. one last chapter .

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. water caving at Gua Batu Maloi .

Ever since I had my neck injury, I had many friends and colleagues coming up to me and telling me “not to do anything stupid or adventurous anymore” but I guess the ‘thrill seeker’ spirit is still lurking somewhere within me. I still yearn to expand my horizon and push my boundaries with adventure and extreme outdoor activities. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. I chose to embark on my first adventure, since the injury, with YMCA  Outdoor Adventure group for their water caving expedition at the relatively unknown Gua Batu Maloi. My first ‘caving or black water tubing’ experience in New Zealand was, surprisingly, very challenging and fun and I knew it was just a matter of time that I would get to repeat this extraordinary experience. :)

Nested in the midst of the lush rainforest of Mount Tampin Forest Reserve, which is a 3 hours drive from Singapore, Batu Maloi is a nature site made up of stacks of gigantic granite boulders and rocks. It is unlike a real cave, which is essentially an underground space caused usually either by erosion or geological processes. The Batu Maloi cave system is more like a ‘make-shift’ cave, formed beneath the masses of large boulders and it has a stream of water that snakes across the stones and rocks of the floor. Hence, the phrase “water caving” instead of simply “caving”. Water caving is definitely not an activity for the prim and proper because one is certainly expected to climb, squeeze, crawl and even get fully submerged underwater for a few seconds! You have been warned!

And so, my caving adventure begins with 2 of my adventurous girlfriends, JZ and Eileen! :)

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Our journey began with a relatively easy trek that took us through the startlingly beautiful foliage and greenery of the rainforest. What a captivating sight!
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Using ropes to traverse along the creek. I would highly recommend you guys to don a pair of gloves as it would help with your grip. 
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A picturesque view – Natural light filtering through the cave openings.
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As we ventured deeper into the caves, we found ourselves at areas where the water level had risen up to our chest. The water levels in the cave have been known to rise extremely fast after heavy downpours (It was a rainy day the day before!) and there were even instances where unwitting explorers were trapped inside the cave for hours. We were fortunate enough to have local guides with us as they would re-direct our paths in areas where the water current was too strong or risky for our safety.

For the bulk of our caving exploration, we had to constantly wriggle our bodies through tiny gaps and crevices, crawl around narrow and winding passages in complete darkness  with hordes of bats flying above us (Thank god for headlamps!) and slide down large rocks to get ground. At times, we even had to hold our breath and crawl underwater (fully submerged!) to make our way through to the next opening.

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Sometimes, there was nowhere else for you to go except to go upwards. So, despite our battered bodies, we had to gather whatever strength left in us to pull ourselves up the 5m high boulders! Another section of the cave also saw us pitting against the strong currents of a waterfall, in order to advance to our final destination. Lose your grip and you might risk getting washed away by the currents!

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Pit stop: Natural jacuzzi for us to soak our tired bodies and over-worked feet!
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I survived!
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We might have gone home, complete with bruises, scratches and aching muscles but these superficial “injuries” were nothing compared to the amazing experience and sheer satisfaction of accomplishing this challenging activity.

Some Tips for those who are planning on a caving expedition:

1. You don’t have to be in a very good shape but be mentally prepared that you will have to rough it out. Some sections of the cave will require you to gather your strength to pull yourself up boulders and rocks, but with a bit of teamwork, it is not as difficult as it might seem.

2. If possible, try to wear a pair of long pants, rash vest (both for protection against rough and sharp surfaces) and water shoes for this expedition. Get a proper headlight because you will find yourself in complete darkness at times and that’s when you will realize just how helpful it is to have a light source while being hands-free.

3. Go for this activity with an open mind and adventurous spirit, and you will find yourself enjoying it even more! :)

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Batu Maloi Cave, Mount Tampin Forest Reserve
Tampin, Malaysia

. weekend: bits and pieces .

Weekends / 1st handmade match-mini giveaway on Carousell / Becoming an instant ABBA fan after listening to the tunes of the ultimate feel-good musical Mama Mia! / Couchsurfer Newbie in action – Bringing my first couchsurfers from Greece & India to Gardens by the Bay and Float @ The Bay / Farewell dinner for Sara / Chilling to the jazz beats at WooBar, W Hotel / Our favourite Place – Off we go to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo / Embarking on our first buddy run together. So proud of little Simba for completing the run! / Girls Gone Wild at Montigo Batam 

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. Christmas: design your gifts for loved ones .

Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year, it’s a time for joyous celebration and giving! ❄ ❅  ☃ It is always a festive season that I’m looking forward to! :)

As most of you would have known by now, 2014 has been a very remarkable year for me. In retrospect, it holds many painful and heartbreaking memories for me – physically, emotionally and mentally – but I stood strong and courageous in times of extreme adversity and came out of this experience, knowing just how resilient I can be. “When we challenge everything we believe we are, we reveal that which we never knew about our own selves.” Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to go through this tumultuous journey alone and that’s why I’m so thankful to have the support and love from family and friends alike. This Christmas, in the spirit of giving and sharing, I hope to be able to design and personalise one-of-a-kind gifts for my loved ones!

Glitterybitz, an independent and artsy retailer, is a strong believer that everyone should be able to express their freedom in creating their own fashion styles and looks, rather than simply following the latest trends. Not only do they carry their own line of in-house design pieces but they also allow you to customize your own accessories with your favourite pictures and quotes.
Be uniquely yours and design your own accessory.

Here are 2 of my very own customized pieces with Glitterybitz!

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One of my favourite quirky quote from Tumblr: Eat A Lot. Sleep A Lot. 
Pretty much describes my life these days. Work, Eat, Sleep. Repeat. 
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My ultimate favourite: A captured moment of Archie showering me with love and affection, nicely displayed on my handphone dustcap. In fact, I had several friends and colleagues who had spotted the image on the dustcap and were interested to learn more about it!
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Check out the wide range of handmade accessories from Glitterybitz at
Carousell: carousell.co/glitterbitz
Instagram: instagram.com/glitterybitz.sg 
Blog: http://glitterybitz.blogspot.com

Want a bigger bang for your buck?
Get 10% discount when you quote “Glitterybitz x Stephanie” when ordering from Glitterybitz.  Treat yourself or a loved one to a personalised gift this Christmas!

. Halloween @ Woodgrove 2014 .

Do you know that Halloween is the second most popular family occasion after Christmas in United States? Likewise, it is fast becoming one of the most celebrated holiday in Singapore, with people from all walks of life splashing hundreds of dollars on parties and costumes. Amid the many club parties and scary events, there lies a neighbourhood that goes all out to celebrate the spirit of good old Trick-or-Treat.

Halloween at Woodgrove estate is a celebration, like no other on our red dot. Every year on 31 October, thousands of people – locals and expats – from all over the island flock to Woodgrove, where the huge houses are decked in spooky and ghoulish decorations. Think skeletons and coffins. There was even a house that went all out to give this family-friendly event a dose of spookiness – It had a fog machine to produce an eerie atmosphere and several automated life-like mannequins, similar to those that you would expect to spot in a haunted house attraction! Darn cool. While some people had opted to don scary outfits for this event (Sadako is still a classic choice), you will be surprised to see that most were very creative with their choice of PG costumes. Some of my personal favourites are Starbucks and popcorn, family of superheros (Hot mummy as Wonder Woman and 3 adorable boys as Ironman, Spiderman and Batman), and mime artists!

And this is the reason why Halloween @ Woodgrove is an annual street party not to be missed; It offers the quintessential Halloween experience and remains as my no. 1 place to visit for Halloween every year! Unlike the past couple of years where I was too lazy to dress up, I decided to be a little more “hardworking” this year and went as Supergirl with her superdog (Simba)! The couple-matching costume might sound a tad tacky but trust me, it was a winning combination that had attracted A LOT of attention. So much so that little Simba refused to walk and had to be carried around because he was overwhelmed by the excessive amount of attention. Well, can’t blame him as everyone was cooing and fawning over the little Superdog – He was the star of the night!

To fully immerse in the traditional trick-or-treat experience, my mum suggested that we give out sweet treats to the hordes of people while on-the-move. Thanks to her fantastic idea, we became instant ‘celebrities’ and had a non-stop stream of trick-or-treaters of all ages coming to us for candies and chocolates … It was, I must say, quite chaotic! All in the spirit of fun and giving. :) I might have outgrown the age of trick-or-treat a long time ago (!!!) but thanks to my ever enthusiastic and amazing family and friends (Soy, Swiss, Adeline and their girlfriends), Halloween @ Woodgrove’ 2014 will always have a special place in my heart.

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. The Entertainer Singapore 2015 .

Who doesn’t love a good deal? I know I do! For anyone who enjoys great deals like me, you will be excited to know that The Entertainer has just launched its The Entertainer Singapore 2015 app! Offering over 750 Buy One Get One Free deals for anything from the hottest nightspots to unique staycations, The Entertainer app and book allow you to save while you enjoy! That’s $89,000 in savings for you! Wow!

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My favourite part of the app is that it also includes The Entertainer Travel 2015 that offers more than 250 free accommodation in renowned hotels across Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Why not pamper yourself with a luxurious stay in The Banyan Tree resort or Shangri-La Hotel at half of its usual price? That means you get to enjoy an additional night for free, when you book a night at any of the hotels under The Entertainer! Sounds fantastic yah? Time for me to hit the road soon!

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Bored of hitting the usual places in town? With The Entertainer app, you will have no shortage of new dining places or activities to try! Make this your New Year resolution to have an open mind and adventurous spirit to take on new and exciting things in life!

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Enjoy an early bird discount of SG$60 (usual: $75) when you purchase The Entertainer Singapore 2015 app before the end of the year (31 Dec 2014)! Treat your loved ones or friends to this brilliant yet very useful Christmas present during this season of giving! Good things must always be shared. :)

The Entertainer SG 2015

Enjoy The Entertainer Travel 2015 for free, when you purchase The Entertainer Singapore 2015 app.

I’m sold. Where can I find out more about this amazing app?
Discover more with The Entertainer Singapore 2015 app!

. advice that i need .

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