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Enough about Bro Code. Here are my proposed Girl Code rules!

You probably know what “Bro Code” refers to: a set of rules or etiquette to follow if you’re a guy, towards your other guy friends (aka your “bros”). Some of the Bro Code rules I’ve heard include: Never date your bro’s ex-girlfriend, and never tell your bro’s girlfriend what nasty things he did last night.

I think girlfriends ought to have a set of rules that governs their friendships too. I don’t know if there are any “official” ones going around, but these are what I think should be in the Girl Code. Feel free to let me know if you think there are any other ones!

1. Your girl pal’s current boyfriend’s exes and her exes’ new girlfriends are never as good as her


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2. Discreetly let your girl pal know about the vegetable that’s stuck between her teeth as soon as you see it. This rule also extends to mascara smudges and lip stains on the teeth. Like, when this happens:

 

Like, when this happens.

 

3. “Like” all her selfies. (Unless she’s posting too excessively, then tell her privately to stop.) Tap “like” all the way, like this:

 

Just keep tapping "like".


4. Don’t ever get pissed off at her and not tell her why, thinking that “she should know it what“. (She’s not your boyfriend! Then again, you shouldn’t be doing this to your boyfriend!) I mean, like this:

 

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5. Ex-boyfriends are off-limits.

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6. Be happy for her successes and let her have a moment. For example, if she says: “I’m getting a promotion!”, the response should be “Congrats! You deserve it because you work so hard! Tell me about the new role!” and not “Sigh, I wonder when my boss will ever appreciate what I do…” (and spend the next one hour talking about your work woes)

 

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7. If you stop hanging out because you started dating, and even if you meet, he’s the only one you ever talk about? STAHP.

 

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8. Take care of her when she’s drunk and make sure she’s not in danger. (Although I’d even say, you should stop her from drinking before she gets pissed drunk.)

 

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9. Don’t ever harbour the thought of up-staging her at her own wedding. You’ll have your day!

 

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10. Be honest at the changing room. Don’t ever allow her to buy something you know look horrible on her.

 

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 Any other rules you think we should add?

Selfies Are Not That Bad. Here’s When I Think They’re Good

Selfie: A word that didn’t exist until recent years (it only made its way to Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2014) and is a big part of so many people’s lives these days.

I won’t call myself a selfie-fanatic, but I can see why people are hooked on them. We used to rely on others to take a photo for us, and the chances of it turning out as a good one is probably 50:50. Now, with the help of front-cameras and flip screens, we are able to see ourselves and snap a picture according to what we think look good enough to be immortalised as a photo (that we ultimately post onto social media). Another up side? Unlike getting someone else to take a photo for us, we can snap as many photos as we like, without frustrating the photographer.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven't taken photos for a long time before this.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven’t taken photos for a long time before this. Here, I wore a wig, drew on my brows, and wore eyeliner to conceal the missing lashes, and stepped out of the house for the first time, on a “first date” with my husband after the storm.

While selfies, like Justin Bieber, may be the biggest thing of the decade as far as Millenials are concerned, they also have a bad name for being synonymous with egoism and narcissism.

I admit duck-faces annoy me, and humble-braggarts – those that post a random selfie with a caption that says: 3 people asked if I were a celebrity today – make me mad. I am also not appreciative of Facebook albums that are made up of nothing but 100 photos of you making faces at the camera in the same room, on the same day. But selfies aren’t always bad, and these are when I think they’re great:

1. They serve as a motivator

Fitspo (short for fitsporation) that are posted as a record of your fitness or weight loss journey don’t just inspire others, but more importantly, help you to keep on track. Because you feel more pressured into showing progress and keeping to the regime, it makes you more motivated to work hard at the gym. What’s not okay, though: gym images with full-on makeup; just so you know, exercising with makeup destroys your skin.

