Wednesday, 15 August 2012

August Bellabox – Happy Birthday, Singapore…

Ah, has it been a month already since my last Bellabox? Apparently so! August is a pretty special month for both Malaysia and Singapore since they both celebrate their ‘birthdays’ then, though Singapore pips Malaysia by a couple of weeks. But I digress…let’s get stuck into my August box, shall we?

As always, Bellabox doesn’t disappoint…this month instead of a box, my items came in a cute “I *heart* SG” cotton bag (no doubt to commemorate Singapore's birthday!!) which can be reused at the beach or whatever other reason you can think of. As for the contents…oh my…

  • Enavose Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage (15ml)
  • Philosophy Hope in a Jar Oil Free Gel Moisturiser (7ml)
  • L’Oreal Paris Dermo-Expertise Youth Code Boosting Essence (5ml) – I’ve actually been using this for quite some time already, so this just supplements my existing supply and makes a good travel buddy. I have a couple of uses for this, which I’ll explain in a separate post!
  • China Glaze Nail Polish in Pool Party (full size) – Holy cow, it’s a matte neon pink! I just tried this on a couple of fingers when I got it, and I swear, I’m now visible at 50 metres on a dark night. :O Awesome shade!
  • Anna Sui Eye Color in #201 (full size) – Love, love, LOVE!!
  • Philosophy Purity Made Simple 3-in-1 Cleanser for Face and Eyes (6ml sachet) – this is the only sachet in this month’s box (or rather, bag!), but that’s fine since it wasn’t listed in the number of items in the box anyway. A nice bonus, as it were.

Vouchers included in this month included Philosophy, Anna Sui and Enavose. A couple of the deals are quite good, so let’s see if I succumb to picking up anything this month or not! :P

This would have to be my favourite out of this month’s box – the Anna Sui Eye Color in #201. Thanks to the gorgeous packaging with the mother-of-pearl cover and the purple hue (I swear, Bellabox wins me over more and more with their spot-on selections!), I can’t wait to try this out!

And there you have it, a quick look at my August box…and I’m as pleased as punch with it! What’s your favourite pick out of this month’s box, and if you got something different in your August Bellabox, I’d love to hear about it too. :D

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Monday, 13 August 2012

Bored? Not in Cameron Highlands...

Gosh, is it already the final part of my Strawberry Park Resort series? Darn…but for those looking for things to do while they’re in Cameron Highlands (which by the way, can be easily arranged with the friendly staff at the resort)

Yes, it’s Bailey! He was enjoying a bit of fresh air at the Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation where you can take a tour as well as have tea there (mind you, personally I found the tea and scones at the resort a lot nicer than that at the tea plantation).

The Brinchang night market is another place to lose yourself in…besides awesomely fresh vegetables and fruits (strawberry lovers will go nuts as they’re sold by the boxes, and CHEAP!), my fave part would be the fresh flowers…all types, all colours, and sold for a fraction of the price you’d get from KL florists!

We were also shown around an Orang Asli settlement by our tour guide Mr Maniam, which involved a rather bumpy hour’s ride down the mountainside to see…it was worth the trip though, since a lot of the Orang Asli have moved to new housing, and have abandoned their settlements in favour of jobs in the city or neighbouring towns.

At the small Orang Asli settlement, Maniam showed off the darts they use to hunt small animals for their food – one is poisoned, one is not. Can you tell which is which?

Say hello to Michael Jackson, Orang Asli! I’m not kidding, he really introduced himself that way…quite amusing, and we were told he’s actually quite the local celebrity, having been featured in a travel guide to Malaysia (can’t remember which one though). He gave us a show of his hunting prowess, shooting darts into a target set about 50-odd metres away.

You wouldn’t want to get in the way of those darts – even from that distance, those darts were right on target and went right through to the Styrofoam backing!

Besides weaving and selling produce harvested from the jungle, the Orang Asli also make a fair amount of jewellery and adornments. The interesting part is what they use to make these items…see that plant I’m holding? They have hard pods that can be dried and threaded to make jewellery!

