The things that have caught my attention this month | January discoveries

1. Micellar Water

I’ve heard of micellar (in French, pronounced “me-sellaire”) water for a while now, but (I don’t know why), I’ve only just tried it this month. “MODELS swear by them, every make-up artist has one in his or her kit and with their no-rinse, three-in-one formulas they’re perfect for travelling and late nights.” (Vogue). So what exactly is micellar water? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a soap free product that removes make-up and cleanses the skin without the need for rinsing, and also tones and moisturises it. It gets its name from micelles, that is, tiny balls of molecules that are made of fatty acid esters, which according to Bioderma, “are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.” Sounds complicated, I know. I suppose, what’s important is that, I gave it a try and I absolutely love it. It’s very gentle yet very efficient in everything it claims it can do. It’s also really easy to use – I just have to soak a cotton pad with it and sweep it across my whole face, that’s it; I don’t have to rinse it off with water, I don’t have to tone my face after – perfect for lazy old me. Okay, I won’t replace my main cleanser with it; I still like to properly cleanse my face (especially at night) with my natural and organic product, but I use it most mornings and as a second cleanser (in place of toner) to wipe away any residue / dirt / make-up left by my first cleanser. So yeah, it’s definitely a product that I will continue using. I’m using Bioderma – a celebrity favourite and one of the first companies that came up with micellar water, but there are plenty of other brands out there you can try.

2. Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser

This was one of the samples I received from my Love Lula January 2015 Beauty Box. I was (still am) really glad that I got this – it’s definitely one of the best cleansers I’ve tried so far. It’s 81% organic, which is a good start, and I absolutely love the smell – it’s very fresh – and the way my skin feels after using it. I like the fact that it’s multitasking – you can use it as a gentle cleanser, a daily exfoliating mask or a weekly revitalising facial mask. I’ve tried them all and I love them all, but I particularly like using it in the morning because, as I’ve said before, it’s very refreshing.

3. James Read Sleep Mask Tan

I first saw this product on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines and I thought… hmm… that’s interesting – tan whilst you sleep and wake up to a golden glow in the morning. I almost bought it but a few things stopped me: (1) I was worried that it would have a strong smell (from my personal experience, self tan products can have an overpowering smell); (2) I was worried that it would stain my linen; and (3) I was worried that it would clogged my pores (I mean, we all know that skin cells do their repair work most effectively at night, and so I really don’t want to load my face with chemical-laden cream before going to sleep). However, on their website, they say that the formula is infused with skincare essentials, like aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid, red algae, etc. Sounds comforting enough. They then go on to say that you can also apply it in the morning to build a healthy glow throughout the day. Now that might actually sway me towards buying the product.

4. Priv: The On-Call Beauty and Wellness Professionals

Elle calls it “the beauty app equivalent of the taxi service Uber.” It’s an app that allows you to bring a trained professionals of your choice (be it hairdresser, make-up artists, masseuse, manicurist, etc) to wherever you are. I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t tried it out yet, or rather, I couldn’t, because there isn’t a single registered trained professionals within my area. I suppose the success of this app will depend on how many trained professionals they can recruit, but it’s still early days, so let’s see what happens. Priv is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

5. Daisy Chakra Bracelet

Again, I saw this bracelet on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines. It’s designed by London jewellery label Daisy and it’s worn by a number of celebrities, including Katy Perry, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kanye West, etc. According to Daisy, “the Chakras are the manifestations of spiritual energies on the physical level, responsible for well-being and a happy, healthy life.”; and “The Chakra bracelets are designed to balance your Chakras and ensure your life force and vital energy.” Well, that’s lovely, but for me, I just think it’s pretty, and if it really balances my Chakras, then that’s a plus. Regardless, I’d love to have one.

6. Nutribullet

Of course, the superfood extractor! Which my husband and I received as a gift from a very good friend this month. I love it, we love it, and we highly recommend it! Enough said. I wrote a review here if you’re interested.

