Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Cheer From Japan

Good Day Everyone,

Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating today and Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you all have the most wonderful day with your loved ones. I just wanted to pop on here and share some Christmas photos that my hubby and I have captured recently. Enjoy :o)
Though Christmas is not officially a recognized holiday in Japan, the country gets into the festive spirit with lots of Christmas trees, lights and markets for all to enjoy. There has been a Disney theme running this Christmas at some of the shopping malls near where we live.
Yesterday we were treated to live gospel singers performing traditional Christmas carols mixed with some modern classics, and of course a few Disney numbers. Given the Japanese's reputation for being shy and reserved, it was great to see so many people singing and bopping along to the songs ;o)

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Christmas festivities here in Japan.
Love Sheen xxx
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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Soap & Glory Do It Again!

Good Day Everyone,

I'm so glad that the long journey back from England is over. As much as I love going home, my poor arthritic body despairs at having to sit down for so long on the plane. It puts a real strain on my arthritic pelvis and I'm now paying the price, as well as battling awful jet lag. I'll be taking it very easy over the next week or so whilst my body recovers, but first I just had to pop on here, to share this amazing Christmas bargain with you :o) You'll have to excuse the lighting in these photos as it's currently dark outside and our room lights are not the most flattering!
Last year I wrote about the best beauty bargain of 2013, Soap and Glory's amazing Christmas offer The Yule Monty gift set, after coming across it completely by chance. With a greater than half price discount, it was too good a bargain to be missed! Also, I though it was a great way to try several products from the brand without breaking the bank. That was my first foray into Soap & Glory products and I have to say I have really enjoyed using their products.
Needless to say, Soap & Glory have done it again with an equally amazing offering this year. As I just happened to be back in England, in time for this year's offer, I couldn't resist picking it up at my local Boots. Whilst it has sold out online, I know that it is still available from some Boots stores but you'll have to be quick because today is that last day of the offer, whilst stocks last.
This year the offering is know as, 'The Next Big Thing' by Hattie Stewart. You can see more on the Boots YouTube video above. Hattie is an up and coming illustrator who has designed the limited edition box which the products come in. The box is very sturdy and can be wiped clean. Attached to the box is a silver handle embedded with the Soap & Glory logo. As the box comes with a lid, it will be ideal for storage and I will certainly be keeping mine.
Inside the box there is a complimentary drawstring bag in the brand's pink colour containing the ten full sized products. There is also a voucher which gives you £3 off when you spend £12 or more on Soap & Glory products which is valid for the first three months of 2015.

The ten products included in this Christmas gift box are;
  • THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER™ Body Butter 300ml
  • HAND DREAM™ Super Cream 100ml
  • ORANGEASM™ Body Wash 500ml
  • BUTTER YOURSELF™ Moisture Lotion 500ml
  • HEEL GENIUS™ Foot Cream 125ml
  • SUGAR CRUSH™ Body Scrub 300ml
  • WHIPPED CLEAN™ Shower Butter 250ml
  • SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ Lip Lacquer in Charm Offensive 7ml
  • THICK & FAST™ Super Volume Mascara 10ml
  • OFF YOUR FACE™ 3 in 1 Daily Purifying Cloths (25 cloths)
I'm currently using the Thick & Fast mascara from last year's gift set and so far have been very impressed with it's volumising effect, especially as I typically tend to go for lengthening mascaras. I also really enjoyed The Righteous Butter and Heel Genius from last year's set and I'm very happy to have them in my stash again during these cold wintery months. The weather in Japan is getting much colder so any moisturising products are very much welcomed by both myself and my hubby ;o) The Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Lacquer is a gorgeous muted dusky pink shade, which I think is a universally flattering colour. On me, it is like a my lips but better colour so I know I'll get lots of use from it.
The Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Lacquer comes with a doe foot applicator
A light and heavy swatch of the Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Lacquer in the shade Charm Offensive

This great box of goodies retails for £60 so with the Boots better than half price deal, at £29, it really is a brilliant bargain box of beauty supplies that will last you well into the New Year. If you were to purchase these ten products individually, at full price, then you'd be looking to spend £76 so that's a saving of over 60%... I don't think I need to go on any further to justify my purchase, do you? ;o)

Did  you pick up this box of beauty bargains? What's the best beauty bargain you've come across this year?

Love Sheen xxx

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Friday, 12 December 2014

The Land Of The Rising Sun

Good Day Everyone,

Since moving to Japan, I've often wondered why it is referred to as 'the land of the rising sun'. Was it to do with the red circle on its white flag being a representation of the sun or was there some other reason? A quick search on Google revealed a number of possible explanations.

One explanation is that the Japanese characters which make up Japan's name mean 'sun origin'. Another explanation is that the ancient Japanese knew of China and other countries to it's west, but did not know of any islands or countries to it's east, and therefore thought that their land was the first to be awakened by the rising sun. Running along the same theme, another reason as to why Japan is referred to as the land of the rising sun is simply because it lies to the east of mainland Asia, and the sun rises from the east.

It was almost six weeks after we moved into our apartment, that I found out why for me, Japan is referred to as the land of the rising sun, and that is because of the most amazing sun rises I have ever seen. I could not believe that I had not seen these before given that we sleep with our curtains and blinds open, and our apartment faces east. When the sky is full of heavy, dense clouds the sun rise can easily be missed and that's what we'd had a lot of. However, on days like this particular one when there are gaps in the clouds, we get to see this! I took these four photos consecutively whilst watching the sun come up, and the colours are so amazing that these photos have not been edited in the slightest :o)

1. The sun is coming up, peaking from behind the clouds
2. Can you see the sun rays spreading out from above the sun?
3. The whole sky is basking in the most beautiful orange glow
4. And it's completely up
Waking up early is definitely worth it when I get to capture photos like these and sometimes I can actually see sun rays... I don't think I have ever seen rays before we moved to Japan. On a clear morning, with minimal clouds, I get to capture the sun like this!
I hope you enjoyed these photos and now, like me, get to appreciate why this amazing country is referred to as the land of the rising sun... a very apt reference, if you ask me ;o)

Have a good weekend all.
Love Sheen xxx
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Recipe: Coconut & Mint Chia Seed Pudding

Good Day Everyone,

If you've ever read my Super Seeds blog post then you'll know that I'm a big fan of incorporating seeds into my diet. Chia seeds were a relatively recent addition, but they've quickly become one of my favourite seeds to eat. They're high in fiber, protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3s which is great for someone like me who suffers from arthritis, an inflammatory disease. I typically use chia seeds in my home made granola (you can find the recipe here), sprinkled on salads and I even eat them neat on their own. 
More recently, after seeing many beautiful photos on Instagram, I've started to make chia seed puddings. A quick search on Google brought up numerous recipes and I soon realised that there is no right or wrong way to make chia seed pudding. It all comes down to personal preference. Chia seeds don't have a particularly strong flavour of their own which means that they will take on the flavour of whatever liquid you mix them with. When immersed in a liquid, these tiny super seeds will soften as they expand up to nine times their original size, which makes them incredibly filling whilst being low in calories. Upon expanding they form a cross between a gelatinous and mousse like texture. I've seen different ratios of chia seeds to liquid in recipes online, and I think through experimentation, I'll find a ratio that suits my taste. The less liquid there is the less the chia seeds will expand, but ultimately I don't worry too much about my measurements being exact....that's my kind of recipe ;o)
The great thing about chia seed puddings is that they can be flavoured and decorated in sooo many different ways that for a colour loving freak like me, the possibilities are endless! These puddings can also be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator which makes them ideal for those of us that are pushed for time. They can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack and even dessert.
Below is a recipe for some coconut and mint chia seed puddings that I made recently.

  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • A large handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh fruit and shredded coconut, as desired
  1. I mixed the coconut milk, honey and vanilla essence in a large bowl.
  2. To the mixture above, I added the mint leaves, finely chopped (I used a hand blender to blitz them) and kept a few sprigs back to decorate with.
  3. I then added the chia seeds to the mixture, mixed it all together and left the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 30mins in the large bowl so that the chia seeds can expand.
  4. After 30mins, I took the chia seed pudding mixture out of the refrigerator and poured it into two glasses and glass ramekins, and layered and decorated the pudding with fresh fruit, mint sprigs and toasted shredded coconut, as seen in the photos. I made sure not to fill the glasses and ramekins right to the brim, just in case the chia seeds expanded further.
  5. I then covered the puddings with clingfilm and popped them back into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set and expand further.
The end result was a delicious, creamy, pretty looking dessert that I'd be happy to serve to dinner guests, and best of all it's easy to make and requires minimal preparation.
Next time, I would make a few changes to this recipe. I would add about half a cup of either coconut water or pineapple juice as I felt that the chia seeds could've absorbed a bit more liquid. Also using only coconut cream might be a bit too rich and heavy for some people. In terms of liquid, you could replace the coconut milk with almond milk,  different fruit juices and even mix in some fresh fruit puree.
I would also experiment with different natural sweeteners and even spices such as cinnamon. Being a chocoholic, my hubby's request is for me to make a chocolate version of this pudding.The possibilities really are endless ;o)
I hope you enjoyed this recipe post and do let me know if you try this out for yourself.
Love Sheen xxx

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Fall Photos

Good Day Everyone,

Being British I would of course say autumn, rather than fall, but autumn photos doesn't sound quite as good ;o) I mentioned in last Wednesday's blog post that I'll be doing some posts that are more photography and less text heavy so that I can give my arthritic fingers a rest. Here's the first one, sharing a few of my favourite fall photos from Japan. Enjoy :o)
So many people stop and admire these beautiful trees, but in this moment, she has them almost all to herself
I found these two lying on the ground, just like this, so contrasting yet so complimentary to one another
Looking up at Yokohama Marine Tower
A lone pigeon looking for food amongst the leaves
Early each morning these lovely men come to sweep up the fallen leaves, ready for the day ahead
An artist in action capturing a part of autumn/fall 
I love the reflection of the trees from across the road in the windows of this hotel
Yokohama Landmark Tower surrounded by the beautiful colours of autumn/fall
The green and red in this photo remind me of Christmas
I'm not the only one who loves to capture the colours of autumn/fall
I hope you enjoyed these photos of fall in Japan as much as I enjoyed taking them :o)

Love Sheen xxx

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