Hi my dearies, my darling bub is sleeping so I nabbed the chance to write up a post on my recent holiday haul. It’s funny how five weeks away and frequent contact with duty free shops can weasle its way into my wallet. I mean, who can resist 40% discounts at Singapore’s Changi Airport shops? Not me.
My haul has everything between high-end and budget, plus several things were gifts…
Tom Ford Black Orchid has been on my wish list for a few years now. I loved it (a random stranger complimented the scent on me in a ladies toilet in NYC) then hated it and then loved it again recently – my little perfume sample from Sephora aeons ago lasted me that long. You only really need two or three spritzes for this strong sexy perfume.
What got me to buy it in the end was when I used up the last dregs for a wedding near Canberra — the chameleon-like way the notes change with the first few sniffs was simply magical. Notes: Bergamot, Citrus, Mandarin, Black Gardenia, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lotus Wood, Orchid, Spicy Floral Accord, Orchid (Tom Ford Black Accord), Patchouli, Sandalwood, Incense, Vanilla.
Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Water Make-up Cleanser was an impulse buy after I used a travel-sized Bioderma – love the feel of my skin after cleansing but it’s so pricey in Japan. It’s also the type of product that gets used up very quickly so a cheaper alternative would be very welcome. I might do a comparison review soon.
philosophy Miracle Worker is an anti-aging night cream that I’ve been keen to try since I read about it in Liz’s post about it. She said it made her skin visibly better so I hope it has the same effect on me!
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray totally lives up to the hype and no regrets purchasing this. It truly kept my make up in place all day during my five-week tropical holiday.
Chanel Cream Blush in Revelation was a no-brainer once I swatched the cream to velvety powder finish on my hand. I struggled to make the decision between bold cool pink Chamade and Revelation but a pretty daily warm pink blush won out in the end. This has got to be one of my top buys in this haul.
Urban Decay Naked 3 was irresistible — I am a huge fan of the first two Naked palettes and this one has so many warm rose gold neutrals that I had to get it!
Bobbi Brown Blush in Apricot and Sheer Lip Color Rosy have been on my wish list since I saw them in this Essiebutton video. They are so pretty – in combination, they give you a gorgeous fresh-faced flush with rose-bitten lips.
Tom Ford Lip Color Shine in Insidious was a gift and I cannot wait to slick this light peachy coral shade on my lips.
Dove Pure Care Dry Oil was given to me by a relative who works at Unilever. This nourishing hair oil hasn’t officially launched in Australia yet I don’t think — I love the rich pillowy scent and I like it that it has macadamia oil in it.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Black is said to be a perfect dupe for Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencil – I haven’t tried the UD one but happy to try Rimmel first. I tend not to splurge on eyeliners since I’m spoiled by excellent ones at the Japanese drug store.
Estee Lauder Pure Color High Intensity Lip Lacquer in Chrome Kimono was a present and I don’t usually reach for this brand to be honest but will experiment with this lip gloss anyway. The shade is like a slightly cool pink with subtle shimmer.
Which of these have you tried? If so, do let me know what you think!
Hi my lovelies, I still need to get my sh*t together for a proper beauty post and I’ve been finding it seriously hard to take photos of products while juggling a rolling baby who constantly gets stuck on his tum or an awkward corner of his play area. Sooooooo instead I thought I would plunge into this personal post that I was tagged by the lovely Liz at Beauty Reductionista — I enjoyed reading her list so much and will valiantly try to come up with thoughtful points myself.
This tag post lets you get to know me better, but funnily enough has me getting to know myself better too as I rummage around my memory for some random facts.
#1 I’m the second/middle child and caused my mother’s labour pains to quicken so fast that my father slammed the accelerator to the floor to get her to the hospital. Apparently, he got fined for speeding and the parentals have always taken that as a sign I would be trouble. Yes, I certainly live up to being a dark horse (pun intended as I was born in the year of the Horse) as all middle children do. I was a very bored teenager and finally “rebelled” by picking up smoking which leads me to my next random fact…
#2 For a large chunk of my late teens till my late 20s, I did not care about my health. I partied and smoked like a chimney – people who know me now would not believe that was me. But I believe you need to sink to the lowest levels in order to climb up and I quit smoking cold turkey at age 29 and started living on a raw food diet.
