We are a household of 2, not counting the cat. And thus I often end up with one lonely yellow, spotted banana.
( Who would want to count this ugly cat ? Look at that face. Stuff of nightmares!)
Back to the banana. It’s always perfectly ripe for baking but here is the dilemma. Try locating a recipe that uses 1, only 1, banana. At the minimum it’s 2. And then add to that something that uses 1 banana, and NO wheat.
Finally I found one. Mix one mashed banana well with 1 egg. Heat a frying pan with some butter, spoon the batter in. Cook like you would a pancake.
In my head I imagined something like the Bengali desertMalpua (The batter for malpua is prepared by crushing ripe bananas, adding flour and water. The mixture is sometimes delicately seasoned with cardamoms. It is deep fried in oil, and served hot.)
Hmmm yum and a perfect option for a carb free breakfast.
It could be me but it tastes just like..Egg…and Banana.
I also decided to spread some St Dalfour (no added sugar) Cherry Jam
But then it tasted like Egg.Banana.Jam
At a pinch its not bad but not the answer I am looking for.
The quest for what to do with one spotty banana continues.
I have oily lids and hooded eyes but I like eye liner pencils. So this is what happens: On my upper lids it travels UP to my crease to leave a ‘cut-crease’ kind of line and on the lower lids it travels down to give me racoon eyes.
Try sealing it with a primer or powder, nothing works!
My only choice liquid liner, but pencils are so convenient! So my quest to SEAL that line has been going on for YEARS!
Till I stumbled upon the ELF Eye Primer Liner Sealer in Target.
The primer I am ho-hum about but the Liner sealer on the other end I LOVE. It took me a while and few Youtube videos (praise and rants ) to figure out HOW to use it but I have tailored it for my needs.
The way you are supposed to use ELF Liner Sealer is, dip brush in Eye shadow powder and apply it to your eyes like a liner. And it doesn’t move. I have done that and it stays pretty good. But I think for an effect like that you might as well invest in a gel liner or use water.
But because I like the convenience of eye pencils this is how I use it.
Apply eye liner pencil. Then lightly dab the sealer ON top of the line you have drawn. The sealer does burn a wee bit, so make sure you dont have excess sealing liquid on the brush. Dab along sides of the bottle of take off excess.
The brush is a stiff white brush. The instructions say “wipe brush off after use” I did, after I dabbed it into an eye shadow,but it stains anyway. Just so you know.
The Makeup Forever Aqua Seal I bought it in HK just to try something that I could buy in HK, instead relying on my trips to the US.
I don’t like it ATALL ! At HKD 250 its bloody awful. Granted it’s rubbish for the way I want to use it, but we don’t get ELF in HK “so what do you want me to do Hong Kong?”
It’s a pain to use.
A pain get it onto the brush.
It doesn’t come with a small container or anything, so you have to scramble around for some thing to pour a drop onto. Then it dispenses more than you wanted, so you waste it. It’s sticky and as you pour it out it dribbles, arrgh a MESS !
Anyway this Bobbi Brown brush is a liner brush that frayed on me in about 2 secs, so I use this one to play with the Aqua Seal. I hold brush tip to mouth of dropper and wet it.
I dabbed it onto my liner and look what happened. It smudged. It crept upto my hood. It then made the liner flake off.
Look the liner does stay put dont get me wrong. But the smudging of it initially and the transfer I do not like. But most of all what I don’t like is the inconvenience of the product.
Drips and dribbles as you pour and makes everything sticky.
..is when a friend relocates countries and leaves you her make-up. She is every colour of the palettes she left for me. I see her in my mind’s eye in High Def colour. A more lasting memento I am yet to appreciate.
I hit the JACKPOT
Because my friend is a meticulous Virgo with excellent taste I hit the JACKPOT. Sparingly used, spotlessly maintained Guerlain, Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani and Dior.
I think of her everyday as I apply the tinted Bobbi Brown moisturiser (not in above picture, it’s in my gym bag) on my face, and rejoice. There is something about this moisuriser. There is a inner glow. There is not a hint of sparkle, gleam or shimmer but I am lit.
I am going to buy this to re-place of my Bobbi Brown BB cream.
The other magical one is this Guerlain blush palette. As I blend I think ‘wow <name of friend> (http://pausetoponder.com/) this is a great find!’ I would typically never pick a Guerlain.
It’s a rich pigmented blush and what I find magical is the more you blend the more the colour seems to strengthen. Odd huh ?
Ignore the brush. Why even bother to include a scratchy brush ?
I haven’t focused on the staying power so cant comment but what I can say is a little goes a long way. Its not shimmery or anything, though you can see flecks in the darker coral and the baby pink.
The Dior palette is subtle. A ‘my features but better’ palette for my skin-tone.
My fav out of the lot is the shaded bronzer. No shimmer and makes for a subtle contour on my NC40 skin-tone. The blush looks brown here but its a Dusky Rose. A natural flushed look.
Unfortunately I can’t give details on the palette, because I depotted them AND moreover it was probably Inflight Duty Free 🙂
Now these two products below make me laugh. Because I know my friend. How did she end up buying these I keep forgetting to ask her. Even I am fearful of these two and I know she is a fledging makeup user. The Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill and the Benefit Lust Duster
I can’t really review these two, because I am not proficient enough to use them. The Benefit one is just a clear Pearl dust and the Armani is a cream turquoise/sky blue shimmer shadow.
Though having said, after swatching it for this post, I might start playing with them. But not sure what look I would create. Probably a thin line above the lash line for that pop. I personally wouldn’t apply the Armani all over my lid, I would just look like that over madeup old lady on the train!
The Armani is a cream shadow and applies well with fingers or my flat Shu Uemura brush, that frankly works with anything, even jam. There is fall though so do it before you apply your foundation/concealer/cream.
And oh, also I put a face mask on while writing this post and I splashed my face over the basin to wash the mask off, forehead, nose, cheeks and the Armani didn’t budge!
The other lucky find in my friend’s stash was the Estee Lauder palette. But I could cry! I tried to depot and couldn’t save the eye-shadow or the coral blush.
That mauve-y brown eye shadow shade, 2nd row, left, I have not been able to find anywhere in Hong Kong. The closest was Bobbi Brown Heather, but its too ‘bruise-y’ on me.
And that coral blush ? To die for. ‘I just worked out’ flush.
Thankfully the setting powder and lipsticks escaped scot-free, thank god! They are nice but the stars of the palette are unfortunately dead.
Anyway this post is long overdue but thank you R for leaving me with these absolutely wonderful memories . I enjoy them immensely and you are always on my mind, atleast once in the morning and once post gym 🙂
Amazing. I love it, will re-purchase. But not from Amazon because I can’t. They wont ship this item to Hong Kong. Why ? I have looked all over their website and the WHY has never been answered. Maybe we smell.
But then thank God for Singapore! More precisely for Sephora in Singapore. My next trip I am definitely stocking it up before I return to HK (where you can buy – NOTHING!)
I am a non fussy brush cleaner. Baby Shampoo and Olive oil is what’s sometimes recommended on the DIY pages of the Internet, but I am a harsh, haphhazard, swipe-brush-on-Bar of Dettol Soap- and-dry kind of person.
The Dettol soap bar is in my bathroom and bang-bang done.
And then a reviewer on YouTube was raving about it. I forget his name, but he seemed to know what he was saying admidst his slightly mental raving-reviews, hehe.
There is something magical about the Beauty Blendercleanser and I don’t know WHAT .
And look I have used the MAC brush cleaner too. And I just didn’t feel satisfied. The MAC one was like cleaning your face with a Make-up wipe while the Beauty Blendercleanser feels like a good old double cleanse!
This is what I do. Wet brush, swirl, swipe over solid cleanser. Then I brush it over my palm, back and forth to remove makeup. Once clean I wash it under water, squeeze brush (gently) dry and then hang upside down OR flat, angled down slightly, to dry.
On the box it reads “lather up” but not sure what that means and so far hasn’t seemed necessary to me.
The magic is it cleans very well, quicker than my Dettol/Shampoo and also the brushes seem to dry faster (?)
I dont own the Beauty Blender sponge because frankly my fingers and an ordinary wedge sponge from Sasa does the job, but this cleaner is FAB!
Applying the ELF lip exfoliator on bottom lip. The top is the BODY SHOP lip scuff.
The ELF is distinctly sugar based and you can see it applying more transparent. It is gritty and has more of an exfoliating action.
The Body Shop (top lip) is slightly minty, green and applies very thick. Thick as in trying to apply vaseline that you might have stored in the fridge (not that you would). There is barely any gritty/exfoliating action. The granules are almost too minimal.
But for the ELF Lip Exfoliator PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! You must dampen your lips before applying.
If not, then like me and a lot of youtube reviewers you will get pissed off.
Also the ELF one is season-temperamental (made up this phrase.)
I live in HK. Summer temperature 33-38 degrees Centigrade, humidity can vary from 50% to around 85%. And my bathroom faces the mid-day sun right until sundown.
My exfoliator is in my bathroom in a dark box, but no denying it is a HOT bathroom.
So in a situation like this I dont need dampen my lips because you can tell the emollients in the exfoliator are already softened (as seen in the picture) and I apply a bit and then lightly rub my lips to together or lightly brush it with a toothbrush.
However when it is NOT this hot, winter and spring, you must dampen your lips slightly and then start to exfoliate. The product needs that slip.
If you dont it wont work.
Then wipe off with a wet cloth. You will feel your lips a bit ‘exfoliated’ so apply lip balm.
The Body Shop Lip Scuff is rubbish. It is hard and thick (lips damp or not) and with minimal granules that barely get any exfoliating done because of the thickness of the base and honestly there just aint enough of these little critters.
There are some reviews that will say ‘apply and then rub lips together’. Waste of time, really.
Vaseline and toothbrush is your better friend.
I use it because I bought it.
The Body Shop Lip conditioner of the other hand is divine. I like it almost as much as the Elizabeth Arden lip balm.
‘Hong Kong World City’. The original ‘city that never sleeps’. We are non-stop. We don’t stop for anything, not even old people, pedestrians or pleasantries. We are busy moving. We only pause to slurp our soup noodles or when at a cashiers to pay for our shopping.
Eating and Shopping the two things that slow us down. We boast of amazing cuisine choices and some pretty shit shopping.
Top Shop only recently came to HK. Pitiful Boot’s choices and no Soap and Glory. Some lines don’t even make it to HK. Like the Loreal Infallible lines or even Gilette Venus razors!
And still no Sephora. WHAT???!!! WHY ???!!!
Look I love Sasa, but as an expat I don’t want to buy pink-toned Japanese and Korean brands that don’t have English writing.
I want to buy brands I am familiar with. Brands with English packaging and no pictures of snail goo.
I visit Sasa, often. Just because. It’s my kind of porn. I look but don’t touch.
I want snail-free, English packaged brands like Stila, Tarte, Two Faced, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Lorac & NYX.
And to top it all, as a brown skinned expat, HK is simply racist. Beige, pink undertoned makeup dominate the shelves in HK and Sasa.
The choices for yellow toned, dark makeup is your standard Bobbi Brown and MAC. Boring!
And then there is HK’s step-sister Singapore. I love Singapore for many many many things and Sephora is one of them.
15 years ago I bought my one and only thing at Sephora, San Francisco. A Nars multiple. Possibly even before they called it a multiple. 15 years later, 26th May 2015 was my second Sephora purchase.
APOLOGIES FOR THE HOTEL ROOM LIGHTING
Tonight’s purchase was more of an educated one. Gleaned from Caroline Hirons, Tati Glam Life Guru and general reviews.
The Smash Box Primer is my first ever primer purchased. I have only ever used the Porefessional which I received as a sample.
My hygiene levels on my makeup brushes has just gone up with the Beauty Blender Solid brush cleaner disk. I read rave reviews on the internet. Its no different from washing my brushes in mild shampoo but way more convenient. Definitely going to re-purchase.
The Facial Radiance Pads were recommended by Caroline Hirons. I have used them a few times but not wowed. I prefer the Clarins Brightening Toner and Kate Sommerville’s exfoliKate. Those two give immediate glowing results.
Soap and Glory crazy stuff. Anti Cellulite & Arm toning cream. And 2 Lip plumping glosses.
Also my first ever Stila. Stay All Day Vinyl lip gloss and the one-step Colour Correction serum (I love it!)
And awesome free gifts, that Sasa doesnt give!
INITIAL THOUGHTS : Few weeks of use.
Smashbox Foundation Primer oil free – Applies well. The Porefessional needs a dab dab dab movement otherwise it balls up but the Smashbox was ok with a light, short sweep movement. I didnt see immediate mattifying, pore-invisibility effect like the Porefessional. But then different jobs to do I guess.
Sexy Motherpucker Lip Plumper: Gloss with subtle colour. Does it make your lips tingle ? It’s a fun vibrating, zzzzz feeling in the lips. But I cant see a big difference with my pucker. They feel like gloss and while I dont like that glossy feeling its fun because of the zzzzz feeling and because of that I reach for them more than my Dior Lip plumper
Stila CC: Feels nice on the skin like a serum. Suitable for all skin tones. On lighter skins the CC effect might be more obvious but on my NC 40 skin it’s subtle. But I LOVE IT
Arm Firming, Bottom Toning: Look anyone with half a brain knows they dont work, but Tati said it works (I know about sponsored videos and do not believe everything someone/internet/anyone tells me) but after 3 years of research I trust some and some I dont. So am going to give this a try – along with running 30 mins and avoiding carbs and sweeties 🙂
Stila Stay All Day Vinyl gloss is thick and a bit difficult to apply. It feels glossy but my hair keeps sticking on my lips. Dont you hate that ? The YSL Glossy stain rules the market in this category. That’s it.
Free Sample Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick: This is my first every Urban Decay anything ! It feels great on application and gives off that vibe that it will stay on like a mother-fucker. It feels like a matte but not dry. REVIEW TO FOLLOW
The Marc Jacobs free sample on the other hand was patchy and felt like any other cream lipstick. The patchy application I fucking hate especially on my pigmented lips.
The Sephora Rouge Infusion feels like a stain and seems to have good staying power. It feels dry and IS drying, but I need to review it properly.
Jury still out on the Fresh Lip Serum Advanced Therapy. I need to give it a proper run.
Both will tell you BB creams, especially the western ones are all hype and the best ones are the Korean Brands.
Living in HK we have access to the Korean brands so it should all be good. Right ? Wrong.
If you are on the dark side, well anything NC40 upwards , you wont find any that suits you without putting a beautiful ashy-grey cast on you.
Asian brands are all about whitening and have pink undertones and the darkest they go is about 3 shades lighter than my colour.
We live in HK and how do we buy BB creams that work for our skintone? My answer is ‘I am not sure’. HK doesn’t seem to cater to us.
The western brands available in HK are really no better and only about fit my NC40 skintone.
But being a mini beauty junkie I had possess a BB cream(s). So I started with drugstore brands.
Maybelline is available at Sasa, Watsons and Mannings. They have, and this gets me So mad, the ‘light’, ‘light pink’ and ‘light pinky beige’ shade range . That’s how I will address it because the shades don’t deserve my NC40 respect.
But I love Maybelline and I know they are not the ones practicing this racial divide, HK beauty importers are.
Also the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB got great reviews but not available in HK (another pet peeve, but that’s a whole different rant).
I bought the range available in HK which is the Pure Mineral SPF 50 BB cream. It sits well on my cheeks but can be wee, only wee, bit ashy along the chin and forehead, but disappears in a bit. I like the feel of it, but it could do with slightly yellower under tone.
Also when in doubt with a shade, I don’t pair it with orange or coral makeup because I think those pull out the ‘ashy’. I use blues and pinks.
It’s fine on me but I am not sure it would work for someone darker. Mixing it with the right shade of foundation could work but isn’t the whole idea of BB creams to be that one product that doubles up as skincare plus makeup ? And personally I cant be bothered with that much effort.
