Hello Korean Food, Japchae.

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japchae-recipe

korean-food-japchae-recipe

I've decided to bring more Korean recipes to Barely There Beauty and the first in this new series is a totally yummy noodle dish. Japchae, 잡채, is a super delicious, noodle-y bowl of heaven that's often made for Korean celebrations and holidays but in our household, it's welcome all year round! Akin to a stir-fry but, in my opinion, much more delicious, try it as a casual light lunch or side dish (banchan).

Dangmyun, 당면, noodles are a Korean noodle made entirely of sweet potato starch and water. (yes that means they're gluten free!) They've got a satisfyingly chewy texture that you don't want to lose during cooking and are incredibly healthy and delicious.

A traditional Japchae recipe would include a spinach-like leaf and black wood ear mushrooms, and be topped with toasted Korean sesame seeds (quite different to the white seeds available in most Western supermarkets), howeverrrr, it's quite ok to adapt the recipe to what's available to you; you can add tenderstem broccoli stalks like I have, or finely sliced red pepper etc.

So without further ado, (and don't be put off by the ingredients list, it's worth it I promise!) here's what you'll need:

200g dangmyun noodles (available in most Asian supermarkets)
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 large carrot, in matchsticks
1/2 a courgette, in matchsticks
6 dried shitake mushrooms
5 tenderstem broccoli stalks
2 eggs
150g sirloin or fillet steak (sirloin has more flavour)
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tbsp soy sauce (adjust this to your taste)
1 tbsp sesame oil (adjust this also to your taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive/groundnut oil for frying the veg
1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish


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First thing you'll need to do is take a handful of your shitakes and resurrect them in some hot water for at least an hour. You can leave them in there whilst you do your mise en place (aka chopping everything up!) First slice up your steak into thin strips and marinade with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, a little pinch of the garlic and 1 tsp soy sauce (forget Kikkoman/Amoy, Sempio is the best!).

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The carrot and courgette need to end up in julienne or little matchsticks, finely slice the onion and spring onion, split the tenderstem stalks into quarters and mince up your garlic. When your mushrooms are nice and hydrated, they can be thinly sliced too.

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Pop your mushrooms into their own bowl and add 1 tsp of soy sauce and sesame oil, 1/2 tsp of sugar and a good shake of pepper. Use your hands (gloved if neccessary) to squidge the marinade into the mushrooms. In Korea this is called muchim; aka to mix/meld/marinate with seasonings/sauce/flavours.

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The next part seems somewhat laborious but if you want maximum yumminess, it's well worth it. Gently saute each bundle of veggies (including the mushrooms) separately until cooked but you're still left with a little bite. (The garlic and spring onion get mixed into the other veggies, they've gone into my mushrooms and carrots) Each different veg takes it's own length of time to cook so by doing them separately nothing is over or under done. While you're doing this, bring a pan of water to the boil and drop in your noodles for 8 minutes, making sure they don't gloop together. When you're all done, you should have a plate that looks like the above!

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Next into your pan go the eggs, mixed so the white and yolks are combined. Cook into a flat omelette until they're ever so slightly underdone, tip out onto a board, roll up like a big rug and slice into thin strips.

Tip your marinaded beef into the pan and cook to your liking, before popping alongside the egg. (For traditional japchae it's not pink!)

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Tip your noodles back into your frying pan, followed by all the veggies and the remaining soy and sesame oil. Get your gloves back on and mix the whole lot together with your hands, before adding in the rested beef, plus it's juices, and eggies. Give it a final mix, making sure all the ingredients get evenly dispersed through the noodles. Give it a taste and adjust your seasonings if you need to!




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Decant into quaint little bowls and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds if you're serving this as part of banchan or tip out onto a large serving platter for some informal sharing. Japchae is traditionally served warm or at room temperature but whether your preference is hot, cold, or somewhere in between, it's de-li-cious.


