Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rescue my face

It's a love hate thing I have for winter. I love the cold but I need to wrap myself up like dumpling. Added on the fact that I'm no longer young, I have to be more protective of myself. Thus restricting my movement. (I feel more cumbersome with my winter wear)
One thing I hate is how the cold winds will affect my skin. Usually I'm without makeup back home but when it comes to holidays in winter countries, I tend to put makeup to cover and protect my face. I'm not sure if my thinking is logical but....it's also more likely I'll appear in the pictures too so I need to look good.  I have a 3 min hydrating mask I bought from my beautician in my travel toiletries bag.
Back in the apartment, I will have to be extra hardworking and put on facial mask, at least twice in any holiday. Back home, I can count the number of times I put on mask (those big piece face mask) at home with one hand. So with holidays, probably I felt a little relaxed to start remembering to pamper myself, I'll usually pack 1-2 inside my toiletries bag.
Last winter (2014), I was caught unaware how bitterly cold Shanghai was. So bad that the usual hydrating mask I have didn't work and I had dry; itchy; flaky skin. Sephora was near where we stayed, so I dropped by one day to get something for my skin. According to the SA, he said it's the best
but truth be told I hated the biting sensation, maybe it was that Alguronic Acid?? What the heck is that?! My skin didn't feel any difference but it felt more itchy. I was "slapping my face" almost the whole time. I looked embarrasingly like a lobster, my face was ... unsightly dark pink. Perhaps call me a pink snake coz I was like shedding my skin. Think that gave you an idea of how hideous I looked. 
Amazingly my face 'healed' when I returned back to Singapore, I didn't have to deal with more 'shedding'.   

2015
This winter (2015), I was doing some reading up in the apartment in Shanghai. Note the difference in year 2014 and this year, hubby told me about a free VPN I could use from iPhone. It wasn't enough so I paid to upgrade the data. Both years we headed to Japan from Shanghai for a short break, this year I decided that my skin was about to "give way" again (not so bad coz winter was slightly warmer than last year's) so searched on recommendations of facial products I can get in Osaka. Magazines; bloggers; product reviews. I finally had some ideas and products to look out for.
Going into any Japanese beauty store is an experience not to be missed. I simply love it, however I have to be sure I clutch onto my purse tightly as I may end up buying more than what I need.
And you know what? Within a day! Yes, I'm not bragging it's really within a day. It wasn't dry anymore and it did seem that moisture from the lotion and cream was absorbed quickly into the skin. My skin felt supple and hydrated, got that "poing poing". And the best thing is that I didn't have to use alot. I needed only a small drop.(I bought the toner; lotion; facial wash; moist mist. Notice I didn't get serum and the basic set is good enough for winter country I layered my face like kueh lapis without that greasy feeling. It's that great!    
I then felt so cheated that my pricey Dr Grandel can even lose out to affordable brand like Hada Labo. It lives to their line "one drop locks an ocean"

Let me introduce to you : The Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Acid range (not the full range I bought) for hydration.

Extracted this from their website : 
13. What is the difference between Hyaluronic Acid and Super Hyaluronic Acid?
1g of Hyaluronic Acid is able to hold up to 6Lof water. Super Hyaluronic Acid has double the moisture retention capacity of Hyaluronic Acid, providing your skin with more moisture retention ability.

14. What is Nano Hyaluronic Acid?
Nano Hyaluronic Acid is another excellent ingredient that is newly added for skin hydration. The molecule size of Nano is 15-25nanometer is extremely fine so it can penetrate easily into the innermost layer of the skin.

This is what I bought for use in Osaka and Shanghai. Pictures are taken off from a website, the ones I bought are in Japanese.

Moisture Mist - which I brought out with me to hydrate my skin throughout the day. However I must admit whatever I put on my face in the morning before leaving the hotel was sufficient. Since I bought already, I shall try to lighten my luggage load. I was hesitant to buy another bottle as I have the habit of not putting any lotion or toner back home. And if it ran out before I left Japan, I'll buy another bottle to last my remaining stay in Shanghai. Only one bottle and I merely sprayed a few times. Somehow I feel it did its job of hydrating my skin on the go while my face is exposed to the weather elements.   
Toner - Feels this was doing its job, I didn't need the lotion at all. Or perhaps my skin feels superbly absorbent to anything since I hardly put on any. 
 Lotion 

I noticed there's the green colour range as well but this is more hydrating and I'm basically using it for winter. I'm not sure as I've not checked out the stores in Singapore if they carried this range, anyway whether they have it or not, it's cheaper to get it here.

