Hair’s my latest look

I’m back!! Hardly a surprising event for those of you used to my appearing and disappearing over the years, coming and going as I please, as if my blog were a hotel, lol. Some people are just that rude!

But I do have a surprise. Well, just a tiny one. Which you probably already noticed way before you read these words, because of this photo right here.


Sheylara with short hair
Aaaaaah! What have you done! I imagine some of you saying.


I cut my hair! In fact, this photo was taken four months and a bit ago, on the day I cut my hair short. But this is the first time I’ve put my photo online since then (because I just haven’t felt like it).

Well, not that a hair cut is a big deal or anything. But it’s something to blog about if you don’t do anything else in your life except play games and read books all day long. (Which I don’t. Honest.)

I got tired of hair on the carpet and hair in the shower plughole. If you have super long hair, cream coloured carpet will look positively frightening only three or four days after you’ve hoovered the whole place and told yourself you don’t ever want to touch the hoover again for the rest of your life, but you have to because hair.

In fact, I wanted to cut it even shorter but Piers wouldn’t let me, so this was kind of a compromise.


Cutting your hair short comic
Cutting your hair could be a good or bad thing. Who knows?


It took me only three or four days to realise that nothing changed from that hair cut. My head still rained hair on the carpets and plugholes, and I still have to break out the hoover more often than I would like.

So, that was all a big waste of energy. Plus the short hair ends tickle my neck.

Still, a change every so often is probably good. Not that my hair can ever change much, being literally the most stubborn hair on the planet. All it ever wants to do is be straight and limp. And stylists who have to get me ready for a shoot hate my hair. That ought to tell you something.

Well, like I said, it’s been four months and a bit, so it’s longer now, straighter and limper than ever.


Slightly longer short hair
This is slightly longer short hair still trying to poke everywhere and tickle my neck


Okay, I don’t really know why this post became a whole post about my stupid hair. I only meant to say I’m back blogging (do I miss it ever so much) and here’s my new short hair and happy new year, you know?

So, like, I have A ZILLION THINGS to blog about, having not blogged for so long, you would think, and the first thing I do is whine about my hair. Right?

Next you know I’ll be blogging about handbags.

Women, tsk.


Look better with camera tricks

I have been feeling particularly ugly for a year or so now, what with my stupid hair being stupid and my skin feeling saggy because I’ve had to stop taking collagen supplements since moving to the UK (because they don’t have Meiji and Fancl here).

(Disclaimer: I don’t know that collagen supplements really work but I had taken them for years and felt okay about myself. Since coming to the UK, I have felt progressively older and uglier, although it could be due to the air being very dry here, or it could be just plain old aging, so I don’t know, lol.)


Women and beauty supplements


Last Saturday evening, while Piers and I were at a pub waiting for his friends to arrive, I decided to play around with my camera because I suddenly remembered it has a Soft Skin mode to “shoot more beautiful skin”.

Piers had bought me a Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-WX80) a few months ago to replace my iPhone camera (yes, I had been using my iPhone camera for nearly two years because my Lumix had sensor dust in it and I never got around to sending it back).


Sony DSC-WX80


I chose this model out of all the cameras in the store based on the merits of its compactness and pretty white looks, which shows how serious I am about photography.

So, while Piers was sipping his beer, and I was ignoring my Pimm’s cocktail in favour of camwhoring, I turned on Soft Skin mode, took a self-portrait and looked at the playback display.


Soft Skin mode


“Wow!” I said, “The soft skin mode has made me pretty again!”

I showed Piers the photo and he looked at me quizzically. “Hon, you look exactly like that in real life.”

I said, “No, no, the camera has smoothened out my face so I look much better!”

Piers rolled his eyes and said, “I think you have face dysmorphia.”

Yeah, sure, whatever.


The face of a person with face dysmorphia


I think Piers is quite blind. He can’t even tell whether I’ve got makeup on or not most of the time, which might make one think that he is just being sweet, trying to throw in a subtle compliment, but I think the truth is that he is genuinely blind.

