[SINGAPORE] ASANOYA BOULANGERIE

I must confess: I’m a breadaholic. My favourite home appliance is my bread machine, and preferred choice of breakfast is always flour-based.  So the pastry-maniac in me jumped for joy when I finally popped by Asanoya Bakery, and 81-year-old brand founded in Karuizawa Japan.

The place is absolutely haven for all dough-lovers out there! With the abundance of seats it could jolly well serve as a cafe. The boulangerie is ready for business as early as 8am, but their signature Karuizawa Matcha Green Tea Bread doesn’t appear till 10. If that happens, stay calm, take a seat and have their royal milk tea loaf in the meantime. Their mean selection of salads comes in petite Asian portions which are just right to go with your dough. To ogle at pastries and sweetbreads please continue to scroll…

I’m in love with these cubes, not to mention they are absolute darlings in the mouth.

Tiramisu in bread = more than I can bargain for!

                          

The royal milk tea loaf tasted like it was soaked and glazed in frothy tea, which, for a tea-lover like me, was killing two birds with a bite as I could eat and drink tea at the same time. The maple walnuts pretzel was slightly more savoury, though too crispy and hard in certain parts. I’m still looking forward to coming again, and trying every darn thing eventually!

  

Asanoya Boulangerie
15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537
Tel: (65) 6703 8703

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SINGAPORE] 3 COFFEE JOINTS WHICH ARE AS HIPSTER AS IT GETS

What do I look for in an excellent coffee place? Ambience, brews and its insta-worthy quotient. Here are 3 Cafes I’ve been in love with for all the right reasons: [1] THE NEW BLACK Chatted briefly with the barista whose photograph I blatantly took while he was expertly manoeuvring complicated brewing equipment in The New Black laboratory. Think Back To The Future meets pop art plus mad scientist (sorry, but bubbling filter glass pipes just screams nerdist). Totally in love with their graphic site listing their international brews. I miss my days in London, and a whiff of good old Workshop Coffee brings back wonderful memories.       What I loved: generous scoops of coffee powder, expertly filtered through the water pressure pipes; be assured of painstaking efforts taken to brew and prepare each and every cuppa. I had the ‘Sweet Bloom’, which I presumed, from what I understood of the menu, was made of Aricha Natural, an Ethiopian blend expertly mixed in Colorado. The floral scent rendered me unable to stop sniffing at my aromatic cuppa while the enticing black liquid cooled – it didn’t help that the cup was uber pretty in sunny pop-art colours. The barista was right – even without sugar, the blend was amazingly, refreshingly sweet. And when it’s cold and cooled it had none of the rancid acidic ratchet aftertaste. Instead, it tasted even better when left to cool on its own. On the plus side (as if it needs any bonus points) one standard sized cup was loaded with enough caffeine to tackle your roughest mornings. I’m in love. THE NEW BLACK CONCEPT OUTLET ONE UPPER CIRCULAR ROAD SINGAPORE 058400 8:00 – 18:30 MONDAY – FRIDAY 8:30 – 16:30 SATURDAY CLOSED ON SUNDAY ☕ ——————————————————————— ☕ [2] COMMON MAN COFFEE ROASTERS Only recently discovered this amazing joint when colleagues decided on brunch. Common Man Veggie Wonderland is a darling at breakfast, at times when you need the fuel and are not in the mood for grease. They also make a mean flat white. But try to stop yourself from getting that third cuppa.    Processed with VSCOcam with n3 preset Coffee is never a bad idea. Common Man Coffee Roasters 22 Martin Road, #01-00, 239058 6836 4695  ☕ ——————————————————————– ☕ [3] Toby’s Estate Coffee A big name in the local scene. This place’s been here for awhile now and it’s reputation stays strong with its solid brunch menu. Loving the french toast with espresso bacon. I mean, who needs coffee when you’ve got espresso in your fatty fried meat? Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset   Also in a way the place’s really calm and warehousey in a de-constructed re-furbishment-in-progress manner. Whatever the ambience you may seek, Toby’s establishment is the right fit.    Toby’s Estate 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04, 238216 6636 7629 What are some of your favourites? xoxo, Viktoria Jean

10 SECRETS TO GOOD SKIN

Shh… I’m letting you guys in on what I do to keep my skin minimally flawed and young-looking.

