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I own lots of Shu Uemura products as they are tailored to Asian skin type, and I find that their skincare products really do fit me better. They have a range of cleansing oil, each suited to different skin types/ needs. Over the years, I have switched between the different types of cleansing oil hoping to find the one that would best suit my skin type. I eventually find that the classic balancing oil suits me best; but this cleansing beauty a/o does have its perks so I am happy to share my experience with it here.
- Background Info -
I don't do research on beauty products before buying it in the store; I usually learn from the sales girls. This is recommended to me after I inform the sales that my skin gets dehydrated easily, but my T-zone is also quite oily sometimes. I was also looking for something that would allow me to remove my makeup as well as doing the cleansing job in one application (I know, lazy me) - and the sales recommended this to me.
Now, looking up on the Shu website, the oil contains catechin, derived from green tea, botanical oils, depsea water, and a calming aroma based on watermelon, jasmine and sandalwood. It is a premium anti-oxidant skin purifier that can apparently do magical things to your skin, as follows:
- provides moisture to skin
- helps to enhance skin transparency
- improve skin quality
- prevent skin ageing (hopefully the sales wasn't thinking of that when looking at me, haha!)
Also note that this particular oil is the best-selling one in the world, amongst all of Shu's other oil.
- How to use? -
I only use the cleansing oil at night before shower, as I can take off my makeup whilst cleansing my skin in one go. At day, I tend to stick with a different cleanser that is not oil-based.
It is really important that you remember to have DRY hands when using this, because otherwise the oil will turn milky before reaching your face and that's less effective! Directions are as follows, and they are pretty much as official as it gets:
1. Pump 3 times
2. Spread over your face
3. Use a small amount of water to your face, emulsifying the oil until it turns milky
4. Rinse thoroughly!
- My experience with the product -
I will breakdown my experience in a few different aspects:
1. Makeup removal: very effective, provided I use enough. 3 pumps is almost always enough, but sometimes when I get lazy and only use 2 pumps, then it does not remove my waterproof mascara thoroughly. For those of you who use waterproof mascara, I find that the trick is to gently rub your eyelashes in between two fingers, coating it with tiny bit of oil.
2. Cleansing: it cleanses well, and leaves my skin soft and never taut. I think it really deals with dehydrated skin well.
3. Effect on skin: now, people's opinions differ on this. My friend who uses this oil as well complained that it actually made her break out, and she had to switch to another brand after realising that it was this oil which did that to her skin. For me, I didn't have any problems with breakouts - at least, I don't believe the minor breakouts from time to time (especially after eating lots of chips and crisps) are caused by this oil. My skin quality has actually visibly improved, especially as it is no longer always dehydrated. But one problem I had is with puffy eyes - I realised that last year I have woken up with incredibly puffy eyes more than usual and it took me a while to realise that it may be this cleanser which caused that. Perhaps it was something in the ingredients - but as soon as I switch to Shu's other cleanser, it never happened again. Maybe it is something worth inquiring the sales about if you want to make sure!
- Price -
Shu products are always on the expensive side, especially in London + Europe with the markup. All the oils come in 2 different size - 150ml at £28, and 450ml at £56.5. Given the prices, I would never buy the smaller size - it is much more economical to buy the bigger sized one. And since a big bottle last ages - usually 4/5 months for me - and that it works well, I'd say that's good value for money.
I've loved the cleansing oil during the time I used it. I would have given it 5 stars, but have chosen to rate it 4 stars because I found that the Classic balancing oil works better for my skin type compared to this one. (The classic oil never makes my eyes puffy) So please consult the sales, and ask for samples if possible, to find out which cleansing oil works best for you!
Fortnum and Mason is possibly one of my favourite places to hang around in London. I have always been a sucker for the afternoon tea at St James (now refurbished & renamed as the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which in my opinion is sadly not an improvement, but a deterioration - both in decor and food quality...). And one thing that amazes me is always their extensive list of tea choices. I have had a fair share of the tea that F&M offers, from Countess Grey, Smokey Earl Grey, Strawberry tea, the many different versions of Darjeeling and even the latest Jubilee Blend - but one that I keep going back for is the Earl Grey Classic. Especially taken with scones and LOTS of F&M's clotted cream and strawberry jam... hmmm...
