Monday, 27 July 2015

Constellations (theater review)

My kind of Friday night entertainment

When it comes to Friday evening, most people I know tend to head out to the pub for a drink or two with friends. I think it’s important to socialize, but it’s not an alcohol-based atmosphere that I personally desire. I’d much rather go out for a casual dinner or movie. So, I think that the topic of this particular blog post will be of no surprise to any of you. Out of all the shows available last week, Constellations was the one that stood out to me the most. The combination of quantum physics and romance in a play sounded intriguing. I was keen to find out if this was the reason behind the countless amount of stellar reviews critics had offered.

Plus it was raining horridly outside so an indoor form of entertainment was a definite must.

The sweet shop

Parallel universes

The acting and backdrop were both nothing short of phenomenal. However, what fascinated me the most was the theme the plot brought up. From start till finish, the story tended to be made up of a series of repeated scenes, although there was a slight difference in emotion, attitude and atmosphere in each one. If I recall correctly, this setting was based on the concept of parallel universes. It’s essentially the idea of having another one of you in an alternative realm, only he/she experiences the situation you have in an alternative way (positive or negative). It kinda got the anthropologist in me thinking about whether this phenomenon is applicable to people living in contrasting cultures.

Snacks galore
For a boy-meets-girl based performance, the use of the parallel universes concept meant a mixture of sweet and sour, hot and cold scenes. The amount of emotions radiating from the two actors was utterly indescribable. It was truly amazing how only two performers managed to captivate an audience of over 350 for longer than an hour, especially since there was very little music. I also recall them mentioning something about time, which got me thinking about the essay I wrote back in my first year at university concerning the culturally different understandings and experiences of time.

Arriving at the studio
An enjoyable evening treat suitable for those that enjoy a bit of humor, dancing, and thinking after work.

Oh and I also had a nice chat to the viewer next to me – Friday night socializing complete.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Liebster Award - I've been nominated! :D

Say what? Liebster Award? A slightly different post by me today as you can see. The Liebster Award is a bloggers' buzzword, something that the majority will encounter during their writing adventures. It's our version of the YouTube tag I guess you could say, although the word "award" to it makes it sound quite professional! 

So thank you She Is Unstoppable for the generous nomination (who I must also add has a fantastic blog with food, travel and fashion posts/ photos -- click here for her blog). Here's my response to your questions:

1.   Are you in a relationship?
Am currently happy, healthy and single, so no.

2.   What's your blog about?
All the wacky things that go on in my life, with emphasis on travel (mainly around the UK), food (especially baking) and fashion. I do a couple of reviews on theater shows and events I go to. What can I say? I’m a somewhat interesting person :P

3.  Why do you start blogging?
Relaxation and de-stressing from uni work (seriously it helps). Plus it’s a good way for me to keep in touch with my family and friends.

4.  Are you satisfied of your life? What do you do right now?
Satisfaction is something I still strive for. Literally speaking, I am responding to this question right now (but career wise I am still hunting for the right opportunity).

5. Do you follow any tv- series? Which one is your favourite?
Silk (English law and drama – gotta love this combo)

6.  What is your main goal in life?
Still searching for it, will let you know via Facebook and Twitter when I’ve find it (am looking at becoming successful in something..).

7.Where will you go on holiday?
Next week will be Japan! <3

8. Which is your worst vice? 
My temper (mom calls me a rigid creature)

9. If you can choose a book to live in, which will be? Why?
Harry Potter – magic of course!

10.  Do you believe in this kind of tag? Do you think it can be helpful for your blog?
Definitely, it’s helped me appreciate the blogs that other people create, which can help me determine how to improve my own, as well as getting to know them. Live on Liebster Awards!

