Show & Tell: Maquillage Dramatic Mood Veil Blush

Hi my lovelies, this is not an in-depth review with swatches but I would like to show you my latest “gleeful” purchase which of course involved lots of enabling from one of my favourite makeup artists on YouTube, Lisa Eldridge.

She recently filmed a video called Radiant Spring Makeup Look Tutorial that was simply lovely and the look had a lot to do with the Maquillage Dramatic Mood Veil Blush PK200 she hauled while in Tokyo.

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The gold reflective textured palette looks quite bold and glamorous for Maquillage that tends to be rather quiet and conservative most times. Their eyeshadows are also rather pale and have shimmery pigmentation which aren’t my cup of tea but this blush truly grabbed my (blush addict) attention.

Although most of my blushes tend to be one uniform shade, I love the fact that this blush is made of five shades of pink and orange. It’s quite small so I don’t think it’s possible to just use one shade unless you have a tiny blush brush which doesn’t make sense in itself — they tend to be big and fluffy. So I swirl my brush all over the palette and the results are just stunning.

The fresh pink shade is seriously beautiful and refreshing. It instantly wakes up any dull complexion!

What is also unusual is the super soft quality brush that comes with the compact. I usually shy away from using brushes provided in palettes because they are not very good but this one does a great job. Lisa Eldridge demonstrates how she brushes on the blush on the apples of her cheeks and then uses the sponge end to blend it further.

I have tried using just the brush and the brush plus the sponge but I’m not sure if I can tell the difference and feel the brush is good enough on its own to give a natural effect. It’s one of those blushes that don’t need a lot of blending and it still looks fantastic.

For more tips on how to use this blush with the brush and sponge, this blog post gives detailed instructions.

My only gripe is that the compact is quite thick and it’s not a practical choice for travelling but then you can do without a full-sized blush brush so it depends how you see it. I’ll see if I can put up with travelling with such a bulky item for my next trip. ;)

I must say this purchase surprised even myself because I’d been very bored and jaded by Japanese cosmetics for a long time now. This certainly has me coming back to paying attention to what’s new in the beauty scene in Japan.

That wraps up my show-and-tell. Have you tried this blush? Or have you bought makeup recommended by Lisa Eldridge? Or just tell me what’s your latest blush buy!

Mummy Monday: Charles’ 16-17 Month Old Update

Dear friends, my last update on Charles was when he turned one years old, and I’ll keep saying this every time, but things have certainly changed a lot in 6-7 months. His progress has been astounding and he’s now quite his own little person.

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♥ He’s 12.6kg and 84cm tall. He is still a head taller than most Japanese babies around his age, but when we were in Sydney, he looked the same size as other kids at the same stage.

♥ That said, he’s not putting on as much weight or growing height-wise as quickly as before so his clothes can last several months now instead of just weeks.

♥ He started being very physical at an early age, 10 months, so I feel that his progress is much more mental now. He can actually communicate with us even with his baby talk. E.g. “AH baba” means I want more of that food; “tae” is to give me something and “gah” is to receive something; he does know “mama” and “dada” but only says it very infrequently but we think he knows as he has used them in the right context consistently and if we tell him to take something to the other, he would know.

♥ He understands a lot of what we say though he cannot speak proper words. If I ask him to switch the light on or off, he knows what I’m talking about. And he knows “upstairs”, “downstairs, “toast”, “egg”, “kiwi”, “milk”, “are you hungry?”, “it’s naptime”, “it’s bath time”, “let’s call dad on Skype”, and “where’s your football?”. I can’t wait for the day we can chat!

♥ He has started to use toys around him in role-playing situations, e.g. pouring tea into tea cups, or using tissue to clean phantom crumbs off his high chair table or floor, he loves feeding milk to his teddy bear and even wiped his teddy’s face with a washer when it dropped into his cot one morning.

♥ Speaking of his teddy, he likes grabbing him when he’s had a great new experience, e.g. when he discovered the leaky hose at my parents’ house in Singapore, he brought his teddy to the tap that was spraying water like a sprinkler so they could have fun getting wet together. So cute.

♥ He’s obsessed with animal sounds and can say “quack quack”, “mmm-mmm” (for moo-moo), “meow-meow”, “ugh-ugh” (woof-woof), “cheep-cheep”, “bah-bah”, “zzzz” (for bee, though his “z” sound is more of “j”), “rar” (for a tiger) and “choo-choo” (for train, not an animal but he likes this sound).

♥ Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, and Peppa Pig are faves at moment. He’s really getting into Mickey Mouse and went, “aaaAAAaaar…” (his expression for being full of wonder and surprise) when I showed him his new Mickey Mouse PJs.

♥ He loves working out with me – haha! With the husband away, I cannot leave the house for a run or swim unless I get a babysitter. When I do get help, I prefer to use that time to work, so as a compromise, I just follow fitness YouTube videos and the lil man actually tries to do them too. He’ll do ab twists, or lie on the floor on his back when I do ab crunches, he would also sit on my tummy when I am on my back doing various ab exercises, and he loves running on the spot.

♥ What’s his personality like? He’s not super smiley and lets anyone carry him anymore, but he’s still a sociable little chap once he warms up. He has his shy moments when he first meets people though I have a feeling he will be one chatty fella when he learns how to speak. He’s certainly a daring, energetic toddler, but he can be cautious as I’d observed him at a play gym where there was a transparent plastic floor high up in an obstacle course that he tested gingerly with one foot and decided it was not a hole but a see-through part of the floor. He’s also very stubborn and determined — the kind that won’t take no for an answer – lol!

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♥ Food-wise, I suppose you can say there has been an improvement since we started solids at 5-6 months and then he went into his super fussy phase before we sleep trained him at 10 months. After which, he ate a little better after feeling rested and he was really into pureed food until he was 15 months old when he’d just gone through a spate of teething so he suddenly had a whole bunch of teeth to chew with.

♥ It’s still challenge to feed him because while he is totally not into purees anymore, he can’t quite eat a lot of tough food. He likes chicken, salmon, shredded cheese, tofu, scrambled eggs, sausage, lamb meatloaf (and tender grilled lamb), hummus, babaganoush, mozarella cheese, peanut butter on toast (but he only likes to lick the peanut butter and might only nibble on the bread a little), banana bread, Cheerios (the 100% oats one), green smoothies, tortilla wraps, baby pasta in the shape of rings by Bellamy’s (he dislikes other shapes), and pizza (which he likes licking off the tomato and cheese). This list doesn’t seem bad at all but there’s so much he wouldn’t eat like all kinds of vegetables so thank goodness he loves smoothies where I can sneak in leafy greens and even steamed sweet potato. He likes to feed himself but doesn’t mind if I put food in his mouth if he likes said thing.

♥ For meal times, it takes at least an hour to feed him as he doesn’t like staying in his high chair and stands up very soon after we start. With purees, he just whacked the lot as he just swallowed the food, and if he was hungry, he would eat till he was full but with proper food, it takes a really long time to get some substance into him. I’ve tried entertaining him with airplane and choo-choo train noises but he didn’t feel amused lol!

♥ If things just go south, like NOTHING gets eaten from his plate, I would try to dig stuff out as a back up, like scrambled eggs, but if he won’t eat the backup, I figured yogurt, fruit, and whole grains from a pouch are the next best thing.

♥ I’ve reduced his milk intake to 250ml twice a day down from three times a day so he would get more hungry for solids and also not to wet himself by the time morning comes. I know most folks give their bubs a night time milk feed before bed but we stopped that as he would wake screaming before his regular time as he would be wet and cold.

The hubs and I love hanging out with our lil guy as he’s so entertaining. People with older kids tell us it will only get even more fun and amazing. I cannot wait! ♥♥♥

Fun Times: Depotting MAC Eyeshadows

Beauty is therapy for my soul. When the lil bub is asleep, mama gets to play with her toys.

Last Friday evening was a wild night in. I’d been planning this stint of makeup decadence for a while. The hubby was away on a business trip and the baby was tucked up with his teddy.

While sipping on a hot mug of tea and watching YouTube beauty videos, this happened…

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Large palette (top to bottom): Naked Lunch, Woodwinked, Wedge, Amber Lights, Sable, Patina, Cork, Twinks, Cranberry, Soba
Small quad (top to bottom): Espresso, All That Glitters, Satin Taupe, Brule

My beloved MAC single eyeshadows have a new home in their palettes *feels cozy*…

I followed this tutorial and it really is that simple. Basically, I melted the glue on the underside of the eyeshadow pans by putting them on a hot flat-iron tool. Then I used the blade from a pair of nail scissors to dig them out of their plastic containers. As you can see, there were a couple of pans that had been poked by accident but I smoothed them out as best as I could.

It’s a hot, sizzling affair so be sure to use a piece of cloth or wear gloves to handle the hot metal pans.

