Adventures in Europe – First stop – Rome – Day 2

Second day of Rome was devoted to the Vatican City. Did you know that Vatican is a state and its people are not citizens but are subjects? Well, I didn’t till this trip. The info was imparted by a tour guide that we had engaged for a visit to Vatican City Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The guide didn’t come cheap. It costs us €41.00 per person including the entrance tickets. Though he was knowledgeable about Vatican, I found that I wasn’t able to absorb that information much. Many of the names and history went in one ear and came through the other. I probably only retained 5% of what I heard!

We didn’t know that the pope was making an appearance on that very day we visited Vatican but there were tons of people who knew it and thronged the entire place. Two of my friends would have gone to catch a glimpse of him had we not booked the tour earlier. So as we walked towards the Vatican museums to meet up with the tour guide, large hordes of tourists were walking in the opposite directions.

IMG_1755Entrance to the museums

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Adventures in Europe – First stop – Rome – Day 1

Dear all,

Went for a Europe trip 1.5 months back with friends and it’s been a long time since I’ve gone for a long break – 20 over days to be exact. The trip was really an eye-opener. We went from Rome-Florence-Venice-Milan-Paris-London, and transited in Hongkong before returning to Singapore. Fare was S$1212 from Singapore to Hongkong to Rome and we returned from London to Hongkong to Singapore. It was considered cheap but I had another colleague who went to Italy on just $800++ on Emirates, barely two weeks later than my trip. I could have easily used that $200 to get more souvenirs! But well, it’s all a matter of luck and I’m fine with paying $1212.

We reached Rome at about 7 plus, after more than 15 hours of flight, including transit time. I love flying on plane for the beautifully arranged food on trays, served by well-groomed stewardesses and the anticipation of a whole new experience at the end of the flight. It’s magical when you think how the invention of planes enable any person with a little extra cash to go to another country to experience life. While I’ve heard how some people hate airline food, I simply love it. There was plently of food offered and tea breaks during the long haul. What I usually do is I keep leftovers in my bag so that I can eat it when I’m hungry later on. So my routine is to bring a roomy bag on board and keep food, erm.. yes, I am one of those guilty of stealing airline’s blankets. Why? Because it is convenient and you’ll never know whether you need them when you move from city to city. I use them as either pillows or blankets, depending on my needs. Do I see it as stealing? Not really since the cost of missing blankets would have been included in all fares (lousy justification but that a matter of perspective).

How’s Rome?

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Mixed feelings over my bodyshop haul~

Just purchased the limited edition rose blusher from body shop. Love the package to pieces! The sales of cosmetics really depends on packaging for I’ve purchased so many blushers that I can hardly finish using this lifetime! Want to see my purchases?

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Well, The Body Shop reeled me in with their rose edition collection and membership privileges. Although I only wanted to purchase the blusher, I got a blusher and a lipstick from the limited rose edition so as to enjoy a 20% discount. In addition, I bought a lip scuffer which has a refreshing minty smell for exfoliating and condiitoning, just to enjoy 10% discount, plus get a membership. Besides the discount, I too got a free pouch with two generous sized samples of shampoo and body bath + a sponge like thingy for bathing =) I’m having mixed feelings for my packages now: feel a little bad for spending so much on things I don’t need yet feel like I’ve just had a bargain for the items I’ve bought!

Paul & Joe Beaute – Biteki Oct 2008

I am so so so emamoured of the latest Paul & Joe collection that I purchased four items out of their six items! Could it be that poppy in print are just as addictive? =p After reading online that Biteki was giving out P&J gifts, I quickly went to Kino to grab a copy even though it was out of the way!

The gift it comes with really looks gorgeous and it was worth the long trip I had to make to go down to Orchard! Included in the gift was a pouch made from Inspiree print cloth and it is surprisingly of good quality. I’ll probably use it as a camera pouch =) Comes with a free makeup testers as well. =) Since I was there, I bought extra copies for thechicshop as in stock items well. If you wish to purchase a set of the gift, can get in touch~ =)

fujitv drama – Last Friends

I’m now trying to catch up on my Japanese drama. Haven’t been watching the many DVDs that my dear sister bought over the last two years. Plenty of great shows but I haven’t the time to watch! I’m now at the fifth episode of ‘Last Friends’, a show about a group of young people who came together and stayed at a shared apartment, which according to a character of the show, is a trend that has been catching on in Japan. It shows how they face the problems they have – an abusive boyfriend, a suspected gender identity disorder, suppressed love and childhood trauma. Interesting show but there seems to be a lack of a chemistry between the love relationships in the show. That’s the only down part of the show, but other than that, it’s still quite watchable. It’s not something that will move you to tears (at least till episode 5), but rather gives you glimpses of how others may be living a life that’s world apart from yours

There’s some merchandise associated with the show. There’s the cups that are used in the show, handphone charms (with cup charms), and tees (which I haven’t seen in the show yet). I’m thinking of recommending to thechicshop to do a preorder. If anyone’s interested, can drop thechicshop an email. I think we’ll probably see what’s the interest rate like first.

Book review on Yakuza Moon

I managed to get my hands on the Yakuza Moon, a book by Shoko Tendo, a woman who lived a life in the darkness in the yakuza circles. After reading the synopsis about the book, my curiousity was piqued, especially so after being glued to several Japanese dramas e.g. big brother and Gokusen over the past year.

The queue at Singapore’s National Library book reservation for the book was really long. When I put in my reservation, I had the shock of my life – my queue number was 114! Imagine there were 113 people ahead of me. Anyway, my perseverance paid off and I finally got it last week and have finished reading it =)

The book is written as a first person narrative, with Shoko speaking about her life from a little child who has a yakuza boss for a dad to an adult who has undergone much trials in life. Life’s circumstances and her fun loving ways had made her life more difficult and unusual compared to an average person.

While the book tries to portray her as a victim who overcomes tribulations, I did not get the sense of happiness at the end of the tale, despite it being a good ending. My emotions were also not strung up while reading the book and I felt more like an detached observer. I felt quite let down by the book after having such high hopes for it. But if one is interested to reading more about the brutality a child may face in a yakuza world and get insights about it, it may be worth picking the book up. But if one is merely trying to find a book to read for enjoyment, my opinion is that there are other books that are more interesting.

Tokyo Trip in Jun/Jul – My personal purchases from the trip

I’m hereby bowing down to pressure from many friends who have asked what do I do on my trips with thechicshop girls when we go to Japan for our spree.

I always answer – what else… shopping of course!~

This time round, I’m very satisfied with all the purchases for myself and it’s pretty ironic to say, but I did save $$$ shopping in Tokyo, a city which is said to be expensive for many products!~

I always get excited when I view pictures of what people buy on their trips to Japan. So, to up the adrenaline in this first post on the Jun/Jul trip, here are the items that I’ve purchased:

1. Lycee Eyedrops. It gives a cooling sensation which Yan and I call it our Miracle water (named after skII). Really refreshes tired and dry eyes. It’s sold in Matsumoto Kiyoshi.

2. Three different bottles of nail polish – Kiss cosmetics, Majolica Majorca and Jill Stuart – my dad made this comment after I’ve told him about my purchases in Tokyo – ‘Singapore cannnot buy nail polish is it?’

3. Jill Stuart Mix Compact Blush – Yes, I finally thrown in the towel and got a mix compact for myself.

4. RMK eye gel – not bad, quite like the cooling effect of the gel after application and eye area does feel more hydrated. But it’s not for people looking for lighten dark eye circles. Not much difference from Fancl eyegel but I think RMK might be a cheaper alternative because it comes in 20g a tube.

5. Shu Uemura Depsea skincare and UV base – cheaper in Japan.

6. New mascara from Fiberwig called Fiberwig Ex – not sure if it’s good as I bought it on a whim.

7. Majolica Majorca full and smooth mascara + white eyeliner- restocking for my own makeup supplies. Still one of my favorite brands for mascara.

8. Sunblock from Allie – its point of sale poster said it is one of the fave sunblock by Japanese. I’ve tried it and it still has the smell of normal sunblock but it feels less greasy. Think I’ll not be purchasing another bottle after I’ve finished with it.

9. Nivea Lipbalm – nothing special just that I forgot to bring my lipbalm to Tokyo and hence had to get one from the stores. Air is really dry over there. Need to bring moisturister and lipbalm.

1. Three tees from cecil mcbee – they had a sale and each costs 2980 Yen,

2. Three canisters of Uniqlo tees. Uniqlo had a sale and some tees went down to 999 Yen. Only managed to buy one that cost 999. The other two cost 1500 Yen. bought a tee with ranma picture, very happy with the surprise buy,

3. a skirt from a flea market (800 Yen) at long last, managed to visit a flea market!,

4. a pretty lacy top (2100 Yen) Another surprise buy but what I felt was disappointing is that it requires drycleaning. Ex!

Besides the above, I also purchased a Canon camera which is way cheaper than the prices in Singapore, one Agnes B bag, one Garcia bag, one pair of shoes, a audio technica earphone and an ipod gift set (contains a 1500 Yen card, a charger for use in Japan, two cleaning cloth, plastic film protector, the plastic piece that coils up the excess earphones!)

Don’t ask me how much I’ve spent as I’m not going to give myself a fright! It’s already quite scary to see the difference in my bank account before and after the trip!~

Jill Stuart Christmas Rose Collection

For this Christmas collection, I feel somewhat let down by Jill Stuart offering. I still prefer its previous offerings e.g. the necklace with solid perfume, its lipgloss in a beautiful casing.. Sigh.. was having quite high hopes for their collection initially. But well, I shall try to console myself with their eye palettes introduced in Sept 07. =) Love the colour combination!~

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This year’s coffret

 

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2006 LE collection

Wedding, A/T and an ex-salesgirl’s gossip!~

Wedding dinner invitations at my age seem to come all at once. Just this year alone, I had been invited to four friends’ wedding!

Anyway, not only the bride has trouble about what to wear, the invitees to the wedding too has to crack her head on their appearance as well! For this wedding, I wore my beautiful black A/T dress that I got at a bargain during Tokyo’s sales, costing only 10400yen! It’s a little strange to be wearing black for a wedding. Furthermore, at my table, four of us were wearing black and we didn’t even plan it!
Here’s a picture of the accessories I had on… =) The dress isn’t with me as I’ve sent it to the cleaners straight after I wore it. Need to take great care with silk!

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A Celine McBee ring with diamantes, bought it in Tokyo at Shibuya 109, a pearls, crystals and silver balls bracelet that thechicshop is selling for S$7 and a silk rose brooch from the A/T dress (all from my personal collection but if you wish to purchase the ring, you can give us your best price and we’ll see if we want to sell it off =) Hee)

For those who don’t know what A/T is, it stands for Atsuro Tayama and is a cheaper line from Atsuro Tayama.

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I actually worked at their outlet for a few months many years back then. Love their clothes! But they were too expensive for a girl living in poverty line, then trying to save up for another big purchase. The designs are pretty detailed and well made. Now, they’ve closed all their outlet. The reason for the closure is probably because the distributor had overestimated the demand of the brand in Singapore as the expansion did not bring in more sales, but rather the existing sales were divided between the two shops. The customers who bought the clothes were pretty much the same few who comes by every month. There were few new customers as the brand was not that well known in Singapore to justify the price.

Haiz… but well we can always fly to Japan in Jul to shop for more clothes!