Friday, August 29, 2014

Tokyo Trip, May 2014 - Don Quijote "DonKi" Store Shinjuku & Japanese Drugstores

Drugstore shopping is one of my favorite hobby everywhere I go. Probably obsessed. I. am. Yes. And Japan is also known for their drugstores.

I came across Don Quijote while researching for my Japan trip. Don Quijote is one of the most prominent discount chain store in Japan selling a wide variety of products from beauty and cosmetics to accessories, mobile phone cases and electronics in their 4 storey building. In particular, I'm drawn to the fact that they sell beauty products and drugstore cosmetics (one whole level of paradise for a beauty junkie!) and contact lens. Contact lens in a discount store? 

Don Quijote operates 24 hours a day (just like Ichiran ramen). They are not particularly close to my hotel (Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku) and will take an approximate 20 min walk. Our usual night activity in Tokyo will be ramen or sushi supper (yes, sinful I know) at 10pm and a walk to Don Quijote to ogle at the impressive range of cosmetics before heading back to hotel at 1am.

And if that's not enough, there is another big beauty Japanese drugstore right beside Don Quijote (with the same long opening hours) with as much if not more variety of products - imagine 101 different type of eye drops? So in event if the item you want is out of stock in Don Quijote, there's always another store to fulfill your beauty needs.

That's probably the reason why I survived on 5 hours sleep every day. Thank goodness other stores does not have such insane operating hours or I may not be sleeping at all.

Don Quijite Shinjuku Higashiguchi Honten
In bright day light. We are quite lucky to discover them in the first day of our trip.

Don Quijote Shinjuku Higashiguchi Honten

Address: 1-16-5 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 min. walk from JR Shinjuku Sta. East Exit
Phone: 03-5291-9211
Hours: 24 hours
Holidays: Open all year round

Another store also in Shinjuku;

Don Quijote Shinjuku Store

Address: 1-12-6 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 min. walk from JR Shin-okubo Sta. 2 min. walk from Tokyo Metro or Oedo Line Higashi Shinjuku Sta. Exit A1
Phone: 03-5292-7411
Hours: 24 hours
Holidays: Open all year round

Contact Lens
Over in Don Quijote, the huge variety of contact lens is mind boggling where you can change your eye color to every color you can imagine and they are quite economically priced too. It's something we don't see in drugstores in Singapore where we can only get contact lens through authorized optometrist.

Eye Drops Galore
This the variety of eye drops in one section of the Japanese drugstore beside Don Quijote. These are not repeated.

Drugstore Beauty Loots
Some of my drugstore beauty loots before I packed them (most of them from drugstores, others from departmental stores). I took the chance to stock up on my trusted favorites (lotsa of Rhoto Lycee eye drops, Bifesta makeup remover and Tiss cleansing oil) and only a teeny bit of new products.

That's all folks! Have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tokyo Trip, May 2014 - Day 1 Airport, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku & Itinerary

The plan to go Tokyo was not premeditated, as usual. We all wanted to go Japan but there's never a concrete plan. All it takes is a good airline deal and 10 mins later - tickets booked and off we go. #travel-addicts & guilty-as-charged, #maybe-the-travelling-dna-runs-in-the-family.

Hello Tokyo! Hello Shinjuku! 
I took these picture around Shinjuku on our first day around because I saw other tourist snapping away. Wisest follower act ever because I didn't take any photo of Shinjuku area for the rest of my trip.

Airport Limousine

We took the airport limousine from Narita Airport to Shinjuku station. The airport limousine goes directly to the hotel that we are staying in (Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku) but we do not want to wait 2 hours for the next bus so we took the airport limousine to Shinjuku Station instead. There seats are roomy and comfortable (I usually get car sick but I didn't) and there's even a washroom in the airport limousine.

Shinjuku Station to Hotel

This is the map at Shinjuku station airport limousine bus stop which I snap a picture of before and follow our way to the hotel. It's a short walk 4 streets down and approximately a 5-10 minute walk.

Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Our hotel of choice is Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku - one of the top 3 hotels listed in Trip Advisor. Being a family trip (4 adults and 2 very younger children), we need a family friendly hotel and the hotel is well situated in an excellent location that's easily accessible to the both subway and train station (and don't underestimate the walking distance of the Shinjuku main station) and yes, I would definitely stay in Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku again if I re-visit Tokyo.

At the reception, there are black and white photocopies of map around Shinjuku that shows the restaurants (different type of cuisine, listed along with their operating hours) and places of interest around the hotel. They are not as fanciful as colored maps but don't be quick to dismiss it - it's the best map ever that links to all the tourist favorites within Shinjuku and shows where the hotel is so that you can find your way back.

Economy Twin Room
Small but it has everything that we would need - from TV, refrigerator, kettle and best of all free and fast wifi access in the room and lobby reception.


On the other hand, their washrooms doesn't feel that small (compared to the size of our rooms) and well equipped with a bidet, bath tub and toiletries (toothpaste, shower caps, cotton buds, hair dryer and Pola brand shampoo, conditioner and shower gel etc)

Vending Machines
On every floor of the hotel beside the lift there is a vending machine room selling beverages and also an ice dispensing machine. The ice dispensing machine is my favorite machine in the room because it allow me to have access to ice chilled cocktail every night. (I need that because the sun rises at 5.30am local time which is 4.30am Singapore time and basically I'm already running on a 4 hour sleep for most of my trip!)


There is also a Italian restaurant "Villaza" and bar "Kukon" in the lobby of the hotel, which looks good and priced reasonably (we were thinking of planning a dinner there in case we were tired and do not want to walk out for food with the tired children/adults but there's so many eateries around the hotel that we never got to try out this restaurant). Hotel guests can enjoy a 10% discount with their room card as well.

After check in, we have a good half day ahead of us and head out to Shinjuku for shopping and lunch. After walking around Lumine and Keio Department stall, we eventually decide to settle for lunch at BIC center.

Korean Eatery 梁の家
They are located in B3 of BIC Camera building. We love their Korean spicy cake and seafood pancake! Did I mention - all the seafood that we try in Japan are very fresh and nice!

After lunch we continue to walk around and surprisingly found Don Quijite store! Shall blog more on it later. We head back to hotel to rest and walk out again for ramen dinner.

Ramen Dinner
We went to Ichiran at Shinjuku but there was quite a long queue and therefore we head to a ramen store beside it where we have the first Japanese eating experience of buying from a vending machine and eating in a small cramp eatery. The servings are very big but it didn't really suit our taste.

Here's our 10D9N itinerary:

Basically, our preference is to shop around the particular area for the day but went back to Shinjuku to explore in the evening, so for convenience sake I'll include these places to Day 1.

Day 1 - check in hotel, Shinjuku
Don Quijote &Drugstore
Ichiran Ramen
Krispy Creme Shinjuku Southern Terrace
Sushi Go-Round
Caffe Veloce
Breakfast around Shinjuku station
Supper in Shinjuku station
Izakaya Dining
Himawari Sushi

Day 2 - Tokyo Disneyland 
From Shinjuku to Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea
Disneyland Part 1
Disneyland Part 2
Disneyland Part 3

Day 3 - Tokyo DisneySea 
DisneySea Part 1
DisneySea Part 2

Day 4 - Harajuku 
Meiji Shrine
Takeshita Dori
Omotesando Hills

Day 5 - Shibuya 
Hachiko, 109 but generally a Shopaholic's Paradise

Day 6 - Harajuku area
(see above) 

Day 7 - Shibuya area
(see above) 

Day 8 - Odaiba 
Outlet Shopping

Day 9 - Tokyo Disneyland
(see above) 

Day 10 - check out and back to Singapore

Days 6, 7 and 9 are repeated because we want to go back to these places again (that's the perks of being a free and easy holiday) and because the day look too cloudy for a Mount Fuji-Hakone day tour. Of course, there are many places to plan in such as Tokyo Tower, Ueno Park, Tsujiki Fish Market and other Japanese Shrines or a 2 day off to Hakone/Mt Fuji or Kyoto or Osaka etc.

I'm so missing the place! Will definitely be back soon!

That's all folks!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Noodle Stories at Orchard Central

In line with our long term infatuation with noodles and ramen hunt, Egg and I checked out Noodle Stories at Orchard Central especially for their trademark Biang Biang Noodle!

I'm sincerely convinced that bestie is a noodle sourcing expert - the restaurant was only newly opened (in it's 2nd week of operation) during our visit.

Biang Biang Noodle
We reaching at close to 9pm and the restaurant is very quiet by then. Like a typical Singaporean, I was initially worried that the lack of customer crowding in a restaurant is a indication of not-so-nice food. I'm pretty glad to say that their Biang Biang noodles - long flat and smooth noodles even coated with brown gravy, vegetables and egg) is very good. Highly recommended!

No noodle meal can be complete without guo tie (gyoza) for us. 8 Days recently featured Noodle Stories and recommend their gyoza as one of the best in Singapore and I do agree it's one of the best Chinese style gyoza around. It taste similar as Lao Beijing ones. Highly recommended too!

Fried Steamed Bun
It's steamed meat bun that's pan-fried with a crispy crust. The minced meat filling are tasty and the bun is soft and smooth. I'm usually not a fan of steamed or meat buns but this is not bad.

Next it's dessert time!

Mango Sago Pomelo
The dessert is served chill and I really enjoy the cool refreshing bite of pomelo with every spoon.

