Life

Praying for Barcelona

My beloved city of Barcelona was targeted in a senseless terror attack yesterday. I have no words, only tears. I was in Barcelona just six months ago and walked along Las Ramblas many times. The atmosphere was always lively, filled with people, with lots going on in the food markets, shops and restaurants that line the avenue. Yesterday’s events are simply too much to comprehend. I’m so devastated to see what this world has come to now. To the beautiful people of Barcelona, stay strong as you move forward. Your city will always have my heart. Sending love and prayers to everyone affected.

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Handmade, Life

ZenPop Stationery Review

There are so many things to love about Japan. Today I’d like to introduce you to ZenPop, a Japanese company that sends the coolest products from the heart of Osaka to anywhere in the world. While it sounds like a subscription-style service, it isn’t. You can purchase individual packs each month without knowing exactly what’s included (because it’s a surprise!) but ZenPop do showcase a few products on social media and hint about the contents on their website.

ZenPop Box

There are 6 packs to choose from and all prices are in US Dollars and include shipping:

  • Japanese Ramen + Sweets Mix ($24.50)
  • Japanese Sweets Pack ($19.50 – $29.50)
  • Japanese Ramen Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Stationery Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Beauty Pack ($29.50)

I bought the Japanese Stationery Pack for the month of April with a “Kawaii” or cute theme, which promised 12 or more items.

Open Box

The box in which the products arrived was so cute and featured the ZenPop bunny mascot jumping for joy! Inside the box the first thing seen was a little note which said “You got a lucky box with a pair of lucky socks” and of course a smile instantly came to my face.

What a sweet gesture!

Now let’s explore the actual products inside the Stationery Pack. The April kit included:

  • 1x Decorese Pen (1 of 10 pastel colours)
  • 1x Kuretake – Mangaka Pen (1 of 4 colours)
  • 1x Uni Jetstream Pen – Black ink
  • 1x Kuratake Brush Tip Highlighter (1 of 5 fluorescent colours)
  • Washi Tape (1 of 5 designs)
  • Sanrio Memo Pad (1 of 6 designs)
  • Rilakkuma Folder (1 of 4 designs)
  • Schedule Stickers (1 of 3 designs)
  • Nico Sticky Notes (1 of 4 designs)
  • Bento Flake Stickers
  • Tombow MONO 2 Way (1 of 5 colours)
  • Flip Out Message Cards

ZenPop StationeryPen Examples

The items included were all so cute and useful too. I’ll certainly be using the pages of the Sanrio notepad to write letters to penpals and the sushi stickers to decorate the envelopes! All the pens were great and wrote ever-so-beautifully on paper. The washi tape was certainly a highlight as was the gorgeous Rilakkuma folder. Can’t wait to also use the MONO correction tape on one side and eraser on the other!

Overall, I loved the ZenPop Stationery Pack. All the products were of very high quality and with a large variety of inclusions from stickers to sticky notes, paper, washi tape and pens. No two boxes are the same as there are endless colour and design combinations ZenPop sends you. It took just under 4 weeks to arrive to Australia from Japan but it was so worth the wait. For all the info on ZenPop’s other packs please visit their website here and try something new from Japan for yourself.

In Detail



Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this review are 100% honest. This box was purchased by me and I genuinely loved all the products and wanted to publish a review here.

Celebrations, Food, Life, Melbourne, Travel

Memories of 2016

Whoa, 2016 was quite a year! So much happened in the world, tragedies, triumphs, the unthinkable, the magical. This year had it all. In many ways I’m glad to bid farewell to 2016, which for me had its fair share of ups and downs just like any year.

A definite highlight was visiting beautiful Japan for two weeks in March. Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto were all places I had longed to travel to for many years and it will be hard to top my birthday from now on, having spent the day at Disneyland Tokyo – a magical place in every sense. I shall never forget my first trip in the Land of the Rising Sun – eating delicious food, seeing the sights with my own eyes, entering historic temples, smiling at the pandas and flamingos at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. Getting a feel for Japanese culture was just incredible.

streetsoftokyotokyoasakusanighttokyodisneyland

Closer to home it’s been enjoyable spending afternoons at wildlife sanctuaries where cute koalas and wallabies can be fed and petted. It’s been so much fun creating a new studio feature wall and launching Mishka Mail back in August. I feel so grateful to every single customer who bought a subscription and every blogger that reviewed our kits on their blogs. Thank you!

wallabykoalastudiowithcatOrderSuccess

It’s been so exciting to place our first print advertisement in a funky Canadian hobby magazine called Uppercase for their special 30th issue.

uppercasemagazine

Other highlights include riding a bicycle at the beach in Port Melbourne, eating some delicious meals, writing and receiving some awesome letters from international pen friends, winning auctions on Ebay and listening to lovely concerts at outdoor summer venues.

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2016 has taught me that life isn’t about chance encounters that happen to you, it’s about how YOU chase each and every opportunity to make moments for yourself. I’m entering 2017 with this very notion in my mind and have a lot that I’m already looking forward to. Here’s to a beautiful and successful 2017 for you all!

Happy New Year!

Life, Melbourne

Dream Mansions in Brighton

There is a seaside suburb in Melbourne by the name of Brighton and it’s the place dreams are made of. Those lucky enough to call Brighton home have the beach on their doorstep and have pulled out all stops to make their homes feel welcoming and reflect their personalities. From the wide open tennis courts, to the exquisite gardens, unique architectural additions and just the right balance of colour and materiality, the residents of Brighton are truly living the life of luxury.

Here are my favourite homes snapped up on my walk in this ultra chic and exclusive suburb that has stolen my heart. A girl can only dream, right?

Life, Travel

I Left My Heart in Wilmington, NC

Cape Fear River

When I heard there would be a “One Tree Hill” convention in the charming city of Wilmington in the US, I knew there would never be a better time for me to experience all the filming locations of my favourite TV show than during the summer of 2015. So I bought myself a General Admission ticket for Saturday, 8th of August, and somehow convinced myself to book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a whole new continent I’d never been to before.

For those of you who have watched this show, you need no further explanations as to just how much of an impact it has had on fans from all around the world. They finished filming in Wilmington three years ago now but that hasn’t stopped the fan-base from growing exponentially. Next year there are already five “One Tree Hill” Conventions planned – two in Wilmington, one in Paris, one in Geneva and one in Montreal. London is also hoping to jump on the conventions train!

My mum was my travel companion for this trip and it was an amazing experience to share with her. When we arrived in Wilmington she was so excited for me even though she had never seen a single episode of OTH. We spent one week in this beautiful port city on the Cape Fear river and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Everywhere we’d go there would be some kind of building or monument or street that would remind me of a certain episode or character from the show. Most of the time I knew where to find these locations, as I had come prepared with a map of all the main filming sights, but sometimes I would recognise a place from the show just when I least expected to. I had always seen the locations such as the cafe/fashion boutique corner at Front and Grace Streets, the iconic 6th Street Bridge from the opening credits and the glorious Riverwalk on my digital screen and now I was right there experiencing it all first-hand! I’m so glad that the show’s creator, Mark Schwahn, filmed all around Wilmington as well as in the closed sets at EUE Screen Gems Studios, because that gives Wilmington a huge advantage as far as the tourism industry is concerned. Fans of Dawson’s Creek also come from far and wide to see where Joey Potter and the gang filmed in the fictional town of Capeside.

Shop Merchandise OTH

We lived in the historic downtown area with a balcony overlooking the beautiful river. There were many filming sights within walking distance, for instance the former Rivercourt sight was seen from our window and many interior scenes were filmed in actual diners/shops very close to our hotel. My mum and I managed to travel on foot and by bus (with a bus arriving only once per hour at best!!) to all the main characters’ actual homes where the show filmed. Summer in Wilmington was extremely hot and very humid and when fans rolled up in their comfortable, air-conditioned cars you can imagine our reaction! Nonetheless, we did manage to see almost all the sights on my list, which is a brilliant achievement without any transportation of our own!

View From My Balcony

Season 1 Karens Cafe

Then came the day that I’d been eagerly awaiting for four months. The EyeCon “Return to Tree Hill 2” Convention got underway with photo ops, then Q&A panels, autographs sessions, followed by banquets and parties. We were all seated in a freezing cold hall with awful acoustics where we could barely understand what the MC, Joshua Reid-Davis, was saying!

Convention Photo Ops

Paul and Joy

Chad and Hilarie RTTH2

I met Paul Johansson first up for my photo op. He played resident evil Dan Scott in the show but he was so funny and nice in real life. He put his arm around me and we posed for the cameras. There wasn’t much time to speak to the stars during the photo ops as we were being hurried by staff at every turn. Then came my photoshoot with Chad Michael Murray (who played Lucas Scott) and Bethany Joy Lenz (who played Haley James Scott) and they were just so sweet and adorable. I stood in between them and the moment felt so surreal! Lastly, I simply had to meet my favourite actress Hilarie Burton (who played Peyton Sawyer) who really does give the best hugs ever! Her character was the one I related to the most and meeting Hilarie was just one of the best moments in my life. She was just a beautiful soul.

When I spoke to Chad and Hilarie while getting their autographs I was feeling so starstruck but they were so genuine and so down-to-earth that the conversation just flowed naturally. He was very excited to learn that I came all the way from Australia to be there with them that weekend that he gave me a hug (eeeek!) and Hilarie also gave me a hug when I presented my gift to her. All in all, it was probably the best day of my life.

Wilmington certainly turned on the charm and everything from the horse-drawn carriage rides to the beautiful river boat cruises made this peaceful town shine bright in my eyes. The locals were so friendly and warm. One example of this was when we first arrived from the airport to the city centre it began to pour with rain so one local man offered to give us his umbrella while we figured out how to enter our hotel! Everything from the boutique shops on Market Street to the hidden and quaint shops of the Cotton Exchange made our stay so special. I am filled with so much joy just thinking about how far I travelled for something that to many may seem a little extreme, flying from Melbourne to Wilmington (via Los Angeles and later NYC and Toronto) to meet a few “stars”, but for me those moments are the ones that I will look back on and truly know that I lived my fullest life. Those encounters with the stars are absolute gold to me.

Don’t forget, my “Tree Hill is Home” collection of postcards and wall art inspired by the show are still available.

TreeHillisHome

You can purchase them here:
https://www.pitchi.com/pitchi/one-tree-hill-stationery/11503

Life

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015Happy New Year to All of You!

May this year bring you and your family nothing but joy, success, good health, the achievement of your goals and dreams, and plenty of happiness year-round. A new year brings new beginnings, hopes, aspirations and ambitions and we sincerely wish everyone attains theirs in 2015.

We will keep you up-to-date on all our developments on the blog and we hope you continue to support us as we take 2015 in our stride, opening our hearts and minds to new possibilities. We are grateful to everyone who follows us, likes our posts, comments/shares their thoughts or just checks in regularly to see what we’ve been up to. It means the world to us!

Cheers to a prosperous 2015!

Life, London

Beautiful Sunsets

I got to experience some spectacular sunsets from my apartment window in Watford, UK, in the summer of 2013. Those sunsets were so vibrant and captivating that I even remember observing the changes in the view every 30 minutes or so, and pressing the shutter button on my camera very frequently just trying to capture the best shot possible of the beauty before me.

These photos were all taken from the same window, located on the third floor of an apartment block on Chalk Hill looking towards Watford’s city-centre. I miss my life there a lot.

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Life, Melbourne

Life & Photography

Life’s been crazy busy this past month, I can’t believe we’re already in June! Thankfully the Melbourne winter hasn’t been too cold and even though there have been lots of rainy days we’ve also had a lot of really warm sunshine come through.

I recently attended a spectacular theatre show of Don Quixote performed by The Imperial Russian Ballet Company. It was absolutely wonderful with the highest quality of ballet we’ve all come to expect of Russian dancers. Their precision and energy was so beautiful to watch, as was their ability to light up the stage with their expressive faces and graceful movement. 10/10!

Don Quixote

Then there were the beautiful sunsets! It was actually on the night of the performance that I walked to St. Kilda beach and saw the calmest water, smooth as silk and completely still in the distance. All the people there were silent, not a single voice came to mind and there we all were admiring that beautiful and serene moment when the sun crossed over the horizon. I loved the spiritual feeling within my soul that evening.

Calmest Sunset

On other days there were picnics in the backyard alongside my gorgeous black cat, who was uncharacteristically thirsty and drank straight from the tap! Then the arrival of some wonderful snail mail from new international pen-pals, days spent wrapping our Mishka Collection greeting cards/sending promo postcards, more visits to the beach, dinners with friends at funky restaurants, rediscovering local parks and the beauty in nature, and not to mention dreaming of my dream home!

Life is going at full speed and I feel like I’m barely keeping up! I’m still reminiscing about my European travel adventures, my beautiful shop and the simple days of life in Watford, but I’m grateful for all the memories created in Australia so far as well. Enjoy your week!

 

Australia, Life, Travel

Australia’s Gumbaya Park

Last Sunday was the perfect time for my family and I to re-visit a place we really loved going to – Gumbaya Park. Located in Tynong North in Victoria and set on 430 acres, this theme park and natural bushland has been an old favourite of ours ever since I was a child. I remember riding on the Mini Cars with my younger cousins and having barbecues with extended-family who’d visit us for a holiday. Gumbaya Park is also home to many of Australia’s beautiful wildlife and birds, from dingoes and emus to snakes, wallabies, wombats and cockatoos, who occasionally talk to you and say things like “Come over here” when you’re starting to leave them! Kangaroos and their joeys hop around you and if you’re lucky enough you can even give them a feed and a pat. There are also opportunities to pat koalas and have your photo taken with them!

For the young and young-at-heart the rides are fantastic. I purchased the Ultimate Pass allowing me to ride on any rides I pleased all day unrestrictedly. I drove a kart, paddled a boat, went down Australia’s longest concrete toboggan and couldn’t resist going back in time to my childhood by squeezing into a Mini Car (yes it’s a miracle I can still fit in one!). With this pass another person could ride with me in all the rides that allowed more than one person, so the value for money was excellent with this Pass.

All in all, Gumbaya Park will always be close to my heart and I highly recommend local and international visitors to Victoria to visit and make a day-trip out of it. It’s awesome fun and you’ll have memories to cherish for a lifetime.