My Women Stuff is a beauty blog fronted by blog editor Paris B and based in the sunny tropics of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The blog is chockfull of makeup and skincare product reviews and beauty tips and news from an Asian perspective and tested in hot and humid tropical weather
Last weekend, I undertook a small home improvement project that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Ever since I moved in, really. But it was something people kept talking me out of, every time I brought up the subject.
“It’s too impractical!” “Your floor will be dirty!” “It’ll be too expensive!” “How will you clean it?”
That’s all the practical voices. Some externally, and to be fair, internally as well. I am a very practical person, and I certainly thought about all this. But deep down, I still wanted to do it.
So I said “To hell with it! I’ll figure it out later!” and I went ahead and laid down decking on my balcony. Much to my surprise, when I showed it off on Instagram stories, because I was so proud of myself LOL!, so many of you asked me about it, how I did it, where I got the materials etc. I decided I’d write a post about it. Incidentally, there wasn’t a lot of information out there when I was doing my research, so I reckon this will be helpful
I did not want to hack my floor tiles on the balcony (I wasn’t allowed to and on hind sight, it was probably a good idea not to). So, I needed decking that could sit over the existing tiles. There are many places you can look, but my research brought me to Ikea! When I got there, and poked around, I saw the ones I wanted were on sale. It was then a no-brainer
These are the Ikea Runnen decking for outdoor use, and I’ll tell you how I did it, and what you need to know. Best of all, you can do it yourself. I did. It’s light enough that you can carry all the pieces you need home yourself, and fix it up yourself – no need to fuss around trying to get some guy to fix it up for you. When you want something done properly, just do it yourself!
Some of you may be aware, from my sharing over on Instagram, that I have been quite actively using masks. What I’ve learnt, is that regular masking is more beneficial for your skin, than that once-a-week treat that you give yourself. Masking, as I’ve told you once, is not just for the weekend. If you want better results, use them regularly.
Naturally therefore, cost is then a concern, for regular masking depletes your stock quickly. So, when I was invited to try the Mamonde Flower Facial Mask series, I was happy to. Mamonde (pronounced “ma-mond”) is an affordable brand from Korea, under the giant Amore-Pacific corporation. While I do personally find that their products are targeted towards younger skin, some of them have been decent for me, so I am always keen to explore a little more.
There are 4 masks in the Mamonde Flower Facial Mask series – 2 wash off masks and 2 leave on, or sleeping masks. They each target a different concern, and have flower extracts, which is a mainstay of the Mamonde skincare range.
Let me tell you about each of them, and which I think would suit each different skin type or concern. It may not necessarily gel with what the brand will tell you, which is why I’m doing this. I received a little flack because one of the products did not sit well with me, and I’m not sure I understood why. Isn’t it about how it worked for me, as opposed to how it was supposed to work? Honestly, I didn’t quite get it. But there you go. Expectation vs reality haha!
Sometimes, the universe works in mysterious ways, as was just proven to me very recently. I’d come across news about the new, limited edition Jo Malone English Fields cologne collection online from UK bloggers who’d had first dibs at them. What caught my eye were the bottles. While soft pastel shades aren’t very representative of me, nor are they shades I gravitate to, I was still enamoured by the aesthetic. It was so simple, yet eye catching.
I then shared about it in my monthly newsletter. 2 days later, a picnic basket landed on my doorstep.
Nestled within, amongst a selection of delicious baked goods, was the Jo Malone English Fields cologne collection! To say that I was surprised was an understatement. Try shocked, or even gobsmacked, or just plain ol’ speechless!
Each year, Jo Malone London puts out a limited edition Brit cologne collection curated around something traditionally English. While they have covered desserts and stately homes, one of my favourites must be the one they did about Rain. Oh yes, rain is so quintessentially English! I didn’t manage to get my hands on it, because it sold out quickly (and there was only 1 store back then I disliked going into) but I remembered it, and I hope they bring it back so I can grab them!
This year, the collection is English Fields, yet something very quintessentially English. They picked a combination of flowers and grain that are so entrenched in the English countryside, bringing to mind brightness of colour combined with the earthiness of grains, and making it something quite special.
I’ll describe it to you the best I can, but I’m told that this collection is selling out VERY fast, which I believe is more to do with its aesthetics than scent. Let me tell you why
I occasionally go ‘live’ on Instagram, where I take the opportunity to physically talk to those of you who check in, and I always have a good time! During one such recent session, I remember someone asking me if I’d consider using clinical strength skincare treatment products from a dermatologist or doctor. My answer was that I would not.
I have nothing against seeing dermatologists or skin doctors. If I had a problem, I would see them. I had contact dermatitis on my hands once, and I saw a doctor for that. But if it was just purely for aesthetics, i.e. how I look, and not a medical condition that needs treating, I am less inclined to. The reason you see, is because I know I’m imperfect, and I don’t actively seek perfection.
I realize it’s a a strange thing to say, because we are told that we should strive for perfection in various aspects of our lives. But what if I just want to be better than average, but not necessarily perfect?
What if I acknowledge that I have imperfect skin – large pores, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone just to name a few that most of us also suffer from – but accept that it otherwise, is still better than average, and that it’s fine for my age?
It seems that as a beauty blogger, I am less allowed to be imperfect, as compared to the next woman. Today marks 11 years I’ve been blogging about beauty, and the pressure to be perfect is even stronger now than it ever was before. But why does it have to be so?
Back in the day, one of the very first products I tried from Clarins was from their Hydraquench range. Anyone remember using that? That was back in 2009. In 2011, I had little revisit of the Hydraquench range. Both times, one of the products that stood out for me was this very same one I’ll tell you about today – the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Bi-Phase Serum.
Thereafter, Clarins and I parted ways, meeting occasionally, but never serendipitiously, to talk about their hydrating range. So, when I found out that it was no longer called Hydraquench, but now called Hydra-Essentiel, and boasting a brand new key ingredient, I was surprised. Then again, Clarins is no stranger to embracing new names and ingredients for their iconic products.
The only product I’ve since tried from the Hydra-Essentiel range is this very same bi-phase serum. We have certainly come full circle! I’ll call it the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Bi-Phase Serum for short, as it is a mouthful otherwise!
Someone asked me quite recently what sort of makeup products I liked. My unhesitating answer was “Base Makeup”. By this, I don’t mean “base” as in “primer”, but “base makeup” as in everything that goes on your skin as a base. This could well include primer (although that isn’t something I’m keen on) but my primary focus is on foundation, concealer and perhaps, powder.
Needless to say therefore, that any new foundation or concealer launch has my ears pricking up.
One such newbie is the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF15 PA++ (What a mouthful!) This one promises full coverage and oil-free shine control. It says so right on the bottle!
Now, I was a little wary. You see, the product comes in a frosted bottle. It also says “long-wear” and then talks further about “shine control”. For someone with drier skin like me, these are all clanging warning bells. It usually makes me think of thick, drying textures, settling into fine lines, and a matte finish on skin. A look I do NOT go for.
And so on our shelves now in 2018, is the Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator. This refreshing light gel cream promises to offer up to 72 hour hydration, so your skin feels comfortable and moisturized for longer. This is done using the Activated Aloe Water and caffeine ingredients to stimulate our skin’s water pump, to draw water from deeper layers to saturate our skin. I think of it like a self-watering plant system. As someone who dabbles in a spot of balcony gardening, this is a system I’m trying to rig up for my plants too.
The Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator is already now available at counters, but I’ve had this in my hands for just about 2 months now, thanks to Clinique’s sneak preview. In the process, I’ve been experimenting with it, to get the best out of this moisturizer, and realized that there were up to 5 ways I could use it, making it helpful as a multi-tasking moisture tool. I am very big on hydration, as you know, and I’m always trying to find ways to keep my skin hydrated. It is truly one of the best secrets to healthy, glowing skin! You might find it helpful too!
I’m not a big user of makeup primers. For the most part, I’ve found them useful when I want my makeup to stay on longer for something special, but otherwise, I’m quite happy not to use them. I just don’t notice any other benefits.
But recently, I’ve been experimenting with some makeup primers that offer more than just a surface for your makeup to sit on. These primers add that much needed glow to lacklustre skin, and I have to confess that I am a convert! I love these primers!
I have quite a few, as you can see above, and I’ll share my thoughts with you on each of them. This is of course, a non-exhaustive list. I could well find another one later that I love, but I thought it would be useful to have them all in one place for now
These are primers I have been playing around with for a while, and didn’t realise how many I’d amassed till now My complexion has been a little off in recent times. I’m not sure if it is due to poor sleeping patterns, skincare, or just festive season food that is too rich. But I haven’t been feeling and looking my best, and it shows on my complexion. So, every little help is welcomed!
But out of all of them, I have my favourite. Oh yes I do, and I credit it for picking up my complexion when I am fatigued, making me look chirpy and perky when I really look like I should be crawling under a rock. Take a guess which