Nutri bullet review and recipe: banana blueberries smoothie with chia seeds

I’m sure you’ve heard of Nutribullet – the superfood extractor that is so in right now. It claims to “completely break down your food to get all the essential nutrition” (that you don’t even get by chewing) with its “super high powered motor” and “bullet cyclonic action”. So, no, it’s not your usual blender or juicer… it’s much better than that. My husband and I were very lucky to have been given one of these as a gift recently. We tried it for the first time last weekend and it was amazing. “Releasing essential nutrition” aside, it’s a very powerful blender, yet it’s smaller (and much more good looking) than most regular blenders. I like the fact that it’s easy to set up, use and clean. And I also like the fact that the jugs serve as cups, so you can use them to drink your smoothies (or whatever it is you made) on the go or store them in the fridge – they come with handles and lids, so it’s very convenient. With most of us leading a very busy lifestyle these days, we tend to forget to eat healthily, let alone get our 5 a day. But with Nutribullet, I believe I’ve found my shortcut to a healthier lifestyle!

Anyway, here’s the first smoothie we made with Nutribullet – we mixed two popular superfood (blueberries and chia seeds) with bananas and almond milk to create a smoothie that’s just full of goodies (that is, high in antioxidant and work as an immune system and energy booster):

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If you’re interested, here’s what you need:

2 bananas
A handful of frozen blueberries
A pinch (or 2) of chia seeds
Almond milk (filled to the line)

Serves 2

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; all opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience.

Christmas in Paris

This year, I spent Christmas in Paris – something that I do every couple of years or so. My husband and I drove there on Christmas Eve and we came back to London last Saturday. Yes, it’s not a long trip, but still, it’s magical. As much as I like spending Christmas on my own, I was pleased to be able to spend it with my husband’s family this year, and of course, it’s always lovely to visit Paris.

We woke up at 5am on the 24th and made our way to Dover. We were supposed to board the 8.45am ferry to Calais, but we got there early, so they let us board an earlier one. Lucky us! The sea was a bit rough though – I got sick! But that’s probably because I’m more prone to motion sickness than others. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. We reached France at around 10am and then we just took our time and arrived in Paris with plenty of time to get ready for dinner, which was delicious by the way.

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Just look at all that food! And I didn’t even take pictures of our main course and dessert!

We didn’t get a chance to breakaway from the family and visit Paris until the 26th. Not that I’m complaining – going to Paris is like going home; we don’t really do all those touristy things people do when they go for holiday. But still, it’s nice to go for a walk, just because it’s really romantic and Paris is beautiful at this time of the year. So that’s what we did on Boxing day (even if there’s no such thing in Paris).

We started our day with a typical petit déjeuner parisian (gosh, I like the sound of that) – we had some parisian brioche and parisian hot chocolate at the famous Place des Voges. They were lovely – a bit expensive, but hey, we don’t do this everyday, and it’s Christmas.

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After breakfast, we went for a stroll in the city. We did a bit of sightseeing, a bit shopping, discovered new shops… I love shopping; there’s no doubt about that. Besides, I believe that when you’re in Paris, you should fully embrace the local culture… yes, yes, like going to the museums, of course (Paris is full of them), but Paris also is famous for its couture houses and luxury fashions: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Louboutin, etc, etc. One of the best in the world really. Interestingly, when I talk about them, some people still roll their eyes (even French people) and I just don’t get it. If I were French, I would be very proud to have all those designers commanding the world’s attention. I mean, it’s what made Paris famous for being chic, elegant and glamorous. I can’t afford most of the things they sell, but it doesn’t stop me from admiring them (and wanting them) – hey, I love beautiful things. Anyway, here are some more pictures from that day (if you’re interested):

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The art installations in front of Centre Pompidou and musée du Louvre never fail to captivate… We didn’t go in to le Louvre this time, but if you haven’t seen the infamous Mona Lisa, you really should!

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Cécile and Jeanne are Parisian jewellery and accessories designers. They’ve got a workshop in Paris where they design and handmade all their products. I actually discovered this place by chance; my husband and I was just walking along the street when I was attracted by the beautiful jewellery displayed in the window and so I went in. They’re not cheap but I don’t expect them to be – they’re beautiful and very French. I didn’t buy any, but I just might very soon. They don’t have a store in the UK, but you can the products online.

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Don’t you just love Paris. Even at Ladurée, they’ve got super chic shopping bags! I always think their macaroons are a bit overpriced (they’re selling it for 5 euros per piece here), but still, I love those bags!

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This was the best cafe frappe I’ve ever tasted! Seriously! It’s so smooth, refreshing and not too sweet. I was in a desperate need of a cold caffeine that afternoon, and this frappe was just perfect.

