Hamstead High Street & the Heath

Today we took the tube up to the much recommended Hamstead area of London.
I made an attempt at London fashion today: skinny jeans + coloured flat shoes. We arrived at Hamstead to discover that I forgot one key accessory – my pushchair (translation baby stroller). It seems Hamstead is THE place to be for young mothers, their well dressed children and pimped out pushchairs.

The High Street as you can see was very scenic:

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However I did notice an excessive amount of yuppy patisseries (£21 for a raspberry topped mille feuille cake?!) and high end maternity stores.

The Heath on the other hand (which I thought was British speak for a park until I looked it up on wikipedia) was quite rustic. Very few paved paths, no sculpted landscapes, just mostly raw green space:

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We did get further into the Heath and ended up in a wooded section that was really nice.
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Shame I wore those silly flat shoes.

Portobello Road Market – Notting Hill

It’s Saturday, a good day to visit one of London’s outdoor markets.
We chose Notting Hill’s Portobello Market since our good friend the Internet told us that it’s only open on Saturdays. Portobello Road Market claims to be the world’s largest antique market so I guess that explains all the old stuff. I thought the market was quite interesting. The weather wasn’t ideal, we had proper British weather today – damp, cloudy and quite cold (the coldest 10C!) but the amount of pubs and cafes available to warm up in more than made up for it.

This a picture of the beginning of the south end of the market:

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Once you get past the antiques, jewelry and clothes you get to the vegetable stands where we picked up lots of cheap groceries making it a similar Saturday afternoon to those we’ve had in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Here I reach for some avocados:

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You can tell we’re in Notting Hill because the presentation of some of the veggie stands is quite lovely:
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And this last one is of me, at the end of the market when it turns back into a residential area. I’m carrying some flowers, 14 roses actually, that we picked up for only £1 (2 bunches of 7 roses per bunch, why 7 per bunch I don’t know):

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Towel Warmers … quite possibly the greatest things this country has to offer

God bless my towel rack warmer!
When it’s cool and rainy (what? in Britain? How dare mum nature!) nothing makes me happier than a warm towel after a shower. Seriously, how have I lived this long without one?! This is the single greatest thing about this flat. Almost makes me figure and forget the lack of storage. Oh and the fact that all the light switches are all backwards. Oh and I seem incredibly allergic to something in the carpets…
But warm towels!
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Back in the Uk

And we’re back.
It was a short and sad trip back to Canada for Jason’s grandfather’s funeral.
But we’re back in the Uk and we seem to have brought some snow with us. Although the BBC calls it snow, it’s not real snow. It’s more like thick rain.
I have some interviews lined up for the next few days, so with any luck i’ll have my job situation figured out soon.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

We had a craving for burgers today so we went to GBK – Gourmet Buger Kitchen in Bayswater (close to Nottinghill). It was ok. The burgers were tasty enough, but I really am starting to hate British chips. They’re just little grease sticks. And the garlic dipping mayo Jason ordered was actually painful to eat. But that’s ok, it gave us something to complain about; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One observation though, many Brits eat their burgers with a knife and fork.
Now I don’t know if this manerism is influenced by the Royals or by the Seinfeld chocolate bar episode, but to me it’s weird. And it’s not just a Bayswater thing, Jason has confirmed sightings in Cambridge.

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Nottinghill by the way is a really posh neigbourhood, as expected.

March 16th Happy Red Nose Day!

I heard on the BBC morning news that it’s Red Nose Day.
Still not sure what this ‘semi-holiday’ is all about.
I’m going to Goodge Street Station shortly to pick up a few things at a shop called Habitat. Hopefully I’ll see something on the street.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_Relief

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I’m back from my errands.. seems Red Nose day is out with some amount of force. I saw a guy in the street with a red nose on while handing out free papers (see picture) also saw a few ads on the taxi’s,

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Since it’s after 8pm now, I’m watching the Big One on BBC One now. Interesting! I wish I understood more of the jokes though, I don’t seem to find it as funny as the live audience.
Hmm, this a bit like a nation wide shine-o-rama. only with much better execution.
And, apparently it’s only once every 2 years.

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ps. I can’t believe how much swearing is allowed on tv!! They sure say ‘fucking’ alot on the BBC!

A New Word! Hoover = Vacuum

From Wiki:

In Britain Hoover has become so associated with vacuum cleaners as to become a genericized trademark. The word “hoover” (without initial capitalization) often is used as a generic term for “vacuum cleaner”. Hoover is often used as a verb, as well, as in “I’ve just hoovered the carpet”.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised with this one. In Canada we use plenty of genericized trademarks like: Kleenex, Q-tips and BandAids, but it still surprised me. I bought a used vacuum cleaner today from some guy online and he used the term hoover which totally confused me. If anything, to me, Hoover is either a name of a dam or something I associate with defensive eaters like my friend Cernik enjoying a big tray of poutine.

