Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Maid Cafe @ Home Cafe in Akiba

It's one of those things that you've all heard about, you find it intriguing and you definitely have to give it a try in Japan. It's a market that's unheard of, uncommon or even non existent in Australia. Where would you go to have girls dressed up as maids and serve you like a master? Or mistress in our case. You go to Japan. You go to a maid cafe.

It's not a strange, weird fetish that I have. If anyone is going to dress up like a maid, it's me. But it's something we just had to try. With Akihabara being known for their electronics, anime and otakus, no doubt the district is littered with Maid Cafes. We had a couple of  recommendations from friends; Maid Dreamin and @Home Cafe. We ended up choosing @Home Cafe in Don Quijote because we wanted to do a bit of shopping at Don Qui after.

By the time we got there, we were soaked through to our skin due to the pouring rain and we were very glad to be inside and somewhat dry. It was an interesting first experience. We were seated at counters and the menu was explained to us by a very cute blond maid in piggy tails and a high pitched anime voice. With our meals, we also had a choice of three games with a maid, a little souvenir to take home or pictures with a maid of our choice at the end. We decided of all that was offered, we wanted to be able to take home some cute pictures of our experience.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

RounGe Nail Salon

Nails, nails, nails. Everywhere you look, you'll see stylish, beautiful and very cool nails on Japanese women. It's something that they're famous for and gel nails were something I had to get done again in Japan! I did my research before choosing which nail salon I wanted to go in Tokyo and based on their fantastic website, I chose RounGe Nail Salon in Shibuya. It was actually right across from FREEVE where we had our hair done!

  Photo credits to RounGe

Friday, 24 May 2013


One thing I planned to do early on in Japan was to get my hair done. Under the recommendation of my friend Taka, we went to FREEVE in Shibuya. Down the road from Shibuya 109, it was a red and white themed salon with large glass windows and very stylish seats. Turns out this was also the salon my friend Ryoko had been recommending me to go to. Check out their Facebook page here.

Picture credit to FREEVE - http://www.freeve.jp/

Picture credit to FREEVE - http://www.freeve.jp/

As our Japanese isn't as strong as it used to be, both my best friend and I were slightly nervous about how to convey what we wanted but we found that the staff were very accommodating and polite and tried their best to communicate with us despite the language barrier.


I definitely recommend bringing a picture in to the salon (whether you choose FREEVE or another) if your grasp of the Japanese language isn't strong. This will help your stylist (or creator as they call it) better understand what it is you're after.

The staff at FREEVE definitely made sure we were comfortable. They brought us tea and snacks as we waited for perm and colour and even went out of their way to bring me a specific magazine that I mentioned I really like. It's small things like that that make me feel like a valued client.

Freeve creator Hiroki in the background

There's a promotion for first time clients that you'll find is consistent throughout most salons in Japan and you may be pleasantly surprised like we were when you pay. We paid roughly 10,000 yen each for a wash, blowdry, cut, perm/colour and treatment. I don't know what it's like in other countries but for someone from Perth, that's a great deal! You do have to be prepared to pay in cash, though, so make sure you bring enough.

The end result of the colour. Hair is also styled by Hiroki-san.

We were both happy with our new styles, the prices we paid and the customer service. It was definitely a great way to start the trip!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Day One in Shibuya

I arrived in Japan on a Saturday night and made it to my hotel without too much mishap. Arriving close to midnight meant that we were exhausted by the time we checked in and put our luggage away but we managed to drag ourselves out to the local 7-Eleven and stocked up on some Japanese goodies. By the time we finally dropped into bed, it was close to 1am but still, we made plans to wake up early to go shopping at Shibuya 109.

Onigiri - cheap, healthy and tasty! We had it for breakfast almost everyday!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Big Giveaway from Japan - Closed

I've picked a handful of goodies from Japan for this giveaway. Everything here is a personal favourite. There are three sets of prizes and three winners to be picked for this giveaway! 

This prize includes a lot of snacks from Japan and also a cute box filled with cookies from the Maid Cafe in Akihabara!

Runner up prize - winner drawn on the 12th July 2013 - Val

This prize includes the following:

I'm really into natural looking false lashes lately and these lashes are incredibly natural looking, soft and easy to apply. 5 pairs will also last you a while!

I swear by Dolly Wink and Candy Doll products. You can't go wrong with this neutral brown colour palette. It's the best selling Dolly Wink eyeshadow palette! It's so popular that Tsubasa made two other variations - 02 Pink brown and 03 Smoky brown.

Cotton Pad Dispenser
I am in love with this dispenser! It's a cute addition to any bathroom and I think it's a must have for every girl!

Pure Smile mask - Chocolate
I fell in love with these Pure Smile masks during this Japan trip. They have a variety of flavours and I kinda went crazy and bought almost every single one! 

BVLGARI Jasmin Noir L'essence Eau de Parfum 1.5ml
Bvlgari's new sensual and uniquely intimate jasmine perfume. You can slip this little bottle into your wallet and carry it around with you, hassle free! Perfect for date night.

