Current Favourites

Recently, my skin has improved. It’s a bit of a miracle and I’m hoping that writing about it here won’t jinx it. *shudder*

Here are my current favourite products that have been really helping my skin and giving me that extra bounce in my step.

  1. Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser  – You know how when you use a cleanser and your skin says “Ahhh” the moment the cleanser touches your skin? This is one of those cleansers. It’s a nice cream texture (I’ve completely sworn off foaming cleansers because a certain Mrs Hirons has convinced me.) and melts into the skin beautifully. I try to find some patience to massage it into my skin slowly. This cleanser is too precious to use as a makeup remover. I use it as a second cleanser, after I’ve removed my makeup. My skin feels all soft and looks glowy once I’ve washed the cleanser off.
  2. Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm – I started off using this beauty balm as a cleanser and while it worked, my friend K told me that I should try it as a mask or a moisturizer. I heeded her advice and gave it a try. All I can say is – Wow. Picture this: your skin is a little bit parched and you want to moisturize it quickly with one product. This is the one to use. As you massage it into your skin – I use a teeny tiny bit – your face just starts to glow. It’s a rich, solid texture that melts in contact with your hand. I use this at night before I sleep as a serum + moisturizer combo and I (usually) wake up with calm, quite clear looking skin.
  3. Aesop Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum – This serum is quite interesting. My skin, now that it’s no longer oily but more dry/combination drinks it up. I was advised by the sales assistant at the Aesop store here to combine this with their Fabulous Face Oil and then apply it to my skin. The result is soft, hydrated skin. (Are we sensing a trend here?) I use this combination every morning and it keeps my skin hydrated for most of the day.
  4. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel – In the mornings, I like a light cleanser that is easy to use and wash off. This cleansing gel is really good for that purpose. I’m a bit naughty as I use two pumps, not one, for my face. I find that the cleanser calms my skin a bit, if I have some red spots or clogged pores.
  5. Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask – If you’re looking for a mask with a slight zing that also moisturizes the skin a bit, this is a good one. I use it once a week when my skin is looking a bit dull and I have clogged pores (the bane of my life). It reduces any swelling and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean.

 

 

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Fall/Winter Investments

Fall/Winter Investments

The husband and I went to New York for our honeymoon recently. We were there for 9 days and had the best time ever. I know, I always say that but this trip was special because we intentionally went to a place we had been before to reduce that stressful feeling of wanting to see and experience everything within a short amount of time. Of course, this time around, we have completely different eating habits so we got to try out tons of restaurants and cafes that served delicious gluten free food.

Let’s get to the interesting part – the shopping. Or in this case, the “investments” that I made. I really wanted to find some key wardrobe pieces for Fall/Winter, though the weather in New York was quite hot while we were there. It felt kind of odd wearing jeans and a T-shirt but trying on a Parka in Aritzia. I actually tried one first and then asked the sales assistant for a thicker one, explaining “We’re from Norway.” She was kind enough to grab one that she thought was “heavy duty” because she had experience with Canadian winters. Now we’re talking 🙂 Hence I got that particular parka.

I also got a wool coat because my older ones are either too loose or too old. It’s a bit sad. I did buy a wool coat for winter last year and I’m still hoping to be able to wear it this year as it’s a cocoon-style coat (beautiful cut) from COS that I got in Berlin – similar to this one.

I couldn’t resist J. Crew. There is something so chic about their simple, yet beautifully cut clothing. The older I get, the more I appreciate buying 1 thing that is properly cut and oh so flattering, instead of 10 things that are passably good looking (yes, that phrase exists). So J. Crew it was. I got a pair of the Reid jeans that is a bit longer than the ankle length that seems to be the rage these days – not going to help in winter. I also got a blazer though mine’s in Grey, not the camel coloured one shown above. I couldn’t find a picture of the Grey one, sorry!

For Autumn, I caved and got a pair of Frye boots. They actually didn’t have this pair in my size in the store, but the sales assistant was extremely helpful and had this pair shipped from Washington DC to their New York store: overnight! Talk about service. When will we get this type of service in Norway?

Sweaters at Uniqlo – total steal. The prices were great and the quality is good. Why not? When you live in a country with cold weather, you learn to wrap yourself in wool. It’s the only thing that works most days. Now the Wilfred Free Ward Coat was a special purchase as it fit so nicely and I really liked that slightly mottled grey shade.

I looked high and low for “The” handbag and ended up with this Rebecca Minkoff satchel. Perfect for work and can’t fault Saffiano leather. So durable! Mine’s in that shade but it’s actually more “oxblood” than brown. Just saying 🙂

Lastly, I caved and got a Tom Ford quad because when you’re in the US, you have to buy Tom Ford makeup. It’s one of those luxury purchases that just has to happen. Kind of like buying a perfume just because it smells amazing –  not because you need it 😉

Current Favourites

Current Favourites

NIKE platform sneaker
nordstrom.com

NARS Cosmetics beauty product
$47 – liberty.co.uk

Lately I’ve been using some items frequently and I figured it’s time for a new Current Favourites post. So, here goes:

  • Tarte Cosmetics Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush – Sometime last year, I asked the fiancee to get me this brush from Sephora. It has now become my favourite foundation brush in the whole world. I don’t say this lightly. I have sensitive, acne prone skin and applying foundation is my secret to leaving the house looking presentable. This brush buffs foundation like nobody’s business – it works wonderfully well with liquid foundation  with medium coverage. I hadn’t been using this often enough but recently, I rediscovered it and have been loving it.
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara in Noir – I read about this mascara recently and decided to get it when I was traveling, at duty free (like most of my makeup purchases). It has a flexible wand and application is a wee bit tricky. I usually remove the excess at the rim of the tube or dab it against a clean tissue first as I’m not a huge fan of clumpy lashes. But on application, it’s really pretty. This mascara does not smudge, flake, or run. I don’t think it is marketed as waterproof but it lasts all day on me.
  • Swatch Deep Shine Green – The fiancee got me this when we were in Paris last Fall. There’s a Swatch store on Champs Elysees and we went in for fun and came out with a watch each. The glitter in the strap is a nice detail. I’ve been wearing this a bit lately and I love the silicone strap. It’s so comfortable you barely notice it.
  • NARS Sheer Glow in Macao – I got my first bottle of NARS Sheer Glow about two years ago I believe. It was a balm June afternoon, the fiancee and I were in Liberty of London perusing NARS cosmetics. OK, I was looking at the NARS products and he was dutifully standing nearby being all patient and supportive 🙂 I asked the makeup artiste to apply it for me and the shade was perfect. You gotta love NARS and his beautiful colour range. So, I got a bottle of this and since then I have finished it and got a second bottle. While clearing up my apartment recently (more on that later) I rediscovered this bottle. I have a few bottles of foundation that I rotate with depending on the weather and the primer I’m using (and how naughty my skin is that day) so I don’t always use this NARS. That said, it is a beautiful foundation with a nice medium coverage. It blends very well and sets properly. I do use a setting power (either a NARS or Laura Mercier, sometimes MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish) and it lasts a full work day on me. My skin has changed lately, becoming more dry, and this foundation really gives it life.
  • Nike Dunk Sky Hi Wedge Sneakers – I know, I know, Wedge sneakers are a bit too hyped up and common ever since Isabel Marant designed hers. I won’t lie, I was thinking they looked a bit weird until Sheena on Twitter mentioned that she got the New York limited edition version. I was a bit curious but didn’t feel like splurging on the limited edition version, so I asked the fiancee to try to get it while he was in the US. I contemplated ordering it online but he was leaving soon and said it might not be a good idea. So on a whim, I sent him a link and he managed to find some spare minutes to dash into the store and pick it up. When he came back to Norway and I met him the next day to pick up my ‘stash’, I was shocked to see it in orange. I had asked for the black version. It seems the link I gave him showed the orange version (gah!) but once I put them on – I was in love. These shoes are quite comfortable for work. I wouldn’t wear them for a full day out as they do sometimes rub against my little toe, but just for going to work and coming home, they are perfect. I’m tempted to get the black pair, but we shall see.
  • Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarers – I love Ray-Ban because they are really comfortable and timeless. But, in Norway, Ray-Bans are not cheap. I was lucky enough to spot this pair in a mall in KL (Bukit Tinggi I believe?) and it was on 40% discount. I hadn’t bought a pair of sunglasses since 2011 so I figured it was time. I tried on two versions of this sunglasses: a slightly smaller one and a bigger one. I think these are the 52mm ones. I *might* be wrong but I know I always buy what they call the “Medium” sized ones. My frame is black rubber and the lenses are green tinted. They are extremely comfortable and do not really colour your view. You just get less glare.

Review: Diptyque Volutes

While I was in Paris, I wanted to get a fragrance that I normally cannot find here. I read about the Diptyque Paris store in 34 Boulevard St Germain and made it a point to visit the store.

