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Yummy & easy Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Round cookies on square blue plate

I stumbled across this recipe on NYT Cooking a few years ago and have baked these soft, yummy & easy eggnog snickerdoodles (don’t you just love the name??) a number of times.
Even though they don’t make it as long in our house: The cookies keep in a sealed airtight container at room temperature for around 4 days.
Oh and they taste even better on day 2 if you can restrain yourself from gobbling them all up right away 😉

Ingredients:

– 445g flour
– 1½ tsp cream of tartar
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 225g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
– 350g sugar, + 50g for rolling
– Salt 1 tsp
– 1 large egg plus 2 yolks (at room temperature)
– 1 tbsp rum extract
– 2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

Get baking:

– Mix the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda in a bowl.
– Cream the butter together 350g sugar and the salt in your stand mixer with the paddle attached on a medium-high setting for 3-4 min until very smooth and fluffy.
– Add the egg and egg yolks, incorporating each before adding the next.
– Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rum extract and continue to beat for another 1-2 min.
– After that add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
– Preheat the oven to 175C, then line your baking tray with parchment paper/ a reusable baking mat.
– Combine the remaining 50g sugar with the nutmeg in small bowl.
– Roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls (about 45g), then roll each dough ball in the nutmeg mixture to cover it completely.
– Put the balls onto the baking tray, about 5cm apart and bake 10-13 min until slightly puffed and just set.
– Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
– Enjoy!


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Small Business List Builder online course

Small Business List Builder

I’m very excited to tell you all about the brand new Small Business List Builder online course!
As you might know: I’ve been running in-person Instagram classes back in Tokyo with my biz bestie Victoria from Bikudesigns in a past. We loved teaching fellow small business owners about the power (and limitations!) of social media marketing and how to utilise Instagram to find the right followers without spending all day every day on the platform.

We were already working on our next course, when I found out about our move to New Zealand. Instead of coming to a total standstill, Victoria and I decided to keep on going and turn the planned in-person class into a 2 week online course instead!

Welcome to our new online course Small Business List Builder – Start, grow & nurture your email list!

  • You know that you need a mailing list but just don’t know where to start. Right?
  • Do you feel like you’re bothering people when you email them?
  • Do you want to connect with your customer but don’t know what to talk about?
  • Are you scared people will unsubscribe?
  • You already have a list, but are unsure what to do with it?

Email marketing is more important than ever. It’s getting harder and harder to reach existing and potential customers/clients on social media. At the mercy of ever-changing algorithms, your content is competing in a very crowded space. Plus: You don’t own your followers. If for some reason your account gets suspend or hacked, all your hard work is gone and might not be recoverable. An email list however is yours. You own it and it allows you to communicate with your community in a more direct way. Join us to find out how at our Small Business List Builder online course!

The course will start on 30 January 2023 and run for 2 weeks. Participants will have access to 6 comprehensive video modules as well as 2 live calls plus free access to our brand new small business community for 3 months.

Does that sound like you? 👇🏼

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Where I have been hiding

Auckland New Zealand Waterfront

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and write a long blog post. The last few weeks and months have just flown by in a flurry of organising a million different things.

It started with closing down Turquoise Port Japan, selling all the stock, getting our personal belongings packed up and shipped to Auckland, New Zealand. On top of that came the farewells – fun and heartbreaking at the same time and the quiet goodbyes to the city and country I came to love during our 5.5 years in Tokyo. And all of it in the space of just over 3 weeks.

Things didn’t slow down when we arrived in Auckland. Having lived here before and Mr M being a New Zealander meant we already have a network of friends and family. So following in the footsteps of all of the ‘goodbyes’ in Japan came the ‘helloes’ in New Zealand.

The initial plan was to move back into our house which we bought more than 10 years ago before moving to Bangkok. Coincidentally around the same time as Mr M was approached with a job opportunity in NZ, our tenants handed it their notice. Coincidence? Was it meant to be? Did the universe make plans for us? Who knows…

Well – it didn’t turn out that way and we decided to sell the house. I’ll write another blog post to explain why we made that decision. Quite a few of my Instagram / Facebook friends and followers have asked that very question 😅

The house need a very large dose of TLC. It was rented out for almost 10 years to families with kids and dogs and it looked tired and dated. I took on that project (more about that in a later blog post) and turned the place around in just 8 weeks. 24/7 neck deep in dust & paint, finding & dealing with tradies, organising lawyers and real estate agents.

