Jun 30, 2009

Sanctuary Spa 12 - Hour Moisturising Shower Cream

Some Christmases ago I received a big bag full of Sanctuary Spa goodies from hubby. Since then I've been a big fan. I even "smuggled" some amongst our household goods shipment when we moved to NZ and OZ. Now that we're back in UK I've started collecting/using them again. So far I'm sticking to their classic fragrance as it was my favourite. I might try their other fragrances once I've finished my current "loot" (hubby's word for my skincare/beauty stuffs).

12 - Hour Moisturising Shower Cream is supposed to "Cleanse, soften and lock in moisture for 12 hours with nourishing shea butter, softening sunflower oil and protective vitamin E".

At the moment it's my most favourite shower cream. Firstly, because it doesn't irritate nor dry out my AC skin (yup: After Chickenpox still...). Secondly, because I love the beautiful scent - reminds me of spa treatments on exotic holidays. Thirdly, because even though it contains sunflower seed oil and shea butter, it doesn't leave a messy/oily gloop allover the bath after I've had my shower. Fourthly, because it's an affordable luxurious treat, perfect for credit crunch time. :)

Verdict: it's no. 1 on my list of "favourite shower things". Fussy me is still in love with Sanctuary Spa products, definitely!

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Sodium trideceth sulfate, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Glycerin, Sodium chloride, Sodium lauroamphoacetate, Cocamide MEA, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopheryl acetate, Guar gum, Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, Citric acid, Benzyl salicylate, Linalool, Benzyl benzoate, Hexyl cinnamal, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium nitrate, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium chloride.

GROWN Geranium Leaf, Bergamot & Rose-bud Facial Cleanser

Recently I've been missing Australia in a big way.

Amongst many things, I miss:
- my friends.
- breathing fresh air tinged with Eucalyptus scents in Perth.
- Vegemite: it's better than Marmite, without a doubt! :)
- walking around Swan River and King's Park.
- firework displays on Swan River.
- the carefree lifestyle.
- the fabulous range of natural products available for sale there.

The other day hubby found a bottle of GROWN Geranium Leaf, Bergamot and Rose-bud Facial Cleanser in one of our many boxes in the storage place. I was so excited, it was like finding a long lost treasure! (Well, almost...)

Not only it's gentle to my AC skin (After Chickenpox, in case you forget. Hehe...), the beautiful scent helps me to relax and forget about my trouble for a moment. The instruction on the bottle says to "gently rubs between hands, massage onto face". Most of the time I apply the cleanser neat onto my face, with a tiny bit of water to make massaging easier. Adding more water creates more foams. I always do double cleansing to make sure that all traces of my mineral powder all gone from my face.

Verdict: it's gentle, it smells gorgeous, it works. What more do I want? (Magically being flown back to OZ... LOL... )

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betain (Vegetable), Decyl Glucoside (Vegetable), PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate (Vegetable), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Vegetable), Phenoxyethanol Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Rosa Damascena (Rose Absolute) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Oil, Polysorbate 20 (Vegetable), Citral (Vegetable), Geraniol (Vegetable), Citronellol (Vegetable), Linalool (Vegetable), Limonene (Vegetable), Caramel (Vegetable).

Jun 26, 2009

Bristol, Boats, and Ships

These pictures were taken in Bristol, England, BC (Before Chickenpox). The weather was absolutely brilliant, sunny without being too hot. It took us about 3 hours to walk around the river area.
The one bellow is a ferry that has been converted into a restaurant.Below is S.S. Great Britain. Pity we didn't have the time to explore the sailing ship.

Jun 25, 2009

Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Cleansing Wash

Talking about being sensitive earlier, I'm still on my quest in finding the perfect cleanser for my delicate AC (After Chickenpox) skin, hoping that it might help the process of restoring my skin to it's BC glory (or even better, if it's possible...)

