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Instagram @nicckane

Monday, 30 April 2018

Review: Althea Bare Essentials Products

 Hello! I'm back with a beauty review! This time its Althea's new product line - Bare Essentials.


Great makeup starts from great skin - minimize your base make-up with Althea Bare Essentials! With nourishing ingredients and easy execution, this 3-product regime breaks down and simplifies the K-beauty routine for the urban woman.
 

 3 step regime before makeup? Sounds legit 😍

So you may have seen this in my insta story, and I promised that I'll do a review on these products. The reason why I waited this long is because I wanted to try out each product and provide my honest review. I brought the samples Althea Korea so generously included (cos the actual products were too heavy to be brought along lol), to guess where...Seoul! Hahaha I wanted to try em out in the dry and cold and windy weather in Korea, plus in the hot Msia weather too to see the comparison. So here goes!

Look how minimalist their packaging is! So aesthetically pleasing, right? 



First up, the contour cleanser.

 Step 1
Contour Cleanser, a rich and foaming cleanser that removes impurities while improving blood circulation for that V-shaped look. It contains micro capsules to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and leaves the skin feeling cool and refreshed too!
(Buy it here)


I love this foamy cleanser! It leaves your face squeaky clean, but still moisturized. Works well both in Korea and Malaysia! Plus, your face feels refreshed and cooling after using it, like using toothpaste on your face πŸ˜† 




Step 2 
Primer Water. Smooth, hydrating and ever so slightly balm-like, this bottle of wonder penetrates into the layers of the skin to plump them up, prepping the skin and making it a smooth canvas for products to come. 
(Buy it here)


The texture is kinda watery, but thicker than normal toners. Plus, it is easily absorbed by my skin, leaving it supple and smooth. I normally use toners that need cotton pads, so at first I was quite taken aback by one who doesn't need cotton pads πŸ˜… But I was pleasantly surprised, cos it made my skin so hydrated even without the use of cream. 



Step 3 
Fixer Cream. powerful moisturizing properties are packed into this little jar that provides the skin with hydration for up to 24 hours for a fresh, revitalized complexion
(Buy it here)


This cream is also easily absorbed and makes your skin instantly glow! Stay hydrated all day with this cream.

Actually, when I used these products in Korea, they were amazing. My makeup stayed on all day, more than 12 hours without any touch up, with just a little oiliness at my T-zone which is perfectly normal. So naturally I was excited at seeing them perform in the Malaysia weather. 
They performed well in the Malaysia weather too, just that my T-zone got a bit more oilier compared to when I used it in Seoul haha! Cos of the weather I think. Nothing a bit of touch up wouldn't help!
And even after I removed my make up after a long day, my skin doesn't feel stripped off, but instead still feels smooth and hydrated. Much wow!

Overall, these products definitely surpassed my expectations. And not to mention, worth for value too! They can definitely compete with the high end beauty products out there. Plus, its only a 3 step skincare routine perfect for those lazybums (like me!) who dislike complicated skin care routine. I have totally jump ship okay no more expensive skin care products cos Althea provides more affordable and easy to use skin care suitable for everyone!


If you are a new user on Althea, sign up using this link and get 20% off on your first order!





Disclaimer: These products were provided for my personal review only. All reviews are 100% honest and based on my own experience. No monetary compensation of any kind was given or received for this review.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

[Seoul 2018]: #Nicckane's Seoul Travel Guide

Ok I didn't expected for so many people to be interested in my recent trip to Seoul lol. 
Well, many was surprised that I went to Seoul only (excluding my one day trip to Paju, but that's another story) because normally when people travel to a country, they try to go to as many places/states/provinces etc as they could cos they can say oh, I visited this country N years ago, so I'm not gonna visit that particular country in the future. Sorry, that's not for me. Because Korea is not a country I would visit once, there WILL be more future trips to Korea, trust me, so this trip is basically just a testing waters kinda trip, to see if I actually like/suit this country. And boy, did I love it! Even the unpredictable spring (freezing) weather didn't deterred me from loving every single moment of this trip! So basically this post will be a brief guide about Seoul, and my experience there! This will be a long post, so if you're not interested in words (but waiting for my pictures HAHA) you can skip now.

Okay no more dilly dallying here's the breakdown.
FYI I am the main travel planner for this trip.



Flight 


My dates were fixed, and I wanted to spend at least 7 to 8 days in Seoul, so there was no way we could skimp on flight tickets. Flight tix was approx. RM 1580 per person via Malaysia Airlines. When we went it was peak season, as the cherry blossoms were blooming, it was the start of spring etc. Hence, the not so cheap flight tix. I would suggest you to use Google flights to monitor the price of the flight tix if you are planning for a Korea trip in advance!
We took off from KLIA at 23:30, 30 March and arrived at ICN Terminal 1 the next morning at 07:10. For the return flight, it was supposed to be at 11:00. but was delayed to 14:15. Good thing it was delayed, cos it gave us more time to shop and eat at the airport! No worries as MAS compensated us with ₩10000 each for food. One thing I like about flying airlines other than the notorious axxaxxa is that baggage allowance is included in the air tix, plus no more hidden charges for payment etc. If you fly with MAS you have 30 kg per person. If Korean Air (codeshare flights) only 23 kg. Huge difference okay, cos who doesn't shop in Korea πŸ˜† You don't wanna go overweight, do you? And also, Korean Air flights land at Terminal 2. So do take note of the difference!



Accommodation


Well, since I spent so much on flight tix, hence I decided to find something (more) affordable to stay in Seoul. Hotels in Seoul are veryyyy expensive, so it is better to find guesthouses or airbnb, there are loads available. Here's the one I stayed in Seoul, located near Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, and also near Dongguk Station. It's between both lines, so you can have your pick when you travel to other places, and save time from changing lines.

 Here's the link for our room. 
Click here to sign up if you're a new user for RM 120 off your first trip!

The room is as shown in pictures. A bit small for 4 person, but still comfy enough for a person like me with slight claustrophobia lol. There's always someone available at the main counter from breakfast time till around 11pm at night, usually cute oppas on a rotation basis, and they speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese etc. No worries about communication 😏
Plus, breakfast is provided every day.
RM 1295 for 4 person, 7 nights is pretty affordable, right? Less than RM 50 per person per night only!



Transport and Getting Around


T-money is available for purchase (vending machine) near the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) boarding area at Incheon Airport Terminal 1. Costs ₩3000-4000. Travelling by subways and buses in Seoul are pretty cheap IMO, cos one trip no matter how far you travel in Seoul city area, costs more or less ₩1250-₩1450 only. The furthest I've been is to Everland Theme Park, which was 2 hours away by bus, and that costs ₩2800 only. Comfy bus, like the Aeroline bus from Penang to KL leh! 

For getting around Seoul, do not use Google Maps as they are pretty much useless in Korea. Instead, I would recommend you to download some navigation apps based in Korea, like Kakao Map (the one I used), Hanchao 韩巒 (in Chinese) or Naver (in English). I mainly used Kakao Map because it provides subway route info as well as bus route info. Means I can choose whether I want to take the bus or subway depending on my location. Or when I don't feel like climbing the horrendously long flight of stairs in the subway. Sometimes subways are not as convenient as buses. But the catch about using this app is that, you can search and type in English, and the results will be in English, but some of the info (bus routes etc) will be in Korean. So you will have to know basic Korean to use this app. 
Fyi, Hanchao only provides subway route info while Naver's interface is quite messy for me. 



1st pic: Search the location, and then all the transport options will be shown. Choose one.
2nd pic: The detailed route of your journey.




3rd pic: You can even view all the stops, so you won't miss your stop!
4th pic: Even a walking route is shown. 


As you can see, this trip takes about 25 minutes, and even went across the Hangang River, but only costs ₩1250.
 If you go down after one stop also the same price leh. So got once we lazy and took taxi instead cos short distance ride. Average per person is also almost the same as taking subway. So you calculate by yourself la which is cheaper. 

And if you want to venture out of Seoul, but not too far away, do consider taking a one day trip. There are various places you can visit, like Nami Island, the place where you can ride the rail bike (where pretty much everyone goes lol) etc but for me I chose to go join the Paju and Pocheon Art Valley tour cos there was where the latest Korean drama 'Hwayugi' was shot 😍! 


A post shared by Nicole (@nicckane) on

Nice right? 😍 There were a few other places we visited in this tour too. 
Will blog in details about this!

For this tour, I booked via Starway Travel. You can book via their FB page. Costs about RM 300 per person, including transport, lunch, entrance tickets etc. Not cheap, but at least you get to get to these places without much hassle. 



Wifi


How did I stay connected throughout my trip in Seoul? Without wifi I probably wouldn't survive. And get lost too lol. I rented a wifi egg through Klook for around RM 10 per day. Choose the one provided by KT Olleh. Pick up is at Incheon Airport. Instructions to pick up are easy to follow, and staff speaks English. Reception is also pretty good, works in subway stations too only drawback is that battery cannot last long, so by evening or night you'll need to charge it. But that was not a problem for us as we brought out our power bank. 




Weather


2°C-18°C
I went when it was spring. But the weather feels like winter to us Malaysians 😧
The weather so damn unpredictable! On the day we arrived, I didn't even have to wear a coat, just a thin long sleeve turtleneck with a thin strap dress. But eventually it got colder, it even rained when we went to Everland TT And my friend even had to buy socks inside Everland to act as gloves and put hot packs in them so she could warm up her hands πŸ˜‚
One day it even snowed during midnight 😲😱 Imagine snow in April wth!
And that day when we went for cherry blossoms at Seokchon Lake, the wind was so damn strong and cold and dry I nearly froze to my death after taking off my coat for a picture πŸ˜†



A post shared by Nicole (@nicckane) on

But the Koreans, they were only wearing thin coats, jeans and sneakers. Like it was not cold at all! Eh I wear thick furry coat liao also feel cold leh I cannot imagine how its like in winter.
And during this cold/not cold period kinda weather, the Koreans do not switch on their aircon. Even in buses, taxis, even some malls, no aircon, no air ventilation. Seriously. Even in our airbnb, we had to request for the aircon remote control cos they didn't provide it lolol. The oppa asked us, "Are you guys cold?" Us: *nodding furiously* But honestly even though we were freezing we needed air ventilation or else it would be too stuffy. 



Food 


We allocated around ₩10000 per person per meal. Food in Seoul is expensive if you convert to myr so don't. We didn't really spend much on food, or calculate too much when it comes to food, but at the end we still have leftover money haha! Street food in tourist areas like Myeongdong are not recommended, bloody expensive and sometimes doesn't taste good. I would recommend restaurants like Kimgane κΉ€κ°€λ„€ and Kimbap Jeonguk κΉ€λ°₯천ꡭ, they are like the Mcd and KFC of Korea haha! They have branches everywhere, have plenty of food choices from kimbap to kimchi jjigae, and prices are affordable.



Okay this post is getting too long I have to stop here. Before I end this post, here's approx. how much I spent on this trip, excluding shopping.



Expenses


Flight 
RM 1580
Accommodation (RM 1295)  
RM 323.75 per person
Transport, Food and Entrance tickets
RM 1500 
Wifi (RM 80)     
RM 20 per person
TOTAL 
RM 3423.75



This is just an approximate amount due to fluctuating currency rates etc, not including money spent on shopping (you should know how much you can shop in Korea, and the amount of money you can afford to spend in Korea), so what suits me may not be suitable for you. 


Damn my fingers are tired from typing all of this I hope you guys find it helpful okay 😝



That's all for this post, more to come so stay tuned 😘