Lodestars Anthology: Japan

lodestars anthology japan issue

What with all the switches and changes I’ve been making, I had a little think about what I really wanted to write about on here. Now I’ve combined both blogs and have a little look through some old posts, I want to get back to writing about the things I like so that most making clothes and music but I also like reading and writing (hence why I have a blog). After nearly none years of blogging I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t have the discipline to be a professional blogger nor the content, so here it is all it’s nice and shiny writing about my favourite things and the things I do, which will probably be boring to most.

One things I do love is magazines, not your weekly gossip mags, though I won’t lie at one time I did read them a lot but what I guess are called periodicals. They’re released quarterly or biannually and on a specific subject. I’ve talked about this before how I draw on their aesthetic and writing for inspiration and I want to share some of them in a bit more detail with you.

I discovered Lodestars Anthology on their 5th issue about Canada and have been buying ever since, I’m even thinking about stocking up on back issues because not only do I like complete collections and make for great Instagram pics but they are beautifully curated and worth a read. Lodestars Anthology is a travel magazine is a tri-annual publication that covers one country each issue, so far they have covered England, Scotland, Australia, Italy, Sweden and Canada.

Japan is high on my list of places to travel to, I definitely want to visit with the next few years or so and definitely need to start relearning Japanese again. I ordered this copy from Stack magazine which are a small independent distribution company that specialise in independent publications like these. Each week Thursday they pick one to be a special offer and release it at an offer price. My order initially got lost but their customer service was brilliant and I got my order soon after.

Each issue is packed with pictures and articles about culture, food, traditions, nature, you really get a feel of what to expect if you ever thought of visiting these places. I really want to visit these places after reading these anthologies, they are definitely fuelling my wanderlust!

You can grab copies from the Lodestars website or other online retail magazine outlets and also selected museums, galleries and shops.

japan cover lodestars anthology

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, all goods were purchased with my own funds, all opinions are my own.


Rock en Seine

I would usually post this on my other blog but I’ve decided to leave that to one side at the moment as running two blogs is a little too much and I keep forgetting to update it anyway because I’ve mostly been concentrating this one. Anyway as you may know from a previous post we headed to Paris for Rock en Seine which is a music festival held in Parc de Saint-Cloud next to the river Seine in the suburbs of Paris. We went two years ago but this time stayed in a hotel near the park because we camped last time without realising unlike most British music festivals it was not held in a field in the middle of nowhere! Also it was a good job we did because I can’t even imagine how whiny I would have become camping in a heatwave not being able to sleep at night in a tiny sauna! That and the techno tent in the middle of the campsite that goes on until 4 in the morning probably would have sent me over the edge, so nice little quiet, air conditioned hotel away from the festival it was this time. My only regret was that the hotel was at the top of a very steep hill which require several steep sets of stairs and roads to be climbed and the heat caused me to wheeze quite badly! I think it reached mid thirties one day! On the bonus side I got quite a bit of exercise.

So each year they have a theme, the first year we went it was space, this year it was dance and I was pretty obsessed with this giant disco ball.

The festival is set in a park which means it’s a pretty small festival compared to some but it means less walking time between stages and lots of trees to shelter under from the sun. Though it was so hot they had people standing there with hoses which was nice but I was dry buy the time I got to the other end of the park.

Each year they commission artists to create a poster for each band which you can buy as a souvenir pack but I didn’t get it this time round, mainly because there were way fewer bands this time round.

Friday was by far my favourite day and we saw several new to us bands including Caravan Palace, Royal Republic and Clutch. We also Slaves who I really like and were a lot of fun. I stuck around for the Last Shadow Puppets but I turns out they’re not really my cup of tea.

Saturday was so hot that we waited until late afternoon before we headed down to the park, turns out so did everyone else and we got stuck in a queue whilst security did triple bag checks before letting people in, so we missed Wolfmother. We caught a bit of Casseurs Flowters, a french hip hop group that were pretty good but mostly wanted to see L7 and Massive Attack both who were awesome!
Sunday night we headed down even later as I was a little heat exhausted by this point but the weather was beginning to cool down. There weren’t many bands I really wanted to see on the Sunday except Iggy Pop and Peaches. We head round and got some t-shirts as souvenirs and I popped by The Disc Village, which housed several vinyl sellers and picked up a limited edition copy of Like Clockwork by QOTSA before heading over to see the sets. Iggy Pop was as amazing and I’d forgotten how awesome Peaches is to see live. I danced so much during her set that the health app on my phone recorded it as a workout!!

This year they also had cashless bracelets which was cool because you didn’t have to faff about with cash and change and made queueing a lot quicker and not worry about carrying cash or cards with you. You could top them up on line or use one of the cashless banks at the site. I think these are great for festivals.

Rock en Seine is a great festival, it’s close to the city and at the end of a metro line so easily accessible. It’s family friendly and has a kids’ zone to drop off sproglets, four stages for music, plenty of choices in the food court, and a really chilled out atmosphere. My only concern was that there was less bands than previous years which may have been a result of a cut of funding but hopefully this is just a rumour and will back again with more bands next time. I would definitely like to go again one day but I’d also like to experience other festivals around the world first.

A Wander Round Saint-Cloud

Despite it being very hot and our plans to head into the city scuppered, we still tried to get out and wander round the local area. We were also staying near another small public garden attached to a museum, which we had a wander round on the Sunday and even though the buildings were closed, the gardens stay open for people to have picnics and teenagers to mill about smoking and comparing skateboards.

Anyway here are a few shots from our little wander round Saint-Cloud, you might have noticed by now I have a little obsession with architecture and signage but I hope you like this post anyway.

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Garden at the Museum of The Avelines

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I hope you like my photos, however please do not reproduce without permission. Thank you x

Gardens at Musée Albert-Kahn

I should probably start a blog just dedicated to gardens that we visit on our travels because where ever we go, we always end up hunting out a botanical garden or something similar and our trip to France was no different. So the Wednesday before bank holiday weekend, we headed over to the suburbs of Paris to go to the Rock en Seine Festival (which I’ll be covering in a separate post). We went a few days early with the hope of either maybe hitting Disney Land Paris or a wander round the city on the Thursday but when we got there the heatwave was just starting and by the time we got to our hotel at the top of Saint-Cloud, the temptation to just in our air conditioned hotel room was strong!
So on the Thursday we went for a little walk around Boulogne-Billancourt which is just on the other side of the river, to look for a Sephora and something to eat and on the way back we popped into the Albert Kahn Museum which has a beautiful garden you can wander round that is split into different styles which have been restored and maintained in the spirit of their creator. It starts off with a Japanese theme, then into a formal French garden, English garden and finally a forest of blue cedars representing the Vosges Mountains near Kahn’s birthplace.
We took a little walk around the gallery and then the garden and sometimes it pays off to explore the area where you’re staying rather than hit the usual tourist hot spots. I’ve been to Paris a few times now and we always seem to find a cool off the beaten track places to visit. I highly recommend visiting here if you can, we didn’t explore the whole garden because it’s pretty big (8 acres) and it was very hot, so we mainly stuck to the shady spots but it was very serene and beautiful and only costs 4 Euros to get in!

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There are some more photos from our visit on my Flickr account here.

Things to do in San Francisco

There is quite a bit to do in San Fran but as we were only there for 6 days, we did what we could on the very little preplanning that we did. One of these days I’m actually going to research properly before I get somewhere rather than winging it, thanks to some food intolerance flair ups I totally forgot to go and visit some restaurants I wanted to go. But on some of our random and not so random explorations we found plenty of cool things to do, so here here is my personal ten things to do in San Francisco.

Mission District
We mostly headed towards Valencia Street for vintage shopping, we actually ended up hitting it twice because on another of out walkathons looking for what is probably the most Instagrammed SF house ever (see below) we ended up walking back down Valencia Street on our way back. I’ll be writing a separate post on vintage shopping in SF but The Mission District is full of beautiful street art, buildings and business do not waste the California sun when it comes to showing off their art.
No side alley is left unpainted.
And don’t forget to look down
Haight Street and Golden Gate Park
On our second day we walked down Haight Street (pronounced Hate) and made away to Golden Gate Park where this is plenty of this to do, especially if you have kids. Haight is full off vintage shops, boutiques, bars and cafes, in fact in kind of reminds me of Camden Town in the 90s.
After a small walk through the park, we found the Conservatory of Flowers which is a small tropical house. Costs about $8 per person and even though it was a grey day, it is filled with tropical blooms.
They also have a special themed exhibition and this one was based on the history of France. This little section had a cute steam train going round and round.
Exhinit at Conservatory of Flower//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThe Japanese Tea Garden is well worth a visit in the spring just for the cherry blossom and wisteria. WE were lucky as there was a lot of cherry blossom in bloom on our arrival and who doesn’t love cherry blossom. Entry again costs about $8, there is a little cafe to and traditional Japanese tea and cake and then you can wander around the gardens.
We also visited the Academy of Sciences where you pay an  entrance fee of about $35* but there is so much to do and see in their such as the tropical rain forest which you walk up a spiral ramp and learn about eh different layers of a rain forest, it also doubles up as a butterfly house, their is the aquarium, the planetarium and the living roof garden which we did but there was so much more.
We didn’t do the de Young museum because at this point we were a little tired and it was quite busy for the Oscar De La Renta exhibition
We didn’t go to Alcatraz, I know it’s on the list of touristy things to do when  in SF but if just appeal to me plus it’s quite expensive, so I opted for taking a picture instead.
The Crookedest Street is a tourist hot spot and is extremely busy, so be warned! This wasn’t too far from our hotel so one evening we hiked it up and down there (SF is extremely hilly) and then watched the drivers negotiate the road which has a five mile an hour limit and is down hill only! I’m assuming everyone drives an automatic in SF because the gear changes would drive me crazy with these hills and I don’t even drive! There are also steps on either side you can walk up to the top of the street and then take a picture of Alcatraz like I did!
The Cable Car Museum is free and you can see the machinery operating the cable car system and learn a little history about it all started. Warning, it’s very loud in there due to the operating machinery but it was one our way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
We did this near to the end of our stay in SF, we walked to Divisadero Street and walked to Marina Heights, I kinda wished we’d stopped off at the The Walt Disney Family Museum but that’s lack of planning for you, plus we were already half way through a long hike. SF has a lot of nice beaches you can walk along and the walk through Crissy Fields in really quite nice.
The bridge is about a mile and a quarter long, it’s very busy and used by pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles so it’s quite loud. Cyclists are supposed to give way to pedestrians but we didn’t see much of this and they hurtled along the shared pathway. It can get a little windy up there so a jacket is advised but on that day we didn’t need it.
So you have two options when you get to the other side, one is walk back or two in our case panic because you thought you could walk down to Sausalito and then realise this is not an option. Walk round the visitors car park for a minute wondering what to do, spot a Greyline Bus which costs about $10 a person and catch a ride to the ferry terminal! Phew panic over!
You could fork out for a fancy boat ride round the bay or  you could catch the ferry to one of the ports. You can get the Blue and Gold Fleets to Fisherman’s Wharf or you can get the Golden Gate Transit to the Ferry Building, which is what we did.
We didn’t stop long in Sausalito, we just missed the Blue and Gold Ferry line, so bought some tickets for the next ferry and went and had a quick bite to eat at a nearby cafe and then headed back to queue up for the ferry.
The trip takes about half hour and on a sunny day you can sit up on the open deck and see great views of the Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges and the bay.
One thing San Francisco is probably famous for other than its very long and hilly streets is it’s beautiful houses or as they affectionately refer to them as ladies out there. We had one day where my husband indulged me and walked round half of SF looking a pretty houses as I cooed over the architecture. I had to say I was a little disappointed with the famous Painted Ladies but found plenty of other gorgeous ladies whilst on our walk.
Rainbow House
I discovered this whilst actually trying to google where the house below was and came across this beauty which is in the Castro District. We walked all the way down Market Street and into The Castro, stopped for a bite to eat in a lovely restaurant which I forgot to take down the name of (sorry) before carrying on up to this. This was actually my favourite find.
This purple, pink and green lovely is probably the most Instagrammed house out there or so it at least seems in my feed but we discovered that we were only minutes away from this on our first visit to Valencia Street but hey ho, you learn. On the way back Valencia was closed for a massive family street day which was really cool.
There are more house photos on my Flickr feed and I’ll be adding some more street art as well.
There is so much to do in SF and in our six days I think we did pretty, according to my steps calculator we covered about 77k walking around, so I think we did pretty good. I would like to go back and explore more, especially the food scene, walk up to Twin Peaks, visit Fisherman’s Wharf and China Town, and maybe next time actually travel on a cable car which were all so packed and busy and I’m too impatient to stand in line if I can walk it!
Anyway, if you made it to the end of this post, thank you! No really, I tend to ramble sometimes and am terrible at limiting the number of photos in a post.