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Travel

Feature, Travel

Weird & Wonderful Tokyo Souvenirs

September 25, 2014

I never imagined I would completely fall in love with Tokyo until I visited earlier this month. I was only there a few days, so I had to make the most of every last minute and see as much as possible. I walked, ate and shopped my way around the districts of Shibuya, Harajuku, Roppongi, Shinjuku and Minato. Exploring a foreign city which is illuminated by lights and lanterns at night was a pretty dreamy way to get lost in translation in Tokyo.

It’s true what they say about visiting Tokyo for the first time, the food is just unbelievable, you can easily buy a kimono, Japanese tea services are a must-try, the Tsukiji fish market will surpass your wildest dreams, the jet lag is insane and the loos are mind blowing. For first time visitors (like me!) it is hard to anticipate the many wild, crazy and typically Japanese items you will stumble across. In case you are headed to Japan sometime soon, here are my top eccentric souvenirs from Tokyo:

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Green Tea Oreos

Just when you thought Oreos couldn’t be any more addictive, add a dash of neon coloured green tea to the equation and you have struck the cookie jackpot. My only regret is not buying more!

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Strawberry, Bean and Green Tea Kit Kats

It’s a mystery why these enhanced Kit Kat flavours haven’t made it to the UK or US as I have no doubt they would fly off store shelves. I now prefer the strawberry Kit Kat to the original. Further reason for my next visit?

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Clear Umbrellas

The Japanese are such fashionistas that the umbrella of choice to be seen using in Tokyo is translucent in colour – to match every outfit of course! Downpours have never looked so chic.

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Harajuku Shoes

You have to see these elevated beauties in person to believe they exist- or that it’s humanly possible to walk in them! The achingly cool Harajuku girl platform shoes worn by Tokyo’s youth must make Lady Gaga proud. Rabbit tail pom pom footwear accessory sold separately.

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His & Hers Wine Kimonos

For the couple that has everything, behold these stylish male and female kimonos for your wine bottles -Valentine’s Day present solved!

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Sparkling Sake

Prosecco is soo last season. Get the party started with sparkling sake – it’s bound to be a crowd pleaser.

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Baby Makeup

There are no words to describe seeing an entire aisle of baby makeup in a Japanese department store including powders, lip gloss and designer scented baby wipes for your little one. You can never start pampering yourself too early?!

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Shampoo Hats

Keep shampoo out of your eyes with this revolutionary stylish shampoo ‘support hat’. Great for unruly tots or granny, although I can imagine the shampoo hat application could get tricky.

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Face Brightener Cream

This self-application foam mask takes feeling bright and breezy to a whole new level!

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Snail Face Masks

One of the latest beauty fads to hit Tokyo is the snail essence face mask from Korea. This slimy moisturizing beauty treatment smells surprisingly nice and practically injects collagen into your face upon application.

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Perhaps one of your best chances of getting upgraded on the flight home is applying a snail mask mid-flight. This mask is great for combating jet lagged skin – all hail the snail!

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Quacking Dog Muzzles

It took me a while to figure out how this duck shaped dog muzzle worked, but essentially it humiliates your dog to stop it barking. Quacking mad right?! A new dog training trick to try when Fido misbehaves…

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Canine Kimonos

Another shocker on store shelves was the doggy kimono. Halloween can never come too early right? Just when I assumed this outfit was for pint sized pooches only, along came these rather fabulous kimono clad huskies.

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Super ‘Kawaii’ Toys

One of Gwen Stefani’s songs, Harajuku Girls, speaks about Japanese school girls’ fatal attraction to cuteness – aka, items that are super ‘kawaii,’ which means super cute in Japanese. And now I see what she meant. The rather ridiculous plush toys in Japan are so utterly adorable, it is hard not to instantly fall in love with them.

The only other advice I would give anyone traveling to Tokyo for the first time, would be to bring your camera charger and not be ashamed about transforming into that tourist with a camera at the ready. I said “Konichiwa” (which means ‘hi’ in Japanese) to these teenage boys and this was their reaction!

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Sayonara for now Tokyo, next time I’m packing a larger suitcase!

Fashion, London, Travel

Essential Festival Survival Packing List

July 27, 2014

It’s that magical time of year when there’s a plethora of British festivals to choose from – snap up tickets fast and you can still see some of the most exclusive bands and performers on the planet whilst enjoying the English summer. Sunshine, the great outdoors, and live music – what’s not to love?! I partied last weekend away with festival dyed sheep at Latitude festival in Suffolk, which was an absolute blast, but I learned the hard way that packing well for a festival is essential to your overall experience.

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Weather conditions can change very fast and when you’re staying in a tent, you want to ensure you have everything you need to get through the weekend in as much comfort as possible. I first met gal pals Harriet and Tamsin at Latitude festival two years ago. They are brilliant company and always look chic throughout a festival come rain or shine – or even when hugging a tree!

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As seasoned festival goers, I picked Tamsin and Harriet’s brains to create the essential Festival Survival Packing List, to ensure you have all the necessities to get you through a festival this summer. Here are some items you cannot leave the house without!

  • A Festival Bag – to keep all your precious possessions with you at all time. Extra bonus if it’s waterproof and features a cross body strap to free up your arms.

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  • Dry Shampoo – when decent showers are limited, this spray on haircare product is the best solution to looking well coiffed.
  • Waterproof Jacket – it wouldn’t be a proper English festival without an inevitable downpour when you are least expecting it. A lightweight poncho or waterproof jacket is an absolute must have.
  • Sensible Footwear – bring at least two pairs of old shoes you don’t really care about getting damaged (or never being the same again post festival). Remember to pack wellies -walking in the sticky and oozy mud in sandals is not fun – take my word for it!

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  • Wet Wipes & Loo Roll – not the most glamorous of bathroom accessories, but these are definitely essential items you will regret not bringing. One trip to a festival portaloo will bring this truth home real fast.
  • Face Paint, Novelty Glasses & Festival Flair – probably one of my favourite aspects of a festival is the opportunity to dress as crazy and wacky as you like. You can’t go wrong with glittery face paint, neon body paint and pink Vegas showgirl style lashes! Bring your cheap and cheerful sunglasses rather than an expensive pair to avoid disappointment.

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  • Bin Bags – don’t underestimate the importance of a bin bag! They come in very handy during downpours and when packing up all your possessions at the end of a festival. My friend Anna has even made a poncho out of one.
  • A Handheld Mirror & Towels – these items are not provided at festivals and you will miss them if you don’t have them. Simple as that!
  • Battery Powered Charger – Skip the lines and the overpriced cost of charging your phone or camera with a battery powered charger. Just remember to charge it pre-festival otherwise you won’t catch a snap of Lily Allen up close and personal!

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  • Air Bed & Flag For Your Tent – go one up on the price point for an air bed in your tent. Your body will thank you for it. Attach a recognisable flag to your tent to make locating it amongst the 1,000s of other tents that much easier.
  • Insect Repellant & Sunscreen – lather up on sunscreen during the day and insect repellant at night. A festival is that much more enjoyable sunburn and mosquito bite free. Aloe vera or after sun is handy to have too!

Whether you’re headed to Wilderness festival or Burning Man this summer, I hope these packing tips come in handy – enjoy the fun and music!

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