I am a huge, huge fan of London. I think I might live there someday, even just for a little while. Recently, I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to help a very lovely Aunt celebrate a very important birthday. A lady never tells, of course. Unfortunately, we were only there for two days and I was forewarned not to expect anyone to come to any museums with me (it’s okay – I’m going again JUST for the museums! Joy), so it was sort of a whistle-stop tour of London. Literally…”LOOK, THERE’S BUCKINGHAM PALACE. Now let’s sprint to Piccadilly!”
I think I dropped two dress sizes with all the walking we did.
You may or may not be aware that London is, like, the greatest place to shop. I’m comparing this to Belfast and Lisburn, so obviously my scope is small and unimpressive, but oh, Camden. I want to live there, but it’s really expensive, so if you’re ever there and see someone living in a box and begging for change dressed as Batgirl…well. That might be me, chuck us a quid.
If markets, stalls and haggling isn’t your thing, then you’re weird, but there’s also Oxford Street, home of, well, all the flagships stores of all the shops that have ever existed. I might be exaggerating, but Selfridges is there. I am a girl, and as such, I like to look at expensive handbags (and then buy comic book print ones, see above). Nice to look at, but if you are willing to spend that much money on something that isn’t a house or an island, you need psychological help. We went to Oxford Street for one main reason, and that reason was Primark. SUCH A PRIMARK. I’m pretty sure it has everything that Primark actually make. On the downside, it is absolutely packed. There is no room for movement or trying things on or basic human decency. You get in there, you find what you want, you grab it and you queue. I got a little pile of basics, and a Batman top.
I took my derpy face out for your own good. It’s nice and long and not all black, so it’s a change from all my other Batman tops. This is my justification for buying another item of clothing with the bat symbol on it.
I also saw an amazing Star Wars tshirt, but they only had it in sizes 8 or 20. Typical. I am keeping my eyes peeled for it making its way to the Primark in Belfast, or, heaven forbid, Lisburn.
There you have it, a brief summary of my weekend in London, illustrated through my few but beloved purchases. I will be back, and I will have a much emptier suitcase to fill with magical Camden junk.
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.
I have done many things in my life, things of which I am proud. Yet none of these things I could boast about compares to the greatness of that title. What a glorious pun, I clearly have the most advanced and magnificent of minds.
ANYWAY. I am always in rush, recently. My alarm goes off early, I am on the go all day, I get to bed later than I would like. I work, I study, I clean and I blog. Go, go, go. Yet, somehow, I always seem to find at least an hour a day to play a game on my phone. It’s the strangest thing; almost as if the rules of time and space don’t really apply to me when I’m playing Angry Birds or whatever. Magical, even.
Well. I say Angry Birds, but I feel I have finally outgrown it. Even Angry Birds Space and Star Wars Angry Birds are boring me now – there’s only so many times you can fling a bird at a pig, while taking into account rickety obstacles and the laws of gravity. Besides, the pigs would’ve figured out that they should be using cement by now, surely?
I have discovered new games – better games. Great games. Okay, great is an exaggeration – they are addictive, if nothing else.
I shall do them in the order I discovered them, saving the best for last, as is tradition. So, first up, is The Simpsons: Tapped Out. The premise is simple – Homer Simpson is playing with his MyPad (teehee) in work at the nuclear plant, gets distracted and somehow causes a melt down that destroys all of Springfield. You, the player, then have to earn money and donuts to unlock and build all of the town’s buildings and characters. Simples.
It is too addictive. It takes forever to earn enough money to do anything, but somehow, this is not so much a deterrent to play as a motivational tool. The game builds on years of Simpsons trivia and hilarity – catch phrases, famous episodes, beloved minor characters – all are pimped in the hope of keeping you hooked. Unfortunately, they want you hooked for a very obvious reason. In order to get the game to progress any faster, you need to spend (rather a lot) of real world money on in-game bonuses.
Urm, no. If I wanted to pay for a game, I would not be scrolling the ‘Top Free’ chart on the App Store, thank you very much.
Next up is Sonic Dash. I went through a good month long phase of being hooked on Temple Run (and Temple Run 2), so when I saw that my favourite blue hedgehog had stepped into the arena, I knew I had to give the little guy a chance. And not to be a fangirl, but it’s SO GOOD. Like Temple Run, but more colourful, cuter and with more incentive to play (I must, must earn enough red rings to unlock Knuckles).
It’s also a great deal harder, which is nice, because as a constant phone gamer (which is like a step down from casual gamer, but I step up from VTech children’s games, I reckon) I appreciate a bit more of a challenge. Usually you just feel like your doing something to keep your idle hands busy, you know? Yet this little number is a great time burner, and calls for real concentration. An unfortunate side effect of this is the swearing on public transport and the splitting pain of dry eyeballs.
FINALLY. My most recent download, which is unfortunately not going to be on my phone for very long, because it runs about as slowly as I do. That is very, very slowly indeed.
The Injustice: Gods Among Us app is obviously just another advertising tool that DC/Warner Bros./NetherRealm have pulled out of their box of tricks; but oh, it is such a fantastic box. The build up to this game has been so well done that fans are working themselves in a frenzy counting down the hours to the UK release. From the YouTube interviews, to the character reveal clips and the MASSIVE roster, this is surely what advertising should be.
On the other hand, I think I’ve seen everything the game has to offer, and I occasionally feel like I’m drowning in clips of Bane fighting Batman AGAIN.
On to the game itself – it’s obviously just a snippet of the glory the full console game will have. Attacks and blocks are done by well timed taps and swipes, and you don’t get a lot of characters to fight as (you start with Sinestro, Nightwing and Lex – I’m not sure if you get more as the game goes on) and there’s no story line at all, just little fights. Still, the graphics are neat, it’s another good little time burner, and Nightwing is sexy.
All these games are available to download now, FOR FREE! I may have to do another blog on apps that are actually helpful and useful, and not just for filling in your commute to and from work, but for now, that’s your lot.
If you have been hooked on an awesome smartphone game, I want to know about it. Go tell me on the FACEBOOK PAGE! Also, like it, because I like you. So very, very much.
I really must have mentioned this brilliant little shop before, but I figured that I should devote a whole blog to it’s wonders, because it truly is a treasure trove.
The Corium sells handmade, locally sourced nick-nacks and whosits, and recently opened an online store (so if you’re stuck indoors because of, for example, snow, you can still shop ’til you drop). If you are out and about braving the weather, you can visit the shop in Belfast, just around the corner from Forbidden Planet and Urban Outfitters, right opposite Alley Cat.
Anyway, I’ve been browsing their online store – here are a few of my very favourite things.
Mushroom salt & pepper shakers
These are adorable, are they not? Anyone who buys them and does not immediately draw little faces on them so that they look like Mario mushrooms is no friend of mine.
Only £5.50, too! Bargain, especially if you compare with the extortionate prices for similar products in a certain nearby hipster-factory.
Lego Boba Fett necklace
Have you ever seen anything that is such a perfect balance of kick-ass and adorable? No, you have not. Look at his little hands! There are a few necklaces in this style – and £8 is a steal for something like this. Mind you, they do have a Jar Jar Binks necklace, which is of course the ugliest, most inappropriate thing I’ve ever seen, you should only buy it if you plan to melt it.
I am not a Jar Jar fan, could you guess?
Plucked from the sale section of The Corium’s website, these freakin’ adorable little key-ring people are in short supply. At £3.99, it’s no wonder. I would like one, please. He could keep my little string-person-Spiderman key-ring company.
I like that his slightly wonky eyes make it look like he’s glaring at you. Realism.
I find it a tad bizarre that Belfast is proud of the Titanic. Yes, it’s cool that it was made here, but there are some very quiet rumours that the ship didn’t actually do very well once it was out on the big blue wet thing.
Still, it pulls in the tourists, so I suppose it can only be a good thing. And the witty t-shirt (£9.99, by the by), has a point…
Next time you are in Belfast, it is well worth hunting this tiny little cave of magical thing-a-ma-bobs. Be prepared to spend a small fortune though, you won’t be able to resist. You can find The Corium on Facebook, here.
You can find me on Facebook, here.
I am a huge fan of finding geeky things in places in which you may not expect to find geeky things. Like Tesco or a cat boot sale. I was wandering around Toys ‘R’ Us rather recently, and was pretty darn impressed with some of the toys that are out there for tiny children to gnaw on. They are the geeks of the future after all, and it is our responsibility to leadeth them in the ways of the force/Star Fleet protocol/One Ring.
We should also instill in them an idiot proof zombie apocalypse plan, because if it doesn’t happen in our lifetime, it’s sure as hell going to happen in theirs.
Click for hilarious captions/insights.
I have to admit, out of all the many hundreds of geeky toys for kids, the Lego has always been my favourite; I think it always will be. Video games and light-up-singing-wonder-dolls are fairly amazing, yes, but there is no joy in childhood like building something vaguely resembling a spaceship all by yourself. And then hurling it at walls and siblings until you get a good wreckage to start all over again with.
Many happy childhood memories. Although there is no pain like standing on a Lego brick in your bare feet.
Except for this one, right here. Mine. Blog. Yes. Good.
I am always on a mission to fill my house with geeky and amazing things. This is particularly difficult given that I don’t trust eBay (I don’t know why, it’s best not to ask), it’s a real task to find such magical geeky treasures in Northern Ireland (although I really do try) and I am not made of money.
I am made of water and…whatever else people are made of. Iron? Love? I honestly do not know.
There is a website, however, where all my dreams come true. ThinkGeek.com loves everything I love, and the prices are totally reasonable. They are in dollars because, like all the best things, ThinkGeek is American.
Anyway, there are literally hundreds of things on this website that I want/need/require to live, but I have chosen a few of the shiniest, most colourful things for you to go buy for me.
Marvellous, yes? Yes! And there is so much more. So much. Their selection of Game Of Thrones goodies is magical; you need one of each of these things for your season three premier party, of course.
Speaking of which…no, in fact, the perfect Game Of Thrones themed party needs a blog all to itself.