A Blast from My Past: Japanese Gyaru Fashion & Life in Japan

A few weeks ago I went back to my parent’s house for a few days. Whilst I was there I decided to raid the attic, and see if I could find my old textbooks. I found myself knee-deep in university papers and old cuddly toys from my childhood. Amongst these were a few boxes of items from my time living (and studying) in Tokyo, Japan. Suddenly my objective was out the window and all I wanted to do was reminisce.
Japanese fashion has been a part of my life for over 10 years now. One fashion sub-culture in particular took up a decent amount of that time – gyaru. With hair high enough to reach the gods, and enough make-up to make an MUA weep, gyaru was an enigma wrapped in a mini skirt and fuzzy leg warmers. I was automatically drawn in, and spent most of my time reading magazines and blogs dedicated to the style. Gyaru is the reason behind me starting this blog in the first place! So you can imagine that finding these magazines and books was something quite special. Memories flooded back: Buying the Ranzuki Hair & Make-up Book in a small conbini in Kyoto. Adding points to my WC loyalty card as I bought everything and anything from the brand. Getting a ‘hair set’ (that has since created perpetual hair envy) with a friend for our joint birthday party. 
I met some amazing people because of gyaru, people who I can now call good friends.  So naturally it will always be a big part of my life and although I’m sure there were bad times, I can only remember the good. Recently I’ve missed my time living in Tokyo, but I do wonder if going back might tarnish those memories. It’s safe to say that things wouldn’t be the same now, but maybe that’s a good thing? Gyaru has faded from it’s origins and seems to be evolving into something all together different. So for now, I’m happy to keep my memories as just that. 
Interested in reading more about Japanese fashion and how my blog started?
Check out my Style Evolution post or browse my Japanese Fashion tag.

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: Glaciers, Hot Chocolate & Balconies

When you read this I’ll already be packing to head back to London.
It’s been an amazingly relaxing and wonderful holiday and I’m sad to leave.
That said, I know lots of friends, family and adventures are awaiting me in England.
We spent our week going for long walks, inside massive glaciers, and sipping on hot chocolate.
Something as simple as ‘stopping for a coffee’ seems so much better surrounded by pretty things.
(I should make note here that coffee shops and restaurants in London know how to do this very well).
We wanted to relax this holiday, hence coming to Chamonix, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore.
We headed to Montenvers to see the ‘Mer de Glace’  – a glacier on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif.
Lucky for us it’s the longest glacier in France, because who would settle for anything else, ey?
It was lit with various coloured lights, and scattered around were gorgeous ice sculptures.
It was truly beautiful and I hope my photos do it justice.
It’s been a lovely holiday and I hope you’ve enjoyed my photo diaries.

Photo Diary: Holiday in Chamonix

France is a beautiful country to photograph.
The fact that I have Mont Blanc right outside my window helps, obviously.
I love Chamonix as a town and it’s so pretty that I wanted to be a real tourist.
I decided to take a few photos (and will probably take more later) and share them with you.
You can see a bit of all my favourite things; architecture, food and nature.

OOTD: When in France…

Knit – Zara | Trousers – Uniqlo | Shoes – New Look @ ASOS | Backpack* – Oasap
Ok now raise your hands if you hate packing for a holiday! Just me? Oh well, I just never seem to know what to pack to go away. I always end up with a random variety of clothes, accessories and shoes. I guess it’s because I don’t like planning outfits, as I know it depends on my mood. This Zara knit seemed perfect for my holiday in France though, not bad for a charity shop find, ey? I paired it with my Uniqlo legging trousers because they’re so comfy and chilled – perfect for casual walking. It’s quite a thin knit so I’ve been able to wear it by itself, as the weather is lovely and a jacket isn’t needed. Paired with my new backpack (that can also be used as a handbag) from Oasap, I am ready to go!
Don’t forget you can get 20% off with code ‘bloomzy’ when you visit Oasap!

OOTD: Morning Bakery Run

Jacket* – Warehouse | Top – Pull & Bear | Leggings* – Oasap | Necklace – Topshop | Bag* – Oasap
Whenever we stay in France we make a morning trip to the boulangerie (everyday). There really is something special about having warm, fresh baguette and croissants for breakfast. Luckily for us we have one just over the bridge from us, so we don’t have to get up too early.
Dressing up in a town full of skiers/hikers means you tend to stand out a bit. Even my casual style means that people look at me as if I’m crazy for not wearing a gilet. Still, it’s not as if a few looks has ever stopped me before, right? Well that’s pretty obvious. Today I wanted to wear my new leggings & backpack from Oasap as they’re understatedly cool. The leggings have a velvet brocade design on them (detail photo) and I absolutely love them to pieces. The rest of my outfit was basically worked around the leggings, I’m not gonna lie to y’all. Still I think it all works together and my new backpack come handbag is super handy.
Don’t forget you can get 20% off with code ‘bloomzy’ when you visit Oasap!

OOTD: Stripey & Chic

(Dress: China Doll Boutique, Necklace: Tatty Devine, Watch: Marc Jacobs, Bracelet: Rêves D’Hiver)
Finally, after waiting for so long, the warm weather is here!!
I celebrate by stopping by China Doll Boutique’s (now named Sugar & Style) Box Park pop-up.
Nhuc is always lovely & chatty, and after browsing her new items (some from Paris!) I tried a few on.
Although I loved some of the new printed trousers I decided that a light Summer dress would be best.
This one just screamed Parisian-chic to me, and I loved the simplicity of it – more to accessorise with!
The cut is super flattering, which surprised me as I have some rather prominent boobs and bum going on.
I think this may be my go-to Summer casual dress, especially as it suits my new hairstyle so well.
Unfortunately the dress isn’t available on the online store, but you can find it in the Box Park store!