May 30, 2017

May 2017 Favourites

After I started the "Monthly Favourites" posts this year, I find that time pass extremely fast. Maybe it is the routine work that makes me feel that way. May is (of course) the Mother's Day month. I would love to include my mom in the monthly favourite, but she's my all-time favourite! May is also a busy month. It is unusually busy because my project will be kicking off in July. It will get worse as we approaching July. Therefore you will expect lesser updates on this blog.

Let's jump into the great stuff I've tried this month:

#1 - Pastel highlighter from Stabilo

I think I am habitually attracted to highlighters. Not just makeup highlighters, I also get excited over stationery highlighters. When I saw the pastel highlighters at Popular, I couldn't help but grab all the colors available. Look at the soft rainbow colors! Can you say no to that pretties? I don't use highlighter often now, since everything is paperless these days, but they're worth getting since the colors are pretty and I can definitely use it for my journaling. Where have you been during my school days, oh pastel highlighters?!

#2 - The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency drama series

Remember I have showed you guys one of my favourite book in the April 2017 Favourites, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency? So I found out that there's a drama series on BBC for it. Hip hip hooray!!!! You can watch the drama online via YouTube. Some urban Robin Hood have uploaded it on YT. The first half hour is quite boring, but once she starts solving her cases, you can never get enough of it. I watched 4 episodes within a night after I discovered it. I love the African culture, the politeness of Mma Ramotswe (main character) and the mysterious cases. I know that Mma Ramotswe is a fictional character, but I don't know why I look up to her so much that I want to be like her. The drama also confirms my imagination of the characters' outlook, the location setting and etc. When reading the book, I can only imagine all those, and by watching the drama, I feel like all my imagination came to live. I can go on and on, but I will just stop here. Go watch it.

#3 - Micellar Water

I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to Micellar Water. It has been in the market for the past 2 or 3 years, but only recently a lot of brands are manufacturing their own micellar water, which kicks off the hype. So far I have tried 4 brands - Maybelline, L'Oreal, Garnier and Simple. My favourite is Garnier since it is the cheapest. In terms of quality, I find all the brands are pretty much the same. Check out the 5 uses of Micellar Water. It's more than just a makeup remover.

#4 - Journaling/Bullet-Journal

One of the things, I enjoy doing during my childhood is journaling. When my family went on a trip, my dad will give us a journal for us to record the places and mark down the km we have traveled, keep dried leaf on the page, draw or when we make new friends, we will ask them to write in our journal. It was so fun. I would also compare my journal with my brother's at the end of our trip. I wanted to start journaling again. This time, I will be doing a bullet journal for tracking my blog and I will also keep it as my stain log for my eyeshadow and blushers. This journal is worth a separate blogpost. When I have more content to show, I would make a post of it. Maybe you will benefit from the bullet journaling part on keep your blog on track. Inspired from What Lauren Did Today.

#5 - Too Faced Prismatic Highlighter

We have a stationery highlighter in this list and we also have a makeup highlighter made it into my favourite this month. Hang on there... Don't ask me if it's nice to use. Don't ask me if it blends well. Don't ask me if the pigmentation is good. These are not a makeup to use. They're makeups to Instagram. It's so freaking beautiful I want to hang it up on my wall. Everytime I feel that I have a sucky life, I just pull out these highlighters and I find that I'm so blessed to be able to own them.

#6 - Makeup Brush Cleaner

I am a makeup user (obviously you can see that) and I am always frustrated when I don't have a clean brush. I shamefully admit that I'm one of those who are too lazy to wash my brushes, but don't mind going out to purchase new brushes. In the end, I accumulated more brushes than a makeup artist. There are also days that I accidentally spoil my lighter eyeshadow because I didn't clean my brush that I used on darker shades. I bet you understand how that feels. To solve this problem, I purchased the makeup brush cleaner to solve my laziness. In the beginning, I thought it's one of those gimmick item (like the clear silicone makeup pad), I didn't expect it can do much cleaning. It turned out to be a surprise! It temporary remove all the makeup products on the brushes hair, leaving it clean and ready for the next shade. Best thing is, it doesn't harm your brushes and you can use it immediately (bye bye drying time). It saves a lot of time and super easy to use.

