Friday, September 4, 2015

The Danger of Ignorance


It’s way past midnight already, as I’m contemplating how to start this discussion. This blog is supposed to be the reflection of the sunny side of my life, picturesque places, beautiful clothes and delicious food. However, other bloggers who have raised the topic, have made me realise that this blog has also given me a voice that can reacher further than the discussions in the privacy of my 4 walls. So I’m using this voice to talk about the refugee crisis.

The reasons why I’m trying to be careful with my words are plentiful. The refugee crisis is a sensitive issue, causing emotions that range from sympathy to anger. I see my friends supporting refugees that camp in front of the Regional Office For Health And Social Affairs in Berlin to seek asylum with food, water and other necessities, while news outlets report on the latest attacks on refugee shelters. I wonder whether I’ve spent enough time researching the topic. Wonder if I’m informed enough to give an opinion. I have to admit, I even wonder if I’m ‘allowed’ to say “refugees welcome”, considering my Vietnamese heritage. Though, seeing constant news of hundreds of thousands fleeing war zones, during a time hate spreads rapidly on social media with people complaining refugees will overtake their countries, I couldn’t stay silent.

My personal story is not comparable to the current situation, but gives insight into the faces of a dangerous ignorance. Whenever I picked my sister up from nursery school, we would have to pass this pub on our way home. Each time, the pub-goers would stop us to call us names, would be asked to leave the country as our family was presumably exploiting Germany and living off taxpayers’ money. Never would they have considered that my parents might have been invited to Germany during the Cold War for a scholarship and training programme, that they are currently diligently paying their taxes. It’s these kinds of people that raise their voices now against refugees as well. Without any interest to attain informed knowledge about the situation, turning a blind eye to their individual stories, they flood social media with their anti-refugee-propaganda. They reject any association with xenophobia and disguise such behaviour as patriotism, while it’s clearly visible (thanks Social Media) that some don’t even have sufficient command of their own language (yes, German is indeed a difficult language, especially for some racist Germans themselves). The problem clearly lies in their ignorance.

We must all understand that these refugees are people like we are. They had families, jobs, a life. We are lucky not to be in this kind of situation ourselves, but that is the very reason why we have to show understanding and solidarity. In comparison to the amount of refugees fleeing, only a minimal amount actually make it to Germany or even the UK.

How we, as individuals, can help (based on Mia from the blog heylilahey’s post in German)
  • Be informed: Find the facts, ignore the propaganda.
  • Speak up: Show your solidarity on social channels, share, tweet blog, giving no space to discrimination.
  • Get active: Inform yourself about ways you can help. This obviously depends on different criteria, such as what is currently needed, your location, etc. Be careful about donating products as this could cause administrative costs and the need for certain products changes frequently.

Useful and interesting links:


Please join the discussion and feel free to leave informational links or tips on how to help!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf

Crossrail Place Roof Garden | Canary Wharf, London (north of HSBC and Bank of Merril Lynch)

One of the things I found surprising in London is the lack of greenery in the City. I was so used to the tree-lined streets all around Berlin that I didn't even think it was any special. Luckily, there seem to be more and more green spaces opening in the City, giving Londoners the option to escape the busy city life for a few moments. A few months ago the tropical roof garden opened above the new Crossrail building in Canary Wharf. In comparison to Sky Garden, it's open to the public without the need to book so you can easily pop by anytime you want and offers different art and cultural events as well. Though, Emma and I visited simply for the picturesque scenery framed by the open roof structure. Sitting on one of the benches, taking in the sights of all the different plants and trees, the whole place stands in such brilliant contrast to the glass and steel towers of Canary Wharf. Definitely worth visiting, when you are in the area.

Photos of me kindly taken by Emma (

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: The Beauty Department by H&M

"In The Red" High Impact Eye Colour in  H&M Beauty (other colours here)
"Leading Lady" Gossamer Lip Stain H&M Beauty (here)

I'm so weak when it comes to nice packaging... When I first saw the images for H&M's new beauty line to launch this this autumn 2015 (here), I knew I HAD to try some of the products. So Emma and I stopped by H&M's flagship store in Oxford Street, before our afternoon tea at Yauatcha the other day. I went up the escalator full of excitement, not sure what to expect. And there it was, on the top floor, H&M's new beauty department! The new make up line is truly gorgeous and slick thanks to the minimal black, white and gold packaging, really living up to their concept 'fashion for the face'. After browsing around for ages, I decided to go for the Impact Eye Colour eyeshadow in "In The Red" (£3.99) as well as the Gossamer Lip Stain in "Leading Lady" (£6.99).

Even though, I already own way too many lip products, I really wanted to try the Gossamer Lip Stain as it really reminded me of my favourite YSL glossy stains. I picked up "Leading Lady", a medium-dark red with a strong pink undertone. I was so surprised how quickly the gel-like formula wears off, leaving a substantial stain. The swatch on my hand was so hard to take off! Though, since it's not glossy as the YSL ones, make sure to exfoliate your lips properly beforehand. My lips were a little dry when I first tested it and the stain looked a little patchy because of that. But I really like how light it feels and the colour is perfect for autumn.

Though, the purchase I'm most excited about is the eyeshadow! Normally, you'll only find plum or burgundy shades on the high street, so I was thrilled to finally get my hands on a bright red! I love the dramatic yet mysterious look a hint of red can give you. Though, in the beginning, I was a little disappointed it wasn't matte, but the gold shimmer is quite subtle and I actually like it. I use "In The Red" on a light base in beige by adding it towards the end of the eye slightly above the crease and to 1/3 of the lower lash line. It's so incredibly pigmented that I have to be really careful with the application. Afterwards, I use a brown gel eyeliner instead of a black one to soften the look. What do you think?

I have to say, I'm really excited about H&M's Beauty Department. I mean price and quality seem to be the same as other high street brands, so it's nice to get an additional option. Plus, I really like what I've tested so far, so I will definitely try out some more products in the future! You can find H&M's new beauty range in selected stores wordwide or online here.