Thursday, 29 September 2016

15 Random Facts About Me

Hello! ♡
Since I'm still a pretty new blogger, I figured it'd be a good idea to let my readers get to know me better by sharing 15 completely random facts about me. Hopefully, you will find this interesting! Without any further ado, let's just get to it ^^


  1. My hair isn't completely wavy but it's not completely straight either. It can be pretty annoying, especially since sometimes it can look like I haven't brushed my hair, but it can also look quite cute if done right ^^.
  2. My absolutely favourite food is mochi. I just love it. The texture, the flavour, how it looks... I'm eating it as I write this blog post!
  3. I have no idea how tall I am. Every time I get measured at the hospital, I get a different result. Once 1.68m, a month later 1.66m... am I shrinking?! For now, I just assume I'm 1.66m, because it's the result from my most recent measurement. 
  4. My birthday is on October 3rd. So... it's in a few days! Sadly this year it falls on a Monday and I also have a Chemistry quiz then...
  5. I have dark blonde hair and hazel eyes. At least, I think they're hazel, but I'm not 100% sure about my eye colour.
  6. My favorite types of tea are: green, peppermint, lemon balm and black with milk. There are a few types of tea I'd love to try, such as lavender. I drink quite a lot of tea!
  7. I'm hopeless at sports such as netball and football. I don't like football, but I don't mind netball, despite being terrible at it. In general, I'm not good at team sports.
  8. However, I enjoy cycling, ice-skating, roller-skating, swimming and badminton. 
  9. Anything over 21 degrees celsius is hot to me... I like pleasantly warm weather, though.
  10.  My favourite months are: December (because it's winter, and the holiday season is magical), January (it tends to be the month with the most snow), October (because of my birthday and the fact that it's also the month that autumn gets into full swing), April (because of the stunning blossoms and pleasant weather) and July, because it's still early in the Summer holidays and it's the time when I can do lots of my favourite summertime things for the first time that year. 
  11. I love bubble tea. My favourite combination is strawberry green tea with any boba flavour, or sometimes tapioca. Sometimes, I pair it with macarons when I really want to treat myself ^^.
  12. I can be quite clumsy and forgetful.
  13. I first discovered J-Fashion when I was 10, and started to get into it more at the age of 13.
  14. My first J-Drama was Mischievious Kiss: Love in Tokyo. I watched both seasons twice and it's one of my favourite dramas. I recently watched 1 Litre of Tears... I cried A LOT when I watched it and it's a very touching drama. I watched Hana Yori Dango too, and really enjoyed it.
  15. I don't really watch anime- I watched a few before, but I prefer dramas. I enjoyed watching Ao Haru Ride however. The first anime I ever watched was Tokyo Mew Mew.
That's it! I hope you found those interesting, and that my terrible sense of humour didn't discourage you! Finally, question time! What are some interesting facts about yourself? You don't have to write 15, of course. Do you have any J-Drama recommendations? Let me know in the comments and...
 Have a lovely day!
 ~LilacBlossom

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Autumn Beauty Essentials

Hello! ♡
Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox- the air has gotten crisper, temperatures have dropped and the leaves have started to change. The end of Summer can be a very bittersweet moment- but I'm really looking forward to the new season and whatever it will bring! Along with a change of the season comes the opportunity to change up your beauty routine and try out some different products, so in this post I present to you some of the beauty items I have ready for the upcoming Autumn season!

Also, on a side note- Lilac's Journal has been around for two months now! I'm really grateful for the people I met so far through blogging and I look forward to what the future holds. As for post frequency- I will post at least once a week, unless certain circumstances do not allow me to, in which case I'll inform you through Instagram.

Without any further ado, let's just get to the beauty products I'll be using the most during Autumn! Hopefully, you can use this post as inspiration for your own Autumn essentials.

