We all have our own ‘COVID-19 diaries’ don’t we? Sad stories about missing people, about not being to enjoy what we used to and living in fear of catching a potentially life-threatening infection.
The pandemic being so brutal over the past 2ish years meant that my boyfriend of 6 years, Chris, and I, had to be apart for much longer than ever intended. Although we always knew we were going to be in a long distance relationship, nothing prepared us for the extremely long time apart we would have to endure.
We used to see each other every 7-8 months for about 2 weeks at a time and it kept us going for the past 4 years we’ve been apart. But 2 years of not seeing each other took quite a large emotional and mental toll on us.
How did it finally happen?
The last time I physically saw Chris was in December 2019. It was a lovely holiday, we went around the UK as well as to Disneyland Paris for 3 days. I’m glad that was the ‘last trip’ before the big pandemic hit.
Because Singapore and the UK opened a VTL (vaccinated-travel lane) scheme in October 2021, Chris rushed to get a ticket to come see me. Both of us are fully vaccinated and this was finally the chance we had. Previously, he could still come to Singapore but only if he served a minimum of 10 days in a quarantine location he would’ve had to pay for himself (an average of $2,000+/-) and we simply did not want to throw that large amount of money away. So we waited, and thankfully, the VTL scheme came.
Chris landed in Singapore on the 15th of January and came to surprise me at my workplace after isolating for 4 hours whilst waiting for his on-arrival PCR test results. I screamed, I cried, we hugged. It was amazing. Nothing like being in the arms of your best friend and partner after being away for so long. I was elated.
How did it feel?
I was so happy and it felt like everything was right again. I had felt a sense of loss, sadness and great disappointment in everything over the last 2 years. As a homebody, introvert and someone who doesn’t have many friends, Chris was a main figure in my life for company, heart to heart talks and love.
It also felt very refreshing to finally have a 2-week break from work – a place I had been coming to 5-6 days a week consistently for the past 2 years because I was trying to save the little leave days I had for this trip.
Did anything change?
Because Chris and I kept such close contact over the last 2 years apart with video calls, care packages and much more, I felt like I had been with him all this time.
Over our 6 years together, we had definitely changed as people and it is only normal. I can honestly say we’ve changed for the better, become more empathetic, become more understanding, and more hardworking. Two peas in a long distance pod. Despite the physical distance, we never drifted apart.
That being said, I had a couple of hours of feeling extremely shy around him because it was like ‘meeting for the first time’. But it quickly went away as I knew, this is my Chris.
What was the hardest?
Communicating effectively posed a challenge a few times during our time apart. It is hard to communicate to the best of your ability when you are unable to meet and can only talk via video call or text message.
When we were younger, things were worse. I feel like I was pettier, I was more easily angry, frustrated and impatient. Now, I feel like I’m simply a ~chilled out~ version of what I used to be. That doesn’t mean we don’t have silly little arguments every once in awhile, we definitely still do – but all that is normal and some would even say, healthy.
We will always have things to work on as no relationship is perfect.
On a much lighter note, sleeping next to someone in the same bed is something I definitely need to get used to.
How did it feel when he left?
Sigh. It was a big fat sigh.
When I say it never gets easier, I mean it. We’ve done this so many times, we’re practically professionals – but it never gets easier. Everybody keeps telling me, “You should be used to it by now!” or “It must be a breeze!”.
The short answer is no, it isn’t easy. Yes, it has gotten easier, but only because we’ve found ways to cope. I occupy my lonely evenings with soap-making, watching long YouTube videos, playing Scrabble Go on my phone for hours with a bot, or simply.. sleeping. He focuses on catching up with podcasts, playing his favourite video games and seeing a pal once in awhile. These are all habits we’ve formed over the years with that much time on our hands.
How has your life changed since then?
On the 17th of January 2022, he popped the question at Gardens By The Bay’s Floral Fantasy exhibition – a beautiful place filled with colour, flowers, nature and soothing background music. I cried , but I was happy because I knew where my life was heading – back to the UK.
Since I left in 2018 after graduating from the University of Lincoln, I had always dreamt of going back. 300 job applications later, I started to lose motivation. Most companies that could sponsor a work visa simply preferred not to because of excess fees. But I was determined to go back – I had enjoyed my 5 years of living there so much and I love the UK. Chris’s proposal meant I had something to work towards now and that was saving money for the ‘big move’ to live with him.
