Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Good Virtues

Slightly late joining the bandwagon, but better late than never!

I first heard about Good Virtues Co. through a friend. She confessed that she bought it due to the very attractive packaging, but after using it for several months, she now swears by their face moisturizer and hair shampoo. Initially I wanted to try it out by buying it through her, but she told me that it was probably much faster for me to purchase it directly from Jaya Grocer, as they carried the basic range.

Alas, I completely forgot about the product until I received some samples in Aiden's graduation goody bag. Since I needed a small bottle of body wash for my business trip, I immediately grabbed the sample bottle and chucked it in my luggage.

I was extremely pleased upon using it for the first time. The smell was absolutely wonderful, and best of all, the smell remained on my skin even after stepping out of the shower. I couldn't really pinpoint what exactly it was, but thanks to Google, I discovered that the very unique smell probably came from their main ingredient - black seed oil, also known as Habbatus Sauda.

The smell was pretty damn amazing that after returning from my business trip, I went directly to Jaya Grocer and bought the biggest bottle I could find!

Other than the fact that Good Virtues Co products are Halal, free from Parabens, not tested on animals and all that jazz, I was even more impressed that the range is made in Malaysia! *proud smile* I love supporting local products!

I have yet to try out anything other than their body wash, but I was so attracted to the cute packaging that I bought their hair conditioner too. (I was nearly out of conditioner anyway.) I've never seen that much effort put into any other similar product packaging, so kudos to the creative entrepreneurs.

Pretty colours, cute packaging plus a catchy name to boot. 

If you've tried Good Virtues Co and have a product recommendation to make, do share. I'm not adventurous enough to try their facial products just yet, so a testimonial or two would probably help me change my mind.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Slow Work Week

Since I went gallivanting across Europe just a few weeks ago, it didn't feel right to apply for end year leave, especially for something that I do not celebrate (Christmas). Hence I am currently the last lady standing, holding the fort till everyone returns from their well deserved break.

Being the only one left at work, I am also responsible for keeping a watchful eye on progress at site. Despite it being a slow work week, it sucks (excuse my language) to have to be on standby at site. I've been spending the past few days in JB, waiting to attend site inspections that keeps getting postponed and having lavish sashimi dinners courtesy of the company credit card at Kampachi, JPO. (Can't really complain on the latter!)

Sashimi for me, myself and I.

Managed to bring the family over during the Christmas break. I promised the boss that I would be on standby and within driving distance, therefore we chose to go to Universal Studios Singapore! Our second trip there, and it really deserves a blogpost on its own.

Until the next blogpost, here's a picture of my daily outfit between hotel to site. OOTD lah konon. Who says you can't rock coveralls with a decent pair of flats and a cute sling bag (plus a very heavy laptop bag)?

Here's hoping that those long hours in coveralls will help me pay off those Gucci flats and Prada bag. *sigh* Once a shopaholic, always a shopaholic! How lah, to quit my job like this!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Obsession or Depression?

Have you ever been in this situation; you saw something you liked, but it wasn't available in your size or choice of colour, or simply did not meet your spending expenditure for the month? Well I have... And I would mope around until I either succumb to the temptation, or manage to talk myself out of it (the latter rarely happens). Or, if it didn't come in my size/colour or was sold out, I would drive around to every single shop that carried the same thing until I found it. I would be so totally consumed and obsessed at the task at hand, that nothing else mattered. (Here are some real life examples: I drove to 7 Mr DIY's to get matching colour pouches for Aiden's birthday. I drove to multiple grocery shops including 3 Tesco Extras to get a Star Wars lunch box which came free with every purchase of a particular cereal. I called ahead and went to every single Isetan departmental store to hunt for the size of a top that I really wanted.)

The sense of triumph that came with every accomplished mission, is amazing! But, did you know that compulsive spending is a sign of mental illness? Depression runs in my family, therefore sometimes when I put this much dedication in something, I always wonder. Is this the illness talking or issit just pure drive and dedication? I guess there is always a fine line between good and evil. *sigh*

Well, here's my most recent obsession - completing my Shell Lego collection. *smacks forehead* Back in 2012, I made the silly mistake of taking it so lightly... at the end of the campaign I had to join a longggggg queue at the lobby of Shell House to get my hand on the missing cars from my collection. To date, I am still looking for the 2012 collector's case! (Anyone wants to sell???)

My incomplete set.

This time, I made sure I got my hands on every single Lego car as soon as it was released. While I was away, I even left some money with a friend so that she could buy it on my behalf. As soon as I arrived in sunny ol' Malaysia, it was a day before the final release - the limited edition Shell tanker. But, guess what? Jet lag got the best of me and I overslept; by the time I got to the station it was completely sold out!!! *cries*

Since then, I have traversed through multiple Shell stations, on the hunt for the elusive Shell Lego tanker. I've also been contemplating bidding on a the tanker online. (Have you seen the price of the tanker on the online websites??!!) Well, just my luck, the office recently had an internal contest. Take a creative photo of any of the Shell Lego models. Best picture wins the full Shell Lego collection and the collector case, including the over glorified Shell tanker! Poor Hubby was subjected to several nights of being my designated photographer.

