Sunday, August 28, 2016

You Whom I Love (II)

August was extremely tiring and exhausting in all aspects of life, and sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be where I am in my circumstances and should be grateful of what I am able to do everyday, with what I've been given. So here is another entry in my You Whom I love series, where I recollect moments, people and things that I love and share them with you. If you missed my previous one, you can read it here!

☆ Tsujiri Matcha Soft Serve

Ice cream makes me happy, matcha ice cream makes me tripl-ey (?) happy. Tsujiri does a great simple soft serve, with interesting toppings like a dollop of red bean and chestnuts. I have, however, since discovered the magic that is Milk Train Café with the to-die-for Hojicha soft serve.

47 Rupert Street

☆ Brunch with bloggah frans friends at L'eto Cafe

Fii popped down for an event but we had some time to catch up and grab lunch at one my fave Soho gems (I have many l ol) - L'eto Cafe. I first discovered it because I was looking for good honey cake (the Czech kind, after I went to Prague and fell in love with it) but they serve a variety of brunch meals, juices, and teas!

I went for the Asian fare: topped with pan fried shiitake mushrooms and yuzu dressing on seaweed, it was a yummy meal :-) plus Fii told me great stories....

L'eto Cafe
155 Wardour Street

☆ My stationery box 

When in doubt or in times of sadness, I open up my stationery box full of goodies (like everyone else, I do love me some pretty stickers and notepads (at a good value tho) (did you like this double bracket lol i am so weird))). This is a part of my haul from Seoul because I love everything there and they're incredibly cute, just look at those Moomin stickers will you?!

They also didn't cost me an arm and a leg *cough Kikki K cough*

☆ Fifi Lapin phonecase c/o Iconemesis

As you might've seen on my Instagram, my work phone is a jarring plasticky green (I didn't get a choice okay) and I've been meaning to get a case to cover it up for ages. Lo and behold, a beautiful and stylish one dropped from heavens Iconemesis and I love it! It's very me - the ~parisian bunny vibes~ and the pastel colours, not to mention that it gives me work wear inspiration. Boom. I killed two birds with one stone. Except I don't kill birds because that would be cruel.

It's a metaphor, okay.

Also how cute is my Brown bear plushie :') he was on sale in the Line Friends store!

☆ Enjoying the weekends 

Fact: I have trouble enjoying on the weekends. I get stressed out Monday-Friday from the sheer uselessness of my work laptop which crashes my program every half hour and then will spend Saturday morning cleaning, then try to get as much time as possible afterward 'enjoying' my weekend but it always feels too rushed, too forced.

This bank holiday weekend was a much needed break, and I could take a breath, enjoy the sunshine and walk around town without worrying whether I needed to prep lunch for work, or hurry to finish up the ironing (I do, but extra time is good eh?)...

Our BBQ Ribs + Lobster outfit: loose so I could cramp as much food as I could in 1.5 hours. It was a good meal. Matt bought me out for lunch because I'm heading off for a work getaway till Wednesday!

Finally - our trip to Dalloway Terrace yesterday for a lovely afternoon tea! I loved it, the atmosphere and ambience was very picturesque and its semi-secret location was great because it meant it wasn't crowded with lots of noise or people... Pictures to come soon, but have a sneak peek on my insta ;-)

I've been trying to keep up with blogs and written things and here are some of the stars:

☆ Sarah has written yet another great story post, about our presence online and the influence of internet in our lives
☆ Nat's first post on her amazing trip to Mongolia and absolutely can't wait to read more
☆ So proud of Matt and his article being published in The Times last Saturday
☆ Katie's photos on Paris are infectious and her photos are a joy to look at

What/who have you been loving recently, share your stories and hope you are all having a great week ahead...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Favourite Top 5 Affordable Green Beauty Brands (Also Vegan)

favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Green beauty don't come cheap these days - the likes of blogger faves Antipodes (still haven't tried this!) and Jurlique (I used it pre-blogger hype when I was ~15 and loved it but man it was $$$$) have more or less dominated the 'must-haves' lists for beauty bloggers and nothing less will do. Except at a very high cost, and probably rob you of any joy in life in your quest to look beautiful naturally.

While I usually blog about fashion and style because it comes more naturally to me, what everyone knows less about me is that I've always been interested in green beauty as a result of my teenage angsty skin: the sensitive, extremely acne prone skin which has now morphed into a blend of hormonal and stress acne.... not pretty.

I'm not one for drugstore brands due to ingredients used - chemicals on sensitive skin for me personally is a no-go but just thought I would share some of my favourite green beauty brands in the market at a much more wallet-friendly price, which works just as well!

