Archive | April, 2012

Weekend trip@Macau

26 Apr

I have been longing to see The House of Dancing Water since the day I saw their advertisement, but have never had the chance to pay a short visit to Macau. Therefore, I was so excited when my friend suggested going to Macau during Easter. We bought the Hard Rock Hotel Package through The House of Dancing Water’s official website, and paid an extra MOP$280 to upgrade our tickets from Zone C to Zone B. While we called the hotel to upgrade our tickets, the staff  kindly reminded me that the seats available are near the stage and we would get wet during the performance; so if you don’t want to get wet, do check with the staff before buying your tickets.

Day 1

We bought our Turbojet tickets online and chose to leave Hong Kong at 10:30am. We took the free shuttle bus to the Grand Lisboa after we arrived Macau. We weren’t interested in gambling at all, we just wanted to get off somewhere close to the area around Ruins of St.Paul’s. The shuttle bus stopped in the basement, so we had to pass through the casino to get back to ground level, and I think many people were also taking advantage of the free shuttle bus service too.

When we got to the area near Ruins of St. Paul’s, we spotted a long queue outside 2 shops. I have seen them being recommended in our travel guide book so we decided to give it a try. The 2 shops are next to each other, so we split up, my friend queued for the egg crisps while I queued for the pepper meat balls.

Pepper meat balls (Pepper buns) are one of my favourite Taiwanese foods, but I haven’t seen them being sold in Hong Kong, so I was very happy to see them. Although this shop is also from Taiwan, it cannot be compared with the ones I ate in Kaohsiung. It was yummy and juicy inside, but I think there’s not enough meat fillings and spring onions inside, and I think it’s a little bit pricey. Pepper meat balls are very hot just out of the oven, so be careful!

Tai Kwan: Pepper meat ball (Pepper bun)

Tai Kwan’s pepper meat ball (MOP$13)

As for the egg crisps, the shop was packed with people, so customers could only choose either buying a small pack at MOP$10 or a larger pack at MOP$20. We chose the smaller pack because we weren’t sure if it was good or not. My thought? I didn’t really like it, neither did my friend. They are just egg biscuits, smell good but were a bit dry, not particularly tasty. I, however, do appreciate and support these traditional shops  for their history and their insistence to keep these traditional food. I enjoy watching them make these egg crisps by just using simple tools and everything is hand-made.

Pun Veng Kei

Pun Veng Kei: Egg Crisp

Pun Veng Kei’s egg crisp (a packet@MOP$10)

It was very crowded in the tourism area and the weather wasn’t really good, so I wasn’t in mood to take photos.

Untitled

I wonder how local people react to the crowd of tourists around their home every day

A sneak peek of Macau

A sneak peek of Macau from the top of Ruins of St. Paul’s

We then walked to the Fishermen’s Wharf, which was absolutely a disappointment. Not sure if we went there at the wrong time or day, there wasn’t anything special at the area. No shops, no restaurants, nothing to see at all. Maybe it would have been better if it was a sunny day, at least it would be nice to walk along the promenade. If you only have a day in Macau, don’t bother going there.

We then went back to the area near the Ruins of St. Paul’s to buy some souvenirs. I only got a pack of dried meat, as I wasn’t interested in almond cakes or any other products.

Dried meat

Dried meat

After that, we went for lunch at Wong Chi Kei. Well, I have to say I’m not a fan of Chinese-style noodles like wonton noodles and fish ball noodles, but I tried their restaurant in Hong Kong and I liked it, so when my friend said she wanna try Wong Chi Kei, I didn’t object. I wasn’t feeling well, so I chose something light, noodles with ginger and spring onions. It was tasty and reasonably priced, considering it’s located at the center of the tourism district.

Wong Chi Kei: Noodles with ginger and spring onions

Wong Chi Kei’s noodles with ginger and spring onions

After that we took the shuttle bus to our hotel. We were lucky to discover that the hotel offers free shuttle bus service somewhere near the tourism district while we walked to the Fishermen’s Wharf. My first impression of the Hard Rock Hotel: it was hippy and modern but I didn’t like the uniform of the reception staff. Our room was pretty spacious. The facilities inside the bathroom were nice too, especially the bathroom scale, a very good tool to check if you have gained too much weight during your trip. There’s also a very creepy magnifying mirror inside the bathroom, it’s so clear that you can see every pore and every fine hair on your face. I, however, didn’t really like the idea of separating the toilet and the bathroom, especially because there’s no wash basin inside the toilet.

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

After a short rest at the hotel, we went down and had a walk around the City of Dreams. We also got our free tickets to watch the Dragon’s Treasure Show after the House of Dancing Water.

Finally the highlight of the trip! My camera wasn’t good enough to take fantastic photos, as it was pretty dark inside and the performers were moving around all the time, so it was hard to capture them. Even so, I would definitely recommend people watching it. It was full of excitement and laughter. We were seated in the 2nd row in Zone B, and we did get wet, but it was fun. The performers tried to interact with the audience, and sometimes they intended to get the audience wet. To me, the most exciting part of this performance was seeing Faye Leung, a former principal dancer of Hong Kong Ballet and one of my favourite dancers; I love watching her dance, so it was great to see her dance and perform again, though it wasn’t a real ballet performance and she wasn’t wearing pointe shoes. If I have a chance, I would like to watch it again, because I believe you will have a different experience each time, depending on where you sit and the performers’ interaction with the audience.

After the amazing performance, we went to watch the Dragon’s Treasure Show, which was disappointing. I think this show is made to suit people who are planning to gamble and get some luck while they are at the casinos. Little kids might like it too, but definitely not for me. Only watch it if you have time and can get the tickets for free.

Day 2

We didn’t plan anything special for the next day, we just went to The Venetian and had a walk at the Grand Canal Shoppes. It was a little bit disappointing too, as it wasn’t as lively as I thought it would be. We firstly had a Portuguese egg tart at Lord Stow’s Bakery & Cafe, which was just okay, it wasn’t hot enough.

Lord Stow's Bakery & Cafe: Portuguese Egg Tart

Lord Stow’s Bakery & Cafe’s Portuguese egg tart

Then we went to Victoria’s Secrets, but didn’t find anything, as they only sell a small range of products. After hanging round a bit, we went to Tai Lei Lok Kei to eat their famous pork chop bun. They are a bit pricey, and they are marked a bit higher than their original store. However I think it’s very delicious; the pork chop was tender and juicy, and the bun was crispy on the outside and soft inside. It would be perfect if there were caramelized onions, but it seems like the Macau-style pork chop bun doesn’t come with onions. Anyway, I would still recommend this!

Tai Lei Loi Kei: Pork Chop Bun

Tai Lei Loi Kei’s pork chop bun

After a delicious and simple lunch, we headed back to our hotel to grab our stuffs, and took the free shuttle bus to the Taipa temporary ferry terminal. The ferry trip back to Hong Kong was included in our hotel package, and you can choose your own schedule when you check-in the hotel, as long as tickets are still available.

Getting on board the ferry wasn’t fun at all. We originally planned to take the ferry at 2pm, but we arrived earlier than expected. It took us a relatively long wait to pass through immigration, and when we arrived at the waiting area it was a few minutes to 1pm, but the staff still put us on the 1pm ferry instead of the 1:30pm one. In the end, we had to run to get on board, and I’m not joking, it was a very long run from the waiting area till we reached the ferry. We knew the ferry would wait for us, but we also knew that all the other customers were on board already, and we felt like we have to run to avoid them waiting for us.

Slightly chaotic, anyhow that’s the end of my weekend trip in Macau!

P.S. Do make good use of the free shuttle bus service offered by different hotels and casinos when you are in Macau. 

Advertisements

Review: Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush

15 Apr

I have seen people raving about this type of silicone facial cleansing pad, so I thought I might also get one to see if it really works. I don’t think it’s very popular here in Hong Kong, and after some research, I only find that something similar is being sold at Sasa, and you don’t really have another choice, Sasatinnie is the only one available there. I will try to see if other beauty retails stores sell similar products and update you if I find any.

Before you buy it, you can actually feel the texture of the brush, as there’s this little round silicone piece on the top right hand corner. It’s soft and I don’t think it would be too harsh on our skin, but I still recommend people to use it with a gentle hand and stop using it when it irritates your skin, especially those with sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (HKD$50)

There’s no clear instruction on how to use the brush, it only tells you how to hold it and take care of it, so I looked up on the Internet to see how others use it. For me, I firstly put some of my facial cleanser on my face and pour a bit on the cleansing brush. Avoiding area around the eye, I start massaging my face for about 1 to 2 minutes and then rinse it off. The facial cleanser I’m using now is Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, but I feel like it’s better to use a facial cleanser that foams and lathers up, as it adds an extra protection to the skin while massaging.

