Japan Holiday!! Day 1

Hey Lovelies,

I’ve recently returned from one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve wanted to visit Japan – I’ve a longstanding fascination with the country, from it’s history and language to culture. This year I was lucky enough to finally go there!

We timed our visit around the end of March – hoping that we’d catch some of the Cherry Blossoms and that the weather would be warmish but not sweltering. (We visited China/Hong Kong in May and found the humidity very hard!) Booking the holiday was fairly easy – we used Expedia to make things simple so we could book the hotel and flights in one go. As we were visiting Tokyo we wanted for a hotel that had great transport connections and a more central location – so we went for the Century Southern Tower. This hotel is located in Shinjuku, right next to Shinjuku station! It’s also a drop off for the airports Friendly Limousine Bus service so you can either use this service for ¥1,230 which is roughly £8.70 (At time of writing) which we decided to do.

Flights wise we went with ANA (All Nippon Airways) and flew in to Haneda, Tokyo. I’d really recommend this airline; the staff were really lovely from the moment we checked in till the moment we disembarked the plane. At 12 hours from Heathrow airport in London, the flight isn’t for the feint hearted but fortunately ANA’s selection of films and media is more than enough to keep you occupied for most of the flight.

I know people always complain about airplane food, but honestly, I was impressed with both the meals we had!

After landing in Haneda, collecting our luggage and going through security we went to find the ticket machines to buy the bus tickets but happened to spot a manned counter in the airport so bought tickets from the desk. Heading towards our bus stop Mr Lock stopped to use an ATM – did you know Japanese ATM’s speak to you? I thought that was pretty awesome!  There’s also a very handy button to switch the language on screen to English. Whilst I can speak a little basic Japanese, reading it is a very different matter! Finding the bus stops was very easy – destinations are in English as well as Japanese on the departure boards over head (If you check the Limo Bus website before you travel it’ll tell you which number bus stop you need to get to your destination and the rough travel time).

It took roughly an hour and a half to get to the hotel, which was fine – after traveling 12 hours on a plane with very little sleep (our flight left at 7:00pm) it was nice not to worry about having to navigate the train system. Even better, as it was raining the bus stops right outside the hotel door so we and our luggage didn’t get soaked either.

The Century Southern hotel has a lovely entrance way. The hotel actually starts on the 20th floor so we took the elevator up and got an amazing view of the walkway below and the department stores opposite. Check in was super simple, we were given our room keys and breakfast coupons – I’d recommend adding the breakfast on; it’s about £20 a person per day, but it’s very handy to have at least one set meal a day. Breakfast is served in the hotels restaurant – Tribeks – the view from here is amazing, on a clear day you can see Mount Fuji in the distance! The food available for breakfasts consists of the usual hotel offerings, with added omelette station and more traditional Japanese breakfast foods such as horse mackerel, natto and rice. I’d highly recommend the Banana juice – it’s milk, bananas, honey and lemon and it’s delicious – I’ve tried to replicate it since arriving home and I just can’t get it quite right! The hotel also has a bar (we didn’t visit this, but it seemed like it was very popular!) and a small convince store where you can pick up any small forgotten bits and different foods/snacks and drinks.

Our room was on the 24th floor – we had amazing views on the clear days – you could see Tokyo Skytree!  Every floor of the hotel has an ice machine and a drinks vending machine which came in very handy after a long day of walking about. The room it’s self was very lovely, and I thought it was quite big (I’d been warned Tokyo hotel rooms can be quite small) but we had an ensuite, a kingsize bed, chaise lounge and a table and at no point did it feel small or cramped. The rooms also had laptop sized safes and small under counter fridge for storing your own food and drink which I thought was a nice touch. Bottled water was provided daily for free and they even leave you a set of sleeping robes!

The first night we were so tired we decided to have a little wander around the area outside the hotel, buy some food for dinner and head to bed. As it was still raining we didn’t head too far away, but did you know, when it rains in Tokyo they put out umbrella stands for drying and bagging your umbrella? This is such a good idea and stops puddles of water accumulating from peoples umbrellas! I was very impressed that the bags seem to be recycled after use too.

We decided on trying to get some dinner from the food hall in the Tokyu hands store opposite the hotel. The food hall in Tokyu hands is amazing, it’s a lively, fun, colourful place! There’s all sorts to be found in there from fresh food and ingredients to ready made bento, bakery goods, steamed buns and deep fried tasty things! We even spotted some American candy on sale.

But, you guys, the second we decided on buying something, all Japanese I knew vanished out of my head!! I think was so worried about offending someone by saying the wrong thing my mind just went blank, but, I did manage in the end! Most of the separate stalls have their own till, but the main grocery part had separate tills to pay for items. We ended up with some very tasty salmon onigiri, fried lotus roots and a pack of sakura doryaki. (These were so good, I wish I’d bought more of them!) Having triumphed and managed to buy some super yummy food, we headed back to the hotel for our first night in Japan to eat and sleep!

So lovelies, that rounds up our trip out and first evening in Tokyo! Next up, adventures in Shibuya and Harajuku!

Ta-ta for now,

Super tasty Blueberry & Oat Muffins

Hello Lovelies!

Blueberry & Oat muffinHappy Saturday to you where ever you are in the world today! (Or happy any other day if you’re reading this a different day!) Weekends are great things, they give you time to stop and think, time to do things you want to do and more often than not, weekends mean a tasty treat for getting through a long week! So how about making some super easy blueberry & oat muffins for delicious weekend treat! Continue reading →

Nibboxx snack subscription box ~*~SPONSORED REVIEW~*~

UPDATE 31/01/2017

I’M NOT SURE IF NIBBOXX IS STILL RUNNING.
A READER LEFT A COMMENT ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO ACCESS THEIR WEBSITE AND HAVING LOOKED AT THEIR WEBSITE AND THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWINGS IT SEEMS LIKE THEY HAVEN’T UPDATED SINCE 10/17.
PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG.

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Hello Lovelies!

The lovely folk over at Nibboxx sent me a yummy 50/50 snack box to review! Check out my thoughts in the video above.

nibboxx_outer

Here’s some close up of the box – how awesome is the shape? It definitely makes it stand out in the post!

nibboxx_front

The front of the box features some information on your new snack box – the snacks are nutritionally balanced, so tasty and good for you too!

nibboxx_inside

The delicious snacks I was sent, from the top left: coca glazed almonds, dried white chocolate raspberries, date and walnut bars and chill and lemon pop corn. My favourites were definitely the almonds, they were so morish! I was very impressed with the portion sizes – these were very generous. As I mentioned in the video the little pods are the perfect size to pop in a bag and take out and about with you – if they make it out of the house that is, they are that good!

nibboxx_letter

The leaflet included with the box – This is personally addressed to me which I thought was a lovely touch, it makes the box feel much more personal. The leaflet also contains the type of box (50/50) and the nutritional information on the other side.

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Nutritional information, allergies, organic information over view.

nibboxx_date_walnut

Organic Nibboxx date & walnut bar.

nibboxx_white_raspberries

Dried white choice raspberries

nibboxx_coca_glazed_almonds

Cocoa glazed almonds.

nibboxx_chili_lemon_popcorn

Gourmet Popcorn – Chilli & Lemon.

I want to say thank you to Nibboxx for sending me this fun box to try out! I’m really very impressed with this box – the variety of snacks was fantastic – I love that they offer different boxes – especially the gluten free one (My Mum can’t have anything with gluten in so it’s something I’m always on the look out for). This is the first snack subscription that I’ve found that offers a gluten free selection. I love the personalised leaflet with the nutritional breakdown on, this is something that’d be very handy if you are working on a macro based diet and for those watching their calorie intake too.

If you’d like to check out Niboxx for yourself, you can check out their website below

NIBBOXX WEBSITE

Have you tried out Nibboxx? Any questions for me? Let me know in the comments below!

Ta-ta for now,

X

Lets make Rock Cakes!

Hello Lovelies!

Rock Cakes

Today lets try out making a childhood favourite – Rock cakes – My Mum used to makes these for us when we were little – one of my sisters didn’t like raisins so they were normally admitted from the cakes. Oddly I’ve never tried making them myself so gave it a go last weekend – these are super easy to make with cupboard staples so why not have a go yourself? They’d even make a great mothers day present!

Rock cake ingredients

To make 12 rock cakes you’ll need:

225g Self Raising Flour
113g Butter
113g Caster Sugar + 1tbs for dusting
1 Egg
2tbs Milk
1tsp Vanilla Extract

Flour and butter

Pre-heat your oven to 180c. Place the flour and butter to a bowl.

Rock cake crumbs

Rub together using your hands or smooth with the back of a fork until you get something that looks like bread crumbs.

crumbs with sugar
Add in the sugar to the crumbs.

Egg

Crack the egg into a bowl and add the vanilla extract.

Whisked egg and vanilla

Beat the egg and mix in the vanilla.

Crumbs egg sugar milk

Pour the egg and milk in with the dry ingredients and mix up until you have something that looks like a stiff cake batter.

Rock cake batter

It should look like this! If you find your is too dry add a little more milk, if its too wet add a little more flour to balance it out.

Rock cakes uncooked

On a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper, use two spoons to put 12 dollops of batter onto the sheet – try and leave enough room for the cakes to rise and spread else you may end up with a giant cake!

Rock cake sprinkled sugar

Sprinkle with the 2tbs of sugar and popped into the pre-heated over for 15-20 minutes – you should check on the cakes around 15 minutes. If they look sold and have turned a golden brown colour as in the picture below, then they are done!

Rock cakes cooked

Once cooked remove from the tray and try to resist eating them before they’ve cooled on a wire rack.

And that’s it! These are so super easy to make that anyone could do them – they make great snacks for lunch boxes or afternoon tea and you can experiment with them by adding different dried fruits or flavouring too them. I’d love to hear what you come up with if you try these out.

Ta-ta for now,
X

Hyper Japan Christmas Market buys!

Hello Lovelies!

Becky

Way back in November last year I attended Hyper Japan on behalf of Cyten! (You can read my report all about the Hyper Japan Event here: http://www.cyten.co.uk/hyper-japan-christmas-market-2015/) But I never got around to showing you what I bought there! I’m happy to report that I did in fact get the three wish list items I had on my to buy list and a whole bunch more of amazing things and thought I’d share a select few of them with you!

jp books rilakkuma

First off is one of my wish list items – a large Rilakkuma bear from JPBooks! I’m so happy to have bought this as I’ve wanted one for a very long time – JPBooks had posted photos of all there Rilakkuma wares on Facebook before Hyper Japan and when I commented they informed me they would indeed be bringing the bears to HJ – I was way too excited to buy this squishy bear!

rilakkuma kiiroitori

Whilst at JP books I spotted that the Kiikitori plushes were on offer for £10, so I bought Rilakkuma a friend to come live with him.

Tofu cute genki gear 2 Tofu Cute Genki Gear

The second and third of my wishlist items came from Tofu Cute and Sushi Noms – this adorable Science of Cuteness t-shirt! I love this shirt and it fits really well too.

poppin candy

The third item was a Poppin’ Cooking set for my friend in America that I promised to try and get for her. I was very please at being able to find quite a few of these at Sushi Nom’s which meant I was able to pick a fun looking one for her.

Tofu cute rilakkuma spoon

I also picked up this cute Rilakkuma dessert spoon – it’s a perfect size for packing in my lunch box and features one of my favourite designs from the cat series.

doki table wear

From Doki I bought some Chinaware – two bowls for Mr Lock and one for myself. These are the perfect size for soups or noodles.

japan centre dango Totoro bun

The Japan Centre was also in attendance with a small range of goods – I bought my favourite Totoro Melon pan bun and also dango! That’s right! I finally found some dango! I have to say I really enjoyed this and am hoping they’ll have it again at the summer Hyper Japan. (As well as my other favourite’s taiyaki and takoyaki).

Becky Bubble Tea

So there you go, these plus the bubble tea in the photo above are my favourite purchases from Hyper Japan’s Christmas market! I’m totally looking forward to the Summer event and will start saving soon! Did any of you lovely people attend the Winter Hyper Japan? Or maybe you’re thinking of attending the Summer event? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

Ta-ta for now,

X