THEY ARE ALSO VEGAN. (Not that I'm vegan but... lots of peeps are)


favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Weleda Skin Food 10ml c/o Weleda (£9.95 for 75ml) and Aknedoron Purifying Lotion (£9.95 for 50ml)

Now Weleda has been around for 90 years now, so they're a big name already - but their products are surprisingly affordable! These 10ml tubes of Skin Food have been my saviour for my dehydrated skin in the office A/C, and you just need the tiniest amount for your skin to absorb it. It has great ingredients like calendula and chamomile for soothing red skin, and rosemary to get it all goin'. It's also a celeb brand fave, so I think I'm pretty hip both ways. And it's the perfect traveling size, especially going through airport security!

My firm favourite this year has got to be the Aknedoron Purifying Lotion - jam packed with healing ingredients like lavender and chamomile (again), preventative goodness like echinacea, I use it to combat my acne breakouts and calm the redness. And it works like a charm. In fact, it's part of my 3-step miracle products routine which I'll be sharing soon so watch out ;-)

Compare these to much more coveted brands out there, these are fantastic and are much more forgiving on your savings.

Oh it's 100% natural too.


favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask (£18 for 60ml) / Madara Clarifying Toner (£10.80 for 200ml) 

Madara is a new discovery this year: I nabbed some goodies from a FeelUnique 30% sale earlier and they haven't disappointed so far! It's a Latvian natural skincare brand and it uses traditional herb blends in their products, with the aim of delivering the same effects of clinically formulated ingredients.

AHA is everyone's bestie these days, and the Peel Mask uses active fruit acids to simultaneously exfoliate the skin to stimulate cell turnover for brighter complexion. Who doesn't want that?! I'd say it's very similar to the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask (at a whooping £32 for 50ml?!?!!) but much cheaper... and while it's a thinner consistency, it works just as effectively and is very easy to use. It smells like herbs but I like herbs so all is good.

As for the Clarifying Toner, I was on the hunt after finishing up my COSRX AHA/BHA Toner (wonderful stuff) so I decided to jump ship to try this one out. It smells so so good, with roses and and cucumber and good ol' salicylic acid. Generally a good all-rounder for redness and blemish-prone skin.


favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Hands down, the most underrated brand in the UK green beauty scene ever. I've used Handmade Naturals since my uni days for about 5 years now and they consistently impress. One my favourites is the face and neck serum because it smells divine, and the blend of rose and rosehip is amazing for blemish healing and general soothing of the skin. You can even use it as a primer pre-foundation to smooth everything out.

The Japanese Rice Bran oil is a stunner too, as it's an all-purpose oil: cleansing, massaging, moisturising. It's supposed to increase elasticity, and firms the skin and used in anti-aging products. Great for all types of skin too!

Other products from them that I love: Face Cleansing Oil with Japanese Camellia & Rice Bran (£6.95 for 50ml - lasts for ages too), Lavender & Geranium Face Toner (£6.95 for 100ml) and Virgin Shea Butter with Jojoba, Organic Calendula & Chamomile (only £3.95 for 15ml and took me 1.5 years to finish).

The love is real.


favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Relaxing Night Cream M10 (£10.99 for 50ml, but I bought mine for £7+ with 20% off)

Face theory was a brand I've never heard of until my friend Weng (aka 9outoften l o l) introduced me to it... it's a relatively unknown brand, an independent online retailer based in UK selling fuss-free skincare according to your skin type. I know lots of people are sensitive to oils so they offer oil-free/unscented versions of their products too.

They often do promotions and discounts which is why I bought my Night Cream for less than £10! Boasting ingredients like argan oil, aloe vera and shea butter, it's supposed to rehydrate thirsty skin like a charm. It's on the thicker consistency, which is my go-to during colder seasons. And it contains everyone's favourite miracle ingredient: hyaluronic acid, the skin loves drinking what it can get so you'll have a smooth and more 'juicy' face upon waking up. Like I said, they do unscented versions as well which I've gifted my friend who has sensitive skin and she loves it!


favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Organic Shea Whipped Body Butter (£11.95 for 140g) 

I've raved about Dames and Dimes previously already, and how the founder started her company by sourcing some of the best ingredients to come up with these amazing products... and my love for it is still going strong. I'm still using this Whipped Body Butter every other day to moisturise but it's definitely a great one for winter, because the thick chunky and mousse-y (love!) consistency makes it so luxurious to use when you have really dry skin. It's also got rosehip and jojoba goodness so you've yourself covered on the cell regeneration front for dem smooth and silky legs.... #legsfordays?

