| Objects | Omamori

Strictly speaking, you're not supposed to make a collection of these. They are said to retain their powers for 1 year before they need replacing. You are supposed to take them to a local temple to dispose of them so they can be purified in a ritual burning. 

But as we don't live in Japan we still have all the omamori we've collected and been given from different parts of Japan. Some of these are quite old and some very rare so I'd like to think that their powers haven't dissipated but grown.

Omamori are basically amulets or talismans. Little charms that contain a written blessing within an ornate fabric pocket. It is super bad luck and most disrespectful to open and look inside an omamori. Funny enough though, I have a friend who's teenage part time job was to make these for a rural temple in Japan. Learning this completely messed with my idea of them being holy things. 

More curious objects | HERE |

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| What I Wore | Still Liking

My love for garments that are loose, slouchy and generously roomy for movement means that I spent next to nothing on maternity wear. I wore most of my clothes throughout pregnancy and fit comfortably back into them again after our boy's arrival despite somehow dropping 10kg of gained weight like a sack of hot spuds (no idea how because I didn't plan to)

|Peter Pan collar shirt from Muji + Laser cut top from COS + Cropped trousers from ASOS + Slip-ons from Office |

I'm still doting over boyish/androgynous cuts/lines. Still monotonously mad over monotones. Still loyal to my love for layering. Mumma always did say that I am stubborn!

I guess that is the crux of following one's instinctive 'style' rather than media dictated 'fashion'? I don't know! I just really get it when people follow their own course and get the most of what they like.

Respects to Sweet Toof

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| Photo Diary | Horyuji

Japan is not short of beautiful mind staggering temples and though we have not visited enough to claim a clear favourite, there is one that stirs genuine emotion and inspires us more than any other we have visited and that is Horyuji.  

Every temple in Japan is in its own way rich in intricate and unique detail. Horyuji sets itself apart as the worlds oldest surviving wooden structure. 

Few nations are as enamoured with wood as the Japanese and the historical cultural relevance of this is so beautifully exposed in Horyuji's architectural bones. It is a place of poignant shadow and tactile warmth. Masterfully constructed edifices that stand as testament to a real knowledge and respect of wood as a fabric for building. Astonishingly much of the work was managed without the use of a single metal nail. 

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| WHAT I WORE | FlyKnit Chukka

When Hiro visited Dallas, he bought himself a pair of Nike Free Flyknit Chukkas. Trainers are much better priced in the US than over here. Anyway, that was in winter and anyone who has a pair of Flyknits will tell you, they are not ideal the cold.

Hiro says........

"Now that the sun is making a more regular appearance and my toes don't get bitten by a frost, I wear them more and more. If you've not tried on a pair of Flyknits, know that they are very comfortable, breathable and as light as your feet can take. A good choice for city living, walking and even cycling - not for serious cyclists mind you. Good enough for me and my Rasta Brompton".

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| What I Wore | Kikoy

I always take a kikoy away with me when I am travelling. Always.I have done so since I was a child. A kikoy is an east African wrap. A large bit of fringed cotton cloth that traditionally worn like a sarong by men on the Swahili coast. For me, they are the epitome of versatility.  I am an African girl and it pleases me to take a bit of my homeland with me wherever I go. As a child I would take them with me to wrap the unfamiliar pillow I had to sleep on within it because it smelled of home and I could be certain that it was clean (such an odd kid!). Now, I use them as sarongs, wraps, skirts, blankets on airplanes and even beach towels. They dry much faster than a regular terry beach towel and are much much lighter but still absorb water efficiently. 

We are usually among the last people to leave the beach on a sunny holiday day. The last to give up our loungers. The people milking the very last rays of sun before it tucks itself away beyond the horizon.

There is something about the last bit of sun that is quite magical. It is soothing, calming and the light it emits its beautiful. Sleepy end of the day sun is the best sun.

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| BEAUTY | 3 Cleansing Balms

I love cleaning my face! I enjoy the ritual of it and the feeling of a just cleaned and moisturised face. I just love it - it makes me feel relaxed and ready to chill out. 

At the moment (and throughout my pregnancy) I have been adoring cleansing balms. Thick, slick emolient preparations massaged onto the face and then buffed away with a pristine cotton flannel is quick and easy way to pamper myself.

Here are 3 that are currently making me smile:

Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm

Love this stuff! It's easy on the wallet and works a treat to shift both everyday muck and makeup. Gently fragranced and more greasy than my other two balms, this is my choice when my skin feels a bit dry and tight.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

This is one of those products that features on many a bathroom shelf as a favourite and it is firmly one of mine. Non perfumed but distinctly smells of coconut oil to me, this takes everything off in a jiffy. Everything from my most stubborn mascara to my most clingy BB cream just slides off so effortlessly. It's a huge jar and a little goes a long way so the price tag is not a steep as it seems.

Diptyque Nourishing Cleansing Balm

My most indulgent of the three. This is the one I turn to when I am I glad to see the end of the day. It's a decadent little floral lift before retiring into the evening. I don't normally go in for fragranced skincare. This is something that changed for me during pregnancy and I've begun to appreciate an elegant scent as uplifting and pleasing. This is a tad more waxy than the other two but sits in between then in terms of greasiness. It does a great job of removing my makeup and its comes of like a dream when used with a cotton flannel. This is also a secret little multi-tasker and I have been using it to dispel dry skin on my heels and elbows.

I like using a clean cotton terry flannel to clean my face. I keep a stack of them in the bathroom, and change them daily. This is something that my mother and grandmother used to swear by- I remember them saying that you cannot clean your face properly without one. I buy mine in my local market for about 30 pence each. Great stuff!

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| Photo Diary | Wide Skies

My mind's been a-wonderin' back down memory lane. Meanderin' and escapin' its sleepless state to the Free State in South Africa when I found myself staying in a little house on the edge of a diamond mine. 

The Free State is South Africa's breadbasket because it is the heart of its agricultural industry - it is said that about 30,000 farms stretch across the lands here. 

For me and my memory, it comes to mind as a vast, vast place with wide, wide skies that house clouds that hang low, low. The Free State is situated at an altitude of 1,000 metres above sea-level which is probably why the clouds were so animated here.

I like places with wide skies and South Africa is a place that serves up a delectable assortment of this along with plenty of sweeping horizons for me on every visit. I only spent a short while in this part of the country but it has stayed with me long after my departure. The down-to-earth plainspoken realness of the people who live here, the provincial feeling and the beautiful land makes it a place very hard for me to forget. I look forward to my return.

MORE FROM SOUTH AFRICA | See More of Our Adventures in South Africa HERE 

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People often remark on how we seem to have developed a knack for spotting abandoned buildings. It's a strange thing for us to hear because it is more of a case of.....

.......HOW CAN YOU NOT SPOT THEM...........

Hiro spied this disused warehouse on the daily commute to work. We just had to go back at weekend to take a better look.

Isn't it wonderful building? Those old bricks and the number of windows it houses. How we would love to take over a space like this and make it home.......Ah! What a dreamy place.

This is one of those buildings that remain decaying in plain sight - most people don't even notice it anymore. There used to be more of these places in London but with the property boom in play, everything seems to have pound signs floating above it. I wonder what its fate will be.

Another curiosity we came across on this walk, was a short row of trees tethered by metal railings. How amazing that in their growth, they seem to be consuming the metal. Nature shall always prevail.

For The Curious | See More of Our Adventures in Abandoned Places HERE 

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| Ideas | Victorian Bottles

A stroke of luck brought me and these Victorian ink bottles together. I am taken by their luminous sea-like hues, roughly made appearance and even the jagged lips that top a few of them. I say a few of them, because I have in fact landed about 10 of the diddy little delights. 

I think they make darling little ornaments and pretty little vessels for the little weeds that I seem to bring back from our walks. They look just as charming unadorned. 

You know that they say about one person's treasure being another person's junk? Well that is probably the case with these bottles! I think they are far to precious to chuck away and they can be re-purposed in a variety of ways. In case anyone else agrees, I will add some to my little shop when I re-open it (hopefully) towards the end of the month.

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| Creatures | The Baboon & the Lion

Let's take things back. Back to when we touched down in my motherlands. When we soaked up the dust and dry heat on a safari in Tanzania. Safaris are a magical mix of expectation and luck because in the domain of the beast, we are no longer in control of the schedule and what we will see is not up to us.

So when we observed a curious exchange between a baboon and a lion, we considered ourselves so very fortunate.

Once upon a hot hot safari day, a lion lounged beneath a vast and wide tree. It brought a comforting shade and when the wind took up in its branches the tree would whisper a cool song to the lion. How peaceful he was until the baboon that had also been resting in the tree saw the lion and, commenced to start to hurl abuse at the lounging lion. Oh what a noise he made! Loud, loud and angry, angry he barked and screeched and shouted. The lion first tried to ignore the rambunctious resident but when the noise got too much, he took a little walk as if to say to the baboon.......

"I do not want to eat you. I just want some peace and quiet. I shall take a walk over there, so you can run away. I do not want to eat you".

But the hysterical baboon did not move from the tree. He stayed right there making his noise. So the lion after waiting a while, went right back and sat beneath the tree and so the silly baboon continued to be stuck in his tree all because he did not take the opportunity to move!

Observing animals in the natural habitat is a huge honor for us and we are so happy that we can share in their story when we can.

For The Curious | See More of Our Safari Adventures HERE 

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| Home | The Teak Planter

Our recent foray into leafy green flora madness has been flourishing beyond even our own initial plans. Our home definitely has a bit of a jungle vibe to it these days and we LOVE it. Living with plants adds a sense of well being, helps to keep the air clean and the colours they display are just gorgeous. 

On a recent visit to Chase and Sorensen on Dalston Lane, we fell in love with a vintage Danish teak wood planter.

We were told that the planter dates from the 1960's but we are a  bit doubtful and suspect that it is newer than that. However, this makes no difference to us really. It is such a lovely item and we love how it looks in our home. It adds warmth and a nice dimension to our current lines and layers. 

Teak is a gorgeous wood that ages so beautifully. I don't know if you have seen a cross section of teak before? The outer bark sections or 'sapwood' are a pale colour similar to many blonde woods. At the centre is a deep brown/red wood known as the 'heartwood' that is what most teak items are made of. The heartwood darkens and takes on a deep subtle lustre with age. 

Choosing vintage pieces for our home suits our lifestyle. Pre-loved items that can join in our motley collection of things that we hope to keep with us for life. Well made things that grow in beauty with age, hold a value and timeless aesthetic appeal that we can eventually pass on to our son in the future just feels so right. 

USEFUL LINKS | Chase & Sorensen Website 


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