You can purchase this from my shop. It is temporary out of stock because the first lady who bought it grabbed 6 tins. And the next girl bought 3 of it, leaving it out of stock. I have reordered it, and will be up on the site hopefully next week.

#7 - My water lily plant

I feel like I am fated to have this plant. When I was cooking lotus seed soup, one seed dropped onto the floor. I didn't realize it until I was doing the cleaning. The curious me, took the seed and soak it in water. I left it in the kitchen for two days and I saw little sprout coming out of the seed. Then I became excited. It grew and grew, by the time you're reading this, I have two lily pads floating in my garden. Will update the progress of my lily plant on my Instagram or FB. In case you want to plant it yourself, you can get the seed from Chinese medicine hall or supermarket (dry food section) and this is how the seed looks like...

#8 - Mermaid

Introducing my household new pet.... the fighting fish. I name it mermaid because of its colour. She gave us a lot of entertainment at home. And we're so happy to have her right next to the TV. Initially I was going to get some guppy fish to put into the water lily bowl to prevent mosquito breeding. One thing leads to another, in the end, we have this fighting fish. I didn't get the guppy fish, so now I have to put the water lily in a clear bowl with direct sunlight to prevent the mosquito from breeding in it.

Til next month favourites...

May 28, 2017

A Day Trip in Tasmania (Australia)

When traveling to Australia, a lot of people concentrate their trip in the bigger city like Melbourne or Sydney. In fact, a lot of amazing experiences happen when you venture out of the usual city scene. I always recommend my friends to go to Tasmania, where I used to stay for 3 years. Right now, I still find the place charming and mysterious. Here are some of the places you should visit for a one-day trip (in sequence).

Have you ever considered to migrate to Australia? Do contact my friend who runs a migration agency. Visit Simple Migration Solution and contact them for free migration assessment. Tell them that Jerine sends you over.

#1 - Constitution Dock
Besides the amazing view at the dock, you can also taste some of the freshest seafood here. Tasmania is well-known for its fresh seafood such as scallop, lobster, Tasmanian giant crab, mussels, and oysters. There are a few seafood restaurants at the Constitution Dock and the prominent one is Mures. There is also Fish Frenzy which serves really good classic fish & chips. For a different kind of experience, you can try to dine in the boat restaurant, Mako or Flippers. These are floating food stalls that serve fresh cook-to-order seafood. Warning advice for you: If you are going to dine at the boat restaurants, beware of the seagulls. They're always ready to snatch a piece of your fish and chips.

#2 - Salamanca Market
If you happen in Tasmania on Saturday, you will get the chance to visit the weekend farmers market. There will be food trucks, local produces, local handmade products and many more. What I love about the market is the ambiance where the locals get together. It is not a tourist spot even though heavily advertised in travel portal or magazines. As the season change, you can find different products and different stalls take over. When it's cold, you will see original ugg boots stall and in the summer, you can find refreshing ice-creams.

Lovely lollies stall at Salamanca Market
When I have friends visiting me in Tassie, I always bring them to Salamanca Market to shop for unique souvenirs

#3 - Battery Point

In between the row of buildings at Salamanca, you will find the Kelly's Step where it will bring you to Battery Point. Battery Point brings you back to the 1920's era where the houses are preserved in its original state. I highly recommend you to check out the Jackman & McRoss Bakery. Grab a cup of coffee & some pastries there.

#4 - Cascade Brewery

From Battery Point, hail a taxi to the Cascade Brewery. The Cascade Beer Factory is a pride of Tasmanian as it produces one of the finest Australian beer. Participate in the factory tour where you can experience how the beer is made from the beginning til the end. At the end of the tour, you will be given a tray of beer where you have to identify each type of beer. If you succeed in answering all the types, you will be given a mystery gift. The tour is open for all ages, but the bar only serves to those 18 and above.

#5 - Franklin Square

If you take a bus from the Cascade Beer Factory to Hobart, you will alight at the Franklin Square. Take a stroll in the park and take in the tranquility. From Franklin Square, you can walk to Salamanca Market. I know you might think - Again? The Salamanca Market is totally different during the night. It is peaceful and people come here to unwind to end their night. You will find wine bar, casual pubs and good restaurants here. Have your dinner at the Ball & Chain Grill Steakhouse. They serve the best steak in Tasmania with free flow salad bar.

Good to know: 
  • Take the airport shuttle and get down at Grand Chancellor Hotel. The hotel is right opposite the Constitution Dock.
  • Make sure to book a flight into Hobart Airport and NOT Launceston. I repeat NO Launceston. That is way too far from the city and nothing much interesting to do.
  • Recommended length of stay in Tasmania is about a week. For a one-of-a-kind experience, rent a caravan and go around the island. 
  • If you stay longer, make sure to check out Wineglass Bay, Bruny Island, Freycinet National Park & nearby Wineyard. 

May 19, 2017

7 Travel tips that you probably never heard of before

Bonjour! I am now blogging from Paris! It is one of my long time dream to come here, when I finally set foot here, it is like a dream come true. One of the itineraries of my trip here is to work on a project, I will announce it soon when everything is finalized. There will be more trips to Paris soon, I hope. Anyway, during my two-week trip I faced a lot of small problems. And these problems are common problems that travelers will face. I hope my tips will help you in some ways.

1. Bring extension cord
If you are traveling with someone or have a lot of devices, make sure you bring an extension cord so that you can charge multiple devices at once. And if you are traveling to countries with different power socket, all you need to bring is one international power socket, and the rest of your devices are ready to charge with your extension cords.

2. Check out if the tap water is edible
Some countries have tap water that is perfectly fine to drink. Refill the water from your hotel room with the mineral water bottle provided in the room before you head out. Subsequently you can refill the water anywhere else. That way you can save a lot of money since drinking water can cost a lot. Total money save from this tip = 14euros

3. Bring a Starbucks tumbler
Starbucks tumbler is one of those thing worth investing if you travel often. It is like a passport for you to use the Starbucks service anywhere in the world. Bring your tumbler to Starbucks and ask for hot water, throw your own tea bag into it and you can enjoy your tea while surfing free internet without feeling guilty of not buying anything. Also, some countries, especially Europe, do not have free public toilet. This is when Starbucks service comes handy where you can use the Starbucks toilet without having to pay a single cent. The public toilet can cost up to 2euros per visit and a drink can cost 4euros, plus 3euros of 1 hour internet. By just refilling hot water into your Starbucks tumbler, you save 9euros. You will thank me for this tip.

4. Keep an empty shopping bag the size bigger than your handbag
If you carry a luxurious handbag around (which I advise against it), you should keep a shopping bag bigger in size than your handbag. When you have to put your handbag under the seat in the airplane, simply put your handbag in the shopping bag to protect it. Or when you need to leave your handbag at the museum locker, hide your expensive handbag inside the shopping bag to advoid theft case. When it's raining or you have to take a boat ride, again, protect your bag against the water by putting it into the shopping bag. It works as a case for your bag whenever you need it.

5. Do not use padlock to lock your luggage
I know a lot of you concern with luggage security especially we don't know what happen after we check in our bags. Don't be overly protective of your bag and use s padlock to secure your bags. If the airport officer suspect something in your bag, they will be forced to cut open your bag which might ruin your luggage. Take note that they have the right to do so and your arguments are invalid. If you have to lock it anyway, use an official international luggage padlock which you can find it in any luggage store. The custom officer should have a master key to open the padlock without having to destroy your luggage.

6. Bring a lip balm
Not just for the lips. If your leg gets friction from long walk, rub some of the lip balm on your skin as a barrier to stop more friction. Also, you can apply a layer of lip balm if you get any open wound to prevent bacteria from getting onto your skin. Alternatively, you can pack a tube of Vaseline with you. I much prefer shea butter lip balm because I'm not a fan of petroleum jelly.

#7 - Always pack instant noodle with you
I know that while traveling you should explore the local food whether you like it or not. It is the experience that counts right? Many times I got up at wee hours due to jetlag and I couldn't find any food. While in Amsterdam I keep waking up at 3AM because my biological clock yet to adjust itself. This is when instant noodle saved my life. Sometimes when I'm rushing from point A to point B and didn't have time to stop by for food, I just make myself an instant noodle first. This allow me an extra one hour before I go hungry again.

Have you heard any of the tips I shared above? Or do you have any travel tips to share with me? Let me know in the comment section below. 

May 4, 2017

Athens (Greece) 2 Days Itinerary

If  you have only 2 days to spend in Athens, my advise is to stay in Plaka. I stayed at the Hermes Hotel, the location is perfect. Athens is a relaxing city. If you wish to get to know the city in detailed, you need to spend approximately a week. A 2-days trip is actually not enough to discover Athens thoroughly, but if that is the only duration that you can afford, you might as well make the most out of your trip.

Day 1:
  • Ancient Agora - Temple of Hephaestus - Stoa of Attalos
  • Plaka - pick a cafe for your caffeine recharge
  • Agias Eirinis Square - have your dinner at School Pizza Bar
  • For the late-nighters, visit Osterman for the best cocktail in town

Day 2:
  • Breakfast at Yiasemi Café
  • Acropolis tour - Parthenon - Ordeon of Herodes Atticus - Temple of Athena Nike - Theater of Dionysus
  • Late afternoon coffe at Benaki Cafe, arguably has the best coffee in town
  • End your trip with some shopping at M Shop

As an artist, I find Athens gave me a lot of inspiration, especially how the past and present sought to co-exist and create a unique culture. Athens is best explore by foot. Scrutinize the architectures and take the opportunity to walk-in into every store in Plaka. There are so many things to discover at Athens other than the Ancient Greece history.  
Check out <<this post>> on how to create your itinerary step-by-step.

A day trip in Antwerp (Belgium)

I have been putting travel posts behind the scene on this blog for awhile now because travel isn't in my mind at the moment due to my tight schedule. But I want to take a bit of my time to tell you about Antwerp. I only had a day trip there and it is the most amazing town that I have seen in Belgium.

I get to know about this city from Monocle Forecast magazine that I bought early of 2016. It's been in my mind throughout the year to visit the place. Thankfully, at the end of the year, I had the chance to visit the city. It's like a dream come true.

Getting into Antwerp:
I took a train from Bruxelles Central (Brussels Central Station) and arrived at Antwerpen (the local spelling) half an hour later. Once arrived, I was greeted by the station grand clock inside the building. I look it up online and this is the most beautiful train station clock in the world. My photo don't do justice to the magnificent clock, but you'll get the idea...

My favorite organic fast food restaurant, Exki. Go for clean eating!
Outside the train station
Grote Markt

The significant beauty of Antwerp is the classic 19th century architectures with modern shop fronts reimagined by young designers. The fact that you can see, feel and experience the past and the present through the buildings, food, culture and way of life makes this place one of the unique town in Europe. Although living in the shadow of the more popular sibling, Brussels, Antwerp is not shy away from visitors. It has been serving Belgium as a port since the Middle Age which grants them the bragging rights over the economy power of the country. Thousands of diamond traders here carry their multi-billion dollar businesses and you can even grab the opportunity to own a high-quality diamond at a bargained price.

Het Steen. Ain't it look like Harry Potter scene?

Good to know:

  • Every first Sunday of the month is dedicated to shopping activities at Antwerp. There will be performances, flash sales, and you can even get a cheaper train pass. 
  • Antwerp is well-known for its cheap diamond. Bring extra cash to grab high-quality diamonds at bargained price. 
  • The town can be explored in a day. But to get a complete experience, I would recommend you to stay a night. 
  • Visit the old town in December and you can experience the Christmas market and pop-up ice skating rink.
Where to stay:
Hilton Antwerp Old Town is a strategic place to stay. All the attractions are within walking distance from the hotel.

Before leaving Antwerp, I bought the 2017 Monocle Forecast. It is the magazine that brought me here and hopefully, it will bring me to the next amazing place.

2017 to-visit according to Monocle Forecast is Cardiff. Let's go!!!!