In order to keep the Liebster Award trend thing going, here's my five nominations (all of whom have sensational and inspiring blogs btw, click on their names to check them out!):

4) Mbcos

For you five fabulous bloggers, here's 10 fun questions from moi:

1) If you could be anything, what would you be?
2) Chocolate or Vanilla? Why?
3) Dogs or Cats? Why?
4) Blogger or blog you look up to?
5) Most difficult part about maintaining a blog?
6) Ultimate goal in life?
7) Favorite band/singer?
8) Name of celebrity you'd like to meet (if you got the chance to)?
9) Where do you usually get your inspiration from for new blog posts?
10) Fun fact about yourself.

I hope I've managed to follow the instructions correctly (fingers crossed!). Good luck to all my lovely nominees! Looking forward to reading your answers :D 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour

The most “magical” place on earth

I think the above quote is often associated with Disneyland/World. However, on this occasion, I think the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter tour in Watford takes the crown. Yes that’s right, I’ve FINALLY gone to see the set and props that were responsible for creating the wizarding world seen in the 8 globally popular films. Whoopee and it was indeed an exciting day. Despite having to get up in the early hours to catch the train and then the bus, I managed to arrive at Hogwarts around 45 minutes before the gates were lifted. It made taking photos of the reception area much easier seeing as it wasn’t crowded!

In the reception...
Emphasis on the number of photos taken at the famous door
The great and grand dining hall
After entering the studio, we were greeted by a wall (or cube) of posters that advertised the famous film in multiple languages (think Chinese, French etc.). Having marveled at them and spotted the ones that we could comprehend, the doors to a mini cinema then opened automatically where we watched a short clip that summarized all of the movies with a short commentary by the three protagonists (Harry, Ron & Hermione). Thereafter we walked as a group towards the door of great dining hall, took a few embarrassing (but funny) photos, and began our magical adventure.

Image roll - just a couple of my favorites

One word: breathtaking

I don’t think there was a second where I didn’t feel enchanted by the spectacular items that were on display before me. From statues to staircases, costumes to Crookshanks, and wands to Weasley Wizard Wheezes, every aspect of the studio was utterly bewitching.

The famed cupboard under the stairs
Pottering around the fan store

What I found the most interesting was how the movie was put together. I never knew that a robotic head was placed on a taller Hagrid double, for the original actor was not exactly a 7ft tall giant (he was around 6ft something, still pretty tall though!), or that the room where Potions was held had previously been used as the three-headed canine monster, Fluffy, in the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s utterly amazing how much they’ve managed to transform a couple of simple types of equipment with just a bit of imagination. If there’s something I’ve learnt from this trip, it’s that magic does exist: in films!

Next stop...

If you ever go to the Harry Potter tour, be sure to try the (non-alcoholic) butter beer (which is also available as an ice cream flavor). It’s sweet, creamy and somewhat fizzy; kinda like a butterscotch soda pop! Definitely hit the spot after a long walk in the first part of the tour. Now if only I could get some more of that in the muggle world…

The perfect beverage for a quick pit stop!

Movie magic at its best

The circle of life wands
In truth, it is immensely difficult for me to pick what my most favorite part of the tour was. Every bit of it was magnificent. But since you so kindly asked me, I’ll say that it was Diagon Alley. Loved how we could wander up and take photos of every single shop there, simply sensational.

I was also charmed by the life size model of Hogwarts; I mean honestly, have you SEEN the detail and time that was needed to construct the school bridge? Dumbledore's office was equally as fantastic - the detail put into every aspect of it was simply incredible.

Hogwarts's exterior and interior (Dumbledore's Office)

And of course, I daresay I was not the only one who was delighted to see a beautifully hand-drawn sketch of Dobby the house elf on the wall (it’s in the photo below).

But aside from the treasures and treats that crafted the fantasy world I was exploring, the absolute highlight of the day for myself personally was being able to visit the studio with some long-lost friends. I like travelling alone, but it’s always a bit more fun to go somewhere with others (it was also useful for me on that day as well seeing as my camera had broken but theirs hadn’t).

Wizard treats and snacks

Educational and entertaining – I went back with a very big smile on my face after a day of catching up with friends and magic at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio tour.

