Saturday, 29 June 2013

Non-Alcoholic Wine: Inah Shiraz 2011 from South Africa


Non-alcoholic wine? What’s that?

Just like you, I was shocked to hear this for the first time. After all, is wine technically a ‘wine’ if it doesn’t have alcohol? But some people may have different preferences and lifestyle so there’s no reason to deprive them of enjoying the sweet juice of those amazing grapes. Not just ordinary grapes like the ones you buy from the supermarket or grocery shop but authentic grapes grown for making wines.

Well, I needed to answer my own question. Is wine technically a ‘wine’ even without alcohol content? Not even 1% of it? Wine is defined as an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits so I guess if I were to be technical about it then it shouldn’t be called wine. But this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try it, does it? (wink wink)

And so I tried 2 types of non-alcoholic wines:  Inah Shiraz & 1688 Grand Rosé. Both contain 0 alcohol, both are even Halal-certified.

I started with Inah Shiraz, vintage 2011, a non-alcoholic red wine from South Africa. Since this wine was not fermented to form alcohol, the wine is expectedly very sweet. The taste of grapes, however, comes across as very pure and refreshing because no alcohol interferes with the sweetness. Having tried different juices in my lifetime, I can immediately tell that the pure Shiraz flavor is of entirely high level from normal fruit juices.





I shared the bottle of Inah Shiraz with my in-laws who also enjoyed this non-alcoholic beverage. It was easy to gulp down for them since it didn’t contain alcohol. And being just high-quality pure Shiraz grapes juice, this wine was easy to match with any food. I doubt if there’s food that will not taste good with it, maybe some very spicy food will not be recommended but I am not really a fan of super spicy food so I’m fine. Overall, I loved this red wine and this is probably the first red wine I fell in love with.  At only RM46.50 a bottle (bought it from Wine Talk), this wine is definitely a great addition to celebrations, especially for friends who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

If you're interested to buy this Inah Shiraz non-alcoholic wine, you can check out this online wine delivery website www.winetalk.com.my 

Will share more about the other non-alcoholic wine next time, guys!



Did you know that eating grapes has various health benefits? I cam across this nice article about the health benefits of grapes, read on to know more >>>  https://www.jenreviews.com/grapes/ 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Milled Soap: An Enchanting Body Treat!


For so many years now, I’ve always been using shower gels or liquid bath soaps for cleansing.  I love using them on a bath sponge and see how much foam they make. And more often than not, shower gels also have lovelier scents versus ordinary bath soaps…until I tried Crabtree & Evelyn’s Iris Triple Milled Soap.


I wouldn’t have bought or tried this bar soap if it wasn’t included in bath set given to me by my sister-in-law. It came together with a body lotion, body cream and shower gel, all neatly packed in a translucent pouch. When I received the gift, it was already oozing with this captivating smell sending your senses to an extraordinary place. Yes, it was really that beautiful to me.

At first, I was skeptical to use it on my body. I’ve had a few experiences of developing rashes when a shower gel is too fragrant or too aromatic. But it was just too tempting so I had to try. Surprisingly, my skin didn’t object to the wonderful scent of this soap. Hooray! And I finished it to the last foam.

When I finished my first and only bar, I went to Crabtree & Evelyn to buy another one. It’s not sold individually but rather in a box of 3 bars of 85g each. At a price of RM65, it costs less than RM22 per bar. Not bad so I bought the box of 3.



I got curious about what triple milled meant, so I did some digging. For my (and my readers’) enlightenment, triple milled soap is a high-quality type of soap which is manufactured commercially with repeated machine-rolling process. This makes the soap completely uniform and smooth, without impurities, and lasts longer than ordinary soaps. 

How I use my Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Milled Soap:
Morning and evening
After washing my body with water, I use my normal shower gel with my bath sponge. Then I rinse off the shower gel completely. Then I lather Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Milled Soap over my neck, body, arms and legs without a sponge. Leave it for a few minutes to make the scent stay longer. Rinse thouroughly.

