Friday, April 22, 2011

Drugstore duds - Kate by Kanebo BB and Shiseido Majolica Eyes Reset Gel

These were such a disappointment!  I've been meaning to try the Majolica line for ages and today when I popped into Guardian I noticed they also had Kate by Kanebo BB.  I have been insisting I wouldn't try the BB thing - I keep reading about it everywhere, but I had it down as being not for me.  But I love Kanebo and I'm a sucker for some clean looking packaging so I decided to give it a go.

The Eyes Reset Gel is a eye make-up remover gel, that feels really heavy on silicone.  The texture is pleasant enough and it worked well enough, but it stung like hell and made my eyes go all cloudy - it literally blinded me and then took ages to wash out.  Bummer.

The BB is better, in that it doesn't hurt (!), but it did nothing for me at all.  I thought the idea of BB was a peachy glow to the skin, less than foundation but a complexion enhancer.  This was way too white, even for my ghostly visage, and did nothing for me at all.  It has got me thinking about peachy complexion enhancers though, which I have a vague memory of buying many moons ago.  I seem to remember sending off to some French brand by mail order and buying huge amounts of products just to get some cult product peachy cream that was supposed to make me *glow*, and instead made me go "oh...".

I had really high hopes for both these brands.  I guess I'm not their target customer - I'm not Asian and I'm over 30 - but I don't really see these working on anyone.  I have heard good things about the Majolica mascara so maybe that's my next cheap thrill...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Family Heirloom repaired (sort of)

This is my Grandma's engagement ring, given to her by my late Grandad sometime in the 1940s.  The ring was given to my Mum when I was a little girl, but I can never remember it having a stone in the middle and for a long time it sat in a drawer in the kitchen looking sad and lonely.  It was passed to me, by my Mum, about 5 years ago and I took it to a jewelers in Hatton Garden in London to have it repaired.  The jeweler put a very pretty opal in it, which fell out on the same day.  I, like my Mum before me, gave up and stuck it in a drawer in my bedroom.

But recently I've been thinking about it again, mainly because I thought it would be lovely to give to my daughter when she's all grown up.  It has little value, although it is made of platinum and has small diamond chips in it, I can't imagine it has much of a resale value.  But the sentimental value is huge and we are not a family loaded down with family jewels.

I tried a jewelers at Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road who said they could not do anything with it - the ring is weak and beyond repair it seems.  But they suggested I try Jewel Harbour, a small workshop on the fourth floor, who might be able to help me.  The staff seemed rather annoyed with me for wanting to rescue this sad old ring, but they listened to my story and said they could glue a pearl in to at least give it a centre again.

So that's what I ended up with.  To be honest, I do not love it (the opal looked much prettier, albeit with the crucial flaw of falling straight out), but at least it is no longer an empty vessel.  I am now in two minds - to put it back in the drawer or try again and look for someone else who will give it the TLC I think it deserves...

Peg Perego P3 Stroller

When I was pregnant I remember discussing with someone which stroller I should get.  The choice as I saw it at the time was the Bugaboo Chameleon or Quinny Buzz and he, an experienced dad of two, laughed and told me not to worry too much about it because I'd end up buying more than one anyway.  I thought this was nonsense, why would you need two?  But now my little bundle of joy is not yet one year old and already I'm on stroller number three.

Number One was the Bugaboo, an awesome design, built like a tank and feels totally safe.  But it is as heavy as a tank too and getting it in and out of a car boot is painful, both figuratively and literally.  Traveling on a plane with it is even more of a labour of love, which is when we turned to number two, the Maclaren Quest, which is lightweight and folds up really small, but feels way too shaky for my liking and has no storage to stash your purchases.

So when I spotted the Peg Perego, which feels big enough to protect little feet, but also folds down into one piece and has a huge storage bag I was sold.  And it doesn't hurt that it's bright red and has Made In Italy written in big letters on it - babba needs to travel in style! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser

This is another San Francisco purchase, this time from Barneys.  Amazingly I was the only person in the store on a Saturday morning, which meant I got a little too much assistant attention for my liking - I like a nice anonymous browse round a department store, like the true Brit I am.

