Friday, December 15, 2017

Exfoliating with IDS Facial Scrub

There was quite a lot of hype around IDS (Innovative Dermatological Solutions) a while back so I got curious and decided to try the facial scrub, which is very well-received online. But it seems like the brand underwent a revamp and what I have above is the old version. I'm not sure if it's just packaging but here's a review anyways.

I got the IDS Facial Scrub last August and I have been using it on and off ever since. It is still SGD62 for a 50ml tube, which is pretty pricey but you just need a pinch of it. After showering, I apply this to my face in gentle, circular motions. The beads are very fine and it heats up a little as you scrub. My skin is left feeling very smooth and soft once I wash it off... But this is also the case with other scrubs. I didn't notice any visible changes in my complexion.

I won't be repurchasing this because there are more pocket-friendly alternatives that give me the same effect but this is still a brand that I would continue to explore (Like the Lyco-White! So tempting but so expensive too. :\).

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

KonMari-ing My Beauty Stash

My room is literally littered with beauty products. And though I have made several attempts to reduce my stash, they are still pretty much everywhere because #consumerism. Lol. As some of you might know, I have been trying extremely hard to be a minimalist this year. So for a while now, I have sort of adopted the 'no buying, only replace' strategy where I try (again, extremely hard) not to buy new products, to use up what I have and only to replace those that I really love. It has been 80 52% successful? Lol. ಥ_ಥ

Anyway, here are some products which I have finished or stopped using in the past couple of months that I was MIA-ing here. :\

For hair

  • Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Masque
    With a 4.5 rating across 984 reviews on iHerb.com, I expected this to really transform my hair into a blanket of silk or something to that effect. But nope, this was so incredibly normal. In fact, it wasn't as effective as my usual conditioner from Tsubaki.

  • Tsubaki Head Spa Massage Spa Mask
    I discovered Tsubaki during my JC days and since then, I have been using it. Of course, I do dabble in other brands but I always have Tsubaki shampoos and conditioners under my sink. The above is my second tube. I always use this when my scalp and hair need some TLC and it always delivers. Always. ♥

For face

  • Annasalbe Ace Acne Cream
    I got this when I was in Japan earlier this year. According to MUA, this is a sulphur-based acne cream and it is the best I have tried since Eryacne. It is so effective in drying the heck out of pimples/ acne, whether they are just threatening to appear or have already reared their ugly heads. Definitely stocking up on this the next time I go Japan! ♥

  • Naruko Face Renewal Miracle Essence
    Okay, this, THIS, is my holy grail. I have used 1.5 bottles in the last 6 months (Please take note that I do spam it quite a bit when I'm happy. And then, this makes me happier so I spam it even more. (ؑ‷ᵕؑ̇‷)◞✧ ). It plumped my skin with moisture and made it feel so incredibly healthy that I got compliments on my skin. And you need to know that that hardly ever happens in my life. Even my facial therapist commented that my skin was good. But anyway, I decided to go Europe and my skin's a little messed up from the cold and flu now, so the texture of the inner cheeks is a little rough. But but, it's getting better day by day with this (And my trusty Aveeno moisturizer!)! ♥♥♥

  • Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil
    Oh gawd. This is really expensive and it's actually my 2nd bottle. A few drops of this mixed into DermaVeen was very good for my dry skin in 2014. But fast forward to this year, it just stopped. Unfortunately... Or fortunately. Heh. Well, skin is always changing so *shrugs*. Really painful on the heart though. Also, the cap gets sticky in our climate like NARS packaging so that's a bit icky. :\

For body

  • Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Powder Liquid
    I have sensitive skin everywhere so I can't use deodorants. Instead, I use pimple solutions. It was Stridex previously but we all know that that's really quite strong and drying. Hence, I made the switch to Cosrx. This is double the price but it is also so much gentler and works just as well for me. I slather this on at night without facing any irritations, wash it off when I shower in the morning and I don't really smell throughout the day. Have already started on my backup *points above*. ◡̈ ♥

  • MooGoo Irritable Skin Balm
    I came across this brand on a mummy's forum last year while searching for remedies for my eczema and have stuck with it ever since. I was just spamming it on my back for a couple of days when I realised that hey, I wasn't itching anymore. And it has also helped Mum with her hot flushes and Gran with her dry skin. I really like that it's light, sinks into skin quickly and doesn't leave any residual layer (Which can actually add on to the whole itching situation.). Please take note that it doesn't cure eczema. It only helps you manage it better. I have recommended this to friends and well, it's pretty much YMMV but some have gotten onto the bandwagon too. You can buy this from Isetan, Kiddy Palace or place a bulk order on their Aussie website. ♥
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Friday, September 8, 2017

Washing my face with roses from Su:m37˚

When iHerb started their 'K-Beauty' section, I spent several bus journeys scrolling through the items they offered. And of course, the Su:m37˚ Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick caught my eye. After all, this luxuriously magical product was OOS everywhere at one time. For those who don't know, this travel-friendly solid cleanser comes in a twist-up tube and is a small but precious column of essential oils, dotted with actual rose petals. To use it, swivel the cleanser on wet palms and wash your face as usual.

Some people have broken out from this which caused me quite a bit of worrying, especially with last year's (traumatic) encounter with facial eczema. But you know, skincare products, roses... So tempting! And thankfully, my very sensitive skin didn't react aversely to it. It was a sheer delight to use, but only because of the rose scent. It doesn't strip my skin after cleansing, but it isn't life-changing either. More of a want than a need, really because it doesn't come cheap. Also, I can't help but wonder how hygienic it is to wet the cleanser and then, let it dry in the tube like that. Same concern with bar soaps.

Still, my interest in Su:m37˚ is piqued and the next item that I really want to try is the Secret Essence. If I can tear myself away from Naruko Face Renewal Miracle Essence, which is another story for another time. Till then, x.

Su:m37˚ Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick retails at SGD36.20 on iHerb.com.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Revolution among Florists – A Better Florist

It's not that often that I can find a florist that not only meets, but also exceeds my expectations. I love a good flower bouquet, and some of my fondest memories involve stunning flowers. I’ve seen my fair share of florists in Singapore, and I’ve ordered from many as well. However, I was most impressed by A Better Florist. Looking for the ideal, gift shop Singapore has, that is packed with beautiful blooms but offers so many creative gifts?

I want to start by stating that they have the best flower delivery in Singapore, ever. Their delivery is so fast, you’ll never forget a bouquet for special occasions ever again. They deliver all day, every day, even on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, New Years Eve, Chinese New Year's etc. If you are in a flower emergency, like I was numerous times before, they can cater to you immediately. Place the order, on the website or in the shop, and they will deliver it within only 90 minutes!

What makes them the best florist in Singapore apart from the greatest flower delivery Singapore has ever seen, are their skills and the ability to create beautiful and breathtaking blooms. Their bouquets and arrangements resemble a flower masterpiece, because they invest a lot of time and attention into every single bouquet. They pay attention to every detail, and make sure that each bouquet sends out the right message.

One of the greatest perk, especially for all that are tech savvy and the millennials, is their Online flower delivery Singapore is yet to experience in full. You don't even have to leave your home to take advantage of their fast delivery. Just a few clicks and you can place your order, without having to run around Singapore.

I've also found that they have a Dubai flower delivery and a Hong Kong flower delivery. If you read a little bit more, you'll see that they are known online through reviews and articles as the as the best florist in Hong Kong and the best florist in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, they are known to be the best flower delivery in Hong Kong.

The bouquet delivery Singapore florists have offered so far has to step up, because A Better Florist changed the game for good! I highly recommend you check out one of their signature blooms, they are stunning! In my opinion, this is the best florist in Singapore so far, and I can't wait to see what they create next.

(by Elma Humpries)

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 5 そばを自分で作った!


Learnt how to make soba from Agishiさん! あぎしさんにそばの作り方を習った!

The soba we made! 自分で作ったそば!ちょっと硬かった…(笑)
喜香庵
http://h-takarajima.com/detail/index/2885

On the 2nd last day of the trip, Mum and Megumiさん arranged for a soba-making session at 喜香庵 (I'm so sorry, this is the limit of my N4 Japanese. I have no idea how to pronounce this ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶, but click on the link above or you can always make arrangements with Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. (。•́‿•̀。)). Agishiさん first showed us how he made soba and then, the whole family took turns making our own soba together, under his patient guidance! It was a really good arm workout. Haha. Thereafter, Agishiさん and his wife (I think) cooked our (hard and uneven) soba for us, fed us his own (al dente) soba and we washed them all down with soba tea. We also ordered soba ice-cream which was a pure bowl of happiness! Someone needs to bring this to Singapore, stat. (*꒦ິ꒳꒦ີ)


Aunt Jam's Workshop ジャムおばさんのジャム工房

Yanase Takashi's Anpanman Shop やなせ たかしの店(ふらの店)

Furano Jam Garden
https://www.furanojam.com/furano_us/

Next stop was Furano Jam Garden, where we tried jam flavours we never knew existed and visited Anpanman. There are many gifts and souvenirs here that you can buy back for loved ones and if you want a hands-on experience, there's a jam-making class too. Just remember to make a reservation before 5.30pm the day before (Tel.: 0167-29-2233)!


Ninguru Terrace ニングルテラス

In fairytale land.

Ninguru Terrace's cookie. ٩(◕‿◕。)۶

Ninguru Terrace
http://www.furanotourism.com/en/spot/spot_D.php?id=2&kid1=1&kid2=8&kid3=26

Ninguru Terrace was just a stone's throw away from our hotel in Furano so we dropped by before dinner. This fairytale-like place is a collection of cottages selling handmade art and craft. There were intricately-carved wooden ornaments, candles with faces on them, leather crafts... And their very own cafe which serves really good baked milk and cookies!

↟↟↟

Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 4 私のデー


Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade 狸小路商店街

Don Quijote ドン・キホーテ on the right!

Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade
http://www.sapporo.travel/find/shops/tanukikoji_shopping_arcade/?lang=en

Day 4 was a free and easy day. We spent the late morning and noon exploring Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade, which is a 1km stretch of non-stop shopping. You have the super-duper awesome drugstores, clothes, souvenirs, food/ snacks... Basically everything is there, including Don Quijote (Free Wi-Fi.)! This place is also linked to the Sapporo Underground Shopping Malls, which means more shopping! Haha. You really can spend an entire day here but I decided to explore Sapporo a little more so I headed to...


Along the way.

Odori Park 大通公園

Sapporo TV Tower さっぽろテレビ塔
I want to try on a kimono the next time!

Odori Park
http://www.sapporo-park.or.jp/odori/en/

Sapporo TV Tower
https://www.tv-tower.co.jp/en/

Odori Park, where Sapporo TV Tower is! The park, though small, is beautifully littered with flowers. There's a water fountain right in the middle and people sit around it to enjoy ice-cream. For the TV Tower, you can actually go up to the observation deck and get a bird's eye view of the city. And then, there's the Information Centre and Official Shop where you can get complimentary maps and travel guides in various languages. And that was where I discovered...

Along the way.
The Old Hokkaido Government Building 赤れんが庁舎

The Old Hokkaido Government Building
http://www.sapporo.travel/find/culture/former_hokkaido_government_office/?lang=en

The Old Hokkaido Government Building, which was built in 1888 and is a symbol of Sapporo. It houses several rooms of exhibits relating Hokkaido's history and the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute among Japan, Russia and the Ainu people. It was a tad heavy to end the day with, but history buffs will definitely have a good time here. ◡̈

↟↟↟

Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 3 白い恋人パーク + たくさんアイスクリーム


My Shiroi Koibito Park 白い恋人パーク passport

Shiroi Koibito Park's Oompa Loompa

To carry around wherever you go. Keep out of reach of children.

Darth Vader wants Shiroi Koibito too.
Shiroi Koibito Park
http://www.shiroikoibitopark.jp/english/

The first half of Day 3 was spent exploring the factory that churns out everyone's all-time favourite biscuits. When you first arrive, you will be given your very own Shiroi Koibito passport to help guide you around the factory and also, tell you about the biscuit's history... Which was very Project Work-ish. Hahaha. Anyway, it was really cool to see the factory workers doing quality control on the biscuits. And gosh, just look at those squares of goodness! ♡ ♡ ♡


The super Instagram-worthy garden outside.

Dad and Mum garden-happy.

Welcome to Ouran Highschool Host Club's French Garden Party.

Dad and his ice-cream.

The garden outside the factory is divided up into different themes, such as Gulliver Town and Rose Garden. Tons of spots for that perfect selfie/ OOTD shot. Everyone was just snapping away but the Lee family decided to get Shiroi Koibito ice-cream instead. Haha. I can't quite remember the taste... It was yummy but it wasn't anything that I couldn't get elsewhere, so you might want to save your sugar intake for cakes and cream puffs instead. Heh.


Ramen from the food court stall with the longest queue, but of course.
Ice-cream again!

Chitose Outlet Mall Rera
http://www.outlet-rera.com/english/

We spent the rest of the day at Chitose Outlet Mall Rera. My family didn't buy much but people around us were holding big bags so if you're into brands, this is the place for you. I spent a lot of time examining the drugstore shelves and looking at food and then, this happened.

Me: すみません、はさみ(つ) hasami ワインがありますか? (Do you have scissors wine here? Meant to say 'honey 蜂蜜 hachimitsu'.)
店員: ????????????!

My Japanese is so bad. :\ Studying this afternoon. (•̀o•́)ง

↟↟↟

Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 2 美味しかったケーキを食べった!


Lake Hill Farm レイクヒル・ファーム

Hokkaido's Li'l Sebastian

Rabbit stood up because he thought my phone was food. :\

A goat named Yuki.

Straight out of a postcard.

Nooo, my finger! ಥ_ಥ But look at the pretty Mount Yōtei!

Paper cow goes to Lake Hill Farm.

Lake Hill Farm
http://www.lake-hill.com/html/info/index.html

Day 2 saw us bidding the Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort goodbye very reluctantly, but we were excited for new adventures and so, we headed to Lake Hill Farm. Lake Hill Farm is famous for its very fresh and unique/ seasonal ice-cream flavours but unfortunately, we didn't have any!!! ಥ_ಥ We were quite taken by the animals instead. Haha. Well, it isn't everyday that I get to see horses, rabbits and goats really up-close. Heh. Anyway, the place was really pretty. It was spacious, not crowded, temperature was so good and the view was just so, so soothing.


Otaru Canal 小樽運河

Otaru Canal
http://www.city.otaru.lg.jp.e.go.hp.transer.com/kankou/miru_asobu_tomaru/kankosisetu/otaruunga.html

Otaru was our next stop and it's more of a city so there were more people, but still not as crowded as Singapore. Gosh, now that I think about it, it was actually quite therapeutic to be away from crowds. I'm more of a city person, so I'm full-time in Singapore and part-time in Bangkok haha, and there are always crowds and it can get quite draining..

Anyway, the above canal used to be part of the city's busy port during the first half of the 20th century, but took a rest permanently when technology came along. So right now, museums, shops and restaurants line the sides of it. (source) There were a couple of artists sketching the scenery and selling their work.


One of the streets in Otaru.

Live seafood.

Sakaimachi Street
http://en.otaru-sakaimachi.com

Otaru also has this street called Sakaimachi Street 境町通り. I wasn't looking out for signboards so I don't know where we walked to but we definitely walked through that street. There are may shops selling souvenirs, especially those that are made from glass. And we visited the famous Music Box Museum that's on the southern end of Sakaimachi Street. It is this massive building of intricately-designed musical boxes and nothing else. I was a little too concerned with not breaking any of them so no photos heh, but do take a look if you are in that area. It was kind of like a fairytale, really. (▰˘◡˘▰)



Double Fromage

Double Plate - Double Fromage, Chocolate Double and Venezia Rendezvous

LeTAO PATHOS
https://www.letao.jp/global/en/sp/shop/pathos.php

And cakes, WOHOO!!! The sister and I were looking forward to this because we caught a food programme on the plane and the guy was just gushing about LeTAO so much. I don't know what the first dessert is called but they were all so fluffy and fresh! If you're going to eat a couple of cakes though, because everything's like so nice and you can't make up your mind, do order the hot cocoa to help cleanse your palate before the next sweet dish. At least, that was what the guy suggested. And I did order the hot cocoa but I can't really remember much of it. I can, however, remember how much I wished that the Double Fromamge came in a bed version and you know, it's like you're sleeping on clouds, you wake up, take a bite and go right back to sleep. Mmhmm... Hahaha. #dreamsnevercometrue #becausetheyareunrealistic

Anyway, for those who don't know, LeTAO is actually in Singapore! Not the café, but we can buy the signature Double Frommage, chocolates and biscuits. It is more expensive but if you consider air fare, accommodation... It's actually pretty alright. :D Thinking of getting the Matcha one this Saturday, mmhmm! :DD

↟↟↟

Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 1 文化を習って、火山を見た。


Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village アイヌ民族博物館

All huts face the same direction and bears are regarded as gods of the mountains.

Traditional Ainu folk dance

Shiraoi Ainu Musuem and Village
http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/en/

The first attraction we visited was the Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village. The Ainu (Means 'human'.) people aren't really considered Japanese but they are the indigenous people of northern Japan. They believe that gods exist in all things, such as nature and animals, and that each entity comes from its own world and will return when it has completed its role. (source)

We were just in time for the Traditional Ainu folk dances, which happens every other hour. The hosts spoke only in Japanese but fret not, they have their scripts printed in a couple of languages which you can borrow. ◡̈ The songs and dances were really interesting and the village was incredibly tranquil and pretty.

(There's this section, though, where some bears and dogs are kept in incredibly cramped cages. ): You're not supposed to feed the animals but there was no one guarding, so there were a couple of visitors throwing food in and shouting at the animals to wake them up. )': Several complaints have been made online so hopefully, something gets done soon! )


Jigoku-dani 地獄谷

Earth boiling water.

Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley)
http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/?lang=en

Next stop was Hell Valley at Noboribetsu. This was basically my secondary school Physical Geography dream come true. Hot steam vents (Fumaroles, I think.) and white clouds of sulphur smoke littered the entire landscape. It was the first time that I saw how 'alive' the earth, which was really cool. I could't stop staring at the little boiling bubbles the earth was cooking!


Shoyu (Red) Ramen from Ippontei 一本亭の醤油(赤)ラーメン

Ramen Ippontei
http://good-hokkaido.info/en/ramen-ippontei/

For lunch, Mum found Ramen Ippontei which was included in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. It's a really small restaurant, which closes the minute they finish selling what they have prepared for the day. When we went there, it was actually full house (Everyone was Japanese. We were the only foreigners.) so we had to wait for a little while, which was totally worth it. I ate the bounciest noodles ever, incredibly al dente! And the broth was so rich but wasn't too overwhelming... It was the best ramen I had during the trip. :D

The only thing is that the people (Family?) who run the restaurant only speak in Japanese but if I remembered it right, they have got a menu in English so you can just point to whatever that you want. There are pictures anyway, so.

But just in case, Google has this really useful app called Google Translate. Download it, click on the camera icon, hover over Japanese words and tadahhh! The app will translate them into English for you and it's pretty accurate.


Aboard the gondola lift at Usuzan Ropeway 有珠山ロープウェイ。

Going up Mount Usu, which last erupted on March 31, 2000. That's Showa Shinzan, a baby mountain. (more)

Lake Toya 洞爺湖 and Showa Shinzan 昭和新山

Clouds casting shadows on Lake Toya 洞爺湖。

Gin’numa Great Crater formed during the 1977 eruption. (more)

Usuzan Ropeway
http://usuzan.hokkaido.jp/en/

The last attraction for the day was Mount Usu. It's an active volcano that has erupted 4 times in the last 100 years. We took the gondola lift up the mountain and the view at the peak was breathtaking. I don't exactly go for scenery but I was really wow-ed. It was just so beautiful... You could see the whole of Lake Toya (And how the clouds were casting shadows on it.), Showa Shinzan and the crater, which had smoke emitting out of it and I couldn't stop staring. It really reminded me of 君の名は and I was telling my brother that it would be life-changing if we could go over to the other side. Haha. We will literally go over to the other side if we go near it. Hahaha. Anyway, for the sporty ones, there are different hiking trails which you can take and each has its own duration and unique features. There are actually several blogs on the Internet detailing these trails, so Google away to find your best route! ◡̈

At the base of Mount Usu, there are several exhibits about the history of the place and of course, a pretty big souvenir shop. Hee. The souvenir shops that we went to on our trip sold mostly the same things and prices were consistent. Mum was looking out for certain snacks from Potato Farm but they were OOS. One of the sales people told us that it was because Japan doesn't have enough potatoes at the moment. :\ (more)


Standard Japanese-Western style room for 3-4 people.

The dinning area.

Pretty fireworks for the hotel wth.

The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort
http://en.nonokaze-resort.com

And finally, we checked into the best hotel everrr! As mentioned earlier, Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. did all the bookings for us so we really had no idea how grand this was. Thank you, Megumiさん, for including this into our itinerary! ♡ The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort, of course, overlooks Lake Toya and the service, food and rooms were a-mazing!!! The 3 of us were like, it would be very okay if we could just spend the rest of our trip in this hotel. Hahaha.

(Psst, if you're looking out for hotel deals, check out HotelsCombined! It compares prices for hotels across credible and top travel sites for you, so that you can get the best deal with just a few clicks.)

We were given the Standard Japanese-Western style room. And it had everything, including skincare from Shiseido, pyjamas and yukatas! Dinner and breakfast were buffet and the selection was so good... Gosh, best hotel everrr! Seriously. And oh yeah, there were fireworks at night. Like whuttt??! We, including the parental units, really didn't want to leave. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ)۶~~♥♥♥

But all good things have to come to an end and greater adventures awaited us. Like cakes and ice-cream. Hahaha. See you in the next entry! :DD

↟↟↟

Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 0 北海道に着いた。


Lake Toya 洞爺湖

2 weeks ago, my family and I were in Japan for the very first time. Hokkaido, specifically. I was really excited because gosh, I have been trying to learn the language for about 3 years and maybe I could finally use it? *hopeful face* But... What a joke, I was terrible at it. Hahaha. Here's an example:

ガイド: Which language do you speak?
Me: Umm 英語と中学 chuugaku で話せます。(I speak English and middle school. Meant to say 'Mandarin 中国語 chuugokugo'.)
ガイド: ????????????!

Hahaha yep, that's 'Pre-advanced Japanese' for you. Hahaha. But anyway, I'll be attempting to blog about the entire trip in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I'll be able to sustain because we all know how terrible I am at travel entries (Just click on the tab above.). Heh.

Anyway, a quick shoutout before I begin... Dad didn't want to join a tour group because it would be too rushed and we couldn't go free-and-easy because you really need to drive in Hokkaido. So Dad went online and found Megumiさん from Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.. Together with my parents, they came up with the itinerary for our trip. Her company actually provides their own itineraries but feel free to make changes. Mum wanted a couple of places to be included so we changed quite a bit and Megumiさん was more than happy to accede to our requests. Her emails were also very prompt and my parents really couldn't stop gushing about how good she was. :D It was expensive but everything was arranged and booked for us (No admin needed!), we got our own driver in a huge and comfortable MPV and we didn't have to rush at all. :DDD どうもありがとうございました!^^

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Chitose Air Terminal Hotel エアターミナルホテル

Air Terminal Hotel
http://www.air-terminal-hotel.jp/eng/

We flew via JAL and reached the New Chitose Airport around 8 plus at night. It didn't make any sense to travel a couple of hours to Lake Toya so we spent a night at the Airport Terminal Hotel. I shared a room with my siblings, which wasn't small and was very clean. The staff were incredibly friendly and patient too. And the breakfast buffet was a-mazing. Unfortunately, I deleted my photos because Apple kept telling me my iPhone had no more space but please take my word for it. ಥ_ಥ The food was simple but it was very well done. In fact, I think I had my best Japanese rice there. *nods seriously* (Lol. We didn't really look out for food places to go this time round.) So good. And I'm going to douse my rice in furikake from now on. :D



Lawson, 最高なところ。

Oh yeah, just a note! By the time we got our luggage bags and everything, most shops at the airport were closed or about to. So we got our dinner from Lawson, which is GREAT. Hahaha. My favourite place, besides the drugstores. Heh. It has everything. Bento sets, onigiris (YUM.), spaghetti, bread, snacks, SHISEIDO skincare kits (SHISEIDO, wth! We only have this at up class counters!), makeup etc. #haven (▰˘◡˘▰)


Watanabeさん's car, where I spent several hours sleeping comfortably.

When we went down to check out, Watanabeさん, our driver/ guide, was already waiting for us (He is always on time! Really good.). He prepared a bottle of water for each of us every single day and there were umbrellas and plenty of leg space and comfort. :D Also, he's very friendly and shared a lot about Hokkaido with us. He even sang to us during long rides and patiently taught us the song 'Suki Desu Sapporo 好きです札幌'. :D

See, I can't stop gushing over how good the people from Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. is too! Haha. Anyway, it was about a 45-minute drive to our next destination and I will blog about it tomorrow. ◡̈

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Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)
Day 5: Soba-making + Aunt Jam's love for Anpanman + Fairytale land (Sapporo → Furano)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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Monday, June 19, 2017

My First Japan Beauty Haul 最初の日本で買った化粧品

(In an attempt to practise my Japanese more, I'll be translating my blog titles in Japanese. They are probably wrong so please correct me if you happen to know the language. ありがとう!^^)

So... This year's theme is 'minimalism' for me and I'm supposed to be on a permanent no-buying-(only-replacing) ban but it was a little challenging to leave Japan's drugstores empty-handed. I mean, have you seen those magical places??? I want to spend hours there like how Belle spends hours in the library. Heh. (I really tried to contain the shopaholic/ hoarder in me and bought only things that I know I will use frequently.)

First up, I got the famous LuLuLun Face Masks in Hokkaido-exclusive flavours, Lavender and Corn. These masks come in a pack of 7 because you're supposed to use them daily. Unfortunately, these contain fragrances so I just got a pack each to try. Since, you know, exclusive. Lol. This special duo set was found in one of the departure area's shops at the New Chitose Airport.

Next, is another pack of daily masks from Loshi Horse Oil. Japan has horse oil products everywhere and it's so difficult to pick because everything is in Japanese (And my Japanese is terrible. :\). But this specific golden one was recommended by someone on Dayre so I got it. If I remembered correctly, she said she had poreless skin the next day. Looking forward to that. :D Beside it is a red packet of Lishan Horse Oil Mask. This was a free gift because Mum bought a box of Lishan Horse Oil. *points below*

As mentioned earlier, Japan has a ton of horse oil products but the Lishan Horse Oil has some kind of an award sticker on it (Not Cosme.) so I asked Mum to get that. I think the more well-known one is the Son Bahyu Horse Oil, which I'm currently using for my lips, but you don't see that everywhere. For those who are curious, you can get the latter from Singapore's Tokyu Hands, at an inflated price. :\

The Flowfushi Mote Liner is another Dayre recommendation (The beauty community there is great!). It comes in black, black brown, brown and navy, the last of which I was really tempted but maintain, inner shopaholic monster. Maintain. I tried the liners in stores and once they dry, they really don't budge. Also, the brushes are thin and firm, which make drawing easy, especially for beginners.

Then, it's another box of masks (Haha.) but this one has a Cosme sticker on it and it took first place in 2016. I came across the Minon Amino Moist Mask on Reddit (Another super great community! In fact, the greatest on the Internet.) and it was in every single drugstore, so yep. Also, apparently, this is meant for dry and sensitive skin a.k.a me. :D

Here, I have 3 acne creams which Candice from The Makeup Box blogged about. Ever since Erycane was discontinued, I have been on the hunt for my Holy Grail zit zapper and hopefully, I find it in one of these. *fingers crossed*

The Shiseido Moilip is yet another recommendation on Dayre. Haha. And it's really, really good for dry weather. My lips were flaking pretty bad in Hokkaido and my favourite DHC lip balm wasn't working (Btw, this is dirt cheap in Japan. Like SGD5 dirt cheap. Wth, Watsons!). But just one night of this potent balm and tadahhh, relief and smoothness. ◡̈ It's a bit much for Singapore though. Not that it's uncomfortable or anything like that, but price-wise, it's a lot more than the DHC one.

Finally, it's a small kawaii bottle of Hyaluronic Acid which I got because there was the Cosme sticker (No. 1 in 2007, which is actually a very long time ago...). You can drop a little of this in shampoos, face lotions, lip balms (?) etc. to boost hydration.

And yep, that's my first Japan beauty haul! Unfortunately, I can't remember the prices but they are mostly below SGD20. I will be using them in the coming weeks so let me know if you have any questions! ◡̈

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keeping my earrings

Trust and love are wonderful, but don't forget the earrings.
-Estée Lauder

I don't really wear accessories, save for a watch and earrings. The watch that I usually have on is a black Baby-G, which was bought with my first paycheck. I have a couple of other Casio ones, a red one from my parents and that's about it. Earrings, on the other hand, make a different story. I first got my ears pierced when I was 18, then when I was 19, 20, 23 and 26. I can remember the ages only because things happened and I wanted to remember them kind of permanently, so I got my ears pierced. Heh.

Anyway, earrings are usually the only accessories that I look out for when I'm shopping, especially in Bangkok. And since I go to the Land of Smiles quite frequently, I have amassed many, many pairs. *points above guilty* (Yes, earrings are on my not-to-buy-ever list.)

I usually keep my earrings in tiny ziplock bags, stuffed in a vintage chest of drawers. But out of sight means out of mind and I end up forgetting them. Quite recently, I visited my mentor's new apartment and she kept her earrings in little cubby holes in a drawer, which made them very visible. I haven't got an extra drawer but I have a happy place called Daiso. The above box cost SGD2 and though it can't contain all my earrings, at least I remember more of them.

(This frivolous piece is my attempt to KonMari my extremely cluttered room, though it's more tidying than throwing stuff away.)

Off to watch a Meryl Streep movie before dinner. She's my latest obsession. :D

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

How I decorate my face before bed

I have been 'decorating' my face before bed for the longest time. And I used to do it in front of this full-length mirror in my parents' room in the old house. Each time I stepped in, Dad would cheekily announced to Mum "Char's going to decorate her face. We will need the lights on for another hour.". Heh. Well, it helps me wind down for the night. :D

The following post comes mostly from my Dayre account, which I guess I'm not going to continue? Haha. Dayre's really convenient and it's more of a blog blog but I have too much here to abandon (Since 2010.). I still don't have a direction that my OCD/ semi-perfectionist self needs to take and that's okay. I am a mess and messes are beautiful. So there. Ha. Heh.

Okay, so from my Dayre with almost no edits, presenting to you my core skincare routine. :D

(I'm too lazy to retype this. I talk so much. :\ And I tried embedding my Dayre but it was so awful aesthetically. :\ I promise this will be the only entry here that's so rabak.)

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21/05/17: The inside of my head, day 1.
(original post)

Writing on Dayre has been an unnecessarily huge dilemma, just because you're only allowed to post using your phone (Right???) and I like the tapping sounds of the keyboard. But I have been stalking the #dayrebeauty community so much. It has almost become a nightly ritual, right before I hit the bed. And I want to share my beauty finds too. And also, bits and pieces of my life which I capture with my phone. Apps are so much easier/ more convenient to edit than Photoshop.

Still trying to figure out how this platform works but I will post my skincare routine in a bit because I haven't had skin this clear since God knows when. Right after I finish one piece out of my mountain backlog of Japanese homework. :\ My goal is to do one piece every day and hopefully conquer this mountain by the end of the holidays. And also, finally figure out 60% of what my classmates are saying.

Core Skincare Routine (Part 1)

Oh yay, I'm done! Picked a relatively short piece of homework, though I didn't quite know what was going because it was about Retinal Detachment. In Japanese. Mmhmm.

Anyway, here's my core skincare routine. By core, I mean what I have been using everyday recently. Unfortunately (Maybe?), our skin is a living organ so it changes according to our environment. My skin, unfortunately, happens to be rather reactive so I add and minus products according to its needs quite frequently.

Step 1: Cleansers

Okay, so these are my daily cleansers; Skin Origin's Cleansing Milk and Bioderma's Sensibio Make-up Removing Micelle Solution. I subscribe to the double cleansing method but I only cleanse once, at the end of the day.

If I'm going to exercise and if I have makeup on, I will use these two. But if I'm bumming around at home, then I will just swipe on Bioderma Sensibio or Witch Hazel & Rose Water Cleansing Toner.

The Skin Origin Cleansing Milk was recommended by my facial therapist. Because my skin is sensitive, a cleaning milk is more suitable. It's less harsh yet it still cleans away my sunscreen and makeup. I have been using Déjàvu Fiberwig (Extra Long) as mascara so it comes off quite easily. But if I'm using a tougher one, then I will need some Jojoba Oil to clean it off.

The cleansing milk was really quite expensive but it doesn't leave my skin dry and tight. And it's actually pretty soothing.

The Bioderma Sensibio is everywhere so I don't really need to talk about it. Umm... This is probably my 4th bottle already and I have a backup just sitting on my study table, waiting eagerly to be used. ٩(^‿^)۶

Step 2: Toners and intermediates

(Hmm... This entry is becoming really long, for a hi-I-am-trying-this-and-may-quit-if-it-doesn't-work-out kind of thing. Heh.)

I didn't think toners were necessary for the longest time because I didn't use them for many years, and my skin was relatively okay. But after reading Reddit's Asian Beauty quite obsessively and trying it out for myself, I do agree that skincare absorbs better on damp skin. And that's what I use my Witch Hazel & Rose Water for. Also, because it's expiring this year.

I do have Thayers as a backup (A Redditor was raving about it and I decided to try it again.) but I do love this simple, fuss-free Witch Hazel & Rose Water. Also, the ingredients are really simple. Just those 2 ingredients, purified water and some colouring. And the scent is light and floral and just so, so calming. (▰˘◡˘▰)

The CNP Peeling Booster is a discovery from stalking @sweetpea and is a recent addition (Just a week ago, in fact.) because my skin was looking dull and was getting quite clogged with blackheads. I was actually quite afraid to use this because my skin was just recovering from dry-air-induced eczema (Winter Itch.) but this chemical exfoliant (PHA) is supposed to be gentler AHA and BHA. I did patch test for a week, no irritations happened, took the plunge and covered my entire face with it.

And I have been continuously covering my face with it, happily. :D This is the solution to the bumps on my face which has been plaguing me for so impossibly long, that I thought I was just doomed to have them for the rest of my life. So thank you, @sweetpea! Ordered some travel-sized bottles for the brother, C and @katechiclove and hopefully I will be able to report back with good news too!

And finally, we have another famous product which is Drx's Comedone Formula. I started on this before the CNP Peeling Booster and it was helping with my skin's dullness and some bumps, but it was very slow. I'm guessing it was because I wasn't exfoliating my skin enough. Anyway, after adding the Peeling Booster, I'm noticing fewer blackheads and those that were always on my inner cheeks have pretty much disappeared. *grins*

(On a side note, I haven't tried using the Peeling Booster without CF.)

And yeah, that's the end of Part 1! Decided to make it into two parts because it was getting way too long. But I might check in again tonight because this Dayre thing feels a lot like Bridget Jones' Diary and gawd, did I love that book! Heh.

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22/05/17: Skin Talk Day 2
(original post)

Core Skincare Routine (Part 2)

I have sensitive skin and ever since I got older than a quarter of a century, my skin has been on the dry and dehydrated side. At least, based on what I have read and observed. Dry skin lacks oil and dehydrated skin lacks water. And having both means double the skin woes? Haha. Not a fact but it certainly feels that way. Heavy moisturisers keep my skin hydrated but birth a ton of blackheads. Light ones don't dot my face with full-stops but my skin feels tight and cracks into lines when I smile.

So it has been quite a feat trying to find a suitable moisturiser. Also, last year, I did laser, had the most beautiful skin ever, went to Korea and developed eczema because of the dry air. Eczema on my face. It was the worst nightmare ever. ಥ_ಥ

Anyway, I'm so glad and thankful that my skin has kind of recovered but I really need to be more than 101% careful with the products that I slather on my face. Always do a patch test, people. Always. No matter how troublesome (PTs) and eager (you).

Step 3: Moisturizers

Carrying on from yesterday, these 2 make up the last step of my routine; Aveeno's Eczema Therapy Moisturising Cream and Sulwhasoo's Overnight Vitalising Mask.

Last December, when I got back from Bangkok, my skin started to act up. It was red and bumpy, especially around my inner cheeks. My usual go-to moisturisers weren't working so I decided to slather the Aveeno Moisturising Cream because I remembered my facial therapist telling me that this brand cured her client's Eczema. And... It worked for me too! I have been using it ever since, but in different amounts.

When I have consecutive late nights or I'm stressed out and my skin starts to act up, I spam it. But otherwise, I dot pea-sized amounts on my cheeks and forehead, gently massaged the cream in and slowly covering my entire face in it. I always leave my nose area to the last, because that's where most of my blackheads reside.

Sulwhasoo's Overnight Vitalising Mask is also a recent addition, just because Zalora had some really good Mother's Day deals. Haha. And given its usual price point, I'm really glad (Hmm... Maybe not.) that I can feel my face getting soft after each use. But right now, I still can't decide if it's a need or a want. Okay, technically, most beauty products are not 'necessary' but you know what I mean... Heh.

Winding down in 3 2 1.

In bed now, with Naruko's Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear Mask and all ready to start on another episode of Grey's Anatomy. 4 more days till the end of the term!

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