#3 Do you think I’m mad yet? Well, I became a vegetarian for three years until I encountered some fertility issues (PCOS, I’m looking at you). My fluctuating insulin levels (made worse by eating too much fruit and carbs, I believe) were affecting my fertility which I believe prevented me from getting pregnant so I ate a steak with black pepper sauce in Cologne, Germany on a rainy autumn afternoon while the husband was at a work conference. There was a bit of blood on the plate which freaked me out but I went back to eating meat without a glitch. It was like learning to ride a bicycle — you never quite forget.
#4 Anyway, dabbling in all things natural and organic has left me with an obsession with natural and organic skincare. I’ll love to try the highly intriguing New Zealand brand, Antipodes, which Essiebutton talks about alot and I love her (don’t you?)!
#5 I used to dislike children and would be afraid when I encountered crying babies — I even thought for awhile I would never have my own children. But now the story has completely flipped because I love my little koala bear to bits and have opened up to talking and playing with other people’s kids and babies.
#6 I used to be a magazine journalist before I moved to Tokyo eight years ago. There were many highs but many lows as well. I was a “relationship writer” at a women’s monthly and then an assistant editor for advertorials at an entertainment weekly. I wrote articles that ranged from single mothers to pole dancing, but my most embarrassing work to date has to be a toss up between a bust enhancement ad or the SDU monthly.
#7 I love noodles — ramen, udon, soba, Hokkien mee, laksa….you name it, I’ll slurp it.
#8 When I was a kid, I would only wear white T-shirts at home, so much so that my mother only ever bought me white T-shirts well into adulthood.
#9 My love for beauty products began when I first started earning my own salary — I would hit up Watson’s, a Singaporean drugstore, to browse and haul at the start of every month.
#10 I broke my foot soon after I started dating the husband almost 11 years ago. We would have dates with my huge cast over my leg hobbling around on crutches but we would still go out loads and make out at restaurants late into the night.
#11 I love waffles but only ever eat them when I use my own waffle maker (which is also a snazzy hot sandwich press) and never at a cafe.
#12 I loved taking on part-time jobs and summer stints when I was at university. I was a waitress at an Italian restaurant, a telemarketer, a transcriber (which is listening to a tape recording and typing the content out – it’s much harder than it seems), an admin clerk, a relief teacher at a secondary school (or high school) and a backstage helper for a travelling educational play.
#13 I’m a voracious consumer of TV shows, especially historical dramas. I’m just about done with The White Queen and am a huge fan of Downton Abbey. And vampire shows are kind of an obsession — from the Vampire Diaries to Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers is one hot blood sucker).
#14 I don’t like hard candy or chewing gum, particularly the after taste. It really helped when I had braces as a teen.
#15 I am a homebody to the core. Big crowds, huge parties, networking events all drain me eventually so being home alone doing my thing is my sanctuary.
#16 I like drinking water – lots of it. Sometimes the husband would hassle me to stop drinking so much water if we’re on a bus or train that has no bathroom. TMI?
#17 I don’t tolerate insincerity and flaky folks.
#18 I once was a friend’s “bitch” (or sidekick or wing woman) and she treated me very badly — made me feel powerless and weak. After three years of feeling trapped, I stopped returning her calls or emails and it taught me a hard lesson about toxic friends.
#19 I love at-home barbecues. It’s such a suburban thing but I revel the smell of sizzling chicken wings and big slabs of steak. When we got our own bbq grill, we would fire it up every Sunday till the weather got too cold. I can’t wait for warmer weather and start our bbq habit again.
#20 I’m not a morning person but I would like to be one very badly. Over the years, I’ve tried different ways and means to rise before dawn to get all sorts of stuff done before breakfast, but in reality, I am like a polar bear who loves to sleep in. With a baby now, I rise at 5-530am daily but I walk around like a zombie for two hours before my humanity kicks in.
#21 I’m both a hoarder and thrower. I’ll stock up on all kinds of household necessities so I won’t have to keep buying the same things again and again, but I hate clutter and would clear out my wardrobe and cupboards of anything that is expired or mouldy or useless.
#22 Hugh Jackman and Justin Timberlake are hawt in my world.
#23 I have a strange fascination for women in the corporate world. I wonder how they do it all – it must be because I’ve not worked in a corporate environment in years and years and wonder if I missed out by working at home.
