Friday, 30 October 2015

Herringbone weaving gauze towel scarf

New items: Herringbone weaving gauze towel scarf in black, blue and natural. Our popular herringbone weaving gauze range also comes as a scarf now. It's so soft and comfy! It's 100% cotton, so you can use this all year round. Of course, it's versatile, so you can use this as a towel too.




Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My favourite things- ReTree‏

When I got married, I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas tree. I had a few Christmas decorations before, but I had the feeling that Christmas Trees were only for family.

I wasn't really interested in a traditional Christmas Tree though. It looks so wintery and takes up so much spaces even in a box. However, I wasn't interested in a summer white Christmas tree, which are quite popular in Australia, either. These could be just a trend and become dated. I was looking for something we both can love for a long time.

Then I found this ReTree in San Francisco and fell in love. Originally they didn't have an international shipping option and when I asked, they checked the price and told me the shipping to Australia would cost around $400 (by international courier service) . NO WAY!

But the shop owner was very helpful and when I found a cheaper shipping option (United States Postal Service 'Priority Mail International' , which was around $60), she went to all the trouble of lining up in the long queue, double checking the price and going back there to send it. Because I was her first international customer, she didn't even charge me the handling fee.
Nico was only 2 month old in December last year

So my Christmas Tree came all the way from San Francisco. I love this because it's so simple and easy to match with the rest of our interior and we can use it all year round. We've got some little ornaments already, but it'll be nice to collect some other special ones little by little. I'm sure Nico will love our special unique Christmas tree.

With love,


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

INBAN owl bowls

We've got some new products for Girls With Style Ladies Night ! We don't usually sell Japanese tableware online because it's a bit fragile and difficult to handle, but just for this market stall, we've got these lovely owl bowls.

They are made by using Japanese traditional transferware technique called 'INBAN". Unlike machine printed tableware, some parts are faded or uneven because it's all done by hand, but if you can appreciate the beauty of imperfection (wabi sabi) , this is really great! We have 5 only in our stock, so be quick!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sweet home project 3 – selling an apartment‏

In the story of Sweet home project 2, I wrote about how we chose the agent to sell our St Kilda East apartment.
So now we got an agent…what’s next?
The agent told us that the photographer would come and take photos of our apartment, but we still had some time. We had large, lovely wooden frame windows in the lounge and bedroom and that was the great feature, so we decided to sand and oil them to make them look nicer. They had started to get a little bit old and stained over the years.
Paul’s parents came to help us. They also helped with a couple of other parts, like fixing up a rotten kitchen window frame and painting the communal corridor wall and our front door, of which some parts were peeled off. They even cleaned the windows from outside (our apartment was 2ndfloor, so it wasn’t easy!!!)
Also Paul’s sister Maria came to the apartment and gave us some good advice about the interior (she does this for her work.. SEE here! ). We moved our furniture so that the room would look bigger. We even took out some of our stuff to Paul’s parents’ place temporarily. Living in a showroom-like home was sometimes inconvenient, but it was only for a couple of months, so we decided to do that.
We had inspections on both Saturday and Sunday, because St Kilda East has a large number of Jewish people, who may prefer Sunday inspections. The first Saturday inspection was a bit of fun for us - we were a bit excited to leave home and have a cup of coffee at neighbourhood café. But soon it became a bit annoying. We had to wake up early every weekend and keep our home tidy. Besides this, not many people were coming through. On the first weekend we had 5 groups and on the second weekend, 3 groups came. And the condition of our apartment was really good! A sparkling kitchen with marble benchtop, light-filled lounge, beautiful carpets (we didn’t wear shoes at home), close to station and shops, secure small block apartment, top name it, we had everything! Haha, maybe I sounds like I'm still trying to "sell" it, but we just didn’t understand why people weren’t coming.  Maybe the timing wasn’t that good, but we couldn’t wait until spring because we wouldn’t be able to move out just before my due date.

When we started worry that we might not sell at the auction, the agent told us that there was one person who was pretty keen to buy our apartment. She was a young girl who had some financial support from her parents and she really liked how we lived in the apartment. She even liked all our furniture!  The agent said she wanted to put in an offer before the auction, but if we didn't make a decision quickly she’d go to the other auction next weekend. Is that a tactic for buyers that make vendor feel nervous about that they’d not come back to buy at the auction? We weren't not sure, but the agent said this was a pretty good opportunity, especially since we weren't getting many people interested.
We were ready to accept an offer, but hers was a bit low. We were trying not to be greedy, but at least we wanted to get a similar price to what I paid 4 years ago. The agent understood our situation and tried his best - in the end, he got the price which was a bit better than we expected (it wasn’t as good as we first planned though!). The price was actually a couple of thousand dollars lower than the price I bought it for, but over those 4 years I also didn’t have to pay rent to someone else, so in the end we thought it was alright.
So we sold our little 1BR apartment in May in 2014 and moved out in July, which was 3 months before my due date. We were very emotional about moving out of our favourite place, but we got a lovely 3 BR and study house to rent from Paul’s parents and were excited about getting a room ready for little Nico, so it wasn’t too bad.
We really loved living in St Kilda East. Whenever Paul explained to someone we lived in St Kilda, I was a little upset because St Kilda East is completely different from what you imagine from just “St Kilda”. We really loved the little shops on Carlisle Street, including a great Jewish Bagel shop and a funny, old fashioned video shop with a huge selection. We also really loved the old beautiful building of St Mary’s church and hearing the bell from our apartment. When we get old and if we want to downsize our home, we might go back to this our favourite area again ;-)
Next time, I will write about how we got our new place!
With love,

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Mihoko Seki Collection

New Arrival: Mihoko Seki Collection
Mihoko Seki is a stencil dyeing (Katazome) artist. Katazome is a traditional Japanese stencil technique for dying fabric and paper. She designs things from matchbox labels, to Kimono, Kimono sash belts, food packaging and stationery. The world she creates is somehow nostalgic and fairytale like. We have 3 new designs for TENUGUI in two different colours!

bottle (purple)
play of the village (brown)
no sense of direction (Asagi)

We also have some of her other items, like stationery and baby bibs.
See our Mihoko Seki Collection here!

woth love,

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

My favourite things-Baby Journal by Write to Me stationery

On Valentine’s Day in 2014, Paul gave me this baby journal. We found out that we were having a baby just before the Valentine’s Day, so it was a wonderful present. We started to fill in some parts even before Nico was born and since he was born, every month we sat down together and wrote things down about the Nico’s growth. 

I love this journal not only because the design is cute, but the content is unique. For example, there’s a page you can write about things that happened in the year the baby was born, like the prime minister, petrol price, AFL grand final winner. It will be interesting to see this page in the future! 


We put this journal on the table at the Nico’s 1st birthday party, so that all guest could see how Nico has grown. Some of our friends were surprised that we had the energy and time to fill in all the pages…honestly it wasn’t easy, but we enjoyed thinking about our little guy after he went to sleep and thought about all the memories we got from the month.

This is a 5 year journal, so we will continue to fill the pages for next 4 years, but after his 1stbirthday, we don’t have to fill it in every month, just every year. We already decided to give this to Nico on his 12th birthday just before he becomes a teen. We're hoping that he will know how much we loved him from this journal and that fact will help him through some difficulties before he becomes an adult.


With love,


Monday, 19 October 2015

Birthday Party!

this is the only photo I took for this blog. I will share professional photos when it's ready!

Oh I feel like I have now done the biggest job as a parent. Before we had a child, many parents told us how painful the labour is, or how hard it is to get up at night for feeding, but no one told us about how much effort we needed for the first birthday!

Well, we tried to choose the easiest option, so we had BBQ party. I hope this doesn't make us look like lazy parents, but we set it up as a "make your own burger" buffet. Our guests could choose tomato, lettuce, bacon, beetroot, cheese and so on for their own burger. I cooked little quiches for little kids, macaroni salad for the side, two birthday cakes and some little egg tarts. ( I will share my egg tart recipe someday! It's so easy and yummy.) We had about 30 guests and no one was hungry at the end, so it was successful I guess!

