Tag Archives: London

A Secret Vessel in the Heart of London

What a great name for some good old-fashioned click-bait. Do not despair however, for where there is a great statement, there also lies great substance. Allow me to take you by the hand and guide you right onto the doorstep of one of London’s hidden gems. For some reason ‘I’m walking in the air’ from The Snowman just started playing in my head. Regardless, let us plough on, you red-haired pyjama wearing cartoon boy.

Using the term ‘secret vessel’ or ‘hidden gem’ may be a bit of a stretch considering how I found it after merely a few minutes on Google, but to the untrained eyes of the masses, this ‘gem’ would definitely seem wholly unremarkable at first glance, to say the least.

So if you happen to be wondering in or around Soho; loitering past the many cafe’s, restaurants, theatres and sex shops, you’ll most likely waltz straight past the very thing of which I am speaking of today. What a grave mistake that would be. Your life will continue, surely, but it will be a much emptier life; full of hardship, sorrow and longing. In order to avoid such a mishap, please heed my instructions.

Whenever you find yourself not-too-far from Leicester Square and heading down Brewer Street, you will eventually come across a lovely little shop by the name of ‘Simply pleasure.com’. Before you become overly excited by these instructions however, you must exert a certain amount of willpower, avert your gaze, look directly across the road, and feast your eyes on this mother-of-all-beauties instead.

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When you awoke this morning I bet you never, in your wildest imaginations, expected to gaze upon sight such as this. Even the bags of trash take nothing away from this unknown, shrouded utopia. A majestic shop-face possessing such radiance to rival the very halls of Valhalla themselves!

And such words, such beautiful words: ‘De-luxe Cleaning.’ Surely this is no language invented by man. But what could it possibly mean???

If you are currently feeling underwhelmed, cheated, betrayed and at a loss for words, then you are well within your rights to do so. But if you stay with me for just a short while longer, you will see that things are not always what they seem.

To those individuals, however, who think of the dry cleaners and immediately liken them to slices of heaven on Earth, I apologise. You have been utterly deceived! For this is not a dry cleaners at all. This is indeed something much more sinister, taking refuge within the busy streets of London, masquerading as your innocent, every day, laundry depot.  

As you enter this dry cleaners with your arms equipped with bags of dirty clothes, you should expect these bags to drop (along with your jaw) as you stare into the face of Japan. Inside you will find shelves and shelves (and even more shelves) stocked full of Japanese books, manga volumes and possibly even DVD’s, amongst anything else I may have missed. As there are no pictures allowed inside the building, and because I’m a straight-up law abiding citizen (shocker, right?), you’ll just have to take my word for it.

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Now do you believe me??

If the shelves and shelves of manga volumes weren’t enough for you, the place is also somewhat famous for its Karaoke round the back. Though I haven’t actually done karaoke there, the reviews on Google all seem very positive.

For a manga-loving semi-geek such as myself, this was of course the equivalent to a 3 day weekend of sun, sea and A&E in the mystical land of ‘Zante.’ I must add that there was only one downer, and that was the fact that the majority of the stock was completely Japanese, with only a few shelves dedicated to manga volumes in English. Seeing as though it is a Japanese place however, I can’t really complain too much.

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Not much of a haul I must admit...

So there you go. A hidden gem right in the heart of London. Do make sure to go there yourself and let me know what you think. Alternatively if you’ve been before or if you know of any other such ‘hidden’ places in London, or anywhere, do let me know.

Hopefully you found an ounce of enjoyment in this post, but for now, in the undying words of Anne Robinson:

Goodbye! *wink*

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2014 – A Year in Books

2014 is almost coming to a close, and I think I can speak for roughly.. 80% of you when I say:
When did it even start????

This time last year I made a pledge! And that pledge, between me and my 12 goodreads friends, stated that I shall read a whopping 20 books this year! Originally I’d aimed for 30 but just to ‘play it safe’ and to make sure I definitely hit the mark… I stuck with easy figure of 20.

Yeah….. I didn’t make it.

I did, however, get 70% of the way there with a GRAND total of 14! Now even though this isn’t the highest of numbers, (seriously, off the top of my head I can think of like…… 7 higher numbers!!!!) it’s still high enough for me to do a……

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAR – the two sugars fairly strong dot WordPress dot com edition !!!

The name might need a little tweak but let’s just roll with it…

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I shall sit here and await the payment from Converse for this free advertising....

So Behold!

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAAR – The Two Sugars Edition 

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coming in at last pla-
No, at number 5, coming in at number 5 we have ‘The Alchemist’. Having already written a review of the book, a post or 3 ago, I don’t feel the need to add a whooole lot more except that I really enjoyed it. The Alchemist wasn’t a hard read in the slightest and thinking back at it, what stands out to me most was the beauty in the language. Especially the personification of the various components of nature, adding an enticing touch to a fairly simple story. But at the end of the day what I have taken from the book and carried with me ever since is simply… Maktub.

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Apparently it goes by the name ‘Midnight Riots’ in the US but either way I had never heard of this book, or series of books, until it was gifted to me by a friend, and I am sooooo glad I read it! An ‘urban fantasy’ set in London follows the life of Constable Peter Grant as he goes about his mundane day to day business until suddenly coming into contact with the last wizard in England. #Casual.

If you’re in the market for a humorous fantasy book which also happens to throw shed-loads of London-based trivia your way, I know JUST the thing. This. Enjoy.

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Only Robert Galbraith could do this. Write a story with; no wizards, no witches, no noseless villains and no Alan Rickmans, yet still be magical! Although I found that it started off fairly slowly, once I got into the thick of it, it was a real page turner. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good 60-70 pages only to look up and realise that it’s 3am and Oh crap I’m meant to be revising what is my life! But that’s what a great storyteller can do aye! They make you deprioritise your whole life with hopefully no lasting ramifications (fingers crossed!)

In case you don’t know, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel centering around private detective Cormoran Strike and his, simply perfect, assistant Robin (who incidentally I fell slightly in love with) as they try and solve the case of a deceased model who seemingly flung herself from her Mayfair balcony.

I only bought this book because of a 3-for-2 sale and boy am I glad that I did. In fact I liked it so much that I picked up it’s sequel ‘The Silkworm’ just yesterday. So what are you waiting for???

2. 1984 by George Orwell
It had to take something special to beat The Cuckoo’s Calling and 1984 is just that. I’d heard of this one long before reading it, but I never thought it would interest me in the slightest… It always seemed so grey… So dull…. How wrong I was.

Written in 1948, this novel is George Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future. A country, or even world, put under the watchful eye, and ruled by Big Brother. Luckily for all of us though, due to a large decline in average views, Big Brother recently got bumped to Channel 5, where it still silently clings on for dear life. Phew!

But seriously there was so much more from the George Orwell novel that I wasn’t expecting in the least! I don’t want to spoil any of it so I’ll tread on eggshells.. But I never expected such a gripping relationship nor did I expect to feel empathy towards the fictitious situation and it’s, majorly proletarian, inhabitants. But most of all I never expected the ending. Wow. I shall leave it there before I utter any more words that may end up in the post requiring a ‘Spoiler Alert’ tag.
Big Brother is watching.

That only leaves room for one more book! What will it be! Find out.. on the next expiso-
Or I could just tell you now. Technically my number 1 slot won’t go to a single book, but rather a trilogy of books I read right at the start of the year so, since I warned you, don’t sue me.

I’m (surprisingly, actually quite) proud to announce, the number 1 book(s) that I’ve read in 2014 is/are!!!!…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide The Galaxy (books 1-3) by Douglas Adams

Where to even begin with this one… Quite simply these books are the most random, most bizarre, and the funniest (actually ‘LoL’ worthy at parts) set of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There is a fine line between insansity and genius as they say (confession: I don’t actually know who says this or, in fact, if it is even said) but I think Douglas Adams must have had a bit of both.

We start our journey with Earthling Arthur Dent, as he tries to stop the demolishing of his house, by the council, for the building of a by-pass. Pretty intense stuff. When put into perspective, however, by his strange companion, Ford Prefect, it isn’t all that dramatic after all. The Earth itself, our beloved planet, our home, is literally minutes away from being blown to smithereens to build, yes, a bypass.

I can’t do the story any justice whatsoever so I won’t even try but I think it’s simply a must read for everyone, including you!! I mean, who doesn’t want to read about The Vogons, who rank #3 in a list of the Universe’s worst ever poets. Why on Earth (bad choice of words) would you not want to meet Marvin, the borderline suicide Robot, try a Pan Galactic Gargle blaster orrrrr find out ‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ ????

If you learn anything in 2014, let it be this:
Don’t panic. Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Oh and also RIP Douglas Adams.

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So there you have it, my Year in books… If you liked or, probably more likely, disliked anything I said… Or if you’ve read any of these books yourself then let me know what you thought of them too in the comments below (you don’t have to be a blogger to comment) Orrrrr you can give your own top 5 books of the year. Whatever floats your wee little boats. Whatever you do just comment it can get lonely out here you know!!! *exhaled deeply*

Either way: follow, comment and shaaare away

Have a Happy New Year! and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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A Post from the Heart

As I sit here on this cold winters night; gazing deeply into the abyss unfolding before me, listening intently for the faintest of sounds, lost within the complex fortress of my own mind.. I can’t help but wonder…..

a) Why is there a random man sat next to me ???????????
b) Why is he bald??????
c) Why did I stop blogging.

I am fully aware that, deep down within your cyberhearts, you’ve all been filled with worry and concern for me! But worry not for I am fine, or as fine as a final year uni student could hope to be I suppose.

For months I’ve been convincing myself that I haven’t been writing due to a ‘tremendous work load.’ But we All know that’s a lie! Procrastination. Population: Me. 

The sad and bitter truth of the matter however is this… Brace yourselves…

No, seriously, brace yourself. hold a desk, hold the edge of your bed, hold your lover, hold… yourself. Whatever it takes!

The truth is that I just can’t seem to find anything worth writing about :O (Ohhhhhhhhh the horror! Ohhhhhh The shame!)

My life right now is a packet of Walkers Ready Salted… when I’m secretly wanting Sensations Thai sweet chilli…. You feel me??? You get me??? Ofcourse you do.

At this not-so-very low point in my life, the only solace I could find were in the wise words of Professor Albus Dumbledore. And they are as follows:

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Dumbledore got some mad flow for real.

Don’t worry! You’re not hallucinating. You’re not stoned off your head on some chronic bud (well you might be – in which case – 420 blaze it dank)

Dumbledore! said these words. the greatest wizard of our time! Was a crackhead. But do you know what these words say to me??

They say:
‘Daanyaal. Write. Even if it’s the most mundane thing in the world, write. Even if you barely find it funny yourself! Write. Because…. Someone, Somewhere, might be having the least productive day imaginable, stumble on your blog, read a post (!!!) and maybe just maybe… They’ll even crack a smile. Even though they won’t! They might.’

And I shall end the end of my long hiatus on that.

P.s. I recently went to the Warner bros Harry Potter studios tour London and it was
*high pitched voice*
Awwweeesomeeee!!

P.p.s. In retrospect I could have just written about my visit to the studio but AAAAAAH WELL !

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