2. They are an ice-breaker

Most people wouldn’t believe this, but I am really shy with strangers, and have to try very hard to warm up to them. However, when someone says “Hey, let’s take a selfie!” at appropriate times, it immediately breaks the ice. After all, huddling just to fit into the frame and laughing over the attempt to get as many people as possible in the picture makes for some good interactions. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for your new friends’ Instagram handle or to make Facebook friend requests afterwards!

3. They are a good momento

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Breakfast at a beautiful hotel we checked into at Taroko Gorges in Taiwan. This was taken during my post-chemo celebratory trip with my brother, and is a “selfie with a story” for me.

I’m not talking about the 100 photos that you took in your room, but those that truly record the events you want to remember, like your best friend’s 30th birthday party or your proposal. Now that we are all armed with smartphones with front cameras, it makes life easier for solo travellers who might want to get a photo of a beautiful moment with themselves in it. After all, what’s the point of snapping a photo of only Eiffel Tower when you can probably find thousands of them on Google images? But hey, none has you in it, so that’s unique!

Too Lazy To Wear Eyeshadow So I Invest In Lipsticks Instead

I know I’ve made a resolution to wear eyeshadow more frequently this year, but somehow this just didn’t work out that well. Instead, I find myself wearing lipstick more often – it’s a much easier way to jazz up makeup, without committing as much time, effort and money, compared to eye makeup, I think!

Call it makeup porn, but one of my favourite things to do these days is to browse Instagram or Pinterest, looking new lip colours I can add to my growing lipstick collection. I’ve been seeing lots of photos taken by the beauty community, showing off their Stila lip products (especially the liquid lipstick!) and I just can’t get my mind off them.

There was a time I got tired of pink lipsticks, but somehow my preference towards them seems to be returning. I imagine this to go well with a frilly dress:

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And this in coral shade melts my heart! While I have a huge lipstick collection, I don’t think I’ve had anything that’s in the coral shade yet. I’ve seen some of my friends wearing this shade and I thought that it looks very flattering on Asian skin tone and makes skin look brighter and more rosier.

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Some people may find this an overkill, but I absolutely love purple lipsticks. Like the red lipstick, it adds a glam factor to makeup, yet it’s not as cliched as red – you know what I mean? It’s surprisingly not that hard to pull off also. As long as you make sure that your brows are properly filled in.

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And finally, classic red!

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More than sharing with you, I’m actually taking these as my personal “tear sheets” to add to my wish list. Hahaha!

I’m actually thinking of hitting Sephora soon (there’s just no time to go anywhere with so many things lined up in my schedule), and then I realise that Stila makeup is sold online too. So I might not have to head out after all!

Which colour do you think I should put at the top of my wish list?

Not All Cancer Patients Have The Same Inspiring Story

Part of my job requires me to keep up with news of all kinds. And whenever I update myself with health news, it’s easy to notice that there’s news on the topic of cancer every day, whether it is about a new development in treating it, or about cancer prevention. More often than not, I’ll also see inspiring stories of survivors (or patients who are preparing for their death).

I notice a trend in these stories. It’s always about how the patient is a (usually young) person with a bright future, and how cancer struck in an unexpected way, how the patient and the family grieve, but eventually saw the positive in the negative, persevered through the tough treatments, and finally came out of it strong. And regardless whether the patient survives, there’s a silver lining behind the dark cloud.

Why are all the stories such a cliche?

Because inspiring stories sell. Everyone loves a pauper-to-prince story, and about how good triumph over evil. And so, everyone wants to hear how a tragedy happens to someone, and how he/she bravely overcomes it.

Can you imagine this story being published: Rachel has cancer, no insurance coverage, and no family members to take care of her. Because she has been a nasty and grouchy person, she has no friends too. When she fell ill, she became nastier and grouchier. She died after a long period of painful chemotherapy, with no one by her death bed.

