Saturday, May 28, 2011

Inglot at Sunway Pyramid



I had never heard of Inglot until the recent posts by Nicole's Mirror and Paris B. As we happened to be at Sunway Pyramid to have lunch at Mantra today, I popped into Inglot for a quick look.

By the way give Mantra a try it if you like North Indian food, even though they do a variety of Asian & fusion dishes just as well too. They're around the skating rink next to Dragon-I. We're like regulars there :)

Back to Inglot. It's located on the Ground Floor, next to Diva and opposite La Senza. The shop is a decent size with a nice open layout conducive to browsing.

The SAs were very knowledgeable about the product. The husband even remarked afterwards, from observing outside, that it looked like they were very attentive. In about 5 minutes I got a quick explanation about the brand without even asking.
  • Inglot is a Polish brand.
  • Products are made in Poland itself and not outsourced.
  • Sticks to stringent EU rules and regulations.
  • Creator of Inglot is a chemist.
  • Innovative Freedom System, magnetic palettes in variety of sizes, stackable
I went straight for the lipsticks, as expected. Unfortunately (or fortunately? lol) there was rows & rows of lipsticks. The SA was swatching them individually with those little applicators then testing on my lips. I didn't want to be a bother her too much so only swatched about 3 before choosing the best out of those. There are color blocks in front of each lipstick but much prefer to swatch before purchase. Went with #191.






(swatch - natural light)


(flash)


(no flash)


Facing natural light

The lipstick has a light berry scent. It's not cloying, and after a bit it's pretty unnoticeable.

What I like the most about the lipstick is the packaging. Simple classic black with white lettering. The cap clicks on tightly with a nice solid click. The base of the lipstick tube has a decent weight to it. That along with the shape of the lipstick, square with rounded corners, somehow it just feels real nice to hold in the hand for applying to the lips.

Small sampling of pricing
  • Lipstick RM50
  • Blush RM50
  • Blush with AMC RM58
  • Bronzer/Highligher RM86
  • Freedom System Pan (4 face blush or equivalent size like 10 eyeshadow square) RM23-28
  • Blush (for Freedom System) RM43
Between this and Sephora opening, it's a great month for beauty and makeup fans in Malaysia.

For more information, visit Inglot Cosmetics or Inglot Asia on Facebook

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Uniqlo in KLCC


Uniqlo is now open at KLCC! This is much more convenient as I prefer not to walk by the road in KL even the BB area - so much so that I'm not even heading to Sephora until they open up at KLCC in June. I've only been to the Fahrenheit88 Uniqlo branch once and that was mostly a curiosity thing. The clothing is not really my fit as I am supersized which is unfortunate as they have pretty cool basics. It reminds me of The Gap but is much more affordable.

The quality of the clothing is pretty good. I couldn't resist picking up this tunic by Theatre Products (Designer Invitation Project) even though the largest sizes were "M".



It's probably meant to be worn really baggy but on me it fits right. Not tight. If the clothing wasn't of decent quality when it is stretched at the bust area the pattern will start to stretch too - and will be extremely noticeable as it won't be the same as the pattern all over. I've experienced this with poorer quality tops but not with this.

The material felt good on the interior, soft and good quality. All for RM74.90 - the tag said RM99.00 (sale), but with opening specials there was extra discounts.

Uniqlo concentrates on mostly the basics but for each season there is a Designer Invitation Project which include some pretty interesting designs. The latest one includes Costelle Taliapietra, Vena Cava and Charlotte Ronson. I quite liked some of the dresses from the Costelle Taliapietra collection.

As for sizing there were tons of Size S and Ms available as well as 23-24" waist bottoms, so if you are like the majority of people there is ample stock. Most of the Ms and Ls run out very fast as I'm guessing not much stock is brought in for those.


(size chart from Uniqlo - UK sizes)

The only downside is that the store at KLCC is much smaller than the multi-storey one in Fahrenheit88. They downsized quite a bit of the range to accomodate for the smaller floor space. For example the lingerie and nightwear section is down to only one rack of tank tops and the accessories section isn't quite there. Spotted a rack of sunnies by the back door near cashiers, which you only see on the way out .. while hats and accessories are placed on top of various racks. It's a small store and I wouldn't want to be stuck in there on the weekends with the huge crowds!

One of my favorite thing about Uniqlo is that they have a decent website. It actually is easy to browse and lists down actual prices! Not many local stores (or businesses) in Malaysia ever have a useful website that is not bogged down by just going for 'the look', too much blinki-itis and not much relevant information.

Uniqlo makes me want to get all skinny sexy! Such affordable classic clothing .. I wish I was ten times smaller ... sigh

Meisa Kuroki for Uniqlo
- if you haven't watched Dance Subaru! go watch it now

For more information visit Uniqlo website or Uniqlo Malaysia on Facebook.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore


(pic from Swissotel site)

For our trip to Singapore last weekend, we chose the Swissotel The Stamford. Again this was the hotel the husband stayed on his solo trip. For years he would keep talking about the American breakfast (such a rarity hereabouts apparently) and the Indian restaurant (more on that later).


