"a map of my planet"

happy friday everybody!! i just wanted to leave you with a little recipe and quick hello before i disappear down to ajaccio in the south of corsica for the weekend! very excited about this, mainly because it is somewhere new and the population is way more than 2000. i might even find some proper coffee! (though i doubt, seriously, that anything could match the coffee found where i used to work, here

so as you kids may or may not have noticed, i'm a little bit of an asia-phile. i love the culture, the cuisine: everything. this obsession came about when i was just a little person, and had an unhealthy obsession with pokemon. it was the first anime i'd ever seen, and i was hooked. the colours! the characters! my playground games quickly involved more "PIKAAACHHHHUUUUUU!!" screams than you could shake a stick at. then cardcaptor sakura came along, and i was gone: hook, line, and sinker.

 but anime aside, a huge love and respect of the japanese culture still remains to this day. and, as my fellow language assistant will attest, i have an obsession with japanese cuisine. we went out of town to do "a big shop" the other day, and i died and went to heaven in the asian section - hauling back some soba noodles to make otsu: the recipe will shortly follow.

i wish i could explain exactly what i love about it so much - the food, the people, the packaging. being a visual person, i love the attention to detail applied to everything - food, boiling tea, miso packaging, n'importe quoi. the everyday really does get celebrated. to an eternal optimist - this is good news! 

i think that mr. hayao miyazaki is a beautiful example of this pursuit of perfection. you'll have heard of him, i'm sure: with works of art such as "my neighbour totoro", "spirited away" and "howl's moving castle", mr. miyazaki has elevated humble animation to new heights. if you haven't seen any of his films, you must! i cannot recommend enough that you snug in, bottle of wine and take-away sushi or ramen in hand and have a cinematic feast with a loved one/unwilling friend/confused pet.

all credit to the photographer above (and all above images, thank you, weheartit), but even so - how is it that in japan (and asia in general) little side streets like this seem to promise secrets? there is something very compelling about little alleys like this (just take nunchuks with you if you're exploring at night.)

as i am on a veritable student budget, i will have to get myself a "proper job" and start a "trip to japan" piggybank. even so - without sushi on tap in aberdeen and edinburgh, i set to work in my little kitchen, improving my recipe repetoire, and found this to sate my cravings. the link is a recipe for otsu and to a beautiful blog that is well worth checking out.

the original is probably the best way to start out, but i've noted my version in case anyone fancies having a go.

you need:
1 pkt soba noodles.
various veggies, sliced thinly (savoy cabbage, beanshoots, peppers, carrots, spring onions etc.)
soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 fresh chilli or 1 teaspoon dried chilli
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sugar.
toasted sesame seeds to serve.

boil soba in salted water for 3 mins, or as per packet instructions, then drain and rinse in cold water. set aside. pop sliced veggies into wok or similar with a glug of oil, and stir-fry until just softening. put ginger, garlic, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, sugar, chilli, lemon and fennel into a bowl and mix well with a couple of tablespoons of cold water. dump over the veggies and let them cook a little more. when everything is smelling amazing, add the noodles, letting them heat up whilst you toast sesame seeds. 

pile high into bowls, sprinkle with the sesame and devour. the flavour is something you just can't put your finger on - hot with the chilli, sharp with the lemon, permeated with the warmth of ginger. this is also absolutely amazing served cold. 

do it do it do it! you'll feel great afterwards too, i promise. 

what are your favourite asian recipes? 


seoul got soul

hello again! ok, so, i had a bit of a revelation over the weekend. blogstalking was at its peak when i came across this wonderful seoul city guide on design*sponge, posted by a lady named katie merchant. whilst i can't glean a huge amount of information about this explorer and photographer, i gather that she's spent some time in this incredible city - delivering some amazing photos of what looks to be a thriving coffee, cafe, art culture, plus topknots and manbuns. 

it took me so long to work out what those were, seriously.

vintage! hand-picked! salon yong! KERPOW! i wish corsica had shops like this. (i visited the croix rouge in bastia the other day. in the rain. it was cold, and closed - but man, they had one creepy window display. creeeeeeeepy. not heading back there in a hurry!) apparently the hongdae, insa-dong and itaewon districts are littered with coffee shops, vintage clothing/book/stationary stores, art galleries and installations. sounds a little bit like my idea of heaven. plus food.

a cafe i will one day get my backside to: it's going to get called "nicebuns" on here. i have no idea if that's the name, but that's what the post on she said, she said was called!! amazing. i wish i could convey what clutter, paper washing lines, wood and white mean for me, but they're all just so very appealing. love the illustration over the door too. 

apparently there are little caricatures of the owner everywhere, and they serve awesome hand-drip coffee. nothing sounds better than having a caffeine high in a cafe like this where the atmosphere must be so vibrant and alive.


i love korean script. i've told my long suffering boyfriend (who happens to sport a manbun from time to time) that we are visiting seoul. he hasn't got much choice, poor thing.

i also saw this incredible post on she said, she said (a new fave!). toast shaped cork boards? hell yes, mother flippers! these are the bomb. anyone want to buy me one? 

anyway, gorgeous cats and dolls - that's it until next time. hold tight for cupcakes, clumsiness, and more homey love.


