Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: The Beauty Department by H&M


"In The Red" High Impact Eye Colour in  H&M Beauty (other colours here)
"Leading Lady" Gossamer Lip Stain H&M Beauty (here)


I'm so weak when it comes to nice packaging... When I first saw the images for H&M's new beauty line to launch this this autumn 2015 (here), I knew I HAD to try some of the products. So Emma and I stopped by H&M's flagship store in Oxford Street, before our afternoon tea at Yauatcha the other day. I went up the escalator full of excitement, not sure what to expect. And there it was, on the top floor, H&M's new beauty department! The new make up line is truly gorgeous and slick thanks to the minimal black, white and gold packaging, really living up to their concept 'fashion for the face'. After browsing around for ages, I decided to go for the Impact Eye Colour eyeshadow in "In The Red" (£3.99) as well as the Gossamer Lip Stain in "Leading Lady" (£6.99).







Even though, I already own way too many lip products, I really wanted to try the Gossamer Lip Stain as it really reminded me of my favourite YSL glossy stains. I picked up "Leading Lady", a medium-dark red with a strong pink undertone. I was so surprised how quickly the gel-like formula wears off, leaving a substantial stain. The swatch on my hand was so hard to take off! Though, since it's not glossy as the YSL ones, make sure to exfoliate your lips properly beforehand. My lips were a little dry when I first tested it and the stain looked a little patchy because of that. But I really like how light it feels and the colour is perfect for autumn.





Though, the purchase I'm most excited about is the eyeshadow! Normally, you'll only find plum or burgundy shades on the high street, so I was thrilled to finally get my hands on a bright red! I love the dramatic yet mysterious look a hint of red can give you. Though, in the beginning, I was a little disappointed it wasn't matte, but the gold shimmer is quite subtle and I actually like it. I use "In The Red" on a light base in beige by adding it towards the end of the eye slightly above the crease and to 1/3 of the lower lash line. It's so incredibly pigmented that I have to be really careful with the application. Afterwards, I use a brown gel eyeliner instead of a black one to soften the look. What do you think?

I have to say, I'm really excited about H&M's Beauty Department. I mean price and quality seem to be the same as other high street brands, so it's nice to get an additional option. Plus, I really like what I've tested so far, so I will definitely try out some more products in the future! You can find H&M's new beauty range in selected stores wordwide or online here.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Exploring Southwark



MY FAVOURITE
SPOTS IN
SOUTHWARK
Silk Shirt Marina London | Pleated Skirt &other stories | Air Max Thea Nike | Leather Backpack Reiss*

Sometimes it's the things that you don't expect anything of that exceed your expectations. Now it's already been a year since I've moved to Bermondsey in Southwark. To be honest, it wasn't my first choice of area. "Far away" from my favourite restaurants, shops and bars in East London, I settled for this London borough as the price and quality of flats matched my budget the best. At that point, the only advantage I saw was being able to go to Central London quickly via the Jubilee Line. Though, after making the effort to get to know Southwark better this summer, it has turned into one of my most favourite areas in London. (Plus: Besides the Jubilee Line you also have the Overground that gets you to Shoreditch and Hackney) Therefore, I've become some kind of Southwark tourist guide recently, showing my friends what this borough has to offer. So let me introduce my favourite spots in Southwark to you as well!


Photos of me kindly taken by Emma (bloomzy.co.uk)



No. 1: Shad Thames


I usually start my Southwark walking tour at Tower Bridge that connects Southwark with Tower Hamlets. It's just too iconic not to include! However, it's more the feeling of leaving behind the crowds of camera holding tourists which makes the start there so fascinating. While the tourists flock together at City Hall on the south-west side of Tower Bridge, it's the Shad Thames to the west that's worth visiting (find it on Google Maps here. The historic riverside street with its picturesque row of converted warehouses runs along the south side of the River Thames where you'll find numerous cafes, bars and shops. Different small alleyways along Shad Thames lead you to the riverside, giving you a much more relaxed and serene view of Tower Bridge.







No. 2: Design Museum


Walking along Shad Thames or the riverfront, you will get to the Design Museum. With its different exhibitions covering product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design, it's always worth paying a visit to this small museum. The last exhibition I saw there was "Woman Fashion Power" that offered an insight into how different fashion and its use to define and enhance a woman's position has changed over times. Though, it's not just the exhibitions that change frequently: In front of the museum you'll find the Design Museum Tank, a pop-up glass installation space with changing displays. My favourite so far is definitely Plumen's installation (see here).








