Monday, December 16, 2013

The 2013 Christmas Gifting Season

For me, travelling means that my days are blurring and I sometimes forget which day of the week it is anymore, since it doesn't matter as much when I'm on holidays. But I was looking up the calendar today and I can't believe there are less than 10 sleeps before Christmas. Where did the days go?

I have not even started on my Christmas shopping (but I do get special pardon, since I'm travelling and will be bringing gifts from overseas to my friends and family when I get back). If you don't have an excuse like I do, then you need to start making a list of things you need to get for the people you will be seeing this holiday season quick stat!

Now there is a plethora of gifting ideas but sometimes it's hard to narrow it down to the right present, especially for those hard-to-please people. I find asking them what they want to be futile as they will give you non-committal and confusing responses so I just pick for them something I think is a bit of a luxury and indulgence.

There's a few of such gifts I've cast my eyes on over the past few weeks that I think will make beautiful gifts for a bit of luxury and pampering.

Jurlique Hand Care Essentials - RRP A$85* 

This rich and emollient hand cream set will delight the fussiest recipients with signature scents from Jurlique including rose, lavender, citrus and jasmine. Enriched with natural botanical, you're getting hand and aromatherapy every time it's used. With four 40ml tubes, there's one to leave at home, another in the car, office and even a spare to stash into that big handbag so you're never without a hand cream.

-Available at David Jones, Jurlique concept stores and online.

Philosophy Care Package - RRP A$130
If you think someone deserves a little TLC this Christmas, then send them this care package to show them how much they mean to you. Containing everything to turn around their skin around, this easy to follow regime contains the micro-delivery exfoliating facial wash; purity made simple
3-in-1 cleanser; hope in a jar moisturiser, hands of hope hand and cuticle cream and a two-step vitamin c/ peptide peel to give healthy glowing skin.
- Available in David Jones, Mecca Maxima stores and adorebeauty online.

Laura Mercier Mini Lip Glace - RRP A$45 

Everybody loves a good lip gloss and these five colour-coordinated bare nude shades by Laura mercier will beautifully enhance lips with subtle soft colours as well as add shine, sparkle and hydration, ensuring these lips will be kissed on Christmas day. Shades include pout, bare peach, bare blush, bare baby, gilded rose.

- Available in Laura Mercier counters in David Jones.

Jo Malone Cologne Collection - RRP A$150 

Now even the fussiest scent lover will fall in love with this collection of signature scents from Jo Malone. Containing mini sized (9ml each) bottles of lime,basil & mandarin, english pear & freesia, blackerry & bay, peony & blush suede, amber & lavender, there is a scent to suit every style, occasion and mood.

- Jo Malone is available in city David Jones stores.

Voluspa Crane Flower 100 hour candle - RRP A$49.95 

If home is more the space you want to be gifting then nothing is more pampering and inspiring than one of these beautiful crane flower candles. With a burn time of 100 hours, you will have many nights (or days) of enjoyment and with its unique birds of paradise nectar and grapefruit scent. Beautifully packaged in a gold embossed holder, it will become a keepsake that can be reused for holding trinkets or cotton pads.

- Voluspa is available online at Saison Shop

Illamasqua Fatale Palette - RRP A$53*
What's Christmas without a bit of colour to add cheer to the day? With this beautiful palette of surprisingly wearable shades, you can turn up or down the festive mood with the use of mauve and plum shades alone or layer it with copper and/or aubergine to create a smokey party look. Pigmentation and blending is never an issue with Illamasqua so any girl can pick this palette up and use it in a cinch.

- Illamasqua is available in selected Myer stores or online.

Burts bees Tint n Shine - RRP A$19.95*

For a Kris Kringle or stocking-stuffer, I can't recommend this little pack from Burt's Bees enough. Made with nourishing shea butter and apricot kernel oil, I find their hibiscus lip balm very moisturising and impart a soft tint that keeps lips soft all day. The blush lip shine can be layered on top for an extra gloss or used on its on for lucious looking lips. The best thing is that I spied these in Target online for $9.99 this week!

Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal 

Now finally, if you can spare a gift (this might be the perfect and charitable re-gifting opportunity for that cheese board you don't need), get into the spirit of giving to those less fortunate. Head to a Kmart store and make a wishing tree donation to give someone who would otherwise miss out on Christmas, a little cheer this festive time of the year. They would be most grateful for your generosity of giving back to the community. Just mark your gift for the most age/gender appropriate when dropping it off to the wishing tree. 

- You can make a wishing tree donation at any Kmart stores up until Christmas eve. 

I hope this small selection gets you thinking of the last minute beauty gifts you might want to pick for the special someone or for those in need if you're in a capacity to be charitable. I'm off to make my wishing tree option now (yes, you can donate online via giftcards too!)

Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet? What else have you got to pick up? 

* products marked were provided for editorial consideration. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Travel Guide - How to travel light and have more fun

Travelling for long periods of time, especially overseas makes you value how much you value space and weight. So that's why whenever I travel, I try to pack as little as possible (which of course frees up more space in my luggage and allows me to buy more products along the journey to take home with me :D)

So if you are curious with what I brought with me for my 4 weeks of travel, take a look at the photos below. I must say looking at them, I think I still over-packed, as I have bought more toiletries and skincare products from Watson and Sasa to compensate for all the decanting and travel sizes I brought over! A beauty addict like me just never seems to learn ><

With clothing, I usually pack light shirts and natural fibre tops like woolen sweaters that can be worn in mild weather or layered if it gets colder. I always pack 2 pairs of jeans and get a whole week's wear between them before they get washed. I also bring a cardigan for those strange weather days or cool evenings, leggings that can be worn on its own casually or under a skirt in the evenings and a weather proof jacket for those wild rainy days which offers some protection when it's too hard to trek around lugging an umbrella (and your shopping bags and camera).

Jeans, North face jacket, a few woolen knit tops, hats and scarves (I'm heading to Sapporo in winter) are all fairly lightweight items in my suitcase. 
With beauty products and toiletries, sample or travel sizes are my favourite products to take away (this is where all those gift with purchase products get used). Decanting full sized products into smaller sized pots, bottles and jars are also another favourite options of mine, especially if the original packaging isn't very travel friendly (eg. made of glass, awkward shaped etc). And remember you don't need to bring your whole bottle of shampoo because if you do run out and not stuck in some remote part of Africa or some other far flung exotic locale, you can always duck into the local shops to pick up a replacement and even try their local offerings (and treat it as part of the travelling experience).  Wet wipes are always handy to have to remove makeup, clean and refresh your face and hands on the go so I always have a pack of that in my bag whenever I'm on travels.
Travel sized skincare
Products in the bag:
  • Kiehl's Creme de Corp body cream for my dry skin
  • Guinot Biological Peeling radiance gel for a evening facial when my skin is stressed and worn out. 
  • Kiehl's ultra facial cleaner. This isn't a travel size but I couldn't decant it and love how it's gentle but gets rid of all grease and grime in one easy wash
  • Abivon - my French gem of a vitamin A cream for evenings to keep my skin supple and those fine lines at bay. 
  • La Roche-Posay Melt-In BB Cream - I love this non-greasy lightweight BB cream that gives a natural finish to help with minor imperfection and all day round SPF protection. A must when travelling. 
  • Bobbi Brown hydrating eye cream - emollient and rich, the perfect cream for restful eyes whilst travelling 
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eyes - intense hydration for times when I need more stronger skincare and given it's so small, I'd probably finish it in a week's time anyway. 
  • Origins Ginzing refreshing eye cream - because I'm obsessed with eye creams and this little tube will only go another week after my other two finishes up. 
  • Pelativ Facial Refiner Deep Cleansing Scrub - for days when I need to exfoliate my face of the dead skin cells but don't want my skin feeling raw afterwards. 
  • *edit* I forgot to include earlier but the Clinique bottle is actually my diy vitamin C serum that I've decanted into the small bottle to take with me for this travel. It normally sits in big bottle in the fridge at home. I'll post a post on the how to make the serum over the new year! 

