Thursday, June 28, 2007

Benefit-ing Singapore

I've just found out that Benefit Cosmetics is now available in Singapore (thanks Wanz!)! This piece has news has gotten me incredibly happy, as I absolutely love this range of skincare and cosmetics, from the cheeky product names to the yummy-looking packaging to the actual quality of their merchandise. I first discovered Benefit (and Sephora) back in 2002 while on a work trip in the US, and have been hooked ever since. I was lucky enough to be sent back to the US every year, so I could stock up and feed my Benefit love. These are the products I've tried so far:

1. Smoooch lip smoother: I'm a sucker for lip balm, so I got this when I was in Paris recently. I don't use it too much though, as I'm currently trying to finish a tube of Burt's Bees lip balm first.
2. Georgia peach powder: Admittedly not one of my favourites, I honestly don't see any difference when I put this on, no peachy glow. Also, the hairs of the brush seem to shed quite easily.
3. Gilded gold highlighting pencil: I love the effect this gives my eyes; it gives an instant boost and makes them look bigger. I use this almost every time I put on eye make-up.
4. Honey Snap Out of It face scrub: The chunky grains smell nice, and give my face a good buff. I use this twice a week.
5. Fantasy Mint wash: I love mint shower gel, so when I saw this face wash, I knew I had to try it. It's refreshing and is a nice way to wake up in the morning.
6. Ooh La Lift eye balm: The copy states you can feel a cooling sensation when you apply it, but I'm not sure if it's just marketing gobbledegook. What I do know is I like how it feels under the eyes, especially when I haven't had much sleep.

Now that I know Benefit is available in Singapore, I can save US dollars and luggage space next time I travel to the US! Hoorah!

Ah Pa-ree: Dinner at Chez Paul

One can't go to Paris and not have a meal at a traditional French bistro, right? Like Chez Omar, I found Chez Paul through Google and figured all those good reviews couldn't be too far wrong. Getting there was a bit of an adventure on Monday night, because there was a bomb scare in the Metro, and to be safe, the authorities closed off a certain route and we had to map out an alternate (and more convoluted route) to finally reach our station. The good thing is when you're on holiday, these sorts of delays don't bother one as much. We had all the time in the world, and we didn't have to worry about the restaurant closing since we knew Parisians like to have late dinner. But oh boy, I was hungry by the time we sat down at our little outdoor table.

Old school menu. The recommended dishes were underlined.

The food, like the place, was solid traditional French food, without any pretensions or fuss. Even the menu is handwritten! Food-wise, I'd say the closest equivalent to what we can get here in Singapore would be L'Angelus on Club Street. We were tended to by a waiter in really thick glasses with a minute moustache and a rather quirky sense of humour. His english wasn't very good, so he wasn't able to translate the entire menu for us, but luckily, being the Paris 'veterans' we were, we were able to identify basic meats like chicken and fish.

I had a chicken with foie gras sauce (it was highly recommended by the table next to us), while my friend went for pot au feu.

Dessert was something called a babar (the waitress couldn't seem to translate it for us) with a liquer sauce. It tasted like bread & butter pudding, with more of a cakey texture. I wasn't too much of a fan, but then I'm more of a chocolate person when it comes to dessert.

We each took a bite before remembering we hadn't taken a photo of dessert yet. Hee hee.

All up, a very satisfying meal.

Chez Paul
13 rue de Charonne, Paris 11, Bastille
Metro: Ledru-Rollin
Cost: 30-40 euro per person

Friday, June 15, 2007

This June, I am into...

Wearing: Sass & Bide Champs Elysees grey jeans, Adidas by Stella McCartney shoes for the gym
Watching: Balenciaga bags on eBay
Carrying: grey laptop bag from S N A P designs (finally!)
Eating: Milano Mint cookies from Pepperidge Farm
Reading: E.M. Forster’s novels
Watching: Ouran High School, Ocean’s Thirteen, Shrek 3

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ah Pa-ree: Dinner at Chez Omar

Without a doubt, dinner at Chez Omar was my best meal in Paris. I found the Moroccan restaurant by doing some googling and reading what others said of the place. Every review I read mentioned the good food, the unpretentious dining atmosphere and the fairly reasonable prices, so when it came to deciding where to eat on our last working day in Paris, I cunningly managed to persuade all my colleagues to eat there.

After a half hour walk from our hotel (never trust what looks like a short distance on your map!), we arrived cold and hungry, ready to eat up a storm. There were a couple of hiccups at the start as none of the waiters spoke English (or rather, refused to admit they understood English), until finally one guy stepped up and did the painstaking job of translating everything on the menu for us...3 times (bahaha). We seemed to be a novelty to the waiters, as they stood around watching us most of the time despite how crowded the restaurant got, but I like to assume that's because they just couldn't tear their eyes off a veritable United Nations of 6 girls (3 Americans, 1 Australian, 1 Hong Konger, and me the Singaporean).

Hello boys!

The food definitely did not disappoint; everything we ate was delicious and at this point, I'm just going to stop talking and let you see for yourself.

I forget what this is called, but it was like a spring roll filled with meat. We ordered 1 in chicken and the other in fish. Don't be fooled by the appearance, they tasted wonderful! I liked the chicken better.

One of Chez Omar's specialties is couscous. My colleague ordered the lamb couscous and I managed to try a little. The lamb was beautfully crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and incredibly flavourful.

I had steak frites! The menu stated pepper sauce, but it turned out to be a superb mushroom sauce. The fries came in a big platter for all of us to share, with a couple of side dishes of vegetables in a stew and some french beans.

To finish off, profiteroles. It was one of the girl's birthdays, so they stuck a sparkler on it when they brought it out. The combination of vanilla ice-cream, fresh cream and an amazing chocolate sauce sent me straight to heaven.

Chez Omar
47 Rue de Bretagne
Cost (per person:) about 33 euro

Changing looks

I finally upgraded my Blogger template to the new layout, but that means fiddling around with the colours again. Right now, the pinks look pretty funky, but I'll sort that out soon. Stay tuned!

Update: OK, it's looking better now! You like the new header? They're macarons from Laduree. Yummy!