4 years in England VS 4 years in Asia

I spent the first 4 years of my 20’s living in major cities in Asia, and the last 4 years of my 20’s in England. And I definitely have some comparisons.

Let’s start with Asia.

I’m very lucky, and very grateful that I have worked with the Walt Disney Company since I was 18. An opportunity that first took me Paris in 2009, and then at the very start of 2012, to Tokyo. There are not many just-about-to-turn-21-year-olds that get the chance to move to Japan for 14 months, I know. I then spontaneously took a flight to Bangkok for a couple months before beginning another contract with Disney in Hong Kong, where I stayed for 18 months. I was desperate to not leave Asia anytime soon so moved to Manila in the Philippines for 7 months before finally returning back to Manchester in September 2015.

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Initially, when I got back to the UK I had it planned in my head I would test the waters for a few months and spend the first Christmas in YEARS with my family then head back out to Asia, where I knew I could create a lifestyle I was comfortable with. Surely enough, with the holiday season, those few months between September & January just weren’t really long enough to really settle into life in England and so I signed a 6-month lease on an apartment. NGL, that scared the shit out of me. 6 months tied to life in the UK? It’s freezing here! How am I going to earn money?

Luckily, I came back to the UK with a lot of confidence and maybe a bit of niave-ness and somehow made it work. I got an acting agent and signed with a model agency and found extra work working in retail beauty. Did I think about moving back to Asia? For the first few months, no…I was excited about the possibilities that could come from living in a country where the model/acting work for Caucasians was much more in high demand than in Asia. I started working with the small Disney Special Events team in London too, so that gave me my Disney fix every few months. Slowly but surely, the excitement started to fade, and so did my optimism. Everyone is always skint in England, and it’s damn expensive to live here. There’s this western ideal of success where money = success, everyone’s lives solely revolve around their 9-5 and letting their hair down at the weekend, before settling down, buying a house and starting a family…all before 30. Don’t get me wrong, my Pinterest is filled with pins of what my ideal UK apartment or house would look like. But I don’t want it.

What I love about Asia

It’s been 4 years, 4 years of every few months talking myself out of getting a one-way flight back to the east because it’s ‘not what I’m supposed to do’. I was 24 when I moved back to the UK and that seemed like the time where all my friends were really starting to develop their careers and start thinking about settling down, I assumed I had to do the same. Four whole years of kidding myself that I want to achieve this western ideal of husband, house, great big girl job, living in a brick house on a grey street in Manchester. My heart? It’s on a beach in Bali or exploring the bustling streets of Hong Kong. It’s taken four years but I’ve finally (and pretty emotionally may I add) admitted to myself that that is where I’ve been the happiest in my entire life, where my senses are filled and soul is full.

So my plan for 2020? Make it back home.

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The Satin Midi

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By far my summer staple this year. Sexy, casual, dressy, easy. lightweight & doesn’t take up much room in your case. Just to name a few reasons I’m so obsessed.

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Layered with sweaters and knits they’ll take you right up to autumn. Or take it all off and rock the dress on its own for a sexy and minimal evening look.

This one is from http://www.nastygal.com & it’s just one of many in my wardrobe right now.

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November Favourites

Can you believe it’s the end of November already?! You can bet I’m writing this post whilst listening to a Christmas playlist on Spotify and drinking a peppermint hot chocolate (with an espresso shot, because… well, because coffee). My roommate and I are putting our tree up this weekend and I am SO exited.

I’ve tried out some new skincare this month. A brand I’ve seen for yeaaaarsss – but for some reason never picked it off the shelf. I’m not sure why, honestly, because it’s everything I look for in a product. Clean branding, looks like it has minimal ingredients and has “laboratoire dermatologique” on the label.

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It’s Bioderma. And I’ve realllly enjoyed it. To be transparent, I was gifted this set from their Hydrabio range. I was a tad nervous as I’m so cautious about my sensitive skin reacting. But i’ve not noticed a difference to my skin at all – which might sound crap, but it is exactly what i’m looking for in a product. My skin is probably the best it’s been in a good 3 years recently and I did not want that to change.

I tried the Micellar water (I use Garnier’s atm), the gel-creme and the serum. Loved all three, although I do this during these winter months my skin craves a little more of a heavy day moisturiser than what the gel-creme provides – although it does call it’s self a light moisturiser, so it does what it says on the tin thats for sure.

