| Ideas | Putting Up a Resistance

One of the things that often features on our Japan shopping list is "waterproofing" spray from the 100円 shop (that's about 60pence at  today's rate). 

Mega useful stuff this! Great for London living as it can be used to boost the water resistance of an old brolly, trainers and even on outer garments like this unisex  oversized parka that I bought recently from Pop Boutique.

Though the spray will not achieve a perfectly waterproof barrier, it does a brilliant job at making things water and weather resistant.  Of course it has to be used in a well ventilated area and will not work on garments that are labelled "dry clean only".

You can buy similar sprays in the UK. However, I have yet to find one that works this well at such a tiny cost.

LINKS | Pop Boutique |
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| Hiro Says| Step Pon Dem

These are my champion shoes. The ones that come out when I have to look sharp.

My Cardiff Brogues like many of Crockett and Jones' shoes, have gone through 8 stages of production which comprises of 200 individual processes and about 8 weeks to complete. They are made of calf leather uppers and soles and are Goodyear welted construction.  

These, like all my leather "good shoes", are Derbys rather than Oxfords. The difference between an Oxford and a Derby boils down to the eyelet facings (the flaps where the laces go through). The eyelet facings on an Oxford shoe is stitched underneath the vamp. On the other hand, the Derby shoe's eyelet facings are stitched on top of the vamp which allows more room for adjustment and so in my opinion are more comfortable.

I like the ritual of tying and untying the shoe laces. This quality demands respect. These are the kind of shoes that you have to sit down to put on. When I wear them, I feel proper.

We like things with heritage on WorshipBlues and Crockett & Jones does the job on this front too. Established in 1879 in Northampton, they are now in their 5th generation as a family managed business and are still regarded as many as the makers of the finest English shoes.

P.S. These shoes are 4 years old now. The photos were taken a few weeks ago.

LINKS | Crockett & Jones | Start London |
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| Smelly Eraser Dreams |

I loved, loved, loved scented erasers when I was a young'un. I brim with nostalgia at the very thought of them. I remember making many mistakes accidentally on purpose so that I would have the need to use one (I had many). I would then surreptitiously sniff the page and smile to myself. 

When I last visited the Saatchi Gallery, I spotted these smartly jacketed erasers made by one of my favourite candlemakers, Astier de Villatte. My little heart might have equaled with joy when I realised that the erasers are scented!

And it gets better, or rather more sophisticated. Not a whiff if bubblegum here. Astier de Villatte's erasers emulated their candle namesakes and seem to be targeted at grown-up stationery geeks like me (I think).

Naples is the fragrance of almonds and orange blossoms with yang-ylang.

Mantes-La-Joile combines bergamot, mint and eucalyptus .

Delightful as this pair are, all my smelly eraser dreams would be fulfilled if Astier de Villatte brought out a Kobe eraser. Alas, until that dreamy day, I shall busy myself by accidentally on purpose messing up my pencil scribbles and sniffing my pages just like every completely normal person out there!

LINKS | Astier de Villatte |
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| Adventure | Temple in the Mist

We are presently plotting our next trip to Japan and while doing so our thoughts often deviate to memories of our last visit.

One of the most fervent recollections I have was from our adventure to Yoshinoyama. (I touched on it briefly HERE).

We strolled down the mountain a tortoise-pace. It was raining that peculiar sort of rain that is like magical stuff. Dewy, hazy water-glitter that vanishes on contact yet penetrates everything. Mist was rising in swirling vaporous billows that would hover among the cedar trees. 

I have no idea what it must feel like to find yourself in a kingdom within the clouds but I imagine that it must be a bit like how it felt that November day in Japan. 

About half way down the mountain, we came across a temple in the mist.  Stone fox guardians glared at us as we passed and when we found ourselves stood before the mysterious Kinpusenji we had a feeling that serendipity brought us there that day. We were invited right into the heart of the temple which is very rarely open to the public and though photography was prohibited, what we saw and felt struck me right in the heart and I shall never forget it. 