#24 I’m really painfully shy at heart and hate going to events without knowing anyone. I’ve learned a few tricks to socialize and circulate like a regular human being but I still hate it.
#25 I’ve been blogging for 10 years now and sometimes forget that there are still many people out there who don’t have a clue what it means to have an online social life. I knew a fellow expat who couldn’t get over the fact that I’ve met a few people through my blog and have remained friends. She called them “fans” and I thought it was mean and ignorant on her part. Well, she wouldn’t be reading this now, would she?
#26 I find some cliches to be so true, e.g. a few good friends are better than a whole bunch of superficial ones; you really need to remind yourself to wake up and smell the roses once in a while; a hot bath soothes the day’s troubles; you should never go to sleep without making up right after a fight; bacon does make everything taste better; wearing all black makes you look slimmer.
#27 I have run many half-marathons but making it through a full one is definitely on my bucket list.
#28 I’m considering becoming a pug breeder as my next career in my twilight years – like seriously. Australia will always be an end point for me and I’ve been wondering what I would do there. My husband’s family used to breed scottish terriers professionally and the incredible tales of their scottie dogs giving birth to armies of little puppies in a barnyard have been etched in my heart and mind.
#29 I’ll always have a bit of a belly for two reasons: carbs and more carbs. I’m clearly addicted to carbs (see point #7). Oh and giving birth.
#30 I don’t have very good taste in music although I spent four years studying classical music as an academic subject in high school. I think I got an A at the ‘O’ Levels. My husband cringes at my iTunes purchases – from Lady Gaga to Kanye West to Britney Spears.
Hello from Sydney! Our month long holiday has been so lovely catching up with friends and family. When you live overseas, it feels like a treat to see old friends and you really do need to invest in such a trip to rejuvenate your heart and soul once in a while.
I thought it would be timely to talk about an Australian brand that I got to know more intimately recently — A’kin by the Purist Company. I read about their Pure Alchemy Cellular Radiance Serum which was reviewed by Tricia on her blog, Under Lock and Key, and my curiosity was piqued. I couldn’t say no to “organic rosehip and echium oils, pomegranate, and seabuckthorn”!
I saw the brand being sold at a natural health food store near my MIL’s place last July so I picked up the serum and the Rosehip & Shea Intensive Moisture Antioxidant Creme.
My skin felt parched in Japanese winter so in late Nov, I whipped out these two products and my skin thanks me for it everyday for the last two months. Since I have oily/combo skin, the serum is a bit too oily to wear in the day time, but it seriously moisturizes my skin overnight with the shea and rosehip night cream. The texture is quite oily so it might freak out those who dislike that type of feel on the skin and it does take awhile for it to sink in. The only downside is that my glasses keep slipping off my nose when I’ve got this on my face.
But if I shower right before I sleep, I can smooth three to four drops over my face and neck on slightly damp skin without being bothered by the oiliness. The next morning, my skin looks plump and there is no oily residue at all! Not even on my T-zone! That is heaven for an oily skinned gal like me, I tell ya.
The shea and rosehip night moisturizer is simply gorgeous — it feels almost solid to the touch like a lot of shea skincare but my pores absorb this thick cream quickly. It works well on its own and I do sometimes wear it solo without the serum. When I wake up in the morning, my skin just feels baby soft and not oily either.
Depending on how dry my skin feels, I either use both of these products together or one or the other. They have made my night time skincare routine such a comfort and joy because it’s rare that my skin doesn’t react to products that are not meant for sensitive skin. The products are not unscented but I think their smell is derived from the ingredients in them. They don’t exude any perfume-like fragrance and are very subtle and even a bit earthy so I know some folks may or may not take to this type of “natural” scent.
I’m debating on whether to pick up more products but I have quite a lot in my stash at the moment and natural products don’t keep as long as conventional ones so I don’t think it’ll be wise to stockpile a bunch of these for months on end.
I’ll definitely explore other products under the brand on my next trip to Australia as their philosophy sits well with me — their products are “free from parabens, sulphates, ethoxylated and petrochemical cleansers, propylene glycol, silicons, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA, artificial colours and fragrances” but yet have a simple but beautiful vibe to their packaging.
Have you tried A’Kin? Or are there any organic/natural brands you like and would recommend?
