Saturday, 28 May 2011

Review : Clinique's 'Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief'

Product : Clinique's 'Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief'
Quantity : 50ml
Verdict : Good for oily, normal and combination skin. Might not be enough for dry skin. More effective when used on top of other moisturisers to lock in hydration. 

From Clinique :
"Enjoy rapid refreshment and a full 24 hours of soothing moisture with an addictive by-a-waterfall feel. Advanced hydration boosters and a new botanical blend hold skin's moisture in balance through stressful shifts in humidity, indoors and out."

 I haven't actually opened this pot yet, I'm still using a sample size that I recently opened!

I've been using Clinique's 'Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief' for quite a few years now and it is one of those products that I fall in and out of love with really easily.

There are days I just love, adore and praise Moisture Surge to no end. In the hot summer months, I quite happily wear a very thin layer of this gel moisturiser under my SPF moisturiser. The light, yet slightly gooey gel texture feels so refreshing and comforting on my skin. It gives my skin that really polished, smooth look you get from a night of good sleep!

During autumn and spring, these effects vary quite dramatically. The large majority of the time, I have to layer it on top of a creamier moisturiser because it's not enough for my dry skin. Sometimes it is one layer, sometimes it could be three - it varies greatly! This works quite well to lock in all the moisture from previous products. In the daytime, I will need to reapply Moisture Surge about twice a day. It definitely doesn't last the advertised 24 hours for me.

Then there are the winter months when my skin is feeling like tight cling wrap stretched across my face and I abandon Moisture Surge compeltely. It simply isn't nourishing enough for my skin and makes little difference layered on top of a moisturiser. For me to feel any benefits from it in the winter months, I imagine myself putting on layer after layer on top of a rich moisturiser. Not economical at all.

 This is from my sample pot!

Having said that, I have repurchsed this product for many years. Despite that it falls short of expectations in the winter months, I really like its texture and how light it feels on my skin during summer, early autumn and late spring. When my skin is resilient, the cream feels like a burst of water on my face. It also does quite well to plump very, very fine lines.

I also buy it because I like to use Moisture Surge as a primer before putting on my make up. I put one generous layer on and then fan it dry before putting on my make up. My blush and bronzer last longer when put on top of Moisture Surge and same goes for my foundation on those odd occassions that I do wear it over my entire face.

I think this would be an excellent product for people with oily skin. Its light, oil free formula gives your skin a good dose of hydration. However, for other skin types, I would recommend that this be used on top of a moisturiser to maximise its benefits. This is especially true for dry skin.

It's really important for those with dry skin to have a reliant moisturiser that is meeting their needs. After that, you can use Moisture Surge on top to seal in the moisture. I would never rely on this product on its own unless it is summer. In this sense, it is somewhat of a supplementary product for those with dry skin. It is so supplementary that when I'm really tired at night or really pressed for time in the morning, I don't use it at all.

But it doesn't hurt to give this a go if you're looking for something to boost your hydration levels during the day or to prep your skin before make up.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Today ; I Went Out

My friend's $100 bills tissue. Love it
Lunch at Dae Jang Keum - side dishes
Seafood hotpot
Potato Pancake

Maybe isolation is not the answer.
My mother told me that the first step is always the hardest step.

Sharing food with people is always better than eating alone.
Sharing a conversation with people is always better than talking to yourself into a corner.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Today ; Sacred Day



Sacred Coffee Wednesday at San Churro
Sacred Fair Trade Coffee Beans
Free Sacred Blend Latte

Monday, 23 May 2011

I Want This Dress!

Can someone please ID Princess Beatrice's dress? I am completely in love with it. Electric blue is actually one of my favourite dress colours! Love it's flowy lower half and princess shoulders. It's chic, pretty and cute all in one.

I want it!

Credits : Dailymail

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Review : Hada Labo's Gokujyun Eye Mask

Product : Hada Labo's Gokujyun Eye Mask
Made In : I'm assuming Japan
Purchased From : Bonjour, Hong Kong
Quantity : Pack of 5 pairs

I actually purchased these eye masks before I knew anything about Hada Labo and Super Hyaluronic Acid. The pack didn't have a single English word on it and I was just confused as the next clueless person. My eyes were in a complete state of dehydration. The fines lines underneath my eyes were particularly evident and my eye bags were shockingly dark. I had somewhere important to go the next day, so I grabbed this without thinking much. 

This Hada Labo eye mask actually contains three different types of hyaluronic acid and other moisturising ingredients. It is supposed to barrage your skin with intense hydration and moisture.

I am not 100% sure where this product is made since I can't read Japanese. I mentioned in my previous Hada Labo post that they manufacture in two locations - Japan and China. I have a feeling that this particular box was made in Japan, simply because it only has Japanese characters on it. Those made in China tend to have a mixture of Chinese and Japanese characters. Please don't quote me! This is just my theory!

The cloth eye masks look slightly yellow in colour and it's really just the gooey liquid serum. It feels very comfortable under my eyes and thankfully, it's not one of those masks that fall off your eyes because it's too wet!


I let it sit for about 15 minutes. FUNNY STORY : I used to wear my eye masks the other way around. As in the bit I have covering the outer corner of my eye used to sit underneath my eye. The way I saw it was that the lines underneath my eyes were deeper and so I would use a larger area to cover it. It was only recently that I started Googling around for eye masks that I found out I wore it wrong. 

Fail. AHAH.

After the mask, the eye area feels a bit sticky but it's nothing terrible. The fine lines don't look that deep anymore and the area feels so much more supple and plump. I let the area dry for a little longer because I want all of serum/gel to sink in. Afterward, I apply my eye cream and then I'm ready for bed!

In the morning, the hydrating effects have not worn off and I look much more refreshed than I normally do. My make up didn't sink into my lines as much and I am very happy with the results. 

I've also used these eye masks half an hour before putting on a full face of make up. I let it sit for 15 minutes, dry for awhile, put on eye cream and then my foundation. Compared to just using a normal eye cream or gel before my make up, I find that putting on this mask plumps the area more and really helps minimise the amount of make up that sinks into my eye area.

TIP : After the 15 minutes, you're bound to have a mask that is still quite wet. Don't put them in the bin yet! Stick the masks around your mouth area, as in where your smile lines would be. Hydrate that area as well!

You'll also find that there is a lot of product left in the packet. Don't throw this in the bin either! You can use this as an eye cream the following days! Just put the liquid around your eyes including your upper eyelids.
The amount in this packet has lasted me 4 days =)

Always keep the packet tightly sealed so that it isn't exposed to external factors like dust. I just clamp mine with a long salon hair clip.

I really like this product and I'll definitely be buying more. I think it's a good base product before layering an eye cream that suits your needs. 

I have no idea why Hada Labo hasn't put out their own eye cream or gel yet!

Today ; She Sells Sea-shells By the Sea-shore

Swimming in a pool of oil

I met up with someone who asked me what type of person I want to be - what type of values that I wanted to embody.

My mind went blank - regular occurrence for the past five years.

We spent an entire hour with pen and paper charting out the type of person I would like to be. My list now includes ; understanding, compassionate, caring, supportive, accepting, reliable, honest, trusting, learning/open to new experiences, focused, helpful, challenged, social, aware, being able to express myself, giving things a go and being respectful. 

Instead of focusing on 'success', I am told that I should concentrate on being these things. But instead of being understanding, compassion and caring ectera to everyone around me, I have to be all of the above to myself.

That's difficult. But I am going to be open to this new experience and be supportive of myself. I hope to be more compassionate and accepting of myself while giving things a go.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Camera tripod.
Sasatinnie foundation brush.
Nokia E71
Zebra Airfit
Clinique Superbalanced Make up in 04 Cream Chamois
Clinique mirror
Lyrics of Jolin Tsai's 'Heard That Love Came By' in Pin Yin and Translation form

The stage is a special place. It is the place where only the charismatic survive. Those who stand on it are not required to be the most talented in the world, but they must have a confident and mysterious air about them. These creatures use their voices, bodies and gazes to tempt and evoke emotions from the audience.

No matter how much I try to appear confident, the moment I grasp an unfamiliar microphone and stand on a foreign platform, my judgement seems to get clouded. Fear, indecision and reluctance greet me like old friends. The results are always disappointing.

Perhaps I am too needy. I want the stage to be on my side. I want it to help me fulfill my dreams - let me just have one perfect performance. Please. I beg of you. I guess the stage doesn't like dependent people like me. It, too, must like those capable, mystifying types who dominate without seeking permission. 

If only I had this type of personality.

The audience always claps but I can never hear or memorise how they sound. All I do remember is how my heart shatters after I present them with a smile and a bow. I remember how I must continue this smile until I get home. I remember how I wear this smile all the way into the shower, where I let tears meld with water.

No matter how many times I tell myself to give up. . .no matter how many times I tell myself that it just hurts too much. . .no matter how many times I tell myself that I can and should be doing something else with my time. . .

No matter what excuses my brain comes up with, my heart finds a reason to go on.

The stage really is a special place.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Today ; Mum Isn't Masterchef But She Feeds Us Good Food

Yummaaay Guy lan, corn, egg and homemade chili paste.

My mother's food creation!

Review : Hada Labo's Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion

Product : Hada Labo's Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
Made In : I'm assuming China
Purchased From : Watsons, Hong Kong
Quantity : 170ml
Verdict : Good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. High dosage of hydration and moisture.
Re-purchase : Yes

I admit that I am not someone that uses a lot of drugstore skincare products. I do prefer to purchase my cleansers, toners, serums, moisturisers and eye creams from a beauty counter. For my special skin concerns like eczema and dermatitis, I buy prescription creams. The only things I do buy from a drugstore are probably body moisturisers.

This is perhaps a hand-me down habit from my mother. Since my birth, the large majority of her skincare and make up has come from beauty counters and not drugstores. Like most females, she would skimp and save until she could buy what she needed. Like mother, like daughter - I am now just the same!

So when I was reading all the hype about Hada Labo, a Japanese drugstore/chemist brand, I was very skeptical. A lot of bloggers raved about the brand's products and how good they were for all skin types - including sensitive skin.

I had so many concerns - what if it made me breakout? What if it's not really made for ALL skin types? Would it be okay for me to use on my SUPER SENSITIVE skin? What if it made me go red? What if I got a rash. . .ON MY FACE?! What if I waste money?

I tend to worry a lot.

But the more I read about Hada Labo, the more I wanted to try it.

The brand Hada Labo prides itself in creating simple and affordable skincare products that work. Its main ingredient is Super Hyaluronic Acid [SHA] which is known to moisten and plump the skin through deep hydration. The Hada Labo website explains that 1 gram of Hyaluronic Acid is able to hold up to 6 litres of water and that Super Hyaluronic Acid is able to retain twice this amount of moisture.

Now, I am a moisture freak! I believe that moisture is key to everything - it stops your skin from drying out, keeps wrinkles at bay, makes your skin look more youthful and allows you to use less make up. So knowing that SHA has that much power in locking in moisture made me go GAGA. I needed to try it.

I also liked how the products are made sans fragrance, minerals, alcohol and colour. This is music to all sensitives skin girls' ears. This is especially good for me - the SUPER SENSITIVE girl!

Hada Labo's star product is the SHA Lotion which reportedly sells like hot cakes in Japan. It is said that one bottle of lotion is sold every 4 seconds in Japan. Probably explains why I never saw these bottles on beauty shelves while I was over there.

Just a heads up, lotion is the Japanese equivalent to a Western toner. So like a toner, you use it in between your cleanser and moisturiser. However, unlike a toner which further cleanses your skin of impurities before putting on your moisturiser, lotion is designed to prepare the face by deeply penetrating your skin. It also acts to lock in any moisture to follow afterward. So basically, it is mainly used to enhance the hydrating effects of your moisturiser.

There's actually a special technique to using this lotion. The emphasis is on patting your face, as opposed to rubbing. I'm assuming that this is intended to promote good blood circulation and not the mishandling of your delicate skin. Check the video for instructions!

Admittedly, I do not slap my skin THAT hard! I press a bit harder than this though. . .

I asked a friend who was in Hong Kong earlier this year to purchase the lotion for me to try. I can't remember how much it cost but is quoting $HK95. Very inexpensive considering that you can't even get a mascara these days for this price in Hong Kong.

The lotion comes out as a clear, odourless liquid and looks a lot like water droplets. The first time I used it, I poured two drops out of the bottle and patted it on my face like the second video. I found that it wasn't enough for my entire face and it seemed to basically disappear when it hit my skin. So I poured another two drops onto my palm and repeated.

At first, I didn't feel that it lived up to the raves. My skin basically swallowed up four drops of this when everyone else seems to be getting excellent results with just two drops. Sure my skin felt a bit smoother but it wasn't anything revolutionary.

I continued using it for the next three days and not much changed. One week later, I caught myself subconsciously stroking my face and using less product. It was only then that a lightbulb switched on in my head.

It was working!

Rushed to the mirror and saw that my face felt and looked hydrated. My skin looked plumper and my cheekbones started to have a glow about them. I kid you not.

Shock horror - it took my skin a whole week to drink enough SHA before it began to LOOK and FEEL moisturised?!

I'm THAT dry?! *runs and hides in shame*

I'll definitely be purchasing this again when the time comes. It is so much more comfortable than using a toner! I've used toners for a good few years now and they're really a double edged sword. They clean well but dry me out even more. This SHA lotion goes the complete opposite. While it doesn't give you one last clean, the product is soft, watery, slippery and nourishing. It just slides onto you skin like water and you get this happy feeling that you're doing your face some good. You're feeding it good nutrition!

My skin feels very hydrated immediately after this lotion and it feels as if I could go without a moisturiser. It feels that good! Having said this, NEVER GO WITHOUT YOUR MOISTURISER. It is a mighty must in order to maximise the benefits of SHA. I would recommend that you follow up with a moisturiser that suits your specific needs. If you have oily or acne prone skin, go for a gel. If you have normal skin, go for a cream. If you have dry skin, go for a richer cream. If you are worried about fine lines and wrinkles, go for a cream that it anti-aging. You get the gist!

I also found that this lotion is excellent when used before applying a full face of make up. A light layer of this lotion and your moisturiser will act as a barrier to stop your make up from sinking into your skin. This will help minimise the length the time between application and reapplication. . .a very complicated way of saying that your make up will stay longer on your face!

One more thing that you may like to know is that Hada Labo products are manufactured in two places. If the back of the bottle has just Japanese character on it, then it is likely to be made in Japan. If it has Chinese words on it, then it most likely made in China. If it has some English words on it, then I'm not sure where it came home. AHAH. I haven't actually seen a bottle with English words on it in person, but Singaporean and Malaysian bloggers seem to be reviewing that one.

Mine was bought in Hong Kong and therefore I have Chinese words on mine. So mine is Made in China.

I wonder if there's a difference between them.

I'd love to try the one made in Japan. A small reason to head to Japan again? AHAH.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all those wonderful women who love and support us endlessly!

Last night, I wrote a long letter to my mum and stuck it on the bathroom mirror. When I woke up, mum told me that she tried reading the letter three times and couldn't quite understand it.

Like most Mother's Day cards, I told mum that I loved her and hoped that she'd have a great day. The one thing that probably sets me apart from most is that my letter had a lot of 'Sorrys'. These past few years have been particularly harsh for the both of us. She's experienced a lot, I've experienced a lot and together, we've experienced more than we could ever imagine. Without each other, I don't think we would have made it to today.

My mother is no different from others - she is supportive, loving, caring, dedicated and selfless. She always puts my brother and I before herself. Mum often goes without, so that we can have. I didn't necessarily grow up in a 'normal' household but mum has always tried to make life as 'normal' as possible for us. No matter what the world has thrown at her or at us, she has always taken it in her stride and protected us.

I am not a good daughter. I am demanding. I am annoying. I am a nuisance. I am a drama queen. My emotions go from hot to cold in split seconds - it's insane. I have an ego that needs to be fed. I am picky. I am a perfectionist. I am lazy - gosh, I am so unbelievably lazy. I am difficult to deal with. I get sick too easily and become a complete burden. I am critical. I am arrogant. I am indecisive. I am unhelpful. I make bad decisions. I make people around me worry sick about my health and safety.

There are so many wrongs in my life that makes me unworthy of my mum.

I always tell people, 'It's hard being a mother. But it is much harder to be my mother.'

My brother and I are my mum's pride and joy. She's used her entire life to make sure we were well fed, clothed and educated.

For Mother's Day, we had a homemade lunch because my dad was flying out tonight for business. Since we weren't going to see dad for awhile, mum decided that she would do the cooking - see how selfless she is? She puts dad's going away ahead of her special day.

My mum is an awesome cook - we are completely spoilt when it comes to food! Whenever we go out to eat and have something completely delicious, she'll come home and try to make it from scratch. Sometimes she's replicate it and other times she'll tweak it to make it even tastier. Yeah, I know. My mum is just precious like that. I'm super lucky to have her.

So what was on the lunch menu?

Abalone Congee/Jok/Juk

I usually don't like eating congee because I have this wonderful love/hate relationship with carbs...and I don't know. I have this belief that it's a waste of carb intake. It probably has no scientific and nutritional basis whatsoever but why not just eat a bowl of rice? I would rather eat a bowl of rice!

Besides, congee usually doesn't taste like anything and you have to rely on side dishes for flavour. Yes, congee is good for you when your sick. It will do your digestive system some good. Yes, I know.

But so will water *shrugs*.

A few years ago, mum got really into Korean cooking and I found this recipe for Abalone congee on Maangchi's website. She's been making this for ages now and it's a hit in our household. We usually have it when we're all feeling REALLY rundown and sick, considering how expensive Abalone is!

It is definitely a luxury but it is so super tasty because of the sesame oil and garlic. Yummy!

Next up are Water Dumplings!

Mum makes the dumpling skin from scratch because the ones you buy from the Asian groceries are a bit too thick.

Inside there's pork, garlic chives, ginger, white rice wine and sesame oil.

You like Din Tai Fong? You should try my mum's water dumplings!

Lastly, Spring Onion Pancake.

Often when you go out to eat this, you get this really oily piece of dough with not a lot of spring onion. At home, we make it with a lot less oil so that it's actually crunchier!

We bought mum her favourite Cookies and Cream Cheesecake to celebrate.

Sometimes the biscuit base is soggy but luckily this time it was perfect! Actually, lucky that we even got the cake! We weren't initially going to get mum a cake because we don't usually celebrate with one. We were going to go out for lunch as a family and then get mum's present together. But mum decided to make lunch for dad before he left and my brother and I snaked out to buy the cake.

Usually, you have to order the cake one day beforehand. Luckily, they prepared a few for walk-in customers.

I love you Mummy! I hope that you'll always be happy and healthy. Thank you for everything.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Valentine in the City

I think everyone in Sydney has heard about the arrival of Swedish fashion powerhouse, Zara. On 20th April, the wait was finally over for Sydney fashionistas when Zara at Westfield Sydney opened its doors. According to the media and some of my friends who made it to the store on the first day, everyone was frantic and the lines were massive!

I was able to check it out on the 23rd April and I can confirm that it was indeed chaotic! Security guards manned all the entrances and were only allowing groups of four or five to enter the store at any one time. The line outside the Zara store in the open air was intimidating. The line was honestly massive and it didn't look like it would move anytime soon. At one point it was raining and people were just standing without umbrellas - dedication, much?

They must not have realised that there were four other lines they could join within the actual Westfield complex where they wouldn't have gotten a drop of rain on them.

I went to the lower level where the queue was much smaller and I waited about ten minutes before let in. Staff were giving out bottles of water for people who were lining up and telling those with coffee to finish or dump them.

Once inside the store, it was war. I am so serious. I have a massive bruise on the top of my left foot from being knocked into shelves. It is STILL there! Omigod. . .I don't heal well from bruises *cries a river*

I even got bag bashed a good few times and the corners of my Le Pliage are looking more frayed than usual =(

It was utter chaos and super crowded. Everyone was huddled around racks, fingering material, picking up clothes, taking them to the mirrors to hold against their bodies and then dumping them back onto piles of clothes. Some girls literally were hugging ten garments to themselves and still running around looking for shoes.

I managed to find a few pieces that I did like but they were already out of my size - major letdown.

I think an absolute bonus is how friendly the staff were. Despite how disorderly the place was and how demanding some customers were with sizes and assistance, they all remained very calm, helpful and attentive.

I actually spotted a pair of high-waisted navy trousers that I bought in Zara while in Hong Kong! To be very honest, if nothing, I really believe that the trousers and coats at Zara are a must-buy. They are genuinely comfortable and the material isn't bad. I've been wearing my trousers pretty much non stop now because I just love the cotton material against my skin.

Since my first excursion to Zara, I've been back once and the scene is just as chaotic. A friend just messaged me and said that there's STILL a queue to get in! Hopefully the hype will die down in a few more weeks and then I might go back in for a coat.

But I bet you anything that every other girl is thinking exactly the same thing!

I had lunch at Westfield Sydney's food court. Had a lovely seafood tasting plate from Cloudy Bay Fish Co and a seafood Pad See-ew from Thairiffic. I am a huge seafood fan - mostly because I am allergic to beef and by default don't eat a lot of lamb or pork. My main protein is chicken and fish!

The tasting plate was absolutely delicious! It had roasted king salmon, prawn cocktail, braised tuna and poached kingfish, served with two slices of bread and salad. The salad as mediocre, but the seafood was both divine on its own and as a spread on top of the crusty bread. Slightly pricey at $19.95, but I will definitely be back. I kind of want some now!

The Pad See-ew was nothing spectacular but the serving was quite generous. It was slightly too salty for me!

I would rather a second serving of the tasting plate. Haha!

I think every single one of my Asian friends has been to Meet Fresh in Chinatown. This Taiwanese dessert store opened last year and I've been meaning to go ever since. The general consensus is that people love this place because the desserts are quite different and tasty. Since I have a massive sweet tooth, I thought I'd love it too. Especially, considering that it's supposed to be healthy with taro, green beans and herbal jelly. The health freak in me has wanted to go for ages!

At $5.50 a bowl, we ordered a cold Taro Balls 1 with green bean, pearls and lotus seeds, and a hot Herbal Jelly 2 with sweet potato, coix seeds and pearls.

And the verdict?

I don't think I'll be going back again.

I felt THAT jipped. Maybe it's because I am lucky to have a mother who regularly boils herbal concoctions whenever we're run down and I'm so used to how they taste. Or maybe because the herbal jelly was just too sweet and that Herbal Jelly 2 didn't have enough ingredients in it. I think there was literally three small pieces of sweet potato in it and the rest were coix seeds and pearls. It was more liquid, than jelly - which was disappointing because I really expected jelly or at least something more solid than what we were served.

Our Taro Balls 1 didn't have taro in it and I'm not sure if that's how it is supposed to be. Instead, I got these yellow and white lumps of sticky rice flour which I think was supposed to resemble taro. Now I love cooked rice flour, but this was again disappointing. I expected real taro. The serving looks generous but it all sat on a bed of shaved ice.

*sigh* I really wanted to like this place!

I still can't figure out why it is so popular. It's not the best place to sit for an after-dinner chit-chat. The place is extremely bright, cramped, noisy and the seats are uncomfortable. But I guess in a city where the alternatives are bars or pubs, no one can really complain?