Anyone can bake with Betty Crocker!

Everyone seems to think that baking is an extremely complicated activity – it can be occasionally, but what they don’t know is that it doesn’t have to be like that all the time.

I know a lot of people get put off by the idea of baking because it seems like you’ll require a ton of specific kitchen equipment, time, effort and washing up.. That’s why you’ll be surprised how simple and fuss free baking becomes with the help of Betty Crocker!

Betty Crocker is a brand name and trademark of American Fortune 500 corporation General Mills. Every time I think of Betty Crocker, I picture a really cheery American mom in her white picket fenced home and rustic looking kitchen whipping up pies and cakes for her children. She’s the aunt I never had. Something about the name is so convincing! Before I even knew how to fry an egg, I attempted baking with Betty Crocker products. This was when I was about 13 years old.

My friends and I would buy Betty Crocker cake mixes after school and attempt to bake brownies, cookies and cakes together…. some turned out great, better than expected (much to our surprise!) and other attempts – not so amazing. We burnt a few batches of batter here and there, but we always had a great time trying. I believe I’ve tried baking almost every single Betty Crocker cake mix product out in the market, and I’ve never been disappointed by the results, considering how quick and easy it was to make it!

Since Chinese New Year is around the corner, baked goods are aplenty around! There’s so many cookies and different snacks available in the market for you to choose from. But in my opinion, the best kind of goodies to be presented with are the homemade type. There’s nothing like a cookie or cake fresh out of your own oven. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have fancy kitchen equipment or the best recipe in the world. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you really know how to bake or not. The effort of making something yourself counts way more!

Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Chip Cookies have been a long-time favorite of mine.

They’re chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside and contain loads of delicious melted chocolate chips when they’re still warm, reminding me exactly of the kind of cookies I used to bug my dad to buy for me when we were on holiday in America.

Following the simple instructions found on the back of the packet, all I had to do was add softened butter and 1 egg to the premix, and combine the ingredients!

Simply put all your ingredients in a bowl, then mix well. Your cookie dough should be moist and looking like the above!

No electrical mixer or multiple tools / bowls required at all. An ideal baking session for those who seldom bake but still want to give it a go every now and then, because there’s so little to actually clean up and you won’t have to invest in tools or equipment that you will hardly use.

Scoop small little lumps of cookie dough onto a greased baking pan or a tray lined with baking paper, then bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes in a preheated oven or until the cookies are golden brown!

It doesn’t matter if your cookie dough lumps aren’t particularly round in shape, they will flatten and bake in a round-ish shape in the oven! Besides, I think oddly shaped cookies have character and look more homemade. What I love most about baking is how heavenly the whole house smells when something yummy is in the oven. You can’t escape the wafting aroma, I make my neighbours jealous every day!

Once the timer for the oven goes off, let the cookies cool for about 5-8 minutes and then they’re ready for consumption!

Look at my beautiful Betty Crocker cookies that were completed in less than 20 minutes! These can be made by absolutely anyone. You can attempt this as a fun activity with your kids, parents, boyfriend / girlfriend or even by yourself – a guaranteed good time!

I love eating my bakes fresh out of the oven. These cookies reminded me of so many good times, and each bite I took into them reminded me of the many occasions I’ve made them for friends and family to enjoy over the years! I’ve made two batches of these in the past week alone with different friends and everyone was extremely surprised by how easy the process was and how good it tasted. In fact, the second batch I made at a friend’s house without a proper oven and it baked just fine in a small toaster oven as well!

If you’re one of those people who label yourself as someone who “can’t bake”, Betty Crocker will change your mind! Why not impress your loved ones this Chinese New Year by picking up a packet of Betty Crocker cake mix and unleash your inner domestic goddess? Who knows, you might just discover a new found love for baking after you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be able to show love to people through baked goods. It will always be one of my favorite things to do for other people because it brings them so much joy!

xoxo,
Jess

My ReLEx Smile experience

I’ve been short-sighted since I was about 9 years old.

I loved to read when I was a child, and because I couldn’t sleep properly at night and the characters in books were my best friends, I would stay up way past my bedtime till 2am in the morning squinting at tiny text while lying down on my back, reading away in horrible lighting conditions. I didn’t know that it would cause me to rely on spectacles for the rest of my life. My family has a history of pretty good eyesight, so I’m quite sure that’s the main reason for my myopia. My short sighted-ness worsened over the years no thanks to continuous bad habits (e.g reading too long without taking a break, doing homework in bad lighting).

