Valentine’s Day 2017

‘Did you receive a delivery?’ Hubbie enquired me as soon as I walked into his office. I was like ‘???’ Was I supposed to wait for any delivery? Did he mention it last night?? ‘So you didn’t receive roses I arranged?’ He looked very disappointed. Apparently, he ordered flowers for me and paid an extra so they would be delivered before 1pm. Oh dear, I would have waited for it if only I knew about it. ‘Well, that wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?’, Hubbie shrugged his shoulders. I felt bad about him having to divulge the secret…

Before the delivery incident, I gave him a card and chocolates in the morning…

The missing delivery was looked after by one of my neighbours. Despite being left in a hallway with no water for more six hours, the roses from Bloom&Wild were in remarkably good condition. I was very impressed.

For our Valentine’s Day dinner, we tried to book a table at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. Since the restaurant was a stone’s throw away from our home, and it meant we wouldn’t have to leave Bella alone too long.

Unfortunately, they were fully booked until 10pm. So we decided to eat at The Eagle

Cider & burger! It may not be the most romantic food for Valentine’s Day, but we felt like it.

Bella was crashing out, wedging herself between me and a cushion…

She was curling up like s fur ball…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Heavenly scent

‘Flowers for you, Kaori!’ A courier guy handed me a large cardboard box as I answered the door. It was totally unexpected and I was dying to open the box. However, I had just finished applying a coat of nail varnish on my nails, so I had to wait in excitement while flapping my hands like crazy.

The gift of flowers and chocolates were from my dear friend Fei who would be filming her promotional video in my apartment tomorrow. The flowers smelt absolutely divine and they really cheered me up.

Let’s hope the shoot will go swimmingly and we gonna have a load of fun tomorrow!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Dutch Flowers

Prior to PHOTO LONDON, I visited National Gallery for an new exhibition, Dutch Flowers. The event was timed to coincide with RHS’s flower shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court.

I am afraid there is no image to show you as photographing was banned at this particular show. 

In spite of being a small scale show, it didn’t disappoint me, or it was precisely because a number of the paintings were limited, I was left craving for more. The works by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan van Huysum and Rachel Ruysch were utterly exquisite and it transformed the walls of the intimate gallery space to a heavenly visual feast.

A tradition of Dutch flower painting stemmed from the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. During this period, the country underwent successful wars and a transition to becoming a republic, and as a result, prospered in trade, science, military and art. Most notably, Dutch East India Company had emerged and it monopolised on Asian trade for two centuries. A large variety of exotic goods were imported from all over the world in order to satisfy insatiable desire of a new social class – the affluent middle class which was consisted of Protestant ministers, lawyers, physicians, small merchants, industrialists and clerks of large state institutions. 

Tulip was one of those exotic arrivals from the East which was introduced to the Dutch soil by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna…

A point of Dutch still life painting differed greatly from the Baroque-style art which dominated the rest of the 17th century Europe. Instead of idealising religion or the existing political hierarchy and using mythical figures for expressing the splendours, Dutch artists studied their subjects with more observant eye, surveying and drafting as scientists or doctors would dissect and analyse their specimens. 

Cognoscenti in a Room hung with pictures, painted about 1620…

A Dutch flower painting is hung on the wall of the imaginary gallery in Antwerp. 

My eyes traced details on each part of the paintings – a petal, a leaf, a stem, a stalk, as well as the vase it was placed and the insects which congregated around it. They were meticulously illustrated and the result was magically real and fascinating. The sensation of seeing the paintings recalled a joyful time I enjoyed while I attended a drawing class when I was young. How a simple exercise of being face to face with the subject and transferring what my eyes saw onto a sheet of paper removed me from a chaos of daily life and enriched my sense for the objects around me. I would love to take up the practice again, I thought.

There were a few images I spotted at PHOTO LONDON yesterday.

Still life by Sharon Core…

Nexus by Ysabel Lemay…

Peaches and Hydrangeas by Paulette Tavormina…

Visiting the exhibition made me realise that I was being lazy when it came to seeing things. Because of my everyday life being inundated with objects jockeying to catch my eyes through shop windows, TV, internet and a smartphone, my attention span in general became far too short to discover anything meaningful. 

I must remember feasting with my eye and nourishing my mind can only happen when I take time to stop and look properly…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday @ Broadway Market

During yesterday’s errand, I was caught out in a sharp wintry shower. The rain was driving into my flimsy leopard print umbrella and the scenery I glimpsed through the corner of the shaky brolly was just wet & grim.
However, against my pessimism, the weather is rumoured to be better by this coming Sunday. Let’s have our fingers crossed!

I can’t believe it was only a mere two weeks ago when Hubbie, Mr.B and I basked in the warm sunshine at Broadway Market.

Mr.B was leaving his calling card at one of his favourite lamp posts…

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We parked our car around the corner from the market…

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Look how keen Mr.B was…

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Apart from an original street market on Broadway Market, there were two more sites accommodating stalls…

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A profusion of blue sky with very little breeze…

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Every direction we turned, there were at least a couple of stalls which were offering tasty looking snacks…

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Dutch mini pancakes with various toppings…

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Some middle eastern snacks?…

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A mega cute sandwich wagon…

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This stall was specialised in honey…

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On Broadway Market, free music was everywhere…

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He was so into his zone…

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This adorable duo seemed to be captivated by a trio of French musicians…

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The only drawback of this particular market was a shortage of suitable seating. Those who managed to grab seats were lucky ones even if they were in the shade…

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Most of us ended up planting our butts on the pavement…

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With Mr.B in the carrier so he wouldn’t be trampled by the market visitors, Hubbie and I looked around the stalls…

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On our way home, we dropped in one of our favourite stalls and bought cakes…

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Raspberry bakewell slice for Hubbie…

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and chocolate M&M for me…

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We also bought a bunch of tulips too…

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Don’t they look lovely? I love tulips.
Let’s hope this weekend will be a warm & sunny one…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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