A springtime Saturday meander.

H E L L O M A Y ! Notes from a springtime weekend... { 30·04·16 }

At long last, the skies in England seem to be brightening up and shaking off the very last of the bitter - some might say Stark… - winter and I couldn’t be happier! Not to sound like a total British blogging cliche but it makes the world of difference to wake up to baby blue skies and not forecasts of snow in the spring.

Today is a slow sort of Bank Holiday Monday for us. My brother, Milo and I are currently pottering around the house (FIFA for the brother, an epic nap for Milo and several cups of coffee for me!) and enjoying the long weekend. We assembled my new bed this morning - and by ‘we’, I mean my brother and Dad did! - and it’s just bloomin’ beautiful. Love it. I’ll share some bedroom photos later in the week! Also… Game of Thrones!! Holy moly, thoughts on the new episode?!

On Saturday however, I met up with my pal Winnie for a slow and mostly plan-free meander around London. We always tend to go through the same ‘routine’ whenever we’re in town together: a gossip, a stroll through the shops, a cheeky extravagant buy, some coffee, a moment in Liberty, dinner.

But this time we decided to head out West in search of charming neighbourhoods and coffee houses whilst, as always, chatting animatedly about all of our weekly endeavours. Girls’ gotta do what girls’ gotta do, eh? ;) What are your city-visiting habits?

Oh! And onto the outfit… I’m absolutely besotted with these Zara jeans: embroidered, high waisted, bleach wash and just bloody awesome. The ‘Love Always’ embroidery stole my heart (heh) and just ‘goes’ with my whole hippie, romantic aesthetic. (Oh god, do I hate myself yet?) I probably could've done with going a size down and being a smidgen taller, but hey ho.

Shop the look:

By and by - this Commes des Garcons Play cardigan is the most cosy little number ever. Worth the pricey ol’ splurge, but I always say that, I guess!

Anyway! I’m off to get some episodes of my current anime - Akatsuki no Yona! - under my belt before hopping off into London this evening for dinner with some family who’re visiting from New York! Catch you on Twitter and Instagram? x

Sundaze 14

L E T ' S C A T C H U P...

一. Happy May! What even. How can it possibly be the fifth month of the year already? This week utterly sped past in the blink of an eye and I can barely even remember what I did in the last 7 days. Real. Life. Help me. I guess this week has mostly been about work (workworkworkwork) - I’ve been stacked with work, clocking in 8am-9pm on most days - participating in never-ending conversations about all the mysteries of the world and having the WORST sore throat in da world. Maybe an exaggeration. Maybe not. (But really, it was like swallowing samurai swords.) I've also been feeling SO homesick for Hong Kong. Argh! Today, however, I plan to lie around a lot - on the sofa and out on the deckchairs, perhaps crack out a deckchair in the garden and play a lotta Animal Crossing.

二. Milo has really come into his own this week. He’s grown so much that I barely cope! Miss my tiny little fluffball. This week he absolutely nailed his ‘lie down’ command and he’s even a fan of food! Just a week more until his final vaccinations and we can adventure outside - I’m 100% ready to be able to head down to the field and lake again. You can follow him on Instagram at @milo.chai!

三. Yesterday I headed into London to spend time with a handful of the best girls. After a week of being housebound with puppy sitting and work, it was so good to get out and enjoy that smoggy city air ;) Nothing beats London in the sun though so I spent it brunching at Granger & Co. with Hannah and Sarah (post coming soon featuring these awesome sweetcorn fritters), having a stroll by the canal, before having a meander around Central and West London with Winnie. All rounded off with a helping of sushi and insanely good bento boxes at Eat Tokyo! Perfect!

四. If you haven’t already spotted, my sister Louise and I are running the 5k Race for Life in July! We’re running it in aid of Cancer Research UK and in memory of our beloved Granny Daisy and would love your support. Every penny makes a difference and we’re hoping to be able to raise £200 between us. You can make a little contribution here, if you’d like.

五. Next week is looking a little more chilled in the diary which I am a’okay with! Hoping to make some time to drop a little anxiety care package to one of my best friends who has been dealing with several anxiety attacks over the past month, as well as some time to finish off my room. Honestly, finally having a real bed has done wonders for my mood! It’s also Babybutter’s birthday on Wednesday but she won’t be home so I suppose I can use that extra time to pick up her presents! Aside from that, I’m hoping to have a maxing relaxing week before I begin a stint in-house for one of my clients. All the things!

Links I’ve Loved:

  • Marianna has been one of my favourite bloggers since the earliest days in 2009. I just adore her interior style and excellent wardrobe, but this post was a pleasure to read too. So often we think that having ‘your life together’ should be a certain way but perhaps it’s just about being happy along the way.
  • I rediscovered this 'how I'll date you' article on Thought Catalog the other evening and still blooming love it.
  • Another excellent travel diary from Erica at Egg Canvas. Holy moly, I just adore her blog.
  • My friend Gem finally launched her brand new blog this week and I adore it. (Of course.) The Mother Cooker is her beautiful website for recipes and family life and d’you know what? The recipes come with interactive clickable ingredient lists and that is the very definition of the little things that make me happy from day to day. Genius.

New Etsy Favourites

Essential E T S Y additions to my bedroom. #EtsyMeetsHongKong

When it came to moving - both to and from Hong Kong - all I wanted was to feel at home. I’m a huge advocate for nesting and happilyy spend more time than most in my own little space.

In Hong Kong, my apartment became a quixotic respite from the infamously bustling streets and neon lights, and at home, my bedroom is *finally* shaping up to become a tranquil nook away from the frankly crazy shenanigans of the Chai household!

The FizzyFairyApothecary

As a ‘blogger’ sort, candles have become somewhat of a staple in my everyday lifestyle. Don’t you find something ever so mesmerising about flickering candlelight? Or is that the inquisitive Bunsen burner teenager phase sneaking back out? I picked up a Pokeball-inspired candle from FizzyFairyApothecary (as well as an unphotographed Pokeball bath bomb!!) and was thoroughly impressed.

FizzyFairyApothecary’s candles use wooden wicks that burn for more than 40 hours and it allows you to choose the wax colour - I opted for the classic Pokeball as the Great, Ultra and Master simply didn’t match my new bedroom colours - as well as the scent. The fragrance range is simply huge, I was incredibly impressed by the sheer range and fandom thoughtfulness! Of course, I chose the Butterbeer scent, an intoxicatingly comforting and creamy vanilla soda sort of scent. You can also select a Pokemon figurine that is revealed once the candle is completely burned. The perfect gift for Pokemon enthusiasts, I think you’ll agree!

A hand-painted Chibi Moon jar from Animusrhythm

When I stumbled upon Animusrhythm, I spent positively hours poring through its product catalogue because everything just seemed genius! Every item is hand-painted and these little glass jars are just so cute! I haven’t quite managed to put anything in mine but I think I’ll use it to store little handwritten notes of remembered dreams, helpful advice from my friends and frankly hilarious anecdotes from my year.

Vintage Scrabble tiles from BridalThings

I’ll put my hands straight up now and firmly confirm that I’m not getting married ;) I am, however, forever coming up with weird and wonderful photograph prop ideas for my blog, Instagram and for A for Aesthetic, so I picked up these super affordable, vintage wooden Scrabble tiles. They add a lovely rustic touch to photographs and even display well in a Kilner jar sat on my Ikea shelf. Victoria and I once went through an EPIC Scrabble phase, so I suppose this is my way of paying homage to that defining point of our friendship and blogging careers.

Dinky and adorable Bulbasaur planters from 6123D

I was over the moon to stumble across these planters. After seeing them on a craft blog years ago, it was something of a revolution! These planters are inspired by Bulbasaur - you can add a miniature succulent or cactus in the slot, et voila! A Pokemon that you nurture and raise yourself ;) they’re 3D printed which I never cease to find amazing. A super sweet, subtle way to show your nerdier side.

Disclaimer: Post created in collaboration with Etsy UK. Thoughts and fangirl eccentricities all my own.

SuperStar BBQ, Central St Giles Piazza

SuperStar BBQ, Central St Giles Piazza, London.

One of my favourite things to eat is Korean BBQ. Whenever my parents tell me it’s my turn to choose a restaurant, whenever the girls ask me to pick somewhere for my birthday or whenever I have a spare handful of hours and a rumbling tummy, I’m probably going to pick Korean BBQ. It’s truly the way to my heart!

Kim and I spent a cosy Monday evening at SuperStar BBQ last week. It was crisp and chill in the air, an expectedly British mannerism after we’d all smugly declared it was ‘jacket weather’ and ‘almost time to rejoin No Tights Club’, a.k.a. the perfect setting for an indoors grill fest.

