeted cream.

After much convincing that the product would yield positive results in the targeted neck area, I made the exception to try the product out on a non-obligatory basis and IF it goes well, I would agree review it.  I will have you know that I am a skeptic at heart. Then again, I thought, after all, it is appropriate to condition my decolletage (neckline) area since I do model my handmade necklace creations and share it on my instagram. Moreover, I am at that age (turning 43 and not shy about it!) where I should take charge of caring for myself and fight Newton's law of gravity.

Factually, it was not until I have to compare photos during this review that I noticed my neck creases were this visible, especially in photos. Now I shudder at the thought of having a crinkly neck!

About Neostrata
Neostrata is scientifically advanced and clinically proven, in their skincare products. It aims at helping to resurface, restore and refine skin. Neostrata has been proven to be effective for almost all skin types and conditions such as hyperpigmentation, dryness, eczema and acne. Their dermatology developed skincare is recommended and highly regarded by experts around the world.

I thought I would just share a photo I had taken back in 2011. Though the neck crease here is not immediately noticeable, it was already showing signs.What a difference 4 years make!

My Experience and Results
Firstly, I am very particular about how skin cream smells. Anything too strong or very artificially scented, especially those with sticky residue, is a no go for me. So I am pleased to state that the Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream is hardly even scented, very easily applied and absorbed into the skin - a big plus for the fussy me. This was diligently done twice a day, for 8 weeks, in the morning and night, covering from the area of my jawline, back of the neck and the decolletage area.

The photo take on the left was just before I started using the neck cream. Notice that the jawline area appears firmer on the right photo, and the neck lines are comparatively much softer. The skin also seems to be tauter and hydrated.

I was recommended to give it at least 4-6 weeks to see visible results but I only began to see clearer results on my 8th week. Hence, it will be good to note that results will vary from person to person. I personally feel that there could also be other attributes that may have caused the delay of results. These would be :

 - The way I sleep, as I tend to lie on my left side more. So in this review, I am particularly focused on the results on the left side of my neck. (The firming up of the jawline area came as a surprise bonus!)
- My sitting posture while I work on my jewelry or while I am on the computer, as it is not at eye level, so the tendency of looking downwards at an angle is very very high.
- Using the mobile phone while propped at an angle while lying on my bed.
- I also seem to have a bad habit not keeping my neck straight at times, tilting my neck to my left more. 

I think it will also be useful to be on track with the neck exercises that I have been inconsistent with, which would be very relevant to help with further toning and strengthening the neck muscles as well.

The reason for my smile! :) The area beneath my chin seem tauter when compared to the photo on the left. I have also noticed that the dark shadowy line beneath my chin is somewhat lightened, even for the pigmentation at the decolletage area. The neck creases are visibly softer too. Though of course, I feel it still needs the continued use of the neck cream to yield even better results!

[Note : These photos were taken at the same area in my home but at different times of the day with my mobile phone.]

My Verdict
I am pretty impressed with the results that I am seeing so far. Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream does work and has proven to be progressively renewing the condition of my skin. It is no wonder that they were recently featured in Elle magazine's 'Beauty IT List 2015' for the 'best new neck cream'! It is not difficult to maintain a more youthful appearance in the decolletage area, only if I bother to take 2 minutes of my time each day to condition my neck. After more than 11 weeks' of using this product (I am on my 2nd tube already), this has become an important daily routine.

I am now a little bit more confident in taking selfies (or neckfie?) with a broader view of the full neckline now while modeling my handmade necklaces, instead of cropping off the areas where the neck creases used to be more visible.

As a gauge from my usage, squeezing about a 5 cents coin size amount each time, a tube can last you about 9-10 weeks so I think it is a worthwhile investment to take on the preventive measures and avoid a premature wrinkled neck!

I can't wait to try their range of anti-aging cream on my face and see how it can help me too!

What does the cream contain to make it work?
Here are the technical excerpts which you may wish to know, taken from the press release provided by Neoasia.

"Triple Firming Neck Cream is formulated with a powerful blend of Neostrata proprietary and other selectively sourced ingredients. Clinically proven NeoGlucosamine helps increas hyaluronic acid and evens pigment, while NeoCitriate targets new collagen to lift and firm. Pro-Amino Acid increases pro-collagen to help diminish wringles. Additionally, Swiss Apple Stem Cell Extract helps protect the longevity of skin's essential cells, helping older cells behave like those in younger skin."

