25 Aug 2015

Japan Flashback! Part 4: Temple Visits in Kyoto

Welcome to the penultimate part of my Japan Flashback series! If you missed them, check out parts one, two and three!

Day 9: Temple Explorations and Lots of Walking

Although we were staying in Osaka, Kyoto was just a train ride away, so we went on a little day trip. Kyoto is the old capital of Japan and is famous for it's abundance of temples. Although we obviously didn't get to see very many of them, the ones we did visit were beautiful, and the weather was perfect, too.

Kinkakuji (金閣寺)

Kinkakuji, literally meaning "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" (you can see why) was our first stop after having some lunch at a particularly Western-style restaurant. The water was so still and the pavilion itself was one of the shiniest things I've ever seen. 

There was so much nature around, everything was surrounded by green trees and was very calm and quiet. We stopped at the gift shops on the way through, where I bought a pretty little fan (because it was awfully humid), and we got ice-cream as we were leaving.

Then we were back on another bus to our next stop.

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺)

Kiyomizu temple (or the "pure water temple") is located halfway up Otowa Mountain, so it was a pretty intense walk. The road on the way up is lined with shops the whole way, so while we were all out of breath by the time we got there, it wasn't as unpleasant as it could have been.

Obviously the advantage of being halfway up a mountain is that the view is absolutely incredible. You can see pretty much the whole of Kyoto from up there. The sun was starting to set as we arrived, which cast everything in a soft orange glow. I'm fairly sure it was the most beautiful thing I saw on the whole trip.

The temple was unfortunately under construction when we visited, but there was still plenty to do. The grounds are little like a bush-walk. The paths are all nestled into the trees with small sculptures and gardens dotted along the sides. We stayed late enough to watch the sunset, which is without a doubt the best sunset I've seen in my entire life to date.

And there we have it! Make sure to come back next time to catch the final part of my Japan adventures.

Hope you enjoyed!


20 Aug 2015

Some Healthy Tips

Somewhere over the past few weeks, I've found the motivation to be healthier deep within me (and I mean deep). My appetite was a complete mess and I just felt a bit "bleugh" most of the time, and I got sick of it.

I've actually really enjoyed being healthier thus far. And when I say 'healthier' I don't mean just physically - mental health plays a huge role in our overall wellbeing and is just as important. If you're wondering how you can make some little, easy changes and ultimately feel better, check out the list below!

1. Don't buy what you don't want to eat: There is nothing worse than the temptation of a packet of choc chip cookies sitting in the pantry. You know you probably shouldn't eat them, but they're just so good. If you want to avoid certain foods that you know you have a major weakness for, make an effort to leave them on the supermarket shelves. It's a lot easier to go without something if you don't have immediate access to it.

2. Try to eat more naturally: One of the things that motivated me to start being healthier was thinking about how many artificial ingredients are in so many of the foods we eat. I'm not saying avoid them at all costs all the time, but there's a certain piece of mind that comes with eating natural things that you know were grown from mother earth. My recent decision to convert back to vegetarianism has really helped me in this, because it's given me twice the reason to stay away from a lot of processed foods.

3. Do some exercise...sometimes: I hate exercise. I really wish I didn't, and I can see why people like it, but it's never going to be something I look forward to. That being said, I still feel really satisfied and happy whenever I do a quick workout. Just stick to doing what you feel comfortable with. Something is better than nothing, and doing some yoga, while it's probably not as good as going hardcore at the gym, is better than just lying there.

4. Don't be hard on yourself: I'm a big supporter of setting yourself schedules and sticking to routines, but I've also had to teach myself to let things go. Sometimes you might have a sore ankle or a cough, and sometimes life just gets hectic and stressful. Make peace with the fact that life sometimes gets in the way. Let yourself have a break and recover instead of getting mad at yourself for not going for a run. Your overall wellbeing is the most important thing.

5. Allow yourself an occasional treat: Sweets and all those things that we love so much are made for special occasions, so when you have reason to, eat some cake! If you've had a really tough day, grab a chocolate bar! If you did really well on that assignment you worked really hard on, snack on some crisps! A healthy lifestyle shouldn't be something you begrudgingly stick to because you feel obligated. It shouldn't make you miserable. Let yourself have some fun every once in a while. A little slice of pie isn't going to bring the world crashing down.

I hope you found some inspiration while reading this (if that's what you were looking for)! Feel free to leave some of your own tips in the comments.


14 Aug 2015

Favourites Friday #6

Yep, it's that time again. I make one of these favourites posts whenever I feel like I'm excited about enough things to do so: which can be every couple of weeks or every couple of months, depending on what life's been like. 

Semester recently started and uni has been picking up speed rather quickly, to the point I've already felt majorly stressed out two and a half weeks in (which is just a fantastic sign, isn't it?). It felt like the perfect time for me to find some time out and revisit some of the things that have made me happiest over the past few weeks and, of course, write them all down for you.

I hope you like it!

1 - Frankie Magazine issue 67: This absolutely beautiful issue came out about two weeks ago (so there's still plenty of time to pick up a copy, don't worry), and I had to take a moment after my first flick through. The cover art is gorgeous, the poster it comes with is all kinds of pastel wonderful, and it comes with one of two available art cards: the one that I got depicting a bespectacled lady holding a dog, which is just me all over. It's not only aesthetically pleasing as heck, but it holds up to its usual Frankie standard of great writing that will make you laugh and learn. What's not to love?

2 - Sunny days: Winter is still technically hanging around, but we've been having some slightly warmer weather recently. I'm always a sucker for winter, but every single year, without fail, I'm reminded how much I love early spring. I always feel happier and more motivated once the sun comes out. I wish the entire year could just be early spring.

3 - CHVRCHES' album 'The Bones of What You Believe': I've known of CHVRCHES for a while, but I'd never actually listened to them before a week or so ago (I genuinely have no idea why). This album is the perfect mix of upbeat and relaxing for it to be amazing at all times. If you've not listened to them before, please go and do it now. (Their new stuff is really good so far as well).

4 - Sephora Collection Classic Line 24HR Felt Eyeliner: Prior to buying this, I'd been using the same drying out liquid liner pen on and off for years, so arguably anything is gonna trump that. But this liner is an improvement on anything I've used before. The nib is quite sturdy so it's not going to drag all over your eye, and I've so far not even noticed a smudge after wearing it out all day. It took a bit for me to get used to using it, but now that I am, I don't think it's ever going to fail me.

5 - Strawberries: Bit of a random one, but since I've been starting to eat healthier, strawbs have been my constant companion. I crave fruit quite a lot, but I definitely crave strawberries the most. And their pretty much always available, so I'll probably be stocking up A LOT.

6 - iamamiwhoami's album 'Blue': Another electronic album, but this one is much more chill. It's also magical. I can't even describe the feeling of awe I felt when I first listened to it. Some songs have an FKA Twigs vibe, others feel slightly more like slow alternative pop (is that a thing? It is now), but all of them are brilliant and worth a listen.

That's all for this round. Let me know if you like any of these things, and feel free to tell me what you've been loving!


7 Aug 2015

Fruity Phone Case Design + Free Wallpapers!

Today is finally the day that I share something that I've been keeping under my belt for a few weeks now: I've opened a RedBubble account!

I was looking around for a potential new phone case a couple of months ago, and I couldn't find the one that I had in mind. There were of course a lot of really beautiful cases that I would be happy to own, but sometimes I just get stuck on an idea. So, just as they say, sometimes the best way to do it is to do it yourself.

The concept I had in mind was on inspired by the Joanna Newsom song 'Peach, Plum, Pear'. With Joanna Newsom being as underground as she is (I feel like a complete prick typing that, but there is truth there), there wasn't really anything available. So I sat down with my watercolours and banged something out. With my scanner and the help of Photoshop, I worked it into a pattern.

I made some cute tablet, phone and desktop wallpapers (that you can download below) with it to experiment, and I really like how they turned out! I always think that if you keep going back to look at something you've made, you can be confident about doing a good job.

I decided on RedBubble for my designs because it's convenient (they make all the products themselves) and their items are really good quality. I have phone cases from RedBubble and they've never even so much as scratched, so you can be sure you're getting your money's worth. They also print works onto a bunch of other products like tote bags and notebooks if things like that take your fancy.

I really enjoyed the process of making these little things, and I'll surely be making more in the future, so keep checking back!

You can take a look at the phone case above here and download the wallpapers for free at these links:


2 Aug 2015

Monthly Playlist: July 2015

July was a good month; I had a birthday, I spent a reasonable amount of time on trains, and I was on break from uni, so I got to chill out and find some new music (one of my favourite things).

One thing that features pretty heavily on this playlist is Walk the Moon's album Talking Is Hard, which I fell in love with this month. 'Down In The Dumps' and 'Avalanche' are probably my favourites, but I love and listen to all of them.

I've also reverted back to 8tracks (sorry Spotify, I still love you), because some of my absolute favourites of recent times haven't been on Spotify. I guess that's what you get for listening to Asian pop all the time.

I hope you enjoy this playlist, and feel free to leave some of the songs you've been loving recently in the comments!

1. Gimme Gimme Luv - Tomomi Itano // 2. In The Stars - Icona Pop // 3. PARTY - Girls' Generation // 4. Avalanche - Walk the Moon // 5. Shake It - SISTAR // 6. Galaxy Supernova - Girls' Generation // 7. Down In The Dumps - Walk the Moon // 8. Closer - Tegan and Sara // 9. Bad Habit - The Kooks // 10. Go Slow - Tei Shi // 11. River - Ibeyi