What inspired me to get this done? This blog post — and well, I really do love MAC eyeshadows as they are such classics in any beauty collection and they were just sitting in a drawer not being used because it’s a real pain to use single eyeshadows when doing my makeup. I tried travelling with 3-4 of these but the clear plastic cover always pops out due to being shoved around too roughly in a cosmetics bag.

I like the clear covers for the new MAC pro eyeshadow palettes as you can see the shadows even when the lid is shut. The quad palette is meant for travelling as I think the large one could be prone to cracking in luggage and I really don’t have space in my carry-on bags for delicate makeup.

Anyway, if you are buying a bunch of MAC single eyeshadows, listen to the SA and just get started on a large 15-pan pro-palette. Unless you hate these shadows, you’re going to want to get more and before you know it, you have single eyeshadows swimming in your drawers feeling neglected.

When I got the these two palettes in a MAC store in Sydney, the chatty SA nodded at Charles and said, “You’re gonna do this when he’s asleep, aren’t you?” Oh yes, she was right. Mums need a break to do whatever the hell they want!

What guilty pleasures do you let yourself have when you have a moment alone?

Korean FOTD: HERA & VDL

Hi my loves, I’m finally back in Tokyo and reunited with my beloved beauty stash. Am I weird for saying that? I’ve been on the road for nine weeks with just one humble makeup bag of essentials which took me through one wedding, two photo shoots, several dinners, and Chinese New Year. I basically just wore the same look and smoked up the eyes a little and put on bright red lipstick for more formal occasions.

I also had a handful of perfume samples which I didn’t love so am reveling in my fragrances, especially the warm and spicy ones because Singapore and Australia were hot and it didn’t feel right spritzing such perfumes.

Anyway, enough with the whinging, I’ve finally got an FOTD foundation type post for you today. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried new base makeup that’s worth blogging about.

A disclaimer about this FOTD — it’s not quite Korean-style makeup I’m featuring but just two Korean base makeup products I’m liking. For a typical Korean makeup look, you should check out this video.

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Thanks to my dear friend, Xuan, who gifted me the HERA UV Mist Cushion Long Stay SPF50+ / PA+++ C23, I could find out what’s all the hype about the recent spate of BB cushion compacts flooding the market. The style of delivery didn’t win me over immediately because I don’t like using products with sponges as I’m a bit of a stickler for hygiene — I tend to toss out the sponge and use a brush instead.

But the whole point of a BB cusion product is to use the “cushion” part of it, so I decided to wash the sponge applicator every time after I use it — which, by the way, is not that easy to clean. I can’t seem to get off the stains but I do the best I can and hope it’s as clean as it can be.

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The shade C23 is a little light for me but I’m unusually tanned from my stint in summery Sydney but it’s not overly obvious and I can fix it with some bronzer. I would imagine this would suit my regular winter pallor once my tan fades.

The coverage is light-to-medium as you can still see my freckles. I’m surprised to see some dryness around my nose area from the pictures as I didn’t think it was noticeable in the mirror.

I like that this BB cushion product is so moisturizing because the air is really dry in Tokyo right now. I did give this product a go when it was autumn but it was still a little too greasy for me at the time, so oily skinned gals, you may only want to use this in winter.

I’m beginning to enjoy this type of application as it’s super quick and easy (necessary for my current lifestyle) and blends superbly well. On areas that need a bit more coverage, I swipe the sponge over once again and it generally covers up redness and minor blemishes.

On its own, the HERA BB cushion compact is a little too shiny so I definitely need to powder my face so I used VDL Brightening Powder Foundation SPF45, PA+++ A201 (VDL is a premium sister brand to The Face Shop) as a finishing powder.

Since it claims it’s a brightening powder, I doubt it is extremely mattifying but it’s enough for winter. My makeup still looks alright at the end of the day and I might need to blot, but most of the time, I’ll be home by then and will wash off my makeup when it gets a bit greasy.

With a kabuki brush, the coverage is higher and silkier as opposed to a regular fluffy brush — which I am really enjoying as I prefer a little more coverage as the HERA product is rather lightweight.

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Other makeup used:

HERA UV Mist Cushion Long Stay SPF50+ / PA+++ C23
VDL Brightening Powder Foundation SPF45, PA+++ A201
The Body Shop Honey Bronzer Bronzing Powder 01
Chanel Cream Blush 69 Intonation
Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Wheat
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Radiant
MAC eyeshadows All That Glitters, Satin Taupe, & Espresso (not pictured)
Majolica Majorca’s Lash Bone Black Fiber In
Majolica Majorca’s Lash Expander Edgemeister
Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Liner N 01
Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color in 11 Rosy
Stila Lip Glaze in Pinata

In all, I am really enjoying this combination for base makeup and this overall look as well. Shall I say it’s my go-to everyday winter look?

