You may have noticed, if you notice such things, that I am not quite as prolific in my blogging as I have been in the past. I apologize, but the thing is, on any given day, I HAVE FOUR HUNDRED THINGS TO DO.
In fact, I am only doing this blog now because I’ve just done an hour and a half of uni work and I need a break before my brain explodes and redecorates my bedroom. With brain gunk.
On the plus side, for those of you that dabble in the reading of blogs, I shall be much, much easier to keep up with. Instead of, like, eight blogs a day about what I’ve just eaten or the episode of the Clone Wars I’ve just watched.
SO. I did, in a past blog, promise you that I would go to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition over the weekend and then tell you about how great it was. I assured you it would be face-melting (or something to that effect), so HOLD ONTO YOUR FACES.
First of all, I would like to say that getting tickets for this free (that’s my favourite word) event was much, much more difficult that it should have been. I mean, the internet is all powerful, surely ‘click and possess’ is a fairly straightforward concept? Alas, the website was crashing all over the show and the phone lines were busy and I was starting to hyperventilate and stress. I did a mean, awful thing – don’t judge me. I was scared I would end up with no tickets at all, so I sent a nasty email to Titanic telling them to wind their neck in and make things work better.
I am a mean, bad person. I am ashamed.
To make the shame even worse, some lovely bloke from Titanic Customer Services emailed back immediately, with an apology, and then offered to book the tickets for me. Eek. I still feel bad about being a grump.
Good on you though, Titanic, your people are marvellous.
Ticket drama aside, I was so excited about this. The little clip advertising it was immense…and WordPress still won’t let me embed videos. I had forgotten that. Oh well,here’s the link.
I had never actually been inside the Titanic building before (I know, I know, I am a museum geek and a touch patriotic, so I really should go for a proper visit), but it’s pretty flippin’ cool. And busy, which is always nice to see. The guys at the coffee shop thing were dressed like ye olde times paper boys, and the toilets were ultra clean and shiny. What more can you ask from anywhere, really?
Wisely, when booking tickets for the exhibition, you had to choose a time slot – this sounds kind of like hassle and a bit odd, but it meant the displays weren’t too crowded and you didn’t have to queue for too long to get a good look at anything. AND OH, the things there were to look at.
The exhibition was divided up according to family – the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Greyjoys and Targareans all had their own little areas, as did the Nights Watch (although characters from North of the Wall were stuffed in that display too, which makes sense, I guess). There were videos playing all around the place too, and although they were really just behind the scenes videos from the DVDs, always worth a watch. Some of the main characters did little ‘Welcome to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition’ clips too, which was a nice feature.
I don’t want to trawl through every single item I saw, but highlights included some of the Starks’ costumes (all lined up beside each other, like in the first episode before they all shoot off in opposite directions all over Westeros), Ned Stark’s head on a spike (which I only noticed because I tipped my head back to yawn – it was pretty high up), Ice and Needle (among LOADS of other weapons) and the dragon eggs and scale models of Drogon. All in all, it took around 40 minutes to see everything.
So neat. Some of Emilia Clarke’s costumes were out on display along with said dragons, and man, that chick is TINY. The detail that does into all the costumes in mind blowing – small stitches and teeny details that a camera would never pick up, just proof that this show takes itself seriously! As well it should.
I think that’s more than enough of my talking, here are some blurry, dark, badly taken Iphone photos. You’re so welcome.
You may notice that there are only two dragon eggs here; one of them hatched! Teehee, I kid, obviously – the third egg was given to George R.R. Martin as a wedding gift! I thought that was a nice gesture.
The exhibit is in Belfast until June 17th, but there are no tickets left now. If you are elsewhere in the world, see where it goes next on their site!
If you’re heading down to the exhibit, or if you have already been, nip over to Facebook and tell me if you liked it!
I already had a rant about the airport and covered the Eiffel Tower in day one – you can go read that here, if you like.
While I had a plan for the weekend in mind before we set off, day two (Saturday) was meant to be a day of wandering and discovering. And oh, it was. I am not a healthy, sporty or fit person, but I think we might have walked about 5 miles. First thing in the morning I hopped out of bed (also something I don’t usually do, at home it’s more of a roll-and-splat motion), and we made a beeline for the Seine. If you are headed to Paris in the future, you really, really have to start your trip with a boat tour. It’s insanely beautiful, very informative and gives you an idea of where everything is in comparison to everything else.