Had I known silly habits like that would cause me to have handicapped vision the rest of my life, I swear I would’ve taken better care of my eyes. Up until a month ago, I was living with approximately 600 degrees for both eyes. While it’s not the worst I’ve heard of (I have friends with 900 degrees both eyes), 600 degrees is still bad. I can’t see clearly at all without my glasses, and from the moment I wake up I have to fumble around for them, if not I would likely trip over something the instant I get out of bed. I don’t even take off my glasses when showering because I get insecure when I don’t have clear vision. I always have this theory that people with spectacles would get picked off first in a zombie apocalypse because we’d run, our glasses would inevitably fall off after some action and get smashed then we’d be all helpless and get eaten by zombies. LOL. That’s one of the more dramatic, far-fetched disadvantages of being bespectacled.

The real problem I have with wearing glasses happens on a more day-to-day basis.

I hated how I could always FEEL my glasses on my face. I don’t know if other spectacles wearers feel the same way, but I know some people don’t mind their glasses on their face at all. For me, that was never the case. Even though I’d worn glasses for more than 12 years, I was always conscious of them. Not just of how they look on me, but also how they feel on me. It felt exactly like what it was – plastic on my face. I would feel my eyelashes brush up against my lens whenever I blinked. I would feel the frame slide up and down my nose if I ran or did any exercise. I would have to remove my glasses and wipe them every other hour or so, because they’d get dirty. I would get insanely annoyed whenever I exited a cold environment and entered a hot one, because my glasses would fog up, leaving me visually impaired for 2 whole minutes. I don’t think I look ugly with my glasses – super geeky at most, but it’s not what I would personally consider attractive.

Don’t get me wrong – glasses look hot on some people. Sometimes, it makes a person look smarter or more sophisticated. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that I look much better without my glasses. I don’t apply make up with my glasses on because I feel like it defeats the purpose. All that carefully drawn eye make up hiding behind lenses and a thick frame… why even bother and waste the effort? So, since I was 13 years old, I took the next step and started wearing contact lenses. Yeah, I was a really vain kid. I remember how much my eyes used to sting whenever I’d put my contacts on. I have sensitive eyes that get dry and red very easily, and it took me many years of wearing contact lenses to finally be able to wear them for more than a few hours without extreme discomfort. It used to be only an hour or two of usage before my eyes would turn impossibly red and irritated. I would be torn between looking geeky (insecure teenager) or having my eyes in pain. I’ve even suffered from eye infections before due to improper care of my contact lenses.

One of the worst feelings in the world is being so tired after a super long day out that you forget to take off your contacts before knocking out, and then you wake up a few hours later in horror because you remember you haven’t removed them yet only to find that the contacts are literally glued to your eyeball. It’s so dry that when you try to remove them you feel like you’re pinching your own eyeball out. I could go on FOREVER with my stories about how much I hate wearing contacts and glasses. But let’s proceed with the main point, shall we?

Which is the fact that… I AM FINALLY RID OF GLASSES AND CONTACTS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!! HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH. I have close to perfect vision right now, and I’m relying on neither glasses nor contacts – it’s my own natural sight.

I got ReLEx® SMILE surgery done approximately a month ago, and I’m so thrilled to share about my entire experience with you guys. Now most of you have probably heard of LASIK, but you must be wondering: what on earth is ReLEX Smile?

What is ReLEx® SMILE?
ReLEx® SMILE (Refractive Lenticule Extraction, Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is a new, bladeless, flapless and gentle refractive eye procedure that corrects visual problems including shortsightedness and astigmatism. It is the next generation of laser vision correction surgery that uses only one femtosecond laser for the entire procedure. Like most refractive eye surgery procedures, ReLEx® SMILE aims to reduce your dependency on spectacles and contact lens in order to improve your quality of life.

I went for my consultation at a lasik clinic at Paragon Medical Centre mid-late last year, and I was so excited when I was told that I’m suitable for the procedure!

My nerves were all over the place during consultation because I had so many burning questions in my head. What are the risks involved, what are the possible complications and side effects, what kind of people are best suited for this surgery, how is it different from LASIK, how long is the recovery process…. Thankfully, all my questions were answered patiently and professionally by the kind staff at the clinic. I am a worry wart and I couldn’t stop thinking of all the bad stuff that could possibly happen! I am super paranoid and I am ALWAYS a worst case scenario sort of person, in the sense that I constantly imagine the worst thing that could happen to me in any situation. Here’s sharing the information I’ve gathered with you:

Who is ReLEx® SMILE for?
ReLEx® SMILE is beneficial for those with higher degrees of myopia between 500 to 1000 degrees and astigmatism of up to 500 degrees. An ideal candidate would have to be:

  • 18 years of age and above
  • Not pregnant
  • No significant change in spectacle prescription the last 12 months
  • No significant past medical or eye history
  • No family history of eye disease
  • Myopia up to 1000 degrees and astigmatism of up to 500 degrees

My pupils were dilated (with the help of a nurse) and then I had a series of tests being performed on my eyes to check the condition and whether I was suitable for ReLEx® SMILE. Even though I have thin cornea, I was still given the green light to go ahead with the surgery. Thank goodness! I was made to watch an animated video of what the surgery procedure will be like to better understand exactly what I’m getting myself into.

How is ReLEx® SMILE done?
ReLEx® SMILE is a single-step, all-in-one laser procedure that takes about 10 minutes to perform on one eye. The actual laser process takes only about 30 seconds to complete. The entire ReLEx® SMILE is performed with gentle, low suction such that vision is preserved with no “black out” phenomenon, unlike other laser refractive procedures.

After my consultation, I had my surgery date scheduled less than a month away… In the waiting room I met with other bespectacled patients who were all too excited to finally attain that perfect eyesight they’ve been dreaming of their whole life. No one there looked as nervous as I was. Most people I talked to were pretty much like, “Hey, don’t worry, it will be over in a jiffy. There’s nothing to fret about.”

And they were right.

I didn’t have anything to worry about – it was all over before I knew it. The anticipation is the worst part of it. The actual procedure was bearable. Numbing drops were applied. I was taken in the surgery room and told to lie on the surgery bed. My eye area was cleaned, eyelashes taped back, and eyelids held open by this metal device. In a matter of a minute or two, the machine was over me, and I heard the words: Suction On. I felt pressure on my eye, and then I saw flashing lights, which I believe was the laser working its magic. I could feel the pressure in my eyeball building up but it was bearable. Not what I’d describe as pain, just discomfort. You’re told to focus on one area, not to move your eyeball around too much and breathe slowly. I think I forgot to breathe, though. In about 30 seconds, the machine gets moved away and the doctor works on my eyeball. I could actually see and feel my lenticule being removed. I repeat, there was no pain. When he’s done removing the lenticule, he applies some eyedrops and says, “we’re all done with one eye, now on the next one!”

I let go a huge sigh of relief and thought to myself, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. Just remember to keep very still and listen to what they say.”

My doctor does the second eye. I was in and out of there within 15 minutes. The nurses held my arms and led me into the waiting area, and they explained to me how to take care of my eyes the following 2 weeks. Could I see immediately after the surgery? Yes, but it was blurry. I’d say I had about 30% of my normal vision, it was not clear and my eyelids felt extremely heavy. I just wanted to go to sleep. When the numbing eyedrops eventually wore off after an hour, the discomfort was more prominent but still bearable, it just felt like soap got in my eyes. I was just SO DARN HAPPY it was all over and done with, now I just have to deal with the recovery process!

I slept in the car ride back, had dinner and then popped the sleeping pill which they prescribed and went straight to bed. I slept like a baby for more than 10 hours, and when I woke up the next morning for my next day review, I was elated to find that the discomfort had reduced 80%! I still couldn’t see properly, but better than the day before. I was given lid care wipes, eyedrops and eye shields to wear to protect and take care of my eyes. Some after effects I endured after the surgery include fogginess, starburst vision at night and an inability to focus properly for 1-2 weeks after the surgery, which is part of the process. By the third week I was seeing pretty clearly already! I went back for my review, and apparently my eyes are healing extremely well, better than the average patient.

It’s been close to a month since I’ve had my ReLEx® SMILE done, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

I have been recommending it to all my friends who’ve asked me about my experience. There was literally almost no pain involved, and I’m blown away by how easy it was for me to go through the whole procedure. Like I’ve said before, the anticipation is the worst part of it, the rest was a breeze for me go through. Even though I was advised to get plenty of rest the first week, I was out and about having fun with my friends the very next day after the surgery! My starburst problem is slowly but surely reducing, and even though my vision still fluctuates (it will completely stabilize in a few months) I can see very clearly for the most part. I’m told my vision is close to perfect (OH MY GOD ;_;) and despite having slightly dry eyes before the surgery, it’s not worsened after ReLEx® SMILE. I was dependent on eye drops only for the first two weeks and I only apply them whenever I feel it’s necessary now. My vision was gradually get better.

I try to take breaks whenever I’m using the computer nowadays as I don’t want the chance of having myopia again.The chances are extremely low, but of course, dependent on individuals and their lifestyle habits. For the first two weeks, I would fumble around for my glasses when I woke up in the morning, only to realize that I can actually see. I am so grateful towards the staff at the lasik clinic because they were amazingly gentle and patient with me, even when I was being the annoying overly worried patient who kept bombarding them with questions. The people were so nice there and I believe I went through the best possible experience because their concern felt genuine and sincere, which helped put my mind at ease. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life, to see the world how it was meant to be seen. I dunno about you, but the world looks different through contacts and glasses, and it definitely looks different with my own eyes. Everything is ultra-HD mode. It’s amazing. My new favorite hobby is taking long bus rides, where I plug in earphones, listen to good music and just stare outside, watching the world pass me by. Looking at faraway things – who knew such a simple activity would be so enjoyable?

If you’ve always wanted to get laser refractive surgery done, don’t hesitate! Everyone I know who’s been through it agree that it’s completely worth it. It’s been such a life changing experience, in the littlest and biggest ways. I don’t miss my glasses or contacts A SINGLE BIT.

xoxo,
Jess

At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy


Cooking is probably one of my favorite things to do in life – as made obvious by my instagram gallery of the dishes #shibertycooks. There’s something so incredibly special about filling up someone’s stomach not just with food, but with love. Providing food for someone has always been the most basic, yet one of the strongest ways to show your care and affection. Picking up cooking is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, and the people around me! In this day and age, food is not just sustenance – food can be so good (or bad) that it evokes strong reactions and emotions in you. And that’s why its so powerful!

Last week, I made a trip down to the renowned culinary school, At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy to check out their campus during their open house, and was completely blown away by what I experienced and saw!

I’ve had a keen interest in cooking and baking for a few years now, but have never properly considered pursuing it academically until recent times. I’ve always relied on imagination, creativity and a little bit of intuition to guide me along when I cook and bake, but it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to learn proper techniques from the professionals!

It takes a special kind of person to excel in the F&B industry. This isn’t for everyone, and At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy’s rigorous pedagogy provides their students with an opportunity to progress towards a degree pathway and achieve a competitive headstart into the industry.

Since 2001, At-Sunrice has been endlessly cultivating global chefs and F&B professionals in an experiential environment of culinary authenticity, best-fit apprenticeships and innovation. The academy delivers skills and knowledge in the East & West, Old & New World, Herbs & Spices and Innovation and Technology. At-Sunrice’s 1-week Study and 2-week Work rotation enables students to expand their horizons beyond the classroom and better integrate as motivated professionals into the trade upon graduation.

At-Sunrice empowers their students to pursue more than just a career within a kitchen, encouraging them to venture into diverse career options such as research & development, entrepreneurship or to further their education. Having signed degree articulation agreements with renowned universities such as Johnson & Wales University (USA), University of West London (UK) and William Angliss Institute (Australia), At-Sunrice’s degree pathway programme is designed to stand apart with the right balance of academic studies, cultural exposure and work experience.

Seeing big bright smiles on the faces of students during their class as we were touring around the big campus!

I think I know why they might be smiling so much. Check out these amazing churros that they’d just made! I would be sporting huge grins everyday if school involved whipping up delicious pretty foods and then consuming them. I’d promise never to skip class again! I can’t imagine a boring day happening here.

It was beyond fascinating for me to be up close around industrial sized equipment and large scale kitchens – it’s like a dream come true! What I’d give to have access to all their state of the art machines and impressive supply of tools. I feel that cooking and baking are as much science as they are art. And with science, your apparatus is extremely important! Being in an upgraded environment like this would certainly allow me to expand my limits and explore new possibilities that I will not be able to achieve at home.

Several live cooking demos by their chefs and alumni were happening during the open house to give guests a first-hand experience of what it would be like to enroll in At-Sunrice! Since Christmas is just around the corner, they were preparing a delicious juicy turkey roast, showing you how to properly prepare and serve the bird to your party guests this festive season!

Mmm, turkey with cranberry sauce!

The open house was also a fantastic opportunity to meet and mingle with the chefs, asking them any burning question about cooking I may have in mind.

They are experienced individuals of diverse nationalities and backgrounds, but what they do have in common is their friendliness and professionalism, answering the various questions thrown at them with ease and confidence! I have to commend At-Sunrice for the positive and relaxed atmosphere despite being an academic campus, it was casual and warm, yet professional and enlightening. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. In an industry where it’s mostly fueled by interest and passion, keeping your spirits high and flame alive is absolutely crucial!

This demo was my favorite one of the day – Italian Macarons!

Even though I’ve been baking macarons for a while now, it was a great experience watching someone else demonstrate a different technique from what I’ve been doing. Their method is very thorough and careful, resulting in beautiful, almost perfect macarons. I picked up a couple of useful tips from them, which I’m all too happy about!

These beautiful freshly-piped macarons had the audience in Oooh’s and Ahh’s as they witnessed how they were made from scratch.

Did you know that the main ingredients of macarons are almond flour and egg whites? Hence the nutty meringue taste!

Since macarons are not meant to be eaten freshly baked and instead have to be stored at least one day in the fridge for best results, they handed out salted gula melaka macarons they’d made the day before, and it was DEEEELICIOUS.

One of the best I’ve ever tasted! I am so inspired to take up a class at At-Sunrice after my first bite. Chewy, smooth, full flavored without being overly sweet. My biggest problem with most store-bought macarons is how overbearingly sweet they are. The overload of sugar kills it for me. I like enjoying my desserts without worrying about suffering from diabetes.

Having a wide range of courses that specialize in both Western and Asian cuisines at At-Sunrice, this demo of a popular Thai noodle dish – Pad Thai, had us all salivating while the aroma from the wok wafted through the kitchen.

At-Sunrice has put in place a rigorous partner selection process to ensure that long-term relationships are built with partners who see themselves as co-developers of F&B talents for the industry, and are willing to invest in resources to train the students. In return, these partners also benefit from having additional skilled employees and an advantage in talent spotting for its recruitment pipeline.

If you’re thinking of pursuing your culinary interest and dreams, don’t hesitate any further.

At-Sunrice is the leading education provider for F&B education, with state-of-the-art facilities, diverse student and staff population, professional and experience faculty and established industry partners to ensure you make the most out of your potential. As someone who used to not be able to even cook maggie mee for myself, I believe that anyone can be a great cook, with a little faith, imagination and patience.

Head to their website, www.at-sunrice.com, or email recruitment@at-sunrice.com to get more information about their 2015 academic calendar.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/atsunrice
Instagram: www.instagram.com/atsunrice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/atsunrice
Youtube: www.youtube.com/atsunriceglobalchef

xoxo,
Jess

Impression Lingerie

Shopping for lingerie has always been an activity I’ve enjoyed doing with my mum since I was a little girl that still wore pigtails and ribbons in my hair.

I’m not sure if you’d agree with this, but I truly believe that mommy always knows best. Whatever situation, problem or crisis I find myself in, somehow she’s always there to pull me out of the mess and guide the way. Coming of age and hitting puberty is a confusing time for most girls, thank goodness for mums to help us through things like our first periods and… buying our first bras!

So now that I’m older and wiser, I brought my mum on a lingerie shopping spree at Impression!

Impression is a homegrown Singaporean brand since 1980′s and it covers an entire range of lingerie products, including bras, panties, girdles, camisoles, corsets and sleepwear. It has become a mainstay in the local lingerie industry, finding its way into major departmental stores such as Metro, John Little, BHG, OG, Isetan and Takashimaya. The company believes that first impression last. A fitting, comfortable and beautiful lingerie can bring out the confidence and natural beauty of a woman, giving others a lasting impression.

Checking out their cute nighties range at Impression counter in Metro Causeway Point! I love the mix of bold colors and soft hues. Feminine, playful and sensual all at once.

The Body Shaping bra has been a hit with customers and selling extremely well thanks to its uplifting properties and ability to hide unsightly side and back bulges!

A girl gets rapid body changes between 12 to 14 of age when her breasts start developing. Between 14 to 18, the breasts develop fully. Therefore, the usage of shapely and tight bras during developmental years are important to prevent early sagging for later years! For most women, their breast starts to sag or lose some tautness after pregnancy, hormonal changes or when age is catching up (starting late 20s to early 30s). As we age, the fats in our breasts starts to move downwards due to gravity. The muscles (Cooper’s Ligaments) and skin that lift and support the breasts will also start to weaken and lose its elasticity over time. The breasts will sag and finds itself more far apart from each other.

The Body Shaping bra from Impression redistributes excess fat and bulges from your sides to your bustline to give you fuller breasts and a slimmer silhouette. With consistent usage, you can have lifted breasts, enhanced cleavage and better posture.

Knowing that my mum has been concerned about her figure and silhouette due to age catching up with her, I thought the Body Shaping bra would make a wonderful early Christmas present! She’s already a grandmother (you’ll never be able to guess her age judging from her looks) and I think she looks great for her age, but every vain woman wants to look their best possible, and I never realized just how much the type of bra you wear in your early life will affect you in your senior years!

The friendly staff at Impression took me and my mum’s measurements, ensuring she gets the best fit for her shape, and off to the changing rooms we go to find that perfect bra!

They picked out this set for her – a medium control high waist girdle that goes up to her waist to help control tummy problems and minimize the waist, and a black Body Shaping bra that promises to smooth out her bumps and lines, providing maximum control and support in the areas that most help is needed!

The effects of the Body Shaping bra were immediate once she put it on! I was surprised at how much of a difference it made to my mum’s figure.

 

Here’s the Before (just her everyday bra) and After (with Impression Body Shaping bra)!

The side and back bulges are immediately smoothen out due to the boning and high side and back panels of the Body Shaping Bra. It also gave the busts an upward and inward push effect.

My mum was super pleased with the results as shown, and fell in love with the Body Shaping bra immediately, requesting for it in several different colors! I was really happy to see how pleasantly surprised she was at the benefits of the Body Shaping bra, especially for someone her age.

Photo on top is when mum is wearing a regular panty. Photo below is when mum is wearing a Impression Girdle. Check out how the high-waist girdle gives control to her tummy area :)

Of course, Impression isn’t only for mature women – I had a great time shopping around Impression myself, and brought home these beauties that have served me extremely well in my daily life!

My own pink and purple Body Shaping bras – I adore the colors and designs! Aren’t they cute?

Benefits of the Body Shaping bra

  • Underwire & padding to give a central push-up effect
  • Firm support with push in effect at underarms area to prevent armpit cleavage
  • Extended height of side panels with boning gives firmer support and grip, minimizing bulges
  • Back of bra with U shaped straps to hide the extra bulging flesh

I decided to put Impression’s lingerie to the test, and put on the tightest bodycon dress I could find to find out what miracles it could do for my silhouette. Although I’m of an acceptable weight now, I still have lumps and bumps and saggy skin that I’ve found it hard to hide in certain tight fitting clothes, which is where the girdle and Body Shaping bra will come in handy!

I’ve lost more than 20kg in the last few years, which is great and all but it’s resulted in very “loose” skin that has somehow lost a lot of its tautness, making me appear flabbier and bigger than I actually am. Even my boobs are sitting lower on my chest than they should be because of the expanded and stretched out skin… this is why wearing shaping underwear is so important for girls like me! If you’ve ever gone through drastic weight changes before, I’m sure you can relate!

Before (with normal underwear / bra):

Checking out my silhouette in the mirror, I’m not too pleased. I have to suck in my tummy in order for there not to be a bulge, my love handles situation is out of control and because I’m so bottom heavy, I look extremely pear shaped no thanks to the bra I was wearing that wasn’t giving me enough support and boost!

Let’s see what this dress looks like on me After (with Impression Body Shaping bra & shaping underwear):

Feeling wayyyyy more confident!

My boobs have the proper support and shape, and equally significantly, my love handles have diminished greatly, giving me an overall trimmer and smoother silhouette. I don’t have to suck in my tummy anymore! I’m definitely gonna be wearing more girdles during the festive season because of the amount of feasting that will be happening. I need something to hold back those stomach fats that will soon be out of control!

Girdles from Impression that I’ve been wearing recently – the one on the left is seamless, extremely comfortable in a barely-there material – great for casual and everyday use! (I took the picture of its back and that explains the gathers in the centre to allow a 3D effect for the butt. ) It helps reduce the sight of love handles and size of my upper thighs. The one on the right is much thicker and tighter, intended for more control.

The high waist will keep your tummy and waist bulges in check, while the lower thigh length also makes it easy to pull off bodycon dresses for pear-shaped girls like myself! There’s different materials, sizes, lengths and types of girdles for every woman out there.

I’ve been going to the gym every now and then in an attempt to tone up, and these sports bras from Impression have come in handy! It’s important to wear the right kind of bra during sports in order to give your boobs the right support (or else they’ll be bouncing everywhere!) and for me, a non-clingy breathable material is a must-have feature as well.

Even when I’m sleeping, I’m still wearing Impression! I adore this midnight blue satin black lace lingerie set from them. Not only is the color gorgeous, but the soft lacy night bra actually provides support for my chest at night while I sleep without adding on any discomfort, thanks to the absence of wiring or metal bits. It’s extremely soft and it feels barely there.

I used to wonder what was the point of bras like that which provide so little support (and has so many holes in the lace?!) but the idea of wearing it to bed makes so much sense! If you’re like me and hate wearing normal bras to sleep, you’ll fall in love with this sexy alternative.

On days when I wanna feel extra luxurious, or when I’m traveling, I’ll pack along this nightie set that comes with a silky-feel satin robe. This is one of their many cotton, silk, chiffon and satin options! I love how lightweight fabric feels on the skin, and this is currently my favorite thing to wear to sleep. Comfort is a big deal to me, and I’m glad I don’t have to compromise on style even when I’m at home and that I can wake up feeling like a million dollars.

Impression has so many different types of underwear and lingerie, they’ve literally got me covered from day to night, home to gym to traveling overseas… You need to go check out their full range at their retail store to know what I’m talking about! My choice product from them would definitely have to be the Body Shaping bra, because it completely changes how I feel and look in bras – now I can’t even look at normal bras the same way anymore. The added support, physically and mentally, is something I’ve quickly gotten used to and I believe every woman should try the Body Shaping bra on at least once to feel the difference for yourself!

Impression is available at: BHG Bugis Junction, BHG Tampines, Isetan Katong (Parkway Parade), Isetan Nex (Serangoon), Isetan West Gate, John Little Marina Square, John Little Plaza Singapura, John Little Tiong Bahru, John Little Jurong Point, Metro City Square, Metro Woodlands, Metro Seng Kang, Tom & Stefanie (West Mall, Civic Centre and One KM), OG Albert, OG Orchard Point, and OG People’s Park.

And lastly, Takashimaya Departmental Store (which sells mainly nightwear)

Show some lingerie love to your mum this Christmas and New Year!

Impression is giving away 20 free items to my blog readers that have read this entry. 10 winners will be chosen, each bringing home 2 body Shaping Bras of their choice. One for yourself, one for your darling mum!

All you have to do is…

1) “Like” their page at www.facebook.com/iloveimpression & follow them on Instagram (@impressionlingerie)

2) On the title “Jessica goes lingerie shopping with mum at Impression” , “Share” with your friends

3) Under “Jessica goes lingerie shopping with mum at Impression”, comment on why you would like to win the Body Shaping Bra. Eg, “I hate armpit cleavage!”, “I think my mum needs it!”

4) Snap a fun photo of you and your mum, upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #shopwithmumatimpression

5) Period of Entry will be 23rd Dec to 4th Jan 2015.

Good luck, and have fun girls! Remember to check out Impression’s outlets to get update your lingerie closet.

xoxo,
Jess

Festive cooking with Perfect Italiano

Can you believe Christmas is creeping up on us once again?

This festive period is my favorite time of the year, so I’m not complaining. Who could fault delicious feasts, gifts exchanging, and merry-making? Even if you’re not religious (like myself) this season is for all to indulge in a bit of year-end fun! My idea of a Christmas party is cooking up a storm at home.

I’ve been hosting Christmas parties at my place for a couple of years now, and this year will be no exception! I love nothing more than filling up my loved ones’ tummies with lovingly made homecooked food as we gather around the table, clink our glasses together and laugh heartily. I may have to get down and dirty in the kitchen for awhile, but seeing their appreciative smiles makes it all worth it. I’m glad I came across these quick & easy festive menu by Perfect Italiano recently, they prove that cooking doesn’t have to be needlessly tedious or complicated when you have the right recipe and ingredients!

Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 shares a 5 course menu from appetizer to dessert, featuring the right Perfect Italiano cheese to match each dish. It offers you the simple solution of providing new ideas and inspiration – just in time for the festive season! Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds Italian flair to everyday family meals. The secret to good Italian cooking lies in the freshness of the ingredients used. And that exact same philosophy is applied to Perfect Italiano cheeses – only the best ingredients are used – so that you can achieve perfect Italian recipes, anytime and anywhere.


I’ve taken inspiration from two of their festive recipes to recreate these delicious dishes in the comfort of my own home, and I’ve provided my reworked recipes below!

Alfredo Pasta Bake (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 400g fusilli pasta
  • 200g sliced chicken filet / breast
  • 100g broccoli, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (your favorite type, I used a mixture of portobello, white & brown button)
  • 200ml cooking cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half a cube of chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • lots and lots of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes

Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta with a pinch of salt and a drip of olive oil until 95% cooked. Texture should be slightly undercooked or very al dente, because further cooking will be done in the oven later on. Rinse with cold water, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Stir fry the onions, garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil under onions are tender. Add broccoli, chicken meat and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes over high heat.
  3. Add the cooking cream and half a cube of chicken stock and cook on low heat until stock has dissolved completely.
  4. Turn off heat, stir in cooked fusilli pasta, do a taste test (add salt/pepper where desired) and spoon into baking dishes. Take note that the cheese will provide saltiness as well.
  5. Top off with a generous amount of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes, sprinkle with paprika for good color, then bake at 200 degrees in a preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

The end result is a deliciously creamy and cheesy pasta dish that I could eat over and over again! The creaminess is light enough without being too overwhelming so it will appeal to even non-fans of creamy pastas, and I’ve chosen to subtitute peas with broccoli and ham with chicken pieces from the original recipe because I prefer this combination of ingredients better.

I also find that adding the stock cube to the cream gives more depth to the flavor. It’s a fuss-free crowd pleaser with ingredients that most people eat and aren’t too pricey, exactly what I want to realistically achieve when I’m cooking for large groups!

Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes is my preferred choice of cheese to use when I’m baking a savory dish – just look at the way it melted and that gorgeous color and texture! I can simply pre-cook the pasta, sprinkle the cheese on, wait for my guests’ arrival and in less than 10 minutes they’ll have a mouthwatering cheesy meal straight out of my oven. Total prep & cooking time less than 40 minutes!

 

…And if you thought cheeses could only be used in savory dishes and are therefore one-dimensional, you’re about to be very surprised, like I was when I tried out this innovative Parmesan Apple Crumble!

Parmesan Apple Crumble (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 8):

(for crumble)

  • 200g softened salted butter
  • 175g white sugar
  • 300g plain or all purpose flour
  • 100g Perfect Italiano Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

(for filling)

  • 500g red apples, skinned and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place flour, sugar and Perfect Italian Parmesan in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add softened butter & vanilla extract then combine everything together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Moving onto the filling, place sliced apples in a bowl and sprinkle on the nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spoon the apple filling evenly onto a baking then, then cover entirely with breadcrumbs topping and sprinkle more Perfect Italiano Parmesan on top.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes in a preheated oven, or until crumble is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The end result blew me away!

I could not taste any distinct cheese or Parmesan in my apple crumble, but it had a slight savory touch which I’ve not had in other apple crumbles before. I’ve changed this recipe from the original on their website by reducing the amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar quite a bit to suit my personal taste.

Hence, if you attempt this recipe, do not be alarmed if your apple filling does not look as brown as mine!

Scoop out a portion and top off with vanilla ice cream for instant satisfaction. Go the extra mile by sprinkling biscuit / cookie crumbs on top and I even added popcorn bits to mine! Sure to win over anyone with a sweet tooth, and it tastes just like Christmas. This is a dessert that is uncommonly found outside, and I’m glad I found this recipe because I never realized how incredibly easy and inexpensive it was for me to replicate this myself at home.

You’ll never look at store bought apple crumble the same way again, because this was moist and full of flavor and not dry like some versions found outside! I think the Perfect Italiano Parmesan added a boost of flavor to the crumble, which is what makes is taste so special.

Looking for more perfectly cheesy recipes to whip up in your kitchen?

Check out Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 where there’s already an achievable 5 course menu waiting for you and your loved ones’ hungry stomachs. On their website are 15 seconds videos showing you how to achieve the same recipe at home – letting you know that cooking doesn’t have to be overly stressful or tiresome – it can be simple and yet still perfect! Tag your own recreations of Perfect Italiano recipes at #perfectitalianosg on social media to share your creations with other home cooks!

xoxo,
Jess
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