May 29, 2013

a lilac encounter with REN

I attended my first ever "blogger event" last weekend as part of the Lilac Bloggers initiative and hosted by KENSsapothecary at Bangsar Village II. The event focused mainly on what makes REN tick. If you've heard of or have used REN before, you'd already know what I'm going to be writing about but if not, I think it's definitely a brand worth exploring and having a go at.


I'll be honest. The first time I heard the brand REN, it didn't quite tickle my fancy nor did it conjure up any sort of reaction close to excitement or even the slightest hint of drool from me, which would have happened if you mentioned brands like Caudalié, for example. I actually thought it was a Korean skincare brand {... I'm waiting to be shot for writing that}. But I did my research before attending the event and discovered that maybe, just maybe this brand may have gotten it right not just green-wise for our skin, but also for the wallet and mother nature.

REN IN A NUTSHELL
REN basically means CLEAN in Swedish but the brand hails from merry ol' England and is as English as an English can be. Whether intentional or otherwise, we were served a lovely spot of afternoon tea in very fancy teacups no less, with delicious finger food as only the English would. I would know - I have an English aunt.



After tea, we met Terry - the Marketing Manager. He spent the afternoon with us, patiently introducing REN and its line of products available in Malaysia.

 



TAKEN FROM COCOECOMAG
JAN/FEB 2009: ISSUE 09



As seasoned followers of natural beauty will attest, REN needs no introduction. REN is the cool and smart brand on the block, maintaining a presence at mainstream beauty retailers like Sephora and Space NK and enjoying A-list fans like Kate Moss, Uma Thurman and Sienna Miller, all while pioneering some of the latest, greatest advancements in natural skincare. The result? A following that blurs the line between earthy and cutting edge. If there were a REN ‘type,’ it would be a beauty user who demands the top reaches of quality, effectiveness and environmental consciousness.

REN in Swedish, means ‘clean,’ an appropriate association for a company that allows no petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, silicones, glycols, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or color into their products. The concept behind REN solidified back in 2000 when co-founder Antony Buck’s pregnant wife had difficulty finding an effective skincare line that was toxin-free and didn't cause allergies. When REN’s London-based founders Buck and Robert Calcraft set out to create ‘Clean Bio Active Skincare’ (the brand’s tag line), they stumbled upon some real winners--products that have the potential to command a cult following in the beauty world. From the beginning, they've topped bigger brands with products that are customer and beauty editor favorites. What was (and is) the secret behind REN's reputation as a beauty heavy-hitter? Like all successful beauty lines, aesthetics are key.

The first thing you notice about REN products is their packaging, a mix of minimalist, modernist chic and devout pragmatism. Nearly all REN products are packaged in translucent recycled plastic and vacuum sealed, so air or fingers won’t spoil things. This allows the company to use minimal preservatives. Second, you’re likely to notice the richness of REN’s formulas. I’ve never met a REN product that didn’t feel expensive and this makes the potency of their formulas tangible. And every REN product begs a deep inhale to take in the scent of its natural ingredients, be it rose otto, peppermint or frankincense.

Of course the kicker is effectiveness. REN products are formulated to improve the skin’s natural processes of healing and protection, an idea that we can all stand behind. The majority of us choose natural products because we believe that they are as effective, and far safer, than conventional products. REN makes this certain by using active natural ingredients like cell life-prolonging sirtuin activators, essential fatty acid-rich spirulina and plant-based collagen.

“REN’s approach is the blueprint for skincare of the future. With REN you can have the best of both worlds - brilliant products that really can change your skin and the comfort of knowing you’re not ingesting any nasties,” says Buck.

So what makes the list for must-have REN products? There’s no going wrong with the Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask, a sticky mix of fruit acids and papain that, given ten minutes, will bring glow to the surface of a dull complexion.

REN’s rose body products also inspire raves, with the Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash topping them all. REN’s balms, No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm for face and Guerande Salt Exfoliating Balm for body, get my vote as well, for being mineral oil free and super-rich.

Whether you’re just learning about REN or you’re a seasoned user, the great news is that you can expect more of the same from the company in the future.

“We want REN products to continue to mix nature and science in ways that are fresh and innovative. Most of all, we want our products to be as provocative as they are powerful, raising consciousness even if that just starts with something as simple as washing your face,” says Calcraft.

And, as always, 2.5% of the sales from every REN product go back to helping the earth and others in need. Sometimes you really can do it all!

REN SKINCARE



HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN?
The philosophy behind REN can be summed up in five basic principles. It's also a way of how they approach skincare by means of the:
- Right ingredients.
- Right science.
- Right product experience.
- Right environment impact.
- Right attitude.

It's a fact that every ingredient in every cosmetic product is a "chemical" so instead of launching into the age old argument of natural vs chemical, REN s approach to skincare is to make clean products by means of being modern and sophisticated in formula and design & effective and pleasurable to use products that are free from skin-unfriendly ingredients which are routinely being used in the skincare industry today.
As pioneers of the "Clean Bio Active Skincare", all REN products bear the "Clean Stamp" which shows what ingredients are not used in their products. As one of the purest skincare line in the market today, all REN products are free of synthetic fragrance, pore-blocking petrochemicals, sulfate detergents, silicones, synthetic colours, animal ingredients and parabens. In addition, REN products also do not contain potential irritants including glycols and diglycols (such as propylene glycol), PEG's, PPGs, urea, D.E.A, T.E.A, PABA and other synthetic sunscreens, aliphatic alcohols/hydrocarbons, phthalates, fumarates, amines, alkanolamines, synthetic AHAs/BHAs, polyacrylamide, metacrylate, elastomer, poloxamer, styrene, vinyl, polyquaternium, synthetic chelating agents, nylon, nitriles, nitrates, nitrosamine releasers, bromates, fluor, aluminum and alumina.

The brand also uses vacuum packaging, shown by Terry in the photo below. This simply means that as the product is pumped out of the pack, air does not get in to replace it. This design acts as a preservative that kills bugs which may get into the product from the air or from our fingers. It also prevents air from coming into contact with the product therefore minimizing the use of preservative and the 100% natural fragrance used in the product stays as fresh as possible.


The packaging for their masks are pretty unique too as it features a nozzle cap to further protect the product from contamination and also from leaking.


And it gets even cleaner ... all REN products are also suitable for vegan use, other than the Hydra-Calm Youth Defence Serum which contains milk and the Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm which contains beeswax. All product containers are recyclable; the cartons made from paper from managed forests and printed with vegetable ink and the filling materials used are 100% biodegradable. Plus, all REN products are not tested on animals either.  - see ... clean in every way, right?

WHAT'S AVAILABLE? 
REN carries under its facial skincare range eight different lines and each line is colour-coded so you don't get lost in its sea of products. 

  
  
 

THE BEST SELLERS
If you've wandered onto REN's website and got a tad confused with what's what and where's where, here's a little nudge towards some of their best-selling skin care products.


Then there is also the infamous Morrocon Rose body care range where the rose petals are collected by hand at dawn to maintain its freshness.


Celebrate the annual Moroccan Rose Harvest with REB with this beautiful short film showcasing the harvest itself and the people who help produce this divine oil.
Directed by Laurie Castelli.

"The rose harvest centres on the town of Kelaat M’Gouna, and its annual May rose festival, but as soon as we entered the surrounding green valleys dotted with pink damascene rose bushes, seemingly growing wild among the wheat fields, we began to smell the sweet scent of roses faintly in the air. It is for this scent, so valued by perfume makers, that the roses are harvested. Many tonnes of petals are collected by hand, mixed with water and distilled in order to extract a mere litre of their precious essence, in the form of pure rose water or rose oil..." - Laurie Castelli, Director

THE FINAL VERDICT
KENSapothecary and REN gave each of us a sample goodie bag chocked full with some of their best-selling products to try. I've been using the Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream for close to a week now and I am totally loving how my skin looks and feel, but I'll leave my product review for another post. Having said that, I wish we were given full sized skin-care products {cleanser + moisturiser} to try instead of having to stop one week short of what I believe would have been pretty amazing skin thereafter.


By the end of the session, I've drawn up a pretty long list of REN products I hope to add to my skincare routine soon. It might take me a while to tick it off all the check-boxes since I'll have to haul myself to KL to get it {or not ... see note below}.

When it comes to pricing, it's really not as intimidating as you might think too given the philosophy and quality of the product. Depending on the range, cleansers start from RM115 to RM159 for 150 ml while moisturizers from RM159 to RM177 for 50 ml. 

As a mama to two little trolls kids, I am endeavoring to be greener not only to my skin {and health} but also to the environment - for my sake and for the kid's sake. Finding a skincare line that "walks the walk and talks the talk" in every way not only to the skin but also the environment {and the bank account} is not easy these days but fortunately, REN is one of them. How wrong can a brand go when it's got a cult following and an impressively long list of celebrities who loves it too?

Me, I'm just stocked to know it's not "just another Korean brand" ... among other things :-)

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WOULD LIKE TO GIVE REN A TRY BUT IT'S NOT AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA, DO GIVE KENS APOTHECARY BANGSAR VILLAGE II A CALL AT +603-2282 0661 TO ENQUIRE / PLACE AN ORDER AND/OR ARRANGE FOR DELIVERY.

May 28, 2013

payot pâte grise

Payot Pâte Grise {pronounced : pa-you pah-te gree-ze} is thick & pastey, smells like mud with a hint of nuts and spreads like cold peanut butter on your face - it fails the first impression test in all aspects but brave the texture and the smell, leave it on overnight and it'll be totally worth all the ickiness you had to endure the night before.
Developed in 1947, Payot Pâte Grise has been used by three generations of French women as their secret weapon in the battle against brewing blemishes - and I can attest that it actually works. The key ingredient in this magical formula is its double shale extract {... that explains the muddy smell} which contains anti-bacterial properties and has a strong soothing effect on skin. The formula claims to be botanical based, designed to banish breakouts by simultaneously slowing down the oil production process and accelarating the spot's lifecycle so that it matures and disappears faster. I suppose you can think of it as a remote control on fast forward for blemishes.

I don't have acne prone skin but I do suffer from minor bouts of blemish attacks around my chin area due to my oily T-zone. Over time, these ongoing attacks have left quite a mine field of scars. Throughout the years, I've tried gels and lotions, spot stickers and roll-ons in an attempt to calm the war of the blemish clans on my chin. The formulas that claim to be mild took forever to work and I was too chicken to apply the stronger ones - I was desperate but not that desperate to drive my already sensitive skin over the edge with super strength chemicals.

Then I received a sample satchet of Payot Pâte Grise & Payot Spéciale 5 from Thelilacbox's third edition. Admittedly, I did scrunch my nose at the size of the samples - the satchets were approximately 5cm x 5cm in size and the actual product itself encased in an approximately 3.5cm x 3.5cm area - petit, oui?

But the fact is that I only needed a tiny dab of Payot Pâte Grise for my blemishes and after three nights of continuous use, I still have a little over half a satchet left. Most of my blemishes are pimple-wannabes and they calmed overnight but the stubborn ones took another night or two more. As a bonus, the "battle scars" were slightly lighter too.

However, a word of advice. If you're planning to use Payot Pâte Grise  every night on your face in an attempt to achieve flawless skin - don't. I did just that and eventhough the blemishes cleared, I was also stuck with a patch of dried out flaky skin. Payot Pâte Grise has been designed to slow down the oil production process on your skin so it will ultimately dry out your skin with continuous use.

Now, having rave about the product ... there is just one tiny little snag; it's ingredients. Read through the list below and you will understand my hesitance to purchase a full size tube of magic ...

LANOLIN, TALC, ZINC OXIDE, PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM (MINERAL OIL), PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL, PETROLATUM, ICHTAMMOL, AQUA (WATER)

Unfortunately lanolin, talc, paraffin and petrolatum top the ingredient list. Although most experts and health websites states that there is minimal risk in using beauty products containing these ingredients, I sometimes wonder if it's really worth taking a chance. I'm still debating with myself if I should jump on the bandwagon and get a full size tube because this product really does work. Sure, I can argue that I won't use enough of it to start a full-blown health catastrophe on myself but then I can also argue that this is not the only product out there with "controversial" ingredients ... yes, it's the age ol' beauty vs. health debate folks.

I'd love to know your thoughts about this product - what do you think, is it a yay or nay?

