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Japan-inspired art and some sale items ūüíö

I’m super excited to have some of Ilana Dashe’s fabulous Japan-inspired artworks on display in the Showroom right now!

See below for some of them – They can currently be purchased in the Showroom and I’ll add them to the online store shortly.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

P.S. Scroll further down for some sale offers now available in my online store ūüôā

Ilana Dashe artworks now available

On sale in the online store

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Lunchtime pleasure & a lake house to swoon over ūüėć

I tried a new¬†gnocchi¬†recipe the other day as I had some ricotta to use up¬†and it was so¬†yum I had to include it in this blog¬†ūüėč

Also below are¬†my favourite links from the last couple of weeks –¬†isn’t¬†that lake house amazing?!

If you¬†haven’t checked out my brand¬†new online store yet,¬†pop on over! I’m currently adding¬†products almost on a daily basis.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

Some of my favourite links

Easy tips for a more sustainable home
91 little ways to green your life at home

Yes please! A podcast on Gin (including Ki No Bi from Kyoto!)
An armchair escape through gin

How cool is this?! ūüėÄ
A couple travels around the world to perfectly re-create movie and TV scenes

TOTAL. HOUSE. ENVY
A breathtaking lake house completely open to its natural surrounds

Are you storing your onions properly?
The right way to store onions

I’ll never look at the humble rice in the same way…
How killer rice crippled Tokyo and the Japanese navy

New in the online store

Eat (and cook) your heart out

Homemade lemonade

Summer time = Lemonade time!
I prefer my lemonade to be less sweet – just make more syrup if you have a sweet tooth¬†ūüôā

Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Lemonade:
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 cups cold water

  • Make the syrup by boiling¬†sugar and 1/2 cup of water to until sugar is dissolved (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  • Combine syrup, lemon juice and cold water until well mixed.
  • Keep¬†in¬†bottles in the fridge and consume within 2 days.

Fried gnocchi with broad beans, parma ham, ricotta and sage

I tried this recipe for the first time yesterday as I had some ricotta to use up – it was super yum, quick & easy. I used frozen broad beans, it probably works well with peas or edamame too.

Recipe 

Grilled lemongrass chicken

Vietnam on a plate.
Pretty easy to make and goes down a treat every single time. 

Recipe

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This month I’m … July 2020

And July it is.
Half of 2020 is gone and what a strange year it has been so far. I can’t help but wonder what the second half will bring.

The start of the summer school holidays usually goes hand in hand with quite a bit of change – families moving across continents to start new adventures elsewhere or return to their home countries. This year is no different. I said goodbye to a number of good friends and lovely customers but without sayonara parties/drinks/dinners this time round.

In the meantime I’m enjoying the somewhat cooler, albeit rainy, days before the summer heat arrives.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

BINGE WATCHING
the lastest season of Queer Eye on Netflix. Love it!!

HOPING
for the numbers to go down again so we can go on a road trip…

READING
The Henna Artist”¬†by Alka Joshi
* I’m on chapter 2 and can’t stop reading!!

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT
receiving some of Ilana Dashe (dasheprints) fabulous artworks to display in the Showroom! 

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How to create a stylish outdoor space for summer

Hi everyone & taaa daaa!

May I present the first installment of quick home styling videos with the fabulous Cherie Jones of Cherie Jones Design ūü§©

Given that most of us will spend the summer in our homes this year, you may want to turn your outdoor space, no matter how tiny or large, into a stylish oasis for the season. Small changes can make a huge difference to the mood and feel of a place.

Please let me know what other areas in your home you’d like us to tackle in future videos.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

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Headbands, fritters & a fake Russian choir ūüėÉ

It was fab to see some of my lovely customers last week¬†at my¬†first¬†Showroom Open Day in ages!¬†I was a bit worried about my rusty¬†communication skills after not having seen people in the flesh for quite some time¬†ūüėČ

Lovely Victoria from Bikudesigns dropped off some new stock a few days ago Рscroll down for a peek!

Also included in my update today are my favorite links from the last couple of weeks as well as a couple of recipes I enjoyed.

Keep smiling,
Alex x

Some of my favorite links

Can’t travel this summer? Here are some armchair travel¬†ideas
Travel the world with 11 of far-flung TV shows

The Foo Fighters are my fav band ever and I’m loving this all-star version of “Times like these”¬†
Live Lounge Allstars – Times Like These

Fancy a bit of quick & easy DIY?
4 low-cost ideas to update your home this weekend

The impact of the global pandemic on interior design
How is COVID-19 shaping design trends?

This cracked me up!¬†ūüėÄ
How Australia’s ‘fake genuine Russian choir’ Dustyesky went viral during the coronavirus pandemic

A bit of fun! I scored 68%
How perfect is your colour vision?

Bikudesigns restock

Vintage Kimono Headbands
¥3,500

Large Vintage Kimono Pendants
¥4,000

Small Vintage Kimono Pendants
¥3,000

Vintage Kimono Earrings
¥3,000

Vintage Kimono Cufflinks
¥4,000

Eat (and cook) your heart out

Corn fritters

I love fritters. In any shape and form. These ones feature quite frequently on our weekend brunch menu:

1 egg
1 tbsp water
125g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1 can (410g) creamed corn
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil 

  • Lightly beat egg with the¬†water.
  • Sift in flour and baking powder, add salt and pepper and stir to achieve a medium batter (add more¬†water if needed). Make sure the mixture is not too thin.
  • Add the can of cream corn, season and stir.
  • Heat half the oil in a frying pan to a medium heat and add spoonfuls of the batter in the pan.
  • Flip the fritters when they start to bubble on the top (1-2 min),¬†but test they are cooked through before removing them.
  • You may need to add a little more oil after each lot is taken out of the pan.

I like to serve the fritters with cherry tomatoes, avocados, sour cream & Thai sweet chilli sauce. 

**vegetarian**

Soft baked lemon cookies

So simple
So quick
So yum

Recipe 

**vegetarian**

Roasted carrots with coriander yoghurt & nuts

This one elevates the humble carrot to new heights!
I usually replace the peanuts with chopped and roasted hazelnuts or almonds.

Recipe 

**vegetarian**

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This month I’m … June 2020

And June it is – the rainy season upon us followed by Tokyo’s relentlessly¬†hot and humid summer.¬†
Isn’t it¬†odd how quickly the last few months have gone whilst life in general notably¬†slowed down? Something to ponder about …

Right about now I had planned to launch my 2020 collection. Covid-19 stopped me right in my tracks by cancelling my last sourcing trip as well as orders coming from outside of Japan.

So instead of presenting a half-completed collection I’ll just show the beautiful pieces I found during the next few weeks over on Instagram & Facebook as well as via my mailing list.

Alex x

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT
opening my Showroom again!
I’ve made quite a few changes & can’t wait to show them off!

STARTING TO WORK ON
a series of home styling videos with Cherie Jones of Cherie Jones Design. Stay tuned!

READING
“The Clockmaker’s Daughter”
by Kate Morton
* I’m over 1/2 way through and addicted to the story! Great summer read.

RECEIVING
new Bikudesigns stock including a selection of fabulous vintage kimono fabric headbands!

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Showroom re-opens!

I’m super excited to re-start my regular¬†Showroom Open Days!

Thursday, 11th June … 11am – 5pm‚Ā†
Saturday, 20th June … 1pm – 6pm‚Ā†
Wednesday, 24th June … 11am – 5pm‚Ā†
‚Ā†
All doors and windows will be open throughout the day to allow constant airflow, hand sanitizer is placed at the entrance, I’ll be wearing a mask and would like to ask all visitors to please wear a mask as well.‚Ā†
‚Ā†
Credit card payments are possible.
‚Ā†
Please get in touch for address and further details.‚Ā†

Private¬†appointments are¬†available if you’d rather like to have the place to yourself¬†to browse the collection.

Hope to see you soon!¬†ūüíô
Alex x

P.S. I will be monitoring the situation closely and cancel scheduled Showroom Open Days if necessary.

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Ceramics release – finally!

My latest newsletter containing all the details of those ceramics from my last sourcing trip just went out to my email subscribers.

I meant to release those beauties at the end of March, but we all know that ceramics were nobody’s priorities back then! ūüėÖ

Please drop me a line if you would like to get that email or sign up for my newsletter here.

Hope you are well,
Alex x

P.S. I’m looking to re-start my Showroom Open Days in the second week of June – so stay tuned!

JUST SOME OF THOSE FAB CERAMICS I JUST RELEASED:

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What’s your daily routine these days?

Mr. M and I have been in self-imposed lockdown for over two months now and whilst it was all strange at first, we have a good routine going now. 

I enjoy having a “colleague” (Mr. M working from home) in the “office” for the time being. Working alone can be lonely sometimes, but now I have someone to meet for lunch in the kitchen. ¬†
ūüėÄ

Thank you so much for your feedback regarding my last blog post! Sounds like you enjoyed my links and recipes Рplease scroll down to for some more.

Stay healthy & keep the spirits high
Alex x

Some of my favorite links

The world after coronavirus
This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come

A possible positive consequence of the lockdown
Are we witnessing the death of the car?

Very interesting podcast by The New York Times
The next year (of two) of the Pandemic

This aerial film of Japan is mesmerizing
Japan in 8K

I am drooling over #1¬†ūüėÖ
10 of the Worlds Most Jaw-Dropping Modern Homes

Yep! This!
Can all the lockdown motivators get lost

The question on many minds
When Will Flying Be Safe Again?

If you have been avoiding popping to the supermarket too often, you might find this useful
Methods for Storing Fresh Herbs

Eat (and cook) your heart out

We get a weekly veggie box¬†delivered to our doorstep and I love the surprise factor – you just never know¬†what’s in it! Swiss¬†chard and collard greens have been¬†included¬†in recent deliveries which gave me the opportunity to try this yummy Swiss¬†Chard Fritters¬†recipe from one of my favourite cook books: ¬†“Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi.

400g Swiss chard leaves, stalks removed (I used a mixture of Swiss chard & collard greens)
30g flat leaf parsley
20g fresh coriander
20g fresh dill
1.5 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
80g feta, crumbled
60ml olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Bring a pan of salted water to a boil¬†and simmer the chard leaves for 5 minutes.
  • Drain and¬†squeeze well until completely dry.
  • Whizz in a food processor with the herbs, nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic, eggs, a third of a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper.
  • Fold in the feta by hand.
  • Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan over medium-high heat and spoon in a heaped tablespoon¬†of the mixture for each¬†fritter.
  • Press down gently to shape into 7cm wide, 1cm thick fritters, and cook for 3-4minutes, turning once, until they take on some colour.
  • Transfer to kitchen paper and repeat with the remaining fritter mix and oil.
  • Serve hot with a wedge of lemon.

**vegetarian**

Chicken in red wine

I must have made this dish a thousand times. Serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread to soak up those juices.
Just. so. yummy!

Recipe 

Swedish cinnamon rolls

Best served fresh and warm from the oven. I make these in batches and freeze them.

Recipe 

**vegetarian*

Spiced chickpea, saffron and cranberry pilau rice

There’s something about the combination of saffron, coriander and basmati rice that makes me come back to this recipe over and over.

Recipe 

**vegan if you use oil instead of ghee*

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How are you all doing?

A year ago Mr. M & I¬†used the Japan’s Golden Week break to discover more of beautiful¬†Mother Earth¬†– we travelled through Uzbekistan.

And right now we would be on our adventure through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia soaking up the century-old history and culture of that fascinating part of the world. We would be exploring the local cuisine, ancient monasteries, charming villages as old as the hills and spectacular mountain vistas.

Instead we are hunkered down in Tokyo trying to ride out the wave of strange uncertainty that has washed over each and everyone of us. And that’s ok – we should¬†all be doing our¬†best¬†to make sure the current situation gets resolved as soon as¬†possible. If that is¬†staying at home so be it!

If you follow my Instagram/Facebook¬†stories you might have noticed that I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking –¬†scroll down for some of the¬†recipes I’ve been using recently.¬†

Instead of travelling¬†I’m¬†spending far more time reading well-written articles some of which I have shared with you below in the hope that you might find them useful.

I sincerely hope you, your family and friends are all ok, wherever you are. 

Stay healthy & safe
Alex x

Some of my favorite links

Crisis management
Why do female leaders seem to be more successful at managing the coronavirus crisis?

You can still watch the recording of Andrea Bocelli’s beautiful Easter live stream
Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope – Live From Duomo di Milano

I certainly felt exhausted during the first few weeks of self isolation
You‚Äôre Not Lazy ‚ÄĒ Self-Isolation is Utterly Exhausting

Life under lockdown in a number of countries
Fodor’s writers around the world share what life is like under lockdown

And on a lighter note: Travel the world in 10 cocktails
10 Signature Cocktails From Around the World and the History Behind Them

Yes to us Gen Xers!
It Took a Global Pandemic, But Generation X is Finally Getting Love

Cooking (and baking) up a storm

This is a very simple fail-proof recipe for a dense German-style bread which I bake all the time:

500g rye, wholemeal or spelt flour
15g salt
7g dry yeast
5g bread seasoning (I get mine in Germany, but there are lots of recipes online. It can be made in batches as it lasts quite a while.)
70g sesame seeds
70g sunflower seeds
70g pumpkin seeds
15g caraway seeds (whole, not ground)
500ml water

  • Mix all dry ingredients
  • Add water and knead¬†by hand or using a stand mixer until very well mixed
  • Cover dough and let rise for 30min in a warm place
  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius, line rectangular baking tin with non-stick paper & put a pot with water into the oven (bottom shelf)
  • Add dough to baking tin¬†and bake for 75 min on the middle shelf¬†(leave the pot of water inside the oven)

**vegan**

 

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Frittata

Another frequent visitor to our dining table –¬†quick & easy. I just use whatever mushrooms I can get my hands on. Love the variety of shrooms in Japan!

Recipe 

**vegetarian**

Chicken Musakhan

I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern food and cook it quite frequently. Loved this chicken dish I made for the first time a few days ago so much that I ordered the cook book¬†ūüėÖ

Recipe 

Warm beetroot, lentil & walnut salad

I used to hate beetroot and now love it! This salad ticks a lot of boxes for me – moorish, easy & nutritious.

Recipe 

**vegan if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup**