LONDON DIARY : FOUR PLACES I'VE BEEN TO THIS FIRST CHRISTMAS WEEKEND


December 3. It's the first weekend with Christmas in the air. Ahhh, I just can't enough of the thought that Christmas is coming and you can tell it by the lights and sounds. I was living and chillin' locally for two weeks straight and so I felt an urge to spend my weekend in Central London. Tottenham Court Road to be exact. Let me take you to a mini-tour on my whereabouts the past two days.


1. Lu-Ma Cafe. We usually have our weekend breakfast or lunch in the place. It becomes sort of a ritual for me and Gab to spend a good portion of the day catching up over a cup of almond cappuccino and a hearty meal. This time, I ordered for Delicious Eggs Florentine (2 organic eggs served on a bed of sautéed spinach and toasted sourdough bread with vegan hollandaise sauce). 

I can't get enough of the cafe's shabby chic vibe. Every corner is instagram worthy! They even have a stack of books for your reading pleasure. You'll frequently see both locals and tourists grabbing a bite or two. From their freshly made meals to sumptuous dessert, you'll fall in love with the place in no time. I particularly love their breakfast option but every once so often, I try their dessert selections as well.

2. Waterstones. There's something about the smell of a book that I can't get rid of. Call me old school but I still prefer a real book over a digital or audio ones. Case in point: I have never finished a book from a digital print. And I'm totally okay with that.

Waterstones bookstore has a special place in my heart because of too many mushy, good reasons 💕Sentimental value aside, there's something nice about most of Waterstones bookshops. That is, they have a cafe inside where you can browse and read your books. I got two new books which I am so excited to read. 1. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom and 2. 99 Things That Bring Me Joy.



3. Primark. Because, who says happiness and cute things should be expensive? We live in a world that's so hallucinated about brands. Sure, quality comes with a price but if you're buying fluffy slippers and little trinkets, I wouldn't break my piggy bank for that! Anyways, I had a full-on floor by floor ogling and shopping at Primark Tottenham Court Road. I bought Christmassy, winter-thingy kind of stuff.
  


4. Planet Organic. If you're following me on Instagram, you'll be aware that I'm developing this love affair on healthy cooking and a wee bit of baking. That said, I need my ingredient hub, and that to me is by the name of Planet Organic. I've spent a good amount of time there after church. My favourite is their vegetable lasagna (trust me, it doesn't taste like grass plus there's still cheese on top!) and chocolate brownie (sometimes if I want to be a goody, I replace this with their sweet potato brownie).

I had a little side trip to Sainsburys before heading back to Wimbledon. Quite uneventful, I know but I don't mind. I bought some fresh produce like onions, asparagus (boil and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese!), salmon and spinach.

As you can see, it's not a full-on Christmas weekend but one thing's for sure... I still got the Christmas vibe on! I plan to see most friends this season and of course, to visit more places while I can! How's your weekend? -CMK

5 THOUGHTS FOR THE FIRST CHRISTMAS WEEKEND


It's happening guys! Here comes the days when I am in my cosy lounging robe by default, debating whether I should get up every morning or to snooze for 5 minutes more. All I want to do is to catch up on my favourite blogs, watch Netflix, bake some banana almond butter cookies and have a crazy, funny banter with Gab over a cup of tea (make that coffee for me!).

I am amazed by people who can get their creative juices flowing. Sometimes I feel frustrated because it seems that I am stuck in a blog plateau. Then I remember that a) this is not my main job, b) maintaining this blog should be a joy and not a burden; and c) there's a life outside the computer screen.


1. I want to get out and explore London after dark. At the same time, I want to be warm and have a long rest too. As you see, that's a big dilemma right there! Kidding aside, Christmas is such a big thing for me! I don't have any problem being a home buddy but come this season, I want to be out and about! 

2. I already planned our Christmas dinner with friends. We'll have it at Busaba Eathai at Kingston, overlooking River Thames. It's going to be fun! Then, I want to go to Southbank Centre Christmas Market and Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Finally, we've made some booking at Bath, England to experience the magical Christmas market!

3. Peace of mind is very expensive. Sh*t happens (sorry, that's such a harsh transition, isn't it? 😬). Fact. Lately, my patience is being tested with some few annoyances (from a pesky letting agent who seems to master the art of ignoring things to delayed deliveries... it's not all rainbows and sunshine, you know).

Then, I realised that if I just step back a bit. It's not all too bad. These blips are just tiny nuances to an otherwise, blessed happy life. The world will always try to take away our joy and it's a daily decision to let out a big SHHHH to our mind and focus on things that are worth-thinking.

FEELING CHRISTMASSY AT BONN, GERMANY


One thing is for definite: blogging will always be a part of me. I may do more or less of it over time but it is something that I crave for every once in a while. You know that feeling when you can't help but to word-ify your current thoughts and feels? Yep. That's it! :) I was binge reading my favourite blogs last night because I can't sleep early no matter how hard I try! I always had it with me. Even when I was a kid, I just don't like excessive sleeping. And when Christmas is approaching.... wooohooo, I don't sleep much because I don't want to miss a thingggg!!!

