Uroco @ Spitalfields Market

My old friend Lala and her husband David run a beautiful stall at Spitalfields Market. In my humble opinion, I think their stall is the most original and inimitable amongst all the shops in the weekend market.

I acquainted with Lala years back when she had a stall at Portbello Market. She was selling handcrafted bags and accessories and I fell in love with one of her cross-body bags in emerald green silk kimono fabric. I was impressed by not only her well-designed bag but also her bubbly personality and eventually, we became friends.

Their brand, UROCO, specializes in vintage Japanese kimono and their original handcrafted accessories made from vintage kimono fabrics in silk and cotton.

Thanks to the recent fashion collections shown by major fashion maisons, opulence and exoticism are back in vogue. Hooray! We have finally turned on our heel and walked away from geek-chic of the past few seasons. Instead of a drab mono colour, we can feast our eyes on luscious hues of exquisite kimonos.

Lala and David fly out to Japan regularly and handpick their materials. They are expert in spotting gems and therefore their collection is immaculate and pristine.

Can anything rival this beautifully hand-painted kimono robe for a celebration of glamour and femininity?

Nowadays, examples of incorporating kimonos into everyday wardrobes are prevalent and abundant on the streets and in social media. Kimono’s flowy silhouette makes them easy to be thrown over almost on any outfit and they drape and cascade beautifully. By donning one, one can achieve a glamorous BOHO look instantaneously. It is not a mystery that Lala and David’s rare finds fly away from their stall every weekend.

Apart from their exquisite kimono robes, Lala and David offer their handcrafted collection of accessories. Those items are intensively handmade, often hand-stitched and hand-finished. All of them are ingeniously recycled from genuine antiques which they came across during their sourcing trips to Japan.

If you are not ready for flaunting your individuality with a full-length kimono, these Obi-style belts are the next best thing to glamorize any mundane dress or jumpsuit.

Or how about UROCO’s original silk snoods?

Again, they are cut from vintage silk kimono, and therefore, they are truly unique and one-off. Another plus point is the smoothness of silk which never irritates the skin. I know more than a few men who hate wearing anything scratchy around their neck because their post-Gilletted skin is so sensitive. Hubbie flinches from the idea of having to wear an itchy woolly scarf or a tight turtleneck jumper at anytime, protesting it is his equivalent of the cilice – a hair shirt. I’m sure UROCO’s snood will be perfect for his baby soft skin…

Lala and David with their creations. Each one of the items on sale is the result of their labour of love.

It is almost November and Christmas is only 55 days away. Why don’t you pop over for gift-hunting one weekend? By the way, Saturday’s Spitalfields Market is far more relaxed and nicer than a more famous Sunday affair.

Bandaging and a lampshade free Bella.

We both were then happily oblivious of the fate which awaited us around the corner. I wonder when Bella’s shaven fur will grow back to a normal state because at the moment, she resembles a partly clipped runaway sheep! (sob sob sob)

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Miss Messy

Being incapacitated is not easy for anyone but also she is still a 4 months old pup. Understandably, Bella is very very bored. In order to alleviate her problem, I try to be with her in the pen as often as I can…

However, I have to stretch my legs time to time and to get their circulation going. Otherwise, I will stiffen up like the tin man in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Could you please sacrifice yourself for Bella’s sanity, Mr.Amazon Cardboard?



Bella loves destroying cardboards!

Then, we discovered a problem…

She managed to get bits and pieces of the sticky label all over her face and paws. Getting rid of them from her was not an easy task as they were all firmly stuck to her hair and Bella being a diva, she struggled and yelped all the way.

Bella, you never do anything in half measure, do you?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Recovery plan

Thank god, Bella is on the mend. She is already behaving like nothing has ever happened on her elbow. And this is precisely what Alan was cautioning us about when we first met him at the clinic. ‘Puppies are amazing. Once their injuries are fixed with plates and screws, they think “Yipee! I’m ok now!!” And they will start running around and jumping in no time. However, the plates and screws are yet to be fused into the bone, and therefore, we have to supervise their activities vigilantly’.

Bella finds her confinement not very agreeable…

Morning, princess!

No matter how many toys she has in there, it can never compensate for the loss of the freedom she once had…

She will have to be in the pen for the first four weeks…

The sheet given from the clinic when she was discharged spelt out exactly how her exercise should be managed. This week, she can walk on the short lead for 5 minutes up to 4 times a day. Then, the length of the walk will be increased to 10 minutes in the second and third week. During the following week, she can walk up to 15 minutes, and the fifth week, it will be extended to 20 minutes and so on.

I sometime join her in her pen so she doesn’t feel too left out…

It’s a bit of squeeze for me but Bella seems very grateful for company…

Hang in there, Bella…

You are doing the right thing. Stay away from troubles and get well very soon…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bionic Bella

Regrettably, my girl Bella hurt herself. She hurt herself very badly indeed. It was so bad, she ended up having to have  three screws and a plate in her left elbow FOREVER (sob)…

What happened to my troublemaking princess was classic. She was playing with a bunch of puppies in our local park and took a tumble when their maniac chasing went a bit out of control. She gave an almighty yelp and froze on the spot while the rest carried on running. I tried to find out what was wrong with her and realised something horrible had happened to her left leg. While Bella whining away in a co-passenger’s seat, I drove to our local vet and they x-rayed her left elbow. Then, voila, the worst possible outcome, she fractured her elbow…

The vet referred her to a specialist veterinary clinic in Luton since the fracture was on a joint and would require a delicate reconstruction. Bella came home in splint and bandage with a bottle of painkiller. Oh my, what a night it was. The only way to comfort her was cradling her in my arms and as a result, Bella and I stayed up almost all night.

Next day, Hubbie drove us to the clinic and the journey was far from smooth. Tons of diversions thanks to London’s never ending roadworks, Bella deciding to poo on my lap, etc… It was a huge relief when we were greeted by a sympathetic smile at the clinic’s reception.

Alan, an orthopaedic surgeon who was to operate on Bella’s elbow explained what would be involved during the operation and possible risks which may occur. The risks were minimal yet he had to spell them out and I hated listening to it. Poor Bella was dozing off in my arm by then as she was utterly exhausted by the pain and the journey.

When we opened the door of our apartment, we found the space bare and lifeless. Without Bella, the place was not like home at all. ‘We felt the same way when Mr.B passed away, didn’t we?’ We nodded in agreement as we cradled mugs of tea in our hands.

The clinic and our local vet were brilliant. They updated us about her condition and it put our mind at rest. We missed her horribly but also knew she was in safe hands.

Now, she is home, wanting to come out of the pen and play…

‘Let me out! I’m ordering you!’

No, Bella. Alan told me that you have to stay in there during the first two weeks!

‘You are joking, right?’

I’m afraid not.

Will she demolish the pen so she can regain her freedom?

She started gnawing at a zipper. I hope she will get used to this semi-confinement soon.

Otherwise, I will run out of entertainments for her…

Look here! I’m already very very BORED!

In 12 days time, her stitch will be removed and she can be free from a lampshade which she hates so much…

At least, it is made of fabric not plastic, and therefore, it is a lot more comfortable for her. Let’s be patient for now and you will heal better and quicker, Bella!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Smelly Fishy

Normally, I do not like slagging off anyone or anything. Not that I am meek or a pacifier, but I keep my own counsel most of the time. The reason why is because observing how some people, chiefly Donald Trump, spewing their hateful and useless personal opinions all over the world, I don’t see the point of adding yet another hate or insult to the world unless I really mean it.

However, my moment of rage arrived one late September afternoon when I was flicking through a copy of Evening Standard Magazine while sipping latte at Saint Espresso on Pentonville Road.

The article by Laura Craik was about Christopher Kane featuring Crocs during his show in London Fashion Week and her ambivalent feeling towards “ugly shoes”…

Sure, we all need comfy shoes every now and then. I don’t deny them to me or anyone. When I walk Bella, I would rather wear comfortable flats than heels.
Having said that, I have found these recent trends in which big name brands/designers tie-up with seemingly unremarkable mandate objects and elevate them to stratospheric heights, using their ginormous PR machines. They are not benignly celebrating those hardworking Crocs or Birkinstocks which have been a staple footwear of medical professional personnels for decades though. The designers pounce on those “fabulously ugly” items because the sights of them being mixed with their “exquisitely beautiful” are shocking and perfect attention grabbers. It doesn’t matter if they are lined with fur or come in limited edition hues, they are chunky ubber clogs which are comfortable but not beautiful. Ok, I admit they are an epitome of “form follows function” and they are beautiful in that sense. They are worthy to exist because they make some people’s life easier.

Nevertheless, a price tag of Christopher Kane Crocs SS17 will never be under £30.00 – a typical price for Medical Crocs. They are likely to be way more pricy than that only because the clogs have an (minuscule) intervention by a well-known darling of the British fashion industry. Since his sneakers cost between £280 – £525, I can easily visualize a pair of CK Crocs sporting a tag of £300. How can I take it seriously? They are having a laugh!

My opinion towards recent fashion trends/fads are ambivalent as Laura’s. A dilemma of wanting to understand contemporary culture objectively but not being able to do so without having a contempt towards them is always present within me.

At the end of the day, “being trendy” is not a byword for being chic or fashionable. Since those trends are churned out by big name designers who are bankrolled by fashion conglomerates, by being trendy, we are likely to make those already scandalously rich chief executives even richer. And I really don’t want to justify or legitimise their money making schemes by taking part in this “á la mode” game.

My trusted all time favourite, Zizi by Repetto…

This pair is my fourth in 15 years. They fit like gloves on my feet and are so comfortable all year around.

A French chanteur, Serge Gainsbourg, made these Oxford shoes world famous by living in the pair – he went through 30 pairs a year until his death in 1991…

Apparently, he had sensitive feet and found Repetto’s offering as his salvation. I must admit that these pair don’t require any breaking in even if they are worn on bare feet straight out of their box brand new. They have absolutely nothing whatsoever to rub or irritate your feet. They are amazing. I don’t know why Serge had to have 30 pairs a year because they are so very well made and tough. Maybe he liked his pair brilliantly white all the time? By being in white, the pair does show scratch marks after a few weeks of wearing. But the leather is extremely supple and easy to take care. However, I can’t imaging Serge or Jane polishing their shoes. It would be totally too uncool and petit bourgeois for them. Serge and Jane had to be nonchalant. FULL STOP.

I hope you are not thinking about chewing up my shoe laces, Bella…

I believe in being original and admiring in people’s originality. Let’s not be a slave but be a pioneer…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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