Monday, 31 December 2018

Year End Reflection | Top 10 Special Memories from 2018

It is the last day of the year so it goes without saying that it's time that I look back to 2018 and do a recap of the highlights from the year.

I feel 2018 had flown by at the speed of light, and I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. One of the great things of doing a recap like this is to reflect back on how the year had gone by, so we don't forget to celebrate the ups and strive at getting better when dealing with the downs.

It is always hard to pick and narrow down my favourite moments, but here are the 10 highlights from 2018.

1. Becoming a qualified mat Pilates instructor...I kicked off January 2018 by finding out that I passed my Mat Pilates Instructor practical and theory assessments. While I wished my part-time teaching profession had taken off, I am ok with the fact that it hasn't. I don't want to make it sound like I am making excuses, but my full time work demanded significant amount of time this year and I decided to focus on that. Not to mention that there were some changes on the work front this year (see no 9).

2. I continue to love Pilates...Notwithstanding the above, my passion and love for Pilates continues to grow. I took part in many workshops, as I become stronger, I moved on from classical to more dynamic Pilates classes. I even learned that I enjoyed exercising using TRX and I could actually do a pike rather gracefully :)

3. Cycle to nowhere for a charity...I took part in a cycle to nowhere challenge held at the office in support of a charity. Each participant was given a 30 minute slot and as someone who doesn't cycle nor do spin classes, I didn't have a clue how far I could cycle for 30 minutes. I aimed for 15km but smashed my target and completed just over 18km!

4. Snow in London...The 'Beast from the East' brought snow to London and I totally love it. Yes things slowed down but perhaps that was what the universe had hoped for, instead of us springing aimlessly into the year.

5. Penn State Alumni in London...I've not met a single person who graduated from the same Uni as me througout my 13 years stay in London. But I met so many when I joined the London Penn State Alumni meet up, when the Dean of Smeal College of Business was in town.

6. Travel opportunities...I truly enjoyed each and every one of the travel opportunities I experienced this year; from New Orleans to Miami in April and Kuala Lumpur and Adelaide in June. Not to mention after numerous times I transited at Dubai International Airport, I finally get to see what Dubai truly had to offer and I absolutely loved it. I am also grateful that I get to see my family and friends in Malaysia twice this year.

7. Books read...On recommendation from a friend, I read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I was completely hooked and finished the book in four days. I simply couldn't put it down. I also read its sequel Home Deus. I genuinely highly recommend these books to anyone who's looking for something to read in 2019.

8. Strong, fit and healthy...I continue to prioritise my well being during 2018. I am currently at the lightest, smallest, fittest and strongest I've ever been as a living adult. I am truly grateful for discovering what my body is fully capable of.

9. New role at work...Half way through my secondment I was offered a new role at work and I decided to embrace the change. I finished my secondment in November and started my new role in December.

10. Christmas gift from Dior...Saving the best for last. I finished off 2018 by receiving a Christmas gift from Dior, a luxury brand that I am very much deeply madly in love with. The Dior team always delivers exceptional service without fail, and they truly understand my style, tastes and needs. They treat me so well every time I visit them that it makes it impossible for me to 'cheat' on other brands now!

Have you looked back and discover some of your favourite memories from 2018?

As we close the curtains of 2018, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best wishes for 2019!

Happy New Year!! x

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

After what felt like the longest December, we are finally here - one more sleep before Christmas!

Friday was my last working day of the year and as London becomes empty and is turning into a ghost town, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, irrespective of where you are.

I hope everyone will have a beautiful and wonderful Christmas, and take the time to enjoy the well-deserved break.

I am planning to put up one final post next week before we officially close the curtain of 2018 and officially kick off 2019.

But if I don't see you this side of 2018, I wish you a very Happy New Year and see you on the other side!

With much love and kisses x

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Looking After Your Wellness During the Festive Season

Looking after your wellness

Christmas is just over a week away, and if you tell me that you are not feeling the before Christmas manic rush, I don't believe you and I think you're not normal.

Last year, I wrote a blog post on how to be a gracious guest, but this year, I decided to write something more inward looking.

Today I am sharing with you five ways to look after your wellness during the festive season. To avoid the burn out when we finally get to Christmas Day itself!

Don't Forget Water

My first and very top tip is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. As the temperature continues to drop, it's very tempting and easy to reach out to flavoured drinks; coffee, tea, gingerbread latte etc. Even more so as the festivities start to ramp up, our water consumption is easily replaced with an endless amount of wine, cocktails and champagne. One top tip to not forget to drink water is to place a water bottle next to you / on your desk when you're working. I have one with a 650ml capacity. I fill it upon arrival at work and will have two refills throughout the day - just after lunch and at around 4pm. That way I know that I at least drink just under 2 litres of water, at work alone, excluding during lunch, dinner and before bedtime.

It's OK to Say 'NO'

As an extrovert, I am all about being out there and socialising. But December is not only a busy time to meet all the deadlines before the holiday season kicks in, but also an extremely busy period filled with magical festivities - work Christmas parties, cheese and wine nights, ice skating, a visit to Winter Wonderland and/or Christmas markets or a night in watching The Holiday with your girlfriends. There is no short of a reason to meet up and have a party. While it's nice to be Miss Popular and to receive multiple party invites, it is also important to segregate between the compulsory vs. the not compulsory ones. Always remember that you can turn down an invitation. Most people will understand if you can't attend, as long as you give ample notice. What is not cool is to say 'yes' and not turn up, or cancel at a very last minute.

