Wednesday, April 1, 2015

OGX Hydrate + De-Frizz Kukui Collection




My hair never really got the attention it deserved from me. I've been so busy trying to tame my skin issues, thinking about hair related things was definitely not on my mind at all. Plus, apparently I'm "blessed" with super straight hair (that's what my friends keep telling me), while I was admiring their voluminous curls. But other than that I never had major problems with my hair. Though, now that I've been through quite a few different hair colours, my hair is not as shiny as it used to be. Especially this winter, I noticed how dull and dry it looked in comparison to before. However, I'm not a hair expert, so I didn't really know how to tackle this problem. But when OGX asked me to try out their new Hydrate + De-Frizz Kukui Oil Collection*, I was immediately on board. I don't have any issues with frizzy hair, but I was hoping to recover my glossy hair with the hydration it promises. The range contains kukui nut oil, which was used in ancient Hawaii to waterproof wooden goods and surf boards. Used in haircare,  it is supposed to repel humidity and seals in moisture, resulting in frizz-free and shiny hair. All these stories about secret ingredients and gorgeous hair sound miraculous, but I want to see physical results, not pretty words!

So I've been using the kukui oil shampoo, conditioner and anti-frizz hydrating oil for 3 weeks now and I have to say: I'm really impressed with the results! My hair looks so much glossier and healthier than before. The fact that I even noticed is quite the accomplishment, because I'm the kind of girl that didn't even notice, when one of her friends had braces for a year, until someone else pointed it out! Every two days I'd shampoo my hair, towel dry it a little and then work in the conditioner. While I'd wait for the conditioner to do it's magic, I usually cleanse my face in the meantime. After rinsing everything out properly, I'd blow dry my hair and then finish off with the de-frizz oil. It was really easy to shampoo my hair with this range, considering organic products tend to have a harder time with foaming up. My hair smelt really great afterwards and the conditioner and oil made my hair even glossier.

The conclusion: I'm not an expert, but a Sulfate free and reasonable priced product that gives you glossy hair, what else would you want?

You can buy the OGX Hydrate + De-Frizz Kukui Oil Collection* for £6.99 from Waitrose. (And right now they have a 3 for 2 offer!)


*Thank you OGX for the samples. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Travel Essentials




Long gone are the times of excessive holidays I enjoyed during school and uni (Please come back!). Now I have to think about how to make the most of the 20 days I can take off from work. But how do you visit family, friends and explore other parts of the world in such a limited amount of time? I seriously have no idea. Luckily, there's also bank holidays! So with Easter coming up, it's time to say bye to London for a little while and visit my family in their lovely new home. I cannot wait to eat my Mum's home-cooked food. Just the thought of it is already making me drool. Pho is on top of my food wishlist, followed by bun cha and then there's also banh cuon...

So this weekend I spent most of my time cleaning up my flat (I prefer coming home to a tidy place) and started "packing" my luggage. Thing is, I'll be only staying for 4 days, so there's really not much that I actually need. I'll probably fit everything in a backpack, no need for my trolley. But even when I'm away for a longer period of time, I prefer to pack lightly. It's not only good on your shoulders, it also prevents me from loosing things. I tend to be forgetful from time to time and leave my headphones at a friend's place or forget my charger at work. That's why I thought, why not share my travel essentials with you guys! I mean, the holiday season is starting soon as well (which I'll be spending in Berlin with Emma!), so maybe it'll help you pack for your next holiday as well.


German:
Die Zeiten vieler Urlaubstage sind vorbei. Nun muss ich irgendwie mit 20 Tagen klarkommen, die ich mir freinehmen kann im Jahr. Aber wie besucht man in so kurzer Zeit Familie, Freunde und all die anderen interessanten Laender? Ich weiss es nicht. Zum Glueck gibts aber noch Feiertage. Da ja dieses Wochende Ostern ist, werd ich London fuer in paar Tage den Ruecken zukehren und meine Familie in ihrem neuen Hausbesuchen. Ich kann es kaum abwarten das Essen meiner Mutter wieder zu verschlingen. Der Gedanke allein macht mich schon richtig hungrig. Ganz oben auf der Wunschliste steht natuerlich Pho, dann kommt Bun Cha und Pho Cuon gibts ja auch noch.

Aus diesem Grund habe ich das Wochenende hauptsaechlich mit Putzen verbracht (wer mag es schon nach dem Urlaub in einen Schweinestall zurueckzukehren?). Gepackt habe ich auch schon ein wenig, zumindest habe ich alles rausgelegt, was ich mitnehmen werde. Ich werde nur 4 Tage dort bleiben, brauche wahrscheinlich also nicht mal meinen Trolley. Aber auch wenn ich laenger bleiben wuerde, mag ich es lieber wenig mitzunehmen. Ist gut fuer den Ruecken, aber mindert auch die Moeglichkeiten Sachen zu verlieren oder zu vergessen (was ich leider sehr gern und oft mache). Deswegen dachte ich, warum zeige ich euch nicht, was ich so einpacke, wenn ich verreise. Urlaubssaison ist ja auch bald (welche ich in Berlin mit Emma verbringen werden), also vielleicht findet ihr ja die ein oder andere Idee fuer eure Urlaubsvorbereitung. 




The first thing I pack is always my skincare. Unfortunately, I'm not blessed with flawless skin, so using the right products is essential to me. Problem here: How do you fit all the liquids - contact lens solution, toner, micellar water and so on - in your hand luggage? In order to be able to bring everything I need, I bought a few travel bottles at Muji. I'm a sucker for nice packaging, but that's not the only reason why I recommend them. Muji offers such a variety of bottles and tubes that you can fit a month's worth of skincare in your hand luggage (trust me, I've tried it)! They come in different sizes with different caps and are really affordable (£0.75 for a cream pot to £2.95 for a 100ml pump bottle). You could even fill a small pump bottle with your foundation to save extra space. I travel by plane at least 3 times a year and I swear by this method!


German:
Das erste, was ich immer einpacke, ist meine Hautpflege. Wie schon oefters erwaehnt, habe ich leider keine perfekte Haut, also muss ich darauf achten die richtigen Produkte zu benutzen. Nur wie bringt man all die Fluessigkeiten - Toner, Miceller Water, Kontaktlinsenloesung und so weiter - im Handgepaeck mit? Damit ich auch nichts zu Hause lassen muss, habe ich mir einige Reiselfaschen bei Muji gekauft. Ich liebe schoene Verpackungen, aber das ist nicht der einzige Grund, warum ich sie empfehle. Muji hat einfach so viele verschiedene Groessen und Varianten, dass man gut einen Monat ueber die Runden kommen kann (glaubt mir, ich habe es versucht)! Ausserdem kosten sie nur 1€-4.50€ und sind wiederverwendbar. Ich habe sogar mal meine Foundation umgefuellt. Besser kann man nicht Platz sparen!



When I'm on holiday, I try not to bring too much make-up. You could easily end up with a whole box of stuff, but would you even use it? I tend to bring products that I know would last a whole day. When I'm busy with travel stuff, such as meeting people, eating nice food or all the other things you can do on holiday, touching up my make-up is the last thing on my mind. So besides my regular mineral powder, concealer and eyeliner routine, I also pack two different shades of long lasting lip products (one for day time, one for night time) and my trust-worthy posietint for rosy cheeks. Kind of forgot to include my contour kit (even though the contour brush is here), but I actually only use it, when I don't have to rush out of the house. It's not much, is it? Especially when thinking about the bursting make-up bag Hai Yen had during her stay in London (but then again she's prepared for any kind of situation, at least make-up-wise).


German:
Wenn ich verreise, nehme ich meist nicht viel Make-Up mit. Es waere so leicht, eine ganze Kiste an Produkten mitzuschleppen, aber benutzt man denn auch alles? Ich tendiere dazu, Produkte mitzunehmen, die auch den ganzen Tag halten. Wenn ich verreise, ist nachschminken das Letzte, woran ich denke. Deswegen packe ich, neben meinen taeglichen Essentials wie Mineral Powder, Concealer und Eyeliner, 2 langanhaltende Lippenprodukte (eins fuer den Tag, das andere fuer Abends) und meinen zuverlaessigen Posietint fuer rosige Wangen. Eigentlich haette ich noch mein Contour Kit ablichten muessen, aber habe ich wohl vergessen (der Pinsel ist wenigstens dabei). Aber so oft benutze ich es auch wieder nicht, also ist es schon ok so. So sieht also mein Make-Up Beutel aus. Nicht viel oder? Vor allem, wenn man bedenkt, wie voll doch Hai Yen's war, als sie mich in London besucht hat. Wenigstens ist sie, zumindest schminktechnisch, fuer jede Situation vorbereitet.



Even if my make-up bag seems a little sparse, I'm still a typical girl in that I think of all my beauty stuff first. Though, if I forgot to pack one of those, it wouldn't be as bad as travelling without a book or a magazine in my bag. I mean, how else would you overcome those boring hours at the airport? It's not like you can spend hours strolling around the duty free shops. Definitely not, if you are like me and stay at the airport overnight, because you are too scared you won't wake up for the 5am bus to the airport. That's why I cannot leave the house without my portable charger either. On Thursday my flight is at 8am, which means I'll stay at the airport for 8 hours... okay, maybe I should reconsider and take the 5am bus, we shall see. Then we also have  passport and Moleskine diary included as always. Though, don't you think it's annoying how you buy these leather passport holders, just so they take them off again at the border control? Going through all that hassle, just because I'm into these novelty items. But still, it's part of the whole holiday fun, isn't it?