In the end, patients are expected to look strong

No thanks to such “expectations”, patients are supposed to be brave and strong. There are many dark sides to fighting cancer that people may not have seen. I find it too cruel to share the horrible side that I stopped updating my social media about my illness. It’s too cruel to the social media audience, mind you – not to me. After all, what they want to hear is that I’m fighting a strong and brave fight. They want to make comments like: Kristen, you’re so strong and brave! Good luck! You’re going to get better! I’m going to pray for you! (Disclaimer: I appreciate well-wishers, really. And honestly, I can tell if you mean it or not. I may not call you out, but I know it. So, genuine well-wishers, I’m not referring to you.)

And what they want to hear in reply: I will! I can get better! Thanks for your prayers! I feel better already!

But guess what – this doesn’t always happen. I don’t always feel like a warrior. I don’t always want to share with you how I am really feeling right now (usually, in pain, afraid that I may die, lying in bed weakly). Sometimes, I may just want to sob quietly by the bed, asking God why it has to be me.

I didn’t feel like replying your Facebook comments to me and then find the strength to also look at your travel photos, food photos, and baby photos on the same platform, because these are luxuries that I may not be able to enjoy anymore.

Everyone wants to hear a good story especially after the fight is over

Even after the fight is over, and you’re officially a “survivor”, everyone expects a good story. I think the term “survivor” is so loaded, people put their own perceived value to it. You’re a cancer survivor, so you must have an inspiring story to share.

We held a small gathering shortly after I was given the “all clear” by the doctors. Some of Keith’s friends whom I hardly know came by.

I was asked questions like: How did God touch your life during that period? Do you feel like cancer has made you a better person? Share about how you overcome the pain! (Not verbatim, but definitely to the same effect.)

Now, I need to clarify that I was indeed very close to God when I was going through the treatments, and the ordeal made me and my family more prayerful. And because of the closer relationship with God, I’ve understood Jesus’ passionate love in a more “real” way, having experienced physical (and emotional) suffering, and this makes me want to be a better Christian (and in effect, a better person).

The issue I have is: I think I’ve been very lucky and I don’t think my experience can be taken to be a representation of many cancer patients out there. I have been extremely privileged because my parents, being self-employed, were able to take care of me very closely, I have a close group of girlfriends who supported me, my new husband did not run away out of fear and is also a faithful Christian, and many of my church friends supported me through prayers. There are many other privileges I have received when I was fighting cancer (that I may share another time), which helped me to weather through this darkest period of my life.

But these are not privileges that every patient will go through, I believe. And I find it absolutely presumptuous to ask a cancer survivor to share the positive parts of her/his ordeal, as if it were a given that the experience has to be positive, and that the survivor must have an inspiring story to tell.

Why do you want to hear stories anyway?

Is it because you want to feel better about yourself? Like, man, I feel good now to know that I’m better off than so many people. Or is it like, wow, this story makes for a good one to share with my friends the next time we are contemplating about life!

You know people who are racist stereotype a particular race and form a specific opinion about them, right? Thinking that all cancer survivors must share a common trait (such as, having inspiring stories to share), is a similar form of bias.

I have a lot of inspiring stories to share. But they aren’t all accumulated during the time I fought cancer. God has touched my life not just when I was fighting cancer, but also when I’m not fighting cancer. And the time I fought cancer comes with a lot of ugly stories too, just so you know. If you want to hear the good stories, you got to accept the ugly ones too, but I’m not sure if everyone wants to hear them.

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Udders Isn’t Just Great At Ice-Cream, It’s A Champion In Pancakes Too

I’ve visited Udders along Upper Thomson Road many times (because it’s near to where I used to stay before I got married, so it is a usual haunt for supper) and have noticed that they started selling pancakes some time ago. However, I’ve never ordered it; somehow I felt that a brand that’s known for great ice-cream can’t do well in pancakes, y’know, like how you expect someone who can speak good English to not be able to speak good Mandarin too?

(I’m making this analogy despite the fact that I’m effectively bilingual. So, yes, please mark the irony.)