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (Back)

Back of the packaging

Until now, I don’t really see a huge difference on its effect on removing blackheads, but I think it’s a really good tool for facial massage, which stimulates blood circulation and for relaxation purpose. I also feel like it helps cleanse away dead skin, and it leaves my skin feeling smoother.

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (Front)

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (Front)

Many people say that it slips when using these kind of cleansing brush/pad, however I didn’t experience any similar problem. The shape of the brush makes it easy to use and control, though I’m a bit worried if the small circular silicone piece will fall off from the larger piece after some time, as the connecting part looks a bit fragile to me.

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (Back)

Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush (Back)

Overall, I think this product is okay, I won’t say it does miracle on my face, but it does make my skin feel smoother and softer, and I like how I can use it as a facial massage tool. I, however, won’t use it on a daily basis, because I have slightly sensitive skin and skin redness problem.

Downsides:

  • I think it is a bit pricey. Though HKD$50 isn’t much at all, but I have seen similar product being sold at a lower price on the Internet, and I have also seen bloggers getting similar products at other beauty retail shops at a lower price too.
  • There’s a suction disc on the back of the brush so that you can attach it on the wall inside your shower, but it keeps falling off, so I don’t think it’s useful at all.

Update:

Found something very similar at CitySuper for HKD$44, a bit cheaper than Sasa’s.

Day 4@Auckland, New Zealand

10 Apr

Today’s plan is to take the ferry to Devonport. It was really sunny, and my legs were burning under the sun while waiting for the ferry to leave the pier. Finally, the ferry left at 12pm, it was only a 12-minute ride and the view was spectacular.

Ferry ticket to Devonport

Ferry ticket to Devonport

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry ride

I was planning to visit Mount Victoria, as I heard the view from above was great, so I walked along Victoria Road and climbed up Mount Victoria. It’s easy to find your way up, but be aware, it is a pretty steep slope, yet definitely worth it. On top of the mountain, you will have a very nice view of Auckland downtown and nearby islands. It would also make a nice place for a picnic or just lying on the grass for a rest.

Slope up to Mount Victoria

Slope up to Mount Victoria

On top of Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on top of Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of the Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from the top of Mount Victoria

After spending some time on Mount Victoria, I went back to Devonport downtown and had a walk there. There were a number of cafes, restaurants and little shops. I got snappers and chips at Catch 22, which was just okay. There were lots of chips, but I would like it with more salt, instead of just a small pack that they provided. There were two pieces of snappers, one large and one small. The smaller one was good, but the larger one wasn’t that good, as the batter wasn’t crispy. Overall, the fish was good.

After lunch, I had a walk along the coast, and then I took the ferry back to downtown Auckland, and that was basically the end of day 4.

Review: Naris Up, Marine Collagen Skin Moisturizing Lotion

8 Apr

I heard about this product from one of my favourite beauty gurus, Michelle Phan. She used this skin moisturizing lotion to DIY her own cotton mask. I later realize that this product is sold in Hong Kong and it can be used as a toner too. As I didn’t like the previous toner (Senka Skin Lotion) I was using, so I decided to try this out.

Naris Up Skin Conditioner (Front)

Naris Up Marine Collagen Skin Moisturizing Lotion (HKD$45)

Naris Up Skin Conditioner (Back)

Naris Up Marine Collagen Skin Moisturizing Lotion (Back)

To be honest, I don’t really feel like any toner that I have used so far does wonders on my face, and I don’t know how effective they are on my skin, but since many people say it’s necessary to apply toner before putting on other skincare products, I’m still using toner, which I think it’s more an excuse to try and buy different products.

As a toner, I don’t really like this product, because I don’t feel the effect on my skin and the finishing touch. It doesn’t have much scent, but I can feel a slight touch of alcohol.

Although I don’t like using it as a toner, it’s a great product as a hydrating mask. I have nose allergy, so when the situation is a bit serious, the tip of my nose gets really dry because of the intense rubbing by facial tissues. And even if you use the softest tissues, your nose will still get super dry and skin will start to peel off. So when those days came and I had to go for a job interview the other day, I decided to soak a cotton pad with the skin moisturizing lotion and rest it on the tip of my nose for around 3 minutes, and very surprisingly my nose became very hydrated and I didn’t have any problem with skin peeling off.

So nowadays when I suddenly want a quick hydrating mask, I soak a compressed facial mask with the skin moisturizing lotion and leave it on for 3 minutes. I then pad the product into my skin, and continue with my regular skincare routine.

