| Cultural Contrasts | 'Pon The Floor

One day, I was tweeting about my love for sitting/chilling/reading/many other things on the floor of our home. To my astonishment, a fellow tweeter replied; "EWWWWWWWW! Floors are yucky". 

I was a bit stunned. Not because of the comment. More because I took it for granted that people that is part of a Japanese lifestyle.

The long and short of it is that we do not wear shoes in our home. Not ever. When we come in, outside shoes get left in the hallway - tucked away on a rack, covered and slippers go on.  It is a cultural mannerism. Every Japanese household both in Japan and outside of Japan that I have visited do this too.  Even our non Japanese friends have grown used to this and have got into the habit of taking off their shoes when they visit. 

It is hygienic I think to leave the outside dirt away from the main living parts of the home? Because of this, I feel clean and safe and proper comfy lolling about on our floors.

On that note, I have finally made another floor cushion. In Japan, people use zabuton but a good authentic one is impossible to find in UK, so as with many other things, I've resorted to making my own version. I am really happy because now we have one each! Hiro's is the hemp leaf pattern and mine is the wave pattern. Both are really old-school traditional motifs that have stood up to the test of time. 

So back to my floors! My brain gets the wobbles when people wear shoes in my home. It cannot always be helped and I understand that but when for instance, the Ocado delivery man or a plumber/electrician comes over and is wearing big old dirty boots, my brain wobbles. I don't say anything. When they leave, I run around the house mopping and scrubbing the floor. Thankfully, this does not have to happen frequently. Am I the only one?

P.S. As a mixed race person, I am repping a bag of different cultures each one has imparted a different trove of habits/etiquette/understanding. It makes life interesting, but many a time the significance is lost in translation. I hope that by writing about some of my experiences, we can learn from each other!
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| Recipe | What Do You Call it? Yum!

What do you call this? An omelette? Frittata? Or like my Japanese friend does, a 'no-flour quiche'?

Whatever you want to call it, it is yummy and great for lunch or breakfast, hot or cold. I have even made it the night before and added it to our lunch boxes along with salad for me (rice for Hiro) instead of a sarnie or if you like - in a sarnie (would probably be yummy in some Turkish bread). 

| Ingredients |

3 eggs

1/2 bag of spinach

100g sweetheart cabbage

1 carrot 

3 tablespoons milk

1 spring onion (optional)

1 teaspoon of consommé granules

1 tablespoon ketchup

| Method |

1. Get your keenest knife out and shred the cabbage. Mince the carrots and the spring onion too if you are using one.

2. Either par boil or microwave the carrots and the cabbage together to lightly soften. Blanch the spinach and roughly chop.

3. In a large bowl, crack the eggs in and mix in the consommé and milk. Beat away!

4. Add the all the veg into the egg mixture and mix together well.

5. Heat a bit of veg or olive oil in a small frying pan.

6. On a medium heat, add the mixture to the pan and cover to allow it to cook for about 4 minutes - take care not to burn it!

7. Flip it over and cook the other side.


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    | Beauty | 3 Eye Creams

    Three is my magic number (yes it is), so when it comes to beauty stuff, I usually have 3 of most things on the go. It works well for me as my skin gets used to things so quickly they often seem to stop working much to my irritation.

    So on with the 3 eye creams! These are the happy trio that are currently labouring away in my day and night routine.


    This is my regular choice for the times when my eyes don't feel like they need extra attention just a bit of everyday love. Colour, mineral oil and fragrance free it feels light and mild around the eyes. Made with soybean isoflavin and retinol derivatives it delivers just the right amount of moisture and works well under makeup and sunscreen etc.


    I am a bit obsessed with avocados at the moment which is why I probably ended up with this. I'm glad that I have as it is the one I reach for when my skin feels a bit dry after a day in the sun or wind or by the radiator. It is thick and creamy as the name suggests so it works best overnight. It does a great job at imparting deeper levels of moisture and smoothness when required.


    The one for bad days and nights. There are no such things are miracle workers in beauty (just a bunch of blaggers trying it), but this does help when I have had too many late nights. It calms puffiness and makes my dark circles less obvious maybe this is down to the micro shimmery particles in it and the super sounding ingredients.

    What are you using at the moment? Anything outstandingly good you would like to share with us?

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    | Stationery | Many Words For Rain

    It is amazing how a simple bottle of ink can unlock such a vault of knowledge. It started when I unwrapped this rather splendid looking bottle of ink that I brought back with us from Tokyo. Since then it has become my favourite and most used ink, filling up no less than 2 pens at any given time (unheard of in my pen pot).  