Herbal Jelly
We ordered another dessert (I think it's mango pudding) and that was sold out and the staff made it up with a complimentary herbal jelly for our orders. It's a pleasant surprise.

Overall, we really enjoy the food and are talking about making a return visit soon. If you are at Orchard Central, you can check out Noodle Story at level 7.

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chilling and enjoying the sunset

Paulo Coehlo describes it best -

"A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colors out of which dreams and poetry are made. "
Have a nice weekend folks!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Let's talk Beauty - Beauty Haul July 2014 - Hits n' Misses

Yo babes, it's early August now and this is my first time doing a hits and misses review for the beauty products I purchased mainly in July. 

Trying new beauty products are a favorite hobby of mine but I can never pic-blog them together fast enough because I always open my new products immediately after I bought them to test it out (no chance for group pic) and either they're my holy grail of the moment n I keep using them or I don't like them and just conveniently, selectively forget about them (Uh? What group pic?). 

Consider this rare review on July beauty loots

Hits & Misses

So, let's get started. 

Etude House Color Lips Fit
These are my current favorite lip color at the moment! They are very pigmented and dry fast to a matte smooth finish on the lips and are quite long lasting and the keyword here is smooth - and no one like flaky looking matte lips. Picture on the right are of 1 layer of the lip fit and applied with the applicator in the bottle. I'm thinking of getting more of these!

(Top) BE101 in See Thru Fit Beige is like a soft milky beige shade that's subtle, elegant and very wearable.

(Bottom) PK003 in Fantasy Fit Pink provides a pigmented bright cherry pink matte lip with simply one coat over the lips that dries in a few seconds and really last. It's great if you are going for the glamorous look or the gradient bitten lips effect. 

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Brightener
This product has a high holy grail potential. Long lasting, medium coverage, pigmented and do not sink into fine lines. I got the shade Brightener which is a pink base highlighter that simply works well with any concealer to brighten dark circles and - the best part- works AMAZINGLY to highlight face. Their regular shade will definitely be providing higher coverage. Highly recommended! 

Etude House Play 101 Pencil in #4
I really do like the concept of cosmetics in pencils or pen like packaging that promises both the creativity and convenience of a color pencil makeup and a lean makeup pouch. After playing around with the pencil collection in the local Etude house store, I walk out of the store with the Play 101 pencil in Shade 4, a true white glitter eyeliner that's great for highlighting inner corner of eyes. I love the soft, creamy texture that doesn't tug on the skin or get cakey in the under eye area. 

Innisfree Long Wear Cushion BB in Shade 13
I love my BB cushions (Iope Air Cushion is the ultimate queen of BB cushion - try them if you have yet to) we they are easy to use and provide a radiant dewy and seamless finish with just a puff and some minor patting action. With the hot and humid summer in Singapore, I managed to get the Innisfree Long Wear Cushion BB from Korea with bestie's help. The Innisfree long wear BB provides a matte finish that requires no powder to set, even for the powder-obsessed. Sad to say, the glow effect is close to zero and the foundation clinch into dry areas more too. I guess this is more for oily skin babes and not for the dry combi skin type like mine. The puff and the BB soaked cushion feels harder than the usual puff from Laneige or Iope. 

Dollywink Lipstick in Ramune Pink
The perfect candy milk pink shade for your lips for a natural and sweet look. 

Benefit Travel Duo - High Beam and Posie Tint
Enter in one of my favorite illuminating product - the Benefit High beam. A close dupe will be the 3CE Highlight Beam (major love too) but then I wanted to find a travel friendly version. A chat with the friendly Sephora sales assistant and she managed to find a seasonal travel duo that meets my requirement and comes with the travel size version of Posie Tint at ~S$23. 

Kiss Me Heroine Eyeliner
This eyeliner comes in only one shade - jet-black. I've read many good reviews on this eyeliner but never gotten around to buy them because there are no testers in our local drugstores. But nevertheless, I bought them in Tokyo during my trip (there's no tester for this product too) and never looked back. It's extremely long lasting for oily lids (finally I bid panda eyes farewell) and has a super fine tip that makes drawing eyeliner a breeze. This is my second purchase which I bought a backup during Watsons sale. Highly recommended!

Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo
I love to give it a raving review and maybe I got a bad bottle but sorry, this product totally does not work at all. It gives a lemon-sy scent and that's all. Probably best if you need only a hair scent. No dry shampoo function, no volumizing effect. 

Not to be Missed
Not in the pictures but definitely worth mentioning is the Real Technique Expert Face Brush that feels very soft on the skin and provides one of the best airbrushed foundation application true to it's MUA reviews. Oh gosh, where had you been all my life? 

Pastel Tweed Nails
Ending my girly frill frill post with my recent nail art. I am kind of obsessed with pastel mint nails and that may probably be the case for my next nail art as well. 

That's all lovelies~