| Photo Diary | Sakura Missing

Have you ever missed a place so much that when you think about it, it becomes a physical sickly sort of aching? I know I have spoken to a a couple of fellow bloggers who have experienced this too. Are we the only ones?

Hiro wears:
Trench from Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcons. Jeans from Acne.
Socks from Happy Socks. Trainers from Converse. Backpack from Eastpak.

Seeing all the beautiful photos on social media of Japan flourishing into Spring makes me long to be back there. Last year Hiro and I were chasing cherry blossoms across the country.

I fell in love with Spring in Japan. Its awakening from winter's lull is so exuberant and dramatic like nothing I have every felt or seen before. The springtime sights, the smells, the sounds of the nightingale are all right here in my heart and I can feel them in the misty distance and it makes me miss Japan.

At times like this, I get through by focusing on my life at the moment. Dig deep, work hard and keep finding new reasons to smile. There is always a reason to smile!

❤️ JAPAN See more of our adventures in Japan HERE 

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| Life | Surprises

More often than not, the theme to each week of mine lately is work, work and more work. I am sure most people can relate to this. I am not complaining. However, last week little surprises lifted me making me smile a little wider.

While walking past a disused space by our home, Hiro suggested that I peer through a hole in a gate. Trustingly I did. I didn't expect to see this guy looking back at us. I think he is mighty cute!

Sticking to the streets and the art of it, I was surprised with this mural in Leytonstone. Spotted on our way back from buying more plants for our fast forming jungle home. I like the reference to Hitchcock who was in fact born close by. 

Then there are the little unexpected surprises that come in the post!
Week before last, I visited Diptyque's boutique in Marylebone to buy a gift for someone. The shop assistant is a marvel. She was so helpful and kind and though my purchase was a tiny humble one, she still gave me a few samples which really made me happy. Then last week, I received this wonderful little surprise in the post. A beautiful set of perfume samples (I signed up to the newsletter) that really made my day and! In my head I hugged the lovely shop assistant. Of course now, there is only one place I will go to make my Diptyque purchases. 

I am no chocolate fan but for some reason it doesn't stop my sister buying it for me. She is well into her raw/organic/activated/health foods and sort of quietly feeds me what she can without making too much of a song and dance about it. I surprised myself with this bar of chocolate though - it was mightily yummy!

I consider myself massively fortunate to have found a handful of truly amazing and generous friends through blogging. Friends that I have been able to keep in contact with for years now. One such amazing soul is Jane from British Beauty Blogger who very kindly surprised me when she wrote about my little shop (where I sell my handmade items) on her immensely popular blog. I am deeply touched and grateful for her wonderfulness. I really never expect anyone to go out of there way for me like this and I am pinching myself at the fact that someone has!

Little things make me happy. Unexpected things that don't cost a penny. The thoughtfulness of others, glimmers of the extraordinary or unexpected etc. They all mean so much to me. I carry around the joy they bring for days and days.

Have you had any little surprises lately? They are the stuff that makes everyday life great aren't they?

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| Shelfies | 1

When I called for fellow bloggers, readers, watchers, makers, Tweeters and friends to send in their 'shelfies', I had no idea if anyone would bother to respond. After all, even though it's just for fun, it is quite an unusual request.

But as the days went by, more and more begun to appear in my inbox and now I am sat here looking at them all with such a great feeling of pleasure and gratitude. Thank you to all these wonderful generous people for sharing a little bit of their life/style/home with us.

| Yasumi |
"This is one the shelves closest to my desk. Most of the vessels here are from South Africa and this makes me feel good to have a bit of Africa by my side."

| Katrina Sophia |
"I have just moved in to an unfurnished house. With so many boxes, I wanted to unpack at least something so I used my old shoe rack to unpack books and put them in it. I feel a lot better!"

| Trona |
"I think this small part of my shelf and book collection sums up my MA dissertation pretty nicely. I studied Hannah Hoch and gender identity in the Weimar Period. My dream is to eventually do a PhD continuing the theme of identity formation. And I'm also pretty messy :)"

| Jane |

"One day I'll have a room with wall-to-wall bookshelves, but for now this is the space I'll have to make do with for my little library. This is also where my hoard of souvenirs, random knick-knacks, neglected film cameras and various unused beauty products and empty containers gather dust."


| Adam |
"Here's the shelf above my desk, I keep a few trinkets and items on it. Books I'm currently reading and pens I currently have inked up are usually kept here as well as some trinkets and inspirational items that have sentimental value to me. My workspace is my small sanctuary so I love being able to look up and see fun things that inspire me!"


| モラ |


| Le Genou de Claire |
"This is my son's shelfie We reuse his nappy and baby wipes boxes for his Legos, rick-racks and all. He loves books, legos, and Magna-tiles. The shelf is not perfect but he always cleans it up all by himself."


| Rekishi no Tabi |
"Here is an old shelfie of my obsession... (reveals deep geekiness)"


| Jane |
"We just made these new shelves. They hang right above our dining table and some of our favorite things are now perched up there. I also decided to buy indoor plants, although I have never been kind to them my entire life. But I have these Orchids in my kitchen that are flourishing and I figured I've grown up a bit to know how to take care of plants now. I hope I'm right."


| Alexandra |
"The world was hers for the reading." - Betty Smith.


| Hiro |
"Huh? It's a shelf!"

I look forward to receiving more of your pics for next month's edition of Shelfies!

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| Stationery | New Things

I'm counting my lucky stars to be the recipient of such gloriously practical and interesting stationery items from friends near and far lately. 

These are lesser known bits and bobs (outside of Japan) for the stationery fans among you.

 | Frixion Stamp |

I am a big fan of Pilot's Fixion series (where everything is erasable) and I only found out that they did stamps when I received one from Japan. Perfect for my paper diary and it doesn't matter if I make an error because I can rub it out! That is the beauty of Frixion. 

| Tombow Blue Glue Stick |

Goes on blue and dries clear so I can see what I am doing. Good thinking!

| Metaphys Obi Minimal Tape Cutter |

This is the type of thing that I really like! So minimal and sees to its proposed function with ease. 

| Penco Colour Delights 8 Colour Crayon |

I had something similar as a kid so this brings back gushes of nostalgia. Twisting mechanical fat pen that releases colour crayon leads on demand. Perfect for travelling and fab for kids or kids at heart.

As for the notebook, I have long since professed my love for past encounters with Midori paper goods and I have high hopes for this! I will let you know how I go.

Have you have any new stationery recently? 

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| Photo Diary | Confeitaria do Bolhao

I will always remember the Confeitaria do Bolhao for its atmosphere and Art Deco interiors resplendent with mirrors that bounce reflections into infinity more than I will its food. That does not mean the food was bad! The pastries that we tried in the Snack Bar Hall were both tasty and filling and really good value considering the central location the cafe.

Back in 1896, the Confeitaria do Bolhao was known as Centennial House and it was the place for wealthy residents of Oporto to stop for a bite on their way to market. 

Today Confeitaria do Bolhao houses a Snack Bar Hall, a restaurant and an in-house bakery that unleashes its tempting treats throughout the day. Not many passersby can resist the smell of freshly baked bread and pastries! 

But for us it is also a spot to sit and let the din and the energy of the place encircle you. Tourists and locals breeze through and rub shoulders whilst enjoying a quick coffee and a bite. If ever you are in Porto do visit this place and then pop over to the Mercado do Bolhão to take in more good vibes!

Confeitaria do Bolhao
Rua Formosa 339

P.S Another good and cheap way to snack in Porto is to do THIS

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| Recipe | Edamame, Hijiki & Chicken Tsukune

I thought I would start off the week with another bit of yummy for your tummies via your lunch boxes or plates or bowls or whatever!

These sort of braised chicken balls are really good with rice/salad/side vegetable or all together. They are good cold or reheated and use ingredients that are everyday for us.

| Ingredients |

300g of chicken mince (extra lean turkey mince or pork is ok too).
2 tablespoons of dried hijiki seaweed.
Edamame - as much as you like.
1 egg
Japanese soy sauce
Cooking sake
2 tablespoons of katakuriko (potato starch)

| Method |

1. Rehydrate the dried hijiki in a bowl of cold water or follow the instructions on the back of the pack.

2. Par boil the edamame. Run under cold water and then shell.

3. In a big mixing bowl combine the mince, egg, katakuriko, hijiki and edamame with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.and kneed together till it turns into a soft paste.

4. Moisten your hands with a bit of warm water and then make the paste into flattened balls (tsukune).

5. In a cup mix together 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons sake and 2 tablespoons mirin and soy sauce together. Set aside for now.

5. Heat a little oil in a non-stick large frying pan and add the tsukune into the hot oil. Brown on both sides making sure not to burn any.

6. Lower the heat on the pan and then spoon the sauce mix over the tsukune. Allow the sauce to reduce and while coating the tsukune. Once the sauce has reduced they will be ready!

STILL HUNGRY? | More Recipes from The WorshipBlues Kitchen 

Why The O-Bento Friendly Recipes? | More Recipes from The WorshipBlues Kitchen 

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