Tarte Overhaul: Products to mark the beautiful start of Spring

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Tarte Overhaul: Products to mark the beautiful start of Spring

Yes, my blog post title is such a slap in the face, especially when it's always only either really sunny or rainy in tropical Singapore. If you don't already know how Singapore's weather works, we are an exceptionally hot country (daily temp averages about 32℃ / 89.6℉!).

Not to mention that it gets worse - the humidity, tsk!

Totally makes our skin difficult to absorb heavy creams, whether our skin needs it or not. And it gets sticky easily, too. So.. spring? Not much. But in my heart is Spring - since I got these products from Tarte for my use in March.

Let's get to my Tarte purchases, shall we?

Opening act lash primer
Pricing: SGD$32.

Did I mention how this primer also comes with a mini 4-in-1 mascara sample? Love it! I used it once so far and I am super pleased with it. It moisturises my lashes and doesn't clump them after I apply 2 coats of mascara. It keeps my lashes moisturised and nourished after I apply my Tarte mascara, my eyelashes are soft too once the mascara has dried which is awesome, not like some mascaras (eck hem, Too Faced Mascara (waterproof Better Than Sex), I'm recalling all those awful, clumpy days with you!)

On the side, I can totally see myself using this primer with my favourite Too Faced Mascara (better Than Sex, too, but not the waterproof one). It will be fantastic!

To use: Apply primer before mascara, wedging 360° magniLASH brush at the base of lashes and combing upward to the tip. For the perfect grand finale, finish with two coats of included deluxe lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara.

TarteGuard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF30  
Pricing: SGD$51.

When living in Singapore, NEVER go without a sunscreen. The hot sun rays will find means and ways to penetrate your delicate skin. Sunscreens are one of my must-haves in my beauty cabinet. I will never go without this - so Tarte's first ever, non-chemical sunscreen? Yes please!

This product is supposedly great for sensitive skin and doesn't have a strong eeky sunscreen smell to it, which is perfect! It's also a non-chemical sunscreen, daily moisturizer, weightless, non-greasy finish, great for those in humid hot little Singapore. This is also vegan friendly and hypoallergenic! Another great reason to go with this. But I must say, packaging looks very 'casual' with a silicone type outer 'jacket' for the bottle. So far, I've enjoyed the couple of times I used it because it blends out fairly well and leaves no unsightly white cast over my skin, so, yay!

This sunscreen contains maracuja and vitamin C to help with firming, brightening and smoothes the skin, while another main ingredient is soybean and honeysuckle extract, to help combat signs of aging and calms the skin. 

To use: Apply to clean, dry face, alone or under makeup, in the morning and as needed before sun exposure. For drier skin types, it can also be layered with your favorite daily moisturizer.

Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush 
Pricing: SGD$45 each.

Did it last 12-hours on the cheek in hot humid Singapore? .... Yes for me. If you're stuck in the office like me, most of the day, you will find happiness with this long-wearing and soft, romantic looking blush. It's also infused with Amazonian clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and naturally baked by the sun. This blush is pretty pigmented and is very easy to blend.

Colour builds up easily so there's no need to go crazy on the dabbing, ladies!

I got Glisten, which is a lovely, shimmery peachy pink. I think it suits fair skin pretty well. Following the success of its 12-hour blush line, Tarte launched four “naughty nude” matte shades some time mid-last year, with the same formula as the other blushes.

I love the Golden Nude as it goes so well on the skin and of course, being in the 'nude' section of the blushes means that this blush is not a vibrant or a colour popping one, which is great for girls who wants a super natural, everyday look.

To use: Using a blush brush, fan over the apples of the cheeks, blending along the cheekbone.

Drench Lip Splash Lipstick 
Pricing: SGD$30 each.
A full coverage matte lipstick with lip-loving™ antioxidants. I honestly don't know why I hear mixed reviews on its casing. Don't you think the gradient colours make it look so hot? Anyhoo, that's my view.

I love the smooth glide on the lippies and these awesome lipsticks have power pigments! So far, I love the awesome colours I bought and will likely purchase more. I bought Cabana Boy (Mauve) and Beach Bum (dark nude). These shades seem to go perfectly with fair complexions!

I love that the formula also does not dry out my lips and to be fair, since I do use lip primers to ensure my lippies last longer, so I won't comment if it holds out well yet.

To use: Use the precision, tapered tip to define and contour lips. For the perfect shape, start in the middle of lips and smooth out towards the corners.

So far I'm lovin' Tarte for their cosmetics because their products were formulated without parabens, without mineral oil, without phthalates, without sodium lauryl sulfates and without gluten.

These items are purchased from Tarte Cosmetics website at http://tartecosmetics.com/

If you liked this post, please show some support here by showing some love here, click 'Like' for my FB Page!:

Awesome Jap Snack at Taiyaki Hiiragi たいやき ひいらぎ

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Awesome Jap Snack at Taiyaki Hiiragi たいやき ひいらぎ

When such a great Taiyaki store is in your neighbourhood, you've definitely got to try it. If you don't already know what's a Taiyaki, check out Wikipedia's definition here.

Taiyaki Hiiragi's signature food item is definitely one of the best. They've won many awards for their awesome taiyakis and the never ending queues put a mark of certification on their success. 

Even with the never-ending queues, you never have to wait too long to be served. You can smell the lovely cake batter baking whilst in the queue and it fills you up with excitement. 

Unfortunately, the menu is all in Japanese, there are no English menus for you to point at to order. 

Their taiyaki are made using 100% homemade bean paste from Hokkaido. Surprisingly, their taiyaki fishes don't contain any eggs, buckwheat flour and milk.

Cooking each of these goodies takes slightly over 30 minutes, and there's a lovely texture both outside and within. For maximum pleasure, please enjoy it as soon as you are handed the taiyaki.

I just asked for a normal taiyaki (150yen for 1) and pointed to a photo showing a taiyaki with matcha filling (about 330yen) to try. Turns out that the matcha filling taiyaki was filled with cold matcha paste. I definitely enjoyed the hot ones better and suggest you go for them instead. 

The cold one had a (too) soft a outer layer, it was pretty limp.

Hot ones come wrapped in small paper bags.

The hot ones are crispy on the outside, but soft and steamy on the inside. I love their taiyaki because its red bean fillings are not overly sweet and yet delectable.

For those who wants to takeaway these taiyakis for your friends back in the hotel or at home, preferably you would have to inform the staff so that they can pack it in the way that retains the freshness of your take-home taiyaki. All you have to do after bringing it back home is to put the taiyaki in a microwave oven and warm it up slightly. It'll be better if you could even put it in the oven toaster while to get back the crisp taste.

If you're putting it in the freezer, thaw it completely and pop it into the oven toaster to heat it up for 1 to 2 mins and then enjoy. :)

If you liked this post, please show some support here by showing some love here, click 'Like' for my FB Page!:

Taiyaki Hiiragi たいやき ひいらぎ
English Address: 〒150-0013 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu, 1 Chome−4−1
Japanese Address: 恵比寿1丁目4-1 アーバンハウス107 Shibuya, 東京都 〒150-0021 Japan
Operating Hours: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Website: http://www.taiyakihiiragi.com/
Closest Subway Station: Ebisu Station (恵比寿駅)

Korean Indie Skincare Brand: Graymelin's 그레이멜린 Mayu (Horse Oil) Healing Cream

Monday, 13 February 2017

Korean Indie Skincare Brand: Graymelin's 그레이멜린 Mayu (Horse Oil) Healing Cream
Such a long name for this: Graymelin Original Natural Mayu (Horse Oil) Healing Cream (그레이멜린 오리지널 내추럴 마유크림, 50g). I came across this brand when I was shopping in Kosney Korea. Costs 22,000krw.

This cream can be used for all types of skin, supposedly. Even on scratched skin or skin with eczema or dermatitis, because of its 'healing' properties. Of course I didn't try that on my broken skin (I wasn't willing to risk it after all), but if you do decide to purchase this cream and apply over broken skin, please ensure that you check with your dermatologist first or do a 12-hour patch test.

Effectively you can store it for 3 years without opening it. But once opened, it's good to use for 1 year.

How to use: Apply to entire face after the last step of foundation care.

This product is entirely Korean made, widely raved by some really pretty Korean social media stars. But really, everyone has different types of skin so just remember that. Doesn't mean if it suits them, it'll suit you too.

Storage and Handling Precautions
1) Be sure to close the lid well after use.
2) Please keep out of children's reach.
3) Do not store in a place exposed to high or low temperatures.
4) Do not store in direct sunlight.
5) If any of the contents get into your mouth, wash it immediately.

This is a highly moisturising cream, so I use it only at night before I go to bed. The next morning, it is totally absorbed into my skin and my skin felt quite soft. I liked that very much.

While I liked the result of using the cream, the smell is not my favourite. I can't put a proper description to the smell, its neither floral nor fruity. Probably from the smell of the horse oil.

Also, I feel it was a little sticky (I'm in Singapore, after all) using a little more on my cheeks so I suggest you don't put too much if you decide to try this product.

If you liked this post, please show some support here by showing some love here, click 'Like' for my FB Page!:

그레이멜린 Graymelin
Website: http://www.graymelin.com/

Portico Host: New Menu, Yummy New Dishes

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Portico Host: New Menu, Yummy New Dishes
Headed over to Portico Host today, and glad I didn't miss this session. We were there to have a taste of their new menu, which will be launching end of this month.

It surprised me, because I didn't expect the surroundings to be that lovely. The restaurant is actually more accessible than their Dempsey brother branch (Portico Prime).  Its decor is more humble than its surroundings, and is very homely.

I infer, thus the name Portico Host, because you feel at home there, comfortable and like you're hosting guests at home. To be honest, it's a lovely environment to bring your date or enjoy a quiet dinner for 2.

Heck, host your private dinner parties here, they have enough tables.

You see truffle fries in the menu, you order it. ($12.90)

We started off the tasting session with a Hamachi Yu Sheng, only available during CNY. I thought this Yu sheng to be very special because they used Hamachi fish (yellowtail fish), which sports a firmer fish meat, as opposed to the softer raw salmon fish we're used to. 

The Yu Sheng was absolutely lovely to look at (and photograph), and had interesting ingredients like crispy lotus root, beetroot, kamkuat, crispy wanton skin, pickled mango and apple vinaigrette to go with it. 

Another interesting dish we tried was the Trio of Skin, which consists of 3 different types of skin: Eel Skin with Pork Floss, Chicken Skin with host Seasoning, Pork Skin Crackling. The crispy, yummy eel skin is nothing as freaky as it sounds, while we loved the deliciously savoury chicken skin.
Trio of Skin
I also enjoyed the Hottate Tattaki (seared scallop topped with metaiko) served with apple slaw, avruga caviar and watermelon cubes. Light on the palatte, with a tinge of sweet refreshing feeling while munching on the watermelon cubes.

The grilled octopus dish is also one not to be missed. At first, I thought it was a mountain of cubed brinjals, but of course I was wrong. It was a mix of potato cubes (a good crunch of potato skin), crispy quinoa and chilli bacon jam. The ingredients, all unique in their own right, made the dish an altogether lovely one. Loved it, please order it, people.

 Hotatte Tattaki

 Grilled Octopus
Duo of Crab consists of Crispy baby crab tossed on salted egg and chilli mud crab meat dip with crispy golden man tou (buns). Dip the man tou in the light spicy crab meat dip for a good Singaporean style oomph while you also not forget the savoury goodness of the little baby crabs that you can pop into your mouth like popcorn, but better.
Duo of Crab
Duck Leg Confit - Served with purple cabbage stew, red pepper coulis and port wine sauce, the duck was tender and delicious with the sauce. 

72-hour braised Angus Beef Cheek - This was cooked for 72-hours in sous vide. It was a table favourite for many, and was served with a gratin potato on the side. The meat was also extremely tender and flavourful.
Seared Chicken Breast - I loved this dish! I don't know why, but I did. Some on the table didn't think it was exciting enough. But what fascinated me was how they made the chicken breast so tender and juicy, nothing like the hard, dry chicken breast meat we hate eating, usually.

First oven baked, then air-fried, is what we heard. Anyway, for ladies who wants a good meal on their dates, go for this so you can flirt and laugh without worrying about the calories too much.
BBQ Pork Ribs -  The ribs are tender and just easily slides off of the bone. The sauce also makes it tasty to eat. This is a good choice for those who is in the mood for meat.
Snapper Pie - This dish was one of my favourite mains tonight. Cut open the golden pie blanket to reveal a creamy mixture packed with tasty ingredients such as snapper fillet, wild mushroom ragout, tomato and more. Please have a go at this, you'll not regret it.
Pineapple - mainly, pineapple based and themed. Carefully and creatively decorated as though it was served with 2 fried 'sunny-side ups'. Pretty as can be, but not recommended for those who can't stand the taste of the tropical fruit, as pineapple flavour is embedded thoroughly in the elements of the dessert.
Tiramisu - Mascarpone Cheese, Kahlua, Vanilla sponge, espresso and edible soil. Don't worry about the edible soil, it's delicious, cookie crumbs. This standard dessert is a girl's favourite. Order this if you're not feeling that adventurous.

Kaya Cream Brulee - Made with coconut sabayon and served with vanilla icecream, this was one of the table's favourite desserts of the night, with its unique flavour.
These dishes will be launched at Portico Host by end of this month (February), and I recommend you visit to have a try yourself! 

Don't forget to order their homemade ice lemon tea, brewed with earl grey, stewed in-house for an hour or so. Loved that drink!

Prices of main dishes averages about $20++ each. Just some affordable good food with lovely, quiet ambience and impeccable service.

For more information, visit Portico Host's website or phone them to find out more. Details below.

If you liked this post, please show some support here by showing some love here, click 'Like' for my FB Page!:

Portico Host
Location: 991B Alexandra Rd, #01-10, Singapore 119970 (3 mins walk from Labrador Park MRT Station)
Tel: +65 9127 6316
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun (Sundays are closed at 5.00pm)
Website: https://portico.sg/portico-host/

Desserts in Tokyo: Cute Animal Donuts from Ikumimama!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Desserts in Tokyo: Cute Animal Donuts from Ikumimama!

When in Jiyugaoka, eat their desserts. Shops are really quite easy to locate in Japan, like how we located Ikumimama's Animal Donuts shop. I think they have a few branches elsewhere, but since we're here, we decided to buy them back to our airbnb to enjoy. 

 The shop is an extremely small one, but filled with cute themed elements.

If you buy 5-6 donuts, they'll put it in a box for you. Also, I think it's definitely okay to bring these back as a gift, since they are made fresh (stocks run quickly) and keeps in the freezer for 10 days.

When you want to eat it again, just defrost it for a bit before devouring it. But eating it on the day itself is best of course.

 SO CUTE. Stacked like tsum tsums.

 Alternatively, you can have it packed in a bag like we did.

I forgot what the flavours were, but we chose it based on the designs we wanted. Designs rotate based on which day you visit. I actually saw the Lion-Kun on the website and thought I could order it, but... no.

All donuts here are handmade. Their donuts do not contain preservatives or margarine. If you wish to see what kinds of ingredients they use, you can view them here in Japanese, or use google translate to get a better understanding. Of course, it helps if you read Japanese.

Each donut costs about 280 yen to 390 yen on average.

These donuts are so cute, we just can't get enough of them!

If you liked this post, please show some support here by showing some love here, click 'Like' for my FB Page!:

Ikumimama Donuts Jiyugaoka (イクミママのどうぶつドーナツ)
Location: 1 Chome-28-8 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 152-0035, Japan
Japanese Address: 自由が丘1-28-8, 目黒区, 東京都 〒152-0035, Japan
Tel: +81 3 4214 4533
Operating Hours: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm (closed on Wednesdays)
Website: https://ikumimama.com/