Sunday, April 19, 2015

Festive Lemon Pound Cake

for my daughter's birthday this year, i decided to make a lemon cake. i'm very partial to lemon. i just love its clean sweet smell and tangy acid taste. in french, they would call any sweet stuff with a citrusy flavor, acidulé. i really like this term. it makes the flavor sound even nicer and tempting to taste.

i found this very simple, fuss-free recipe on the internet that i just watched a few hours before the party itself. how very convenient it is nowadays to learn anything at the tip of your fingers and at the convenience of your own home. the internet is really good for this.

my daughter, all excited to watch and mess with the ingredients (very simple ones, mind you) on the kitchen counter

doing a recap on the internet tutorial for the lemon cake, just to be sure i followed the exact measurements (this is very important in baking) and exact batter consistency

twenty or so minutes later, i have this perfection!.. it smelled and looked delicious! :)

i decided to make my own personal touch with these candy sprinkles to make the cake look more festive and tempting enough to eat for the kids and kids at heart! :) and of course, i spilled it all over the place. :D

et voila!.. all gone (almost!) in a few minutes after the candles were lit and blown.

there was a tiny morsel left over the next day. i had it for breakfast and it was even more delicious than when it was just off the oven. it was perfectly moist and not very sweet at all. and it was such a hit with tea or coffee. it was a lovely and simple cake. so easy to make yet unbelievably delicious. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend in Maldives

this year, i decided to do a series of trips to some of the low-lying lands on the planet that most environmentalists claim to be in danger of being submerged in the not-so-distant future. i really do hope these people are wrong, but either way, these places are truly worth visiting. I won't be revealing all the places in my list, but i will definitely write about them after my visit. and it just so happened that i have recently visited one a few days ago.

first on my list is The Maldives. i must say that this place has been one of the top ten places i've always wanted to visit in my life for the longest time.

here are some of the highlights of our trip:

The gorgeous view of the islands from up above:

The Maldives look like a beautiful abstract painting from above. can't wait to land on one of those lovely blue dots! :)

about to land in Male

my last view of Maldives on the way back to SG

The perfect hotel for the family:

happy to be on  holiday

i love our ocean facing villa with this hammock to relax in

nice clean room with soothing colors

One of the most perfect beaches I have ever seen:

i've never seen pink reflections on water before, with the most varied shades of blue

tropical garden

is this a crane? i thought at first it wasn't real because it was not moving so much :D

model-modelan with my Victoria's Secret swim top and sarong from Bohol which is more than ten years old (would you believe?)

Lots of fun activities at the resort's Kids Club:

fun activities at the kids club

weekend party for the kids

at the fishing boat

Some of the most gorgeous sunsets and surises ever:

the view from the bar

moonlit cocktail

beautiful, unfiltered, unphotoshopped early morning light

And my most favorite part: enjoying the view of the baby sharks wading along the shallow waters first thing in the morning (i edited the video to make it a bit slow-mo because it was actually swimming very fast):

although, we chose to go to a resort, Holiday Inn, Kandooma Island (read my reviews here) that offers a lot of activities for the kids, hubby and i also managed to have some time to ourselves. the Kids Club at the resort was a convenient place to care for kids. and she was happy to play and paint and run around with the other kids there, which was good for us.

i for one, tried the yoga, which was really good. and hubby and i did some snorkeling to see the turtles. and on our second to the last day, we did some fishing with the little one.

the only disappointing part about the trip was that the corals were not as colorful as the ones in Palawan. maybe if you go diving or go to the other parts of Maldives, the corals wouldn't be as bleached as the ones in the South Atoll. and also, be prepared to spend lots of $$$ for this trip because this is The Maldives!

hope you enjoyed reading my little travel update. cheers and have a good week! :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Best Loved OOTD's

i have never really considered myself a fashionable person. for the longest time, i was content on wearing a simple t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops.

in my 20's i felt like i had a body that could go away with anything. i had very slim waist (which i sorely miss after having been pregnant), i quite like my legs and i'm generally quite well-proportioned even up to now, although not as slim and slender anymore... it's getting difficult with age.

but now, in my mid-30's, i'm thinking i should've already acquired some sort of sophistication and some semblance of personal style, at the very least...

i was lucky, though, to have acquired the luxury of time the past years for NOT having to work for three years. it has given me loads of free time to experiment and do some research on what looks good on me.

here are some of the styles that i've come to love and acquire from all the trial and error over the years...

i love how easy and casual this looks -- simple black dress from Buddha Bear (Australian brand) with cream-colored dots, some cheap sandals from Rubi shoes and my Repetto bag (2014)

Chanel sunnies, MAC orange lipstick + Chanel rouge, Mango dress (2014)

J Crew sweater and shorts, Bensimon sneakers which i wore during my visit to the Antinori Vineyards in the Chianti Region in Tuscany, Italy (2014)

this sexy Tori Praver (via cropped top (i so so love this cropped top), Zara jeans, Yosi Samra ballet flats for casual fridays at the office (2014)

Iora (Korean brand) mustard top, floral printed skirt from Kate Spade Saturday, Steve Madden D'Orsay flats (2015)

Little Black Dress from Ted Baker and some shoes I bought in France (I forgot the brand name) - 2015

J Crew ensemble - blue top and glittery striped skirt that can go from casual to festive, depending on what you wear it with... I was aiming for casual with a simple scooped tee (2015)

Mango black sleeveless top, J Crew Factory pleated blue skirt, comfy (almost Lola-ish) Geox heels (2015)
you might have noticed how much i love this bright shade of blue.... that's because it goes well with a lot of the colors that i love and on my skin tone too! :)

Marc by Marc Jacobs lightning bolt earrings... I love statement earrings like these when wearing a simple top (2015) sketched portrait in the background i did when my baby was almost one year old

back in my early 30's -- when i still had the lean long neck, perfect shoulders and slender arms for Maxi Dresses every day (2009)

these are my favorite colors -- black earrings, orange lip (MAC), blue dress (Blue Tomato) and some bits of brown and gold here and there... which all bring out all the lightness and brightness on my face (not to mention that this shade of orange makes my teeth look whiter) - 2014

i can say that the personal style that i have achieved is simple, classy and easy. something that accentuates and flatters my physical attributes -- the natural curves and lines of my body, my skin tone, bone structure and my facial features. i go more for "accentuating" rather than "embellishing" or "hiding" or "exaggerating". the key is to strive for balance. for example, if you want to accentuate your lips, wear a bold lip color and then keep everything else minimal. if you want to wear prints, don't wear prints all over, keep the prints into one aspect of your wardrobe. otherwise, you will look chaotic and disorderly. there are so many tutorials and videos on how to properly accessorize. watch a lot of them.

also, learn to appreciate your good features and work on accentuating them. and if you fall short on others, like for some people with short neck, invest on lots of scooped neck and v-neck lines. don't wear lots of chunky necklaces. if you have a short torso, wear patterns and necklaces that elongate this body area. if you are short, like myself, wear lots of shorts and mini skirts. go easy on the high heels though. one of the most important things i've learned in France is to appreciate flat shoes. anything high above the knee should look good with nice decent flats. ;)

finally, i think the most important thing about having your own personal style is to wear whatever feels comfortable (almost like second skin) to you. you can never go wrong with that. if you feel comfortable and beautiful, then others will see that you feel beautiful and they will think the same way too.

and also, it's never too late to reinvent yourself. don't be scared to experiment. part of knowing what looks good on you is knowing also what DOES NOT look good on you. enjoy! ;)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Skin Care Products Review

my philosophy on being beautiful is to keep everything simple and stay as true as possible to my natural look. i'm not a strong believer in make-up. most of the time, it feels to me like wearing a sticky mask, or wearing war paint. beauty should never be an act of war.

i do wear lipstick, eyeliner and eyebrow pencil almost every day. but all this is just to enhance what is already there and not to mask it. besides, too much chemicals on your face is not very good at all. i prefer to have a beautiful, glowing skin than wear make-up to cover it all up. and so, we move on to what this whole blog entry is all about -- skin care products. and we're reviewing some.

first on the list is Purity by Philosophy.

on my hand is a travel size version i got as a freebie from all my purchases, the one in the background is the regular size that i use all the time

i have always been intrigued by this product's name. and when i read a good review of their facial wash, Purity, i grabbed this opportunity to try it out. i have been searching for a long time for a good facial wash because for some reason, my skin has become even more dry than before. i don't know if it's a hormonal issue, or because of moving to a really dry and cold country for two years, or simply due to ageing.

i used to like Kiehl's, but since my recent dilemma, i just had to find a more suitable product for a facial wash. and i am just ever so glad to have tried Purity. it's really good. it's very mild and gentle and does not dry my skin at all.

i have been using Purity for a couple of months now, i think. and so far, i love it. it's such a great find. it's very gentle on the skin. doesn't leave it tight and dry. and you can even wash your eye make up with it, because it's so gentle.

and since i loved Purity so much, i decided to try their eye cream and facial moisturizer. i wanted to try Hope in a Jar, but they have a promotion on their Brighten my Day product line, so i decided to try this one instead.

Philosophy's Brighten my day eye cream... just the name itself is enough to make you want to try it

this is my first time to try an eye cream. since i have never worried about the lines under my eyes for the past 36 years of my life. but i think now is the best time to start worrying. :D

as for facial moisturizers, i have been using Kiehl's before. it worked for a long time until this sudden extra dryness on my skin recently. i have tried Clinique (the pore refining one) for some time. but i didn't like it anymore after some time. and i have even resorted to trying a really expensive brand called La Mer. but it was such a waste of money. my skin got irritated and flaky. i was so disappointed in it. the only useful thing that has come out of it is the spatula that went with the packaging... and i still use it from time to time to moisturize my neck and chest since these areas are less sensitive than my face.

Brighten my day facial moisturizer

i have been using both the moisturizer and the eye cream for about a week now. so far my super dry and sensitive skin does not seem to be complaining. also, i have noticed that my eyes are less puffy and the dark circles have lessened a bit. i should also mention that i am trying out their Time in a Bottle eye serum since the super generous Filipino salesperson gave me a lot of free samples.

freebie samplers, aside from these i also got a free travel size facial wash, moisturizer, eye cream and a tote bag... so generous!

also, i just had to try this skin soufflé from Crabtree and Evelyn. i have been using their normal body lotion (the goat milk scented one) for more than ten years (that's how loyal i am) until they decided to discontinue this scent. i guess it's too mild for most people. and so i moved on to the Citron with honey and coriander, which is such a delicious smell. and the body soufflé is so rich, i don't even have to use a lot on my skin. it is twice the price of the normal lotion but it's definitely worth it.

rich and indulgent body soufflé by Crabtree and Evelyn... super love it!

i just love Crabtree and Evelyn. so many people have been complimenting how soft and silky my skin feels to the touch... even the areas that are usually rough for most people. get this product if you want your husband/lover to love touching you more. ;)

i've also had the chance to try out this eye make-up remover from Lancome called bi-facil. i have been using the cheap Yves Rocher one before which does the trick nicely. but i wanted to try this one because of the good reviews i see a lot lately. so, why not? and since it was gifted by a generous friend from France, that makes trying out this product even more enjoyable.

my new eye make-up remover, gifted by a friend in France

so far, i have only used it two or three times since i don't wear a lot of heavy eye make-up. i really like that it does not sting at all. i am just a bit worried about all those shiny glittery stuff in it. i am wondering what it is, actually. even more so because they are getting into my eyes. so i am not really sure if i will be using this product this much. like i said, i rarely ever wear heavy eye make-up anyway.

and a few tips... even though my skin is very dry, i only use moisturizing product on my face in the evening, as i don't really need much in Singapore because it's very humid here.  right now, i'm alternating three products -- this one that i reviewed, an evening serum by Kiehl's and the Argan oil also from Kiehl's. also, i only use the facial wash in the evening. in the morning, i just use plain water.

so that's it for now. i'll let you in on more of the products i try and like/dislike when i get some free time again. lately, my schedule has been so busy, i rarely even have time to pee. :D

or i might be blogging about my next travel destination next time... which is one of my life's dream destinations! can't wait! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Seven Pages of Fifty Shades of Gunk

i tried to read it because there is now a movie which stars Don Jonsohn and Melanie Griffith's daughter. she looks like she got the best of the two of them so i naturally wanted to see the movie that she stars in. but i thought i'd read the book first, since it's in my bookshelf already coz somebody forcefully lent it to me back in France and i forgot to give it back before moving to SG.

fifty shades of "ho-hum" grey

but OMG. it is the most boring crap ever. i couldn't get past page 7. i think my Mills and Boon teenage pocket books are a lot lot better written than this crap. it was putting me to sleep. i stopped reading it for fear that i might dream about it and continue getting bored in my dream.

now, i'm having second thoughts about seeing the movie.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Le Nouvel An Chinois

cette année, on a décidé de rester à Singapour pendant le nouvel an chinois. c'est parce qu'on était trop paresseux de decider de quoi à faire et où peut-on aller pour prendre les vacances.

this is how you make Spritz... first, some bubbly drink (prosecco or champagne, or this time, we had some cava from Spain)

add some apérol (we are so glad to have bought this one in Italy since it's three times more expensive here)

and finally, some sparkling water (we used San Pellegrino)
it's good to make use of the abundant mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year... don't you just love this vibrant color?

pendant le long weekend, il y avait mes beaux-parents qui étaient là pendant deux semaines pour nous rendre visite.

on a juste profité le temps des vacances pour aller manger dans les bons restaurants et pour visiter quelques endroits sympa ici  à Singapour qu'on avait pas l'occasion de visiter avant.

et pour fêter le nouvel an chinois, on a visité un carnaval près de la rivière avec la petite. elle s'est vraiment régalée dans quelques tours de manège.

le soir, on a resté dans la maison tranquille et decider de faire un dîner simple et de faire un cocktail vraiment spécial.

Spritz with the view of the city from our balcony

fancy a dip? :)

best shared with loved ones... chin chin!
et voila!.. c'est la fin de l'histoire. je souhaite un magnifique nouvel an chinois chèvre à nous! :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tracking Shipments

i am a huge fan of online shopping. this fanaticism borders on addiction just a teeny tiny bit. :)

i think what i best love about it is the part of waiting to receive something at your doorstep. it's the thrill and the anticipation and the looking forward to receiving that something special that gives a bitter-sweet feeling to it. bitter because it might not be what you expect in person, or that it just doesn't fit well... if it arrives at all! but if all goes well -- arriving just in time, fitting well, looks even better in person, then you really feel very lucky and very happy for making such good judgments.

everybody loves bitter and sweet. it's like chocolate -- bitter + sweet.

and the part that especially makes me super crazy about it is when i can track the progress of my package online. which makes the anticipation and the wait all the more exciting!

wow! my package has visited Biarritz before me

here you can see the tracking details of my Ted Baker dress. i had no idea it was coming from UK since i ordered on the French web site where it was on sale.

i was starting to worry when it was taking too long in processing each time i check the status online. i was really hoping it will make it on Thursday at my parents-in-law's place so that they can bring it with them this weekend when they arrive at our place.

and i am just so happy my package made it in time. definitely super happy with my Ted Baker order for the fast delivery. and also for the half-price sale! :)

and now, i have the weekend to really look forward to. bon weekend, everyone! :)