I did look better on the camera playback because of the soft focus effect and the fact that playbacks are small in size (and I tend to look better when you can hardly see me).

I don’t think the photos look so nice after viewing them on my computer now. But they’re still better than usual.

I prefer my old Lumix’s beautiful skin mode though. Instead of making it a soft focus effect, it has some kind of special flash to make your skin glow. Kinda like this:


Glowy skin effect


Anyway, I made Piers take more photos of me before his friends finally arrived and I quite liked them. Maybe it was just a good day.

I usually have to take a hundred photos before I’m satisfied with one, but that day, I only had to take about 20 before I could find one I liked.



One more for the road


The next day, I experimented some more. I tried Soft Skin mode and Background Defocus and couldn’t decide which I liked more.

Soft Skin:


Soft skin


Background Defocus:


Background defocus


So, basically, soft skin blurs out your face while background defocus blurs everything but. Lol, stupid camera tricks, although I have to admit it’s handy and saves you from having to photoshop your photos.

Well, okay, I definitely look better with Soft Skin cos who doesn’t? But background defocus photos look more professional so I like them better, even if they make me look ugly.

Anyway, I quickly got tired of looking at my stupid face so I stopped taking photos of myself. I was at Piers’ parents’ house for a barbeque to take advantage of the rare warm and sunny day and there were dogs and a baby, which were much better (although harder) subjects to photograph. But I will leave that for another day.

I will do more “camera experiments” (which are in fact nothing more than vanity posts in disguise) in the future so keep coming back and keep reading!

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with some sage advice:

Do not believe every photo you see on the Internet! Between makeup and camera tricks and photoshop, no one is what they look like anymore. So, caveat emptor and have a nice week!

A new low for telemarketing

I just received a phone call with an invitation to attend a Dior christmas party (presumably because I’m a Dior member and not because I’m a blogger.)

I was first told the date of the party, then a list of highlights, including makeup and fashion shows, food and drinks, limited edition products on sale, and a door gift, all of these read off a page in monotone.

Then silence.

“Is that all?” I asked.

“The price is $50. If you want to bring a friend, it’s $80. But you can redeem products with your tickets.”

“Oh, okay. I’m not interested, but thanks.”

The caller asked for a reason, so I said I wasn’t interested in buying any Dior products at the moment. Parties are okay, but having to pay to attend one where they will try to make you spend even more money is plain ridiculous.

She said, “Oh, you don’t have to buy anything.”

“But I have to pay to attend the party,” I said.

She then went on to inform me that I can redeem other stuff with the price of my ticket, but neglected to explain what she meant.

I wasn’t interested, anyway, so I just said, “No, thanks.”

But she wouldn’t give up.

“You can have fun at the party with your friends,” she persuaded.

“No, it’s okay, thanks.”

“You’ll also get a door gift.”

“No, I’m not really keen, but thanks.”

“There’ll be free refreshments, and you can just come and have fun with your friends.”

“Erm… no, thanks.”

She finally accepted my polite refusal and allowed me to hang up.

Although I hate telemarketing, I can kind of understand why companies would use this channel to sell, for example, insurance policies. But telemarketing for parties? I think it’s a new low.

Not very impressed with Dior now.

A bit off-topic, but some time in the beginning of this year, they sent me my membership card with a letter asking me to go pick up a welcome gift at any Dior counter.

I went to pick it up.

The gift was a welcome letter and a brochure.

Thanks, Dior. What I always wanted.

Do not judge a cake by its icing

I’m taking a short break from Mallorca posts because I’ve been kinda busy shopping for my outfit for Piers’ annual company dinner.

It’s a black-tie event and I haven’t got anything with me in England, so I have to buy everything: Dress, shoes, bag, shawl, jewellery, maybe gloves.

I kind of left it too late. There’s nothing decent in the shops so I had to go online. The problem is, all the dresses I like that suit me are made to measure and will take a month to be delivered. Even the shoes I have my eye on are made to measure.

But the dinner is next week!

It’s very hard for me to find dresses because I don’t look good in bustiers, V-shape necks and halters, which basically describe the style of most evening gowns.

So I had to finally settle for this cheap ready-to-go dress. Ordered it two days ago and it arrived today, but it’s 10 inches too long (even though it’s XS / UK size 6) so I’ll have take it to the tailor.


Evening dress


Dress: USD84
Shipping: USD29
Tailoring: GBP30 (estimated)
Total: SGD200

Turned out not so cheap after all, for the quality. The stitching around the beads looks a bit poorly done.

But what is done is done and I have to wear it.

After shopping, there’s still the business of retouching my hair, threading my face and doing my nails.

Yep, very busy.

Actually, I wanted to talk about a cake today but got sidetracked, sorry.

The supermarkets in England carry very pretty cakes that look inedible because they look more like decorative items than food.

Piers assured me time and time again that they taste awful.

But I can’t help being drawn to them, especially this one.


Pretty cake
Do not trust a cake that you can stand upright.


I made Piers buy it because neither of us had a birthday cake this year so we needed to make up for it.

It’s so pretty it makes you happy, doesn’t it?


Pretty cake
It’s so pretty it shouldn’t be edible.


Pretty, pretty cake
Cut along the dotted lines.


Ooh pretty cake
Please unwrap me. Cos no one else would.


We should have just left it alone as a decorative item.

It tastes awful.

The description says:

“A Madeira sponge cake layered with plum and raspberry jam and vanilla flavour frosting covered with soft icing and decorated with a sugar plaque and candy flower.”

This is how I would describe it:

“A dry and hard cake with cough-syrup-flavoured jam filling, wrapped in a fatally thick layer of icing so sweet you could go into anaphylactic shock if you tried to eat it.”


Do not judge a cake by it’s icing. And ribbons. And harmless-looking teddy bears.


Well, I have learnt my lesson now.

Next time, I will get Piers to buy the Hello Kitty one instead of the Forever Friends one.

Answers to your Invisalign questions


I never thought I’d say this but I’m loving Invisalign after three weeks on it.

I don’t really know why, especially since I had such a hard time with it initially.

Maybe it’s because it gives me some purpose in life, something to look forward to, even though I’ve never really thought about having my teeth corrected. (I’m doing it now because I’m sponsored. Why not, right?)

Maybe it’s because I thrive on the challenge of keeping to the rigid ritual of tooth-brushing and aligner-cleaning that I have to go through several times a day. I’m the sort of person who really hates rituals and sameness, so this is quite a challenge for me.

I’m not loving it to the extent that I want to have it on forever. I still can’t wait for it to be done because it is inconvenient and sometimes painful, but I’m actually beginning to enjoy the process.




When I was still in Singapore, I started worrying about cramping Piers’ lifestyle because he would always have to wait for me to clean my teeth and aligners after every meal, a process that takes about six minutes at home and longer outside because I have to fix my makeup and hair afterwards.

We can’t now just sit back and relax after we’re done eating, continuing to enjoy, without interruption, our music or TV show or conversation.

But Piers has been very patient and supportive and taking it in his stride. He even does the washing up while I’m cleaning my teeth so the kitchen and our dining table are spic-and-span by the time I’m done, and we can get on with our evening enjoyment.

It makes me feel very bad, especially since he does the cooking, too, most of the time, but he refuses to let me do the dishes and always chases me off to the bathroom to do my teeth.

It helps a lot to have such an understanding partner.



Pasta dinner


Okay, Q&A now! Here are the questions I’ve been asked:


Q: How much does Invisalign cost?

A: It varies from case to case. Mine costs about S$8,000.


Q: What’s the process of getting Invisalign?

