London Film & Comic Con 2013

Morning everyone!

The big day has finally arrived and I’m sure you’ll want to spend time with your friends and family so I’ll keep this short and sweet!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!  

See you all in the New Year!

Adz x

74782_10151260551658605_1558933715_n

4 Reasons to Visit London Southbank Christmas Market

Good evening to you all and welcome to another cold and wintery winter, London style.

I’d give up one of my original Pokemon cards to send our smartest tech-heads to Russia with the purpose of learning how to handle adverse weather. Last week, 15 seconds of sleet caused utter chaos on the transport links, creating scenes which should be reserved for the end of the world, made famous by the Mayan folk.

There’s less than two weeks until Xmas and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s left shopping until the last minute. Here are my 4 reasons why you should visit the London Southbank Xmas Market.

“It’s not Rein-deer!” I exclaimed, looking to the sky!

One of the reasons why I love Christmas (other than the free presents) is that most towns and cities across the UK undergo a beautiful transformation from crumby concrete suburbia to the bright lights of Winter Wonderland.

As you walk towards the market, take a moment to appreciate the spectacular London Eye as well as the riverside views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Eye spot festivities!

Eye spot festivities!

Need an Elf-ing hand with your shopping?

If you’re anything like me, then chances are that you’re playing a risky game of chicken with a Time Lord. Leave it too late and you’ll end up in ‘sorry I forgot’ territory, which is a dark and dangerous place.

Luckily, there is a wide variety of gifts at various wooden sheds along the River Thames. There is a strong focus on hand made goods including scented Christmas decorations, knitted clothing and more sweets than in Willy Wonkers Factory! You’ll also find quirky items such as wooden ties and SpongeBob Square Pants finger puppets  so you’ll have no problem finishing off your shopping as there’s something for everyone!

Wooden-t you like this tie?

Wooden-t you like this tie?

Food, Glorious Food: 

One of my New Year resolutions (which I’ve actually managed to stick to) was to curb my consumption of junk food. After all, there is only so many calories that you can burn from furiously typing away like a coke addict on a caffeine overdose. If you’re heading into the Big Smoke then I’d highly advise you to visit your nearest chav superstore and pick up a new pair of elasticised trousers.

London is often celebrated (for better or for worse) as a diverse and multicultural city and the London Southbank Christmas Market ties all of these aspects neatly together like a festive bow. Taking a brisk walk along the Thames splashing your hard earned pennies is probably going to build your appetite somewhat so why not sample the mouth watering treats on offer for fantastic prices? Such foods on offer for the more adventurous folk are German Bockwurst Sausages, Kinder Bueno Crepes and even a scrumptious Kangaroo Burger which brought back memories of my recent visit to Australia!

I took this yeast-erday!

I took this yeast-erday!

This one will sleigh you – Wine and Dine (without the 69):

Christmas is as much about spending quality time with the family as it is getting drunk to the point where you’re as stable as a newborn Bambi. One of the most popular traditional drinks found in and around many Xmas markets is a warm brew called Gluhwein, also known as Mulled Wine. It’s a wonderfully fruity drink which goes together nicely with the dropping temperatures so be sure to sip it slowly and your insides will feel like a hot Australian summer. There’s also the option to go exotic by mixing in Jagermeister!

Drinks up!

Gluh you CAN sniff…

The Southbank Christmas Market is open from the 16th November until the 24th December 2012.

Take Exit 6 from Waterloo Station and turn right at the London Eye. For more information on getting to the market, check out my blog post aptly titled 7 ways to travel London.

Until next time, that’s a wrap!

Go Mighty Morph(in) Power Rangers!

Pose = Look awesome

It’s been over two decades since children young and old sat in front of their bulky TV sets, mesmerised by our favourite spandex suited heroes valiantly fighting wave after wave of evil alien monsters fronted by Rita Repulsa (and later Lord Z). Following the conclusion of Series Two, each of the original five Power Ranger’s found themselves replaced and out of work. With money sparse, Zack, Billy, Trini, Kimberley, & Jason all ventured off into the world they once protected and got standard office hour jobs… (Now THAT, would be an episode of ‘Friends’ that I would like to see!)

A random caption that can’t be deleted – Go figure. Word Press hates me.

Fast forward to the present day and the world was once again in peril, this time from the violent and terrifying zombie outbreak which tore through the streets of London leaving death, photos and blood stains in its wake. With the economy in a double recession, the government soon faced a crisis. Double the wage of the average street cleaner or bring back the original Power Rangers from their retirement. Thankfully, they chose the latter…

It all started with an email from Morphsuit.com – a backwards step from the wrist radio devices available under the leadership of Zordon but a communication method suitable for this day and age and a great way to reach a large group of crime fighting heroes. The aim was simple… meet at the headquarters in Farringdon to reconnect with the other Rangers, before hitting the city (flash mobbing) and restoring law and order while grabbing some publicity for the brand in the process. Each volunteer who agreed to help was offered a free suit to keep… a tantalising offer.

