Happy new year of the pig !

· Decoration, Illustration

I sent you my greetings a month ago: but here we are again with the lunar year, to make sure we will have as much as possible positive vibes for 2019!

We are saying bye to the dog and welcoming the pig so I wanted to prepare a new wallpaper accordingly (especially as my last wallpaper was from last summer… so weather wise we are not very in line anymore!)

 

A pink or golden wallpaper

This time, I wanted to prepare an origami design with small pigs, I hope you will like it. You have to choose between pink or gold and according to the size of your smartphone

 

Iphone 6, 7, 8 and other “small screen” smartphones :

Pink lock screen wallpaper here
Pink dashboard wallpaper here

Golden lock screen wallpaper here
Golden dashboard wallpaper here

 

Iphone X and other “long screen” smartphones:

Pink lock screen wallpaper here
Pink dashboard wallpaper here

Golden lock screen wallpaper here
Golden dashboard wallpaper here

 

You can download this wallpaper by clicking on it and simply register the image into your image gallery. Then, choose it as home screen on your phone (do not forget to resize it as the iPhone usually tends to zoom images).

I hope you will appreciate it and that it will bring you a lot of luck. Happy new year of the pig. Happy Têt!  Chúc Mừng Năm Mới !

 

PS : This illustration (like all the others on this blog) has copyright and can’t be modified (color, layout, drawing, signature…). You can only use it for private personal usage and no commercial opportunity. Thanks ! (English translation by Quiterie)

Abashiri

· Fashion, Food, Illustration, Travel

It’s been almost a year since I came back from Japan and I still haven’t finished my story about this trip: what a shame, I know!… but at least now we are plunging back to the winter season: let’s say that I almost did it in purpose!

Let’s continue our journey where we stopped, in Sapporo. After these few days of ice and snowy shows, we are heading to the Northeast of the Hokkaido island toward Abashiri (located on the map here).

 

How to go to Abashiri

We took the early morning train from Sapporo to Abashiri: note that only two trains per day head to this destination. You wouldn’t miss your train!

The trip takes 5:30 hours to get to Abashiri station: then we took another train and a shuttle bus to our hotel.

In the second train we actually missed our stop because, good to know, small Japanese trains only open the front doors at the station.

So you need to get ready in advance to walk toward the first cars of the train to be ready at the next station. We looked so smart waiting behind a door that can’t be opened! Hoping our mistake will be useful and you will avoid waiting in a snowy ghost station.

 

An icebreaker ship on the Okhotsk sea

The main attraction of Abashiri in winter is the icebreaker tour (open from 9:00 to 3:30pm in average). You should easily find a bus that will take you to the “Aurora terminal”.

From January 20th to April 3rd approximately, the ices from Siberia heads down to the Okhotsk sea along the sea currents, creating a kind of sea ice floes moving toward the north of Japan.

This phenomenon can be seen in Abashiri but the weather can be capricious, so make sure to check the forecast before the tour: blocks can come as multiples (as seen on the pictures) or can be more discreet.

We got extremely lucky that day to be able to admire huge pieces of floating ice on this intense blue water with on top of it beautiful sky and sun. Looking at the pictures it’s clear that we couldn’t have expected any better.

The experience totally convinced us, I wouldn’t have never imagined to see this while being in Japan! You can still check out the icebreaker tour on my highlighted Instagram Story called “Abashiri”.

 

The Abashiri prison museum

The boat tour takes about one hour, so we had still quite some time left and had the crazy idea to visit the Abashiri prison museum.

You won’t bring back from this place the happiest pictures from your trip but this visit was actually very interesting so it was not a waste of time at all.

The prison was built about 100 years ago. It was moved to another place and it now only remains a museum, which is enough to get a feeling of the rough life conditions the prisoners have had.

The visit follows a map starting from the tribunal to the working areas (the jail was producing its own miso and soy sauce) as well as the imprisonments areas more or less extremes that send shivers down your spine.

The museum is decorated with dummies looking quite realistic, which is impressive (and creepy but Japanese seem to like it) and it’s possible to try a meal the prisoner ate at the restaurant of the museum (grilled fish and miso soup, almost a dream).

The souvenir shop is not forgotten neither (who want handcuffs key-holders?). For those who might be interested: some might find this a bit disturbing: it is… but as for me, I didn’t regret it at all.

 

Abashiri Tsuruga resort

Our opinion about this hotel is quite mixed: we chose it for its location close from the places we wanted to visit. First we were pretty impressed by the Japanese cottage style but at the end we were disappointed by the food (rare enough to be pointed at in Japan) served on a buffet, quantitative but not really qualitative.

It’s also the kind of hotel where tourists (like us too!) go in mass: looking at the size of the hotel, we could have expected this but it’s good to know if you want to book it. It’s more like a huge resort rather than a calm tiny ryokan.