I bought another one - Premium oil Jelly 


which even more hydrating (for severe winter) coz it has a layer like Vaselin. When you're desperate, anything oily is good.  

I even got the facial mask. This mask - can do. 


I read up reviews on another mask so decided to try this out. The only thing I hate about this mask is that the they are not individually wrapped, which means taking them out nicely without creasing the next piece is a challenge itself. I prefer individually packed masks. Just like Hada Labo, this Lululun mask comes in many different colour packaging for varied usage. Do not be deceived by the watery feeling, eh... it's watery to me coz' I'm using a collagen hydrating mask at home which is starchy feel. One piece and I've got Pacific Ocean on my face. I read another review about a gold colour packaging mask but I only saw it in the hotel shop, can't find it in the stores. Too pricey. Never mind, still got chance to go Japan to stock up. 


I'm back to being pweety again. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year end holiday

Made our trip to Shanghai for a family reunion. Spent our time nuah-ing away. And the best part is I was able to contact the world via VPN on my phone - NETPAS. My life saviour!! Can't imagine me being Facebook-less.

Just outside our place. Christmas decorations up along 南京西路

As usual, we went out for more family dinner treasuring every time we can get. The girls' favourite Singapore restaurant, western food at  静安. Not forgetting once we went over to spend our weekend in Pudong side.

It was really cold this time and I just want to spend most of my time cuddling in the bed. Can I have such holiday where I can totally do nothing? Where I don't have to take care of the girls? Wanted to bring them to 静安寺 and 豫园 but thought we still have next June. Procrastination!

Unfortunately too, this trip che-che had a bout of cough just before we left Singapore. It was the first time I brought them to a really nice International Hospital in Xuhui. I remember sourcing around for International schools and most campuses were in Minhang and Xuhui. As I got down from the cab, staff came up to me and then ushered me up the lift. Woah! Talk about good service! The building is big and clean. Thank goodness I didn't have to struggle to try to listen to the highly accented mandarin. The doctor spoke good english. Medicine --- sachets like given in Ma Guang and a mix of western medicine. Paractemol bottle in Chinese (Somehow it scares me if they're fake medications). I know if I stay on any longer, I'll perfect the art of speaking tok-kong mandarin

This time round, we also travelled to Osaka and Kyoto. 
Osaka - a place I've been to a few times but there's so much changes. I'm trying to recall where we stayed (perhaps it was Hyatt Regency?) and what was the name of the mall we used to walk across for our lunch. I remember the huge spotlight in the night in the - port? Pity though our night-stops were really short, no time to venture out although I remembered Freddy, my Chief Steward, always talked about going to Namba Station. It was a surprise when I realised the hotel hubby booked is current hotel for SIA cabin crew. Just coz' our room was in the same level as the crew lounge. The girls thought I was able to go into the room and (hopefully) find some familiar faces. I explained it's impossible as the night-stop is short, every crew will make their time fully utilised in Osaka, nobody cares about the crew lounge. 
A trip to Japan is not complete if you haven't been to the castles. Truth to be told, it's actually my first time stepping into a castle.
  
  
The highlight in Osaka is USJ. 

Che-Che was excited with Harry Potter theme park area and then talked about going to Orlando next year. Hmm....we shall see. As usual, I have my company for roller coaster rides while the man brought lil' one along with him at one point. He being the "I don't like theme parks" kind, I should be thankful that he even brought the lil one on her kiddy Hello Kitty rides. Making sure he don't miss anything, I also had to be considerate to ask him what rides he wanted to take. We went on two rides as a family. The Superman and Back To The Future. The lil' one came out "stunned like vegetables" and was so quiet as compared to her chirpy self before we sat on the rides. I guess she wanted comfort so I carried her (and she's so heavy - laden with layers of winter wear) and she was a baby leaning on me. Ahh.... I miss her being a small baby. 

Kyoto is beautiful, I'd love to be back again. Went to a few temples, Gion and even made an appointment for a makeover session for lil' one. I couldn't recognise her as she walked down the stairs in her tight kimono and hairdo, then i recalled not seeing any young kid upstairs earlier on. The moment she opened her mouth - confirmed chopped it's my girl. This would be the only time she'll listen to me and oblige me with this makeover thus I treasure the photo-taking moments with her. Walking in small steps is a big challenge for my chor-lor girl  


Stayed in an onsen hotel, not as authentic as the ones in Hokkaido as the busy street is right outside the hotel. We get to sleep on futon, have some boring breakfast. Of course the stay would be incomplete without a trip to onsen. Needless to say, I'm always the one having to drag two kids with me, I don't even get to relax. I think we spend more time washing ourselves before and after the dip, rather than the dip in the hot steamy water. Nothing compared to the sulphuric / metallic smell ones in Hokkaido so don't feel that the hot water is doing any good to me here.    

And I HAD TO continue my hunt for Haagen Dasz ice-cream. Every time the girls want to stop by Family Mart, I'll head to ice-cream section followed by che-che. She's also beginning to love the stick HDasz ice-cream. Lil' one will go to where they sell oden oden and starts speaking so loudly that she's hungry ..... did I mention that she really ate alot this trip. I wonder where the food went to? Fortunately we were on F&E, we were able to stop any time we want.
This mochi ice-cream has got to be my favourite! 

Well...... kinako mochi is my favourite!! I shall find the recipe and Meidi-ya here I come!


We spent about a week in Japan, with a heavy heart we returned to Shanghai. Back to the pollution and ...... my goash! I feel like I was in mini- China in the airport. You get to see their ugly behaviour. Shouting and jumping queues. Good thing, they thought we cannot speak chinese coz we were speaking in english all the time, and when they tried to be funny, I turned and said I understood every single word they said. They shut up after that. On the day we returned, hubby ordered 外卖 from various places. Food and drinks were delivered to the apartment as we arrived. Wasted no time and ate; washed up and ... I was the ah-sum doing the laundry. I think we overworked the radiator. It was spoilt!! Freezing cold in the apartment. Spent most days tucking ourselves under the duvet, I was really so tired to bring them out. Ahh.... I don't even want to go out for breakfast, something which lil' one would ask daddy to do. I just want to continue hiding under the warm cover and sleep. 
Ha! All the 3 lazy girls in the family. 

We flew back on 23rd. At the boarding gate, the 3 of us were making a fool of ourselves. The staff was saying something in chinese so quickly that none of us heard properly what she said, so we were speculating. Then one nicely dressed lady turned and told us what's being said and asked if we didn't understand chinese. I said yes we understand but she spoke so fast and she used a few unfamiliar words so we didn't quite catch what she said. Turned out it's the queue for upper deck and we're on the right queue. Had a conversation with a guy behind us and he asked lil' one if she's sat on A380 before, she was candid to tell him she sat twice already but this is the first time she's sitting upstairs. Then I told the guy how she cried when she noticed everybody else walking up the aerobridge while she was walking down the aerobridge. Guy told us "We are now the upper class people." Pun intended. With that, we bade goodbye. 

To think that lil' one was so excited about A380 aircraft.... she dozed off on flight and refused to walk around the upper level! 


Till then.....Shanghai see you next June!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

It's a different trick-treating this year. Instead of joining the atmosphere in our usual place, I brought it closer to home. Yes I did, I organised the informal event in our condo for about 50 families. I must admit it wasn't an easy feat trying to go through the proper channel but to be snubbed as an "only angmoh festival", "later people complain how come got white thing floating around" etc... MC wasn't keen in allowing any free access to the gates too.

Plan Execution :
Access to blocks
But I did overcome all and thankfully all the parents were obliging when I gave instructions that by default the uppermost level in each block will be the number the kids had to intercom should they can't get inside the block. Of course if there were any accompanying parents who have the access cards, just tap and let them go up. 

Leave all planning to me. Please trust me
Of course there are some who would try and tell me I should do this n that. I told them it's okay, I'll listen and take into consideration but I'll have everything planned out. When I do things, I like to plan it down to details so nobody would feel it lacking somewhere. Of course nobody here knows me well enough. 

Groups
I cannot let the kids wander on their own. Can you imagine the mess and noise there would be if every kid calls to the resident/s to unlock the gate? And the residents wouldn't know when to expect the little guests.
Thus I grouped the kids, with varied age in each group. Making the eldest as the group leader. What the group leader needs to do is to tell the kids where they should go and to paste sticker to the units they've been to. And they only need to call once. There were 6 groups, so the uppermost level resident would only get 6x of calls or maybe less. 

Movement
Cannot anyhow move also coz nobody will know when it'll end. As long as I tell the families, 6 groups. They'll know when the last group comes, nobody else would be ringing their doorbell after that. They moved in clockwise direction, a syncronised movement. Each group starts in different block. Of course sometimes the wait can be a little longer; can be shorter coz there's uneven number of units opening up in each block. But oh well, I can't think of any other plans better


Registration
I was meeting the neighbours for the first time and I got everything down. There were nice mummies who asked if they could help coz I was on solo. Guess I'm used to it. *wink* so I declined help. 
I even had stickers with kids names on it, with their parent's name as well, group number and age. It helped me a little coz at least I know who (the parent) I'm talking to later. 
Passed them a small goodie pack too. 

Warm up
A quick musical game. I was lucky I had some sporting parents who livened up the atmosphere and then the trick-treating commenced.

Happy kids
Happy kids were shouting and making noises as they walked from one block to another. Some were singing. Really happy to hear them happy. 

Some initiation on Aricia's group. They were trick-treating one unit, when the neighbour opened their door and asked, so J's mom said it's a parent organized event. The neighbour asked if their son could join in, so they let him join in. Well, it's good that he enjoyed himself so far. He was in his t-shirt and shorts but it's ok as long as he's happy. 

Event ended
My kids and Iggy was really happy. Sugar sweet high. Haha! And he said he'll join us next year again. Glad that parents said their kids were happy with the whole event, though I must also credit the families for making it fun for the kids. 

Here are some photos :
The only ground unit that is decorated. I swear I got frightened by the spider I pasted on the wall. How silly!
 The treats I prepared for the kids. So able to wrap up the glowsticks
 My little witch
 My nephew who can't wear his underwear properly


 Getting the kids to groove to the monster music
I'm waiting.... I'm waiting..... meanwhile heard some noise. Great! The organiser can't even enjoy it!!
Trick-treaters coming by. This group was relatively cheery, one parent got the kids singing and say some poem. As mine was the only unit on the ground floor that opened up my door, and despite the sign I wrote on my main door to direct them to come by the PES, I still had them knocking on the main door. I did write "DO NOT ENTER. ENTER VIA PES" Sigh..... totally forgot that's what most would write.
 Spare candies in the box
 Mom helping me out in the distribution






This dad is so sporting.




 ** Bro took some photos when he followed them as well. Too lazy to make a collage.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Scientist Aricia is 9

We celebrated her birthday late this year as daddy can only be back after her birthday, taking a long break that coincides with Mid-Autumn Festival and China's National Day long holiday. 

Security guard opened the doors and turned on the aircon only about an hour before the party starts. So everyone has to hurry with the decorations and the "forbidden table" spread. 

Got the photo corner ready. Designed the Instagram frame and printed some props. 

Then the forbidden table was arranged by che-che. She did a good job, didn't she? She must have observed me all these years. 

These alone can explain why it took me so many sleepless nights to prepare. Well, if I didn't have to do any housework in the daytime, it would have taken me a shorter time to prepare. 

Food
Food came. I told hub not to order so much. I know he's afraid of being a bad host by having little food but this was really too much. And all except four mummies (from Aricia's invited friends) did a drop off. Oh my! As for my che-Che's friends, the mummies (my friends)  did stay behind. It looked like it was barely touched at all and we had to ask everyone to pack some food back. Next time, we should just order pizza, chicken wings and fishball.  

Photographer
Too expensive! Hub will nag at me for wasting the money. But it's really a pity that we never had any nice professional pictures of my girls' parties all these years. 


Party organiser
Scientist came by, it's the same lady as I had hired for che-che's 9th party. Look at how much my girl has grown. 


I asked her to do different experiments as we had repeated guests. I'm so glad she didn't disappoint me. The kids had such a great time. 


Cake / Jelly
Ordered her favourite strawberry cake from Four Leaves and improvised with some design on the cake. She was suddenly "crazy" about Littlest Pet Shop and I decided to order a jelly cake for her as well. Don't like it, Mrs Chan's jelly tastes much better. 


Link to photos, CLICK HERE and go to "Aricia's 9th Birthday. Alternatively, you're also able to access just at the top of my blog - "photos"

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lil' one's 9th Birthday Party - Theme

The lil' one's idea of having a party is to R.U.N. A.M.O.K.and playing like how she always play with her friends during recess. Then she suggested "let's have a barbecue". Huh? Who's going to barbecue and moreover when you have those old folks, they will always say "it's heaty". Well... that includes my ah-lao. (ahem ahem... yah I think he's an old folk? Haha!) 
Next she suggested having a pool party. Not bad an idea but it's the baby pool that is right outside the function room, if kids wanna go big pool - who's going to look after them? Safety issue. Worst! Is having to shout out loud for the kids to come back for cake-cutting etc.. 
There is a theme which I had set aside for che-che but didn't get to do it, however that is not what lil' one likes. Barbie is out, Frozen is out. Left with only one choice suitable for a 9 year-old - Science.

Going down memory lane. That's exactly the same theme che-che did for her 9th birthday. It would have been easier if both my girls are named ATHENA. I can recycle all the designs I did for che-che's birthday. But I did make a lot of changes after that. 

As much as I'd like to give my girls a birthday party. I feel I'm too old and tired to do all these preparations now. Perhaps my mind is still thinking about organizing the house. Only one pair of hands to cope with so many things to do. Sigh....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

M.I.A

I've been missing in action for 8 months!!

Had been busy. Really busy. I need to pamper myself soon with facial and body massage. A long overdue massage definitely can't help my stiff back for sure as I'll need a few sessions.

So where did I go? I remained so in the humble home of mine. Well, infact two homes. As hubby is not around, I had to do everything by myself from meeting vendors to get quotations to renovations to moving. I'm so damn P.I.S.S.E.D.... OFF when everything's thrown to me. I still have my usual things to do apart from my added responsibility. ARGH!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hi there!

31st August, Monday
 
Hi welcome! 

If you're reading this, it means you were being curious if the QR code on the invitation card works. Yes, it works and that's how you're here now. Cool right? 

Hold on and wait. I may update this post leading up to the party or perhaps not ..... as I am getting lazy and lazier. I think age is really catching up on me.

Anyway, a short post. I really have to go now. 

Bye!    

9th September, Tuesday    

I must be a procrastinator this year. I've finally designed the birthday invitation card early this morning. I was hoping to give out the birthday invitation cards before the school holiday but I was busy. Every time when I want to design the card, I got so sleepy (from my exhausted long day) and went to bed instead. Anyway, thank goodness we have WhatsApp and SMS, I can get the invitation out before the hard copy goes out either by post or by hand.   

I think more or less everything's prepared. I only pray the party will go on well on the day.

By the way, my ah-lao (hubby) ordered so much food. I mean it's really a lot. So please starve yourself before you come, then we can finish the food. 

Ta daa for now!      


Monday, June 1, 2015

Traipsing along : The accidental gardener

It has always been my dream to have a nice garden in my house. Butterflies and colourful birds fluttering around my nice smelling garden, assumingly from the scents of the florals. ZIIPPPPPP to reality - I'd be thankful if I'm not breathing in haze and getting my lungs polluted.

FLOWERS
My dream is to have an assortment of colourful flowers, anything really anything coz I love flowers, ranging from daisies to thorny roses to the impossible-to-plant tulips. Colours that are as colourful as a rainbow which makes me feel like I'm in heaven. So that I can sit down, relax and enjoy the nature while sipping my camomile tea.

HERBS
I don't whip up fanciful dishes but I envied my British friend in Middlesex who had a garden full of herbs. So I thought it'd be nice to plant herbs and pluck them fresh from the garden when I need them (but then again... how often do I cook?).  I found out too how good certain herbs were for - cockroach and mosquito repellent. I said I wanted to plant lemongrass, catnip, mint, rosemary but I can't imagine a mix of sweet, fresh and chapalan smell I would get standing next to the pots. I'd probably need my peppermint medicated oil to make me feel better.

TREES
I love custard apple, mangosteen, guava, mango. It'd be nice to have my own fruit tree. Having grown up in houses with garden before, under the green fingers of my dad and mom, we had seedless guava, mango, chilli and ...what else I can't recall. I named those 3 coz I can associate them with my growing up years. First two for consumption and the last chilli plant - mom threatened (I think she did carry out, not sure if it's from our garden or she bought chilli padi) to put in my mouth when I was naughty.

I don't know to say if I'm really happy to have one, I can realize my 1/4 dream of growing some plants but yet when you have a PES, it means we're on level 1. It'd be nice to live in a penthouse (away from pests n still have our plants) but we're not financially capable. I did say "my dream", didn't I? For .....to get the plants to bloom and flourish and what nots is A LOT OF WORK!!! I went through ups and downs with my plants.

We made a trip to the nursery the day after we moved in. We were spoilt for choice but in the end we settled for christmas tree, pomegranate, allamanda, bougainvillea, lemon balm, basil, chilli, pandan, lantana. Given a small pot of orchid, daisy and rose FOC. I suspect there's hidden agenda - those were the first few plants to have flowers not thriving. We could have bought more but I didn't want to clutter the whole place with plants.



It seems so interesting to finally have a sense of ownership. For that first few days when everything is so fresh and new. I'd spend some time in the morning trimming the plants; talking to plants. I felt so happy when I saw that yellow butterfly fluttering above my bougainvillea, started screaming when I saw that yucky moth when I thought it was dead leaf and wanted to sweep it away. There were days I spotted this bee buzzing around my lemon balm. I was happy - really happy coz I thought to self my plants must have thrived under my care thus attracting the bee. But I tell you, if I see that bee elsewhere I'd be screaming my head off. I spend some time in the morning sniffing the lemon balm, like some drug addict. I really love that plant. 
After smelling, talking while plucking leaves, water the plants, I have to sweep the PES. Dang!!  All I can say is, I haven't sat down to relax and sip my camomile tea in the PES. I don't have time for such luxury in the mornings as I have other housework to do.

MY MISADVENTURES WITH MY PLANTS / THE PLANTS ALMOST DIED IN MY HANDS
When I talked about having butterflies and birds fluttering about, I imagined myself to be that gentle, caring Snow White. Truth is, I am the evil stepmother who cast a spell on my plants.
Pomegranate :
We have strong nice breeze here almost the whole day. I watered and talked to the plant, infact I talked to ALL the plants as read from somewhere need to talk to plants. Within 2 weeks or so after getting the plants, I noticed the pomegranate leaves keep dropping and I was helpless. Mom happened to be around one day and I asked her for help. I didn't know how to trim and what to trim. Mom told me, "leave it to me" and I did. When I got back later, I was shocked to see an even more botak plant. I felt so depressed. Mom taught me what I had to do and so for the next few days (when she wasn't with me) I religiously did but was hoping that I did the correct thing. Did I trim the new branch again?  There wasn't anyone around to check with. Needless to say, for the next few days I faced the botak plant feeling rather depressed.

24th May : Promegranate leaves looking like dried tea leaves. Real depressing!
 PS. I didn't take any pics of the botak plant. 

Meanwhile, these plants kept my spirits high. I so love the herbs rack
 My lemon balm. The flowers just kept growing more and more. I was so happy as it shows these plants DID THRIVE under my care. Then the blur me realised I had to cut the flowers right? I mean no leaves growing at all, just flowers so something must be done. I decided to check on the internet and it's confirmed I had to cut the flowers. The next question I asked myself is "where?" Aiyoh! Can't believe I'm so dumb.
 Sweet basil
 The allamandas that kept blooming. I love purple colour flowers

 The orchid
31st May
This morning I woke up, after a tiring long day the day before, and religiously went to water my plants. 
ARGH!! Holy shit! It's really R.E.L.I.G.I.O.U.S.L.Y of me to say this, my lemon balm and sweet basil withered. My pride and joy. I quickly SOS-ed a friend for help.
 
I followed what my friends taught me - to keep watering the plants. I walked into the balcony like every hour




My lemon balm woke up from coma first, followed by basil a few hours later. This is an important lesson for me. I SHALL NOT SKIP A  DAY OF WATERING