I do like to use it as a hydrating mask or an emergency facial mask, and will consider repurchasing it once I run out of it. Considering the price and the amount you get, I think it’s good to have it in your skincare collection. I bought mine at Sasa, and Naris Up actually has other skin moisturizing lotions with different effects, so you can choose the one that suits your skin type.

You can also check out Michelle’s video and see her detailed demonstration: http://www.michellephan.com/post/diy-cotton-mask-tutorial-bonus-pics-and-instructions

Restaurant Review: La Creperie, Wai Chai

7 Apr

I had my first crepe when I was in France; I still remember my French teacher taking the whole class to a restaurant in Dijon that specializes in crepe , where I had a crepe with 4 different kinds of cheese and a sweet crepe with blackcurrant. I know there are 2 restaurants that specialize in crepe in Hong Kong, but didn’t have a chance to try it. It was Good Friday and I finally met up with 2 of my friends and tried out this restaurant.

La Creperie: Les Pierres Noires

Les Pierres Noires (HKD$118)

I had to struggle when choosing, because all of them seem very delicious, but in the end I made my decision and chose Les Pierres Noires, which has smoked ham, egg, Camembert cheese, tomatoes and some salad on the side. It was delicious, with a generous amount of smoked ham and Camembert cheese. Everything was nice, except the tomatoes weren’t great.

La Creperie: La Plougastel

La Plougastel (HKD$69)

We then ordered a sweet crepe to share among the 3 of us, which came with strawberries, strawberry ice-cream and some chocolate sauce. The strawberries were fresh and the strawberry ice-cream was delicious!

Environment: 8/10 (It wasn’t crowded during public holiday, pretty quiet)

Service: 7/10 (The service wasn’t really nice, the staff weren’t really enthusiastic)

Food:  8/10 (Pretty good if you wanna try French crepe)

Overall: Nice place to try some authentic crepe, but don’t expect their service to be great. Try their weekday set lunch as it’s a cheaper option.

Address: 1/F, Kui Chi Mansion, 100-102 Queen’s Road East, Wai Chai

Review: April 2012 Glamabox

5 Apr

My second Glamabox arrived on 5th April! Unlike last month, my Glamabox was delivered by Yamato Transport instead of by Hong Kong Registered Post. A staff from the delivery company called me 15 minutes before to check if I was at home, and their service was good as usual.

The packaging was basically the same as last month, so I didn’t take any photos of them. If you want to see how it  looks like, please refer to my March 2012 Glamabox review. This month there’s no full-size products, but only 5 sample products included.

April 2012 Glamabox

[From left to right]
Mud Rang
 Cleansing Foam
Aromatica
Rose Absolute First Serum
Spa ph+ PHYTO-C Phyto Plus Gel Set
Glamour Perfume and Fragrance 
Kamill Classic Hand Cream


Among all the brands included in this month’s Glamabox, I have only heard of Kamill. I know they are famous for their hand cream, but I have never tried them before, as I’m a bit picky when it comes to hand cream, so it’s good to see a sample size included for me to try it out. I’m particularly interested in the rose serum from Aromatica and the cleansing foam from Mud Rang, as I’m still in the process of finding a serum and facial cleanser that suit my skin type. Not really interested in the gel by Spa ph+ though, but will see how it goes. As for the tiny fragrance, the amount is really too little but I like the idea that you can create your own personal perfume and fragrance.

Overall, I’m satisfied with this month’s Glamabox, as I think all the products are suitable for me to try and use. Although this is a beauty box subscription, it would have been more fun if they included something related to Easter in this month’s box, maybe an Easter egg or a little bunny.  Anyway, I will continue to subscribe and review next month. Let me know how you think if you have also subscribed to Glamabox or any other beauty box subscriptions.

P.S. Product reviews will be up once I have tried them.

  • Kamill Classic Hand Cream
    I won’t say it’s super moisturizing, but I really like the scent. I have it in my make-up bag where I carry around everyday; every time I use it at work, I feel refreshed, so definitely something I will consider purchasing.
  • Mud Rang Cleansing Foam
    When I first saw the words “Mud Rang” and mineral, I was expecting it to be greyish in colour; however it’s actually light brown in colour. Used it a few times, not something I really like, just an average cleansing foam. My skin feels a bit tight after using it, but not to a status that it makes my skin dry. What I like about it is that it lathers up really well, so it is very gentle on my skin, and it works with my Sasatinnie Facial Cleansing Brush.

Review: The Balm, Down Boy

4 Apr

I have never heard of the brand “The Balm” before, but discovered it when I was wandering in Sasa. I went home to research the brand, and saw how people compare it with Benefit. I don’t own any Benefit products, but have always wanted to try them. Since people say they are pretty similar but The Balm is much cheaper, so I decided to give it a try.

I am particularly interested in their blush. At first I wanted to get Frat Boy, but Sasa didn’t have it, so I went for Down Boy. Some people may not like the packaging because of the “sexual” names and images. I actually like the playful vintage style, and also the magnetic cardboard packaging. It has a small mirror inside, not particularly useful for me as I don’t carry my blush around and touch-up during the day.

The Balm Down Boy

The Balm Down Boy (HKD$120)

I was a bit skeptical about this matte baby pink colour, a bit worried if it would look fake on my cheek and too pinkish. However, out of my expectation, it looks very natural on the cheek, though I think it’s not as flattering as my Bourjois blush on my skin tone.

The Balm Down Boy

Close up of The Balm Down Boy

The first time when I use my brush to pick up the product, it looks a bit chalky. However, once applied on my cheek, it applies smoothly. The product is pretty pigmented but blends in easily; I recommend applying with a light hand, and gradually build it up when necessary. It’s also fairly long-lasting, stays on my cheek for at least 6 hours.

Swatch: The Balm Down Boy

Swatch: The Balm Down Boy

I would also like to get hold of the other blushes and maybe try their concealer too! However there’s one BIG downside: it’s not easy to find their products in Hong Kong, I went to at least 4 Sasa stores, and finally found Down Boy at one of their Tsim Sha Tsui stores. Apparently not all Sasa stores sell their products, and even if they do, they do not carry the whole line and many products are out of stock.

If you don’t like pink blush, you may try Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush (Rose Ambre 74), my other favourite blush.

Movie Review: First Position

1 Apr

I’m definitely not a movie fan; I seldom go to the cinema, unless my friends invite me to or there’s a movie that I particularly want to watch, which is a rare thing. Therefore it’s very uncommon that I decided to go and buy a ticket to watch this film without accompany at all. I’m used to watching ballet performances or musicals on my own, but it’s the first time I ever went to a cinema on my own, and I can ensure you, it’s totally worthy.

I saw the trailer of First Position probably half a year ago, and was waiting for the release of their DVD, because these kind of movies normally won’t be on air in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, I saw one of my old ballet friends saying on Facebook that it’s going to be included in the Hong Kong International Film Festival this year, so I decided to check it out. I couldn’t find anyone to watch it with me because of the weird showing time, but I decided to watch it on my own anyhow, because there hasn’t really been a movie that only features ballet for a long time.

Billy Elliot and Center Stage are my favourite dance movies, and First Position is definitely going to be on my list! This documentary follows 6 talented young dancers while they compete at the Youth America Grand Prix, showing how they struggle and work very hard to succeed, hoping to get into the finals, win the competition, a scholarship or a place in a ballet company, and also showing their love and passion for dance.

Unlike other dance documentaries, I think this documentary gives you a picture of the reality but not all on the “dark” side. I remember seeing some ballet documentaries showing the painful process of dancing, little dancers crying because of the pain and being scold by teachers. Well, I know this is all true but this documentary does a better job and makes a balance between the “bright” and the “dark” side in the dancing world. On the other hand, some dance-related movies seem too commercial, focusing more on the plot and love relationship, while this documentary is based on the dancers’ true stories and focusing on ballet and dancing itself.

This documentary is full of laughter and tears. Happy moments like the cute little Jules, who tries very hard to jump high but often fails and falls down, and how his teacher covers his eyes after seeing him like that. Touching moments like Joan returning home after more than a year in the States and how his family fully supports him. Moments of struggle like how Michaela overcomes her pain during the competition. Well, there’s just too many awesome and memorable scenes, hard to name them all.

If you are a ballet fan, I’m sure you will love this documentary. For those who don’t know much about ballet and dance, do watch it if you have a chance, you will start to understand why so many people love ballet and understand the hardship and effort dancers have put into dancing in order to stand on the stage.

One of my favourite dancers in the documentary: Miko Forgarty

I found some more recent videos of Miko dancing, definitely check out this young girl, she’s talented and amazing! (http://youtu.be/azQxyOORm8s )

Gaya (Second from the left) and Aran (Second from the right)

Gaya is also one of my favourite dancers, as I really like her expression on stage, very determined and expressive.

Official website: http://www.balletdocumentary.com/

P.S. Happy April’s Fool! xd