Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!

Never too late to add my greetings to all those celebrating the Lunar New Year, right? Yes, it may be the 10th day of CNY, but since we have 15 days in total I still made it!

Warning: Pic-heavy post!

It has been a full couple of weeks, considering my CNY celebrations usually start up to a week before, starting with the “family reunion holiday” – it’s still easier to book accommodation before CNY (and cheaper too!), so we usually end up somewhere in Genting for a couple of days just to catch up with everyone and have a bit of fun.

Guess who’s back? :D Twas a blast catching up with Tine again after almost 9 months – sure there’s Whatsapp and Skype, but it ain’t the same! We also celebrated my gran’s 93rd birthday…she can still strike a pose yo!

The day before I left for KL, I managed to book a slot with Clarahnails who was back from Melbourne on holidays. Make no mistake, this woman is a nail genius – from my cherry blossom nails this time, to the paisley print she did for me when I was in Melbourne last year (all done freehand with a tiny brush!), it’s always majorly impressive. LOVE!

Gorgeous skies in Genting! Sadly, the temperature seems to have risen over the last 10 years…

Oh my pretties – I was trying to travel light since I was carrying back quite a few items for family as well as knew I was going to be bringing stuff back to Singapore with me, so I decided to break out a couple of the new items I picked up over the past month. There’s the Chanel Poudre Signee de Chanel Illuminating Powder, as well as the Guerlain LiU palette – both pretty awesome in their own right!

I also ended up making my first purchase from Net-a-Porter…the YSL Arty ring! :D No they’re not all mine, we decided to make a bulk order to save on shipping. I just had to add in this pic of the L’Occitane Fleur Cherie eyeshadow duo because it reminded me so much of Stila – right down to the paper casing!

CNY is never complete without these arrowroot crisps (or ngaku), and mum was a bit adventurous this year and decided to try making homemade crabstick crisps – they look a bit weird, but taste-wise it’s awesome!

One of the best waffles I’ve had in a while – came from Out of the Pan (and a steal with 1 for 1 deals!), while the one dish I always look forward to at CNY is…yee sang! Sadly I only had it a few times this year, but there’s still a few more days to go right?

Every year, my aunt’s place in Seremban has this awesome view of a temple nearby that sets off loads of fireworks at the stroke of midnight on CNY – next year, I think I’m going to camp out there with a proper tripod. These were taken on my PnS camera balanced off a fence!

Tine was caught hamming it up for the camera (she’ll probably explain why later on her own!), and I loved the décor that was put up – not a fan of the snake year, but there were still plenty of pretty lanterns and designs put up everywhere. One place I saw decided to recycle their Christmas tree and hang little red lanterns on it instead – quite creative!

I also got a cute thumbdrive in the shape of an Oreo cookie – so adorable! Just hoping I won’t mistake it for actual food and try dipping it into milk…and Bailey says “Happy CNY” too! He was busy keeping me company while I packed the angpows to go to my parents and grandmothers. :)

This year was also the first time I celebrated CNY with Kevin’s extended family, which was held in Malacca. I hadn’t been back there in over a decade (driving through to avoid highway jams doesn’t count), so we took the opportunity to try some of the famous favourites there like the Jonker 88 cendol and ‘one bite’ durian puffs…omg so good!

It happened that we were in Malacca the same night they had their Jonker Street night market, and despite being the first day of CNY it was still packed!

I had a real trip down memory lane thanks to that night market – there were cute stubby Coke and Sprite bottles, 60s themed drinks and even these Pop Pops I used to play with as a child. Who says you have to behave like an adult all the time? *wink*

There was a cute discovery during CNY as well – Tine and I found out we were iPhone cover twinsies thanks to similar Marc by Marc Jacobs…and when I posted the pic on my Instagram, it turns out Renee (Beautyfool) also had a similar case – yay for triplets!

One of the biggest banes during CNY would have to be the traffic jams of everyone trying to make it back to their hometowns for celebrations, and this year was no different. Thanks to the jams on the highway, we decided to take a number of back roads and trunk roads to avoid getting stuck, and one of the roads we drove along reminded me so much of the scenery heading to Yarra Valley in Melbourne…ahh that brought back memories :)

Yes, those are actual purple roses – gorgeous, aren’t they? :) Since Valentine’s Day fell during the CNY period, Kevin decided to surprise me with these just before I headed back to Singapore (and yes, I carried them all the way back with me!) I also ended up getting a cute snake plushie and angpows from the bosses (I know I said I didn’t like snakes, but this one you have to admit is pretty cute!) Last but not least, I ended up with a cute little purple bin to help with decluttering – I’ve been on a cleaning and sorting spree ever since I came back from my CNY holidays…I’m hoping this holds up, it’s coming in very useful as I’m discovering items I’d forgotten I had!

