Sunday, 25 August 2013

Life Without A TV

Good Day Everyone,

Ever since I left home at 18 I have always had a television (TV). More specifically, I have always had the television on. Whether I was living in student halls, flat share, with my hubby, in a hotel or even on my own, the television has always been on! Turning the television on was typically one of the first things I would do when I woke up or when I came home.

This was never because I loved to watch TV, but more because I liked the sound of people’s voices, it made me feel less alone (especially when I had to live on my own). I was less likely to hear creaky sounds that had the capacity to send, my already overactive imagination, into overdrive and completely freak me out (or worse still give myself a heart attack, as such is my jumpy disposition). Radio just wasn’t the same, I not only needed to hear the people, I also needed to see them, even if it was just from the corner of my eye whilst I was doing something else, in order for me to feel that I wasn’t on my own.  

When we moved to Singapore in 2011 we stayed in a serviced apartment that had a TV with local channels. We didn’t really enjoy many of the channels. So when we moved into our own condo/flat I managed to persuade my hubby (albeit with some difficulty) to try life without a TV.
View from our balcony
Sky & sea changing colours at sunset

Over 2 years later and we can both say it was one of the best decisions we ever made! We’ve found that we spend more time talking and listening to each other about our day, supper is had at the dining table at a more leisurely pace (instead of rushing to get back in front of the TV to watch some show), we listen to a lot more music and have discovered a lot about each others taste in music. We are lucky to live by the coast with a gorgeous sea view and sometimes we just sit and watch the sea changing colours as a storm approaches (we get the most amazing lightning bolts), we watch the sky, especially at sunset, and the stars at night. All the ships and boats out at sea light up at night and every night there’s a different scene of lights and colours to see – I love it! Personally, I have also found it a lot more calming (mentally) to not have the sound of lots of voices in our home (shock horror or what) and wait for it... I actually really enjoy the silence (maybe I’m getting old ;o)).

A storm approaching from Indonesia
Now I’m not saying that we don’t watch anything at all. We both have laptops/ipads/iphones etc. I still (and I’m not ashamed to admit it) watch Eastenders and Coronation Street (UK soaps/dramas for all you non-Brits). They make me feel close to home because of the British accents. We watch movies and read the news on our laptops. The great thing about watching programmes on our laptops is that we watch just the programme we want to watch and then it’s turned off!  It’s not like having a TV on constantly in the background.

Now when I watch TV in a hotel on holiday, it’s quite a novelty, a bit of a treat and that’s the things with treats – if you have them all the time, they no longer feel like a (naughty) treat and I’m happy for the TV to stay as a treat. We’d like to think that we will continue life without a TV for many more years to come. I feel the longer we go without a TV the less likely we are to ever have one again. We’re getting too used to enjoying the peace and quiet. However, never say never as this could all change if, for example, we have children or we move to another condo or country where we don’t have such a beautiful view to stare at. 

Could you ever live without a TV? Have you ever tried it? Would you try it even if it’s just for a week or a month, just out of curiosity? What do you think you would do with that time where you would normally be watching TV?

Love Sheen xxx

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

It's A Wonderful Wrap

Good Day Everyone

On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, hubby and I went to have a mooch around Central Market. We’ve been to KL several times but never visited the Central Market before, a classified heritage site by the Malaysian Heritage Society. It’s full of colourful arts and craft stalls where you can pick up some great touristy gifts as well as get a delicious bite to eat.

 Whilst I was paying for a gift for my mum in law I turned to find that my hubby had wandered to a stall further down the street. As I approached to join him I immediately ‘clocked on’ to what he was looking at for it caught my attention straight away too. There on the floor in a bucket were rolled up sheets of colourful geometric patterned wrapping paper. My hubby looked at me and we both simultaneously said, “Marrakech!” The wrapping paper conjured up memories of our trip to Marrakech – one of our most favourite holidays. We’d stayed at an idyllic converted riad owned by a Belgian couple where, despite being just a few minutes walk away from Jemma el-Fnaa (the main market square in the old part of town) it felt like we were in a tranquil little oasis. To this day, I do not understand how the noise from the hustle and bustle of the medina quarter (old town) did not infiltrate in to the beautiful peaceful garden of the riad.