(pic from Swissotel site)

We went with a standard room, inclusive of breakfast for SGD280++ per night. We were given a room on the 41st floor with spectacular views of the harbour, Esplanade and Marina Bay Sands. Everything was fine in the room except that it was not totally clean. There were blood stains on the bed skirting, trash from a previous occupant went unnoticed in a corner and the bath had some stains . I'm not too picky about hotel rooms as it is just a place to crash for the night but well ... expected better service.

On the flipside we had a great view .....


By Day


By Night

As it was the long weekend the hotel was filled to capacity. Our check-in was delayed by about an hour, but if we had showed up at time the line was all the way to the door! The staff were pleasant enough but it felt a tad impersonal. They couldn't even remember us whenever we pulled up to the porch in taxis after shopping trips - always asking whether we wanted to check-in or if we had bags in the trunk. Our last trip the year before we chose the Pan Pacific and they blew my socks off with their service - even though in the grand scheme of things we were 'little fish' and not staying in executive suites or what-not. Small matter in the end but it doesn't make you feel welcomed. In a way you can't blame them as there is such a high occupancy and daily turnover of new guests that it would be quite difficult to keep track of anyone or anything.

Taxis were hard to come by even with the taxi stand right outside the front door. The porch area is chaos all the time, as there are always up to 3 rows of cars parked or dropping off people. It seems the lobby area and porch of Swissotel Stamford is heavily trafficked not only by guests but by visitors from the mall next door.



The hotel is connected to the Raffles City Shopping Centre as well as the Fairmont Hotel. The Raffles City Mall is a decent-sized shopping centre with some higher end brands. Stores spotted were Coach, Tumi, Kate Spade amongst many others but it also has the regular high street stuff like Robinsons and Marks & Spencer. The supermarket in the basement is decent but the lines are always long with only about 3 cashiers open at any given time. Lots of places to eat in basement area as well.

Tip - Please check out the Raffles City Tourist Privileges. If you are a tourist all you need to do is to flash your boarding pass or passport at the Raffles City concierge. There are 10-20% discounts at stores like Levi's, Furla, Steve Madden and others; as well as at the restaurants in both the Fairmont and Swissotel. Wish we knew about this when we were there!

Orchard Street where most of the shopping is located was a little ways away from the hotel. We had to take taxis all the time as we weren't smart enough to actually get a map! Taxis are very much better in Singapore, but do take note about the taxi surcharge during peak hours. Anytime between 5-7pm Monday to Saturday, there is a surcharge and +35% of fare on top of regular fare.


Cafe Swiss

The breakfast at Cafe Swiss/Kopitiam was good with a varied selection of Japanese, Chinese, Malay and Western fare. Although do not believe it when they tell you that both breakfasts are the same. Sure they are but Cafe Swiss seemed to have more selections, and was in a better setting. Unfortunately the American breakfast was no more :(

The saving grace of the trip was that the Indian restaurant was still there. The Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant was located in the Fairmont Hotel next door. They have the most divine samosas on earth! You could choose your filling - chicken, lamb or beef - so we went with chicken, and boy I would go back every month just for these. There was actual live music that added to the wonderful ambience of the restaurant. As well as Kingfisher beer which is apparently the only drink to have with Indian food - according to someone ;)

Would I stay at Swissotel Stamford again? Perhaps not. It is one of the priciest hotels but the service personally was not all that. Also perhaps with the next trip we shall be smarter and not have to deal with taxis by staying closer to Orchard Road itself.

Pros
- nice view
- decent facilities
- Cafe Swiss, beautiful airy setting
- comfortable beds with 2 extra pillows in cupboard

Cons
- expensive
- impersonal
- ways out from Orchard Rd
- chaotic lobby area
Video taken from 41st Floor on Sunday night
- little loud as it was windy, so turn speakers down a smidge-


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Falling Over FitFlops!

Thanks to the raves by ParisB of MWS hunted down a pair of FitFlops in Singapore. Read her posts here, here, here, here and actually many more on her site. It's all her fault! She should get a commission from FitFlop for roping all of us in!

Despite it being at the top of my list could not manage to find them anywhere we went! I'm pretty good at navigation but the layout of malls in Singapore are extremely confusing and frustrating. So on our last day there, we specifically went to Tang's on Orchard right before heading home.

There were not many Size 10 US/8UK/42EU available. It was choice between the Walkstar III in Black Rose/Napa ...



... and the Electra in Tiger Eye ...


I liked the Electra because it was more unique but it was already showing wear & tear at the edges. It would not hold up as well in the long run. On top of that the padding in the thong of the Walkstar III felt more plush. So the 'boring' Walkstar III it was ...



front - looks unpretty, no?


underside
not brand-new but wiped 'em down


side view

The retail price was SGD$109.90 (RM266 @ 2.42 currently), but with the 5% discount for tourists at Tang's it was SGD$104.90 (RM254). Do remember to bring along your passport or hotel key card to flash for this discount.