All aboard the Hogwarts express

Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself ;)

The most stunning view ever.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


The delights of spontaneity

Arrival in Ludlow
If you asked someone that knows me, be it my friend or family, how’d s/he describe me, one characteristic that will undoubtedly be mentioned is “organized” (or well-planned, you get the point). There’s a chilling sense of anxiety that arises whenever I feel unprepared. And of course, it’s not a positive one but it does motivate myself to plan well ahead. I’ve had troubles in crafting my timetable way too in advance. Thankfully with experience, I’ve learnt to tamper this so that I prepare just in time. It applies to all areas I’ve touched in life, both in work and play. You can tell that travelling is not an exception. Although it may seem rather tedious looking up train and bus times, and calculating which one to take to maximize my exploration duration, it does make my voyages far much easier to endure.

So, in short, I’m a talking, breathing and walking PDA. 

St Laurence's Church
Roaming the narrow streets of Ludlow
Through to boutique lane
Generally speaking, the plans I create work out the way they’re supposed to. But sometimes, they don’t, and on this occasion (or two Saturdays ago to be precise) this was applicable. Upon reading an article online about the quirks of England, I suddenly changed course and navigated myself to a small market village in Shropshire called Ludlow. The author had recommended this place due to its history, medieval architecture, and range of independent stores, set upon a delightful hillside environment. There wasn’t a single part of his description that sounded unattractive to me, so I was more than just keen to find out.

Capturing meaning in a sign

And I am pleased to report, he was truly spot on with his suggestion.

The legendary Feathers Hotel

Ludlow Castle

Making my way up to Ludlow Castle
If you ever visit Ludlow, an obvious place to head to is the Castle. Situated near the mighty River Teme, this medieval fortification offers a wealth of history to enlighten the minds of the young and old. Being one of the first English stone castles ever constructed, its exterior and interior truly deserves an equal amount of admiration. And needless to say, there’s more than enough areas forming the ruined landmark to fill the adventurous side of all visitors (it certainly did for me). 

Peering into the lives of the past

A big tip would be to challenge oneself to head up one of the taller towers, like the North-West one. Although the steps are narrow and steep, I can assure you that you’ll definitely be rewarded with the most spectacular view this late 11th century landmark can provide.

Don’t believe me? Check out my photos.

A rewarding view

Boutique paradise

In truth, shopping is a hobby of mine. Be it for clothes, stationary or food, the chance to spend the day purchasing attractive products can be somewhat relaxing to me at times. Although high street shops are appealing, I’d much prefer going to an independent store and browsing through their stock. Why? Simply because of the desire to be unique. I mean, what’s the point in buying an outfit that everyone else has when you can acquire something different that will help you stand out?

Fearlessly independent – that’s my motto for fashion.

Nifty crafts and market stall wonders

So, you can probably guess that I was immensely thrilled to see the vast range and quantity of independent retailers dotted all around Ludlow town center. To me, each boutique had a personal glow or aura which shone brightly in the slightly grayish rainy day. This was further reinforced by the friendly and warm attitudes that every owner and employee which I met bore. 

Food glorious food

It was as though I had stepped through a portal that led my wandering self into a treasure trove of hand-crafted trinkets, treats and toys. An irreplaceable sight, as you can imagine. My longstanding understanding of Yarm (North East England) as the King/Queen of little boutiques had definitely been surpassed by the brilliance of Ludlow.

Bags of delight
Gifts for every occasion
Colorful creations
The amazing and quirky work by Minter-Kemp

As you can see, there are many quirky little creatures loitering around village and in shops. Definitely keep an eye out for them, they really are seriously adorable. Ludlow is also a very dog friendly town so it'll be a brilliant day out for you and your best four legged pal :)

Tiny and (majorly) cute

Why hello there...
And of course, my trip would not be complete without a slice of (walnut and coffee) cake! Will definitely have to try the Michelin star restaurants in town one day…

De Grey's Tea Room - BEST place for cake (and coffee)
Until next time, dearest lovely little Ludlow.

Ludlow, I'll see you soon? :)