And there you have it – a choice selection of moments over the past two weeks of my CNY celebration. Needless to say I had a total blast…hope yours was just as awesome, and sending all of you felicitous wishes for a prosperous year filled with health, wealth and luck!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, 18 January 2013

Celebrate CNY with the January Bellabox...

Gee, January is just flying by isn’t it? It wasn’t long ago we were celebrating the New Year - now it’s already the 18th, and it won't be long before we’re celebrating Chinese New Year.

The January box for Bellabox is actually quite cute in this aspect – themed “Celebrate CNY with Bellabox”, they’ve included items this month that are meant to help you look good ahead of your CNY celebrations. Even the wrapping in the box this month reflects this, detracting from the usual Bellabox logo sticker and bright pink tissue paper.

First up is a b.liv Feel No Sluggish Mask that is meant to help prevent the signs of aging by invigorating the skin with fruity essences – it’s supposed to be apple-derived too, which I happen to like. :D

Next up is something I’ve heard interesting things about – Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Infused Comb – a comb that is supposedly infused with the Healing Oil treatment so it gets distributed evenly on hair without leaving a residue on hands. Will let you know once I try it out! Below it is a small “to be hung on your handphone” size of Sleek High Shine Lip Gloss in a pretty (if not bright) pink shade – as if I needed any more lip products, but it’s cute nevertheless.

There was also a trial size set of Skin Food’s Gold Caviar Toner and Emulsion, both of which I’ve briefly tried before and been ok with. The interesting part is that the toner and emulsion are infused with tiny flakes of pure gold. Go check it out – you’ll see what I mean. ;) There was also a small tube of Natura Bisse NB Ceutical Tolerance Cleanser which I’m looking forward to trying out. Skin Food also threw in a few sachets of their eye cream as a bonus together with a card for a personal consultation and sampling at their stores.

To be honest, this month’s box was a little bit disappointing apart from the mask and comb, but it’s still not too bad since there were items I was looking forward to trying out. Does anyone else share the same sentiment?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, 11 January 2013

Scrub a dub dub, DIY style!

Happy Friday! Keeping in line with the feel of the day (everyone’s ready to kick back and enjoy the weekend!), I thought I’d feature something fun you can do over the weekend if you like. :)

A few months back, I had visited a Petronille booth at one of the Bellabox events, and one of the activities they had prepared for us was making your own salt or sugar scrub. It was a simple but fun activity, but also a nice way to make your own scrubs if you want to know exactly what’s in it or want a custom blend for your personal use or to give as gifts.

For approximately 40g of scrub, you’ll need the following:
  • Salt/ Sugar – 1 ½ cup
  • Oil – 1 cup
  • Honey, coconut or cocoa powder (optional) – 1 tsp
  • Pure essential oil – 3-4 drops
  • Glass jar
  • Rubbing alcohol (to disinfect the jar)
  • Mixing spoon

There were a variety of options available for mixing, but really, the combinations are almost limitless depending on your skin type and preference for scents:
  • If you want a stronger scrub, try Himalayan salt. For those with more sensitive skin, you may want to opt for brown sugar.
  • You can choose between any non-scented or mildly-scented oil for this – at the time, the option was sweet almond oil or olive oil so I picked sweet almond.
  • In order to make the scrub more moisturising, you can opt to include a teaspoon of honey, coconut or cocoa powder although this is optional.
  • You can use any pure essential oil to scent your scrub – lavender for relaxing, tea tree for anti-bacterial, ginger to boost circulation…the list goes on and on!

The steps to making your own scrub are easy enough…if a noob like me can make it, anyone can! :D

1. Disinfect the glass jar with alcohol (important, as this will minimise the chances of your scrub going mouldy - the ingredients are natural after all, with no added preservatives)

2. Measure and pour in your salt or sugar into the bottom, then pour in your choice of oil on top. Please don’t do it the other way around, as you’ll have a problem trying to stir the grains into the oil and you'll get salt/ sugar everywhere (trust me on this, we saw this happen) Stir well to mix.

3. Once you have a nice blend of salt/sugar and oil, add in your honey (optional) and mix well. You should end up with a nice paste at the bottom while still having a layer of oil on top.

4. Last but not least, add 4-5 drops of pure essential oil to your scrub, and you’re done! Easy peasy, right? Depending on the essential oil you use though, your scrub may be stronger or milder smelling - just add a few more or less drops depending on your preference.

At this point, everyone was going “Does mine smell nice? Is it strong enough? Maybe I should add more essential oil…”

If you’re giving them away as gifts, don’t forget to tie a pretty ribbon around the jar (or in my case, strands of straw rope – since I’m kooky that way!), make a pretty tag and stick a small spoon for scooping out your scrub. These scrubs will last you a good 2-3 months, but I wouldn’t suggest keeping it beyond that…just in case!

