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Showroom closed until further notice … COVID-19 🦠

Dear all,

With the global virus crisis still going strong, I’ve decided to close the Showroom for the time being.⁠

I’m still around though (not going anywhere really as I’m social distancing) so if you see anything you like, please get in touch. Shipping is available for most items or else I can keep your purchases for you until things get better out there.⁠

Stay safe, look after yourself and out for each other 💙⁠
Alex x ⁠

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This month I’m … March 2020

Well hello everyone,

Right – what’s going on in the world??
The last couple of weeks have been … interesting … to put it politely.
Event cancellations left, right and center, closed schools & museums, travel restrictions etc.

I hope you are all okay out there. Keep up the spirit! (I’m finding that one a bit difficult, especially on rainy days like today, but hey…)

Despite the current turmoil I’ve decided to keep on going with my Open Days for the time being, but will let you know if things change.

Stay healthy & happy
Alex x

READING
“The Silent Patient”
by Alex Michaelides

EXPLORING
the Izu Peninsula. This is rather last minute and I haven’t done any research. We had booked to go to Bangkok, but a certain virus messed up our plans…
Would love your recommendations!

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT
the amazing ceramics I found on my last sourcing trip – available in the Showroom at the end of March

REPLANNING
a whole bunch of trips. I usually go sourcing in spring, but that’s probably not going to happen at this stage… 🦠

BEAVERING AWAY 
on my online shop. I’m hoping to have the first set of products up & running at the end of the month!

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Travelling – my favourite resources, websites and apps

The world of travel planning has become a complex one. Back in the day the traveller / holiday maker basically had two options to get information: the bookstore and the travel agent. 

Fast forward to the digital age and one can spend hours and hours researching the best hotel options / train connections / restaurants / things to do. I admit I sometimes get lost for ages in the world wide web just doing that, but I usually gravitate back to these resources that help me plan and book:


Guide books

I still remember the first time I held a Lonely Planet guide book in my hands. A whole new world opened up for me that day at the age of 24 in a bookstore in London. You can travel the world independently?? Without having to have huge savings?? I was gobsmacked, excited and elated! And I have used Lonely Planet guides for my trips and travels ever since. I tried different guide book series, but always went back to LP. Carrying a guide book around might seen old fashioned to some people as you pretty much have all the information you never knew you needed on your smartphone, but I like the compactness of a guide book. Plus I love diving into the history, culture and food sections of the Lonely Planet guide books on long flights and train journeys.

One of my favourite feature of the books is the map highlighting the best sights of a country. That instant overview paired with suggested itineraries depending on the length of your stay is gold.

Those maps can also be found online on Lonely Planet’s website.

For more tricky travel issues such as up-to-date information on land border crossings I like to refer to Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forum


Accommodation 

My first choice for accommodation reservations is Booking.com. I like the generous cancellation policy for most hotels. Also their app is very user-friendly, in particular the feature that lets you display the address of your hotel address in the local language – a godsend when arriving in a new country without any command of the lingo.

I also use Airbnb quite frequently as you get to stay in more local areas and the tips your get from some of the owners are invaluable!

If you are after a bit of luxury, make sure to check Mr & Mrs Smith as well as iEscape to swoon over their listings which are absolutely divine.


Flights

Skyscanner is my go-to source to research flight connections. Flights can’t be booked directly through the them, but Skyscanner displays a list of bookable websites with all respective prices for each particular connection. It pays to have a look at the user ratings for those websites. Some of them are dreadful to deal with if you need to change / cancel a flight. 

I usually find my connections on Skyscanner and book directly with the airline(s).


Car hire

I pretty much use Rentalcars for all of my car hire bookings as they seem to cover most locations and their app is very user-friendly.

With most bookings Rentalcars offers the option to upgrade the insurance level for the car – an option I usually make use of as I have been stung by local insurance charges.

Using Rentalcar’s insurance upgrade alters the claims process: the local car hire company charges the user’s credit card for damages caused and Rentalcars refunds the money after. I recently had a claim – the refund process was simple and swift.


On the ground transportation

Taxi apps I use are Uber and Grab. The latter works very well in a number of South-East Asian countries. 

Bahn.de is great for booking trains in Germany and Europe and I also like to refer to Seat 61.


Other

Travelling with a group? I highly recommend using Tricount to keep on top of shared costs and expenses. This handy little app lets everyone log whatever they spent for the whole group and the app calculates who owes what to whom. Multiple currencies are supported.

Not mentioning Tripadvisor in my list of resources would be wrong as I refer to it more often than not for restaurants and things to go.

The best resources however are the locals themselves or friends & family who have recently been to the place of interest. Nothing beats a personal recommendation!!

Happy travelling!
Alex x

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Introducing: “This month I’m…”

Turquoise Port was founded and is run by me, myself & I.
My personal life and my life as a small business owner are very much intertwined so instead of just talking about my products, events and releases all the time, I thought I’ll share a few more personal things with you on a regular basis.

This is the first instalment of “This month I’m…” 

READING
City of Girls
by Elizabeth Gilbert

GETTING EXCITED ABOUT
new arrivals of Vietnamese pom pom cushion covers – available in the Showroom at the end of February

EXPLORING
Kobe, Japan
Any recommendations?

MAKING 
a bunch of different muesli / granola recipes
Got a good one? Please send it to me!

I’d love to know what you are up to – comment below or send an email to let me know.

Alex x

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My first EVER sale has started!

I’m super excited to announce that my first ever sample / end-of-line sale has just started – I need to make space in the Showroom for my 2020 collection! 🤩

A number of discounted accessories as well as a whole bunch of home decor items such as cushion covers, candle stands and pretty ceramics are all waiting for new owners.

The full range of discounted items can be viewed in the Showroom and on my Facebook page. (Please see picture captions for availability.)

My loyal mailing list subscribers were the first to know about the sale and made use of having first dibs before the sale went live.
Want to be in the know? Sign up to my mailing list!

Alex x

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2020 goals

We are one month into 2020 and I’m well into achieving some of the goals I have set for myself and Turquoise Port at the beginning of the year. The emphasis is on SOME of the goals; not all of them are ticking along nicely.
But hey – that’s the nature of goals, isn’t it?

My absolute #1 goal for Turquoise Port is to finally get my online shop up and running! It has been on my to-do list FOREVER, but that’s the issue with working for yourself: deadlines are very fluid and there is no boss to hurry you along! 😇
A lot of work has already been done, but a quite a few more hours are needed before I can flick the switch. 

Another goal is to share some of my travel tips and stories with you. I travel a lot and love talking about it, so why not write some of it down and share it with you in the hope that you’ll get inspired to visit new places and maybe even revisit some places you have already been to? 

Talking about travelling: We (Mr. M & I) have come up with a whole long list of places we want to visit in Japan before we leave. While we don’t have a departure date yet, we are well aware that our Japanese adventure can end at any time. 
We have already started to chisel away at the list by visiting Kanazawa and the gassho-style (thatched roof) Unesco World Heritage villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in January and we purchased Shinkansen tickets to Kobe for the long weekend in February. 

I’ve never been sporty, but I started to be quite active in the last few months of 2019. My goal is to keep the current level of exercise up – I work out 4-5 times a week with a combination of going to the gym, bootcamp classes, reformer pilates workouts and some Krav Maga thrown in.

One goal I am still struggling with is making mediation part of my day. I gave it a go not so long ago and enjoyed it, but it is not yet part of my routine. Got any tips for me that might help? I use the Calm app and currently work my way through the beginner levels.

My reading challenge is going well and I am on track with reading 12 books in 2020. “City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is the book I’m reading right now.

What are your goals? I’d love to know! 

Alex x

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My first EVER dedicated summer collection

When I first started Turquoise Port, my mission was to bring beautiful handcrafted items from other parts of Asia to Tokyo. There are so many talented artists and artisans all over this mesmerizing continent creating modern Asian items which are usually not detected by tourists and travellers in those respective countries.

I never set out to create dedicated collections and now, less than two years into the journey, I have done just that! 

My first ever summer collection features a range textiles in soft colors such raw cotton blankets and macrame cushion covers as well as handwoven baskets, placemats and fun decorative objects. I am soooo excited to share them with you!

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Getting closer

Remember the Bikudesigns x Turquoise Port creative collaboration we keep talking about? Well today you can see some of the limited edition items in close-up that will be launched VERY soon.

The Meera clutch is made by hand in India from a combination of gold rattan, hand-embroidery and hand-beading. Inside there is a nifty little detachable antique bronze chain making this a perfect little bag for a brunch or evening cocktails. It’s so easy to dress up or down depending on the event.

The Musubime cuff is so light and easy to wear that you won’t even know it’s there. Made from a turquoise vintage iro-muji kimono, the bracelet gives you a little hint of the matchy-matchy with the Meera clutch, without overdoing it.

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Creative collaboration update

A couple of days ago Victoria from Bikudesigns and I launched our creative collaboration project and cheekily didn’t show you the items we have been working on. So here they are on an actual person, on a street in Tokyo. All of the jewellery pieces are made from a single turquoise iro-muji vintage kimono.

Our collection comprises of:
Meera clutch-hand embroidered and beaded with a chain strap
Harisashi stud earrings
Saya dangle earring
Saya fabric pendant on a chain (long or short)
Musubime neckpiece
Musibime bracelet

Launch day is fast approaching so make sure you are firmly in the loop to hear about when and how you can get your hands on these limited edition pieces.

Thank you to our amazing models:

https://www.instagram.com/qintokyo/
https://www.instagram.com/sayamatcha/
https://www.instagram.com/lia__kim/