We went with Bateaux Parisian, because it wasn’t raining and we could sit outside and take fifty million pictures.
After our very lovely boat trip, we WALKED from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, via a whole bunch of bridges and museums and gardens and landmarks. Paris really does need to be done on foot, we would’ve missed so much if I had been more me-like and refused to walk. Notre Dame is spectacular, of course, but they’ve built a viewing platform-thingy for the 850th anniversary (yes! 850 years! That is one OLD, OLD building), which was packed, ruined the view from the ground and looked downright cheap and tacky. Especially when you put it beside on of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world.
RIGHT. On to the real geekery. First up, after getting into Notre Dame and being silent and respectful, we got a little bit lost. Which would’ve been fun, if my legs weren’t about to drop off and if we weren’t literally going in circles. We did stumble across the world’s fanciest toilet, but I don’t think that’s really a feature of the city…
Eventually we found the Pantheon, one of the big tourist attractions that nobody seems to really go to. Except for the French. Good news is, if you are between 18 and 25 and from the EU, you get in for free! Same goes for the Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe. It pays to be from Northern Ireland. Sometimes.
This one time.
I highly recommend a visit to the Pantheon though, it’s really amazing. They have a wonderful exhibition on how the church building is actually crumbling and falling down, which was both interesting and terrifying. Maybe bring a hard hat? The real sights are underneath the church/mausoleum part (it’s changed purpose so many times, thanks to all those revolutions), where there are crypts where the French government bury citizens of note. Of which there are many! Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie and Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Louis Braille…the list goes on and on. Humbling to visit and fascinating to look at (all the info. panels are in French, by the by, so you might want to get a book or an audio guide if you really want to know what’s going on).
After we went and visited some famous dead people (ah Paris, the city of love), we got lost a little bit more, but again, in the pursuit of something marvellous. If you have been to France/Paris and you are of a geeky persuasion, you really must’ve gone to Album.
Album is sort of like Forbidden Planet. Except, bigger. And better. With newer stock and older stock and displays that nearly put Disneyland to shame. It’s just…wow. They have an English section as well, so if you aren’t fluent in a foreign language (I got by okay, I’d like to point out), you won’t be completely lost.
PICTURES. ALL THE PICTURES.
As we were heading back to the tourist-beaten-track, we stumbled across another store I’d been dying to see – Shakespeare & Company. An English bookstore opened in 1951, named after an even older English language bookshop (that closed during the Second World War), the place is pure, incredible chaos. There are books everywhere, each room leading on to another room, people crammed into every little space. Oh god, I really loved it. I want my house to look like that. So many books. Heavenly, it really was. The outside of the shop is just as lovely, with little benches and trees and tables of books. Everyone who works there seems to be American, which struck me as odd (HIRE ME?!), but at least you don’t have to try and ask for a specific book in broken French!
All in all, a brilliant day of wandering and finding and shopping and romance. And now, I am sitting in Northern Ireland, wishing so badly I could just go back and stay there forever.
Don’t worry though, days three, four and five are on their way!
So, you may or may not be aware that I am a girl. Of the female persuasion, if you will. Actually, that makes me sound like a lesbian, but I’m just trying to convey to you that I am a chick. Anyway, I can’t speak for all the other geeky lady folk out there, but from time to time, I do like to embrace my inner Barbie. I just like pink, is all. And glitter.
Only sometimes, mind you. Mostly, I like Batman and converse and cats.
With this in mind, here are some pink bits and bobs that I’ve seen around; don’t worry gentlemen, I’m sure you can pull off pink just as well as any lady. Smash the gender roles.
£4 in H&M! Such a bargain, and they still have them in the store in Belfast. They don’t appear to be on the website any more, but if you click the picture, there is an even cuter Iphone cover for under a fiver…it’s panda shaped! If, however, you are a crazy cat lady like myself, you can get something very similar on Amazon. I can personally recommend this one, because I went and ordered myself one when I needed cheering up recently. It has a little tail on the back, too! Bless.
Cute, yesyes? Spotted in H&M in Belfast (the Royal Avenue one, I think). I can’t remember the exact price, because it was a while ago and I was skint and didn’t want to look too closely, lest I get depressed.
Also, I’m not actually a fashion blogger, go look and find the price yourself. Leave me alone.
More Primark love now, in the form of Hello Kitty. The little slippers were £4, but when I went back after payday to buy a pair, they were nowhere to be found! Typical. The onesie is around £14, complete with Hello Kitty ears and bow.
I know I said earlier that this was a boy friendly blog…and I truly meant it. I would greatly like to see a picture of a man in that purple onesie. Not for any weird sexy reasons, just for a giggle. Honest.
Finally, another pink pick from Primark (Lisburn). I’m not entirely sure about this, because it doesn’t really make any sense, grammatically. I do so love a garment that lets everyone know that you’re smarter than them, though. It saves telling everyone you pass in the street, which is time consuming.
I think that’ll do nicely for girly moment, I am all pinked out. I might scrounge up the energy to do a ‘Feelin’ Blue’ for the male types out there…but only if you comment nice things.
My ego needs the boost.
Oh, I have so many blogs to write. My brain feels all busy and heavy and full of words. It should be full of more important things, like getting myself healthy (yes, I have been ill again, shock shock) or university work or learning to speak Italian.
Maybe not that last one. Anyway, I thought I would start this huge wave of blog-productivity with one about my holiday. From Friday until Tuesday, I was in Paris! And oh, it was amazing. So beautiful and wonderful and picturesque. Between my boyfriend and I, we took around five hundred pictures. Of each other, of buildings, of…everything. I loved it, I really did. I have been sulking like a child since we came home, because I would much rather be in Paris than Lisburn.
Rather than do one blog 2394728934729347289374 words long, I thought it made sense to split my Paris blogging into separate days. That way, I can go into more detail before I get bored and dander off to internet shop or cuddle my cat.
So, day one. Mostly full of airports and waiting, as day ones of holidays always tend to be. Belfast International Airport is not a bad airport, all things considered, but I have one piece of advice. Avoid The Lagan Bar, because it is ridiculously over-priced and bursting with stag and hen parties, who don’t really care that you are trying to have a conversation BECAUSE THEY JUST WANT TO SHOUT AT EACH OTHER. Instead, go and chill out in Fed & Watered – it looks much fancier, but a bottle of Corona will only sting you £3.50, instead of a freakin’ fiver. Rant over.
So, yes, on day one, we arrived in Paris. We stayed in Cambronne, about a ten minute walk away from the Eiffel Tower, with lots of little shops and restaurants around the place. I highly recommend it. Our hotel was TINY. Like, no floor space TINY, but very, very clean. I am not a picky person when it comes to hotels – the boyfriend wasn’t too thrilled with our hotel choice, but I thought it was nice. Cosy.
I am a silver linings sort of lady.
We arrived, dumped our stuff and made a bee line for the Eiffel Tower, expecting to queue for two hours or so. Joy of joys, we got there and there was literally zero queue. Straight to the top (very windy), lovely views, crazy romantic. I had been to Paris before and hadn’t bothered going up the tower (madness, I know), but it really is as incredible as people say it is. The funny thing is, the next morning when we walked past, the queue was ridiculous. Right around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and out on the road. Take that, American coach tours, we are much smarter than you.
Have some pictures.
The park around the Eiffel Tower is pretty damn lovely as well, no one ever mentions that. Erm, that about sums up our first day though. We had dinner and went to bed, where I did not sleep. I did not sleep the whole time we were there, in case you were wondering. It’s strange though, the sleep deprivation has actually made me a productive hyper wonder-bug.
Day Two was much more interesting…I’ll get right on that, shall I?
Oh. My. God.
This is one of, if not the, greatest episodes of Game Of Thrones so far. It had everything that a fan wants out of the show – intrigue, new characters and dragons. All three of them, at once! That, like, never happens.
I shall start my praise like I usually start – with a confirmation of my love for the Tyrells. Yet again, Margaery shows herself to be a genius little minx, leading Joffery around by with his own ego while his mother watches haplessly. Olenna, too, is well clued into the games that go on in King’s Landing, enough to even catch Varys off guard.
