Face Pack Vending Machine

Face Pack Vending Machine

You know how there are evenings you just NEED a sheet mask after the shops are closed? We’ve all been there, right??

Hmmm… it’s a very appealing idea, though, to imagine being able to dash out at any hour and buy yourself a face pack from a special vending machine.

I saw these Lovely Mart machines in shopping malls in Beijing, and was delighted by them, although never actually got round to trying one out. But this is something I would like to see in other places too, starting with Singapore!

Semi-Disposable Chopsticks

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Re-use and Re-cycle are buzzwords of the moment, with many initiatives in place to help us cut down on the immense amount of waste we discard every day.

One small but significant effort is being made in China, where a staggering 57 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks are used and thrown away every year. They are just small things, you might say, but producing them accounts for the destruction of almost 4 million trees. Every year. That’s a vast amount of deforestation with all the environmental disaster that entails.

Change is not going to happen overnight, but on a recent trip to Chengdu we were intrigued to notice a new fashion for semi-disposable chopsticks in all the restaurants there.

The throw-away wooden pairs – the ones you have to pull apart to use (so you know they are completely fresh) –were originally introduced for hygiene reasons, and the theory remains the same.

Nowadays, however, what you get is a pair of ‘holders’ and a sealed packet with disposable wooden chopstick ends to wedge inside them. It’s not the perfect solution, but it uses about a third less wood per pair, which has to be a good start. Kudos to whoever thought of this!

Cheese Oat Milk Tea

Category : Food


I am not sure what possessed me to buy this, except possibly that I had turned down the chance to try skewers of assorted fried bugs at lunchtime (I was in Chengdu) and felt I was letting down the Julietours side. Possibly those crispy scorpions would have been a better idea…

For a start, this is supposed to be the sort of thing you buy in a convenience store and consume on the spot using the hot water provided, but when I tried it at home later I needed a knife to get into the tub and extract the contents.

The cup turned out to contain a packet of powder, a sachet of condensed milk and a tub of damp oat grains. It all smelled awful and tasted bizarre, sort of sweet, cheesy and dusty all at once. If I can mix things up here, it tasted like the smell of milk which has boiled over.

I have no doubt that this is a popular and comforting high calorie meal substitute in China when the weather turns cold, but nothing would convince me to try it again.

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Jade Roller

jade roller

Jade is one of those gemstones with a long and fascinating history. It has been revered as a lucky or protective stone by ancient civilisations as far apart geographically as the Egyptians, the Aztecs, the Maoris and the Chinese, and was often valued higher than gold or diamonds. As it is tough as well as beautiful, with its many shades of translucent green, it has been used to make weapons as well as ritual objects and jewellery. Gemstone therapists will tell you that jade is good for your creativity and mental agility, whilst providing a calming, balancing effect. Asians, especially those with a Chinese background, would say that wearing a piece of jade will protect you from misfortune, and it is common to see members of the older generation wearing jade pendants or bangles as they go about their everyday life.

The deepest green coloured jade is often called ‘imperial jade’, as this was the most highly prized by the Emperors of ancient China. As long ago as 3000BC, jade was being used for the finest items of jewellery and decoration, and it has been found alongside other precious offerings in imperial graves. Confucian wisdom also says that jade symbolises the virtues of justice, compassion, courage… and beauty.

Which is where this facial roller comes in. You can, if you like, imagine a beauty tool like this on the vanity table of an ancient Chinese princess. The theory is that the cool, glassy surface of the stone, when rolled gently across the face, smooths and calms the complexion. You can enhance the healing action by keeping it in the fridge, and also use it to apply whichever creams and potions best suit your skin. There is even reason to believe that regular use can stimulate the lymph nodes to work harder on removing those waste products and toxins that build up through pollution and our unhealthy modern lifestyle. It might even help unblock congested sinuses, and reduce those dark under-eye bags.

I would like to tell you these things are all the case, but unfortunately I keep forgetting to use my roller. Either I forget I have left it in the fridge, or I know I don’t have time to mess around cleaning it after I have used it in the morning. However, if you decide to try it out, a roller can be had from amazon if you can’t find one in your nearest Chinatown – I haggled down to S$18 for mine but I am sure they can be had for less. Taking your nose as the starting point, use the roller to smooth away gently on both sides of your face, going especially carefully around the eyes using the smaller end. Don’t forget to pay attention to your jawline, rolling down below your ears at the end. Try this morning and evening – hopefully you will see the difference!