Borrowed a neighbour's Shell Lego tanker, just to lepas geram!

To enter the competition, I have to publish my photo online with the hashtag #ReadySetBuild and set my FB/IG to public. Hence, my IG is now open to public so feel free to add me! *chuckles* Anyway, here are some of my entries for the competition:

Alhamdulillah, my drive and dedication paid off. I was just announced as one of the winners for the last week of the contest! *yeayyyyyy*

The picture that I least expected to win, proved me wrong!!!

So I'm a happy girl today! Totally made my day. Shell Lego tanker, I am soooo ready to receive you! I promise, I will give you a happy home. *chuckles

So now that that obsession is over, it's probably time to dwell on my next obsession. Now... how do I get my hands on that 2012 Shell Lego collector case.......... hmmmmmm......

Aiden accompanied me on a late night impromptu visit to the office, and insisted on a photo with this chap in the lobby.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

464 Emails and Counting...

Today marks my first day back in the office. A few of my colleagues jokingly asked, "Why are you back?" (as they were expecting me to continue my break with the impending Christmas holidays). I simply shrugged and answered, "I didn't want to, until I realized I had to pay my credit card bills!" *chuckles*

It is definitely good to be back. I turned on the video as soon as we pulled up to the house gate. My maid opened the door with Ian in her arms. And that grin he gave us... It was so contagious! He was super excited, started pointing to Lightning McQueen on his shirt, to the garden, to something in the horizon... His mouth was chattering baby talk non stop. I took him in my arms, gave him a few sloppy kisses then put him down. He started pulling me towards the door, then he pulled on my shoes to force me to take them off. I took off my shoes... And he started tugging on my socks!!! It was so adorable and funny. I took my socks off and walked in. But instead of walking in, he slipped his feet into his Crocs and pulled my hand towards the garden. He wanted to play a game of ball! *grins*

Aiden on the other hand arrived a few minutes later. He had slept at my in-laws and was holding a week's worth of arts and crafts activities in a box. Barely gave me a once over (jual mahal la konon) and walked in to put the box down. But when I pulled him and engulfed him in a bigggggg hug, he finally succumbed and baru nak tunjuk manja. Hahaha!

Anyway, I'm still sorting out through all the dirty clothes, the souvenirs, the chocolates and of course, the work emails. So give me some time to get myself on track before I start blogging religiously again.

I'll end with a picture of one of the perfume sets that I purchased at the CDG airport departure terminal. Excellent Christmas sales; not only were the perfume sets on 20% off, they even engraved my name on my favourite perfume! I even managed a last minute shopping spree before we left for good - a Laduree macaron keychain which I've been eyeing for a longgggg time.

Till next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Short Update, Florence to Paris!

Drafting this in a ~2 hour flight from Florence to Paris. Our flight was to leave at 7am sharp hence we've been awake since 430am to make it to the airport in good time. *sleepy* The line at the Air France counter was extremely long, and I was nervous and fidgety during the entire wait. Why nervous? We were slightly above the 20kg baggage limit on both of our check-in luggages, and I really didn't fancy having to repack or dump stuff at the counter.

Alhamdulillah, the lady barely blinked an eye at our luggage weight (I later found out that the absolute max was 23kg anyway), and even offered to put our hand carry in the check in for free. When we declined (takut woooo check in bag Chanel and Dior!), she insisted on weighing our handcarry and even asked us to place our bag in the handcarry dimension checker. We were 1kg over the handcarry limit but she let us off. *pheww*

Anyway, that is over and done with. We are currently on the last leg of our 10th anniversary honeymoon. We leave Paris for KL tomorrow! *sob sob* So here's a short recap of Florence before our trip ends for good!

I really can't find a word for Florence. If Venice was romantic and Rome was historical, well Florence is erm erm a shopaholic's dream? Ok the Florence marble duomo is beautiful and the view of the city from atop Piazzale Michelangelo was magnificent. But the thing that excited me most about Florence was the outlet shopping! *giggles*

We took the first bus in the morning to The Mall. There was already a long line in front of the Prada store. Once you enter, you will be given a number. Browse around for whatever interests you then simply ask the SA to scan the item you want to your number. My tip, book your items, exit the store and visit other brands, then come back and buy it after you are really satisfied that there isn't anything else that can replace your earlier choice. Because Prada is so big that sometimes it can be slightly overwhelming. They hold your items for about two hours anyway, so you've got plenty of time to decide on your purchase.

My damage? Two Prada bags, one Prada wallet, one Dior shopping tote, two Ferragamo heels and one Gucci flats. #imsobroke #hellomeemaggi

On our second day in Florence, we made a trip to visit Pisa. Took a train there, and as we were walking towards the train platform, a 'friendly' Italian lady asked whether we had validated our tickets. Failure to validate could cost us a fine of €50 per ticket. She helped us validate our tickets and even showed us to our seats. Andddddd as expected, she wanted to be paid for her 'services'. Uuurrgghh!!! We gave her some money but she simply refused to leave until we gave her more. She kept saying that she saved us from having to pay a 'fine'. (Takde conductor check pun during the trip pegi and balik!) She finally left after we gave her a few additional 10 euros. *shakes head* Lesson learnt!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was... really senget!!! When I saw it, I marveled at how it can still stay vertical, and how people dared to climb up! The fact that the tower is still standing, is a result of either genius engineering or pure sheer luck. The one classic photo you must take whenever you are in Pisa is a photo of yourself trying to push the tower straight. Expect a couple of jokers in the area to slap your hand 'hi-5' style when you are doing this pose! *chuckles*

Anyway, that's all for now. Plane is landing in Paris soon. We're staying right smack beside the Eiffel Tower so hopefully our hotel room gives us a good view. Tomorrow we're taking the morning flight back to KL; wish us luck with the VAT claims! Can't wait to meet the kids; Aiden is already counting the days till we get back. Ian on the other hand, (whenever he agrees to talk on the phone) will only manage a "Heyooo, Babaiiiiii". *rindu*

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Florence,

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Super Short Update, Venice to Rome!

Hello! I'm stuck in another train from Rome to Florence. This train is less than 2 hours long, therefore this post will definitely be shorter than the previous one I wrote, enroute to Rome.

There is only one word for Venice - romantic! The canals, the piazzas, the arts... I can't exactly pinpoint what exactly it is, but it is breathtakingly beautiful. Everyone travels either by walking or by boats; water taxis, water buses, gondolas, speedboats etc.

A gondola ride is not cheap. But if you've already spent a bomb flying to Italy, you might as well spend a bomb on a gondola ride too. Gondoliers have to be licensed and prices start at €80 for half hour - a round trip from the Grand Canal through a smaller canal and then back. We decided to 'upgrade' our ride to a package that went through smaller, quieter canals... And it was incredibly romantic. It was so quiet, the only sound you could hear was the gondola oars passing through the water. *sigh* Oh, and our gondolier sang too!

Other than that, Venice is interesting to explore as well. Hubby is a great navigator hence we threw the map away and simply walked around. There was always an interesting shop or two on each street turn we made. Our feet ached like mad every night, but we found so many great souvenirs along the way that made it all worth it. We also made a special morning trip to the Rialto market plus we had our first Italian gelato and aglio olio too!

Rome on the other hand, is all about the rich history. We took a guided walking tour to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It was certainly worth every penny! Our guide was very enthusiastic and had a wealth of knowledge about the Roman Empire. Using visuals from books and even her iPad, she helped us visualize how the original structures used to look like. Frankly, without her, the ruins would be, well... to put it mildly, just a pile of rocks!

The Trevi Fountain was extremely impressive to my eyes. I've seen the Trevi Fountain in the Lizzie McGuire movie - but I never expected the fountain to be that ginormous! As soon as I saw it, I was speechless in awe. The view at night was especially stunning and simply magnificent.

That's all for now. Can't wait to explore Florence. Looking forward to some shopping at The Mall too. Outlet shopping for Prada, Dior, Ferragamo and Bottega... It's like a shopaholic's dream come true! Wish me luck with the shopping!

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Rome,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Short Update, Swiss to Italy!

Currently stuck on a 4-hour train from Venice to Rome. Since the train has WiFi for a charge of only €1cent, here I am!

Since we left Paris, we did two days in Swiss including one day in Jungfraujoch - the top of Europe, a short 5 hour stopover in Milan and then three days in beautiful Venice.

Swiss was absolutely breathtaking. Beautiful mountain alps and pine trees covered in snow, quaint wooden cottages with fresh logs outside and smoke puffing out of their chimneys, yummy hot chocolate, and best of all - everyone speaks English and are oh so friendly!

I can gladly attest to their kind souls, as Hubby and I made the silly mistake of going on the wrong train on our way to Milan. The train was supposed to leave at 805am. At 802am, a train pulled up to the station so we hurriedly boarded the train as we only had 3 minutes before the train left. Well the train left at 804am, to make way for the 805am train. We were on the wrong train!!!

Due to our silly mistake, we subsequently missed all our connecting trains. Gambled our luck and boarded the train ticketless all the way to the Swiss-Italy border. Each train we went on, we looked for the ticket controller and explained to him our predicament. Each time we were allowed to stay on free! Only at the last station, since it was going to cross a country border, the ticket controller sold to us half price supplementary tickets. To the Swiss, we are forever in debt!

Arrived in Milan an hour later than planned. Good thing we had planned for a six hour stopover anyway, so we could still catch up with our train to Venice. In Milan, we made a quick trip to the Duomo and had a very satisfying lunch at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Our first pizza and pasta in Italy!

It was almost dark when we arrived in Venice. But contrary to Interlaken which closes down sharp at 630pm, the Venice streets were abuzz with activity! Night markets and pretty shops with plenty of small lanes to explore and discover.

I'll save the Venice story for another post (whenever I get WiFi!) but I'll end with a photo of Venice at dawn. Subuh di Venice:

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Venice,
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