To my Chinese readers, happy new year and may you have a prosperous year of the Horse. I’m a horsie myself and pleased to be finally back in Singapore to celebrate this festive occasion with friends and family.
I don’t have that many empties for the month of Jan but I do have quite a few discards as I did a spring clean of my makeup wardrobe. I realize that I don’t really use products which are not bad but not great either, so as much as possible, I’ll try to invest in a few key products and just focus on using them.
I went through a puchi-pura (means cheap cosmetics in Japanese) phase when I bought anything new and cheap at the drugstore but excellent drugstore products are few and far between — and I’ve become very partial to products that have that luxe touch. I think functionality is paramount of course but prettiness just injects some pizazz to your day, don’t you think?
Let’s get rollin’ with the empties, shall we?
Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap Jasmine & Sandalwood is only available in Japan, like the Green Tea and Cherry Blossom ones, so I had to try it. I felt it smelled more strongly of Sandalwood which is not my favourite but it was overall a pleasant scent for the autumn/winter period. I’m a huge fan of this brand as it is gentle but cleans very well and would use the unscented baby version for days when my skin feels sensitive. The downside to this particular liquid soap is that it stings the eyes when used on the face.
The Body Shop Vanilla Bliss Body Butter was a holiday limited edition body moisturizer that was a little underwhelming in terms of the fragrance. There was a hint of vanilla but I thought the cocoa butter got the better of it, and for a vanilla-scented product, it was pretty ordinary. But as a body butter, it did the job well in dry cold weather.
Clarins Stretch Mark Control was also a dud (it sounds like this post is about a lot of duds – lol!) and I had a full sized one which I used on my arms and legs because it made my stomach itch. This is the travel-sized version which suffered a similar fate. Thank goodness they are both DONE.
The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Shower Gel was such a delight in the shower that I instantly ordered one more plus the body scrub and body butter. You know when you love a product when you want it to stretch and let it linger. I tried not to use it everyday so it would last.
Ettusias Acne Skin Version Up Extra has been discontinued and replaced by a “super” version. This is a travel sized bottle which was left over from my hospital stay and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I would highly recommend this if you like La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo – zaps clogged pores like no other.
Leaf & Botanics Cleansing Geranium and Lemongrass were two cleansing gels that took off makeup well but forget about removing waterproof mascara – you need a separate eyemakeup remover. I preferred the geranium scent better and the lemongrass one tended to sting the eyes. No repurchase but it satisfied my curiosity. I love their hand soaps and sake face lotion though, and I’ve yet to try their body soaps.
Neocell Collagen Radiance Serum was an excellent hydrating serum which didn’t break me out and gave my oily combination skin a moisture boost during the day but I think they have a long way to go in their packaging – too sciency for me.
Clarisonic Gentle Hydro Cleanser was seriously meh. I was glad it was unscented but it doesn’t clean very well even with the Clarisonic. I just think they should re-look at the formula because the brand does specialize in all things cleansing.
Heroine Make Mascara Remover will always be a staple in my makeup removal routine. Full of lovely oils, it softens up mascara-laden lashes so you can remove it with a regular eye makeup remover. You could also follow up with rubbing cleansing oil all over your eye area when you cleanse your face. It’s affordable and lasts forever so it’s one of those amazing products every girl should have.
Nivea Lip Butter Vanilla & Macadamia was a complete write-off for me. I don’t know if I waited too long to use it — I only used it six months after I purchased it and it smelled off, like it was rotten. It was moisturizing enough but the smell was so bad I had to chuck it out. I know a lot of folks raved over this and the packaging is so adorable but it was so awful for me.
Lavera Original Lip Balm smelled like an old cupboard when I first bought it but it wore off by the time I started using it months after that. It did a great job of moisturizing but I think it went bad after a month like a lot of natural lip balms — my lips got inflamed and I think the oils might have gone rancid. I think lip balms are like mascara – you have to change them often as they go bad easily.
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner (Eggplant) seemed like a good idea at the time as I didn’t want to invest too much into a purple liner — I hardly use purple eyeshadow but when I do, a dark purple liner would be nice. But I couldn’t really get this liner to look sharp and thin on my lids and always got a fat smudgy line, and furthermore, it wasn’t as dark as I’d hoped it would be. So this is a toss since I don’t ever use this anymore.
Bobbi Brown Lip Color (Pink Mauve) was one of my fave lipsticks for the longest time. In my pre-beauty-junkie days, I would only have three lipsticks which I’d rotate (now I have countless, it feels like haha) and this was one in particular that I’d always reach for. Alas, I believe it has been eight years since I’ve had this so it’s time to retire this beloved lippie.
NYX Megashine Lipgloss in Tea Rose & Plum were shades that I enjoyed but unfortunately I couldn’t get past the sickly bubblegum flavour. I still think NYX has good lip glosses for the affordable price but if I dislike the scent of a makeup product, I won’t use it very often at all. I’ve had these for a few years now and I’m worried the rotten sweet smell is due to age.
NYX Sheer Tube Lipgloss (discontinued) in Cinnamon was a lovely lipgloss with a shimmery plum shade. I was sorry to throw this out because I really loved the way it looked on the lips but it tasted off so I tossed it out as a precaution.
The month of Jan was about doing away with old expired stuff and in line with starting the new year afresh. I’ve still a ways to go with cleaning up and streamlining my makeup collection.
What did you clean out of your life in the new year?
Yes, I had to do that alliteration — cheesy, but it had to be done. As you know, I’m obsessed with fragrance and I love me a fabulous scent experience.
Being a mom to a new born requires so much discipline — much like a marathon where sleep, nutrition, and a positive attitude are so important. I’m breastfeeding which makes all these things paramount. If I don’t rest or eat well, my milk supply gets affected which then influences the bubbie’s breast milk intake. So to keep my spirits up in this never-ending job, I reach for peppy scents to rejuvenate and relax me.
During this winter, ginger has been an ongoing theme for me. Due to the surgery, my intestinal system has been compromised and I’m very prone to gas buildup so I have to drink ginger tea or eat some ginger everyday. You would think I might get sick of all this ginger but somehow I’ve been very drawn to this ugly looking root.
When The Body Shop came out with the Ginger Sparkle range in their holiday collection, I nabbed two shower gels, a body butter, and a body scrub, so I’m well stocked up on gingery bath and body products till spring. Ginger Sparkle smells exactly like ginger ale. I especially love homemade ginger ale where you puree ginger and top it off with sugar and soda water – it’s something that I often see at pokey little cafes and Freshness Burger joints in Tokyo.
Anyway, I just cannot get enough of this Ginger Sparkle range! Then I recalled I used to be mad about the Origins Ginger Souffle years ago which is so so so divine if you love ginger. The soft whipped texture on freshly showered skin feels like heaven by the way. I just felt so nostalgic for this ginger-ale-smelling wonder that I got my sister to buy it for me from Singapore when she came to visit, because sadly, Origins has closed shop in Japan since mid-June last year.
Do you know of other lovely ginger-based beauty products? If so, I’ll love to know what they are!
For those of you who love babies, here are some shots of the three-month-old bub. He’s grown so much from his new born days and is a smiley happy chappy (you can’t really tell from the majority of my photos of him – it’s so hard to snap him smiling or laughing in a non-blurry way) – his toothless grins just melt my heart every single time. He’s fairly easy-going and not overly fussy and we’re also getting the hang of being parents so it’s been a fun ride so far.
Hi my loves, would like to apologize if you commented on my Foundation Brushes post. I had some issues with my hosting platform and could not retrieve my latest post so your eyes were not playing tricks on you. I did not write it down in a separate file offline so I may attempt it again since I have the image…
Anyway, here’s a new post for you!
So remember when I tried my first Lush bath bomb? Yup, that was during the Xmas period when many folks go Lush crazy and so did I. Once in a while, I would be very obsessed with a particular brand and would proceed to try all their most raved products. I’m very curious like that.
I hadn’t had a lot of luck with Lush face products (Angels On Bare Skin, I’m lookin’ at ya), but I have sensitive skin, so sticking to a safe, uncomplicated skincare routine works best for me.
But I can be adventurous when it comes to bath and body products so I went to town getting some of Lush’s famous items. I haven’t tried all of them but read on for those that I have.
From left to right:
It’s Raining Men Shower Gel, Sympathy For The Skin Body Lotion, Father Christmas Bath Bomb, Santa’s Lip Scrub.
I actually made a mistake of buying two pots of Sympathy For The Skin Body Lotion but I have zero regrets because I’m so in love with this product. I can’t stop sniffing the comforting scent of vanilla, cocoa butter, and banana with a hint of almond and lemon oil. I wish it had greater sillage but perhaps it’s better to have a more subtle fragrance than an overwhelming one.
I love love love Lush’s lip scrubs so I cannot wait to try the Santa one which is supposed to taste like Coca Cola. Yum.
Flying Fox Shower Gel, Dirty Shower Gel, Dream Cream Body Lotion, Snow Fairy Shower Gel
I was disappointed with both the Flying Fox and Dirty shower gels – they’ve had so much hype but I cannot understand why. Flying Fox is supposed to be sexy with honey and jasmine but I really don’t get either note (maybe it’s my nose? haha). Dirty smells like Wriggly’s chewing gum which is not what I’m looking for in a minty fresh shower gel. Mint is not that easy to formulate, I suppose, because it can easily come across as toothpaste or something similar.
Dream Cream did not impress me at first sniff because it comes across like a bog standard natural product formula of lavender and orange. If you are into natural products, you will know that these two scents are always blended together. Now why would I buy anything that I don’t like the smell of? Well, I bought all these online so I didn’t smell any of these except once or twice at a Lush store some time ago. And uh, I was recovering from my surgery so boredom tends to make me do silly things to my credit card.
Snow Fairy smells very sickly sweet in the bottle but I’m hoping it would improve when used in the shower. I’m a huge fan of gourmandy scents so I’m not too worried about it.
Rose Jam Shower Gel, Rub Rub Rub Shower Gel, The Olive Branch Shower Gel, Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie
I cannot wait to try the Rose Jam product because it smells divine – like sticky sweet jam topped with a rose note. Whoever thought of this combo is a genius. Before winter ends, I’m determined to try the Turkish Delight shower smoothie. I expected it to smell like the dessert, but from the description, it focuses on highlighting the Turkish rose which is right up my alley. I LOVE rose-scented products….*swoon*
The Olive Branch and Rub Rub Rub shower gels smell exceptionally fresh so I’m packing these for my upcoming beach holiday in Boracay. I’m beyond excited and we’re taking the bub with us.
Hokay, that’s it for my haul. I know I’m going to enjoy most of these products and Lush is a great alternative to my usual bodycare purchases from The Body Shop and L’Occitane.
Do you love Lush products? If so, which are your faves?
Yeah, baby – it’s back! Empties!! I may have lost a bit of beauty junkie mojo in Oct and Nov but by Dec, I was back home from the hospital, feeling better, the bubbie was sleeping more, so I bounced back to my old ways.
Sorry about switching off the comments for my last post, Happy New Year – I don’t know how that happened so if you tried to leave a comment to say, “Happy New Year!”, I’d like to say, “Happy New Year!” back to ya.
Let’s get rolling, shall we?
Leaf & Botanics Face Wash Lemongrass was a refreshing change from the foaming cleansers I was using in the warmer months. This creamy facial wash also foams up a little so you feel like you are cleansing your face well but without the squeaky clean feel left behind. The scent is certainly unique in the Japanese market but I suspect it has something to do with the slight stinging sensation if some gets into your eyes. I like the product but this is a deal breaker for me.
Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sensitive was a good basic facial moisturizer that was perfect for humid weather. It lacked moisturizing oomph mid-way through November and I had to use a serum to boost hydration levels. It’s a truly great product but I’m very shallow when it comes to skincare – packaging matters to me and this design just didn’t make me feel like I wanted to use it all the time. It looks so plain and thus it doesn’t exude that elusive promise of chasing some holy grail standard of beautiful skin. The biggish bottle meant more buck for my dollar but it was one of those products that never die. I used it every.single.day. for a year as my day moisturizer and finally it is gone.
Sukin Sensitive Facial Moisturizer emanates a gorgeous subtle vanillary scent and moisturized my oily combination skin very well at night while I slept with air-conditioning. I was sorry to see it go. It was light weight though the ingredients include some oils like rose hip, sesame seed, and jojoba. I would definitely repurchase it when I visit Australia again.
Insitut Esthederm Time Technology Cream was a deluxe sample that I loved. It feels like a luxurious night cream with a subtle floral scent whose richness didn’t make me get the oilies. But, a big but indeed, it didn’t transform my skin. It did a good job of moisturizing it but I can’t justify paying so much to use it as a regular night cream though I can’t think of a cheaper alternative that mimics the feel and efficacy of this. Ren’s Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream might come as a close second in terms of texture though.
