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dreaming of japan

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japanese green tea, origami paper and pen

petit moon sake and sushi recipe book

i remember when i was in school, the first time i heard someone saying they’d been abroad. it was so exciting for most of us, who could rarely afford to go on holiday within the uk. she’d been to thailand, then tokyo. i can’t really remember specifics, but i do remember asking her a lot of questions, and for years after i’d daydream of travelling to these countries.

sadly, at 29 years old i’ve still never been, but japan has remained very high up on my wishlist of places to go. so instead of making up some imaginary experiences, i thought i’d share the experiences of those that have been.

i know there are many more japan posts out there, so please send any links of interesting or insightful ones you’ve discovered.

moleskine from ANA

i was sent a hamper of items alongside this post, one of the items was a moleskine diary, and inside the front page it says this (image above), and if you know me at all you’ll know just how much i am on board with this message. i’ll write the first two paragraphs out incase you can’t read it:

we believe there is a beauty
in what goes unnoticed —
an imperceptible in-between
that creates harmony.

it is a place that is created by the
physical but you can’t grasp it.
you can only feel it.

chopsticks and'living in japan' book

ANA moleskine cover and origami paper

as much as it’s lovely to learn about japan, to have gifts from there and to enjoy food and drinks, i believe nothing will ever quite compare to actually going there. to breathe it in and feel it in your soul. to notice the little details and idiosyncrasies that aren’t necessarily present here in the UK.

obviously, unless you’ve mastered teleportation, pretty much the only way to get to japan from here is by flying. ANA (all nippon airways) is one such airline. reading reviews, they are well regarded amongst customers (skytrax gives them 5 stars) and the main thing i get from the reviews is that their customer service is exceptional. always a good thing on long flights!

have you flown with ANA before? what was your experience? and if you have any japan recommendations or blog posts, do let me know!

disclaimer: sponsored by ANA, all words, images and opinions my own.

summer themed arts and crafts

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fruit salad pattern by laura redburn - cardboardcities

so, as summer is getting nearer, i thought it’d be cool to do a post sharing some summer themed arts and crafts. it’s a time many of us like to be outside, and sometimes that time lends itself to getting creative if you want to keep yourself occupied with things other than BBQs and sunbathing. personally not one for sunbathing so i like to paint and make things whilst enjoying the lovely weather.

of course, living in britain, there will inevitably be rainy days too and you might just want to make something to distract you. i remember on rainy summer days at my nans we’d make pinwheels and ‘dogs’ (literally a decorated plastic bag with a bit of string tied to it) to play with in the wind. sometimes simple things like this can be so fun, and i always encourage getting creative whenever you can, at whatever age.

if you have any posts with summer themed crafts or creative things to do or make, let me know and i’ll add them in to this list.

summer themed arts and crafts

– how about making some pressed flower pictures? gather some of your favourite flowers and you can look back on your summery finds when the weather cools down. a fantastic memory keeper!

– into knitting or crochet? maybe you could make a picnic blanket or some seat covers if you’ll be spending lots of time outside. you could make it super colourful and integrate some summery imagery into it. some of these knitting patterns are a good start. love this one from kat goldin!

– i made some watercolour patterns a few years ago, so if you’re handy with a paintbrush, you could paint some tasty summer fruits or ice lollies.

– talking of summer fruits, you can make this super cute felt watermelon necklace, you could use a sterling silver chain to add a more adult feel to it. or make it bunting style!

– this floral wreath made with egg cartons would be a fun thing to make with kids.

– you could use this easy DIY decals post as inspiration to make something look cute and flowery, or just cheer up some household goods.

collaborative post – all words, etc my own

3 months with the surface pro 4

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surface pro 4

i’ve had the surface pro 4 (aff link) for about 3 months now, and i feel that’s an appropriate amount of usage time to give it a fair review. full disclosure: i was gifted this device, but have not been asked or paid to write any specific posts about it. i just wanted to write something for those that may be considering it, and want views from someone that’s used it a lot, or if you’re looking to compare it with something like an ipad pro.

i’ll start off with the specs of this device and what i use it for, and see where i go from there!

dimension wise, the surface pro 4 screen is 12.3″. it weighs  just under 1.1kg, has 1 usb 3.0 port, mini display port and has a micro sd card slot on the rear.

this specific device uses windows 10, has a intel i5 2.4 ghz processor, 4gb RAM and a 128gb hard drive.

windows 10

i was unsure about it at first, but am enjoying it now. i found it very easy to get used to and figure out, and in general it’s much better than windows 8. i don’t use cortana but i know others do, and it does seem helpful and timesaving in certain instances. all my programs work fine on windows 10 and so far (to the best of my recollection) i’ve not really encountered any issues that are specific to windows 10.

unlike the ipad pro, which just uses whatever the latest version of ios is, the surface pro 4 uses the full windows 10 OS. it’s basically a laptop that you can also use as a tablet too.

issues

the device itself is great, but i do have a few small issues:

  • at 0% brightness it tends to flicker. i only have it this low when in bed at night watching things or doing a little web browsing. it gets annoying so i push it up to 25 % which fixes it.
  • every now and then when the device is ‘sleeping’ it refuses to respond or turn back on when waking. there have been updates for this so it rarely happens now, but will on rare occasion. holding down the power button for 30 seconds to reset reboots the device and fixes it.
  • on certain applications/programs the display driver sometimes crashes. i believe all 3 issues are related and hope they’ll be properly fixed, but as they are, they’re not dealbreakers for me in any way.

microsoft surface pro laptop/tablet

battery life

it’s reported the battery can last up to 9 hours. i’ve personally not experienced that, but for me it typically lasts about 5 or 6 hours unplugged. this can be extended by not using power hungry programs, using the battery saver and such like. obviously if you’re editing photos or video for a long time unplugged this will be reduced.

typically when i’m using it unplugged i will be editing photos (not loads, i imagine that’d be a bigger drain), writing blog posts, using twitter and pinterest, and watching videos online. like i said, for me i get about 5 or so hours unplugged. i’ve not used it whilst travelling or properly out and about yet, but i imagine that’s good enough for most.

usage

personally i use the surface pro 4 for 2 things.

everyday use, which includes: checking emails, general web browsing, watching videos, blogging, note taking, etc..

and creative tasks, such as: editing photos and video, general photoshop use (mostly for editing and making collages), sketching notes, making patterns and more.

it’s currently my main computer and is more than satisfactory for what i use it for. it’s nice and fast, pretty much never lags, even on more intensive tasks like editing and rendering video tasks, and the fan doesn’t come on unless it really needs to. on my old laptop it was pretty much always running.

the surface pen is a joy to use, is nice to hold, has excellent pressure sensitivity, and to the best of my knowledge, suffers no lag (if it does it’s miniscule) when drawing and doing general tasks. the eraser has multiple functionalities, which is an excellent – and useful- bonus.

the surface pro 4 (aff link) has a detachable keyboard and a kickstand on the back of the main device. to be honest i don’t use the keyboard that often, but it works well, is easy to type on and serves as protection for the screen if you’re using it out and about. the kickstand is fantastic as it ‘locks’ into any position but at the same time is easy and flexible to your viewing needs.

tldr opinion on the surface pro 4:

i genuinely love this device, and can say, despite a few small issues, it’s the best computer/device i’ve ever used. as a side note, the colour accuracy is a-m a z i n g. if you want me to go more in depth, or have any questions, i’d be happy to answer them in another post.