Hiro nearly never takes photos of me beside anything typically pretty. You know the sort of thing I mean - flowers, classical architecture etc. etc. etc. 

When asked why, he muttered something about being "pretty interesting". So there you have it and, here I am stood against what I thought was duckweed but is (according to a warning sign) hazardous "suspected blue green algae".


Outfit details: Quilted jumper from GAP | Skirt from COS | Slip-ons from Office | Watch from Swatch |

I wear a watch these days. I grew tired of checking the time on my phone so Hiro bought me a simple one from Swatch. I like it because it is unambiguous, light, clean looking, analogue, feels comfortable on my wrist and is also baby dribble and puke proof.

About the final photo. See that brown bag? It carried a couple of cookies that I bought at the Hackney Pearl. They make scrumptious cookies that are great for emergency snacking on our strolls. And yes, Hiro did indeed ask me to stand beside the discarded pallet.

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| Night Lights | Luminous Nightwalker

I remember the 1st time we embarked on a spot of night-walking. We took an autumn night by the nose and despite the chill stepped out with the camera, tripod and, if I remember rightly, a hip flask filled with rum. 

Since then I have accompanied Hiro on many night-walking adventures, (I do very little apart from stumble about mumbling and making silly remarks about lighting), each one memorable in their own way. 

These days our most frequently taken night walk expeditions happen in the Olympic Park. Gentrification and regeneration may have mucked-up a lot of east London vibes and although I had my doubts about this park during its construction, I am the first to admit that my preconceptions have since been chucked over the fence and possible run over by Usain Bolt. 

With 2015 over and done with with barely a mention anymore, it is good to see the park in use and actually adding good vibes to the nearby communities. By night, people enjoy a slower pace and stop to gaze at the lights. I haven't experienced another part of London where locals seem to enjoy lighting design so honestly and openly. Couples enjoy the light dappled paths and children shriek their delight in the luminous fountains like crazy mini ravers while their parents and other adults watch on with a nibbling sense of envy.

If you haven't yet taken a stroll in the Olympic Park at night, do! Do!

Links | More of our Night Light Adventures |
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| Plant Life | Cacti Care

I've been making more friends and their sense of humour is as spiky as mine!

These dudes are my type of plants. They like it toasty and they don't need much fussing over.  

"Kastehemli" side plate from Iitala

Repurposed candle glass from Cire Trudon

I spoke a lady in my local garden centre(Growing Concerns) who knows about such things and, she says that the best way to water cacti of this size is to put them into a shallow dish and add water to the dish. She said that the plants would drink it all up. I didn't believe her. Thought she may have spent a few minutes too long in the greenhouse. More fool me! They do exactly what she said and I found myself having to top-up the dish after 15 minutes. Thirsty things! Be careful not to let them sit in the water for too long as this could cause root rot. Half an hour works for me and less in the winter. I water my cacti once a month, maybe more in the warmer months but only if their soil is dusty dry.

I've repurposed old candle glass from Cire Trudon and a sake cup as pots for my new friends. It just goes to show doesn't it? That well made things - even if it is just the packaging will last and last. Cire Trudon use mouth-blown glass as vessels for their gorgeously scented candles making them far too nice to throw away or put in the recycling bin.

Places you can buy cacti in east or northeast London:

Columbia Flower Market, if you can handle the crowds and can wait till an opportune Sunday.

Botany on Chatsworth Road, Hackney

The Peanut Vendor, Gunmakers Lane, Bow

The N1 Garden Centre, Englefield, Islington

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Memory is a strange and wonderful capacity isn't it? I am particularly intrigued with how selective it seems to be in its workings and how senses are like magical keys with the power to unlock certain memories at will. 

The other day, I woke before the earliest of worms for no apparent reason. I staggered into the kitchen and was met with a sort of mystical ethereal shimmering light floating through the window. Instead of rushing for a camera, I stood there transfixed and my memory drifted away with me and took me back to the Hozu River in Kyoto. I don't think I had seen light dance in such a way before. It seems to flit across the escarpment in a guileless waltz.