For so long I have wanted to have my own independence in the form of no longer living with my parents, owning my own home and being responsible for all aspects of my own life. And I finally think it’s coming! I always found it hard for myself to grow as a person in Singapore as all of the abovementioned were not a stone’s throw away.
What happens now?
I save, save and save.
I have an incredibly low income for someone who works a minimum of 44 hours a week. Most times I’m embarrassed to tell people what I earn. Despite that, I’m generally quite disciplined with my savings. The ‘savings culture’ in Singapore has been ingrained in me ever since I obtained my first paycheck. I never let my savings dip below $100.
Moving across the world is a big commitment and one that costs a lot of money, the kind of money a girl in their late 20’s would struggle to handle. But I’m doing it anyway, because if I never try I’ll never know. This ‘tough road ahead’ may be the one thing that changes my life for the better.
No more spending money on things I can’t afford, no more spending money on impulse buys, no more spending money on unnecessary meals out. I can do this! I like being home after all. Will there be a lot of sacrifices to be made? Yes. Will I have to forgo the ‘little pleasures’ for this big plan of mine? Yes. But is it worth it? We’ll wait and see!
It was never going to be a smooth sailing road for me, and the advantage I have is that I have always been mentally prepared for it to be difficult, so it doesn’t come as a huge shock to me that this is what I have to do for myself and my happiness.
Thank you, self. I’ll need it.
Coming from a Southeast Asian family, there is a lot I could talk about with regards to topics such as how my parents handled it, how I spoke to my parents about such a life-changing decision, their level of acceptance, my thoughts on filial piety and leaving your family, how I as an only child am managing to do this, etc. The list goes on.
I’ll definitely write more about that in detail in another post, but for now, I am just happy to have reached this point in my life where I have something very clear to look forward to.
In the meantime, I’ll need all the luck I can get!
2021 has surely gone by like a blur and I’ve had my fair share of trial and error with different skincare products. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a skincare junkie!
For reference, I am an oily skinned gal, with lots of texture, pores, and the occasional breakout. I was also on Accutane for about 8 months which helped, but now that I’m off it, the oiliness has come back in full force, so none of the products I’ll be talking about will be for dry skin.
Enough rambling, let’s chat products!
Please note that all products linked are discounted specially for you and if you purchase any linked item, I will get a tiny bit of commission! If clicking links aren’t your thing, do use code MARISSA420 at checkout on YesStyle for discounts on all products storewide!
One of the most important parts of my skincare routine as a regular makeup-wearer is cleansing oil. You need to get a good cleansing oil that suits your skin type to get all the day’s gunk off your face.
Manyo’s Pure Cleansing Oil is a new addition to my routine and I love it! It is rich in amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins. There isn’t much of a fragrance to it, it smells very subtly like lavender which is one of my favourite scents. It isn’t the most lightweight, nor is it extremely greasy, which I like for the end of the day. You don’t want to be using a cleansing oil that’s too drying even if you have oily skin.
I also love the packaging and label design – plus points for that! I can’t wait to explore more of what Manyo has to offer as this is the first product of theirs that I’ve ever tried and it has already been promising.
If you’ve followed me on any other social media account, you’ll know how much I rave about this serum. Snail serum? Wtf is that?!
This repairing and lightweight Snail Truecica Serum has to be my favourite find of the year. I absolutely love it and I’ve repurchased it 3 times, and I’ve also recommended it to a bunch of my friends and colleagues.
This serum contains naturally derived ingredients such as sage extract, willow bark extract, allantoin and snail secretion filtrate. If you’re concerned about how ‘cruelty free’ this item is (as I was when I first looked into it), we’ve been told that in order to get the best quality snail mucin, the snails must be left alone, be healthily fed and with a calm composure, which sounds to me like there is 0 cruelty to the snails involved. And we love snails here!
I mostly use this serum at night as I refrain from extra products on my face during the day because I am a human oil slick, and this fits right in before my moisturiser and I swear it makes my skin glow and look healthier the next morning. The consistency isn’t extremely oily, but it is most like a thick liquid (almost gel-like), and smells great too. It is extremely soothing and supposedly has anti-wrinkle properties too!
Another snail serum – what?!
COSRX is a staple brand in my skincare routine for good reason, they have such a wide variety of affordable products as well as products for every skin type and problem.
This Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is an amazing night serum that I use all the time. I even bought one bottle for my boyfriend because it is that good. Containing as much as 96% snail mucin, this product’s consistency is extremely snail-like (lol!) and by that I mean it has a stringy, slippery, slimy consistency that I can deal with. It just assures me that this product is chock-full of snail-y goodness.
This serum also include sodium hyaluronate, allantoin, panthenol and arginine, which provide additional hydrating and elasticity-enhancing effects – amazing for skin regeneration!
I have to admit TikTok has played a huge role in a lot of skincare products for me this year and this is definitely one of them! COSRX is a brand that’s been very popular in Singapore for awhile now, and I’m glad I finally tried their Aloe Soothing Cream with SPF50 after TikTok convinced me to.
It is lightweight and seems to be great for all skin types. Smells amazing too – I can’t pinpoint exactly what the smell is but it’s great as I’ve had some sunscreens that have simply smelled awful. The scent doesn’t linger, so if you are sensitive to fragrances, I wouldn’t be too scared of trying this out. “Fragrance” is listed as the 2nd last ingredient in its contents, so the overall % isn’t very high.
Aloe vera is known for its soothing properties and that is the main ingredient in this product which I love! My face has quite a bit of redness in certain areas so anything that can help soothe it is a plus!
Salicylic acid has been a staple in my skincare routine for as long as I’ve started taking care of my skin. When I first discovered Sephora’s new Good Skincare collection that promised “clean” ingredients as well as eco-friendly packaging, I was sold! I’m a sucker for that stuff.
The Sephora Good Skincare’s Salicylic Acid serum is a really affordable and effective serum for people who suffer with oily skin and acne. I personally sometimes use it on the back of my arms too for the texture that’s caused by ingrown hairs.
It is super lightweight, lightweight enough for me to even use during the day, and doesn’t leave a tacky feel on the skin which is awesome for the humid Singapore weather. One small 30ml bottle has actually lasted me over 8 months now, and it was very affordable to purchase. I’m definitely looking to try out more from the Good Skincare collection so that I can review them as it has all been very promising.
I’ve also talked about this great little product before and it is none other than The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask.
This is one of my favourite wash-off masks of all time and that’s saying a lot because I think I’ve tried more than 40 face masks in my time. It is a clay mask with bits of green tea leaves in it for gentle exfoliation. It also has tea tree oil in it which is a staple ingredient for oily, acne-prone skin!
The charcoal bamboo also helps suck out impurities in the pores and the fact that it tingles when its on the skin gives me the illusion that it really works – but will you ever know if the impurities are physically sucked out? You tell me! I love it either way, as it leaves my skin feeling extremely clean after. I use this about once a week.
My only problem with his product is that the green tea leaves can sometimes clog the sink, and because the mask has such a high clay percentage, it can dry out pretty quickly. Other than that, it is the perfect cleansing mask in my opinion.
AXIS-Y is a new brand I discovered late into 2021, thanks to the wonderful app that is TikTok.
I love pore clarifying masks and this Mugwort Pore Clarifying Wash Off Pack works the charm! It has little aduki beans in it for that soft exfoliation effect.
This great little mask pack is cruelty free and vegan friendly, free from artificial colours, mineral oil, fragrances and parabens, I would be confident to label it as a ‘clean’ beauty item, and it contains one of my favourite skincare ingredients – hyaluronic acid! Hyaluronic acid can speed wound healing and promote healthier, glowy skin.
TikTok convinced me to buy this facial cleanser for the second time! I actually had it before, and I got bored of it, but then I realised that simple was better!
Cerave’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is a dermatologist-tested facial cleanser that is extremely gentle and great for protective the skin’s natural barrier. I guess I got bored of it because it was that gentle that I didn’t see any extreme changes in my skin, but why was that a bad thing to me? I should’ve focused on the fact that it didn’t actually break me out, like a lot of skincare products do.
This cleanser features ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide – all ingredients that are great for me and my skin in particular! One 355ml bottle will also last you MONTHS!
Why did I ever doubt you, Cerave?!
Like always, I will be continuing to try, test and review more skincare products in the next year and forever (more?) as it is and will always be an obsession of mine to find better, affordable skincare.
Which of these products intrigue you? Have I made you want to try any of them? I also want to know what your favourite skincare products of the year have been, whether it is K-Beauty or not! Let me know in the comments.
Makeup junkies unite!
I can’t wait to talk to you about the many makeup items that I’ve tried, tested and loved over the past year. It has truly been a time of change and experimentation as I found my makeup routine switching from a dramatic-eye look and thick foundation to a more natural eye look and lighter foundation.