Back to the Earl Grey Classic tea itself.
- Taste -
Refreshing and super delicious. It is an aromatic black tea, so you can easily smell the fragrance as soon as the tea leaves come into contact with hot water. Upon drinking it, the flavour is not as strong as it smells. It is actually quite light. There is also a tiny hint of citrus in both the scent and flavour, but to me it is very mild, almost negligent, though it compliments the overall flavour very well. Before F&M Earl Grey Classic, I used to drink the Twinings Earl Grey all the time - to compare, I find that the F&M Earl Grey carries a stronger (more pleasant) fragrance and a slightly richer taste.
- Brewing Instruction -
Taken from F&M website: Use boiling water and brew for 3-5 minutes depending on taste. Drink with milk or brewed lighter and drunk without, maybe add a slice of lemon.
Personally I never drink it with milk, lemon or sugar. It is a very light tea, and although the citrus scent/taste is very mild, in my opinion it is enough without the extra lemon, unless you love your tea more fruity and citrus-y.
- Price & Packaging -
Because Earl Grey Classic is ever so popular, F&M sells it in many different sizes. I got the 250g tin box because it is best for value and I always make a big pot anyways, and that cost £7.75. But F&M also offers a 25 or 50 teabag box, at £3 and £5.75 each - those are more convenient and hassle free, also not expensive! Note that decaff version is also available; I have never tried that so I don't know if the taste would differ... my guess is probably not.
For all you tea lovers out there - definitely have a try!
I am the type of girl who sticks to a particular perfume until I have used up the very last drop of a bottle. So when my previous perfume finished, I went hunting for a new scent and I was immediately attracted by Miss Dior Cherie, and I am very glad I got it!
Packaging and Bottle
The bottle is just so beautiful! It is classic and girly, made of glass and the perfume is pale pink/orange in colour. I must admit I always have a little problem opening the bottle cap though - perhaps it is just my particular bottle, but it is quite stiff and the silver bow decoration always gets in the way.
You would expect the scent to be very light and airy by looking at the bottle, but actually to me it is quite strong (without being unpleasant or suffocating). The smell is lovely and fresh, flowery with a tint of fruity - citrus, most likely. The overall smell is girly and elegant; it is a scent that you can wear everywhere - both day and night. To me, the smell is a timeless, classic one which will not go out of fashion - kind of like the Chanel No. 5 but for the younger generation!
One of my friends said to me that she didn't like the scent though. I guess, as with most perfume, it is not a scent for everybody. Have a whiff and decide for yourself!
Miss Dior Cherie is a bit on the expensive side. I got the 50ml bottle and it cost me something like £60. This being said, it is eau de parfum so I usually only need to spray it on myself once a day, and the scent will last almost all day.
I prefer using in-ear earphones more than any other type of earphones or headphones, because they never fall out, meaning I can use them in the gym or when I go for a run. Unfortunately I tend to go through earphones quite quickly - I have never owned a pair for more than a year, because they either break or disappear. For this reason, I have given up buying expensive earphones a while ago. I picked up these Sony in-ear earphones about a year ago after breaking my nth earphones, and to my surprise they have lasted for more than a year! To me this is record-breaking.
- Price -
I picked these up online somewhere (perhaps in HMV, I can't remember) when it was on sale - I remember it was definitely less than £20. Currently it is sold out in amazon uk, and retail from sony stands at £29.99. With hindsight, I believe I would still have bought it at £29.99, because it really is a reliable product with great sound that is worth the price.
- Packaging -
As with most in-ear earphones, the packaging contains 3 pairs of ear buds for you to choose from, varying in size. I tend to go for the small one because that size seem to fit me best. The ear buds are quite sturdy once you put it on the earphones, so that they don't fall off easily. The wire is in black, matching the colour of the earphones, and fairly long so that I can put my ipod in the pocket of my tracksuit bottoms and still use the earphones comfortably.
- The Sound -
I don't claim to be a tech expert, so I will not pretend that I know anything technical about the specs of this product. But for me, these earphones deliver a very good sound. Clearly defined and clean, less rich than the sound you would expect from speakers, but richer than what you'd expect from average earphones. I also find that these earphones tend to have some noise-cancelling effect - because they are in-ear, they can really filter out any sound in the background and allow me to concentrate solely on what I am listening to.
