VN Street Foods

294 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204

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WEBSITE


Situated along Illawarra Road’s line of ethnic restaurants, you’ll find an almost hawker-like style setting serving authentic Vietnamese food and drink specialties. Now who doesn’t love authentic Asian cuisines? I’m a sucker for it and VN Street Foods had definitely met my expectations.

Came to VN Street Foods for an early dinner, the restaurant would generally open around 10:30am until 9-10pm, 7 days a week! It is not far from Marrickville station, which I recommend taking as supposed to parking along the busy street. As most local, food businesses in Australia, you can either dine in or order as a take-away. But I recommend coming in and sitting either inside or outside, eating the scrumptious Vietnamese street foods. We had no reservation made and I’m not sure if they do take reservations. That evening however, which was on a weekday, we were able to quickly grab a small-wooden table. The inside was already filled with people, not surprisingly as the inside was quite small. The cashier counter was decorated like a Vietnamese food stall, there was also a small number of imageries of the culture hanging on the walls.

What shocked me with the menu was how ridiculously cheap the dishes were! The portions were not those insanely small plate-sized ones, but your average for-one-sized plates. It made it so much easier for me to add two more sides to try out, alongside our main dishes. Dishes were categorised under rice paper rolls, sides, rice vermicelli, rice dishes and pho. I ventured out a little on the visit, ordering myself the steam sticky rice with stewed pork belly with egg. I might have ventured out a little out of my comfort box, as the stewed pork belly was tasty but the texture was almost ‘mushy’, that it felt odd. Every other dish we ordered were not doused with too much sauce and oils, all very clean tasting. I loved the bright colours, presentation and overall taste. Service was prompt and came out in a timely manner.

Not too far off from Sydney’s west, I recommend traveling a little to try authentic Vietnamese food in the heart of Marrickville. The prices are insanely affordable with no negative affect on the quality and service. A casual atmosphere, which you can enjoy dinning in throughout the day until the late night. Due to its size, it may be better to bring in a small to mid-sized group.

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29.4 – 5.5

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”

– C. G. Jung


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29/4 Just for fun and a little experiment, I’ll be trying to eat under 1000 calories everyday, for up to 3 months. Of course I won’t be eating trash, but I project this diet experiment to keep me mindful of the types of food and drinks I’ll be consuming. Foods that will sustain me longer, won’t flare up my gut issues and remind me to keep me drinking water more. The good thing about this, is that I’m at home more so I can weigh up what I’m eating and I’m not as enticed to buy high calorie foods. Wish me luck!

1/5 The first day of a new month! What a super cold start, the cold even woke me up before my alarm. Did the laundry of our white clothes and I’ll be doing the coloured ones tomorrow. What I’m truly happy for today is… it is a day off from Chloe Ting’s 2-weeks Shred Challenge. My body can finally rest. I love how the programs she uploads are free to use and how amazingly challenging the sets are. I have never felt better physically and when I do it in the morning, the endorphins provides me with a massive kick for the day. I’ve been doing it with E, got him to try it and he’s loving it too! I feel after working out, I tend to be more mindful in what I consume, you know so your efforts in working out are not wasted. Also E told me he had missed typed me and now I am an… INFP (FiSi).

2/5 Stopped watching Haikyu after watching a few episodes. I know this anime is super popular, but I feel like some bits were repetitive or lacking that special sparkle to keep me watching. I’ll continue it a bit later, I think what I am looking for is something unique  in the characters, plot and drawing style.

4/5 Got a cute little bluetooth speaker from JAM and also got it in white, to match it with all my other tech devices. My body and mind felt a bit exhausted today, so I treated myself to an early afternoon bath, shower and indulged a little during lunch. Now I’m streaming a Filipino film called ‘Eerie’ whilst I’m working. You see, I’m a very jumpy and easily frightened person. Horror movies are my weakness, I seriously have nightmares for weeks. I remember watching ‘The Ring’, the American version and it has ever since scarred me.

5/5 I should probably lay off the moscato for the next few nights, it has been making me feel sleepy the next morning. Like I would wake up an hour later and get hit by the sleep bug a few hours of waking up. Not good to my productivity level and plans throughout the day, it pushes everything else planned for the week or I sometimes have to cut things off in the week. Time is valuable, something I realised only within the past few years. Time is something you’ll never get back.

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Miss Margarita

2 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481

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WEBSITE


A popular Mexican restaurant, opened back in 2012 alongside some other lively eateries on the famous Jonson street, Byron Bay. Unfortunately you cannot make a reservation at Miss Margarita, so you either have to come in early or be willing to wait in line.

There are street parking in front of the establishment and in front of the beach, which is only a few minutes walk down. Miss Margs serves popular and fun Mexican dishes, from fajitas, tacos, nachos, burritos and so much more across lunch and dinner. The quality was simple, yet exciting to the palette when we came in during dinner time. There’s so much to choose from and I don’t think you can go wrong with ordering, as the dishes, drinks and atmosphere of the place mixed fabulously. Prices were mid to high end range, which is understandable as the area they are in, is populated with both local and non-locals.

Service was prompt and the waitstaffs were quick on their feet, very friendly too. It does get loud, so talking whilst dinning is a bit of an effort. However, the music establishes the fun atmosphere of Miss Margs. The interior has bits and pieces of Mexican art and colours that brings vibrancy to the restaurant. The layout is quite tight, with the majority of tables set indoors. The wide-open windows however, extends the tight space to make it seem larger than it is. I liked how this was designed, it made the cramp space more breathable and look a bit rustic.

I wouldn’t recommend the place for a quiet, romantic dinner plan. The ambience is casual, hip and would be a great place to dine in before the night starts! Miss Margs has an extensive drinks menu too, from cocktails, margaritas, cold beers and some wines. You’re also so close to the beach, which you can definitely feel the breeze come in, making the dinning experience even more special. Miss Margs is a local favourite and one of the restaurants in the town you cannot skip!

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Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream

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IUNIK

The beta glucan daily moisture cream is from a Korean skincare brand, iUNIK, that emphasises simplicity in its design and ingredients. For 60ml and I purchased this cream for $22.95, it had lasted me for over 4 months!

The top two listed ingredients are water and butylene glycol. I’m surprised beta glucan is not the first listed ingredient, however it is along the first line. I’m also not sure the amount of each ingredient is, as there are not percentages written. Butylene glycol is an humectant, used to retain skin moisture and is said to be effective in moisturising the skin. The ingredient is also compatible with non-water-soluble products, as the ingredient helps dissolve other ingredients resulting in easier application. I’ll also highlight the beta glucan ingredient, which is used to soothe irritated skin as well as plump and firm the skin.

There’s a very slight scent and I found the consistency to be non-sticky, easily applied and water-based. The cream did not cause any irritation on my sensitive skin and I saw instant moisturising benefits. During colder days, I felt like the cream was not thick enough even after layering a lot more for the day. On drier days, the cream felt made my oiler throughout the day, so the best time for me to use it, was on days when I was just at home.

I probably won’t buy it again, as it did make my skin oiler. However, I loved the light-weight feel of the cream, making it a great everyday use. Price point was amazing too, because you get a long usage out of it and was super gentle on the skin.

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22.4 – 28.4

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”

– Bell Hooks


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22/4 Played Overcooked last night and I am obsessed! How cute is that game, makes me want a Switch even more. I just imagined how hilarious it would have been to someone who just walked past the room haha. I highly recommend the party game!

25/4 Using this weekend as my personal time-off from the everyday. Catch up on lost sleep, breathing in more deeply, just focusing on myself. I cleaned out the closet yesterday and was able to let go a few items. I also went through some of my beauty products, ones that I don’t use or will not see myself using at all. I tend to hoard in both areas, something I have to keep mindful of.

