Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Glossybox Japan: May Edition

First thing you notice right off the bat is - No full sized samples. :(

What I received:
Institut Esthederm Nutri System Royal Jelly
"A cream that is highly concentrated in royal jelly to help stimulate the skin’s defenses and optimize its vitality, in particular during spring and autumn. Long-lasting, intense skin strengthening. It becomes toned and comfortable and becomes more resistant to aggressions. The complexion becomes radiant and exceptionally luminous"
Time Technology Cream
"Institut Esthederm Time Technology Cream is an advanced anti aging treatment for visibly radiant, youthful skin.
This effective formula works to prevent and correct the signs of fatigue and protects the skin from environmental aggressors. Dull, tired skin is rejuvenated and the complexion is illuminated with a natural biological action. Skin is instantly radiant with long term radiance also promoted."

Intensif Vitamine A Cream
"Institut Esthederm's Intensif Vitamine A Cream is a daily moisturiser that contains a high concentration of Vitamin A, or Retinol - one of the few ingredients universally proven to reverse physical sun damage and fine wrinkles. This formula works on two levels, stimulating cellular renewal and smoothing out lines on the surface of your skin, while encouraging collagen production which strengthens tissue at a deeper level in the dermis. The result: plumped, smoother skin and fewer wrinkles."
Honestly, I probably won't be trying any of these on my face as I don't like changing my face cream routine too often. These will be going in a gift bag :)

YoubyU - Clearing 10 Foam (Made in Japan)
Looks like this is a brand new Japanese brand, opened late last year.
The sample I received is a cleanser for students or those prone to acne. 

La Casta Hair Soap 35 and Hair Mask 35
I can't help but think old lady when I look at the packaging. Maybe I saw something similar in my grandma's house when I was young.

Burt Bee's Deep Cleansing Cream
"This rich, sulfate-free facial cleanser is made with a gentle, yet effective plant-based cleansing complex featuring quillaja saponaria (soap) bark extract and witch hazel. Luxurious lather foams away excess dirt, oil and make-up leaving skin feelling clean and refreshed. Extracts of chamomile, echinacea and aloe help soothe and calm skin while glycerin and cocoa butter provide a touch of moisture for naturally fresh, healthy skin."
I'm a big fan of Burt Bees so I was happy to see this in my box! I'll be trying this for sure!
And last but not least.. some bath salts..
Deli select Bath salts in Strawberry

My thoughts? It's not the worst box. That being said not every box is going to be amazing and for 1500 yen I'm not going to complain. It's a great way to discover new brand and see what's out there.

Oh! I want to also show off my new gifts from Kyoto from Aya! She got me some new hand towels!

Arn't they purdy!?

Just a reminder my Cosmetics from Japan giveaway is almost over. Be sure to enter to win -

*I am a Glossybox Ambassador

Monday, 28 May 2012

TV: Revenge

A few nights ago I happened to read my friends Facebook status mention how good the TV Show Revenge was. I don't have a TV here in Japan (at least, not yet) so I honestly don't know what to watch outside of - Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad and The Cleveland show. So when I saw that status update I took it as a show recommendation and starting watching it.
I'm only a few episodes in but I'm already inlooove!

About the show (taken from Wiki):
Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) comes to the Hamptons for the summer, renting a home next to the Grayson family to enjoy a bright summer. However, it is revealed that Emily has been to the Hamptons before as a little girl. In reality, Emily is Amanda Clarke, whose father was framed for a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison for life. She was permanently separated from him and never saw him again. Now, she's returned to the Hamptons, intent on getting revenge against those who wronged her and her father, the top of that list being Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), matriarch of the Grayson family and the woman whom her father loved and who, in the end, betrayed him.
As she sets her plan in motion, Emily tries to navigate the upper society to destroy those who betrayed her father. But the further she goes, the more her emotions get involved and the more she questions her motives and the moves she makes.

Another show I'm slowing making my way through..

Lost.. (A little late, I know)
I'm actually cheating a bit since I'm starting from Season 5. Sorry, I'm just not that hardcore. And I kinda get the gist of what's going on.

One I finish these two I'll make my way over to Game of Thrones.

If you have any TV recommendations I'm all ears.. :)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Japanese Fashion Magazines: Love!

One thing I really like about Japan (and I guess the UK) is the magazines. I love the fact that most fashion magazines comes with a free gift.
Let me be honest, I can't read Japanese but I look at the pictures and enjoy my free gift(s). I only buy a magazine if I like what comes inside.
My favorite one so far -
The lunch box

What do you think? Cute right?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Beauty Exchange: From France


A few weeks ago I came across a Facebook group called Be and Beauty Correspondent. It's basically a group for anyone around the world who is interested in exchanging beauty boxes such as Glossybox, Glymm, Birchbox etc, with someone else. Or if you are unable to send a beauty box you can make your own box filled with things you like or things you think your correspondent will like.

Just be warned, it can cost a bit to ship. I learned that the hard way since I sent a heavy box to my 'beauty box pal' in France.

Since Glossybox is hard to come by here in Japan (as it's always sold out) we decided to make up our own boxes with the limit being €40.

My box arrived today and here is what I received:

I'm really happy with what I received and look forward to another exchange. You can visit Elise's blog here

Also be sure to check out my giveaway page for my current contests.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Inika Mineral Setting Powder

Since moving to Japan I've been finding it difficult to find products that are natural or cruetly-free as I don't speak or read the language. I'm very unsure of what labels to look for.
In the meantime while I figure all that out I've been able to find great cosmetics companies that deliver world-wide! Recently I discovered Inika. I'm not 100% sure how I came across their website but I'm happy I did.

About Inikia:
INIKA is a luxury natural cosmetics brand. Half of the INIKA product range is Certified Organic, the other half comprises of 100% pure mineral makeup. All INIKA products are Vegan, Certified Halal and Certified Cruelty Free.

I was lucky enough to test out their Mineral Setting Powder* retail value $40.


INIKA Mineral Setting Powder (3.5g) is a loose powder consisting of a silky blend of the lightest minerals. This is the perfect product to give oily skin a matte finish.
Can be applied prior to foundation to absorb excess oil or to diminish the appearance of large pores. Can also be applied after foundation for shine control, to set foundation and provide an illuminating matte appearance.


INIKA Mineral Cosmetics are non-comedogenic, which means they do not clog your pores or aggravate your skin.


  1. Dip Kabuki Brush into the powder and work into bristles ensuring the brush is evenly coated.
  2. Tap brush handle on hard surface to embed powder.
  3. Blend in light downward strokes all over the face. For heavier coverage, use a circular buffing motion
I've never used a setting powder before but was very interested in testing it out.
The very first thing I noticed was the colour - A chalky white. Almost immediately I thought 'Oh no, this is going to show up on my face as cakey'. I was completely wrong. 
 First you see it,
 Now you don't :)
And finally me - I'm wearing the setting powder over my mineral make-up
Inika setting powder will now be a new addition to my my make-up routine as it reduces the shine and seems to 'set' my make-up.
A little goes a long way and with saying that the powder is sure to last a little while.
Note for ladies of colour don't be afraid of the white like I was. :)

You can find out more information here - Inika Cosmetics

Also, make sure to check out my contest below for cosmetics from Japan: Giveaway

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: Perl Fashion stick on nails

My Perl Fashion nails finally arrived in the mail!

What is Perl Fashion nails?
 "Established in Montreal, Canada, in 2011, PERL wanted to blend efficiency with elegance and launched a revolutionary nail accessory that eliminated the hassles of polishing, drying and pollution.   
See, nail polish is awesome. It really is. But it does have its flaws.
You know that time when you've just finished applying that beautiful cherry red polish when all of a sudden you scratch you nose and--WOAH! That's not an experience you deserve.
We took the process of applying nail polish and threw it out of the window, literally. How about getting your nails to look perfect in less than five minutes, with no smudges or bubbles?
Just as you'd love that, so did we. So we re-revolutionized the nail polish."
....Basically it's stickers for your nails. Fun right? It's great for those days you don't really feel like putting in all that effort in making your nails look extra special. Perl nails are easy to apply and look pretty neat. Remember they are stickers so they will not look like polish on your nails. 
The price is about the same as a cheap manicure at $9 and the box comes with 20 stickers, enough for two manicures.  Shipping is a little bit more than expected at $5. I'm not going to complain because my nails were shipped to Japan. 
The other great thing about Perl Fashion is that they ship worldwide. So check them out if you want to try something new with your nails.
As for longevity I'm not sure as I only applied them today, but I'll keep you posted. 

What's in the box?
Fashion strips, cuticle stick, mini file and instructions. 

Finished nails. Love them! Only wanted to try 2 nails to start. :)

Also, make sure to check out my contest below for cosmetics from Japan: Giveaway

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Daily: Getting things done

This month was all about firsts for me.
I paid two bills for the first time here in Japan. It was much easier than expected.
All we (Alex and I) had to do was bring the bill to Lawsons (local combini) say "sumimasen onegaishimasu" (would you please...) and hand the store clerk the bills.
She then proceeded to scan them, inform us of the total and stamped them once paid.
Done and Done. 

Second -
Buying stamps at the local post office. This was even easier - We just showed them the envelope, two kind ladies helped us out. One got the stamp the other cashed us out. Easy peezy!

Third -
I finally applied for my Ponta Card for Lawson and many other establishments. I'm not 100% what it does, but I'm a big fan of discount and points cards. For the past month and a half I always hated saying 'Iie" when asked if I had a ponta card. I always felt like I was missing out on some great deal or discount.
I tried applying for the card a couple of weeks ago while in Lawson but didn't understand any of the questions and ended up deactivating the card instead.  The store clerk at Lawsons who didn't understand my English was trying her best to help me answer the questions on the application but it just wasn't working.
Thank goodness for Google Translate as I was able to complete my application online finally!

I'll leave you with a photo of my SUPER Kawaii cell phone cover and Ponta card :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

OVER: Contest: Win Natural cosmetics from Tomoe Kobo, Japan!!

I'm excited to announce that Tomoe Kobo and I have put together a little giveaway.
You can see my review of this cruelty-free Japanese brand below - Tomoe Kobo Review

One winner will receive:
Dokudami Cosmetic Toner (60ml):
Ingredients: Aqua, Ethyl Alcohol, Glycerine, Dokudami extract.
Sample kit (the one I received for my review)
Dokudami Cosmetic Trial-Set (Toner and Cleansing Bar):
Rich in plant extracts, the Dokudami Toner gently tones and firms the skin. Moreover, it protects the skin from the sun damage and calms and clears the skin.
Rich in natural moisturising agents and made from 100% extra virgin olive oil, Dokudami Cleansing Bar keeps the skin supple and clear.
Retail value: 1260Yen

To enter the contest all you would need to do is:
"Like" Tomoe Kobo Facebook page AND Comment below 

Optional for bonus ballots:
Comment on Tomoe Kobo Facebook page
Follow my blog

This contest is option INTERNATIONALLY!
Contest ends June 4th, 2012
UPDATE: If you do not LIKE Tomoe Kobo's page AND COMMENT below your entry WILL be removed. Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 4 May 2012

Tomoe Kobo: Japanese Natural Cosmetics

While researching natural cosmetics available in Japan I stumbled upon Tomoe Kobo. Produced in Nagano Prefecture; only a 2 hour drive away!
After giving their website a quick but thorough scan I requested their sample pack.
 About the company:
We produce our products in our hometown, in Nagano region; and our aim is to produce quality, simple, and 100% natural products that are of great benefit for people with sensitive skin.
Our products contain no synthetic or chemical additives such as additives, perfume, coloring or preservatives. They also do not include any surface active agents or mineral oils and therefore are a good alternative to main stream commercial products.(sic)

Tomoe Kobo is a small company that consists of a mother, son (and wife) team. They test all their products on themselves. 100% CRUELTY-FREE!
I've been using the cleanser and toner for a couple of days now and here are my thoughts..
The cleanser:
It lathers, but doesn't create a noticeable foam.
While applying it on my skin, it makes my face feel incredibly soft which then makes it hard for me to stop rubbing my face.
I like the idea of using the cleanser in a bar form as I won't waste too much of product if it was too runny, or by pumping too much out of a bottle. After washing it off, my skin feels clean but not tight or dry. Only a couple of days in and I'm already in love with this cleanser.
Below you will see a photo of the sample size provided and my face afterwards.

The Toner:
It's really cleans and clears my skin without over drying it.
Both the cleanser and toner come with a light scent which is barely noticeable and vanishes moments later.
You can see all the dirt that was removed from my face with the toner in the picture below.

Final thoughts...

I love it! I can't wait to buy the full sized version of each. The price of the cleanser is comparable to most at just under 1900 yen. The toner is a bit more, listed at 3000 yen. 
Tomoe Kobo also have hand made soaps available which look and sound delicious. I hope to try those out too. 

*Samples of Tomoe Kobo are available on their website - http://www.tomoekobo.com/products/

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

April in Photos

A collection of photos taken in April. My first month in Nirasaki. 


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