Sakura at Yoyogi Park

tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parknishe bow dress tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parknishe bow dress tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parktokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parknishe bow dress tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi park

Hello! I’m so, so happy I can finally share with you my photos and thoughts from Japan! I’ve spent the last month with a dead laptop – huge and endless thanks go to this guy for extracting the contents, replacing the hard drive, re-installing everything and saving me multiple and expensive trips to the Genius bar!

I went to Tokyo last month – we timed it for the world-famous Sakura festivals. The sakura last for just a couple of weeks – a few days where the blossoms are at peak bloom, with a couple of days either side of buds appearing and shedding. We arrived just as the blooms were opening and caught the full wonder of the season – from seeing the tiny unfurled buds everywhere and anticipating the first full trees to blossom, to the wonderful days (and it was really just a couple of days) where we woke up and all the trees were in full bloom, not a single petal out of place. By the time we left they were starting to shed – the falling petals looked like soft snow and carpeted the roads in baby pink velvet.

These pictures are predominantly from Yoyogi Park. There’s something about the pastel pink against the clear blue sky that just seemed so whimsical and dreamlike to me – like the parks and roads had been dusted with candyfloss and pastel clouds. I’m already feeling wistful about returning. More from Japan very soon – yay!

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tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi park
tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi park
tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi park dogrun dogtokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parksmall white house building tokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi parktokyo sakura cherry blossom festival laila tapeparade yoyogi park

Christmas Shopping in Frankfurt


German christmas markets have become a staple in London during the festive season but it can’t really compare with the genuine article! On my recent trip to Frankfurt I actually experienced the opening of the main christmas markets in the Aldstadt (Old Town). It was truly magical. The carousels began to turn, the music started playing and suddenly all the lights switched on and the whole of the Römerberg Plaza became illuminated with twinkly coloured lights. You’ll have to imagine the accompanying smells of Apfelwein, Lebkuchen and gingerbread!

I thought I’d share a few of my other tourist highlights in case any of you are visiting Frankfurt any time soon.


STADEL – Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main

The Städel is one of the biggest art collections in Germany. It is mostly drawings and paintings, although there is a huge library as well and an impressive sculpture collection. The building itself is stunning and overlooks the river, fronted by a pretty garden containing a few more sculptures.


DIE KLEINMARKTHALLE – Hasengasse 5, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

This covered market was a labyrinth of colourful fruit and veg stands, lanterns lighting the paths and twinkly fairy lights adorning the stalls. It reminded me a little of similar covered markets in the UK, except far more magical!


WOOD CARVING SHOP – Römerberg Plaza

This shop didn’t seem to have a name but the building was a dark green with a picture of a tree. This charming little shop was filled with brightly painted wood crafts and decorations. Given the season this tiny shop was overflowing with the most stunning woodwork creations for Christmas; windmills, vignettes, figurines and music boxes seemed to be overflowing from every shelf.



Germany doesn’t have a reputation for being veggie-friendly – I was imagining a lot of meat and potatoes before we arrived and I wasn’t far off – but the chicken-free schnitzel I sampled was incredible. The stall I found offered potato, aubergine and tofu variations. Make sure you get yours with mustard and fried onions for the full experience!


EISERNER STEG (Lovelock bridge) – Mainkai, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

If you’re not familiar with the concept of the lovelock bridge, the idea is a couple writes their name on a padlock, secures it to a bridge and throws away the key, thus ensuring their love can never be broken. There are a number of these bridges around but I found this one particularly beautiful; the padlocks looped to the higher structure of the bridge made delicate garlands and looping boughs.

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Zeil is the main shopping street in Frankfurt. I was eager to visit the MyZeil mall for the architecture! The building is full of majestic curves and the central glass mirror structure is light-harvesting, meaning most of the mall is lit using reflected sunlight from the column rather than needing swathes of electric lighting. Pretty cool! I particularly enjoyed the views from the top floor and the rotating escalators; it felt a bit like a space-age film set!

If you like architecture I would also recommend DEUTSCHES ARCHITEKTURMUSEUM.  When I went there was a review the International Highrise Award, as well as a whole floor documenting the many skyscrapers in Frankfurt and their history. It definitely enhanced all my skyline-viewing for the rest of the trip!

So there we go! Let me know if you’re off to Frankfurt anytime soon, or your favourite places if you’ve been before. I’m hoping to get back there sometime soon!Frankfurt germany myzeil christmas market shopping winter wonderlandaIMG_3605aIMG_3580


Throughout school I was busy. I didn’t like most of the kids and the majority of the teachers so I threw myself into activities to avoid them. I had lunchtime music lessons and after-school rehearsals and spent free periods hiding in the practice rooms writing songs. I would leave school around 5:30 to get to a non-school activity later on in the evening and arrived home to do homework, revision, practise around 9pm, normally sleeping around 1 or 2am. Weekends were filled with dance and drama classes, and (as I got older) part-time jobs. Inevitably I got rundown, and every time holidays rolled around I would be very ill for the first week. I carried on this trend at university for the opposite reasons; I loved everyone there and didn’t want to miss a moment. I crammed as many extra activities, nights out, rehearsals and day trips as I could into my termly schedule before going back to my parents house for Christmas, where, like clockwork, I would be very ill for the first week. I never understood people saying “You’re so busy!” or “How do you fit it all in?” because there was never a time I was not busy or “fitting it all in”. I felt like I was doing a normal amount and everybody else was just doing less. rehearsals garage music rehearsal  Having finished education I decided to go freelance and I spent the first 6 months of the year attempting to work in a normal, balanced way: finishing at 6, evenings off, scheduled rest days, lunch breaks etc. It was rubbish. I just hate “downtime”. The whole idea of spending part of a day doing nothing seems like a massive waste of time and I just don’t feel like myself if my brain is not actively engaged. Watching TV, surfing the internet, reading magazines, having a bath and all the other “relaxing” activities either frustrate me and make me feel restless, or dull my creative impulses and make me feel like a braindead zombie. Consequently I returned to my old methods of running around like a maniac in August, and have been much happier and productive.

Until I got ill. Two weeks ago, I found out I had a lung infection and was given a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately, that week collided with two massive concerts I was directing, producing and performing in and so I got a lot worse and returned to the doctors this week. She told me I had the beginning symptoms of mild pneumonia and that I needed to stop working for at least a week, rest, eat well and take stronger antibiotics. I headed for my parents house and under strict doctors orders, I have spent the week doing my least favourite activity in the world: nothing. This is what doing nothing looks like.sofa couch william morris pretty pattern interior design1. Crashing out on the couch in the conservatory. My Dad and I seem to take it in turns napping on this couch – I get my workaholic attitude from him and we are both night owls.

2. Watching South Park. I really dislike most popular TV shows (people are always surprised that I’ve seen ten episodes total of Friends and The Simpsons) but I love, love, love South Park. Bleak, bizarre, surreal, inventive, hilarious and often brilliantly topical comic satire. Genius. (I also love the even bleaker and weirder Monkey Dust.).

3. Changing the layout of my blog.chobits manga selection sailor moon hilary mckay casson books saffy's angel indigo's star permanent rose 4. Re-reading my favourite childhood books and manga (please say I’m not alone in doing this!). Most of the books I’ve bought since my late teens have been passed on to friends or returned to charity shops, but my childhood favourites are still on my bookshelf at home.Caddy Ever After, Forever Rose, Hilary McKay5. Discovering my favourite childhood series continued to be written after I’d stopped reading them and then buying the new titles from Amazon… don’t judge me, I swear I do normally read adult novels of literary worth. Besides I frequently recommend reading books to my pupils (one of them literally said “I didn’t realise there were other books than Harry Potter”) and what kind of irresponsible teacher would I be if I recommended books I hadn’t even read? (Side note: how different are the covers?!)cat bag sequin playsuit cat skirt print white bed interior design spare room 5. Not tidying my bed. I woke up the other day and mistook my cat bag for a monster. Also, this isn’t even my bed, it’s the bed in the spare room – I had to move to this one because my own bed was such a tip. fairy lights poster messy bed messy childhood bedroom untidy piles of stuff interior tipTHIS is my actual bed. How is it possible for a person to be so organised and have such a messy bed?piano grey gardens contemporary musical theatre around the world playing practising music exterior interior shot 6. Playing the piano for fun. This is Around The World’ from the musical Grey Gardens (no relation to Daft Punk).

7. Eating lots of food to help the antibiotics work. I normally get one proper meal a day (massive breakfast around midday) and some sort of salad/snack scenario for dinner, unless James is around in which case he forces me to eat meals like a normal person.

8. Playing iPad games (any recommendations?). I was consumed by Weird Park: Scary Tales – genuinely creepy and probably the worst most unsatisfying ending where almost nothing is explained. Terrifying. I also downloaded a game called Homer with a cute bird character; things were going well until the game asked me to get a parent to sign in and James said it was a game to teach children to read, something I have been managing for a while now. Oops…antibiotics medication tablets pills get better sick9. Attempting to not have mild pneumonia and to be a healthy person.  The Clarithromycin ones are hideous – you have the taste of vomit in your mouth for hours after and the distinct desire to throw up.

So there you go! I hope you have enjoyed this personal insight into me being sick, I assure you had I done ANYTHING else of note this week I would have posted about that. What does your “doing nothing” look like?