30 Sep 2011

Legally Blonde

I watched the musical "Legally Blonde" at the Savoy Theatre. It's relatively new and I had wanted to see this. It's an American comedy film (2001), starring Reese Witherspoon. I like this comedy film.

The choice of your seat depends on your budget. Stalls are close to the stage. Dress Circle or Royal Circle is the next tier of seating above the Stalls. Upper Circle or Grand Circle is the next tier of seating above Dress Circle or Royal Circle, and gives a steeper view of the stage. I usually buy a ticket for Dress Circle or Upper Circle, when the show is held at the "theatre" which has figure of this kind of steep construction, because I can see it very well. But I don't recommend the last couple row of Grand Circle because when I saw "Les Miserables" last time in London, I could see behind the barricade. It messed up an emotional scene, I could see a dead man wake up and change position for the famous scene... oh my...

Anyway I bought a Grand Circle this time, but it was not full occupancy, so luckily my seat was upgraded to Dress Circle! 90% of the audience were definitely women, and also some old couples.

I think there was a dress code at a time in the past, but when did it change by the way?

Anyway "Legally Blonde" was really funny, fashionable and exciting show. I laughed a lot! Also acting of two real dogs was awesome! This successful comedy story makes you feel happy and positive, and also gives you energy!!


Walking in London

The view from the train window in the early morning was so fantastic with special foggy beauty and calmness. After having a breakfast in London, he went to the office and I had fun by myself :) I don't know what the start of the day in other cities is like, but in London, start of the day seems early. Around 7 o'clock, already many business people bustle to pop in a cafe, take away coffee or have a relaxing time in a cafe before work. My bf call it "gentle way". It was a rush hour, and also still early to visit every places for me, but I enjoyed walking around the city amid many office workers. It was a beautiful day and hot like summer, around 28 degrees Celsius. I went to St. Paul on foot. I didn't get inside this time but it's splendid any time it is seen.

St. Paul

I walked around and found some parts of London Wall. It is said this wall was built about between 190 and 225, and the exact reason for this construction is unknown. I think it's one of the charms of London, mixture of old and new. The wall had a number of gates around the outside that led to important Roman roads, leading to other towns in the country. Now there is a road also named London Wall, it's a pedestrian walkway which is connected some buildings and buildings where you can loosely follow the ruined wall by the side of the road.
London Wall

Modern buildings and Museum of London

I went to the Museum of London. Actually the museum itself stands on the site of a Roman fort. You can see the story of the city from prehistoric times to the present day. Not only this museum, but it's nice to see reproductions of old days' life.

I got on a tube from St. Paul to Charring Cross. The tube was hell because it was very hot... The day's main event was watching a musical. I booked a ticket on the web last weekend. I'm a musical lover. The first musical I saw was "Les Miserables" in London with my friends. It was unforgettably impressive.

Before watching the musical, I went to the pub "The Coal Hole". It was the nearest pub to the Savoy Theatre and looked nice. Actually it was nice! When I was eating a pie, a middle aged English couple sat the seat next to me. They were very kind and friendly, and were talking to a couple on the other side, and sometimes I joined their conversation. He ordered a huge fish and chips, the size made us surprised and laughed.

Pub "The Coal Hole"
After saying goodbye to them, I collected the musical ticket and went to the National Gallery before the musical started. It had been a long time to visit the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square. It was crowded with many people as usual, and also there was a huge digital clock to show the time until the London Olympics (2012) in the square.

The National Gallery
 
Trafalgar Square; you can see Big Ben in the middle far away...
Immediate left to the highest Nelson's Column.

★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

The Coal Hole
91-92 Strand, London WC2R 0DW
TEL; 020 7379 9883

28 Sep 2011

Spiders

At one time, "Spider Man" was booming, but I can't believe where such a horrible idea comes from!

We have horrifying realisation that it's a spider season in the UK because it has been a damp summer. We found huge house spiders twice!! I've never seen them so big! Yuck! I shouted and froze, when I found it. My bf sticks his chest out in a proud manner that he got rid of it, but seemed like he flinched at it too...

Madame Tussauds

Madam Tussauds is one of the famous attraction in London, which displays waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. It opened in 1835 in London, it has expanded with over 10 branches in some other countries. I've never visited Madam Tussauds, because I'm not interested in it, but it might be a nice attraction for some people.

I read the article on website about Madam Tussauds Tokyo. It will open from 30 September to 4 January 2012, at Decks Tokyo Beach in Odaiba. This reminded me of one article on the Guardian newspaper of last month. It was about "a guide to Britain's worst days out (on bank holiday)". It said one of the Britain's worst tourist attractions is Madam Tussauds because the ticket is expensive. It cost £28.80 for adult, £24.60 for child and £99.00 for family (ticket on the day price). It's definitely expensive, you can buy an anti-aging special cream for skin. It said that "Madam Tussauds' fault that it charges nearly £30 for an adult ticket to view what amount to novelty candles, making the attraction one of the few places where a slow-burning fire would be welcome." They listed as the fatal attractions Stonehenge, Wiltshire and Nudist beach, Brighton as well.

I think it's a little more than writer's view, because the definition of  fun varies from person to person. Just as with antiques, it might be junk for some people and worth for some other. For some kids, people who are interested in celebrities or who wants to be a special makeup artist etc, it might be a dream world. But the article was quite interesting. I assume people who most enjoy Madam Tussauds are those people who become models themselves, in their lifetimes.

Marmite

Marmite is a sometimes controversial matter, but I realised that I can live without Marmite this morning.

27 Sep 2011

Umbrella

Yesterday evening, my bf came home soaking wet. He said it was raining hard in London. He usually doesn't have an umbrella, but he finally bought a folding umbrella. English people don't use umbrellas much. At first it was a bit mysterious for me, because England is the country where gentlemen of the past often carried it merely as an accessory, and ladies used parasol, so it wouldn't be surprising if such culture developed in the UK (and European countries).

But I'm sold. Type of rain are different. It's more likely to have steady rain in Japan, whereas it's more likely to have intermittent showers in the UK due to flow of clouds is very fast and weather is very changeable. I don't want to carry a umbrella as long as I'm staying here. Last time I had an interesting experience. I could see it was raining a few meters ahead of me, but I was under the sun, and I got into the rain!

In Japan, a umbrella is must-item because we have a lot of rain. We have rainy season, typhoon season and sometimes watery snow in winter. Most people have one at least, some keep a holding umbrella in the office as well. Plastic umbrellas are also available, usually costing from 100 to 500 yen at one coin shop or convenience stores. Lovely designed rubber boots are also popular among young women, and fashion raincoats and bags for wet umbrella are available more recently. Even in the sunny day, many women use parasol because of the trendiness of having white skin. UV radiation is known to age the skin, and ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer. So, UV is the great enemy of beauty for them. My sister is unusually careful about UV. She never stops trying to use UV protection cream. When she drives a car, she wears long gloves, and also she likes wearing hat under the sun. What about me? I spread UV protection cream very roughly on my face, and am lazy to spread it on my body. If my sister is right, I'll be a spotted old woman or die with skin cancer...

Whatever the reason, seems like the former gentlemen's accessory's impracticality does not suit the modern man. What a shame, it's a sort of collapsing tradition! :)

Arni Lemonato (Lemon Lamb)

I like lamb and I had a stab at cooking "Arni Lemonato" the other day. It's originally Greek cuisine. It's easy to cook and also has a nice taste. I liked it. To my delight, it's easy to get lamb meat here. I cooked it with propriety.

Ingredients:
  • Diced Lamb
  • Diced Potatoes/Small new potatoes
  • Diced Carrots
  • Finely-chopped Onion
  • Olive oil / Lemon juice / Salt & Pepper / Dill
Instructions (Simple):

Saute the diced lamb in olive oil, add the finely cut onions, and season with salt, pepper and dill. Add water until ingrediants are covered. After boiling them for about 30 minutes, add potatoes, carrots and lemon juice, and boil again for about 30 minutes.

Misty Morning

Photo taken an early morning, but still foggy here.


26 Sep 2011

With an Abandon

I'm really enjoying my life here. There are quite different experiences between travelling, staying and living in another country. There are of course some things that I think are rather strange or wonderful because of different cultures. But during my staying in the UK for a while, I've thought the best things to do in other countries are - in my opinion - don't have any prejudice, don't push yourself and go with the flow in part, and accept things as they are. Because I can feel easy in doing so.

I went to a different cafe than usual this afternoon. On my way to a town, I met the local character who was taking a dog, and we had a short conversation. I assume that he is a man who brings good luck. I believe that if you see him, it will be a good day:)

The cafe was good and attractive. I was sitting a sun-drenched sofa beside the window and had latte. The sun was strong even as autumn begins. Last time we had a misty morning, my bf said that's the sign of an autumn. In the cafe, it was interesting to listen to a conversation between anhearing-impaired old man and the shop owner. I also enjoyed looking in the window of the butcher, and popped in card shops. Christmas cards are already sold at the shops. When is the best time to buy Christmas cards??

I found a new public footpath and walked there. Around 3 o'clock, school finished and I saw many students wearing uniforms. It's impressive for me that many girls wear trousers uniform here.

PS. Again I saw the man on my way back home! It must be double happy-lucky day!!

25 Sep 2011

Big Mouse

My grandfather used to wash dishes every evening after retirement. I think it was one of his pleasures, because he could snitch leftovers as he washed dishes. He had a interesting and famous anecdote among my family that he secretly ate all leftover sukiyaki (thin slice of beef cooked in a heavy iron pan with various vegetables and tofu) after dinner. My father sometimes goes into the fridge after dinner and eat something while my mother is having a bath. If she found it, she gives a sermon to him that he eats too much. I don't like their habit and I call such people "mouse".

I sometimes call my bf a big mouse. The big mouse appears in the kitchen, opens the fridge and bites into cheese, sometimes eat snacks or breads. But different from Japanese mice, he does it openly. I can hear his bare footsteps in the kitchen and also he leave a trail of it. He crumbles bread or cheese on a counter and floor without regard with hoovered kitchen. I normally try to cheat myself of it, but honestly I don't like his habit. Should I set a big trap for mouse in the kitchen then?

24 Sep 2011

The Hobbit

I've been reading "The Hobbit", and nearly finishied. It's a fiction adventure story written by a famous author, J.R.R.Tolkien. I think his writing style is very unique and unusual. You need a flexible imagination when you read this book. The story is about the adventure of the fictional character Bilbo Baggins and others. Originally, it was written for Tolkien's children, but became famous, even adults like to read it.

The other day, I read the article on MailOnline about a man who has no experience in carpentry or architecture works, built a Hobbit house for his family by himself for £3,000. Looks very nice and cozy. http://www.simondale.net/house/index.htm

Now, the film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" are filming. These are a must-see films for Tolkien or the film of Lord of the Rings fans.

23 Sep 2011

Apples

I bought apples today and cooked jam appropriately. Well..., it was a bit too sweet but taste was good. It is said that apples are expecting their best crop for a decade in the UK, because of cold winter and damp summer :)

I've received a box of Japanese big apples before from my grandmother. I had thought I would give some to my friend when she visited me, because we couldn't eat the whole thing. But my friend called on me with a present of "some apples"... oh dear...



Loved Ones

Time does fly fast. I found the article on the website about Japanese parents who lost their child by the tsunami. Okawa Elementary School, Ishinomaki-city (Miyagi) is known as had been hit with a tragedy - of the 108 children at the school, 70 were confirmed dead with 4 still missing. 13 teachers and others were killed. The school was surrounded by a river and steep-sided mountain, and they perished in the tsunami while they were fleeing to higher ground.

Not only the Self-Defense Force's search operation, but parents have continued to search their children by themselves every day. One mother took a licence to operate heavy equipment to dig over soil. I don't have any children, so it's hard to imagine their suffering, but must be very very difficult to accept their own children's death without finding the body. A fisherman found a part of their child's body from the sea, far from the school. It was identified as their child as results on DNA testing. They have still searched to find other 4 children. The sad fact is they have to accept it.

22 Sep 2011

Justice

I think it was last year, I watched the "Professor Michael J. Sandel's Special Lecture" in the University of Tokyo on TV. He is a famous professor of Harvard University in the US. The discussion in the class was heating up and looked interesting. The style of class was different from Japanese one. His "Justice" course is very popular among the students.

I had listened some lectures of American universities about ancient architecture in Rome on iPod every morning, during my commute time to work. I am interested in such classes and it's easy to download them freely. I just listen them over and over again. It's helpful to boost listening comprehension.

When I surfed websites, I remembered Professor Sandel and found his website. You can watch his lectures on website. It's about "Justice" and very interesting. If you are interested in it, and learn English or Japanese, probably NHK's website is helpful, which shows outline on each lecture.

Justice; http://www.justiceharvard.org/
NHK; http://www.nhk.or.jp/harvard/archive.html

21 Sep 2011

Take a Break

Almost every weekend, I read the magazine "Take a Break". It's a women's gossip magazine. It's not about celebrity gossip, but ordinary people's subjects such as love, betrayal, loss, sin, life etc... Sometimes the story makes me surprised because some stories are worlds apart from my life. A change of place, and a change of tastes? I had been an ELLE Japon reader for about ten years, but I haven't read fashion magazines for a couple months! I don't mean that I'm losing interest in fasion but just taking a break!

What My BF Seems to Most Like

These days, he seems to most like drawing "Doraemon". He secretly practices drawing it, and now unabashedly calls himself "the best drawer in the world". Let's see...

20 Sep 2011

Cheese

There are many cheeses at supermarkets in the UK. It really can't be compared to Japanese shops. My grandmother doesn't like cheese because she said it looks like a soap. She doesn't eat solid cheese but she eat melted cheese.

Everyone in my generation grew up on watching animation "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" on TV. This scene design and layout was made by Hayao Miyazaki, as a worldwide famous Japanese animator.

My favourite scenes and things I'd wanted to do TOP 5;
  1. Roasting cheese on a stick in the fireplace and putting it on the bread
  2. Sleeping on the dried plant bed. When you put sheets on bed with Alm-Onji, you can waft with sheets.
  3. Eating white bread which Peter's grandmother wanted
  4. Milking a goat and drink it directly
  5. Making goat milk cheese
Reality and things that I realised as an adult;
  1. Fireplace and cheese were unrealistic in Japan. You probably can get unusual cheeses but not common. In Europe or somewhere, it might be possible.
  2. Probably smell bad and definitely you can't waft.
  3. The breads named "Heidi's white breads" are sold in many bakeries in Japan. There are many soft breads even when it's not white.
  4. Well.. I realised there are many goat's droppings on the ground. Laying on a ground with goats are unrealistic...
  5. No opportunity. I ate goat milk cheese. It has unusual qualities (taste, smell etc) but I like it. 

19 Sep 2011

Shopping in Colchester

We went to Colchester this morning to see a solicitor. After that he directly went to London to work and I remained to walk around Colchester town by myself. It was a lovely day. Colchester town is not so big but if you want to enjoy shopping, the old area might be fun rather than High Street. There are many lovely small shops along the narrow street such as Eld Lane and Short Wyre Street. I popped in some shops and also enjoyed the sun in the Castle Park.

One of the shops I popped in was "Frippery", it was a girly and lovely goods shop. And also I found "Roly's Fudge". I know, I know, I always buy Fudge and too much sweets, but I could see they are making fresh fudge in the shop from the window! How could I pass it up? It's a multiple shop, but seems like it's relatively new in Colchester.

The things that I bought today were handmade organic soaps as a gift, which are made with natural, pure ingredients with no harsh chemicals. "Gin & Tonic" is made with organic Lemongrass and Juniper, and "Pink Champagne" is made with real Champagne. They are all still carefully made by hand, individually hand-cut, hand-poured and hand-wrapped. I asked a shop assistant if it's for your face, she replied yes because it's "organic". She emphasized "organic", but I think people have too much confidence in products just because "organic". This word have wings. Even if it's "organic" products, it's not always true that you can get exactly the effect you want.


★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

FRIPPERY
http://www.frippery.biz/index.asp

Roly's FUDGE
https://rolysfudge.co.uk/

The Littlecote Soap. Co.
http://www.littlecotesoap.co.uk/about_littlecote.asp





18 Sep 2011

International Puppet Festival

There was a International Puppet Festival in Witham yesterday. I can't tell you what was like, because we missed it, struggling to find the bulb in Chelmsford. They say the event attracts more than 20,000 visitors to Witham as well as puppeteers from around the world.
http://www.withaminternationalpuppetfestival.co.uk/index.html

We went to the town in the evening. The festival had already finished but we could see some ballon decorations outside shops and also busy pubs. We had a great dinner at Lian, a Chinese
restaurant. The food was fabulous and I also I liked the tranquil atmosphere.


★i-ADNES' Recommendation★
Lian
5 Newland Street, Witham, Essex CM8 2AF
01376 510684

Here is an interesting story about Lian : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030169/Thanks-tip-Restaurant-keeps-9million-favourite-customers-10million-contested-will.html

17 Sep 2011

Just for the bulb

--How many electric shops have light bulbs in the UK?

Two weeks ago, the light bulb in the kitchen burnt out. I had never ever expected it's such hard work to change a bulb. If you are Japanese, you just go to Yodobashi Camera, Yamada Denki, Best Denki, or some other electric shops, you can definitely get one, very easily. I had thought it's the same here, quite natural. Who could imagine, electric shops without selling bulbs?? Here, electric lines seems to be different from each shop range, even if they are called electric shop. Or maybe nobody care if their bulb is out? But I did care, because I had to cook in the dark kitchen for last 2 weeks!

At first, we struggled to undo a cover because of big and sensitive glass cover, and also it was a overhead light. We have a ladder but it was not high enough to change it. You know, it's not easy to do work with arms extended up. If you lose your concentration, you would fall off or drop a glass cover, but you have to keep a hard position for a while.

We went to buy a bulb today. Actually we walked around the town and popped in seven shops. Seven shops! I can't believe it! But they didn't have the same type of bulb. So we went to another electric shop but unfortunately it was closed! It said opening hour is 10:00am on Saturday. It was a couple minutes before, so we waited in front of the shop. -10:00, 5 minutes is passed, 10 minutes is passed, but it was still closed. Hello, it's already past 10:00. Anybody here? How annoying! My BF called the shop, but person who talked on a phone seemed like not knowing the shop details.

Before long, an old couple came to the shop to buy a bulb. They were a lovely couple, as soon as they knew the shop is closed, the old man knocked the door and examined the shop, but the old woman stopped him doing that. He seemed like a completely henpecked husband:) They went to the park to sit down until the shop open. They probably could get a bulb later I think. We went to the city centre to have a coffee, and went back to the shop later. It was open and we could get the bulb we wanted at last!

Soon after we came home, we changed the bulb in the kitchen. It was hard work as well, but finally we successed to change the bulb in the kitchen! Yes! The problems were it was a special sized fluorescent bulb, it was covered with delicate glass, and I am short and couldn't reach the ceiling, and my bf kept slipping over. ;) So it took two weeks and a whole morning to change it.


16 Sep 2011

Such is life!

I went to the usual cafe this morning. This cafe is always busy. Inside the cafe, some guys were setting a video camera, a light and microphone. After that a man in a suit who seemed like manager started to answer the questions in front of the camera. Seemed like they were shooting for a cafe's promotion video or something. I glimpsed them out of the corner of my eyes, I enjoyed drinking coffee.

In a cafe, I always eavesdrop on people's conversation. No offense meant. It's just fun. On my left side, young women were too busy chatting, and the other side, a baby was raising his voice and his mother said to him "Shhhh!" between chatting. Old couple was at odds with everyday affairs. I sipped a cup of coffee and thought "Such is life!"

15 Sep 2011

Castell Caerdydd

I got up early and travelled alone to Cardiff, Wales. It takes about 2 hours from London (Paddington Station) to Cardiff Central Station. It was a busy train in rush hour, there were a lot of reserved seats. I've been to Cardiff 12 years ago on a business trip, but I didn't have time to visit the castle at that time. I was interested in the castle, I had thought what's it like beyond the high wall? And I finally visited the Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd)! At first, a very attractive Clock Tower with colourful artwork catches your attention, but passing through the main entrance, you can see the Norman Keep on high motte. It was constructed about 1091, and now the shell remains. It reminded me of "Clifford's Tower" in York. You can climb to the top using narrow and steep stone spiral steps. Honestly, I was a little bit scared to go to the top, because I'm afraid of heights. But I did. At the cafe inside the castle, I found "Welshcakes" which are soft cakes with currants. It was nice:)

I also walked around the main shopping area. I knew there are markets and some nice arcades. They are very nice. It's really nice to walk and explore, you can find a lovely goods store which women like, cafes, jewellery store, boutiques, but unfortunately, I often saw the sign "To Let"...

Clock Tower
Norman Keep

View from Norman Keep
Cardiff
Morgan Arcade

Welshcakes

★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

Welshecakes
http://www.welshcakes.com/index.html

13 Sep 2011

Institution

I met a old man in front of a local pub this morning. He is an institution in this town. I believe in my heart that he must have a twin who was in the film "The Pirates of the Caribbean" (both are incorrect). Because he always walks around the town, sometimes I see him far from behind on a street, in the same direcion, and also see him coming towards me on my way back. Is he a twin? Also he has a white beard like Santa Claus, and looks like a pirate, if he put on a full costume... He always approaches everyone in a familiar way, and he sometimes disappears into a local pub. I talked with him, but his local accent is hard to understand for me. When that happens, I always return him a smile:)

It was nice weather this morning, but cloudy and showers this afternoon. I went to a park and spent a time sitting on a bench. School has already started, so only a few small children and their parents were playing in the park.





Beautiful Geranium

...and Beautiful Rose in the park

12 Sep 2011

Ryokan

The other day, the Metro (free newspaper) had an two-page spread article about northern Japan and the necessity of volunteers and tourists (after the earthquake and tsunami). It said international visitors to Japan are down 36% from last year. The editor stayed in Sakan Ryokan in Akiu hot spring resort, Miyagi, and conveyed the fascination of  northern Japan. Experience of the traditional inn seemed to impress her. She introduced the detail about it. This was the first time in ages I had seen an article about Sendai.

If you visit Japan, I recommend you to stay in ryokan, if you don't mind stripping naked in a public bath (it's good etiquette). Because you can have a Japanese cultural experience, such as putting on a youkata kimono, sleeping in a futon on a tatami mat, having a various local delicacies which looks beautiful and very Japanese, having a great and unique services, and also hot springs do have various good effects on your skin, mind, tired muscles, muscle pain, blood circulation and so on. If you are interested in it, have a try!

11 Sep 2011

Charity Motorbike Ride

There was heavy rain early this morning, the sun shone later, and now a bit cloudy. The weather is really changeable. When we got on a taxi from Chelmsford this morning, we saw many motorbike riders on a motorway. They passed by the taxi, and I could see some people waved their hands from the bridge to them. The taxi driver said it was a charity motorbike ride from London to Harwich in aid for some diseases. One person who got a ride on the back of motorcycle waved to us, so we waved back. I thought it's nice. I've never seen this kind of charity ride in Japan.

10 Sep 2011

10th Anniversary of Terrorist Attack

When we learnt about the Holocaust at school, my teacher asked us why we weren't crying even if we knew many lives lost in the tragedy of Jews? It was a serious moment, the class went quiet, and nobody answered her question. She said that because of loss of so many lives, more than anyone would had imagined, the number was too big and too vague to think of their lives. She was right.

During the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the 9.11 Terrorist Attack, I didn't have tears but I was in general sorrow. What were you doing when the Twin Towers in the US were attacked? I was staying at home alone and emailing, the TV was left running. I saw the airplane crashing into the building on TV. I thought it had been a action film at first, but I realised really serious situation had happened in the US.

A decade has passed. The attack must have changed many people's lives. I read some bereft families' memories and saw moments on a website, I felt a tightening in my chest by following up on their lives progress. They just keep going on. I also heard there is a possible terrorist threat to the US on an anniversary. I pray for peace across the world.

Charbonnel et Walker

Yesterday evening, I got a phone call from my BF earlier than usual. :) Yipes! He would come back home earlier, I tought. Last couple weeks, he has been busy, and also he went to work today (Saturday). He was supposed to come back home earlier after for long, but unfortunately there was an accident. Trains were delayed due to a person had hit by a train. I am not sure it was suicide or accident, but he was late.

When he came home, he had a lovely chocolate box :) Of course, the delay was not his fault, but it seemed like he wanted me to say sorry. (Truth is that he bought it before he knew the accident). It was chocolate truffles of "Charbonnel et Walker". It's one of Britain's well-established chocolatiers, founded in 1875. They are endorsed by the Royal Warrant as chocolate manufacturers to Her Majesty The Queen. See the picture, it looks gorgeous and elegant, doesn't it? Taste is really nice, not too sweet.



★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

Charbonnel et Walker (Old Bond Street Store)
One The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4BT
+44 (0)20 7491 0939
Mon-Sat. 10.00am to 6.00pm, Sun. CLOSED
http://www.charbonnel.co.uk/
*Other shops; Leeds Store, Canary Wharf Store and Liverpool Street Station Store
*Chocolates are also available at: Harrods, John Lewis, Selfridges, Liberty, House of Fraser, Fenwicks, Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and other luxury retailers

9 Sep 2011

Shopping


Marks and Spencer is a famous British retailer, with over 700 stores in the UK and over 300 stores in more than 40 countries. M&S was founded in 1884. You can buy food, clothes, household products and many things you need. Actually, there is a foreign exchange counter in the some shops too, and you can exchange money here. It's very useful, so I use it.

Yesterday, I bought a pair of slippers at M&S, because I have poor circulation. The wooden floor makes my feet cold even in the late summer. Small size slippers were perfect for my small and tiny feet. They are cozy slippers. I also bought a skin toner at Boots. The toner I had brought from Japan has almost run out. I think it's a bit risky to buy new one in other countries after completely running out, because nobody knows which one is a suitable toner for you, except products which are available in other countries. In Japan, I lately have been using Muji Toner (200ml/ 900yen) for stress skin. It's quite reasonable and quality is very good, and also fruity smell makes you feel relaxed. Another is Dr.Ci:Labo's Herbal Serum O2 (150ml/ 3,990yen). I usually use both as the skin conditioner. When I was in my 20's, I tried to use many products to find my suitable one, Clarins range was one of my favourites, especially Face Treatment Oil was effective for my ruddy complexion problem at that time. Now I use Dr.Ci:Labo range after I got skin trouble several years ago. My skin condition always changes, so it can really be difficult finding the right skincare products, and women always struggle with it. Men have no idea about the efforts of women though... I believe the most basic method of skin care is washing your face. So I usually use 2 types of cleansing foams, soap and cream as the situation demands, morning and night.

And the new one I bought in the UK is Botanics Skin Brightening Toner (250ml/ £4.07). This range uses certified organic materials. I prefer no alcohol, but it's not so bad, good choice for the first time, smell is nice.

Last night, when I tried to put it on my palm, it burst out from the bottle and spilled on the floor and also on my 'NEW SLIPPERS'... great...

Botanics - Muji - Dr.Ci:Labo

7 Sep 2011

I love bread!

I love bread. I always think bread is really tasty, not only in the UK but also in Europe. Something is different from Japanese breads, a kind of flour maybe? Several days ago, "warning over bread salt content" became the news in the UK. Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said more than a third of the 138 wrapped loaves it checked had salt content above the recommended levels.

The other day, I saw a woman in a pub, who was salting on a grilled chicken and chips for about 10 seconds. It was an unusual scene for me. It was too much! I wouldn't say Japanese food is low in salt, because we have soy sauce, miso, Japanese pickles, they are very salty. Also cuisine culture is westernized and diversified. Now high intake of salt is a problem worldwide.

You know, eating too much salt causes high blood pressure, and increases the risk of developing heart disease. Members of my family are concerned about salt intake, because my mother has high blood pressure, and her father also died due to heart disease.

In the UK, salt levels in bread have fallen by about a third over the past decade, but they are still too high. CASH recommends consumers look at nutrition labels, and how much salt bread contains, but it's difficult to know when you buy fresh breads in bakeries. Recommended dietary salt levels vary with age, and adults should have no more than 6g of salt per day, and toddlers should have no more than 2g.

High salt packaged breads - salt per 100g
  • Cranks Seeded Farmhouse - 2.03g
  • Vogel's Original Mixed Grain - 1.38g
  • Asda Chosen by You Bakers Gold White Farmhouse (400g) - 1.2g
  • M&S Eat Well Multigrain Bloomer made with 30% grains - 1.15g
  • Morrisons Thick Sunflower & Pumpkin Loaf (400g) - 1.1g
Low salt packaged breads - salt per 100g
  • M&S Simply More Eatwell Healthiest White Bread - 0.58g
  • Tesco Stayfresh White Sliced Bread Medium - 0.6g
  • M&S Eatwell Oaty Bloomer Made With 30% Oats - 0.65g
  • M&S Toasting White - 0.73g
  • Sainsbury's Medium Wholemeal - 0.74g
Source: BBC news

6 Sep 2011

Tove Jansson

When I was young, I watched 'The Moomins' on TV. To be honest, I believed it was a Japanese animation until I was a teenager (Sorry). Because it had dubbed-in voices, of course. How was a young girl supposed to know? Anyway, it's a series of books by Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. It's a story about a family of trolls who live in Moominvalley, and their various friends.

I still have Moomin's necklace, which probably my aunt gave me when I was young. It's definitely mine, because my name is on its back side. And I have mugs with Moomins, my uncle bought them when he went to Finland on business. Also my friends used to say I resembled to 'Little My' in some ways, such as being short, shape of ears and character (?) maybe.

We got Tove Jansson's illustrated books, one is "The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My" and another is "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". Honestly, I didn't know she illustrated Alice's book and was surprised by that. Especially "The Book about Moomin..." is a really nice book with cuttings, and you can feel a sense of fun, every time you turn a page.

Bad Weather

I heard the typhoon #12 caused damage in some areas og Japan. And here, it's a windy, rainy and gloomy day. Trees in the garden are moaning and rain is lashing the window panes...

3 Sep 2011

Special Day in Norwich

Have you rubbed hair cream into your face skin by mistake? Yes, I have, in this morning... I dashed up to the bathroon saying "Emergency, emergency!", before my BF used the bathroom, and I washed my face again. Beginning of the day seemed to start not so well, but it was a really wonderful and memorable day trip to Norwich. I like Norwich, especially the old area. There are nice shops you feel tempted to pop in, and also nice streets you feel tempted to walk around. One of the nice shops is the Book Hive. It's a really lovely bookshop and the display is good as well.

The Book Hive
We went to a cafe and I saw a bucket man..., I mean a man who carried a bucket. He put down the bucket on the floor, put his bag and other stuffs into it, and was seated at a table. Hmm, he probably bought the bucket because he needed it for something but seemed like a reasonable way...

We walked through the path named "Gentlemans Walk" and Royal Arcade. There is a famous Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum in the arcade. The shop's history dates back to 1814. You can buy Colman's mustard at supermarkets, but you can find some other special mustards and items in this shop. We bought a Mustard & Lemon soap and a Mustard Chocolate bar. Honestly chocolate doesn't smell nor taste like mustard but very nice:) As for the soap, it smells much more like lemon.

Norwich Market

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum



We passed by Norwich Castle. The castle itself looks like a very simple square box, but it was built by Normans as a Royal palace 900 years ago. And there are many churches around Norwich Cathedral. It's nice to walk around this area. We also popped in an antique shop on Tombland, it's also a lovely place, you may probably find something nice.


Norwich Castle


There are many pubs (of course) in Norwich, and some of them are very popular for students of the University of East Anglia. We had a lunch at one of them, named "The Lawyer". The facade is black, it has a nice atmosphere, and inside it is decorated with the lawyers' pictures and wigs, but the menu for meal was quite interesting, not traditional British dishes but Thai dishes. The meal was not big and tasted nice. We saw 2 stag parties, one we saw in the pub and one on our way back to the station. Stag parties (aka bachelor parties) look very silly but fun. One of the parties wore stupid crazy green coloured costume, and another wore medieval warriors' costume. It was quite funny.

★i-ADNES' Recommendations★
The Book Hive


53 London Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 1HL
01603 219268
http://www.thebookhive.co.uk/

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum
15 Royal Arcade, Norwich NR2 1NQ
http://www.mustardshopnorwich.co.uk/

The Lawyer
12-14 Wensum Street, Norwich NR3 1HY
01603 633122
http://www.thelawyernorwich.co.uk/
 

2 Sep 2011

At the End of the Day

The sun is setting and the day is at an end. I can hear a robin singing. It was nice weather and hot sunshine outside here. How was your day? Even if you had a good day or bad day, the sun rises again after having sleep and you grow even stronger than yesterday.

1 Sep 2011

Sweet Shop

The weather had became cooler, looking more like autumn, but it was a really nice day today, looking more like it was still summer. All this strong sunshine made the greens in the park look even more lush and beautiful.

Today, I went to Chelmsford by myself, and explored the town. There are shopping malls,  always busy with people. I went to Chelmsford Market. It was interesting. You can see books, shoes, gardening tools, accessories, antiques, old stamps and medals, cards, cheeses, meats and everything. I also found a lovely sweet shop "Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe", which is not a local shop but a franchise shop in the UK. If you pop in a shop, walls full with colourful sweets catch your eyes, and some of them are sold by measure. It reminded me of my childhood. There was a sweets wagon in a department store, a wagon was spinning around a parasol like a merry-go-round, and put your favourite sweets into a small bag. My grandmother always bought it for me and my sister. I think the wagon still exists in a department store in Japan.

At Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, I bought a bag of chocolate orange fudge. Fudge is a Western confectionery and is very common sweet. When I first tasted it, I thought it was a lump of sugar! Be careful of overeating!!

My BF's house has an old history, and the road in front used to be a main street. Now it's a residential area, but the house used to be a part of sweet shop:) How nice! It must have been a popular sweet shop with children. I imagined what the shop was like, when I popped in Mr Simms Old Sweet Shoppe.

The park in Chelmsford

Chelmsford Cathedral

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe

★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe