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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Tuesday 8 September 2020

8 years/ over 600 posts of CandyflossOverkill

A sunakku bar with bicycles and a vending machine next to it in Osaka
I just realised that I missed my blogaversary last year! But on the actual day, (august 18th) I was in Osaka buying records and going to cool vintage shops, so I was living my best life ;)

This past year or so has been a bit of a quiet one on the blog because I was at work and it's sometimes been a bit soul destroying and I kind of forgot how nice it is to be creative...

I love blogging- it's so nice to have your own little space on the internet with no stress about algorithms, likes etc. that comes with instagram or Youtube.
And yet, I really let it slip last year- here is a graph of numbers of posts/ year that I created bc I was procrastinating...

Don't get me wrong, I am fairly pleased with the stuff I did post- there just wasn't quiiite enough there! But without further ado, here are a couple of my favourite posts from year 7 (August 2018- July 2019) and 8 (September 2019- July 2020)of blogging!

I feel v old now omg

A sunakku bar with bicycles and a vending machine next to it in Osaka
How to keep up language learning after living abroad (Japanese)

lanterns in Shinsekai, Osaka
How I passed the JLPT N1

A goldfish tank by the side of the road in Shizuoka city, Japan
Snapshots from Shizuoka City: part 2 Chanomachi

flatlay of well used makeup products on a sheet
My updated makeup collection// I got too much makeup free with magazines oops//

Osaka side street with Daiso and fugu fish signs
大阪パリピツアー Things I want to do in Osaka

Also a couple of more serious blog posts: 
a picture of blue sky and an electricity pylon with the words Black Lives Matter

I know me saying this on my little blog won't change the world, but I didn't want to *not* talk about it as it's so important. There are many super amazing resources on this though, so rather than reading my blog post, allow me to direct you to Black Lives Matter.

My makeup collection

But although I haven't been posting that much, I was taking looots of photos, so I have lots of juicy Japan content to come <3

My new job is in London, and I'm allowed to keep having my bleached hair, so look forward to more hair dye reviews too!

I also have sooo many photos I took in Japan, so I'll keep slowly posting those too :)

Thanks for reading, stay safe lads!! 
-Amy xoxo

Tuesday 1 September 2020

It's been a little while life update/ empties #24 Lush, Philip Kingsley, Bleach London, Simple

flatlay of used beauty products including lush, bleach london, simple, directions

Ok so it's been a little while and I've still been using beauty products so it's empties o clock! Quick life update: I'm doing all right! I hope you guys are too ♡ I've managed to get a new job even in these corona times (feeling suuper lucky because it's interesting and I get to use Japanese and I'm really happy <3) but I've been sliiightly busy! So again, another long long gap in posting. Really sending you guys so much love- it is a mental time atm and now we're sort of reopening things it's almost *more* stressful navigating seeing people and going to work and wanting to return to normal whilst remembering things aren't quite there yet. Stay safe gang <3

Aaanyway, on to the empties! Because there are soo many this time, I've split them into categories

Hair dye//

Bleach London Plex Bleach// this includes alex plex so supposedly rebuilds the hair's bonds as they're being broken. I don't reeealllly know how different this is to normal but I'm not a hairdresser so ^^; my hair still lifted well though

Bleach London Total Bleach// I like this, it's a little pricier than schwarzkopf but it's lifts well too so. I love that they've reduced the plastic in this kit too- it was something that put me off buying it again before as I already own enough tint brushes so I'm glad they took it out.

Champagne Super Toner// I am going to do a whole review on this, but it was nice :)

Directions Tangerine// this was such a pretty colour and I got mad compliments on it (again, review coming soon) but it stained my hair at the roots where I put the most on and now I have a slightly orange band in my hair, love that for me. So I can't 100% recommend unless you're someone who does bright colours all the time and won't be upset if your hair is stained. 

Hair care//

Bleach Live forever shampoo// This was in the sale for £2.50 and while I do think it's slightly a lot of money at full price, it's nice and agrees with my hair and I bought two so I'm still using it atm. I might go back to using the beer shampoo next time though.

Philip Kingsley Elasticiser// This gets hyped up a lot, but I do think it's worth the money and does seem to strengthen my hair. Give it a try if you also have super damaged hair. 

L'Oreal Elvive Purple Shampoo// I liked this tbh! It's a nice enough colour and didn't dry out my hair- I still mixed it with normal shampoo to dilute it slightly. 

Tresemme Care & Protect heat protectant spray// My go- to heat protector- I prefer the spray on the full sized version, but this one is perfect for travel.


Primark overnight sleep mask//  honestly this wasn't my favourite- it didn't absorb into the skin and I didn't really feel any results that wowed me tbh. It was nice to get it as a present (thank you mama!) but I wouldn't rush to get this again. 

Simple toner// I use this allll the time, it's pretty much my go-to. But Leah Yoo (among others) have pointed out that a toner isn't suuper necessary, so I might try and go without to save money. I do like this though.

Kosé suncut sunscreen// My absolute fave Japanese sunscreen- you can tell by the fact that I cut it open to get every last scrap out (I do this with everything but usually I wait until after I take the empties photo :') ) I'll definitely get this again, for those of you that haven't tried Japanese sunscreen- even the cheaper drugstore factor 50 is just sooo much nicer to apply than British factor 50 which is often greasy and not nice to apply. 

Germolene// local anaesthetic and antiseptic cream- I put this on spots/ sunburn etc.

Simple Hydrating Gel Cream// My go-to moisturiser, it really agrees with my skin but I can't always find it in store and I don't like the green one of this- it's a little too heavy for me. I also think they've made the tube smaller :') I do really like it and keep going back to it though.

Boots expert cream cleanser// I know cream cleansers seemingly aren't so popular at the moment, but they're my fave. My go-to simple one seems to have been discontinued, so I'm on the search for a replacement atm. This one did the job, no complaints.

Body care

Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel// I love Lush shower gels, any regular reader will probably have seen this in an empties post like 3 times now, it smells good and fresh and it's perfect if you're a morning showerer like me.