This is until I moved to the west and started going to the Bukit Timah area (near Beauty World) for supper instead. There’s an Udders Ice Cream outlet there that I visit with my West-side friends, and I noticed that it also has a new Udders Pancakes outlet next to it now. My first thought: Wow, so, they’re quite serious about this pancake business huh?

Still, I didn’t visit it, because, y’know… a brand that’s known for great ice-cream can’t possibly… yada yada… yup, thanks for completing the sentence for me.

This is until Udders invited me to The Udder Pancake for dinner (with the promise of ice-cream too) that I gave it a shot.

The Udder Pancake cute interior

Similar to Udders Ice Cream, which has a very cheeky brand image (notice their staff wearing t-shirts that say “Ice-cream is better than _ _ _” or “Don’t be selfish, think of Udders”?), The Udder Pancake has lots of playful design within the shop that I can’t help but go through each of them and taking a picture of them. These are some of my favourite (and let’s see if you get the joke):

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And the cute design isn’t just restricted to the shop, but in the toilet as well. This is in the gents (I, erm… got special permission to enter…) and if you press the button, you’ll hear whistling.

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Besides the “In case of…” installations, the furniture are interesting as well:

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The above is not a real rock, by the way. When you’re there, look for this “rock seat” and touch it. It’s really amazing.

Some of the tables also come with adorable displays like this:

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Review of The Udder Pancake food

The very generous Udders ordered A LOT of food for Keith and me so that we can try as much dishes as possible.

This is the Honey-glazed Herbed Chicken (S$14.90).

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I’d say that this is perhaps the safest choice in the menu, and is a crowd-pleaser. The chicken is slightly charred but gives a very flavourful “BBQ” taste. It’s marinated very thoroughly and is served with honey mustard sauce that goes well with both the chicken and the pancakes.

We also had the Tequila-fired Seafood Pot (S$18.90), which we thought was a very interesting combination for pancakes. I’ve never had pancakes with seafood, ever.

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The pot of seafood may be small, but the garlic sauce is creamy and rich, and it came with really good quality, fresh seafood, including greenback mussels, prawns and scallops, seared with tequila. The sauce went surprisingly well with the pancakes, and I’d love to have some bread to dip it with.

The Salmon, Crab & Caviar Egg Benedict (S$16.90 for half stack, S$24.90 for full stack) sound like a decadent treat and this is now my favourite style of egg benedict. The generous layer of crab coupled with the creamy pouched-egg-plus-hollandaise sauce are a party in the mouth, and the caviar gives it a much-appreciated texture, making the dish a very wholesome and delectable dish. This is my personal favourite.

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And this is a close second for me (but Keith’s favourite): the Pulled Pork Egg Benedict (S$12.90 for half stack, S$17.90 for full stack). The seasoning for the pulled pork was excellent – savoury with just the right amount of sweetness. Similarly, it wasn’t a combination that we really expected, but they go very well together.

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I must also mention that, alone, the pancakes were a treat too. If you remember how McGriddles tasted like… well, these Udder pancakes tasted almost the same, but without the maple syrup sweetness. They’re crispy on the circumference, but very fluffy on the inner part. I would have been satisfied with eating it plain, actually – but of course, there’s no way I would have said no to the other combinations.

Besides the pancakes, check out their drinks selections too. The Elderflower Gummy Bears, for instance, makes for a really cute drink that’s very Instagram-worthy.

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Recently, The Udder Pancake has also launched two new fries selections: Mentaiko (S$9.90) and Salted Egg (S$9.90).

 

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They also have perennial favourites like Truffle Fries.

I’ve gone back again just one month after this tasting and brought friends along this time because I really enjoyed the food. The next time you’re thinking of having ice-cream at Udders, consider hopping over a little earlier for lunch or dinner instead (and then have ice-cream after that).