Have you tried BB cushion compacts before? If you have, what do you think of them? Is there any other Korean makeup that you think I would like to try?

Things I Love In Sydney

Whoo – spending 7 whole weeks in Sydney was probably the longest stint I’d ever done in Australia. We stayed mostly with my MIL but moved around his siblings’ homes as well plus a short trip to Brisbane over Australia Day weekend. It was a great way to escape the harsh Japanese winter though with our travel schedule this year, it’s quite possible we will only be in Tokyo for the summer months — so lots of “summer time” in 2015!

The husband and I have been together for 12 years so we fly to Sydney twice a year at least and I’ve become very fond of this city…

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♥ We made the effort to drive up to Fresh Water, one of the northern beaches that has some surf but isn’t too choppy for small kids. The white sand is so soft and the laid back vibe is perfect for lounging and building sand castles for hours on end. We usually allow lil C to have some ice-cream and then burn it off on the beach.

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♥ I had the opportunity to have a couple of play dates with Trishie who helms the very lovely Under Lock & Key and her bubbly lil man, Alex. Our two boys played with each other and shared snacks while we chatted over Trishie’s delicious low-carb Vietnamese pork salad with mint leaves (I’m still thinking about her salad!). It’s so nice to hang out with a fellow mummy blogger with toddlers the same age — we were constantly sharing stories and milestones.

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♥ Another fave place in Sydney is Centennial Park where there’s a fun little playground and loads of open lawn to run around in. It was blazing hot the Sunday we went so we sat in the shade to cool off and sip on iced drinks. We used to go running around this park pre-Charles and hope I’ll get to do that again in the future.

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♥ When you have kids, I think most people would think that connecting with family becomes a lot more of a priority, especially if there are cousins in the picture. Lil C is so lucky that all his big cousins were so game to play with him even though he is the littlest and still a baby. They were so gentle and thoughtful — the husband and I could hang out with the adults and have proper conversations because the cousins could take care of our lil bubbie! Bliss!

We are actually going back Down Under in March for a month so I don’t have to wait too long to enjoy all these things again. You might be wondering why we are going there so frequently — basically, we have a wedding and a family holiday to go to and both had been planned a while back so we knew the beginning of 2015 would be very Oz-focused.

I would also probably blog about the Aussie beauty products I’ll be using since I tend to pick up stuff there and it’ll be a long trip so pointless to lug my products from Japan over ;)

Have you been to Sydney? What’re your fave things to do and places to visit?

Sydney Summer Haul

Hi my loves, how are you doing? I’m in the mood to talk about my Sydney summer holiday. I must say it’s a real treat to escape the harsh winter in Tokyo. It’s been snowing quite a bit which I miss but not the brrrrrr icy air of course!

Although I’ve been more prudent about buying beauty products, they always manage to find their way to me somehow…

I’ve been a lucky lass to receive some wonderful gifts during my stay in Sydney and since it was a 7-week stint, I also picked up a few items to tide me over.

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Antipodes is a New Zealand brand that I’ve read about online alot so I asked for a few products as a Christmas present from the husband. He gave me the Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum which I’ve already finished using. It is seriously awesome and suitable for sensitive skin. The texture is watery and sinks right into the skin. I loved the way it made my skin brighter and clearer which is probably due to kiwi fruit enzymes which are exfoliating.

I also used the Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream as my night cream and it smells heavenly which puts me in a relaxing mood. It’s way too rich for day time in the Sydney summer but I can imagine it would be fine during the harsh Tokyo winter. It has manuka honey and is super-charged with grape seed antioxidants. I would credit the combination of these two products used in tandem for smooth, hydrated, and unblemished skin for the two months that I was in Sydney.

I’ve got the Hosanna H2O Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum which I cannot wait to try.

I’m also halfway through the Jubilation Ultra Nourishing Hand & Body Cream which has the unique feijoa scent which is so quintessentially Kiwi. I once tried a feijoa vodka cocktail and this hand cream is a deadringer for it! I don’t quite know how to describe it as it doesn’t fall into your typical fragrance categories — it’s quite herbal and even medicinal but in a good way! As a hand cream, I love it because it’s light but moisturizes really well. I would absolutely love to try the other hand creams in their collection.