EMODA make up bag
And last but not least for the runner up prize is this is useful make up bag by EMODA for when you're travelling! There's a stand up mirror, slots for your brushes, a handy pouch for eyeliners and mascaras, and a big zip up pouch for powders and eyeshadows and really whatever else you want to put in there!

Grand prize - winner drawn on the 12th August 2013 - Lady Myx

Within this prize includes:

This totally cool bag can fit so much in it. It's handy for day wear and easily transitions into an overnight stay bag if you need it to.

JILL STUART Floral Hand Cream
I am in love with the scent of this hand cream. I also bought the perfume which carries the same scent and it is divine, subtle and sweet! Did I mention that I'm a HUGE Jill Stuart fan? Their princess-like packaging is irresistible! I'll also be including a Jill Stuart day care essence sample!

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
Hands down one of the best eye lash curlers out there! Do a search on Google if you don't believe me!

Love Liner - Eyeliner and Mascara (black)
This is the most raved about eyeliner in all the Gyaru magazines. You can achieve amazingly sharp lines and it doesn't smudge easily!

These lashes are natural with a little kick. Great for parties. Diamond lashes are soft and easy to apply. 5 pairs will last you a while.

Hello Kitty Lip Treatment
Who doesn't love Hello Kitty? The flavour is juicy apple and it contains SPF10+. Personally, it was the cute packaging that I fell in love with!

Pure smile mask - Chocolate
This mask which was included in the runner up prize is also included in the grand prize. How exciting!

PINKY GIRLS Sweater with the latest Pinky Girls Catalogue
I love Pinky Girls! I went crazy the last time I went to Japan at Pinky Girls in Shibuya 109 and I did it again this time. Their cute feminine sweaters and coats are to die for! This coral cardigan is soft and smooth and looks great on for a casual day out or even to wear to work.

This giveaway is open internationally and here is how you can enter:

  1. For eligibility of entry you must be a public follower of my blog
  2. Put the above giveaway banner in your blog sidebar
  3. Leave a comment on this post with your GFC username and blog URL

To gain additional entries:

  1. Like the Marinda Leigh Facebook page and Share the giveaway photo. Please include your Facebook name in your comment (+1 entry)
  2. Follow the Marinda Leigh Instagram and Repost the giveaway photo in your Instagram and tag @MarindaleighML. Please include your Instagram username in your comment (+1 entry)
  3. Follow the Marinda Leigh Tumblr page and Repost the giveaway photo on your Tumblr page. Please include your Tumblr username in your comment. (+1 entry)

    Winners will be drawn via the random number generator!

    GOOD LUCK!!!

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    Monday, 6 May 2013

    Shopping in Malaysia

    As I only had a one day stopover in KL, I had to make the most of my time there. My favourite place in KL is Pavilion, hands down. Pavilion is a shopping centre that houses all the big international luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Versace, just to name a few. They also carry one of my favourite stores; Forever 21.

    I love Forever 21! The prices are affordable, the quality is pretty good and they follow all the latest trends and styles. We don't have Forever 21 in Australia so I went all out here!

    I really like Tokyo street in Pavilion. They have food, drinks and these little novelty stores. It definitely has a Japanese feel to it which I really like. 

    Across the road from Pavilion is Starhill Gallery. I love Starhill Gallery but I didn't have time to visit it this time round. They have a lot luxury brand stores such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and the like. The Japanese buffet at Jogoya is a definite must try if you're ever in the area!

    Beautiful cup fountain outside Pavilion.

    A couple of streets down from Pavilion is H&M which just opened last year in September. The multi-level H&M shop was packed! It was a Friday night after all. On the way home, we stopped by Zara and that completed our super productive shopping trip in Bukit Bintang, KL.

    Our shopping from Day 1!

    Over the years, I've learned many valuable lessons and have gained so much experience in regards to shopping. You have to pay a little bit more money for quality clothes that will last a long way but at the same time, you don't have to spend extravagant amounts. I was ecstatic with all my purchases and everything was on average $30 (AUD). They were good quality items and great styles at an affordable price! I love and always recommend to everyone Forever 21, H&M and Zara (in that order).

    A quick snap of the beautiful KL Twin towers from the car.

    Despite having a long day of shopping right after checking into our hotel, we had arranged for some friends in KL to take us out to see the nightlife. We went to a club called Velvet where our friends had booked a table and we had shot after shot, lots of champagne and a night of dancing! It was a fantastic beginning to our holiday!

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    Thursday, 2 May 2013

    The delights of Room Service and Relaxation

    My short stays in Malaysia were filled with food, relaxing and pretty much slothing around. I rarely ventured out of my hotel in search of food; and really, why would I? The food that room service provided was of great quality and it was brought straight to my door. The lazy in me was overjoyed. Not only that, but given the exchange rate from Australian dollar to Malaysian ringgit, it seemed ridiculously cheap!

    All of this combined with the delicious food set out so nicely in front of me in our studio apartment, how could I not be in the best of moods?

    On the one occassion I dredged up the motivation to venture out of my hotel, I ran across the road of Park Hotel to a local restaurant. The maggi goreng (fried noodles) and kang kong was so cheap and mouth wateringly delicious, I imediately regretted not ordering another serve. To this day, I still reminisce of that flavour on my tongue.