| Photo Diary | Reticence

Though the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral may be more known as the corridors of Hogwarts for Harry Potter (in the 1st 2 instalments of the franchise), there is far more to this old place than that.

It started its life around 678 or 679 as a church then an abbey before it was dissolved by a cantankerous Henry VII. Rebuilding begun in the year 1058.

There is a tangible vapour that lurks in old English churches. Something that I do not feel as strongly in other churches in other countries. Something that insinuates in a hazy resonance. Dankness and reverence give rise to the feeling that the air does whisper, the shadows wink and the windows smile in jewel-toned knowingness. There is a latent inertia at work in such old places of worship. A feeling of unrevealed mysteries.

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| Stationery | Custom Notebook

If you have a good memory, you may recall me stating my general dislike of spiral bound notebooks. Which may then make you wonder what on earth I am doing with this one. Well, this one is special! It is completely custom made for me. I chose the cover, the orientation, the fastening and assortment of papers that fill it. There were about 30 different types of paper I looked at before selecting some Swiss bankers paper, handmade Belgian laid paper, Japanese onion skin and Italian parchment. If I could have chosen a different method of binding I would have, but I did choose the positioning and even the colour of the rings.

Photo from Kakimori.

Kakimori is a stationery lovers heaven. No! It is more than that. It is a shrine dedicated to the love of writing. It houses a heart-trembling array of well curated and designed pens, ink and paper. Everything is displayed with impressive consideration to the the customer's requirements. This is why, even though I will never buy another spiral bound notebook, this one is very precious to me. It was made in this marvellous shop right before my eyes with real care and attention. It made me smile and still does each time I look at the notebook.

Since my visit to Kakimori, they have opened a specialist ink shop next door called "Ink Stand". Here you can have your ink dreams created in almost any hue. I am so very excited to have some made on my return to Tokyo. I am dreaming up a bloody blackish red, and perhaps a perfect sea Zanzibar sea blue/green. 

Kakimori can be found in Kuramae, downtown Tokyo. The shop is run by the 3rd generation of family owners. They have very knowledgable staff, some of who speak English. It is also where Hiro bought THIS pen for me. I have not as yet written in the notebook but I am really looking forward to it - an empty notebook is a sad object to me. A notebook filled with the words of a loving owner is a beautiful thing to be able to pluck off a shelf and delve into in the future. 

USEFUL LINKS | Kakimori's English Website | Love Stationery? Got more posts and pictures for you HERE

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| Photo Diary | Ya Get Me?

It is not unusual for me to explain to people that if it is regular picturesque photos of London (or in fact anywhere that we visit) that you are seeking, then perhaps this is not the blog for you.

The reason for this sledgehammer bluntness is because what we find beautiful/noteworthy has never been questioned so much as it has since blogging.

I have never thought of our blog was unusual in its content. It is varied because this diversity matches our wide horizons of interests. What we find beautiful is personal and subjective and quite often conflicting and contradictory. Yet I am glad that we have this innate ability to enjoy what may seem on the surface as contrasting surroundings and glad that we are able to find and see beauty where people question/overlook. 

So when asked why we find a carpark (perhaps abandoned) more beautiful than an ornate palace we explain that it is just more beautiful to our eyes and to our hearts in terms of how it was built, why it was built and the materials used to built it. These places that were not built just to poise one group of people over the other nor to feed us impossible dreams of a life that we could never have. 

This is why we would rather take photos of everyday streets in everyday London rather than the polished pavements of the places where not everyone is made to feel welcome.

This is why we will always gravitate towards those people with soul. People who do not turn a blind eye to the realities and harshness that most of the world live in today. People who understand struggles and neither judge others for theirs yet still see the bigger picture.

This is why we LOVE living in a place like we do where every street reminds of the realities of life in London. The toils and industry that this great city grew out of and the struggles of life today.

Ya get me?

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| Cultural Contrasts | 'Pon The Floor

One day, I was tweeting about my love for sitting/chilling/reading/many other things on the floor of our home. To my astonishment, a fellow tweeter replied; "EWWWWWWWW! Floors are yucky". 

I was a bit stunned. Not because of the comment. More because I took it for granted that people that is part of a Japanese lifestyle.

The long and short of it is that we do not wear shoes in our home. Not ever. When we come in, outside shoes get left in the hallway - tucked away on a rack, covered and slippers go on.  It is a cultural mannerism. Every Japanese household both in Japan and outside of Japan that I have visited do this too.  Even our non Japanese friends have grown used to this and have got into the habit of taking off their shoes when they visit. 

It is hygienic I think to leave the outside dirt away from the main living parts of the home? Because of this, I feel clean and safe and proper comfy lolling about on our floors.

On that note, I have finally made another floor cushion. In Japan, people use zabuton but a good authentic one is impossible to find in UK, so as with many other things, I've resorted to making my own version. I am really happy because now we have one each! Hiro's is the hemp leaf pattern and mine is the wave pattern. Both are really old-school traditional motifs that have stood up to the test of time. 

So back to my floors! My brain gets the wobbles when people wear shoes in my home. It cannot always be helped and I understand that but when for instance, the Ocado delivery man or a plumber/electrician comes over and is wearing big old dirty boots, my brain wobbles. I don't say anything. When they leave, I run around the house mopping and scrubbing the floor. Thankfully, this does not have to happen frequently. Am I the only one?

P.S. As a mixed race person, I am repping a bag of different cultures each one has imparted a different trove of habits/etiquette/understanding. It makes life interesting, but many a time the significance is lost in translation. I hope that by writing about some of my experiences, we can learn from each other!
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| Recipe | What Do You Call it? Yum!

What do you call this? An omelette? Frittata? Or like my Japanese friend does, a 'no-flour quiche'?

Whatever you want to call it, it is yummy and great for lunch or breakfast, hot or cold. I have even made it the night before and added it to our lunch boxes along with salad for me (rice for Hiro) instead of a sarnie or if you like - in a sarnie (would probably be yummy in some Turkish bread). 

| Ingredients |

3 eggs

1/2 bag of spinach

100g sweetheart cabbage

1 carrot 

3 tablespoons milk

1 spring onion (optional)

1 teaspoon of consommé granules

1 tablespoon ketchup

| Method |

1. Get your keenest knife out and shred the cabbage. Mince the carrots and the spring onion too if you are using one.

2. Either par boil or microwave the carrots and the cabbage together to lightly soften. Blanch the spinach and roughly chop.

3. In a large bowl, crack the eggs in and mix in the consommé and milk. Beat away!

4. Add the all the veg into the egg mixture and mix together well.

5. Heat a bit of veg or olive oil in a small frying pan.

6. On a medium heat, add the mixture to the pan and cover to allow it to cook for about 4 minutes - take care not to burn it!

7. Flip it over and cook the other side.


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    | Beauty | 3 Eye Creams

    Three is my magic number (yes it is), so when it comes to beauty stuff, I usually have 3 of most things on the go. It works well for me as my skin gets used to things so quickly they often seem to stop working much to my irritation.

    So on with the 3 eye creams! These are the happy trio that are currently labouring away in my day and night routine.


    This is my regular choice for the times when my eyes don't feel like they need extra attention just a bit of everyday love. Colour, mineral oil and fragrance free it feels light and mild around the eyes. Made with soybean isoflavin and retinol derivatives it delivers just the right amount of moisture and works well under makeup and sunscreen etc.


    I am a bit obsessed with avocados at the moment which is why I probably ended up with this. I'm glad that I have as it is the one I reach for when my skin feels a bit dry after a day in the sun or wind or by the radiator. It is thick and creamy as the name suggests so it works best overnight. It does a great job at imparting deeper levels of moisture and smoothness when required.


    The one for bad days and nights. There are no such things are miracle workers in beauty (just a bunch of blaggers trying it), but this does help when I have had too many late nights. It calms puffiness and makes my dark circles less obvious maybe this is down to the micro shimmery particles in it and the super sounding ingredients.

    What are you using at the moment? Anything outstandingly good you would like to share with us?

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    | Stationery | Many Words For Rain

    It is amazing how a simple bottle of ink can unlock such a vault of knowledge. It started when I unwrapped this rather splendid looking bottle of ink that I brought back with us from Tokyo. Since then it has become my favourite and most used ink, filling up no less than 2 pens at any given time (unheard of in my pen pot).  

    Thanks to this bottle I have realised that there are so many words different words for rain in Japanese (around 50 perhaps). I am assuming that this is due to the Japanese being close observers of nature and perhaps also because it rains a lot in Japan. 

    Kirisame is the sort of fine spray of misty rain. Wispy quiet rain that is almost mystical. Do you know what I mean? The colour is a beautiful shade of grey that tells of approaching rain clouds and moodier skies. It is just as fabulous for shading as it is writing and behaves wonderfully with all my favourite notebooks and writing papers.

    Kirisame is part of Pilot's Iroshizuku fine ink range. All the inks in this range are made by Pilot to a very high standard and all are deeply inspired by elements of Japan's natural surroundings. The bottle itself shows the thoughtfulness of the makers by its little V shaped depression at the base of the bottle. This allows easier access to the very last drops of the ink. 

    Iroshizuku inks are expensive to buy outside of Japan and I have seen shops asking for up to £30.00 per bottle. I have to be honest and say that this cost me around £10.00 in Japan. Therefore, the trick is either to get this while you are out there or if you know anyone going - it's time to call in that old favour!

    P.S. Pilot Japan released mini bottle sets of Iroshizuku inks and I am massively looking forward to being able get my grubby inky fingers on some of them later this year. Aren't they delightful?

    Love Stationery? Got more posts and pictures for you HERE

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    | Home | Up on The Wall

    Remember our curious habit of picking up things from the ground and taking them home from our adventures(SEE HERE)? Well, I've finally gone and found the perfect way to store and display them!

    I had my heart set on finding an old type/letterpress drawer to repurpose as a display fixture. It took me a year to find just the right one. But you know me, I am willing to keep seeking, waiting, hoping till I find the one that strikes a chord with me and I am so glad that I did. This one is French and was used in an industrial printers factory to hold "42pt Headline Italic" letters before it found its way to London and eventually to us. Its handle is a bit rusty and its compartments a bit dusty but I happen to like it that way. It came to us with a story in its grains and hopefully, it will continue to collect stories in the time it stays with us.

    Our drawer does a good job of exhibiting our little trinkets I think. Every little thing here has its own story and so nudges a different memory for us. Not all of these have been picked up off the floor. A lot of them have come from Hiro's maternal Obaa-chan (granny) who never lets us leave her without giving us something. Many items here also have a strong significance to Japanese tradition , such as the DarumaOmamori, Shichifukujin, Kokeshi (this one has particularly interesting origins - will talk about that another day). 

    I want this display to constantly evolve and and change with our changing lives. There will be things that we will add just to mark special events and other things that we add/move around/remove just because it feels right. 

    I wonder what it will look like this time next year!


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