Sunset on the Dead Sea

The sun floating above the clouds, the clouds floating above the sea.

Dead Sea (Jordan) – 2012

Dead Sea sunset in Jordan

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The grass is greener

If you climb high enough you will see it!

Lake District (Cumbria) – 2014

Lake district green valley

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Mossy roof

Nature slowly but surely taking over.

Lake District (Cumbria) – 2014

Moss on cottage roof in Lake District

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The best okonomiyaki in Hiroshima

Commonly I title my posts with the name of the restaurants I talk about, however in today’s case I had to find an alternative because the place I want to share with you is called ふみちゃん 流川店. Perfectly clear for people who speak Japanese, less so for the rest of us!

As you would have guessed from the title, ふみちゃん 流川店 speciality is okonomiyaki, a pancake/omelette and a traditional dish in the Hiroshima region. If you want to learn more about this local dish and others make sure to check the list of the 14 foods to try in Japan!

Now ふみちゃん 流川店 may not have a Latin Alphabet name but you will be able to find it by copy/pasting the name in google map, AND I took a picture from the outside so you will know exactly how it looks like!

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So once you are in front of a restaurant that looks like the above, get in! Inside you will be greeted by a busy dining room and kitchen. Traditionally most okonomiyaki restaurants have an open kitchen and the staff cooks in front of the guests.

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I took this opportunity to spy on others people’ plates (or hob in that case) to be able to point at what I want when the waiter would take our order.

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We were given the choice between a conventional western table or a traditional Japanese one. Andrew isn’t great at sitting on the floor (he’s weird, don’t ask) so we went for the conventional table.

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Once seated a waiter, who didn’t speak at all English or French (fair enough), came to us, and followed a session of pointing at the Japanese menu then at the English one to place our order. We didn’t take too many risks and went for the classic okonomiyaki. We sipped on our refreshing beers while watching the chef cooking.

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Finally our okonomiyakis arrived, and they were absolutely delicious! The layers of pancakes, noodles, pork, squid, cabbage and cheese melted together to create the most filling and tasteful dinner.

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It is good to note that okonomiyaki is a very filling dish (again I have no idea how Japanese people stay that skinny but hey!), so make sure to come hungry to ふみちゃん 流川店 otherwise you will end up like me, sweaty and with bad ‘I am too full’ posture.

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Pastels in Santorini

That moment when the houses of Santorini turn from white to sky colours.

Santorini – 2016

Imerovigli at sunset in Santorini

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Italian band stand

Mini-temple or bandstand? I am not sure. All I know is that it’s very pretty!

Lecce – 2016

Bandstand in Lecce park

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Hagia Sophia details

Contrasts, details and colours make Hagia Sophia beauty.

Istanbul – 2015

Hagia Sophia details Istanbul

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Kitchen – Reveal

Following my kitchen inspiration post last week, today is the big reveal!

Our house being a new build, we luckily had very little work to do in the kitchen. The style the developer fitted is modern and white, which I don’t love but don’t mind either. It is bright and not too much of a statement in our open plan living space.

We however had a few challenges to address, 1) the lack of storage, 2) creating an informal dining area where Andrew and I can casually have our meals without having to set our big dining table, and 3) keeping the kitchen area contained in a fully open plan space.

You will see below that when we moved in, all we had was that kitchen corner. Not bad, but knowing that one of the cabinets is the dish-washer and an other one is the boiler, we ended up with a lot less storage than it first seems.

Kitchen Before
Sorry for the low resolution, this is the picture from the estate agent

So how did we styled the kitchen to add extra storage and a sitting area? Ready for a kitchen tour? Let’s go!

Kitchen island and metal stools

One of the first thing we bought for the kitchen was an island unit. It fits perfectly in the middle of the kitchen, it helps balance the area and extends the kitchen away from the corner while maximising and optimising the space we have.

Kitchen island Stenstorp from Ikea

The island is the Stenstorp from Ikea, and probably one of the best things we have ever bought for this house! Not only does it provides us with a dining area, but it also offers plenty of storage hidden away at the back, this is where all our pots and pans live without being a sore for the eyes.

Kitchen island Stenstorp from Ikea

I aligned the island with the central wall which I covered with a gallery wall. I styled the top of the island with grey place mats from Ikea, a geometric teal fruit bowl from Flying Tiger, a cement flower vase from Zara Home, and I always have a scented candle on it which changes depending on the season.

Kitchen styling

I got the metallic industrial stools from Lakeland Furniture, in the medium-height size (unfortunately they are not available anymore but you can find similar ones here). It is good to note that the Ikea island is fairly low, so you need medium-height sits as the regular bar stools’ height doesn’t leave space for your legs to fit under the counter top.

Ikea kitchen island and industrial stools

On the right of the island we have some additional kitchen cupboards. We got those installed as we were lacking closed storage and this area was just a wasted space. We could have installed a small sideboard, but making the investment and having real cabinets fitted gave us a pantry and baking tools storage, while tying the space together with uniform design.

White kitchen

On top of those additional cupboards we have some basic ingredients such as sugar and coffee, stored in jars from Flying Tiger. I also left on display my old Bialetti coffee maker from my student-years and my French press from Bodum. Being a coffee addict I find those aesthetically pleasing enough to use them as decoration.

Kitchen jars, Bialetti coffee maker and Bodum French press

On the other side of the counter top, you will find our little coffee station (we do really like coffee). We have the Nespresso Citiz coffee machine in cream, the Nespresso milk frother, some Monin syrups (salted caramel for him, pumpkin spice for me), and a capsules storage box. We use our Nespresso machine every single day so it definitely worth the investment!

Nespresso Citiz

Now let’s turn around and have a look at the kitchen that was fitted in the first place. We made sure to match the island and the new cupboards with the white cabinets and wood counter top that were already there, so from afar you would never be able to tell what was there when we moved in and what wasn’t.

White kitchen and wood counter top

On the left we have our sink, and dishwasher, with light bulbs pendant lights. We were very lucky the developer had decent taste and fitted these! There are definitely lights I would have picked myself.

Kitchen pendant lights

This is also where our De’Longhi kettle and toaster live. I love the vintage style, the texture and colour of these. Unfortunately this is an old collection, but De’Longhi has an other similar kettle and toaster.

De'Longhi kettle and toaster

I also purchased a fancy looking hand soap from the Galeries Lafayette in France, the smell is absolutely divine so make sure you grab one next time you visit ‘douce France’!

Galeries Lafayette hand soap

Then we have the hob area which is very conventional. Our appliances are all from Bosch and they work just fine. Our backsplash is made of pastel teal subway tiles.

Kitchen Bosch hob

On the right we have our WMF knife block. I absolutely love WMF for kitchen stuff! All our pots are from there too, and everything they do is excellent quality. It is pricey but it will last you a good while! We also have our basic condiments next to the hob, nothing special here, just the regular olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

WMF knife block and condiments

On the left live our kitchen utensils, our microwave, Brita filter jug and the cat treats in a beautiful ‘cat’ jar from Alessi.

Alessi cat jar

Finally, the most used, and the most important area of the kitchen, the cat dining space. Even for his area I didn’t want to compromise on style, so his food is stored in a fancy Orla Kiely canister. His food bowls and his feeding mat are simple, grey and from Pets At Home.

Cat food bowls and Orla Kiely canister

That’s it folks! The kitchen tour is over! I hope you like what I have done with the space and if you made it here, well done! That was one long post, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything. Until next time!

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Al fresco lunch in Cisterino

The most difficult part of eating in Italy is choosing the prettiest terrace.

Cisterino (Puglia) – 2016

Restaurant terraces in Cisterino

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The British waterfall

It is all about the water features in the Lake District.

Lake District (Cumbria) – 2014

Waterfall Lake District England

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