Lush Snow Fairy Body Conditioner// I liked this product in theory- it smelled great and it's a cool idea, but in practice I just felt a bit sticky. Was really nice to get it (it was a present) and I was happy to try it- I'd recommend saving it for baths/ pamper days. 


Datura lip gloss// this was free with a magazine in Japan, and while I did finish it, it wasn't my favourite at alll- it went kind of blotchy quickly and just, not my thing/ it was free so I can't really complain.

Clarins Eclat Minute Lip Gloss/ This was part of a christmas set I got as a present and was absolutely lovely- it had a really sweet scent, the colour was great for everyday on me- like a light brown-beige. 

Clarins Supra Volume Mascara// This was in that set too, and it was lovely- I got a lot of compliments. Slightly less intense than my usual Maybelline

Maybelline Collossal Big Shot Mascara (Waterproof)// I got this in Japan, but I love the Maybelline mascaras and I've been using them on and off since I was like 16. I prefer non waterproof though because it's easier to get off at the end of the day.

Barry M Base & Top Coat// This is my go-to because it's cheap, dries quickly and does the job. 

Nail Holic pink nail varnish// another one I bought in Japan- I managed to finish this up because it's a 'sophisticated' pink colour that was ideal for work when I was basically only allowed this colour. 

That's it for now- a bit of a mammoth post, but ^^; Thanks for reading!

Take care guys- please be kind to yourselves and those around you <3 

-Amy xoxo

Sustainability and beauty// Directions bright daffodil: review and before and after // How to keep up language learning after you're no longer immersed (Japanese)


Wednesday 24 June 2020

Sustainability and beauty

my makeup collection- palettes, a jar full of pencils and tools, a pouch full of lip products and

Today I wanted to talk about sustainability- I watched Liah Yoo's video "Dear Beauty Industry"  talking about how the skincare industry has so many new launches and how the beauty industry has a lot of trendy products and overconsumption, and I wanted to add my two cents since I do blog quite a bit about beauty. People are definitely becoming more aware of sustainability in clothing, especially in regards to fast fashion. We've still got a loong way to go, obviously, but I think beauty is another area well worth thinking about in terms of sustainability.

In her video, Liah focuses on skincare, but overconsumption in makeup is also so real, especially with the rise of youtube and beauty bloggers with alex drawers stuffed full of products.

Greenwashing is real- watch out for big brands labelling their products with 'natural' and green coloured packaging while changing nothing at all about their business to make it more sustainable.

Obviously I'm not perfect- I definitely picked up too much makeup in Japan last year, especially the stuff that comes free in magazines... from here on I'm going to try and enjoy the stuff I have to the max, use things until they're done and not buy anything new unless I absolutely need to. Hopefully I'll be more minimal and my collection will be more manageable this time next year because this much makeup was heavy and annoying to take home.  (although I don't want to throw anything away)

Here are a couple of things you can do to try and be more intentional and sustainable with your beauty consumption:

  • Try a one out one in system- only buy a new product when something's been used up
  • Try and have only one of certain products 'open' at the same- e.g. mascaras, shower gel. Obviously with stuff like lipstick you want to have a bit of variety, but I try and only have one foundation, concealer, powder on the go at a time- this saves waste because things don't go off and saves money too
  • Declutters are trendy on youtube, but don't throw too much stuff out just to immediately buy more.
  • Makeup's use by dates have recently been a big topic in beauty, and obviously keeping products- especially ones that go on your skin and near your eyes- too long is unsanitary. However, don't forget that a big driver of this trend is beauty companies' desire for you to chuck your old stuff out and buy more stuff. Make up does indeed go off if you keep it for years and years, but try and balance use-by dates you found on pinterest with being mindful about whether you actually do need to throw things away. 
  • Ideally, you'd only have a reasonable amount of makeup so you'd use it up before the use by date- some youtubers talk about how they forget what makeup they actually have and end up buying really similar products, and I think a minimal collection avoids this. 
  • Make sure you wash out and recycle plastic tubes or pots of beauty products- a lot end up in landfill when they could be recycled.
  • Think about and research purchases before you buy them- maybe do some research (this is where I think beauty bloggers are great because you can avoid making purchases that don't suit your needs by reading reviews a lot of the time) 
  • Use things up! It's satisfying when you finish the whole product anyway.
  • Try and consume less trendy beauty content/ shop your stash first. Obviously new products are super cute- I'd love some 3CE lipstick or eyeshadow because their packaging is super cute and the colours are soo pretty even though I have loads of eyeshadows already and only two eyelids and am also not very adventurous anyway.... do you see what I mean? 
  • Two brands I want to recommend as brands I love which are actually trying with sustainability are Bleach London and Lush. Lush have been doing a recycling scheme with their packaging for years- return five pots for a free face mask!! They also sell packaging-free 'naked' versions of products. Bleach have reduced their packaging and plastic a lot since I started buying from them- they no longer include throwaway tint brushes and bowls in their kits and have switched to using recycled black plastic- I was worried about this because a lot of local councils don't recycle black plastic but you can take them back to Bleach's salons and they will recycle it for you apparently. Not that helpful for those outside London but hey it's a start.
I reeeally recommend you watch Liah's video- as the CEO of Krave Beauty, she's an example of someone who actually puts her money where her mouth is as the brand encourages 'slow beauty'.

Also, as Liah says, it's not about being perfect- if everyone tried a little, it would make a huuuge impact!!

I definitely think minimalism is a good idea- not the pinterest perfect throw out your whole life and replace everything with white furniture from Muji type of minimalism, but the kind where you only buy things you absolutely love and try not to make unnecessary purchases or impulse buy. It's good for your wallet and also good for the planet so what's not to love?