A: First, you have to go for a consultation to assess whether you’re suitable for it. You’ll have everything explained and all your questions answered. Your next appointment will be to take x-rays and photos of your teeth, and have a mould done. About two weeks later, you get to see computerised pictures of how your teeth will move throughout every stage of your treatment. Six to eight weeks later, you’ll receive your first Invisalign aligners as well as get attachments bonded to your teeth.


X-Ray room in Neuglow Dental


Q: How long does the treatment last?

A: About one year, typically. Some people finish in six months while some take two years or more.


Q: Can I just do one row of teeth if my bottom (or top) teeth are okay?

A: It’s possible to do only one row, but it’s not advisable because both your rows of teeth will be a bit out of alignment when you only wear one row, so you won’t be able to bite down properly. Also, the cost is about the same whether you do one or both rows. Some orthodontists might not do it.


Q: Do I have to extract any teeth to do Invisalign?

A: In severe cases, teeth extractions have been done. But this is a question that only your orthodontist can answer after examining your teeth.


Q: Can Invisalign close gaps between teeth?

A: Yes it can. In fact, if you have “triangles” between your teeth due to receding gums (those tiny triangle-shaped holes), Invisalign can help to reduce the appearance of that.


Sheylara in dentist chair


Q: What are the pros and cons of Invisalign and traditional braces?

A: Let’s break this down into different aspects:

Looks – This is the most obvious difference, of course. People really can’t tell you have Invisalign on unless they look really closely, like almost kissing distance. And if you’re still self-conscious about it, you can remove them any time, for an important meeting or photoshoot or whatever.

Cost – Invisalign is significantly more expensive. In some cases, it could be double the amount of traditional braces.

Discomfort – Invisalign causes pain and discomfort just like traditional braces do but I think to a lesser extent. Some people report very minimal pain and discomfort with Invisalign, so I think it varies for different people. You do need to have various numbers of attachments bonded to your teeth, which could also cause some discomfort when they rub against your mouth, but I think they’re a lot better than braces.

Eating – Invisalign is more inconvenient in this area because you always have to remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than plain water. And you have to brush your teeth after every meal before putting your aligners back on. That makes it very inconvenient for when you want to eat out. On the other hand, wearing traditional braces means you have a long list of restricted foods, plus metal braces are harder to brush.


Sheylara in dentist chair


Q: Do you sound or talk differently with Invisalign?

A: For the first week, I spoke with a lisp but my tongue slowly adjusted so now I’m talking almost normally. I think now there is a very slight difference that only I can tell. Piers says I sound the same as I used to. =P


Q: Your teeth look perfect. Why do you need Invisalign?

A: My teeth do look okay in some angles, especially from the front, but they are quite crooked in actuality. Here are the computer visuals of my teeth. The top picture shows what my teeth are now. Below that shows what my teeth will look like after the treatment.



Before Invisalign



After Invisalign


That’s all the Q&As I have. If you have other questions, ask them here and I’ll try my best to answer.

If you’re planning to get Invisalign, do make sure you get it done by an experienced orthodontist who has been trained in Invisalign procedures, so that your treatment will be smooth and without complications.

I am lucky to be treated by Dr Poon, courtesy of Neuglow Dental @ TripleOne Somerset. She’s very experienced and also very sweet, gentle and patient. But I don’t have a proper photo of her because she’s also very camera shy, lol.


Dr Poon, Neuglow Dental


You can see in the background her two doggies which she gives to patients to hold on to for comfort when undergoing uncomfortable or boring treatment. They’re mostly for her children patients, I think, but she always gives me Winston the bulldog whenever she has to do stuff to my teeth.

Anyway, it’s quite important to get a nice orthodontist because you’ll be meeting him or her a lot during the process of your treatment.

I’m planning to be done with my treatment within seven or eight months. Hope my teeth cooperate! Can’t wait to see how I look, even though I’ve already seen the “after” picture in the computer program. Will be so weird to not have to bother with aligners again!

Will leave you with two more photos. They show how unnoticeable Invisalign is!


Wearing Invisalign:



Not wearing Invisalign: