| Oddities | Not An Ordinary Postman

Ferdinand Cheval was on the surface at least, an unremarkable provincial postman. Then one day, he stumbled over an errant stone. On further investigation, Cheval decides that the offending stone is in fact rather beautiful and decides to keep it. This act was the start of a peculiar obsession and for days, weeks and months afterwards he would fill his uniform pockets with these curious stones and take them home. 

When his wife complained about his worn out pockets, he begun to fill baskets which were soon upgraded to a wheelbarrow. But all these stones that he was unburdening into his back garden were not enough to satiate his passion, and he soon found himself relinquishing sleep to return to the area of the remarkable stones by night.

When Ferdinand Cheval retired, it was time for the next phase of his 'madness' and, what he did next was truly extraordinary.  

Photo credit :Palais Ideal du Facteur Cheval

Unencumbered by his lacking in formal education, experience in building and architecture, he was propelled by his vision and determination that lead him to complete is 'Ideal Palace' in 1922 after dedicating 33 years to the endeavour. 

Sadly he died only 2 days later. However, during his time, his eccentricity caught the attention and imagination of many highly regarded luminaries including Picasso and Max Ernst who went on to create a work which he entitled; 'The postman Cheval'.

I like people unfettered by experience and education. There is something so inspiring and fascinating about the way that they pursue an objective in an uncommon and dogged way.

Hungry for more Oddities? | Encounter more curiosities HERE |

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| Home | The Old Light Bulb Shelf

We have so many shelves in our home. Shelves that are in a state of perpetual transformation according to the seasons or random reasons. As I am yet to compile the next set of submitted shelfies (apologies - I am working on it slowly), I thought I would indulge myself by delving into one of the many we have.

Shelves are  not only practical storage places for us, they also serve as little display compartments that bring little moments of pleasure. Pausing to take in the little scenes as we walk past is one of life's tiny but welcome comforts.

This is our 'old light bulb shelf'. It houses a curioius couple! An oversized lamp that Hiro bought at a modernist fair and a funny looking plant that I bought at the North One Garden Centre. The funny plant sits in a pink plant pot - perhaps the only pink home decor thing that we own. No idea why I decided on that over the blue! I must have been having one of my 'moments'.

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| What I Wore | For My Balancing Act

I have a new boss these days. A new bwana mkubwa (big chief) as we say in Swahili. When he snoozes I try to nap but it rarely works and, instead I find myself itching to get to my sewing machine. It takes longer than ever to complete a sewing project but I don't mind. Slow things are good things because we savour their making.

Trousers were handmade by me + T-Shirt is from Uniqlo + Scarf is from a street market in Zanzibar + Sandals are from Aspiga.

Most recently, I finished a pair of sarouel trousers for the summer. I wanted to make light, loose comfortable trousers with a good drape so linen was an immediate choice. However, linen is inclined to creasing so I went for a Brussels Washer from Robert Kaufman's selection which is a soft, less crease stricken and drapey mix of 55% linen and 45% rayon. The pattern was adapted from a Japanese pattern book. The singular big pocket is made from a scrap of light denim that I found in my craft cupboard and the seams are bound with some French linen tape.

Comfort is a joy while I am performing life's daily balancing act! I am pleased with how my trousers wear, they are unisex so Hiro wears them too. Actually, much to my annoyance they look better on him!

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Instagram in its purest form allows a person to display the photos that they have taken so that they can reach out and connect with others across the globe. These days, Instagram has begun to veer away from the purity of personal photography that I enjoy so much and has begun to  morph into a regurgitation machine like Pinterest!

That said, there are still many many people sticking to their shooting guns and reaching out through their skills, minimal editing and soulful eyes to touch hearts like mine. Kawahara Kazuyuki is one such Instagrammer.

He has extraordinary skill and has moved me so deeply at times that I have found myself in tears. Happy tears and heartbreaking sad tears too.

In his own words; "In Toyama,Japan/ My camera is Hasselblad 500CM/ The hero of my photos are my grandparents.They teach me about life just by standing before my camera."

Through his account, I have watched his grandfather pass away, his grandmother continue their story alone and his daughter grow. There is so much beauty that surpasses mere words here. There is also a gentle but powerful profundity that outweighs any way that I have to try and convey my respect for what he has managed to achieve. 

Follow him on  HERE Instagram. You will not regret it. I know that if I could only follow one person on Instagram, it would be Kazuyuki.

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| Thoughts | Exhale

Skirt from Reiss. Top from ASOS. Purse from Aspiga. Photo taken in Zakynthos.

Is there an element of vanity in blogging? Are we bloggers unintentional braggers, in a 'look what I've got' kind of way?

For my part at least, I would be saddened if I came across as either. Yet, maybe this is an involuntary reflex to being a blogger. Maybe it all comes down to how people read what what you put out there?

As much as I enjoy blogging, it is not a pursuit that is without some moments of discomfort that make me question myself - or is is the other way around? 

I think that as bloggers we give up so much of ourselves and I suppose we all seek some kind of something in return? Some acknowledgement/approval/respect/attention. Maybe it is through seeking this something that we come across less how we intend to? It's all subjective I know and something we ultimately have no control over.

It is good to question ourselves at intervals. It keeps the feet on the ground and the air clear from bull shit.

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| Everyday People | Sunset People

In Stone Town when the sun slumps and begins its spill beyond the horizon, the people flex their smiles and float towards the harbour. It's a time to relax. A time meet with friends and chill with family. A time to catch up  with our thoughts and subside into the lull of the evening.  

From where we sat with our camera, we greeted the locals and gently observed their comings and goings. 

It was here, amid the enjoyment of the evening that we spotted a young man that we had noticed before. He was unforgettable to us as it is not common to carry a little monkey about the wrists like a furry living bracelet. Yet, there the baby monkey was! Happily and tenaciously curled around the fellow's wrist his little eyes darting vigorously.

For The Adventurous | See More of Our Adventures in Zanzibar HERE 
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| HOME | Fugu Family


That, my friends is how I feel time has flown by! Yesterday we marked 5 years since we said "I do" and signed some papers at Hackney Town Hall. 5 years....ALREADY! When I think about it, it only feels like yesterday. When I really really think about it and consider how much we've packed into those 5 years I start to feel little twinges of pride and gratitude that we are still sticking it out together and enjoying our time too.

This year we celebrate as three.

I blew up and hung up our 'fugu family where they swim mid-air through waves of gentle breeze. 

These cute puffer fish are traditional Japanese paper balloons. Originally they would have been used as toys but perhaps these days they serve a more decorative purpose. Nothing wrong in hanging around looking cute!

They were made by a Japanese company who has been producing delicate and beautiful paper balloons for over 90 years.

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| GADGETS | Printer in My Pocket

Polaroid's Zip Photoprinter makes my photo junky habits a happier addiction as it enables me to print my pics both inklessly and wirelessly via Bluetooth in a speedy easy jiffy. 

My first encounter with Polaroid's portable photo printers was with the Pogo that I blogged about three years ago HERE. Though I loved the Pogo, it was cumbersome to use. Polaroid and Apple were not pals back then so I had to send photos from one device to another before I could print anything. Its battery life was poor and because I had it so long - its magical printing powers were dwindling!

Compared to the Pogo, the Zip is a sleeker, shinier mini beast in appearance.  It's decked out in plastic instead of metal which makes it lighter and easier to keep clean. Not sure how it will deal with taking the inevitable knocks that occur on adventures. Fingers crossed that it won't let me down.

The Zip prints faster and the battery life has been improved.It prints via free app which can be described as basic at best but it does the job and allows for simple tweaking. However, the app does have a collage function that is pretty ace in my opinion as it allows you to get more pics from a pack of photo paper.

The Zip and the Pogo use different types of Polaroid's Zink Photo Paper. Whilst both papers are glossy, and follow the same dimensions of 2 x 3 inches, the Pogo paper is slightly lower quality (hence why it is cheaper) and the shiny new Zip won't readily accept it.However, there is a way around that!


Actually there are 2 little sneaky tricks that you can use: 

-Keep the blue sheet with the barcode that needs to run through the printer with each newly loaded pack of paper and replace the one from a Pogo pack with this each time to reload.

-Keep topping up the paper with Pogo photo paper before reaching the last sheet.
Top : Polaroid Zip on Pogo Photo Paper. Bottom: Polaroid Pogo on Pogo Photo Paper. Photo was taken on Canon 6D.

In terms of photo print quality, the Zip does come up trumps but at a cost and it works best with the upgraded paper. The Pogo happily prints slowly and with less definition. The Zip spurts out the pics speedily but as shown above it will betray your filter-happy tweaks - so it's best to keep these to a minimum. 

Of course the printer is not limited to printing photos taken on a smart phone. The above photo was taken with a high spec DSLR. Bear in mind that the printers will modify the high res images so it can print them and this will affect the quality of the photo.

By the way! Did I mention that this is an inkless printer? 'Zink' means 'zero ink' and is the clever bit of instant photo technology that Polaroid apply to their printers. Polaroid have done away with ink cartridges and instead each pack of Photo Paper is embedded with heat activated colour crystals that react in the printing process magically making a photo. Cool shizzle no?

I use my photos in my journal, my recipe book, as an aide memoir for my sewing projects and in letters and cards too. They never fail to bring a smile to my face and I am sure that when I look back on my notes in years to come, I will smile all over again.

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Yellow is a colour that I've spent swathes of my life avoiding in my wardrobe, for 2 main reasons. The first being that yellow was the colour of my school shirt that was hideously paired with a brown skirt. I know! Positively dashing isn't it? The other was that being the only "oriental" in my class subjected me to lovely names such as "yellow" and "chicken oriental".

Skirt from COS + Shirt from Muji + Plimsols from eBay + Laces from a sports shop in Dallas.

Years and countless rude gestures to the school memories later, I cannot remember the names of my name callers but I LOVE YELLOW. I especially like the fluorescent yellow most comfortably accepted in sportswear or dare I say it, a building site!

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| Life | The Little One

It's been nearly 2 months since our little one came along and turned our world topsy-turvy.  

Like all new parents we are both battling with exhaustion yet, somehow our son seems to magically encourage us to dig deep and find energy that we never knew we had!

Photo taken by David Fine.
Clothes and soft toy from Polarn O Pyret 

He was just 2 days old when this photo was taken and though he had the ability to roar like a lion when hungry, he could barely fit into the tiny new clothes that his aunty bought him. Just a few weeks later, he's nearly outgrown the clothes but grown into our lives so completely. 

Recently, we've embarked on our first few adventures together. Little ones within our locality. Slowly, step by step and day by day, we will go further and further and see more and more together as a family. 

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| Photo Diary | New York Perspectives

Last week I was sent to New York for work. A whistle-stop breeze through the Big Apple for work. Work or no work - the camera went too so we could catch sights while I was shunted from one mission to the next.

The thing that struck me about New York is that it is a city of vistas. Long straight gridded roads that intersect neatly and at each end there is a surprising vista. I like that! A city of tidy roads and interesting perspectives, completely unlike the weblike network I've come to know in London. Oh and the skyscrapers are REAL sky-scrapers. So tall! Much taller than what I've seen in London or even Tokyo.


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