What do you guys think?? I'd love to know your thoughts/ if you have any suggestions for being more environmentally conscious with beauty consumption.
Thanks for reading!
-Amy xoxo

Directions Bright Daffodil: Review and before and after// How to keep up language learning after living abroad (Japanese) // V important book reviews for when life kicks you in the teeth//

Sunday 7 June 2020

Black Lives Matter

a picture of blue sky and an electricity pylon with the words Black Lives Matter

So my instagram is private at the moment bc of some *personal drama*, but I've posted about this a lot on there and I wanted to post this on here too. I'd feel disingenuous not saying anything on my blog about this as although it's only a small platform, it's still a platform.

I think we've all realised that what we were doing is not enough. It's never going to be done until people are actually treated equally, being given the same opportunities and most importantly, not being killed by the police. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others in the US, here in the UK, and all over the world. 

There are sooo many useful resources being highlighted right now, make sure that you read them, share them with people you know who aren't on social media, and save them for coming back to because the social media cycle will move on but we can't. It's got to be a continuous action, continuous process of learning. You've all heard this by now from many people far more eloquent than me, but I wanted to add my voice.

So for now, do what you can- whether that's protesting, donating money or time, or having difficult conversations. But please, be kind to yourself and your friends and stay safe <3 <3 


Thursday 21 May 2020

Directions Bright Daffodil// Review and before and after

hair dyed with Directions bright daffodil

So one of my new years resolutions was to dye my hair a different colour, and as I can't really get many of them done recently, I thought I'd at least have some fun with my hair. I've wanted to try yellow for a while (inspired by the gorgeous Viivi @kisumaikuchuuru on instagram) and while my hair didn't really look like hers and didn't really suit me... it was fun! And here's my review on the hair dye- TLDR it was perfect for what I wanted- a no commitment bright yellow.


Monday 18 May 2020

Empties// Directions, Lush and the Body Shop

flatlay of empty beauty products including lariche directions, Lush and The Body Shop

Nothing is happening but beauty products still get used up innit

The Body Shop grapefruit body butter// this smelt great and it's a really nice product 

Lush Rose Lollipop lip balm//  The product itself is lovely, but I can't help but think that good old vaseline does the job just as well. 

Simple hydrating gel cream// I get through this stuff like water and I really like it but they've made the tube smaller I swear.

M and S floral collection// I finished up these three shower gels from M and S- another present. They came in a set and all of them are lovely quite strong scents.

Directions Bright Daffodil// Those of you who follow my instagram (@candyflossoverkill) will have seen I dyed my hair yellow the other day! I'm going to do a proper review post on this so stay tuned!

Directions Carnation Pink// a classic favourite of mine <3 Check out my review post of Bleach London Rosé vs Directions Carnation Pink if you're interested in my thoughts!

Tabaibaloe hand cream// another random present from my mum haha :) It was a really nice hand cream and obvs with all the hand washing we've been getting through a lot of hand cream. I think it's from abroad and everything is written in Spanish so it doesn't look like I'll be able to get this again in a hurry.

Lush Snow Fairy// Not my favourite scent from Lush, but it's still such a treat.

And that's it for now- pretty short and sweet....
Take care guys and thanks for reading!
-Amy xoxo

Empties #22 inc Simple, Batiste, Muji // Packing for a year in Japan part 2: Work edition // All 41 hair dye posts I've written in 7 years of blogging // 

Friday 15 May 2020

How to keep up language learning after living abroad (Japanese)

A sunakku bar with bicycles and a vending machine next to it in Osaka

Hey gang! Today is another post about languages and how to keep them up if you're no longer immersed. It's so easy to let a language disappear on you! I've just come back from Japan again, and I thought I'd share what I've been doing to keep my language up.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

V. Important book recommendations for when life kicks you in the teeth// What a Time to be Alone and How to Get Over a Boy by Chidera Eggerue and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

What a time to be alone by Chidera Eggerue, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur and a teapot with a tea cup on a silver tray

Hi gang, so the world has gone mad lately and we in the UK are in lockdown along with a lot of the rest of you, so it's a perfect time to crack on with projects and being creative and basically anything other than refreshing the BBC news app every 2 minutes...

You've probably heard of Chidera Eggerue a.k.a. The Slumflower- she's been in the media a lot recently promoting her books, presenting a documentary about pubic hair, she started the campaign #saggyboobsmatter and generally is amazing and gorgeous and insightful.
I genuinely think everyone regardless of gender, sexuality or relationship status could learn a lot from these (although they are centred on straight cis girls so obvs I am very much the target audience) so here's my little book review.

What a time to be alone// 

This book is Chidera's first, and is full of general wisdom. I also love that she's put loads of Igbo Nigerian proverbs in there. It's never been more relevant than now when we're all socially distancing. Personally I've always absolutely hated my own company, and always have some music or podcast on trying to drown my thoughts out. I'd got a little better living on my own last year, but I'm still a definite extrovert and need to work on enjoying my own company more. I've been reading and re reading this book and recommending it to everyone I know.

How to get over a boy// 

This book came out recently and honestly it came into my life right when I needed it- I bought it post breakup. It's got more text than what a time to be alone, talking about attachment styles, emotionally unavailable people, you name it.

It also makes you examine some hard things about yourself- how you may letting people take advantage or have a saviour complex. She talks about how women feeling pressure to be strong and feminist often leads to them putting more work in the relationship, and that it's ok to want to be taken care of sometimes. And that actually you deserve to be taken care of and not to accept someone in your life that doesn't bring anything good to your life. In both books Chidera stresses how important it is to have standards.

I honestly have re-read both of these, took copious notes, and also cried A LOT when I realised how I'd never put myself first, even though I really intended to. And my low self worth and desperation to please and be as *convenient* as possible probably lead people to subconsciously take me for granted, even if they didn't mean to.

