Introducing Vivid Drinks: A Matcha a Day…

I don’t usually do posts like this, but I figured it went hand-in-hand with the blog. You might be wondering why that is, and I say, shame on you! If you don’t know of my love of matcha by now, then, well…you’ve probably been doing something productive with your life. Anyway, I do love matcha and I do like to mention it a lot, on the blog, my Twitter, and to anyone who will listen. So when Vivid sent me a crate of their matcha based drinks, I did a little happy dance. 
Vivid Drinks was set up by a fellow matcha lover – James Shillcock.
He decided that it was about time that matcha made it’s big break in the UK. Up until now, it has only been available to health addicts, and those who have the money to afford it – most places that sell matcha have raised the price to extortionate levels. However James wanted it to be available to everyone, in a convenient way. Vivid Drinks was born. Thanks to his expertise in the tea industry, and time travelling in China, he’s the perfect candidate.
So why do I love matcha (green tea powder) so much? 
Not only is it super delicious, but it is full of amazing benefits. It contains a lot less caffeine (only 0.01mg) than coffee, and regular tea. That means it’s a lot better for your body, but don’t fret because it does also give you a healthy boost. I can’t drink highly caffeinated drinks like coffee or coca cola, so this is a great way for me to enjoy it. More importantly though, it is full of antioxidants (130x more than regular green tea), which are wonderfully good for you. Vivid Drinks have managed to keep all of those amazing benefits inside their drinks, whilst adding some healthy tasty flavours to the matcha. Matcha is quite bitter by itself, so pairing it with something sweet, like honey or pear is a really good idea. My personal favourite from the collection is the Lime, Ginger & Honey. In fact it was also the first one I tried when I ordered it at a tea room on Church Street. I didn’t know what to expect, but left with a happy tummy and my matcha craving satisfied. I make sure to drink a matcha a day, why don’t you try doing the same?
You can purchase Vivid Drinks in stores such as WH Smith, Waitrose, Selfridges & Whole Foods for £1.85 each. You may also find them in your local cafe, so keep an eye out, and visit Vivid for more information.

Where to Eat in Chamonix, France: Mat’cha Tearoom

Salon de Thé Mat’cha | Japanese Tearoom | Hotel Cretes Blanches, 16 Impasse du Génépy, Chamonix

Never would I have expected to find a Japanese tearoom in Chamonix. However I was pleasantly surprised to find one on my recent holiday to France. I happened to pass a sign and saw the Japanese kanji for tea – 茶 – which peaked my interest. So we went back the following day and were greeted by a wonderfully serene setting by a hotel.

The hostess is a very sweet Japanese lady who speaks French, English and Japanese. We were both in such awe, especially as it gave us a chance to practice all of our languages. We were shown the wide range of teas, which she brought to us in beautiful red lacquer boxes. After carefully explaining the origins and tastes etc of the teas, we were left to make our decision. After choosing our tea sets we chatted with the lovely hostess in Japanese about our travels. I have to say she really made the experience worthwhile, and showed such kindness to us. You all know I’m a big fan of matcha and Japanese tea and this only fed my love for it. My set came with candied sweet potato too, which was absolutely delicious.

Mat’cha offers traditional Japanese tea sets, as well as regular tea and coffee. They also offer a small lunch menu consisting of one item, which is served Tuesday – Friday. The menu changes day by day, and includes popular Japanese dishes such as curry, sushi or bento. Also on offer are well known Japanese sweet treats, such as chiffon & matcha cake, taiyaki and more. We didn’t opt for a lunch as we had actually just eaten and weren’t aware that they did lunches. However we agreed that we would certainly go back again to try out the lunch menu.

Mat’cha is a part of and connected to Hôtel les Crêtes-Blanches.

Photo Diary: Masturi in London, Dalston Roof Park

Last weekend, the fiancé and I headed down the road to Dalston Roof Park for Matsuri in London.
For those who don’t know ‘matsuri’ is Japanese for festival, which means food, drink and a good time.
The event itself was set up by Fumio Tanga of Sho Foo Doh & Tim Anderson (Masterchef 2011 Winner).
Some of London’s best Japanese street food, cocktails, cinema, music and artists gathered for the event.
We arrived to Dalston Roof Park and a very long line of confused people – some had tickets and others didn’t. It took a bunch of us enquiring for the problem to be solved but eventually after waiting for a bit we headed in. We were greeted by a very sunny & hot roof top, where we proceeded to jump upon refreshing green tea cocktails. It was good that we had bought tickets as the venue soon started filling up and buzzing with excitement from eager foodies etc. We indulged in okonomiyaki and karaage burgers whilst lounging on the roof top, taking in a bird’s eye view of East London. It was pretty relaxing and the food was more than good. However we didn’t notice or hear about any of the ‘special events’ that were supposed to be taking place. I was also a little sad when I went to buy some matcha soft cream and was told the flavour was changing, and I would have to wait 30 minutes. Sorry guys but I only wait for matcha.
Overall I had a good time at the event, thanks to good food and company.
I’d definitely head to Dalston Roof Park again and I hope another ‘Matsuri in London’ is held next year.

Photo Diary: Afternoon Tea

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of having afternoon tea at Penmaenuchaf Hall.
As some of you may know I am a big foodie, and I adore tea so you can probably guess how much I enjoyed it there.
If the grounds and hotel weren’t stunning enough, the food was even better! We were served a large selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones – with cream and jam, of course. I definitely ate my fill, which was accompanied by a ton of Earl Grey…I’d like to say literally but I don’t think that’s possible, even for me.
It’s funny because when I was living in Tokyo one of the main questions I was asked by the Japanese people I met was “When do you have afternoon tea?”. It always made me laugh and I would tell them that ‘afternoon tea’ wasn’t really practised now as often as it was in the past, nor was there a specific time for it. Yet after having this I felt a little sad that ‘afternoon tea’ was now kind of in the background of British culture. However I have noticed a variety of tea rooms opening recently in lots of cities (Norwich has plenty), all which seem to offer ‘afternoon tea’. 
I hope the practise won’t die out just yet, because it’s so much fun, and incredibly tasty.
…not to mention, very British!

Photo Diary: London

 Lilli Vanilli Bakery, M&M Store, Bubbleology, Cheap Monday, Monki, Absolute Vintage & Tatty Devine

Just a few snaps I took on my recent visit to London.
Before I had to move away for University I used to visit London quite often, as I live close enough, so I don’t really do the tourist-y things. I do however like to visit lots of shops and cafes! Apart from spending time with my lovely gals whilst I was there, I did visit the new Monki store and Cheap Monday as I haven’t been back since they opened. I also re-visited my favourite Tatty Devine store and plenty of vintage stores. 
For lovers of Match/Green Tea, Bubbleology in Soho has Matcha bubble tea. We stopped by and I had to grab one! 
The guy who was working was a bit odd, and didn’t really have the best customer service skills to be honest, but the bubble tea was lovely.
I apologise for the lack of photos.
I was taking them off my phone very early this morning (couldn’t sleep) and ended up deleting some by accident, in my half-awake state. Farewell pictures of delicious cakes and food, you shall be sorely missed.

Presents from Taiwan

(Face Masks; Sasa, Green Tea Powder, Happie Nuts Magazine & Rienda Pouch)

Recently my mum went over to Hong Kong to visit my sister, who is currently living there with her boyfriend.
Whilst she was there they decided to take a trip to Taiwan, as they’d been before and really love the country.
In-between visiting friends, and eating some amazing food, my mum picked me up a few gifts.
She’s calling these ‘belated birthday presents’, but I already received some money and chocolate from my parents, so I wasn’t expecting anything else. 
What did I get?
+ Japanese Cherry Blossom Sheet Face Masks
+ Apricot Sheet Face Masks
+ Green Tea Powder Sachets
+ Happie Nuts Magazine
The face masks are from a store named Sasa. They have quite a few stores in Asia, but they also sell their products online, here. They ship internationally, and are one of the best places online to find Asian beauty products.
Happie Nuts for my readers who don’t know, is a Japanese fashion magazine. It’s mainly aimed at women in their 20s and predominantly features ‘gyaru’ or ‘gal’ fashion, which some of you may know I was a fan of. I still enjoy reading Happie Nuts though, as I find the fashion and beauty articles are more on trend with Western styles. 
For my new readers, I do speak and read Japanese (competently, not fluently).

Finally, the green tea power sachets (Matcha) are just because I love Matcha so much, which you’ve probably heard me mention a thousand times before. I’m like a broken record!