I know that parking charges are not exactly news, and I've been to some big cities in the USA where they are a normal part of life. However, I lived in a small Pensacola, FL and I rarely ever seen parking charges there. I don't think even downtown there had any charges, because I don't ever remember paying any.
Here in UK however, parking charges are EVERYWHERE! Forget London, even smaller towns have a fee. The picture above is from one of the parking garages in Cambridge, and I ended up paying £23 to park there for a day. I can tell you I won't ever do that again, but on that day a friend I went with didn't want to take a Park & Ride bus because she had a stroller and I listened. Let's just say I won't ever listen to anyone with a stroller, unless they are willing to pay the parking bill. Two people are more than capable of getting a stroller on the bus, especially when these buses are very low to the ground. Sorry for the off-topic rant.
Other places don't have such high rates, but it all adds up after a while. For example, to go my usual Bury St. Edmunds, I have to pay £2 for up to 1 hour, £2.80 for up to two hours, £3.30 for three, and £4 for up to 4 hours, and if I want to stay longer, I have to pay again. There is also an additional charge of £1.10 to park there after 6pm, but everything closes at 5:30 anyway so all we ever go there at that time is a movie theater. It used to be free after 6pm just last year, but since I've moved here the charges went up 3 times and the night rate was added.
In other places, the parking is outrageous during the day, but generally free after 5-6pm. The problem, like I've mentioned before, everything clothes at 5:30pm or around that time, so there is really nothing to do in order to benefit from that free parking. Another thing that drives me crazy is how even if I manage to find free parking at the outskirts of the city, it's timed. I'm referring to a nice retail part outside of Cambridge specifically, which has lots of different shops I would have liked to visit, but I can only park there for 2 hours max. There are cameras which are used to catch those who just re-park after two hours. Really, 2 hours is not enough to go to a big retail park.
Overall, parking in England is really annoying, and those who know me personally know that I constantly complain about it. I don't have a luxury of a train station right next to me, so I have to drive everywhere and as a result, I have to think about first finding the parking, then how much it will cost me, and then how long I can actually stay there. A lot of time it takes away the enjoyment of going anywhere, and I will not miss that.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Few month ago Hong showed me the above picture and said that she really wants to make a kimono like that, if she can find the fabric. Fast forward a little, and she found fabric that looked similar enough. Then she told me that she will give the kimono to me because I will definitely rock it, and my jaw absolutely dropped to the ground. Incidentally, I had a similar juban, same color haneri and obiage. The only thing missing is the obi, because surprise, surprise, I don't have any in yellow and blue combo.
We were looking for a chance to wear this kimono and replicate the photo, but because of her wedding and my school work, we were pretty busy for the past month. The opportunity came about when I found out that Yumi Yamamoto will visit London for a few days. As many of you know, back in 2010 I got to meet Yumi Yamamoto at one of the Japanese festivals in London. Every year around September she comes to Paris, and every year since then I say that I'll go and see her again. And every year something comes up that prevents me from going. Well this year there was a possibility that she would come to London again, not for a festival, but just to visit. It was up in the air, but last week I got an official confirmation that she was coming, so we made plans to meet up. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to wear this kimono that Aoi made, and also for her to wear a kimono that she made, to meet Yumi. After all, both kimono were made using her first book.
We met up in London and went to get some traditional afternoon tea, but I don't have any photos yet unfortunately. Lets just say it was super yummy, the place was great and I want to come back. Afterwords we went to do some window shopping, and Tomoko wanted to check out a chocolate store. I had no idea which one, but when we walked in, it was FABULOUS. Apparently it has a TV show too, but I've never seen it. The name is Choccywoccydoodah btw. Of course we proceeded to take photos with the fabulous chair and couch that they had there.
Friday, September 14, 2012
This week I got some epic things in! First of all, this juban is actually a bright pink with turquoise, so really striking. I can't wait to wear it! It is also lined, but thankfully we are approaching the cold season, so I shouldn't wait too long to wear it.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Because "meowmer" is a new scientific word, meaning kitty in general, and my cats specifically.
|This is what Echo looks like after the rain. She is not afraid to go out and play in the rain, goofy cat.|
|Every time Mittens sees me while outside, she rolls on her back with the cutest little meow, and starts showing off.|
|I wake up to this exact face every day! So I can't really stay mad at Echo for waking me up at 5 am right?|
|I also wake up to this every morning.|
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The cool thing about these magazine freebies is that they frequently include high end stuff that I would never buy otherwise. In the photo above you can see three Benefit products, which normally would cost an arm and a leg for a full sized product, but only cost me £2 each for this sample. I got a chuckle out of the cashier when I brought three identical magazines to the checkout. I think I actually saw this same set on Sephora for $15, where I only spent £6(around $10).
It's not just make up, crafting magazines have craft projects in them, gardening magazines have seeds and planting wheels (calendar type things), home magazines will have plates. Sometimes I see tank tops, sunglasses or nail polish, other times it's a free book. Heck, I rarely buy magazines for the magazine itself, but instead choose them based on the freebie.
I know when I'm back in the USA, I will really miss these magazine freebies.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Cobblestone is pretty hard to walk on, especially when every little stone had shifted and there are big gaps in between. Now, no matter which shoes I wear, I guaranteed to trip at least once. Yes, even when I wear flats. It's extremely annoying, especially when I wear kimono, because I know everyone is staring at me, so the last thing I want to do is trip while whole bunch of people are watching.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
My husband and I checked into the same hotel as she was staying at on Friday. On the day of the wedding, we actually switched rooms for the morning because our room turned out to have the most space, and Hong needed all the space she could get to get dressed. She hired Kimono de Go to dress her, but used all of her own kimono. I got dressed in the other room and came back to our room at the last minute to watch Mamiko-san from Kimono de Go put finishing touches on Hong.
We encountered a semi-minor set back when we found out that the car that was supposed to take us to the church had left, because the front desk
Overall it was a great wedding and I had a blast. Hong looked absolutely GORGEOUS and I can't wait to see the professional photos!