Speaking of Christmas, I mentioned last year that 1st of December is an unspoken legit date to put up Christmas decorations. To be honest, I don't care. By 3rd week of November, I was shopping reds and greens! 🎄Last year, me and my friends went around Europe to celebrate the holidays.


One of the places we've been to was Germany. We've been to Frankfurt, Cologne (Köln) and Bonn. These shots are particularly from Bonn. Place is very clean and the weather? Well, cold. It's picturesque wherever you turn your head to. I recommend that you stay here for a good 2 to 3 days. Unfortunately, we didn't have the luxury of time to explore the place that long, but if ever we'll come back, I'll make sure we have an ample time to go around Bonn.


This shot is at Bonn University, I believe 😊. It was sunny, that day but cold at the same time. Very few people were here as most were on their holiday. It's really surreal. I can't remember what I've eaten at Bonn or if we've eaten at all! Here's a snap from one of Germany's cathedral. It took me about 6 shots to get it done properly, to no avail. It was so windyyyy! But we all had fun.

THIS WORKS NO WRINKLES EXTREME MOISTURISER



How's your Black Friday Shopping? Isn't it crazy, how we react when we see a big, fat SALE sign? This 4-letter word seems to short circuit our brain and make us buy things we don't need in the first place. Shopping can be fun and therapeutic. But excessive shopping? To a point that we don't have enough room to store our stuff and we buy without the intention of using it for long? That's a bit too much.

This is interesting: "Businesses and the consumerism mindset have helped to shift the source of true happiness from intangible entities such as relationships, faith, and security to material goods. Dependence on material goods for one's happiness is futile; it is no surprise that materialistic people are more likely to be depressed." An excerpt from Psychological Effects of Materialism and Work on Happiness.

I don't mean to sound preachy however, we sometimes need to stop and ponder these thought provoking issues in life. 😙 Again, I'd like to point out that buying things that you need and/or 'spark joy' (got that from Marie Kondo) can be helpful. And a moisturiser that works? Sign me up!

I've been using No Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser for about a month now and I must say that this is worth a blog post. I bought it online because I was nearly done with my previous moisturiser from The Body Shop. The TBS was equally nice but it's more apt for summer because it's consistency was watery.



The packaging was really nice. I bought it at a discounted price (not sponsored). I'm not sure if the deal I used is still around but with the Christmas season, I think there'd be more enticing deals on This Works website. I like the fact that they've included their best seller product which is deep sleep pillow spray.

The product has a thick, rich consistency which I crave for especially during winter months. I am such a low maintenance lazy person so I tend to use one moisturiser for morning and night. I got a simple trick: I use a face mist first before applying the moisturiser on my face. I don't know, I feel that my skin better absorbs a dollop when it's damp. The morning after, my face is so soft and plump. PS: Face mist doesn't have to be fancy, I got mine from Super Drug and it does the job!



Lately, I use this alone because I'm taking a break from my liquid foundation. It's nice to let your skin breathe and not stuff them with too much product. If it's necessary, I use my Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Foundation but on a regular office day, I just apply TWP moisturiser as my base. Picture on the left is me with TWP on (nothing else) and on the right, I got my BM foundation on.

TWP No Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser retails for £46.00 (RRP) for 48 ml. I visited their site just now and they offer 25% off which brings the price down to £36.80 (free delivery along with the same freebies I got). The price point is higher compared to its competitors but one thing's for sure: I'mma use this baby till I hit pan! 💖 Let me know if you've tried any TWP products and if so, does this work? (No pun intended) 😛 -CMK


TRAVEL SNIPPETS : THOUGHT PEEKS AT PEAK DISTRICT


We were talking early this morning and I told him what I realised the day before: There's just so many things to be thankful for! He smiled in agreement. I know it's too early for a NYE post but I can't help but be amazed between where I was exactly one year ago and now. GOD has been faithful to His promises. Whether you are up on a hill or in the valley, remember GOD has a story too beautiful than you ever imagined. It may not make sense now but trust Him.

Always.

In the spirit of savoring the remaining summer weekends, we decided to spend the last week of September at Peak District. The place is about 2.5 hours from Northwich by car. It was still sunny but you can feel the chills are creeping in! Chilly or not, the place is picturesque. It is breathtaking! Everywhere I looked, I was blown away by nature in all its glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1


Place is a haven for mountain climbers and nature lovers alike. Everywhere you look there's green and then there's blue. I thought: if only people will take time to appreciate nature and go outdoors; Have real face to face conversation and eat mindfully; what great difference does that make? You see, humans are social being, and social media lured us into believing that we are socialising when we're not. Nothing beats the good old fashioned real life connection.


As we were traversing the lofty hillside roads, it felt that these two hills will cover us and swallow us alive (pardon my overly stretched imagination). We stopped by a local pub that served us a warm steak and vegetables to complement. As if it's not enough, we drove 10 minutes more and found ourselves ordering a soya mocha coffee and coffee walnut cake at a nearby pastry shop. There's no denying our blood type is Coffee A+. Teehee!