Gino’s Gelato- grown-up goodness

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This gelato shop is located in Stanley, Hong Kong.  If you’ve never been there, it a place filled with tourists and expats and also locals on weekends.  As you can see from this photo of the shop front, there are already people with 3 different hair colours : )  The shop itself is tiny, with only about 8 seats inside and a teeny table outside, but in an area like Stanley you really don’t need to sit inside a shop to have ice-cream.image

My choice this time is a double scoop of hazelnut and rich chocolate brownie.  The scoops are quite expensive, but considering it is a touristy place, I suppose it is expected.  I don’t know whether Gino has another shop elsewhere, though (or if Gino’s a real person).

Both flavours are great.  The hazelnut is nutty but subdued- it doesn’t have the usual oily nut taste.  Instead, it tastes matte (I know matte is a colour tone, but I would say it’s a matte taste as opposed to a glossy one, if you know what I mean.  I suck at describing tastes.)  Let’s say it isn’t at all like nutella.  I feel like I can have 10 scoops of it without getting sick of the flavour.

The rich chocolate brownie lives up to its name.  It is really rich.  The chocolate gelato has a deep dark chocolate taste.  I believe it doesn’t have much added sugar since it tastes more like cocoa than chocolate.  The brownie, on the other hand, can be improved slightly.  It’s on the crumbly side, and not rich enough (doesn’t stand out against the chocolate gelato background).  Personally, I prefer a fudgy, chewy brownie in my ice-cream.  I guess a way to improve this flavour is to make either the gelato or the brownie  slighly sweeter, because now they’re too much alike, so it’s just the texture which is different.  image

And look!  Doggie gelato!  $8 (that’s HKD) gots to homeless dogs!  What a great way to market the shop, as Stanley is a famous place for dog-owners, and you can see dozens of them wandering about, having the time of their lives.  I haven’t seen the Doggie Gelato in the shop though, but I suppose it’s a good idea to keep it away from the human gelato… lemme guess, is that bacon flavoured?

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So much time, so little done! Holika Holika Pig-nose Clear Black Head 3-Step Kit

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Today I’m going to review this blackhead 3-step kit from Holika Holika, which is one of the first products I tried from this Korean brand.  I got sucked into buying it because the saleslady told me this would clear blackheads much better than normal pore strips, so I figured, why not give it a try.  Did it live up to expectations?  Read on…

 

As the product name suggests, this is a 3-step system to clear blackheads off noses.  Each of the little nose masks stay on for 15 to 20 minutes a time, and you use them one after another, which means it takes a minimum of 45 minutes.  I’m not kidding you.  And that’s just the nose.  image

Step 1 is an essence-soaked mask sheet which smells a bit funny and tingles a little.  From what the saleslady today me, it is supposed to suck out the blackheads to make them easier to adhere to Step 2.  I have no way to verify what she says, as the packaging and every single word on the packet (except for the brand name) is in Korean, and I don’t read a word in the language.  So let’s pretend the beauty people know what they’re talking about.  This Step 1 took up 15 minutes of my time, but didn’t open up my pores or anything.  I can’t really tell what it did, to be honest.image

Now onto Step 2, which is basically a regular pore strip.  Nothing much to tell you, except that it doesn’t fit my nose that well.  It works like every other pore strip.  I don’t think it sucked out more blackheads than usual, even though I used Step 1 beforehand.image

The final Step 3 is a gel-like mask which is supposed to hydrate the pores and sooth (or something like that).  I can’t ascertain if it hydrated my nose, and to be honest, after 45 minutes, you just want to get the dang things off your nose.  You don’t really care anymore. 

I don’t have the end result here, but I can tell you I don’t look that much different than when I use a pore strip after washing my face.  But there’s a huge difference in the execution.  The cost of each Holika Holika pack (with 3 steps, single use) is the cost of one box of pore strips (that’s 10 uses).  In other words, for each use, you spend 10 times the money and at least 3 times the time.  I don’t mind spending that money if the result is amazing; however, the result is exactly the same.  So sadly, I don’t think I will be purchasing this product again.  The question now is what to do with the 9 remaining packs I bought…

Not worth bragging about- Brat Hotdog Shop

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I don’t know how to feel about the “gourmet” burger shops that have been popping up these few years.  While some of them are delicious (Triple-O’s is worth the money, in my opinion), some just seems to me as poor excuses for tripling the price of your meal.  Unfortunately, my experience at Brat puts my impression of the shop in the latter category.image

As you can see on the menu here (the prices are in Hong Kong dollars), the hotdogs don’t come cheap.  And did I mention that the shop is just a shopfront and has no seats?  So it’s takeaway only.  For me, I ate my meal on the seats of the shopping centre.  Not the most comfy experience, and of course, no service to speak of.image

First up, the fries.  It is worth mentioning that even though they claim the fries are freshly made, that they leave the potato skins on for flavour and texture, etc. etc., they taste almost exactly the same as those at McDonald’s.  They are not fat or wrinkly ones, they are extremely skinny and bland.  I added extra money for the Japanese condiments (which makes them taste like octopus balls-flavoured fries), but it’s simply teriyaki sauce and mayo and a spinkle of seaweed.  Not worth it.image

Here comes the hotdog.  As you can see, the hotdog fits comfortably in my hand, and my hand is not that big.  I have chosen a spicy garlic sausage (too salty and not enough of other flavours), jalapenos and parmesan cheese as condiments.  But the biggest problem lies in the hotdog bun.  It looks, feels and tastes really cheap, like the cheapest ones you can buy in bulk from the supermarket.  And it’s small.  That was definitely unexpected, looking at the price.

My menu also comes with a can of soft drink, of which I picked Coke.  I wanted lemon tea instead but was informed I need to add more money for it, so I gave up.  Overall, I think the place is do-able if it’s at least half of its current price, but for this price, I can think of so many other places to dine.  And that concludes my one, and probably only, experiece at Brat.

Liquid exfoliator- Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Toning Complex

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I recently tried out a new (new-to-me) brand, Peter Thomas Roth.  This product appealed to me because it’s not glycolic acid in the form of an additional serum, but in your toner.  I also love that they tell you it has 10% glycolic acid, as opposed to some brands which just tells you there is glycolic acid in it but no indication of the concentration.  It feels like I’m getting a more potent product, although obviously I can’t compare with companies which don’t disclose their concentration (like you, Mario Badescu!).  Aside from the glycolic acid, it apparently has other nice stuff like lactic acid, citric acid, vitamin C… (you can read the bottle in the picture above and below).image

Here’s a look at the back of the bottle for you who may be interested.image

The toner is clear (as you can see from the lack of apparent colour inside the bottle- and it’s full), and doesn’t smell much.  I expected a stronger smell (because of all the acid in it I suppose), but it doesn’t smell of anything at all.  After I smoothed it on with a cotton pad, it tingled a little (not a lot, but obviously use it sparingly, and don’t rub), and it made my cheeks a little red.  It stayed reddish for quite some time (I don’t know exactly how long because I headed to bed), but it can be because my skin is on the thin and sensitive side.  Therefore, I only use it at night so far, which means the 250 mL bottle will last me quite some time.

After using it every night for 2 weeks, I think my acne scars have faded slightly. Pimples also seemed to heal slightly quicker. However, one thing that kind of bothers me is the design of the bottle cap. It is quite leaky when you pour the content out onto the cotton pad, which means you waste a little product each time you use it. For those of you who have used it before, did you encounter this problem!

Glamour at a price- Rodial Glam Balm Lip

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I love lip balms and have tried an awful lot, but the fact is a lot of them are just really average. Seldom do balms offer enough moisture for me, and I hate to admit, I usually want yummy scents too, so those without.fragrance are not really my thing. This lip balm is the first product I have tried from the brand Rodial, and it is one of the products from its Glam Balm series (a balm similar to Elizabeth Arden’s Eight-hour Cream but smells nicer- I may write a review about it sometime). In fact, this lip balm came in a box set I bought last Christmas, which contained also the Glam Balm and a hand cream. (I only wanted to buy the lip balm initially but got sucked into buying this whole set which apparently helps me save 50% off the rack price…)

imageAs you can see, this balm is slightly tinted in the pot (a kind of peachy, pinkish tint) but has no colour whatsoever on my lips. It claims to be rose- flavoured but this is misleading- it is rose- scented but has no flavour when ingested. It doesn’t taste medicinal or odd. It just has no taste. The balm feels a little bit oily but in a good way- like a slightly thick gloss but it is surprisingly non-sticky.

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This is is the balm on my lips. It provides a bit of shine and stays for quite some time.  I don’t really know how to explain it, but its pillowy texture makes it seem almost luxurious to use.  Having it in a tub is slightly inconvenient, but I suppose if you don’t want lip products with lots of beeswax (which I personally don’t find very moisturising) you will have to put up with it being in a tub.  One thing to note, though, is that the product melts a little when in heat, so you probably won’t want to keep it in your pockets and you definitely don’t want to heat it up then tilt the pot- you will get a smeary mess and you will lose a lot of product.  This is why Glam Balm Lip is now my favourite bed-time lip balm, but otherwise I won’t be bringing it out with me anytime soon.

(Not so) Pink lady- Ettusais Lip Essence (Color)

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Today I’m reviewing the squeezy-tube lip balm (called “lip essence”) by the Japanese brand Ettusais.  This one is the coloured version, as you can see from the wordings on the tube and also the bright pink tube itself (which unfortunately does not reflect the colour of the balm).  I have used several of the brand’s lip balms and I find it quite a good buy in terms of quality and price.  It claims to have a “gloss oil” type consistency and actually it describes the product quite accurately.  It is moisturising and definitely glossy, but not too sticky.  The added sun protection is a bonus.  So far I find the lip balms the best product the brand offers (and I have tried quite a lot of its products).image

Check this out on my hand.  You can see that it definitely has a red tint.  However, also bear in mind this is quite a thick dollop, and nobody uses that much of lip balm in one go (I sometimes do, but that’s before bed, and we don’t need tinted lip products when sleeping, right?).  When spread out, the balm is actually only slightly tinted.   

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Look at this on my lips.  I have it on but you can barely see the colour.  I’m sure the colour is buildable, but the picture above shows how it looks like when I apply lip balm like a normal person.  It is quite good at filling in the lines on the lips, as with most gloss products, and does provide relatively lasting moisture, but if you’re looking for pink lips, you may have better luck with a real gloss.  This product does have its appeal though- look at how I bought it when I have a perfectly fine (but untinted) tube!

Happy skin in girly hot pink- Skin 79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm (Triple Functions)

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BB cream has been one of the most hyped-up skincare/ makeup product in recent years, and now all the big brands (and little brands) have them.  However, if you have tried them you will know that even though they all look quite similar, their performance on your skin differs a lot.  And today I’d like to share with you my favourite BB cream so far: the Super Plus Beblesh Balm (Triple Functions) by the Korean brand Skin 79.  From what I see in the stores, the brand also makes a few different types of BB creams, but so far I have only tried this one.  And I’m already on my second bottle- this shows how much I love the product, as usually I prefer trying out new brands, no matter how much I love the previous product.  This BB cream claims to: whiten, provide UV protecture (SPF25, PA++), and prevent wrinkles.  So far I have not seen any whitening in my skin, but I suppose it looks more even when I have this on : ) 

I love the hygenic pump bottle, although it is a bit annoying since you cannot see how much product is left.  It claims to have 40g of product in the bottle but I guess there is no way to tell for sure.  A bottle lasts a super long time for me though.  I use it almost every day and it was months before I used up a bottle.  image

You can see the product on the back of my hand here.  It looks a bit grey when first pumped out, but when on the face it looks perfectly normal.  This BB cream only comes in one colour, so I suppose it is good to have a try before buying it, although I would say the colour will suit most skin tones.  The amount you see here is sufficient for the whole face.  The coverage is medium, although you can pat on a bit more for extra coverage.  For me, though, this does not eliminate the need for concealer but it provides enough coverage for me since I don’t usually wear foundation.  I also love how it isn’t oily but isn’t drying- I don’t know how they do it, the texture is somewhat perfect, and it feels very light on the skin.  However, you’d still have to moisturise before putting this on, otherwise it doesn’t settle as well on the face.image

Here is a look at the back of the bottle, for those of you who are interested.  It is honestly one of the best BB creams I have tried so far, and with it flattering shade and balanced texture, I don’t see how anybody can not like it.  Have you tried it and do you agree?