Friday, 23 June 2017

Want to earn cashback when you shop online? Do it with ShopBack!

ONLINE SHOPPING

I hate to admit this but I just can't get enough of online shopping.
 Gone were the days when I could only depend on physical stores to shop for items (and have nosey store assistants staring at me and making me uncomfortable). 

Everything is just within a click of my computer mouse to have it delivered to my doorstep (I can't deny I've became a lazier person though. LOL)

Being a self-proclaimed shopping queen, I've been doing it for a few years - and I always have burnt pockets when it comes to my favourite online shopping haunts such as Taobao, Zalora , Lazada, etc. 
DAMN IT. I'M SUCH A SUCKER WHEN IT COMES TO ONLINE SALES AND PROMOTIONS.

There was this day one of my friends told me that there is a website known as ShopBack offering cash rebates for my online purchases, which I did not really quite believe her.

"Where got so good?! Can get back money one meh?!" I asked her in my usual Singlish tone. Honestly, I thought it was another scam website. 

 I may be a frequent online shopper, but I always play safe and trust only certain websites that I deem legit.
 As the saying goes,  "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is". You can't blame me for being skeptical. 

"I am not very sure as I've never tried before," she said. "But I am going to try since I will be booking hotel rooms online for my upcoming trip".

"HOTEL ROOM BOOKINGS ALSO CAN CASHBACK MEH?!?!" I exclaimed. 
This is just too much. I warned her to be careful and left it at that.

It was not until she came to me one month later and said excitedly, 
"Cat, I received my rebates with ShopBack today! NOT BAD! I got back over 20 dollars in my account for my hotel bookings!!" She showed me the screen using her iPad. Hmm, seems pretty convincing

Since she already tried it (and didn't get scammed LOL), I decided to give the benefit of doubt.

When I got back home that day, I checked out the site.
 I was surprised to see many of the popular and familiar online shopping websites being listed.


It was just nice that I was planning for a family trip to Malaysia and had to source for hotel rooms. One of my commonly-used platforms is booking.com , which is listed in ShopBack as well with a 6 percent Cashback.

Which means that I will be able to get back a bit of money if I make my bookings using ShopBack instead of booking the normal way directly under the Booking.com.

Well, I figured I had nothing to lose since I had to spend the money anyway....

I began filling in my details. 

It was a lucky thing that the interface is still considered user-friendly - It did not take too long for me to understand how it fully works. I referred to THIS site and it's pretty much self-explanatory.

I clicked on the booking.com logo and was immediately redirected to the original website.


Everything looks normal after the redirection. I made my booking as how I would have on the original website.

When I logged back in to ShopBack, I discovered that it had already captured my online booking. 
It took awhile to reflect my next status, but eventually I was taken aback when I logged back in to my account the following month. 

It was indicated that my Cashback is $26.75 - which means I can get the amount back from my bookings.  IS THIS FOR REAL?!?!?!


It feels like free money (even though in reality it is a part of my money that I will be getting back).

But seriously... This can be a HUGE money saver (SPEND AND SAVE AT THE SAME TIME! LOL)- and for an online shopaholic like me, I felt that this is a MUST-USE platform. 不用白不用!!

(Of course, not ALL of the online shopping websites or merchants are listed with ShopBack but majority of my commonly-used online shopping websites are there)

In short, it means that I save more as I shop - BUT the downside is that I can't stop myself from doing more online shopping after getting my first successful cashback?!?! 
It's... so... addictive.

WHY, SHOPBACK, WHY?!?! 

I love and hate you at the same time. It's so ironic.

As a fellow kind shopaholic, I shall share this good lobang with you guys (I can confirm it's not a scam now because I have received my cashback successfully in my bank account!!)

(I can't help but think that the cashback mascot looks really cute in this video. Can I purchase a plushie version of it?! LOL.)




Discount Codes

As if cashback alone is not good enough, I discovered that there are even occasional  discount codes as well and it is not limited to just travel! 
This is getting... ...crazier. 

*grabs hair*

Some of them include my frequently-visited Sephora, which is a complete shopping heaven for beauty products. Utilising the discount codes will grant additional benefits that wouldn't have been possible at the physical stores. 
I am SO going to bookmark this one!

If you are looking to grab a better deal for hotel rooms, here are some Booking.com promo codes for booking staycations that you can enjoy. Personally, I've always used the platform for most of my online hotel bookings and the experiences were really positive so far!