I'd actually gone into Barneys to look at Valextra bags, but they were all locked behind glass and two sales assistants were hovering around me checking out my every move so I headed down to the basement to look at the beauty department.  I'd been meaning to get this cleanser in Singapore ever since a facialist at Spa Esprit recommended it to me.  I really like this, it cleanses well, doesn't sting my eyes and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin or leave my face feeling tight.  That's it though - I can't say there's anything hugely special about this, it's just effective.

btw when I took this to the cashier the first thing she said was, "Have you tried their deodorant?"!  Errr, no, why, do I need it?!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tory Burch Troy Stripe Sweater

And here I am looking rather fetching, don't you think?  Only joking, alas, I have a few years and a few kilos on this whippersnapper.  I bought this (and...ahem...a few other things) at the Tory Burch store in San Francisco and got the most fantastic customer service.  I basically walked in on a cold and rainy Saturday morning and told the assistant I lived in Singapore and needed new clothes.   She installed me in a changing room and bought huge amounts of things for me to try on, plenty of which I would never have picked out for myself.  I ended up with two pairs of pants, this sweater and another top and a couple of pairs of shoes.  Very nice indeed, now I just need Tory to open up a store in Singapore...

Brow Tinting at Browhaus, Paragon

When I was younger I had luxuriant eyebrows: never a great shape, but thick and healthy and easy to shape into a proper arch.  As the years have gone by, over enthusiastic threaders and a dodgy thyroid have wreaked havoc on the frame of my face and nowadays my brows are sparse, which coupled with being blonde, makes them look rather puny.  Over the years numerous threaders and waxers have commented on their sparseness to the extent that now I start the threading conversation with something along the lines of 'I know there's not much there, but do your best".

This time, however, was different.  My therapist told me I actually had plenty of brows, but it was just the colour that meant they were invisible.  "You should get them tinted, and your eyelashes would look really good" she told me.  And as I had a few hours to kill and I was being talked to sweetly I hummed and hawed for all of 20 seconds and said "go on then".  Then as I lay there, eyes stinging with dye, I remembered that I know quite a few people who have done this and pretty much everyone has said afterwards they looked like Groucho Marx or Ernie (scrubbing the floor above).  I had that horrible feeling of dread, when you know you've made a big mistake and it's too late to turn back.

Actually the results are surprisingly good.  My lashes look fantastic and as someone who has blonde eyelashes and lives in the tropics it is fantastic not to have to wear mascara (which usually ends up halfway down my face anyway).  And my left brow looks fantastic; thick and well shaped and natural-ish (albeit a bit dark for my liking, but it will fade down fast).  The only problem I have is that my right brow is darker, noticeably I think, than the left.  So after my wonky pedicure I now have wonky brows...I am starting to see a worrying trend emerge.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Seriously Wonky Pedicure from Snails, Mandarin Gallery

When it comes to facials, massages and hairdressers I am seemingly incapable of seeing the same person more than twice.  But when it comes to pedicures, I have no desire to seek out new thrills - I either go to Snails at Mandarin Gallery or the Lac Bar at Millenia Walk, nowhere else.  I wasn't always such a stickler, but a bad experience where someone tried to use a blade on me (without asking) that I'd just seen used on the person sat next to me pretty much sealed it for me.  Hmmm I'll pass on the hepatitis thanks...

Lac Bar, I think, is the better pedicure.  They file and file until you have baby soft feet and the polish is always perfect.  But, they're not exactly fast - I swear sometimes you go in before lunch and head out again to find it's gone dark.  Today I needed fast and was on Orchard Road so popped into Mandarin Gallery.

Everything about this pedicure was perfect.  They have a fantastic selection of Essie and OPI colours (the picture above is Essie Limited Addiction, my shade of choice for today), excellent selection of magazines and I got a really good leg scrub and massage.  It was only when I got up to leave and looked down at my toes that I realised my therapist had filed both my big toe-nails at an angle, the nail was longer at the end of the foot and shorter at the side next to the next toe.  And she'd done this on both sides, so my toes looked like a rather quizical set of eyebrows, or two asymmetric fringes.

I hummed and awed about saying something.  "Does this look right to you?", I asked the lady on reception.  She looked and confirmed I was seeing (not) straight.  And really they couldn't have been nicer; they tried to level them out, they offered to take the polish off and start again (I didn't have time) and they said I could come back the next day if I was still unhappy.   I suspect to make them remotely straight they would have to cut my nails eye-wateringly short, so I am resigned to a few weeks of wonky toes...I'm even starting to get used to them now!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Badger Sleep Balm

Here's the thing.  If you type 'is it safe to drug a baby on a 19 hour flight' in Google, the response you get, strangely enough, is that it is really not a good idea at all.  Some people, apparently, use Medi-Sed, but that has the risk of causing hallucinations, and I really can't think of anything more terrifying than a hallucinating baby (what would they see?!).  But, I am indeed going on a 19 hour flight with my beloved little person, just me and her, and if everyone is to keep their sanity, then she and I need to sleep.