German:
Auch wenn mein Schminktaesschen etwas leer aussieht, bin ich halt doch das typische Maedchen, was zuerst an ihre Kosmetik denkt. Doch wenn ich da einige Produkte vergessen wuerde, das waere halb so schlimm wie ohne Buch oder Zeitschrift zu reisen. Ich meine, wie soll man sonst die langweiligen Stunden am Flughafen verbringen? Man kann auch nicht ewig in den Duty-Free-Laeden herumlungern. Vor allem nicht, wenn man wie ich die Nacht am Flughafen verbringt, weil man Angst hat, den Bus um 5 Uhr morgens zu verpassen. Deswegen gehoert mein Aufladegeraet auch sofort gepackt. Wenn ich Donnerstag um 8 Uhr fliege, waeren das 8 Stunden am Flughafen! Okay, vielleicht ueberlege ich es mir noch einmal und nehme den Bus am morgen... Mal schauen. Personalausweishuelle und Moleskine-Planner sind natuerlich auch wieder mit von der Partie. Findet ihr es nicht auch nervig, dass man die Huelle an der Passkontrolle immer wieder abmachen muss? Und ich benutze es weiterhin, weil ich halt auf solche unnuetzen Sachen stehe. Aber naja, gehoert halt auch zum Urlaubsspass dazu, oder nicht?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sushi Crash Course at Kuriya Keiko



As much as I like cooking, I'm definitely not a cookbook kind of girl. Looking at a recipe, following the instructions and trying to measure every ingredient accurately - it's just not my thing. So when I learned cooking from my mother, it was all about knowing what goes into a dish and how it's supposed to taste like. The problem here is that you don't always know someone who can show you how to make your favourite dish, right? One of the reasons, why I've never tried making sushi before, even though it's one of my most favourite dishes. So when Zomato invited me and a few other bloggers to a sushi crash course at Kuriya Keiko, a Japanese restraurant/cooking workshop in Islington, I was more than excited to attend.

After Keiko welcomed us with a lovely a lovely plum wine cocktail, we  moved to the workshop area to learn how to make sushi from a real professional. We started with best practises on preparing sushi rice from the ideal water to rice ratio (1.15 cup of water and 1 cup of rice) to the easiest way to spread the rice on a nori sheet (wet your hands and spread the rice evenly without putting on too much pressure to keep the rice fluffy). First she taught us how to make California Rolls, traditionally not on a Japanese menu but no less delicious, before we moved on to Inside Out Rolls that were just as tricky to prepare as you might expect. Though, Keiko's enthusiasm in teaching us, definitely helped in easing the struggle we faced in keeping all the ingredients tight together on our first attempts. And the results? They didn't look too bad, did they? They definitely tasted heavenly, even more after having prepared it yourself. While we were trying our own sushi rolls, Keiko also gave us a little sneak peek of her gyoza-making class. Watching her prepare these delicious dumplings made me anticipate the dinner that followed afterwards even more!

After the "hard" work of learning Keiko's sushi-making tricks, we were treated to a mouth-watering taster dinner.  All the dishes were prepared so deliciously, with this feeling of home-cooked food I miss in a lot of restaurants that claim to be authentic. The hearty pork miso soup with ginger, spring onions and vegetables was one of my favourites from the evening. Though, the dish I couldn't get enough of was the Katsu Tofu, fried tofu bites in breadcrumbs: Crispy on the outside, soft and a little chewy on the inside. They were marinated so perfectly that I couldn't help but stuff myself with them. We also tried the Salmon Teriyaki, the Pork Teriyaki and the Crispy Chicken. Especially the later two stood out to me. While the Pork Teriyaki was hearty and flavourful, the Crispy Chicken felt refreshing thanks to its Yuzu seasoning (Japanese Citrus). And as if we haven't eaten enough already, we finished off the evening with a dessert: Azuki beans filled hot pastry and vanilla ice cream. Perfect end to a perfect evening!

Whether you want to taste great Japanese food with a feeling of home-cooking or want to learn to learn how to make Japanese food yourself, Kuriya Keiko is your place to go to! Keiko's cooking classes are so fun at such a great price that it would be a shame not to try. I highly recommend it.


Kuriya Keiko
Studio 7, The Studios Islington
5 Hornsey Street
London N7 8GR
www.kuriya.co.uk


Also read Emma's, Sarah's, Connie's, Kasha's, Courtney's and Carla's impressions of the evening. Thanks to Zomato for inviting me to Kuriya Keiko. You can read more of my reviews on Zomato.