Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Review : Juju's Aquamoist Moisturising Wash Foam

Product : Juju's Aquamoist Moisturising Wash Foam
Made In : Japan
Purchased From : Mannings, Hong Kong
Quantity : 120g tube

Price : $69HK (price from memory, please don't quote) 

One of the big differences between the Australian and Hong Kong summer is that even if Australia reaches 35 degrees, it is never ever sticky or humid. It's just burning hot. The temperature hovered between 25-30 degrees when I was in Hong Kong and it was extremely humid and sticky! I felt like I was in an oven whenever I had to go out. There were a few times that I almost fainted and had to sit down in an air-conditioned place to rest for awhile! 

AHAH. I know, I'm such a liability to travel with!

The change in weather also means a change in skincare routine. On my second day in Hong Kong, I went out to look for a cleanser since I forgot to bring one over. I generally prefer milk or oil cleansers because I like how they nourish my dry skin while removing impurities. But I could not picture myself lathering something so heavy onto my skin in such heat and humidity! So I went hunting for something lighter.

I was thinking along the lines of a gel but since I had pleasing results with Aquamoist's Face Moisturising Mask, I decided to purchase their Moisturising Wash Foam. Like the rest of Aquamoist's Moisturising products, the foam cleanser has Hyaluronic Acid which moistens and plumps the skin through deep hydration. From memory it was $HK69, which is a complete bargain! 





The product comes in a squeeze tube with a flip top. I prefer this type of packaging to pump bottles, since it's easier to control the amount you squeeze out onto your palm. 

In light of the recent events in Japan, there's been a lot of panic over whether it is safe to use products made or coming from Japan. As a response, Mannings has lab-tested their Japanese products for radiation and attached stickers to products that are safe to use. The sticker on the top left corner of the tube states that this product has been tested and is radiation-free.



What I noticed in Hong Kong was that all Aquamoist products on the shelves of Mannings, Watsons, Sasa, and Bonjour have 'Made in Japan' printed on them. 

This isn't the case for Hada Labo where most lack information about where the product is made. The only Hada Labo product that I saw with 'Made in Japan' printed on it was their new Retinol Lifting and Firming Lotion which I will review later!





The instructions say to squeeze an amount onto your palm, lather with water, massage over your face and then rinse with water. The good thing about this product is that you do not need a lot. The picture shows the amount I use to remove my sunscreen/moisturiser at the end of the day. If I've worn some make up, I use twice the amount shown here.




The product itself is quite thick but once mixed with water, it turns into a liquid that looks similar to diluted skim milk. 




This is what it looks like when you rub the product out some more. It doesn't quite foam in the normal sense. You definitely do not get bubbles. If you use twice the amount I showed in the third picture, it will foam a bit more and you will start to see some small bubbles if that's what you like. I also find that you have to massage quickly once the product is on your face because if you take your time, it dries up. It's as if, you skin absorbs the foam. To rectify this, all you have to do is wet your face a little bit, massage slightly and then the form will reappear. 

The product is fragrance-free and has not irritated me once! Bonus!

As for the results, this foam cleanses extremely well. Immediately after a wash, my skin feels squeaky clean and I honestly don't think my face has felt so clean after using my usual milk or oil-based cleansers. I loved this feeling when I was in Hong Kong since it felt like all of the day's sweat, dirt and grim had been fully and thoroughly removed.

HOWEVER, I'm not having much luck using this now that I'm back home where it's winter. Although the foam has hyaluronic acid and has been promoted as a product that will not dry out your skin, that squeaky clean feeling makes my skin feel drier than what it feels like after using a milk/oil cleanser.

My skin is always dry regardless of the season but without a doubt, my skin is most dry during the winter. So to have my skin that clean leaves me feeling barren and in need of immediate moisture. It's not that it leaves my skin feeling tight after a wash. It doesn't feel tight at all, but that squeaky clean sensation is uncomfortable as I'm so used to having my skin feeling quite nourished after a clean.

I imagine that this foam cleanser would be excellent if I had oily, combination or even normal skin. You only need a small amount, it lathers nicely when diluted with water and it doesn't irritate at all. It's also highly affordable!

I do not regret purchasing this product but I think I'll have to save it for when summer rolls around! In the meantime, I'll be sticking to my milk/oil-based cleansers!

What's the weather like where you are? Which cleansers are you currently using?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Girl, I Be Digging Your Bag



 
I love this bag that Mollie King has been taking around everywhere! It is the gorgeous Prada Saffiano Lux Leather Tote. It's boxy, structured, classic and just my style. I like bags that I can pair with just about anything in my wardrobe. What bag I'm taking out for the day is usually the last thing I think about before I run out the door. So I am all for something that I can pair with a more formal outfit or something casual.

I wonder if it's heavy or not. . .




Awhile ago, I declared my love for Celine's Luggage Medium Shopper Tote. It's feminine, versatile and actually quite light. When I went in store to have a look at the calfskin ones, they felt wonderfully soft and luxurious. However, I have seen them on the arms of a few ladies and they don't actually look that nice when they aren't filled up. They look kind of limp and weak. Not exactly what I hoped for because I like a bag that can keep it's shape. 

But the bag just looks perfect on Girls Generation's Jessica. Maybe it's the outfit, but this picture has definitely helped me rekindle my love for the Shopper!


via Girls Generation's Official Thread on Soompi.com


And then there's the Chanel Classic Cerf Tote. It looks similar to the Prada tote, but with less gold hardware and structure. While it looks classy in black, it also comes in a pretty ivory/pearl colour which I imagine would be a dream to carry but a nightmare to keep from getting dirty.

The black one looks nice on Girls Generation's Tiffany, does it not?

What bag have you been looking to acquire? Any recommendations?!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Mall Cafe, Tsim Tsa Tsui

This will be my last Hong Kong food post! Yay! Despite taking a gazillion food photos with the intention of sharing them with everyone, I am bugging to write a review. Skincare has really become my life and I have a lot of products that I want to tell you about!

I do have one more holiday post coming up soon about my short trip in Macau.

Anyway, so I'm going to keep this short. If you want to or are thinking of going to the Mall Cafe at Tsim Tsa Tsui's YMCA, then I insist you reconsider. Actually, just don't bother.




It wouldn't be a trip to Hong Kong unless I spent at least one day accompanying my mother to meet up with family friends. On one of these occasions, we ended up at the Tsim Tsa Tsui YWCA's 'Mall Cafe' after inspecting the long line for high tea at the Peninsula. 

With my mother, I ordered a high tea for two at the price of $168HK, I think it was. 

First came our lattes. The first thing I always do when I get my coffee is push away the foam to see how much liquid is in my cup. I don't know why, it's really just a habit. 

So I pushed away the foam and found that I only had half a cup of coffee. I might as well have ordered a cappuccino because all that was missing was the chocolate dusting. My auntie immediately flagged down a waiter and told them there wasn't much coffee in my cup.

Now you'd think that, that would mean they would bring me a brand new cup of coffee, right? Right? Am I wrong in assuming so?




Were my expectations too high? Because after about 15 minutes, the waiter came back with this. Yeah, I'm pretty sure they just poured coffee straight in the middle instead of making a new one. 

And no, it wasn't good coffee.



Now onto our actual tea set. The only thing I enjoyed was the chicken satay. I didn't bother with the sauce - it looked too watery. The bread was stale. The sugar on my creme brulee hadn't been torched. The cake tasted really 'Asian' - does that make much sense? It just didn't tasted right. The scones were as hard as rocks! The apple tart was okay. 

I was pretty shocked considering that the restaurant's setting is quite relaxing and spacious. We were able to have long conversations inside without being disturbed or being a nuance to anyone else. It was really a shame.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mos Burger, Mong Kok



Funny how when I was in Japan, I hardly ever saw a Mos Burger but in Hong Kong, they're like everywhere. 

I had lunch at the Mos Burger store in Langham Place, Mong Kok. Admittedly, I only go there for the yummy seafood rice burger. It is my absolute lunchtime favourite!

