Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dubai, UAE travel diary - Sunset Desert Safari with BBQ dinner

Back a few years ago, me and hubby decided to visit Dubai UAE. After seeing Disney films such as Aladdin and Anime such as Doraemon in childhood, I have always wanted to see what nightfall looks like in an Arabian desert. Later on I watched "Sex and City 2" movie, and that was when I started to consider about going to UAE with hubby.

We have mainly gone around with a tour in Dubai, and there was this particular one which left a great impression on us. It was a sunset desert Safari with BBQ dinner, and we had heaps fun so I really wanted to share the experience with all of you.


On this day, we first arrived at the desert for a 4WD adventure on the sand dune. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the tour guide said it was something similar to a roller coaster.


Weeeeeeeeeee~~~ off we went with driving up and down along the sand dune! It was quite fun actually, but a few people couldn't handle it and decided to come out of the car after a while. Luckily me and hubby didn't get dizzy or feel nauseated during the ride, we both enjoyed the excitement very much. I probably would only recommend this activity to relatively younger people and people who doesn't suffer from motion sickness or anything, otherwise it could be a bit painful throughout the ride.


We then arrived at our campsite, where we would spend the afternoon and evening there along with dinner and more activities. I really loved the fact we were all sitting on the ground and sharing tables, and then later enjoyed the campfire under the stars.


We climbed up a really high sand dune, getting ready to enjoy the sand boarding activity. To be honest, I was TERRIFIED!! I am someone who is afraid of height, and this was certainly something I was a little reluctant to do. Though since I was there, I decided to give it a go anyway...and yea, I was literally screaming my way down and everyone from the campsite probably heard me LOL.


Here's the view at about half way on the sand dune.


There were little stores like this that sells colourful sand art in bottles, we thought they were really cool so we bought some as souvenirs.


Of course, there were Shisha available on the campsite too! It was actually the very first time we tried Shisha, and it made everyone relaxed and started chatting about how much fun we had so far. The Shisha we tried was apple flavour so it wasn't too strong, and it was more for an experience.


When it was sunset time, me and hubby decided to go for a camel ride. Look at how relaxed this camel is!! LOL.


I think everyone enjoyed this activity, and the view was simply amazing. At that moment I truly felt all my childhood fantasies have come true!


Another fun activity I've tried was the Henna Tattoo, and they did a simple flower pattern with some twirls. Again this was my first time, and I found it very amusing at the ink they've used and how it turned out. I think they lasted for about less than a week, so I pretty much had fun with it on my arm for the rest of the trip.


Here is my plate of food for dinner, there were BBQ meat, potato, Naan bread, curry on rice and some vegetables. Overall they were simple but fit into the atmosphere really well, as we really enjoyed eating along with lots of other people.


After dinner, we got to watch some local dance performances. This man here pretty much spun around for the whole dance, and  it was so pretty to watch the colourful costume as the night approached.


The dance was amazing, haha although it could be a little dizzy or hypnotizing after staring at him for awhile.


The next performance was a belly dance by this gorgeous Arabic woman, and it really added a sense of mystery with that mask on her initially.


She was extremely good at balancing objects on her head too LOL. By this stage, everyone were absolutely excited by the music and the overall vibrant atmosphere. When the night completely arrived, we took a look upon the stars above us and it was one of the best moment ever in our lives.

Even after a few years, I still kept telling people how much I miss that night at the Arabian desert. I could almost feel the heat from the campfire again, along with the smoke of BBQ and people's laughter. Whenever people go to Dubai UAE, I'd always recommend them to take a tour there. It was an amazing experience that can't be explained by words and phrases, you have to see and experience it on your own to understand the magic behind it :)


We went through a local tour at the time, but if anyone's interested then here's a similar tour on Expedia.

Similar tour link:
Expedia - Sunset Desert Safari with BBQ dinner

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Neutrogena HydroBoost Night Concentrate 50g Review

Hi guys, today I'm going to introduce another product from one of my all-time favourite skincare line "Neutrogena HydroBoost". I have been using their Water Gel product for quite some times and it worked really well on my skin, thus awhile ago I decided to try the night concentrate as well. I've used this product for more than a month now, and to be honest I couldn't wait to share it with the world even just after 2 days!