It has also been the year where I started to prioritize spending money on skincare more than makeup.
Kinda crazy what a pandemic does to you! Alongside being on makeuptok which is a bad influence on me for sure.
Please note that all products linked are discounted specially for you and if you purchase any linked item, I will get a tiny bit of commission! If clicking links aren’t your thing, do use code MARISSA420 at checkout on YesStyle for discounts on all products storewide!
Let’s start off with the base product!
Innisfree has been a favourite brand of mine for ages and this No Sebum Blur Primer works the charm for my oily skin!
The primer itself is skin-coloured, but it doesn’t show when applied. It is very very mattifying, there will not be a single bit of glow left on your skin when you apply your foundation. This works perfectly for me because.. well, I’m super oily! It is very lightweight and almost feels like nothing.
One downside I can think of is that the product is very hard to squeeze out of the bottle. I’m not sure if its because of the balmy consistency of the primer or if it is because the tube is extremely small, but sometimes as I’m pressing on it to get some product out, I fear everything would explode at me.
Two primer recommendations? What?!
We all know and love the original elf Putty Primer and because I’m in need of some skin-mattifying, I chose the Matte Putty Primer over it! And I absolutely love this product.
It is lightweight, oil free and also doesn’t leave any sort of ‘white cast’ even though the putty itself is purely white in colour. It is also infused with kaolin clay and white charcoal, ingredients that have been known to ‘absorb oil’ – perfect for me!
I’m a matte bronzer girl 100%! I don’t like shimmery bronzers because I’m naturally shiny anyway, so matte bronzers have always been my thing.
I got a travel-sized version of Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer a couple of years ago and I fell in love. This bronzer is so easy to apply, not overly-pigmented so you end up having a crappy contour, and also the perfect shade for loads of light-medium skin tones. I absolutely love it and I have no issues with it!
Well, I do have 1 issue. I’m not a high-end makeup type of person and I would consider Benefit to be pretty high end as this bronzer was not cheap and also not the biggest. Not sure how long my full-sized one that I’ve just dug into will last me, but I’ll keep you updated!
My eye makeup has changed pretty drastically over the last year. I used to be a heavy eyeliner type of person, with Kat Von D’s tattoo liner being my holy grail for about 4 years, but now I’m much more into eyeliner pencils!
Essence’s Long Lasting Eye Pencil in the shade Hot Chocolate has been a favourite of mine for about 2 months now! We already know how great Essence products are, and I’m obsessed with this eye pencil that I just randomly decided to pick up from the drug store one day because it was so darn cheap.
It is definitely waterproof and I daresay, quite difficult to get off at the end of the day. I have very oily eyelids and this has still never failed me. The shade Hot Chocolate is a beautiful warm and pigmented dark brown. I’m definitely going to be re-purchasing this awesome little find!
I used to be the biggest stan of everyone’s holy grail Essence’s Last Princess mascara. I’m sure you know the one! It was plastered on every blog and every magazine article about mascaras. When I went to the drug store one day to find it out of stock, I decided to pick up Essence’s What The Fake mascara instead and let me just say.. wow.
I love this mascara SO MUCH! The main difference I found between this and Lash Princess is that Lash Princess turns out a lot more clumpy. What The Fake produces a more airy, wispy eyelash result, which looks natural but also looks like you’ve got a eyelash extensions on. One day when I went to try an old Lash Princess mascara of mine that was drying out, I realised how much I liked What The Fake more!
So.. I bought 3 of them to stock up.
It is truly an incredible mascara, doesn’t smudge and stain, and has a huge fat wand that can grasp at all my short Asian lash hairs. And it is SO affordable!
I only discovered this CC cream very late in the year, but elf’s Camo CC Cream has been a product I keep talking to people about!
It acts as a CC cream, has SPF in it, has extremely full coverage and has a huge shade range. It works as a foundation which is what I mainly use it for, and I hardly have to use any concealer after.
It isn’t oily, but also isn’t matte. I would say it has a demi-matte finish which I’m cool with, but I probably wouldn’t wear this on long days out. The next foundation would be my pick.
I used to be the biggest All Nighter foundation by Urban Decay stan, but after switching over to L’Oreal’s Infallible 24h Matte Cover foundation, I am forever a changed woman!
I love high coverage as I’ve got lots of acne scarring and hyperpigmentation from previous breakouts, and I find that the 24h matte cover foundation gave such a high coverage without the cakey-ness and thickness that came with the Urban Decay foundation. Better yet, it has SPF in it!
I use this foundation with both a brush and a damp beauty blender and I have to say, the beauty blender definitely works a lot better. I love it, I could even use it without concealer which is saying a lot. It has also been known to be ‘mask-proof’, and I can attest to that, as someone who wears a mask every day alongside this foundation.
I love Etude House’s packaging more than most brands, and this Cookie Blusher in the shade Tangerine Tart is so adorable. Love the little dome it comes in, and the blush itself is pretty damn good for a low price!
It comes with a tiny bit of sparkle in the pan but I don’t mind so much as it’s not really visible once it is on the skin. It is also not too crazily pigmented, which is great if you’re going for the more subtle everyday look.
No complaints, they even have a huge shade range!
This was a purchase that surprised me in a very good way. I’d been seeing lots of people review SHEGLAM makeup on TikTok and I had to try them for myself.
SHEGLAM’s Nine To Fine eyeshadow palette only cost me $6.75 which is approximately £3.70 – extremely affordable! I was worried about the colour payoff because it was so cheap but man, I was shooketh.
The 9 shades are all super pigmented and they suit my skintone (light warm) perfectly. I am obsessed with the orange shade, and I use it with a small blending brush. It blends out perfectly and I have NO complaints about this palette at all. I’m actually looking forward to trying more SHEGLAM products.
Now, this is another product that TikTok coerced me into buying. NO REGRETS EITHER! SHEGLAM has definitely outshone.
SHEGLAM’s All In One Volume & Length Mascara has treated me so well, costing only $7, which is approximately £3.90… this mascara performed amazingly. It is double-sided, buildable, waterproof and jet black which I love. One brush is to lift lashes and the other is to add volume, and I use them both.
I haven’t been too adventurous with trying new highlighters lately, so my favourite of 2021 is also a favourite from 2020.
The wet n wild Megaglow Highlighting Powder in the shade Golden Flower Crown is my favourite! Shimmery but not slick-oily looking, and also stays on all day. The champagne-like colour is great for a lighter, warmer skin tone like mine.
I also do like wet n wild’s Highlighting Gold Bar – it is a close second!
The final step of every makeup routine is a good setting spray. I love Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray but Milani’s Make It Last Matte Charcoal Setting Spray knocks it off the shelf with half the price!
I’ve never really tried Milani products but I’m glad this was a first for me. There was a sale on Shopee so I decided to give it a try, and I love it! It keeps my makeup on all day and only a bit of shine appears on my skin after 10 hours of wear which is good enough for me as I am aware my skin is oilier than most.
Would love to try more setting sprays in Milani’s range as I know they have about 5 different types of sprays!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all my makeup favourites of the year as much as I’ve enjoyed writing this post and sharing my products with you. I’m sure there are many many more products in my collection that I’ve favoured but these have been the absolute top contenders!
If you wear makeup, what have you enjoyed and why? I’d love to see some of your recommendations!
The season of gift-giving has come around again, and I am so excited to showcase some really amazing small businesses you can support this festive period.
2021 has been a blast for shopping small, with more and more brilliant, talented creatives setting up shop all over the world, there’s something for everyone! And who doesn’t love a touch of handmade in their gifts? I know I absolutely do!
Shopping small is definitely more fulfilling than shopping straight from Amazon, Lazada or Shopee as you are helping an actual person and their own company live their dream – there’s nothing better!
Instead of splitting this post into several parts, I’ll be doing a massive masterpost this year as this blog post will be out much closer to Christmas time than last year’s post. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to be tempted to spend some money!
Disclaimer – I am not sponsored by any of these shops or creators.
Becca from BeccToBasics sells adorable little crochet items on her CocoCart store and Instagram. I have personally followed her for the past couple of months and she’s the loveliest human ever and has such a knack for crocheting – something I don’t think I will ever be able to accomplish! It’s a real work of art for the patient human.
From coasters to small plushies, from animal keychains to wearables, Becca does them all with her crafty little fingers! She also accepts custom requests, just drop her a DM on Instagram.
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – $10 to $100
Lyric from LyricStitches is my favourite handmade plushie maker! Not only is she the sweetest, and most helpful person, her plushie creations are so diverse and adorable and are mostly animals which I love.
As a plushie collector myself, I knew I had to get one of her little froggies for myself and a mini one for my boyfriend when she approached me for an art trade a few months ago. I’ll tell ya, I was more flattered than anything as I had been eyeing a frog plush for a few weeks before that.
Lyric makes frog plushies, bat plushies, ray plushies, comfort pillows as well as other knick knacks like keychains and stickers! I cannot wait to get more of her plushies, especially the adorable rays!
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – 90p to £30
Snuggly Duck Crafts
I can’t go into talking about small business shopping without cheekily plugging my own, can I?
Over at Snuggly Duck Crafts, you’ll find an array of affordable yet adorable handmade soaps, lotion bars, lip balms, candles, wax melts and bath accessories for your little home! All soaps are vegan whilst lotion bars are vegetarian, candles and wax melts are all completely made with soy wax. I’ve got a Christmas range out now for you to begin your shopping!
As Black Friday is around the corner, I will also be participating in a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale – starting on 26/11 and ending on 29/11. If the turnout is amazing (which I hope it’ll be), I may extend the sale.
Also, if you love Animal Crossing, you’ll love what I’ve got to offer!
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – £1 to £16 or $2 to $30 (Singapore dollars)
Brogan from Shop Lovebug creates the funkiest, most eye-catching polymer clay earrings from Manchester, United Kingdom. Her Christmas drop is so cute – featuring little snails carrying Christmas trees on their backs. What a genius idea! I love her little mushy earrings too!
I’ve followed her little small business journey right from the beginning as we have been mutuals on Twitter for a few years. Now, Shop Lovebug also sells painted candle sticks, clay trays, necklaces, rings and tealight holders – all in vibrant colours! I’m so happy to see her expand her range and even more happy to see pictures of her happy, fulfilled customers on her IG stories.
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – £5 to £14
Nooks Needles Co
Lauren from Nooks Needles Co is based in Warwickshire, United Kingdom and I have personally purchased from her twice and my boyfriend has purchased from her once already – no regrets in the slightest!
Lauren crafts Animal Crossing themed-embroidered wearables such as tote bags, jumpers, hats and beanies. I’ve got a Celeste jumper, a Celeste beanie and now, a Maple hat coming my way! I’m very excited for it – I got the one in pink!
If you or a loved one really like Animal Crossing and its characters, give her little shop a visit. All her items are of extremely high quality, affordable and are also a conversation starter for the lil’ gamer in you.
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – £18 to £35
Eleni from Asimi Studio is a beautiful, classy shop founded in 2020 that sells handcrafted sterling silver jewellery from London, United Kingdom. Asimi started off with making pots, bowls, plates and cups from clay and has now branched into jewellery. Her items are made with .925 stirling silver and a variety of gemstones, to give you durable and sturdy jewellery that you can wear daily .
All her jewellery is also hypoallergenic and unique in its own way! She has a Black Friday sale coming up, so visit her store asap!
Fun fact – Eleni is Greek-Cypriot and “asimi” means “silver” in Greek! How cool is that!
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – £7 to £70 for polymer clay jewellery and £47 to £60 for sterling silver jewellery
FloralFlairies is a glitter-haven small business based in Singapore. Custom resin barrettes and tray pieces play a huge part in their sales and clientele, and all their pieces are either glittery, sparkly or floral – extremely beautiful! Another unique thing that they do is that they incorporate jesmonite into many of their pieces which not many local creators do.
They also have a special Loyalty Card programme where you can become a loyalty card member with any 3 purchases and it entitles you to 10% off for all future custom requests! It is a great incentive, especially for loyal, returning customers.
Shipping worldwide – Yes
Price range – $18.90 to $40 (Singapore dollars)
Rachael from Habichl sells adorable tufted rugs for your little home! Tufted rugs are so in-trend right now and Habichl is the place to go to look at her colourful creations! All her rugs are scratch in small batches, and no 2 rugs are the same which is what I love about handmade items.
Her creations are colourful and many of them are supposedly inanimate objects that don a smiley face to bring them to life. I personally love the animal-themed ones she has!
Shipping worldwide – Yes but contact her before making an international purchase
Price range – $4 to $75 (Singapore dollars)
Pomelo Paints Co
Caitlin from Pomelo Paints Co is one of my favourite illustrators that I’ve known from both Instagram and Twitter. I love her work so much that I have my business cards commissioned by her on her Ko-Fi! If you’re going to make an order from my small business in the new year, you’ll receive her well-designed business card in your order.
Pomelo Paints Co creates stickers, clay and stationery including washi tapes and keychains. I’ve purchased a strawberry frog keychain from her before and it hangs on my backpack everyday! What I love most about her works is how vibrant and colourful they all are.
Shipping worldwide – Selected countries only
Price range – $2 to $12
Laura from Opulence Jewellery sells really cute handmade clay jewellery from the United Kingdom, ranging from realistic food and treats to little frogs and flowers! She makes the occasional clay tray too which are always so adorable! Her works always look so magical – something out of an Enid Blyton book. If you’re a cottagecore lover, head right over to her website now!
Her adorable packaging and Christmas range is something that really stands out for me at the moment – she has a miniature 3D gingerbread house in her Christmas drop! AMAZING. Try not to eat!
Shipping worlwide – Yes
Price range – £3.50 to £20
This Christmas, I hope you will consider shopping small, even if its for the first time! It’s never to late to start discovering new and amazing independent shops that put their heart and soul into every piece.
Since the festive season is next month, I would highly encourage you to put in your orders as soon as you can, as most small businesses are run solely by 1 individual person and can take some time to create, pack and ship the order. You don’t want to be missing out!
Did any of these small businesses and their products catch your eye? Leave some small business links in the comments below!
We already know I’m the biggest K-Beauty stan of 2021, almost my entire skincare routine is filled with products from K-beauty lines.
It’s no secret that K-beauty has quickly become a favourite of so many skincare consumers all around the world – particularly for their natural and gentle ingredients, adorable packaging and value for money. Even if you’re not a fan of the typical “glass skin” look, there’s something in K-Beauty for everyone.
I love the ‘matte’ finish and I still use K-Beauty skincare as well as makeup products, so I am living proof that it can be for anyone.
Disclaimer – clickthrough links are affiliated with YesStyle and you will be able to get some discounts by using any of the links in this post! I will also get a tiny bit of commission if you buy through my links – so please use them if you’re comfortable doing so!
MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE
What the heck is a bubble cleanser?
This Bye Bye Blemish Vita Tox Brightening Bubble Cleanser is so unique and special, formulated with goheung yuja extract, geju green tangerine extract and 18 kinds of vitamins and Vita oxygen bubbles! It gives a really interesting bubbly texture on the skin and side note – it smells amazing! An extremely fresh and citrusy scent, I use this all the time in the mornings.
I’m a huge fan of COSRX and I’ve tried a lot of their products. I particularly like their AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner.
First of all, it comes in a convenient spray bottle and I am all about convenience when getting ready in the morning. The spritz is very light and misty, I love it. Secondly, the toner itself is great, I feel very fresh and my skin isn’t left with an awful greasy feeling which I generally hate.
I only use this toner in the mornings as I like something a bit more moisturising at night time.
The ever popular Soon Jung range from Etude House belongs in many user’s holy grail collection. I completely get why!
The Soon Jung 10-Free Moist Emulsion is a great day moisturiser, fantastic for oily and sensitive skin because of its very gentle ingredient list and 0 fragrance. I’ve bought this emulsion-moisturiser twice and I love it! It is hypoallergenic, contains a low pH value and is made of 93% natural ingredients!
I also love the bottle – it looks like glass but is actually plastic which is handy for travel or if you’re just a butter-fingers like myself. The product absorbs extremely quickly into the skin which makes it perfect for applying makeup afterwards.
I am personally very picky with sunscreen because of my oily skin as well as because I wear makeup almost everyday – so whatever sunscreen I commit to during that day has to be absolutely perfect. This sunscreen is said to be suitable for face and body. SPF50 is a must in sunny Singapore!
The COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is close enough for me! One thing I love about this is actually how it smells, I know a lot of people don’t like sunscreens with fragrances but I looooove the smell! It also has no white cast at all and is not greasy, which is great.
EVENING SKINCARE ROUTINE
Hada Labo has been such a raved-about brand within Singapore’s drug store skincare ranges and I had to try something from them. As an everyday-makeup-wearer, oil cleansers are very important to me!
The Gokujyun Oil Cleanser is a very nice lightweight oil cleanser that I’ve almost finished using. As someone who switches up their cleansing oil every couple of months, I can say that this is a great starter cleansing oil as it is not too thick, and very easy to wash off. It is also effective at removing makeup!
This isn’t my favourite oil cleanser of all time but I would say it is indeed a good one.
I love me some exfoliation! As someone who wears makeup very often and has mild hygiene OCD, I really love scrubs!
The Dear Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish is a repurchase after repurchase! I especially like it because it is a sugar scrub, and I love sugar scrubs for both my body and face. Some of the ingredients include shea butter, black sugar and cranberry oil – all very hydrating and soothing for the skin.
Add this sugar scrub with a few drops of water before using it on your skin and it will form a lovely emulsified liquid.
I found this clearing pad as a recommendation from TikTok (are we surprised?) and I love it!
Goodal’s Apple AHA Clearing Pad is something I use 3-4 times a week after I cleanse my face. The pads itselves are shaped like little apples, which I love, and they smell like apples too!
This peeling pad is a gentle exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and impurities for a clearer, healthier complexion. It is rich in AHA to help exfoliate the skin without destroying the skin barrier which is very very important in any AHA product. It is also known to minimise pores!
I can’t say enough good things about Some By Mi’s Snail Trucica line. I never thought I’d be such a fan of snail-based products, but I love this range so much!
Some By Mi’s Snail Truecica Miracle Repair Toner is a great every-day and every-night toner. The truecica ingredient soothes skin and strengthens the skin barrier, all whilst healing your damaged skin with black snail extract. It is also great for acne scarring as snail extract is known to promote skin regeneration.
You only need a small splash to cover your face, and the scent that comes with this toner is extremely soothing – almost like a spa-like essential oil. Would definitely rate this as one of my all-time favourite toners.
I know I must totally sound like a broken record with my Some By Mi praise at this point, and I swear they aren’t sponsoring me although I wish they did – but THEY HAVE SUCH GREAT PRODUCTS!
I only recently introduced a prospolis product into my skincare routine as I hadn’t heard much about it before TikTok introduced it to me. Propolis has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which is helpful in wound healing. The Propolis B5 Glow Barrier Calming serum is chock-filled with propolis and honey extract.
The fragrance isn’t my favourite but it doesn’t linger on the skin, so it doesn’t bother me much!
If I have any active breakouts, I know a tea tree oil is the product for me.
Some By Mi’s 30 Days Miracle Tea Tree Clear Spot Oil is such a handy item to have in your skincare drawer for those days where you need some extra special treatment for an active breakout. It smells lovely and as we all know, tea tree is great at helping to kill the bacteria present in a fresh pimple.
The best thing about this tea tree oil is that it can be used daily and won’t dry out your skin because of panthenol and allantoin – 2 very moisturising ingredients that you don’t usually find in spot control oils.
If this item is not available for you to purchase because of location, The Body Shop’s tea tree oil is also a close second but costs slightly more.
SPECIAL MENTIONS – FACE MASKS
If I’m looking to be a bit more moisturised that evening, I’ll wear a face mask after cleansing my face and before I start to use my toner.
The Mugwort Mask from I’m From is a great hydrating mask with the ever-so-popular ingredient – mugwort! This product is a wash-off mask containing 2.1% mugwort leaf powder from Ganghwa, Korea that helps to soothe skin and hydrate. It is enriched with other botanical extracts to treat skin problems and refine skin texture for clear and smooth skin.
The texture is gel-like, which is interesting and lightweight, and it also smells like a herbal shop. I really like it and a little goes a long way!
If I feel like I need some extra pore-cleansing that night, the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is my go-to!
Clay masks are definitely my favourite type of mask as an oily-skinned gal. This little tub contains a deep-cleansing formula with volcanic clusters that draw out toxins and impurities – this is very useful if you have oily skin and wear makeup! Made with volcanic ash, glycerin and kaolin, this mask not only draws out impurities and dirt, but it also won’t dry you out.
One small 100ml tub seems to have lasted me months!
Not everyone enjoys a peel-off mask but I do! I love having the squeaky-clean feeling after a makeup routine or shower, so this mask is perfect for me. And no washing off required – great for lazy nights where you don’t want to troop back to the bathroom.
Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Peek Off Mask is a great starter peel off mask for those of you who want to get into it as it doesn’t tug and pull like crazy and hurt the skin. It is gentle enough to not leave my skin red and sensitive after.
Made with jeju volcanic clusters, this is great for controlling oil production.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my super lengthy post about my skincare routine. If you’re interesting in getting any of the recommended products, click on the links where I’ve bolded the titles of the products to get a discounted price!
What do you think of my products that I currently use? Do any catch your eye? Recommend me some of your K-Beauty faves and we can chat about it!