Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saba Restaurant @ Cyberjaya Review

A few weeks back, my husband and I went for a drive around Putrajaya just looking at sceneries and houses. It was quite late when we ended up in Cyberjaya and decided to have our dinner there. There were a lot of restaurants offering Arabic food in Cyberjaya and we decided to dine at Saba Restaurant (mainly because there were a lot of customers there and so we thought the food must be great to make the restaurant flocked with hungry people).

The Saba Restaurant at night. 
The restaurant's name and logo is on the long fluorescent-lighted signboard,
couldn't be captured with my lil' old camera phone.

The ambience of the restaurant from outside looked promising and warm. Inside the restaurant was just like any other food court with the tables and chairs arranged quite close together. We chose to sit at a table nearest to the counter. We had to wait for quite a while to get the attention of a waiter so that he could give us the menus (already a sore point for me as I was quite hungry). The waiter also had some trouble understanding my questions about the cuisines offered in the menu making me quite frustrated being deprived of sufficient information prior to ordering. I wanted to try something like naan and gravy but the breads in Saba Restaurant are only sold as breads without any gravy or dip together with it. So, in the end I decided to order the Rashush Bread and Fool Medammas for dipping. My husband ordered Chicken Kebab. For drinks we weren't feeling too adventurous so we just ordered Teh Tarik and Iced Horlicks.

After the waiter had taken our order, it was another waiting game that we had to play since our orders came quite late (another sore point!). As we wait, we could see that quite a number of patrons were still waiting to get their food as well.. Hmm.. not a very good sign.. Our drinks arrived first so we just sat there, sipping our drinks moderately as not to finish them before our food came. The dishes did arrive some time later but in stages.
Our drinks. The top is Teh Tarik, bottom is Iced Horlicks.

The first dish to arrive was the Fool Medammas which is actually an Egyptian bean stew. It tasted not like the usual dhall curry complimenting naan bread but more to herbal and a little bit salty with a hint of spiciness (not too spicy, just a hint) and sourness to it. It was quite all right to dip the bread with.
 Fool Medammas.

Next to arrive was the bread in plastic wrapping. The waiter just plopped the bread on our table and left without any explanation whatsoever. We assumed it was the Rashush Bread. I was quite perplexed as of why was the bread not served on a plate? It was quite troublesome to eat out of the plastic wrapping. The bread was actually just plain ol' pitta bread. We ate it with the Fool Medammas.

My husband's Chicken Kebab came next. It was served with half a slice of pitta bread (so much pitta bread!), a stalk of green chilly, half a slice of tomato, a slice of lemon and dollop of mayonnaise and chilli sauce on the side. I think there was capsicum too under the spoon. The chicken was more like chicken fried fritters than a kebab. It tasted just okay and nothing to shout about.
Chicken Kebab is hidden under the fries. 
My husband is showing the billing card.

So, all in all, our dinner looked like this:
Whoopss.. my hubby is trying to leave the table.

Since there was pitta bread aplenty on the table, we tried our best to finish at least one serving of the plastic-wrapped bread. It was quite a challenge because I am a very light eater and the bread is quite filling. After we had had enough and threw in the towel, suddenly the waiter came and brought us a plate of a very large bread. We questioned the waiter and he told us that this is the Rashush Bread we ordered. What?!
The real Rashush Bread that came too late.

We looked at each other with blank faces. The Fool Medammas we used for dipping sauce was finished and there was this whole lot of bread sitting in front of us waiting to be eaten. In the end we called the waiter again and told him to just pack the bread in a doggy bag to go. 

The total for the whole fiasco was: RM34.00.

We pondered upon the whole dining experience and on why we were given two sets of pitta bread in the first place and why the Rashush bread came so late at the end of our dinner. We actually left the unopened pitta bread because with the real Rashush bread, there was too many bread to go around. 

All in all, the dining experience at Saba Restaurant was quite a let down because of the slow service, uncooperative waiters, so-so tasting food and sloooow serving of food (hence the Rashush Bread). The only interesting thing about the restaurant was their billing method which involved the card with the number. The card is needed to be presented to the cashier and all our orders are automatically calculated making it easier to be tracked and paid for. I don't think we are going back there unless there's a tremendous change in their service and food and somebody convinces us to do so. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crabtree & Evelyn Jojoba Oil Lipbalm Review

I had read somewhere that Jojoba Oil is a natural ingredient that provides all day moisturization and it's molecular structure is the most closest to human skin oil. It is great for skin, hair and lips and is used widely in the cosmetic industry. I was trying to find a product for the lips made of pure Jojoba Oil and my googling directed me to Crabtree & Evelyn's Jojoba Oil Lip Balm. I actually went and bought a tube at KLCC a few months before I discovered My Lip Stuff and Crazy Rumors lip balms so this review is quite overdue.

Okay, let's get on with the review.

The Crabtree & Evelyn Jojoba Oil Lip Balm comes in an off-whitish plastic tube just like any other lip balms.  It weighs the standard .15 oz (4.2 g). The label is printed directly onto the plastic tube and the wordings of Jojoba Oil sort of jumps out at you because they are the most prominent on the tube. The cap of the lip balm is the standard pull-off cap. I don't remember whether the balm had a safety seal on the cap  or not because I bought this earlier this year (I am so very very forgetful nowadays!)

The ingredients printed on the tube are: Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Cetyl Acetate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Lanolin Oil, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Corpenicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Dimenthyl Paba, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Topocherol, Flavor (Aroma), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Propyl Gallate.

This is how the balm looked like opened:
An opened and used tube of balm.

The balm is accessible by twisting the usual twister mechanism at the bottom of the tube. The stick glides easily in and out of the tube without getting stuck.
Twisting the balm out.

The balms glided with a bit of a tug over my lips at first use. After a few tries, the balm glided more smoothly but still not as smooth as MLS' or Crazy Rumors' balms. The texture felt a little bit waxy on my lips and it began to melt and sink in a few minutes later but not so much because I can still feel the waxiness of the texture. There is no scent (at least by my nose that is) from the balm and I guess that's okay for those who are sensitive or allergic to scents. It goes on clear and leaves a very (very!) subtle shine on the lips. The moisturizing effect is considerably good and it lasts for a few hours. 

Here's what the balm looked like on my skin:

Here's what the balm looked like compared to Crazy Rumors' balm:
Comparison between Crazy Rumors' and Crabtree & Evelyn's lip balms.

When both balms were compared, I found that Crazy Rumors' lip balms had a more smoother glide and  a lighter texture (less waxy feeling). Crabtree & Evelyn's balm took some time to melt and sink into the lips whereas Crazy Rumors' balm melted and sinked in faster. I also felt that Crazy Rumors' lip balm is a bit more moisturizing and gave a little bit more shine when applied.

My verdict: The texture of the balm is somewhat comparable to SkinFood's Shea Butter Lip Care Bar I suppose. After the balm had melted and sinked into the lips, it did kept my lips moisturized for about two hours or more. The waxiness is still there but it is not that unbearable. All in all, it is a good lip balm but I still prefer MLS and Crazy Rumors because of the scent and the extra smooth glide from them. I would recommend this lip balm for men since it doesn't leave the lips looking too shiny.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cyleina Organic Soaps Review

This time around, I am going to do a review on Cyleina Organic Soaps. I had been reading lots of raving comments about Cyleina Organic Soaps on the internet. Cyleina is a company based in the Philippines that produces organic soaps and selling them at a very reasonable price. There are quite a number of soaps to choose from and these soaps are hand made using organic and natural ingredients.

I purchased a few samples of soaps from a forumner in Lowyat Forum. The soaps that I tried were:
- Rice Bran : skin whitening and helps in treating skin problems
- Black Pearl : whitens skin, prevents appearance of wrinkles, blackheads and whiteheads
- Tomato : for oily skin with big pores and pimple-prone skin
- Strawberry : whitening, blemished & sun-burnt skin
- Chocolate milk : moisturizes skin, anti-aging
- Seaweed peppermint: nourishes dull skin and improves oily skin, treats cellulite and minor skin imperfections

I received a free sample from the nice lady who sold me these soap samples which was:
- Glutamaxx : moisturizes and whitens skin, anti-aging

So here's my take on these soaps:

Black Pearl
Black Pearl is one of the best selling soaps from Cyleina. It is made from the finest high grade quality of arbutin, collagen oil, and Vitamins C & E.The soap is said to performs best when used continually and is highly recommended for oily and acne prone skin.

Here's what the sample of the soap looked like:
A quarter of the original soap.

The texture of the soap is quite full and thick. The block of the sample soap weighed a little heavier than the other samples indicating the solidness of the soap. It lathered very well and the suds were easily rinsed off with water. 

What I love most about this soap is the smell. It smelled so sweet and fresh with a little hint of licorice. The sweet scent is not overpowering but very relaxing. It also left a slight minty feeling on my skin after cleansing (I love it!). The effect of using the soap is that my skin felt fresh and very clean. The soap did not leave any sticky or tight feeling like some normal drug store cleanser do. 

My verdict: Love the soap especially the smell and the minty & clean feeling it gave me but unfortunately it was not suitable for my face. I tried it a few times whilst having a large pimple but it didn't shrink.. a few small pimple did appear though. I wasn't sure whether from the soap or my hormones kicking its ugly head. I ended up using the soap for showering instead. Would I repurchase? Yes for the lovely smell and minty feeling it brings. :)

Chocolate Milk Soap
Chocolate Milk Soap is a luscious, creamy combination of dark chocolate, milk and subtle hint of vanilla. It is soft and nourishing to the skin.

I didn't get the chance to take a picture of the sample I received (so sorry guys) but here's what the soap looks like (picture taken from Cyleina official website):
Picture taken from Cyleina official website.

I didn't try to use this on my face because I intended to use it for showering upon purchase. The texure of the soap was not as thick and solid as Black Pearl. The chocolate and milk parts were separated into two sections. The soap lathered well and felt creamy on my skin. The soap can actually lathers up until the last tiniest sliver of it. Rinsing off the lather is a breeze just like the Black Pearl soap. 

The soap had a nice blend of chocolatey scent with a little hint of vanilla. It gave a nice aromatic effect while showering (great for chocolate lovers!). I did notice a hint of an herbal smell (just a hint, not that strong) but couldn't place my finger on what it was. The downside is that the smell dissipated quite fast and didn't linger long after the skin had been toweled dry. The effect of using this soap is that my skin felt clean and there was no sticky residue.

My verdict: This is a nice soap for bathing especially if you are in the mood for something chocolatey and fun once in a while for a change.

Peppermint Seaweed
Peppermint Seaweed Soap is said to have deep penetrating and fat emulsifying properties which is great to treat cellulite and minor skin imperfections. Ding! Ding! Ding! The bells are ringing in my head asking, 'Is it great for slimming as well?'. Hehehe.. The soap is also said to be the easiest way to a softer, firmer and healthier looking body. It also nourishes dull skin and improves oily skin. The soap contains peppermint oil which contains menthol which has a cooling effect (my weakness.. minty stuff!)

Here's what sample of Peppermint Seaweed Soap looked like:
Unopened package of Peppermint Seaweed Soap sample.
The soap sample . Please make me slimmer!

The soap was thicker in texture and felt more solid if compared to the Chocolate Milk soap. This soap also lathered very well and could easily be rinsed of without leaving any sticky residue behind.

Lathering the soap gave me a minty and sweet aroma. There was also a whiff of peppermint scent which is relaxing and calming. Hmmm... love those minty smell! The herbal scent I detected in Chocolate Milk soap was here as well. I guess it is the base scent of all Cyleina Organic Soaps. There was a slight minty feeling whilst using the soap but it is so slight, you can barely notice it. The minty and sweet scent lingered a little bit longer on skin after showering.

My verdict: The soap gave me a nice minty feeling while bathing and I enjoyed it! It also doesn't leave any sticky feeling and it rinses off very well just like the Chocolate Milk soap. I didn't notice any slimming effect because the soap was just in a sample size but my skin felt fresh and clean afterwards. Love it just for the mintiness.

Glutamaxxx Soap
Glutamaxxx Soap is said to be the ultimate skin whitening soap because of the powerful triple blend of Glutathione, Alpha Arbutin and Claire Blanche which provides intense skin whitening action. The soap is great for moisturizing and whitening especially for underarms and dark spots. It also contains Grapeseed Extract which acts as and anti-oxidant making the soap safe and gentle to the skin.

Here's what the soap sample looked like:
 An unopened package of Glutamaxxx Soap sample.
The soap sample. Yes, it was cut into a very generous size. Thanks to mamaumar!

The texture of the soap was somewhere in between Chocolate Milk and Peppermint Seaweed soaps. The feel of the texture is a little bit similar to Chocolate Vanilla. It lathered very well but the suds were slightly harder (not too hard, just slightly) to rinse off when compared to Peppermint Seaweed.

This soap was also used for showering by me. The soap smelled of mild powdery floral scent with a hint of the subtle herb (just like the other Cyleina soaps I've tried).  It smelled nicer and more softer after the suds had been rinsed off and a nice soft smell lingered on my skin for some time. The herbal smell didn't register after showering. I guess it just kicks off while the soap is being used. Even though it was quite harder (but not that hard) to rinse off, my skin is left feeling moisturized and clean without the feeling of stickiness.

My verdict: This soap is great for those wanting a skin moisturizing soap. I didn't notice the whitening effect though because it was in sample size (but a few people did comment on my fair skin at that time.. hehe). Same like Chocolate Milk, the soap can be used to the last sliver (very economical, I tell you). Would I purchase again? Maybe not because I tend to stay away from powdery and floral smell. But it is a good bar of soap, no kidding.

Tomato Soap
The Tomato Soap is said to be great in countering oily skin. It deeply cleanses and tightens pores. The soap is made from red and ripe organically grown tomatoes. It contains Alpha-Hydroxy Acids derived from tomatoes which helps get rid of pimples and acne through its gentle exfoliating action. The soap also contains lycopene (found in tomatoes) which helps counter aging skin effects. Continuous usage of this soap will result in getting your cheeks a rosy hue and your body a fair glow.
Here's what the soap sample looked like:
An unopened package of Tomato soap sample.
The cubic soap sample ready to be tested.

Since the soap's main purpose it to combat oily skin, I couldn't wait to test it with my face. The texture of the soap was thick. It felt very block-ish and sturdy in my hands. The soap lathered easily and the foam was rich and creamy giving a hint of a pinkish tint. Very cute! The suds was a little bit harder to rinse off my face if compared to the Black Pearl soap.
The slight pinkish hue is not that visible in this pic but trust me, it's there and it's very cute!

The Tomato soap smelled slightly sweet, very subtle and was not overpowering at all. The subtle sweet aroma was nice while I was massaging the lather on my face. My skin felt very clean and there was no tight feeling after cleansing. There was also no sticky or soapy feeling left on skin after the suds had been rinsed off. My skin did stay matted for a longer period after cleansing.

My verdict: With all the natural goodness and the great effects the soap has to offer, I really wanted this soap to be suitable for me but alas! After a few tries, I found that small pimples did appear and I was afraid that the soap wasn't suitable for my skin. There is indeed a little bit of micro peeling but not too obvious so I concluded that the gentle exfoliating properties in the soap works. I ended up using this soap for bathing which gave me a nice clean feeling. Maybe I'll try again using the soap for my face in another round of sample sprees.

Rice Bran Soap
The Rice Bran soap is said to be great in dissolving dead skin cells and fight blemishes while retaining moisture in our skin. Rice Bran is a great source of vitamin E complex, antioxidants and other micro-nutrients which can help fight free radicals and combat the effects of aging. Many beauty buffs reviewed this soap to be a good facial scrubbing soap and is great for treating problematic skin.

Here's what the soap sample looked like:
 An unopened Rice Bran soap sample.
 A block of Rice Bran soap sample.

The texture of the soap was the same as Peppermint Seaweed soap. It lathers very well and the suds are thick and creamy. It was also easy to rinse off and left a nice clean feeling to the skin without being sticky. My skin felt a little tight after cleansing but not too much. There was a subtle shine after skin had dried and it reminded me of the same effect of Mior soap (which led to my problematic skin! noooo!).  Maybe the shine was from the scrubbing effect of the soap. I had a couple of blemishes developing and I'll see what the soap can do to it. The suds had the same thickness and the amount of effort needed for rinsing off is also the same like the Tomato soap.

The soap had this nice and sweet smell which was very pleasant. Unfortunately, unlike the other soaps, when lathered up, I couldn't smell anything at all. It really came out scentless. The same goes as I rubbed my face with the suds. So I concluded that the soap really just smelled a little bit sweet by itself but when used, it was more unscented than being a scented soap.

My verdict: For my seasonally problematic skin, I really wanted this soap to suit me but unfortunately it didn't. It made a great showering soap though.

Strawberry Soap
The Strawberry soap is a scrub bar made from Baguio strawberries which are packed with vitamin C. It contains anthocyanins which is a powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. Strawberries is also great in staving off wrinkles and helping us keeping our skin plump and healthy. The soap is sprinkled with poppy seeds for added exfoliation. It is said to be great for sloughing sun burnt skin and for fast skin whitening.

Here's what the soap sample looked like:
An unopened Strawberry soap sample.

The texture of the soap was the same as the Rice Bran soap. It has the cutest pink colour to the soap and there was some black dots embedded inside of it. I am told that those black dots are the poppy seeds which atcs as the exfoliator.
The small black dots are the poppy seeds.

The soap smelled very faintly of strawberries. I do mean very faintly because I had to put the block of soap to my nose to get the smell. The soap lathered very well giving out a rich and creamy foam just like the other Cyleina soaps but there was no pinkish hue to the suds like the Tomato soap. When lathered up, the strawberry scent was still very faint, almost hard to be detected. Washing off the foam was very easy too and it didn't leave any sticky or tight feeling on my skin.

My verdict: I liked the clean feeling the soap left on my skin after cleansing my face with it. Unfortunately for me, I found that it wasn't suitable for my face (again!) because small rashes began sprouting on my forehead. I did try again a couple of times and I found the beginnings of acne started developing so I had to stop using the soap on my face. I guess the soap is going to join the others in becoming a showering soap as well.

My total verdict on all soaps: It's official! None of these soaps are suitable for me to use as a facial cleanser.  Some of them even gave me blemishes. Huhu.. In my opinion, Cyleina Organic Soaps are great and they are highly affordable (around RM15-20 per bar depending on the seller). It could save a bundle if compared to buying tubed-form of drugstore brands cleansers because a bar of soap can be last for a long time. Sadly, in my case, these soaps were more suitable for showering purposes. These soaps are made from organic ingredients so they don't have that shape staying power like usual soaps do. Most of them turned very soft if not dried properly after each use. A soap dish with draining properties is a great investment to keep these type of soaps dry to prolong the soaps' lifespan. Cutting the soaps into the sample sizes also can help. All in all, I might repurchase some of the soaps just for fun in using them in the shower.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Body Shop Ice Blue Shampoo Review

Ever since I received an RM20 coupon from The Body Shop, my hands were getting itchy for me to go there and pick something up. I was hoping to get the Fuzzy Peach Bath & Shower Gel because I love the scent but unfortunately the shower gel was not one of the promotional items, so the coupon could not be used to purchase it. So, after much thought, I picked up the Ice Blue Shampoo just because the dark blue colour of the shampoo was very intriguing.

The description of the bottle: Rediscover 80's cool, with a menthol shampoo that leaves hair feeling fresh and super soft, just like the original one (what original one, I am not so sure). Now with Community Trade organic aloe vera.

The shampoo is said to be suitable for all hair types.

The shampoo comes in a round 250 ml plastic pet bottle. The bottle is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic which is a good thing in helping save the environment. The plastic bottle is very sturdy and does not feel flimsy or thin.

The cap of the bottle is a screw on cap with a pull off lid. To open the bottle, you would have to pull the lid off. The small hole in the cap is sufficient to let the liquid flow out of the bottle since the texture is not thick.
Opening the lid.
Opened bottle ready to be used.

The texture of the shampoo is a bit runny and not thick at all. The colour was what made the shampoo so interesting to me and I felt that the sheer very-blue shade captured the menthol colour spot on! At least, I'd imagine the colour of something icy and menthol to be like this. 
Pretty electric sheer blue colour.

The smell of the shampoo is heavenly! I really love the aroma of freshness and minty menthol fused together. It reminded me of a scent from my childhood but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I could just smell it over and over again and not get tired of it. Some people might not like the scent because it has a little bit of that minty medicinal smell, but for me it's all right.

The runny liquid of the shampoo lathers quite moderately. It was not that hard to work up into a lather but the staying power of the suds were not that long. The suds are a bit on the thin side and not thick nor creamy like most shampoos.
The runny blue liquid had turned into suds for the hair.

For my whole head, I'd need at least two palm full of shampoo because I like the suds to be lavish and rich whilst I am shampooing my hair. The shampoo does indeed leaves a fresh and minty feeling but not that strong. I would have loved it more if my scalp got all tingly and holds the menthol effect a little bit longer. The first time I used the shampoo, the menthol minty feel got stuck on the back of my neck for a little while after I had washed off the suds but it was not something than is unbearable to me. The shampoo also made my hair a little bit dry and hard to comb because my hair got tangles after shampooing. I guess that is the effect of the menthol on hair. For normal hair type, I would guess following the shampoo with a good conditioner will rectify the dryness from the shampoo itself. For my case (since my hair is currently dried out and a bit damaged - no thanks to a certain hair saloon), I'd have to find a better moisturizing shampoo before I can continue to use this one.

My verdict: I love the shampoo because of the heavenly menthol smell and the very attractive electric sheer blue colour. My only disappointment is that the shampoo is a bit drying and following with conditioner did not make my hair more manageable. I would have loved it more if the menthol tingle stayed on my scalp a little bit longer. Would I repurchase? Maybe after my hair had overcome this dry spell.
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