Ta-daah! :D

I’m now wondering if I can attempt to do these with body oils and sea salt…since a lot of the body oils are already deliciously scented – I reckon it would be a good use for the oils that I found too rich or thick for my liking. Any ideas? :D

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

2012 - What. a. year!

It’s a bit late, but I figure it’s not too late to do a recap of 2012 since we’re still in January right? Right? I initially thought I hadn’t done all that much, but after looking through photos and matching events, hey, it’s still quite a list! (beauty or otherwise).

*takes a deep breath* and here we go!
January got off to a fabulous start spa-ing and doing a massive gift exchange with the evurl ladies – I think this was the only group shot we actually got all year! LOL…we’re terrible at taking photos like that :P Watched Ballet Revolucion.

Saw Freeze in Genting pre-CNY with the family. Had CNY dinner with the evurl ladies…for beauty bloggers, we sure focus a lot on food! :D Watched Swan Lake. Met the lovely ladies behind Bellabox, and have been a huge (okay, even bigger!) fan of theirs ever since.

Loved the i-Light 2012 show at MBS. Munched my way through classy food at Savour 2012, and still trying to recreate this 'ice cream crafted to look like a potato'. Re-discovered my love for blushes…especially the “it’s so pretty I can’t bear to use it!” ones.

Had even more classy food at World Gourmet Summit 2012 and been trying to recreate some of them at home with *some* success (will not subject poor souls to it until they've been perfected though). Bought my first ever Deborah Lippmann polish.

Descended on Tine and LeGeeque in Melbourne. Shopped till my wallet threatened to melt. Got my nails done by the awesomely talented Clara Hwang. Met Tinnipoo for the first time, and got a good workout from laughing too hard. Fell head over heels for my god-furkid, Coco (whose human mum will definitely protest she’s since become a total monster).

Tried rainbow eyeliner for the first time, inspired by Connie. Hit up Lady Gaga (paws up little monsters!) with Rinnah and Dom. Discovered how crazy Dom can be about food (or just in general).

Visited the Redken Rock the Runway show. Had a most fun and useful hair workshop with Jorge Joao in the lead up to the Redken show.

Took part in my first Standard Charted run ever (and survived!). Watched La Cage Aux Folles and laughed myself silly. Watched Comedy Masala and laughed even harder. Caught up with old friend and local comedian Kuah Jenhan and marvelled at how times have changed.

Headed to Cameron Highlands on my first fully-sponsored trip thanks to Strawberry Park Resort. Tried my first gelish manicure thanks to psawyerbeauty. Got engaged to a guy who makes me laugh till my sides hurt, and then some.

Hopped over to Batam for a day trip and ayam penyet. Moved apartments in Singapore, and fell in love with its rooftop pool. Did the whole fan thing and descended on the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Artscience Museum. Regressed even further back to my childhood visiting Universal Studios Singapore and loved every minute of it.

Made my first order of Stickygram magnets (won’t be my last!). Dicovered Mary Kay and some new loves. Watched Avenue Q for the third time (second in Singapore), and sang along. Got my feet tapping to Burn the Floor.

Bought my first Longchamp (at duty-free, no less!). Received my first Marc by Marc Jacobs item – an iPhone cover!! (larp you long time, you know who you are). Developed a love for Yankee Candles. Visited Batam once again (this time the posh side at Montigo Resorts!) on a company trip, and now want to go back there before the rates go up. Went to Bangkok on a belated birthday trip with the fiancé.

Had my first French degustation experience at Le Normandie at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok (yes, the irony of having French food in Bangkok…it was awesomely impressive though!). Gave the Thai economy a huge boost thanks to all my shopping there. Loved Fresh Sugar lipbalms so much, I ended up with a Fresh Sugar Christmas tree when Sephora launched their seasonal sets. Started doing up my apartment back in KL…I love my quirky lamp and blow-up reindeer! :D

And there you have it – when I was going through it, I realised I actually watched quite a number of shows in 2012…averaging out to about one a month! I love that they’re so accessible here (and it doesn't help that I just booked another THREE for January and May in 2013). :P

Here’s hoping your 2012 was as good for you as mine was for me. 2013 is going to be a huge year for me as well - bring it on!! :D

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, 7 January 2013

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadows –now in Singapore!

While I was out and about last weekend in Singapore, I spotted Maybelline’s Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadows – finally, the wait is over! There have been rave reviews about these online, so it’s nice to know they’ve finally hit the sunny little island (translated – within easy reach!)

There are a total of 8 colours available – Bad to the Bronze, Fierce & Tangy, Painted Purple, Tough as Taupe, Tenacious Teal, Edgy Emerald, Bold Gold and Audacious Asphalt.

