I was given a bottle of chocolate milk and my mind brought up an image of 'Strike' from the Spike Lee Joint, Clockers. Aside from being a drug dealer, his addiction to chocolate milk ended up being mighty bad for his health. With that on my mind, I admired the presentation of the bottle, put it in the fridge and forgot about it. 

Then came the day when I craved it, downed it and didn't want to part with the bottle just yet, so I re-purposed it as a vase. My other vase (this one) is a bit greedy and demands a whopping great bouquet to do it justice. This bottle maybe rather elementary but it holds a modest bunch with such a likable straightforward grace. 

Green marble coaster by Broste Copenhagen

Mini Globall designed by Jasper Morrison for Flos + Pinecone from a park + Cork placemat from eBay.

I've since bought another 2 bottles of Cocio. I tell myself that I've fallen for the striking label with all its retro appeal. I wonder how true that is. Admittedly they do look nicer as a vases than say, a bottle of Frijj would. 

One bottle is presently holding some tinged carnations. In the Japanese version of the language of flowers, carnations symbolise love. The Victorian interpretation of carnations is more specific depending on the colour of the carnation and my striped blooms are seen as a refusal. A "sorry I cannot be with you, though I wish I could". 

I think I might get a book on these floral secret messages. It could be fun/mischievous.

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Hiro nearly never takes photos of me beside anything typically pretty. You know the sort of thing I mean - flowers, classical architecture etc. etc. etc. 

When asked why, he muttered something about being "pretty interesting". So there you have it and, here I am stood against what I thought was duckweed but is (according to a warning sign) hazardous "suspected blue green algae".


Outfit details: Quilted jumper from GAP | Skirt from COS | Slip-ons from Office | Watch from Swatch |

I wear a watch these days. I grew tired of checking the time on my phone so Hiro bought me a simple one from Swatch. I like it because it is unambiguous, light, clean looking, analogue, feels comfortable on my wrist and is also baby dribble and puke proof.

About the final photo. See that brown bag? It carried a couple of cookies that I bought at the Hackney Pearl. They make scrumptious cookies that are great for emergency snacking on our strolls. And yes, Hiro did indeed ask me to stand beside the discarded pallet.

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| Night Lights | Luminous Nightwalker

I remember the 1st time we embarked on a spot of night-walking. We took an autumn night by the nose and despite the chill stepped out with the camera, tripod and, if I remember rightly, a hip flask filled with rum. 

Since then I have accompanied Hiro on many night-walking adventures, (I do very little apart from stumble about mumbling and making silly remarks about lighting), each one memorable in their own way. 

These days our most frequently taken night walk expeditions happen in the Olympic Park. Gentrification and regeneration may have mucked-up a lot of east London vibes and although I had my doubts about this park during its construction, I am the first to admit that my preconceptions have since been chucked over the fence and possible run over by Usain Bolt. 

With 2015 over and done with with barely a mention anymore, it is good to see the park in use and actually adding good vibes to the nearby communities. By night, people enjoy a slower pace and stop to gaze at the lights. I haven't experienced another part of London where locals seem to enjoy lighting design so honestly and openly. Couples enjoy the light dappled paths and children shriek their delight in the luminous fountains like crazy mini ravers while their parents and other adults watch on with a nibbling sense of envy.

If you haven't yet taken a stroll in the Olympic Park at night, do! Do!

Links | More of our Night Light Adventures |
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| Table Top | 4

I've been making more friends and their sense of humour is as spiky as mine!

These dudes are my type of plants. They like it toasty and they don't need much fussing over.  

"Kastehemli" side plate from Iitala

Repurposed candle glass from Cire Trudon

I spoke a lady in my local garden centre who knows about such things and, she says that the best way to water cacti of this size is to put them into a shallow dish and add water. She said that the plants would drink it all up. I didn't believe her. Thought she may have spent a few minutes too long in the greenhouse. More fool me! They do exactly what she said and I found myself having to top-up the dish after half an hour. Thirsty things!

I've repurposed an old candle glass from Cire Trudon and a sake cup as pots for my new friends. It just goes to show doesn't it? That well made things - even if it is just the packaging will last and last. Cire Trudon use mouth-blown glass as vessels for their gorgeously scented candles making them far too nice to throw away or put in the recycling bin.

Places you can buy cacti in east or northeast London:

Columbia Flower Market, if you can handle the crowds and can wait till an opportune Sunday.

Botany on Chatsworth Road, Hackney

The Peanut Vendor, Gunmakers Lane, Bow

The N1 Garden Centre, Englefield, Islington

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Memory is a strange and wonderful capacity isn't it? I am particularly intrigued with how selective it seems to be in its workings and how senses are like magical keys with the power to unlock certain memories at will. 

The other day, I woke before the earliest of worms for no apparent reason. I staggered into the kitchen and was met with a sort of mystical ethereal shimmering light floating through the window. Instead of rushing for a camera, I stood there transfixed and my memory drifted away with me and took me back to the Hozu River in Kyoto. I don't think I had seen light dance in such a way before. It seems to flit across the escarpment in a guileless waltz.

The route that our boat took has been in and out of use since the Edo period (1603-1868). It begun as a cargo route for a few hundred years till rail and road took over the logistics of haulage. The boats were eventually brought back as man-powered tourist attractions which is what they are until today. A far nicer use of the river we think.

SEE MORE | See more of our adventures in Japan HERE |

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| Streets | Shop Fronts

The stuff that makes up our high streets has masses of appeal to me. Away from regular tourist trails and so often taken for granted by those who tread these path each day, they hold real stories of the communities that they serve. Shop fronts have always piqued my visual interest. The fancy appearance of chain or more prominent shops certainly get my glances but it is these humble informal establishments that make me reach for my camera.

These shops fronts are as individual as the people who own them and that is part of my fascination with them. Their presentation in terms of the colours, typeface and even the upkeep all add to their appeal. I especially like hand painted signage and seeing old London phone numbers. 

Most notable of all the above is the G Kelly Pie & Mash Shop. If ever there is a shop that charts the tale of its locality then this is one such place! Family owned and family run, they've been making and shifting their pies from Roman Road since 1937 standing their ground even during WWII. Take a look at their website if you have a moment. It's got loads of old pics and interesting history too.

P.S. I haven't found the courage to sample their hot or jellied eels. 

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