What Are Your Nighttime Rituals?

I used to be bad at nighttime. Every night would go something like this: eat dinner much too late, watch 45 episodes of something mildly terrifying, stare at my phone until the neon glow would render my vision blurry, then finally — surprise! — have trouble falling asleep. Gone are those days. (Thank goodness.) Now, with help from Kiehl’s, my routine looks like this…


After years of accidentally slumbering with my makeup on (and waking to discover that my mascara had migrated), I’ve finally learned that “wash your face before bed” does not necessarily mean in the three minutes before you fall asleep. Washing your face can take place at any point in the evening hours. (This may sound self-evident, but for me, this was a game changer.) So now, I’ll wash my face as soon as I get home, while I have the energy to do it well.

Kiehls Ginger Hibiscus Overnight Firming Mask

It’s amazing how relaxed the rest of the night feels with that step out of the way. It also makes time for a treatment. Recently, I’ve been using Kiehl’s Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Overnight Mask.

Caroline Donofrio

Unlike rinse-off masks — where you look like this for 10 minutes, take a scary selfie and then wash it off — this overnight mask immediately sinks into your skin, disappearing from sight. (I am actually wearing it in this photo, as I look wistful.)

Kiehls Ginger Hibiscus Overnight Firming Mask

Right away, the mask has a firming, plumping effect on skin. The texture is similar to a moisturizer; it leaves no residue and won’t rub off on your pillow. It continues working overnight, so your skin feels smooth and soft in the morning.

Kiehl’s suggests using it five nights per week, which makes it an ideal weeknight ritual. After only one week of regular use, I noticed a pronounced difference in my skin’s texture — particularly the lessening of my grumpiest forehead wrinkle.

Caroline Donofrio

While the mask is doing its thing, I’ll use this time to relax and unwind. I banish my phone to the living room where its glow cannot beckon. Then, I’ll read a book. Other times, I’ll practice yoga nidra, a super relaxing style of meditation that takes you to a state between sleep and waking.

Caroline Donofrio

…and other times, like last night for example, I’ll watch “The Real Housewives of New York City.” It’s all about balance.

Caroline Donofrio and Mia

Here is a gratuitous dog photo. Just because.

Kiehls Ginger Hibiscus Overnight Firming Mask

It feels so nice to take a moment for yourself, and waking up to glowy skin is a definite bonus. I highly recommend this mask.

Do you have a nighttime routine? Have you indulged in any special self-care rituals? We’d love to hear…

(Photos by Heather Moore for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Kiehl’s, a brand we’ve loved for years. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Cup of Jo running.)

The Table Cafe Southwark Street London SE1

Restaurant Review: The Table Cafe. Homeboy and I enjoyed a delicious weekend brunch at The Table Cafe on Sunday. We liked it so much we went back on Monday for breakfast! If you’re looking for best weekend brunch in Southwark, places to eat breakfast in SE1 or cafes near the Tate Modern, you should check it out.

“Relaxed weekend brunch spot with delicious cooked breakfasts, pancakes and waffles. It’s perfect for anyone visiting the Tate Modern and wants an independent eatery rather than a chain,” Homegirl London

This independent restaurant has evolved as the Bankside area around it has revitalised. They promise customers simple food with flair. Shaun Alpine-Crabtree is the chef and co-owner who established the cafe with architectural practice Allies and Morrison. With fresh herbs and veg purchased from an allotment under the Shard and strong relationships with British food suppliers, you have all the ingredients for tasty food.

Vegan Cooked Breakfast

We tried a couple of dishes from the weekend brunch menu on Sunday. These were the vegan breakfast called the Green Goddess including avocado, sourdough toast, veggie baked beans, spinach, roast tomatoes, herby mushrooms and sweet potato wedges. The Veggie Borough was our other choice with fried eggs, halloumi, spinach, veggie baked beans, roast tomatoes, mushrooms and sourdough. These were delicious and very filling. Meat eaters can go for The Borough Full English with streaky bacon plus pork and leek sausages.

Vegetarian Cooked Breakfast

They have a selection of hollandaise sauce egg dishes. Choose from Eggs Benedict with bacon, Eggs Royale with salmon or Eggs Fallow with avocado and halloumi. The bagel stack featuring ham hock and chorizo with baked beans and poached eggs was also treated to a helping of hollandaise sauce. If you’re in the mood for burgers they have several beef creations available.

Eggs Fallow

The brunch pancakes and waffles were very tempting, but we had absolutely no room left to squeeze these in. You can order waffles or pancakes with savoury breakfast items. Or a sweeter alternative like blueberries with berry sauce, cream and maple syrup. The vegan pancakes included the Pumpkin Patch and Malibu Beach sounded amazing.  That’s why we went back on Monday morning, to get a pancake fix! We sampled lovely fluffy pancakes with little pots of berries, double cream, chocolate sauce and syrup … yummy.


To give you the idea of price points big breakfasts are £11-13, breakfast bruschetta £9.5, brunch burgers are £10-14, pancakes and waffles are £8-9. You can treat yourself to a side of chips (triple cooked, cheesy or gravy) for £2.5-3. Drinks include house sodas for £2.50.

The Table Cafe Interiors

Restaurant Interior

The restaurant is glass fronted so you get a great view overlooking Southwark Street. The interior is contemporary and relaxed with wooden floors and wooden furniture. There is more seating towards the back / side of the restaurant which would be a lovely place to sit on a sunny day (I hope that’s soon!). With an open kitchen, you get to see the chef and team preparing your food. This is a great place to get together with your lover, friends or family.

The Table Cafe Information

Restaurant Exterior

To find out more about this independent restaurant go to The Table Cafe Website. The address is 83 Southwark Street, London SE1 0HX. The nearest stations are Southwark (Jubilee Line), Borough (Northern Line), Waterloo East (Southeastern Trains). It’s behind the back of the Tate Modern. Current opening times listed are Monday to Wednesday 7.30am-10.30pm, Thursday and Friday 7.30am-11.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 8.30am-4.30pm.

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for visiting with me.

The Table Cafe Southwark Street London SE1

  • The Table Cafe Southwark Street London SE1
  • SE1 0HX

The Table Cafe Southwark Street London SE1 was last modified: April 12th, 2018 by Homegirl London

iMovie gets some attention with an iPhone X-ready update

After a few months without updates, Apple has shown some attention to the mobile version of its free iMovie video editor with a new update. It’s now fully compatible with the iPhone X’s Super Retina Display (and that notch), and according to the notes, finally takes advantage of the Metal API for direct access to your iPhone GPU. Unfortunately, judging by a few early reports, that doesn’t seem to do much for video rendering time, but maybe there are benefits that just haven’t been uncovered yet.

GTA IV will lose some of its in-game music over licensing issues

The last time this happened, Rockstar didn’t tell players, who unknowingly downloaded a patch that deleted a Michael Jackson song. This time, at least, players will be in the know. There are currently nearly 30 songs, mostly Russian pop, on Vladivostok FM. They add some flavor to sections of the game when you’re driving or at the Bahama Mamas Club in Episodes From Liberty City.

Rockstar didn’t say whether it would delete all the songs or just some of them. The music is supposed to be cut on April 26th, according to Kotaku’s sources, but there is a silver lining. “We are replacing some of those songs with a new set of songs on that station,” said Rockstar. “We will update our customer support website with new information as soon as it is available.”

Xiaomi Blackshark shines in two new promo images

Just minutes before its launch, the Xiaomi Blackshark appeared in two promo images on Twitter, showing more of its design. It will come with a tall screen and minuscule side bezels, while the back will have an edgy design reminiscent of gaming laptops.

The first picture shows the tall display of the front that early AnTuTu benchmarks suggested will have Full HD+ resolution. The phone is positioned next to the Xiaomi Gaming Laptop debuted in the end of March alongside the Mi Mix 2s.

The second image is pretty straightforward – it says Blackshark gaming phone and reveals the dual cam setup, coupled with LED flash. There is also the funky design solution with green elements, giving us a slight Razer vibe. It is also in line with the first live image of the device from earlier this week.

Xiaomi Black Shark shines in two new promo images

The Xiaomi Blackshark appeared on Geekbench with Snapdragon 845 and 8 GB RAM while running Android Oreo. The rest of the specs should be unveiled shortly – stay tuned to our homepage.


Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) gets Wi-Fi certification

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) has received a certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, which suggests it will be released really soon.

The model number of the Galaxy A6+ (2018) is SM-A605FN/DS, signifying there will be a dual-SIM version, as we already know.

A day ago the phone was spotted in a HTML5 test, which revealed it will have a tall-aspect Infinity Display.

We already have a good idea what specs the Galaxy A6+ (2018) and A6 (2018) will carry. The non-plus model will have a 5.6-inch 18:9 2220x1080px display, and an Exynos 7870 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage.

The Galaxy A6+ (2018) adds a few inches for a 6-inch diagonal of the same resolution, it gains 4GB of RAM and likely a Snapdragon 625 chipset.

When the two arrive it’s rumored they’ll be sold in Europe, Russia and the Middle East.


Razer Phone review, 4 months later: Gamers’ delight

Mobile games have never looked or sounded so good.

You have to commend Razer for going against the industry trends and making some really bold design choices for its first smartphone, the Razer Phone. Okay, I guess you don’t have to commend them — but I will.

Razer calls the Razer Phone the “smartphone for gamers” and also “the ultimate smartphone for mobile entertainment”. And I know that those are marketing buzzwords but damn if it hasn’t mostly lived up to those lofty claims. As the resident gaming guy around these parts and also a serial streamer of media on my phone, I was really eager to see what the Razer Phone brings to the table.

In spite of some of the obvious shortcomings as mentioned by Alex Dobie our main review — namely the pathetic camera performance and lack of water resistance — the Razer Phone’s strengths are impressive. In fact, they may have honestly changed the value I place on specific smartphone design and features — and that goes far beyond the buttery smoothness of the 120Hz UltraMotion display (although more of that, please).

But seriously, have you seen the specs on this thing?

It’s important to say right off the bat that the overall performance of the Razer Phone is simply outstanding thanks to Razer cramming as much top-end hardware into the chassis as possible.

The Snapdragon 835 chipset and 8GB of RAM allow you to play the most resource-heavy games, like Vainglory or PUBG Mobile, without any noticeable slowdown even in those moments when the screen is cluttered with enemies and action. This phone should be fairly futureproof for whichever direction mobile gaming decides to head in (excluding mobile VR) which at this point seems to be focused on porting over more PC and console experiences to mobile. With the Razer Phone in hand, I say bring it on!

Coupled with the massive 4,000mAh battery and that PC-quality display you get the best mobile experience for stream hours of Netflix or YouTube without reaching for your charging brick. When it is time to charge, this phone charges up real quick thanks to the support for the latest Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ technology. Despite having never owned a Razer product in my life, I still feel like this phone was designed for someone like me with similar needs for streaming and gaming and I acknowledge and appreciate it.

Crazy good audio

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I tend to use the built-in speakers on my phones as much as I use headphones or Bluetooth speakers. Whether I’m hanging out with friends and trying to share a hilarious YouTube video in a noisy space or wanting to resume watching Netflix while I go about cooking dinner in the kitchen, I’ve realized that I rely on my phone’s speakers for so much more than just notification blips.

In an era where smartphone companies are trying maximize the screen-to-body ratio on devices, Razer took off in the other direction an added a combined inch to the top and bottom of the display to create the best damn smartphone speakers I’ve ever experienced. Far from being a compromise, I’ve found the speaker layout (coupled with the Dolby Atmos audio support) delivers the best sound from a smartphone while also addressing the issue of your hand muffling the sound when using phones with bottom-firing speakers. Furthermore, the speakers also give you a bit of a buffer between your palms and the screen which helps cut down on accidental touches along the edge of the display.

In an era when companies are trying to maximize the screen-to-body ratio, Razer took off in the other direction and created the best damn smartphone speakers I’ve ever experienced.

Another common sticking point for newer phones is the removal of the headphone jack, but Razer managed to compensate for that by including a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with a 24-bit THX certified DAC inside. I actually had to get some second opinions when I tested out the included dongle because I wasn’t sure if the audio was as impressive as I was imagining or what, but everyone I showed it to was just as blown away by it as I was. I’m also living a mostly Bluetooth life when it comes to speakers and headphones as it is, so while it certainly sucks to carry a dongle around for those times I want to use wired headphones It’s not as much of a deal breaker for me as it might have been just a few years ago.

No curves, no problems

Call me a contrarian but I’m one of those folks who constantly gripes about curved displays on smartphones. Ever since Samsung set the industry trend with the Samsung Galaxy S6, it’s all we typically see from flagship devices these days.

Sure, I’ll agree that they look really pretty in person and can feel smooth and nice in your hand, but it still a mostly cosmetic design choice. I don’t find that it adds anything substantial to the experience of using the smartphone beyond added anxiety about replacement costs if it slams against the ground.

I don’t mind bezels around the display if they’re used effectively as is the case here.

That’s why I really appreciate the decision Razer made to not follow those trends and deliver a different option for consumers. I don’t mind bezels around the display if they’re used effectively as is the case here. Because the screen doesn’t go edge-to-edge and is built around an aluminum frame, I’ve been less concerned about screen damage nor do I feel obligated to slap a case on the Razer Phone.

Like I mentioned above, the front-facing speakers sound great and also offer a bit of a buffer between your hands and the screen when playing a game in landscape mode. With bigger and better games coming out for Android these days, I want a phone that features more practical features rather than cosmetic ones to make the overall experience better, and I think Razer has gotten off to a good start here offering something different from its competitors.

Should you consider buying the Razer Phone in 2018?