Another way to priorities is by considering the size of the events. As a general rule, I know my lack of presence will probably not be noticed if it's a 1,000 guests event, compared to if it's a small, intimate house-party of 10 people. I'd probably make more effort to attend the latter than the former if I can only make to one.

Me Time

I am all about 'me time', during the festive season, or not! When filling-in your diaries with your to-do list, events to attend, items to buy, work to finish, why don't you also include entries for your very own downtime. This could be fitness classes that you do not want to miss, a beauty treatment day so you can have that magical glow come Christmas or even a simple manicure and pedicure to get your nails party ready! If you really want to, you could also have a zero-plans day, who's to say that you can't have a day to yourself, in your pyjamas, with Netflix and hot cocoa at the ready?

Prioritise and Be Realistic

While there are 31 days in December, the reality is we only have 3 weeks, if we are lucky, to get everything done. I have a full-time career in the corporate world, and it's very common that almost everyone starts to wind down a few days before Christmas Eve. For example, this year, almost everyone I know finishes work on Friday the 21st December. This essentially means a whole month workload gets squashed into three weeks - before taking into account all the Christmas lunches, dinners, drinks and parties - so it's utmost important that you prioritise what needs to be done before you break for the holiday and what can be gently be brought forward into the new year. If your work is dependent on input from others, make sure your expectations are aligned. The last thing you need is a last minute work stress due to them not being able to deliver the work or not being available!

Enjoy & Switch off

And when Christmas finally arrives, take it all in and simply enjoy yourself. Hopefully, you will have everything ticked off and done beforehand, but if not, don't let it get into you and ruin your holiday season. As they say, there is no end to work. Simply take some time out, spend it with your loved ones. Hopefully, you're lucky enough to have a few days off to relax, reflect and refresh. After all that, hopefully, you will return to work with renewed motivation to finish off the unfinished business or to venture into something new, afresh.

What's your take on this? I hope you find these tips handy and useful. x

Sunday, 2 December 2018

My Holiday Season To Do List

I know..I know that I missed two posts in the last two weeks. Pardon my tardiness, but I was actually living the life and taking a break from day-to-day things, in Dubai. More on that in a later post, but let's welcome the final month of 2018 - December is here!

How? I have no idea, but here we are!

To get into the full-on mode of Christmas festivities, today, I am sharing my top-10 items on my festivities to do list.

Without further ado here they are...
  1. Send Christmas cards to my friends; the good old snail mail version. I love receiving and sending out cards. In this digital world that we live in, this is one of the traditions that I am keen to keep alive. 
  2. Finish off Christmas gifts shopping (& wrapping, where required). Thankfully, I don't have many to buy for, and they are mostly small gestures/stocking fillers kind of gifts but they still require thoughts and planning. 
  3. Walk around London and take in all the festive lights and decorations. You can read here where best to see Christmas lights in London. 
  4. Wander around the food halls in Fortnum & Mason and Harrods. 
  5. Go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (if I have enough courage to deal with the crowd!). 
  6. Re-watching my all time favourite holiday movies - Home Alone and The Holiday!
  7. Participate in all the holiday season festivities that I have been invited to, which already kicked off yesterday; a Christmas party hosted by one of the Pilates studios that I regularly go to. 
  8. Limit myself to only one Christmas flavoured coffee and hot chocolate. I am not fond of them as they are sugar laden but they also only come out once a year so gotta live a little, you know. 
  9. Finish off all work-related matters before my year-end holiday starts so that I will start 2019 afresh with nothing unfinished hanging at the back of my mind. 
  10. Finally, when Christmas Day arrives, I would like to enjoy London at its emptiest and quietest time of the year like I always do, every year. It's the best time when I reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year! 
What do you have on your to-do list? 


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Holiday Gift Guides : 10 Ideas for Beauty Lovers

Dare I do it? We are not even half way through November and Thanksgiving is not even here yet, and here I am already talking about Holiday Gift Guides, starting off the series with Holiday Gift Guides for Beauty Lovers.

As a beauty lover myself, the festive season is one that I look forward to year in year out. This is often the time when brands go all out to showcase their best selling and gorgeously curated products for the holiday season. Ranging from daytime to party looks palettes, miniature sets of best selling perfumes to the highly sought after beauty tools and gadgets, there are plethora of choices to choose from.

Showcased here are the top 10 items that caught my eyes and I would be very happy if I find these under the Christmas tree and I sure hope that you have found this useful. x

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Natural Looking Base with Only Three Products

If you had read this post, you would know that I am all about the base. To me, the perfect base is equivalent to a blank piece of canvas before an artist can create his or her masterpiece.

My favourite Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation was truly well loved during summer this year. Between my holiday in Malaysia and the heat wave and the glorious summer in the UK, it was without a doubt my most go-to foundation for the year. 

However, since the weather had taken a turn and so did the clocks, I have been enjoying a thinner layer of base on my face. The almost nothing kind of look, you know, the no-makeup makeup look. 

I must have started creating this look back in September when I brought my office work home to be completed at the weekend. If you ever needed to work at the weekend, you could pick up my top 5 tips here. One of them is 'get up and get going' - I may be working at home but I would still get up and put on a good face - minimally. 

Since then, I have been obsessed and in love with the natural looking base. The best part of it all, the look can be created with only three products! T-H-R-E-E! 

Essentially, after completing my skincare steps I apply the Bobbi Brown Colour Corrector underneath the eye. The shade I use the Light Bisque, which is the perfect product to neutralise under eye darkness. The consistency is creamy yet easily blendable. 

Next, with the Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, I dab a small amount under the eye, around my nose to remove any redness and any spot or areas which need concealing. 

Usually, after these two steps, I could happily go bare face, but to finish off (because why not?), I'd apply the Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Make Up as the final step of my three base products routine. Due to its water weight consistency, this gives a healthy, fresh and even-toned finish while making me feel there aren't any products on the face. 

And this my friends is how I create a natural looking base with only three products! 

Monday, 22 October 2018

Working At The Weekend - How to Be Productive and to Re-claim Your Weekend

When I was working in consulting, working at the weekend is pretty much a norm. But since leaving consultancy four years ago, I now have tasted the sweetness of having the whole weekend to myself, doing things that I fancy with minimal thought about work. Until about Sunday evening, of course when I often start thinking where had the weekend gone?

Having said that, occasionally, unavoidable things happened and we are left with no choice but to switch our work laptop on at the weekend. And this happened to me recently, where I had to sacrifice part of my weekend to get work done, for a number of weeks.

You would think that I would feel begrudging about the whole situation, but in hindsight, I feel that the whole experience wasn't entirely bad. While I definitely do not want to make it a frequent habit I definitely think my positive feeling about it is down to these 5 tips.

1. Acceptance

As with most things in life, the sooner you acknowledge that you have to sacrifice your weekend to get some work done, you'll start channelling your energy positively. If it had to be done, there isn't much point resisting, because, as they say, resistance is futile.

2. Pick a day

This, of course, will depend on the amount of workload on your plate. For me, if I have to do work at the weekend, I try to focus and be productive as much as I can so that I could still have one of the weekend days for myself. I will take a break from work on Friday evening and aim to get the work done either on Saturday or Sunday. This will also depend on what weekend commitments I'd made previously.

3. Get up and get going

This could be a divisive point. Personally, if I have to work at the weekend, I'd treat it like a working day. I'd get up, shower and put on something comfy but not overly cosy or too loungy. Most definitely not in pyjamas. I would also avoid working in the bedroom or on the sofa. As I don't have a separate office space at home, I often work at the dining table, with a cup of coffee at the ready!

4. Tackle the frog 

As mention, I don't often have the need to work at the weekend. But when I do, it's often due to something urgent or a significant deliverable. As such, during the time that I worked, I kept my head down and focused on the specific task at hand. This is not the time for me to complete BAU stuff which can wait. And once I have completed the said task, I will stop and reclaim my weekend again because, as you know, work never ends and it's important that you know when to stop.

5. Be kind to Yourself

Once your work is done, give yourself a pat on the back and give yourself a treat. Nothing overly fancy. Typically for me, I would go out or order a meal in because, you know, I totally deserve it.

We all need the weekend to relax so we feel fresh and ready to tackle the brand new week ahead. But if you ever have to work at the weekend, I hope you will find these tips handy and useful.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday! And welcome to another edition of Weekend Reads - a weekly roundup of articles for your weekend reading pleasure.

Whether you read it first thing in the morning with a cup coffee or later in the evening with a glass of wine, the choice is yours.

The Art of Saying 'No'

Many people still struggle to say no. Over the years I've become better at saying no. Believe me that you can say no without coming across as being selfish, not helpful or non-collaborative.

Personality Tests

I absolutely LOVE doing personality tests! But I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. I know many people who disagree with these personality tests. In their views, these tests simply put people in a category and we are a creature which is smarter than simply being a particular type. Which I also agree. To me, one of the benefits of doing a personality test is to understand our natural tendencies and with that understanding, we could be flexible with our styles to suit other people's natural tendencies.

Meal Planning

I don't know about you, but whenever, I prepare my meals in advance, I tend to eat more balanced and healthier meals. The chances of me grabbing something quick on the way home from the office is also minimised. Furthermore, I am not a fan of having to prepare dinner from scratch especially after a long day of work.

Organising Tips

This weekend, I am attempting to do a wardrobe reorganisation, especially after purchasing a few pieces mentioned in my previous post. I also have a few beauty items (looking at you eyeshadow palettes) that I recently purchased. So at some point, I will also need to sort out my beauty stash. I find this helps to ensure I give all my products the equal amount of love and that I don't put any expired products on to my skin. 

I hope you have had a great week and see you again next week. x

Monday, 15 October 2018

Wardrobe Update - What I Bought Recently

Come to think of it, it has been a while since I last do proper clothes shopping. Since I have become better at decluttering, and only buying key pieces that work for my body shape, style and lifestyle, I no longer feel the urge to always buy, buy and buy.

Having said that, in the last few weeks, there have been many pieces from the high street stores that caught my eyes and I decided to treat myself and get a few new pieces in.

So today I thought I'd share the pieces that I recently purchased as I often find this type of post enjoyable to read.

The first time I saw this outfit, I was immediately drawn to it, thinking it was a dress, but they are actually two separate pieces. While I ended up purchasing both pieces, I've yet to wear them together. I have worn both pieces to work on two separate occasions - I paired the printed blouse with a simple pencil skirt and the skirt with a simple black turtleneck top.

At the time of writing this post, I am awaiting the arrival of this blazer. I absolutely love a classic and simple cut blazer. I find it is such a simple way of elevating a look - a pair of dark wash jeans, a top and a blazer is such a classic and timeless combination.

I seem to be drawn to maxi dresses this season and have gone to two extremes of the colour spectrum. This grey dress from Zara and a very bright pink dress from COS are my new favourite. As the temperature is rather warm still for the month of October in London, I don't feel the urgency to put the pink dress away along with all my summer dresses.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday! And welcome to another edition of Weekend Reads - a weekly roundup of articles for your weekend reading pleasure.

Whether you read it first thing in the morning with a cup coffee or later in the evening with a glass of wine, the choice is yours.

Fall Reading List

While it is pretty warm weather wise in London, we are truly well into the Autumn season. One of my favourite things to do as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder is to curl up with a blanket, a cup of peppermint tea and immerse myself with a good book. If you are looking for reading material inspirations, check out the list shared by the Gal Meets Glam team . As you know the Kevin Kwan trilogy are my favourite books too!

Money Saving Tips

As a Chartered Accountant I wholeheartedly agree with the money saving tips that Ella shared. Tips 1, 2, 4 and 5 are the ones that I personally adopt and do myself. 

Genetic Testing

Have you tried genetic testing? I did one a few years ago because I was clueless about half of my lineage as my late mother was an adopted child.

Staying Productive While Working From Home

Even though I hold a full time corporate job in the City, I probably WFH once a week. Especially in the last couple years as our company adopted agile working environment. I particularly like tip no 3 as one of the things I miss whenever I WFH is the social interactions (and achieving at least 10k daily steps target!)

The Dyson Airwrap

Dyson is doing it again. After the launch of its hair dryer back in 2016, the company has recently launched the Dyson Airwrap - a tool designed to be used on wet hair to achieve voluminous curls, natural waves and smooth blow-dry finishes. At almost £400, would you spend your money on it?

I hope you have had a great week and see you again next week. x

Monday, 8 October 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Beauty Products

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Top Beauty Products

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the UK, with 1 in 8 women being diagnosed in their lifetime. With October being the Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought I'd do a roundup of my top 8 beauty products selection from brands that I trust who are making pledged donations to their selected charities. 

It's great and amazing that more and more brands are coming out with Limited Edition 'pink' products during October where part of the proceeds from the sales of these items are contributed to various breast cancer-related charities. 

As a consumer, when I purchase any of these products, I know that I not only come home with amazing and effective products but also, knowing that I am indirectly contributing to a charitable good cause through these purchases is a good feeling.  

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I would purchase these eight products in a heartbeat. 

The Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum are two staple products in my skincare routine. They have been for years. 

I absolutely adore Bobbi Brown lipsticks. They are very creamy, long lasting and pigmented. One of the duos is in the shade Sandwash Pink, which is a nude shade that I use myself. The other is called Pink which is equally beautiful. 

Jo Malone is one of my favourite brands when it comes to perfume and over the years I've expanded the number of perfumes in my collection. I've tried the Red Roses scent in store, and while I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea, I can guarantee you that this one is different to other rose scents you may have tried but not love. This one is fresh, light and exudes romance all at the same time. 

Products such as the Aveda Hand Cream and the Elemis Rose Cleansing Balm are absolutely necessary with the weather getting colder. I don't know about you, but I am never without a hand cream in my handbag. I also absolutely love using cleansing balm as the first step in my evening skincare routine. They are so effective at breaking down makeup without stripping out the skin's moisture. 

Finally, who doesn't need an extra supply of invisibobble hair tie and makeup bag in their life? They always come in handy at the least expected time, so why not keep some extras in your drawer. 

I hope this post had given you some inspirations on which Limited Edition beauty products that you would like to get your hands on while doing your part to increase breast cancer awareness at the same time. Be sure to be quick as their supply is limited and once they are gone, they are gone. 

Have a great week ahead. x 

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Weekend Reads

Happy Saturday! And welcome to the debut edition of Weekend Reads - a weekly roundup of articles for your weekend reading pleasure.

Whether you read it first thing in the morning with a cup coffee or later in the evening with a glass of wine, the choice is yours.

The Death of Céline

Fashion Weeks had come to an end.  This year, if there was an award for a designer house that received the most attention and reactions from, the winner will no doubt be Celine. I absolutely adore Céline under Phoebe Philo and I, like others, can't help feeling deflated when I saw the collection that Heidi Slimane released for the runway. Read on to know why.

New Skincare Launch

If you haven't heard already, last Sunday at 7pm (BST to be exact), Alex announced her skincare, a collaboration with Primark! I think it is highly commendable for a skincare guru like Alex to create a skincare line which is accessible to the masses.

How to Get Excited About Work

When I was in school, stationery was my ultimate obsession. That love and passion continued on into the early years of my career at one of the Big 4 Professional firms where I gained my Chartered Accountancy qualification. Every time it was an exam period, I would get new sets of stationery to get my study motivation going. Similarly, when it comes to work, we all need that little extra something to make sitting at our desk working a bit more exciting.

There is No Age Limit When It Comes to Changing Your Career

Life begins at 40! Perhaps that is the reason why it's never too late to change the direction of a career, especially if the change will give you a happier, more contented and magical life.  

Fall Nail Shades Inspiration 

If you are anything like me, who only have three nails shades used on rotation depending on the time of year - nude, classic red and burgundy - then this article will certainly give you new inspirations to mix things up.

I hope you have had a great week and see you again next week. x

Monday, 1 October 2018

Stepping Up My Skin Care Routine With Acids

The Ordinary - AHA + BHA, Retinol, "Buffet"

Acids used to have a bad name in the past and that it is something that no one would allow for it to be near the face, let alone be in contact with the skin. But these days, acids have become the buzzword of skincare. Almost every brand on the market had developed and introduced skin care products with acids as its one of, if not the main active ingredients.

Today, I wanted to share three acids products from The Ordinary range that I am currently using as a way to step up my skincare routine.

The Ordinary "Buffet" is known for its multi-technology peptide serum. It's an all-in-one treatment that could combat multiple signs of ageing. Containing multiple peptides, such as hyaluronic acids and amino acids, amongst others, it is aimed at improving surface hydration, reducing fine lines, wrinkles and improving any textural irregularities. You may recall what I thought of the Natural Moisturizing Factor moisturiser previously. Since layering the moisturiser after applying "Buffet" I have found my skin to be more hydrated and plump and the effect tends to last all day too. I am absolutely pleased with this discovery and how the combination is working for me. It simply means that I get to continue using the moisturiser without it going to waste.

Retinol 0.2% in Squalane 

Retinol is an active form of Vitamin A which helps with skin turnover, stimulates collagen and increase elastin production which all sounds good when you have reached a certain age group. I started with 0.2% because retinol could cause irritation and it needs time for the skin to get used to it. So please bear this in mind should you wish to add any retinol products to your skincare routine too. In addition, I decided to use "Buffet" and retinol separately because retinol can only be used at night so the "Buffet" is the perfect product for me to use as part of my daytime skincare routine. 

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

AHA + BHA are commonly known as a chemical exfoliant and I've written about this combination previously here. Without wanting to repeat myself, I wanted it to get a mention as it falls into the acids category and by far my favourite acids discovery. The AHA + BHA Solution has become a part of my weekly routine because I simply love the baby smooth soft and clear skin I get afterwards. 

What are your thoughts on acids? Are you using them as part of your skincare routine? 

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Future Direction of My Blog - What To Expect Going Forward

the future of blogging

I love writing. Whether it is technical reports for work or posts for the blog. There is something therapeutic about it, and I see it as a way to tell a story. 

My journey and passion for writing will not have evolved to where it is now if not for the continued support from you who keep coming back weeks after weeks to this blog. To those who had taken the time to leave comments, thank you! The interactions and engagements give a sense of belonging and togetherness. It is what I truly enjoy being a part of this community. 

As with everything in life, we grow, change and evolve. It is all part of the process of moving forward. So today, I wanted to share with you the future direction of my blog and what you could expect from theflairsophy going forward. 

Format & Layout 

If you're a regular reader, I am sure you will have noticed that this blog had a facelift last week. It is the second time that I had changed the format and layout of this blog and it was done as part of its ongoing growth and improvement. But more importantly, I wanted to give you a more welcoming feel when you land here and a more enjoyable navigation experience as you explore its content, be it old or new. 

Contentwise, I have narrowed things down to three genres - Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle. Everything that I had written previously and will be going forward that relates to general life tips and advice, places explored and travel experiences will now be housed in the Lifestyle category. 

Posting Schedule

At the beginning of 2006, I made a commitment to posting on a weekly basis - on Sunday. Today, I am proud to say that I have successfully kept to this commitment (bar the very few times when I was away on holiday with the family). As my readership grows, it is only natural that I feel encouraged to write more so you have fresh content to come back to. 

But as you know, I run this blog on the side of my full-time career. While I don't want that to be an excuse or a hindrance, I need to acknowledge the limitation it posed in order for me to find a feasible solution so that I stay true to this blog's manifesto: 

"Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle blog for modern, ambitious, driven women looking to have a balanced, contented and magical life"

So from October onwards, I am moving my posting schedule from Sunday to Monday. I have debated and given this so much thought as I question the availability of time to read blog posts on the first day of the week. But I finally feel ready to give it a try. This change is all about wanting to give you more but without sacrificing content quality in the process of doing so. By shifting my posting schedule to Monday, it means I have an extra day at the weekend to simply to do so.

But I am also conscious that this change means I am taking away the weekly content that you could leisurely read on Sundays. So to make up for creating a hole in your weekend routine, from October onwards I will be posting on Saturdays too! The Saturday posts will be curated as a weekly round-up of news and articles that had caught my eyes during the week covering a wide range of topics. This means not only you will get your weekend content a day earlier, but also the breadth of materials to read will be expanded too. The format will be intentionally short, sharp and snappy, a perfect balance between giving you fresh content but without getting in the way for you to proceed with your weekend plans.


We have now entered the final stretch of the year. It is often the busiest time of the year as we all want to hit the milestones that we set ourselves at the start of the year. 

But let's not forget, we also have Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas to look forward to. 

And in the spirit festivities and continuing on from the theme of giving, I will be hosting a number of giveaways leading up to the year-end. You can expect them to be announced here and if we are still not friends on the 'gram, let's be friends as there will be giveaway announcements there too. So watch the space!

I am feeling rather excited at these changes now that I've written them all out here. I hope you are excited as I am too! Feel free you leave any further thoughts you may have as I am all ears for new ideas. x

Sunday, 16 September 2018

3 Easy Ways to Break Your Work Week

Easy ways to break your work week

One of the perks of having a full-time job is annual leave. It is certainly one of the benefits if not the benefit that I am grateful for and fully treasure as a working professional.

In the past, I often associate taking annual leave with going away for a holiday. I felt it is a total waste of my annual leave to spend it in London.

Don't get me wrong. I am completely on board with going away. It is great! Not only a change in scenery is great for relaxing, reflecting and resetting your mind but also a fantastic way of exploring new places.

But sometimes all you want and need is to be away from your office desk, break away from your daily routine but still want to feel that you've accomplished something useful. As you know, it is often the little things that make a difference.

So today I thought I'd share 3 easy ways to break your work week.

Sign up for a class to learn a new skill

Whatever your interests and passions are, whether to learn more about photography, cake decorating or mastering the wing eye-liner look, I am sure there are classes that you could sign up to. If you've been wanting to pursue a new passion, learn a new skill, but can't find enough time to squeeze all that at the weekend, take a day off and stop using lack of time as an excuse.

There are many short courses available out there. I learned tremendously about camera setting and photography over a 2-day course in London. I learned about the anatomy of body movements which helped deepen my Pilates practice in one day. Ultimately, this was the course that sparked further interest in me becoming a qualified Mat Pilates instructor. Heck, I've even taken a day off to sit for my Grade 5 Piano exam! Whatever it is, learning a new skill especially if it is not related to your day job, is a great way to keep the mind going.

Spend time with visiting friends

I am blessed that I have friends scattered all over the world but it does come with a challenge. While technology such as WhatsApp and FaceTime have been helpful to maintain the friendship and keep in touch, there is nothing quite like spending time together, face to face. So whenever my friends visiting from abroad, I am always more than willing to take a day off to spend time with them. We often start with brunch and simply wander around the city afterwards to fill up the day. Coffee and cake break often involves in this situation. 

Cafes and restaurants are less busy during the week which means we can take as much time as we want to enjoy our meal. There is no rush to leave the table for the next person in the queue. This quality time spent together, albeit, only a day, often leaves me feeling happy and contented afterwards, it almost felt like I've been away on a holiday.  

Book in a 'Me Time'

Whether it is a facial, massage or a personal shopping session. Do it. You, your body and mind totally deserve it. 

I once attended a personal styling session and was advised that the best time to shop and update your wardrobe is during the week. New stocks are in, shops are less busy, and the merchandise is neatly laid out in store. 

Weekday shopping will change your experience. You will have the mental clarity to stick with the fashion vision board that you've created. If you need ideas or opinions, you will also get more attention from shop assistance as they are not being pulled in multiple directions from other customers. 

What's your take on this? Do share below as I am always open for new ideas on easy ways to break my working week. 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

What's in my everyday make up bag?

whats in my make up bag

You would probably have seen in the news this week what most people think of women who put on make up on the train. Who knew the majority of the public has such strong reaction, opinion and views about it!

The subject is debatable depending on who you talk to. To me, it is a personal choice. I personally don't put on make up while on the tube. Partly due to the short commute that I have and secondlyI'd like to look pulled together before stepping out of the house. However, I am always curious to see what products were used whenever I see someone doing so during my travel. 

So I thought if I am keen to know what other women carry day-in-day-out in their make up bag, you may be curious too about what I have in my everyday make up bag!

Sunday, 2 September 2018

The Power of 'Asking' - How It Had Worked in My Favour and It Could Work for You Too

the power of asking

Just ask.

Two simple words which are not practised often enough.

I genuinely think that 'fear' is the main reason why people often don't ask for what they want or need. However, this fear is only a mind-game that is playing in your head, and what if I tell you, more often than not when you ask, the response tends to be a positive one. Even if the answer is not what you were hoping to be, what have you got to lose? At least you now know the answer and you could explore other options.

Today, I thought I'd share my experiences of 'asking' and how it had worked in my favour. Hopefully, it will give you the nudge and encouragement to do the same if it is something that you have been thinking about, but not quite have the courage to pursue.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Miami, Florida - The Sunshine State

miami florida

Do you agree that it is the best feeling in the world when Sunday arrived and knowing that you have another day off work? Yes, it's the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, and I for sure will not be experiencing Monday blues tonight.

Personally, I was planning on doing as little as I could possibly get away with during the three-day weekend. While I may not be joining the majority of UK travellers on the road or at the airport, all eager and excited to get to their holiday destinations, I do have a wonderful trip to look back to and reminisce while I lounge around in my pyjamas sipping a cup of coffee.

It's Miami, Florida.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Ordinary - What Worked and What Didn't For Me

As a person who is beauty and skin care obsessed, it is unsurprising that my bathroom cabinet holds more products than an average person would typically have. Not to mention that it takes considerably a long time for me to use up all the products because you know, 'One face' and all that jazz.

But my counter-argument is always all in the name of research. Otherwise, I'll be none the wiser.

Since the first purchase of The Ordinary products about a year ago, a few more items had made it from the store to the basket to my bathroom cabinet. Some items work rather well for me and a few didn't make a difference which I think is fairly normal as our skin needs are different and tends to react differently to different products.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Dior Saddle Bag - What I Think of Them?

If you're a fashion lover and a crazy handbag lady like me, you will have heard about the Dior Saddle bag. It is one of the most iconic and recognisable bags of all time. Even more so, recently when Maria Grazia decided to relaunch the Dior Saddle bag in July, and the fashion world went completely crazy.

The original Dior Saddle bag was first launched in 1999 when John Galliano was at the helm of the House of Dior. It was seen on the arms of many 'It' fashion girls in the late '90s and early 2000. It was also featured in the SATC series, carried by non-other Carrie Bradshaw.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

My Birthday!

One of the things I love about my birthday month is the fact that it is in the summer season. Daylight, sunshine, long days - the choices of how I choose to celebrate my special day is endless. This year, in particular, we've been blessed with amazing summer weather in London; I guess it also depends on which camp you're in. I have friends who are absolutely done with this sweltering weather. But for me, I choose to embrace this heat as long as the sky is blue, the sun is shining and most importantly, it's dry! I simply don't cope well when it rains because it's just one big mess!

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Summer Spotlight - The Past, The Present and The Future

Hi - I am back! And yes, things were rather quiet in here. But here I am about to share what I had been up to, what are the things that are currently occupying my life and what I have plans for the future.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

New In - Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump

I know I am super late to the party. Mainly because I never knew that I am a studs kind of girl. However, over the last few months, I have been lusting over the Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

June - General Life Update

Could someone explain to me how is it that it's June already? Didn't we just experience the unexpected 'Beast from the East' in March?

But who am I to complain? The weather has been glorious and it genuinely feels like we are in for a good summer this year. Apart from the occasional rain, I feel like I've had proper sunshine since April, which is a lot to be grateful for when you live in England.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Bicester Village - A Luxury Designer Outlet Accessible From London

 If you are anything like me - loves shopping and luxury designer goods - chances are you would have already heard of, if not visited Bicester Village, the Designer Shopping Outlet in Oxford, but easily accessible from London. But if for any reasons you haven't, then you are about to be introduced to the wonderful world of shopping for luxury designer goods at a slightly discounted price.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

NOLA - New Orleans, Louisiana

One of my main highlights from the month of April is the trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. Not only because it was my first time there, but also, a very much needed and welcomed break as I was already at the brink of a burnt out given the last holiday I took was back in October 2017. Yes, I had time off work during Christmas and Easter but I stayed in London during both occasions as there were too much going on the work front.

I didn't know much about New Orleans - my travel buddy wanted to include it as part of our trip and I went along. I went with zero expectations and was completely ready to soak up new experiences that the City has to offer.

The trip definitely improved my prowess of the City. It has so much to offer - a mixture of history, culture, music and food - which is amazing!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Medium Classic Lady Dior Handbag

Could we please take a moment and appreciate what a stunning masterpiece this beauty is? She is the latest addition to my handbags family.

Considering that Dior is the first luxury designer that I became aware of and that it is my favourite IT bag, I can't believe it had taken me this long to find the perfect the medium-sized Classic Lady Dior bag.

The wait may be long but it she the perfect one for me.

And here's why.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

My Happiness Boosts

This post is entirely inspired by the one published on The Elgin Avenue. After reading her article I totally got on board with the simple concept of 'happiness boosts' and upon reflection, I came to a realisation that happiness boosts are often little things that make me happy and content.

So today I thought I'd share my very own list of Happiness Boosts.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Ways To Inject Healthy Habits Into Your Life

If one your resolutions was to be healthier this year, and you feel like you haven't up your game enough, don't be disheartened by the lack of progress. Instead of continuing procrastinating, these are some small steps you could take to kick the ball rolling. I am a true believer that you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

How I Plan What To Pack For A Holiday

Seeing that I have an upcoming holiday at the end of this month, I thought I'd do a quick round-up and share a few tips on how I plan what to pack for a holiday. This method is personal to me and has always worked in the past. If there are things that have worked particularly well for you, feel free to share below!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Why SLGs Are Great and What I Use It For

Small leather goods, otherwise commonly known as SLGs are not only useful but also can be an affordable way to start your luxury designer items collection. I remember perfectly, the first luxury designer item I purchased was a Christian Dior Long Wallet. They are functional and are not as expensive as buying classic designer bags. So if you have a limited budget to play with, SLGs are a great place to start.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Beauty and Makeup Wish List

No matter how happy I am with my beauty and makeup routine and collection, there are always a number of beauty and makeup items floating within the beauty and makeup market that make me itch wanting to give them a try or to add to my almost insatiable love and passion of beauty and makeup products. Don't get me wrong. My current skincare routine is working very well for my skin and it comprises of products that I cannot live without. Not only that, following from my recent makeup reorganisation, I also know that I have more than enough makeup to last me a lifetime. But there are still so many products on the market that I haven't tried! #firstworldproblem

While I have gotten better with the concept of delayed gratification, I still struggle to let the desire to procure them go completely. I guess if you can't take your mind off it after so so long, it is probably time to give it a go? So today I thought I'd share my beauty and makeup wish list.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Makeup Storage/Organisation and What I Learned From It

Happy Easter! Whatever you have planned for today, and whether you're spending Easter with your friends or family, I hope you're having a fantastic time.

Easter is often associated with new life and a new beginning, regardless whether you are celebrating it based on your faith or not. A change in season also springs to mind (pun intended) as daffodils start making appearances in parks, gardens and the neighbourhood. If you are anything like me, you often feel the need to reset your life (it sure feels like a second new year) and declutter your possessions.

And that was exactly what I did on Good Friday. Not quite the full-blown Marie Kondo method, but simply throwing away old magazines that have been accumulating dust underneath the coffee table and some unused plastic containers in the kitchen.

I recently purchased the silver and brushed blue chest of drawers from Brissi. It was my first purchase from the brand, and I am very delighted with both the item and the service. As soon as I set my eyes on it I knew it will be the perfect set up for my makeup storage/organisation. I've been in the market for one for a very, very long time and I have been very adamant not to get the standard unit from Ikea as I wanted to find a piece of furniture that is not only functional but also has a bit of character. This chest of drawers which is from their China Club/Shangri La collection and is inspired from the old Chinese screens' patterns is absolutely perfection, and definitely ticks off my requirements, with an added bonus as it was on sales too!

When it arrived I was beyond excited and pretty much started my makeup storage/re-organisation/decluttering process almost immediately. Today I thought I'd share my five take aways from the organisation process.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Chanel Bags - My Personal Collection

Spring has sprung and the clock sprung forward this morning. Albeit I wish that I hadn't lost an hour of my life, it's an inescapable cycle that we go through every year. So instead of feeling negative about it, I thought today I'd share something that always makes me very happy.

It's my personal collection of Chanel handbags.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Round Up of My Week | Cycling, Tower Bridge and Alumni Event

Today's post is a slight departure from my usual ones, but seeing that I had a rather interesting week last week, I thought it's worth capturing it here. Furthermore, I feel like posting something chatty and laid back today and I hope to give you a little insight into my life and what I was up to recently.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

My Top 5 Favourite Healthy Snacks

When it comes to wellness there are two main things that I personally believe it and I try to practise these as much as I can. This is purely my view and my approach. Other people may think differently and have other perspectives. After all, I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist.

Firstly, you are what you eat. What you put in your body is important as it affects your performance, both on a day to day basis, even more so when you are working out. Your body needs the energy to perform, and energy comes from good quality and nutritious food.

Secondly, balanced is key and everything in moderation, including portion control. It's OK to have the Kit Kat, but maybe just have one of the single portion size rather than the family size and eat everything in one go or on your own.

When I started my wellness and healthy eating journey a few years ago, I did it out of respect for my body. I believe that it deserves all the nourishment and until today, I have not cut out any food groups from my diet. I simply eat clean most of the time and I try as much as I can to cut out processed food from my diet.

Today, I thought I'd share 5 healthy snacks that I am currently obsessed with. These are my support system and have been successful in keeping me away from the office vending machine to battle the 4pm energy slum.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Home Update Ideas

Believe it or not, I've been living in my current apartment for more than 5 years now. It makes perfect sense why in the last few months I have started to develop a strong desire to update a few pieces that I have. While last week didn't feel like Spring at all in London, thanks to the #beastfromtheeast, isn't it funny with every new season we often feel the need to either update or spring clean our lives, be it our wardrobe or our homes.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

My Favourite Morning Routine - Easing Into the World

I always consider myself not a morning person. And I am ok with that.

I love my bed too much and often struggle to get up in the morning. I always wonder how do some people go to the gym first thing because to me, waking up to be at the gym or any fitness classes for that matter is the worst motivation to leave the bed. But each to his or her own. 

Whenever I have a scheduled meeting at work before 9am, it stresses me up so much that I ended up not having a good night sleep, fearing that I would oversleep and be late for the said meeting. It goes without saying that the interrupted sleep made me groggy and tired in the morning which then leads me to continue believing that I am just not a morning person.

Having said that, over time I have noticed something.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Perfect Trio for Evening Skincare Routine

If you have been reading this blog, then you would have known that the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum and the Clinique Night Turnaround Revitalising Moisturizer are a must in my evening skincare routine. But recently, I have included another product as the final step in my evening skincare routine.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Chinese New Year | Where to Eat in London

This Friday, 16 February 2018 is Chinese New Year, an important festival in the Chinese calendar. It marks the start of a new year following the lunar cycle. This year is the Year of the Dog; there are 12 animals all together as such the full cycle completes once every 12 years.

One of the main traditions of Chinese New Year is the family reunion dinner, which is held on the eve of the New Year. It is deemed as the most important family get-together meal of the entire year. It is often held at the house of the most senior family member of the family and all children and grandchildren are expected to be present. Married females will follow the husband for a reunion dinner with his side of the family; a non-negotiable long-standing known tradition. Hence historically, Chinese families are known to favour sons over daughters as sons will carry the family surname and will be home for the annual reunion dinner. 

As Chinese New Year often comes not too far after the Christmas holiday, my friends and I do not have the privilege to return home and celebrate with our families. As a result, friends become our away-from-home family. Every year, we meet up for our Chinese New Year luncheon at a restaurant of choice. So today, I thought I'd share my most frequented restaurants in London to satisfy the Chinese/Oriental food cravings.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Pilates - An Overview and Why I Love It

If you had seen this, this and this post, you would have known that I was undertaking a Pilates teaching course late last year and two weeks ago, I got my test results and I passed! I definitely stretched myself a little too much towards the end of last year to the point that I could only find time to sit for the Pilates theory test on Christmas eve (I had completed the practical application test earlier). Hence why my result was slightly delayed due to the Christmas - New Year holiday season.

With this new qualification, I decided to add another category to this blog - Wellness - to bring more topics to the mix because I often find the blogs that I enjoy reading the most are the ones that cover a variety of topics. I hope the broad genre covered on this blog will appeal to wide range of readers, as there is a little something for everyone. I also believe the word 'Wellness' is sufficiently broad to cover myriad topics including fitness, healthy eating, self-care and mindfulness as an avenue to share my thoughts on these topics as I progress through on this journey myself.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Florence, Italy | My Favourite Spots

Seeing that we are already at the end of January 2018, I thought it is about time that these photos which I took while I was in Florence in July 2017 see the light of days.

Notwithstanding that Florence is relatively small and compact, it still has a lot to offer. There is plenty to see and they can be easily done by foot. The three main highlights for me were the Firenze Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

New In #4 - New Year's Skincare Haul

Unlike other fashion items, skin care products don't go on sales often. Having said that, there are instances when you will see me making a beeline to beauty counters to stock up on my can't live without beauty products. And those instances are when I am at the airport in the duty-free shops, when department stores do special beauty promotions, and when brands offer gifts with purchase.

During the recent sales, I have stocked up on a few of my beauty favourite items and today, I thought I'd share what I bought recently with you. It is a small haul but it's a mixed bag of products that I am repurchasing and trying out for the first time.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

New Year's Afternoon Tea At the Intercontinental The O2

While most people kicked off 2018 with resolutions to eat healthily, cut-off sugar and booze after the Christmas period binge, I did the complete opposite.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

2018 Beauty Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great start to 2018.

Seeing that this is the very first blog post of 2018, I think it would be rude if I proceeded without mentioning new year's resolutions. I am all for resolutions as we all need that something extra to look forward to, to work towards, to challenge ourselves so that, one day, when we look back, we can see how much we've achieved and how far we've come along. The key for me is always setting realistic targets so here are my three 2018 Beauty Resolutions. Nothing too crazy...
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