Monday, 1 September 2014

The Last Days Of Summer

It's those little escapes that are sometimes exactly what you need. A break from the norm, no routines, just time to spend with the people you love, do what you want and fuck the rules. 

Deccy and I took a little trip down to Bath last week. I've never been before but the main reason to go was that my bestest friend lives there. Thing is..although we've been friends for over 10 years, last week was the first time we'd actually met face to face! It was amazing to finally meet her and I only wish we could've stayed longer but I'm already planning to get back asap! In Bath, we wondered around the old town, gazed at the beautiful buildings that were lucky to escape destruction from the war and nommed on my first ever crepe. It's such a lovely little place and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a little weekend getaway. 

After Bath, we drove down to Plymouth which is Deccy's hometown and somewhere I used to live too. It's lovely revisiting our old haunts, being close to the sea and feeding the seagulls (though you're really not meant too but whatever right?). Living in a Manchester, the pace is quick, it's busy and there's lots to do so going down to Plymouth was a welcomed break, relaxing and pretty. 

I'm sad that Summer is officially over now. It's time to pull out the layers, the giant mugs of hot chocolate and for me, the study books. I hope that everyone has had an amazing Summer and are looking forward to new Autumnal adventures.

Did you have a fun Summer?

Thank You For Reading

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hello Kitty's Guide To Japan

Today, I wanted to share with you this super cute book I picked up from JP Books. I found it perched on the highest shelf and when I saw the title, I knew I had to snap it up.

This is easily the cutest travel book I've ever seen, simple to follow, full of lots of adorable illustrations and information about Japanese language and Japanese Culture. The book starts off with an introduction to Hello Kitty and a little story about how her boyfriend Daniel is coming over to visit her in Japan (ohmysqueeeeeee). He wants to go on lots of adventures, learn all about Japanese traditions, food and popular culture and Hello Kitty is getting ready to take him on an adventure around Japan. After the intro, we dive straight into a map of Japan, taking us through different popular spots and then onto currency, days of the week and seasons.

This book talks you through lots of different topics from conversational information like asking for directions, to explaining what a Kimono is and how to wear one. Everything is written in both English and Japanese so it's a great little book to take with you on holiday to Japan. You can refer to it for tips on food, public transport, festivals and sightseeing.

If you are looking for a Japanese language book, I wouldn't recommend this but if you are looking for a simple reference book, easy to follow and with super cute illustrations, then this guide is for you! I will definitely be packing this in my suitcase to Japan (oh the dream of going to Japan), it's small enough to fit into your bag and really useful to just whip out whenever you are feeling stuck on words or lost in Tokyo!

When I first got this book, I thought it would just be a cute little book to have, I didn't think it would be as detailed as it is. At the very back of the book are emergency details about how to call the police, ambulance etc..also instructions for if an earthquake happens. Honestly, this book has gone way beyond my expectations and would highly recommend it to any Hello Kitty fan who is thinking of going travelling to Japan or just wants to learn some key phrases to help you get by.

Please check out JP Books, that's where I got this book.

Are you a Hello Kitty fan?

Thank You For Reading

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Artist Spotlight: Christopher McKenney

Do you ever have those moments where you stumble across an artist and they immediately suck you into their world? Well, that happened to me a few weeks ago when I was doing my daily lurk on Tumblr and came across this image:

I followed the hashtags to find the work belonged to an artist/photographer called Christopher McKenney. 

Christopher McKenney is a conceptual artist and photographer from Pennsylvania specialising in surrealism and horror. His photography is enough to leave you sleeping with one eye open but with that, there's also a sense of beauty and fragility. As I looked for more of his artwork, I was just blown away by it. Horror has always been a favourite 'theme' of mine, there's something beautiful about something disturbing and I think Christopher McKenney captures this perfectly. Some of his photo's are gruesome, creepy and the stuff of nightmares but there's something there that makes you linger a little longer and get lost inside them.

Please go and check out his work, it's honestly incredible and so inspiring. 

Thank You For Reading

Friday, 8 August 2014

Japan Centre: One Of Everything Please!

So after our trip to JP Books, Deccy and I hopped around the corner, went up the shiny escalator and entered a world of beautiful Japanese food, the Japan Centre. We found out about this place last time we were in London and after buying almost one of everything, we knew we'd be visiting the next time we were down.

Unfortunately, having an eating disorder means I'm a little shy in the cooking area, though I really want to try and be braver with Japanese cooking but that didn't stop us from buying every snack going! Let's start with the sweet stuff:

The 'Tohato Caramel Corn' is my favourite Japanese snack. I thought I was allllllll about the Pocky until I tried these yummy treats and now I'm officially hooked. They are super light, kind of like Cheetos but they taste amazingly sweet and a bit nutty. I also picked up a box of Hot Cake Mix which I've been dying to try out since I saw a video about them on Youtube! I had to get my lovely friend Sami Spoon to translate the instructions and I can't wait to try them out. We also got some Pocky and some weird little soft cookie things. 

The savoury pile! Mainly Deccy's stuff because he's much more adventurous with new food than me and also the majority of pre-made Japanese food has some kind of fish or meat in it. We picked up a few Ramen pots and some Japanese mayonnaise. We also got an Okonomiyaki mix and sauce. Last time we were in London we went to Abeno Too where Deccy had Okonomiyaki and has been craving it ever since! I picked up some cute little crisp things that look like mini Pringles but to be honest, I'm just a huge sucker for cute packaging. 

I really love Japan Centre, it has really wonderful products, a lovely little cafe and super helpful staff. Wandering around the aisles fascinates me with the amount of different foods and drinks that are on display. There are so many dishes I'd like to try but would really have to tweak them to be a bit more veggie friendly. If you're around the Piccadilly area of London, do check out Japan Centre. They have an online store but to be honest, it's not as good as actually going and being there yourself. I wish they would open up a shop in the North!

Do you like Japanese food?

Thank You For Reading

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

JP Books London: Hello Kitty and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Goodies

JP Books is one of the largest stockists of Japanese books in Europe and somewhere I have always wanted to visit. So, whilst I was down in London for Hyper Japan, me and Deccy took a trip here and we were not disappointed! The first thing I saw when I walked through the door was a stand FULL of Japanese Fashion magazines. I was in heaven! Having a subscription to Kera Magazine already, I picked up Zipper which I'd heard was amazing. It's similar to Kera but more colourful, maybe slightly more Gyaru but equally as awesome and inspiring in terms of style. Then, I wandered a little more and up on a very high shelf, peering over at me was the Hello Kitty Guide To Japan. Well, I snapped that up immediately! It's so freaking cute, I'm going to do a separate post about it but basically it's a guide to Japan written in both English and Japanese.

When I was at the till, Deccy spotted a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu CD, then another, then another! I'm a huge fan of Kyary, I think she's adorable, her style is amazing and her music always makes me smile. Not being able to go to her latest concert here made me so sad so I had to get these CD's! On each CD is a Tour Documentary of the concert I missed and then I picked up another DVD of a concert she did in Japan. 

The CD's are super cute, filled with artwork and stickers! The DVD parts are all in Japanese but it's still fun watching them. I love music documentaries and seeing people on tour etc..If you love Kyary, I definitely recommend checking these out. 

All in all, I had a wonderful visit to JP Books and would recommend them to anyone who loves Japan, Japanese Pop Culture and Japanese language. The shop itself is quite small but it's packed full of beautiful books, all in perfect condition. The staff were also lovely and helped me translate the back of the Kyary CD's. A really lovely shop and I'll definitely be back next time I'm in London. Please check below for links to their store and twitter:

Thank You For Reading

Friday, 1 August 2014

Artist Spotlight: Japaneze Baby

Wandering around Hyper Japan, everything can start to look a little..well, similar. If you are a Fairy Kei, Sweet Lolita, everything pastel kinda person then the Hyper Japan Fringe Market would be your shopping heaven however, I wanted something different. Forever being pulled to the darker side of life, where a Japanese 'Slit Mouthed Woman' is my idea of interesting, I was so happy when I stumbled across Japaneze Baby!

Japaneze Baby is an established artist, works in ink and creates some of the most beautiful prints, merging Japanese beauty with disturbing creepiness.  Her description for her work:

"Japanese gardens, night skies and severed limbs"

It's everything I could want in one piece of art!

If you know me, you'll know how awkwardly shy I am and because of that, I didn't get chance to speak to Japaneze Baby as much as I would've liked. On her stall at Hyper Japan, she was selling her prints, a collection of her drawings, t-shirts, tote bags and lots more. Deccy picked up the book and I was drawn to the print! 

 When I got back to the hotel, I had a closer look at the print and was just blown away by the amount of detail on it. It's honestly one of my favourite pieces of art and I'm looking for a frame so I can hang it proudly.

If you love all things macabre yet beautiful, please do check out Japaneze Baby's website. You seriously won't be disappointed!. 

Thank You For Reading

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Hyper Japan 2014: Sweets and Treats

Last Saturday, me and Deccy went to Hyper Japan at Earls Court in London. It's a lovely event all about Japanese Culture from old traditions to kawaii lifestyles. The first time we attended Hyper Japan was two years ago and since then, the event has just grown and grown. This time, the layout was split into lots of sections, with many stages for live performances and areas to go to for specific interests. There was a more traditional section, selling beautiful Japanese homeware, Kimonos and art. There was a Kawaii section filled with anime, manga, lots of cosplay and cute Japanese snacks. There was also a market section were you could purchase handmade, special items from jewellery to wigs, toys to artwork. The food section is probably a favourite spot for most people, selling yummy sushi and katsu curry, bubble tea and dorayaki! 

Of course, I couldn't really leave the event without purchasing a few treats..and by a few, I mean we went silly in Tofu Cute! Pocky and Japanese KitKats are definitely some of my favourite sweet treats. We picked up a few of our old favourites (strawberry) and some new ones, coconut! I also grabbed a bottle of Peach Iced Tea to try being a complete tea addict. We then wandered around the market but to be honest, every stall was looking very similar. If you like Fairy Kei and Sweet Lolita, you would be in shopping heaven! However, we did come across an artist selling prints of her work and I snapped one up immediately! Her artwork is beautiful, hitting on the creepy/guro vibes that I'm so drawn too. I'll do a separate post about her work later. 

Both Deccy and I are big fans of Lego so when we saw the nanoblock stand, well, we knew we'd be going home with some. We picked up 'Tokyo Tower' and a teeny tiny piano. The Alpaca (pictured in my previous OOTD post) was the first thing I bought haha. I can't help it, I have three's a problem but a cute one! Lastly, the Spirited Away T-shirt. This was actually bought after the event when we popped across to Camden Town. It's a beautiful print and I really love the colours. 

Well, that's my little Hyper Japan haul! Next up will be a more detailed look at the art I picked up and some more treats from JP Books and Japan Centre! I hope that you're having a good week so far. 

Do you have a favourite Japanese sweet treat?

Thank You For Reading