Midori MD Cotton A5

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I was fortunate to receive a 5th anniversary release A5 MD Cotton Notebook from the team at the Journal Shop to review on my blog. 

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Made by the much celebrated stationery manufacturer Midori, The MD Cotton Notebook is both humble and minimal at first glance. However, the more time you spend with it, the more the notebook reveals its finer details.

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176 crisp fine white pages that hold their own against the nuances and demands of fountain pen nibs, bottled ink and pencil. 

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The cotton notebook has a soft ivory card cover with a demure yet proud embossing that sets it apart from the MD "Paper" version.

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The MD Cotton Notebook is stitch bound with a glued gauze spine which enables the notebook to open fully without coming apart.

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The silk page marker is an elegant and thoughtful touch.

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Writing allows me to release myself from constantly churning thoughts and so I go through many, many notebooks. Most of which are permeated with thoughts and snippets and plans for this blog. I cannot be happier with my new "book of blog" . The fine pages make for comfortable writing and it handles my fountain pen scrawl very well. Although the ink does show through to the other side of a page, it is not due to bleeding ink rather the lightness of the paper. I have not experienced and feathering, or drag using my Lamy Joy nor Lamy Safari fountain pens.

In the words of Midori....

"When you finish up a notebook, you have a book made by and for yourself, the one and only one in the whole world. Keep it in your bookshelf, among your favorite books."

The MD Notebook Cotton costs £12.95 and can be found HERE

Links | The Journal Shop | Midori Japan |

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So Close!

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I really like cream foundation compacts in the winter. Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation Cream Compact (See my review of this HERE ) is a solid favourite of mine but the price tag is not so friendly at £39.00 or £30.00 for the refill. 

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I've been seeking far and wide for something similar and so came across the Media Emulsion Foundation S by the Japanese cosmetics giant Kanebo which is a far more affordable at about £12.50 including the case and shipping from Hong Kong.

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I opted for Media Emulsion Foundation's shade 2 which is a good match for my skintone and very close to Chanel's shade 20. Media's offering has SPF 25 PA++ which is a step up from the SPF 15 of CHANEL's Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation Cream Compact.

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The Media Emulsion imparts a soft matte finish that is not quite as moisturising as the Vitalumiere compact but it does provide better oil control on my T-zone and so works best with a good primer beneath it.

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In conclusion, though the Media Emulsion cannot take the place of my much loved Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation Cream Compact which feels more moisturising and imparts a welcome dewy glow, it comes very close.

The Media Emulsion Foundation is fragrance free, contains marine collagen, hyaluronic acid and moisture boosting and skin perfecting pearl powder.

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Oh and in case you are wondering, the Chanel compact and refill is larger than the Media one. Unfortunately this means that while the Media refill will sit inside the Chanel casing, it is not a perfect fit.

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| Stationery | Sticky Situation

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I have a but of a sticky tape situation going on! I am hooked on the stuff and I keep finding more excuses to get more and even more ways to use the stuff up. If ever you have bought anything from my shop, then you will know what exactly what I mean. Bit of tape hold things together, keep things shut and even double up as labels!

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I recently placed an order for some Washi tape and was disappointed to receive printed masking tape. You may well be wondering what the difference is and why I am making a thing about it, but there is a difference and it matters to me (。-_-。)

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和紙 - "Washi" means Japanese paper. However, this term is no longer exclusively used for Japanese paper made in Japan but is now also used to describe paper made in the traditional Japanese method regardless of where is it made."Washi Tape" is therefore Japanese paper tape.  

In Japan, washi tape is commonly called masking tape which is different from the masking tape that can be purchased in hardware and home decoration shops. The most famous brand of washi tape is MT - which stands for Masking Tape and they churn out a mind-boggling range of tapes each year.

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There are other paper tapes out there that are confusingly mis-labelled as Washi Tape. They may look like washi tapes on a computer screen but in person they lack the nuances and gentle transparent lilts of a good washi tape. Worse still, they leave a dreadful sticky mess when peeled off. The annoying thing is that you cannot really identify this cheaper low-quality online so I recommend buying Washi Tape from a good brand such as MT or Classiky if  possible.

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I am often asked about deco tape and how this is different to washi tape. Deco tape is basically a lighter version of plastic packing or sticky tape. It is much stickier than masking tape that is low-tack in comparison.

While washi and paper tapes work great for crafting, deco tape is best for prettying up your envelopes and boxes etc anything that may face water in fact.

Here are a few of my washi tape maker favourites that are lesser known out of Japan. These can be found on Etsy from various sellers.

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‡ Shu Uemura Ultime8 ‡

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Once upon a time, I loved Shu Uemura's cleaning oils until I realised that my outbreaks of big fat boil like spots where down to mineral oil and all of Shu's oils contained this irritating  ingredient. I found solace with DHC and FANCL mild oils that work great for me but sadly cannot be bought in UK and I have to have them sent in from Japan. Then, a few weeks ago, a lovely sales assistant in Liberty let me have a handful of the Ultime8 cleansing oil and I am in love with Shu Uemura all over again.

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This melts every bit of stubborn makeup off with silky ease. Now despite the fact that I always follow cleansing oils with either a powder or traditional cleanser the Shu Uemura Ultime8 oils still manages to keep my skin hydrated and leaves it feeling comfortable and soft. 

The Ultime8 cleansing oil is fabulously fragrant blend of 8 botanical oils including, 
jojoba oil, safflower oil, shea butter oil, soy oil, olive oil, camelia seed oil, ginger, root oil and corn oil. No mineral oil!! 

Unfortunately for me, this is a very expensive oil at £36.00 for 150ml. A little goes a long way and it does such a good job so I will either spend my Liberty point on it or keep and eye out for it in the sales....With my fingers crossed.

Links| Shu Uemura | Liberty | DHC Mild Touch Oil
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Hidden Meanings

I was brought up with nursery rhymes and nonsense rhymes. As a child I would blindly and zealously recite these rhymes to please my mum and myself. Now I am older, I rarely hear these rhymes, I suppose like most things that I grew up with, they are deemed old fashioned. However, on the rare occasion that I do catch the tail-end of one, I wonder where it's origins lie and so have begun a little study of them alongside my study of fairy tales. 

Here are a few that I have looked into recently. Please note that the debate about the origins of these age old rhymes is still raging and will probably do so for many years to come.

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It is commonly accepted that the nimble Jack mentioned is Black Jack, an English Pirate who grew in notoriety for his ability for giving the authorities the slip during the late 16th century.

The candle bit refers to the curious game of leaping over candle flames. Originally, the players had to leap over an open fire. Thankfully this was banned as it was deemed too dangerous a sport and the fire was sensibly replaced with a candle flame. There is a possibility that the game was also used for fortune telling and those that cleared the flame without extinguishing it would experience good luck.
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Although this traditional rhyme seems to paint a placid picture for our minds, it's origins are quite different and is believed by many to refer to Mary Tudor or Bloody Mary within who's reign the country's graveyards filled with the bodies of those who dared adhere to their Protestant faith.

The "silver bells" mentioned are a reference to thumb screws. The "cockle shells" were another instrument of torture that were said to me attached to the genitals. In another interpretation, the "cockle shells" reference is a snide remark about the infidelity of her disinterested husband.

The "maids", refer to the original predecessor of the guillotine called the maiden. This vicious crude device could take up to 11 attempts before it actually severed a head.

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The names Jack and Jill were often used as general references for a man and a woman. Shakespeare used Jack and Jill in A Midsummer Night's Dream and in Love's Labour's Lost.

In the case of the nursery rhyme, the Jack and Jill are believed to be King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette and of course we know what became of them! 

As time past and people grew more sensitive to what they told their children, the rhyme was added to make it more acceptable. 

If you do have a theory on any of the about, please do share!

Links | Wikipedia | Secret History of Nursery Rhymes by Linda Alchin | Albert Black |

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5 Places

My wanderlust and adventure addiction is no secret. Ever since I was a child the longing to get over the horizon has been stirring my soul and bit by bit, with a lot of hard work, sacrifice and a little bit of luck along the way I have got to see some wonderful places. I try to visit each place I land in with an open heart and mind and really live in the moment and drink up every experience that falls in my path because everything feels so precious. I am always grateful that I have the will and find the means and opportunities to see far off places and never take this for granted. At the same time, I must admit that I still have a list (an ever growing one) of places that I long to see with my own eyes.

In no particular order, here are 5 that spring to mind:

Aoiike, Hokkaido, Japan.
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Kolmanskop, Namibia.
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Yakushima, Japan
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Baobab Avenue,Menabe, Madagascar.
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| Architecture | A Transparent Terrain

Fujimoto Sou was invited to create the 13th Serpetine Gallery Pavilion. His latticework structure dominated 350 square-metres in front of the Serpentine Gallery and looked like a transparent cubist cloud formation.

Thanks to Hiro's sensitive capturing of light, I am able to share some views the temporary structure with you.

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"For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two". 

Sou Fujimoto

Links: |Serpentine Galleries|Sou Fujimoto Wikipedia|

Thank you Hiro for the lovely photos!
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Do The Write Thing!

I am one lucky blogger/maker! 

I often get the loveliest hand written notes from readers of Worshipblues and customers of Stranger London. I love that so many people are still willing to pick up a pen and take the time and effort to write something to someone.

So, in an effort to spread the love for ink and penmanship as well as thank you all for following my higgledy-piggledy blog, I am giving away one of my personal favourite fountain pens the Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pen to one lucky person. 

The winner will not only get to choose their favourite colour and will also receive a gold pocket clip and pack of ink cartridges of their choice too!

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The design of the Kaweco Classic Sport remains 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.

|| How to Enter ||

Please leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win. There is no right or wrong answer.

International entries are welcome. I will post this to you via insured post wherever you may be!

|| Rules ||

1. You must be a follower of this blog either  via blogger, google + or bloglovin'

2. It would be smashing if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest.

3. The winner will be chosen randomly (using one of those online number generator things) on the 31st December 2013.

4. If I receive more than 30 entries I will add another prize to this giveaway.

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Brill in the Bathroom

I've spent more time than normal in the bathroom with my ablutions this weekend. I've had fun trying out some new things and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

\\ Soap + Glory Foam Call
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Good for the bath, good for the shower and smells great! I regularly chose soap over shower gels as I feel cleaner after using soap and find the residue from shower gels irritating. However, I have been using Foam Call a couple of times a week to break my routine and I really like the scent and my skin feels clean... Real clean afterwards.

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Soap & Glory's Fruitigo Fragrance is a hit with me and has certainly made me consider more of their products. A combination of yuzu, orage, figs lifted evermore with a nice pomelo hit.

Great value at £6.50 for 500ml and even better if you catch a 3 for 2 deal in Boots. 

\\ Heel Care Smoother from Beauty Gadgets
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This chocolate inspired foot smoother was very kindly sent to me by the lovely people at B-Gadgets to try out. 

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This works foot smoother is made of a rigid urethane foam and does a good job both in the bath or shower. It acts much like one of the traditional style pumice stones that my mum used to be fond of only this is made with extra goodness from coco butter blended with pumice to smooth and soften the heels.

I have a bad habit of walking barefoot as much as possible and this does nothing for the beauty of my feet! This heel care smoother together with some really good moisturisers and some cosy socks are helping me fix my raggedy feet. I use it with a splash of warm water and then rub it over my heels and feet in small circular motions taking care to rinse off the residue when done.

\\ Lush Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask
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I avoid Lush shops. Not because I dislike their products but because the smell that exudes from their often tiny little shops makes me sneeze and sneeze and not wanting to scare away other customers nor sneeze my nose off I keep away. A friend of mine has been raving about their Lush Fresh Face Masks and not content to talk about them, she gave me a couple to try.
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Described by Lush as "a detox to get tired and dull skin back to being radiant and glowing".I've used it a few times now, twice a week and I must say, I am really impressed. 

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Brazened Honey is made with a heap of great natural ingredients, this is a powerful mask (in fragrance and skincare capabilities) that really cleans, exfoliates and brings a natural healthy glow to my skin. My friend is now very pleased with herself too! 

Links: |Lush|B-Gadgets|Soap & Glory|

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The True Story of The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton

Envy is not my greatest sin. However, I felt its  tainted pangs upon me when this book fell across my path.

Jeremy Clay's idea of presenting a host of curious of long-forgotten stories once reported in the Victorian Press is appallingly brilliant and fills me with a serious case of the "why-didn't-I-think-of-thats"

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Bursting with some real gems that make a riotous read. I don't want to spoil it for you but do hope that I have piqued your interest in this little oddity enough for you to visit the author's noteworthy blog HERE

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Weekend-in Diary

I have enjoyed a weekend spent mainly indoors where the temperature has been far more agreeable. 

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Hiro spends a few moments each day looking out of our window. He is not a curtain twitcher, more of a cloud-spotter, and nature watcher. His observant disposition has allowed him to take some lovely photos of our changing scenery.

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Part of the reason for my reclusive weekend was to catch up on a spot of tidying/organising/clearing. I don't often buy magazines, however, when I do I tend to keep them until they pile up and take up far more room than is strictly necessary. So, to ease the clutter, I have begun getting into the habit of taking clippings and cutting out pages and sections that I would like to keep before relinquishing the rest for recycling. I use my cuttings as photo backgrounds for my shop, for crafts or just as reminders of things that I like.

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My current craft knife is a bit too brutal for these cuttings. It goes through so many pages and despite my bets efforts, offers very little control so I have my eye on this single sheet cutter from Midori, spotted in the Journal Shop.

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Reclaiming a bit of tidiness is hungry work! I have been enjoying some healthier snacks lately and am thoroughly impressed with the raw offerings from Nakd. Yummy, succulent snacks made only with natural ingredients, no added sugar and made so that the raw ingredients still retain as much of their natural goodness as possible.

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I cannot get through such chilly un-chilled days without copious cuppas. I have found a couple of more interesting hot beverages on the supermarket shelves lately.  Drink Me Chai's Earl Grey Tea Latte is lovely in the cold. It  stays on the comforting side of thick, smooth and a little gummy which I rather like. 

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Another interesting alternative to the more everyday cuppas are these "insanely tasty hot drinks" from FruitBroo. They are essentially a syrup that you mix with your hot water to make a deliciously fruity brew. I like this apple, ginger and spice concoction it seems suitably perfect for the season. I also have my eye on some of their other flavours and am hoping that they will land on a local shelf soon!

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Sunday was awash with sunlight and crisp air so a spot of shadow chasing was in order until we were suitably chilled. 

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We ended our weekend with some cosy Japanese food. Niku dango nabe (meatball hotpot) is my favourite winter food. Packed with delicious freshness! Hiro used, shimeji, shiitake and enoki mushrooms, with some chinese leaf, spinach, daikon, shirataki and pork meatballs seasoned with warming ginger. Perfect!

LINKS: |nakd|Journal Shop|Drink Me Chai|Midori English Site|Fruitbroo|
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