The lovely Trishie from Under Lock & Key gifted me a small bottle of Divine Face Oil Organic Avocado Oil & Rosehip and a travel-sized tube of the Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream I love. She knows my tastes too well ;) She also gave me Benefit’s Benetint which I’d tried years ago when I was a magazine writer — I’m happy to have this in my stash again because it’s such good travel makeup product since it’s a cheek and lip stain.

As usual, I picked up the Sukin Sensitive Cleansing Gel and Facial Moisturizer to be included in my morning skincare routine. Sukin is a reliable natural personal care brand that is affordable and available in most drugstores in Australia. They get the job done and smell great.

For Christmas, I received a bottle of L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Body Lotion which is a light milky body moisturizer perfect for summer. I would slather this on after my evening shower and the familiar powdery fragrance always puts me in the mood to wind down and sleep.

When I visited a Mecca store in Paddington with a friend, I couldn’t resist buying the Hourglass Mechanical Gel Eye Liner which comes in a box of three and the SA said it’s because the product runs out so quickly, the brand decided it’s better to present it as a set instead of having single units to be sold. I liked the way it swatched but I must say I’m struggling to make it work for quick application. I find that it breaks easily and it drags on the skin a little. Perhaps I need to play around with it a bit more to get used to it though I’m thinking I’m still a liquid liner girl at heart.

I actually bought a couple of empty MAC eyeshadow palettes (not pictured) because I have a bunch of MAC single eyeshadows which I love but don’t use due to the fact that they are always tucked away in a drawer so I’m looking forward to depotting my shadows while the bub sleeps.

And of course, I couldn’t resist nabbing MAC’s Lady Danger lipstick. I’d been thinking about it for a long time and decided to buy it since the colour is so awesome as a vivid bright coral shade and it’s long lasting and doesn’t stain your teeth.

All in all, it’s quite a modest haul considering my past makeup-obsessed spendy habits. I’m trying very hard not to shop at Sephora in Singapore and I suppose having a wriggly impatient toddler helps me to steer clear of shops!

What have you hauled recently, my fellow beauty junkies?

Mummy Monday: Dealing With Tongue Tie

Hello my friends, I’m so happy to be able to find a pocket of time to blog here in my beloved space. The husband has taken the bub to a nearby Coffee Bean to grab a coffee so I’m going to blog as much as possible while they are gone.

We are currently in Singapore for Chinese New Year. It makes my parents happy to be able to show off their cute grandson and I do want lil C to get to know his Singaporean family. It’s been great catching up with old friends too and see where they are at.

Anyway, let’s get on with today’s Mummy Monday post. I’ve been wanting to talk about tongue tie for a while now, especially after our little man had a procedure to snip his frenulum.

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If you don’t know what tongue tie is, it’s basically when the frenulum, i.e. the flesh that connects the base of your tongue to the bottom of your mouth, is too short so you can’t stick your tongue out. More importantly, lisping and not being able to pick food out from your teeth are associated problems which cause confidence issues and cavities.

We actually knew that Charles had a tongue tie problem as young as two weeks’ old when I engaged a lactation consultant to figure out why breastfeeding was so difficult. He would be hungry and suck eagerly for a few minutes but then he would promptly fall asleep. After which, he would wake up 20 minutes later and scream for food again. I was literally tied to Charles and he wasn’t getting enough milk. I kept blaming the C-section which delayed my milk supply much longer than was normal and the stress did not help my supply either.

The lactation consultant said I should take Charles to a doctor and get his frenulum snipped. Unfortunately, during his one-month checkup, the doctor said that in Japan they take a wait-and-see approach, which upon more research is a universal stance that most doctors would take. They would not cut the frenulum unless obvious problems developed because babies at such a young age could very well outgrow this condition.

I rummaged the internet for more information and it seemed that breastfeeding mothers with tongue tie babies would experience excruciating pain which I did not feel. I had the occasional sore nipples but no bleeding or chafing that I had read about. I had been following a mummy blog even before I got pregnant and read about tongue tie but her experience sounded so different from mine so I just thought I had low milk supply.

However after 10 months of battling with breastfeeding and the fact that he still couldn’t stick out his tongue, we took him to a pediatric surgeon when he was 15 months old and he declared it was indeed a clear-cut case of tongue tie and his tongue wasn’t going to develop differently much further.

The pediatrician advised us that it’s better to do the procedure when he’s a year old so he won’t be traumatized and have no memory of it. The worst part of the whole operation would be the general anesthesia that would make him drowsy and dehydrated. He had to go in at 7am but the operation was delayed till 8am so keeping a very desperately hungry baby occupied was seriously challenging. He kept tearing into the nappy bag and tugging at me to give him milk and food — it was heartbreaking but we made it through.

