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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Travel Essentials: The Beauty Bag Chapter

Eat well, travel often” is one of my all-time favourite mottos in life.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunities to travel the world and discover many wonderful dishes along the way. Today, I’d like to share what’s inside of my beauty bag when I’m packing for a trip. Take a peek inside:

1. Marvis Toothpaste in Jasmine Mint: often known as the Hermes of toothpastes. Made in Florence, Italy, this toothpaste makes the daily ritual of brushing my teeth a luxury pleasure with its long lasting sensation of minty goodness and sweet, floral note. I find it especially useful after a long-haul flight. Hey, do I have flowers growing in my mouth?

2. Dior Crème Apricot Fortifying Cream for nails: a rich, creamy salve with a yummy apricot scent that nourishes and conditions cuticles, and it comes in a pretty limited-edition container in the colour rouge.

3. Aesop Marrakech Intense Parfum: launched in 2014, the seduction begins with a duet of Italian Bergamot and cardamom, then it’s as if you walk past a field of neroli, jasmine and rose. The scent is strikingly seductive and mysterious, yet unique. It’s unlike any other perfume that I’ve ever owned and every time I dab even the tiniest amount on the nape of my neck, it transports me far away.

4. Mason Pearson Black Bristle Brush: Mason Pearson have been making luxurious rubber cushion hairbrushes since the 19th century, and each brush is still hand made to ensure the qualities that made the original models classics remain in their modern range. The tufts are made from pure boar bristle and its cute size is extremely travel friendly. Bye-bye bad hair!

5. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil: This oil is legendary.  It nourishes, repairs and softens the skin while smelling absolutely divine thanks to the essential oils packed in the bottle (think sweet almond and camellia). It’s super lightweight and a little goes a long way. I use it on my face, body and hair when I travel to minimise the bottles of skincare that I have to pack.

6. Banana Boat Ultra SPF 50+: it doesn’t matter if you’re a sun loving beach-goer or slow-paced sightseeing wanderer (because I can be both, depending on the location), sunscreen to me, is a must. When it comes to sunscreen, I just want a reliable one that’s long-lasting and provides high protection. The newly launched Banana Boat Ultra SPF 50+ is the most advanced sun protection released by the company (I know you are probably singing the banana boat song in your head right now  ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬  ) It’s simple to use in either a lotion or clear spray. I love the fact that it has a non-greasy formula which means my dresses wont’ stick to me like I just had a layer of icing spread on my body. Oh and did I mention it’s water resistant for up to 4 hours? **Disclaimer:Product sponsored**. 

7. Charlotte Tilbury’s The Golden Goddess Set: inspired by beach beauties Ursula Andress and Gisele Bündchen, this look can be adapted to work for day or night. Let’s face it, I was already sold when I saw the pretty makeup bag that comes with the set.

8. Chanel Le Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder SPF 15: a multi-purpose powder that blends seamlessly with my skin. I use it for contour or simply to give my face a fresh, velvet finish to create a no-makeup makeup look.

9. Caudalie Beauty Elixir: Call it what you will, but I think it’s magic water in a bottle. I love the minty, herbal smell thanks to the formula of this product involving a blend of orange blossom, rose, grape, balm mint and rosemary. This part-serum, part-toner spray comes in regular size (100ml) and travel size (30ml). One spray is all I need to get my skin glowing. The spray is also perfect for setting makeup, because I never want to reapply my makeup during the day when I have a tight schedule planned to discover a new destination. 

10. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Solution Micellaire Cleanser: this product requires little introduction. It’s the best makeup remover I have ever tried. It’s fragrance free and extremely gentle on the skin yet highly effective. Enough said.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mira Moon (問月酒店) | Hong Kong, CHINA

We arrived in Hong Kong early in the morning after boarding a midnight flight with Cathay Pacific. Although the flight was pleasant and Minibun George slept the whole way, we were eager to check into the hotel to freshen up.

