Customs charging hell….

I hate customs charges, but buying from abroad does incur them but they invariably get it wrong. Charging used clothing (about 5% charge) as new clothing (12%) charge and you NEVER have a come back for it. I have tried before but you might as well ask the Queen.

My last kimono parcel for the next 12 months has been marred by an inaccurate hideous charge. I work out charges normally using this: http://www.dutycalculator.com/ because when they do catch you (and lets face it is not all the time so I should not complain) it helps you understand what you have to pay. Royal mail charge about a £12 processing fee, Parcelforce charge about £8.

However in classic bumbling they have charged the ‘new clothing’ rate to a load of ‘vintage’ clothing. It says vintage/used on the parcel in ENGLISH but they don’t seem to be able to read,due to the problems with illiteracy in the UK I am not surprised to be honest.

Fortunately these kimono are a business venture (rental) so it will count against tax so I almost ‘get back’ 20% of the cost, which off sets the customs charge in the end. But not now, right before Christmas with more presents to buy.

Well that’s MY rant over, no wonder business hates to import stuff to sell and set up warehouses abroad. The government needs to help business import so we can export because the last government killed any manufacturing in the UK we don’t make anything here any more 🙁

In the states you can import up to $200 for personal use before you pay taxes, in the UK we can have something costing £37 (this must include shipping costs) to not incur a charge.

One of the main reasons I am not going to buy anything from abroad next year is due to the VAT rising. I imagine import duties will rise also as the government tries to keep the money circulating in the UK. This is a double edged sword, good in some respects (keeps the money in the UK and in my bank account) bad in others (I, like many others will just stop spending next year).

On the upside, now I am down from my soap box…I have tomorrow off 🙂

Summer Ro Kimono Hunting

For the summer and holiday I am in need of Ro kimono. However, I am a bit restricted as I already have two Ro obi and I am damned if I am buying any more. One is cream with orange the the other a wonderful minty green with red.

However Rakuten comes to the rescue by showing me some cool looking black based synthetic Ro weave Komon for around £30, so when money permits (probably after I have paid for said holiday) I shall get myself two. I will probably take one yukata and one Ro ensemble for holiday and the rest being my dresses and things. I now keep re-using holiday stuff as its such a waste of money buying the latest fashion, its not like I follow it anyway!

I have one lilac Ro Komon and also an light blue Ro Tsukesage kimono but I don’t like the condition. Unless I can improve it it will end up on the scrap heap, I hate it when sellers hide stains.

I am assuming based on this years weather that I will only need 2 maybe 3 Ro ensembles for kimono de jack as I imagine we shall have a festival type meeting where yukata will be worn.

Ro kimono on eBay hit hideous prices ($70-$100) and you can get more for you money with a synth Ro kimono, and due to the nature of wearing Ro – you are more likely to sweat or get your ice lolly down it 🙂

Kimono at Home….

Its Sunday today and I am dying my hair but I thought I would still get in a little kitsuke. I am (after hair dying) donning my denim blue wool hitoe kimono today with just my date jime so I can slouch on the sofa. Normally I use my old yukata as house kimono but today is chilly so the wool hitoe comes out.

It was super cheap at only £3 🙂

Synthetic Polyester Kimono

When you first delve into kimono you normally start with a nice washable cotton yukata kimono. Easy to wear and err…washable! Then when you have found *the love* you think about a real kimono. You always start off as a bit of a silk snob, however only being able to afford vintage variable condition kimono.

However, the unsung hero of my kimono closet (tansu if I had one) is the synthetic polyester kimono. Washable and affordable new.

Now as with anything, there is good and bad. If you buy a £30 polyester kimono expect Primark quality. Don’t get me wrong, I have a kimono and haori in very cheap material for work and ‘town wear’ for when the weather is truly nasty.

However for between £50-£70 you can get some really nice funky modern kimono, check this shop on Rakuten. There are even some kimono AND obi sets!

I am gunning for one of their £108 kimono in the featured image material. Blue and bats – that’s a birthday present if every I saw one. My husband already knows and has started saving 🙂

Komon or ‘fine pattern’ as the category structure goes on Rakuten is the best place to look for synthetic kimono as well as following from the link on the main kimono home page. If you want a new kimono on a limited budget, this is the way.

Don’t be afraid of the washable, bomb proof synthetic kimono available out there!

No Kimono this weekend…

Oh yes, a kimono free weekend for me as I am going to spend the weekend having my hair cut and making dreadlocks. I have worn kimono once this week so I don’t feel I am neglecting my art. Kitsuke is an art it needs practise and attention, and I imagine its going to be a while yet till I am happy with my skill. I can dress other people beautifully but its all about dressing yourself as perfectly as you would dress another.

I might dress up in the kimono I am donating to the kitsuke evening in December so I can do a little advertising on this blog to get people interesting in visiting Birmingham for the night and getting involved. Its only £2 to go and a £1 a strip for the raffle tickets. Hopefully we will see some kanzashi and other kimono bits and bobs donated too.

The featured image is from my teal modern furisode that I might wear to Kimono de Jack Birmingham!

Money Money Money…or lack thereof

OK, well to meet my saving targets it means a total spending ban for 12 months! That’s right, no spending on nice things for 12 whole months. However I have budgeted for a holiday to Cyprus, £50 a month kimono de jack budget and £6 per month for learning Japanese. Napster, Lovefilm and the gym are all budgeted for so its not like I will REALLY suffer. Or will I?

You have to remember I am a SHOPOHOLIC! Buying clothes, make up and shoes is a chronic obsession and I might DIE!!!!!

But with the recent wobbles in my husbands job situation and the economy getting decidedly worse month on month it will keep our lives stress free. Even if we don’t have a lot we will have enough to keep us entertained and happy.

However, if my eBay design and consultancy business does really well next year (new website coming 2011) I could be buying myself new kimono stuff by next July! I also get paid in Euro’s so I have set the conversion rate to 1.2E to £1 so if they rate is better than that I will also profit.

I sit here praying that our currently government will put a plaster over my countries debt and get people back into decent paid jobs (no minimum wage is NOT decent money unless the cost of living dramatically reduces)

Violin down….

Jamie’s Italian Review Birmingham Bull Ring (in Kimono)

You can always judge an Italian by its spaghetti bolognese. So I had already decided this was to be my main course. My last spag bol was in a decent Frankie and Bennies so they didn’t have much competition.

The staff were efficient and seemed to know what was what, for instance being able to reassure my sister that the bruschetta that we both ordered would not be too strong on the garlic. Our waitress was correct.

The bread came out on a small chopping board style arrangement with a piece of paper in-between the bread and board. A novel idea, however, being female, wearing lipgloss and not wanting the heavy laden mushrooms up my nose or falling on my lap I had to use a knife and fork. No picking up and eating for me, especially not in kimono! This however presented a problem, the paper underneath got soggy and ripped. I had to avoid eating it. The starter however was very nice, but next time I will request a plate.

My sister and I wanted three courses so we opted for the smaller main course. It is small so I would not recommend it for a man. However it was great for us as we wanted to have a pudding and be able to walk back to the car. The spag bol was probably my favourite so far and I have eaten at a lot of Italian restaurants. It was different but didn’t detract too much from the traditional spag bol taste to frighten off someone like my Dad. (not into fancy food, steak, chips and apple pie classically) so next time I visit I might be a piggy and have a large one.

For pudding, I chose the panna cotta. Although the taste was fantastic my sister poked it with the flip side of her spoon and it wobbled much more than it should. It should be stabilised with gelatine and not a creamy jelly with a slight transparent layer covering it. Another noted faux pas was the lack of dessert forks. The desserts are quite dainty and you are given a lopping great mains fork which feels a bit awkward in a place with such an air of grace and contemporary sophistication.

However, for two drinks (Bellini and a coke), water on the table, two starters, two small mains and two sweets the bill came to £40.20. Its cheap enough so you can eat your fill and posh enough that you can take people ‘out to dinner’ there.

I will go back soon taking my husband and I will have the same food but maybe make him share some garlic chips!

New Years Resolutions…

I don’t normally bother, but this year I have eaten and spent to my hearts content and need to ‘clean up’ my body and bank account. Alex and I need a holiday and that involves money and wearing a bikini, neither of which are in my future currently.

I have a kimono ‘list’ of needs and currently it only has tabi and two new yukata for the summer on it. Maybe a kimono bra but loosing weight means no bust for me anyhow!

So in theory two yukata from my favourite yukata seller http://www.kimono-yukata-market.com/ should set me back £100 max and tabi? A couple of pairs at about £7 each.

Can I keep to that meagre spend for the WHOLE of 2011 or will I go mad? I will run out of space if I don’t.

Diet….a long over due stone that’s been clinging to me needs to go. Why have I not lost weight? Gland problem? Metabolism problem? No. CAKE. Cake makes a girl fat. If you stop eating cake you will be thin.

So what will be the plus marks of such a thinning down? Well two yukata that have shrunk a bit in the wash will fit better and some of my more tight kimono will close with more room and I won’t have short obi issues with my hakata obi.

If I keep to my new years resolutions I will be thin and richer. I certainly have enough kimono for the next 12 months of kimono de jack, now I have places to go and wear kimono I need money to spend on travel and things!