I'm pretty much sorted: since little person's arrival I can sleep anywhere. I have so much sleep negative equity that any chance I get I can slip into a deep slumber.  But for me to sleep, I need her to sleep, which is why I was contemplating the Medi-Sed hallucinating baby option.  So when I saw this Badger Sleep Balm I knew all my problems had been solved!  An all natural 'temple rub' that makes you dreamy and helps you slip into a deep slumber - it had to be the answer to my long haul problem.

So I purchased and decided to try it out on little person tonight.  Did it work and send her off into a deep sleep?, not at all.   I should have looked at their website. It says Badger Balm does not make you sleepy, it just takes the edge off the day's stress.  So obviously little person has no stress, no frayed nerves, no tension.  And that makes me a very happy mummy badger indeed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dr Hauschka mega-haul

Well, it's a bit of a cheat to say I bought this lot today.  One of the first things you get used to in Singapore is being approached about 'the package' (er..not that kind), whenever you have a manicure, haircut, massage etc.  This is where you buy a package of, say, ten facials upfront and then receive a discount for doing so.  I suspect this is where the therapists make their cash because you're always put under tons of pressure to take one and when you politely decline you often get a death stare and a frosty chill descends upon the room.  As a rule, I'm too fickle to take a package - I get bored going to the same place over and over and need to change after a few visits.  But a few years ago, weakened by a complimentary hand massage while my face mask was on instead of the usual being left in the dark for an eternity, I signed up to a package of Dr Hauschka facials.

Then, the inevitable happened.  I went along a few more times, had a terrible facial where the therapist seemed to want to moisturise my eyeballs (and I'm British so I put up with it for a while then meekly pointed out that I was being tortured) and decided to take my chances somewhere else.

Unfortunately, you can't get a refund on a package, so after a while I decided to return to Guantanamo and try again.  But something had happened and in the meantime the spa stopped answering their phones.  When I eventually got through they told me they were booked up until forever and no, I couldn't have my cash back, but I could exchange the balance for product.

So that's what I did.  I should be thrilled, but to be honest I just feel a bit overwhelmed - I have enough clutter in my bathroom already waiting to be used up, without adding this lot to it.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll survive somehow.

PS Apologies for the shocking picture...

Daiso dishcloths

Daiso is basically Sinagpore's version of a pound store (everything is $2) but this is a Japanese themed store, which elevates it - for me - from the humdrum pile of tat that it really is to a fantastic treasure trove stuffed full of undiscovered riches.  I'd love to say I'd discovered some truly amazing stuff there, but the sad truth is that I always look at the cosmetics and get scared off.  It is good for kitchen bits and bobs and today I desperately needed dishcloths, so Daiso is where I headed to.  As dishcloths go, these are very good indeed.  But, it's dishcloths, so you know....not so exciting!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bioderma Sensibio H2O


I've been using the Bioderma cleansing water off and on for a few years now; usually I'm inspired to start again when I read that this is a cult product, only available in Paris (I have to blame this time).  Strangely enough you can get this all over the place in Singapore and maybe it's the ease of getting hold of it that makes me sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about.  I like the idea of cleansing waters, but I always feel like I've done half a job when I use them.  This is good stuff though; it gets rid of mascara without having to scrub and it seems to take plenty of gunk off.  Nowadays I tend to just get one when I'm travelling, and this chubby mini bottle will be perfect for stashing in my suitcase, possibly even decanting into a mini-bottle to take on the plane.

More awesome stuff from Ruth at A Model Recommends here (hide your piggy bank).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hagerty Silver Foam

Recently I was searching through some old boxes and stumbled across a long forgotten pendant I bought at Tiffany's in New York about 10 years ago.  It was, in true Holly Golightly style, about the only thing I could afford to buy from the store, but I loved it deeply, wore it constantly and was thrilled beyond words when at some point I saw Charlotte from SATC wearing something similar.  Then I stopped wearing it and forgot I had it, until last week.  As it was the cheapest thing in the shop, it's made from sterling silver and
has, over time, gone horribly tarnished and sad looking.  So I bought  my Silver Foam, shined it up and am now wearing it again.  

Rice Melamine Tableware

I have been coveting these gorgeous Melamine bowls for a few months now and decided if I'm really going to start writing down everything I buy, then I should at least start with something I really want.  Rice is a Danish brand that prides itself on Danish designed products made in a respectful and ethical way in the developing world - they ensure that their suppliers and manufacturers live up to local labour laws and don't use child labour.

I love the ethical story behind this brand and I love the brightly coloured funky designs.  Ostensibly I bought a few plates and bowls for the little person to use, but I suspect I shall enjoy them just as much, if not more, than she (who proved this by throwing them on the floor).  

You can find Rice at Tangs in Singapore and more about the brand at