They do some other great products too like the Nail & Cuticle Balm (maybe my next buy after my Melvita one runs out) and Sea Salt and Peppermint body scrub (how dreamy, would love to try it!). Totally not sponsored, and I just really like their stuff.

favourite top 5 green beauty brands weleda madara ren

Let me know what green beauty brands you love which aren't going to bankrupt me???? Have a great weekend all, and my next post should (hopefully) be about food from Asia :')

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Have Hipster Glasses

I started wearing glasses when I was about 9 years old – these ostentatiously pink rounded frames on my very very tiny round face, I probably look like I was a mega nerd (I probably was) and went around thinking I was cool... Years passed, and I wore contact lenses and learnt the horrible struggles of dry eyes that come with it, especially in the office.

This is why I love me a pair of comfortable and stylish glasses...

These new tortoiseshell (yeah I'm so fashun-able, right?!) ones are from GlassesShop and kindly gifted to me, another one of those e-retailers floating around these days. I'm usually quite skeptical because you never know if you're shopping from a legit seller, especially with prescription glasses! You can also go wild with prescription sunglasses so your options are literally endless.

When I received my glasses, it turned out alright and everyone thinks I look stylish so I guess it worked out well in the end ;-) They have plastic lenses in, which is far lighter than the glass ones I used to wear as a child. Those nose bridge marks were unforgiving. I was such a cool kid, I know.

Anyway, embarrassing childhood stories aside, these new pair are my new hipster glasses.... I can go to Shoreditch and drink craft beer now and make friends with maaahdels right?

And they were easy enough to order - get your prescription and type it into the system after selecting your most desired pair (but make sure you know the numbers, I've had to re-do mine because I gave a long-sighted vision instead of short-sight). They also have a wide range of glasses frame so I spent ages choosing the right one and you know what they say... no ragrets.

I have nothing much to add except I really like how they look - I've always wanted these styles but could never find a pair that fit my petite face... so these are great to get into the swing of things. I would've liked the lens to be thinner but I was given the default option, but other than that, it's going great. I've had them for about two months now, which is just enough moulding in time and share my thoughts... Considering my veteran years of being shore sighted, these were a pair of pretty cheap glasses too (and I have raked up $$$ in being semi-blind let me assure you), and the azn in me approves.

Happy weekend folks, promise the next post will be far more interesting ha! Tell me how your week was, mine was way too busy at work and we spent a few late nights working and I really need to rest over the weekend...

Friday, August 5, 2016

What I Miss About Home

Some of you may know: while I've lived in London for the past five years (!! time passes too quickly), I'm not actually from the UK. Home is a 13 hour flight away, in the tropics where it's hot all year round, with terrifying rainstorms and amazing food.

It's just under a month since we're back in London and every day more makes me miss it even more... which is a bittersweet feeling, because you only really treasure simple things when you don't have it in front of you huh?

I taught myself how to swim in this pool - we moved here when I was 10, and I would spend my holidays and weekends swimming, sometimes even when it rained, often with my dad after he came home from work. It often felt like I was in a resort retreat, because there's so much greenery and a golf course next door! I had a hard time convincing my friends to come over though, because pre-driving everyone didn't know where we lived so I always ended up hanging out alone (only child problems) and having long scooter rides around the apartment grounds...

I miss those weekends when I was very much younger, on the weekends, drinking blue pepsi – my mama called it toilet cleaner solution to deter us but I still drank it till it turned my tongue blue - going on the swings, cycling around and then one summer spent almost every day running with my friend Erik to 'get fit'.

A lot of almost-kisses, full heartaches, crying, and a half lifetime of joy - this is what I miss in the absence of eternal humid summer, knees on my cold tiles in the middle of the night with my inherited typewriter. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and words flowed endlessly from my fingertips to the ribbon clacking away. Running home during the deepest of winter in July (when I moved to Melbourne) was a comfort and a treat, being an always outsider because I was nowhere here nor there.

Ten years ago, I was still in school, I met my best friend and we were the cool kids - reading Neruda and Marquez, citing Proust (ha) and ee cummings (my favourite still), what I wouldn't give to relive these small moments had it not for the 8h time difference and her working 12-hour days as a doctor (so proud!).

Not in chronological order -

My mama made a rich chocolate cake once and made me finish it all not knowing I am severely lactose intolerant, despite my protestations and then I had to spend the next two hours on the sofa trying to digest it in my aching stomach. And despite that, home is buttery chocolate cake, bad Mexican food with Hannah, gossiping with Erik and the infamous Chinese New Year parties (wild kids we were). Driving with a bottle of wine and the horrible night at a darts bar, whiskey nights, pan mee, doing an open mic night and it goes on and on and on....

And above all, I miss the magic of the people, the nearest and the dearest, the boldest and the best. And for that I'm so grateful to have spent time with them, and relive it through enduring moments in my mind.

Cue my contemplative picture:

Tell me your stories about home, I would love to hear it :-) have a great weekend, friends!
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