Aoyama Flower Market Tea House | Tokyo Travel Diary

Aoyama Flower Market Tea HouseAoyama Flower Market Tea House | Cafe | Map
5-1-2 Minamiaoyama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Have you ever walked into a place and just been taken aback by its sheer beauty? That’s exactly what happened to me when I first walked into Aoyama Flower Market’s Omotesando branch, during my recent visit with Nicole. The flower shop is well known, with outlets across Japan. However this particular location is nestled in amongst the high-rises of Aoyama, and only a minute walk away from Omotesando tube station. Perfect for my inner mori gal.

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House: Concept

The concept behind Aoyama Flower Market’s tea house is quite simple; a greenhouse. Yes, it may sound boring, yet it’s anything but. Think blooming flowers, ivy crawling along the walls, and a botanical inspired menu. That’s exactly what you’ll find here. The idea of “living with flowers everyday” was on the mind of AFM’s interior design team when they opened this plant haven. And boy did they deliver!

The Menu…

The menu here is pretty simple in terms of ingredients. You’ll also find alternating seasonal specials, which are based on particular flowers or holidays. As you can imagine most dishes are vegetarian and vegan friendly, however there is the odd meat dish on the menu; for those who just can’t go without. You won’t find any coffee on the menu either, only tea. So how did I get on as a coffee-loving, meat-eater?

  • Sakura Plate – Special
    We visited during sakura season, so naturally the menu reflected this. Not surprisingly you can often find cherry blossom flavoured (slightly reminiscent of rose) products and dishes at this time of year. This dish in particular included sakura jelly, chiffon cake, sakura ice cream and cream with meringue “mushrooms”. I personally loved the taste; subtle and sweet, with a nice mix of textures. This dish was perfect for me!
  • Fresh Mint Soda 
    Gimme mint any day! Normally I drink a lot of mint tea, but I decided to cool down with something slightly more refreshing – and fizzy – this time. I was brought some optional syrup for my drink, which I didn’t add. However it’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth. I didn’t get a photo of my soda, but I did snap one of my friend’s mint tea, which was just as pretty!

Final thoughts?

This is a popular place, so be prepared to wait. As a Londoner I don’t mind doing this, in fact it’s second nature when it comes to finding a decent restaurant. To be fair we only waited around 20-30 minutes, but you may need to stand if the few waiting chairs in the cafe are taken.

If you fancy some time away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Aoyama Flower Market Tea House is an incredibly relaxing, comforting spot to visit. From browsing the store for plants and flowers, to enjoying some sweet treats in the restaurant, I really enjoyed the food and atmosphere here. I’d definitely recommend it, and it’s certainly somewhere I would go back to on my next visit to Japan.

Check out the rest of my Japan Travel Diaries (including Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo) here.

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The Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition

Beauty Expert CollectionThe Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition*

Beauty boxes have almost become a staple in the beauty game. However over time people (including myself) have become tired of the novelty of not knowing what you’re going to receive. Sometimes you just need a bit of stability in your life. You know what I mean?

So when I was gifted The Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition, I was excited to know just exactly what I would be receiving.

The Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition

  • Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil (30ml)  Restore, regenerate and intensively condition lacklustre skin with this rose-scented fruit and seed oil blend. Super potent in concentrated fruit hip oil, with twice the regenerative sterols and five times the carotenoids of seed oil, feed your skin with the most essential nutrients.
  • Monu Gentle Cleanser (180ml) – Perfect for those with dry, irritated or sensitive skin types. The fresh infusion of rose and geranium essential oils deliver a relaxing aroma, while the wheat germ, peach kernel and coconut oil provide the skin with the TLC it deserves.
  • Ark Body Beautiful Conditioning Oil (250ml) – This gorgeous multi-purpose beauty elixir can be used as a massage, bath, body and hair oil. Containing sweet almond oil, abyssian oil and sacha inchi-seed oil, this unique blend rejuvenates your senses and ensures your skin receives maximum results.
  • Balance Me Rose Otto Body Cream (200ml) – Hydrate, firm and protect skin with this luxurious body cream. Rich in skin-quenching ingredients, including arctic cloudberry and organic aloe vera, this exquisite mix is then blended with softening rose otto, palma rosa and rose geranium.
  • Korres Japanese Rose Shower Gel (250ml) – Refresh and awaken your skin with the irresistible scent of delicate rose petals. Energising wheat proteins help form a protective layer on the skin to maintain the skin’s natural moisture levels, while antioxidant enzymes enhance the overall immune system of the skin.
  • REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift (15ml) – This ultra-lifting, firming and replenishing eye cream instantly lifts and brightens the entire eye area. The powerful cocktail of ingredients helps target signs of ageing, crow’s feet and expression lines – resulting in a smoother, tighter and revitalised appearance.

Is The Beauty Expert Collection worth it?

This is always a difficult question, but it’s one that’s on anybody’s mind when it comes to buying a new product. Especially when that product is a beauty box – sorry, beauty bag. One of the main differences – and draws – of TBEC is that you know what you’re getting; 6 full size rose themed beauty products.

Personally I’m a fan of Ren, Balance Me, Korres and Monu. So seeing these brands in the bag automatically told me that I was getting something I knew I’d love. It also showed me that Beauty Expert know what they’re talking about – these are some awesome brands! The addition of a couple of companies I didn’t know of was also nice, as it means I get to try out some new products, and hopefully fall in love with some new brands.

So let’s look at this logically. The Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition, comes with 6 full sized products, suitable for all skin-types… oh and it offers up £134 worth of full size products for only £50! Yeah I do reckon you’re getting your moneys worth.

You can purchase The Beauty Expert Collection – Rose Edition at Beauty Expert.
Read more beauty reviews and recommendations here.

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Get Your London Freakshake On, At Soft Serve Society

london freakshakeSoft Serve Society* | Ice Cream, Tea & Freakshakes | Website
UNIT 35 BOXPARK, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6GY

Last year one unique, insane, ginormous, sweet sweet dish, broke the internet. The freakshake. Piled high with cake, cookies, chocolate and more. People were going crazy for this milkshake on steroids. However at the time, they weren’t available in the UK. Luckily for me, I live in London – undoubtedly the food capital of England. And of course it was only a matter of time before London picked up on the trend…and made it their own.

Get Your London Freakshake On

So where do you get your London freakshake on? At Soft Serve Society of course! The new eatery has opened in one of Shoreditch’s favourite retail destinations, Boxpark. Offering up soft serve ice cream, cotton candy cones, sundaes, freakshakes, tea and more. If that wasn’t all, there are nods to the owner’s favourites, such as matcha and chiffon cake (homemade by the way).

Luckily I was invited down to try some of their menu, with my friend Vanessa. As concise as the menu is, it’s still pretty tough to choose just one thing. So of course Vanessa and I went for a few. And shared, coz clearly we’re not animals. We chose:

  • Matcha Freakshake
    I was so eager to finally try a freakshake, so when I saw my favourite flavour on the menu, I knew I had to have it. You’d be surprised at just how devourable this really is. Most people would suggest eating it between 2, I say go all out and keep it for yourself. It’s that good! The chiffon cake is airy, and the pocky/cookie and cream are the perfect dipping companions. The milkshake itself carries the perfect hint of green tea; sweet and surprisingly light.
  • Matcha Madness | Soft Serve Sundae
    A must for any matcha/green tea fan, especially if you want something slightly more portable than the freakshake. The sweet azuki beans are the perfect compliment to the slightly bitter (but not too much) matcha. Whilst the mochi adds texture alongside the soft serve. Basically it’s got flavour, it’s got texture. It’s the perfect sundae.
  • Espresso Yourself | Soft Serve Sundae
    I loved the sprinkle of coffee on top of the sundae. It added a slight crunch, and a shot of flavour. Any coffee fan (aka me) will adore this sundae. Out of all of the sundaes we tried, this is the one I can see myself buying on a regular basis.
  • Where’s My Honey | Soft Serve Sundae
    This one is for the sweet toothed out there. The oats and waffle add some extra oomph, but personally I would prefer something with a slightly bitter or salty topping, as the honey and soft serve are pretty sweet. But I know not everyone is down for that. If you love sweet stuff, this is for you.

Overall I loved Soft Serve Society. The draw may be the freakshakes, or the cotton candy ice cream, but it’s a lot more than that. This is the perfect addition to any foodie’s Summer.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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My Current Beauty Faves | July 2016

Beauty FavesMy Current Beauty Faves | July 2016

Confession time! I don’t like watching beauty videos (unless it’s 100 Coats). I know I’m going against the grain here, but they just don’t appeal to me. That said, I’ve always appreciated a monthly favourites video. Basically I want my information short and sweet. I wanna know which products you loved this month, and which you hated. Since I don’t have the time to review every single beauty product I’m currently loving, I decided that a monthly Beauty Faves post was the best way to go about it.