The route that our boat took has been in and out of use since the Edo period (1603-1868). It begun as a cargo route for a few hundred years till rail and road took over the logistics of haulage. The boats were eventually brought back as man-powered tourist attractions which is what they are until today. A far nicer use of the river we think.

SEE MORE | See more of our adventures in Japan HERE |

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| Streets | Shop Fronts

The stuff that makes up our high streets has masses of appeal to me. Away from regular tourist trails and so often taken for granted by those who tread these path each day, they hold real stories of the communities that they serve. Shop fronts have always piqued my visual interest. The fancy appearance of chain or more prominent shops certainly get my glances but it is these humble informal establishments that make me reach for my camera.

These shops fronts are as individual as the people who own them and that is part of my fascination with them. Their presentation in terms of the colours, typeface and even the upkeep all add to their appeal. I especially like hand painted signage and seeing old London phone numbers. 

Most notable of all the above is the G Kelly Pie & Mash Shop. If ever there is a shop that charts the tale of its locality then this is one such place! Family owned and family run, they've been making and shifting their pies from Roman Road since 1937 standing their ground even during WWII. Take a look at their website if you have a moment. It's got loads of old pics and interesting history too.

P.S. I haven't found the courage to sample their hot or jellied eels. 

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| Table Top | 3

It's amazing who you will encounter on Instagram isn't it? I've been extremely fortunate in coming across some avidly obsessed stationery addicts via my rather eclectic feed, one of whom I do an occasional stationery swap with. Last week was a swap week and, much to my delight a pretty little parcel with stickers, new masking tape and knock pens arrived. 

On the table top : Kokuyo Watercolour Design NotebookKastehelmi side plate by Iittala | Macaron Box from LadureeMasking Neon Seal Stickers by Q-LIA | Masking Tape from Nami-Nami (tapes in the box are from MT and Masté) | Manner Lemon Flavour Wafers | Limited Edition 'Frixion Ball' Knock Pens by Pilot | Trellick Tower Mug by People Will Always Need Plates | Lemon Cheesecake Rooibos Moomin Tea by Nordqvist |

I consider any day that I receive new stationery in the post as a good day. When new things arrive at our door, I like to spend a good few moments over tea and perhaps a sweet treat, staring at everything before proceeding to make space for the new items. 

I am a box hoarder. I love pretty little boxes. Macaron boxes are particularly useful for storing tapes and small stationery items.

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| Photo Diary | Tropical Brutalist

My mind did an entire routine of acrobatics when I visited the Conservatory that sits on the 3rd floor of the Barbican. The convergence of Brutalist architecture and over 2,000 tropical plants makes for an extraordinary spectacle.

The Barbican, however, has superseded the architectural beauty that drew us within its complex with this striking indoor garden. The plants appease the harshness of the béton brut and sharp geometry with an enchanting flourish. 

If ever you find yourself wondering what to do with your weekend, we would urge you to drag yourself to the Barbican to take this place in. Do keep in mind that despite being the second largest conservatory in London, the Barbican Conservatory does not leave its doors constantly open. Do check their website HERE before leaving home for their opening days and hours.

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| Table Top | 2

We are hanging onto the final days of summer. Wringing them of every sunny drop. Our balcony table is topped with this vivid Mexican oilcloth and on this particular afternoon, it hosted an optimistic intermission.

Hemingway's classic has been a constant feature on my bookshelves. I've had many copies of this book. Some I've given away. At least a couple were lent and never returned. How ever we have parted a copy has always replaced it even though, it's been nearly a decade since I last read the fable entirely.

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| What I Wore | Earning Stripes

When I was running the rat-race like a gym junkie, the days, they seemed to sneak and crawl by. Now I am mostly at home doing some growing up of my own alongside the little man, the days seem to have picked up the pace and ease past me like those Masai marathon runners you see on the telly and there is nothing I can do keep up. I don't mind though. Now is a time to enjoy and earn my stripes. No need to rush.

This footbridge connects our bubble to the 'world out there'. It's become our symbol of reality.  We traverse it daily on the way to market, to town and to work and whatever serious errands life demands of us. 

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