Saturday, 28 February 2009

Avillion Port Dickson…

Gosh…I just realised my last post was the beginning of this week! :( Things have been rather crazy at work, but hey, it’s finally the weekend…and what better time to write about getting away to a place that will have you well-rested to face another week. I stayed at the Avillion at Port Dickson late last year during a company offsite, and I felt like I wasn’t at work, but enjoying a holiday instead!

The driveway…

Avillion Port Dickson sits on a waterfront landscape along the Straits of Malacca, made up of ethically designed chalets that set a mood reminiscent of a traditional Malay fishing village. Each chalet is different from the rest, but each one opens out to a stimulating view of the sea, perfect for invigorating both body and mind. Located in Port Dickson, Avillion is a sanctuary for anyone who wishes to rest and experience tranquillity free from the maddening affairs of city life.

Waterfront chalets

The Verdict:
We stayed at the waterfront chalets, which are quite spacious yet homey, with a small balcony opening on to the sea – lovely for a spot of reading or just enjoying the view. I took quite a few shots of the room, and the photos do a much better job of showing the lovely accommodations.

The beds were simply lovely – I love the canopy!!

The day bed or lounge area – can be used for an additional person too…

Each bathroom comes with two sinks…no need to fight for space in the mornings…haha…

My favourite part of the room was the shower, which was very innovatively done. The bamboo curtains are the only thing that form the “shower curtain” bit, but otherwise it’s open space…and this is the perfect clincher to a luxurious rain-shower…

It’s got an open roof!!

Seriously, I didn’t feel like wanting to leave the room at all…clean crisp sheets, aromatherapy products, the feeling of taking a shower while hearing the waves splash against the pilings below you…you have to try it at least once in your lifetime.

Of course, the rest of the place is so nice that I had no choice but to want to check out the rest of the resort. I still can’t believe this place is in Malaysia…hehe…

Fancy a swim? There are several options available…this is the Cochin Pool, which is strictly for adults (especially if you’re there on a romantic breakaway, and don’t want screaming kids in the picture – of course, if you end up with one thanks to the getaway, that’s another matter altogether! LOL…)

The general family pool…

…and the more private Jacuzzi area (it’s not on at the moment)

If there’s one thing that makes the place seem exceptionally exotic, it’s the peacocks that roam freely around the compound. It wasn’t uncommon to see peacocks milling around the pool, around the gardens and on the rooftops – I even saw one perched on the fence of the tennis courts!

For families, there’s a kids playground and activity corner to keep them occupied…

Directions are aplenty at Avillion with these little totem poles…they’re lighted even at night, so you’ll never need to worry about getting lost (actually, I wouldn’t mind getting lost at Avillion if it means I won’t have to leave…)

If you stay at the waterfront chalets, there are these pretty Traditional Malay Footwash areas at the entrance to the chalets. At the end of a long day, this really just adds to the whole rustic experience at Avillion…even kids will love it – the scoop is made of a coconut half-shell nailed to a rattan stick…just so authentic, don’t you think?

As far as food at Avillion goes, the selection is pretty good at any of their F&B outlets – this was (part of) breakfast while we were there…LOL…

Of course, one big thing to remember is that sunlight is in abundance here – just remember to pack the SPF and you’ll have a blast!

Who wouldn’t want a view like this?

The entire place is beautifully landscaped with plenty of greenery – this is the entry way down to Riau beach…

…and the beach looks like something out of a travel brochure – gosh, every area of this place looks unbelievable…and seriously, all these pictures are raw from my camera, with no retouching…

The sauna and steam room…

As of end 2008, Avillion has opened a ‘Spa Garden’, which lets people take a tour around aromatic plants and herbs…only a maximum of 5 visitors are allowed on a Spa Garden Tour each day at 4.00pm…

If you’d rather spend some time alone or with a good book, these little corners found all around Avillion make for a cosy hideaway…

Avillion also comes with a luxurious spa, set apart in this wood and glass structure – it looks oddly out of place, but when you’re inside, the view while you’re having your massage is just gorgeous!

So, how about it? Avillion’s rooms start at about RM450++ per night which seems rather pricey, but rest assured that the service is excellent, and you do get what you pay for. There are also promotions running from time to time so do check the website regularly for their latest deals and packages. I’m already dreaming about the next time I’ll get to go back…the open-sky rainshower and canopy bed is calling my name!!

Rating: 5 / 5
Value: $$
(as I said, rather pricey but you get what you pay for)


Monday, 23 February 2009

The Body Shop 2009 Award Finalists…

I was recently invited by my usual TBS SA to attend The Body Shop Award Finalists session at Republic @ Sunway Pyramid. Since I had attended the last session in 2008, and he was taking part, I figured why not? So last Saturday, I hauled myself (along with Paris and another friend) to Republic to see what all the buzz was about…

The entrance to Republic…

Stage area…we were on time, but there weren’t many people around…that’s the one thing I cannot understand. The invitation clearly said 3.00pm, and people were just happily sauntering in at half past! Malaysian timing or not, starting an event FORTY minutes late is a bit TOO much!

Can you guess the underlying theme flower for this year? Last year it was gerberas, which I really liked. This year it was roses…but sad to say, it seemed to have just WAAAY too many around (a bit like someone getting rid of the surplus after Valentine’s, if you ask me)

Last year’s vote card was so much nicer too! It had a lovely pattern of a gerbera printed on white card. By the way, small tip for the organisers – please TEST the pens you’re giving people to fill in the cards with! The markers they gave would not adhere to the cards, which resulted in a LOT of smudging, and many ended up borrowing ballpoint pens to fill in their details.

There were simply SWARMS of people at makeover table wanting to get their makeup done, all for the sake of having a studio pic taken. I’d done that the year before, and the picture was okay so this year I decided to just do away with it…especially knowing now what I know about how they share the makeup between so many people! *ewwww*

The set up this year was a bit better, although the lighting didn’t do much to help the artists…wasn’t makeup supposed to be applied in natural or at least close to natural light?

I thought this was pretty cute – I can just make out Man sweating it out just behind the doors next to the gift table!

The emcee, Jane…as it was, the event already started super late, but then we were subjected to a long self-absorbed prattle from her before the actual program started. PB and I both agreed that she was probably loving the sound of her own voice, and trying way too hard to impress the GM of TBS who was sitting right in front. Honey, saying “I wish I could dance like that” after the flamenco demo would have sufficed…saying “If I want to dance like them, sway here, sway there, so glamorous...I have to take dance lessons first hor” with all the over-drama additions in your voice is err…*rolls eyes*

Check out the prizes…and see what I mean about the roses?

Man and his model…you can just see the tension in his face!

Ready, set, go! All the finalists had only 20 minutes to create a theme look, which this year was based on love. They had to create a look with the latest collection of Morrocan Rose makeup, which we were dying to see, since the Morrocan Roseflowere Eyes in Sunshine Gold was barely noticeable when we swatched it previously. There was one in particular who I think actually applied the Roseflower Lips to the model’s eyelids and was frantically blending it in…quite painful to watch!

As far as Man’s work went, I loved the eye look he created…her lips were a bit pale, but the graduated colour was simply gorgeous on his model. Oh, and another thing…this event was supposed to be about the makeup right? Why then are the models dressed in PINK? It would simply clash with the makeup! Last year it was so much easier to highlight the makeup…the models were all in white!

While waiting for the results to be tallied, we had “make-up specialist extraordinaire” Su Chong (or so the emcee called him that…REPEATEDLY) to give a make-up demonstration and some tips. I was totally disappointed by him – for one, he just started whacking on makeup on the person he picked from the audience. No base, no foundation, shiny skin and all…she looked a bit scary when he finished! Thanks, but no thanks…it didn’t help that his own skin looked greasy while he was under the spotlight too! Remember the concept about never going to a hairstylist that has got bad hair? Same thing…

In the end, Man didn’t win, but he got Silver placing…I could tell he was a bit disappointed, but well, it was good for his first try.

Then of course, came the goodie bags…I was quite peeved that they differentiated between the attendees and their guests. In fact, remember I brought Paris and a male friend along as my guests? On the way out, they gave me one of the bigger bags, while Paris got a smaller bag. And my male friend? He was thrust a copy of Cosmopolitan and they told him “oh, that’s for the men”…what the hell? Talk about gender discrimination. In his words, “They could have at least given me a copy of FHM!” (typical male response, but you get the point)

We got a Flawless Skin Protecting Foundation, Matte & Shimmer cheek Colour and Eyecolour (which were press samples from 2007 and 2008)

My bag had this weird box from Cosmopolitan, this year’s event sponsor…

I dunno what this is, to be honest – can anyone help?

As luck would have it, I also won one of the lucky draw packs (although there were FORTY winners, so…) which consisted of an envelope, a Sparkle Roller Ball (from 2007) and a Lip & Cheek stain (from 2005!!)

This letter was the most interesting though – it was a complimentary ticket to The Body Shop Personal Enhancement Academy (worth RM160)…

There was just one thing about the invitation I found exceptionally unusual…I have to book my date in advance for AUGUST!! Oh well…

Personally, having attended two of these Award Finalists events, I’d have to say that last year’s event was more challenging for the finalists, and much better managed. The venue (at Pavilion) was airier, more spacious and felt more luxurious compared to the black walls of Republic in a cramped space. Also, last year’s event gave more space for the attendees to walk around and inspect close up the work of the finalists, instead of trying to fight their way around the space which is what happened this year.

The lighting this year was HORRENDOUS – if it was meant to be a makeup competition and they invited press (which they did), I can’t imagine a worse condition for taking photos. Yellow dim lighting, shadows…it’s a photographer’s nightmare aitelyu!

I love most of TBS’ products (I’m still the biggest advocate for their Vit C Skin Boost), and I love the service I get at the Midvalley outlet, but their event management (and quality control of the products they give away!) need work.

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Sunday, 22 February 2009

Metrojaya Mega Sale Preview – Clinique Haul…

Metrojaya has got one nifty way of keeping you loyal to their privilege card program for sure. The card expires every one-and-a-half years, which is a fair bit more than the others that expire annually. At the end of the period, they send you a lovely mailer with the points you’ve accumulated and what you’re entitled to receive (which in my case this time was a RM50 voucher), but only if you renew your Metrojaya Privilege card (MJP) for another year and a half.

Of course, this is also usually done right before their mega sales, which is even more of a driving factor to get in for their preview day…and bonus gifts.

Sure enough, about a week after I got my form to renew my MJP the flyer for the Metrojaya Preview Day arrived. The Clinique set looked too good to resist, and I DID need a new supply for my Moisture Surge.

I dropped by the Clinique counter to check out the prices a couple of days before the preview, and to check out the SA there. I had previously gotten horrible experiences with Clinique SAs, and was quite wary of who I’d encounter, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. The SA wasn’t fantastic, but at least a LOT better than the last one I met at the Clinique counter in Jusco Midvalley.

Come Preview Day, this is what I picked up – two 50ml tubs of Moisture Surge, and a 40ml tube of City Block Sheer SPF 25. A girl can’t do without her sunblock and moisturiser, right? :)

This time, the Clinique Bonus was really good. Too good to be true? Not at all…

The box was stuffed well with paper – I felt like a little kid opening it up!

Contents of the 7-pc set – Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips (50ml), 7-Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula (75ml), Liquid Facial Soap Mild (50ml), All About Eyes Rich (7ml), Clinique Colour Palette, Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion (30ml) and High Impact Mascara…*whew*

This was what got me to pick up the set in the first place…the palette!

Clinique Colour Palette – Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo in Plum and Beach and Blushing Blush Powder Blush in (what’s with all the ‘blush’ words?!?) Bashful Blush…

The SA also gave me a sample of their Pore Minimiser refining serum to try – it’s a 15ml sample too, which is pretty generous.

After this experience, I may just have to revise my opinion of Clinique’s SAs…but let’s see how things go.

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