We were told to give him very limited food (mostly soft food like white bread, pureed veggies, jelly, diluted milk etc.) — particularly no small pasta or rice just in case the grains would get caught in the wound. The nurse warned us he would experience a stinging sensation occasionally which baby panadol could not dull so he might scream in pain — thankfully he did not. We also had to be careful while brushing his teeth for the next couple of days.

He bounced back in 48 hours like nothing happened and he experimented with sticking his tongue out and curling it. It was very cute to watch!

Do I wish I could’ve done things differently? Of course! I wish I had seen a doctor in Singapore because they do perform tongue tie procedures on babies as young as six months old without anesthesia (I was actually in Singapore when Charles was seven months old). But the timing is so crucial and dependent on the complexity of the tongue tie that even if I could turn back time and do it again, I’m not sure if I could’ve caught it in time and done something about it.

I’d wanted to breastfeed full-time very badly but in the end, I was only able to breastfeed 50-60% of the time and relied on formula. I drank nursing tea (which didn’t taste great and made me reek of fenugreek which reminds me of curry smells!!!) several times a day and ate oatmeal daily faithfully. I kept a hawk-like watch over my supply and pumped at least twice a day. It was all I could think of. I guess what I took away from this whole experience is that I learned that I can be extremely disciplined if I really set my mind to it.

If I have another baby and faced the same situation, I think I would be more willing to rely on formula. I remember crying when I had to give Charles formula because he was losing more than 10% of his body weight in his first week. Well, he’s my first baby so everything was new and overwhelming, plus I had exceptionally high ideals on how I wanted to feed my baby. I must say, I’m much more moderate in my thinking though I’m still stressing over Charles’ fussy eating habits! That’s probably something I would think back and tell myself not to stress over too much in a few years’ time – lol!

The Makeup Addict Tag

Happy New Year, my loves! I hope you had a great end to 2014. May 2015 be a wonderful year for you all!

We had a very quiet Christmas in Sydney with the husband’s mum, partner, and his sister’s family, and we spent New Year’s eve as a family and didn’t get a babysitter. Best decision ever — the bubba loved fireworks and tried to touch them as they exploded in the sky. Too cute.

So where have I been? Why has this blog been so deadly quiet? Sorry, my dear readers, offline life got in the way and I had to prioritize. Sparkle Collagen keeps me on my toes most days so every time lil C goes down for a nap, I would quickly do some work. I try not to do domestic tasks because that’s such a time suck and we would all have a late lunch around 2pm when he is up.

Liz from Beauty Reductionista tagged me in The Makeup Addict Tag (thank you, dear, for giving me inspiration!) and I thought it would be fun to do it.

Just a small preface (after such an rambly intro haha!): I still LOVE makeup although it doesn’t seem to show on the blog. My latest entries seem to focus on skincare and for good reason — I stopped buying makeup and didn’t think of mentioning it. I’m trying to toss expired items and use up more of what I have. But that doesn’t mean I don’t drool from afar or not appreciate what I’m using.

Let’s begin!

Which product do you still buy more of despite having plenty in your collection?

It used to be foundations and BB creams, but of late, I did a big clean out of my collection because liquids just don’t last and separate after a couple of years. The second thing I would hoard would be face powder compacts. I have so many that I hardly use but I keep buying more in search for the perfect one — mattifying, long lasting, in a gorgeous compact, and in my shade. I’ve yet to find my holy grail.

Which is the one product you cannot live without?

My Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in B30. It’s by far the best liquid foundation that suits my oily combination skin type and it looks so natural while giving a little coverage over redness and freckles. I’ve received countless compliments on my complexion while wearing it. I have thought of trying other similar products from Urban Decay and YSL but I’m on a makeup buy ban so…maybe some time in the future?

Favourite makeup brand?
If I had to name just one, it would be Chanel, but that’s in a hypothetical world! I love Dior, Stila, Tarte, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay, NARS, and Too Faced. For drugstore, I gravitate to Maybelline and Milani.

How big is your makeup collection?

Barring foundation and other liquid items like mascara, eyeliner, and primers, I would say, I have enough makeup to last me for at least five more years. My collection is large but not “makeup artist large”, if you get what I mean.

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And so how do you store it?

I have makeup I don’t adore in one large cupboard in my bathroom and one small drawer system in my bedroom with current stuff I love putting on, plus a big caddy of quick-and-easy makeup that I stash in the living room in case I have to put on makeup while watching the bub.