I’m not without vices – my lifestyle certainly does a great deal of harm to my skin. Constant travelling, difficult climates, dry-air in airplane cabins, late nights, sleepless days, junk food and irregular meals, social drinking and partying – all these adds to the daunting task of damage-control, and to maintain my current skin conditions.As I get older I’ve come to realize the importance of a good skincare regime. Party season has come and gone. January and February is the time for healing and pampering the skin you’ve subjected to abuse. Over the years I’ve tried many products, methods, and these are the ones I’m gonna keep:

 

1. CLARISONIC for cleansing the skin.
If like me your work requires a high volume of makeup, the highly raved-about sonic skin-care cleansing brushes works wonders unplugging clogged pores. I got hooked onto using my Clarisonic MIA ever since I got mine from L.A. and now it’s a necessity in my day-to-day regime. I get my replacement brushes (you’ve got to change them once every 3-4 months) each time I hit the States, since it’s way cheaper in SEPHORA USA. I don’t use fancy cleansing foams: a respectable store-bought brand like Innisfree, The Face Shop or Laneige would suffice for me. The rotating motion of Clarisonic brushes gives me all the reassurance that my skin is being taken care of.

 

2. SHEET-TYPE FACE-MASKS
At least 3 times a week I engage the usual suspects who take really good care of my skin: 我的心機 (My Scheming Beauty), 我的美麗日記 (My Beauty Diary), Innisfree, Etude House, Laneige, ODBO, Acwell. In under 25 minutes I can get a variety of results depending on whether my skin feels especially dry and tight, or oily and clogged.

I get them from COSMED Taiwan, Watsons Hong Kong, and from the big brands themself in Seoul. Try not to purchase them from online stores as there’re tonnes of scams out there peddling the fakes. Yes! Even face-masks are fake these days.
On days when I do apply my face-masks, I see visible differences.

 

3. SERUM LAYERING
Like lots of people I face the dilemma of deciding which type of serum to use. Well, it never hurts to layer them. I use a good combination of 2 – 3 serums (without toners, because honestly I fail to see the use of toners) from a customised variety. I love Vichy’s Idéalia Life Serum, Laneige’s White Plus Renew Essence, Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum and Turnaround Concentrate, Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum, DHC Japan’s PQQ Up-Gel and Vitamin-C Serum, Bio-Essence Radiant Youth Essence etc. Just remember to leave a good 10-second gap between each application.

 

4. OVERNIGHTERS
I never let my skin go dry in the night. After the serum shots I plump up my skin with heavy creams, especially at night. I trust Vichy’s Idéalia Night Cream, Kiehl’s 24-hour Moisturiser, Bio-Essence V Face-Lifting Cream, and Laneige’s White Plus Renew Night Cream. In the day, I rely on just a thin layer of sun-block after the serum.

Confession: I have lazy days whereby I skip all the serum and face masks steps and go straight to sleeping masks. In those instances, Laneige’s Sleeping Mask and Vichy’s Night Detox masks come in really handy.

 

5. COLLAGEN BOOSTS
I’m a big fan of Meiji’s Amino Collagen, but I find it troublesome having to dissolve it for ingestion, and for travellers who don’t always have the luxury of luggage space, powdered collagen is a hassle. Kinohimitsu’s pack-of-6 BB Beauty Drink (Blended Bird’s Nest with Acerola Cherry) is a shot of collagen I take every few months. In between these courses, I try to take SATO’s Hakubi White C pills which are way easier to take around the world with me. Honestly, this seller at Qoo10 sells Kinohimitsu at a way cheaper price than I’ve actually seen in Japanese pharmacies.
A colleague once told me that collagen takes effect from the day you start taking them, so your skin is preserved from the time you begin to ingest collagen. Do yourself a favour and start early! You don’t have to take them everyday but once in a while, the stuff does wonders.

Confession: I dissolve my Meiji Collagen in coffee to replace my milk and creamers.

 

6. TEAS TEAS AND MORE TEAS
My favourite BB Detox Tea from Kusmi Tea is my go-to morning drink (in place of my regular cappucino) after every late-night party accompanied by drinking. Also on my list are Pukka’s Detox Tea from the UK, and Arifoğlu 9-in-1 (Arifoğlu Dokuzu Bir Yerde 9 in 1 Karışık Bitkisel Çay) from Turkey. It’s no secret: green tea, yerba mate, rosemary and thyme are great for your skin in the long run. They also give you plenty of hydration, minerals and anti-oxidants.

 

7. OMEGA-3 FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS
No way you can do without this. Unless you live in Norway and eat fish for breakfast lunch and dinner, all day everyday. I’ve only recently started to take them on a daily basis and discovered good small changes to how my T-Zones no longer secrete sebum so unwontedly and frequently.

Confession: I love smoked salmon, cooked salmon, fresh sashimi, raw salmon, steamed salmon and salmon with buttered, battered crusts. Basically anything salmon, but I suspect that has little to contribute to good skin in the long run if you’re always eating them pan-fried or oven-baked.
8. MULTIVITAMINS
This is another no-brainer. Without the essential vitamins your body simply cannot function. When the basic functions go into hibernation mode, your skin condition is compromised. So help yourself: take your daily multivitamins. I go for ALIVE! Women’s Multivitamins or Centrum.

 

I’m sure way more females have extensive skincare regimes and secrets. Do share and I hope these are little tips to pick up along the way. Your skin doesn’t get any younger. I don’t have the most perfect skin, but I try.

Viktoria Jean Li

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[PARIS] oo1.KUSMI DETOX TEA

Whilst walking along Champs-Elysées my colleagues introduced me to Kusmi Tea, a brand of tea producing Russian-style teas and tea blends with headquarters in Paris. All of Kusmi’s merchandises and beverages are beautifully packaged in pretty tins and boxes perfect for gifts or simply displaying in homes. Couldn’t help grabbing a couple tins of loose tea-leaves and a pretty lime-green mug with an inbuilt infuser (because teabags may contain plastics which in the long run, isn’t good for you!) Look how pretty everything came in! IMG_3876.JPG The bright yellow tin contains BB Detox Tea, a blend of green tea, rooibos, dandelion and sweet fragrant grapefruit. It says on the inset pamphlet that it can be enjoyed iced or hot at any time of day, as the amount of caffeine is very light. I tried it early in the morning and am totally in love with the fragrance. As a detox tea, it smells and tastes too good to be true. I’ve tried Skinny Mint for a short while (that’s a another story), but this one tastes so much better and is cheaper too! Of course Skinny Mint effects are much stronger. The orange tin, aptly named EUPHORIA, contains roasted maté, chocolate and orange, and as the name suggests, is a total orgasmic tea experience. Now I know what to reach for when I’m craving a huge dose of chocolates…oh who am I kidding a double dose of Euphoria and chocolates is gonna be da bomb! IMG_3872.JPG IMG_3873.JPG IMG_3875.JPG IMG_3874.JPG The tea mug is kinda heavy with the infuser and all, but trust me, the fragrance is insanely good. I used to think Lipton White Tea and Lipton’s Strawberry Cupcake Green Tea were the greatest tea inventions of all until I met Kusmi. TWG Teas are literally not my cup of tea, and I especially hate their jasmine teas… it leaves that acidic aftertaste on my tongue! Wishing I’d gotten more of Kusmi’s teas. While referring to their web earlier, many other blends sound so equally orgasmic: St Petersburg – Blend of black teas, bergamot, red fruit and caramel Anastasia – Blend of black tea, bergamot and orange blossom Prince Vladimir – Black tea, citrus, vanilla and spices and so many more flavours! Tea lovers, give this a shot! xoxo, Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

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If you’re heading to Chancery Lane Station, you will find this neat little café hideout on Leather Lane, a short 5-minute walk from the subway station towards Holborn Viaduct. Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is one of London’s most talked-about cafés on Yelp, TripAdvisor and many travel tip sites, and indeed the place serves up really good coffee.

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Somewhat comforted by their warm, textured brick walls and smooth black table tops, I was half expecting to see a burning fireplace behind the barista counter. Simply put, the place was just so welcoming! I could easily grab a quiet table at 1PM in the afternoon. There were many lone Londoners in the café, either furiously studying or jabbing away at their laptops with intent.

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Having just been to Waterstones, I had a few reads stored away in my bag for a peaceful afternoon. This is just the place to be! It isn’t too quiet as there were pleasant background chatters, but not loud enough to give me splitting headaches. I’m told that the place can get really noisy at its worst, especially in the evenings. Thankfully it was serene that afternoon. Best way to enjoy a cuppa smooth, and hipster-priced flat white!

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Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
14-16 Leather Lane
London
EC1N 7SU
Monday – Friday
07.00 – 18.00
Saturday & Sunday
10.00 – 17.00

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

1-Caramel Dessert Boutique

I miss hanging out here at 1-Caramel with my girls! On our usual cafe-hopping trips in Singapore, we go everywhere in search of the best cakes and coffee. This one at One Rochester Park served the best fluffy strawberry shortcake and Maltesers cheesecake, plus up here at Buona Vista, away from city centre’s hustle-bustle, we can chat away all afternoon with our coffees and cakes.

1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Cake 2

1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Cake

Affogato al caffè, the signature coffee with ice cream, my nemesis. Desserts and coffee in one; it’s too good to be true.
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Coffee Icecream

Sticky-date pudding with a killer dribble of caramel!!
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Sticky Date Pudding

This is how we spend our cafe-hopping afternoons.
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe

1 Rochester Park, #02-01
Singapore

The Coffee Club, Perth

Enjoying my morning cuppa at The Coffee Club in Western Australia! One of the best flat whites I’ve had in a while, to be honest. The spacious cafè with complimentary WiFi and an extended all-day breakfast and salads menu is to die for.

the coffee club

the coffee club

the coffee club

the coffee club perth

the coffee club menu

flat white the coffee club

flat white

the coffee club flat white

the coffee club menu perth

the coffee club perth

where will it meet you

With so many stores, so much food and coffee to choose from, this is definitely my next comfort cafè down south!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

226 Adelaide Terrace,
Perth WA 6000, Australia

The Cafè Braun, Mondsee

Hungry for apple strudels and a steaming mug of hot chocolate and coffee? The Cafè Braun was our mandatory pit-stop on a tour of landmarks from the 1965 film musical, Sound of Music!
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‘Twas a rainy mid-afternoon, and we ran from Mondsee Abbey (a quick 50m dash) into the welcoming embrace of Cafè Braun, where the aroma of vanilla syrup and freshly roasted coffee jolted our olfactory senses into working overtime.
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Couldn’t resist snapping shots of the interior!
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Within minutes of ordering, the prompt waitress had our strudel with vanilla sauce delivered. It was truly heavenly!!
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Ugly food pictures aside, the apple strudel tasted wayyyyy better than it looks. The flipping cold weather commanded the need for hot chocolates and wiener.
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This small-town cafè is everything you can ask for: the apple strudel is next to the best I’ve ever had (the first on my list being Corica’s Apple Strudel from Perth)! The beverages were simply divine and the interior cosy and welcoming.
Definitely one of those places you have to try, at least once in your lifetime.

Marktplatz 7
5310 Mondsee

London Lovin’: Wild & Coffee Company

Sniffing out the best brews on my London cafè-hunt, I stumbled upon Wild & Coffee Company along Oxford Street.  photo DSCN3977_zps2785a179.jpg

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Dying for a mid-day coffee fix, I was so glad to see that it’s been labelled ‘London’s best coffee’.
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Though small and subtle, the interior decor is amazingly cosy. A really awesome place to sit and read while sharing a bench-table with strangers.

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Every cup of coffee is freshly brewed by the baristas! (whom I couldn’t figure out were Spanish or Italian)
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After a short wait, I was served my coffee.
I almost shed tears of joy while gulping down this piping hot latte.
It was so good, I can’t begin to describe how good it is. I have no words.
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I loved their latte!!
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There’s a separate corner for more people to fill in, but it’s pretty dark and private. The room was so quiet I felt intrusive so I asked the barista for permission to snap these!
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Wild and Wood Coffee is mad famous for their cronuts and they’ve won a number of awards for both their coffee and cronuts, apparently.
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So, are they worthy of being in the running for ‘London’s best coffee’?
HELL YES!
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Before I left, the barista asked if I’d be here the next day and I said, sadly no.
Firstly I can’t remember the way.
Secondly I will be sniffing out cafès along Notting Hill in the ‘moro!

One New Oxford St.,
Greater London WC1A 1BA

5 Best Blogs on Cafès in London

This time tomorrow I will be in London, trolling SOHO’s awesome cafès. It’s time to share my favorite blogs when I’m seeking the best of UK’s brews!

The 5 Best Blogs on Cafès in London

Caffeine Mag
What it is: UK’s only consumer coffee magazine, available in independent coffee shops
What I love: Their dedication in seeking alternative to high-street coffee chains currently dominating the global coffee scene.

Coffee Hunter
What it is: A no-nonsense guide to cafès in mainly Shoreditch, SOHO and central London.
This guy definitely knows his stuff!
What I love: The writer, Peter Thomson, walks and talks and blogs coffee. He says things like “the flat white had pot marked bubbles and the crema had collapsed”. How can anyone not to trust this caffeine-ista?

Cozy Coffee Shops
What it is:  Review dedicated to artisan coffee and terrific independent coffee houses. Featured by the BBC in 2008, the page is still going strong after 7 years with über-regular updates.
What I love: The beautifully taken pictures and top-notch recommendations of indie cafès. When time permits, the duo (Mr and Mrs Cosy) also reviews cafès from Peru, Bolivia, etc.

London Thru Cafès
What it is: A blog andalso an app that maps the backbone of fabulous London coffee houses, with hundreds of great things to do nearby.
What I love: A comprehensive guide with crazy accessibility. The reviews pretty much names and covers all of UK’s popular and indie coffee chains.

London Coffee Blog
What it is: A quest to explore London’s ‘cute little independent coffee shops’. What I love: The personal touch that makes the reviews a tad closer to heart.

So if you’re a coffee-lover heading to London, discover these exciting cafès! It’s all about creating that perfect coffee moment, in the words of UK National Barista Champion, Simon Robertson: “However busy you are, in the time it takes you to finish that coffee your normal world is put on hold and you go somewhere else in your head. It’s about creating a moment, creating an experience.

PAUL, Maison De Qualite

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The best flight-less Saturday brunch…
with my favourite nurse!
The waffles were simply HEAVENLY.
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Thank you for the heart-to-heart.
Really needed and appreciated it.
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Kudos to the kind Caucasian lady who took the photograph for us
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And I’m home early for the weekend to bake my family a Rice Krispies batter treat! Dessert ought to be served at any time of day.

my beautiful reality

heartcafe
Ought to be asleep to be in good shape for flight

but I’m still running on caffeine!
Overdosed as usual.
What’s new.

Day out with my one of my favourite batchgirl Dia
and I’ve found my favourite coffee fix!
Affogato – espresso with vanilla icecream at 1-Caramel Dessert Boutique!
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Talking it out, making new plans
and shopping for books really cleared my head
I’m totally ready for everything that’s coming my way.
Really excited about cafe-hunting in Perth…in about 17 hours’!!
So it’s breakfast in Singapore,
lunch in Perth.
And the following day’s dinner back home in my sunny island.

Gonna be working hard towards becoming my own boss!
No matter how hard I have to work,
I’ll get there 🙂
If we strive towards claiming our rightful dream,
we can all create a beautiful reality.
Believe in yourself.

162. urban picnic

Introducing, the best things that happened to me in the University:enqikrisjoyceyz

Gardens by the Bay is really pretty!
Just less so in the hot sun and erratic weather, thus we consumed the picnic goodies beside the ticketing booth like a boss.
I need to go there again in the night with the lights up!

What we learnt that day: Kris makes really good pasta & egg mayo!
And I take really bad polaroids.

And then the urbanites retreated to the comfort of air-conditioning in town.

Life’s good (: