18 January 2013

An early Valenbirthary present ......

I am sure I have mentioned before that my Birthday, Wedding Anniversary & Valentines day all fall within 10 days of each other (very bad planning on my part) so poor Grant always has such a hard time trying to make each of these occasions special.  So he has come up with the Valenbirthary concept of rolling them all into one.  This little baby is my early Valentbirthary pressy and I am just so happy with the addition to my Apple family, I can now Instagram on the go without having to lug out my i-pad (which I mentioned earlier that for its size, it is freakishly heavy) but still get to take photo's with an app that make you look like you know what you are doing, along with all the rest of the fun stuff you can do on it, oh yes, and you can listen to music (it is an i-pod after all)
Till next time

16 January 2013

First day of Matric

Today my baby girl started her first day of her Matric year, where oh where did the time go, in a blink of an eye she went from this cutie with a scrunched up smile to a beautiful young woman.  Good luck Angel for your final year
Till next time
First day of grade one

First day of Matric

Jodi Picoult book evening

We were invited to a book event for Jodi Picoult launch of her Lone Wolf paperback book. What a lovely evening held at Skoobs at Monti Casino.  We arrived at 6pm to be served pink champagne and platters of sweet nougat.

Jodi gave a brief overview of her book then went on to describe the research she conducted for her Lone Wolf book, it was really fascinating.  She described in a humorous way, how each member of the pack has its own role to play and the difference between the Alpha, Beta, Testers and numbers, she then went on to explain how you can use the same philosophy to choose a new puppy from a litter, to best suit your family.  She answered many questions one of which was, Why was the ending of My Sisters Keeper different in the movie to the book ?  and her answer was really surprising, suffice to say, it wasn't her choice, in fact she fought hard to have it kept the same.  I found Jodi to be exceptionally eloquent and approachable and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time, followed by a scrummy meal at Jon Dory, lovely mid week break to the ho-hum, same, same.
Till next time

Jodi giving her presentation (excuse the blurriness, the lighting was terrible)

15 January 2013

Nails of the week: Sinful Colours, Sugar Sugar

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A slow boat to Shanghai .......... the adventure continues

Now Shanghai is 6 hours ahead of South Africa so when my alarm clock went off at 6am, my mind was saying "you have to get up it's 6 o'clock", my body however was screaming "are you mad it's 12:00pm" not a nice feeling. Got ready and went down for breakfast, although the hotel offered a wide selection of both eastern & western food , I made a decision that I was now going to be more adventurous and only eat eastern food, this was the breakfast buffet where you selected a type of noodle along with bits and bobs (tofu, veges etc) they then boiled them in a little basket in the appliance on the bottom left of the picture, then when done you selected a broth from the pot in the centre which was then poured over your noodles, this was then topped with different additions found in the bowls in front (dried shrimp, nuts, sauces etc)

This was followed by dim sum with various fillings. I must say it was delicious, odd but absolutely delicious (as an aside with eating three times a day for 6 days, I lost weight, these Chinese people are definitely onto something)

Monday and Tuesday were work, work, work from early morinng to late at night, I must say though, I went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch on Tuesday with a colleague who lives in China. I pointed at a picture of what looked like beef and rice (seemed like a safe option) along with this meal came the following. a Chinese tea, a drink of marmalade with lemonade poured over the top (could be served hot or cold, I opted for cold, my colleague opted for hot) a bowl of noodles, with a dipping sauce, a salad (I didn't eat this, in case it had been washed in tap water) and a broth, all this cost me R52.00 and I no where near managed to finish it, however I was paying anything between R15 & R26 for a small bottle of water, which was never cold, never kept in a fridge of any sorts, always just on a shelf in the shop. I digress but I think this is actually the secret to Chinese people all being petite and slim (and possibly why I lost a little weight) they drink their drinks hot, not allowing fat to solidify and hang around in your body unnecessarily. Every restaurant I ate in served water boiling hot, as I found this very unpleasant I took to drinking Chinese flower tea and now really enjoy it.
All shops are open from 10am to 10pm giving me an opportunity to see some of Shanghai after work.  So I  left the office at 6 and went to a place called Xintiandi which was an area full of divine restaurants, and very high end stores.  I then made my way back to Nanjing Road to tackle those humongous department stores and feeling a little more sure of myself had a wonderful time flitting from shop to shop.  Nanjing road is a pedestrian road in between all these stores and I came across hundreds (no exaggeration) all line dancing in the road.  What a sight to see, such fun

Line dancing in the street
On Thursday after work I made my was to a magical place called Tiandifang, this was recommended by my colleague and I am so glad I went, It was pouring with rain and, numpty that I am left my brolly back at the hotel so when I arrived at Tiandifang  I popped into the nearest restaurant, where I ordered a champagne cocktail called "a slow boat to Shanghai", how appropriate.  Tiandifang is the size of a city block between four roads full of hundreds of teeny tiny little shops, filled with lovely things, with little alleyways running between the shops strung with twinkling lights, it was fab, strolling around (even in the rain) browsing all the little shops

This was my last night in Shanghai and although I didn't have time to see very much, what I did see was amazing, the people are so friendly, it is safe (this is a big deal for a woman travelling on her own).  I would love to go back to Shanghai on holiday and have the time to take in many more sights.  I would highly recommend it

the desk in the hotel room that had wired in Internet 24 hours a day, making it easy to keep in touch with the office back in South Africa

Till next time


14 January 2013

Korres review: Wild Rose

I was asked to review a few products from the Korres Wild Rose line, here are my thoughts,
The Korres products contain no parabens, mineral oil or silicones. This is a great factor considering the move by many people to be more aware of what they actually use on their face.  The use recyclable packaging. The box, tubes, bottles even the aluminum hygiene tab.

The Wild Rose: exfoliating cleanser/brightened, for all skin types has a light pleasant rose smell, milky consistency with granular gentle exfoliants. It doesn't foam but skin feels very clean afterwards.  can be used daily use.  It proposes to regenerate the skin providing effective soap free cleansing and brightening action without dehydrating the skin. The natural exfoliating grains are derived from rice seeds and cherry stones to aid in cleansing dead skin cells, impurities and excess sebum. Natural blend of bilberry, sugar, orange and lemon extracts. -rich in naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids - enhances cell renewal and improves skin texture. Loved this product, left my face so clean and fresh feeling 

Wild Rose: instant brightening mask, A pure white mask for clear and radiant complexion. Suitable for all skin types Contains wild rosé oil, Argan tree oil, shea butter, avocado butter and provitamin B5.  It has a slight tingling feeling, it doesn't dry completely on the face and washes off really easily, leaving your skin very refreshed.
Wild Rose: brightening & line smoothing serum. Ultra concentrated vitamin c serum brightens and smooths the fine lines of face and eyes. Suitable for all skin types. Can be worn on own or under moisturiser. I tried this under the moisturiser, found it to be slightly tacky to the touch but loved the brightness it gave my skin. 

Wild Rose : 24 hour moisturising and brightening cream, normal to dry skin, light milky feel, not thick. Soaks in easily. Very moisturising. Leaves slightly oily to the touch feel on top of the skin. This a super rich, extremely hydrating moisturiser.
I think overall the Korres Wild Rose Range is a fabulous mid range of products, I would compare it to Clarins & Lancome in terms of moisture payoff and would benefit people with normal to dry skin.
Till next time

Exfoliating Cleanser

24 hour moisturiser

Brightening mask

Brightening serum

09 January 2013

A slow boat to Shanghai .........first impressions

I went to Shanghai on a business trip recently, having been the first time I have ever been there as well as the fact that I was travelling on my own I was slightly apprehensive, OK really apprehensive if truth be told, I have travelled internationally myself before, but that was to a country I had been to previously and was also an English speaking country.  Here I was now waiting to board a flight that would take me from Johannesburg to Hong Kong with a two hour stop over then a second flight through to Shanghai.  I took a deep breath and told myself that I could do this.
I flew Cathay Pacific, what a brilliant airline, their service was superb, food was great & the cabin crew were friendly.  I upgraded to premium economy, check out the leg room I had, what a treat.  There also was only two of us in this row so we had a seat empty between us which all helps for a more pleasant flight.
Meals offered on board were both western & eastern choices.  I went with the western option, not quite ready to venture out too much and it was really tasty.


When I arrived in Hong Kong, I was absolutely parched so went on the hunt for some bottled water (tap water is not drinkable in Hong Kong, nor China)  I found this cafe where I paid R 96 for a SMALL bottle of water (most expensive water I have ever had) but what do you expect when they were charging R 156 for scrambled eggs & salmon on toast
I arrived at Pudong International on Sunday at 9:05 am, and no jokes between getting through security/customs, collecting my suitcase, finding the driver and taking a one hour drive to the hotel in Shanghai, I found myself checked in and in my room by 11:15am.  So slick, the entire process, no unnecessary delays.  My first experience was trying to chat to the driver of the car that the hotel sent to collect me and all I got was "No English".
I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in the Hong Kou District of Shanghai, and let me tell you this hotel room was magnificent, they spared no expense, I had a room on the 30th floor, it had 42” flat screen television with international satellite channels, an in-room laptop safe with charger, and a clock radio with iPhone/iPod docking. A couch and a sizable work desk with high speed Internet access.
The bed is worth a huge mention, I had heard about the famous Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ Bed, featuring a big pillow-top mattress, cozy duvet, and goose down blanket before I left, but thought nothing of it until on night one, extremely jet lagged, I climbed into this bed and seriously had the best nights sleep in my entire life.  They guarantee a fabulous night’s sleep and they delivered (I loved this bed so much I googled whither you could buy one and yes you can but the price unfortunately is out of my price range, as I would have to ship it from the States to South Africa, pity, huge pity). Glass walls separate the bedroom from the exquisite marble bathroom, which features a deep-soaking bathtub, a shower with a six-jet rain forest shower head, a central floating wash basin, and a variety of bath amenities.  It was heavenly.

This was my view from my window, of Shanghai.
I unpacked, cleaned myself up and had a chat with myself, something around,"well you can stay here and luxuriate in this room until tomorrow, or you can take the bull by the horns and go out their into Shanghai and explore".  I opted for the latter, not knowing how much free time I would have I thought I better make use of this open afternoon.  Now Shanghai has a very good transport system with trains, trams, buses & taxi's so getting around shouldn't be much of a problem, however it is known that most taxi drivers do not speak a word of English, making this challenging, so to get around this fact what the norm is to show the taxi driver the address (in Mandarin) and they nod then take you their.  The Sheraton actually has a card that has not only their address but also the address of all the main tourist sites, so you would just tick where you wanted to go, hand it to the driver and off you went.
I made a decision to go to Nanjing Road which has enormous department stores (I mean humongous, 12 stories high and vast, vast, vast) I am a pretty good shopper, in fact I would say I am really good at it, these stores however scared me to death, I felt so overwhelmed as I have never seen anything this size before and it wasn't one but what seemed like streets full of hundreds of stores this size (picture something probably double the size of Harrods, and that would equate to one of these department stores), it was all just too much to take in that I actually couldn't buy a thing.  In fact I found myself fleeing out into the street again and went in search of a Starbucks (the weather was quite nippy and I felt like something warm to drink and I had seen some on the drive into Nanjing Road).
I crossed the road to People's Park, which was full of people as well as lovely Chinese sculptures on plinths, I was wondering around when a very friendly Chinese couple stopped me to ask me if I wouldn't mind taking their picture, after doing this, they asked me where I was from, so I told them South Africa and they started chatting away, anyhoo, they then asked me if I would like to join them for tea as they were going to a Chinese tea house.  I declined politely and told them I was off to Starbucks for a coffee, now I will never know if they were trying to do this, but prior to going I had read up on scams that happen to tourists, whereby they are convinced to join young Chinese couples for a Chinese tea ceremony and long story short end up having to pay an extortionate bill.  So either I declined a very friendly young couples innocent offer to join them or I narrowly escaped being conned out of loads of money.  I eventually found my Starbucks and had a salted caramel latte and went and sat in People's Park just to do some people watching, pinching myself that here I was actually in China on my own, very surreal.  I then had another wonder around Nanjing Road where I found a wine shop, so after sorting through many many bottles of wine until I found something that resembled what I drink at home, I bought a bottle and then decided to make my way back to the Hotel, flagged down a taxi, gave the hotel card to the driver and off I went again.  I ordered room service for dinner, which was a hamburger and chips, sat down to some of the purchased wine to enjoy with was was to be the last western meal that I had on the trip.  I lost the battle with Jet lag and fell fast asleep.
More to follow
Till next time

08 January 2013

Nail of the week :Essie, Chinchily

Till next time