Category Archives: Travel

Memebox Special #25 Traveller’s Beauty Kit

As a serious travel minimalist, I could not purchase the Memebox Special #25 Traveller’s Beauty Kit fast enough. Finding good travel products is hard, so I will absolutely take a boxful of suggestions!

The description says:

Whether you’re heading out for a weeked road trip or flying out to your dream vaca destination, there’s no need to say bon voyage to looking your best. Travel light and still look like a million bucks with all your beauty needs on hand with this traveller’s checklist of what to stow when you’re on the go! Packed with all the easy-to-go makeup, skincare, body essentials plus Memebox’s summer special limited makeup pouch to carry your goodies, this Box is a travelling beauty’s delight! Toss these travel-friendly goodies straight into your carry-on, so looking fabulous will be on your itinerary, no matter where your destination!

The box is so packed there’s only a token amount of tissue paper in it, so this all looks very promising!

Amini Traveller Kit

Amini Traveller Kit

Enriched with various organic extracts and natural essential oil, Amini’s popular Traveller Kit consists of a Moisturising Body Cleanser for gently cleansing your body and a Moisturising Body Emulsion for re-filling moisture deep down into your skin.

Shower gel and moisturiser in handy travel sizes. I typically bring a bar soap instead of gel to cut down on liquids, but I’ll grab these for a trip where I don’t need to worry about ridiculous liquid rules.

Both products have a distinct scent I can’t quite place. Kind of like a fruity alcoholic drink? It’s quite mild and not bothersome.

The moisturiser is very thin and light, as you would expect an emulsion to be — a western-style moisturiser is much thicker and heavier. This should be perfect for my skin, which only occasionally wants a little bit of moisture, and finds typical lotions far too heavy.

T.P.O No-Wash Toner Sheet

T.P.O No-Wash Toner Sheet

T.P.O’s No-Wash Toner sheet is a cleansing tissue which works to remove even the most stubborn makeup residues from your face without having to rinse off afterwards. This all-in-one cleansing tissue is the perfect beauty essential for when you need to quickly, easily yet thoroughly cleanse all unnecessary gunk out of your face.

Wipes like this is the only makeup remover I bother carrying when travelling. A good cleansing oil may do a better job, but wipes are so much more convenient. Such packs tends to dry out so quickly I only get one trip out of a pack, so having spares is appreciated!

The lid on this is pretty serious, and the sticker underneath even more so. This should preserve the moisture inside for quite a while.

I used a wipe to remove the swatches of the eyeliner and the lip tint, and it fared well against both products. I had to go over both several times to get all the product, but both are intended to be long-wearing.

Easydew EX Active Soothing Serum

Easydew EX Active Soothing Serum

Easydew EX’s Active Soothing Serum is made from natural Swiss glacier water which works to cool and refresh dry, irritated skin and monk’s pepper berries complex which works to sooth and repair damaged skin.

It’s just as well this is just a tiny sample bottle, because this product smells so strongly that putting in on my face would make me feel sick. It was donated to my mother before I even finished writing this review.

ideeB Sweet Jelish Eyeliner

ideeB Sweet Jelish Eyeliner

An eyeliner and an eye shadow combined in one smart, easy-to-apply item, ideeb’s Sweet Jelish Eyeliner comes in three most popular eye makeup colors and its softly gliding, creamy gel texture makes it possible for makeup beginners to feature a finely defined and naturally blended look! Plus, it’s totally waterproof and won’t ever wear off from water, tears, or sweat.

It amuses me how Memebox seems to think using eye pencils as eyeshadow is something brand new that koreans only recently thought up.

The colour of this product was randomly selected. I received 02 Ultra Fine Pearl Black.

This is a plain pencil, no twist-up, no built-in sharpener. Considering how eagerly Memebox has thrown pencil sharpeners at me in the past, I find it strange that one is not included in this box.

ideeB Sweet Jelish Eyeliner swatch

This is not a very dark black. One swipe goes on grey. There’s a noticable amount of glitter in it. I found it difficult to apply sharply to the eyes, so I’d save this for intentionally smudgy looks.

Pure Smile Powder in refresh SHEETS

Pure Smile Powder in refresh SHEETS

Refresh with Pure Smile’s handy deodorant-functional sheets with a powder-infused formula that works to clean, refresh, and remove bad odor from sweaty areas of your body.

From the description it sounds like deodorant in sheet form — which would be pretty cool — but I believe this is just scented wet wipes.

Bringing this with me is one less pack I have to buy at inflated airport prices, because flying without wet wipes available is just not happening.

S&B Aqua Tint Orange

S&B Aqua Tint Orange

This Aqua Tint is not your average cotton swab, because it combines the functions of a cotton swab and a lip tint in one sensational item! Simply twist one end of the cotton swab and you’ll see how the liquid tint from inside slides down to the other tip! This is the ultimate throw-away type of lip tint to carry around with you wherever you go.

What a weird combination, but why not? Can’t hurt to toss a few of these in my bag next time I’m off into the world.

In opening, these go from weird to hilarious. You know those tampon commercials with the blue liquid? Well… In these the liquid is proper red. The effect is so disturbing I had a very sudden need to figure out how my camera can record video.

The colour applies very sheer. On the lips it looks very natural. It has that very bitter taste that lip tints often have, and feels really drying.

S&B Aqua Tint Orange swatch

NoTS UV Protection Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

NoTS UV Protection Sun Cream

With a strong level of UV protection, this Sun Cream is gentle in its formula (free of mineral oil, talc, tar coloring, benzophenone-4, and artifical fragrance) and works to not only protect the skin but also to hydrate and smooth out the skin texture.

I was hoping for a handy sample-sized bottle when I saw the little box, but no, it houses ten sample packets. I would have preferred a bottle. They could be useful for keeping in assorted places for “I forgot to apply sunscreen and now we’re an hour away from the hotel” moments.

Pure Smile Hand Gel Maldives Dancing Waters

Pure Smile Hand Gel Maldives Dancing Waters

Made from collagen extracts, jojoba extracts, and ascorbyl palmitate widely acknowledged for its moisture lock-in capability, Pure Smile’s Hand Gel in Maldives Dancing Waters will hydrate, clean, and refresh your easily-contaminated hands. It comes in a small, cute packaging and is easy to carry around wherever you go.

Another travel bag staple. It smells and behaves like a typical hand gel.

Memebox makeup pouch

Memebox makeup pouch

This one doesn’t have an entry on the product card, so no official description. It’s a good-sized meshbag in black with a pink zipper. It’s big enough to fit every other product in this box at once.

The fabric feels sturdy enough, but the sewing isn’t brilliant. The end of the zipper is coming out of the seams on my bag.

Straight out of the packaging, it absolutely stinks. Hopefully airing it out will fix that.

Verdict

This box doesn’t feel complete, as in I couldn’t grab just the contents of this box and be ready to go, but it does provide a decent spread of basics.

With only one straight-up nope, this box is a good hit with me. Apart from the cotton swab/lip tint, there isn’t anything brand new or super interesting for me, but with an upcoming holiday getting a stash of travel staples doesn’t hurt.

Box value

This box cost $23 plus $6.99 in shipping. It contains five full-size items, one travel-size item (not full size as Memebox claims!) and two samples. No retail values are stated for the samples; they would typically be free anyway.

Product Stated Retail Value
Amini Traveller Kit $10
T.P.O No-Wash Toner Sheet $7
Easydew EX Active Soothing Serum
ideeB Sweet Jelish Eyeliner $11
Pure Smile Powder in refresh SHEETS $1
S&B Aqua Tint Orange $4
NoTS UV Protection Sun Cream
Pure Smile Hand Gel Maldives Dancing Waters $2
Total box value $35

As you would expect, most of these products are quite cheap. Cost-wise, this box is the worst value I’ve gotten so far, although most of this is stuff I would be buying anyway.

Since writing this review, Memebox has changed significantly. They no longer publish frequent & interesting boxes, and they no longer ship outside of the US.

Security theater: Liquids edition

I travel several times each year. As I travel with hand luggage only, I’m getting used to running into the limitations on liquids:

Liquids in hand luggage

There are restrictions on the amount of liquids, creams and gels that can be carried in hand luggage onboard all flights. A maximum of 1 liter of liquid, creams and gels are permitted in hand luggage. Each item must not exceed 100ml. Liquids, creams and gels must be packed in a separate transparent re-sealable bag must be presented at the security checkpoint.

The helpful signs at the airport’s security checkpoint usually show a nearly empty bag, where a tube of toothpaste, a stick of deodorant, and maybe a small bottle of perfume have plenty of room. When I’m flying out, my bag does in fact look a lot like that.

But when I’m coming home from a week of shopping? We’re playing for keeps, darlings.

Security theater: Liquids edition

Said signs also say “do not overfill”. It’s not overfilled if I can close it without bursting a seam. Serious Tetris skills certainly doesn’t hurt.

Here is the lot, unpacked:

Security theater: Liquids edition

With some determination, I could fit:

  • Moisturiser (75ml and the biggest item in the lot)
  • Two bottles of liquid foundation
  • Deodorant
  • Two mascaras
  • Four lipsticks
  • Traveldose of Lemony Flutter
  • Concealer
  • Two gel eyeliners
  • Eyecream
  • Perfume
  • Dry shampoo (not even sure when or why I picked this up, but uh, it could come in useful, I guess)
  • Eye shadow base
  • Samples of lip plumper, lip primer, and eye primer
  • Handwash
  • Eye pencil (which probably didn’t need to go in this bag, but it’s big and I didn’t feel like potentially getting my bag searched for the sake of one bloody pencil)

Let’s not get into the non-liquids I purchased, although packing all of those was certainly an art in itself…

Summer holiday is go

Been there, done that. Comic by Busty Girl.

Due to work issues, cute boy and I didn’t get the easter holiday we wanted. This means I haven’t been anywhere in months and I am just about bouncing off the walls for lack of travelling.

Our summer holiday is now planned, so I won’t have to resort to drastic measures to stop the boredom. After our customary stop in England, our destination this summer is Budapest. Judging from my initial attempts to make a small travel dictionary, hungarian is the most, uhm, exciting language I’ve met so far. I will have to dig up some audio samples to figure out how spelling maps to pronunciation.

I’ve gotten a whole bunch of recommendations about where to eat and what to see while in Budapest (thanks, Espen & Hajni), and in trying to organise them I’ve run smack into a first-world problem. You would think that in this age of smart phones and tablets and WiFi and GPS everywhere, organising travel recommendations complete with maps, pictures, comments and clickable phone numbers would be a simple thing. That’s what I thought, at least. In reality there is a surprising lack of appropriate tools to do this.

In the past I’ve used Springpad for this sort of thing. It was never quite ideal, but it did provide room for the basics: Multiple pictures, address automatically placed on map, click-to-call phone numbers, links to official sites and reviews, notes and more notes. However, since my last holiday, Springpad has been “upgraded” to a Pinterest clone, and removed all the useful functions in the process. Addresses are no longer automatically mapped, or even linked to a map. The lovely notes are gone and replaced with social comments. I can still click the phone numbers, but really — I already have an address book on my phone. I don’t need a second one.

No, I’m not linking Springpad or Pinterest. Useless services do not deserve links.

So I’ve been looking for apps that all claim to help with this kind of planning. My most basic requirement is that I can enter data on my computer and access it on my Android phone/tablet (preferably offline), which disqualifies several Android-only or web-only solutions. I’ve gone through about a dozen apps fulfilling this basic requirement, and so far each and every one I’ve tried has the same problem: The app is for making recommendations, not organising recommendations you already have.

Stay.com is the only thing that comes even close to what I want: Its primary purpose is making recommendations, but it will let you enter your own locations. Stay.com’s recommendations come with a lot of information: Clickable address, map, pictures, clickable phone numbers, categories, price. Locations you enter yourself are not so lucky. You can input name and location, upload a single image, and place the location in a single category. Anything else will have to go in a free-form description field. No clickable phone numbers or links. On the plus side, you can download your personal city guide for offline use, and you can see all your saved locations on a single map. It’s the least bad solution around, so I’m keeping it while looking for something better.

Data that isn’t location-based, such as a travel dictionary, notes on culture, tourist traps to look out for, and similar things have no space in Stay.com, so I’ll still need another solution to complement it.

Ah well. I still have a few weeks to look, both for more recommendations and ways to organise them. Obsessing about the packing list should commence next week or so…

Departure report, going to England

08:30. Thanks to the flu, I’ve only slept for about five hours. I’m awake, and I’ve done the final bit of packing.

09:15. Stomach rejects the idea of breakfast, due to morning, flu, or both.

09:30. I put on some makeup to avoid getting thrown off the plane due to looking like I have the plague.

09:40. Twenty minutes until the airport coach leaves, a ten-minute walk away on a regular day. Today, however, the ground is covered by ice, and it’s raining. The sidewalks are death traps.

Death trap in progress

10:05. Plan B engaged. We are on our way downtown to take the express train instead.

10:50. We arrive at the airport, cold, wet, and miserable, but still on time. We immediately walk into a massive queue, but luckily it’s going elsewhere.

Queue going elsewhere, thank fuck

11:00. Not carrying a computer means unpacking for security is a minimal job.

My pockets are empty, I wear no belt or jewellery; the metal detector goes off anyway. On the third try it decides all is well after all. Security lady looks confused.

Cute boy is picked out for random search.

11:05. The light blinks, taking down the boards. Go emergency lights.

In the dark!

11:10. Speakers announce expected delays all over due to weather conditions. So many flights are delayed our flight is pushed off the boards.

Very glad I’m not working the SAS service desk; the queue is long and looks hostile.

12:00. 25 minutes until our flight’s expected departure. Still no info on the boards.

12:05. Our gate is announced at last. There is, however, a different plane there, being loaded as fast as humanity allows.

12:09. Our flight is officially delayed.

So that’s my day so far. I hope yours is better.

Summary: England, august 2011

The cute boy and myself have returned to Norway after eight days in England, meeting up with Sarah and Daniel and Billy along the way.

We’ve been all over the place, as evidenced by the 2000km of road our rental car has seen. Don’t ask about petrol costs, I don’t want to think about it.

Lesson learned from this trip: Travelling with a DSLR is a whole different kettle of fish than travelling with a compact point-and-shoot camera.

My entire camera kit in the past:

  1. Camera
  2. Camera charger

Simple stuff. Hard to mess up. Not very heavy and not very big. Contrast my camera kit for this trip:

  1. Camera body
  2. Two lenses
  3. Battery charger
  4. Spare battery
  5. Two spare memory cards
  6. GPS unit
  7. Assorted body and lens caps
  8. Camera bag to pad the expensive bits and keep all the little bits in one place

My bag groaned, my back moaned, and every bit was used on the trip.

What I should have done was test-pack my bag beforehand to see how much space the camera bag would take up in it, how liftable it would be, and figure out what I could strip from my packing list to make it all work. That’s what I should have done.

Still, I somehow managed to fit it all, and I heartily sung the praises of Tom Bihn choice of zippers.

Then it became a problem again when we were going home, because we’d gone shopping. Not a lot of shopping: Cute boy got himself a much needed coat, I got myself some jeans that aren’t intended for amazons, three stuffed animals as mandatory Longleat souvenirs, the toiletries we had forgotten to refill on before going out, and just a couple of make-uppy things. It’s still enough that fitting it in our already full bags should have been a major problem.

However, I really, really hate checking bags. I hate waiting for them even more. And waiting for one when our plane lands at 23:05 and I just want to get on the bus and go home I hate with an unspeakable passion.

So I packed it all into our bags. I wore one pair of jeans, and cute boy wore the outer half of his new coat, but everything else went in. Not only did I make it all fit, but cute boy’s bag somehow became smaller in the process.

I’m not Mary Poppins, but I’m working on it.

Rules of packing

I’m preparing for a trip to England, the first bit of travelling I’ve done since Easter. I need a holiday so badly right now my anticipation muscles all hurt. Unfortunately, so do a lot of my physical muscles and joints (as well as the ankle I sprained two weeks ago), so in between my preparations, I present to you my basic rules of packing:

Everything I bring must fit in one bag, and I must be able to carry this bag myself.

I had done very little travelling until a couple of years ago, so before my first flight to England I did some research. One Bag provided a useful starting point for the packing list I use today, and the occasional wait for a checked-in bag when I just want to go home and sleep has thoroughly reinforced the one bag philosophy.

Going flying, I carry one carry-on bag. This means I have a weight limit (about 10kg is typical) as well as size limits (55x40x23 cm on the airline I use the most), not to mention some stupid limitations on liquids. The weight and size limits ultimately works in my favour, as my rather weak body has to be able to carry that bag wherever it needs to go, often through hours of alternating between walking and waiting. The liquid limits are annoying, but at least encourages some creativity in packing.

If it doesn’t fit in my one bag, it’s not coming. If I can’t carry the bag (even with a sprained ankle), something has to stay home.

Clothes are not interesting.

Clothes are necessary, but not interesting. They are present in minimal amounts, and I pack them like they were puzzle pieces. They have to match and be as interchangable and layerable as possible. My whole list of clothes for this trip — including what I wear for the actual journey — looks like this:

  • 3 tops
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 pair of trousers
  • 3 sets of underwear

That’s it. Well, that, and…

A thin woolen sweater is worth its weight in gold.

The single most useful item of clothing in my bag has proven to be a simple thin woolen sweater. I keep it rolled up to the side in my bag, where I can easily get it out. Extremely useful if where I land turns out to be colder than where I left! Combined with an equally light, rain- and wind-proof coat, I can stay warm — and dry! — even in bitter weather. Anyone who’s been to England will know why this is useful…

Similarly useful are knee-high socks, which look nice with a skirt, and provides lovely warmth with trousers.

Leave the nail polish…

In everyday life, I do some extravagant things to my nails on a regular basis. You would perhaps think I would keep this up when going on holiday, having lots of extra time and all… But no, I’ve learned that this is a futile excercise. My nails break even before I start packing these days, even if they have been perfect for weeks. Just the thought of flying makes them go dry and brittle.

Even if my nails did behave, bringing a polish kit is a hassle. Treatments, polishes and removers are all liquids, and most of them flammable, meaning they are technically not allowed in hand luggage. I’ve yet to see polish confiscated for that reason, but with so many other reasons to leave it at home, why bother.

A good nail file and some moisture for the cuticles is plenty for on-the-go nail care.

…but bring the make-up.

At home, I’m not a regular or frequent user of make-up — I prefer my body art on the nails, as mentioned — but when travelling, I will regret it if I leave the make-up at home.

Where a nail kit is annoying amounts of liquid, make-up can be all or mostly powders. Depotted (if it came out of a finished palettes) or pressed (if a loose powder) and arranged into a compact palette, it takes up very little space, and just a handful of colours can help vary that limited travel wardrobe (and keep away that “I’m having so much fun I forgot to sleep” look).

The difficult part is paring down the brushes to the bare minimum required, and finding a good make-up remover for travel use. The first I can do, the second I’m still working on.

The gadgetry comes with me.

I’m a nerd. I like gadgets. I have lots of gadgets, and despite being bulky, heavy, and in need of support items like extra batteries and chargers, several of them are coming with me.

Taking photos is an important part of travelling for me, so the camera with all its related kit — extra lens, extra memory card, extra battery, GPS, charger, camera bag and all — comes with me.

My smart phone keeps track of my itinerary, has my calendar, provides internet access, can function as a sat-nav, and, of course, be used to make calls with. Since I travel to meet people rather than get away from them, my phone comes with me.

Travelling inevitably means sitting on my arse and waiting, which is prime time for catching up on the never-ending reading list. Carrying a dozen books is impossible with my weight and space limitations, and picking up new books along the way will not shorten said reading list. 155 grams of ebook reader can hold hundreds of books, and fits in my pocket for easy access along the way. The ebook reader comes with me.

My Nintedo DS can fill those same waiting times with gaming instead of reading, and thus may come along for many of the same reasons. However, gaming is a “home activity” for me, and I won’t miss the DS much if it stays home.

The presence of my netbook is negotiable. It’s over a kilo of gear that is not guaranteed to see use. It does provide for a more comfortable way to use the internet than my phone, and it is a good dumping ground for photos on especially photo-heavy trips. I don’t have anything that can quite replace it, so as long as there’s room, it comes along.

Do not fill the bag.

Leaving some room means I can bring any new acquisitions home and still carry just the one bag. At least, that’s the idea. I’m not a heavy shopper, but those stuffed animals take up a lot of space…