The words "mineral water", "aloe vera", and "fragrance-free, lanolin-free" (and the price) attracted me to acquire Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Cleansing Wash. According to the website this cleanser is replacing what was known as Boots Skin Kindly Foam Wash.

I like the new pump packaging. It reminds me of the Simple cleanser's pump packaging I had some years ago. It works in similar way: one pump delivers some cleansing froth into the palm of my hand. Apply cleanser on wet face, rub as usual, voila: cleaner face without much fuss.

With any kind of body and face cleansers I tend to think that squeaky-clean feel on my skin = the cleanser is too drying for my skin. It's not the case here. This one helps to control the oiliness on my face without drying the skin. Amazingly it also removes my face powder easily.

Verdict: no-frills affordable basic cleanser that doesn't irritate my AC skin. Happy using it for the moment.

I'll let you know if I still stick to my opinion after using it longer.

Ingredients: Aqua, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium chloride, Sodium cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Aqua mineralis, PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate, Sodium citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Aloe barbadensis, Propylene glycol, Methylparaben, Sodium benzoate, Citric acid, Tetrasodium EDTA

Jun 24, 2009

4 Reasons I Hate Summer

1. The sun starts shining at 4am.
2. The birds start chirping loudly at 4am.
3. Result: I wake up at 4am.
4. Feeling tired and grotty the whole day.
(plus having horrible hayfever as a result of living in the countryside)

If anyone is going to suggest I use eye patch/black out curtains/ear plugs, thanks for your concern. No offense, they don't work. Reasons:
1. I've tried ear plugs & eye patch. They're very uncomfortable.
2. I'm staying at a room at PIL's house. Can't change the curtains. Even suggesting I buy and hang my own curtain instead might cause more stress to others and more relationship problems. I don't want to be blamed or be held responsible for any health related problems suffered by others because of it.

Yes, I'm stressed out. Very. Plenty of reasons. It's difficult to stay positive when people around you are being negative and not being supportive. I don't like it when I can't control what's happening around me. Unfortunately I can't seem to speak my mind about things that really matters. I'm gagged and bound by duty to withhold my thoughts, otherwise I'll be accused of all sort of things. Even when I try to defend myself my thoughts don't seem to matter. Once accused as guilty, always guilty. The people pleaser in me doesn't help either.

What do I do when I wake up at 4am?
1. Read the Bible.
2. Pray to God so things get better soon.
3. Praying for vindication and restitution.
4. Blogging, because I might wake everyone else up if I were to do other things.

Well, I have to remember that I'm a positive person, I refuse to be defeated and be conformed to negativity. Though it's difficult not to at the moment.

Thinking about it, actually I have a lavender pillow patch that I used in OZ. I'll try using it tonight, so I can sleep better.
P.S. One positive thing: thank God for my cyber-friends in the Southern Hemisphere. The time difference makes it perfect for "talking time". :)

Jun 23, 2009

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash

My love affair with Elemis started some years ago when I received a gift pack full of wonderful products.

When we first moved to OZ I had a withdrawal symptom. When the brand finally made it to Perth Myer, I "stalked" the counter to the extent that all the sales assistants knew me quite well by the time I left Perth. Enough said. :)

In the past I've found "resurfacing products" too harsh for my skin. Thus I was quite reluctant to try Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash. When I finally did, I was surprised by how mild it was. The SA said that it won't remove makeup, so I tried using it in the mornings.

This facial wash lathers well, a little bit goes a long way. The skin around my mouth gets irritated whenever I used too much of it. The resurfacing effect is barely noticeable, I like the texture of the cleanser on my skin.

So far I've gone through 2 travel size (50ml). As you know I've just recovered from chicken pox, my skin is still a bit tender. Unfortunately this product is too strong for my skin at the moment. So I'm putting it aside until my skin gets better.

Verdict: a good morning cleanser, to be used sparingly.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Blycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Galactoarabinan, Papain, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Protease, Subtilisin, Poria Cocos Root Extract, Tromethamine, Glyceryl Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Lauryl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearyl Alcohol

Jun 22, 2009

Bloom Nuts About You

I try to eat and use more "natural" products whenever possible, within reason. Now that I'm recovering from chicken pox I'm trying to use more gentle products so as not to irritate my tender skin.

I've heard good things about Bloom, one of Australian brands I encountered while living in OZ. Some people thought their products are all "natural". I have to say that I didn't find this to be the case when I spent some time looking at the ingredients lists. For example, Bloom's sunscreen contains "chemicals" that aren't "natural".

From the ingredients list I could say that Bloom Nuts About You is one of their more "natural" products. I'm not sure why on the bottle it's called "Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil" when the first ingredient is actually Safflower Seed Oil. There are more expensive cleansers from other brands that contain Safflower Oil (supposed to be a very good cleansing oil), so I was quite happy to use this more affordable option.

The subtext said: "Farewell make-up and cleanse skin with one smooth swipe of this natural nutty oil." I find that it removes eye makeup and sunscreen easily enough. But it doesn't work well enough to remove mineral powder and waterproof mascaras, I need to work extra hard to remove them.

I love the gorgeous scent: orange, tangerine, and lavender oil lend a luxury feel to this oil cleanser.
The bottle I have looks slightly different than the picture here. Mine has white pump on top of the silver bit, twisting the pump to the left and right opens and closes the bottle: very convenient. Though I still put mine inside ziplock bag when I'm travelling, in case it leaks - which happened once. And if anyone is curious, yes, I'm still living out of a suitcase at the moment...

Anyway, here's the directions on the bottle: "Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of your hand and apply all over your face including the eye area. Using a damp cloth or cotton pad, wipe away make-up. Rinse with warm water and pat dry for an amazing finish."

I find that using too much of this oil cleanser could cause break outs on my face, so use sparingly if you have combination-acne prone skin like me.

Verdict: a good oil cleanser with yummy scent, to be used sparingly if your skin type is similar to mine.

For the benefit of my OZ readers, this cleanser is "Made in Australia from local and imported products".

Ingredients: Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (Prunus Dulcis), Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil (Citrus Dulcis), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower.

Jun 19, 2009

Beautiful M&S Gift Cards

These beautiful gift cards (with matching greeting cards) are from Marks & Spencer. They work like the pre-paid Visa gift card I wrote about sometime ago here. The voucher value could be anything from £10.00 - £500.00.

This one on the top left is my favourite, because the card's shape isn't square.

Why am I writing about it? I just had my very first outing after being stucked indoors for 21 days due to the chicken pox! I saw them at the shop, they looked prettier than the pictures here.

Jun 18, 2009


In the first week of having chicken pox as I felt too sick and weak to wash my hair properly. So I sent hubby out to get a dry shampoo. He went to Boots and bought Toni & Guy Refreshing Dry Shampoo.

It delivered what it said: "refreshes your style and boosts volume for a fresh, clean look." Though I'm not very keen on the scent.

What was very disappointing was the fact that I've only used it twice (about 4 sprays altogether) when I noticed that the canister has turned very light and empty!

In my opinion a 200ml canister should last longer than that... I've used some T&G hair products to great satisfaction in the past. I've even recommended them to friends when the products were launched in Australia when I lived there. Sadly this time the dry shampoo has failed my expectation. Even hubby was upset as he thought he had bought me an expensive dodgy product.

Personally I can't justify paying £5.27 for a product that's only good for two use/four spray only.

I wrote an email to the customer service department of T&G, attaching the code I found at the bottom of the canister for their info, saying that as a loyal customer I hope this is just a one off case.

Here's the reply I received from someone at their head office:
Dear Music,
Thank you for your email.

I was sorry to hear that you are unhappy with our product and would like to apologise for your disappointment. Please note that this would need to be returned to the place of purchase as we do not handle product enquiries or complaints from this office.

I hope that this information has been helpful and am sorry I could not have been of more assistance."

Not good enough in my opinion. Firstly, we were already 80-100 miles away from Gloucester when we realized that we had a dud product. Obviously we don't want to drive back all the way there just to get a refund. Secondly, I could always try returning it to other Boots store. However, there's no guarantee that we would be given a refund at it has been a couple of weeks since hubby bought it. He can't be bothered going through all the hassle. Thirdly, it would have been nice if T&G were to pass my email on to their special division who perhaps could figure out whether the dodgy product I got came from a faulty batch.

As mentioned above, I used to be a big fan of T&G products. I also used to pay an exorbitant amount of money to have my hair cut by the style director (or whatever they call their top hairdresser). I'm afraid this experience has put me off everything T&G.

Verdict: Sadly I won't be their loyal customer anymore.

Jun 17, 2009

Gloucester Docks

We managed to walk in the rain to the docks area. Hubby said we went there 6 years ago, apparently we almost ate at a mighty expensive Italian restaurant there. I couldn't remember anything about it. That particular restaurant seemed to have gone bust this time around, the building where it used to be is empty now...

The Ferris wheel looked a bit dangerous, not something I'd like to ride on a windy day.

One of the buildings there is full of antique shops. There were some interesting things in there, though we didn't buy anything in the end as we were (and are) still homeless...

Jun 16, 2009

Gloucester Photos

Pictures taken by hubby while we were in Gloucester a few weeks back. The weather was quite gloomy on that day, the rain drizzled on and off. I loved looking at the old buildings there, I find "wonky" things attractive. :)

Jun 15, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream

... of building a harpsichord with my own hands. Using a kit, like the one sold on this webpage. 7 years on, I realized that I've almost abandoned that dream. Having no place I can call "home" isn't helping either.

I've told hubby that when he's "rich and not that famous" I'd like him to buy me a real pipe organ for home use. After all, in the past I've made a living playing pipe organ for all sorts of occasions. Nerdy but can be good money, as organists are supposed to be a dying breed. :)

Now I'm inspired to build a pipe organ instead after reading about people who have built their own pipe organ (see here and here). I admire what they've done. Perhaps sometime in the future I could try doing it...

Jun 14, 2009

Being Artistic

I spent a couple of hours designing the header for my blog. Hope you like it. :)

Jun 13, 2009

Pretty Things and Bags

I'm in a whimsical mood today, therefore the pictures.

I came across this beautiful creation on inspire company. It's the kind of pretty things that I'd like to have in my house once we settle down sometime, somewhere in the world...

The handmade bags on the right are from Just A Little Bit Pink. Bags are one of my favourite things. :)

Graphics Fairy

I stumbled upon these delightful pictures on Graphics Fairy while searching for vintage graphics. I've almost forgotten that I like this kind of graphics! :)

Jun 11, 2009

Rimmel French Manicure

There's always a first time for everything. My very first foray to the world of French manicure nail polish shades only started a couple of months ago. Prior to that I only used clear or coloured nail polishes on my fingernails. Somehow I wasn't attracted to try French manicure's light pink shades, a bit too "chalky" for my liking.

Or so I thought. Until the moment I tried Rimmel's French Manicure 442 French Rose with Lycra + minerals. The subtle pink makes my nails look naturally healthy without being overtly shiny.

It does what the bottle says, "Up to 10 days super durable colour." Even when I do lots of things with my hands the polish doesn't chip easily. Which is a rare thing, most nail polishes lasted barely a week on my busy fingers. So I'm very impressed, especially after on one occasion it actually lasted 14 days! Even on those occasions when it didn't last that long, my nails still look respectably sophisticated.

Verdict: a must-have product in my (used to be huge) nail polish collection.

P.S. Forgot to mention that it also has fantastic brush! :)

Manicare Crystal Nail File

One of the best things I've ever bought is Manicare Crystal Nail File.

The blurbs:
- High quality, long lasting crystal nail file, made from toughened hand cut crystal glass
- Ideal for natural and artificial nails
- Beautifully smoothes and shapes, giving superior finish
- Regular use will prevent nails from splitting and peeling
- The product comes with an unconditional quality guarantee

It's so good I won't even consider using other types of nail files now. It really smoothes and shapes my nails effortlessly, without causing any splits. It's also very easy to clean: I give it a quick rinse under warm water after use.

I love the velvet-feel cover and the crystal blue colour. It really brings out the "nail snob" in me. :)

Verdict: beware, once you try it you'll be hooked and addicted to it!

Jun 9, 2009

kit cosmetics Big Bang Nail Polish

I like to paint my nails, especially when I'm stressed.

My face is still sore and look pinkish due to the chicken pox, so I'm definitely in need of a "mood booster" today.

kit's Big Bang Nail Polish is going to adorn my toes today. It's one of the acid brights shades available at kitcosmetics. I got this when I was living in Perth, Australia.

The Big Bang is the vivid purple shade pictured on the first bottle from the left in the picture. The colour is muted/chalky, with a bit of shine, if it makes sense.

I've worn this a couple of times before, so I know that the nail polish is long-lasting and loud enough to notice without being OTT. Though I find that one thin coat isn't enough to produce an evenly coloured nail, I have to apply a thicker coat if I want to avoid patchy looking nails.

Jun 8, 2009

The Curious Case of The Naaj

The following is a true story, happened in our household! :)

Sometime ago, in the middle of Dec 08, I received an email from my brother-in-law saying that this year he's feeling his age as he had broken his knee and wrist while playing football. He also mentioned noticing crow's feet starting to appear.

So hubby and I decided to give him a skincare set for Christmas. We were in the midst of our discussion when suddenly hubby said, "I know! How about we give him a set of The Naaj thing?" I didn't understand what he meant, so I asked him to clarify what he meant by that. Frustratingly, he just went on and on about "you know, The NAAJ!"

After a while he started spelling it for me. Turns out he was referring to Nivea Men DNAge! I was so amused I couldn't stop laughing. My English husband didn't realize that it's supposed to be pronounced D-N-Age instead of "The Naaj" or "De' Naaj" until I pointed that to him! He was so embarrased by his error, his face turned red. We both ended up laughing for a long time. What a funny husband I have! :)

Jun 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! :)

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me...

I'm not telling you what my wishes are.
Though I wish I could have a party like this today:

One Year Long Chicken Pox and Remedies I Tried

(One year long chicken pox: started before my birthday and would definitely last longer than tomorrow.)

Since my last post I've had a full blown chicken pox. Not a nice thing to get when you're an adult. It's not so much the itchiness, I found the stabbing pain was almost unbearable. I was tossing and turning trying to find a good position to (try) to sleep. Thank God for strong painkillers from the sympathetic hospital doctor! :) Now that the worst is over, I can tell you which common remedy works for me and which didn't.

I can tell you that I only used the Aqueous Calamine Lotion ONCE, when the bumps started to come up, and I find that it did nothing. It didn't cool down my skin whatsoever. I didn't like the sticky texture either (due to the petroleum content). Well, the doctor at the hospital said that calamine lotion won't help. There you go, the truth straight from the horse's mouth.

My favourite remedy: Prickly Heat Powder (see my previous review here) - I'm so glad I took this with me in my suitcase. The mintyness helped me to cope with the itching MUCH better. It helped me to stay dry when I was feverish (39C!). The downside: by day 5 I was fed up with the smell and the way the powder "flew" in the air, I thought I wouldn't want to use it ever again. Though I probably would, some time in the future...

Other useful things: rubber bands to tie up my fringe and my long hair so that I don't break the bumps accidentally, eating tinned grass jelly to cool down the body (thanks to hubby for going round to find an Asian supermarket that sells it).

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