The Udder Pancake is located at 17 Lor Kilat. They’re opened:

Mon – Thurs (12pm – 11pm), Fri (12pm – 12am), Sat (11am – 12am) and Sun (11am – 11pm). On eves of public holidays, they’re opened till 12mn and on public holidays, they open at 11am. In other words, they’re opened EVERY DAY. See The Udder Pancake full menu by clicking here.

I Want To Take Better Care Of My Body Skin!

I spend almost 20 minutes per day on skincare: cleanser, toner, eye cream, serum, moisturiser, and a facial mask a few times a week.

And the amount of time I spent on my body skin? Zilch.

I recently went on a trip to Taiwan and checked myself in a hotel with an en-suite onsen. Thanks to this facility, I indulge in a bath two times a day – before I leave the hotel in the morning and after I get back from the day’s activities. What I noticed was that my body skin became reaaaaally smooth. My body skin tends to be dry and on certain parts, a little flaky. So, with the results yielded, I must say that I liked it!

As such, one of my new resolutions (I don’t care if it’s already four months into 2015!) is to take better care of my body skin.

The body care ritual I’m intending to commit to

bubble-bath

The body skin isn’t that much different from the facial skin, if you think about it. It deserves the same kind of care ritual! This is what I’m intending to commit to:

1. Shower Gel aka Cleanse
2. Body Scrub aka Exfoliate
3. Body Butter aka Moisturise
4. Body Mist aka Moisturise on-the-go
5. Foot scrub aka Exfoliate
6. Foot moisturiser aka Moisturise

I’m currently using a shower gel from Crabtree & Evelyn’s Somerset Meadow collection and it doesn’t just smell wonderful, and is very, very moisturising as well. I alternate between an Yves Rocher scrub and a Soap and Glory scrub. I’m intending to look into getting more body care products from Soap and Glory because I really like how they smell. The fun and cheeky packaging is irresistible too.

P/S: I’ll also be sharing more about my Taiwan trip. I had a blast!

Share with me! How do you take care of your body skin? What products do you use?

 

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myVillage Is My New Kampung

I’ve been residing at Ang Mo Kio almost all my life, and besides Ang Mo Kio Central, the other place that I used to visit with my family and friends is the Serangoon Gardens area. I’ve always been drawn by the rather rustic vibe that I get from the area, and the very good food that Chomp Chomp Food Centre offers.

The visits there became less regular since I moved to Clementi after getting married. But after I got re-orientated to the myVillage mall, following an invitation from their marketing team, I’m determined to visit it more often and make it the kampung I hang out with my loved ones!

My reasons?

  • It has a sense of cosiness about it. I like that it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle that I have to put up with when I’m at other heartland malls (I’m sure you can think of a few as you read this).
  • It may not be a huge mall, but it has everything that I need: from NTUC Fairprice to QB House, and from Guardian to DBS Bank.
  • On top of the “necessary” services that I mentioned above, it also offers a more interesting tenant mix that most other malls don’t offer, some of which I’m going to talk about a little more in this post.

Now, come along with me on my little tour around myVillage, and I’ll show you what I meant:

There are several reputable beauty services at myVillage

And I’m talking about literally head-to-toe beauty services. MyVillage is home to Gui Ren Tang (head, for hair treatments), Beyond Beauty (for facials, massages and manicures), and Chen Kang Foot Reflexology (toe, for foot massages). Cuttour, a hairstyling salon, and Nail Addict, a manicure salon are also at myVillage.

At the tour, I visited Beyond Beauty and enjoyed a massage at the spa.

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As a beauty editor, I have visited many spas, tried many massages and spoke to many therapists. At Beyond Beauty, it was the first time I’ve encountered a therapist who was able to tell me, based on her TCM knowledge, what are some ailments I should be worried about and how I can go about resolving them.
For instance, my therapist advised me to soak my feet in warm water before I sleep if I can, because I’m someone who tends to get chills more easily. This is in fact something that I know I’ve been suffering from since I was a child. She also shared a lot more other health tips that are specific to me, which I shan’t share on this public space :)

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Fashion junkies: Hot spot alert!