Sorry I don’t have a photo of my bathroom cupboard collection since I’m not at home right now.

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How many items of makeup have you got in your handbag at this moment?

Five in all. I usually carry two lip balms with SPF and a couple of lipsticks for when I need to freshen up. If it’s a special occasion, I’ll bring the same lipstick with me. Otherwise, I’ll just use what I have in my handbag. I also included the blotters because they help me remain shine-free!

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If you could raid another blogger’s stash, who would it be?

Mostly Sunny – she has extremely elegant taste and I would definitely go crazy swatching her amazing collection.

Eye Heart It – Larie has bold lipsticks and eyeshadows that I would be curious to try.

How long does your usual makeup routine take and how many products do you use?

My everyday makeup routine takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how made up I want to be. But the average day-to-day face I wear includes: sunscreen, liquid foundation, concealer, eyebrow powder, eye shadow primer, eyeshadow, mascara primer, mascara, liquid eyeliner, blush, face powder, lip balm, lipstick and lip gloss.

For a faster application, I don’t use primer before foundation, and may even skip powdering because the Chanel liquid foundations I have, especially the Vitalumiere Velvet, don’t need much mattifying. To round off this easy look, I just slap on tinted lip balm or lip gloss.

For very special occasions, I would put on the full works, including highlighter and bronzer.

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This looks like a lot of makeup but I have two blushes and two face powders in my everyday makeup pouch. And two foundations — one in a lighter shade and one in a darker one in case I get a tan here in Sydney which is very likely!

Have you ever bought makeup knowing you wouldn’t use it?

I think most makeup fans would refer to gorgeous limited edition palettes or items when it comes to “buying and not using”. For me, I have bought makeup that I kind of knew wasn’t my thing but I still did for the cheap price tag and perhaps their gimmicky factor, e.g. very shimmery and intense blue or green eyeshadow, or very bright red but bad quality lipstick. I might play with these once or twice and then shelve them.

Tag other makeup addicts to do this tag.

I tag Sunny from Mostly Sunny and Larie from Eye Heart It.

I’ve been trying some new skincare so expect that to be on the blog soonish!

Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial Review

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Hello my loves, I’ve been really into natural skincare lately and it seems everything that I am using has a “natural” label on it. I’ve tried different brands, and to be honest, there are not many that wow me. They do a good enough job but they can’t really compare with conventional products in terms of effectiveness, though I really prefer to have products with fewer nasties so I compromise on performance.

But the Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial is a rarity that makes your skin look and feel smoother the next day after using it. Korres has even done a study that revealed “97% of women saw smoother skin by morning”.

Initially I used it once or twice a week to give my skin a boost but I loved it so much I pretty much used it as my night cream. The description on Sephora says, “[It is] A weightless soufflé powered by super-charged proteins that melts into skin and works overnight for intense, immediate moisturization.”

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As you can see, it’s got a regular cream texture that wouldn’t spill out of the pot when I hold it that way but it is indeed very light but it seriously does a great job of moisturizing your skin so don’t be fooled at all by its featherweight behaviour.

What ticks the boxes for me as well is that it has no parabens, sulphates, and phthalates. There is a slight clean floral fragrance which I don’t mind, so I wouldn’t say this is completely for those with sensitive skin. It does make my skin tingle when I put it on so it feels like the cream is doing something.

Another plus point for me is that it has an affordable price tag and it has a “visible difference” type of efficacy to it which is really uncommon in mid-range masks or moisturizers.

Greek yogurt is known for is amazing moisturizing power so to put it in a beauty product is just genius. I’m also a fan of the Wild Rose version. If you ask me which is better, they are the same to me in terms of how my skin looks and feels afterwards but of course it has a rose scent which is very lovely. I adore both and would definitely re-purchase these products again.

I’ve bought the Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream just to try it out but it doesn’t have the same claims except for the fact that it has full-fat Greek yogurt in it as well. The beauty junkie in me couldn’t resist trying something different and I am curious about the rest of the products in the range.

I think natural skincare brands are beginning to try and prove that they are just as good or even better than conventional brands by way of clinical research studies and I’m definitely paying attention to this space.

For my Japan fellow expats, you can get this on Sephora, and yes they ship to Japan! Yay!

What natural skincare brands work for you? Please share!

Mummy Monday: My Baby Turned One!