I carry minimal cosmetics products whenever I travel as I find I don't have time to do my face in the mornings and even when I do, by the time I'm finished walking around all day long, my makeup looks smudged and worse for wear. So my only products that I carry for travelling liquid eyeliner, mascara, tinted lip balm/gloss with UV filters, concealer, BB cream, pressed powder and oil blotting paper. I also carry a long wear lipstick for evenings when I do want staying power on my lips.

Minimal makeup kit
  • Estee Lauder concealer - this cream base concealer is the best for hiding dark cirlces and imperfections without budging once set. It's my new holy grail concealing product this year. 
  • La Roche-Posay Melt-In BB Cream - I love this product so much I've included it twice in this post! Great for a light hydrating, coverage and sun protection and shade #2 is a surprisingly good match for me, I can't sing the praises of this product enough. 
  • Clinique Super City Block SPF 30+ - this isn't makeup I know, but I always have a tube of sunscreen in my makeup bag just in case I don't use any makeup, at least my skin is still protected, especially when travelling]. 
  • CoverGirl pressed compact - its convenient, has a built in mirror for quick on-the-go touch ups. I can't ask for more. 
  • Kiss Me Heroine liquid eye liner - my hero liquid liner that I never stray from 
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara - this deluxe travel size means its easy to carry and won't dry out before I finish using it. I love how this particular one gives me intense thick lashes that are non-clumpy and easy to remove. 
  • Lancome Tresor EDP miniature. I haven't put this to use yet so thought I may as well bring it with me. I am after all going to be spending NYE in Hong Kong in a potentially swanky place, I should come prepared. 
  • L'Oreal Shine Caresse lip gloss in Juliet - a deep berry shade that lasts hours without drying lips. It will be on me for NYE for sure.  

Is this too much products to bring for 4 weeks? Do you travel with more or less?  If you want to see what I've been buying and getting up to in Asia, head over to my Instagram for the glory pictures.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hello from Taiwan!

Hello, if you've been following my tweets the last couple of days, you'd know that I have started my month long holidays and have bounded for Asia, Taipei being the first destination.
Getting ready for travel when I received this #Niveaduckie
The flight was one of the most relaxing one I've had and I have to commend the Qantas staff for my making my journey stress free (web check in helped me avoid a 1.5 check in queue at the airport as I was only in the bag drop line for 5 minutes!). I met up with my travel buddy Sam, who has been on holidays in Asia for the last 3 weeks whilst in Hong Kong airport for transit as we continue the holiday together.
During Hong Kong transit - glorious sunset
We arrived in Taipei late last night and my first impressions is beautiful and clean city is one filled with beautiful warm and friendly people. We were going to take a taxi to get to our accommodation but the tourist help desk lady was so helpful, she showed us with bus to take and it only cost us $145NTD (equivalent to $4.50) to get into the city centre and our accommodation.

Too tired after checking in, we just wandered downstairs of our local night market (we are staying in the Daan district) to pick up some supper and milk before coming to our temporary home to crash.

Our accom in Taipei for the next 3 weeks - a 1 bed, 1 study apartment found on AirBnB
Prior to this holiday, the last week of work was crazy - I was doing 12 hour days for the whole week to get my project in a state that I could hand over to my manager without too many outstanding actions. This meant I didn't get a chance to blog before I started the holiday.

Thankfully, this vacation is not going to be a busy, scheduled filled one. Instead, it's quite free flowing which means I'll be able to blog and update you on my travel journey and some normal beauty posts as well.

The travel updates will mainly be via Instagram (because a picture tells a thousand words and probably do it better than and written word can).  If you are wanting to catch up with my antics, you search the the #lilpilinAsia tag on Twitter and Instagram. So now I'm off to explore Taipei 101 and the shopping precinct area on the beautiful sunny day and get some good tourist photos.
Taipei 101 Tower in the distrance
Until the next update, stay beautiful!