  • Selected Guardian, Watsons and NTUC Unity
  • Alexandra Hospital, Retail Pharmacy
  • Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Retail Pharmacy
  • Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Retail Pharmacy
  • Singapore General Hospital, Retail Pharmacy
It is retailed at SGD$81.00 (before GST), for a 75gm tube.

5 Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream To Giveaway!
Simply follow the necessary steps on the Rafflecopter widget and we will draw 5 names to each receive a full sized, 75gm tube worth S$81 each (expires 06/2016). The more steps you complete, the higher the chances of your name being drawn!
(please read the terms and conditions before you enter the giveaway)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Terms & Conditions :
- This giveaway ends on 12am, 2 October 2015.
- only Singapore female residents can apply for the giveaway.
-  Winners' names will be drawn, updated on the blog post and notified via email within the day of the result.
- Should there be no email acknowledgement from the winners within 24 hours, we reserve the right to draw another winner.
-  The giveaway items will be sent to the winners directly from Neoasia.

You can also sample before you buy!

The very kind people at Neoasia has also agreed to give away exclusive samples to 10 of my readers!
(One sample per household please!)
All you need to do is fill up the form in this LINK and they will send the cream directly your way.
You would also need to be a Singapore resident to enjoy this sample.


Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 21, 2015

[Recipe] Dry Mee Siam

My mum makes the best nonya style mee siam. It's true! Those who have tried it would vouch for it. She learnt to cook it from my mama (how I called my paternal grandmother), who is a true blue peranakan. Very naturally, it's also one of my favourite childhood dishes - because I really really like my bee hoon (vermicelli). And I am very happy that I have kept this recipe in my notes section of my phone all these years. Yes, I jotted down the recipe while I was out with her for lunch one day. Though it's only this year that I experimented cooking dry mee siam instead of the original mee siam with gravy.

Just like my mum, many things that I cook usually have no particular measurement of ingredients as we learn to adjust the flavors etc. to our taste while cooking. But after cooking this dish twice already, and getting the consistency right with correct proportioning, I am ready to share the recipe which a few have asked about. One other thing to note is that I am making this fast and easy with the rempah (blended spices) using pre-made ingredients so no blending or grinding is necessary here.

Preparation time : 20-35 minutes  Cooking time : 10 minutes  Serving portion : 4

Ingredients to prepare :
- 1/2 a packet of bee hoon, cooked
- 12 pcs of medium sized prawn, boiled with shell on. Set prawn stock aside. De-shell the prawns.
- 10 stalks of chives, sliced to finger length
- 1 rice bowl of bean sprouts, optional (I didn't use it in mine as I foresaw there will be leftover mee siam for breakfast, and you can't keep it overnight with bean sprouts as it will spoil)
- 4 pcs of puffed fried bean curds, sliced (or you can use firm beancurd, a.k.a.tau kua)
- 2 eggs, for omelette
- 4 calamansi lime

For the sauce :
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 bowl of prawn stock
-1 tbsp fermented soya bean paste (tau cheo)
- 1/2 tsp fermented prawn paste or belachan (ready made from bottle)
- 1 tbsp dried chilli paste (ready made from bottle)
- 1bowl of tamarind juice (or assam juice, derived from about 1 tbsp of tamarind paste)
- 1 tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tbsp brown or white sugar
- 1 tbsp cooking oil

Cooking steps :
-  fry up the omelette first and set aside. You can sliced it into strips when it's cooled down.
- using the same wok/pan, heat up the cooking oil.
- stir fry the garlic, taucheo, chilli and belachan paste together for a few minutes till fragrant.
- add the tau pok and chives and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.
- add in the prawn stock, tamarind juice, coconut cream, sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the bee hoon. Mix well so that all the sauce is fully absorbed into the bee hoon.

Your dry mee siam is now ready to be garnished with prawns and egg strips. Don't forget to squeeze the calamansi lime on your mee siam before serving! 


Till the next post, have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Engaging a Local Part Time Cleaner Through Helpling!

[I have been invited to review Helpling's cleaning service. This blog post is written based on my own personal experience. No monetary compensation is involved. The content is original and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.]

I have had help with household chores ever since giving birth to my first child more than 14 years ago, from part time cleaners. But it has been close to 4 years since I engaged one, to manage some of the chores in my home. Okay, I admit it - my last engagement was a foreign part time cleaner. She came to clean my home every fortnightly, mostly to take care of my load of ironing. It was through hearsay that the cleaner had a work permit in Singapore, though I never truly probe directly from her, what kind of work pass she was holding to be cleaning homes around our island. I guess back then, I was just heartened when she told me she cleaned houses here so that she could put her child to school in Singapore. It was an honest living and I could relate to her as a mother, wanting the best for her child. Though I now know better that this could have implicated both parties if ever it was discovered to be illegal.