Sometimes I like to stay at uniquely designed boutiques hotels and having had a wonderful experience its equally savvy sister hotel, The Mira Hong Kong, we decided to try Mira Moon given that they offer a 24 hour check in service. The cab ride from Hong Kong International Airport to Mira Moon in Causeway Bay took a little more than half an hour on Saturday morning.  Before we stopped at the hotel, the cab driver took a turn into an old residential area and my heart sank when I saw the entrance. It was anything but impressive and I say this in the most unsnobby way. There was no bellboy standing at the door waiting to take our luggage, instead, a pretty receptionist dressed in a traditional Chinese qipao came over to us (and awkwardly smiled when she saw our oversized luggage - never touched it). Never mind. I was attracted to the hotel because its décor is inspired by the Chinese fairytale of the Mood Goddess and her Jade Rabbit, so when I saw pictures of the rooms on the internet the Mira Moon was added to my list of places to stay straight away.  Having said that, judging by what was in front of my eyes upon arrival I was not impressed.

We took the elevator up to the lobby only to find out that our room wasn’t ready and that we had to wait. Second strike and it had only been minutes since we set foot in the door. When we finally gained access to our room, the Half Moon Residence, I was a happy bunnie again. The room looked beautiful. It had ample natural light from its floor to ceiling windows and the traditional touch of wooden carving cabinets was sharply contrasted by the space age super-sized bed. Both the bathroom and the bedroom offered a partial view of Victoria Harbour and the view is especially beautiful at night when the harbour is glistening and neon-lights are dancing on the other side of the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui. The bathroom is equally as gorgeous with a free standing bathtub and a walk in rain shower, but the highlight has to be the breathtaking wall of mosaic peonies.

You would be disappointed if you’re expecting five star services from this hotel, but if you like uniquely designed hotels like me, you might find Mira Moon to be a nice quaint place to stay.

Bunnies’ travel note:
Bunnies’ Room Number: 2303 – Half Moon Residence
Number of Rooms: 91
Perks that we loved: complimentary mini bar
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm - noon
What we paid: $650AUD for two nights

Mini Bun friendly: Provided with a comfortable cot for minimal charge but that was where it ended

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Mistress | 515 Sandgate Road, CLAYFIELD QLD 4011

Wanna go to My Mistress?” the other travel bunnie said to me with a cheeky grin while we were still in bed last Sunday. I looked at him and nodded with excitement. No, I’m not crazy. If anything, it’d be crazy for me to say no to the proposal. The thing that you need to know is, My Mistress is a café. Set in a house with rustic décor in the suburb of Clayfield, the café provides a nice range of breakfast and lunch options with names that would be sure to make you blush.

We ordered a chai latte ($4) and a peppermint tea ($4) to warm up our tummies while trying to decide on the food. Let’s see, there’s the Rendezvous with smashed avocado on sourdough toast with feta, olive oil, fresh basil and lemon; then comes the Morning Glory with Smoked bacon, free range egg, rocket, Swiss cheese, tomato relish, aioli on a toasted bagel… or if you prefer to have The Hook Up which comes with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion and dill on a toasted bagel. The other travel bunnie and I drooled at each other as we were spoiled for choices and hence struggled to decide on our dishes. In the end, we decided to share the Eggs Monica which comes with corn, zucchini and haloumi fritters with blistered cherry tomatoes, a haloumi slab, seasoned avocado smash and a free range fried egg ($17) and the Sweet Thang: French toast with smoked bacon, maple syrup and seasonal market fruit ($14). We sat in our seats with our backs bathed in the sun, eagerly waited, watched the smoke rising out of the semi-open kitchen behind a wall of wooden slats and wondered what was to come. The food arrived reasonably quickly given how popular My Mistress was on the day.  As soon as I saw the dishes, my mouth started watering. Both dishes tasted fantastic. I loved the fact that once cut open, golden egg yolk covered the crispy fritters that were overloaded with sweetness from the corn and slight saltiness of the haloumi. I loved the sensation of the sweet juice from those bright red blistered cherry tomatoes bursting in my mouth. And as for the French toast, I couldn’t get enough of it, albeit the portion was extremely generous. The dish was done the proper, traditional way with thickly sliced bread soaked in egg batter, fried then drenched with sweet, sweet, maple syrup; not to mention that the smoked bacon created a great contrast.  