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish was nice to include in my skincare routine. I would forget about it for long periods of time and noticed that its “scrubbiness” lessened if left neglected. It’s the kind of product you need to use within a few months to enjoy its effects. I suffered a few pimples around my mouth area and concluded that the oil in the product probably went rancid in the 1.5 years I had it. It has a smidgen left in the pot but I cannot bring myself to use it up after what happened.
John Masters Organics Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Milk smelled like cheesecake to me and in a good way. It was seriously mouthwatering every time I slathered this over my limbs. It’s really lightweight so I would only recommend it for summer.
Weleda Stretch Mark Oil was a total win during my pregnancy – sank right into the skin, was moisturizing, and didn’t irritate. I used it up post-delivery since I still have stretch marks. I don’t think there are any products out there that can erase stretch marks but I noticed the skin around my belly still gets dry easily as it is shrinking slowly (wish it would go faster!!).
Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil was a dud as it caused my tummy area to itch so I just used it on my arms and legs along with body lotion.
Clarins Bust Beauty Firming Lotion was purely an indulgent ritual during my pregnancy which was included in a special pregnancy skincare kit on sale at Narita airport. Did it help my boobs from sagging? I have no idea because I’m still breastfeeding and I’m not at the stage when my breasts have shrunk from growing bigger.
The Body Shop Earth Lovers Cucumber & Mint has zero mint scent but it certainly captures what cucumber would smell like if liquidized into a refreshing shower gel. It feels like I’m rubbing cucumber juice all over my body and it has that invigorating effect on me. It’s an all-time fave for me that I go back to now and again.
The Body Shop Brazil Nut Shower Cream is another oldie but goodie. Gosh it’s like enveloping yourself in a chocolately, caramelly, vanillary dessert mist in the shower.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture – Sensitive Skin has been a long-time staple in my body care regime. I’ve reached the point where I get antsy when I only have one bottle left in my stash because that means I have to stock up on more when I travel overseas. It’s not terribly heavy but I would like to avoid carting back biggish bottles of beauty products in my luggage if I can help it. I have made another discovery which could take its place – you will probably see it in an upcoming empties post.
Alba Botanics Mango Conditioner did not sit well with me. It worked great as a conditioner, especially considering it’s a natural product, but the pungent rotten mango smell put me off from buying it again. I love the gardenia version but it wasn’t available on iHerb.com (my go-to online store for niche natural/organic products not available in Tokyo). Also, I used it in the hospital after my appendicitis debacle for three weeks and it just reminds me of a painful period in my life.
La Visui Mineral Spa Shampoo was a lovely non-silicone shampoo which cleansed my tresses well and left a gorgeous fragrance. I have raved about La Visui over and over in my blog. I may explore other hair care but I always go back to this as a constant favourite.
Whoo! That felt like a typing marathon. I feel so satisfied to throw these empties away. I went mad shopping at the year-end sales for skincare so 2014 can only mean more of such reviews.
Did any one product stand out for you in 2013?
Hi my loves, sorry for being MIA but the holiday season was spent with the in-laws who flew in from Sydney for Christmas, so we did some sightseeing and generally hung out together for 10 days.
The MIL certainly rose to the occasion to prepare a traditional Christmas feast – it was quite challenging shopping for ingredients since Christmas is not considered an official holiday here, so she brought some of them from Australia.
We kept joking that she was an international food smuggler because her suitcase was packed to the brim with food.
We had a turkey roll roast, sweet potato mash, stuffing, ham, broccoli, asparagus, cranberry jelly, mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes and Christmas pudding topped with vanilla ice-cream. I sipped on one precious flute of champagne but switched to grape juice afterwards since I was breastfeeding.
Do you know it takes three hours to metabolize one glass of wine? And pumping wouldn’t speed up the alcohol leaving your blood stream either.
New year’s eve was very quiet with the in-laws gone and so I cooked some steaks and made a Nutella and banana pound cake for dessert. We watched the Sydney harbour fireworks on YouTube and fell asleep watching Despicable Me 2.
The next day we went for a long walk exploring the temples nearby and saw for the first time ever long queues at these sanctuaries.