My Beauty Faves | July

  • Sephora Express Drying Oil – Place a drop on newly painted nails and they dry within 1 minute. The perfect solution for clumsy ol’me.
  • Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream | Birthday Suit – The perfect matte lip cream. My perfect shade. The Sleek Matte Me lip creams do not budge through drinking and eating – no lie! I love it so much I’ve stocked up.
  • YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara | I’m The Clash #1* – I only ask for 2 things in a mascara. That it holds my lashes up – they point downwards usually – and that it doesn’t smudge. YSL have certainly come to my rescue with this one.
  • YSL Touche Eclat Concealer & Highlighter | Luminous Radiance #1*- Yes I know I’m late to hop on the bandwagon, but now I’m on it, I ain’t gettin off! This is the perfect tool to add a bit of luminosity to my face.
  • Barry M Gelly Nail Paint | Almond – This is a dupe of my favourite Nails Inc polish – everyone compliments this colour – and I honestly can’t tell the difference when it comes to shade or wear.  At £11 cheaper than it’s twin, I know which one I’ll be sticking with from now on.
  • Canmake Day & Night Treatment Lip Scrub – I picked this up in Japan and haven’t put it down since. It exfoliates my lips gently (it’s a sugar scrub), and prepares them for lipstick. Alternatively, I use it at night after removing my make-up – to prepare my lips for the following day.
  • Trilogy Daily Defence Moisturiser SPF15* – For a pale lady such as myself, a moisturiser containing SPF is a must! This day cream is thick, but absorbs quickly, and is the perfect base for my make-up.
  • CHANEL Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette – I’ve always loved this scent, and so does everyone else! I get numerous compliments when I spritz this on, and everyone says it’s lovely.
  • Collection Precision Contouring Crayon – This one is sneak peek! It isn’t out yet, but it will be soon. Trust me, if you contour, you NEED this crayon in your life. It applies smoothly, and blends like an angel.

There you have it! My July Beauty Faves. Keep an eye out for more beauty reviews and recommendations here.

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A Wanted Man Cafe… and Brow Bar Waxing Salon?

a wanted manA Wanted Man | Cafe & Beauty Salon | Website
330 Kings Road, SW3, Chelsea, London

Ever popped by your local cafe and thought you’d get an espresso and a wax to go? No probably not, and whereas the concept may sound a little odd, it’s utterly brilliant. At least that’s what I realised when I stopped by A Wanted Man last week, and did just that.

A Wanted Man | Beauty Salon

In my opinion, any kind of beauty treatment should always be followed by immense relaxation…and food. So a beauty salon located above a cafe is the perfect solution, no? Yes! Say hello to A Wanted Man, the new location from the Ministry of Waxing – yes, THE Ministry of Waxing. Located on Chelsea’s Kings Road, the brow bar and waxing salon sits above a modern, cosy cafe, with an old Western theme.

The Wild West theme flows through to the salon reception upstairs, and through to the treatment corners. I went for a slightly more “private” treatment, so I ventured even further upstairs to a private room. My booking was with Kanada, who was extremely professional, and very friendly. I won’t go into too much detail, but I was left feeling very content with both the service, and the results.

A Wanted Man | Cafe

After my treatment I headed downstairs for lunch. Coz that’s what you do at A Wanted Man. Unless you decide to do it the other way around of course (which is fine too, no one’s gonna judge ya). There’s a very prominent laid-back, 70s vibe to the cafe; I love contemporary interiors with a classic influence.

The coffee here is roasted by Singapore-based specialty coffee roasters, A Common Man, borne out of Five Senses Coffee of Melbourne. I ordered a flat white, which to me is the perfect way of testing coffee – even better if you can have an espresso alongside it. The coffee itself was smooth and went down a treat. Whilst I sipped on said beverage, I waited for my Rainbow Salad. Honestly it was very difficult to choose what to order. The menu isn’t too extensive – that’s a good thing – but everything sounds absolutely mouthwatering. And Instagram-friendly too! My salad arrived in good time and tasted fresh, wholesome and delicious. You can’t really ask for more. Still it’s really no surprise when you find out that the menu is crafted by Michel Bras-trained chefs, Benjamin Darnaud (previously at Viande & Chef in Paris) and Vincent Dery.

Final Thoughts

A Wanted Man is a wonderful addition to Chelsea, and the Ministry of Waxing. Whereas combining both the luxury of a beauty salon, and the comfort of a cafe may still be relatively new to the UK, it’s certainly not lost on its customers; be them new or loyal. Let’s just say that I don’t always go for a wax, but when I do it’s the Ministry of Waxing (brownie points to those who get the reference).

I would highly recommend A Wanted Man, whether you want a beauty treatment, coffee & food, or both! You won’t be disappointed.

 

You’ll find AWM on Drip App – so don’t forget to use “EXG878” to get £4 free credit and “BLOOMZY20” for an additional 20% off!

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Good and Proper Tea – The New Afternoon Tea in London

afternoon tea in londonGood and Proper Tea* | Brunch/Afternoon Tea in London – Cafe | Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane | Website

One of my favourite anecdotes from my time in Japan is the afternoon tea tale. Whenever I met someone for the first time (who had not been to the UK/had any British friends), they would without fail ask me “what time is afternoon tea?” This question came up again and again, and I quickly realised that people genuinely see afternoon tea as a part of everyday life in the UK. Unfortunately most of us Brits know this isn’t the case, but I do love to indulge a little every now and again.

The New Afternoon Tea in London

For me, brunch is the new afternoon tea, in London anyway. I love to spend a weekend morning – or a weekday if I’m feeling particularly luxurious – just relaxing with a cup of coffee, and a decent selection of hot food and pastries. In fact I enjoy it so much, I’m constantly searching for new brunch places. Luckily for me, I was invited along to the launch of Good and Proper Tea‘s new Leather Lane store.

Crumpets and Tea!

Ok let’s get to the food! VA and I shared a selection of G&P’s famous handmade crumpets and cakes:

  • Egg, Mustard, Ham and Cheese Crumpet – Subtle flavours on top of a pillowy crumpet. A unique take on the Croque Madame!
  • Marmite & Cheese Crumpet – Melted cheese oozes over a soft crumpet, whilst everyone’s favourite yes-no condiment adds a tangy edge.
  • Blood Orange & Poppy Seed Cake (vegan friendly) – Sweet and a little tart. Stodgy, but in a good way. I could eat this everyday.
  • Honey and Orange Madelines – These were so delectable and flavoursome. They are definitely my favourite sweet treat at G&P.

Alongside our food I tried the Dragonwell Tea and a Chai Latte, both are personal favourites of mine. Dragonwell tea (aka Longjing) is a roasted green tea. It went extremely well with my breakfast, as it isn’t too bitter or strong a flavour. My Chai Latte was made using milk, however dairy-free versions are available, which I do appreciate. It was a little spicy, and very creamy. Just the way I like it.

Let’s round it up

First things first, I’m the realest… Wait no, that’s not right. The decor! The decor is insanely gorgeous – there are some definite #interiorgoals going on here. Luckily Good and Proper Tea are as much about substance as they are style; as is reflected in their food and tea offerings. We may have gone for brunch, but you could easily while away an afternoon here chatting with friends, “working”, or of course, for afternoon tea.

You can visit Good and Proper Tea in Clerkenwell, Old Street and Brockley Market (find them here).
Read more: Where to Eat in London | A London Life

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Where to Eat in London: Hurwundeki

hurwundekiHurwundeki Cafe | Bethnal Green | Nearest tube: Bethnal Green/Cambridge Heath | Website

Where to Eat in London: Hurwundeki

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to stop by Hurwundeki’s cafe, to try out their new brunch menu (Tues-Sat until 3:30pm). For those that don’t recognise the name, this Korean cafe-come-salon-come-restaurant is almost a Bethnal Green institution. Believe it or not, as big of a fan of Korean food as I am, I’ve never been to Hurwundeki. As a resident of East London I have no excuse. Luckily for me I chose the perfect sunny weekend to head over with Ffi, to finally see what they had to offer.

How is the food and coffee?

We ordered two dishes to share: the Avocado & Bacon with chilli, and the Homemade Falafel with beetroot and sesame, both of which came on toast. The former was slightly spicy, and used good quality (crisped) bacon; a well loved favourite that has been executed well. The latter falafel dish was my favourite though. The unique flavours (for a typical brunch) really made this dish stand out. Both came in light, smallish portions, which were the perfect serving sizes for us. That said, they may be a little small for some people. On the bright side, this does leave room for cake – so no need to worry! We tried the Gluten Free & Vegan Peanut Brownie, and the Almond and Chocolate Bread Pudding. Neither were overly sweet or heavy, which I loved. I also appreciated the options for coeliacs and vegans – nice one Hurwundeki!

I grabbed a coffee (easy to do when I have Drip App), which uses Workshop Coffee’s Cult of Done espresso. I loved how smooth and flavoursome (sweet notes of cocoa and maple syrup) this Brazilian coffee was.

Final Thoughts

My only complaint is that Hurwundeki doesn’t carry over the Korean food into their cafe. I would have loved to have seen some Korean-inspired dishes or ingredients pop up on the brunch menu. I imagine this is because a lot of people expect certain foods at brunch in London, which is a shame really. That said, the food here is presented well, and tastes delicious. With dishes starting at around £4.50, this is more than affordable. I’ll definitely be stopping by for brunch again.

 

You can visit Hurwundeki at 296–299 Railway Arches, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9HA or online here.
Make sure to check out Drip App for some of London’s best independent coffee shops!

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