Some people might say that double cleansing might make your skin dry but not for me. The Crabtree & Evelyn Soap leaves a moisturized feel on the skin even if I don’t regularly put lotion afterwards.

What the box says:
Blended with precious sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver, our Iris fragrance pays homage to the subtle, mysterious scent of orris, derived from the root of the iris. Formulated with botanical oils, this soap lathers sumptuously and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Milled Soap is available at their brand boutiques and selected departmental stores. Sells at RM65 for box of 3 bars at 85g per piece.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things


My Favorite Things by Maria - The Sound of Music

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens


Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens


Brown paper packages tied up with strings


These are a few of my favorite things



Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things


Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver white winters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things


When the dog bites

When the bee stings

When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don't feel so bad

(lyrics source: stlyrics.com)







I just celebrated my 33rd birthday a few weeks ago. At times, I still find it hard to believe how far I've gone from my life just almost 5 years before. And in celebration of a good and blessed life, I am enumerating the things in my life that I'm thankful for...plus a few of my favorite (material) things. 


1) My husband


Wedding in Boracay

Don't get me wrong, I truly believe that there's no perfect marriage. It is no fairy tale where the princess marries the prince and they live happily ever after, the end. The truth is, marriage only starts after the wedding and this is where 'work' begins. There will be tough times, there will be tougher times. But after everything I've gone through, from letting go of everything I have back in my home country, to being in a foreign land with nothing but my clothes (and a few beauty products), no job, no friends...my husband has kept his promise that I will never be hungry. 

My husband has been true and loyal after all these years, after all the pregnancy weight and post-pregnancy kilos I've never lost. There are times of disappointments but he's been ever loving and supportive of my decisions. Some wives are tied down with their partners' manipulation and control while I am blessed to make my own choices and be respected for it. When I arrived in Malaysia more than 4 years back, I had nothing. But now, I am pursuing my aspirations and having a wonderful life. My husband has been strong through it all, and has been my most loyal friend. 

2) My son
The breadth and source of my very strength for the past 3 years and for the years to come. Motherhood completely changed my life, the way I look at things, my habits, my choices ad my personality. Before my son came into my life, I was a hot-tempered biatch at work and I can easily raise my voice, bang the table and scold people. Now, I've learned how to be patient and more. My priorities and choices revolve around him. I work even harder than before, making tougher decisions and more. But most of all, I aim to be the best person, achieve the highest I can and prepare the best possible future, all for him. 







3) My In-Laws

It's not easy to find couples who can confidently say that they are thankful for their in-laws. In my case, I am very blessed to have in-laws who are very concerned, understanding, supportive and loving. All through these years, they've been on my side, always lending a helping hand. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't know how my husband and I could have gone through all the tough times when we first arrived. And now, they are the ones taking care of my son while I work, which is totally priceless. I cannot imagine how our lives would be without my in-laws being there for Aden. 

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have also been there for us. I still recall my pregnancy days and they helped us with things like baby items, food and other things that we might need. Whether small or big stuff, they've been generous and always thoughtful. In this time and life, I know that it's not everyday for anyone to get blessed with a family like this. 


4) My parents, sisters and brother, and my relatives back home

Life is never easy but we need to find ways to be happy, find simple joys in everyday life. At a young age, I've known what it's like to have a not-so-easy life, and so I learned to work hard, make better decisions to reach my goals. There were a lot of hard times but these hard times made me a tougher person. I learn how to appreciate good times and other blessings even more because I knew what it's like to be on the other side. 

5) True friends

Good laughs, tears, sweat, tough professors, mean bosses, crushes, shopping...some things are just best shared and appreciated with true friends. Although some of us are very far apart, we still manage to share some laughs, heartaches and all. 

6) Tough Bosses who make you learn important things

I've been so blessed to have bosses who manage to bring out the best in me, whether intentionally done or not. I know that we all looooove to complain about our bosses but truth is, they make us tougher and do better than our normal, easy-going selves. People tend to find a comfort zone and without those tough (and sometimes heartless) people in our lives, we wouldn't be challenged and life will just be boring. 

7) Photographers, Graphic Designers

Working with professional photographers and very creative graphic designers had been, and still is, a great joy in my career. I actually graduated as an interior designer (huwhat?) so creatives, colors and stuff grab my interest. But there's something about photography and combining graphic design elements into an artwork that really gives me a sense of fulfillment.  

And here are some of my favorite material stuff...not to be mistaken as of equal importance as the above but, nevertheless, these stuff still give a smile on my face:


8) iPhone 5

This is just the best mobile gadget for me. I love the camera, love the speed, love the interface and all. For the past years, I've tried different brands, different types...but this, by far, outruns them all. Not everyone will agree but as a personal choice, iPhone 5 works best for me. 


iPhone5: One of my Precious-es

9) MacBook Pro

I guess I just have the 'need for speed'. I hate working on computers that hang on minor applications, especially when you're shifting from 1 design program to another. I'm not a full-time designer but I occasionally enjoy photo editing and some small artworks every now and then. The Mac's interface is just superb with its multi-touch trackpad. Swipe and shift programs easily with your fingers. Quick. Easy. Genius. 
A few years back when I started working for an international lingerie brand and I saw a Mac for the first time, I was awestruck. Well, I thought, will I ever be able to afford that? Will I even understand how to use one? And, thank God, I was. It was worth every RM. 


MacBook Pro: Speed and creativity at my fingertips

10) Kate Spade Red Tote Bag

I'm not really the type who splurges on designer bags, not that I can even afford to. But I saw this bag and it called my name (!). The leather is wonderful, the color is delicious and the design is simple yet classy. At first, I thought that red will be very hard to match with clothes but it just works fine with any color. With the mix-and-match trend in fashion now, sporting a red bag with an attire can make a statement. 



Kate Spade Red Leather Bag with Gold Accents


11) Clairol Herbal Essences Coconut Milk

Yes, yes, like most of the other ladies out there, I am hoping that one shampoo or conditioner can solve all my hair problems. Though it doesn't magically turn my hair into that soft-flowing, captivating bundle of strands like in TV commercials, this Clairol Herbal Essence Coconut Milk keeps my hair more moisturized than other conditioners that I've tried. The lasting scent is a definite plus and it's very affordable if not cheap for most. The shampoo is just as nice because it doesn't dry my hair out like others. I even explored  more expensive brands, salon brands, professional brands but I still go back to Herbal Essences. 


Clairol Herbal Essences Coconut Milk Conditioner

12) Canon EOS100D

I finally got my hands on my very first DSLR! I've actually been dreaming of owning one for several years. It's not cheap and for the past few years, I wasn't confident enough to invest on one because I rarely have time to just take pictures as I'm so busy with work. It wouldn't be worth it to buy one and just keep it, right? But the time has come for me to pursue my other passion in life while still maintaining my career in marketing. Thank God for all the blessings. I now have some good regular time for my son and myself. 

The Canon EOS 100D was just recently released and in good timing for my decision to buy a DSLR. It is the lightest and smallest DSLR ever launched (for now) and it fits comfortably on a beginner's hand. And it's just amazingly light. I've been taking photos since I bought it, of course, excitedly, and the results are just so different and a lot better than my normal point-and-shoot digital camera. I can now take photos of Aden even if he moves a lot and take photos for my blogs more beautifully. 



My first DSLR: Canon EOS 100D


13) Perricone MD Intensive Pore Minimizer

I had a post about this great product at http://bit.ly/19BZkY6 This pore minimizer gave me visible results and the longer I use it, the more my skin becomes smoother, the smaller my pores become. I just love how my skin's texture has improved within the past months. I'll be finishing it soon so gotta buy another one!





14) Biore Pore Strips

Being obsessed with my huge pores, I constantly explore products to reduce their size or at least, keep it free from blackheads and whiteheads. But this is just almost impossible for me so I've been regularly cleaning my pores with pore strips. I do this every Saturday and I'm quite addicted to seeing those tiny, icky stuff all stuck to the strip! I've tried different brands at different prices. But Biore pore strips at only RM10.80 for 10 strips have been the most effective. Other strips don't have cuttings on some corners that should adapt to the curves of our nose and cheeks which make it a bit inefficient. Biore has cutting on several corners, making it follow the contour of the nose, especially the fold between the nose and cheeks. 




15) Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Milled Soap

Normally, I don't really use bar soaps but when my sister-in-law gave me an Iris bath set, the scent of the triple milled soap was simply bewitching! So I got another set from Crabtree; there's no 1-piece for sale so I had to get the 3-piece set... But it's reasonable at only RM65 per set. 


Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Triple Miled Soap set of 3

16) Guerlain Idylle Duet EDP - Rose Patchouli

This is my special occasion fragrance. The floral scent is very classy and smells even lovelier as time wears on. When it comes to fragrance, I go for floral scents, not fruity and not the sporty scent. (Surprisingly, when it comes to skincare products, I have to avoid those with rose and other very floral scents as I tend to get some skin reaction to it.)
I love the sexy bottle, showing very feminine and glamorous curves. I prefer bottles that are transparent where you can see the contents so this makes Guerlain Idylle's bottle even more attractive to me. Small thing but I don't like those opaque bottles wherein I need to guess if it's about to finish or not. And after all, one of the factors that makes a perfume attractive is the packaging. Save, of course, for Chanel No. 5 which has a simple bottle but still remains to be one of the most (if not THE most) popular fragrances in the world. 


Guerlain Idylle Duet - Rose Patchouli


17) The Body Shop - White Musk EDT & Moroccan Rose EDT

On normal days, I like to wear these Body Shop EDTs. The famous White Musk has a light, wonderful and simply soothing scent. It has combined notes of jasmine, rose, musk, lily and I guess some other more beautiful floral scents (I am no fragrance expert, haha). At a price of RM59 for 30ml, this EDT is worth to have as a daily part of my body care routine.

I also love the Body Shop's Moroccan Rose. By now you can tell that I'm quite addicted to rose fragrance (!). This EDT has a romantic, feminine, light and fresh scent. And being named Moroccan, it adds some mystery and uniqueness to it. Very nice for daily wear and special occasions, too.



The Body Shop Moroccan Rose EDT & White Musk EDT

18) Dorothy Perkins Black Belt

For some time, I've been looking for a simple but nice black belt. If not expensive, designer type, I can only see very posh and accessorized belt which I don't really go for. I needed something simple, good enough for corporate wear so it cannot be too stylized with all those shining stones all over it. One fine evening in Mid Valley, I came across this simple, nice belt from Dorothy Perkins and I loved it! If I remember it right, I got this belt for only RM39. Very reasonable price for a belt like this. 




19) Monthly Issue of Female & Women's Weekly Magazines

Every month, I must always have a copy of these 2 magazines. I love the beauty and fashion articles, photos and updates. Presentation is very good, writing style is funky and smart. Female always contains the latest in beauty and fashion while Women's Weekly has very interesting reads about family and life. 




20) Solvil El Titus Purple Watch

I just got this watch last February as a Valentine's Day present from my hubby. I really love the purple color, the lovely glimmer of stones and the size against my wrist. I like that it has that chronograph style but the extra 3 sets of counters for date, seconds and 24-hour are not too big as the usual chronograph-style watches.
Solvil El Titus Purple Strap Watch

And lastly, my days will not be complete without a few minutes session with my son's baby feet! I know I'm only left with a short time to enjoy these before they turn into non-baby feet and before he gets old enough not to allow me to play with them...





I have more blessings to be thankful for and a few more favorite things. Sometimes, people, including me, tend to focus on the bad things that happen or those things that cause disappointments. But in life, I should learn how to count my blessings instead, those small things that make me smile or make my life wonderful, even for just a few minutes or seconds in a day. Hope you find your favorite things as well, no matter how big or small they are.