Our neighbourhood was dead quiet and nothing was open. We usually travel overseas during this period so it was quite novel to check out what it was like on New Year’s day. With such a young new born baby, we thought it prudent to just stay put – it was certainly a new experience since we were always at a party either in Sydney or somewhere in the world. Ah, the sacrifices of parenthood.
It was nice being at home though – just the three of us. It wasn’t bad at all.
How was your holiday season?
Hi my dears, I’m having a quiet evening with the bub sleeping like an angel in his cot and am relishing the pleasure of indulging in my blogging geek ways.
To women who are struggling with a new born, there are good moments when you get a bit of freedom – you will experience them eventually! I mean, you can’t traipse out of the house anytime you please, but you can snatch more than a few minutes of r&r. Basically, once your baby is a bit bigger and his stomach can hold more milk, he can sleep for a longer period of time that translates into more me-time.
Charles doesn’t really sleep much in the day and has been been zonking out at 430-5pm for the past week or so and then he would only wake at 830-9pm for a feed and then he would just drop off to sleep again. He’ll do this on and off till 3-4am after which he would be wide awake for the day. By the way, many thanks to those of you who were so nice and encouraging when I talked about Charles’ hospitalization last month over at Facebook and Instagram.
So today’s indulgence was trying out my first Lush bath bomb and taking a hot bath in what feels like forever. I read that pregnant women shouldn’t take hot baths because it might unnecessarily cause your blood pressure to increase, so being a first-time mum-to-be, I followed that advice dutifully. But on hindsight, I think hot baths are safe as long as the water is not too hot.
It felt so luxurious to sink into a tub of warm fragranced water. And the cute snowman was too adorable to resist and it put me in the holiday mood instantly. I’m all about Xmas this year. I’ve got a tree and prepared all my presents already â€” 10 days before Xmas, yo!
And you must be wondering how the heck have I not tried a Lush bath bomb? What can I say? There are way too many beauty products out there and I only have one face and one body.
Anwyay, this snowman bath bomb exudes a subtle ylang ylang and cocoa butter scent and leaves a slightly oily residue on the skin which is great in this dry winter weather. I feel so pampered now…aaahhh…
Having a new born baby feels like groundhog day because you’re just doing the same tasks over and over again. I love hanging out with my lil man and appreciate the fact that I’m able to catch every milestone, but it does sometimes wear me down mentally and physically.
I’ve also realized that I’ve very little bandwidth for other things outside of baby which makes me wonder if this is temporary or here to stay as part of being a mom.
One thing that never fails to pick me up though is a shower. I don’t know about you but taking a shower is my daily meditation. It always has and is even more so now. It’s the only time I’m alone and the hot water blasting on my skin is so comforting and I look forward to using a different shower gel daily. I usually keep three or four shower gels going at any one time and I like my bath time smelling different every day. I feel recharged and rested from taking a 15 minute shower and then I spend 10 minutes putting on skincare and body lotion.
So what about you guys – what is your daily beauty routine that gives you a zen moment or two?
P.S.: I made a biggish Lush haul and feel like blogging about it so stay tuned for that!
Hi my lovelies, gosh it’s been almost two months since I last blogged. I’m completely and utterly immersed in new mommy hood. I literally stopped taking photos of beauty products and just snap away at my lil man here…
He’s the light of our lives, but don’t get me wrong, taking care of a new born is all-consuming, even with my mother’s help. She’s going home this coming Monday so I’m a bit fearful of how it would be like when it’s just me and the lil guy all day. No blogging or delicious Chinese meals that’s for sure.
I’ve also undergone a second surgery for appendicitis after my c-section delivery so I’m still housebound till I recover from my surgical wounds. The only time I go out is for medical appointments (mine and baby’s) and walking normally without discomfort feels like light years away. I still can’t carry heavy things or work out or even go for walks outside.
But I am off painkillers and I can feel my spirits are lifting because I’ve gone back to reading beauty blogs and made a big online haul at Sephora during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. I’m beyond excited to receive it.
I’ve also started collecting empties for December in the hopes of writing up a post come January.
I’m all about skin care these days since I don’t go out and wear make up. Gosh I totally miss dolling up and wish I have somewhere to go to do that!
By the way, I’m typing this out on mobile phone while baby is napping but he’s stirring from his sleep so I’ve got to go.
I miss blogging and chatting with you guys in the comments!