Bioderma say their key igredients is Aquagenium, stating: “Found in the full range of Hydrabio products, the Aquagenium patent stimulates the skin’s cellular capacities and reactivates its natural hydration process.” Sounds good to me! I’m gonna continue to use this set throughout December, so i’ll let ya know how I go on!

x

My Xmas Memory

It’s no secret that I LOVE Christmas, and I mean… LOVE. It’s 7th November and I’ve already watched a Channel 5 Christmas movie, had a mug of mulled wine AND started my Christmas shopping. I mean…what’s not to enjoy? It’s a season for family time, love, fun, joy and forgiveness…. Which brings me onto a little Christmas memory I’d like to share, and, the inspiration for this post.

Let me tell you about the time Billy ruined my chances with, who we like to call, The Brad Pitt of Manchester. Christmas 2016 – not too long ago by any means – my good friends Billy, Danielle and I are at the Manchester Christmas markets (a MUST go at least 5 times at this time of year FYI). We’re in the main bit of Markets at the town hall, in that bar (/hut??) where you can sit upstairs. We’ve got mulled wine & Bailey’s hot chocolate in hand. I spot my soulmate. He’s tall, dark and handsome and wearing a smart coat and light chinos. Danielle ask’s him to take a photo for us, good plan, Danielle! She’s a great wing-woman. So we end up sitting on the communal seating tables with him and his friend. The chat’s going great.. he’s smiling, i’m smiling.. surely this Brad Pitt look-a-like is about to ask for my number.. cut to Billy being ridiculous as ever, making a huge hand gesture and knocking a hot chocolate… ALL OVER BRAD. Great mood killer, Billy. Brad stands up in shock and I am mortified. The hot chocolate had left a huge brown stain all over his crotch. ON HIS CREAM CHINOS. My instinct told me to grab the nearest tissue and help wipe it off. Wipe his crotch. What was I thinking?!! I just wiped the crotch of the man I just met. Brad and his friend scurried off to clean up and NEVER CAME BACK. I’m red, I’m mortified, we’re all laughing.

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I’ve only just forgiven Billy for ruining that moment for me. And that’s why I chose to take him on an early Christmas (it’s never too early) shopping spree with me to Manchester Arndale. I love the Ardnale for it’s vast variation of shops & how easy it is to get too. I always get the metro link into town on a shopping day so I can have a guilt free drink or 3 with lunch/post shopping drinks. Speaking of, I can’t wait for the food area to be open on the ground floor soon, too! We met at Gino’s deli in the morning. It’s brand new and I’m totally drawn in by the super ‘instagrammable’ (it’s all marble and turquoise-y blue) decor. The food was SO fresh, and my oat milk latte was perfection, too.

 

ONTO THE SHOPS. I’m not a girly girly when it comes to fashion but I do love all the sparkles in the windows at this time of year. Billy is the perfect shopping partner. He can quite literally shop til he drops and I’m inspired by his adventurous, yet smart, style. I’d like to dress like the female version of him, really. This shopping day was supposed to be the start of my Christmas shopping but the first thing I bought was a pair of Topshop boots…for me. FAIL. One for you, one for me? haha!! I did pick my mum up a gorgeous top up from Oasis, though – she’s the opposite of me and is a magpie for anything that glitters. I treated Billy to a new phone case for his brand new iPhone that i’m really jealous of, too.. because we’ve all just learnt how clumsy he is and no one wants that iPhone to be smashed into smithereens.

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We went back to Gino’s for lunch because I just can’t get over how pretty it is. The one inside of NEXT has a great view too. We chatted to the Head of Wine (wtf how do I get a job with that title?!) and he joked that, in the evening, if you squint your eyes it looks a little like you’re in Manhattan. (spoiler alert, we went back at the end of the day for another glass of Italian Champagne and I can confirm… if you squint the lights look super pretty!). Billy and I joke that we’re the pizza connoisseurs because we always seem to stop at pizza places. Rudy’s on Peter Street being a top fave of ours. UNTIL NOW. Billy event went as far as saying it’s his new fave, he had the special pizza of the day.. which was some sort of salmon and rocket thing….. not my cup of tea, I like to stick to a margarita cause I’m basic like that.

 

Refuelled and ready to go, I nip into Supercuts and learn that they’re open 7 days a week!!! I wish I knew this on Monday when I was desperately ringing round all the hair salons in my area for a last min trim.

If LUSH isn’t the ultimate stocking filler shop then where is?! Everything about lush is just a divine experience for the senses.. even visiting their store. We were showed some product demonstrations by the lovely assistant…I wish I knew her name. Billy has never used a lush bath bomb before?! WTF? Can you believe that? I bought him one, of course.

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We had such a lovely day together, full of laughter and all under one roof (although the beauty of the Arndale is that we could have ventured further into the city centre if we’d have wished), we stayed warm and had a lovely lunch (and drinks). AND NO ONE SPILT HOT CHOCOLATE ON ANYONE. Bonus. This is what Christmas is about for me. Spending time with loved ones, shopping, gift giving, and prossecco. ❤

 

October’s beauty faves

I have sensitive skin and most of the products I use are derived from natural ingredients. If my skin feels like it needs some serious moisture (e.g in this weather change we’re currently having!) I sometimes will use a hemp oil (or even olive) as a thick sleep in mask. The less ingredients the better for me. However as a self confessed skin care addict, I love trying out new products.. here’s my current essentials:

La Roche Posay

I love this brand for it’s sensitive skin care, I think this is my fourth tube of Effaclar Duo – I use it as my day moisturiser and apply before my make up routine…it’s also spf 30 (bonus!).

Sand and Sky

I loveeee a weekly face mask, most the masks I go for are hydrating, because I get a little nervous of using anything detoxifying in fears that may be too harsh. However, I was gifted Sand and Sky’s Brilliant Skin detoxifying mask a few months ago and I am in love! It leaves my skin feeling wonderfully cleansed and clean, without feeling over worked. It’s also a dream to take off and hardly leaves behind any residue.

Boutique Whitening

I started my whitening treatment from Bury Dental this month and they weren’t kidding when they said the results would be fast. They moulded my teeth to create a tray that fits my teeth perfectly, in which you add a little amount of the whitening gel and sleep in it over night. SO easy, it doesn’t add any time into my routine as it’s over night and in the first couple days I had already noticed a huge difference. I will say, though, ouuuuchh it makes my teeth sensitive! Great tip from my dentist is to leave the residue from using sensitive toothpaste on your teeth and wear the tray for a few minuets to let the sensitive toothpaste do it’s job.

As we’re cranking up the heating in our homes and approaching this cold, dry weather I’d love to hear your recommendations for face masks/treatments!

x

 

 

Italian Summer in the City

Oh imagine: sat on a veranda somewhere south of Italy, cocktail in one hand, pizza in the other. La dolce vita. It’s just what dreams are made of really, isn’t it? If only.

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WELL. Prezzo has heard our cries for carbs and cocktails and brought that feeling of la dolce vita right to our front door.. or their front door, should I say? Al fresco drinking are three words that are music to my ears. Combine that with “happy hour” and “summer food menu” and I’m practically on cloud 9.

 

I got to have a handy go at cocktail making with them this week, and I must say.. I am definitely not cut out for bar tending.. but I they tasted bloody great. They were all Peroni cocktails, and i’m gonna be honest I hated beer until now. Mix it with some limoncello and a few mint sprigs and by golly – it’s the refreshing summer drink of dreams.

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I snuck some menu cards so I could share with you guys / maybe finally put to use that cocktail shaker I got for Christmas.

Peroni Spritz

Aperol – 30ml

Pink Grapefruit Juice – 30ml

Prosecco – 50ml (lets be honest, just pour til your hearts content)

Peroni Nastro Azzurro – 100ml

Pour it onto ice and serve with a wedge of grapefruit!

Peroni Limoni (my fave)

Mint Leaves – 6-10 sprigs

Lemon Juice – 15ml

Limoncello – 30ml

Peroni Nastro Azzurro – 150ml

Pour on ice and Top it with lemon and mint to make it extra instagramable.

Peroni Negroni

Orange Juice – 15ml

Martini Rosso – 50ml

Campari – 50ml

Peroni Nastro Azzuro – 50ml

Build on ice and garnish to your heart’s content, with an orange wedge.

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From now on you’ll find me between the hours of 5 and 7pm at Prezzo’s Aperitivo Hour. Cocktail and Carbed out, pretending i’m on a some gorgeous Italian coast.

Ciao for now xo

10 THINGS I LEARNT WHILST LIVING IN JAPAN

My friend Billy and I went to Oishi Q Manchester a couple weeks ago and enjoyed some authentic Japanese food. I can tell when food is authentic or not, cause I used to live there. And believe me their Katsu curry sauce tasted exactly like the one I used to get in the staff canteen of Tokyo Disney Resort.