While we were there, we saw a little monkey tied up to one of the huts. He was a naughty little thing, putting everything in his mouth, not to mention grabbed an Indian lady’s iPhone when she went a little too close to take a photo. It’s not without a sad tale though…this little monkey’s mother was shot by a dart for food since they didn’t see the little fellow. Rather than have him starve to death or get attacked by the other animals, they decided to keep him as a pet instead.

Above is one of the modern Orang Asli villages in Cameron Highlands. Although they’re a long way off from the urban developments we’re probably more used to, they have community halls, schools and a hostel for families that choose to stay in the jungle but want their children to have an education. During the week, the children stay at this hostel so they can get to school, and trek back to their families on weekends.

And the best part of my trip to Camerons? The sunrise tour…since Cameron Highlands is err, in the highlands (duh!) there’s a GORGEOUS view of the sunrise. Our tour guide took us to Sungai Palas, where the scenery is just lovely as the sun rises over the tea plantation. Photography buffs will be in seventh heaven…we saw several carloads of people perched at various locations over the tea plantation with their tripods and DSLRs to catch the perfect shot. Just think - if my iPhone can take the shot above, how much better could a shot using a DSLR be?

And there you have it – from a gorgeous small resort to delicious food, the Strawberry Park Resort ticks all my boxes for a great holiday. If you’re looking for a local holiday destination in Malaysia, this would be among the top of my list. The staff there are second to none (I can’t rave about them enough!) and if you want the best of service and yet take a trip down memory lane, this is THE place to be.

Mr Zamri, the F&B manager –he’s been there for over 17 years!

Mr Mohan, one of the resort’s drivers – if I remember correctly he’s been working for the resort almost 19 years.

Mr Ismail and Saraj – both lovely fellows and super chatty. Ismail has been with the resort over 20 years, while Saraj is the lightweight at just over 11 years.

There were so many people that helped make our trip a lovely one, I’m just sorry I can’t list them all here. We had many a happy time asking the staff about their backgrounds, and they’ve been more than happy to oblige, regaling us with rather funny tales too! It won’t be long before I’m back there again, that’s for sure. Who wants to come with this time? :D

And for those of you that missed part one and part two, you can check it out here and here.

Have a happy week ahead, folks!

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Friday, 3 August 2012

All fed up at Strawberry Park Resort…in the very best way!

Continuing on with part 2 of the Strawberry Park Resort series, here’s the part that will have everyone salivating – FOOD! We tried quite a few of the resort’s outlets so here’s what you can expect.

Ready, Set, GO! :D

The Jim Thomson Terrace is used for both breakfast and dinner – I have to admit I quite like the layout as it’s easy to navigate. Selection isn’t exceptionally extensive, but they have a very respectable (and quite tasty) number of choices.

Bread counter during breakfast – I like how they have loaves of bread you can slice to your liking beyond just the usual pastries and standard sandwich bread stacks.

This is one you have to try – they have fresh roti canai made to order every morning! :D Light and fluffy, paired with the chicken curry, this is an awesome dish to have at a buffet breakfast!

Rest of the items at the breakfast buffet include an egg station, congee with condiments, nasi lemak, noodles, bacon, pancakes, baked beans, fruit, cereal and juices.

We had lunch at the Garden Terrace, which features a special “Smokey Bear” menu – the first I’ve seen done in the open. The meats are actually put into the smoker for up to 8 hours before it makes its way to your table. During this time, the smoker is checked every hour or so and the meats basted before being put back in.

One of the staff was kind enough to let us peep into the smoker (with copious amounts of fanning required to actually make out what was inside!) The meats in there included lamb, beef, chicken and even fish…I dunno about you, but I’m quite impressed!

We tried two of the options on the menu for lunch – first up above is the smoked lamb which was served with mint sauce…absolutely delicious!

The smoked tenderloin was just as good served with black pepper sauce. Both dishes came with a grilled tomato, corn on the cob and fries as well as our choice of salads from the counter (not pictured cos we were too busy nommings…oops!)

For tea, this is THE place to be. Even if I wasn’t staying at the Strawberry Park, I would go there just to have tea. The classic choices would be the traditional English chicken pie or scones with cream and jam. Being the gluttons we are, we settled for one set of each.