At the same time we found another fabulous house to buy just down the road. That meant more stuff to organise – finance, building inspections, lawyer.

Meanwhile we moved from one very small apartment where we stayed for a month to another small apartment for yet another month. Fully furnished places are hard to come by in Auckland. We needed one of those given that all our worldly belongings were packed into a shipping container when we left Tokyo.

After those 2 first months we moved into our new and very empty house. We’ve been glamping in the house for more than 3 weeks with an airbed, a small table and a couple of chairs and some borrowed kitchen items. Extreme minimal living! 😂

Luckily we just had word, that our shipment will be delivered on in a couple which is when I will disappear in mountains of boxes. I love unpacking and setting up – can’t wait to turn the house into a home and take you along on the journey!

Alex x

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Closing down schedule

As previously announced, Turquoise Port is unfortunately leaving Japan at the end of August 2022.

Closing down schedule:

  • Last Showroom Open Day: Thursday, 18 August
  • Last date for online orders: Monday, 22 August – get 50% OFF the entire range with coupon code SAYONARA
  • Last possible date for order pick-ups: Tuesday, 23 August (get in touch to arrange)
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Sayonara Tokyo – Turquoise Port is leaving Japan

I’ve got some news to share:
Turquoise Port is unfortunately leaving Japan in a few weeks time.
We received news not so long ago and will be moving back to Auckland, New Zealand after 5.5 wonderful years in Tokyo and a total of almost 10 years in Asia.

I’m sad to leave Japan, I’ve grown roots here and this is where Turquoise Port came into existence. However I’m also looking forward to returning to New Zealand and taking the Turquoise Port collection there.

To reduce current stock levels, all items are now 50% OFF – use coupon code sayonara to activate the offer.
(Offer excludes items already on sale)

Alex x

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Our favourite hotels in Japan

Hotels in Japan are a different ball game compared to other places throughout Asia. The vast majority is rather dated, although well maintained and generally very clean.

Rooms tend to be small which is an issue when travelling with larger pieces of luggage. We prefer to travel light with hand luggage only or duffel bags when on longer journeys as hardshell suitcases take up too much of the limited floor space. Also ensuite bathrooms can be very small, but we’ve never had any issue with the water pressure or temperature of the water.

Service is almost always super friendly and staff will go out of their way to help even with rather limited English language skills.

Whilst Japan has amazing high-end hotels with all the comforts, mod-cons and suites to rival the best in the world, this list does not include any of them. We paid around ¥15,000 – ¥25,000 (US$130 – US$220 | EUR115 – EUR190) per double room per night which might seem a lot compared to accommodation options in other Asian countries, but isn’t that much in Japan at all.

Please bear in mind that things can change quickly, prices go up and down and the quality of rooms/hotels change over time. We stayed in these places between 2019 and 2022.


Myoko Forest Lodge
Myoko, Niigata Prefecture (Honshu)
https://www.myokoforestlodge.com

Run by an Australian husband and wife team, Myoko Forest Lodge is a gem and felt like a home away from home. We loved the minimalist rooms, great common area and fabulous food and hospitality plus the snow was unbelievable!


Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya
Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture (Honshu)

https://croom-nagoya.nishitetsu-hotels.com

Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya is a Japanese business hotel done right. Centrally located and fairly new, offering modern rooms at a very good price. Great location, subway access. We wish there’d be more hotels like that.


Mascos Hotel Masuda Onsen
Masuda, Shimane (Honshu)

https://mascoshotel.com

What a gem! We discovered Mascos Hotel Masuda Onsen on our long road trip through Western Honshu in December 2021 / January 2022 and it was a breath of fresh air after staying a string of rather mediocre rooms. Brand-new Mascos is beautiful, the use of concrete and wood throughout feels luxurious and grounding at the same time. Breakfast is served in the light filled restaurant on the ground floor which is buzzing with the local hip crowd in the evening.


Sierra Resort Yuzawa
Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture (Honshu)
http://sierraresorts.jp/yuzawa/en/

This hotel sits quite high up on a hill and right next to a ski slope and chairlift. The common areas are modern and airy, the bar feels intimate and cozy at night. Our room was larger than average, but somewhat dated. We’d stay there again despite the dated rooms as we loved the common areas, location and views.


My Lodge Naoshima
Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture (Shikoku)
https://mylodge-naoshima.com

A lovely small lodge on a hillside, My Lodge Naoshima is located within walking distance from the ferry port. Our room with a little balcony overlooking the ocean was small, but super comfortable and modern. The restaurant downstairs serves great breakfasts and one of the best dinners in the area.


Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse
Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture (Honshu)
https://www.suiden-terrasse.yamagata-design.com

What a place! Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse is an architectural masterpiece designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. The light filled structure was built using vast amounts of wood, concrete and glass and sits in the middle of a rice field. We loved the spacious simplicity of the rooms, the lovely common areas (including a self-serve sake on tap bar) and the farm-to-table food in the restaurant.


Noku Kyoto
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture (Honshu)
http://www.nokuhotels.com/kyoto/

Noku Kyoto is a great place from where to discover all that Kyoto has to offer. Located right above a subway station and with a bus stop across the road, most of the city’s sights are in easy reach. The hotel is new, the rooms large and beautifully appointed. We loved the personal touches of local snacks and treats that were waiting for us when we arrived.


Solest Takachiho Hotel
Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture (Kyushu)
http://www.solest-takachiho.jp

We really enjoyed our stay at Solest Takachiho. The fairly new hotel is centrally located and offers modern and comfortable rooms. Takachiho Gorge, the main attraction, is just down the road, about 20 min walk away.


Hotel Alegria Gardens Amakusa
Amakusa, Kumamoto Prefecture (Kyushu)
http://hotel-alegria.jp/en/

Alegria Gardens Amakusa is a hotel and wedding venue. The common areas and larger than (Japan-) average rooms could do with a bit of a refresh, but are clean and well maintained. The biggest draw is the hotel’s location – perched at the edge of the water, the views are amazing and there are plenty of options for coastal walks nearby.  


Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel
Otsu, Shiga Prefecture (Honshu)

http://www.princehotels.com/otsu/

We usually prefer staying in small and intimate hotels, we chose this hotel for it’s great view across Lake Biwa, the largest fresh water lake in Japan. Located right at the edge of the lake, the location is a perfect starting point for long walks along the waterfront.

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Summer 2022 schedule

I’m off to Germany for the month of July to see family and friends – Turquoise Port will take a break as follows:

LAST SHOWROOM OPEN DAY: Wednesday, 29 June
LAST ORDER DAY: Wednesday, 29 June
LAST SHIPPING DAY: Thursday, 30 June
LAST DAY FOR PRIVATE APPOINTMENTS: Tuesday, 28 June

4 August 2022: Shipping resumes
5 August 2022: Showroom re-opens for private appointments
10 August 2022: Showroom Open Day 

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Free cushion with every cushion cover!

I have a special offer on cushion covers this week:

Buy any cushion cover and receive a free matching cushion inner worth ¥1,500.
The offer is available online (no coupon code needed – the inner will be added to your parcel automatically) as well as in the Showroom. Offer valid until 11.59pm JST on Friday, 10 June 2022 or until stock lasts.

Alex x

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This month I’m … June 2022

EXCITED ABOUT
spending some time in Germany with family & friends

Turquoise Port will be closed for the month of June – click here for the summer schedule.

CELEBRATING
having visited each of the 47 prefectures in Japan!

I’ve written a blog post about the best hotels we have come across on our travels. Read it here.

SPENDING
days without rain in our little garden

Watch the “Styling Video: How to create a stylish outdoor space for summer” for inspiration

DECLUTTERING
the house

Being stuck inside during rainy season is the perfect time to declutter.
There will be some things I’ll give away – keep an eye out for them on my Instagram and Facebook Stories.