Friday, February 27, 2009

Edinburgh- finally!

Here's a little taste of Edinburgh-- the lion is for my dad. As soon as I figure out how to fix my Flickr slideshow (don't know if it's a mac problem or a blogger / flickr problem), i'll post the rest of the photos. But here are some highlights. No, we didn't take a bus tour (we are walkers)-- but it was too good of a photo op to resist.. more wayfaring to come... Paris for Easter, perhaps?

The Black Death

Inspired by our recent trek to Scotland, I picked up this gem from Tesco (aka my favorite all purpose store because there's no Target in the UK) the other day. A novel about the plague?! Sweet! I guess that tour of the underground city and tales of witchcraft, gruesome capital punishment and, yes, the plague, peaked my interest. I'm wrapping up two other books and then plan to dive into this one. I mean, come on-- a novel about the plague! It's gotta be good!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Clearly Not An Exact Science

And there are kinks in the email posting... Sorry... Will have to fix when I have access to a real computer... Blah.

Posted from my iPhone

Birmingham Bound

After an amazing weekend playing hooky from home improvement (thank heavens!) in sunny Edinburgh (the locals assured me this was entirely unusual), it is back to the grind with the weekly trip to Birmingham. For those unfamiliar with "The Brum" it's the second largest city in England (tied with about three other cities that make the same claim), located in West Midlands-- which, not surprisingly, means the west, middle of the country. Despite having to make this hour and a half trek weekly, I embarrassingly don't know much about the city-- with the exception of it being, like most cities outside of London, a former industrial giant, fallen into disrepair and now experiencing a Renaissance of sorts, with old factories being converted to usable space in the form of dual purpose residence and social buildings (a lot of the same is happening in Manchester). I have to say I do like this trend of melding the old and the new-- rather than knocking down history for shiny new builds. When the architects get it right, it can be breathtaking. And philosophically, the juxtaposition of industrial and residential space, and transforming the function of a space is just, well, incredible.

But as usual, I digress.

Birmingham is located in what's known as the Black Country. And, no, that is not a racial reference. It's because during the industrial revolution, the dominance of coal mines and factories in the region, combined, no doubt, with the cloud cover-- it is England after all, quite literally made the air black. Wouldn't you like to have seen those people's lungs? Thankfully the air is black no more-- so my lungs are safe in case you were worried.

While I often write about my desire for wayfaring, work travel is not my favorite. I am a creature of habit, and I like to plan, so working offsite disrupts my rhythm and then I spend the rest of the week feeling like I am behind. Especially since this weekly trip always falls on a different day and it is increasingly stretching to two, sometimes three days-- meaning hotel stays and missing my daily calls to my sis, which I really hate. Not to mention my bed Is MUCH more comfy than any hotel bed I can find (well, except maybe the Four Seasons...).

Good news though (for the two of you who check my blog since it has been so sporadic), I've figured out how to email blog posts from my iPhone. So hopefully I can keep the blogging up even when on the road.

More to come on Edinburgh (with photos-- of people, even!) when I return from The Brum...

Posted from my iPhone

Friday, February 20, 2009


We're off to Ed-in-burr-uh this weekend (so I'm told is the correct pronunciation, as opposed to the hard 'g' that us Yanks tend to use), and I cannot say enough how excited I am to play hooky from the home improvement projects. We've decided to drive so we can see some of the beautiful countryside in our backyard-- and given that it's only 4 hours, it's not too much of a hike (we're equidistant by car from London and Edinburgh).

In case you're foggy on Edinburgh history, it's Scotland's capital city and boasts a "genteel, cultured outlook reflected in the magnificent 18th century architecture of its so-called New Town." Some of the country's major visitor attractions are found in Edinburgh including national museums, galleries and the city's famous castle on top of a rocky crag overlooking the city.

We're staying at the Old Waverly Hotel which has gotten mixed reviews on Trip Advisor and other websites. Some on the more disturbing side (bed bugs??) and others fairly innocuous (rude / unhelpful staff). But the best thing going for it is location (right on Princes Street with views of the castle. We're only going overnight so I figure it's better to be in the thick of things than have to figure out how to get around the city; although I hear it's small and very walk-able).

Lots of choices of things to do, but top of my list aside from the castle is walking tours-- I think it's the best way to get your bearings and explore-- you find such great things on foot that you would entirely miss in a car / bus or otherwise. Some of note include the City of the Dead Walking Tour; the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, a guided tour of the Edinburgh's haunted underground city; and, The Witchery Tour, which my book describes as "...a glimpse of Old Town's murkier side, including tales of witchcraft, torture and plague." Sense a theme here? And of course there's always the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre-- not my cup of tea, but I know MRN is excited about that one.

Photos and tales of Scottish adventure to come-- maybe I'll even be brave enough to try a little haggis.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shoe Love

Since moving to England I've been REALLY good about shoes... as in, I've only bought one pair (for my birthday present to myself... because you should always get a birthday present for yourself; after all, who knows you better?), and they were out of sheer necessity-- I replaced a pair of boots that were killing my feet for a splurge; but they are good for both work and play (and more importantly, my feet). But generally speaking, I've resisted my shoe urges primarily due to lack of space (and compulsion to curb superfluous spending in general). But no storage for shoes has been my greatest irk (alright, alright-- a bit melodramatic, but hey, what's life without a little superficial melodrama).

However, this week saw the end to my self-imposed shoe famine. I've been coveting a pair of Poetic License shoes since last fall, but managed to resist until this week when I saw they had gone on sale. And what's better than buying shoes than buying shoes on sale?! While it's a London company, I actually discovered PL at Nordstrom in Chicago. I fell in love with their quirky, flirty, retro-inspired designs, in fun colors and styles. My favorite in my "collection" are a pair of red, mid-heel patent leather with brown side stitching, a brown wooden heel and little peep holes on the face with a leather tassle bow for a little bit of fun. They're perfect for adding a little character to boring business suits. (And as an aside, their packaging is brilliant... and I'm nothing if not a sucker for good design. Yes-- the "box" is indeed also a bag. Clever.)

But these may soon be knocked out by my new purchase... again, practical because they can be used for work and play (well, perhaps a stretch for the office, but I do like to spice up my work wardrobe with fun shoes...). The ballerina "toe shoe" front, rich suede and stain bow accenting a keyhole opening on the face is stylish but practical for colder climates. And the platform heel is entirely foot friendly-- because while I do love shoes, I am not a "pain for fashion" type girl. They must be comfortable-- and walkable. Meaning, I can walk at least a mile in them without killing myself (and seeing as I'm naturally clumsy, these type of heels are much more "maikib-friendly").

You can find PL in the US at the following retailers: Nordstrom, Piperlime, and if you're in Chicago, at Lori's on Armitage. I'm sure a google search will reveal a lot more retailers, but these are my favorite for interesting shoes.

Ahhh... shoe love....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wayfarer Gets a Makeover!

Thanks to my wonderful sis who gifted me a custom blog design, and the amazing Lyndsay who designed this masterpiece, Wannabe Wayfarer has gotten a face lift! It's just the kick that I needed to get re-energized and inspired for blogging in the new year. Thank you Aloha and Lyndsay!!