The staff told us these were the two specialties for tea, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The chicken pie was piping hot from the oven (do note that you’ll have to wait about 20 minutes for the pie as they’re only put into the oven when you place your order so it’s fresh) and even came with gravy, fries and a salad – definitely generous enough for two people to share. The scones themselves were authentic and made by the resort kitchen. Even the strawberry conserve is made on site with their own strawberries. Suffice to say, we could barely move after polishing off those two dishes, but ended up going for a walk to attempt to walk off the meal!

We had two dinners at the resort, one at the Thai restaurant and the other one at the Jim Thomson Terrace which was a buffet.

First up is the Thai restaurant, where we had a set dinner for two. Prices are decent – the initial set for two pax is RM65++, plus RM30 for each additional diner.

Just take a look at the amount of food you get for two people – it’s MASSIVE. The Caucasian couple at the table next to us ordered another set dinner with dishes, and were also surprised by the amount of food provided. There’s both chicken and tomyam stock – the chicken one is alright, though the tomyam one was the clear winner at the end of the evening. Hey, when it’s cold out you want HOT STUFF! :D

The other dinner was of course, back at the Jim Thomson Terrace which has dishes from popular cuisines.

Can’t go wrong with the salads – this IS Cameron Highlands after all, so the greens are always fresh!

Some of the smoked meats from the Garden Terrace are also served, and you can have them heated up on the grill if you want them hot.

There’s an entire selection of dishes available, and seemed to be well-received by all the other diners we saw there.

They even had space to squeeze in a pasta station, and though we were both stuffed from earlier, the waitress insisted I should try it because they were that good. I had my doubts since I haven’t really had very good experience with any pasta that came from a pasta station at a buffet, but decided to order a small portion to test.

Turned out, they have one of the best pastas made to order I’ve ever tried! The tomato sauce had actual chopped tomatoes and veg in it, and it had pretty good flavour too.

Some of the fresh greens and salads available on the buffet line…

And a whole selection of meats and seafood from the grill!

This was probably the bf’s favourite – satay! It ranks in his top 5, so you can imagine he kept going back for more…

My personal favourite was the grilled sambal dory – sweet, fleshy, spicy, sour…is it any wonder I had several pieces of this? I really have to try and recreate this sometime, seems that the chilli blend is made by one of the indigenous folk working in the kitchen. On the right is otak-otak, which was so so.

Just some of the desserts available for your picking, if you can fit any more after gorging on the main courses…to me, they were quite standard so I’m not too fussed about it, but the must try are the éclairs and cream puffs.

And there you have it – rather a LOT of food packed into three days, and most of it highly recommended. For a small resort, the staff are nothing short of spectacular and very long-serving.

Tune in next week for the last instalment of the Strawberry Park Resort series – if you ever wondered what there was to do in Cameron Highlands, you won’t want to miss this! :D

And for those of you that missed part one, you can check it out here.

Have a happy weekend, folks!

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Get a Vanity Trove box with Watsons Singapore…

Beauty boxes, sample subscription boxes…whatever you call them, they seem to be here to stay. However, if you’ve been wondering about them and wanted to try it before you subscribe, Vanity Trove has made it easy for you by simply shopping at Watsons.

This is the promotion that just started – if you purchase above SG$80 at selected Watsons stores (list of participating outlets at the end of this post!) from 2-29 August, you’ll get a special Vanity Trove box. And if you’re a Watsons card member, the spending amount required goes down to SG$60.

Since I had a couple of items to pick up for some friends yesterday, I managed to pick up a box from the outlet at Raffles City. So here’s a look at what’s inside, together with my thoughts.

The box looks to be pretty much the standard Vanity Trove size and packaging – can’t comment on this since I don’t subscribe to Vanity Trove. Perhaps someone who does can shed some light on this? Nevertheless, I’m sure it’s the contents you’re more interested in, right? :)

Ta-daahhh!! This is just part one though – suffice to say, the box was packed to the brim!

And here’s part two…basically whatever couldn’t be fit into the first pic.