Clearly there was no way we were leaving this stall without purchasing a little ‘nostalgia’. So hubby and I both picked a roll of wrapping paper each to add to our collection of ‘memartefacts’. You’re probably wondered what ‘memartefacts’ are given that it’s not an actual word in the English dictionary (memory and artefacts combined). Nope, it’s another one of my made up words (I have a tendency to make words up by combining multiple words to make a word that represents what I actually mean). My hubby and I have this tradition of buying something, something that we can keep forever and ever from each and every one of our holidays. The idea being that we will display all of these ‘memartefacts’ in our permanent home (once we find it and put down some roots), as a reminder of all of our wonderful times together. So when we’re grey and old (and less mobile) we can take trips down ‘memory lane’ without leaving our home :o)

The wrapping paper is sooo beautiful that it really will have to be a very precious gift that gets wrapped in it, for a very special person. If I ever do end up using my sheet of wrapping paper, I know that I will keep whatever remnants I can to make some sort of ‘visual’ that I can then hang up and keep forever as a ‘memartefact’.

Do you have any such traditions or ways of remembering wonderful holidays or experiences? Do you collect ‘memartefact’s aka keepsakes for you to reminisce in the future? Or do you have a tendency to make up words? If you do then I’d love to know what they are in the comments box :o)

 Love Sheen xxx

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Stila One Step Illuminate

Good Day Everyone,

This was the first product that I ever purchased from Stila (website) and I can tell you that I have become a huge fan ever since. Living near the equator in year round temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius in high humidity can make wearing a full face of makeup a little challenging, especially if you’re going to be spending time outside without air con. I was looking for a product (other than my bodily sweat!) that would give my face a nice subtle luminous glow for the days that I don’t wish to wear foundation and this is perfect!
Firstly, I absolutely love love love the packaging! The product comes in a clear plastic bottle containing 30mls (1 oz) of product with a black pump and lid which, in my humble opinion, has many benefits;
  • As the bottle is clear I can see exactly how much product is left before I run out.
  • The clear bottle also means that I can see the triple swirl helix and it looks sooo pretty (ok so that's not really a benefit but hey it makes me happy!).
  • The pump makes using the product very hygienic as there’s no finger dipping involved.
  • The pump also allows me to control the amount of product I dispense and it is easy to dispense half pumps.
  •  Being plastic I don’t need to worry about breakages if I drop the bottle (which happens a lot given my arthritic fingers).
  • The lid snaps shut when I push it on making it quite secure and does not come off easily which is great if I ever need to travel with this in my luggage. At the same time my arthritic fingers do not struggle to open it either which is a huge bonus :o)
Another great thing about this bottle is that, from what I can tell thus far, there is no product wastage due to the packaging. This is quite tricky to explain so here goes. You know how with some bottles the product sticks to the sides and bottom and no amount of pumping can ever get it all out? Well this bottle has a mechanism, a sort of platform, which pushes the product upwards from the bottom and sides of the bottle so no product is left behind that you cannot get to – genius or what?!

This product is one of those multi-functioning products that offers numerous benefits all in the convenience of one product. The product consists of 3 coloured swirls suspended in Stila’s youth revival bio-available mineral complexTM serum which is clear in colour. The swirls are;
  • Light gold which highlights the skin.
  • Pale pink to warm the complexion.
  • Kitten which brightens and illuminates (kitten is Stila’s famous eye shadow colour which is also available in other product forms e.g. eyeliner, powder shimmer, liquid luminizer, lip gloss etc).
According to Stila this product instantly primes, brightens and illuminates the skin, improves skin tone, even outs your complexion and helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles. In addition it claims to;
  • Helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Helps minimize pores.
  • Helps hydrate and balance.
  • Helps control oil.

