Cake Japan

I go mad for cake in Japan. Somehow they have managed to get the balance of sweetness just right for me.  I prefer my cake only slightly sweet and very light.

Here are some of my favourite moments of cake-ish indulgence while I was in Tokyo.

Chocolate cake enjoyed somewhere in Takashimaya.

Cheesecake enjoyed in a backstreet café in Shibuya.

Strawberry shortcake and matcha cake, bought at the station and eaten at home.

If I lived in Japan I would be a few sizes larger I am sure. Incidentally, Hiro doesn't eat cake or anything sweet in fact, he has this peculiar notion (probably Japanese) that men don't eat cake or chocolate! 

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I have a lemon on my face.

I acquired some of these Point Pads on my last visit to Japan. They were cheap, cute and nicely packaged so I was unable to talk myself out of this particular impulse buy.

These useful pads are saturated in a light but potent (not too gloopy) liquid jam-packed with moisture boosting properties such as vitamin E, collagen and hyaluronic acid. 

There are 10 6cm round pads in each resealable pack and they can be used anywhere. I use them on the central-heating induced dry patches on my face, arms and backs of my hands. They are lightly scented and come in a range of doughnut, flower or fruit varieties.

They work really well for me and they are great for travel too. I think I paid about 80p per pack in Japan and I wish I got more. That said, I have since spotted them on eBay for about £2.00 per pack so if you fancy giving them a whirl you can find them |HERE|

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All Black

Inspired by a shop in one of my favourite films, in which a quirky lady sold only black things. Today, I have 4 very different examples of eye-catching packaging in black:

Winsor & Newton Black Ink. I like the story book label.

Mariage Fréres tea caddy. My favourite refined tea blends and perfectly presented.

Quintessentially classy, sleek black. Chanel makeup compacts.

Rouge Bunny Rouge cosmetics come in quirky illustrated black boxes.

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Three thoughts, three likes and three changes.

People that confuse taking time out to do a spot of thinking and self reflection as mere indolence are, in my opinion, sorely mistaken. Sunday's seem to be a good time for rumination. A good time to remind ourselves of many things such as why it is we are doing what we are doing and what it is that makes us happy.

Three thoughts that have filtered through my head this Sunday:
  1. I think people spend too much time staring at screens these days. Watching life through a screen while real-life passes us by.
  2. I wish that I could file all my bills in the shredder. No return ticket.
  3. I wish that I could cut out the rainclouds over London and paste them elsewhere. Preferably to a place in more need of rain. I would also like to be able to "un-do" just in case.

Three things that I like:

  1. I like odd compositions. Strange angles, things off-centre and from a less ordinary perspective. Such photos do it for me.
  2. Loud and exuberant laughter. Such raucousness may make many sneer but it makes me fall into a smile.
  3. New old teacups and saucers. My latest acquisition is a Limoges. It is so fine that it is quite translucent.

Three things that I would like to change about myself:
  1. I would like to cultivate more patience in my nature. Good things, lasting things, will not happen over night.
  2. I would like to find more balance in my life. Lately, things can feel so uneven at times.
  3. I would like to feel less nervous about congratulating myself on "small" victories. I am my own great critic and I find it hard to sit back and say "well done me". Instead, I seem to say; "you can do better than that girl...now do it!".
Thinking is good.
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Cream, Lace, Mud, a Very Bad Boy and a Dismantled Manor

Who wears lace in blush tones to go walking through forests and mud? Me. Thank goodness for my Hunters!

Wanstead Park lies but 20 minutes away from the cacophony of Hackney by train and it is an oasis of green and fresh air for city dwellers in search/need of healthier air. We recently traversed the Overground and Central line to visit the Park and found ourselves quite fascinated by the history of the place.

Once upon a time, a great mansion stood here and all these acres of land made up its grounds. While records show that there has been a manor house of sorts in this location since the Doomsday Book, we are more interested in the house that was built here in 1715. It was a grand, palatial manor. Built in the Palladian style, such was its grandeur that rivalled Blenheim Palace. 

| Source |
Now before anyone gets excited and starts planning a trip to view this outstanding manor, I must tell you that it no longer stands. It has been demolished and not a single brick of the manor remains to lay testament to it's former glory. 

| Assembly at Wanstead House by Hogarth |

The reason for it's demise is a tragic tale. Girl inherits house. Girl met boy, boy rips-off girl and the creditors tear down the house.

The girl in question was Catherine Tylney-Long and at the age of 16, found herself inheriting Wanstead House and an enormous fortune. Large enough in fact to make her the richest woman in England aside of the Royal Family. Naturally she became the object of great interest and many a blue-blooded suitor pursued her hand. One such suitor was the villain of this tale, William Wellesley-Pole. Wellesley-Pole was the sort of fellow that any parent would go to great lengths to keep well away from their daughters. He was a notorious womaniser, gambler, debaucher and all out scoundrel of the worst sort. However, like many womanisers, he was charming. And this charm, coupled perhaps with a weakness for a bad-boy saw Catherine falling for the wily manipulations of Wellesley-Pole. The ill-fated couple married in Piccadilly and Catherine past her name as well as her immense fortune to her crooked husband and he became known as Wellesley-Pole-Tylney-Long.

Wellesley-Pole-Tylney-Long must have been delighted with his newly gained wealth and went about spending it in every lavish way he could imagine whilst sidelining his wife. After 10 years, the vast fortune had dwindled to nothing and great debts took their place. As for Wellesley, he did what any other miserable scoundrel would do.....He fled the country and left Wanstead House to be seized by his creditors.

And so it was that in June 1822, during a series of auctions lasting 30 days, the entire contents of Wansted House were sold off. Soon after, the house was dismantled and every brick of it from ceiling to cellar, was sold to appease the creditors.

It is a great tragedy that the house has vanished. In it's place is a lush green golf course. However, there are a few reminders of these tales remaining in the park. The ruins of a grotto and boathouse that once stood in the background of the manor still perches on the banks of an ornamental lake in a rather ghostly manner.

This is a lovely spot for a mini picnic. I rarely go walking without an emergency snack..

I bought a pair of onigiri cases a few years ago in Japan and they are very handy for such strolls as squashed rice balls loose their appeal somewhat.

The park itself is a lovely space to go for a walk in London. Though the constant murmur of the nearby busy roads can still be heard, this doesn't intrude too much on the calmness that can be sought here.

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I Am An Eccentric Molecule

The escentric 01 fragrance has been on my scent radar and wish-list for sometime now. It is a unisex fragrance that many rave about and many seem to be at a loss about. 

Doing my best to skirt around the sciencey bit for your sake and mine, I understand that this is made from one molecule. One single molecule that is the aroma chemical known as Iso E. I like to keep things simple so the simplicity of this really appeals to my nature. 

Escentric 01 is peculiar and rather clever in the way it smells different on one person to another. On me it is a velvety soft but musky woody scent with a citrus whisper. The scent comes and goes and I cannot always smell it on myself which I like. However, Hiro can smell it and though he likes it on me, he dislikes the fragrance on himself.

I like things that pander to individuality. 

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Healthy Stuff

Healthy Stuff make yummy stuff!

A tiny whirl away from me is a delightful little cafe and healthy wholesome food shop that make the yummiest toasted open sarnies around.

I really enjoy their avocado sourdough toast. It is such a well-balanced and creamy bite with a crunch and chilli citrus kick.

Their Salmon and egg-mayo with sundried toms and cress is equally delicious.

Both are made with care and attention and are reasonably priced. 

If wanting to  sink your teeth into some of their yummy stuff is not reason enough to visit, then you should really pop into to check out the Moomin on the wall while browsing their shelves which are laden with great health foods to take away.

| Healthy Stuff |
168 Dalston Lane
E8 1NG

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Ladurée Everyday

It is quite by chance that I happened across this marvellous perpetual almanac in a local bookshop for I was actually in search of a rather captivating book that I remembered an old teacher reading us on rainy days in Kenya. The gorgeous cover interrupted my attention and I instantly fell quite in love with it.

The Almanac Perpetual Ladurée is a thing of beauty but it is also a treasury of pure delight! Contained within its comely pages are recipes, wonderful quotes, curious trivia and advice on anything from caring for your china, beauty secrets and tips on interior decoration not forgetting the glorious illustrations.

You, don't have to be a fan of their macarons to enjoy the delights of this companion to your days. I am in such awe of it myself that I managed to get hold of two at a very reasonable rate and so I am offering one up for grabs to one lucky WorshipBlues reader.

Here is how you can enter;

  1. You absolutely must be a follower of this blog.
  2. Please leave a comment in the comment box telling me of about one strange habit that you may have.
  3. Please do follow me on |Twitter| or like my shop page on |Facebook|
I shall get someone to pick a winner at random and the closing date for this giveaway is Midnight on the 1st March (GMT). Open to international entries too.

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It's the little things.....

That make me happy.....

.....Waking to sunshine flitting through my window. A kind word, a nice cup of tea, a handwritten letter. Quiet content moments. Hearing an old story that I thought I forget, discovering something new that I never knew I didn't know. When things run as they ought to...  Little details that I hadn't noticed....Do I sound ridiculous?

Well here are more things, each with their own little tale that have delighted me recently:

The porcelain Maiden.....

She once stood with her rather ungainly companion on our mantelpiece in Kenya. I remember thinking that they looked most awkward up there alongside a row of licentious sake cups and a few indigenous cavorting carvings. Looking back now, it was very appropriate. We left our home in a hurry and I never thought that I would see this lady again. Many years later, a cousin of mine who left Kenya for USA some time after our departures, sent me a parcel and so it was that I came to own the maiden once more. I look at her differently now. She is a very resilient even though she is made of porcelain. If you are wondering what is her current fate, well then, I can report that she has been spotted doing a spot of modelling in the Fushigi Shop.