For those of you who aren't sure, a rice burger is actually two buns made from compressed rice, barley and millet. In between that is the seafood and some vegetables, which can sometimes  all taste a bit frozen if they don't cook it thoroughly. Nonetheless, the sauce is very delicious! It tastes somewhat like a teriyaki sauce with black pepper.




There fries are non-spectacular. Although big and chunky, they aren't fried enough and therefore taste quite grainy.




They also serve 'normal' burgers such as this chicken burger. My brother ordered it and said that it was really good.

Ohhh Mos Burger! How I miss you so!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Toast Box, Mong Kok







Besides yogurt, I am a huge fan of bread. Like HUGE fan. Bread actually makes me happy. Staring at bread in the supermarket and bread shop is a favourite pastime. Smelling fresh bread that's come straight out of the oven is a secret pleasure. AHAH.

That's why low-carb diets are a terror. Although they work, they're a massive terror for me.

I was shopping at Langham Place, Mong Kok when I spotted Toast Box, a Singaporean restaurant chain known predominately for their cup of Nanyang Kopi, thick grilled toast and soft-boiled eggs.

Unfortunately, the coffee was too sweet for me. The toast was too burnt - and this is coming from someone who likes to toast the living daylights out of her bread. The kaya spread on my toast was also too sweet, which was a shame because I like kaya! And my fried egg, although cooked perfectly, was flavourless. When I asked a waitress for salt, she gave me the strangest look as if no one had ever requested for extra flavouring! AHAH.

The pork floss toast was also mediocre.

I would have been happier with a Hong Kong-style ham and egg sandwich.

Having said that, the seating area is really comfortable and relaxing. It's like a patio, decorated with white coloured wood furnishing and the tall glass windows overlooking Langham Hotel makes you feel like you're a world away from the hustle and bustle of Mong Kok.

Friday, 15 July 2011

I Fell In Love With Yo MAMA in Hong Kong

I am obsessed with yogurt. Like insanely obsessed. Up until last year when I was a complete freak about what I ate, yogurt was a staple in my diet. I often had a cup of mixed fruit yogurt for lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack and late-night snack.

It was mandatory to have a 1kg tub of yogurt in the fridge and I would finish it all in less than a week.

Hmm, I would have to say that I like yogurt with passionfruit the best. Sometimes, I like it with fresh raspberries.

I love yoghurt so much that I wanted to open a frozen yogurt store in Hong Kong.

I heard that in America there was this froyo store called Yo Mama where you can get a bowl of yogurt with a variety of toppings such as fresh fruits, chocolates, cereals and nuts. I thought to myself, 'How mad is that?'. It was completely something that I would love! So I was super excited when I read in a magazine that Hong Kong had it's own Yo Mama at Admiralty.


 


The first time I went to Yo Mama at Admiralty was in 2009. Situated on Wing Fung Street, the location and shopfront reminded me of something that I would find in my own Sydney suburb. Inside, the furnishing was bright, cheerful and childishly novel. They served two types of yogurt - original and green tea flavour. In a glass cabinet, they had a variety of toppings ranging from healthy fruits to not so healthy chocolates. I remember that without much hesitation, I ordered a regular green tea with lychee topping for $28.




It was super delicious. The yogurt was just at the right temperature - it wasn't as stiff as hardened ice cream and it wasn't quite as soft as soft serve ice cream either. It was an in between texture which made it just right. It also had a slight sourness to it which was undercut by a refreshing milky taste. I particularly liked the green tea flavour which wasn't overpowering. It had the right amount of matcha which didn't make it taste artificial at all. 

The only real problem I had with my first visit was that they didn't give me enough lychee.

At the time, the introduction of frozen yogurt into Hong Kong was in its preliminary stages and I wanted in. I seriously considered opening a Yo Mama or something similar in Tsim Tsa Tsui or Mong Kok.

Fast forward to the end of 2010, I was back in Hong Kong and the froyo craze had peaked! The streets were littered with froyo stores! I cannot emphasise enough the difficult position I was in. I was both overjoyed and unbelievably angry. AHAH. While I was so happy that I could eat my yogurt virtually anywhere, I was equally annoyed at the fact that I couldn't see how I could open up a froyo store with so much competition.

Although entirely bitter, I endeavored to try as many froyo stores as I could. I visited Yo Mama, of course, whenever I was near one. I was in Times Square one evening with friends and I said I was going to CitySuper to buy a drink. Somehow I came out with Yo Mama. AHAH.

I also tried out self-serve froyo stores where you went to the machines and dispensed as much yogurt as you wanted. You also could load as much toppings into your cup as you want, while paying per gram. I'm not a big fan of those because I usually end up drizzling too much yogurt and spending a ridiculous amount. At one point, my bowl of yogurt cost me $50HK. What the. . .





I also tried Crumbs, which ranked #1 on Openrice in the dessert category. Everyone I spoke to in Hong Kong about yogurt all recommended this place. Apparently, it was/is the Rolls Royce of all yogurts.





The sourness, smooth texture and creaminess of the yogurt was similar to Yo Mama. However, it was a lot milkier and it felt like you were eating a soft serve ice cream.

During my recent trip, I revisited Yo Mama at Admiralty and the yogurt is still very delicious. This time, I ordered my regular green tea with mochi and the amount of topping was quite generous.


 



Maybe because it was really hot that day but you can see our froyo melting! I was very happy with my mochi which came in big, chewy chunks. Very satisfying.





Another thing that I like about Yo Mama is that they have loyalty stamp cards. I haven't seen a lot of these in Hong Kong. It seems not a lot of places are willing to have these type of promotions. The only other place I know that offers these stamp cards is McCafe Hong Kong - which, by the way, serves good coffees. You wouldn't believe it but just trust me on that one.

Now not all my Yo Mama experiences have been great. Let me tell you about Yo Mama IFC.






The thing about Yo Mama IFC is that alongside the usual original and green tea flavours, they also serve caramel yogurt. I ordered a regular caramel yogurt with mochi, and I was very disappointed. I actually felt cheated. 




The caramel was unbearably sweet and outrageously artificial in taste. There was a strong peanutty taste to it? Also, in comparison to the other green teas, my order was much smaller. Don't you think?




And what made me even more angry was that the green tea yogurts had a hole in the middle of them.




It happened not once, but twice! Can you imagine the look on my face? So @*%HRIFW(*#&&^^$*)@)@* angry!

On top of that, the staff got our order wrong twice.

This there's-a-hole-in-my-yogurt scenario also happened at Crumbs this time. I mean, the amount of yogurt is more than what you get at Yo Mama, but there's a hole in it! And it kind of tastes like ice cream. . .




I still prefer Yo Mama. 

Maybe I could open a yogurt store in Sydney?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Beautiful Things

No copyright infringement intended

 


One thing that I love about going overseas to Asia is stocking up on local magazines. In particular, I am in love with Japanese and Korean glossies because they cater quite well to the twenties age bracket. These magazines offer practical yet youthful fashion, make up, skincare and hair tips for girls who are moving from 'teenage' to 'woman'. In Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, there are a few magazines that cater to this crowd. My favourite ones are Vivi, Ray Li and Queen



This is the 2011 July issue of Vivi Magazine. The name of the magazine might be familiar to those who pay attention to Japanese fashion. It is one of the most authorative sources for Japanese fashion, make up and hair styles. Targeting teens and young women, the content is mainly geared towards students and young office ladies looking for clothing and beauty advice. It has amassed a huge following in not only its native country, but also China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. As such, the monthly publication has been translated into Chinese so that a non-Japanese reading audience can understand the tips being shared.

This magazine cost me $20RMB and I purchased it in a bookstore in Guangzhou.




One of my favourite casual looks featuring the super gorgeous Rola, who is a permanent Vivi Japan model.





Another one of those relaxed, casual looks that I adore. 




While the magazine is mostly about fashion, there are also some interesting make up tips as well. This is a step-by-step guide to the perfect cat eye.


 


Next up is 2011 July issue of Ray Li Magazine. a Beijing publication. which is quite similar to Vivi. The magazine also caters to girls in their twenties living in urban centres. The large majority of articles originate from Japanese and Korean fashion magazines. Occassionally, there a few locally written pieces and photoshoots.

This also cost me $20RMB at the same bookstore in Guangzhou. 





Like Vivi, Ray Li is very fashion focused. I love the look of white on denim. Looks clean and boyishly feminine. Does that make much sense to you? AHAH.





In this issue, they followed someone's skincare routine. I absolutely love these articles because it gives me a sneak peek into what types of product people are putting on their skin. It's a good way to compare and learn from what alternative products you can use.

Her frames are super adorable, don't you think?





My hair is just as long as the model on the left but I can never get my hair to curl as pretty as hers. WHY?! WHY?! *cries a river*




Lastly, we have 2011 Summer edition of Queen magazine which is published quarterly in Taiwan. The magazine is an extension of the hit Taiwanese TV show of the same name. The entire program is about experts demonstrating the latest skincare, cosmetics, hair and fashion trends. The show is really helpful, professional and informative. I actually bought the Hada Labo SHA Lotion after seeing it recommended and demonstrated on the show!

This is by far the hardest magazine to get hold off. Firstly, it's not sold at every bookstore or convenience store. Secondly, where they are sold, they are usually sold out very quickly. I found this in a Central 7/11 hidden behind a stack of other beauty magazines. Maybe someone saw it and hid it so they could pick it up after work? Woops? AHAH.
 
The big difference between Queen and the other two, is that it is predominately focused on giving beauty advice, whether it be the latest make up or skincare products and techniques. Hair and fashion are given a bit of a backseat, and that's what I love about this magazine. At the end of the day, I am more preoccupied with what is on my face than what I've worn on my body or in my hair.




One of the make up artists that feature on the TV show answers questions about the type of foundations, sunscreens and BB creams that are best for the Summer.




I thought the page on the left was quite interesting. It shows where extra sunscreen should be put on the face, namely the chin, middle of your forehead and the highest part of your cheekbones.



This is one of those step-by-step guide from bare-face to full face of make up. I like how it shows what type of skincare products the model used before she put on her make up. A lot of make up tutorials start with a simple line 'moisturise before applying make up' and they don't offer much direction as to what needs to be used and in what order as well.




I may not be a lip-person, but I am a huge eye-person. I love working on my eyes, which is perhaps to my detriment because that's the driest part of my face.
Hmm, I wonder if I could carry yellow eyeshadow. . .




I really like this hair tutorial as well! The model has long hair but she was able to make a bob. Super awesome! I'm going to give this one a go.




I've been keeping my hair long for many years already. Maybe over ten years? For a few years now, I've really wanted to cut it real short. Long hair is such high maintenance. Unfortunately, I've never found the courage to cut it short and neither has my hair stylist who snickers and smirks everytime I say I'm going to cut it into a bob really soon. 

I was in Taiwan in 2009 and I almost bought a short wig. 

Maybe I could try out this tutorial!

Admittedly, all these magazines are written in Chinese and my reading level is intermediate. But the step-by-step photos are helpful enough and if I really want something read, I can ask my mother.

My father hates me buying these magazines! AHAH. Everytime he sees me wandering into a convenience store or gravitating towards the magazine corner in the bookstore, he will tell me that I'm wasting money AND luggage space. Yes, I like to bring my magazines HOME!

But to me, they are quite precious. Images of beautiful things and people inspire me. At one point in my life, I really wanted to be a beauty editor. I thought I was really suited to the job due to my love for writing, editing, skincare and cosmetics. Even though this hasn't eventuated into a career path, I still like to pay extra attention to magazine layouts, articles and product placements.

Also, to see step by step transformations give me that superficial belief that I, too, could do cat eyes or make my jawline looks slimmer with bronzer. To see people with perfect skin makes me want to step up my skin routine. To see people wear the latest trends makes me want to exercise more, so that I can wear them with a toned body. These handbooks, motivate me to become better physically. 

These magazines represent my aspirations.