Note: I am not sponsored or endorsed by any of the companies mentioned below

Red Lipstick
Red lipstick is a bold and brave choice, but it also does have a place in sweet and innocent make-up! I rarely use red lipstick, but Autumn is a great time to do so as it beautifully complements the fiery reds of the autumn leaves. The one I use was an impulse purchase; it's the Miss Sporty perfect colour lipstick in shade 059, High red. Since I'm not an avid user of red lipstick, this certainly does the job for me- the pigment is nice and smooth, very vivid and lasts a while. So, for Autumn, choose a red lipstick that you like! Personally, I think that a red lipstick with some orange undertones is perfect for this season.


Nude and brown lipsticks
Nude and brown lipsticks are easy to work into a cute and innocent look and they also beautifully complement the array of colours created by the leaves! For nude lipsticks, go for brown-ish nudes, and for brown lipsticks- I'd say stick to softer browns for a soft and sweet look. I use a nude lipstick by Catrice- Ultimate Colour lipstick in shade 240 (Hey Nude...) and it works very well! It's affordable and I'm very happy with it, plus the shade is ideal for a sweet Autumn look.

Nude eyeshadow palette
An eyeshadow palette with shades of soft and darker brown along with cream, gold and nude shades is perfect for Autumn! Why? They're very fitting to the season! The browns and golds match the leaves whereas the cream and nude shades add a beautiful touch. Autumn is just ideal for an eye make-up look of nudes and browns! Of course, this also looks great in a soft and sweet look, especially with the use of softer browns and creams. Though using gold and darker shades of brown can also definitely work! I use the Lovely nude make-up kit. At first, I was quite skeptical because of the affordable price, but once I tried it I ended up loving it! I like the shades, they're nicely pigmented and lasting. It can be used to create a wide array of looks- from soft and natural to more dramatic.

Brown eyeliner
I never really paid attention to any eyeliner colours apart from black and white, but I decided to give brown eyeliner a shot and impulsively purchased the Wibo automatic liner in shade 11 at the drugstore. Brown is a great eyeliner colour not just for autumn, but for all the seasons- as it's more natural than black while still creating a beautiful effect. Personally, I think that brown eyeliner looks amazing with an eyeshadow look of soft browns and nudes with a touch of gold, and is a very versatile eyeliner colour! So, don't overlook brown eyeliner- give it a try, you might end up loving it!

So, this concludes my post for this year's autumn essentials! I hope this will serve as inspiration for you and that you will use them in your autumn make-up routine.
My questions to you! What are your beauty essentials for this autumn? Is there anything in this post you'd like to try? Feel free to let me know in the comments!
 Have a lovely day!
 ~LilacBlossom

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Easy Dango Recipe

Hello! ♡
I promised a recipe, so here we are! Why is it a dango recipe? Well, this is to do with a Japanese tradition called Tsukimi- let me tell you a little bit about it. "Tsuki" means moon, and "mi" means to see. So, the word Tsukimi means moon viewing. This takes place when the Harvest Moon appears (in September or October) and is very popular in Japan- often, festivals are held to honour the beauty of the moon! It is said that at this time of year, the moon is at its brightest and most beautiful. Tsukimi customs include displaying Pampas grass, which is at its tallest during Autumn, or a variety of autumn flowers in a vase. So, what has dango got to do with it? Tsukimi dango is a traditional food commonly enjoyed during Tsukimi! Its appearance also resembles the moon in a way. This type of dango is eaten plain, and is not served skewered- it is arranged on a tray in a shape similar to a pyramid! They are often also put on an altar, representing an offering to the moon.

This year, the Harvest Moon will appear this Friday- 16th of September. Since Tsukimi falls in September or October, the evenings are quite pleasant- ideal for admiring the moon's beauty! Now is the perfect time to post a recipe for Tsukimi dango, so you too can enjoy it. It's a very easy recipe, with delicious results, so... let's begin!

Ingredients

  • 100g mochiko or shiratamako*
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons of sugar**
  • 60ml water***
* Mochiko and shiratamako are types of Japanese glutinous rice flour, used for making mochi. They can be found online and at many Asian grocery stores.
** This amount is a suggestion- feel free to adjust to taste! Please note that honey will not work as a substitute for sugar in making dango.
*** This is the approximate amount of water used, but it will probably vary as water is added gradually in the recipe.

Method
  1. In a large bowl, combine mochiko/shiratamako with sugar. 
  2. Add a teaspoon of water, and begin mixing.
  3. Add another teaspoon of water, and mix.
  4. Continue adding water gradually, and mix until the mixture has a consistency of an ear lobe. This is used to describe the perfect texture of dango dough! Make sure there isn't too much water, as the dango dough won't keep the ball shape well, or not enough water, as the mixture will crumble, making it very difficult to shape.
  5. Use the dough to pick up any loose pieces in the bowl until you have a large ball of dough.
  6. Roll out the dough in a log and cut it into similarly-sized small pieces- around 10.
  7. Roll each piece into a ball.
  8. Boil some water over the stove in a pot, then add the balls in. 
  9. When they start to float, boil them for another minute or so.
  10. Carefully put the dango into a bowl of cold water.
  11. Now, take them out and arrange them! Enjoy!
Making dango is very easy, so I hope that you can try out this recipe! I adore the texture of dango, making it one of my favourite foods. Before I close off, here are my questions to you: have you ever tried dango? If so, do you like it? What's your favourite type? If you haven't tried it, would you like to? Let me know in the comments!

 Have a lovely day!
 ~LilacBlossom

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Autumn Bucket List Ideas

Hello! ♡
We're now a week into September, and while the weather remains very summery, soon enough the leaves will begin to change and it will get cooler. Autumn is just around the corner, and I decided to try something I've never done before- writing a list of things I'd like to do this season, creating a bucket list. Bucket lists are great for curing boredom and also for finally getting round to something you've always wanted to try, so in this post I will share with you some of the things that are on my Autumn bucket list, so that perhaps you too can create your own! If you decide to create an Autumn bucket list, now is a great time to start, while it's still Summery.

  1. Make an Autumn-y hot drink: Since my nearest Starbucks is a two-hour drive away, getting hold of one of Autumn's most iconic drinks isn't really easy. So, one of the things on my Autumn bucket list is to make a hot drink with an Autumn-y flavour- most likely I will use a base of coffee, and when I do, I'll publish a recipe here! I also plan to use spices with flavours that I associate with autumn, so I can sip the drink on a cold evening ^^
  2. Make a leaf pile: Autumn is the season when the leaves turn beautiful shades of fiery reds, yellows and oranges and fall from the tress, creating a leafy blanket on the ground. Making a pile from the leaves is a lot of fun and creates a pretty result, plus if you want, you can make it even more fun by jumping into it! I assure you that doing this with family or friends will create lovely memories.
    Source: Wikimedia Commons
  3. Take a morning/evening walk: I'm generally not a fan of walks in the summer, as it's too hot. However, during the autumn, mornings and evenings are crisp and cool, creating a very refreshing atmosphere! Whether you go alone or with someone, autumn walks can be very pleasant- as along the way you are likely to pass the gorgeous trees and breathe in lots of crisp autumn air!
  4. Go apple picking: I've never done this before, but it's something I really want to try. Near my house there are a few apple trees, so when they're ripe and ready I'll try apple picking! There's nothing like spending some time outside trying some delicious, fresh apples picked right off the tree by you! 
    Source: Wikimedia Commons
  5. Go to a trampoline park: There's a trampoline park in my city, and I've wanted to go for a while, but I haven't quite had the confidence to do so. One of the things I want to do this season is get out of my comfort zone for once and have fun at the trampoline park! If there's a trampoline park near you, it's a great way to relieve the stress of the new school year and also an excellent way to warm up, as it's chilly outside!
  6. Visit a Muffin Cafe: In my city, there is a fairly new Muffin Cafe and I've wanted to visit for a while. If there is a nice cafe near you that you've always wanted to visit, Autumn is a great time! It's lovely to sit in a warm, cosy cafe while it's cold outside. A nice, hot drink is a great way to warm up!
  7. Make something with pumpkin: Ahh, pumpkin. One of the iconic tastes of autumn. It can be used in many things- from soup, to pie, to cake, even to drinks! Try making something using pumpkin- even if you're only helping, it's great to taste something that you made! A hot and hearty pumpkin soup is perfect on a chilly afternoon.
    Source: Wikimedia Commons
  8. Read a book: Since it's cold, autumn is perfect for staying inside and reading a book. This season, I'd like to find a book that interests me and read it. So- find a book that you like, be it fiction or non-fiction, and read it! A lovely way to spend all those cold evenings.
  9. Visit a park: Autumn means colourful trees, and parks mean trees. So, visiting a park, especially if it's one you've never visited before, is a great idea! You will have the opportunity to witness and admire the beauty of autumn, surrounded by the fiery colours. If it's not freezing cold, it's also nice to just sit on a bench and read, chat or think. Parks are also great for photos!
  10. A DIY project to be proud of: Since autumn is so good for staying inside, it's perfect for trying a DIY project that you'll be proud of! Dedicate your free time on that chilly afternoon to sewing yourself a skirt, or knitting a hat, or perhaps making some jewelry with polymer clay. You will learn and improve some skills and will also have something for yourself that will be unique! 
Finally, my questions to you- do you have an Autumn bucket list? Do you plan to make one? If so, is there anything on it that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!
 Have a lovely day!
 ~LilacBlossom

Friday, 2 September 2016

Types of Wagashi- Part 2

Hello! ♡
You can find part 1 by clicking here ^^
We got to 500 views! Yay, thank you! I know the blog is still very small and just 500 views after a month might not be very impressive, but I hope to expand it and spread cuteness around the world ^^
I promised before that I'd post about more types of wagashi, and after ordering another supply of mochiko (Japanese glutinous rice flour) I felt inspired to do so now.
In case you haven't seen the first post and don't know what wagashi is- in short, wagashi is used to refer to traditional Japanese confections such as mochi.
So, without any further ado, let's jump straight to some more types of wagashi!
Oh, and- there's a recipe coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned ^^

Namagashi
I really love this one, because it just looks too pretty to eat! Namagashi is a term used to refer to the sweets used for Japanese tea ceremony. Their main ingredients are flour, eggs and beans. They might contain anko paste, agar or fruit jellies. Namagashi are freshly made, and they are designed to portray motifs that reflect the four seasons- for instance sakura in April, or chrysanthemum in October. Namagashi are small and, as previously mentioned, very, very beautiful, and quite expensive. Namagashi also contain more moisture than other wagashi.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANamagashi.jpg


Taiyaki
Taiyaki is a very well-known type of wagashi... it is a snack shaped like a fish, made of a batter that is similar to pancake batter. The most common and traditional filling is anko paste, though there have been different adaptations with other fillings, such as chocolate, custard or even sausage! Taiyaki is said to have originated in Tokyo during the Meiji era. Now, it is easy to find in Japan- from festivals to supermarkets! It is best eaten fresh off the grill, while still hot and crispy.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATaiyaki.jpg

Manju
Manju are popular in Japan, and there are many different types! It can be easily found and is also quite cheap, accounting for its popularity. Plus, it sounds pretty delicious! Manju is a bun that can be steamed or baked, with a filling of anko paste. It is derived from a type of mochi that has existed in China for a while. The main ingredients of manju usually are flour, rice powder and buckwheat. Some varieties of manju include matcha manju, where the outside has a green colour and a green tea flavour, and mizu manju. Mizu means water in Japanese- mizu manju has an outside with a translucent appearance, as it's made with kuzu starch. There are also varieties with different filling flavours, as well as regional manju characteristic for that region.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Imo_manju.jpg


Monaka
Finally, monaka! Monaka are two wafers made from mochi with a filling of azuki bean jam. Other fillings include jam made with sesame seeds or chestnuts. There are even varieties with a filling of ice-cream! The shape of the wafers can vary. It might be a basic square or triangle shape, or a shape reflecting the seasons, such as chrysanthemum or cherry blossom. Monaka can be quite simple, or intricate, with elaborately shaped wafers.
Source: Wikimedia Commons,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACarp_Monaka_(3195475).jpg
Now, my questions to you are- have you tried any of these? If so, which ones and did you like them? If not, which ones would you like to try? Let me know by leaving a comment!
 Have a lovely day!
~LilacBlossom