Payot Pâte Grise is available in a 15ml tube and retails online for:
RM93 on Zalora { RM20 discount for first time sign-ups! }
RM74 on StrawberryNet

May 27, 2013

lil' ee's very hutos birthday - the practise rainbow cake

Practise makes perfect - I'm not sure who coined the term but the one thing I do know is that when it comes to cakes, practise makes sure I don't serve rocks to my guests.

Which is the reason why I spent last weekend baking this ... it's suppose to be seven tiers in the colours of the rainbow with frosting in between. But then this mama got lazy, so the family ended up with a mashed-up four colour butter cake with buttercream frosting on the outside instead.


Fortunately, the family loved it ... phew! It also means the family won't have a endure another guinea pig session and risk turning sick at the sight of cake by the time I get around to make the actual cake for lil' Ee in July.

I sort of cheated with the recipe. The husband and I agreed that since lil' Ee's birthday party was going to be a small gathering of family, there wasn't any point for me to "kill myself" over the perfect butter cake recipe so a box {or two} of good ol' cake mix from the supermarket will have to do. The frosting however is from scratch and it was a recipe that I had to "figure out" since the one I used for lil' Ee's birthday cupcake last year was diabetes inducing. I still haven't gotten it down pat, yet but hopefully when I do I'll do a post on it.

The cake toppers were from an experiment I worked on last week - lil' Ee already saw them so it was difficult hiding it from her. I figured I might as well use them for this cake just to make her day.

Other than that, I'm almost done designing the party decor and hope to do a post on it soon because I redesigned the entire thing {again}. It's what happens when you research way too much online ... dang you Pinterest!

May 26, 2013

a day in cameron highlands

Believe it or not, these are my kids still in their pajamas at six-fourty-five in the morning. You read right. 6.45 am on a Sunday morning, three weeks ago. The mama on the other hand is on the opposite side of that very same reaction plastered across their faces.

The reason for their excitement - the papa decided on an impromptu trip up the hill for Mother's Day. Mama was in the kitchen blending baby porridge into moosh with her trusty Kenwood handheld when papa captured this photo.

Don't get me wrong, I was totally looking forward to a day off housework and the possibility of adding more herbs to the herb garden which I'm currently working on. Let's just say I'm not a morning person and leave it at that.


The clan left at 7.30 am sharp and up the mountain we drove. Lil' Ee wanted to eat chocolate cake and drink tea so we decided to make the Sungai Palas BOH Tea Plantation our first stop. The air was cool and the sun was playing hide-and-seek throughout so we went up with our windows down - it was the perfect morning for an outing.


We got into Sungai Palas a little before nine. Lil' Ee got to play with my 450D after a slice of cake and a sip of tea - a very fortunate kid, this one; not even four and she's holding a camera with a four digit price tag. My parents didn't even let me near their Nikon when I was four, let alone hold it. Oh how the world has changed ...


Anyhow, we managed to get a few decent shots with the kids ... a few meaning one or two. It's not easy taking photos with kids especially when one is exhausted from all the excitement in the morning, while the other one who was smart enough to snooze on the way up the mountain is squirming with excitement and resorts to the tickling the other one who isn't.


All in all, it was a very nice Mother's Day for me this year. Exhausted and sunburnt like toast on a Sunday morning because I forgot to put on sunscreen but nevertheless, I'm glad the husband decided on the impromptu trip up the mountain {and he also got me a pot of rosemary, spearmint and citronella for my garden, way better than flowers}.

Thanks, baby!

May 20, 2013

lil' ee's very hutos birthday - DIY part I

When it comes to favourite things, kids will have their phases especially on birthdays and trust me ... they get more challenging by the year.

For example, when lil' Ee turned one, she was in a bunny rabbit phase so we got her an ice-cream cake from Baskins n' Robbins ... easy peasy. When she turned two, she was in a ladybug phase so we got her a cake shaped like a ladybug from Secret Recipe ... slightly challenging because they needed a seven day in advance reservation period and we "just" made it. Then when she turned three, she was in an Angry Birds phase and that's where my headache started.

If you follow me on my blog, you will know by now that I am slightly OCD in certain things - design is one of them. When lil' Ee wanted an Angry Birds cake, my job was cut out for me because it is not easy finding someone who baked great cakes and designed equally impressive fondant figurines in Ipoh. We finally found someone but she had si much orders on hand, the cake and design was just slightly above average.

Lil' Ee will be turning four soon and this year, she wants this bunch for her birthday party ...

Meet the Korean equivalent of Teletubbies, just less annoying in my opinion. At least they don't go, "Run! Run! Run! Run! Run! ... Oh oh!" and repeat half a dozen times {rolls eyes}.

The Hutos gang features the very curious Nado; his DIY savvy older brother Moya and their friends, the creative Ara; lovable and caring Joa and Siro who looks tough on the outside but is really a softie on the inside. I know this because lil' Ee watches this all the time on her iPad ... all twelve episodes in the nine seasons it has out in the Apple Apps Store, you do the maths.

Here's a little preview ...



Since I have a little over two months to prepare, I figured I'll plan a surprise DIY birthday tea party for my little girl ... from the invitations, the decor to the cupcakes and cake.

I've started designing the invitation this week and the cupcake topper printables too. I'll be working on the cupcake wrappers, pendant banners, "Thank You" goodie bags and tags later this week.


Sorry I can't provide a download for the printables because I sourced all the graphics from various websites and I just feel it's unfair to distribute their work, even if its for personal use :-(

I'll be in KL this weekend and hopefully I'll be able to find the time to get some Fimo or Sculpey clay. Do check back on me now and then, if you're curious how this little project of mine turns out. Till then, as lil' Ee always says ... "have a happy, happy day!"

May 16, 2013

phyto's phytodéfrisant botanical relaxing balm vs the distant cousin of the ends of a witches' broom

I have crazy hair. On most days, it's an understatement. If I have to describe how my hair texture is, I'll most likely say that its like "chicken coop wire and grows like Mufasa's mane" ... no, I'm not being dramatic here because you ain't see me in the mornings - my hair is scarier than me eye bags and that's the truth.

When I take a photo, you will most likely than not find me partially hidden behind an object or a human. If I can't, then I will be sporting what I call the "auntie hair bun". I don't like the "auntie bun" because tying my hair up draws way too much attention to my face which is the size of the Australasian continent - I love you to bits, dad but the big face thing happening on my nogging is totally from your side of the family. Oh well, at least people can't say I'm not my daddy's girl. LOL!

I've always had long hair until I got married and suffered from the "let's chop it all off" syndrome the next day. That was five years ago and it's been a painful five year journey growing my hair to the length it is now. But in that time, my hair grew an attitude of its own - it got coarser and frizzier. It's probably my fault that it turned out that way because after lil' Ee, time was not on my side and after lil' Kai - well, you get the picture.

Getting ready for work in the morning meant spending more time ironing my hair into place with a ceramic straightening iron than on my make-up. Even then, once I step out of my air-conditioned room into the humid morning air, all manner of frizz breaks loose on my noggin' - absolute frustration!

Earlier this week, I got a chance to try Phyto's Phytodéfrisant Botanical Relaxing Balm made available in the third edition of Thelilacbox.


The Phytodéfrisant Botanical Relaxing Balm is a non-chemical straightening balm and is suitable for daily use. It's formula is plant-based and it claims to hydrate with plant mucilage, soften with chamomile and finally relaxes and protect unruly hair with ferula, horseradish & sage. This formula is also paraben and sulfate free plus it's not tested on animals, which means it's as green as it's ever going to get.

Instructions are simple enough which this time-challenged mama is absolutely thankful for. All I had to do was apply the balm onto damp hair then comb through to distribute it evenly. Since the product is heat activated, I picked up my trusty hairdryer and dried my hair like I normally do. I don't do fancy smancy brush actions when I blow dry my hair - most of the time I just my fingers ... that's how simple this product is to use.

In the four days that I've used the relaxing balm, I've started liking my hair a little more than I did the day before. It's not all glossy and smooth like hair you see in shampoo adverts but my hair is definitely less frizzier and much more manageable.

Apparently the "straightening effect" is cummulative too with continued use but for now, I'm just happy to actually have hair that doesn't look like it's related to the ends of a witches' broom.

The final verdict: I absolutely love Phyto's Phytodéfrisant Botanical Relaxing Balm and yes, I will get a full size tube when I run out not only because it works for me but also because it's green and environmentally friendly.

However on all good things that actually work, the price tag doesn't come small; a 100 ml tube from Zalora will set you back RM90. But for a thirty-something gal with hair that is likened to "chicken coop wire and grows like Mufasa's mane", I think it's worth the investment ... for now until something better comes along.


INGREDIENTS: ALTHAEA OFFICINALIS ROOT EXTRACTS (MUCILAGE VÉGÉTAL). CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT (MATRICAIRE). SALVIA OFFICINALIS (SAGE) LEAF EXTRACT (SAUGE). ALLIUM SATIVUM (GARLIC) BULB EXTRACTS. COCHLEARIA ARMORACIA (HORSERADISH) ROOT EXTRACTS (RAIFORT). FERULA ASSA FOETIDA ROOT EXTRACTS (FÉRULA). PROPYLENE GLYCOL. CAPRYLYL GLYCOL. METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE - BOTANICAL ORIGIN

May 14, 2013

the lilac box : third edition - a hit or miss?

A couple of weeks ago, the three guys at Thelilacbox announced that subscription for edition three was opened and hinted that it would be their best box to-date. I received my box yesterday morning and had a little over twenty-four hours to absorb it all in. So, was it a hit a was it a miss ... let's see, shall we?

First up, the packaging; sturdy and eco-friendly as usual which I personally love because the DIY possibilities are endless on a blank canvas. I am still tinkering with my project so do check back on me soon {hint : late June/early July}. 

For this edition, the three guys did something different. I am all for new ideas and absolutely welcome change but let's just say my reaction when I opened the protective cardboard wrapper wasn't one of "wow!" ... it was more of "huh?"


May 11, 2013

vanity trove may edition: awesome wholesome

Valerie from VanityTrove Malaysia contacted me last month asking if I was interested in giving their beauty box a go. There have been mixed reviews about this beauty box and I was curious so I gave a thumbs up to Valerie and before I knew it, the May edition landed on my desk in a clean, classy beautiful packaging - sans the courier envelope that is.

May 10, 2013

hoping for a guerlain christmas

For Christmas last year, I filled my socks with Dior. This year, I am hoping to fill it with Guerlain. More specifically, the Guerlain Météorites Perles Loose Illuminating Powder Pearls in 01 Rose Teint & Guerlain Météorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer  ... too much?

If you're shaking your head - "I think so too!". 
If you're nodding - "But, it's Christmas!" and que {pout!}
Ok. I have tried bluffing myself {who on earth uses the word "bluffing" in a blog these days?!} that I don't have a lot of premium makeup on my vanity. But the truth is, and with my head hung low ... I actually do - at least by my standards. Ranging from Burberry to Dior, Clinique to Estee Lauder, Lancôme to Urban Decay ... all these excludes my stash of sample sizes.

Having said that, I have decided to yank the handbrakes and freeze my monthly makeup budget then wait eight extremely long agonizing months until Christmas to splurge on non other than the "Grande Dame" of premium brands in my books - Guerlain. Besides, Christmas is the time when all the cardiac-arrest-inducing beauty sets appears with jaw-dropping-and-equally-squeal-worthy prices!

May 9, 2013

uriage hyséac nettoyant doux or cleansing gel

There's nothing like a burst of freshness on weeknight before the humdrums of a new workday. This rings unexpectedly true with a sample I received courtesy of the gorgeous mama at The Missus Blog and Mivva - the Uriage Hyséac Nettoyant Doux or translated, the Uriage Hyséac Gentle Cleansing Gel.

May 8, 2013

crabtree & evelyn avocado, olive & basil skin revitalising body lotion

When I received my Crabtree & Evelyn VIP membership, I would receive a sample packette of either the hand therapy or body lotion to trial before it is officially launched in stores. Of all the new collections launched since the last year, the Avocado, Olive & Basil was the one and only one collection I missed - totally my fault and too long a story to tell.

But the good news is, I managed a chance to trial this out two weeks ago at the Crabtree & Evelyn's latest store in Ipoh and I knew I had to bring it home with me ... and so I did - the Skin Revitalising Body Lotion {psst, you get 15% discount off the retail price if you're a VIP}.


Part of the Spa & Wellness collection, Crabtree & Evelyn's Avocado, Olive & Basil is all about nourishment and moisturisation thanks to its main ingredient of avocado, olive, basil and featuring also lemons and cypress.


If you read my review on  Tarocco Orange with Eucalyptus & Sage, you'd know that I've always preferred the scent of the hand therapy to the body lotion of the same collection because the latter somehow smells a little bit stronger, sweeter and not as refreshing; I had that with the Citron, Honey & Coriander too. However, it the reverse with this collection.

The Avocado, Olive & Basil Skin Revitalising Body Lotion features a "green herbal scent featuring crisp notes of lemon, energising cypress, and vibrant accords of avocado and olive blossoms". It's less sweeter hence less headier than the hand therapy. The burst of green freshness that zinged through my olfactory senses when I lathered it on my arms last night  after a shower was "totally-need-a-spa-vacation!" inducing, much to the husband's eye-rolling disapproval. I'm also glad to report that the frangrance still lingered on my skin when I woke up this morning; it was subtle but it's still there.


Texture wise, it's not runny and neither is it paste-like thick. It's just the perfect consistency to lather on skin and provides enough moisturisation enabling my skin to last through the day in my office freezer without drying out. I also noted a subtle sheen on my skin giving it the illusion of healthy skin which I totally love but rest assured, this body lotion does not contain shimmer so its all from the natural goodness of avocado butter and olive working here.


Crabtree & Evelyn's Avocado, Olive & Basil range includes the following and is formulated without colour, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and propylene glycol.
  • Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy - NRP RM 78
  • Skin Nourishing Body Butter - NRP RM 130
  • Revitalizing Bath & Shower Gel - NRP RM 65
  • Skin Revitalizing Body Lotion - NRP RM 75
If you've given this collection a go, I'd love to hear what you think!

VISIT CRABTREE & EVELYN'S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
FOR STORE LOCATIONS, CLICK HERE.
CRABTREE & EVELYN IPOH STORE IS NOW OPEN IN AEON STATION 18.
DO GIVE A SHOUT-OUT TO JAE & MANDY IF YOU'RE IN STORE.

May 7, 2013

lets reignite the malaysian dream

Sunday, the fifth of May 2013 was supposed to be a historical day in the history books of Malaysia. It was supposed to be the day before the dawning of a better and brighter future.

Sadly, that future now lie in ruins and darkness as all fairness and all justice that our founding fathers fought so hard for, the equality and freedom that Malaysians gave their lives for are now buried in mountains of lies, corruption, treason and violence fuelled by a power-crazy and money-hungry government. A government so arrogant that they openly transgress upon the very people they were supposed to serve and protect.

George Washington once said, “ … the basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitution of government.” Last Sunday, the rights of the people of Malaysia to make and alter their constitution of government were literally non-existent. In the last few days alone, we the rakyat have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears these very transgressions:
  • Openly buying votes from the rakyat using the rakyat's hard-earned money;
  • Openly flying in phantom voters, paying and feeding them using the rakyat's money;
  • Openly approving and providing foreigners with identification cards in exchange for their votes, when those who have lived in this country over half a decade could not.
  • Openly transporting phantom voters to polling centres in bus loads, under the protection and guard of the police and FRU's - the very people who have sworn an oath to protect and guard the safety of the rakyat. These very people used verbal and physical violence to protect those who were brought in to destroy our dream of a truly united Malaysia;
  • Openly transporting phantom votes to polling centres, again under the protection and guard of the police and FRU's AFTER vote counting have commenced;
  • Openly claiming that the indelible ink was indelible. But then the indelible ink met the typical Malaysian household dish washing liquid and it was indelible no more thus sending RM5 million of the rakyat's hard-earned money into the pockets of the undeserving, yet again.
I also could not wrap my head around this math - PR garnered 5.5 million worth of popular votes while BN only managed 5.2 million ... yet BN won. Did all sense of rationality in Malaysia die last night?

I woke up Monday morning with a deep sense of sadness and anger and betrayal. I cried and mourned the death of the Malaysia our fore fathers dreamed. I cried and mourned the death of the Malaysia I dreamed of for myself and my children and their children. On Monday, the sixth of May 2013 the rakyat of Malaysia cried and mourned the death of true democracy and the dream that was once Malaysia.

My Facebook and Twitter pages were filled with victory quotes and speeches of old, one that has been repeated for 56 years from the new government re-elected . The ugly head of racism also made its appearance and my heart sank further. But then I read something George Orwell wrote and I smiled.

“Political language ... it is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

It was then I realised something and my sadness (fine, and the melodrama too) took a backseat. The power of the rakyat exists. Never before has it been so strong and united as it was in the last few days when;
  • Malaysians flew thousands of miles home from all over the world;
  • Malaysians drove hundreds of kilometres home braving traffic jams and thunderstorms from every corner of the country;
  • Malaysians marched to the polling centres and waited their turn to cast their vote under the blazing sun and pouring rain;
  • Malaysians stood together united in one cause to stop phantom voters and their votes from tainting what belongs to the rakyat - our democratic rights as Malaysians to choose our own government.
But if you really drill into the maths, the majority of win came from urban Malaysians but what about our rural brothers and sisters?

I work in an industry where some of my colleagues come from these rural areas and still have family there. It is a place where us urban folks will most likely not survive ... and admittedly, I am one of them. To us urban folks, the basic necessities like food and education are secondary to things like a mobile phone and the Internet, which let's be honest here ... to us ARE the basic necessities. But yet, all these are a luxury to those in the rural areas. As Jonathan Ngan wrote in his FB post, "What good is a wealth of information without the education to process it? How can a mind be full when a stomach goes empty?"

I understand now that we need to stand together, united to make a change. But this unity would have to include both the urban and rural folks, only then can the Malaysia we dream of come true. If you look at the GE13 statistics, it is where PR suffered most and BN strategically took advantage of it.

The opposition can only do so much. At the end of the day they are human and they are also limited in manpower and resources; they are fighting against an army that has had 56 years to train and fine-tune their strategy. Help them win back our Malaysia by first educating yourself and then spread the word to your family, your friends, their friends and their friends. Spread the word so the folks in the rural areas will know that the Malaysia that they dream of can also come true for them. Let them not only hear it from a menteri, a dato' or a datuk or a politician but from a fellow rakyat, just like themselves. The Malaysia we are dreaming of can come true but it needs to start with you. Never feel like you are standing alone or that you do not have the power to make a change as an individual, because you can.

In 2008, BN polled a 51.8% lead against Pakatan's 48.2%. In 2013, the tables turned on BN with only 48.7% against Pakatan's 51.3% and it happened because you as an individual and collectively as the rakyat made a stand and proclaimed that "enough is enough" - not as a Malay or a Chinese or an Indian but as Malaysians. Never before have I been so proud to stand amongst my brothers and sisters from different religions and cultures under the blazing hot sun for over two hours just so I can mark an X on two pieces of paper.

Lim Kit Siang recently wrote about the "great Malaysian dream" where he urged Malaysians to stand up in GE13 and "dare to dream the great dream of a Malaysia of justice, good governance, freedom and in which ALL are regarded as Malaysians, first and last."

Help our rural brothers and sisters envision this dream. Help them envision a Malaysia –
  • where all Malaysians are just Malaysians and not categorised by a checkbox;
  • where all races and religion can live in peace and harmony;
  • where all are treated with fairness and equality under the law regardless of race or religion;
  • where corruption of any kind and amount are not viewed as the norm but with utter disgrace and contempt;
  • where freedom of speech is not laced with fear of persecution;
  • where our children are educated with the highest of standards and taught to think outside of the box instead of copying out of one;
  • where our hard earned money laced with blood, sweat and tears are not blatantly spent on the unnecessary;
  • where the government elect are imbued with honesty, integrity, tolerance and respect.
  • where a rakyat is genuinely proud to declare out loud, "I am a Malaysian, no more no less." 
This is my dream and I am sure you have yours to add on to it.

When Barack Obama took office as the first African-American president of the United States of America in 2009, it gave me hope (and goose bumps) that one day Malaysia will taste the true nature of democracy she craves and so badly needs.

In his speech he said, "For we know that our patchwork heritage is strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

Our dreams and hopes for GE13 may have died in the wee hours of Monday, the sixth of May 2013 but there is still hope. Reignite that dream, Malaysia for there is always hope – it will be an uphill climb, one that will without a doubt knock the wind out of you but persevere nonetheless, if not for yourselves then for your children and their children and their children’s children. UBAH! It needs to start with you.


“Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
― Langston Hughes

May 1, 2013

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