The bottom line here is that the Razer is asking $700 for a phone that offers supreme performance in some areas while falling short in others. Depending on how you primarily use your phone will be key in determining whether a ridiculously smooth (but occasionally dim) display backed by top-end performance specs can outweigh a lackluster (but functional) camera setup. Whether fantastic, front-facing speakers offer more value to you than a seamless display with no bezels.

We’re also still waiting for the Razer Phone to get Android Oreo which should improve the overall experience, but we won’t know for sure until it arrives. Razer released a major software update in January that shows that Razer is committed to supporting the Razer Phone and improving the experience — yet it still has a ways to go to match the overall user experience.

Having said all that, I’m still really impressed by the Razer Phone, but that’s because I spend a good majority of my phone time playing games and consuming entertainment. I never realized how much I valued a higher refresh rate or proper front-facing speakers on a phone, and given my obsession for mobile gaming, I could see the phone specs holding up pretty well over the years.

It’s definitely a phone that you need to experience firsthand before deciding if it’s right for you. If the 120Hz refresh rate and booming audio features don’t instantly turn you on, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Xiaomi Mi 6X set for unveil on April 25, could launch globally as the Mi A2


This could be Xiaomi’s Android One phone for 2018.

Xiaomi caught the smartphone industry by surprise when it announced that it was teaming up with Google over an Android One phone. The Mi A1 turned out to be a fantastic phone in the budget segment, offering a great design, powerful specs, and pure Android. The phone itself was a rebranded variant of the Mi 5X with Android One instead of Xiaomi’s MIUI.

The Chinese manufacturer has now sent out invites to the Chinese media (Via FoneArena) for an event on April 25, where it is set to unveil the Mi 6X. The phone made its way through TENAA last month, giving us a look at the specs on offer.

The Mi 6X will feature a 5.99-inch FHD+ 18:9 panel, Snapdragon 626, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, microSD slot, hybrid SIM card slot, 20MP + 8MP dual cameras at the back, 20MP front shooter, and a 2910mAh battery. The battery may not be as massive as that of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but as I saw on the Mi A1 last year, Xiaomi still knows a thing or two about optimization to eke out the most out of the battery.

As this particular variant is aimed at a Chinese audience, it will be running an Oreo-based build of MIUI. Right now, there’s no information regarding an Android One model that will go on sale in global markets, but the Mi A1 saw a decent amount of sales in India last year, and Xiaomi will be looking to offer an alternative to MIUI in the budget segment.

OnePlus 6 is fully revealed by a case maker

As OnePlus continues its teaser campaign for its next smartphone, a case maker has decided to fully reveal the device’s design. You can see both the front and the rear of the OnePlus 6 in the renders below, which come from Olixar.

All of these cases are already up for pre-order at MobileFun, with prices ranging from $7.49 for the gel cases and all the way up to $35.49 for a combo of the toughest-looking one and a glass screen protector.

OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases

OnePlus 6 inside various cases

Once again the notch is unsurprisingly present on the front. You have surely also noticed how the company went for a centered vertical design for the dual camera array on the back, in a clear departure from the left-aligned horizontal setup seen on the OnePlus 5T.

The LED flash is right underneath the cameras, and below that sits the fingerprint sensor which is on the small side – it reminds us of the size of the scanner on Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+.

The OnePlus 6 is definitely coming soon, with its announcement probably happening within the next few weeks. It’s expected to rock the Snapdragon 845, paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. According to one past leak, it will boast a 6.28-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 2,280×1,080 resolution, a 20 MP f/2.0 selfie cam, and a 3,450 mAh battery. The rear cameras should have 20 MP and 16 MP resolution, both with f/1.7 aperture.

Xiaomi Black Shark gaming phone gets shown off in a three-second hands-on video

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark is getting ready to unveil its first smartphone. The eponymous device will be all about gaming, as Black Shark is meant to be a gaming-focused offshoot of the Chinese handset maker.

We’ve already seen the Black Shark in a couple of benchmarks, a live image, and not one, but two teasers. Now though a hands-on video of the phone has been outed, and you can see it embedded below.

Sure, it’s not the longest of videos – by any stretch of the imagination. Yet it does give us our first 360-degree view of the smartphone.

It looks pretty big and bulky, as you can see, but that may aid in handling, especially when holding it in landscape in order to enjoy a game or two. Or three. Unlike the also gamer-focused Razer Phone, this one is much more curvy.

From previous leaks we’ve gathered that the Black Shark will have the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 8GB of RAM, at least 32GB of storage, and a 2,160×1,080 touchscreen with 18:9 aspect ratio. It may become official as soon as tomorrow.

Thanks for the tip, Zoser!