Are you wasting away in your skin
Are you missing the love of your kin
Drifting and floating and fading away"

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
The flower headed pins.......

What strange blossoms grow in the House of Worshipblues! Indeed they are odd but they are useful in their sharpness. My brother-in-law bought these for me as part of my Christmas present. They are made by Clover Japan and they are just wonderful to work with. Super smooth, strong and fine with just the right amount of flex so they don't interrupt the weft of the fabric and slim enough to avoid breaking my machine's needles if accidentally left in. I think they are rather pretty to gaze upon in the absence of real blooms. I think he bought these from | The Eclectic Maker |

The white fountain pen......

My last fountain pen gave up the ghost a little while ago and so I bought a replacement at Choosing Keeping. I decided upon a Kaweco Classic Sport in white. The design is still faithful to the original 1935 octagonal form and it is a very durable yet light pen with a gold plated stainless steel nib. The Kaweco Classic Sport has an oversized lid that acts as an extension to the pocket sized pen that allows for comfortable writing. This reminds me, Julia at Choosing Keeping told me that I must never allow anyone else to use my fountain pen as it will conform itself to my hand, pressure and writing habits and may not fare well in the hands of another.

The pen has an amusing slogan " Small in the pocket, large in the hand". Oooooh really!

The tea coloured ink......

I like writing in various tones of brown, grey and red so I was delighted to notice that the | Journal Shop | has a rainbow of Herbin ink cartridges to make a selection from. I eventually settled on Lie de Thé though I must admit to fancying Cacao du Brésil now too! I have long liked Herbin inks but learned from the Journal Shop that Herbin have been making ink for a long time and were established by a Monsieur Herbin in 1670. I like the little metal tins with their illustrated labels, they do a great job of keeping the cartridges intact.

The deceptively humble notebook......

Take one simple looking notebook and fill it with memories. Everyday things that make you smile. This is the Midori Traveller's Notebook Kraft Paper Refill, another gem that I discovered in the remarkable | Journal Shop |
You would be excused for thinking that this is a very ordinary notebook. However, what sets it apart from the rest, is the quality of its 64 pages. They are quite perfect for the jumbled sort of scribbling that I do. They are blank and strong with a nice texture to them that allows my glue and stickers to hold fast. They are also rather magical for although the pages are fine and translucent, they do not allow my fountain pen nor my felt-tipped scrawls to seep through the pages thus scarring the reverse side. Not ever. Delightful!

The pink thing that prints......

I am still enjoying using my little Polaroid Pogo Printer. It's such a brill gadget and I find more and more uses for the sticker photos that it prints. It prints 3"x2" sticker photos that can be full-sized or in sectioned into collages (you will need an app to do this) which is so fun. Thanks to its ZINK technology it doesn't require any ink cartridges.  I bought mine for £25.00 with 80 photo papers on eBay last year. The pics it prints are pretty low-tech but I happen to like such things and they serve my purpose well, which is generally note-taking of recipes, ideas, adventures, things that I have made and random memory-keeping. It is a great shame that the iPhone refuses to print to this (without doing a jailbreak thingy) via its Bluetooth capability. I have overcome this issue by enabling my desktop to print to it instead. 

It seems that I have waffled on a bit today. I hope that it is interesting waffle and I shall make up for it by giving the blog a rest tomorrow. Before I rush off, I have been thinking that there is very little in life that is truly mundane, it is only a mundane imagination that makes something that way. I think.

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A Visit to : Choosing Keeping

I am very keen on stationery. I have been ever since I was a child and so when my friend told me about Choosing Keeping, I knew that I had to make a visit. 
Choosing keeping is an inviting, light and airy little shop on Columbia Road and in their own words "...pay special attention to the historic background of each product and their respective manufacturer and invite you to read our findings  here."

Julia is the proprietor of Choosing Keeping and the level of attention to detail that she extends to everything can really be felt in every part of the shop. Everything is kept in such an orderly manner that makes it such an easy and pleasant experience to browse through the many fine cherry-picked items that she stocks.

I was lucky enough to catch Julia during a quiet moment. She showed me her newly arrived vintage erasers and I discovered that we share a love for Japanese letter writing sets. I also had much fun looking at her selection of pencils and was both pleased and surprised to see that she stocks Kaweco pens, Craft Design Technology pencils as well as a fine selection of notebooks. I could feel that Julia really cares about what she stocks and that touched me.

Columbia Road is a bustling hive of activity on Sundays when the flower market is in full swing. It is a much quieter affair during the week but nevertheless, it is worth a visit if only to visit this gem of a shop.

| Choosing Keeping |

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