And if you are a Groupon maniac (Btw Groupon is now known as Fave SG), you will surely fall in love with Fave promo codes for all the great deals. They ALWAYS have good deals from merchants and all are made even better with the discount codes!

ALSO...
With the GSS frenzy just around the corner, there are even discount codes for all the deals for the Great Singapore Sale
. SOMEONE PLEASE SAVE ME - THE SHOPAHOLIC INSTINCT IN ME CAN'T TAKE IT.

All thanks to this ShopBack - I'm going to be scolded by my parents after they have seen my shopping cart BUT heck... WHY shop the normal way when I can save more with those discount codes right?!?!



BUT COME TO THINK OF IT AGAIN... ...
HOW TO STOP MY ONLINE SHOPPING ADDICTION LIKE THAT??! (Not that I have any intention to stop anyway *shrugs*)

With so many merchants under one roof with ShopBack, I am sure anyone will be as amazed as I am. And with GSS coming, you wouldn't wanna miss out on the cashback from your many purchases. Find out more details about the event here!
Do feel free to share the good lobang around - EVERY SHOPAHOLIC WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!




Sunday, 18 June 2017

[Media Food Tasting] Machida Shoten - No 1 Lekei Ramen Restaurant in Japan

It's not easy to search for authentic Japanese quality food in Singapore.
And when I do, I share on my blog with my readers to share the joy!


With thanks to Alvin from DessertingBeauty for inviting me to the media tasting, I have one more To-Go Japanese restaurant added to my list.



Located conveniently at Wisma Atria, which is just a stone's throw away from Orchard MRT station - It is not difficult to locate Machida Shoten, especially with its prominent Japanese-style decorations. 
(I was amazed to know that the brand has already opened 45 outlets in Japan!)

They offer a wide variety of appetisers and small bites as well.


Cha-Shu Croquette ($6)


Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the Cha-Shu Croquette is made with seasoned minced pork that will tease your taste buds into yearning for more. If you were to ask me, I would say it is definitely a good appetiser before the main dishes. Don't worry as the sizes are considered small so the portion will not be taking much of your stomach storage space! Hahaha.


Here's a close-up of the minced pork fillings: - They tasted really fresh and soft! The exterior is really crunchy to a T so do have it while its hot to do justice to it!

Disclaimer: Tempting photos ahead. Not recommended to be seen if you have an empty stomach.



Homemade Shrimp Gyoza ($9.80 / 5 pieces)



The Homemade Shrimp Gyoza features the whole tiger prawn as well as shrimp encased in a crunchy exterior.



When I flipped the gyozas over, their base appeared to look burned or overcooked - but they are actually not because that is where the crispiness was derived from! 


Yes, I really the taste - No complaints about it. The encased tiger prawns were as fresh as they could possibly be, and had a "bouncy" texture to them. Soft and crunchy at the same time, I felt that I could finish all 5 pieces by myself. (But of course I couldn't as I can't be selfish lah)

Garden Salad ($9)



And for people who love salads, Machida Shoten has it too! Temper the meat indulgence with their Garden Salad, it is drenched with homemade curry dressing as well as non-oily ova leave vinegar for a flavourful finish.
Initially, I did not think that curry dressing would even be compatible for any salad (LIKE COME ON, CURRY?!?!)
But it was an unexpected twist for me as I somehow find the taste appealing after tasting one bite of it.


Seasoned Iberico Squareribs ($14)


The Seasoned Iberico Squareribs is an indulgent offering that are first boiled till they are tender, and then seasoned with Machida Shoten's very own original sweet soya sauce. I am one who is quite picky when it comes to pork ribs, but I will give it a A grade its tenderness!

I could literally taste the sweet sauce - The pork ribs are very well-marinated and the sweetness is penetrative to the taste buds.




Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice ($10)



Note: Yes this is quite spicy (Spicy level: 3/5) but spicy enough for my liking!
The portion appears small, but actually it can be VERY filling! Each mouthful exploded with the fragrance of shrimps (Trust me, you will LOVE it if you like the taste of shrimps)
However, do note that it will not be recommended for people who are allergic to prawns/shrimps. 



Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen ($14)



One of the must-try dishes at Machida Shoten is the chef's recommendation, Shou Tonkotsu. This is the signature Yokohama-style irked ramen, and it serves the perfect combination of soya sauce and pork bone broth. You can enjoy noodles cooked to your desired softness or hardness and even choose from 3 levels of doneness for your noodles! The noodles are then immersed in a tonkotsu and soya sauce broth. There are various add-on ingredients, from seasoned egg to cha-su just by topping up a small amount.


I would say this fares better than many other typical ramen I've eaten at other places. The noodles did not taste "too overly cooked"but in fact, it was just right. It's no wonder this is classified as a chef's recommendation! I will give it a TWO thumbs up



Garden Veggie Ramen ($15) *Exclusive to Singapore outlet*


When it was first served to the table, I almost thought it was another plate of salad - but look closely, it's actually ramen! It looks so colourful, right?!
It comprises of 12 different fresh vegetables in a bowl an the broth is made with 7 types of vegetables too. Fried garlic oil is added to enliven the flavour. 
Honestly, I wouldn't say this is my favourite of the lot as the taste was more to the bland side - and I would suggest you to have this first before trying other ramens of stronger flavour. 


Miso Tonkotsu Ramen ($14) *Exclusive to Singapore outlet*





Don't be fooled by the photo - THIS BOWL OF RAMEN HAS AN OVERPOWERING TASTE.
This Miso Tonkotsu Ramen fuses the goodness of miso and tonkotsu soup base, and the miso that the restaurant uses is a blend of red and white miso. The dish is then topped with sweet corn, cabbage and butter for an extra kick.
If you were to have this before the Garden Veggie Ramen, I am sure you would not be able to taste any flavour from the Garden Veggie Ramen at all.
Personally, I feel that this is too strong for me (and I am not a fan of corn); so I wouldn't exactly classify it as a favourite.


One thing that I noticed though - The portion of their ramen seems to be huge; I would recommend sharing with a friend unless you are a big eater. 


Something random -I find this sign kinda cute - it is a guide of different ways to eat your ramen!







My favourite of the lot? I would still pick the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen.



And here's the chef behind the scenes - Many were actually going gaga over him as he looks quite cute! A young hunk who can whip up good Japanese dishes... I am not surprised everyone finds him attractive!




I feel like such a stalker. HAHAHA.


Address:
MACHIDA SHOTEN
Wisma Atria Level 4
435 Orchard Rd
Singapore 238877
Opening Hours: Daily 11AM – 11PM
Directions: Alight at Orchard MRT Station (NS22) and exit at Exit D towards Wisma Atria B1 (do not exit to Ion Orchard). 
Take the escalator (after OCBC bank) up until level 4, where the Food Court is located. Walk past it and you will see Japan Food Town. 
At the main entrance, walk further in and Machida Shoten is the second restaurant to your left.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Looking back at my life... ...

Hello world!
I can't believe it has been SO LONG since I left my blog with cob webs piling all over - and to my friends who have been asking why my blog hasn't been updated... I appreciate that you guys are still following me. Yes, I hear you.


Life has been crazy lately - From happy moments to depressed ones, I would say it has been a rollercoaster. Apart from that, I have achieved certain "milestones" last year that I will be mentioning in this post!


1. I FINALLY DYED MY HAIR FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE


Ok, I admit - I was not daring enough to get a bolder shade of maroon colour as I was supposed to have a filming assignment coming up in that following week. It was a very mild colour (obvious only under strong sunlight) but that would do for a first time. I still remembered how strongly I was against the dying of my hair in the past but eventually gave in to temptation. 

AND I DYED AGAIN DURING MY Hong Kong TRIP (Just weeks ago)

AND I DON'T KNOW WHY I KEPT OPENING MY MOUTH WHEN I TOOK BOTH PHOTOS ON DIFFERENT OCCASIONS *rolls eyes*


Pictured here on the left is my Polytechnic friend whom is still one of my best buddies (Thanks for going on a trip with me, babe!) and both of us stumbled upon a salon in Hong Kong that provided decent quality service. We went for purple /magenta shade of colour for our hair and I was really pleased with the results! I don't really fancy strong colours so bleaching is a no-go for me.


2. I WENT CRAZY during my company event and dressed up as an unimaginable character


Yes.. You guessed it. Harley Quinn.
I love her exaggerated style of outfit in the movie and little did I know that I would eventually be sponsored and dressed up as her for my company event. I was really afraid that it would turn out bad because I was my own make-up artist and I do not have much experiences in such exaggerated make-up. Many of my friends always have the impression that I am a cosplayer (I don't know why!) but I am not. NOT. NOT. So please - I hope you professional cosplayers out there won't laugh at a poor human like me who only dresses up once in a blue moon.


The photo that officially scared the hell out of many people:






3. GRADUATED from Hark Music

Yay! I guess learning anything that is related to music is something that I will never think of quitting. Don't get me wrong, I am just someone who is a hobbyist of singing - and I'll never expect myself to be a professional but I do feel proud of myself for coming this far for my hobby!