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Getting to Know London’s ‘burbs

I went to East Putney yesterday to visit my friend Kaila and to pick up my flat keys from her (she was kind enough to feed our cats while Jason was in Canada last week). Putney is a really nice area and reminds me just how big London is.
While in Putney I bought a hairdryer from Boots. Check that off my list of to-dos. Boots actually reminds me of the mid 80’s doing weekend shopping with Mom and stopping off at the Yonge Eglinton centre to go to Boots. I think it’s a Pharma Plus in the Y&E centre now.

Ah! Forgot to mention about my trip to Putney I decided to yet again take the bus back to Kings Cross, because well, sitting at the top of a double decker bus feels a bit like a scenic tour and this way I can see how the different neighbourhoods are connected. First bus was excellent, got to Knightsbridge in no time, made mental note that Chelsea and South Kensington is a fantastic area. At Knightsbridge i resisted the temptation to go into Harrods and walked for a bit beside Hyde Park enjoying the weather. The weather has been spectacular. Today is the 4th day in a row of brilliant blue skies, sun and spring weather. I picked up my second bus that would take me to Kings Cross, the number 10. Interesting that the night bus, the N10 goes from Putney to Kings Cross, but in the day time the 10 goes no where near Putney. Odd. But good to know that a solid night bus exists to take me back home after visiting Kaila, Jenny and their boys. Anyway, the number 10 bus goes through Oxford Circus. This was a big mistake. At 5pm, and actually I suppose at anytime of the day, Oxford Street is a zoo. I spent over 45 minutes on Oxford Street alone! I probably should have spent the extra 50p and taken the tube.

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(English) Muffins

They actually call English muffins… “muffins”.
At least they taste the same, or at least the Tesco brand ones I bought do.
Rumour has it muffins are called ‘buns’ by the brits. Well that’s just insane.

What’s also nuts is that I need to turn on a light switch to get my stove to work.

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London’s Calling … for a pub quiz!

So last night was the big goodbye – the pub quiz. Congrats to team Cornflake for taking the title after a solid 10 out of 10 result in the last round “Celebrity Nicknames … As Seen on Perez Hilton.com”. You may not have known which Star Trek Actor Directed “Three Men and a Baby” or known Johnny Quest, or even which sex of reindeer grow antlers, but when it came down to crunch time you knew exactly who Princess Frostylocks was!

It was a sad night, quite teary, and yet I’m an idiot. I forgot to bring my camera!
Goodbye – I’ll miss you all!

More on Business Cards

The ordeal continues! We have a new employee who has joined us in Japan and he’s put in his 2¢ towards our business cards. He suggested changes across the board with my title changing to シニアプロダクトマーケティングマネージャー. I have a feeling that I will never resolve this, so they’re going to print! How bad could it be?

The Joy of International Business

As if flying 10 to 14 hours to Asia all the time wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass, I’ve been jumping through the hoops of getting local language business cards. You would think it would be an easy process but as Engrish reminds us, translating to and from European and Asians languages is not a trivial process.

Chinese Business Card

For my Chinese business cards, a coworker who lived in Taiwan (and is moving back there) mentioned that while technically correct, the Taiwanese would find my title of 高級產品經理 to be particularly funny. He loosely translated it as “High Class Product Manager” which isn’t quite what we were going for. He recommended 資深產品經理 as a replacement. Maybe I should just go with 白屁股大熱賣 and be done with it – I doubt anybody would forget that business card.

Japanese Business Card

Then for my Japanese business cards I sent them over to a friend in Japan. After being told the font was “too traditional” (that is, “Chinese”) he said his coworkers’ comments were that my title was “not normal or somehow funny sounding.” They recommended a katakana replacement of 製品担当シニアマネージャー.

Korean Business Card

After all this fun with Chinese and Japanese is there any doubt that I’m concerned about my Korean cards? Unfortunately my Korean friends have never lived there and I’ve never been to Korea so I don’t know a lot of qualified Koreans to ask. I’ll have to rely on our outsourced Korean sales reps to give this translations the OK.

It may be a pain, but I think it’s worth spending the time to get it right. Of course by having these cards done my employer is sending a pretty clear message – “you’re going to be in Asia a lot!” :)

It does what it says on the tin

This is one I hadn’t heard in Canada: “It does (exactly) what it says on the tin.” The meaning is immediately obvious; it’s something that does exactly what it purports to do. It’s generally used positively (that something purchased worked as expected) but it’s occasionally used negatively to mean that the product works just barely well enough.

It does exactly what it says on the tin

Goodbye Canada Part 2: Cross Country City Skiing

I do love Toronto for it’s cross country skiing. The city parks are incredible for easy access to great snow, and many of the bigger ones like High Park make you feel like you’ve left the city. My personal favourite: Sunnybrook Park. The snow today wasn’t as great as I expected. Seems that even though we were assaulted with snow this past week, the park was a bit bare in places. But my dad and I made do. I am going to miss skiing in the city.

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What’s for Pudding?

“Pudding” here is not just a creamy dessert, it’s just dessert in general. It’s like going to the States (especially the South), asking for a “Coke,” and getting the response back “What kind’a Coke do ya want? We gots Pepsi, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper…”

Notable Example:

“how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

-Pink Floyd.

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