Rendez-vous New Menu with Chef Benjamin

If you ask me to list my Top 5 current favourite restaurant in Klang Valley, Rendez-vous would definitely on the list. It’s not just that I’m a Francophile, as mentioned in my previous post of the very same restaurant; but there’s a new face in Rendez-vous kitchen and the whole menu has been given a much needed overhaul to reflect the modern take on bistro-style French Dining. Introducing Chef Benjamin Reiles, a young Chef with quite an impressive resume, having refined his skills at prestigious places like Michelin Three Star Le Pré Catelan in Paris and Brasserie des Beaux Arts in Toulouse.

Rendez-vous itself is quite an inviting space, with great service and relaxed vibe casual enough for family outing, yet formal enough for a date. Another bonus? It features a large bar and the wine list will keep any wine enthusiast happy.

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A mojito to kick off the lovely evening. I always appreciate the effort that goes into this so this was enjoyed very slowly.

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Rather surprised to be receiving a Lamb Samosa as our Amuse Bouche. But definitely not going to complain as it’s filled with delicious morsel of lamb cooked for hours.

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Our first starter was “Escargots a la Bourguignonne” (RM28), featuring some Snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce in vol au vent. The snails are kept tender while the pastry soaked up that delicious butter sauce. And it’s mandatory to soak up that sauce with these freshly baked baguette.

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Probably the best bread we’ve ever eaten at a restaurant, make sure you do save some stomach space to eat this with everything.

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“Soupe de poissons” (RM24). The Fish soup here is served in front of us. So first we get a bowl with all the pretty components sans the liquid.

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The soup has a great balance of tang, sweetness and briny umaminess. Something I wouldn’t mind slurping on time and time again.

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To sweeten the deal, we were also served a spoonful of Lobster nectar. Talk about a decandent treat!

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It’s also aptly paired with a 2013 Chardonnay from South Africa.

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The sardines are not on the menu but I enjoyed the tender flesh and the citrus pearls that came with it. It also came with a saffron tinted puree (Cauliflower, it seems) which goes very well with the briny fish.

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The mains here are divided into fish, poulty and red meat and we were treated to one of each. First the “Filet de loup de mer” (RM58), Seabass filet, creamy carrot puree and avruga caviar, citrus vinaigrette. For a main the seabass seems to be on a smaller side in comparison to the condiments given. Probably why it’s a little bit on the dry side, but I do love the carrot puree with the surprise addition of floral passion fruit.

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One thing of note too the price here is rather reasonable and even with wine pairing, it won’t break your bank.

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The poultry dish “Poulet façon cocotte” (RM36) comes as a form of stuffed chicken, mash potato and creamy mushroom. The chicken is so tender and juicy and the mash potato gets full approval from me. Love the presentation too.

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Paired with a very nice glass of Pinot Grigio.

Well we move on to the red meat and it’s non other than a traditional Beef Stew.

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“Boeuf Bourguignon” (RM59). Here the beef is braised for at least 8 hours in a red wine sauce. The sauce has a great depth of flavours, however I find some pieces of meat to be on the dry side, perhaps exposing to air for a little long. Nonetheless a good version of Beef Bourguignon I don’t mind having again.

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A hearty red to go with this dish. We are not much of Red wine drinker but found this pretty drinkable. I know it’s a terrible word to use for something like this, but there are some reds we just can’t tolerate so yeah.

Well, as usual with any food review session we had to cough up some extra space in our tummies and all that food and wine seriously had us waving white flags. But I would not say no to Lemon Meringue.

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“Tarte au citron meringue” (RM17). Lemon tart here comes with h hard and soft meringue. You get the best of both world in terms of the meringue. Love the pillowy soft, freshly torched clouds of meringue, while there’s also little crunchy for textural contrast. The lemon curd is wonderfully tart, the way I like it. Yum.

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“Crêpe Suzette” (RM28). The traditional French pancake is given the usual theatrical twist being flamed on the table with Grand Marnier. Nice way to finish a meal. Even nicer with a glass of crisp Prosecco.

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We went home with heavy tummies but very satisfied appetite. Thank you for hosting us!

If you pay very close attention to the interior you might notice a little doorway marked “Upstage Lounge“, aptly located upstairs of Rendezvous. And this is yet another great venue for live music and occasionally stand up comedy. They hosted quite a few international acts, while many local talents have also graced the stage. Comedians the likes of Papi Zak, Kavin Jay and Prakash Daniel have also performed there. So do check out their facebook page or website for any upcoming shows. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me there too.

 

Rendez-vous Traditional French Restaurant
100 Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Open for lunch & dinner daily
Mon-Sun:
12:00 – 15:00
18:00 – 00:00
Tel: 03-2202-0206
https://www.facebook.com/rendezvousbangsar

 

 

The Locker & Loft, Damansara Kim

The Locker & Loft may have only been in operation for several months, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. Come on a Friday night and you’ll be looking at a packed house. Business is brisk even during the weekday, and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s location requires a little bit of effort, it might even took you a while to figure out where the door is. But once you come through the entrance, you’ll be greeted by a rustic looking bar that is also industrially chic, with cozy dim lighting to make you feel at ease.

As Kevin and I walked in for the review session, we were led to a long table. Now I must mention that for the two of us, sometimes hanging out with strangers can be very trying. But when our old friend Sarah sashayed through the door, you can feel the two introverts (fine, one of us is only semi-introvert) visibly relaxed. haha. Anyway, back to the bar.

Owned by Deepak Gill, lawyer by training with background in journalism, or otherwise known as Thirsty blogger (his lifestyle blog with focus on well…booze) and Paul Dass, who’s been in the industry for many years,  we can be reassured that the drinks here won’t disappoint us. But I was also suitably impressed with the dishes they dished out. It’s evident that plenty of research has gone into crafting the menu and I dare say this is one of the most exciting dining experience we’ve had this year.

Let’s start with the cocktails, with their signature house cocktail here:

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Kelapa Rock (RM22) that will make your Kepala rock. Fresh coconut juice with 1.5 shots of Vodka and a touch of syrup. I’m partial to coconuts so this sits really well with me. There’s a punch bowl version, maybe next time I’ll just order THAT.

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Brown-brown (RM30). You won’t find any cocaine or gunpowder in here. But get this: it’s Milo Ais with 2 shots of Vodka. My childhood is complete. Let’s not even discuss how wrong that sounds.

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Bang Pow (RM25), with hibiscus-infused gin (45ml), with homemade rose syrup, Creme de Cassis, lime juice and egg white. Apparently made for CNY but become permanent by popular demand. Very refreshing and floral. Read: Girly.

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Kg Pandan Don (RM30) has rum, Don Julio Reposado tequila, lime, pandan syrup, coconut milk and homemade pandan bitters. Dangerously good.

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Olivier (how cleverly named) RM25. A concoction of basil and Olive oil-infused gin, lime, homemade tonic syrup, egg white and lemon bitters. Prominent herbaceous note and something a little different.

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Southern Quack (RM30) is made with black truffle-infused vodka,lemon juice, spiced-syrup, and orange bitters. What a decadent treat! I’d definitely go back for this one.

With that amount of alcohol in sight, we needed some food to line our stomach. But here at Locker & Loft, it ain’t going to be just your regular bar snacks. The menu takes on the direction of Asian fusion, and not in the cliche kinda way either.

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First up we have the minced pork and sweet potato leaf queso with thick toast (RM17). Queso here refers to a Tex-Mex dish of Chili Con Queso, a creamy dip made with chili peppers, melted cheese and cream, which sounds yummy enough on its own but here it’s extra moreish with its explosion of (local) flavours. Spicy, meaty and rich, it’s good to the last drop.

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Mutton varuval quesadilla with mango chutney (RM17), so good you’ll have to fight for the last piece. It reminds me of murtabak, but with more toothsome texture, and of course a lot tastier with the spiced goat, and the tangy sweet chutney.

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Potato and bitter gourd pakora with mint yogurt dip RM12. The Fried Bitter Gourd from Nirwana gets an upgrade! I love this one to bits, literally.

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Grilled watermelon with Japanese dressing, lychee, feta, tomato chips and kesum leaves (RM20). Watermelon with Feta is such a classic combination, but here it’s elevated with lychees, made more floral by the herby kesum and watch out for that dressing! The wasabi does pack a punch.

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Many restaurants serve disappointing pastas, but we are really impressed by their Smoked Duck Aglio Olio Linguine (RM28). Featuring Linguini tossed with smoked duck breast, lap cheong, Thai chilli flakes, garlic, coriander and cashews. The doneness is just perfect and I have no idea how they manage to coat each strand of linguini with that much flavour. This is definitely the MVP of pasta in our book.

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If you’re partial to sweet and savoury combo, the Slow-Cooked Char Siew Baby Back Ribs (6 ribs RM55, 12 ribs RM98) should be right up your alley. The ribs are grilled to perfection, succulent and meat falls straight off the bone. The flavours are unmistakably Char Siew, though it’s just a little bit too much on the sweet side for us.

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Grilled mutton rack with percik sauce (RM55) is served with fluffy baked potato and a very refreshing cucumber salad, love how the cucumber comes in ribbons. The meat is juicy, smoky, with a slight bite, and the percik sauce does complement it well. Superb!

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By the way, you can even find a very good Tuak here. The bottle is RM85, and it’s available by glass for RM18 too.

In the midst of our dinner Kevin suddenly blurted out “The service is really bad here” much to my horror (apparently my expression was a Kodak moment); turned out he was referring to the mobile reception there. Fear not though, as you can always use their wifi to keep your social media account active. Or just stay off the phone and enjoy the food (and drinks). Actually the service here is pretty good, I shall add.

At this point we were almost bursting at the seams already. But we couldn’t do without desserts. No way!

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The Sago Gula Melaka here is served with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and some mango bits to refresh it. It’s pretty decent, but I felt the sago were a little overcooked and mushy.

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Butterfly Bun (char koi), served with homemade chocolate kaya and ice cream (RM14). This one tastes like local version of churros and it’s very, very good. Must try!

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Crispy Pain Perdu, topped with homemade butterscotch sauce, served with mango and ice cream (RM16). The french toast here is coated with cornflakes and almond, what a pleasant surprise.

I somehow lost the photo of the Yellow Sub, which is an alcoholic milkshake (!!!) with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Nangka, Rum and Bailey’s. Very delicious, and probably very lethal too.

Blogging about this makes me want to return tonight! Though Mondays they are closed, so I would have to wait another day. Thank you so much for your hospitality!

The Locker & Loft
40A, Jalan SS 20/10,
Jalan Damansara,
Damansara Kim,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
+603 74967222

 

Flint @ Persiaran Ampang

It wasn’t all that long ago I visited Stoked at Medan Damansara, and now the Vintry group has added yet another restaurant under their belt. Introducing Flint, located at Persiaran Ampang which has a similar concept albeit a different menu and a more rustic interior. It has 2 levels and upstairs resembles a hunting lodge with a faux fireplace and wild-animal portraits, even comes equipped with a play area for kids.

In the kitchen, their prized possession Bertha (cast iron oven fueled by charcoal and firewood) stands proud and tall, and this time also accompanied by an oil-drum barbecue to support more grilling actions. What does this imply then, you might ask? Well, lotsa of meat, of course!

To start off the night we were served some light appetisers (it’s relative really, as compared to what was coming after.)

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White Wine Clams with Basil (RM38) was the first dish, and what a way to make an impression! It’s heady with wine and don’t forget to save some bread to dip in the broth.

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The Oysters hail from South China Sea (all ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, with the exception of Red meat of course). I’m not aware that we can get such big and succulent oysters near us! It’s topped with a mustardy mayonnaise and baked, retaining the juicy flesh of the oysters. So good.

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School Prawns tartine (RM30) was served with assorted vegetable pickles and Remoulade. While the flavour combination are clean tasting, the bread was a little on the hard side for me.

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The Beef tartine might not be much to look at (too much white sauce around me think), but it’s an explosion of flavours, especially that Chili Jam.

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I always like a good stew and the Spiced Free-Range Chicken stew (RM42) hit the right notes with the Moroccan flavours.

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Though for me the Braised Lamb Shoulder with Beans and Apricots (RM76) was the stand out, with fork tender meat and broth with a great depth. Very comforting.

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When the Mushroom Risotto (RM49) hit the table, we immediately caught a whiff of Truffle. This is a decent risotto, although I’d prefer the rice grains to be firmer.

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The Tagliatelle Pasta with Spiced Beef Ragout (RM40) got us all singing praises though. I liked the al dente texture of the pasta, and the ragout was seasoned perfectly to complement.

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One thing I do have to say though, is that Bertha really does wonders to the meat. The Charcoal Roasted Wagyu Beef Brisket is amazingly tender. Although I’d prefer it not to be drenched in the mustard/mayonnaise.

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Catch of the day for us was a Trevally. And fortunately this one is paired with a tamarind sauce to break up the stream of that white sauce.

My my, that’s a lot of food right? We haven’t even gotten to the real main courses yet!

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One of the current specials is the Australian Black Angus OP Ribs (RM360). A whole kg of meat meant for sharing, or for a super carnivore. Ours were medium rare of course, and the meat is flavourful enough to eat on its on. But better with a dash of pepper.

And speaking of peppers, at Flint you get to pick from these 3 delicious selections.

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My favourite is the super fruity Nepalese Timur Berry. I want to take it home!

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The Australian Rib eye has always been my preferred cut of steak and here it’s executed well, with the help of Bertha.

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The Grilled Lamb Loin was also good, superbly charred outside while perfectly pink inside. Best way to enjoy lamb. This one is also not too fatty/gamey in taste.

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There are some really good sides too. The Spiced cauliflower dish reminds me of my favourite dish in Cumulus, Melbourne with the addition of yoghurt and pomegranate.

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And the hand cut sweet potato wedges are highly recommended! A better alternative to fries for sure.

All that food and there are still desserts! What have we done to deserve such feast?

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Deconstructed Apple Crumble, wish there was more crumble to go around with the sweet, sticky apples.

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The Earl Grey Bavarois was very light, with a slight hint of tea. Perfect dessert after the heavy eating.

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Rocky Road Orange Brownie. Only dish I didn’t try but good effort considering there were all 18 of them.

Thank you Flint for the fabulous hospitality!

Flint Restaurant & Bar
24 Persiaran Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tues-Sun: 3pm to midnight
Tel: 03-4252-8262

Häagen-Dazs™ Introduces A New Way To Send Flowers With Its “Little Gardens” Collection

Running out of ways to impress your partner? Want to show a little appreciation to your mom in a creative way? Well, here’s an idea for you. You can send flowers along with Ice Cream for that special person in your life. It won’t be just any ice cream of course, in fact let me just give you a glimpse:

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And it’s not just any Häagen-Dazs, either. This is a very special limited edition called the Little Gardens Collection. Partnering with from BloomThis, bespoke luxury flower arrangement and delivery specialist; you can send your loved ones the glorious gift of blooms perfectly complemented with a pint from the Little Gardens Collection of flavors, from May 16th till July 15th.

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The Little Gardens Collection, latest to the Häagen-Dazs™ renowned line up of ice cream flavors, is inspired by the beautiful and aromatic world of flowers. Ethan Lim, Marketing Director of General Mills Southeast Asia said; “These 2 limited edition flavors were inspired by Spring and the idea of flowers in bloom and they have been carefully crafted to balance the aromatic floral notes with sweet fruit to deliver a truly unique ice cream indulgence.”

Häagen-Dazs™ has a core philosophy of using the best ingredients to produce their signature dense, rich and indulgent ice cream and these limited edition flavours are no exception. Only available for 3 months, the Little gardens Collection fresh fruit flavours will be enhanced and complemented by delicate floral notes.

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Lychee Raspberry Rose

An intoxicating blend of rose, lychee and raspberry flavors. Inspired by the sweet allure of the world-famous Ispahan Macaron, this delicate dessert is crafted with rose extract from Turkish roses, juicy handpicked lychees from Taiwan and the sweetest raspberries to create a fragrant ice cream with the perfect balance of rose and sweet fruit that will exhilarate the palette.

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Apricot Lavender

Made with lavender from the Mediterranean coast and plump apricots from Morocco and France, this recipe refreshes and relaxes the senses. The lavender entices the palate while a thick apricot sauce and generous scattering of apricot pieces bring a tartness that goes on to tingle the tongue.

Personally, I really really dig (get it?) these floral flavours. The apricot and lavender has a lovely tang and a subtle lavender note.

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Disclaimer: Don’t be over-zealous with the sprinkling of Lavender or you’ll risk eating potpourri.

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I’ve served this on top of homemade waffles along with some fresh apricot. Makes for excellent afternoon tea.

However, I have a special weakness for anything related to roses so of course the Lychee, Raspberry and Rose would be my choice. And thus, it deserves special treatment. In a form of Ice Cream Tart.

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Isn’t it just exquisite? I’ll be posting the recipe up soon enough. The Ice Cream itself is just delightful, with delicate rose note which brings you instantly to a gorgeous garden, finished with the tart raspberry and the unique aroma of lychee. It’s out of this world. Too bad it’s only available for 3 months, I will be stocking up for sure.

With BloomThis, you can get an arrangement of flowers and a pint of your choice delivered for RM119. This bundle is only available for 3 months, so make sure you take advantage of it. And I’m going to give you a Promo code which entitles you to get a 15% discount off the package price, just to make it sweeter. And the code is: KELLYDAZS15. Head over to http://bloomthis.co/collections/haagen-dazs to make your order.

Deliveries of ‘Little Garden’ bundles are limited to certain Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley areas. Terms and conditions apply. Visit BloomThis’ website (bloomthis.co) for more information.

Smile Makers Launched in Malaysia

There are a few things in life that can truly contribute to one’s happiness. Just like a good meal can give you the boost of endorphin, an orgasm is a surefire way to relieve stress and anxiety while boosting your self-confidence. In this day and age, sex is no longer that much of a taboo subject. In fact, according to a “Malaysian Women Sexual Health and Well-being” survey, 79% of Malaysian women talk about sex in general as well as their own sex lives with their partners and friends. Therefore, today’s topic is all about taking charge of our body in order to promote sexual well-being.

There are few more interesting findings from the same survey (which is sponsored by leading sexual well-being brand Smile Makers, and we will get to that in a bit):

·         65% of Malaysian women are sexually satisfied.

·         73% of Malaysian women feel they are in control of their sexual satisfaction.

·         68% of Malaysian women feel sexual satisfaction is important.

·         9 out of 10 Malaysian women view women who own a vibrator positively and neutrally, thinking them to be open to new experiences and fun & spontaneous.

·         78% of Malaysian women have experienced dryness-related pain during sex, negatively affecting their sexual satisfaction.

·         58% of Malaysian women have used a personal lubricant, which is higher than other Asian countries.

·         Over half of women in Malaysia are more open to either using, or the idea of trying out a vibrator than many Asian and European counterparts.

·         Three-quarters of Malaysian women consider the ingredients in lubricant products before purchasing them.

These statistics may come as a surprise to some of you, but I feel it’s great that we don’t have to feel ashamed to go for what we want, in a safe way of course. In view of these positive findings, it’s certainly the right time that the Smile Makers has made its entrance and appearance in Malaysia, with the launch of its perosnal massagers and premium lubricants that are designed to enhance the sexual well-being of us women in Malaysia.

Mr. Mattias Hulting, the co-founder of Ramblin’ Brands shared, “The survey results are truly amazing- showing that Malaysia is a very different country in actuality when it comes to sexual wellbeing than how it perceives itself. It is much more open, and the reward is a higher level of satisfaction and happiness.”

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The survey shows that over half of women in Malaysia are either using, or open to the idea of trying out a vibrator. Over half of non-users would be open to try a vibrator (52%), making them much more open to the idea than many European countries, including Belgium (37%), Switzerland (31%), France (32%).”   Mr. Mattias Hulting added.

Buying a personal massager or two shouldn’t have to be a difficult process (not everyone is open to walking into a “specialty shop”, and it can prove a little embarrassing to be browsing online specialty shops for these too) and the sleek design of these Smile Makers provide extra discreetness too.
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The range of personal massagers include four personalities (from left): The Fireman, The Frenchman, The Tennis Coach and The Millionaire – to help women explore and appreciate their bodies to feel sexy, confident and beautiful. Smile Makers are produced alongside some of the world’s leading electronics brands in a static-free environment. All products are completely phthalate-free, made with super-smooth, 100% body-safe, FDA-aprroved silicone. All four are designed differently, with The Fireman and The Frenchman (as you can imagine) designated to external use, The Tennis Coach with a special curved ball for G-Spot Stimulation, and The Millionaire as an all-rounder.

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The Personal Lubricants are as pretty as they come, easily confused with one of those luxury beauty brand (one that comes with the miracle water). There are 3 types: Little light liquid (for a natural sensation) Stay Silky Serum (for a smoother, velvety feel), and Generous Gel which is rich and luxuriously textured. All formulations are paraben free, water based, fragrance free and condom compatible.

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It’s common for stressed, post-natal, post menopausal women to have dryness-related pain during sex. Lubricants can help to ease the discomfort. The use of water-based, paraben-free and pharma-grade ingredients are important when choosing lubricants. Water-based lubricants will be ideal as they are less sticky and are easy to wash-off. What’s more, high purity ingredients that are used in water based  lubricant make it safer  to use. Professor Dr. Jamiyah advised. 

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It’s clear that Smile Makers is a brand that women will be able to trust wholeheartedly, due to its uncompromising commitment to quality, and unswerving dedication in desiring to enhance the sexual well-being of women the world over. Since launching its personal massagers in Europe in 2013, Smile Makers has helped women around the globe find their inner smile through a network of over 4,000 health and beauty stores in ten European and Asian markets. And today, you can experience it for yourself too, as it’s now available to purchase online at http://www.lazada.com.my/smile-makers/.

Get a 10% discount on Smile Makers when you enter this code – SMBLOG10
*This code is valid from 12 May to 25 May 2016 and enables you to get up to RM25 discount for the products.

Savini Ristorante Italiano, Intermark

The dining scene in Kuala Lumpur is constantly evolving and there are always new restaurants opening up in all sorts of genres. But in terms of great Italian fine dining restaurants, you can pretty much still count them in one hand. Will Savini, lives up to its promise of delivering unforgettable dining experience with exquisite dishes? Read on and judge for yourself.

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Savini is located at the Intermark, which is not exactly an easy place to get to during Peak hour traffic. But granted, it’s a classy venue and the restaurant itself is large, boasting a fully equipped bar, bar lounge, cigar lounge, 3 private rooms and a dining hall.

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With such opulence, it’s no surprise it will cost some considerable moolah to dine here. But of course, this dishes here are mostly laced with premium ingredients. Chef Azizan is the brain behind the menu and the food here is kept fairly classic, though with a modern touch.

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Our first starter was the Foie gras, Pan seared Goose Liver served on a Pineapple slice drizzled with Madagascan Vanilla Pod Infused Honey (RM45), served with rather eye catching splatters of red (raspberry, I think). The liver itself has a good sear, although I’d prefer it to be more buttery in texture. I think the pineapple slice didn’t really do anything for me, maybe the flavours will gel more if it’s more on the tart side. By the way note the first appearance of the Mango Salsa (and edible flowers).
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Next up, the Gamberetti cocktail, featuring Poached Shelled Prawns with Chili and Capers Infused Mayonnaise in a glass (ramekin) served with a Mesclun Bouget (RM45). Capers with Seafood always work well together, although I didn’t really detect the chili. It’s served with a quenelle of Caviar too.
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Bisque di Aragosta, Milky Foamed Lobster Bisque served with Cheese Bread (RM65) arrived on our table (along with more Caviar and…. flowers) and immediately the smell of ocean hit my nose. The soup is briny, naturally sweet, and just sufficiently creamy without being cloyingly so.

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Comes with chunky bits of Lobster, which is always welcomed.

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Of course, one does not dine in a Italian restaurant without having some Pasta, and ours came in a form of Spinach Ricotta Ravioli, with pillows of pasta stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese garnished with Herbed Butter (RM40). this one is slightly on the bland side, but it’s nice to get that herbaceous note.

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One of Chef’s signature dish is the Cod Fish Ala Savini, Cajun roasted Cod Fish with Cherry Tomatoes and Madagascan Vanilla Pot Infused Mango Salsa (RM90). It’s nearly impossible to mess up Cod Fish unless you overwhelm the dish with too much going on. Here I think the Chef has strike a good balance with buttery soft fish with just enough seasoning to entice the palate. Although the star of the dish is actually that roasted vine ripened tomato, bursting with umami flavour.

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Red Velvet Chocolate Cheese (RM39), I ony had a small bite of this because I don’t eat chocolate. But the cream cheese frosting is lovely.
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The Creme Brulee uses Madagascar Vanilla, and this to be was the best dessert of the lot, as it is executed to textbook perfection.

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A rather elegant presentation of Tiramisu with layers of coffee soaked sponge, Mascapone cheese and topped with cocoa powder. If I have one critique I would have liked to taste more coffee and sponge.

I’ve heard a few things about Savini’s mixologist, but we have kept to just wine that night. Incidentally the wine list is pretty comprehensive, and you can always rely on the staff to make appropriate recommendation. There’s also a live band every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for some entertainment (mostly oldies, and some Jazz).

Thank you Savini for having us!

Savini
Ristorante Italiano
Level 2, Lot 2-05, The Intermark
Jalan Tun Razak, 50400, Kuala Lumpur
www.savini.my
www.facebook.com/SaviniItalian
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Hong Kong Hot Pot 香港热锅, Telawi Square Bangsar

I have a thing for Hot Pot. It’s the satisfaction of dunking fresh ingredients into boiling hot broth and then just enjoy the ingredients at its plainest state (well, with the help of some condiments), and it’s also a great way to bond. It goes without saying the ingredients need to be very fresh, and the broth needs to be wholesome enough to impart some flavour as well as providing a great base to a tasty soup at the end. Therefore, we are always on the lookout for good Hot Pot places and I think I might have just found my favourite.

Introducing Hong Kong Hot Pot (香港热锅), a new kid on the block located at Telawi Square. It’s only over a month old and it’s showing good potential to be a popular dining spot. The concept, as you might guess, is Hong Kong style Hot Pot, featuring a lot of imported ingredients from Hong Kong and other countries to ensure only good quality stuff are served to their customers.

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One Friday evening, the girls from Malaysia Hottest Bloggers and I turned up for a feast, and a feast we did have!

First, let’s start with their condiments:

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There are pots of coriander, soy sauce, freshly cut chili, raw garlic, spring onion, Sha Cha sauce (a popular Hot Pot condiment in Hong Kong/Taiwan/China, it’s basically the Chinese BBQ sauce), and homemade Chili which packs a punch. No prize guessing which is my favourite, of course.

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The Century Eggs here are from the famous Yong Kee Hong Kong. Served with ginger, it’s a lovely starter to the meal. I’m no century egg connoisseur but the see the little “snowflake” imprints on the egg “black”? Supposed to be a marker of good century egg. To me, the flavours are good and I liked that the yolk is slightly runny in the centre but is not pungent at all.

The soul of Hot Pot is of course the broth. We got to sample 4 different broths: Pumpkin, Sakura Pork Bone, Szechuan Spicy and Century Egg with Coriander.

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For a spice chaser, I’m surprised how much I like the original pork bone broth. It has that natural sweetness of the pork and while it’s sufficiently seasoned, there’s no MSG used. It’s even delicious enough to slurp on its own. The pumpkin base is a good vegetarian alternative (then again who really eats JUST vegetables at Hot Pot?), and it has a prominent ginger taste. Though I found it a little filling as it’s quite thick.
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The Century Egg/Coriander broth is something I’ve never tried before, though I don’t really detect the flavour of century egg as you can imagine, coriander can be quite overpowering. The Szechuan Spicy broth is quite mild in heat as compared to places like Xiao Fei Yang, but it’s tastier, thanks to the pork bone broth as base.

So we eagerly sipped the home brewed Herbal Tea, which is a refreshing concoction of Watercress, Red dates, Chrysanthemum and Palm sugar and this awesome platter landed on our table.
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The platter is technically not on the menu but can be ordered and it’s RM68 per person. The portion you see in the pic is for 3. And that really is a lot of food. It includes: Japanese Half Shell Scallops, Korean Oysters, Fresh Tiger Prawns, Local Bean Curd Skin (Foo Chook), Bean Curd Roll (Imported from Hong Kong), Crispy Fish Skin (imported from Hong Kong), Homemade meat balls (Prawn balls, Squid Balls and Fish Balls), Imported meat balls (Mushroom Pork Balls, Crab Role Balls), Home made Chive Dumplings, Home made Prawn Dumplings, Enoki Mushrooms, King Oyster Mushrooms, Udon, Yee Mee, Premium Pork Slices, Premium Marbled Beef Slices, Liver slices (Pig), Kidney slices (pig).

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Of course, I zero-ed in on the Oysters. You can’t eat these raw, but don’t overcook it either to enjoy the tender flesh. On the far left are the Bean Curd Roll, which has a beautiful name in Chinese: 響零. You dip this in the broth for precisely 4 seconds. And far right, crispy fish skin which you only need to dip for one second to maintain maximum crisp.

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Look at the beautiful marbling on both the beef and pork. I can’t pick which one I like more. So give me both!

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The beautiful slices of Liver and Kidney I will not reject, in fact I was tempted to eat the liver raw! The liver should be slightly undercooked and slightly pink for the best texture, while the kidney needs a little more broth time.

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Here’s a special fish ball with roe as filling. Talk about a pleasant surprise.

We were introduced to a special way of consuming the yee mee too. You first cook it until al dente, fish out the noodles, and sprinkle some crushed fish skin and bean curd sheet over, then pour in a little broth.

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Satisfying and comforting at the same time!

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I have to admit we probably overate that night, but it was one of the nicest review I’ve attended for a long time. Needless to say, I will be back, and soon.

Hong Kong Hot Pot
Address: Lot 9 & 10, Level 2, Telawi Square,
Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: 03-2280 0242
Opening Hours: 4pm – 12am Daily. (Reservations from 12am – 4am can be made upon booking)

Grilled Eggplant with Ponzu

Bliss, is when you have found a life partner who is just excited as you are to go on food adventures of different kinds. I’m lucky that Kevin and I seem to agree most of the time on our meal choices, and that has brought us some memorable dining experiences, some are hits and some are misses (usually promptly blacklisted by us). Sometimes, a dish left such lasting impression, I felt compelled to replicate at home.

Several months ago, Kevin and I went to 炭家 Sumika, a fairly well-known Yakitori restaurant located at SS15 Subang Jaya. This restaurant has a strong following, and you do have to book ahead to guarantee a seat. There is only one grill and one Yakitori master manning it (though he does have help by his side), expertly turning the skewers around and seasoning everything to perfection.

All the skewers we ordered, be it Chicken, Pork, Beef, or various organs (our favourite) were good. But what really won us over was the Grilled Eggplant. I don’t have a good picture to show you, but let me paint you a picture. A long, sizable Eggplant slowly charred on the grill for that perfect smokiness. The skin is then peeled, revealing its silky flesh, which is then cut into smaller pieces, drizzled with Ponzu Shoyu and then covered with Bonito Flakes. Our mind was blown.

Of course, I don’t have a charcoal grill at home (what an investment that would be), but I do have an Airfryer that does amazing things with Eggplants (I’ve made Baba Ganoush and Tortang Talong that employs the same principle of charring the eggplant), so this dish made into fairly high rotation at home.

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Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine and it’s often combined with Soy sauce. I used a bottled one. You should be able to find it in the Japanese food section of your supermarket. If not, it’s not so difficult to make at home. Here’s a recipe.

This dish really so simple it’s pretty much a non-recipe. With an airfryer, simply set the Eggplant to grill on 180 degrees Celcius for 10 minutes. Once it’s done, carefully peel off the skin (it should come right off), place on a plate and cut into bite size pieces with scissors. Drizzle enough Ponzu sauce and Soy Sauce over, then garnish with Bonito Flakes. Serve when hot.

No airfryer? Fret not, you can still char it over the stove, bake it for another 15 minutes and then proceed with the same steps. Do bear in mind though with the airfryer it won’t have the distinctive charred/smokiness aroma. So if that’s really important to you, then this recipe is not for you (invest in a charcoal grill!).

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Enjoy this with or without rice, along with other dishes (teriyaki chicken is a good one, grilled salmon is fabulous too). If you love eggplant as much as we do, you’ll fall in love with this too.

Georgian Wine Tasting with Eurasia Trading

In my lifetime of wine drinking, I have to say I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Georgian Wines. So it was an eye-opening (palate opening, more accurately) experience when I attended an intimate wine tasting session organised by Eurasia Trading at The Barn, Mont Kiara. Little did I know, that the wine of Georgia has been popular among the post-Soviet Union countries for many years. It is only in the recent years that Georgian wine expanded its markets and introduced the rest of the world to this unique variety of semi-sweet wine.

Georgia is often called “The Cradle of Wine”, with the earliest artifact of viticulture being 8,000 years old. The climate of Georgia is marked by sunny summers and frost-free winners, and the presence of natural mineral rich streams and the Black Sea makes the soil fertile, creating ideal conditions for vine cultivation. There are over 500 traditional grape varieties in Georgia, and around 10% are used in commercial wine making.

The traditional method of winemaking in Georgia involves crushing the grapes and pouring the mixture into a Kvevri, a clay jar resembling the shape of an amphora, for fermentation. The period of fermentation generally goes up to around 2 years. This method gives the wine a firm tannic texture and ensures a longer shelf life without any artificial preservatives.

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And that brings me to the story of Eurasia Trading. Long story short, Elya Tleuzhanova from Kazakhstan met Malaysian-born Stanley Chee and sparks flew, they are now happily married and started this company together as they share a common interest in fine wine. Thanks to them, we are now able to enjoy the delicious Georgian wine as well.

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There are currently 5 different wines under Eurasia Trading, and I can first tell you that these are great for those who tend to avoid dry or full-bodied wines. The wines are naturally semi-sweet obtained through temperature control settings in order to stop fermentation process and keep the natural sugar level.

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As I arrived at the event slightly late following a food review earlier in the evening, I managed to catch the tail end of it and tasted some of the wines. First is, of course, the Alazani Valley White. Made with a mixture of Grapes called Rkatsiteli, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Tsitska and Tsolikouri, this wine has an intense straw colour with the aroma of citrus and honey. Very delicious and fruity, best served with cheese, seafood and even spicy food.
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Here I was caught sipping on the Alazani Valley Red Semi-Sweet Wine. Made with Saperavi, Aleksandrouli and Odjaleshi grapes, this one has a rich garnet colour, and while nosing it releases aromas of blackberry and cherry. The taste is harmonious, balanced with a pleasant fruity freshness and a long finish. It caught me by surprise as I didn’t expect it to be this sweet. Certainly very different from the Red wines we usually get here, and I’d be happy to sip on this along with some fruits and maybe more cheese.

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Some of the finger food at The Barn to supplement the wine tasting experience.

My favourite is actually the Rose, however, as it is the least sweet of the lot (yes I know I’m kinda fussy with my wine). Made with Saperavi, Muscat and Mtsvane, its gorgeous redcurrant colour was reached through special technology, when grape skin is the leg for contact with grape juice for maceration for about 8-10 hours. This wine has velvety, fruity taste, with light flavour of May roses (according to its description, I have not developed palate fine tuned enough to detect the month of the roses).

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The 2 wines that I missed out on tasting was the Kindzmarauli, another Red made with Saperavi Grapes, a saturated garnet-coloured wine with an elegant bouquet of pleasant varietal fruit. The taste is harmonious, balanced, with aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant. The other was a Red Moscato, made using a unique antique method, keeping the 8000 years of Georgian winemaking traditions. Dark garnet coloured wine is enriched with the pleasant aroma of rose, blackcurrant and cherry. It is characterised by long-lasting, well-balanced ending with fruit tones and pleasant sweetness.

Do bear in mind that the alcohol content of these wine is generally a little lower due to the higher sugar content (most of them are around 11.5%).

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Here Poesy and I caught having a somewhat animated conversation over something. Thought I’d insert the photo because I like my hair here.

To order and for more information, simply head over to their website https://www.eurasia.my/. You can buy online using PayPal, credit card, debit card or bank transfer. They will ship to all cities in Malaysia and it usually only take 1 to 4 working days. And here’s something even better: I have a promo code for you! Use “KELLY10” when you check out and receive 10% off (valid until 9th April).

Thank you, Elya and Stanley for the wonderful introduction to Georgian wines.

Feel Hydrated with Cetaphil

[Advertorial]
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One of my ongoing skin concerns has always been dry skin. If I’m not careful and vigilant enough, rest assured my ezcema will come out and play. To counter and prevent that, I make sure I hydrate myself enough (that also protect my voice) and drink plenty of water per day, and I always have to use a moisturier for my face and body.

Needless to say, having the right moisturiser is very important to me and good thing there is Cetaphil which is a skincare organisation that delivers quality skincare solutions. Cetaphil has over 60 years of proven success, and the brand is the recommended choice by dermatologists around the world.

The brand is a market leader in the derma-skincare category, with multiple awards under its belt, and aims to continue providing consumers with total skin confidence.

So why is hydration and a good moisturising regime important?

Proper hydration reduces the indications of age and keeps skin soft, elastic and youthful looking. Well-hydrated skin looks firm and supple and is able to heal faster when injured. When skin is not adequately properly hydrated, it loses thickness, and provides less body protection, resulting in a dry, dull and extra sensitive skin tone becomes dry and dull, and extra sensitive. Even worse is that wrinkles are formed easily and that’s the last thing any woman would want!

Properly hydrated skin has been known to age slower than moisture-deprived skin, and is better protected against environmental influences. As you age, your skin becomes less effective at regulating the skin’s water balance, therefore it is important to include a good moisturizer in your daily routine.

Thanks to a whole lot of research done on skincare, more people around the world are beginning to accept and commit to the three-step routine – cleanse, moisturise and protect. Also with the assistance of dermatology experts and organisations, information, tips and guides in sustaining a healthy and hydrated skin are more easily accessible.

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So this is where Cetaphil can help!

Cetaphil has a range of moisturising products for different occasions and purposes, such as the Cetaphil Moisturising Cream, DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion, Intensive Moisturising Cream and Daily Facial Moisturiser SPF 15.

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The iconic Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser was founded by a pharmacist in 1947 and was the first skincare product formulated by dermatologists as a stand-alone skincare product gentle enough for all skin types, even for babies.

Its gentle, non-irritating properties soothe your skin as it cleans. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can be used for both face and body with its pH-balanced non-soap formulation that works without causing skin irritation. What’s amazing is that this product can be used with or without water!

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The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths helps you keep your face fresh and clean on the go. This product is specially formulated for sensitive skin, and each convenient pack contains 25 cloths that leave the skin feeling clean, supple and healthy after every use.

This dermatologist developed and tested product is suitable for all skin types, and thoroughly removes dirt and makeup without irritation. It is also ophthalmologist tested, meaning that you can use it without any worries around the eye area.

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The Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion provides your skin with hydration for hours. It is formulated with a unique combination of five key ingredients, known as the Epidermal Replenishing Complex5 (ERC5), making this ultra-hydrating lotion perfect for use on normal to dry skin all day, every day.

It is ideal for both face and body, is absorbed fast by the skin, and contains ERC5 to hydrate the skin for 24 hours.

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Cetaphil’s Hydration Questionnaire

To achieve total skin confidence, Cetaphil has initiated a Hydration Questionnaire campaign to comprehend consumers’ hydration habits, as well as demonstrate the importance of moisturising.

Head over to participate at http://cetaphil.com.my/hydrationquestionnaire/ and you could win yourself Cetaphil products worth RM350.00!!!

There are just 10 questions to fill up and most of them are simple yes or no, or multiple choice questions. Then just fill in your address and contact details and Cetaphil will send the first 1,500 respondents a free sample!

For more info, head over to:

Website: www.cetaphil.com.my

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cetaphilmalaysia

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cetaphilmy

Giveaway!

I’ve got a little treat for you as I’m giving away 2 x Prizes:

Cetaphil hamper worth RM100.00

Questions

  1. When was Cetaphil established?
  1. What does Cetaphil want to achieve?
  1. Tell me why you love Cetaphil in less than 20 words.

Email the answer to me at [kelly_chin61@yahoo.com.au] together with your full name and contact number by 15 March 2016.

*Terms and conditions apply.
Winners will be notified in April 2016.
Uncollected prizes will be forfeited.
Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

Time to give your skin some extra care by providing gentle yet intensive hydration. It’s also been a long time since I’ve done a giveaway, so I’m looking forward to receiving your entries!