| The Magic Mundane | Other People's Plants

I don't want to talk about the craziness of the past few days anymore, so I've been staring at plants.

Other people's plants. I can't help myself. I like looking at other people's plants, especially the ones that they place in their windows. But the ones they grow in their front gardens are nice to look at too.


Hiro says that I might get myself arrested. 

I hope not!

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| Explore | Living Walls

Since London is generally a colossal building site these days, so much so that upholding walls have become a mundane sight in all corners of the city. Most are tedious. Some have taken the opportunity to cash in on extra advertising space. A few have been a little more community minded and tapped into some of the city's talented artists - a true wealth in our opinion.

A mightily fine example of this just happens to be on our doorstep. This is the incredible work of Mark McClure. In a nutshell it is a 210 metre long wooden mosaic that stretches a colourful boundary around the Olympic Park. It features 10 key panels of eye pleasing colour and is created from wood reclaimed from the park and its locality.

The kid and I LOVE the colourful tessellations. What gets me the most however,  is the detail and the amount of work that has clearly gone into this massive work - I am in  awe of the sheer by accomplishment of it. 

I enjoy witnessing how the mural weathers and alters with time, climate and general London life. I wonder what will happen to it after the the works are completed. Perhaps I will ask him -  found him on Instagram!

| Links for the curious |

Mark McClure's website

Mark's Instagram

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| Style Notes | Veritecoeur

It has been so encouraging to hear from other people who share my views on style superseding fashion. I like hearing that other people feel the allure of a more timeless appeal in both wearable style and living style too!

It occurred to me that longevity is an important virtue in clothes for me. Longevity that is not just about how long they will last physically, but it is also to do with how long they will continue to appeal to me as I get older. There are brands out there that do demonstrate this concept really well.  For example, COS and EGG manage to cross the age borders seamlessly. They both create garments that can be worn by and appeal to women across generations and there is something so affirming about that.

With the warmth of these thoughts still fresh in my heart, I thought I would tell you all about another of my favourite clothing brands that typifies my style preferences. Meet Veritecoeur! Sadly my fondness for Veritecoeur and all their lovely, lovely garments is for the moment, from afar and is fuelled solely through me stalking their Instagram account! I do so like their styling that often incorporates items from other brands. They have a masterly way of layering clothes and a playful way of presenting them.

I have no doubt that I will be heading to their shop in Fukuoka when we are next in Japan - till then, I much saving to be done!

| Links for the curious |

Veritecoeur shop (in Japanese)
Veritecoeur Instagram - definitely worth stalking!

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| Photo Diary | Beneath the Kaleidoscope

When I think of when we were last in Kyoto, a kaleidoscopic ceiling shifts to the forefront of my mind. In all honesty, as beautiful and as culturally rich as Kyoto is, I can completely understand people getting "templed-out" after a while. There are so many temples. All beautiful. All fascinating. But soon many. 

Most of my best ideas begin as a rumbling from my belly so with that in mind, I would recommend that you skedaddle down town and find yourself in the wonderful Nishiki market. 

Mainly a food market, it has been running for over 400 years and it is as rich in history as it is in flavour. If you love traditional Japanese food, or want to learn more about it - this place must not be missed.

Almost every shop offers small tasters for visitors to delight their tastebuds with (this is common practice in Japan) and it is a culinary education even for Japanese. Kyoto's regional cuisine is exceptional and varies greatly from that of any other part of Japan. 

My recommendation is that you try everything that you can, but do take an least one onigiri (rice ball) with you. Homemade onigiri is always the best but as far as remade ones go - the best I've had came from here!

| For the curious |

We are massive fans of markets and visit one nearly everywhere we go. See all our market blog posts HERE.

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| Ideas | Why Lab Beakers are Brilliant

About a year ago, I bought a set of borosilicate lab vessels from a local charity shop. It was a £3.00 impulse buy and at that time, I had no idea what I was going to do with them.

>>>>>>Fast forward to now, and I think they are jolly useful things to have. Why? Well.....

1. They have that clean, simple and honest look that is just so appealing.

2. They are non-porous which makes them hygienic, easy to get really clean and they don't retain any funky smells or residues.

3. They are champs at handling extreme heat and cold.

4. They are super-duper versatile.

5. They don't cost much.

Off the top of my head, here's how I've been putting my borosilicate vessels to use at home:

1. Beakers make good planters. They work well with ferns as mentioned previously HERE.

2. Beakers also make good pen/pencil pots and just as good storage containers for bathroom bits.

3. Conical flasks are great as vases. They also make good drinks flasks and are ace for mixing and pouring salad dressings.

4. Lab ware is generally super useful in the kitchen for measuring, mixing, storing, drinking etc.

I'm sure that there is more use and fun to be had from these clever things. I've seen conical flasks used as terrariums and I may try my hand at pouring scented candles into beakers at some point a bit like THIS. But why stop at beakers? Labs use a whole range of weird and wonderful shaped goods just wait to be reinterpreted in our homes.

Lab equipment can be found on eBay at a reasonable cost. There are various shops selling domestic interpretations though they tend to charge a bit more. Keeping at eye in your local charity shops is a good idea too!

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| Explore | Halcyon Hackney

"The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water.” 
― Akira KurosawaYume

When we are not loitering through the housing estates of inner city London, we are often pursuing a greener shade of vitality. 

There is never enough open, green, uncrowded space in London. Never.  Yet, London is greener than it seems. East London is more verdant than many believe. London is good at surprises and secrets and  I like that about it. 

This Sunday just gone, the little boy had a snooze in a mini meadow, in the shade of some trees, which were in turn in the shade of a tower block. He woke looked up at the tower block and had a little giggle to himself. 

We walked on, skirting by an East London housing estate, affectionately known as the Poppy Estate and strolled beside the Lea beside Hackney Marshes. The marshes are smaller these days but it still is the centre of Sunday league footie. I think 82 football pitches, full sized ones are marked out on the Marsh - there used to be more but the 2012 Olympics took some of the land. 

On we plodded, past the Wick Woodlands where we were met with silent swaying crowds of cow parsley.  I couldn't help myself. 

Socks off.

Shoes off.

Toes sinking into cool, bouncy fresh grass.

It felt so good. 

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