Progress Report…

It was again another run of the mill kind of weekend, pottering around & taking things slow & easy. At Shepherdess the greasyspoon. I scribbled Mr.B’s name over my cheese omelette with brown sauce…

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I feel so much better than a month ago. Still, my fitness level is miles away from being fit and I am not sure when I can get back on the ice. When I am a little exhausted from running daily errands, a tingling sensation submerges from the back of my throat and urges me to cough. This worries me as if I have done too much or if I am having a relapse. It is so frustrating! I miss the training on Monday night and am depressed to see my hockey kit gathering dust by the doorway being made redundant for a very long time. Oh well, what can I do? There is no such elixir to restore my health & mojo instantly. I just have to be patient and let the time to do the healing. Oh, I am so bored…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Yureki-Shobo @ Kanematu

When I bid farewell at Hana Chouchin, one of the sisters recommended another vintage bookshop, Yureki-Shobo, in the neighbourhood.
On my way to the bookshop, I came across Nishinomiya-jinja, a Shinto shrine, celebrating “Ebisu”,the Japanese god of fishermen and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children…

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It was a very cold day and a shimenawa, a think straw rope adorning the gate of shrine was swinging lightly in the wind time to time. By the way, the rope is believed to act as a ward against evil spirits…

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From Nishinomiya-jinja, the bookshop was a stone’s throw. On the side of a light-grey building with old-fashioned sliding doors, I found a sign with their logo on…

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The building used to be a disused factory. It was renovated in 2009, as a shared office space, a cafe, multi-purpose hall and a bookshop…

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I slid open a wooden door and found myself in the cafe. The smell of kerosene heater in the middle of the cafe was a welcoming scent for my frosty cheeks. A girl with an apron on approached me with smile and asked if I was here for coffee…

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The cafe was dotted with comfortable furnitures, such as Kotatsu. A kotatsu is a domestic heating device often laid out during Japanese winter time. A low, wooden table frame with a built-in electric heater is covered by a quilt, and on top of it, a table top is placed…

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Most of the guests sank themselves cozily in plush sofas placed in front of the bookshelves…

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In the showcase, a few buns were left but no cake…

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The bookshop I was after was to be approached through the cafe. Beyond another glazed sliding doors, there was a multi-purpose hall and the bookshop was adjacent to the hall…

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On the ceiling, there was an art-deco style lighting…

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And a globe in the middle of the shop floor.
All four walls, except around the door frame, were clad with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This windowless square space, completed with the lighting and the glove in its centre, created a curious other-worldliness…

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Mr.Miyajima, the owner of the shop, working behind the till…

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He backpacked after graduating a local high school. During his wandering years, he encountered books left behind by fellow backpackers at youth hostels he stayed and by reading them, he found his journey even more enjoyable as well as reflective…

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Every single book on the shelves was handpicked by Mr.Miyajima at various book auctions all over Japan, reflecting his diverse interest and expert knowledge of each subject. He certainly was a concierge for any book lover.
A magic carpets in the shape of book is available at Yureki-Shobo. Just tell Mr.Miyajima where you want to travel to and he will pick the best book for you from the shelves…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

TAP Coffee @ Tottenham Court Road

Hubbie is in NYC right now. It is sooooo not happening! Even though he will be back on Friday, Mr.B & I love to have him around in London, especially this time of the year. Please Santa, give him a break. That’s all I ask for my (additional) present…

Before Hubbie and I parted last Saturday, we had coffee at TAP Coffee near Warren Street tube station…

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Ever since Hubbie introduced me to their coffee, I’ve hardly touched any latte from chain coffee shops…

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My latte with a Mickey Mouse spoon…

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Hubbie had an Eccles cake…

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And a slice of Stollen for me…

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Most of the time, this small cafe is brimful of coffee lovers, therefore, a seat or two may not be readily available. Still, their carefully brewed coffee is well-worth waiting for. Once a mouthful of their aromatic liquid is tasted, you can never go back to the flat taste of chain coffee shops’ cups. I guarantee you…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Maison d’Être @ Highbury Island N1

The first swig of latte taste the best, doesn’t it?  I was at Maison d’Être by Highbury Island roundabout. This charming cafe was kindly recommended to me by my fellow WP blogger, Yvonne from East London Illustrated, for their outstanding coffee. I was supposed to be meeting with my friend, Alex, at Highbury & Islington tube station. However, I arrived a tad too early, therefore, I decided to try their latte.

The cafe was located by a busy roundabout which brought all the traffic from Upper Street, Cannonbury Road and Holloway Road…

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Yvonne warned me about how getting a seat at the cafe could be tricky due to its popularity. Luckily, I managed to grab a table for myself and ordered latte…

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The counter was heavily laden with tempting baked offerings…

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Should I have a muffin with my latte? I pondered for a while but opted not to since Alex and I were to have lunch together shortly…

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The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. Most of the customers were having a meeting or working quietly with their notebooks…

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Even their loo was decorated sweetly…

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Next time, I will definitely try their lunch or afternoon tea…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Salvation Jane @ City Road

I knew about this eatery since it opened in 2008 but never came around to pay a visit until a fellow blogger, Wandering Cows, kindly recommended their breakfast menu to me.
After dropping by the post office on Old Street, I thought ‘Hey, why don’t I have breakfast at Salvation Jane?’ So instead of walking up City Road northbound, I turned south, towards Moorgate.

The cafe was located next to Oliver’s Yard, a stone’s throw from the famous Bunhill Field Burial Ground

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The time was nearly 11:00 and the place was infused with tranquility.
Their decor was not at all  modern and sleek but more like homely and solid. A plenty of comfortable timber chairs and tables dotted around the dining area which put any new customer at ease straight away…

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A morning coffee rush crowd was long gone, therefore, the place was sparsely occupied by a small number of customers…

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For breakfast, I ordered  sausage sandwich with HG Walter’s pork & leek sausages and tomato relish on sourdough toast with a fried egg…

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It was a rather chilly & windy morning and I wanted something meaty to line my stomach.
Apart from the toasted sourdough being rather too tough to handle with my overworked & feeble hands, the dish was an absolute joy to eat. The egg was perfectly runny and their tomato relish was refreshing and moreish.

The service was friendly and efficient. And they appeared to be very serious about their coffee too…

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While I was at my table with cutlery in my hands, I noticed the trees outside and their leave were turning red.
The sight intrigued me because most of the leaves I usually came across in London ended up turning brown or yellow in autumn before falling to the ground. Upon leaving the cafe, I decided to investigate this rare sight so walked to the courtyard next door. In the square, I found a row of Momiji, acer palmatum – the Japanese maple trees!
How beautiful they were…

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The trees were sporting their signature autumn leaves in flaming red. I remembered there was a large Momiji tree in my parents’ garden. Is it still standing? Must ask Mom next time I call her…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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