I didn't really buy it for the health benefits but my legs and butt ache the day after wearing them for most of Monday. I'm pretty much in love with FitFlops - again not because it's a 'flip flop with the gym built-in' - but because they are so comfortable! I'm such a klutz and prefer stable shoes with deeply grooved soles for as much traction and stability as possible. So the FitFlops are absolutely perfect despite the expensive price tag and relative ugliness :D





Finally how does a FitFlop compare with the Skechers equivalent - Tone Up Fun Flops? I've had a basic black one for about 2 years, it looks pretty much like the Walkstar 1 (Fabric) in Black.


Which is which?!


Skechers Fun Flops Black vs Walkstar III
Note - Skechers is US8, FitFlop is US10

Why the size difference? US8 was the largest size I could find and it fit my feet just right, but with the FitFlop I wanted ample space and comfort. More .. boaty .. :D




Soles


Side-by-side thickness of bottom

Well .. the Skechers does not have the plush padding on the interior of the thong, but this could be similar to its equivalent Walkstar1. The FitFlop feels less spongy on the heel with a nicer curve on the front. Of course I've had the Skechers for close to 2 years so that may have had an impact on the results. The Skechers were much cheaper than the FitFlops then at RM140-150 (sale, regular RM169) but the Walkstar1 is possibly at around the same price now.

Speaking of which the FitFlop is not that much cheaper in Singapore anymore. In the past few months there was a price adjustment in Malaysia so it brings it to about the same price or cheaper. Of course if you managed to snag these during any sales in Singapore they would be a good buy. They are quite bonkers over these in Singapore, every other woman had FitFlops on and sales/specials go on quite often.

Do check out FitFlop Singapore and FitFlop Malaysia on Facebook for the latest deals and updates on new releases.

Comparative Pricing of Walkstar III
MYR 269.00 @ Malaysia
SGD 109.90 @ Singapore = RM 266 (rate @ 2.42), 5% tourist discount = RM254
GBP 45.00 @ UK/FitFlop.com = RM 222 (rate @ 4.94)
USD 47.40 - 63.90 @ US/Amazon-Zappos = RM 141 - 190 (rate @ 2.97)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Aeroline Bus to Singapore

Over the Labour Day weekend, we took a short trip to Singapore. This time instead of flying we took the Aeroline Bus.


The husband had taken Aeroline once before and raved about it. Tickets were RM95 per person per destination. Our journey started from Sunway Pyramid on the earliest bus at 9:30am. We were there quite early the mall is kept open so you can walk through it to catch breakfast at McDonald's near the ice rink.

The seats on the bus are very comfortable with ample legroom. This was my favorite as they are even better than seats in a plane. For entertainment there is a lounge area on the lower deck, and 2 LCD screens on the upper deck that will screen a selection of English movies, 2 movies per trip. These movies were uncensored with cuss words and such things, so if you have children do take note.

The attendants and drivers were amazing. Even at the end of the 7-hour bus ride on the way back they were still cheerful! The driving is very safe and comfortable, the engines are very quiet and you just get lulled into sleep most of the time. Very impressive service by Aeroline staff.


(image from "bus and coach photos")

The bus ride is estimated at about 5 hours. It is technically 4 hours of being on the road and 1 hour to pass immigration. Halfway through the trip, there is a quick 10 minute stop at a rest stop. Surprisingly they had the cleanest restrooms ever, uh .. for a rest stop. On the other hand the restroom on the bus is disgusting with a cracked seat and water everywhere .. avoid if possible!

Immigration to enter the country either heading into Singapore and Malaysia, is usually where you hit the long queues. The one coming back into Malaysia was especially bad as there were tons of buses ferrying tourists and the lines were disorganized. Shouting fights broke out, it felt ... pretty unsafe with all those people cramped into a small area, not to mention that there was a creepy old man rubbing up on me, until he got the elbow treatment. For Malaysians it was pretty quick with the automatic passport validation, but everyone still needed to wait until the other passengers were done. All your luggage needs to be brought along during these sections for scanning, although they were pretty strict going into Singapore but not on the Malaysia side on the way back. [Should've 'smuggled' a Kinect in!]



Once in Singapore the drop off point will be at Harbourfront Centre, which is connected to the huge Vivocity mall. Taxis are easy to catch from a taxi stand at the mall itself and will cost about SGD$5 to get to your hotel in the city centre.

My verdict? It was a good service but I much prefer to fly. The 2+ hour extra time on the bus ride home really sealed it for me. Sure that was unavoidable as it was thanks to heavy traffic, the weather and the long weekend but with a flight, you'll only be stuck on the plane itself for the duration of that flight of about 45 minutes. The price for tickets (AirAsia) and total time including transit and wait times in the airport end up to be about the same.

Aeroline Pros
  • convenient, can jump on bus from accessible locations such as Sunway Pyramid, 1 Utama and others instead of going to LCCT/KLIA/Subang airports
  • no long wait time at airport
  • food (Subway, rice and hot drinks) are included with the ticket price
  • comfortable seats with ample leg room
  • safe, quiet, comfortable driving
Aeroline Cons
  • delays in journey because of traffic by 1-2 hours, unpredictable
  • having to get down & off the bus twice each way, including once with all your luggage
  • long unorganized lines at immigration
  • nasty toilet on bus even with 'light' use
For more information visit Aeroline website, bookings can be made online.