The contents of the box are arranged as clearly as I can manage given that there are a LOT of items in the box, so I’ve broken it down in the list below to trial sizes and sample sachets in the box I got:

Trial/ Full Size Items:
  • Beauty Buffet White Tea & Gingko Facial Mask (full size)
  • Beauty Buffet Vitamin C & Neroli Facial Mask (full size)
  • Biore Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets (2pcs)
  • Biore Aqua Jelly Makeup Remover
  • Cristalle21 Skin Solace
  • Garnier Men TurboLight Oil Control Charcoal Foam
  • Montagne Jeunesse Pressed Aloe Blemish Mud
  • Pure Beauty Youth Restore Essence with Black Pearl
  • L'Oreal Paris Dermo-Expertise White Perfect Laser Anti-Spot Brightening Essence

Sample Sachets:
  • Bio-essence Bio Platinum BB Cream
  • Watsons Bird's Nest Whitening & Firming Facial Cream
  • L'Oreal Youth Code
  • Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
  • DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
  • DHC Mild Soap
  • DHC Mild Lotion
  • DHC Olive Virgin Oil
  • Pure Papaya Ointment with Calendula
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+
  • Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care
  • The Nature Lab Collagen Makeup Removing Serum
  • Rachel K Mineral Colour Control CC Cream
  • Bio-Oil
  • Skin79 Super+ BB Cream
  • Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 PA+++

There’s also a voucher for 15% off storewide on Zalora, which is quite common nowadays. So there you have it – definitely a LOT in one box for you!

Personal Thoughts:
As a GWP for Watsons, this is fantastic – it’s a decent size, and there are plenty of trial sizes and sample sachets of new products which will please any beauty fan. There’s also a promotion for Watsons card members where they can get a 20% discount off a 3-month subscription to Vanity Trove, although taking into consideration that Vanity Trove retails at a SG$25 subscription per month I’m not sure this would make me want to subscribe to Vanity Trove. I might be the only one thinking this though…any differing opinions out there? :)

If you want to get your hands on one of the Watsons Vanity Trove boxes, you can hit up the following Watsons outlets in Singapore:
Ang Mo Kio Hub, Bugis Junction, Causeway Point, Compass Point, East Point, IMM, International Plaza, ION, Jurong Point, Lot 1, North Point, Parkway Parade, Raffles City, Serangoon NEX, Suntec City, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Tampines Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Toa Payoh HDB Hub (Blk 190) and VivoCity.
** One box per receipt per customer and while stocks last.

Happy Friday! :D

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Thursday, 2 August 2012

I want candy with the new L’Oreal Miss Candy Collection!

The latest collection from L’Oreal is finally here! :D As of first August, all major personal care and department stores will be carrying the L’Oreal Miss Candy Collection which is, well, carrying a whole range of candy-coloured hues!

For those who went all aflutter over the entry of L’Oreal’s Infallibles into the Singapore market back in April (link here for those who missed it!), you’ll be squealing with delight because…

There are three new Infallibles in this collection! We have Sassy Marshmallow, Naughty Strawberry and Innocent Turquoise (SG$14.90 each) – and they’re multicoloured too. In this case, I had to use a stock photo since the multicolour effect didn’t show up in the photos I was trying to sneak-snap at the store. :P 

Mind you, when looking at them up close, the Naughty Strawberry actually looks rather reddish in real life than the goldish-purple you see in the stock photo, while Sassy Marshmallow has a strong silvery base. Innocent Turquoise on the other hand, is a very pretty (but light) gold-green. You've been warned!

Not forgetting your lips, there are also four swirled lipglosses in this collection: (L-R) Miss Orange, Miss Raspberry, Miss Apricot and Miss Marshmallow (SG$15.90 each) that come with a heart-shaped applicator.

Personally, I'm liking the look of Sassy Marshmallow...I reckon it would look pretty good layered over a black/ dark blue eyeliner with a swipe of Miss Marshmallow on the lips. Thoughts? :D

Do note though, that the Miss Candy Collection is limited edition, and will only be available in August and September. There were full shelves when I checked yesterday, so it’s a good time to hit up the shops if you want first dibs on them! :)

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