It’s a really quaint store with all their fragrances, candles, room sprays, etc. I couldn’t decide which fragrance to get. I knew I wanted something medium sized (< 100 ml because I’m not very good at finishing fragrances) with a spicy, not-so-girly scent, that would have a nice dry down. It’s always fun to pick up a sweater after you’ve worn it and catch a hint of the fragrance you used. It’s the little things in life, right? 🙂

Diptyque Volutes

Diptyque Volutes

So, I zeroed in on Diptyque Volutes – which was a tough decision as everything in that store smelled like heaven.

This is what Diptyque says about their fragrance:

Un voyage rêvé, à bord d’un paquebot reliant Marseille à Saïgon. Une traversée au long cours, semée d’escales aux noms enchanteurs qui sentent l’aventure et les épices. Le charme de la vie à bord, hors du temps. Le labyrinthe des coursives encaustiquées et des salons lambrissés de bois, les mystérieuses élégantes accoudées au bastingage du pont supérieur s’adonnant avec délice au plaisir des cigarettes du Khédive. Un souvenir olfactif à jamais gravé dans la mémoire : Volutes

OK, for those of us who don’t read French, I got this with Google Translate:

A dream trip on board a cruise between Saigon to Marseille. Through a long-term, dotted with enchanting names of stops that feel the adventure and spices. The charm of life on board, out of time. The labyrinth of passageways and rooms encaustiquées paneled wood, elegant mysterious leaning on the railing of the upper deck engaged with delight at the pleasure of the Khedive cigarettes. An olfactory memory forever etched in memory: Swirls

Diptyque Volutes

Diptyque Volutes

According to Fragrantica, the notes are:

Iris, honey, tobacco, dried fruit, pink and black pepper, saffron, hay, immortelle, opoponax, myrrh, storax, and benzoin.

It doesn’t smell like any cigarette to me, but it smells like Vetiver, to me at least (with an untrained nose), and I really like Vetiver. But then again, maybe it’s the Myrrh that I’m smelling. I can smell the saffron – but it’s not like an Indian curry, I guarantee you 🙂 There is a hint of smokey-ness, especially when you first spray it, but what I like most about this fragrance is how it dries down to a pleasant, woody, fruity but not citrusy scent. In Winter, it’s always nice to use a fragrance that is not cloying or floral, but blends into the surrounding. A woody scent, is definitely suitable. I seem to be gravitating towards less-feminine, or maybe just less-floral perfumes these days. If that’s what you’re looking for, yourself, you should definitely give Diptyque Volutes a try.

The bottle has a nice weight to it and the cover closes with a slight click – perfect for travel.

Further reading

The Munich & London Trip

In June, the bf and I met up with my sister in Munich. We had planned to wander around Munich, just take in the city and then my sister would leave for London (where she had landed a week earlier) and continue her vacation before heading off back home.

Then, a few weeks before my sister was about to leave for London, I had a sudden urge to follow her to London post our Munich trip. You probably already know that I have a love-affair with London and find it very, very hard not to travel there. I also felt bad to ditch my younger sister post Munich and let her worry about packing her luggage. We also made a deal for her to pass me anything she can’t take back with her (in case her luggage ran out of space) as I was going to go home 2 weeks later. So, I bought tickets for Munich–>London and London–>Oslo, and decided to forgo my Munich–>Oslo flight.

The trips were wonderful.

Munich
I have never been to Munich beyond a few stopovers at the airport. The bf was really happy to be in Munich as he’s a big fan of Bavarian food, so much so, I think he could live off white sausage and sweet mustard.

We visited the following spots:

  • Ingolstadt Village – If you’re a shopping enthusiast, do check out Ingolstadt Village. It’s a bit out of the way as you’d have to take a train and then a bus, but it’s definitely worth it if you like bargain shopping. Most stores offer at least 20% discount on their products; if you’re lucky you can even get 40-60% discounts on the products.
  • Maximilianstraße (Maximilian street) – a huge area with all the expensive shops you can name. It’s worth a walk as it’s got a lot of charm.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle – I have so much to say about this castle. It’s such a beautiful palace but there’s a certain sense of sadness when you hear about the King for whom it was built (Ludwig II). I actually didn’t take any photographs of this castle because we had to rush to get in (it was a long hike) and cameras were forbidden for the tour inside. Here’s a photograph of what it looks like (it’s a wallpaper). Technically there are two castles when you go to Neuschwanstein – Neuschwanstein itself and Hohenschwangau. I believe, Hohenschwangau is the castle where King Ludwig II grew up in and Neuschwanstein is his dream castle. This is Hohenschwangau, it’s very simple compared to Neuschwanstein.

Hohenschwangau

A very cute statue in Hohenschwangau. I don’t know what it’s name is but it’s a man holding two swans. The man’s nose is made of gold. For some reason, tourists were rubbing his nose. I wonder if it was for luck?

My sister in front of the lion fountain

  • Viktualienmarkt – A street market in the center of Munich. If you want to experience a market where the locals buy their produce, this is the place to go. I’m told that some things are a bit more expensive (because the Leberkässemmel  was slightly more expensive here than elsewhere), since the market is a tourist attraction, but there were a lot of people buying things there anyway.
  • Schrannenhalle – A beautiful market near Viktualienmarkt, you can see some pictures of its architecture here. Schrannenhalle is a covered market with lots of exotic food stuff and cooking ingredients. You can actually find TWG (a Singaporean tea company) tea here!

A cafe in Schrannenhalle

Another cafe in Schrannenhalle

From our table in Schrannenhalle

  • Marienplatz – This is the central square in Munich. We hung around here most of the days as our hotel was nearby and we people watched (and shopped) a bit.

Marienplatz

New Town Hall at Marienplatz

  • English Garden – This was a bit of a walk, but definitely worth it. We ate traditional German beer garden food here. The bf and I had a currywurst and my sister had some roast chicken. It was good stuff.
  • Hofgarten – This is the “court” garden. It’s nearby the Residenz, where the Bavarian monarchs used to live. The garden is gorgeous. It’s one of those places where you could spend a full day – chatting, eating, reading, daydreaming – and not realize that time is passing. Facing the east of Hofgarten is the Bavarian State Chancellery. It’s such a fusion building – with the old fashioned former Army museum in the middle and the glass wings to the left and right.

The bf at Hofgarten

Bavarian State Chancellery

Then, I went to London as the bf headed back to Oslo with a heavy luggage containing my sister’s and my loot 🙂 Honestly I keep waiting for the bf to comment on this obsession of mine for shopping, but he never seems to say anything negative about it.

In London, my sister and I met up with a friend of hers who shared a hotel room with her. I have to say my sister does know how to pick nice friends. It was so comfortable sharing a hotel room with my sister’s friend. You’d think three women in a hotel room would be fighting for the bathroom and all – but no, no drama there whatsoever 🙂

Matthew, my friend of many years, had his birthday and we met him for brunch that day at Tom’s Kitchen in Somerset House. The brunch was delicious, but what was more awesome was meeting Matthew. I’ve probably written about Matthew before, but Matthew and I – we’re like chalk and cheese – yet we seem to have a fun friendship. Matthew has even been to Malaysia and stayed with my family while I was not there.

Matthew and I

Excuse my tiredness. At that point, I had already been traveling for more than a week, so let’s just say I was ‘travel-weary’.

Apart from meeting up with Matthew, we did a bit of shopping and lots of eating. Overall, it was a really nice trip. I got to spend some nice time with the bf, my sister, and Matthew 🙂

I’m Still Kicking

I could give you a zillion excuses as to why I haven’t been blogging, but the truth is that I just haven’t felt like it. I have a bunch of posts lying in my drafts folder but I haven’t completed them.

Work has been really busy and after a long day in front of the computer, the last thing I want to do when I’m home is to stare at the screen more, so I’ve been reading a lot of books.

Last week and the week before that, I was in Seattle for work. It was a really good trip as work-wise it was very productive; shopping-wise and food-wise: it was amazing. I saw so many nice shops and bought a lot of items that I had been meaning to buy. I also ate really, really good food. The strange thing is that I thought I would end up spending a lot of time alone, and a wee bit miserable because there were no colleagues accompanying me, but I ended up meeting so many nice colleagues and friends there (including Miss AOYV – who is so much fun to hang out with in person) to eat and wander around the city with that I did not feel lonely at all.

Here’s a little collection of what I picked up while I was in Seattle:

The Acquisitions

So, now that I’m back from my business trip, I guess I will be back to blogging again.

Till then, ciao! 🙂

Review: A-England Dragon Nail Polish

A few months ago I picked up two nail polishes from A-England as I had read wonderful reviews. It helped that the company offers free shipping worldwide. I had bought Camelot and King Arthur and was very impressed with the formula as well as how easy it was to work with them.

Recently I stumbled across FashionPolish’s swatches of some of the new colors that A-England has launched and ordered four bottles. The one I’m featuring is Dragon. I don’t know how to describe this shade. It’s a grass green hologram nail polish that gold-ish glitter in it, perhaps?

Here are some photos for you to decide:

A-England ~ Dragon

A-England ~ Dragon

Technically, you can get away with just one coat of nail polish but out of habit I applied two coats followed by Deborah Lippmann’s Addicted to Speed topcoat.

It’s been really cold lately (-21 C on Friday morning, -16 C yesterday and -8 C today *phew*) and bright nail polishes like this are definitely cheering me up!