We wanted to start the party at 11.30am,which was soon after Nico's morning sleep, so we planned to go to the venue at 10.30am and set up everything...but it took ages for Nico to go to sleep in that morning and we only left home at 10.40am. We quickly did the cake decoration and put up the signs and decorations and started cooking burgers. By the time all the guests arrived, I was sooooo exhausted.

I don't even remember what I was doing during the party, but I was so busy. I couldn't chat much with our guests. Probably I was chasing around after Nico half the time. The best choice we made for this party is that we had a photographer. I didn't have to worry about taking photos. Actually no guests were taking photos (even Nico's proud grandparents), they could just enjoy the party thanks to our wonderful photographer.

We wanted our guests to have a wonderful time, so we prepared some games too! For the one of the games, guests had to guess Nico's weight by holding him and then matching his weight with some other objects. Nico got lots of cuddles from the guests!

Packing up everything was almost as hard as setting up, but all our extended family helped us and my lovely nephew helped me carry all the stuff to our car - thanks Lachlan! As soon as we got home, Nico and Paul went to sleep together (when he's too tired, it's easier for one of us sleep with him) and I got all the stuff out of our car and cleaned.  When I finished all that, I was as exhausted as after our wedding! But, like the wedding, it was really satisfying.

We had leftover burgers that night and went to bed. We were all really tired, including little Nico...but the most annoying thing was that the house across the road was having a huge party and loud music lasted till 1.30am!

Next morning we heard from our neighbour that it was someone's 21st birthday. I thought about our little Nico having a big party like that in 20 years and that thought made me feel really exhausted once again, but oh well - I won't worry about it for 20 years!

With love,

Friday, 16 October 2015

Nico's 1st Birthday

Yesterday was such a wonderful day for us! It was our special boy's 1st birthday. We had a breakfast celebration at home and sang "happy birthday" at 8.20am sharp, which was the time Nico was born. We invited Paul's parents, his sister and Nico's little cousin, Luca. We prepared all the food and room decorations the night before. Nico's smashing cake was pancake stacks with yoghurt and cream.

we prepared everything the night before

Nico enjoyed balloons in his cot in the morning!

musical band TENUGUI became a bunting!

I used this origami (click!) from nuno and stitch to make a high chair bunting...

Pancake "cake" and Musical band washi tape cake bunting!

Nico smashed the cake!

After his morning sleep we went to Melbourne aquarium. We were thinking to take Nico to either the zoo or aquarium, but we're glad that we chose the aquarium. Nico loved seeing the lovely coloured fish, and big sharks and stingrays. First we put him in his pram, but soon he started to march around himself.

They loved the huge tank!

I almost cried when I saw him enjoying himself!

Nico is also really enjoying the new toys he got from his grandparents and aunties. Our present for him is not a toy this year. We have a weekend party tomorrow so we asked our photographer friend to come and take photos. He won't remember his first birthday himself, so we wanted all these special memories to be captured by a professional photographer. I can't wait to share the photos here!

He loves all the toys he got

Today has been a very busy day preparing food and some other stuff for tomorrow's party. I thought I wouldn't have time for this blog...but oh well, I made it!

With love,

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

My favourite things- Musical Band TENUGUI‏

"Yonagado"TENUGUI (musical band blue) $24.20

When I saw this TENUGUI, it gave me some inspiration for Nico's first birthday theme.
It's "Animal Party!". When he was a kid, Paul always thought that dogs were boys and cats were girls... Do you agree? Paul does look like a doggie sometimes and he thinks I look like a cat. Our Nico is a boy, but somehow he doesn't look like a dog. He's more like a monkey. So this animal theme will match with this animal family.

When I order TENUGUI from Japan and see it in real life,
I always think that they are much nicer than they looked in the photos!

This musical band TENUGUI also looked much better in real life and I really wanted to use this for Nico's birthday...but how?? Well, I'll show you everything after his birthday. It's a little secret for now.

ONGAKUTAI Washi tape (blue) $4.95

There is washi tape in the same print too! This will be Nico's signature washi tape.

Our little monkey boy will be 1 tomorrow.

It has been really wonderful to be his mummy for 1 year. He gave us lots of smiles and happiness. We sometimes can't believe how lucky we are. He still wakes up 3 times at night and sometimes I struggle to get up in the cold and dark, but I'm so happy that I can do something for him. He's such a great boy. Thank you Nico for choosing us as your parents;-)

With love,

Monday, 12 October 2015


I love cooking cakes but didn't have time for that since Nico was born.
I made this "gateau au chocolat " for my sister-in-law's birthday.
I love making buntings with washi tapes! See our washi tape collection here...
Birthday gift from nuno and stitch shop.

Our "AFL Grand Final" day...we can't wait for the next season!

We went to Rose Street Market to learn how to set up a market stall.
I got some good ideas from some shops for this market (click!) in November. 

And I got this cute shop sign!

We're invited to our friend's son's first birthday.
He was born 5 days earlier than Nico.
(his mum and my due date were the same..haha.)

It's good to see our son mingle with other kids.
He is pretty independent!

Tomato plants and succulents at Mount Waverley Market.
Thank you to the people who supported my Aussie parents' charity!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Baba Sus

My sister-in-law Maria had her birthday just recently and we took her to our favourite café, Baba Sus in Glen Iris, for breakfast. The co-owner of this café is a Japanese chef (you can read about her here !) and the menu has some Asian influence.

Paul and I always share two dishes, a savory and sweetie. We ordered a burger and the Hong Kong Style pancakes ;-) Their food never disappoints us, the staff are friendly and their service is great!

If you are traveling to Melbourne from somewhere else, it's not really an easy spot to visit though because it's a bit far out from the city (about 25min by train) and there's no tourist attractions around there, but if you live in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, this is a must-go place. If you take your friends there, you can definitely impress them!

with love


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Love tomatoes this summer and help a great cause!

Do you have a garden? Do you want to grow lovely tomatoes this summer? Come to the Mount Waverley Market this Sunday and get some tomato plants from Paul's parents!

It's $4/pot and they have 5different varieties. All the money goes to the San Antonio Abad Medical Centre in El Salvador.

This is a photo from last year. I was standing at the stall on my due date and the contractions started on that night.

These tomatoes are planted, potted and well looked after by Paul's parents and they are really lovely.

Sun, October 11, 9am – 2pm

Hamilton Place, Stephensons Road Mount Waverley Vic.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

My favourite things - the Kilm Miracle Print Rug

My mum bought this lovely rug for Nico when she was here last year. She was looking after Paul and me while we were looking after newborn Nico. She cooked meals, washed clothes, did dishes...she did everything for us for two months!

One of my first outings without Nico in the first month after he was born was to the hair salon. I wanted to have my hair cut as short as possible so that I could minimize my hair drying time. I used to go to a Japanese hair salon in the city, but I worried about leaving Nico at home with my mum alone for a long time, so I just went a hair salon nearby. At the hair salon while I was waiting, I was reading a magazine and found this lovely colorful rug and fell in love. We got a yellow cot for Nico (we bought it from ebay and the original owner painted it!) so I could picture that this rug would match perfectly with the cot. I took a photo of the magazine page with my phone.

When I got home, I looked up this rug but it wasn't available anymore...the magazine I was reading at the hair salon was too old! I couldn't give up though, so I sent an inquiry to Elk and they sent me the list of the shops which bought this rug and suggested that I check with those shops. Paul called up the shops from the top of the list...and found one left!

The shop was in St Kilda East where we used to live. It was one of my favorite shops. They got this rug to hang in the window for their display, but it was too heavy, so they gave up just kept it in their back storage. Luckily no customer could spot this lovely rug! When Paul called up and asked about the rug, they were pretty happy that we found their "hidden" rug - and of course we were super happy too.

Soon after we called them, we went to the shop and got this rug. When my mum saw this at the shop, she said she wanted to buy this for Nico. I was sure that Nico would love this rug and use it for a long time, so I accepted her offer.

Whenever I go into Nico's room and look at this rug, it reminds me of those first months we had with my mum. She was so excited about seeing tiny little Nico. She often sang Japanese lullabies for him. She cuddled him for ages to put him down to sleep while Paul and I were having dinner. She can't stay with him all the time now, but this rug is always beside Nico.

Someday I will tell Nico how much his "Baba chan" (we'll let Nico call my mum like this) did for him when he was a tiny little guy. I'm sure he will cherish this rug forever.

With love,


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Girls With Style Ladies Night​

I'm very happy to announce that we will have a market stall at the Girls With Style Ladies Night, at Glen Waverley South Primary School on November 6th!

The Entry Fee is $10 and you get a glass of bubbly/juice, nibbles and a raffle ticket ;-)This is also a fund raising event, so please come and visit us, enjoy shopping and support a good cause. You might even be able to finish your Christmas shopping all in one spot!

See you there!

With love, Allie

Monday, 5 October 2015

Sweet home project 2 – selling an apartment (choosing an agent)

In the story of Sweet home project 1, I wrote about how I bought my old St Kilda East apartment. Today I will write about how we sold it. 

When I bought it, I didn’t expect to have to sell it so soon (I was there for less than 5 years!) so I was a bit sad, but I knew that was for something more positive. We really needed extra space for our little baby. We didn’t know anything about selling our apartment, so we just popped in one of the nearest real estate agent (let’s say agent A) and asked. We didn’t have an appointment or anything, but the guy there just made time for us anyway (it was 5 mins before 5pm-just before they were closing) and he told us that he would come to our apartment to have a look the next morning.

 He came to our apartment with his assistant next day. He prepared a nice looking booklet which had all the information about the selling history from our apartment and neighborhood. We didn’t have any experience with an agent, so we were very impressed. One disappointing thing was that he estimated our apartment a bit cheaper than we expected, but we thought he’s being honest. He was not pushy and that made us comfortable. He just left us to decide what we want to do. We really liked that approach. 

We nearly decided to use this agent A, but just in case, we went to see another agent (agent B), one that looked pretty popular in the area and located right next to the station. They came to our apartment soon after we contacted them.   
They brought a booklet similar to the agent A, so we found that this was the standard these days. As soon as they came in, they spotted the good parts of our apartment and looked impressed. They were a bit younger than the agent A and more “salesman” types of people, but looked enthusiastic. The fee was cheaper than agent A and estimated our place a bit higher. They wanted to get this business, so they even offered the lower fee. 

If you were in this situation, which agent would you choose? Agent A still looked genuine to us and I thought Paul was leaning toward it. But for me, the fact that the agent B really liked our apartment was quite big. It’s our favourite place and I wanted to tell all the potential buyers how wonderful that place was, but we couldn't be there at the inspections, so the agent had to be our representative. 

Agent A was nice and kind, but he didn’t really try to sell themselves to us - I wondered "How can they sell our place to someone else?"

We wanted to sell our apartment before winter (we thought that less buyers would be around in the cold weather!), so we decided to attend their auctions on the weekend and make the final decision...but unfortunately two agents’ auctions were scheduled on the same time. Paul knew that I was leaning toward the agent B, so he suggested that we’d go to the agent B auction and we asked Paul’s parents to go to the other auction. 

 In the end, we chose the agent B. At the auction, we’re impressed by how they handled all the potential buyers. They had many staff there and during the auction, they were all attentive. At the end they succeeded in getting a bit higher bid from the second highest bidder, so therefore they pushed the price up. 
 At the auction that Paul’s parents went, agent A couldn’t sell the place. Paul’s parents were a bit surprised that the agent didn’t talk to them at all (and didn’t even ask their contact.) Maybe the agent thought they were just neighbours, but still they could be potential buyers. 

It was pretty easy decision in the end. So we picked the agent. What’s next? I will write about how we sold the apartment next time!


With love ,


Thursday, 1 October 2015


Kokeshi dolls are originally from the Tohoku region of Northern Japan. They are made from wood and are painted one by one by Kokeshi artists. All the face expressions and floral patterns on their body differ, depending on the area they are made.

Kokeshi doll TENUGUI (green) $24.20

They were popular as girls' toys when they were originally made but now are more popular for collectors. Their expressions are subtle, but somehow make you feel comfortable and happy! Enjoy our KOKESHI items at your home.

Check out our KOKESHI doll collection here!