Yes, by the end of the meal I completely fell head over heels for My Mistress.

The service was upbeat and very friendly. Even Minibun George enjoyed his time there as he gulped a frothy babycino on the house.

Let My Mistress’ good cooking seduce you. You know you want to.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $39.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Stables Craft Bar & Kitchen | 121 Racecourse Road, ASCOT QLD 4007

I have an announcement to make: we’ve moved to a new neighbourhood! As much as I loved the lifestyle of living in the CBD, we simply ran out of space with the arrival of Minibun George. Since our move, every Friday night the other travel bunnie and I go out to check out the dining scene along Racecourse Road.

A few weeks ago we stumbled upon The Stables Craft Bar & Kitchen, a cosy space with simple décor that serves a range of local craft beers and perfect sharing plates of tasty morsels. Sticking to the horse racing theme, black and white photos relating to the subject can be found scattered around as decorations. Intimate two-seaters with high chairs line the brick wall that extends all the way to the back of the establishment.

Dinner on the night in question was a fun, casual affair. We initially only wanted to order a couple of dishes to nibble on, but as we were taken by the tastiness of the Wagyu beef sliders w’ bacon, Swiss cheese, and caramelised onion ($16 for 3) as well as the Szechuan peppered squid w’ Asian coleslaw and nam jim ($14), we decided to order just a few more. I loved the fact that the brioche buns for the sliders had a sticky, sweet surface. They were humble sliders, and by that, I mean there were no fany-schmancy ingredients in between the layers other than honest, meaty, delicious bites. In comparison, I thought the southern style fried chicken wings w’ fresh watermelon salad ($14) didn't live up to my expectoration. My personal favourite of the night was the Hog 3 Bourbon glazed pork belly paddle pops w’ peppered sour cream and chives ($12). At $12, this dish is practically a steal. Skewed onto a stick (thus the name, paddle pop), the pork belly was juicy, chewy and crispy at the same time, not to mention that the meat glided down very easy with the thick sour cream and chives combo. It is definitely a must try dish.

It’s only been a short few months and I’ve already found a little gem in my neighbourhood. Gotta love that!

Giddy up, guys!

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $102

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Pineapple Express | 39 Hercules Street, HAMILTON QLD 4007

I love our new neighbourhood!  Despite all my prior concerns, it turns out that the food scene around Hamilton/Ascot really isn’t too shabby. Just last weekend, we discovered a wonderful breakfast spot - Pineapple Express.

The talk of Pineapple Express came up when I was at a recent media tasting lunch. Foodies around the table exchanged rave reviews about the establishment, and I was kicking myself under the table for missed attendance, granted that I was overseas for a month, but still.

“Do I have sand between my toes?”, stepping into this healthy wholefoods café, you will no doubt be taken away by the fresh, vibrant colour schemes and the beach theme. Let the sensation of sun, waves and ocean breeze overwhelm you. Don’t feel it? Well, at least it’s one step closer to getting your bikini body ready with the food that’s on offer at the Pineapple Express. Yes, the food is healthy. Think acai bowls, CocoWhip™, and protein pancakes; but healthy food by no means equals bland, boring food. In fact, the super food French toast served with strawberries, berry compote and coyo ($15) was a really delicious treat! Although, it would be nice if they were more generous with the strawberries; the toast itself was finger-lickingly good, slightly burnt at the bottom with a buttery, creamy texture. The coyo was light as air, yet with each bite, it filled my mouth with ample taste of tropical fruit, not to mention that when teamed up with the berry compote, it worked wonders. The other travel bunnie had the traditional eggs benedict with ham, matcha-naise, served on sourdough and spinach ($17). The eggs were done perfectly and as for the match-naise, what an awesome idea.

Aside from healthy food options, Pineapple Express also whips up some good drinks.  I enjoyed a nice, creamy matcha latte at my last visit, but I think King Kong (which is made with banana, coconut coyo, chia sees, cinnamon, coconut water with a hint of Manuka honey) and I will get along really fine.

Have you checked your schedule to get onto the Pineapple Express?

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $47.30

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