gosh darn, that's pretty...

january, february and march have some of the prettiest skies around, i'm convinced of it! pale blues and icy clouds, silver fog: it's all lovely!

i bought some roses on the way home from class at nine a.m. this morning (french schools start at 8 and finish at 5 - madness!! madness!!!) they are appropriately shabby chic - palest green with soft pink edges, and got me thinking about colours and the best way to show that off in the home. below is an image i unearthed months ago - but i love the plate display with its delicate feminine feel - and the pastels are accentuated by the black plate. it's pretty, but with bite. very cool indeed, canadian house and home!

the above images are all from apartment therapy - and i can't stress enough how much i love the white on white on white and that duck egg floor. wow! what a great way to inject some colour into your home if you're a giant fan of white walls like me. the contrast between the pale blue crockery above and the dark wood is really beautiful as well. smashing! 

ah, etsy, how i love thee! a veritable emporium for all things vintage, whimsy, retro and handmade. their featured seller and blog updates always reel me in, and i never stop delighting in the purchases i've made on etsy (namely cards that make me snort with laughter, and belt buckles...) but also a fantastic source of inspiration. these antique bottles (though the link is to a photo - it's still worth purchasing!) lined up in a row along your windowsill, a rose in each (sorry, still on the flower theme here) to catch the morning light. 

gold and turquoise seem to fit each other just as well as the stunning dark blue and white of the china tablecloth weights above. the pottery shards have all been hand collected in england and transformed into something that elevates your usual tablecloth into something really special! they would make a fabulous addition to an outdoor dinner party (especially in lovely windy britain!), or, as suggested by the lady who makes them - as a hostess gift.

speaking of cards that make me snort with laughter, take a look at bipolar betty. these witty, sarky cards appeal hugely to my horrible sense of humour, and i should warn my loved ones that they may all receive cards such as the one below for the rest of their lives.

(i love you guys, honest) happy monday everybody!! see you again soon no doubt: i'm off to play aerosmith really loudly and eat courgette fritters. 


friday finds!

hello again!! just a few "friday finds" ('scuse the cheesy alliteration) for you all! various sources, including design*sponge, hans blomquist, and the selby. links can all be found to the lefthand side.


gorgeous duck-egg tones in this one, and in the bathroom tiles below - very soothing for bedrooms and bathrooms and other such places intended for extreme relaxation!

i am in love with the soft grey of the walls in this bedroom, echoed by the stripy bedclothes! who'd have thunk grey could be cosy and inviting? the "we are so good together" is a really sweet touch, as are the unusual pillows. 

yes, i am that girl that has forty eight cushions on her bed and has to fling them all off and stack them neatly before i can go to sleep.

aaahhh, white, wood, rustic! all lovely words in my book: i'm especially crazy about the way the shower curtain has been tied back from the bath. that way, it wouldn't get you like my current shower curtain does. nothing scarier than getting vinyl stuck on you first thing in the morning, i can tell you.

gorgeous, gorgeous personal touches here. more paper-washing-line displays, hurrah! the dressing table is also fabulous - the photos/cards/images beneath the glass are a really effective, unusual idea.

when i am big and grown up, i plan on buying my own weight in glass canning jars and storing all my larder goods in them. pasta, rice, noodles, spices, you name it - it's all gonna get jarred. i'm sure that's not the right verb, but i love the utilitarian simplicity of a lack of packaging.

the above reminds me, quite happily, of my darling friend heather's living room in her old flat in aberdeen. whilst i haven't visited her new one, heather is one of these people who has a talent for making a home wherever she goes. it's an enviable skill! she sticks all her precious memories up on her walls - vinyl covers, like me, and twin paintings of ships over the mantelpiece. her "make tea not war" needlepoint cushion is a particular favourite! 

anyway - happy friday everyone! i hope you all have the best of weekends!!


kay (kigh) nielsen - crumbs!

ok - this may, for some, be an image overload, but i discovered the work of fairytale illustrator and awesome artist kay (pronouced 'kigh') nielsen today. and, oh boy, did i fall in love! i'm a huge lover of all things mythical/fantastical/ethereal (ask anyone who knows me) and finding the stunning work of this artist has maybe even toppled arthur rackham from first place in my faerie-loving heart (!) 

that being said though, jan pienkowski, arthur rackham, and edmund dulac all share this same dreamlike quality so appropriate to the illustration of fairytales.

i have, since discovering mr. nielsen's work, purchased a calendar of his drawings at vast expense which will hopefully arrive roughly around valentine's day! how romantic!! i can't wait to hang it on the walls of my little abode and find myself inspired by his work every day. 

what gets me most about his work though, is the riot of colour and the beautiful attention to detail. every image is so rich in colour and design, you could gaze into the picture and always spot something new.

the above is a personal favourite - but it would be so hard to choose just one! i'm ridiculously excited for 2012 so i can chop up my calendar and frame his work around my flat.

is that sad?

phew!! well, thank you for sticking with me (if you've made it down this far!!!) i sure hope this puts a little magic in your thursday!!

p.s: most images taken from weheartit, otherwise supplied by google image searcher.
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