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It got me thinking. It’s been 5 years since I left japan, and just over 6 since I arrived. I like to think I’ve had a lot of life changing moments in my mere 27 years, but my year spent in japan definitely tops them all. One of those “I came as a girl and left as a woman” type experiences. Although looking back, leaving at 21 I was still so so young.. but way more sure of myself than when I arrived.

I’d previously spent 6 months working in Paris, which was an experience that taught me how to work alongside people of other cultural backgrounds. However, this was on another level. I remember our first day of work, we all gathered in the function room of our apartment building.. and wow. I felt like I’d stepped into an American movie! I’d never heard so many American accents in one room before (or in person for that matter). And of course the Japanese way of life was all so brand new to me.

1.  Living in Japan taught me to look inside myself, I became much more calmer and even spiritual.

2. It actually taught me to be more confident and proactive and think outside of the box. The Japanese are so SO polite and calm, sometimes I’d find myself at work having to take things into my own hands to get sh*t done.

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3. It taught me that I’m allergic to seaweed. Tad awkward in a country of sushi.

4. That I need freedom. Towards the end of my stay in Japan I my mental health took a struggle, suffering heavily with anxiety, leading up to daily panic attacks. I still don’t know the exact triggers for the anxiety but I can narrow it down to feeling trapped and claustrophobic. I soul searched and with great friends I learnt about the power of our minds and how amazing simple affirmations can be. Maybe I will do a separate post on mental health and mindfulness. Lemme know in the comments if this is something you’d wanna read?

5. It taught me that sometimes the best things in life include a bottle of £5 wine, a room full of friends and a card game.

6. It taught me respect. Have you ever seen those signs on public transport that tell you not to eat or drink on the train. Have you also ignored those signs before? I had too.. until I landed in japan where EVERYONE follows the rules. I find that so beautiful. Everyone has respect for each other. And Japan’s crime rate it one of the lowest in the world.. they go hand in hand.

7. It taught me that you never need a reason to jump in a “sticky pic” photo booth. So KAWAII!

8. …It taught me that everything in Japan is kawaii. No, seriously, cute things everywhere. Everything has a cartoon on it. Including the milk carton from 7/11.

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9. My Lancashire accent is/was virtually impossible to understand for the average American 😂 I ended up coming home with a totally different accent after having to refine the way I speak so my friends could understand me. Pros: I now have a very convincing American accent on my list ✔️

10. Chu hi’s. Oh Chu Hi’s are so delicious and so dangerous. A gorgeous sparkling pineapple drink in a on the go can…oh and 8% alcohol. These babes were the start of some hilarious nights out! And even a few summer days down by the sea front! They bring out new flavours every season!

(FYI I highly recommend Oishi Q if you’re ever about in Manchester and want some authentic Japanese food! The only downfall for me is there’s no alcohol on the menu!! ha!)

THE FLOWER DOESN’T DREAM OF THE BEE

It Blossoms and the bee comes.

What I’m trying to say is you have to be ready before you can receive.

This is based on a lesson the wonderful lady, Tianne Crowshaw, once taught me.

How are you supposed to manifest your dreams in you’re not in the position to accept them? What would change if you achieved your dreams?

For me, it was my bank balance. (not that it’s about the money for me, at all.. but you’ll see what I’m getting at in a second)

She asked me this, just after I told her of my (what was) lackadaisical mindset when it came to opening and paying bills. This was always such a boring chore for me. It wasn’t that necessarily I couldn’t afford to pay off the bills. It was that I just didn’t want to. I told her how of I would walk past my post box and think “ohh I’ll go check it tomorrow”. And just like our diets, tomorrow became the next day and then the next and then the next and then all of a sudden I would get a late payment charge. And then she asked me the light bulb question: “what energy are you giving your post when you tell it you’ll open it another day?” Negative. That’s when the light bulb turned on in my head. Duh. No wonder I always have some sort of bill to pay off. I’m literally breeding negative envelopes in my postbox!

How is the universe supposed to give me my dream job if I wouldn’t be able to cope with the side effects of it?? My bank balance would grow and therefore I would need to be able to handle that effectively. What Tianne was teaching me was I needed to learn to handle my mediocre bank balance before I would be given a larger balance.

What I’m trying to say is you need to be aligned with your desires. On the same level, the same wavelength.. after all, your subconscious mind only knows frequencies (vibes) it can’t differentiate between reality and imagination.

x