26/4 I’ve been cleaning our room this past two days, I find it easier to clean the mess around me than the mess in my mind. I wish however I was able to organise the mess in my head, maybe I would have ended up somewhere better? The weather turned gloomy today, after a streak of perfect warm weather. I’m planning to write more regularly, to keep my readers engaged and hopefully entice some new visitors! But I’m not only trying to write more, I am also trying to write better. An area I seriously lack in skill in, but one that is very important in everyday life. I did my nails the other day, after I landed a really cute type of blue. I decided to on one hand to paint it all blue and paint a black dash on each nail. On the other hand, I did french blue nails and also added a dash of black to each one. Not super perfect, but cute enough to wear. I should get creative during this time of isolation, buy more colours and learn some nail art! Yesterday, I bought a nail brush set and I can’t wait to play with them. Still thinking whether I should buy a UV nail dryer, but might skip it as I do not use gel nail polishes.

27/4 Got a few storage supplies again hehe. I need to calm down though with buying these containers. I should wait until I move out. Surprisingly, I thought I would like this whole isolation thing. You know, just staying at home and having more time to myself. But I find myself wanting to go out as much as possible. Just out in the open air for a few hours, rather than staying indoors for the whole day. It feels so prison-like.

28/4 I am feeling sleepy again, the snooze bug visits me often around noon. No coffee, sugar and food can keep me awake. It’s either I do this period in a dream state or I give in and nap. The next few days is going to be jam-packed with online seminars, which will affect the other tasks I had wanted to complete for this week.

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Commune

36 Polaris, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

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WEBSITE


A cafe and bar, which has also taken up the trend as a community space. Commune is located in a quieter area of the bustling Poblacion, where the result of creative minds is seen through trendy cafes, restaurants and bars. You won’t miss the place, its in a corner of a street and covered in white with wide square windows. Parking looked like it was only available along the street, I recommend walking if you live close by or getting dropped off. You can also either choose to sit upstairs or in the main area.

Came to Commune for dinner, on a Saturday evening and I was surprised to see people with their laptops out in their groups, working. Music was moderately loud, so I couldn’t hear much around me. However, the music did set a young vibe to the cafe and not surprisingly more young to mid-aged people. The inside was decorated with books, a huge blackboard set against a mix of high and low wooden tables and a concrete ceiling. The place was urban, with the counter set in the middle so people can easily walk around and fit more people. The ambience is casual from individuals from all walks of life.

I saw more people ordering coffee, rather than alcoholic beverages that evening. I came without a reservation and was quickly shown to an available table. Open everyday of the week, you can be served breakfast all day, have your coffee fix, brunch and be served a steamy rice bowl. The owner is Rosario Juan, who had envisioned a cafe that not only served great coffee, but to gather people in one place to meet and host events. Commune’s menu is quite extensive, with a wide selection catering for both meat lovers and vegetarians. I was not feeling coffee adventurous that night, but their coffee menu had a wide selection of brew methods, espresso and iced types. Items are moderately priced, where their most expensive panini will set you back at 395 php, cheapest rice bowl at 250 php and their cappuccino (226 grams) is at 120 php.

Ordered that evening an iced camomile tea, spam fries, pork longganisa pasta and a sandwich (forgotten which one I had ordered). The spam fries were seriously addictive, its such a Filipino staple and loved how they included this! The pork lonnganisa was lovely, however they could have added more meat which was seriously lacking. Nothing really special with the items we ordered, but it was filling and comforting. Waitstaffs will come up and take your order from the table or you can make your order from the counter if it’s a take-away. Food came out timely and portion size was perfect for one person.

The mix of Filipino and western items in this cafe, is sure to cover both local and international customers. The wide, clear windows is sure to bring in an abundance of sunlight which makes the place a great cafe to work and meet in. The food were simple tasting, but I can see works well with the coffee and alcoholic beverages. I probably won’t come here for dinner, but will stop by for breakfast or brunch.

Sorry to the lady with the pink face mask… did I look suspicious haha

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Estate 88 – Premium Coffee

5/171 Power street, Glendenning 2761 NSW

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WEBSITE


Estate 88 is a coffee bean supplier, that sources 100% Arabica beans. Estate 88 aims to ensure high quality coffee is served to its customers, where its Single Origin is targeted for black coffee lovers and their Signature Blend is catered for milk coffee lovers.

Estate 88 is set up within a creative lounge space in the west of Sydney, Glendenning. They claim it to be the ‘first specialty coffee lounge in Western Sydney’. A bold statement that is well deserved, as the choice of placement could not have been better. The cafe is set up gorgeously mixed with concrete, washes of clean white and straight lines. The space is further filled with handmade timber furniture which are softened with the comfiest cushions. The added greenery adds to the softness and natural aesthetic of the creative space.

We ordered two iced black coffees to start the day ahead. I did not have any beans I wanted necessarily, just a strong iced black. The barista delivered, the espresso was extremely dark yet smooth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember the coffee to having slight hints of fruity fragrance adding to its richness. Although dark, it was not overbearingly bitter. The Nutella-filled donut and chocolate croissant, I felt came short to my taste buds. All were moderately priced and I probably won’t be ordering these two pastries in the future again. There was not a great selection when we came in.

Although the space was small, it felt comfortable. Sitting in a well-thought-out space in arms distance to a passionate cafe, I can see Estate 88 becoming a cafe staple in locals’ coffee books. A little treat for interstate and international travellers alike.

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15.4 – 21.4

“This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche


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15/4 I am a massive Airbnb fan, the flexibility you have to roam as you please when staying at an actual home, is one of the best inventions I reckon. Now they have online experiences, which is super cool! I saw briefly how they are also helping frontlines, like waiving some kind of fee when they book through Airbnb. It is very awesome to see how businesses are helping people through the pandemic. how individuals and businesses act during a time like this, it really shows.

16/4 Out of whack today, got a bit side-tracked early this morning. I had a dream where I was in bed and was facing the wall. I looked up and saw a shadow of a spider, sort of spidering down and the crawling back up. Then I think  I woke up and again registered this spider shadow… I freaked out. You see I keep our blinds up at night and I think the spider might have been outside on our window. So I jumped up and switched on our lights and then turned out desk light to face the window, to find the spider, but alas it disappeared! Now I’m not sure whether I was still dreaming when I saw the shadow, or it was actually real. This was at 3am. So I didn’t go back to sleep straight away, because of the adrenaline rush and just ended up reading some articles. Now I’m playing catch up!

17/4 Good morning. Woke up at 5am today and stayed in bed until about 5:45am. I’m out of ginger tea. Still feel a bit tired, might have not have gotten a good nights sleep.

19/4 Another day feeling super fatigued out and not wanted to do anything, but eat and watch some shows. This weekend has been the worst, everything I had planned to do to get a head start on, had to be pushed back. I think I have an idea why and I just have to listen to my body and relax. I finished season one of Beastars and it isn’t bad at all, I’ll make a review of it when I can.

20/4 The pictures in this post are all images of me being at home. I just woke up after a 3-4 hour nap after being awake until 9am. I couldn’t force myself to stay awake, if my mind is super tired. Nothing much today, might just clean the room, car and squeeze in laundry.

21/4 Been binge watching an anime called Haikyuu for a few nights. I have this massive anime list I still need to finish, I tend to watch a few episodes and then start a new one. So since this happens, it takes a while for me to finish one which further delays my review of it. Starting an assignment early, only because I know this 2000 word report requires time for me to gather the information, understand it and then apply it across the report. Plus, I should start early so I won’t stress later. I have a habit to start 2 or 1 week before a due date, which ultimately shows on my final grade. If I want to get ahead and do well, I’ve got to use this time at home productively.