   




No. 3: Maltby Street Market


Being a glutton, it's the food markets in Southwark that completely won me over. Running between Maltby Street Market and millstream, you find the Maltby Street Market aka Ropewalk (not too sure which is the more precise name). It's a tiny street but full of life and food of course! There's food stalls, under-arch shops and bars that offer everything from savoury delights to sweet treats and fresh booze every Saturday. Though, the main reason I come down here is to have the Tartiflette from French patisserie Comptoir Gourmand. It's so creamy and flavourful, I have it every time!






   





   


No. 4: Druid Street Market


Just around the corner from Ropewalk, Druid Street Market opened this summer. Open Saturdays as well, you will not only find street food, but also fresh produce and even home accessories. It's so close to Maltby Street Market, so why would you not go there? One time, I got the chance to get some of Yolkin's ice cream macarons as they are usually in Soho or Brick Lane. I still have to catch Blu Top Ice Cream to try out their ice cream sandwiches, but I haven't been lucky recently. Definitely check out their twitter for updates on who's there (here) because the stalls are constantly changing.




   





   



   


No. 5: White Cube


After filling myself with all the delicious at Southwark's food markets, I usually walk it off by wandering around Southwark until arriving at Bermondsey High Street. That's where you'll find White Cube Bermondsey, one branch of Jay Jopling's contemporary art gallery. Only opened in October 2011, it's the largest of all the gallery's sites and includes three major exhibition spaces and three smaller galleries. Until September 13, you can see exhibitions by German artist Imi Knoebel and British artist Marc Quinn. Entry is free, so see it while you can, I highly recommend it!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Afternoon Tea at Yauatcha


Yauatcha* | Chinese Dim Sum & Desserts | 15-17 Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DL | www.yauatcha.com


I usually don't get very homesick, though it's always during Lunar New Year and the Mid Autumn Festival, that I start missing my family. Now that September is approaching, so is the Mid Autumn Festival. You can consider it to be the equivalent of Thanksgiving, where the harvest is celebrated and families come together. Visit Vietnam or China during those times, and you will see streets decorated with lanterns and many street stands selling traditional moon cakes everywhere. Now imagine my excitement, when Michelin star Yauatcha* invited me to try out their moon cakes they are serving until September 27th alongside their other patisseries. So after a shopping tour with Emma around Oxford Street, we headed over to Yauatcha in Soho for some afternoon tea (read her review here). (Don't forget to check out our improvised video at the end!)


*Yauatcha is a part of Hakkasan Group. Many thanks for the complementary afternoon tea experience!

   





   

I'm fairly often in Soho, be it for drinks or food, it's a popular area to go out. So of course, I've walked past the eye-catching glass-front of Yauatcha quite a few times. And how can you not notice it? The glass front literally invites you to come closer with their gem-like selection of macarons. When entering the Chinese dim sum teahouse, you will first see the patisserie counter containing multiple rows of petits gateaux, macarons and chocolates that combine classical European cooking techniques and Chinese cuisine. Seriously, I felt like Gretel from Hansel and Gretel who just discovered the biscuit house, I couldn't stop walking up and down, contemplating which piece to try first.




   



   



Sipping on my cup of Classic beauty tea (simply love roasted teas) in the dim-lit restaurant, I tried a bite of the moon cake. To be honest, except for its nostalgic value, I'm usually not a fan of the lotus seed filled cakes. Lucky that Yauatcha has created its own take on the traditional moon cake - a version with a sweet pastry exterior with a thick, Chinese custard filling. Also, it's smaller size is perfect for snacking and sharing. Thumbs up! When dining in, the moon cake is served with vanilla ice cream (£6.20), perfectly balancing out the richness.

But of course, we didn't just have the moon cakes. The Raspberry delice was such a feast for the eyes and once sampled, convinced me that its taste was definitely up to par to its looks (despite my dislike for chocolate!). I really enjoyed the lightness and subtle flavours of the Red fruits fromage frais, though, it was the Passion fruit mango dome that won my heart. Just look how the glaze shines! And you could clearly taste the the sweetness and understated sourness of the passion fruit that glazed the cream and mango filling. The white chocolate pieces on the side unified all the different flavours beautifully with its sweet richness.

I expected to fall into a sugar shock after the afternoon tea, though, surprisingly and to my delight, they were all incredibly light and well balanced, not too sweet. Adding up all the drinks and patisseries, we would have paid £58.90 without service charge, so around £30/pp. Considering how much we had, it's a much more cost effective than your usual afternoon tea experiences! I definitely want to come back to try the dim sum, and you'll probably see me stopping by for a cheeky petit gateaux takeaway...