When I was in university, I used be very excited to visit Chomp Chomp Food Centre, not just because of the food, but also because of a fashion store that’s within the area. The store isn’t your usual “market” store selling “auntie” clothes, but actually stocks very fashionable wear that I remember buying for Chinese New Year.

Guess what – the children of the owner of that store now runs their own fashion accessories outlet – U-design – at myVillage.

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It looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because the fashion taste of the U-design owners are obviously impeccable.

I understand that they source for their ware from overseas, especially from Korea. It took me very long to shop, because I want to buy everything, but I managed to go home with two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. These are the necklaces I picked!

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You might have seen me flaunting some of them on my Instagram. Here are pictures of me and Qiu Ting having a blast at the shop:

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 By the way, you can quote “Kristen Juliet” at U-design to enjoy 10% off your purchases!

Food at myVillage is quite an exciting deal too!

There are quite a number of food options at myVillage. You can go for something hearty, like steak at iSteaks, or burgers at Relish Gardens (Which I absolutely love! So much so that fellow blogger, Yina, saw me once in person there, and noticed that I was there again at the myVillage outlet in the same week. She called me out on Instagram :p).

Otherwise, if you want something that’s great for sharing, I’d recommend Yogiyo Chicken. Its owners brought the fried chicken that got its fame at the Hongdae area in Korea to Singapore, and this is their first outlet here. Very interestingly, having visited Hongdae before, I felt that Hongdae has this laidback vibe that myVillage also shares.

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I’m not a super huge fan of fried chicken, but even so, I have to say these are good stuff. MyVillage’s marketing manager shared how he can almost have this as a daily meal, and I can totally see where he’s coming from.

Whether it is the non-spicy ones with honey and topped with sesame…

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Or the spicy ones that have just enough spice to give a kick to the taste, but not too much to have me yelling for water…

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They’re both really delicious.

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I like that these very functional, but somewhat cute, thumb gloves were handed out to us so we won’t have to dirty our fingers while digging in.

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You can sweeten things up at myVillage

There are several dessert places you can visit, if you want to find a nice place to share some food and good conversations; Bakerzin, Little Wimbly Lu and Udders Ice Cream are all available at myVillage.

Ice-cream is my Achilles’ heel of all desserts, and that’s why I was on cloud nine when I was told that visiting Udders Ice Cream was part of the tour.

I’ve been a patron of Udders since forever their first outlet at Novena, and have been going back to them because of their Mao Shan Wang ice-cream (I’m a huge durian fan) and alcoholic options that are served with real alcohol (they have a license for it).

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At the tasting, I was treated to not just my favourite Mao Shan Wang Durian ice-cream, alcoholic fares like the Orange Choc Bitters, Bailey’s & Bourbon, Tira-miss-u and Rum Rum Raisin, I also had a preview to the Nian Gao ice-cream, which they served only during the Chinese New Year period.

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I spoke to co-founder Peck Lin, and learnt more about how they made sure their ice-creams are made of the freshest ingredients, and the thoughts and innovation that they put into creating new flavours every month.

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After the very indulgent tasting, I still love my Mao Shan Wang, but have also developed a new love for the Snickers Mars Honeycomb Vanilla, Awesomely Chocolate, and Salted Speculoos (as you can see, I’ve ventured beyond the intended tasting menu that day and started tasting other flavours hahaha!). I love almost all the alcoholic flavours, by the way, although I’m kind of decided to be a teetotaller for the next two years because I just got into remission. (This being said, I’ve already had a teeny weeny bit of alcohol this year, but I’m really cutting down by at least 99%.)

MyVillage is located at 1 Maju Avenue, which is just a stone’s throw away from Chomp Chomp Food Centre, in the Serangoon Gardens area. Find out more at its website.