Tuesday, 29 May 2012

International Giveaway - Guerlain Toner x Essential Hair Mask !



So here it is! My very own giveaway *squeals in absolute delight*

I'm sure that by now, you would have noticed that 'VALENTINE .' is really more of a skincare blog and rarely about cosmetics. In my circle of friends, beauty conversations always revolve around cosmetics and make up looks. It's extremely rare that we talk about skincare and it often leaves me without an outlet. I'm so happy that I get to express my infinite skincare ramblings on this blog! 

I am eternally grateful for every word of encouragement my followers have left me. As a child, I loved writing. I remember spending pretty much all of my high school years writing short stories and fiddling around with HTML on Geocities. Somehow life got in the way and all of that faded away. I'm happy to have rediscovered my passion!

I am a very skin and hair vain person. My philosophy has always been 'Good hair + good skin = good day'. If any component is missing, then it really isn't a good day at all!

So to make sure that you'll have good days, I'm giving away two products that I've thoroughly tested and honestly love to death. . .



- ELIGIBILITY - 

1. This giveaway is open internationally. 

2. Entries must be received before 11:59PM Australian Eastern Standard Time, 19th June 2012.

3. A winner will be randomly drawn. 

4. The winner will be announced shortly afterward and will be asked to email their details to mynameisvalentine20@hotmail.com

5. The winner must provide their details within 7 days.

6. In the event that the winner does not respond within 7 days, a new winner will be selected and announced.


- HOW TO ENTER -

1. Simply follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

2. Leave a quick comment!


- MORE CHANCES TO WIN - 

1. For 1 extra entry, blog about this giveaway. In your entry, you must include a link back to this post. Please leave YOUR BLOG ENTRY LINK in the comment box.  

2. For 1 extra entry, follow me on Twitter - twitter.com/thisisvalentine. Please leave YOUR TWITTER ID in the comment box.

3. For 1 extra entry, tweet '@thisisvalentine is giving away a Guerlain toner and Essential hair mask! Enter at - http://thisisvalentine.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/international-giveaway-guerlain-toner-x.html'

4. For 1 extra entry, follow me on Pinterest - pinterest.com/thisisvalentine. Please leave YOUR PINTEREST link in the comment box.

- HOW MANY ENTRIES CAN I HAVE -

1. Each individual is allowed a maximum of 5 entries!

All the best!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pin It !




Ohhh, I've been getting into all types of trouble since the last time I posted! My computer screen completely stopped working last week and I pretty much spent forever waiting for a new one to be delivered. I just installed my new screen yesterday morning and am still getting used to touch sensitive buttons on it. AHAH. 

And I sprained my ankle. Again. 

Think of that friend of yours who is slightly awkward, accident-prone and just plain fragile. I'm them...times a million. I've sprained my ankle so many times that when I messaged one of my friends about it, she didn't even bother to text back. Crutches were my best friend two years ago. Actually, I got so sick and tired of renting them from the pharmacy that buying them out and keeping them permanently at home was something that I thought about on a monthly basis. 

My poor feet.

Anyway. 

A few years ago, one of my friends made me read 'The Secret'. I know, I know. Did it make much of a difference in my life? Kind of. I attracted a few free coffees into my life, felt super duper smug, stopped 'attracting things' and then it was life as normal. 

But what really resonated with me about 'The Secret' was the emphasis on Vision Boards. I've always wanted to make one. Not because I neccessarily subscribe to the idea that by putting things on a board will make it come true in the near future. But I did want one because I liked the idea of having something inspirational and pretty in my room.

I never really got around to making my own board. The whole flipping through magazines, printing off images from the net, cutting out images and pinning them onto a foam board sounded a bit tedious. I honestly didn't and still don't have the time to sit around, even on the weekends, to do something like that.

And then Pinterest happened and some friends started pinning and then I signed up and I started pinning and then I got the 'Pin It' button installed and I went trolling the net for images and...

Long story short, I'm probably addicted.

I pin everything from dream houses that I could only ever afford if I battled it out in the corporate world and to fashion items that would be out of season by the time I have the money to purchase. It's fun. It's a perfect way to procrastinate without sharp scissors and grainy print-outs from my aging printer.

Do you have Pinterest? Visit and follow me at pinterest.com/thisisvalentine
 
I'm off to catch up on everyone's blogs!

Speak soon!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review : Guerlain's Super Aqua-Lotion Toner



Do people still use toner these days?

I stopped using toner for an entire year because I thought it was drying out my skin and I swear it was the worst mistake ever. My T-Zone went oily and I started seeing blackheads on my nose. Actually, my T-Zone is still oily and I just can't seem to find a way to get rid of my stubborn blackheads! Help!

When you think about it, toners are important to ensure that your face is completely rid of residual grim and make up. A good toner penetrates the pores, removes excess oil and dead skin cells. It essentially preps your skin for the moisture that is to follow, enabling your skin to better absorb the hydration.

Of course there's always the argument that toners strip the skin of its natural moisture and therefore people can do without it. Luckily, most skincare brands have recognised this concern and begun producing gentler toners that not only work to remove leftover dirt, but also hydrate at the same time.

At first I was skeptical. How on earth can you have a toner that basically removes something from your face WHILE putting something back into it?

Alas, I have found a product that does just that.

Say hello to the latest love of my life - Guerlain's Super Aqua-Lotion Toner.




Guerlain's Super Aqua Toner has the brand's patented Desert Rose Flower Complex which nourishes and plumps dehydrated skin. This technology is based on a desert flower that thrives in the harshest arid environments. This flower is able to absorb and retain moisture, giving itself life and nutrients. The ingredients found in this toner does something quite similar. The toner cleanses whilst reinforcing the skin's internal barrier, trapping any moisture you give it.

I'm a few days away from finishing my first bottle and really have head over heels in love with this toner.

It cleanses so effortlessly and does an excellent job at removing anything leftover from my cleanser. With other toners, dirt rarely shows up on my cotton pads despite my face feeling a little grimy and weighed down. Half a pump of this Guerlain toner and my skin feels refreshed and thoroughly cleansed.

A big tick for effective cleansing!




I really like how soft and supple my skin feels afterward. The toner also smells divine - a mixture of roses and a slightly floral fragrance. It smells comforting and a bit like old-school luxury.

The toner is also alcohol-free and I haven't had any problems with it so far. Although, I choose not to use it when my skin is flaring or feeling thin. I'm honestly not much a risk-taker when it comes to my face and so when my skin is sensitive, I will use a basic moisturiser and leave everything else until later.

This toner is a product that I believe in and honestly think will suit all skin types. Oily-types will enjoy the freshness of the toner, normal skin-types will benefit from the gentle yet effectiveness of the product and my dry-faced comrades will really love how moisturising their skin feels afterward!

Would you like to try Guerlain's Super Aqua-Lotion Toner? I'm going to hold a GIVEAWAY very soon and this is going to be one of the prizes. 

So stay tuned!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

TWG Tea, Hong Kong

Ladies and gentlemen! 

I've quit coffee! YAY! *invites everyone to a party with streamers thrown over their head upon entrance*

AHAH. 

Yes, quitting coffee is a big deal for me. I began drinking coffee to socialise and then I became dependent on it to function. And I'm not someone who likes relying on things to live.

At the start of the year, I had a coffee cup permanently attached to my hand. There were countless moments where my friends would have a good laugh when I said things like, 'Hook me up to some caffeine first', 'I wonder if they sell coffee lollies' and 'Sorry, I can't logically participate in this conversation. I haven't had my coffee yet.'

It was absolutely ridiculous how reliant I was on coffee!

So I went cold turkey.

At first it was a complete nightmare! I craved it and came up with just about every excuse in the book to have one. I think the best one I came up with was, 'I'll have a coffee before I hit the gym. It'll make me work harder and put off the hunger pangs'.

AHAH.

And then I went to Hong Kong and quitting became so much easier. I mean, 'Hong Kong' and 'good coffee' can't be put together into the one sentence - they're mutually exclusive. Finding good coffee in Hong Kong is just about as rare as winning the lottery.

So if I wasn't busy hunting down a good cup of coffee in Hong Kong, what did I do?

I hunted for tea.

My family loves tea. In our kitchen cupboard, we have four shelves. The bottom shelf is for cereal, biscuits, nuts, lollies, dried seafood and other food. The other three shelves are littered with tins of tea. From cheap to expensive leaves. From the green to black teas. From Chinese to African teas.  From new tea leaves to aged compressed tea leave cakes. We practically have it all. 




So imagine my excitement when I found out that TWG Tea Company recently opened in IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong. Originating from Singapore, TWG Tea is a luxurious chain of elegantly decorated tea rooms. Its tea boutiques house over 800 teas and blends, and serve an array of tea patisseries and other tea infused delicacies.






TWG at IFC is the definition of Old World luxury and antiquity. With its French inspired velvet chairs, floor to ceiling glass windows, hard wood mahogany tea counters and crystal lamps, you find yourself walking into a colonial style room that speaks of elegance and tradition.




I went with my mum after a round of shopping and waited for about 15 minutes for a table. Upon seating, we were presented with a tea menu, food menu and a tea glossary book. The glossary book was huge! It detailed every type of tea available and explained its taste and origins. It was actually a really interesting read!

We ordered a Fortune Tea Set and a slice of cake.




We asked the waiter to recommend teas that would match our meal. We ended up ordering the London Breakfast Tea and 5 o'clock Tea. I can't say that the waiter was particularly helpful in our choice. He didn't seem to know much and when pressed to explain his recommendation, his only reply was 'Most people come here and order these teas'.
 
Are you kidding me?!

A note about the service here. There is a serious disjuncture between the decor and services offered at TWG. The tea salon attempts luxury but the level of service provided does not match it. Where I expected tranquility and calmness, the waiters and waitresses were constantly rushing around and bumping into tables. When called to assist, they don't even stand at your table. They stand two or three bodies away from your table while fidgeting with other things. Oh and, my personal favourite, was their half turned bodies when speaking to you.

Considering the price I'm paying, I kind of wanted their undivided attention. I wanted their body language to communicate their desire to make the customer feel important. I wanted them to calm the heck down and not bump into my table. I wanted them to know their menu - both tea and food.

I think I've been served better at Pizza Hut in Hong Kong?




First to come out was the Croque Imperial, a warm toasted sandwich with Gruyere cheese and smoked salmon. It was served with a vinaigrette green salad.
 
It tasted delicious! Admittedly, I might be biased because I love bread, cheese and smoked salmon. Smack the three together and I'm in heaven.




Next up, a three-tier serving stand was placed on the table. On the top level were the macarons. I chose the Camelot Tea & Praline, Bain de Roses Tea and Napolean Tea & Caramel macarons.

I've never really liked macarons and so I can't really judge. The rose one tasted nice though.
 
We didn't get to finish these so we took them home to eat!





On the second tier was the muffin and scone. Cream and a tea jelly was served separately. The muffin was nothing exciting but the scones are lovely! Light, fluffy and just plain good!

The tea jelly is basically a sugary jelly infused with tea. I was really excited to try it when I first heard about it because it seemed so innovative. But it was too sweet to eat on its own and I had to eat it with my scone.




I can't, for the life of me, remember the name of this cake but I absolutely loved it. We wanted to get cheesecake but they didn't have any on the day and so the waiter recommended this one. I remember thinking that the gave us a really large slice of cake!

I don't know whether I'll go back there again. Aside from the service, the furniture arrangements makes you feel cramped. The tables are placed so close to each other that we sat there listening to the conversation going on next to us and I'm sure they were eavesdropping on us too. The noise level is unbelievably high and it felt like I was at Sunday yum cha. 

The food was good but considering the service, I was disappointed. I thought it'd be a nice place to unwind and relax but I constantly felt on edge with the waiters bumping into us and the loud conversations going on around the room.

I really wanted to like you, TWG. You combine two of my favourite things - tea and pretty surroundings. But your delivery was poor. For the price I'm paying, I might as well head into a hotel for high tea.

If you manage to train your staff better and get rid of some tables to free up the room, I'll be back.