I'm thinking of making Korean food a bit of a series on Barely There Beauty as it's just so tasty and healthy, and something I know how to do, so give me your thoughts on this and look forward to more recipes!



Rodial Instaglam Tinted Moisturiser.

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rodial-tinted-moisturiser-review

Possibly my favourite element of makeup, and something I'm constantly on the hunt for, is a good base. And I want it all, a lightweight, natural, skin-perfecting, brightening, undetectable, sun-protecting, hydrating base. 

Rodial's tinted moisturiser is yet another I add to my collection and boy, it's a good'un. 

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Light and creamy, this non-greasy formula is pumped full of hyaluronic acid, coconut oil and silicones to hydrate and nourish your skin. 

Rodial claim a medium coverage but I frankly think this is either nonsense or I've got a dodgy tube because it's more like next-to-nothing. I'm not upset about that though, as a tinted moisturiser I didn't expect anything less and the sheer coverage leaves your skin looking exactly like skin, just that bit better, more hydrated and evened out; what more can I ask for?

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A great attribute is the sun protection. I aim to go with factor 50 on a daily basis (trust me it's worth it) but whilst I'm in between products, an SPF 30 that doesn't feel in the slightest heavy and doesn't leave any traces of white is more than sufficient.

Even though I've plumped with Shade 1 Capri, the lightest of the 4 shades, the sheer coverage blends out beautifully, ending up just giving me a more radiant look that I can warm up with my beloved Honey bronzer should I so wish. The packaging is simple but practical - a screw top tube that travels brilliantly. 



A fellow light base lover? Check out some of my favourites: 







Morning Beauty Regime.

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Skincare/makeup routines are one of my favourite posts to read. For all you us nosy parkers out there, it's beyond tempting to delve into someone else's beauty cabinet and find out what we're all wearing on our faces. Today, I add my current routine to that collection, enjoy!

It's still summer in my mind and I'm busy and/or lazy (they're not always mutually exclusive...) so I like to keep things pared down, glowy and natural looking. My morning skincare routine consists of a quick cleanse, protective serum and SPF. 




I'm not one who's enthusiastic enough to wash my face with water in the mornings so a swipe of Bioderma Hydrabio and I call it a day. If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll balance my skin with a toner (I'm currently loving Serozinc, especially as you can just spray it on), and maybe tidy up my flaky nail polish (!), but more often than not just skip straight to the serum. I'm loving Clinique's Smart Custom Repair serum at the moment, it's one of the best I've tried. Otherwise, I like to chop and change; the Jeffrey James serums are fantastic and full of antioxidants for the day ahead and I very much like the Skin79 Whitening serum too. 




SPF, SPF, SPF. I like to go as high as possible but a minimum of 25-30 keeps me happy. Soap & Glory's translucent BB is a nice, light SPF and feels weightless. RMK do another fab one with SPF 43 (odd, granted but they've rounded it off to 50 now) which I also love. Lately, I've been finishing off with Stila's gel highlighter on my cheeks and surrounding area; it's a primer and glow-ifier in one.


There are many light, undetectable bases around these days which fills me with no end of delight. On any given day, I choose an arbitrary tube from my collection and smooth over the skin for a little coverage but nothing high maintenance. (I'm loving the Ginvera BB, Estee Lauder's EE, Clarins Instant Light and Complexion Rescue at the moment!) These often also include higher SPF's and whilst there's no cumulative effect with sunscreens, it doesn't hurt! I still stand by my MAC Studiofix to conceal any blemishes. 


The rest of my makeup is ungodly simple. Stila's Liquid Luminizer is a subtle blush and highlight in one so I pop that onto my cheeks for a rosy glow. For my eyes, their Smudge Crayons are my one stop shop. A cream stick that sets to a stay-all-day finish, I adore the champagne Kitten shade and blend that onto my lids, before doing the usual mascara routine that I'm sure you're sick of hearing about!

And that's about it.. I carry a lipbalm in my handbag (I love the tubes by Les Couvent Des Minimes atm) so that will make it's way onto my lips. My routine is definitely short and sweet but I think it's down to whittling away the unnessacrys and investing in/relying on Good. Products.


Hope you enjoyed! 


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Blogging Perks! Rakuten Bonus Box

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blogging-perks-rakuten

As bloggers, we spend.. a lot to primp and pamper ourselves, and of course share the worthy products with our readers, so every now and then, it's nice to get a little treat back.

Rakuten, an affiliate network, run a Bonus Box program where they select a number of publishers to review a little package of products from their advertisers, and this quarter, I'm lucky enough to be one of them! (Thank you very much Rakuten!) Definitely relishing the treat, let's see what we've got.

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The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay.

Clay and charcoal are some of my best friends, especially since I fell in love with this Ancient Clay. This squidgy tube of pewter tar detoxifies your skin by drawing out the impurities, softening and smoothing. I smother this onto my skin that needs the most help (or just all over..) and leave for 10-15 minutes.  If I can frankly be bothered, I'll moisten it then wrap in cling to aid the benefits. But either way, wash it off and you'll reveal smoother, better skin, I love it! Especially for the incredibly inexpensive price point. It's great for KP too, my upper arms have never looked so smooth.

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Origins Clear Improvements Face Mask.

A good clay face mask is my new favourite thing. I'm in love with my Ancient Clay mask (you can check out my full review) and another charcoal-clay mask from Origins, a brand I love, can only be a good thing. Slap this dark sludge-y goodness all over your face and it gets to work at extracting all the impurities from your skin.

Darphin Ideal Resource Serum.

Darphin isn't a brand that I've played with much and in all honesty, a weeny sample isn't enough to proper test out a serum in my eyes! However from what I've seen so far, it's delicious. A lotttt of natural and active ingredients and it's feather light and easily absorbed. Tick tick tick so far. I've noticed it makes my skin lovely and luminous which is a major factor of any serum I invest in, I think it might be making it's way onto my lust list!

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Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover.

Waterproof mascara on the daily is a tough ask for any makeup remover and having made the switch to pure, organic oils to remove it, I never thought I'd now choose otherwise. Cliniqie's Take The Day Off is a 2 part makeup remover you shake up to emulsify and it takes off my mascara (and everything else!) like a breeze. This lovely little bottle has gone straight into my travel bag, it's the perfect size with a nice, tight lid.


This post contains PR samples.



The Smoothest Legs In Town.

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smooth-legs-veet-easy-wax

Smoothy-smooth, perfected legs never go out of fashion. My legs seem to be the last part of me, determined to stay dry (and pale), no matter what I do! But I've finally compiled my ultimate artillery for whipping them into smooth shape.


dry-body-brushing

Numero uno on my list is dry body brushing. Brushing your legs in long, upward motions tones up the skin, increases circulation and brushes away dead skin cells. Doing this everyday is the perfect foundation to good skin, on your legs and the rest of your body. Elemis do a great brush but it's a little too coarse for me, I picked my brush up at TKMaxx.


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For some extra help, I love to exfoliate my legs regularly with any of my favourite in-shower scrubs. Dead Sea Spa's Magik Salt Brushing scrubbies make for a really good scrub but my favourite is Soap & Glory's Breakfast Scrub is just.. beyond lovely. Primarily for the smell. Of maple syrup. I know. It's tempting to eat by the spoonful but it does a great job at exfoliating too. 

If I'm having a bath, I love to mix in a couple of scoops of my Ancient Clay Mask (you need to check this out, I adore the stuff); giving my legs a good soak in the clay-saturated water helps draw out all the toxins and makes them feel amazing. 


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Down to the bread and butter of my routine and smooth legs: hair removal. (Surely evolution should have dealt with this by now?!) I'm a huge fan of the Veet hair removal depilatory cream and the Venus & Olay razors but let's face it, the painful ones last longer. Much cheaper than waxing at the salon, Veet kindly sent me a a new toy in the form of their Easy Wax that's making a doddle of at-home waxing. It's really simple to use; pop in the wax cartridge and plug the whole device into the mains to let it heat up. The instructions are really clear, even for 1st time waxers, which I'm thankful for; hot wax and a clueless user seems a bit scary to me! I let mine heat up for 25 minutes but try rolling it on some paper after 20 to see if the wax is free flowing. 


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Onto the legs we go, and don't panic, it's not hot! Just pleasantly warming. Make sure you roll downwards on the leg and get one of the strips, provided in the kit, on asap. Rub down for a snug bond. Brace yourselves, (eek!) and rip! Upwards of course. Repeat all over and that's it! 

I won't lie, it hurts but a) put up with the pain and you'll be hair-free for weeks and b) it's got to be better than the combine harvester of tweezers (a goddamn epilator) I spent a fortune on and never use?! I've tried the pots of wax you microwave but they're so messy. The Easy Wax makes waxing an easy, almost pleasant experience that's mess and stress free, it's fab. There's no sticky spatula or trailing around hot wax and the roller applies the wax on in a nice, even layer. You can get a smaller attachment too for more delicate areas (bikini line and underarms). 

Once the hair is no more, it's down to the finishing touches. Oils are my favourite way to go and the Omega Body Oil by Mama Mio is a favourite. It's nice and absorbent but leaves that little sheen down the shins that I adore. 

Just to top it off, a little of Soap & Glory's Glow Lotion strategically placed down the centre of the leg gives a little extra glow and emphasises how delicious smooth they are!

So there we have it, the best-est, most smoothest legs in town. 




This post contains PR samples & may contain affiliate links.


What are your top tricks for smooth legs??









Birchbox, September 2015.

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birchbox-september-2015-review-unboxing

When a pretty, pink package arrived upon my doorstep, I knew exactly what it was and joyfully skipped to the table to rip it open with abandon. 

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Birchbox are celebrating their 5th birthday this September and I couldn't resist but be a part of it. In honour of their roots, all the products are from US brands. Here's what I got: 

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A cute little twist up stick that promises to replace blotting powders or papers, you can allegedly wear it before or after makeup. Tiny blotting spheres soak up excess oil for shine-free T-zones. This teeny tube will be perfect for on-the-go application, I'm hoping it delivers!

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Laura Mercier Face Polish 11.3g (full size £26)

I am well acquainted with this luxe exfoliator and for a physical scrub, is one of the best I've tried, although it's been a while! It's pretty self-explanatory, use as you would your average scrub and it leaves your skin smooth and revived.

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A detangling treatment that you can leave in or rinse out, this detangler is full of natural ingredients to make sure your strands are knot free and your scalp soothed. Since my hair has completely revolted, this'll be great to have in the artillery (and it smells like lemon icing).

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This lippie/cheek stick is a bright, rosy shade of pink. Heavily pigmented, you can sheer it out with your fingers. I can't say I'm too enthused about it but we'll see if I can make it work.

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Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds 30ml (full size £16.50)

This smells SO good. Like organic sherbet lemons. Body wash/bubble bath I'm sure it'll make my showering experience smell glorious. SLS as the second ingredient though... unimpressed!

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Effectively a small, egg-shaped Tangle Teezer that fits perfectly into a) your handbag and b) the palm of your hand, it's a good, mini detangler, which you can pick up in pink, green or blue. With no offensively large logos either, it's a great bonus sample. 

May I also just gives a little props up to Birchbox for the adorable packaking, it's so little and detailed!

There's all sorts going on over at Birchbox and if you're tempted to join in with the celebrations or get yourself a subscription, you can sign up for £12.95 a month, or play their birthday bonanza for a treat this September! 

What did you get in your box?!




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