Firstly, we were oh so impressed by the cocktail menu and modern setting of the restaurant. Copper pendant lamp, be mine.

The menu is surprisingly comprehensive; BBQ meats make up much of the menu but avoids feeling too fussy with only a select few cuts (all good ones, I assure you!) and there are several side dishes that certainly threw me back to my trip to Seoul. We shyed away from soups and salads but ordered a hearty selection to share between the two of us.

What We Ordered:

  • Korean fried chicken with kimchi mayo
  • Jap chae
  • Sesame and garlic sirloin beef
  • Wine pork belly
  • Mixed vegetables (for the grill)
  • Lettuce leaves with miso paste
  • Beef bulgogi bibimbap

Firm favourites right off the bat were the jap chae and Korean fried chicken with kimchi mayo. Kim marvelled at the jap chae and it’s ‘genuinely see-through’ glass noodles and I lapped it up, jap chae being one of my favourite side dishes. The fried chicken was tender and juicy, its batter just-crunchy enough and the mayo lightly spiced for a kick of fusion flavour.

Onto the BBQ, I was pleasantly surprised by the dishes we picked. We went for sesame and garlic sirloin which was oh so good, but the star of the barbecue for me came via the wine pork belly, reminiscent of the dishes I’d tried over in Seoul! It’s worth noting that at SuperStar BBQ, you’re expected to cook the meat yourself although I’m certain the staff would be more than happy to help out if you’re nervous.

I’d happily recommend SuperStar BBQ to you ladies (and gents)! It’s a lovely, lengthier dinner option for overdue catch-ups like the one Kim and I indulged in - I don’t think we stopped nattering for a solid 3 hours! - or for date night and even larger group outings! There’s a karaoke bar downstairs if you are that way inclined and the dessert menu looked amazing, although we were far too full to indulge in the end.
Disclaimer: We were kindly invited to SuperStar BBQ to sample their menu and consequently were given a complimentary dining experience. Opinions and food obsessive words all my own!

5 Recipes I Love

My T O P 5 go-to online recipes.

You know your blog has grown-up when you’re sharing more of your favourite recipes(!) instead of constantly sharing things you want from Topshop and ASOS.

Although of course I can cook to some degree, having been raised by chef parents and come out from the other side of a three-year Uni degree alive and relatively well-fed, it’s only been in recent months that I’ve taken a real interest in looking for new recipes to shake up my at-home eating. It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of constantly eating out when you've lived in bustling foodie cities like Hong Kong and being just a 20-minute trip from London but I’ve honestly felt entire worlds better since reining in my dinner-out habits and cooking fresh more nights than not.
Find the first installment of my go-to recipes here.

Spicy Falafel and Roasted Veggie Naan-Wich

(click here for the original post)
Um, yes, this is a thing. And it’s so simple! It’s ‘naughty’ comfort food at its best and, actually, not too unhealthy either if you’re preparing it from scratch. Every component is customisable to your own tastes (I sometimes add a dollop of tzatziki if I have some in the fridge) and it’s a really filling, moreish dish for work week nights. I actually use lots of recipes from Lindsay’s blog – all simple to follow and easy to adjust.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Soup

(click here for the original post)
I’ve recently got back into soups. We were obsessed with them back when I was freelancing at Arcadia and it’s only lately that I’ve remembered how good a hearty soup can be when it’s utterly freezing outdoors. This recipe on Gem’s food blog is a delight to rustle up in batches and carefully transport to work for a lunchtime pick-me-up.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

(click here for the original post)
Well I couldn’t share a recipes collection without including one from the ever-lovely Rosie’s blog, could I?! Always beautifully shot, Rosie’s recipes are some of my favourite and this homemade pizza one is a real winner. It’s certainly worth the extra effort and elbow grease. I like to slice up mozzarella, red onions, parma ham and sundried tomatoes for my pizza topping.

Potato Cake Benedict

(click here for the original post)
This is an elevated brunch idea that can take a smidgen more time to prepare but will satiate your morning hungriness. You can’t go wrong with a classic Eggs Benedict and this one just ups the ante with a hash brown-esque base. All. The. Best. Brunch. Things.

Peanut and Coconut Chicken Curry

(click here for the original post)
Tread with caution (actually, wait, don’t even bother) if you suffer with a nut allergy but this recipe by my girl Sarah is a real people-pleaser. Light, fragrant and moreish, I like to serve this with fluffy coconut rice and a sneaky naan for a fusion twist. I also like to make extra sauce for dipping because it’s just that good.

What are some of your favourite recipes? Do share because a girl’s gotta eat!

Things about Tokyo

Capturing the little things about { T O K Y O }.

Jingles at each station that sound like sidequest music · A quiet pride for the country · Understated sophistication · Onigiri for breakfast from convenience marts · Weekends at Yoyogi Park · Sakura viewing parties and watching hanami from afar (hanami inception!) · Sheer socks and flatform sandals · Trench coat appreciation · Sailor Moon coffee · Hot vending machines · Fabric book covers encasing commuter reads · Asakusa Temple · Lesser known roof terraces · Early morning bakery life · Delicate sprinkles of sakura falling to the ground · That Pokémon Center Mega · ¥300 capsule vending machines · Puppy parks!

All manner of themed cafés and restaurants · The kindness of strangers · Simplistic practicality shining through in everyday design · The FamilyMart jingle · Shinjuku Gyeon · ¥90 sushi bars around the corner from our Airbnb · Beautiful sakura trees in full bloom springing up beside equally beautiful buildings · Tower Records. Stat · The mesmerising chaos that is the Shibuya Crossing · When the JR shows safety advertisements narrated by Isabelle from Animal Crossing · Craneking · Takoyaki tempting us from every other street vendor · Dipping ramen · Caplico cones whenever I want them!! · Achingly rich history · Unapologetically charming nature · Tiny train tickets.

100 Stories / Every Monday feels like Christmas.

100 Stories // * 8. Gratitude for the best day of the week; Monday.

Every Monday feels like Christmas now. The familiar smells of breakfast cooking - yes, a cooked breakfast! - first thing in the morning, gently easing me from my sleep. Lengthy mornings spent at the dining table with Mama Daisy, enjoying freshly brewed coffees from the machine. The way family conversations slip and slide around the house, laughter and nonsensical chats weaving amongst more serious chats (well, usually about the food shop, but you know). Evenings are spent in the lounge again, chain-watching dramas and sipping drinks. Just without the biscuits and prosecco. Home-cooked food by Dad and a whole team effort for the cleaning up process.

Mondays when I was growing up were all about breakfasts and drinking cups of hot Milo before jumping in the car and heading to primary school. I bloody loved reading and literacy. Then they were about jumping back in the car home and indulging in having Dad home, playing pool on our pool table whilst my brother and I played and read underneath, using Dad as an assault course and enjoying his homemade food.

After 9 years spent with my parents working 10am-11pm shifts, 7 days a week, it really does feel like Christmas to have them home once a week again.

Which is your favourite day of the week?

Sundaze 13

Recent escapades & a Filofax favour...

一. There are few joys greater than a slow Sunday with little to no direction and that’s just what today has been. Rising early, sorting out the pup, tucking in to the first of several coffees for the day and pottering around with the London Marathon on in the background... I’m the very forgetful sort of human that wanders into a room and that has already forgotten what she went in there for and Sundays are just prime time for indulging in that trait, right?! Right now, I’m copied up on my Granny’s armchair with another cup of coffee in hand and a few group chats with my friends ticking over.

二. I suppose this week has been all about work and squeezing in some catch-ups over dinner with friends! On Monday, Kim and I headed to SuperStar BBQ by Tottenham Court Road for a much overdue catch-up over Korean BBQ. I hadn’t seen her since she visited Hong Kong and we had an international reunion - all the way back in February 2015. Needless to say we had the best time trading stories, chowing down on good food and having a good ol’ gossip.

Thursday saw me and Winnie wander down to Shuang Shuang on Shaftesbury Avenue to try out the much-talked about hot pot restaurant. From two very happy and very full British-born foodie Chinese gals, we can confirm it’s worth the visit!

Last but by no means least, I made plans with an old colleague (who happens to be a fellow blogger!) Ellie for lunch at Dishoom. Finally managed to visit that bad boy and it won’t be my last visit, I’m sure. I opted for the Lamb Boti Kabab and their chip butty, whilst Ellie had a Mango. Would also recommend the Chocolate Chai (literally me in a drink) and their Bombay Pimm’s because if you can’t have a hot cocoa beverage and cocktail on a Saturday afternoon, when can ya?!

三. I’m part of Filofax’s newest Blogger Challenge this month which launches tomorrow! I’ll share links to vote from my Twitter and Facebook pages so make sure you’re following me on both. It'll be via their Facebook page so be sure to like them here! If I win, I’ll have a stash of Filofax goodies to give away to YOU!

四. This year, Babybutter and I have decided to run Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life!! We’re running the 5k in July in memory of our amazing Granny Daisy and would absolutely love your support. Whilst we’re not athletes in any shape or form by any stretch of the imagination, we’re really looking forward to it and are hoping to raise £200. I’m yet to share this with anybody but Granny Daisy suffered with both breast and bowel cancer, the latter of which was incredibly devastating on her, and I absolutely believe that one day, we’ll find a cure to beat cancer and the heartbreak that comes with it. If you’re willing to donate anything from £10 to even just £1, I’d be forever grateful.

Donate to our Just Giving page here!

Links I’ve Loved:

  • Winnie shared some photos from her recent escapades at Dover Street Market along with a very indulgent purchase - my favourite!
  • Miho’s travel diaries from Vietnam are finally coming in thick and fast and I particularly enjoyed reading this one about the gorgeous bamboo cottages.
  • Kate Spade has *finally* arrived in London and I just adore these photos from Liv’s outfit post in collaboration with them. Such composition and girl boss envy!
  • I’m forever dreaming of the day I’ll be able to try out New York for myself and Ria’s Uptown Manhattan photo diary has me bursting at the seams with wanderlust.
  • Megan’s post with Pandora all about friendship made me glow with happiness and filled with friendship positivity.
  • And in a similar vein, Rebecca’s post on the importance of strong female friendships truly struck a chord with me.

Posts This Week:

Slow, tea-fuelled evenings.

Pour a cuppa and stay a while, won’t you?

These days, you’re far more likely to catch me soaking in the earliest moments of the day with my pooch pal and a mug of hot lemon water than carefully straining my eyes at 1am with a bumper Netflix marathon. Dare I say that the end of Night Owl Mish has left me feeling like I’ve levelled up in the Grown-Up Game? The addition of our little Milo to the family means I’ve seen the other side of 6am more times than I care to remember and I’m slowly but surely beginning to adjust to this strange new way.

I’m often at my desk by 8am these days, cup of Joe in hand and well-meaning lists strewn across my deceptively tidy workspace. (Ssh, this photograph only shows a third of my work table space, the Instagram-worthy portion!)

Breakfast lately is homemade dumplings and a cup of tea. Instagram filters keep making it look like I constantly commit sins against perfect tea colours.

Lunch breaks can come at 11am or, more often, at 4pm. The part of freelancing that I’ve always struggled with is not having a colleague bandwagon to hop on for ye olde lunch break.

But aha! A banana and some hearty soup (until the English April weather shows its weary face).

Often I work right through to 7pm or so, accommodating for my international clients and making up for those odd handfuls of time spent on playing with the puppy! I’m incredibly grateful to be able to spend quality time playing with Milo and teaching a new dog old tricks ;)

Other times, I take advantage of the perfect spring golden hour and squeeze in a 20-minute walk to refresh and recalibrate.

And, of course, by the time dinner is finished and showers are complete. It’s time to somewhat obsessively Instagram and catch up with my favourite blog reads. Current favourites? You should really be reading The July Journal, Cider with Rosie, my friend Sophie’s blog The Story Of A Girl and I’ll always have a soft spot for my girl Bee’s blog, Vivatramp.

Last but certainly not least, I’m heavily invested in Teami’s Relax infusion tea right now. Peppermint tea, camomile tea… I’ve never been a fan of these sleepytime teas, finding I spend more time wondering if I’ve missed the boat on enjoying drinking tea that tastes like toothpaste than feeling sleepy.

Whilst Teami’s Relax includes peppermint and camomile, what I love the most is the delicately sweet orange peel, lemongrass and yarrow bringing light intensity to my pre-bed beverage. I find it best sipped with a book in hand and minimal or no music, and, you know what? It sends me right off, ready for another day of Mish and Milo adventures.

Disclaimer: This post was created in collaboration with Teami, who have let me(!!) - me! - become one of their ambassadors. You can receive a generous 10% off your orders with the code DAISY10 and find their site with a full range of teas here.

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