This being said, the advantage is the organization, with a lot of staff, one spa with onsen bathes (very relaxing anyway). We even spent a few very nice evenings in an empty living-room with a fireplace and marshmallows (to roast!).

We also experienced a hot foot-bath in a small cabin outside in the snow in front of the hotel: we only stayed 2-min but we did it!!

On this pictures I was wearing a traditional yukata from the area (unlike my socks!). And good thing for our luggage, we had a spacious room.

The view from our room

 

Miso ramen in Abashiri

The restaurant I found is located right next to the Aurora terminal. It’s hard to give you a precise address but try to show this name  麺屋 海嵐 to someone and they might be able to find the place (if it still exists, we never know).

We enjoyed very delicious miso ramen with and without stock, perfectly seasoned and so comforting after this sea trip.

Miso ramen with or without stock at  麺屋 海嵐 restaurant

 

I hope you liked the visit in Abashiri and it will help you to plan your winter trip in Japan. Coming soon, another destination even more snowy and wild, Shiretoko! (English translation by Quiterie)

Afternoon tea at home

· Decoration, Food

You know how I love all things related to the UK … especially their singers/actors, let’s be honest, but also the lifestyle and their humour … and all the more with our road-trip from last summer.

I have always been more of a tea rather than a coffee person (a food-loving tea person I’d add!), which is why I love Afternoon tea, this English ritual that consists in taking a break between lunch and dinner to have cake and savory delicacies while sipping on tea.

A couple months back, BHV launched it’s website BHV.fr and as a “food” ambassador, I ordered online to make an afternoon tea at home. I also took the opportunity to order a bit of crockery and other necessary accessories to create an authentic teatime experience….or at least to the best of my ability (Your Royal Highness Queen Elisabeth, if you are reading this, please be lenient!)

 

Preparations in the kitchen

Since I’m enjoying cooking more and more often, I’m trying to invest in quality equipment. I didn’t have moulds for madeleines or cannelés yet : I browsed the website and found these silicone ones (not too bulky for storage either, which is nice). The madeleine mould was tested and approved for this post : perfectly cooked and very easy to turn out.

 Madeleine and cannelés moulds De Buyer (here and there)
Maple wood spoon Kuhn Rikon
Cooking whisk
Absolument Maison

 

I decided to prepare my cakes using the Marlette mixes (that I found at the BHV MARAIS) : scones, chocolate chip muffins and madeleines. I could have done everything from scratch, but having already baked these cakes over Christmas, I realized they were a great way to save time (for most, you just need to add butter, mik and eggs), all while keeping the recipe yummy and with quality ingredients.

My only personal twist was in the madeleine recipe : I added white chocolate chips and matcha powder : a success !

Madeleine mould De Buyer

 

On the savory side, I decided to prepare finger sandwiches and mini grilled cheese, in bite size versions : I chose to add ham, butter and pickles to the sandwiches and a yummy cheddar cheese to the grilled cheese. Which only left cutting the bread to the right size and tada for a complete afternoon tea!

I also added crunchy sandwiches with sesame kamut bread and chicken rillettes (which can also be found at LE BHV MARAIS).

Round wood cutting board Absolument Maison

 

Crockery

Hirène tiered cake stand Absolument maison
Hirène teacups Absolument maison
Cake knife and server Nuova

 

When you say afternoon tea, you say teacups! Believe it or not, but up to now, I only had large japanese cups or mugs! I had to get small traditional teacups, that I found on the website. I really like the elegant scalloped edges.

Sugar pot Bitossi
Hirène tiered cake tray Absolument maison

 

I also wanted to get the teapot from the same Hirène collection, but it wasn’t in stock when I ordered : I will make up for this shortcoming by ordering it right now. I hope the royal family won’t have noticed it was missing! As a diversion tactic, I chose a cute sugarpot with lots of detailed and a special hole to put a golden spoon.

The masterpiece of the afternoon tea was the tiered cake tray, that allowed to present the cakes and sandwiches and transport you directly into an english teahouse … how cute!

 

Tea for two

For this yummy one on one moment, I chose to prepare a Christmas tea that I had already shown you in my Instagram stories and that I really like : the Star tea (Thé des étoiles) from the Palais des Thés. It’s chocolate notes (green tea, chesnuts and tonka bean) was perfect to go along the sweets and treats.

With such a tasty and hearty teatime, dinner of course is barely a supper. I had been ambitious for a 2 person teatime, but supper did include some madeleines for dessert! (English translation by Marine)

Mincemeat (candied fruit marmelade) Tiptree
Roses de Reims biscuits Fossier
(found at LE BHV MARAIS delicatessen)

 

(This is a promoted post and was made in collaboration with LE BHV MARAIS )


My Outfit

“Harry” Archive by Alexa blouse Marks & Spencer (already seen here)
Apron Bloomingville (found at LE BHV MARAIS)
Earrings Soko (already seen here)

« Volume russe » Eyelashes extensions Les cils de Marie (already seen here)

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