- Overall -
I love my earphones and I love that they are still standing strong and doing the job well for me after a year - more than I can say to any of my previous earphones. I would definitely recommend it.
So, within a month of writing this review, these beloved earphones finally broke... the result of extensive usage and yanking it in and out of ipod/ipad/laptop too many times, I guess. To give you a rough idea of its lifespan, if my memory serves right, this is about the 13th month of me using these earphones. Pretty good I guess, given that I'm a frequent user.
RIP my sony earphones, and time to hunt for a new pair!
This sandwich maker, or toastie machine (what I like to call it), came with the flat that I am renting right now. I have never been very fond of toasties since they remind me too much of my teenage years in the boarding school, but I do use it sometimes when I am craving melted cheese and ham.
The machine is easy enough to use. It consists of 2 squares, one for each sandwich, and you simply close the two plates together and shut it with the clip, turn it on and wait until the red light goes off - and viola, sizzling hot toastie with melted cheese and ham available at your disposal.
I find that this machine makes my toasties quite fast, about 3 or 4 minutes (but I've never timed it). However, I must say that I do find the size of the sandwich plate a little too small. My bread never fits it, and every time I have had to cut the edges off - even then, it is sometimes still too big for the plate. I guess this depends on the type of bread you buy - I believe there are smaller bread loaf, but I shouldn't think you have to buy smaller bread just because you want to use the toastie machine, right?
This being said, I am never disappointed with the toasties that this machine produces. I mainly use it to make ham and cheese toasties. The filling is always thoroughly heated and the cheese deliciously melted; the outside is never burnt - in fact, if I follow the timer in built in the machine, I always find my bread on the soggy side. It is fine for me though, because I don't like bread too toasted, but I can see that this may be a problem with some people who like their bread a certain way. The sandwich never sticks to the plate, so I don't have to worry too much about cleaning it every time after I use it either.
As I said earlier, I didn't buy this machine. A quick search on amazon and I find this at £17.87 on amazon. Quite cheap, I would say, and I don't know the price of competing toastie machines so I can't really judge whether this is good for value or not. I guess that there would be better sandwich makers out there, perhaps ones that can allow you to make a bigger sandwich and probably with more functions... But for a simple sandwich maker and nothing else, this one does the job for me.
I am forever struggling with the problem of dry eyes, as both work and leisure require me staring into the computer screen for 10+ hours per day. It doesn't help that I wear contacts either. So as you can guess, I've had my fair share of experience with hydrating eye drops from different brands and sometimes even different country. I picked up this Optrex eye drops from Boots for about £4 (£3.89 to be exact, checked on Boots website) in a bit of an emergency actually, because my previous eye drops has run out and I was greatly in need of something to soothe my strained eyes.
Packaging and instructions
In my opinion the bottle has quite a generous size for eye drops, at 10ml. Once you open the bottle, you can only use it for a month (28 days to be exact), but if you're like me and have dry eyes, you will probably finish it within the expiry date with no problem. This eye drop can be used with contact lens, which is a pro for me.
Optrex claims that these eye drops are specially developed to lubricate dry eyes, "providing fast and lasting relief" for dry, irritated or tired eyes. I agree with the "fast" bit, but not the bit regarding "lasting relief". Indeed, my eyes are instantly refreshed and hydrated when I apply these - but it is something you would expect all eye drops to do, to be very honest. Perhaps it is just me, with my crazily dry eyes, but I need to use a few squeeze every time I use this, and at quite close intervals as well (perhaps three times every hour on a bad day). One point to note - if you squeeze a few times and accompany the application with slow blinking, I feel that the eye drops work a little better.
Overall, it is quite cheap providing it's 10ml. Effect is okay, provided I use it consistently and frequently. But I don't think I will buy this one again, because I have used other eye drops before that provide my eyes with comfort for much longer, although with a bigger price tag.
Because I live in central London and I don't drive, grocery shopping can be a bit of a headache (albeit a good workout). Thank god for grocery delivery service, especially from Waitrose which is my favourite supermarket in the UK ever since my days in boarding school!
In this review I am going to comment exclusively on the delivery service but not the supermarket itself. The grocery website is easy enough to use, but sometimes navigating products can be a little difficult because Waitrose separates their products into numerous specific sub-categories. And you can't see the products until you've arrived at the very bottom of the sub-category. There is always the search function, which is perfect if you know exactly what you want to get. For me though, I prefer to browse around so at times I get quite annoyed.
This being said, Waitrose online always has a good range of offers that you can exploit. For example, for those who hate cooking and like a quick, easy-to-make meal, I find that there are always meal deals available that let you choose a main, side and dessert for less than 10 pounds. Other than this, there are a lot of other offers like 3 for 2, 2 for 1, 2 for 2.50 pounds, etc - so I find that I am always able to buy my food for a lot less than I expect!
Needless to say, Waitrose offer a wide range of products of good quality - in my opinion, a lot better than its competitors for similar price. This is especially noticeable if you're buying from Waitrose's own range of products, like essential Waitrose. Their vegetables, meat and seafood are always of a very good quality!
Delivery-wise, Waitrose offers free delivery when you shop above 50 pounds. This is no problem at all for me, because I always like to buy a week's worth of groceries in one go so I always exceed this amount. The drivers are friendly and very helpful, always offering to take my groceries into the kitchen and going through the bill with me, informing me of the unavailable items or items they have substituted. Substitution is an option you can select or remove on each individual products. I tend to remove it, because I don't always like the products they replace my original orders with (they only do this when the original product is unavailable). However, you can always tell your delivery driver that you don't like the substituted product, and they will always take it away and adjust your payable amount.
A few things about the delivery service from my own experience. Maybe it is only specific to the branch that delivers to me, but I find that my order always come very early to me. For example, last week when I chose the timeslot between 11am-1pm delivery, my order came at 10.45am. And this week, it actually came at 10am! (The driver was nice enough to call ahead and check with me, thus waking me up from my sleep...) I don't mind it so much because I am often home in the mornings, but it definitely would be better if they can stay within my chosen time period.
Overall though, good experience and products and I would recommend it.
I am classic couch potato. I always KNOW that I should get up and go to the gym down the road but somehow, despite having a ridiculous sum taken out of my bank account for nothing, I just can't bring myself up from the comfy sofa, get dressed and walk out.
So this went on for years until last week when I was on holiday and had to climb a few flights of stairs to get to a monument, and I was shocked to find myself panting only 5 minutes into climbing up those stairs. When have I become so unfit? Long story short, I discovered this fitness DVD after some quick research on amazon. £12.99 is the price on amazon. This is going to be my gateway to health, I've decided.
I don't know who Davina is before this, because I don't watch the TV shows which she presents. The DVD arrived just a day before yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised. She seems quite funny, and her remarks here and there throughout the workout certainly keep me intrigued to continue watching - and of course, working out with her. I also like her two trainers, especially the guy Mark, the three of them have quite good chemistry (although Jacki doesn't really joke along as much). To me they are pleasant to watch, like friends who are joking about!
The DVD has three sections, each lasting 30 minutes inclusive of warm up and cool down. I have tried all three of the workouts yesterday and today, and even though I initially thought 30 minutes wasn't going to be hard at all, I am aching ALL OVER and can barely muster energy to type this review. It is good though, in a way, because that means I was actually being worked. But I would not envy myself come tomorrow morning when I have to suffer the workout which I literally just finished! Haha.
Okay so, the three sections are as follows:
1. The Pump
This one involves a lot of weights and squats, in between some interval training like jogging and star jumps. I don't have any hand weights so I use 1.5L water bottles, which should do the job (I hope?) You will also need a mat with this one, because there are some floor exercises towards the end that REALLYYYYY work your tummy, bum and legs. Believe me, you'd feel it.
2. Cardio Boxing
This is my favourite! I think you will enjoy this especially if you are feeling stressed out. Mark leads this section, incorporating lots of punches and kicks with some skipping and jumping. I did this for the first time yesterday night and this morning when I woke, both of my upper arms were aching a lot. Sucks to be so unfit and a beginner to workouts, but I definitely aim to do this particular workout frequently so I'd get better!
3. Core Stability
To me it's not really a proper workout, more like yoga, lots of difficult balancing exercises. To be honest I couldn't do almost half of it without wobbling or collapsing on my mat, so my strategy would be to stuck with the pump or cardio boxing and only return to this after I get a little fitter.
I am really hoping that I'd get healthy and fit with this DVD, and hopefully also lose some weight! So watch this space, I'd definitely share my progress as I get on with this! I would recommend this to people (like me) who never bother to get dressed and go out just to hit the gym, and want to work out in your bedroom without anybody watching or judging you. I certainly feel much more comfortable sweating, grunting and collapsing in isolation!
Another great product from Shiseido's The Skincare range. 125 ml tub. Price stands at £28.50 from retailers like John Lewis, Selfridges, Harrods, House of Fraser, etc. Not too expensive considering it's from Shiseido. It lasts for quite a long time - I only need to renew it every 3-4 months even if I use it twice everyday. Believe me it's worth every penny!
You squeeze a pea-size amount onto your palm, add some water onto it and make it foamy before massaging it gently on your face in circular motions. When you feel it's enough, you clean the foam off with cold water. I use it every morning when I wake up, and every night after shower/ before bed.
Texture and effect on skin
The cleanser is not meant to be exfoliating so it doesn't have any particles in. The texture is very smooth and thick, so it foams well. The effect on my skin has been so great! I used a cleanser by another brand for a while before this one, and that cleanser damaged my skin terribly. This Shiseido cleanser actually rescued my skin. After using the cleanser, every single time my skin has been tight and smooth. After doing the toning and moisturising routine (both products by Shiseido The Skincare range), your skin would be as good as new! I strongly recommend it.
I am obsessed with nail polishes and I have built up a sizable collection. A while ago I had a little splurge and I bought three Chanel nail polishes in one go - in black satin, orange fizz and my favourite colour rouge carat which is a limited edition (so I've been told). The selection of colour is impressive and I've loved choosing them, but oh boy, am I in for a surprise when I went home to try them out.
The quality of the nail polish is just so bad! The texture is thick, which makes application very difficult and streaky. I have had to redo my nails almost every time I use the Chanel polish, I just can't stand the flaws and streaks on my nails. On some occasions, I tried to apply 2-3 layers in order to make it look smooth, but the result is (if possible) even worse - it's like I have coated my nails with paper marche or something, so thick and ugly!
The colours are great, I'll give you that, but only on the rarest occasions do my nails look okay. I expect a lot more from Chanel. I haven't touched the nail polish I bought for a while now, and before I write this review I checked them out and oh my! It's become even thicker than before - especially my black satin one, it looks more like tar now! It would be impossible to use ever again.
I am never going to buy nail polish from Chanel again. For similar prices, I'd recommend OPI or YSL - their nail polishes are so much better and easier to apply!
So excited to do a review on this Shiseido night cream since I've used it every night for about a year now! I have previously tried night creams and night gels from Shiseido's other lines, but I can confidently say that this is the best one that I've used so far.
The brand and the product
The brand Shiseido, originated from Japan, is immensely popular in Asia - especially in Hong Kong where I grew up. Its skincare products and makeup are particularly good on Asian skin. Shiseido has multiple lines of skincare products, each targeted at a different age group with different needs. This particular night cream is from The Skincare line, which the sales told me is for younger customers with just basic moisturising and hydrating needs. The cream is 50ml and comes in a matte glass bottle. You put this on after using the cleanser and toning/balancing lotion.
Texture and quality
The cream is fairly rich but it's not thick and sticky like some of the richer creams that I have used before. I wouldn't describe it as lightweight, but my skin absorbs the cream quickly. My skin is smooth and soft after putting it on. I usually put this on right before I go to bed, and when I wake up the next day, my skin is still moisturised and feels soft. I would definitely recommend it.
The scent is very light, almost non-existent. I can't really describe what it smells like, but it's neither flowery nor musky. Barely noticeable.
£46.30 on amazon. Similar price in retail stores... You can get it in department stores on the cosmetics floor, like House of Fraser, Selfridges, Harrods, John Lewis, etc.
My first music player was a very very early edition of the ipod classic. After I lost that one a few years ago, I treated myself with this 120 GB one (in black) and I have never used anything else since!
Design, features and ease of usage
Pretty simple design. Apple stuck with the old rectangular design with a wheel which you scroll to change volume and to navigate through songs. The front of the ipod has a matte finish, which I don't like that much as I prefer my ipod to be shiny like my old one. But as I put it in a pretty ipod case anyway, that doesn't matter as much. Not too many features, just standard ones which let you create playlists, a few games (which are not very interesting really). But the sheer volume of memory is impressive enough. I have about 5000 songs in, and I actually treat it a bit like an external drive as well by putting a few movies in. I still have about 70% of memory left, so that's saying something!
It is not touch screen which I actually prefer. Only problem I have with it right now, is that the wheel becomes a little stuck after I have used it for a few years... So sometimes, I have to try a few times before I can change the volume. Other than this, it is very reliable and has NEVER broken down!
Not sure if these are actually sold anymore, because the new ipod classic seem to be 160 GB and I can't find the 120 GB on the official apple website. Had a quick look on amazon and it is only £109 + shipping of course. Quick a good deal if you don't want to spend more on the new 160 GB which cost £199!
This is advertised to have "stylish, elegant design" and I absolutely agree with it. It's not fancy, just a simple black frame. I think it would also work well in the office because it looks so simple and sleek! Also comes with a remote which makes control easy.
It has 256MB memory which means you can store 500 photos if your photos are not too big. I would have liked it to have more memory because I have so many digital images built up over the years, but for now this would do. Aside from displaying photos, there are quite a few useful features as well. I will point out the ones I use the most
- There is a clock display, which I always find useful as I put this on my bedside table.
- Image search when you need to find a specific photo
- On/off timer which is essentially a bedtime mode for me
- It has this built in function which automatically rotates the photos for you
- Quite a few different display modes that you can choose from, all have different effects
Quality and ease of usage
The remote is functional and clear so it's easy to use. Set up is also very fast, I remember it took me no time at all. Picture quality is amazing, as I would expect from a Sony display. I haven't had any problem with this frame yet and I have used it for almost a year now... (which actually surprised me because I am usually not very impressed with Sony's product).
Point to note
There is no USB slot. I would have preferred if there was one, but I use my SD card to display pictures with the frame so it's okay as well. But just note this before you buy it because I think Sony wasn't very specific about the USB availability.
I got this as a gift a year ago so I am unsure of the price paid. Checked on amazon and it's currently standing at £143.90. Not cheap! Price-wise, I think there are cheaper alternatives that may be just as good as this digital frames.
Gave this 4 stars because to me, it's a little on the expensive side and it doesn't have a USB slot!
I got this phone in 2008 because I was attracted by its red colour and the sleek design. I also liked the sliding feature and I often played with it even when I'm not really using the phone. However, this is not a great phone mostly due to the fact that it crashed so many times only a few months after I started using it. I have heard that it is due to some default problems with the hardware, but who knows. I also find that the battery overheats quite easily...
This being said, this phone does have some good quality. Easy to use, simple interface, camera is good enough (though it might be considered insufficient with the quality of phone cameras these days...). The mp3 player is also fun to play with, as you can shuffle to the next song with a shake of the phone, which was one of the main advertising features originally.
In my opinion, the cons far outweigh the features that this phone has. So if you ask me, don't buy this phone. Much better choices out there, and it's a bit too outdated as well!
I have been using these lip balms for a few years now, and they have definitely served me well. There are so many flavours to choose from, but I have always stuck with the mint flavour because I love everything minty and refreshing!
The lip balm texture is thick, soothing and slightly sticky. It is extremely moisturising and hydrating, which is essentially what you look for in a good lip balm, right? The design of the tube also makes it very easy to apply, and usually I use the tube to put on the balm so I don't have to make my fingers sticky.
Another good thing about this lip balm is that it can actually be used as a lip mask. It is a trick that the sales from Kiehl's told me, basically I put a thick layer on about 1-2 times per week, perhaps more frequently during the winter months where weather is dry. And after waking up, my lips are supple and well moisturised.
Price: £9.50 from Kiehl's, worth every penny! It is called the number 1 lip balm for a reason, I guess.