My own little "mini studio": -





4. Had my first ever debut performance



(Photo credits to Hangi Tavakoli from Flipside Productions)

Even till now, I can't believe that I stood up there and performed. It wasn't a totally positive experience (to be honest) for me as I happened to fall sick during that period of time and couldn't recover fast enough. With a choked-up throat and strained vocal chords, I tried to give it my best shot . But what left the deepest impression on me was the support I had from my family, friends and colleagues who came down to sit through my performance!
I was shocked and touched beyond words when I saw the turnout. Some of them actually stay a long distance away from my performance venue but they made time to come down. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MY LOVELY PEOPLE. I LOVE YOU ALL. 


4. GRADUATED from Acting/Drama lessons in Level 1 @ Zoom Academy

Although I have been involved in a little bit of acting here and there during my 'younger' days, I have always wanted to take up professional lessons and understand more about the trade.


The 'typical' Ah Lian you see on the road:


I am currently into my Level 2 acting now, and am blessed to have the opportunity to be taught by one of the veteran actresses in the TV industry, Chen Bi Feng. (I believe the older generation can recognise her from the many TV shows that she acted in!)



5. Became a blog-writer for Mitsueki Blog

When I was approached with the opportunity to join Mitsueki's team of blogwriters, I was honoured. (If you are reading this... Thanks, babe!)
Writing for her blog has given me tons of opportunities to attend media events and food tastings as well. (I have to admit that I gained weight after becoming sort of a food blogger... Which is not exactly a bad thing considering the fact that I don't usually gain weight)


One of my first-ever overseas media trip to Genting - with courtesy of Mitsueki.



6. Went on a radio interview by JIA 88.3 FM


It was a very last minute interview (I was contacted and interviewed on the same day) It was my first-ever experience on a radio show and thanks to my family and friends for being so supportive! 

7. First JB Trip with my colleague buddies


Nothing beats having colleagues who become your buddies.
It has always been a thing - To go on a half-day JB trip for some games and good food. Thanks for having me- It is always fun being with those quirky people.

8. Brought my mum back to hometown


Although I have been to KL countless times with my family, but this was the first time I took charge and brought my mum to her hometown. A big thank-you to our dear relatives in Malaysia who took time to drive us around and even treated us to great food. Both my mum and I were thankful.

9. Took up new hobby 


This is an addictive hobby that I took up after being inspired by so many designs online. The materials were sourced from Taobao and I wouldn't say they are exactly cheap. BUT ENOUGH TO KEEP ME OCCUPIED FOR THAT FEW HOURS YET FEELING ACHIEVED AT THE END OF THE DAY.
I really wish I have more time to do more of them now.

10. DID MY FIRST EYELASH EXTENSIONS


I have always contemplated to do eyelash extensions as I am a VERY lazy person. So much that I was afraid that it would be difficult to maintain. However, thanks to a sponsorship opportunity through Mitsueki, I decided to give a try and understand more about the procedure personally from the service provider. 
And there is no turning back. I loved the extensions and now I can't imagine life without it! If you would like to read about my experience, do stay tuned to Mitsueki Blog as the entry will be featured on there!

11. Chemical Peeling treatment with Dr Tyng Tan



I have been undergoing chemical treatment for my acne issues for 2 years now and I am always looking forward to the sessions. They work in clearing up acne and lightening acne scars, but maintenance is still needed to be done to ensure that there will be no breakouts. If you would like to know more about the procedures and my chemical peeling experiences, do feel free to click HERE.

12. Knowing a wonderful person who came into my life


 I think everyone probably knows who he is by now and to those who don't & still keep asking me who the heck is this frequently-mentioned name on my social media accounts, he is my lovely FISH.
He has got to be the most patient, nicest and talented people I've ever known. I know I am someone who isn't the easiest to get along with due to my temper, but he has NEVER ONCE thrown temper at me and still treats me like a princess. Most importantly, he respects me for who I am.
Thank you, Fish, for sticking by me always!!!!


13. I got famous



So famous that I spotted people printing my face and using them as wrapping papers which were eventually thrown to the rubbish chute. Thanks, huh.
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 I hope everyone enjoys reading this little update of my life that I did not get to blog much on here. 
Life hasn't been a bed of roses, but I shall exclude the negativity yeah.
I will be back to more active blogging soon and revive my title as the SGCOMPLAINQUEEN. (I AM NOT DEAD YET!)
*roars*

Have a lovely week ahead, people!