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I know that life gets so busy and goes non-stop when I forget important things. I had to fill up a form which required lil C’s birth date and I paused. For a long time. Then I had to check my boshi techo (it’s the Japanese mother’s handbook) to confirm the day he was born, 11 Oct 2013.

All I could remember on the 10th was feeling like a stuck whale pushing like crazy and the husband was cheering me on. There was a joke that Charles could have the same birthday as one of his cousins in Sydney who was born on the 10th. For some reason, the husband thought it would be great for them to share the same birthday and how cool does, “10th October, 10-10″ sound? To a woman in labour, that’s no pressure at all. But he arrived on the 11th instead and Oct 11th sounded pretty cool to me ;)

Fast forward to today, my baby is now one and a full-fledged toddler. He is very loud from the moment he wakes up till he goes down for his nap around 10-ish every morning. Then he’s up and he’s go-go-go till his bed time at 8pm. What’s my little snuggly bear like now?

♥ Charles is very active and physical. He has to run around, climb, roll, dance…. But he does have his quiet moments where he likes to fiddle with things and tries to work them out, e.g. how to unscrew a cap from a bottle or jiggle a screw out of its hole.

♥ He loves to hug. When I just sit and watch him play, he would do his own thing but would come back every so often to give me a hug. It’s so sweet.

♥ He’s getting very independent-minded. He doesn’t like it when I hold his sippy cup for him to drink out of – he has to be the one driving.

♥ He’s obsessed with feeding himself but unfortunately he’s not very good at it. Most of his pureed food ends up on his clothes, high chair, and the floor. Yup. I give him an empty bowl and spoon to play with while I feed him his meals.

♥ He loves waving, blinking his eyes with a cheeky grin, vibrating his fingers on his mouth (he makes this “brr brr” sounds which is so cute), and does body twists (I kid you not!) because he saw me doing them during an exercise video I like.

♥ He grabs everything. When we open a cupboard door or slide open a drawer or swing open the bathroom door, he would be right there trying to squeeze himself past us and stick his pudgy fingers into whatever it is. Some of the child-proof locks were fiddled to death by this lil fella and they are busted. We just leave them as they are because he would just spoil the next one. Resignation is an oft felt emotion with a toddler.

♥ He may have his independent moments but he is still a baby in my eyes. When he gets upset or clingy, he would wrap his little arms round my neck and lay his head on my shoulder. My heart never fails to give a big sigh of love when that happens.

♥ He loves music and used to bop along to tunes but lately he likes being carried while I dance. LOL! If I sit down he would whine very loudly and yell at me to stand up again.

♥ He’s now almost 12 kg and sometimes it gets so tiring toting him around — we have mostly stopped using the baby carrier because he is too big to haul around now but we got a super light stroller, the Maclaren Volo, for travelling and zipping around Tokyo especially when there aren’t elevators in certain train stations.

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For me, Lil C turning one also meant that we’ve been parents for one whole year. Wow. We made it! Conclusion: Nobody knows exactly what to do and you just learn as you go along — and the Internet is your friend (or foe, depending on how you look at it as it could also plunge you into paranoia and fear) if you are ever in doubt of anything at all.

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A week before his actual birthday, we threw a BBQ party at home in Tokyo before jetting off to NYC. Our friends and their kids came to celebrate with us, too, and for the first time, I made a no-bake Oreo cheesecake as lil C’s birthday cake. I was a bit nervous it wouldn’t turn out well but it was very easy to make and pretty foolproof ;) It was a very simple do with blue balloons and blue plates and cutlery so no fantastic themed cakes and favours like some of the photos I’ve seen on Pinterest.

The lil man tried ice-cream and cheesecake for the first time in his short life and he was so underwhelmed. We’ve had lots of folks telling us that a baby’s first taste of ice-cream is priceless and they love it immediately. However, that was not so with Charles. He tasted vanilla ice-cream and looked so indifferent we were so disappointed. I had my camera ready and everything! In the end, he was more interested in feeding the husband instead.

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On his real birthday, we just went to a kid-friendly cafe where he could press all sorts of buttons and rattle fake door handles at The Moxie Spot. It was rainy and cold but we thought it would be very sad to stay at our rented apartment all day. The next day, it was bright and sunny, so we headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a picnic. I love that photo of our lil koala sprawled out in a starfish position — he partied too hard lol! Nah, the poor baby was still jet lagged but running around in the sun sure helped push his body clock to New York time a bit more that day.

So that was a huge rambling post about my son turning one years old. Thanks for reading if you’ve reached this far. Will get back to beauty-related posts soon, I promise!