How are you?

I’m writing this post as I watch Nigella in the tv screen, stirring some devilishly tempting ingredients in a bowl with her wooden spoon. The Christmas of 2018 is fast approaching and I am reflecting, with a cup of tea by my side, about how this year has been for me.

It is very true that I haven’t been blogging as much as I should have been and the sense of guilt has been in the back of my mind all the time. Believe me, I missed blogging even though I was the one who was putting it off.

Blogging does give me a pleasure. I can’t explain it very well but I find it satisfying and comforting about recording what in my mind and the events which somehow become noteworthy for me there and then. By making myself absent from this activity, I have been making myself half the person.

Before resuming blogging with reignited enthusiasm, I would like to explain why my fingers have been idle over a keyboard.

Some of you may know that I play ice hockey as a hobby. Even though I am not that good at it but I am crazy about the sport. More than a few times, I walked away from the sport because I felt I was not good enough or I was too old. However, every single time, I ended up coming back to the rink with a stick and skates, begging to be on the ice. Basically, I have been addicted to an adrenaline rush which is only available through ice hockey and I want to keep on enjoying it as long as possible.

As you can see, my love for the sport is undying, but nevertheless my body is not immortal. I cannot ignore the fact that I am a middle-aged woman, not a teenager.

Around the beginning of this year, the feeling of urgency started to bug me. Even though I was never been out of shape, I knew my fitness wasn’t up to scratch for a proper hard game of hockey. I must to work on it really really seriously, I thought.

Then, here I am, after almost one year of slogging away, feeling absolutely amazing and invincible! My hips no longer hurt. I can skate faster. My limbs are so supple, etc… A total transformation. It feels like my love of hockey has given me another lease of life!

However, the flip side of my be-hockey-fit regime is very time-consuming. Beside it, I have been more involved with Hubbie’s business organisation from the end of 2017, and also, I have a very demanding Bella to entertain.

Enough explanations / excuses! I am going to amend my way from this Christmas and to make blogging a part of my daily life again. The entry may be brief sometimes but I will do my best to blog what I consider worth recording.

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura


I have no way to know if the author was telling truth but a book I bought for this weekend turns out to be a terrific entertainment!

“Unhinged” by Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Until I read an article in the New York Times, about the Emperor Small Hand, aka Donald Trump, criticised his ex-staff with his signature vulgarity, I didn’t know about the book nor her. Normally, I dismissed most of the stuff that White House spewed up because they just disgusted me but this time I was intrigued by the article. Since I am having a time-off from exercising right now, why don’t I read the book for distraction?, I thought.

Before downloading the book, I googled about it and as a result, came across a review by the Independent. The review by Andrew Griffin was bizarrely harsh and somewhat personal and I was taken aback. He sounded snobbish and even defensive for that man!

That Orange Man with Small Hands constantly criticises the media as fake news, degrading investigative journalism and destroying the liberty of media. However, Andrew Griffin’s review of the book has made me think about the integrity of the British media too. Since the major British newspapers, such as the Telegraph, the Times, Daily Mail and the Sun, are owned by Rupert Murdoch who is a personal friend of that man. I am not at all surprised if those two despicable old men are scheming to destroy our democracy and our planet because it will satisfy their monstrous egos. It is a sickening thought but if a paper which I used to respect has been influenced by the Murdoch’s fifth column and quietly changing their stance on the freedom of press and our right to know the truth?

I find no point in arguing if Omarosa’s accounts regarding that man and his administration were true. After all, it is her memoir, not a government dossier, therefore, she is entitled to have her opinion. Also, I don’t think the book has any clout to give a meaningful blow to that man any more since most of her revelations about him are already well-known amongst us.

Having said that, I am still enjoying reading this book a lot because Omarosa’s journey which she started from obscurity to become a White House aide is a classic American Dream and also the way she found herself being ousted and defamed by the system is a classic Kafkaesque nightmare. Don’t you agree with me that America is the only place where reality show stars can attain notoriety and fame? Obviously, Omarosa is one of the few who survived the rat race of the fame-hungry American mass media and kept her presence afloat.

I only wish if I were reading the book after that despot was long gone. It would be an ultimate happy ending, wouldn’t it?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Well said

This placard speaks for me ever so eloquently…

You are disgusting, Boris!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

I am so glad that the boys who have been trapped in the cave in Thailand are finally being rescued. I do admire the courage of the rescuers and my heart aches every time I think about the navy diver who lost his life during the rescue operation. I sincerely pray for all the people – the boys, the coach and the rescuers, to come out of the cave without any injury.

If someone asked me which street I loved the most during our road trip, I would answer Rue des Trois Faucons without hesitation. Avignon was such a charming city with many pretty streets and squares. However, I would recommend it because the street was free from chain stores. All the shops lining the street were unique and original.

A vintage book shop which was specialised in art.

Librairie Paroles was another vintage book shop specialised in history and literature.

Mum and I loved this boutique, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the most. I visited there alone first and returned with mum later because the shop was so pretty. We bought from them mainly jewelries – she bought a beautiful silver necklace and I bought five dainty bracelets which I wore them all at once.

Ahhh, how I wished if they were in my neighbourhood in London! I would shop there every week…

After loading laundry at the laundrette, I strolled up Place des Corps Saints to investigate the street. Further up, the street became Rue des Trois Faucons and I started to see more shops. ‘Shouldn’t I buy a notebook for mum?’, I thought when I walked past Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Why a notebook?, you may ask.

Well, mum and I had a tiny discord that morning and the tiff was about her notebook.

One of my mum’s personal traits was being a bit disorganised and it sometimes drove me crazy. Perpetually, she was looking for something which she mislaid and it caused a mini havoc. ‘Oh no! I can’t find it!!’, was the dreaded cue for her messy search which involved turning a room upside down.

Ever since I was a teenager, I had been witnessing mum going around like a mini-tornado, flipping everything in her path upside down and inside out while moaning how she could lose the sight of it – spectacles, keys, a receipt, a handkerchief, etc.

So that morning, when she started to turn our room over because she couldn’t find her notebook, I became a bit fed up and complained, ‘How can you be so disorganised all the time?’

The corners of her mouth went downward and she looked miserable. Oh dear, I did it. The room was filled with air silently screaming “AWKWARD!” so I grabbed a paper bag with our dirty laundry and left her in the room with her missing notebook.

‘You know she was always like that and shouldn’t have been annoyed.’, I talked to myself as I pottered down the street.

‘Bonjour, madam.’, I greeted a woman behind the cashier as I entered the boutique. By the till, there was a pile of small notebooks and they were very pretty, black and white stripes with gold lettering embossed on their covers. This will do, I thought and bought it for mum.

When I returned to the room with the gift, she was sitting on a bed with bags which were emptied. ‘I think the notebook was gone. I am such a silly woman.’, she shrugged her shoulders and smiled. ‘Then, use this.’, I handed her a new notebook. ‘And you are not silly but a little careless sometimes.’

Mum’s face lit up like a 100w lightbulb and all the awkwardness we had between us early on flew out of the window and gone. Phew!

‘Once the laundry is sorted, we are going out, mum. Let’s tidy up! On the double!!’ Mum and I picked up bits and pieces which were sprinkled by Mum Tornado…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bonjour Paris!

Oh my god, how did I manage that? I was huffing and puffing when I literally collapsed into my seat on a Paris-bound Eurostar, attracting bemused looks from my fellow passengers.

Yes, I was on my way to Paris to see my good friends and also to pick up Hubbie’s denim jacket which he left at her home unwittingly when we visited her and her husband last September.

When I booked a day return, for some crazy reason, I thought my outbound train was leaving at 7:55. I asked Hubbie to book an Addison Lee at 6:35 and thought nothing about it.

My journey to St Pancras was painless – there was hardly any traffic on the road, and I was walking through the entrance at 6:45. ‘Hmmm, I can have latte at the departure lounge and a pastry if I fancy.’ Oh, how pathetically wrong I was.

At a check-in barrier, I presented my iPhone screen and found the scanner didn’t read the bar-code. So I walked to a customer service and asked a staff behind the glazing what was wrong with my ticket. She looked into my screen and said loud and clear, ‘RUN! You may make it!!’ I looked down at my phone and shrieked, ‘Ohhhhh, Shiiiitttt!’

I don’t know how I went through the security and the immigrations for UK and France but somehow I managed to haul myself inside of the carriage in the nick of time, around 6:59. Oh my word, I never thanked god that hard in my life.

Bonjour, Gare du Nord!

After rendezvousing with my friend at Gare du Nord, we decided to have famed Mont Blancs at Angelina on rue de Rivoli.

Despite visiting the city countless times, I never had a chance to eat their signature pastry so a visit to the salon de thé was at the top of my “must do” list.

It was around 11 o’clock when we arrived at their salon facing Jardin des Tuileries. We were ushered to one of the tables in the back of their oblong room. The place was already teeming with tourists who were enjoying late breakfast of omelette and pastries.

Voila, nos gâteaux!

C’était délicieux!.

Angelina’s arch-rival, Ladurée, also offered  fine Mont Blancs and they were really neck-and-neck, I thought. My only criticism was that the cake was rather too big. The whipped cream which I found rich and heavenly at the beginning became progressively heavy in my stomach, and eventually I had to leave 3/4 of the pastry on my plate.

After Angelina, we moved on to Galeries Lafayette by metro. We hit the shop floors because I wanted to treat myself with a new scarf for my impending trip to the south of France at the end of May. After ogling all the offerings, I opted for a cotton scarf by Gerard Darel…

Elle a bon goût! Bella loves the scarf too.

The fabric was really soft and I loved the details like overlapping fringes and etc.

Doesn’t it remind you Delft porcelains? The scarf will go very well with a denim jacket, I thought.

After shopping, we had a very late lunch at one of the cafés on Boulevard Houssmann. It was around 4 o’clock but we we didn’t feel remotely hungry, thanks to the Mont Blanc.

Before I left Paris for home, her husband joined us and we went to another café behind the Primtemps. We recounted how whirlwind my visit to the city was while we pecked on café gourmet, beer and a plate of assorted cheese and bread. I wished if I could spend more time with them!

Still, I couldn’t miss my train home, therefore, we hurried to Gare du Nord. We decided to use RER but the service was very slow and crowded due to the strike action. ‘Oh, noooo!’ We broke into trot as soon as we hit the concourse connecting Magenta and Gare du Nord.

Salut, Paris…

I am afraid but I won’t be visiting the city during my next trip. The closest place I will be the outskirts of Paris, Palace of Versailles…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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