Thursday, 22 December 2011

Hello and Goodbye!

 frantically packing!

Hi everyone! I know, I know. Where the heck have I been?! AHAH. I've actually been really sick lately and I haven't had the energy to do anything! Gah - hate being so sick. 

Anyway, this is just a quick update to say that I'm still alive. . .even if I am still a bit drowsy and tired. AHAH. Also wanted to say that I'll be away for another month or so because I'm flying out tomorrow to Hong Kong. 

My friends always say I'm the flighty kind, as in I am generally unpredictable and never able to stay in the one place for long periods. I don't have much of a schedule because it chops and changes at a drop of a hat. AHAH. Probably explains why I get sick so easily.
I found out only two days ago that I'm due to fly out and trust me, that's a remarkable improvement. Last time, I was given 12 hours notice before I had to fly. That resulted me in forgetting my hair straightener, getting super agro and running around frantic looking to buy a new one before I could wash my hair. . .oh my goodness. Reminder to self : pack hair straightener. 

So before I go off to pack, I just wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Have a lovely holiday and eat lots of delicious food! Take care and I'll speak to you all in 2012!

Love you all x

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Things I Do To My Face !

Sometimes when my lips are seriously dry or I know there's an upcoming event where I will need to wear some lip product, I sleep with a generous layer of Vaseline on my lips.

The goal is to have it on your lips the entire night without smearing it onto your pillowcase!

In the morning, my lips feel so much softer! If I'm doing it for an upcoming event, I will wear Vaseline consecutively for three days prior just to make sure that my lips lines are also minimised.

via Avene

There are nights when I look into the mirror and I see my skin looking exhausted and stressed. On those nights, I will use a cream mask as my moisturiser and continue to do so until my skin recovers. 

The aim is to heal the skin through nourishment. Generally speaking, cream masks are more nourishing than moisturisers. So by substituting your moisturiser with a cream mask helps your skin to absorb more hydration than normal.

Just as a recap, why is moisture so important? Lack of hydration is often a common cause for many skin problems and enough moisture will help alleviate these issues.

I like to use Avene's Instant Soothing Moisture Mask. It has a creamy texture that absorbs nicely on my skin and, given enough time to sink in, doesn't end up on my pillowcase. I smear it on clean skin with nothing underneath and it gives a pretty good result. It also has calming properties that eases the irritations and redness on my skin that comes with exhaustion and stress.

When I wake up in the morning, my skintone is noticeably smoother and the redness in my skin is less obvious. After three days, my skin is a lot less irritable and I find that I can do without using it on a fourth night.

When cleansing my face, I like to make circular motions starting from the outer of my face and gradually move to the centre.

Most people do the reverse, but by moving from the outer to inner, you're essentially going against the direction of your facial hair growth and pores. That means you'll get an even better cleanse.

original graphic was without the white 'v' shape on the middle of the lips and was

To get more defined and fuller looking lips, I like to use white eyeliner to draw a 'v' shape in the middle of my cupid's bow. 

It gives my lips more depth without having to use lipliner.

What are some of the things that you do to your face?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Dear Myself, Happy 10th Anniversary Sweets!

The shallow and vain side of my personality is a strong believer in hair making a person. Honestly, an average person with an average haircut just looks average. But an average person with a custom-made haircut that is suitable to their persona and face shape has the ability to become above average and, in some cases, borderline hott. 

That's why the vain side of me celebrated ten years of ionically straightened hair two days ago! Congratulate me! AHAH.

This is me. . .with pink blobs on my face. Although I don't usually look great in photos, this photo is beyond acceptable. So let me retain my animosity? Please? AHAH. 

This is what I look like the night before I go to get my hair ionically straightened. My father has slight waves and curls, and my mother has thick hair. Then there's me. . .with hair that is wavy, thick, coarse and unmanageable. My hair is seriously the bane of my existence. I subscribe fiercely to the idea that hott hair equates to decent presentation, and therefore hair maintenance is an imperative in my life. 

Admittedly, the lower length of my hair looks pretty straight, doesn't it? The bottom bits of my hair have been straight for the past ten years. Before that, they were slightly wavy and coarse. A hair straightening treatment has always been the only solution to my hair problems. Not only does it straighten out my curls, it also leaves my hair looking glossy and feeling soft. . .for at least two months. 
Other than being obsessed with skincare, I am obviously hair-vain. I do some crazy things to my hair. I straighten my hair flat at the slightest sight of volume and sleep with salon-style hair clips/clamps on my head and fringe to keep everything in place. I am beyond control!

If I have a bad hair day, it's the end of that day! AHAH. I confess that there have been way too many times where I have said, 'Nup. Not going out today. My hair is looking weird.'

And I doubt that anyone I know thinks it's a joke when I say that my hair is the most expensive part of my body. If only, I could have a dollar for everytime a friend has tapped me cautiously on the shoulder and said, 'AHAH. I saw your hair and I knew it was you!'

My long, straight and black hair is kind of my trademark, you know. It's kind of like this black cape flowing behind me *tosses hair over shoulders* BAHAHAH!

God, I sound terrible! Someone stop me. 

Can you see the curls? That's my regrowth. You can't really see how thick my hair is but if I were to turn on my side, you'd see. You'd never miss it. 

I've been getting my hair ionically/permanently straightened for ten years now and each session is a tiring process for the hairstylists. The thickness and length of my hair makes the entire process very long and tedious for them. There have been times where I have two or three stylists hovering over my head with hairdryers, hair straighteners and brushes loaded with relaxant creams.

This year, the treatment took 4 hours and I would say that's the quickest my hair has ever been done. I remember the first time I got it done, it took a whopping 8 hours!

This is what my hair currently looks like. This photo wasn't taken today but two years ago when I was in Taiwan. Ahhh, Taiwan. What I wouldn't give to return for a night of food and street markets!

As to why I didn't bother to take a more current photo, the answer lies in why I haven't been blogging. So much has been happening lately that it's affected my sleep patterns and has left my entire body stressed out. I'm not exactly photo friendly at the moment! AHAH.

A treatment lasts me for about three months and then I'll get wavy regrowth. At that point, I revert back to my crazy ways and will whip out my trusty hair straightener. It's a never ending cycle!

Which part of your body do you obsess over? What makes you go completely vain and pedantic?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Review : Lancome's Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara

Lancome's Hypnose Doll Eye Mascara was sent to me as a gift. The mascara retails for $52 in Australia. 

When it comes to lashes, I barely have any. 

I am a typical Asian girl with lashes that are short and sparse. They also have a tendency to slant downwards regardless of how much I curl them. I have zero luck with fake eyelashes because I always end up with glue in my eyes. I also have to cut the lashes up a fair bit and so I have a long piece of lash sticking out of my inner corner. It just looks so amateur and unnatural!
How I long to have long, luscious lashes that curl at just the right angle to make me look more awake. 

Recently, Lancome released Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara which promises separated, thick, long and 'nylon' shine lashes. The mascara is meant to lengthen, curl and plump lashes giving you the ultimate wide-eye look. 

It definitely makes the mascara sound like a one stop shop for all your mascara needs. But does it really live up to all the hype?


When buying mascaras, the most important thing is the brush because it is the shape of it is responsible for sculpting your lashes. I am someone who has a good variety of mascaras with different brush sizes. I find that the smaller the brush, the easier it is to lengthen my lashes and therefore the more natural look. The thicker the brush and closer the bristles, the more volume I get and therefore is great for dramatics looks.

The benefit of the Doll Eyes Mascara is that it comes in a conical brush that is designed to give you the best of both worlds. The tapered tip allows you to reach the smaller lashes in your inner corner and the thicker end of the brush allows you to give your lashes some volume.

To be honest, I haven't had much luck with this mascara. Firstly, I am a huge fan of Clinique's mascaras and I like the vast majority of them. I compare all mascaras to what I've used from Clinique and nothing works quite as well. This Doll Eyes Mascara is no different. Compared to Clinique's mascaras, this product from Lancome comes up short. 

For me, the Lancome mascara did not dramatically lengthens or separate my lashes. It did not darken, thicken, curl or voluminise my lashes either.

I found that the difficulty with this mascara is that you have to coat your lashes gently and lightly. I tried applying it quickly and I ended up with clumps and scary spider legs poking out of my eyes. It made my few lashes look even more lonely.

I also curled my lashes before I used the mascara and initially it seemed to hold the curl pretty well. However, within a few minutes, my lashes were drooping.

The Doll Eyes Mascara only gave my lashes the tiniest bit of colour. When I tried to coat it with a bit more product, all I got were clumped and droopy lashes. I actually swiped the brush onto the back of my hand to see if there was actually any product in the tube. 

One of my pet hates is getting a mascara that's already dry and then having to bring it back to the counter for a refund. Because we all know how difficult it is to get sale consultants to refund or exchange a beauty product that you've opened. . .and swatched. 

I swiped it three times on the back of my hand. The bottom splash of colour is two swipes of the brush and on top I've got one swipe. To me, it looks as if my mascara didn't have much product in it  to begin with.

Having said that, I bought a Diorshow mascara last year and had the same result on the back of my hand. I took it back and the consultant said that was normal and that Diorshow mascaras aren't wet with product. Maybe that's the same with Lancome?

Just for comparison, my Clinique Lash Power Mascara is on it's last leg and when I swiped it on the back of my hand. I still have heaps of product! Generally speaking, Clinique mascaras are wetter than most and that's the way I like it. At least my lashes will get some colour, regardless of the effect.

I kind of expected a fair bit from the Doll Eyes hype. When you say Doll Eyes, I think of vibrant anime looking eyes that have long, luscious, dark and voluminous lashes. Unfortunately, Lancome's Hypnose Doll Eyes hasn't done that for my lashes. At the most, it lengthens and separates.

So this mascara does not have much use for me. There are probably cheaper, even drugstore, alternatives to Doll Eyes

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

RE : Flying 9+ Hrs For Your Dreams & Project To Get Old Body Back

Hey guys! How are we today? I hope this finds you well no matter where you are in the world!

It sure feels like it's been awhile since I last sat down and wrote a blog entry. A lot has happened since the last time I blogged. For one, I FINALLY decided to fly 9+ hours for my dreams. I decided that you only live once and that if I don't do it, I won't ever forgive myself. More importantly, if the same opportunity comes at a later date, the circumstances just won't be right.
Sure, it's a 1 in 100 chance of success and there is no guarantee in sight. . .but surely, the experience itself will be worth the risk. 

So I booked my ticket. 

And of course QANTAS decided to ground their planes. Of course.

I was stressed for three days straight. I didn't get a wink of sleep and I looked/continue to look like a panda. Real story. 

THEN they announce that QANTAS will fly. Wonderful news. Seriously wonderful. So there I was anticipating a good night's sleep but all I got was me staring at my ceiling until 4AM. I wasn't thinking, don't get me wrong. It's just that my mind was so worn out that it was too scared to even sleep. 

Surely this makes sense to someone, right?

AND THEN, here's the grand finale I promise, something came up. Something came up a day before I was due to fly.
And all of a sudden, I couldn't fly the next day. I had to cancel my flight.

I don't want to sound over dramatic but seriously. . . Goodbye flight, goodbye dreams.

When humans are faced with disaster, distress or hardship, it is normal to philosophise. So in my situation, I call on Katy Perry. AHAH. I mean, there has to be SOME truth in 'Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed. So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road'.

Soon enough, *dances* I'll be a firework and I'll show them what I'm worth!



Yeah, RE: Project To Get Old Body Back has been put on a hiatus. AHAH. Though the last photo deserves a mention! My mother makes water dumplings and her own chilli sauce from scratch. She's just amazing like that. They taste delicious! 

Anyway, do any Aussie readers know a good US Forwarding Service? Has anyone used one that's really reliable and prompt with responses?
Other than that, I hope everyone is well! <3

OH, please do follow me on Twitter @thisisvalentine.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review : Guerlain's Blanc de Perle UV Shield Brightening Pearl Perfection SPF 50 - PA +++

Firstly, thank you for all your opinions in the last post. I really appreciate it. Everyone has given me some wonderful advice and I'm going to think things over just a little bit more!

So in line with 'Project Get Old Body Back', I went to the gym a few days ago! I can't actually remember the last time I went but I know it's been a really, really long time. When I handed my card to the receptionist, she checked the computer screen and said something along the lines of, 'It's been 38 days since you last came. Where have you been?!'

AHAH. Has it really been 38 days?!

I don't know how I lived without the gym for that long because I spent an hour on cardio and I feel so much better about myself. I feel happier, I feel energised and I feel empowered. Never mind the weight loss or toning, this is what exercise should be about. Making you mentally and emotionally fit.
Okay, enough talking about me! Onto a review!

Product : Guerlain's Blanc de Perle UV Shield Brightening Pearl Perfection SPF 50 - PA +++
Made In : France
Purchased From :  Sample
Quantity : 3ml -
Sample Size

Summer is just around the corner for us Aussies and I can't wait! I'm sick of wearing massive coats and lugging around an umbrella 'just in case'. And you know what? I'm sick of bad, temperamental skin!

Bring on the sun! Bring on the good weather! Bring on the good skin! I've been suffering too much!

But with the sun, comes the need for some serious protection. Australia is, after all, the sunburnt country and sunscreen shouldn't really an option. I only started using sunscreen at the start of the year and I regret it. I've got a few sun spots that I didn't even know existed until quite recently.

Recently, my mother did a Guerlain haul and as usual, she came back with a handful of samples. She told the sales assistant how I'm new to wearing sunscreen and she kindly popped a few samples of Guerlain's Blanc de Perle UV Shield Brightening Pearl Perfection SPF 50 - PA +++.

From Guerlain :

'This high-protection UV shield combats pigmentation imperfections. With its outstanding lightness and translucence, it is also enriched with active anti-aging detoxifying ingredients to prevent damage caused by free radicals and protect the skin’s youthfulness. The complexion remains light and luminous under all circumstances. Apply every morning to the face and neck.'

The sunscreen also contains Guerlain's Pearl Whitening Complex which, like pearls, fights against imperfections such as melanin trapped at the heart of the epidermis.

When you squeeze the sunscreen out, it is a pearly and milky formula. A little product goes a long way and so you don't have to squeeze a lot out.

Although it look milky, it is slightly thick and spreads out with a little effort. It also feels a little oily on my fingertips when I smooth it over my face.

Initially, the colour looked a little too white for my liking. But I patted it in gently, it gradually sinks and blends in with your skin.

The end result is a healthy pearly glow that helps me look a little more well-rested that I really am. Always a bonus!

At first, I loved the sunscreen's finish. It settled into my skin nicely and it gave my face a nice glow. A friend saw me a few days ago and noticed that I looked healthier. Since I've been sick, I'm pretty sure it's not because I actually looked healthier, but because I was wearing a layer of Guerlain sunscreen.

I also love the fact that it is SPF 50. The current moisturer/sunscreen that I'm using is SPF 25 and I don't think it's anywhere near enough for the current weather conditions. 

However, the sunscreen gets oily on my face 2-3 hours after application. It's also a bit drying and looks like it's zapped some of the moisture out of my face. It sounds really strange, right? How can a product be both oily and drying?
Trust me, it can!

After 2-3 hours, I can see and feel a thin layer of oil sitting on top of my skin and I can see my skin looking dry underneath all of that. 

It's really a shame because I love the pearly radiance it gives my face. But I absolutely hate how oily it makes my skin, and not to mention that it is a little drying.

Oh Guerlain sunscreen! Why must you give this pretty pearl radiance and then make me look oily and dried out all at once?  

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Ahh life semi-sucks right now! One of my girlfriends is holding her annual Halloween house party tonight and I can't go because I'm at home nursing a cold. Boooo! Everyone's out having fun except me! Booo!


Anywhoo. . .


I actually got Twitter back in August but kind of forgot about it. I used to have an account but I stopped using it ages ago. So right now, I'm still a bit 'Err, what do I do?' about it! AHAH. Bear with me!
Please add me and then we can have endless conversations about everything under the sun!

Would you fly 9+ hours if someone told you that you have a 1 in 100 chance to come a little bit closer to your lifelong dream?

I literally have 24 hours to decide. 

I'm so confused. On the one hand, I feel like if I don't take this chance, I'll never get the same opportunity again. Even if I get the same chance, the circumstances won't be right. Not that I'm saying the circumstances are right now. But they're much better than say a year ago. 

But then there are a gazillion other things holding me back. I'm just plain busy right now. I've got a lot of things on my plate. Not to mention that there are no guarantees. There is no guarantee that I will be that 1 in 100. To be quite honest, I don't feel that I will be that 1 in 100. 

Another thing that's really bugging me is that if THIS was seriously my dream, surely there is no need for this conversation. It wouldn't be a matter of should I go but which day I should fly out.  

I feel that if I don't go, I'll regret it. And if I do go, I'll regret it as well. What the hell?!
Sorry I can't be more specific about what's happening. 

But I just don't know.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sugar Hit 2011 at The Cortile, InterContinental Hotel

I'm back again with more food from the Crave Sydney International Food Festival! Two of my friends and I spent a lovely evening at The Cortile, InterContinental Hotel enjoying our Sugar Hit

It was my first time in the InterContinental and I think I've fallen in love with The Cortile. 

The surroundings are absolutely stunning and completely breathtaking. It is by far one of the most elegant hotel lobbies I've been to. The Cortile is actually a Victorian-style courtyard surrounded by  three-tiers of sandstone corridors and a soaring glass ceiling. It has a deep sense of history and antiquity, and the surroundings are serene and tranquil. The contemporary furnishings makes the lobby lounge especially relaxing and intimate.

The photos are no where near indicative of how beautiful the Cortile is. It really is something you have to experience for yourself. At night, the sandstone arcades are lit up and the ambiance is perfect for a quiet conversation over a glass of wine and dessert.

It was still a little bit dark, hence the photos. I've actually tried to lighten the photos so that you can see a bit more detail.

The service is unbelievably attentive. In my experience, The Venetian in Macau has the best service overral. The staff at The Venetian are courteous, accommodating and prompt. I cannot tell you the amount of times I've asked The Venetian staff to go beyond their call of duty. Each time, I am amazed at how willing they are to fulfill your requests and how much trouble they go to in order to not make you feel like your requests are a bother. 

The service at the Cortile is quite similar. The staff are very polite and accommodating. Sugar Hit begins at 9PM, but my girlfriends and I arrived earlier and I asked whether we could be seated in advance. The waitress gladly showed us to a table and informed us that she would serve us three Sugar Hits when it was 9PM.
Lovely service. 

Our dessert wine arrived first. It was a Brown Brother's Orange Muscat and Flora, and it complimented our dessert very well. It's unfortunate that I'm not much of a drinker. I literally had a few sips and I was already getting light-headed. 

This is actually a shot of my glass when I called quits.

Our dessert for the night was a home-made pistachio and bitter chocolate vacherin with blood orange custard with a jaffa macaron.   

The vacherin was pure delight. I would gladly demolish another one. . .or two. AHAH. I couldn't really taste the pistachio though. 


I'm not big on macarons or macaroons. They never really appealed to me. A lot of my friends are obsessed with them but I just never got why. They're kind of bland? AHAH. Maybe it's just me. 

This is going to be my last food blog entry in a really, really long time. No more eating for me! I need to lose some serious weight and so that means I'm on a food ban. Since last March, I've gained a total of 10kgs!

I need to get back into my routine! So from the moment I wake up, it will be back to healthy eating! Salads, tuna, salmon, capsicum, fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, seaweed, green beans and yoghurt. These all used to be my favourite food but then I went berserk and went all out with carbs. I'm also putting a limit on carbs from tomorrow onwards!

I want my old body back! GRR!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Death By Chocolate

What's your main role in your circle of friends?

Amongst my friends, I am unofficially in charge of Events Management. I am  the one who makes those elaborate Facebook events, chases guests to RSVP, check dietary requirements, does all the relevant reservations, disseminates detailed directions to the location and makes sure everyone is dressed for the occassion.

I, somehow, just settled into the role. Admittedly, I wouldn't have it any other way!

I am the fussiest when it comes to going out. I am pedantic about food since I'm allergic to practically everything under the sun and meticulous about getting my money's worth. Setting up events is often stressful, especially when people cancel at the last minute or people turn up half way through the event. GRR.

But I like organising events and I like having the final say! AHAH.

Awhile ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to do a meet up over some delicious food. We don't get the chance to see each other regularly anymore because of conflicting schedules. So I booked for us to do something special, fancy and girly. I booked for the four of us to do High Tea!

The decision was made partly to coincide with the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. The Festival runs for the month of October and celebrates a wide variety of international cuisines. As part of the festival, there are a myriad of food events staged around Sydney and regional New South Wales. One of the more popular events that the festival has running is High Tea. Participating restaurants and hotels are serving their High Tea menus with a flute of Brown Brothers champagne for $45.

It took us awhile to figure out where we wanted to have High Tea because the festival has spoilt us with so many tantalising choices! I ended up booking the Shangri-La's 'Wickedly Sweet High Tea' which consists of eleven chocolate desserts per person. It seemed like the perfect choice because one of my friends can't eat cold cut meats and another loved the sound of a chocolate high tea.

High Tea at the Shangri-Le is served in The Lobby Lounge and Terrace, and the surroundings are pleasant and comfortable. On a normal day, this would definitely be a place that I would pop in for a coffee to unwind.

Unfortunately, we chose the wrong day to go for High Tea. The hotel was packed to the brim with people coming and going, and the hustle and bustle of people was discomforting. Admittedly, there were a few activities and events being held in the hotel itself, hence the large volume of people present. The lounge also overflowed with patrons and people were bumping into my chair as they walked past. Not to mention that the noise level was extremely high and we had to shout across the table in order to be heard by each other.

That was really disappointing.

Another complain would be the service. All the waitstaff we encountered were lovely, courteous and friendly. One staff member tried to make small talk with a friend of mine which I thought was nice. It personalised the experience.

But as time went on and the amount of people increased, the staff were difficult to flag down and prone to mistakes. I just wish they weren't so understaffed because on the day that we went, they were literally swamped.

My three girlfriends ordered English Breakfast Tea and I had my usual latte. I'm not sure whether it was intentional, but I was not served any sugar. My friend laughed that maybe it was normal, considering the amount of sugar in front of us!

The desserts that we indulged in were :   

Gateau Opera – Layers of Kahlua soaked sponge with hazelnut chocolate crunch and coffee butter cream          
Double Chocolate Brownie –
Chocolate and walnut brownie with a milk chocolate mousse
Chocolate Shot-  Milk chocolate cream topped with chocolate crunch
Selection of Macarons – Variety of chocolate flavoured macarons
Whisky Candy Bar – A crispy feuilletine base topped with whisky infused chocolate
Pistachio Slice – Pistachio sponge with a White chocolate and rice pudding bavarois finished with a pistachio glaze
Triple Chocolate Dome – Layers of white, dark and milk chocolate mousse set on a chocolate sable
Chocolate and Cherry Tart - Sweet pastry tart shell with baked chocolate mousse and cherries in kirsch
Chocolate Bavarois – Mini chocolate bavarois cake
Fondue with Lollipops - Warm chocolate fondue with frozen chocolate and hazelnut pops
Rocky Road – Raspberry marshmallow, Rose jelly, salted peanut chocolate caramel

I forgot to take photos of one or two desserts but you can definitely get a feel for how decadent the desserts are. After my second piece, I was begging for salt! AHAH. I was actually craving for stir-fried udon!

Was it delicious? I really enjoyed the 'Chocolate Shot' which is the first photo and the Rocky Road  piece which had rose jelly. Aside for these two, I don't believe that there was anything particularly exceptional. Everything else was a bit so-so. I thought there would be different variations of chocolates like dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. At the very least, I would have liked one piece of white chocolate. Every piece of dessert just tasted like it came from the same type of chocolate and that bored me.

I'm not sure if that makes sense. But the High Tea was essentially the same chocolate flavour eleven times. There was little variation. 

I know that I would have loved the experience a million times better if there just wasn't so many people or if the noise level was lower. I was so excited to see my girlfriends but the atmosphere made having a proper conversation really difficult. 

There are many more things to try at the Crave Sydney Food Festival! I'll be heading out to the Night Noodle Market and Sugar Hit this week and I can't wait!

To all my Sydneysiders! Have you been doing any of the festival activities?