Also very relevant to me was Chidera's 30 day detox plan to get yourself back on your feet after a breakup. Obviously lots of the things like taking yourself to a restaurant aren't feasible atm but for now


I know it's hard, but blocking you ex's social media will (hopefully) make you feel so. much. better.  No need for them to be top of mind (or top of feed!) any more. Even if you want an amicable breakup and you might be able to be friends one day, you can't heal unless you give yourselves some space from each other I think.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur//

I'm not normally really one for poetry to be honest, but these poems are so raw and real and beautiful. There are a few about heartbreak and moving on which I really needed. I read the sun and her flowers last year which is also so gorgeous. I remember these poems were all over tumblr back in the day because of how beautiful the books are, and It's funny because I'd ordered this and what a time to be alone from the library before we broke up, not realising how much things would change and how much I'd need them.

I'm going to use the social isolation time to get as many creative projects done as possible, read lots of hard books and study Japanese more. And post- corona (fingers crossed....) I'm gonna leap on tinder, work on myself, have fun with my friends, go to gigs and take photos and wear lairy clothes and have myself a hot girl summer!!

For now I'm still crying and listening to my (excellent) breakup playlist (I might share that here if anyone's interested haha) , but I'll pick myself up in the end. If you can't get your hands on the books atm, Chidera's insta is @theslumflower and she's been on several podcasts and youtube channels sharing her wisdom. She was on the amazing Cheap Chat podcast recently and Emma Gannon's ctrl alt delete to name a couple.

I know it's really hard for everyone at the moment with coronavirus and the associated panic, so please let's all look after each other and ourselves ok?? <3 <3

(And if you have any banging breakup songs please let me know)

Thanks for reading!
-Amy xoxo

Room tour of my Shizuoka apartment and my tips for renting in Japan// How I passed the JLPT N1//  Bleach outlet sale haul: What I bought myself for xmas

Friday 8 May 2020

More Tokyo pictures from 2019 // Shimokitazawa and Shibuya

A street in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

This is from when I went to Tokyo to meet with Galfy's designer Rin san about modelling for them!

After the meeting, I decided to chill around Harajuku and then go to Shimokita! I'd never been to Shimokitazawa before but I absolutely fell in love- it's full of teeny side streets and vintage shops and cafes and is waaay less touristy than Harajuku (although I still do love Harajuku especially the cute backstreets). Would definitely recommend sneaking a trip to shimokita in when you visit Tokyo as it's pretty easy to get to from Shibuya.

After wandering around shimokita for a bit, I found a cute book cafe, got myself a curry and a coffee and chilled because I was knackered to be honest.


Tuesday 5 May 2020

Tokyo for the first time in 3 years aaaah// Shibuya, Harajuku and the bus

Shibuya backstreet with stickers on traffic sign and a traffic cone

So in January 2019 (a long time ago now but whatever we're doing this) I went to Tokyo to meet with Galfy's designer about modelling for them!! I was super excited to visit Tokyo so I got on the early bus from Shizuoka and arrived in Shibuya in the morning- I headed to Galfy's office via Meiji Jingu and Yoyogi Park and here are the snaps I took on my DSLR while I was walking- I'm going to do my phone snaps and my film ones another time.

Thursday 30 April 2020

Snapshots from Shizuoka city part 3/ Mt Fuji, Kiyomizudera and Fuji san traffic cones!

Mt Fuji traffic cones in Shizuoka city, Japan
I'm finally digging through my photos from my year in Shizuoka- I put it off for so long but I've decided I'm going to do a couple of 'travel guide' posts which are more polished, along with chill posts like this where I just throw a tonne of photos at you all- enjoy! These are the random DSLR snaps that don't quite get their own post ;) 

Sunday 26 April 2020

Snapshots from Shizuoka City// Part 2 Chanomachi and Shizuoka after dark

A goldfish tank by the side of the road in Shizuoka city, Japan

So it's been a few months since I moved back to the UK and I've still not really posted that much about Shizuoka- while I was there I was working a lot and v tired, but I did manage to take some nice shots so I wanted to share them here. These ones are all ones I took on my DSLR, but I have some film ones and some I snapped on my phone which I'll share later <3 

Thursday 23 April 2020

Packing for a year in Japan Round 2// Work edition

Here's what I packed for Japan when I was trying to fit my whole life for a year in a 23kg suitcase and a 12kg carry on. This time I was working and to be honest I brought loads of nice fun clothes I almost never wore because I was always at work but ... :') Here's what I packed, along with a couple of tips about what I think you should take from home vs what's worth just buying when you get there.


work clothes- 2 blazers, collared shirts, trousers, 2 skirts
underwear- I bought a couple of extra new bras because it's harder to find my size in Japan- I also brought enough knickers for 2 weeks
jumpers (about 7) jumpers are my favourite item of clothing but they take up a lot of space so I had to limit myself
skirts/ jeans- (about 4) 
t shirts (about 8)
2 dresses
pjs x 3- one pair of long pj bottoms bc winter is cold in Japan
dressing gown- I had a small silky one so it didn't take up too much space I also packed my slippers
My sukajan jacket bc it's the best
Accessories hats, scarves, jewellery
I loove Japanese fashion so I tried to be as minimal as possible so I could get some bits in Japan


DMs- for being comfy/ hiking
DM shoes for work
high heels (my size is harder to find for ladies shoes in Japan) I barely wore them 


toothbrush, toothpaste, mini shower gel
Skincare- I took enough for the first couple of months as I was a bit nervous about getting skincare I liked. On reflection I could definitely have just got some bits from Muji and there was no reason to worry. I would recommend packing minis in case your hotel doesn't have stuff you like so you can just have a bath and a nap as soon as you get there.
Makeup- especially my foundation and concealer as lots of makeup in Japan only comes in one or two shades. I also took a few nail varnishes (these are actually quite heavy so I recommend bringing only one or two and getting some in Japan... )
I took my tangle teezer hair brush and a decent heat protectant because they can be annoying to find in Japan, along with some argan oil (which you can get from muji fyi)
Stick deodorant x 2 (Japanese deodorant isn't strong enough)
My favourite hair mask and silver shampoo- Japanese hair products can be nice but some can be really drying- so I wanted to start off with some things I know I love. I actually ended up taking three Bleach London shampoos and a hair mask and this was probably too heavy but ah well. I used them all so... I took my hair dye bowl tint brush and hairdressing scissors too because I do my own hair
I took a big can of batiste dry shampoo but you can actually buy it in Japan now in Loft so I could have got away with just getting a small one.
I took lots of paracetamol bc it's 50p in the UK for a decent sized 500mg tablets but buying painkillers in Japan was expensive and confusing so I'd recommend taking some with you. Obvs bring any medicines you need
I also took a couple of boxes of tampons because although you can get them in Japan they are way more expensive. sorry for the TMI