Wow! Now that’s a whole load of benefits all within just one product! I tend to use this product instead of a foundation on days when I want to go for the no makeup makeup look (rather than as a primer) and I have to say it does an amazing job! The texture of this is more mousse like than serum and it feels incredibly light weight on my skin. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling tacky or sticky or looking shiny or oily in any way.
I typically apply this, using my fingers, after my moisturiser concentrating on my cheeks, centre of my face and eyelids and I have to say it just melts into my skin beautifully. I find that one pump is more than enough to do my whole face and therefore this bottle will easily last me for several months. This product instantly brightens my skin giving it that kind of ‘glowing from within’ luminous look. The shimmer in this product is so incredibly fine that it leaves my skin glistening beautifully whenever the light catches it and I don’t have to worry about looking like a disco ball. The glistening effect is why I tend to wear this on my eyelids as then I don’t need to bother with eye shadow and I just use a couple of coats of mascara and voila my eyes are done!

Blends out to give a luminous glow
I tend to have normal to dry skin and I find this product to be hydrating to the extent that even at the end of the day my skin still doesn’t feel in the slightest bit dry. I generally feel that I am feeding my skin ‘goodness’ whenever I apply this product. I don’t tend to have oily skin and rarely get an oily t-zone and therefore cannot comment on the product’s oil control capabilities but it does seem to minimise the few pores that I have and evens out my skin tone. I think it’s too early for me to say whether this product helps to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles as I don’t really have any wrinkles (that I’ve noticed) and I don’t think I’ve been using this product long enough to notice a dramatic effect on any fine lines that I may have... I think I need to go examine my face closely in the mirror now to see if I actually have any fine lines or wrinkles ;o)

On occasion I have also used this product on top of my cheek bones, after foundation, to get that glowy highlighting effect and it blends easily without removing the layer of foundation underneath. Overall I have been delighted with my first Stila purchase and cannot wait to try other products from the brand.

Have you tried this illuminator? What were your impressions? What's your favourite illuminator to use? I'd love to hear your views/experience :o)

Love Sheen xxx

My verdict: 5/5

For the UK:
For Singapore you can find this product at Sephora
(Note: I purchased this product with my own money)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Singapore Sales Shopping

Good Day Everyone, 

Shopping in Singapore is expensive! There’s no doubt about that! Almost everything is more expensive compared to back home in England. Singapore has many of the familiar high street stores that I would shop at back home including, Mango, H&M, Zara, Topshop, River Island, Accessorize etc. It even has some shops that we don’t get in England that I love love love spending time (& money) in, such as, Sephora (the temple of makeup lovers!).

 However, as most of the items tend to be 25-50% more expensive than in England (and I begrudge paying a higher price when I know I can get the same item for significantly less money), I usually suppress the urge to shop until I go home for a visit. There is, however, an annual exception that I do tend to make and that is at The Great Singapore Sale. This is an annual sales event that happens each year typically at the end of May until the end of July when various retailers (clothes, electronics, household etc) will offer significant discounts and have their main sale of the year.

 This year was a relatively successful year for me – the bargain hunter within me was extremely satisfied (haa haa!). Firstly, having lost a lot of the steroid weight I had gained (due to my arthritis medication) I was now keen to update my wardrobe and actually managed to enjoy the experience of shopping. Secondly, as I’m not working I had a bit (well a lot) more time to peruse the shops and finally shopping is a ‘colourful’ experience and I love colour!

So here I thought I'd share with you some of my recent purchases. Enjoy!

There was a time not so long a go that when you bought a top that was particularly see through it would often come with a matching coloured vest / slip or, even better, it would actually be lined to protect one's modesty. Unfortunately, this no longer seems to be the case. All three of the above tops did not come lined and are incredibly see through. Now I know I could wear a matching coloured spaghetti strapped vest but they can be quite clingy (not my thing, as I'm still carrying some steroid weight around my tummy). Fear not, I have managed to get the gold trimmed top and the peach blouse lined thus far by using a local tailor. Whilst paying for the tailor's services and buying the lining fabric hikes up the price of the clothing, I see it as money well spent as I will get a lot of wear out of these tops. They can be worn in the Singapore heat as well as layered with a blazer (and vest if needs be) when I come home for a visit, where the temperature is much colder. I am going to have a go at lining the beaded cream top myself (how hard can it be?!).


Now I've never been a fan of jeggings but whilst in Mango I saw these dark coloured jeggings and thought to myself that these look just like jeans (if you don't look at the waist band that is), but without the awful zip and button fastening, which I find can dig in to the stomach when you sit down as well as cause a bit of a 'muffin top'. When trying these on, I was quite surprised by just how comfortable they were. They even have pockets at the back like jeans. In fact, the only way people could tell that these are not jeans is if I wear a really short top, which as you can see from the photos, I don't tend to do. So I overcame the prejudice that I've held over the last few years (and much to my hubby's horror) bought my first pair of jeggings!

Given my 4ft11" height I often find that jeans / trousers are almost always too long for me unless I buy from the 'petite' range, where there is one available... Oh how I do miss Principles! Do you remember Principles clothes shop from England? They always had the perfect leg length for me in their petite range. Unfortunately, Principles became another casualty of the recent global recession :o( Anyway, I digress, I got both the jeggings and off white jeans shortened, again by my trusty tailor, for just $6 / £3 per item - what a bargain!!!

Below are my only two jewellery purchases and I can already envisage these necklaces going with some of the tops above. I love long necklaces as they look great with a feminine top, blazer and smart jeans.

Some of the above items are still available so if anything takes your fancy I'd move quickly.
Forever 21 

Below is summary of where I purchased the items from and the price rounded up to the nearest (Singapore) dollar and the approximate equivalent in British £.
  • Blue blazer from H&M cost $40 / £20
  • Off white jeans from H&M cost $20 / £10 
  • Cream beaded top from Mango cost $49 / £25
  • Peach blouse from Mango cost $39 / £20
  • White with gold trim top from Mango cost $39 / £20
  • White top from Esprit cost $30 / £15
  • Red stripey T-shirt from Mango cost $15 / £7.50
  • Black stripey T-shirt from Mango cost $15 / £7.50
  • Jeggings from Mango cost $39 / £20
  • Gold top from Mango cost $25 / £12.50
  • Gold beaded necklace from Forever 21 cost $5 / £2.50
  • Pear and glass beaded necklace from Forever 21 cost $2 / £1

What do you think of my purchases? Did you find any good bargains in the sales? If so, feel free to share.
Love sheen xxx

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Chinatown Touristy Treats

Good Day Everyone,

I absolutely love Singapore at night, when it’s all lit up with all the amazing lights and colours. One of my favourite places at night is Chinatown, although very ‘touristy’ it looks lovely with all the beautiful lanterns, restored shophouses and colourful stalls full of endless gift possibilities for loved ones.

Recently one evening whilst my hubby was of having some reflexology in Chinatown, I decided to wander down the main touristy street with my camera and came back with, let’s just say, more than a few photos ;o)

Pagoda Street is a great feast for the eyes if, like me, you absolutely love colour! It’s a mix of vibrant gift stalls and shops where you can buy silk robes, fridge magnets, chopsticks, fans, bags, jewellery, t-shirts, lanterns... oh the offerings are endless, with some local eateries, massage and reflexology places and even a Tintin shop! Yep that’s right a whole shop dedicated to Tintin! The street also has the Chinatown Heritage Centre where several shophouses have had the interiors restored to resemble the insides of 1950s shophouses providing a glimpse into the history of these amazing buildings. 
 I’ve been to Chinatown several times and many of my family and friends have been on the postal receiving end of these successful ventures, however, this time I thought I’d indulge myself with some of the touristy treats! I bought myself a beautiful silk robe which is ideal for the local heat and humidity, a compact mirror for my purse, a little jewellery box to keep some stud earrings in, a fan (which is a must in any handbag given the heat) and a toiletries / travel case. The travel case is a great size for shampoo / conditioner bottles, and most importantly my Urban Decay Naked palettes. In fact, I may go back and buy a couple more of these!!!

Have you visited Chinatown in Singapore? What did you buy?

Love Sheen xxx