I can also put myself in the shoes of others who are out to work and didn't have live in helpers. Many rely heavily on such part time cleaners too. It would be most unfortunate if the cleaners they have hired are unreliable and do not turn up for their assignment or decide to stop work without prior notice, leaving them in a momentous lurch that can be very trying until another help is found.

"Who can I trust with the chores when I am at work?" 
"How can I spend quality time with the family on weekends if I don't get the chores done?"
"How can I relax with so much housework to catch up on?"

As for me, I was particularly bogged down with the pile of my husband's office shirts in my laundry basket that I cannot seem to finish ironing.  It is the most time consuming job for me when I could have been more fruitful investing that amount of time in my jewelry work. So I was hoping that someone could relieve me of this chore.

When Helpling came along to render their services, I was eager to try it out. Having another go at engaging help from a local part time cleaner this time, is something not very far in my mind since I have been busy with jewelry orders. I prefer this arrangement too as compared to having a live-in helper, so that we can all enjoy our privacy.

The post weekend mess in my living room before cleaning versus the tidied version on the right.  I love squeaky clean floors!
What is Helpling?
Helpling is an online platform service connecting us with insured and trusted local cleaners from their pool of independent cleaners. Helpling hails from Germany and launched their services in Singapore earlier this year, their very first Asia's platform. 

What are the charges like?
The fees start from S$18 an hour for a weekly or bi-weekly basic cleaning service, which includes dusting/wiping visible spaces, vacuuming and mopping of floor, washing the bathrooms, clearing the trash. The number of work hours depend highly on the size of your apartment. Additional services like ironing or cleaning windows are chargeable add ons. For a detailed price list with no hidden costs, please refer to this LINK.  

What I appreciate about this service is that there is no binding contract to adhere to. As long as you need someone to help with cleaning, they will have someone (whom you can entirely trust) hired at your preferred day and time. They also accept one-off cleaning services and best of all, if you are comfortable with a cleaner you have met, you can request for the same cleaner for recurring service!

My Experience with the Helpling Cleaner Assigned to Me
Emma was assigned to clean my home the other day. The first thing that I was appreciative of was her punctuality and unfazed attitude toward our pet dog, which was cordoned off in our service balcony while she cleaned, since I respect that she is a Muslim and may not be comfortable with a dog around. That's professionalism!

After a short chat with her (so that we can be a little bit acquainted), I left her to decide what she would like to work on first. By the way, she was engaged to take on a 3 hour cleaning in my 5 room flat plus a 1 hour ironing add on service.

I like that she is a fast and agile worker (and clearly enjoying her work with the music that I put on the background). She also moves around like stealth while I worked on my jewelry orders at the dining table, leaving me with the private space that I needed. She started off ironing the clothes for slightly more than hour before stopping to work on cleaning the living room, 3 bedrooms, vacuuming, mopping the floor and washing the bathrooms. She was done in 2.5 hours. With the remaining half an hour more before her scheduled time ended, she took the initiative to continue ironing the clothes again. In a total of 1.5 hours, she managed to iron 10 cotton shirts whereas I would usually take 18-20 minutes to iron one! *faint* So yes, I reiterate, this part is my greatest help of all!

The cleaning package does not include changing of bed sheets but I appreciate that she bothered to make my bed so nicely, as with the kids' beds too!
Before she left my home, she asked me to check to see if everything was in place and that if I am satisfied with her cleaning. I have no doubt with her honesty and ability, even though this was the first time I met her. I especially appreciate the flexibility that she has exercised on this cleaning assignment. She certainly takes pride in her job.

Judging from my earlier conversation with her, she was totally unaware of this blog engagement to review Helpling's services. So everything that I have experienced with her work style is true to the standard that Helpling has committed to provide to their customers. Kudos to Emma for a job well done! (I would have liked to take a photo of her working in my home, but I thought that I should respect her privacy as well.)

My favorite TV console area with precious family moments, all dust and clutter free!
It sounds like a fantastic job done! How do I book a service?
Just head on to this LINK, book a date and a trusted cleaner will be assigned to your home! Or you can book through their latest phone app - search for 'Helpling'. You only pay securely online via credit card, after the cleaning is complete. For more information on booking, visit this LINK

Try Helpling today and receive S$20 voucher!
Readers and friends of my blog will be happy to know that they can enjoy the first hour off, worth S$20, at your first cleaning! Book and receive your voucher HERE

Till the next post, have a wonderful day!


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