The next one I bought was the Bobbi Brown Medium-Deep SPF 25. Other than MAC, Bobbi is the only other one that seems to confidently venture into ‘deep/dark’ territory. Also for a western brand it got the very good reviews. I forget whether it was Paula Begoun, cosmetics cop or Wayne Goss.
The Deep looks orange on me and the Med-Deep can look a wee bit light but not ashy. The lady at the counter recommended Med-Deep, so I thanked her and gave her my money.
It feels awesome on the skin and but needs to be well patted-rubbed-patted rubbed in otherwise it seems to ‘sit’ on the skin and can transfer. Also applied sparingly because it has a thicker consistency. It oxidises well on my skin to look natural.
For some make-up junkie obsession reason I decided to buy one more BB cream. This time the Garnier one. Its from Mannings. ONLY ONE SHADE AVAILABLE. Perfect for most of the local population but not me, but I bought it anyway.
Garnier BB cream is the most liquid of them all. Runny.
I love the matte finish, but needs major warming up with a bronzer because I am 3 shades darker and warmer, than the average Hongkie chic. And never paired with my orange blush or lipgloss. Only dark pinks or browns.
So I now had 3 (western) BB creams in Hong Kong that I was ‘ok’ with but not ecstatic.
Then I went to San Diego for a holiday and lo behold dark shade ranges. I went a bit mad in the makeup department I must say and when I spied the Garnier Med-Deep at RiteAid and jumped at it.
That is my perfect match. Similarly runny and matte. Perfect for summer. I use it sparingly to make it last till my next trip.
All in all, I have to say that between Hong Kong, US and UK, its the drugstores in the US that are not afraid to go darker.
Even Boots(UK) wasn’t that well stocked in the shade range department. I am not sure what you Brit gals think.
I still have to scope out the stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines to see what they stock.
But either ways I know to get something to match my skintone I need to get a Visa and get on a plane !
I don’t need to tell you the Sasa explosion that Hong Kong is currently experiencing. As much as I love this twinkling pink glittery heaven of cosmetics it’s still un-nerving to see them mushroom like 7/11s around every street corner. No one needs that much makeup.
I have been in HK a long time and I can safely conclude that this explosion is thanks to our neighbours from the North.
I remember it used to be the Japanese that went around HK in huge Chanel, LV and Prada shopping bags. Now it is our cousins from the North.
And they are equal opportunity shoppers. Not just Prada and Chanel, they love a bargain like any of us and at any given time can be seen in Sasa buying everything that can then be stuffed into gigantic shopping bags.
Sasa has probably never had it so good, resulting in rapidly multiplying Sasa stores, and off-shoots like the Sasa outlet and the never seen before mega Sasa. A shop goes out of business and a Sasa comes up in it’s place.
Thanks to Sasa’s success we have a me-too. Bonjour Cosmetics. Competition is always good. And in this case even better !
Bonjour is less classy than Sasa (oh Sasa I remember your humble beginnings) and especially now that Sasa has become too high and mighty for something things it’s great we have Bonjour.
Great because Bonjour is not too posh for ‘samples’.
Samples from Clinique, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and the like. Tiny 3ml and 5 ml samples that all have “NOT FOR SALE” clearly written on their packaging. Not for Sale samples that we can ‘buy’ for a small price.
I don’t mind. HK is notoriously stingy, or rather has a ‘No we dont (wont)’ attitude when it comes to giving away samples in the actual stores. And selling them at these cosmetic shops is legal.
They are not out of date or expired. They are the very same samples that a Sephora, a House of Frasier or Macy’s would give away happily, even if you were merely loitering around their counters.
In HK nothing is free and I have learnt to live with that. So I don’t complain when I pay HKD 69 for a sample of Advanced Night Repair to try out before I go ahead and buy the full size for around HKD 900+.
These samples are the best way to try out products and brands. Buy them once, buy them twice. If it works buy then buy the full size.
In the past I purchased and re-purchased samples of Advanced Night Repair before I splurged for the full size one. Around the same time I also sampled the Estée Lauder Even Skintone Illuminator before deciding it was a load of rubbish !
My recent Bonjour haul was cleansers, especially for eye makeup, and eye creams.
I am disappointed with both the Body Shop eye makeup removers they offer and while I know I can always rely on Maybelline, I bought these samples to test out the high end brands without spending fat wads of cash.
Same with the eye creams. Thanks to Paula Begoun I know that any anti-aging formula can not be in a jar and yet most companies are still offering it in jars. So I am still on the look out for the perfect eye cream.
Clinique’s Even Better Eyes Dark Circle corrector is my current favourite and I am on my second bottle, but because its tinted I don’t like wearing it at night before bed. So I bought the Clinique All About Eyes serum and cream samples to see if they are effective. Both are supposed to fight puffiness, so lets see.
While Clinique and MAC are my go to brands for skincare and makeup, I don’t believe in spending silly money for things like cleansers, make up removers and moisturisers. Drugstore brands like Maybelline, Garnier and Olay are good quality and equally effective.
Body Shop is proving to be pretty poor in some of its product pay off, so I have relegated it to the toiletries only department.
But sampling high end to work out just what the hype is all about is great fun.
Thanks to Bonjour’s samples I have discovered winners and duds.
I love the Estée Lauder Lip Conditioner and between Benefit’s Porefessional and Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, Benefit wins hands down.
(Benefit was not a sample. It was a mini from a Christmas present )
Bonjour doesn’t sell mini samples of makeup. Its mainly around the skincare range.
The one in TST just before Granville is a good one.
I am a person who likes to mess about with whatever I can mess about with on my body. Hence my dabbling in makeup, piercings, tattoos and hair. Plastic surgery ? I say not…Yet…:)
I even messed around with the colour of my eyes. There was a time I was obsessed with coloured contact lens. After buying numerous coloured, zero power, lens I realised that the only colour that would show up against my very dark brown pupils was Hazel. But again I didn’t look as striking as the HK Chinese girls did with them on. My pupils rejected most/all shades.
And also putting them in and taking them out was a technique I couldn’t master atall ! So that nonsense soon ended.
But this need for colour and eye stayed somewhere in my subconscious.
After years of being happy with black khol I am back to wanting colour. But this time around the eyes.
I know its soo Teenage, blue and green liners, but I still want it.
And that’s when I found out not many (maybe 1 or 2 ?) brands make colour eye pencils and even fewer on the masacara front. Why ?? Where have all the fun people gone ?
Anyway after days and endless hours of browsing in Sasa and Bonjour Cosmetics (Hong Kong) I finally discovered Arcancil. They made a line of waterproof, coloured, eye pencils AND mascaras.
I am brand conscious or rather, brand tentative, with cosmetics especially when we have all been duped with Zero pigmented eye shadows with incredible fall out, eye pencils that scratch your eyes out, disappearing lipstick shades or waterproof liners that are anything but.
At HK $75 each I decided to take the plunge. And no other brand had it anyway. So I bought 2 coloured waterproof eye pencils. Royal blue and Emerald Green.
Came home tried it….and decided I must blog about it. They apply like a dream. Imagine a feather dragged across your face, Now imagine that same feather depositing a bright trail of colour.
Colour that lasts and doesnt smudge. I must admit I do pack on powder with an angled brush to seal it because I wear concealer. And concealer makes everything smudge, atleast on my eyes.
So one down ,one more to go. Coloured mascara.
Chanel, my fav, only stocks De Volume in colour, in HK. And I dont like the wand or the clumpy deposit it makes ! So I went back to Arcancil splurged on two waterproof mascaras Purple and Blue. Not really splurged as I got 2 mascaras for the price of 1 Chanel.
Dont bother with their TV advert for the mascara. Its doesnt add volume and length magically but it does not clump and the colour is noticeable. Not ‘Nikki Minaj makeup’ noticeable, but its there. Perfect for daytime.
And I have black lashes.
I did spend a lot of time admiring myself in the mirror after I put it on.
For Night De Volume is still great as it give that thick OTT look that works for a night out.
I will update on how long this lasts in the bottle or as pencils ie in Drying Out.