I was messing about with the testers at BHG, and so far Bad to the Bronze seems to be my favourite out of the lot, with Audacious Asphalt coming in a close second. I’ve seen them available at BHG, Guardian and Swanston so far, so they shouldn’t be difficult to hunt down. They’re going for SG$15.90 each if I remember correctly, although you can get them for SG$12.95 at Swanston.

PS: A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Can’t believe we’re already into the second week of January, and I’m still editing photos from November (super fail, this one). First and foremost resolution for 2013 – get back to some semblance of regular posting! :)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, 3 December 2012

Montigo Resorts, Batam - you know you want to!…

Over the weekend, I paid a visit to the ‘not yet officially open’ Montigo Resorts in Batam on a company trip, and just had to do a quick post on the place before I forget – the place is simply amazing even though they’re not fully open yet!

Just check out the welcoming view from the lobby…the resort is made up of three types of villas with subtle differences – Hill Side Villa, Hill Top Pool Villa and Spa Villa (I reckon you can more or less tell what the differences are from the names!)

There was a cold towel and welcome lemongrass drink to enjoy while we were checking in…even if you don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia, no worries as the staff are decently proficient in English. The standard of service is almost equal to that of Club Med in Bintan, which is really saying something.

The resort is set into a hillside, so a fair amount of walking is required – extended exploration of the resort is not recommended for old folk or those with young children, although travel can easily be taken care of by the numerous buggies servicing the resort.

We opted for the Hill Top Pool Villas, which were 3-floor, 2-bedroom villas with their own private plunge pool…and had trouble making it to our training sessions as we didn’t want to leave the villas! :D

The ground floor consisted of a spacious living room complete with kitchen facilities and even a Wii…the day beds were so comfy, some of my colleagues even fell asleep there!

And oh, the villa pool…it’s not huge, but most enjoyable – you only have to open the living room sliding doors, take 2 steps and climb straight into the pool. We made full use of it, that’s for sure… :P

The second floor was made up of the two bedrooms with attached bathrooms – the master room (which I got) has a four poster bed, while the second room has two single beds…take my word for it, once you sink into the bed and the pillows, you won’t want to budge! (explains why I was late for breakfast too…oops…)

Can I PLEASE bring this bathroom back with me?! The stone bath tub is right under a skylight, and came with a nice packet of bath salts…too bad I didn’t have time to soak in there! There’s also a separately partitioned shower stall and toilet if you have to share the bathroom with someone.

Another awesome touch – double sinks! No need to queue or fight for sink space in the morning…big plus point for me :D

I hadn’t heard about Malin + Goetz before this, but after a quick Google search (doncha just love instant info at your fingertips?) I found out they’re an apothecary based in New York. They have the most amazing smelling toiletries – rum soap, cilantro body wash, peppermint shampoo…you can just imagine those lovely scents, can’t you? ;)

Of course, the purpose of the trip was for training, so we did have to get some work done…but damn, even the entrance to the conference room was so pretty, we didn’t mind (too much!) having to go for training…

This end of Batam is just half an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore, but what a difference in view! I discovered that if I stood at the end of the balcony in the picture above, I could actually see Marina Bay Sands in the distance – a gorgeous sight at night, to be sure…but alas, rather difficult to catch on camera.

The restaurant is the only bit that looked more reminiscent of Indonesian design, but somehow I liked it – a little bit rustic with modern elements weaved in.

Look up! I had to give two thumbs up to the resort’s consideration for nature…instead of demolishing the entire area, they made concessions around some of the trees which I thought was a small step in the right direction.

From an eco-friendly perspective, the resort also made the effort to conserve as much energy as possible – the common areas of the resort are mostly white with airy ceilings and fans, while at the villas only the necessary areas such as bedrooms and living room are air conditioned (the staircase up to each floor is ventilated from the outside).

For those who cannot completely disconnect from the internet but yet don't want to pay hefty roaming fees, you'll be most delighted to know that Montigo Resorts has free Wifi throughout the entire resort (personally tested, they have awesomely fast speeds and steady signal!) - are you jumping for joy yet? ;)

Did I mention how gorgeous the view from the bedroom is? Well…now you know!

Since the resort has only done a soft launch, they’re offering a 25% discount on their rates until the official launch in March 2013. Prices range from SGD$273.75 (2 pax) to SGD$413.75 (5 pax) for the Hill Side Villas – obviously you get a better deal with more people as each villa can fit up to 5 pax. Time to start planning! :D

Jalan Hang Lekir Nongsa
Batam, Indonesia
Tel: +62 778 776 8888

PS: Am being spoilt travel-wise these couple of weeks – as if Indonesia wasn't enough, I'm off to Bangkok on Thursday for a post-birthday holiday with the fiancé. Can’t wait! :D

Labels: , , , , , ,