After our afternoon coffee break, we decided to go see some Christmas decorations at Paris’s most fabulous places – where else… Galeries Lafayette, PrintempsChamps Elysees and Avenue Montaigne (of course).

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Look at all those lights…

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And that Louis Vuitton store on Avenue Montaigne!

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And of course… it’s Dior, darling!

… which was our last stop of the day. We had dinner with my husband’s family that evening and came back to London the next day. There was an hour delay at Calais due to the weather – they had to suspend all ferry services in the morning, but luckily, ours was in the late afternoon, so it was okay. I got sick again and it was worse than the first time. I’m definitely taking the Euro Tunnel next time! Anyway, we had an amazing time in Paris (as you can probably see), and in a few days time, we’ll be off to Tenerife for some sun! Yay!

Going Japanese: Ajiichiban, Greenwich, London

I love Japanese food! I really do. Especially in winter when it’s freezing outside – I just think it’s a perfect food to warm you up. Imagine… a good bowl of ramen, or one of those hot bento boxes, or a donburi, coupled with pan-fried gyoza or tempura and a heart-warming miso soup… yum…

So, that’s what my husband and I had last weekend. We went to a Japanese restaurant in Greenwich called Ajiichiban. It’s our second time there. We really like this place – it’s cute, very clean and welcoming. It’s also very authentic, which is important (obviously), and the food is delicious – definitely one of the best Japanese food we had in London.

We started off with Wasabi Prawns. We haven’t seen one of these in other Japanese restaurants in London, so we thought we should give it a try. We were not disappointed; they’re delicious (and that’s saying a lot considering that I’m not a fan of wasabi). Although, if you really “can’t stand the taste of wasabi at all”, then these prawns are probably not for you. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other mouth-watering starters to choose from – I recommend the gyoza or tempura (we ordered these the first time we were there… loved them).

Ajiichiban Wasabi Prawn | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

Wasabi Prawns

Moving on to main, I ordered Katsudon (that is, pork chops with breadcrumbs and eggs on rice) and miso soup, and my husband ordered a bowl of Crispy Duck Ramen. Both were delicious! Very very tasty! And the portion is huge – you certainly won’t leave feeling hungry (I eat a lot, so for me, that’s also important!).

Ajiichiban Katsudon | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

Katsudon

Ajiichiban Duck Ramen | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

Crispy Duck Ramen

Oh, did I mention that they’re also not overpriced? £6.80 for the Wasabi Prawns, £8.50 for the Katsudon and miso soup, and £8 for the Crispy Duck Ramen.

So, the verdict: really good food, big portions, not expensive, lovely place, and great service – a perfect casual dining experience, don’t you think? We can’t recommend this place enough and we will certainly go back.

Ajiichiban is located at 8 Nelson Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9JB.

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; all opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience.

Comfort food: “nasi goreng kampung” (that is, village-sytle fried rice)

I love comfort food, and food that is easy and quick to cook. For me, nothing beats “nasi goreng kampung” (which loosely translates to village-style fried rice) as the ultimate after-work meal for lazy cooks (like me). It literally takes minutes to whip up, especially if you’ve got leftover rice in the fridge; in fact, I wouldn’t cook it with freshly cooked rice (kinda defeats the whole quick meal thing if you’ve got to cook the rice first, and besides, fried rice is best made with leftover rice).

Nasi Goreng Kampung | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

So, anyway, here are what you need:

  1. Leftover rice
  2. A handful of dried anchovies
  3. Cooked and peeled king prawns
  4. Bird eye / finger chillies (how many depending on how spicy you’d like your rice to be; I usually use 2 chillies for 1 portion of fried rice)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and slice (or if you’re lazy like me, use the very lazy garlic instead)
  6. 1 bag of baby spinach
  7. 3 eggs (or 2 if you don’t want a sunny-side up)
  8. A bit of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce
  9. A bit of sunflower oil

And here’s how to cook it:

Microwave the baby spinach (yes, I’m lazy). At the same time, heat some sunflower oil in a wok and fry the dried anchovies, prawns, garlic and chillies for a few minutes. When the anchovies are cooked, drop 2 eggs into the wok and lightly beat them until almost set. Then add the rice and baby spinach. Mix well with a bit of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce (to taste). Plate. Fry your sunny-side up (if you want to). Serve.