My toiletries actually ended up being quite heavy and this was definitely something I could have cut down on but ah well. 


one notebook and one small pencil case- I don't want to have to buy all new things before I get paid, but also Japanese stationery is nice af so I wanted to buy some from Muji
some study books from home- I took my favourite Kanji book but I bought most of the ones I used for the N1 while I was there- Japanese study books are cheaper there anyway
small sewing kit- having a needle and some black and white thread is so handy, and it's also a waste to keep buying new ones every time I move
laptop and charger
*edit* Portable charger! I forgot to mention this- thanks @hellolizziebee for reminding me!
Souvenirs <3 omiyage for friends and new work colleagues- I took tea and biscuits and soap.
photos and sentimental things
small teas and coffees for when I first get there- I took some I'd swiped from a hotel ahahah
Money (in Yen obvs)
Important documents- passport, ID photos, etc.
Foldable umbrella this is something I could have just bought in Japan..

Things I didn't take: 

heat styling tools- different voltage in Japan means British stuff only works at half capacity.
bath towels- too bulky :')

my packing tips <3 

  • Roll clothes to make them take up less space
  • Pack like clothes together so it's easier to unpack
  • pack liquids inside ziplock bags in case of spills
  • pack your most valuable things and a change of clothes in your hand luggage in case your luggage gets lost (mine did ahahha) 
  • wear your heaviest/ bulkiest items- I wore my DMs obvs and my biggest scarf.
  • Also, take your laptop and any heavy cameras as your 'personal item' so you can fit more in your carry on (I think technically the carry on and a personal item must weigh under 12kg together though??)
  • Think carefully/ research what you will and won't be able to buy when you're there- if you have large feet or are tall you might have problems getting shoes or clothes for example. 
  • It's worth getting everything together and weighing it a couple of days before just in case you need to make hard decisions or need to buy something last minute. 

I hope that helped! I'll definitely be looking back on this if I go back :)
What are your travel essentials? Did I miss anything?
-Amy xoxo

What I packed for my year abroad in Japan// How I passed the JLPT N1 // Room tour of my apartment in Shizuoka city and my tips for renting in Japan// 


Monday 20 April 2020

Empties #22 inc Batiste, Simple, Muji

Flatlay of empty beauty products including Muji, simple and clinique skincare

Even though life is kind of on hold, one thing that hasn't changed is that I'm still washing my face haha. Here are some of the beauty products I've used up since I've been back in the UK:

 Stuff from Japan

Muji Face Soap 洗顔フォーム// I tried this foaming cleanser- I liked it but I prefer Muji's cream cleanser to be honest. This one wasn't drying or anything and was pretty nice so I finished it.

Muji high moisture moisturiser// My favourite Japanese moisturiser. Muji skincare is so reliably good to be honest.

Media face powder// I picked this up in the lightest shade but to be honest it was a bit underwhelming- you got a tiny bit of product for your money, you had to buy a separate case (annoying but eco friendly if you find one you like) and it was a bit cakey.
Flatlay of empty beauty products including Muji, simple and clinique skincare

Stuff from the UK//  

Simple hydrating gel cream// I feel like this is smaller than it used to be... sad times. I really like it though- it's not too expensive and seems to agree with my skin.

PS eye cream// This Primark eye cream was a present and it was cool to try but tbh I prefer my normal simple one as this was a bit of a thick consistency. 

Tresémme Biotin Repair conditioner// I love Tresémme and this conditioner was good as expected. Although tbh I think I'll be sticking with the larger 900ml bottles as they're better value for money. 

Dove caring bath// this was another present- wasn't as luxurious smelling  as my fave Lush, but it did the job and was very gentle on my skin. 

M&S Floral Collection Rose shower gel// This was part of a set- I took it on holiday because it's a perfect travel size and it smells amaaazing- quite a strong rose scent so I wouldn't recommend if you're not a fan of heavily scented things.

Sure Cotton Dry stick deodorant// It does the job, what can I say. This is the deodorant I took with me to Japan so I can definitely say it works even in humid disgusting Japanese summer.

Barry M molten Metal nail varnish// can't go wrong with Barry M can you? Proud of myself for using up another nail varnish :) This one was really nice- applied well, came out nice and silver after 2 coats and dried quickly.

Clinique SOS primer// This was part of a Christmas set and although it was a great primer, the smell was really unusual and really strong. Would like this a lot more if it was unscented.

Batiste Original Dry Shampoo// this is a staple, I prefer the original scent because some of the others are quite intense. 

Philip Kingsley Elasticiser// This is pricy but so many people with bleached hair recommended this to me that I had to try it, and I think it's become a must have for me now. It's a protein treatment and it's supposed to repair the bonds in your hair. All I know is that it makes my hair feel a lot nicer after I've bleached it. 

That's it for now! Have you guys been buying loads of beauty products in lockdown? I'm trying to use up what I have first, so I'll probably be back with another empties post soonish. I hope you're all taking care and remember self care is super important, whatever form that takes for you!
- Amy xoxo

All 41 hair dye posts I've written in 7 years of blogging// Last Japan empties (for now) Empties #21  // Room tour of my Shizuoka apartment and my tips for renting in Japan

Tuesday 14 April 2020

24 things I want to do when I'm 24

A street in Shinsekai, Osaka after dark

All of my plans have been cancelled basically, as I'm sure you guys' have been... but here are my plans for what I want to do when I'm 24. Most of these are not feasible atm, but here's to hoping we can get through this!! And I also want to look back on whether I achieved my last set of goals I published- my Japan goals ver 2

But first, did I achieve any of the goals I set when I was in Japan? 