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Sweet Lip Duo – Tulip

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BLK COSMETICS

The sweet lip duo in tulip does two things, works as a lip scrub and provides tinted balm for your lips. This dual functional lip package, is cruelty free and claims to be long wearing. The price point is at 379 pesos at the moment and is 7.1 grams, made to be easily packed with your other beauty products! The packaging is very girly, with pink sakura and flower motifs, against blocks of white, green and shades of pink. The case that holds the balm and scrub is convenient, it reminds me of those cute cases used back in the 90s. It fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and circle in shape. You just need to snap the case open, to reveal the scrub in the bottom layer, snap it close again and then snap the top layer to reveal the balm and small mirror. The packaging does not feel luxe, but you can tell it was well thought of.

I won’t list out the ingredients, but rather highlight the first two listed ingredients for each component of the lip duo. The balm has mineral oil and polyisobutene, where mineral oil is commonly found in lotions, baby lotions and other personal care products. Mineral oil is lightweight and helps reduce loss of water from the skin, helping the skin to retain its moisture. Whereas, polyisobutene is a non-skin-penetrating ingredient that helps a product in enhancing its texture. In terms of the scrub, it has castor seed oil and sucrose as its first two ingredients. Castor seed oil is commonly found in scrubs, as it helps condition and sooth chapped lips. With the added sucrose ingredient, the scrub is able to decongest flaky lips, as the smalls grains provide a natural exfoliant.

For me, I find this duo perfect for everyday use because of its easy use. The scrub is non-abrasive, non-sticky and although the scent smells like old-perfume, it does its job. The balm is lightweight and the tulip was perfect for an everyday wear, it matched perfectly with my lip colour. There’s a light sheen to it, so you can definitely layer the balm with a clear or tinted gloss. The tinted balm is buildable and although it is not highly moisturising, it keeps my lips protected for 1-2 hours.

Would I get it again… yes, it would also make a great gift for both girls and women alike. A great everyday product, which is major! It won’t break your bank and it’s such an easily applied product, it makes a great edition to one’s beauty lip collection.

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Bondi Booty Bands

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BONDI BOOTY

Since we’re all at home and have all these restrictions in place, makes visiting a gym impossible. That shouldn’t stop you from working out though! To add the challenge and resistance to my glute workouts, I needed a range of strengths.

I actually came across this set from an influencer, who had highly recommended this product. From inside the small black bag, came 4 types of resistance bands, all in different colours. The lightest is the 25kg, then the 40kg, 60kg and lastly which I find difficult to use is the 75kg.  All the bands came in their own plastic cover and I find the black bag to be super useful, you can just pack your bands and in it and go! In the purchase, I was also given free access to Bondi Booty’s ‘Bondi Building Bible’, which contains recipes and exercises. The bands are 100% made out of pure latex, which helps the band not slip.

The tension of the bands are perfect for me, because it provides the challenge I am looking for. You can really feel the difference in tension between the bands, so the fact that they are so noticeably different, you are able to build your strength with this set. I’m between the medium and heavy at the moment, where medium is used for high rep workouts and the heavy band is used when I’m doing low reps. The bands are not extremely stretchy, so I find it great to use for glute workouts, thighs and maybe for some top exercises. Not being too stretchy is actually awesome, as you can really feel the intensity of the resistance. I’m not sure with the measurements, but if you lean on the thicker side, the circumference of these bands might be too narrow for you.

I’ve been using these bands religiously and I don’t think I need a new set anytime soon. The resistance strengths between the bands are spread out perfectly for me, I can’t get past the heavy band! The quality is great, no tears and the width helps it not scrunch up when being used. I find the width perfect for me, because it helps provide the resistance to target the glutes. I would definitely buy this again and maybe gift it to someone who does not have a booty band set yet. The price was insanely affordable for such a quality product.

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