Within the half-light of the main hall we caught sight of the colossal and sacred figures of the Zaogongen. The Avatar and the Protector of the mountain stood terrifying and breathtaking amid the shadows and dark wood of temple. I remember the palpitating beat of a drum. And in the far corner, sat a monk in black robes creating a faultless oscillating beat. Beside the monk and before a small sacred fire, a priest clothed in gold coruscated and dispersed into the dimness. I remember watching in silent awe as he proceeded with his secret ritual. Occasionally, he would throw something into the blinking ashes before him and flames would awaken to his beckoning with a hungry irritation.

I am incapable of perfectly describing our experience at Kinpusenji. And, thinking about it now, I realise that it is not so much about what I saw but more about how I felt there.

Travel Note: This part of Japan is a little hard to get to if you don't speak any Japanese but making it to Yoshinoyama in autumn when the leaves are flame-coloured or in Spring when the mountains are shrouded in pink cherry blossoms would be a sight to behold and is something that many Japanese people do. 

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| Giveaway | Notemaker

The next few weeks will be positively peppered with fine giveaways to suit nearly every taste, each one will only be open to followers of Worshipblues so make sure that you follow me on if you do not already.

I am really pleased to be giving away this ace pairing of noteworthy note making finery today.  The notebook is made by  a Japanese company called  LIFE Co (previously blogged about here). Hand stitched at the spine then covered in a protective tactile gauze to allow the notebook to open out flat, the "To your heart's content" notebook contains 64 lined pages of superb quality smooth Japanese writing paper. Fountain pen friendly and lovely to look at, this notebook is very hard to find in the UK.

Along with the notebook are 2 Mitsubishi 9000 General Writing pencils, fantastic scribblers with a cult following.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form above. 

- This giveaway is open to international entries

- You MUST be a follower of this blog via Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect (see "members" at the bottom of the blog). Please don't forget to leave your name/blog name/tag in the comments so I can find you and follow back.

- Comments will be published as and when I can and winners announced soon after the closing date. 

- If the winner does not contect me in 1 week of announcement, then I will pick a new winner.

- Closing date April 2nd 2014

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| Brutalist Estate of Mind |

Our fascination with Brutalist architecture and council estates took us on a stroll into the heart of the Barbican estate. This is so far removed from the other Brutalist estates that Hiro and I have visited that it may as well be a different planet.

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The Barbican Estate was built during the 1960's and completed in the 1970's. It stands on the Cripplegate area that was utterly devastated during the bombings of London during WWII.

Today, the estate is Grade II listed and houses about 4,000 people in what is essentially a walled city, a little oasis in the City of London. I imagine that the Barbican Estate setting Le Corbusier's heart a flutter with its seemingly harmonious living. Its lines are a wonderment of perspectives, from every angle, there is much to admire.

If you find yourself with some time to loose in London, and the sun is shining....Go find yourself here. It's a lovely place to chill amid a whole lot of angles. 

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| Hiro Says | Barker Boots

"I bought these boots because I like the colour of the leather and they were reasonably priced for the quality. They took a long time to wear in, and I think I am still getting comfortable in them. I like the Goodyear welt (the strip of leather sewn about the bottom edging of the boot) as an aesthetic detail and also because it adds to the construction of the boot."

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Established in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire in 1880 by Arthur Barker. Barker is one of England's oldest shoemakers.

The Barker Butcher in Cedar Calf is a fully leather lined boot with a leather insole, 7 laceholes and a wing cap toe. It is essentially a sleeker brogue boot with a double sole built on the 460 last with a double leather sole under the fore foot but a single sole at the waist.

LINKS | Barker Shoes |   

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| Black Ink |

All is not as it seems when it comes to black ink. I know that it seems like such a silly thing to harp on about. Trust me to get pedantic about things, but seriously, not all black inks are the same!

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I currently have 2 fountain pens loaded with black ink, they are handy for when I want to feel more grown-up. The red Lamy Safari holds Montegrappa's black ink and the white Lamy Joy holds Mont Blanc Mystery Black.

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| Montegrappa Black Ink |

Eye-pleasingly good to look at in its smart glass bottle that makes a lovely addition to my desk, the Montegrappa black ink is not the blackest ink out there but it is solid enough to make me smile at my scrawl. It performs well in my Lamy Safari with a very smooth flow. There is a little feathering but this is still a pleasure to write with all the same.

| Mont Blanc Mystery Black |

Less deep a black as you can see from the above swatches but great if you are looking for an ink which provides delicate ombre tones. Mystery Black has a reasonably good flow though it is not as smooth to write with as the Montegrappa possibly because it is on the dry side and because of that, it makes my Lamy Joy (which is usually lovely to write with) rather scratchy. Oh and just in case you were wondering, the curiously shaped bottle is supposed to help make refilling a pen easier. 

LINKS | Mont Blanc |   

The Mont Blanc ink was sent to me to review. This is based on my own honest opinion.

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In Indigo

Our London wandering led us to the area once known as Cripplegate. Like the name suggests, Cripplegate was once a gate on the London wall and also the area of the City of London located outside of the wall which interestingly predates the wall itself. The area was utterly devastated during WWII, today it is home to the Barbican Estate.

I am very keen on Longchamp Le Pilage bags at the moment. They are so robust, brilliantly weather resistant, colourful and practical. 

DETAILS | Bag from Longchamp, shoes from Bloch, skirt from COS, coat from Jaeger, bodysuit from Benetton and necklace from a craft market in Johannesburg.  

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| Places to Eat | District Six Eatery

Treading back to 1 month ago, Johannesburg South Africa. My friend insisted on a trip to the District 6 Eatery for dinner. What followed was a really unique and unforgettable dining experience.

The District 6 Eatery is small but big with good vibes. Located in the small Johannesburg suburb of Emmarentia and run by the vivacious Grace Forie, it stands out from the vast choice of restaurants because it offers authentic Cape Malay food (not easily found outside of Cape Town).

Our D6 feast begun with some meat and some potato samosas with a generously dressed salad. The salad was delicious with its tangy sweet dressing.

My friend and I also shared our mains. We had bobotie, which is savoury dish made with spiced minced meat (usually lamb) and topped with a fine layer of egg.

We also had a green bean bredie which is a deep, rich flavoursome and comforting stew. The beef was obviously made with such care and attention because it just melted in the mouth. Both the bobotie and the bredie came with enormous portions of rice.

We finished our meal with a big slice of Melk Tart. This is a true South African classic! A sweet creamy milk custard within a a pasty case with a good dusting of cinnamon. Melk Tart is one of those dishes  that every family owns a  version of. A dish who's recipe has been handed down from generation to generation. I loved it so much that I want to try and make some myself!

On a more personal note, I don't think that the commonly thrown about phrase "food for thought", ever carried as much weight with me till I found myself at the District 6 Eatery. 

If you are not aware of the significance behind the term District 6, there is a plaque in Cape Town that does well to summarise it;

"All who pass.
Remember the thousands of people who lived for generations in District 6 and were forced by law to leave their homes because of the colour of their skins".

In 1966 the then South African government declared District 6 a whites-only area. By 1982, more than 60,000 people had been removed from their homes and relocated some 25km away in the bleak Cape Flats.

That February night, I left the D6 Eatery with a huge hug from Grace Forie. I left with my belly full, my heart singing and my soul a bit richer. Now this is something no amount of Michellin stars can impart.

D6 Eatery
Corner of Greenhill and Barry Hertzog Rd
Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
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Grab a Pen!

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Fancy winning one of these handy, sprightly coloured, ace looking gel pens?

I am giving away 17 of them (one each) to the speediest people to leave a comment on this post. So get cracking, 1st comment, 1st get!


- This giveaway is a UK one folks as overseas posts is a bit pricey for me ATM.

- You MUST be a follower of this blog via Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect (see "members" at the bottom of the blog). Please don't forget to leave your name/blog name/tag so I can find you and follow back.

- Comments will be published and winners announced on Monday 17th March. So please check back here then. You may have won something nice!

* Pens made in Korea *

>>>>>> WINNERS <<<<<<<

Here are the winners of my pen giveaway, please email me with your name and address details: questions @ worshipblues dot com

The Dainty Dolls House 

Sinta Sekarasri
Ms. Wedgie
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