This Neutrogena HydroBoost Night Concentrate 50g comes with Vitamin E enriched beads combined with Hyraluronic acid, Olive Extract and Ionic Mineral complex which suppose to help enhance skin texture and reduce fine lines while producing intense moisture when you sleep.


Ingredients:

Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Olivate, Polyacrylamide, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Synthetic Beeswax, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Trehalose, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Laureth-7, Mannitol, Carbomer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Microcystalline Cellulose, C12-14 Pareth-12, Sodium Hydroxie, Fragrance, CI 77289, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, CI 42090.


The product itself is Dermatologist tested, Allergy tested, Oil-free and Non-comedogenic. Although sold in Australia, it is actually made in Korea from local and imported components.


The product comes in a glass jar with a screw jar cap, they are both in aqua blue colour which gave a refreshing vibe. The cream itself doesn't have much fragrance, and it feels very cool and refreshing on the skin. I totally love the fact it's very light weight, absorbs really fast and has absolutely no residue. 


As you can see, it comes with lots of small blue beads which contains Vitamin E, and they will burst and melt along as you apply the cream on your skin. 

I apply this Neutrogena HydroBoost Night Concentrate 50g every night after cleansing for winter (on face and neck), and I have been in love ever since the first day of using it! This cream not only made my skin extremely moisturized and lasting almost the whole day since I woke up, it also made my skin more plump and unbelievably soft and smooth (literally my finger would glide down as soon as I touch my skin). I also noticed it gave my skin quite a healthy glow, although the reduction of fine lines were not as noticeable yet.

Pros:
- Extremely moisturizing and long-lasting effect
- Provide healthy skin glow
- Oil-free: leave no residue
- Doesn't have much fragrance for scent-sensitive people
- Feels gentle, cool and refreshing on the skin
- Light weight, easy to apply and fast absorption
- Can apply small amount each time and goes a long way

Cons:
- May not be convenient for travel-use due to the size, weight and material of the packaging
- The effect of fine line reduction is not obvious


Product link:

For Australian buyers, you can get this product from local stores such as Priceline or Chemist Warehouse

For overseas buyers, you can try searching it on Ebay.

***This review is not sponsored, I have bought the product by myself and all review are solely based on my personal opinion***


Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to make Spicy Fried Chicken (Korean style)

I have always loved Korean food, and especially chilli food. Here I'll share a simple recipe for spicy fried chicken served with rice to enjoy.


Serving:
1-2 people

Ingredients:
600g chicken thigh
Milk (enough to all chicken thigh)
Potato starch (enough to cover all chicken thigh)

For marination:
Soy sauce..........1 tablespoon
White/cooking wine..........1 tablespoon
Grated garlic..........1 teaspoon

For the sauce:
Chopped garlic..........1 teaspoon
Chopped onion..........1 tablespoon
Tomato sauce..........2 tablespoon
Korean spicy sauce (BekSul)..........
2 tablespoon 
Soy sauce..........1 teaspoon
Sugar..........1 tablespoon
Sesame oil..........1 teaspoon
Water..........60ml


(The Korean spicy sauce and potato starch can be found in Asian grocery stores)



1. Wash the chicken thigh and soak them with milk for about 20 minutes, this helps to get rid of any frozen smell and makes the chicken thigh more tender.


2. Wash the chicken thigh again, drain the water and chop into desirable sizes. Then marinate them for at least 30 minutes.


3. Roll each of the marinated chicken thigh onto the potato starch evenly, and then leave them aside for about 3-5 minutes. 


4. Start deep frying the chicken thigh in the oil pan (set on 180 degrees) until golden, then leave aside to drain the excessive oil. 


5. Get a large pan and stir fry the chopped onions and garlic until aromatic. Then put in the sauce and chicken thigh and stir them to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed.



TA-DA! It's now ready to be served with rice!

You can probably try to add in pieces of pineapples or sprinkle some white sesame over the top, as these will make this dish tastier!


Thanks for reading! Have fun cooking and eating!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Free 2017 Calendar printout

Hi guys ^^

I've designed a 2017 Calendar for you lovely readers out there, just want to say thank you for visiting and reading my blog :)


Let me know if you want to see more freebies here ^^ Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Makoto Shinkai's Animated films - Anime review

When I mention Japanese Animated film/movie, a lot people often tend to think of Ghibli at first. Though today I wanted to write a post about Makoto Shinkai, who had been my favourite all-time Anime film director since 2002.

I have been watching his directed Animated films since "The voices of a distant star", and it literally blown my mind FAR away. The graphics, the storyline, the complex and repeating concept of distance and time, and the mixture of emotions buried deep within. Everything about Makoto Shinkai's Animated films fascinated me from the bottom of my heart. To this date, I still consider him as a master and will forever admire his works.

I wanted to write a list of films that I have seen from him, it's not much but each one of them was unique in their own way and some had left great impression on me.




The voices of a distant star (2002)

This was the very first Animated film I have seen from Makoto Shinkai, and one of my favourite up-to-date. I couldn't describe the amazement I felt when I watched this film, and how much I loved the concept of space and time. At the time I wondered if Makoto Shinkai wanted to convey a message, almost like a metaphor that reflected our lives in the present. A simple mobile message merely requires a second to transfer, but what if you are going further and further out into the space? I watched in sorrow as the main characters became aware of the distance between them, and questioned how terrifying that loneliness must've felt like. It was a relatively shorter film compared to the rest, though I'd still strongly recommend this. "The voices of a distant star" did an amazing job to summarize the ideas and emotions of each and in between the two main characters, and it's also a great starting film from Makoto Shinkai to see how they eventually evolve overtime.




The place promised in our early days (2004)

With  the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films mainly concentrated on the relationship between two main characters, "The place promised in our early days" actually portrayed a triangle relationship between a girl and two boys. Again just like "The voices of a distant star", the story began in school days. It was a great journey to see a simple promise from the 3 friends' early teenage days, and how it survived through the complexity and dilemma of their lives later on. I wouldn't say I fully understood this film or even close to it, but many male viewers told me this was one of the best Animated film they've ever seen. I do tend to think "The place promised in our early days" was more focused on male perspectives, but nevertheless it was still a great one to watch.




5cm per second (2007)

Hands up, no doubt, this was my all-time favourite Animated film from Makoto Shinkai, and I couldn't even find the right words to describe how much I was attached to "5cm per second". The film was actually separated into three parts, spreading the setting from Elementary school to adulthood. Once again, I saw the concept of distance and time, yet still inevitable and far beyond anyone's control. However, I felt this was probably one of the most complicated film that Makoto Shinkai has ever done. Although the feelings involved were simple on the surface, there were a lot being conveyed behind the scenes. I found this was a film that almost everyone could relate too, as we experienced that emptiness of having to lose someone due to the reality of time and distance. Although a sense of sombre has been there throughout the film, I do find this time Makoto Shinkai ended the film with the best and most mature way possible. I would highly recommend "5cm per second" to anyone really, it was definitely a true masterpiece in my opinion.




Children who chase lost voices from deep below (2011)

This film had a completely different setting, and to me it felt very different to the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films. Perhaps because it belongs to the fantasy genre, thus it was very unique and magical. Although the film started during school time again, it was more focused on the peaceful countryside rather than the bustling city. The characters took us audiences to a realm that we have not heard or seen before, and I found all the symbolism of life/death involved has added a layer of new meaning to the film. In a way, I was a little distracted by the beautiful graphics in "Children who chase lost voices from deep below", and perhaps neglected the main message that Makoto Shinkai was trying to convey here.




The garden of words (2013)

"The garden of words" was a little different from the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films due to the age gap between the characters. To be honest, I was initially attracted to the OST more than the trailer itself. What I saw from a 15 years old teenage boy and a 27 years old female teacher...was not surprisingly different. We have all thought about what we wanted to become as an adult, and yet we continued to question ourselves once we actually turned into one. If I had to point a major difference of this film and the rest, I'd say the "explosion of feelings". Unlike the previous films, Makoto Shinkai decided not to let their feelings remain hidden in "The garden of words" and that was one of the greatest moment I have ever seen. If you have the same doubt as an adult, I would recommend this film to you. Perhaps, it has taught all of us to regain the courage to "walk" smoothly again.




Kimi no Na wa (2016)

This is the latest Animated film from Makoto Shinkai, and I am really looking forward to it (coming soon). Here's a synopsis (source: http://myanimelist.net/anime/32281/Kimi_no_Na_wa):

"The story is set one month after a comet has fallen for the first time in a thousand years in Japan. Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the countryside, wants to live in the city because she is tired of life in the country. Then, there's Taki. He's a high school student living in Tokyo with his friends while working as a part-timer at an Italian restaurant. He also has a strong interest in fine arts involving architecture. One day, Mitsuha dreams of herself as a young man. On the other hand, Taki also has a dream where he is a female student attending high school in the countryside. What's the secret behind their dreams?"


PS. You can find all the past films on http://kissanime.to

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Liz Lisa and Tokyo Kawaii Life 2016 summer lucky bag/fukubukuro unboxing

Here I have another lucky bag to reveal ^^ It's a Liz Lisa and Tokyo Kawaii Life Summer lucky bag which was only limited to Tokyo Kawaii Life webstore :D The fukubukuro was 5400 yen with 6 items in total, so it was a pretty good one!!



I will definitely try to do some OOTD later on in the year :) You can follow me on Instagram @ mintyminad if you are interested ^^

Thanks for reading/watching, hope you enjoyed it!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ank Rouge Summer 2016 Lucky bag reveal (from Shibuya 109 netshop)

Hi everyone!! Today I have a reveal blog post about the Ank Rouge 2016 summer lucky bag ^^ This bag was bought from Shibuya 109 netshop and it was 5400 yen for 5 items.


The items came in a nice Ank Rouge shopper bag~ apparently there's definitely going to be an One Piece in here (woohooo!).


Here's the first item I've got which was an accessory piece. It was a vintage/gothic-looking necklace in bronze colour.


I really liked the combination of the small pieces on this Ank Rouge necklace, it's definitely a really cool necklace to wear.


This was the second item, an off-white short top in lacy material.


The top and bottom were a little frilly, which made this a really feminine piece. I'd imagine it to go well with both skirt or shorts/pants for a summer casual look.


The next item was a simple white T-shirt that says "Be my love" on it.


There were also 2 envelope prints that says "Hope all is well with you" on them, and there was a small black/white gingham bow on the top. It was such a cute piece of summer item, and I'd definitely wear it for casual outing in summer.


Here's the One Piece I've got from this Ank Rouge lucky bag, it came in a silver/grey colour with a slightly shinny material. There was a big bow at the front but it's still a very simple dress.


On the back it came in a corset design which could be tightened to fit smaller upper bodies. It was definitely a dress that could be coordinated in many ways, ie. with a jacket, jumper, cardigan, inner wear or simply on its own. 


The dress itself actually came with a lacy inner layer as well which was pretty neat. I actually never really wear grey colour, so this dress was a new addition of colour to my wardrobe. Though I can already think of a few Larme-inspired look with this...for eg. a black lacy inner wear? Or perhaps with a cardigan for a more elegant look. I feel that this dress can be suitable for smart-casual or even formal occasions, it all just depends on how I style it so I'm looking forward to experiment a little.


This white blouse was the last item in the Ank Rouge lucky bag, and also my favourite out of all. Normally the blouses I got were off-white or close to beige colour, but this was pure white colour. I definitely needed this in my wardrobe and it was such a nice style too!


You could actually tie a ribbon at the front, though they were not detachable.


The sleeves actually came in a sheer material with white polka dots on them (so cute!!). I totally loved this blouse, and it was great to add more short sleeve blouse to my wardrobe since I've been lacking them.

Overall I'm really glad all the items in this Ank Rouge lucky bag were actual summer items (instead of a mixture of season). I find the value of this Ank Rouge lucky bag was just about right, but I definitely think the Liz Lisa x Tokyo Kawaii Life one (video/blog post is coming soon) was more worth it in comparison. 

Hope you guys enjoyed this reveal blog post ^^ See you soon~~