    Thanks to this bottle I have realised that there are so many words different words for rain in Japanese (around 50 perhaps). I am assuming that this is due to the Japanese being close observers of nature and perhaps also because it rains a lot in Japan. 

    Kirisame is the sort of fine spray of misty rain. Wispy quiet rain that is almost mystical. Do you know what I mean? The colour is a beautiful shade of grey that tells of approaching rain clouds and moodier skies. It is just as fabulous for shading as it is writing and behaves wonderfully with all my favourite notebooks and writing papers.

    Kirisame is part of Pilot's Iroshizuku fine ink range. All the inks in this range are made by Pilot to a very high standard and all are deeply inspired by elements of Japan's natural surroundings. The bottle itself shows the thoughtfulness of the makers by its little V shaped depression at the base of the bottle. This allows easier access to the very last drops of the ink. 

    Iroshizuku inks are expensive to buy outside of Japan and I have seen shops asking for up to £30.00 per bottle. I have to be honest and say that this cost me around £10.00 in Japan. Therefore, the trick is either to get this while you are out there or if you know anyone going - it's time to call in that old favour!

    P.S. Pilot Japan released mini bottle sets of Iroshizuku inks and I am massively looking forward to being able get my grubby inky fingers on some of them later this year. Aren't they delightful?

    Love Stationery? Got more posts and pictures for you HERE

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    | Home | Up on The Wall

    Remember our curious habit of picking up things from the ground and taking them home from our adventures(SEE HERE)? Well, I've finally gone and found the perfect way to store and display them!

    I had my heart set on finding an old type/letterpress drawer to repurpose as a display fixture. It took me a year to find just the right one. But you know me, I am willing to keep seeking, waiting, hoping till I find the one that strikes a chord with me and I am so glad that I did. This one is French and was used in an industrial printers factory to hold "42pt Headline Italic" letters before it found its way to London and eventually to us. Its handle is a bit rusty and its compartments a bit dusty but I happen to like it that way. It came to us with a story in its grains and hopefully, it will continue to collect stories in the time it stays with us.

    Our drawer does a good job of exhibiting our little trinkets I think. Every little thing here has its own story and so nudges a different memory for us. Not all of these have been picked up off the floor. A lot of them have come from Hiro's maternal Obaa-chan (granny) who never lets us leave her without giving us something. Many items here also have a strong significance to Japanese tradition , such as the DarumaOmamori, Shichifukujin, Kokeshi (this one has particularly interesting origins - will talk about that another day). 

    I want this display to constantly evolve and and change with our changing lives. There will be things that we will add just to mark special events and other things that we add/move around/remove just because it feels right. 

    I wonder what it will look like this time next year!


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    | Recurring Themes | Shadow Chaser

    I have an ever growing, ever improving archive of photos at my fingertips and it is easy to begin to take this for granted. However, each time that I dip into them seeking out the perfect pic for the words I am stringing haplessly together, I find myself in awe at Hiro's work. He has never taken a lesson is his life yet he strives tirelessly to improve his skills. I imagine that he will probably always class himself as an amateur photographer (such is the way of the perfectionist). I am sure that if you asked him why he likes taking photos he will say that he doesn't really and that he likes "catching shadows and light". 

    Shadows and light. Two things that drive him in so many ways. They are the materials that he works with and the creative kinetics that keep pushing him onwards.

    I was actually planning on posting a recipe onto the blog today but lost myself in Hiro's shadow chasing. I hope that you will enjoy the few that I have picked to share with you:

    Kaya Koy, Turkey. See Original Post HERE

    Kaya Koy, Turkey. See Original Post HERE

    Neues Museum, Berlin

    Neues Museum, Berlin

    Niigata, Japan. See original post HERE

    Porto. Sao Bento Station. See Original post HERE

    Barcelona. In the studio of Diego Mallo 

    Berlin. See Original Post HERE
    Venice. See Original Post HERE

    Venice. See Original Post HERE
    Tanzania. In my father's garden.

    Pavilion of Portugal, Lisbon. 

    Gare do Oriente, Lisbon. See the original post HERE

    The funniest thing is that when Hiro spots this post on the blog later today he will probably say........

    "Sh*t! Who took that pic!!!" 

    To which I will answer......


    Then he will say.....

    "Did I? It's alright ini?"

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