Take the JLPT N1// yep, passed that :^)
Carry on cooking and baking// gonna have to say no for this... I did do some cooking but I definitely relied on the conbini waaay too much
Start saving money// nope! I spent every single yen :') I was fairly low paid so it was hard to save. Tbh I'm glad I spent the money on having fun, but I do want an emergency fund because not having any money is stressful as I'm sure most of you know. 
Take photos every day// I did take a lot of photos, but not every day. I also failed my other goals of post on instagram more regularly, and keep blogging at least once a week. I did post on instagram sometimes, but it was the worst year so far for me for blogging- I was just so tired! Glad I'm back on it now.
Japanese youtube channel// Nope
Walk/ cycle to work every day// Yep <3
Have a v aesthetic apartment// Yep! Check out my Room Tour of my Shizuoka Apartment post if you fancy a look around!
Travel// well I managed to get to Osaka a few times.. unfortunately I had neither the time or the money to go anywhere exciting and I couldn't convince my ex to go on a cute ryokan trip with me either :') Definitely got loads of places left on my bucket list
Sort out my future// another resounding 'no' ... send help...

my goals for when I'm 24 ♡

1 Stop putting boys first// So me and my long time boyfriend split up... it was mutual, but obviously I was devastated. But being on my own properly for the first time in 7 years (!!) has made me realise that the time and energy I invested into boys is often more than what they gave back, and I would never let a friend treat me like that.. I need someone who lifts me up and who will support me as much as I support them. And that's the last I'll be saying about boys on here for a while..

2 Get my film cameras developed// I still have loads of cool Osaka photos I haven't got developed yet! V excited because it's such a photogenic city

3 Get a new job// The job I had lined up has unfortunately fallen through bc Coronavirus (I know lots of you guys are in the same boat...)

4 Get another piercing// tempted to attempt this at home but not sure it's a good idea ahaha..

5 Try a new hair colour// I'm thinking yellow or bright orange

6 Go on holiday!! // Another far off goal, but here's to hoping... the dream would be Taiwan, South Korean and Osaka <3

7 Go back to Leeds <3 // Long time readers will know how much I love Leeds, and I'm desperate to get back and visit all my fave spots again!

8 TEFL course// bc who knows, it might come in handy :)

9 Start some savings// I've always lived a bit paycheck to paycheck, and crises like this make you reeeeally realise the importance of a safety net. Obvs not everyone can afford to, but it's a goal anyway.

10 Learn how to drive// I still can't drive, I've had a few lessons and I absolutely hate driving but it's a good skill to have.

11 Visit Amsterdam// this seemed like another 'easy' goal a few months ago- just a few hours' train! But we have to stay at home innit.

12 Have a cute picnic with my friends// I am dying to see my pals. Thank goodness for video call technology eh?

13 Learn how to cook a posh new thing// I love making macarons even though they are a massive faff, and I really want to add another 'impressive' thing to my repertoire.

14 Go to a music festival// Another uncertain thing..

15 go 'out out' with my girls// ditto

16 Go to some more gigs// live music is my absolute favourite thing

17 Try dating apps// I'm newly single and in no way ready to date yet but I do want to try dating apps for funsies!

18 Go and see The Room// Theres a cinema in Soho that did screenings once a month

19 Visit Hastings// I haven't visited this cute UK seaside town since I was a small child

20 Visit Canterbury// Another bucket list place for me

21 Do some pottery// because yolo. I want to make some aesthetic plates

22 Do something with my photos from Japan// a scrapbook, a zine, put them on the blog... I have some nice photos but there are so. many. it kind of makes my head hurt thinking about printing them or doing anything with them tbh.

23 Get a polaroid camera// I just think they seem really fun. I want to try and either get a second hand instax or a proper polaroid (should have got it in Japan regrets are real)

24 Visit Berlin// Another travel thing eek

I hope you guys are all doing well, and are getting through it. I'm trying to stay positive and plan for the future but it's hard and scary and uncertain :/ sending you all so so much love!!

My Room Tour of my apartment in Shizuoka, Japan and my tips for renting in Japan// All 41 hair dye posts I've written in 7 years of blogging  // Last Japan empties (for now) empties #21 //

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Last Japan empties (for now) Empties #21 : Muji, Lush, Clinique, Jelly x Emoda etc.

flatlay of empty products from Muji, Rimmel, Clinique, Emoda and Lush

This is the last couple of empty products I used while I was in Japan- I was trying to use things up so I didn't have to take loads of beauty products home. Most of the things in this are old faves or things I'd really recommend picking up if you're in Japan, so hopefully it's also a little informative?

Monday 6 April 2020

All 41 hair dye posts I've written in 7 years of blogging

Bleach London Rosé shampoo bottle

I've had more traffic than usual recently (because everyone's hanging out on the internet) and in particular, my youtube videos about dying your hair have been getting lots more views than usual!
I mean are you even on lockdown if you haven't given yourself a drastic makeover? I know I've dyed my hair and cut a v short fringe... I'm just using hair dye I had already at the moment, but I'm thinking of trying a cheerful yellow?

Obviously not everyone is lucky enough to be able to stay at home, and not everyone can dye their hair, but if these hair dye posts can be useful to anyone or brighten up anyone's day, that would be great! And also I AM NOT A HAIRDRESSER so pls cut/ dye your hair at your own risk and make sure to follow the instructions!!!! And also some of these posts are v old so don't judge me pls thx x


Tuesday 31 March 2020

I finally got my bleached hair to grow by doing the thing everyone says to do

My hair after it's grown a little- basically shoulder length

Hi gang, I'm going to be publishing exclusively cheery/ helpful/ escapist content over here, just to let you know... And today I wanted to talk about how my hair has recovered and has even started growing after not much luck for almost a year. I'm still bleaching it, I'm still washing it every couple of days (even though both of these things are obviously bad for your hair, so what's changed?

Less heat styling.

You knew it was coming- it's something I'd read about so many times but I was pretty much addicted to straightening/ curling my hair and was v reluctant to stop. But, recently I've started really cutting down on using straighteners and it really has made a difference!

So my basic routine is put argan oil and heat protector in my hair, blow dry it 90% dry, then let it air dry in a bun to give some slight waves.
I do always straighten my fringe, and if I'm going somewhere special I might curl or straighten the rest of it it but I don't straighten most of my hair often at all and I really notice the difference.
My straighteners are fairly old and don't glide through my hair particularly well either, which can't help. Eventually I'll get some new ones, which should be better for it :)

Here is a picture of how short my hair was before- I got a bob in may of 2018 and it was looking a bit sad so I got it cut again around May 2019. By July 2019 it was still pretty much the exact same length, just above my chin. And you can definitely tell how bad condition it was in >_>

my hair before it started growing - just above chin length

Then I decided to make some changes- I still blow dried my hair but I had a rubbish hair drier in Shizuoka which took forever so I stopped drying it 100% to save time before work.

And I carried on embracing the natural waves and using less heat, and here's here's how it looks now in March 2020:

My hair after it's grown a little- basically shoulder length

It might not seem like a big difference to some, but my hair always grew pretty slowly aaand I still bleach it so I think it's pretty good tbh :) And yes I know my roots are super yellow in this pic...

General tips for growing out bleached hair//

  • Cut your hair semi regularly- get rid of split ends and a chop will often make your hair feel thicker and healthier.
  • A blunt cut with less layers can make it feel thicker
  • Take care of your hair! (Here's my Bleached Hair Care Routine)
  • Buy a gentle brush like a tangle teezer
  • Heat styling, hairspray, dry shampoo all dry out your hair and should be avoided/ cut down as much as possible
  • Put straighteners etc. on a lower heat setting
  • silver shampoo can also reeally dry out your hair so be careful!

Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear you guys' hair care tips and favourite products <3
 Love Amy xoxo

My emergency bleached hair care plan// Having unnatural hair in Japan part 2: bleached blonde hair at work // My bleached hair care routine in Japan 


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Room Tour of my Shizuoka apartment and tips for renting in Japan

muji curtains and houseplants in front of the window of my shizuoka apartment

Hey gang! What with being forced to stay inside here in the UK, I've finally got round to editing and uploading a little room tour of my apartment in Shizuoka!

So I've put together this post of things you need to know about renting in Japan (specifically in Shizuoka, as a foreigner who was not an ALT and who speaks pretty fluent Japanese).
If you're an ALT, especially JETs, you don't need to worry so much as your local board of education will set you up with a flat and you can usually buy your predecessor's furniture :)

It's a little hard to rent as a foreigner in Japan! I think big cities like Osaka and Tokyo are more used to foreign people, but everyone in Shizuoka was always perpetually surprised at my presence, and I'm glad I had a really kind estate agent who gently let me down about apartments which weren't willing to take me... ( I got refused two or three times...) One reason is that your guarantor is supposed to be a family member in Japan (or a guarantee firm, which I didn't use because my boss super kindly was my guarantor!). But yeah, that was a bit tough. Luckily I found a place!

Step 1// Search online using Suumo or estate agents' websites for what sort of places are on the market//

This will help you set your budget and you won't feel so lost when you go in in person. Places vary in size and you can modify your search based on conditions like distance to the nearest station, what floor it's on, if the door has an automatic lock etc. The smallest type of apartment is ワンルーム (One room), followed by 1K (one room plus kitchen), 1DK then 1LDK, 2LDK etc. Mine was a 1K and was plenty big enough for just me

Things to consider when looking for a house:

Transport links- picking somewhere where you could walk/ bike to your school/work is ideal
Furnished or unfurnished- places in Japan often come unfurnished- I was luckily able to borrow a futon and bought a fridge and washing machine second hand, which I was then able to sell back
If gas is 都市ガス (city gas) or not- city gas often is cheaper
I'd hiiighly recommend trying to get a place with free wifi as getting wifi set up is a hassle
Do you cook? If so, check how many gas spots it has/ whether it is gas or an induction heater/ whether the kitchen is separated from the bedroom. A lot of Japanese people living on their own don't cook much and a ワンルーム apartment will have the stove and your bed all in the same space. Needs must. 
What floor is it on? I was told to get somewhere on the 2nd floor or above, both for safety and that cockroaches are more likely to appear on the ground floor I believe. Ground floor places can also be a bit darker. Mine was on the fourth floor. 
What is the building made of/ when was it built? Reinforced concrete is the most earthquake resistant, and generally speaking the newer the building the better standard it is in terms of safety. 
Do you want a separate bath and toilet? Places with it all in one- a ユニットバス - are generally cheaper. 
The light/ what aspect your flat faces. South facing 南向き is generally the most popular, but I picked a north facing place because Japanese summer is brutal and I am British. It had a nice big window and balcony so I got tonnes of natural light.
Parking/ a place to stash your bike if you need it
Shikikin/ reikin There are lots of places with no shiki kin or reikin (kind of like a deposit, but it's 'gift money') but bear in mind that these places might have higher rent/ other hidden costs like bug prevention, cleaning fee, lock exchange fee etc. 
I was recommended to find somewhere to rent that cost no more than 1/3 of your monthly income  My rent was 4.8万円 and after rent and bills I struggled a bit with money, to be honest. You've got to get a balance between a nice place close to where you need to be and somewhere cheaper. I ended up getting a really lovely place that was only 5 minutes walk from work and 10 minutes from town which was perfect, but I definitely wish I'd been able to snag another place I had my eye on which was 3.5万円a month

Step 2// once you've got an idea of what there is/ what you can afford, go to an estate agent in person.