Sidenote: Varys’ revenge on the sorcerer who ‘cut’ him as a child was not in the books (at least, not to my recollection?), but I liked it! It made about a dozen points about his character – he’s powerful, patient and his arm stretches a very long way indeed.
And he’s from Ballycastle!
The episode starts with a bit of a recurring theme – pity for the bad guys. Both Jamie Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were main protagonists in seasons one and two (killing children does not really make for a hero, does it?) and now…well, comeuppance has never been so completely soul wrenching to watch. We’re meant to hate these guys, right? So why does seeing Jamie pushed in the dirt with his severed hand tied around his neck make me so very sad? And why isn’t watching Theon cling to misguided hope feel more satisfying?
Curse you, George R. R. Martin, you are causing me inner turmoil.
This week we finally, FINALLY, got a look at one of the new characters that I have been looking forward to the most. Berric Dondarrion, head of the Brotherhood Without Banners has finally got some screen time – I’ve been expecting him since episode two! He looks a little bit the worse for wear, which is not surprising considering…well, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know he’s had a tough time. He made a rousing little speech about the role the Brotherhood had to play in the war (justice!), and sentenced the captive Hound to trial by combat. Awesome.
I’m going to say something really weird, but give me a minute. Look at both those pictures. The details that go into the costumes and make up and accessories and…everything! These characters are perfectly constructed – Olenna could not be more like how I imagined her if I’d cast her myself. I did picture Berric as being younger and hotter but, well, that’s just me, I suppose.
Anyway, there were, in my opinion, two main scenes in this episode, an icy one and a fiery one. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?
While we got some nice new characters, we lost one. Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was struck down in cold blood during a mutiny. Sniff. Poor, poor James Cosmo. He was at Heroes and Legends in W5 this year, y’know. He wasn’t there when I was, or else I would’ve given him a preemptive hug. Craster had his last moment as well, which was well deserved, obviously. During the ensuing fighting and killing and dying, Sam grabs Gilly and her son and slips off into the darkness.
Slightly different from the scene has they had it in the book, but as I has said before, this doesn’t really bother me, as long as everyone is still pointed in the right direction. On the other hand…aren’t we getting anymore white walkers this season?
Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys is kicking ass. The moment she was all like, “Yeah, I speak Valyrian, I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, IT IS MY MOTHER TONGUE”, I screamed. Yes yes yes, I’ve read the books, but I sort of forgot that little detail. And it was so well done!
She’s definitely becoming a queen in her own right, I like how it’s been a gradual change too, and not a haphazard montage or something.
The closing scene of the episode was literally the greatest scene in anything ever, and it goes without saying but I really can’t wait for next week. *
*Next week, I shall be watching a recorded Game Of Thrones on Tuesday night, because I’ll be in Paris for a long weekend. It is a hard, hard life.
I have a confession to make – this was meant to be written and posted last week, but then I got horribly ill. Like, horribly. With screaming and crying and A&E.
That all aside, I had a lovely weekend, having spent a good deal of it (all day Friday, before the crippling plague struck me down) dandering around Belfast, eating and drinking. First up was a very lovely lunch in The Kitchen Bar, which is a real favourite of mine because the food is just so very good. And not overly expensive, like some places in and around Victoria Square tend to be. Unfortunately, on this particular visit I was not a happy bunny. While the food was fairly incredible, the staff were…well, they were meh. I get that it was busy and all, but I felt like they were looking rid of me, which sort of puts me off visiting again, obviously. I think there’s been a change in the staff or something? Don’t let me put you off, but be prepared to be in and out in twenty minutes, with someone wiping down your table before you’ve even left it.
That’s what she said?
On to the important part. After lunch and a decent wander around Victoria Square (the dome never fails to amuse me, although my boyfriend is less enthusiastic about acting like a tourist), we stumbled gloriously into Alley Cat for an afternoon of drinks and giggles.
Alley Cat is very new on my radar, I went a few weeks ago for a friend’s birthday and had to stay sober (hangovers are best avoided when working with kids the next morning). I had to go back though – they have cocktails. IN TEAPOTS. Who doesn’t want to drink alcohol out of a teacup, poured from a freakin’ teapot?
