Aug 29, 2009

Swisspers Soothing Cucumber Eye and Face Pads

Whenever I see those eye pads that look like cucumber slices I wondered whether they work better than real cucumber as sometimes I used cold cucumber slices to soothe my tired eyes. So I tried Swisspers Soothing Cucumber Eye and Face Pads, a product from an Australian brand that's made in Korea (according to the packaging).

Swisspers claims that the pads are "Perfect for soothing tired eyes... Providing a no-fuss way to revitalise your eyes, simply place the pads on your eyelids for 10-15 minutes while you relax and enjoy the natural aroma of cucumber."

They soothed my tired eyes a tiny winy bit, without any noticeable difference on the puffiness. I've tried to treat them like I would treat cucumbers: chill them in the fridge before using them on my eyes. It didn't seem to change the temperature of the pad though. I didn't try putting them on my whole face though. In general, it's a so-so product, I think they're a little frivolous...

Verdict: I wish they could feel cooler (temperature wise) on my eyes!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Witch Hazel Extract (Hamamelis Virginiana), Gourd (Cucurbitaceae), Chamomile Extract (Anthemis Nobilis), Cucumber Extract (Cucumis Sativus), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polysorbate 80, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).

Aug 27, 2009

Bicycles, Being Chic, and My Photo

When I was very young I had a tricycle. The rainbow coloured ribbons on the handlebars used to fly wildly whenever I terrorized Micie, our poor dog. Naturally when I got older my parents bought me "proper" bicycle: a red BMX (the most coveted brand in Asia at that time). I thought everyone in the neighbourhood would envy me once I was on that bike! :)

The euphoria didn't last long though. An accident happened not long after. I remember practicing cycling on an empty car-racing track with my cousins. I don't remember exactly what happened next. I probably ventured out of the ground to the nearby street when a motorbike knocked me over. My bicycle turned into a heap of mess, I was in a mess, and that was the last time I rode a bicycle...

Fast forward to the present. Last month I was on the train back from London when a newspaper article caught my attention. It was about different companies that sell interesting cycling accessories. There was also a competition on the same page. The main prezzie was a bicycle with accessories included. I couldn't decide whether I'd like to take up cycling again, in case I win, so I kept the newspaper for my reference.

The following evening I still thought about the bicycle. My heart told me that I should submit my details on internet. So I did. I told hubby, if I happen to win, it would mean that God wants me to take up cycling again.

Guess what, I actually won!! I received the good news when I was down with swine flu. Imagine that! Isn't that strange how things turn out sometimes... After all I've been through recently, chicken pox and all, the news came like some sort of "reward" for my "sufferings". Perhaps it's restitution from God? Whatever that is, I'm not complaining, a happy Music I still am! :)

Anyway, the bicycle is absolutely stunning, miles better than the red BMX I had! It's a Velorbis Danneborg with 3 gears, in fire engine red, of course! It has a beautiful leather seat and pretty white wheels. I'm not really bicycle-savvy, but I think I know a good thing when I see one. :)

I met the gorgeous Caz from Cyclechic when I picked it up. She kindly let me choose the helmet and the colour of Knog Frog lights. I love black, so I chose a black Yakkay helmet that comes with herringbone patterned cover. As for the lights, I chose one black (for the rear) and one white (for the front). I'm also a proud owner of a cream coloured Satchel Pannier. A fantastic and generous collection of prezzies, don't you think?! :)

If you love cycling but "refuse to be another Lycra clad anorak", check out the trendy stuffs available at Cyclechic and read Caz' blog here. Even if you don't like cycling but just want to see more picture of moi, head straight to her blog! :)

P.S. Someone has promised to get me this chic Yakkay Tokyo helmet cover once I'm up and about with the bike again! ^.^

Aug 23, 2009

India: Taj Mahal

I've been thinking about India recently. Perhaps cooking and eating Indian food had something to do with it. :) And yes, some years ago hubby and I went to there to visit the "Golden Triangle" (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur). It was their summer, on some days the temperature hit 40 Celcius. Thank God for air-conditioning system!
Obviously we visited the famous Taj Mahal in Agra. I've never seen anything like it before. The architecture, the craftsmanship, the intricate details of everything, the whole experience was quite mind-blowing. It's truly a magnificent example of what humans can do, the building really deserves it's fame as one of the seven wonders of the world. Photos alone can't do it justice, you have to be there to experience it. It still is one of the most romantic places I've been to.
Gorgeous, isn't it?!

Aug 21, 2009

Elemis Pro-Collagen Hand and Nail Cream

Elemis Pro-Collagen Hand and Nail Cream isn't the kind of hand cream that I normally go for. I received two 20ml size as part of the GWPs after an "Elemis spending spree" in Perth (yup, I was too excited because they weren't available there before. The Eye Serum is amongst my favourites).