I went to エイブル in Shizuoka and the staff were all lovely! (especially once they realised I spoke Japanese!)
Places like Leopalace (they offer furnished apartments) are also a good idea to check, and if you're in a big city there will be places like share houses and even estate agencies which specialise in foreign clients. 
I'd reeeallly recommend you bring a supportive Japanese friend/ colleague even if you do speak Japanese, this will help put both you and the staff at ease. Also it's a good idea to get someone to go look at places with you for a second pair of eyes
Viewing the houses- pay attention to details like how old the AC is (older units are less efficient and will cost you more to run) 
Be aware that the housing market in March/ April moves more quickly than other times of year as its 'Shin seikatsu' time where students will be moving to uni and new workers will be starting their first job. 


My estate agent was super lovely and actually negotiated a cheaper rent for me with my landlord! You'll be looking at 2 months rent, cleaning fee for the start and end of the tenancy, home insurance, lock exchange, bug prevention, and shikikin or reikin (sometimes both) I was told that average 初期費用 initial costs are around 300,000 Yen upfront. My total was around 220,000 yen because Shizuoka is slightly cheaper and my estate agency agreed to waive the moving in cleaning fee because I could clean it myself, saving me about 20,000 yen

Moving in tips//

You can get 30 day sim only data only plans online for your mobile- check if there is a cancellation fee when you set up wifi or mobile bc I got stung. If you don't need a phone number, I'd just get a good pocket wifi.
You need to phone the city/ utility providers for gas, water and electricity, get a friend or someone at work to do it for you if you aren't confident in your Japanese. All you actually have to say is I'm moving into a new place, give the address, your name, and when you want to start using it.
You'll also need to register your address- just go to your city hall and they can help you with filling in forms.
Try second hand shopping for fridges, washing machine etc. They will often deliver or install it for you. I'd buy models newer than 4 years old if you can though, because you will have an easier time selling it back at the end of your tenancy- lots of recycle shops only accept models under 5 years old
Try minimalism! The less stuff you have, the hassle when you're moving :)
Plants are bae! 

Moving out tips// 

Start early! You can cancel your bills by saying the last day you'll be using your utilities a month in advance or even earlier. Also check your contract for how much notice you'll need to give your landlord.
Sell things secondhand/ work out how you're going to dispose of stuff. Some recycle shops offer a collection service for big items like fridges.
Manga, books and unwanted clothes can all be sold too (you won't get lots of money, but it saves it going in landfill!) Check what they do and don't accept though, for example used kitchen utensils often won't be accepted.
If you've accumulated loads of stuff- sort it out ahead of time!! I did everything super last minute and it was awful :') 
Sort your stuff into rubbish , recycling, give to secondhand shops , give to other people, send home. Bear in mind that if you have large items, unburnable items etc you might have to put them out way in advance or arrange for them to be picked up (e.g, if your local area only has one metal recycling day per month)
It is worth the money to send your huge heavy suitcase via yamato on the way home to the aiport!! Do ittt :')

That's it for now, I think. I might come back and edit this if I think of more info, and I would also really love to hear you guys' advice or questions! Obviously I'm not an expert but most of the stuff you read about living in Japan is from students or ALTs so I thought my perspective might help :)
Thanks for reading! 
-Amy xoxo


Tuesday 25 February 2020

Having unnatural hair in Japan part 2// bleached blonde hair at work

girl with silver hair outside Takeshita street Wego

After I'd studied abroad in Osaka, I wrote a post on having unnatural hair in Japan- how people reacted to my bleached hair while I was a student. It was something I'd been desperate to know before I started study abroad, and I'm so glad I posted it because I've had a couple of people say that it helped them decide to yolo it and keep their unnatural hair. I'm definitely glad I had fun with my hair while I was a student. This time I want to share how people reacted to my bleached hair at work.

First, a disclaimer:

 I'm white, and while blonde isn't my natural hair colour, I'm quite pale. So although it's quite obvious to British people that I bleach my hair, I think it fit Japanese people's image of what a 'foreigner' looks like, and they were maybe more predisposed to be nicer... (but that's a whole other blog post...) So I can't speak for everyone's different experiences and this is only about how people in Shizuoka city reacted to me. 

Something to bear in mind is that not that many people bleach their hair in Japan,

 it's something quite associated with yankii fashion and 'rebels' in general... I did get called a yanki a couple of times (fair enough).
 Although lots of people do dye their hair in Japan, it's usually to brown or ash blonde. Younger people, uni students and people who are into fashion do go for bleached, bright colours, but it's rare to see 'grown ups' with dyed hair as most jobs just won't allow it. 
And also you need to bleach a few times to get dark asian hair to go blonde, which I think is also a factor- lots of my Japanese friends who'd experimented with bright colours said they stopped bleaching their hair due to how damaged it'd got. 
Even at Summer sonic (a big rock festival), hardly anyone had bleached hair (which I was shocked about) I thought it was really interesting that people couldn't tell my music taste from my hair and clothes, whereas I think British people can immediately tell I'm a rock fan...

So why was I allowed to bleach my hair? 

My company was pretty chill- I had bleached hair in my interview and asked if I could keep it and they said yes! I think it is always worth asking, as long as you make it clear that you're open to dying it a more natural colour if the company wants. But I was allowed to keep my hair blonde, yessss! 
A lot of people I met presumed it was my natural colour, with a couple of people even asking if I dye my eyebrows...  And most people said it was really pretty! <3 I got asked if I was Russian or Eastern European a lot, which was cool! 
Although, when I asked if I could dye it ginger, I was told no as people would think it was more unnatural, as ginger is rarer. But back at home I was allowed ginger hair at school because it's a 'natural' colour. 

But although my company was really chill, I don't think that's the norm- when I interviewed at bigger hotels, I was told I'd have to dye it a more natural blonde and it definitely wouldn't be ok as an English Teacher.

So if you want to get a more formal job like an ALT or at a big company, I think you'd have to follow the same rules as Japanese people and have your hair a natural colour.

I'd love to hear you guys' experiences with dyed hair in Japan, (or wherever you are! Bleached hair gang unite!) and I'd like to write a little more about working and living in Japan as *not an ALT* because I think that I had a bit of a different experience.
Thanks for reading!
-Amy xoxo

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