27 September, 2014

lush: full of grace serum

lush full of grace serum skincare

Lets get back on track with a beauty related post, shall we?

Marketed for dry, sensitive skin, I wasn't sure how Lush's Full of Grace serum bar ($19.90) was going to work on my extremely oily skin. It's not a product I would have purchased for myself — I received this as a prize for winning one of Lush's Facebook competitions (thank you Lush Newmarket!) It's a strange looking serum, in solid form rather than liquid, and it didn't come in any particularly durable packaging either. In order to take it with me to Japan, I cleaned out an empty jar and cut the serum into smaller chunks. With the Japanese summer being over 30°C everyday, I certainly didn't want it to melt all over my luggage during transit. (Let's just ignore the fact that I've been in Japan for almost 2 months now...)

The serum is formulated with murumuru and cupuacu butter; calming ingredients such as calamine and rose infusion/oil; almond oil; and portobello mushrooms for its antioxidant properties. Despite being a solid bar, Full of Grace is easy enough to use: simply warm between your palms and gently massage the oil onto your face. I personally only find this method doable during autumn and spring (or places with moderate tempatures regardless). In the Japanese summer heat, the serum melts into a soft cream-like texture, and I apply it like I would a moisturiser — scoop up a bit and melt between the palms, then pat onto my skin. It also takes a little more effort during winter because the bar stays solid. In that case, I apply the bar directly onto my face before patting the product in with my hands. Because the application is heavier with this method, I would only recommend it for those with dry skin, or during the colder months.

Unlike some other oils, I don't find Full of Grace to be overly greasy even on my skin type. I am, however, a regular facial oil user so my preferences may be a little different. Due to its oil components, I tend to use this as a night time moisturiser, or under a sheet mask to help the essence absorb better (it is a serum after all). I haven't used the product frequently enough to see any noticeable differences in my skin, but it definitely provides just the right amount of moisture. I usually reach for this when I have break outs as I know it won't aggravate my skin any further.

Despite being a serum aimed at dry skin, I think anyone can benefit from using Lush's Full of Grace. From rosacea to acne prone skin, dry to oily; it's a great all rounder for all skin types. I've already purchased their Angels on Bare Skin cleanser recently upon Caroline Hiron's recommendation, will report back later on how that goes...

22 September, 2014

JET: connected to the world again...

I finally have internet! It's taken a long time (just like everything else in Japan — opening a bank account, buying a cellphone, sorting out rubbish...) but I am now finally connected to the rest of the world on my laptop rather than on my phone with a mere 7GB data limit.

It's been 3 week since my last update, and while a lot hasn't happened yet, I feel like a lot has happened. I lived in Japan 3 years ago for 5 months during a one semester university exchange programme, so not all things are a complete surprise to me. However, while there are certain aspects that I got used to very quickly (food, living arrangements, biking everywhere), work life has been the hardest to adjust to. Unlike before on a student visa, I am now a government employee. Being a teacher is so drastically different to my previous job in a call centre for an insurance company... it's going to take a while to fully feel comfortable in these indoor shoes of mine. (See what I did there?) 

Everyone who participates in the JET Programme ends up in a different situation — since we are placed in different prefectures, hired by different organisations, teach a wide range of school levels, encounter different people... and so on and so forth. For the record, here's my situation, in a nutshell:
  • My placement is probably between rural and semi-rural — Yuasa-cho is a small town of around 12,000 people, surrounded by mountains; rice fields; and mikan fields. 
  • I teach exclusively at elementary and I'm the ALT (assistant language teacher) for 3 different schools.
  • My biggest school has 400+ students, while my smallest school has 32 students.
  • At my 2 smaller schools I teach grades 1-6, and at my biggest school I only teach grades 5 & 6.
  • Despite my job title being the "ALT", I plan all of my classes, and conduct them on my own. Team teaching doesn't happen often in my situation.
  • I'm not allowed to drive during work hours, so I bike everywhere — depending on the school I am going to, it can take me between 10-30 minutes. And yes, I have to bike in the rain.
  • I live in a one-room mansion, which seems to be rather uncommon for a semi-rural placement. Most JETs I know live in a tatami style room with a separate living space, and a bigger kitchen/bathroom.
  • I encounter bugs more than I would like to (cockroach count so far: 12. That's more than I've see in my whole life in NZ... I also believe that insects in Japan are on steroids — they are massive and cockroaches can fly). And I don't even live in the mountainous area...
  • My BoE (Board of Education) furnished my apartment for me with the main essential items. I only had to purchase items that I deemed essential, but not my BoE (hair dryer, blender, etc).
  • Although my town is relatively small and I'm about an hour away from Wakayama city, it only takes me around 2 hours to get to Osaka. It may not be cheap, but placement wise I am very happy! 
And that's it really (so far)! I'm really hoping to get back into blogging on a regular basis — and now that I have internet, there's no excuse not to blog.

(Feel free to pester me if I don't!)