In the interest of science, we felt it was only fair to try one of each flavour. I have listed the resulting league table, listing said cocktails in order of preference.
1. American Pie – tastes like cinnamon, which tastes like Christmas.
2. Cool Beans – pure sweetness and fizz.
3. London Tart – blackcurrant and lemon. Gin-based, sort of tastes like strong cordial.
4. Storm In A Teapot – Essentially, lime & rum & coke. Well nice.
5. Jacklope – SO MUCH STRAWBERRY.
The decor of the bar is awesome – giant paintings of Christian Bale (circa American Psycho), Blondie posters and kitty cats all over the place. Regardless of what my charming boy has to say, IT IS NOT A LESBIAN BAR! A few cat posters does not a lady bar make. Although one of the walls does have ‘Don’t just look at it, eat it’ sprayed across it…but that can be read a few ways, really.
The bar does food too, which I have yet to try, but after staring at other people eating their lunch/dinner (we were there for a while…), I would definitely go back to try a (slightly pricey) burger. A little while ago, I heard less than good things about their service, but hopefully that was just growing pains, because I saw no problems on either of my visits.
I only have two tiny problems with the place. When we first arrived, the reception was frosty and the atmosphere was non-existent – but this was rapidly remedied as more afternoon drinkers arrived, and when we found the Jenga and Connect 4. No really. Highlight of my life.
Secondly…now, don’t laugh…the toilet doors say ‘Pussy Cats’ and ‘Tom Cats’, and it took me a little while to figure out which one I am. I did tell you not to laugh.
All in all, well worth a visit. Get there early to claim a sofa and a board game.
Look! A blog that isn’t about Game Of Thrones. Well, I’m going to mention it just the once, but you can ignore that if you want, because it’s not entirely relevant to the story.
So, there are some incredible movies set for this year, and while I am not quite as excited as I was in the run up to The Dark Knight Rises (but then again I have never been that excited ever, so that’s to be expected), I shall be counting down the days.
Man Of Steel
First up, Man Of Steel! I saw the new trailer for the first time during Game Of Thrones on Monday night (told you, but that’s the one mention, promise) and jumped right out of my seat.
Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me embed videos in my blog, which is a shame, because I would totally do that all the time. Click the picture of General Zod to see the new viral trailer for Man Of Steel. Speaking of which, Michael Shannon is shaping up to be an amazing disgruntled Kryptonian! Look at that build! That snarl! The latest trailer (I gave you the link, go watch it) makes him sound awfully familiar…he definitely has a hint of Bane-ish-ness about him; he seems like a more modern, intimidating and intelligent villain, which is fantastic, because this is what Zod NEEDS to be! We need to be terrified of him, we need to believe he could exist.
Everyone is comparing Man Of Steel to Nolan’s Batman trilogy and of course they are. I am trying not to read TOO much about it, or study the trailers TOO closely. I have high hopes and expectations, and for once I think I would rather be surprised.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Man Of Steel will be awesome, I am not as sold on The Wolverine. Set after the events of The Last Stand (which is news to me, I thought it was a sequel to Origins, but there you go), Logan travels to Japan and confronts a mysterious figure from his past.
A mysterious figure from his past?! Gosh, no X-Men medium has attempted this EXACT thing before…
Okay, so I’m being sort of harsh, the truth is this is shaping up to be huge. Based on one of the most popular story lines from the comic books, there are samurai, Yakuza crime gangs and Svetlana Khodchenkova. Gentlemen, you are going to want to Google her.
300: Rise Of An Empire
Now. If you know me at all (in real life, where there is grass and fresh air and real people), you might know that I have a degree in Ancient History and that I am slowly groping my way towards my Masters’. Given this brand new information, it should not surprise you that I CANNOT WAIT for this. The prequel to 300, this flick will focus on battles that happened at the same time as the ill-fated Battle Of Thermopylae, centering on the characters of Themistocles (Athenian politician who was popular with the rabble) and Artemisia (one of Xerxes lovers and queen of Caria). Best bit? Guess who’s playing Artemisia.
All in all, I am planning very little over the summer, except for sitting in a dark room with a sticky floor with strangers. And maybe going to the cinema, too.