According to the webpage:
"This anti-ageing hand and nail cream is designed to:
Target age spots and sun damage
Reduce skin crepiness
Strengthen and condition cuticles and nails
Re-establish the skin's moisture barrier
Leave hands beautifully smooth and youthful looking."

I'm finishing up my second tube now and I can honestly say that personally I find the claims to be overrated. It does nothing for my cuticle and nails. My hands feel like they've been coated in thin rubber gloves everytime I used it, for lacking of better terms. It's a strange feeling that I don't like. The scent is also a constant reminder of rubber erasers I had as a child. A little clinical, reminds me of hospitals, if it makes sense...

Now that I'm putting thoughts into words, I noticed that the word "rubber" kept on creeping up here. I think it's the only Elemis product I've tried that doesn't smell good. Quite surprising coming from one of my favourite brands. Sometimes it aggravated the excema spot on my finger, too.

Verdict: an average hand cream that's a bit overpriced. I'm not so keen on the scent either.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Lauryl Laurate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Hull Powder, Glycerin, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Malachite Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hordeum Distichon Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Dehydroacetic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Tromethamine, Sodium PCA, Citronellol, Geraniol, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Linalool, Disodium Rutinyl Disulfate, Citral, Sodium Benzoate.

Aug 20, 2009

An Adventure in London

Just a quick post for today. I'm very tired as I went to London to collect something that I'm really excited about.

1. It's beautiful.
2. It's red, fire engine red!
3. It has a leather seat.
4. It has really cool accessories to go with it. Including:


Right, time to sleep now. I'll leave you to ponder about it. :)
Edit: read here for the full story. :)

Aug 18, 2009

The CrazySticks: Solid Perfume in A Stick

Being on the move quite a bit doesn't always go well with my love of perfumes. Especially after airlines started to limit your on-board liquid allowance, I'm always in a dilemma as to which perfumes I'd take with me. Granted I have travel size/miniature bottles of my most favourites (Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Lancome Magnifique, and Bvlgary). Like all liquids, leaking is always a possibility. Sure, I can always take solid perfumes, but they're quite difficult to find as not everyone does them. Currently I have none, nil, zilch, nada solid ones in my possession.

So I'm overjoyed when I found out that Crazylibellule has "Crazy Stick: Solid Perfume in A Stick". What a good idea! I can carry one (or two, or perhaps three?) in my handbag. I mean, if some girls are carrying more than one lip product in their bag, surely I'm allowed to carry more than one perfume sticks with me. Not being a lip-addict = more perfume space in the bag. :)

Take a look at pictures of the pretty packaging I've stucked all-over this post, aren't they chic!

No paraben? I like! The next time I'm in the big smoke (= London) I'm going to Fenwick to check the scents out! :)

Edit: since I wrote this I found out that apparently they contain petrolatum and paraffin, which might be of concern to some people. I'm not a die-hard "naturalist" and I'm still not sure about my stand with petrolatum as I've read many conflicting things written about it. For now if the scent is good enough I'd still be interested to try it, petrolatum or non-petrolatum. Sadly I didn't have time to go to Fenwick on my last trip to the big smoke. (20/09/09)

Aug 17, 2009

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil is one of my all-time favourites. The kohl is soft and glides easily without pulling the skin. It's so easy to use I only need one stroke to apply!

The rich pigment stays on for hours. It works well for eyelining and tight-lining, on it's own or smudged to give a softer effect.

Currently I have:

- 031 Jungle Green: dark green with slight metallic effect. It's my favourite as it makes my brown eyes really stands out.

- 024 Cool Blue: trendy electric blue. Sometimes I apply it underneath kit cosmetics Mineral Bronzer to tone down the colour for when I'm not feeling so bright.

- 071 Pure White: I don't like this one. The colour just doesn't look right on my eyes, I looked as if I had tip-ex on. Somehow the quality isn't as good as the rest in the range.

Sharpening the pencils could be a messy affair due to the softness of the kohls. I was so frustrated when I had to spend a long time cleaning my sharpeners when that happened. Fortunately popping them in the freezer before sharpening solved this problem.

Verdict: an affordable good quality eye pencil. Avoid the Pure White though...

Aug 14, 2009

Prestige Cosmetics Shimmering Trio Eyeshadow Dust

I first came across Prestige Cosmetics Shimmering Trio Eyeshadow Dust from their Skin Loving Minerals range when I lived in OZ. I love it so much it has travelled with me all the way from dry Perth to humid Asia to cold UK! :)

I have the Black Diamond, consisting of 3 shimmering colours: black, dark grey, and translucent silver. The sparkling colours give soft metallic effect that's bold but not harsh, and easily buildable. I've played with a combination of these to create many different looks for my eyes.

If you're a mineral eyeshadow virgin, here's how I would normally use it. Firstly, open the triangular cover of the colour I want. Dip dry brush lightly inside the eyeshadow. Brush it off against the triangular cover so the extra powder goes back inside/within the border of the container (the bit that separated all the 3 colours), until I almost can't see the colour. Then I apply it like applying normal eyeshadow. Just use minuscule amount as it really is highly pigmented. If the colour isn't strong enough, pick up some of the dusts around the container border (the leftover of the above), brush it off against the triangular bit, and repeat application. It's actually easier and quicker to do than my instructions. :)

Like other mineral eyeshadows, the dust can be used as it is (dry) or wet to give more definition.

Verdict: if I only have space for one eye product in my luggage, this shimmering beauty is the one I would take.

Aug 13, 2009

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

I've been using Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream on and off in the past year. Sometimes I forget to use it and only run to it when my cuticles starting to look "thirsty". This non-greasy cream works wonders for my cuticles, it even softens and moisturises the thick and dry cuticles on my feet!

The cute tin is handy, perfect for handbag or on the (already crowded) bedside table. The instruction says to "massage into and around nails nightly". Personally I use it anytime I like, doesn't have to be before bed time.

I love the strong lemon scent, the moisturising property, and the fact that Burt's Bees products state how many percent of the ingredients are naturally derived. It's also Natural Products Association Certified. Needless to say I included a tin of this cuticle cream in a gift parcel I sent to my sister on her last birthday.

The only thing I don't love: the cream makes my toes itched whenever I use too much of it. To avoid this problem, I find that the key is to use it sparingly. If I just run my index finger over the balm, this amount is enough to cover 5 fingers (or 5 toes) in a go.

Verdict: a trusty cuticle cream.

Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, beeswax, lemon oil, cocoa butter, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), candelilla wax, sunflower oil, rosemary leaf extract, tocopherol (vitamin E), beta carotene, vegetable oil.

* I'm not sure why the ingredients list on my tin is different from the one on their webpage here.

Aug 12, 2009

Barry M Nail Paints

The first two Barry M Nail Paints I bought are:

Turquoise and the newest Block Orange.

After using them a couple of times, I'm not surprised that this brand been voted as Best Inexpensive Nail Polish in InStyle's Best Beauty Buys for 2009.

Firstly, the number of colours on sale are mind-boggling. I counted there are 64 different shades sold on their website: "Covering the whole colour spectrum-from pure white to decadent red. There are metallic pearls, mattes and shimmering finishes to suit every mood and taste. All Nail Paints are in a quick-drying base suitable for natural or acrylic nails."

Secondly, the vibrant colours lasted more than a week without chipping.

Thirdly, the colour comes out as vivid as the colour you see in the bottle, one or two thin layers are all I need. I've used more expensive brands that weren't as good as I had to pile on the polish to get the colour I wanted.

Verdict: I'm buying more colours from the collection soon!! :)

Ingredients: click here for the full list.

Aug 11, 2009

Nivea Happy Time Body Lotion

I received a 4ml sample sachet of Nivea Happy Time Body Lotion. The package says that it contains "natural Bamboo Extract and Milk Proteins" "with a beautiful mild scent of orange flower" - sounds really good on paper.

So I tried it last night. The lotion has the right consistency that isn't sticky and disappears quickly on my skin. The subtle Orange Flower scent was quite pleasant.

Unfortunately my skin didn't like it. Something in it gave me stinging sensations not long after I applied it, felt like as if I had applied low grade glycolic acid on my skin. It wasn't that bad though, the stinging sensations disappeared after some time. Nevertheless, it puts me off buying the full-size bottle.

Verdict: though it sounds good on paper, my sensitive skin doesn't like it.

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Myristyl Myristate, Alcohol Denat., Glyceryl Stearate Ctirate, Blyceryl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Bambusa Vulgaris Shoot Extract, Propylene Blycol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Carbomer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Limonene, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Parfum.

Aug 10, 2009

Badger Balm Sore Muscle Rub

It must have been an inspired moment when I bought Badger Balm Sore Muscle Rub (Original Blend) before I contracted Swine Flu.

I've never used this particular muscle rub before, so I was a little disappointed when I didn't feel a strong heat on my skin right after I apply it. The warmth came out slower as a comforting heat that doesn't give stinging sensations on my skin. Despite my initial reservations, I'm happy to say that it has been working well to soothe my sore muscles.

I love the exotic scent of this balm, reminds me of my travels in the Far East. I have to confess that the particular smell of cardamom and lemongrass made me feel a bit hungry at times. :)

I love the fact it's USDA Certified Organic. The cute graphic on the tin makes me love it even more.

Verdict: it's definitely a keeper.

Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor Oil), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Capsicum Frutescens (Cayenne) Extract, Essential Oils of Zingiber Officinale (Ginger), Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), Rosmarinus Officanalis (Rosemary), Thymus Mustichina (Wild Marjoram), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and CO2 Extracts of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) & Rosa Canina (Rosehip).

Aug 7, 2009

Swine Flu - Part 2

The above picture is from Slate Magazine.

Thanks everyone for your kind words after my Swine Flu diagnosis. :) It's like a "normal" flu IMO. Very sore throat, cough, fever, bunged up sinus and ears, sore muscles, nauseous, basically feeling very weak and woozy in general. I was given Relenza: an antiviral inhalation powder, taken by mouth so it can go straight to the lungs.

Since my last post I've been sleeping and resting in the bedroom, in case I'm passing it on to PIL. Hubby has been great, I just need to lift a finger and ask him to fetch me drinks, food, etc. Hehehe... He even managed to cook dinner and do the laundry, with a little bit of instructions!!! At the moment he's off to the library to borrow some books for me to read. Isn't he nice?! :D

I suspect he's feeling a little guilty, since we moved back to UK I've had chicken pox and now swine flu. Sometimes I wonder whether I would have been healthier if we were moving to NZ instead... Oh well, whatever happened, happened for good reasons.

When I had chicken pox one of my best friends told me that I wasn't trendy since it wasn't a "popular" disease to catch this year. At least now I can say that I've caught the trendiest flu. Even my cousins were impressed when I told them about it. One of them asked, "Is it curable?" to which I replied, "Well, worse come to worst I'll end up looking like a swine." Hehehe... I think I sound like a bragging optimist now. :)

Fingers crossed I get better soon. I don't like staying in bed for too long.

Aug 5, 2009

Swine Flu

I haven't been feeling well since Monday evening. Earlier today hubby rang up the flu hotline. After answering some questions on my behalf, apparently I have contracted Swine Flu. I'm not sure why they don't even suggest taking a blood test to confirm whether I really got it. I don't feel worse than having normal flu...

Anyway, I'm supposed to stay at home and take the medication (Tamiflu?) for the next 5 days. An excuse to hog the laptop, if hubby lets me... Hehehe...

Banbury, England

Banbury is a delightful market town with plenty of gorgeous historical old buildings around.
The horse heads on the above picture are fashioned from plants!
The building above looks like a church, but it's actually a pub! Below is the real church building.

Aug 4, 2009

Exceptionnel de Chanel

I've just realized that as a self-confessed "mascara addict" I haven't written anything about mascara whatsoever! Too much playing with them, not enough time to write about them... :)

Well, it's about to change now. I'm pleased to report that I've just finished my third tube of Exceptionnel de Chanel - Intense Volume and Sensational Curl Mascara. It comes in four dense and intense colours: Smoky Noir, Smoky Brun, Smoky Marine and Smoky Violine. Smoky Noir is my favourite as it makes my black eyelashes blacker.

The very first few times I used it I didn't like it. I can't remember exactly why. I think one of the reasons was I didn't use it properly. Once I learnt how to use it I became addicted to it (click here for Chanel's own instruction video).

The advert says that it's supposed to be "volumizing, curling, and lasting mascara". Here is my assessment of the claims:

- Volumizing: the effect is very noticeable - my eyelashes look thicker, as if I've had added some extra lashes. My long eyelashes look longer and I don't need to use eyeliner when I'm using this mascara.
- Curling: no curling effect whatsoever. I don't mind though as the consistency is so good compared to other mascaras I've used.
- Lasting: yes, it doesn't give me panda eyes, able to withstand humidity. Can only be removed with oil-based cleanser.

My only complain: it's so expensive, I can't bear to throw it out after 3 months (the recommended time span for keeping a mascara after it's first use). So I don't throw this mascara away until it starts to dry out in the tube or starts flaking on my eyes = definitely more than 3 months! LOL.

Verdict: my HG mascara to date.

Aug 2, 2009

Missing in Action & Lady on A White Horse

Hi everyone. I've been MIA the last few days. Hubby & I went to "the big smoke" (= London) to see a musical. I'll tell you all about it next week. Today I'm posting some photos of an interesting sculpture in Banbury, England.

This sculpture is based on a nursery rhyme called ‘Ride a Cock Horse’:
"Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a Fine Lady upon a White Horse,
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes."

These words are engraved on the four sides of the pedestal. The sculpture looked so life-like it scared me a bit. The details are amazing, photos can't do justice to the real thing.

There's something that looks like mole underneath one of her eyes. It was actually a lady bird that happened to be parking there when the picture was taken! :)
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