The key to any adventure is to be prepared… at least that’s what I learnt from the movie ‘Zombieland’ and nothing says ‘I’m ready’ than a full, bulging stomach. Unfortunately the amount of choice in this neck of the woods was pretty slim, so Chris, Aurore and myself opted for the awesome looking Yo Sushi, a small Chinese restaurant painted white, a substantial contrast to the grim run down exterior of the buildings around it.

Yo!

Once through the double doors, we were met by a lovely old lady (please don’t tell her I said that) who took us to our futuristic looking tables. From there, we simply collected items from the conveyer belt and devoured the meals. Each ‘bowl’ was colour-coded and the waitress was then able to calculate the final costs based on the number of bowls emptied. A clever method and a great way to work out how much your meal was costing as you chomped away. In this instance, your brain is a valuable friend who can save you many pennies!

With our stomachs full and our wallets empty, it was time to wash off the rust and remember why we were Power Rangers in the first place. The stair climb was a challenge but a state of the art headquarters reminded us of the good we were about to do and the lives we were about to change. (slight exaggeration involved in this paragraph).

Walking into their office was a surreal experience… Hidden away in a darker corner of London was this magnificent open plan office with chirpy staff dressed in gear that wouldn’t look out of place in my favourite London based town, Camden! It didn’t take long to become suited and booted and soon 59 other Rangers joined me in various photo sessions followed by shameless Facebook & Twitter updates.

I reminisce my childhood…

Psyched and limbered up, we made our way down the stairs to the street expecting a quick and easy transfer to our designated destination. However our travel plans soon hit a snag when a telephone call from Alpha confirmed what we had all feared… Our Zords had failed their MOT due to excess fuel emissions. Public transport was our only option and with zombies already on the rampage, the quickest and most convenient option was the London Underground. Things were about to get interesting.

The team say “It’s Morphin Time!”

The tube as it’s often referred is one of the most accessible and frequently used methods of public transport and TFL have a great website to assist those who wish to plan their routes prior to departure. With regular trains and a multitude of ways to move through the stations, anybody with or without disability can freely get from point A to B with little trouble. Of course, this also results in a high volume of folk moving through these ports like cattle to the slaughter, and it became an issue for my fellow valiant Rangers looking to get to Embankment before the zombies overran the population. Despite our potential trials and tribulations, our personal issues were put to one side and we survived being thrown about in full bodied costumes, eyed up by strangers and arrived at our station. The zombies had no idea about the force that was about to be unleashed. I mean, Power Rangers were so awesome that grass exploded just by posing!

These heroes didn’t need any train-ing…

Upon exiting the station, we came face to face with death… much earlier than expected. The living dead had swarmed the area and had taken over much more land than anticipated. It was a revolting sight, with multiple served limbs in every direction with blood stains splashed on clothes.

I doubt Persil would get these clothes whiter than white!

The haunting groans lingered in the cold autumn air sending bone tingling shivers down our spines, but this was no time to panic. We had a public duty and we took on these evil creatures, much to the appreciation of the public We are the Power Rangers, and we are going to win!

The ‘fight’ was an incredible experience and somewhat reminiscent of the clashes found in Braveheart or the Lord of the Rings. Passionate Power Rangers lined up in unison on one side, with moaning zombies scattered across the other side. Crowds gathered to watch the spectacle due to unfold in front of their eyes. It was to be a classic; one which would go down in folk law. With one final war cry, we charged and embraced in an epic struggle between man and reanimated corpse… It was chaos, sheer and utter confusion rained as the Rangers fought for control, not knowing if a life would end. At one point, I saw one of our Pink Rangers fall to the ground, immediately attacked by a particularly ugly creature but thankfully the outfit protected from the bite which surely would have taken his soul to the gates of hell. The battle raged and in the middle, I spotted a baby zombie being carried by his farther. I kid you not… It was terrible to see and a tear swelled in my eye. This poor child would never know what it was to be a kid in a normal world. The adrenaline kicked in and within minutes the fight came to a close… the zombies defeated and wondering off into the distance, accepting their defeat.

This zombie saw Red!

The war was over, the battle exhausted… Despite being heavily outnumbered by the living dead, not a single Ranger was lost and it was a cause for celebration. With no balloons, party poppers or confetti, we did the next best thing… Lined up in single file, the elated and clearly overjoyed team crossed Waterloo Bridge in a conga drawing plenty of attention from kids young and old. It’s hard to imagine what tourists would have made of this sight, especially for their first time in the capital but for each of us; it was a memory which will last a lifetime.

With the undead finally removed from the streets and our party over, each member of the rainbow coloured team returned to their day to day lives, knowing that a good deed had been done and that the world was safe… at least for the time being.

And just because it may be a while before I can shout these famous words again… IT’S MORPHIN TIME!

Publicity Power:

See how the battle went down in glorious SD via the Morphsuit YouTube page.

I would like to thank the following people for making this possible – Follow them on Twitter: Fiona Gales, Camilla Brown, Manifest and Morphsuits. You know it makes sense… unless you don’t have Twitter, in which case you can render this sentence useless.

What local or international emergency would you request the help of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Let me know in the comments below…

Team PR Vs The World Wide Web

PR and Social Media are just a few of my true passions in life. I adore how technology has given power to the everyday person, enabling them to become an internet champion from the comforts of their living room. However the well known phrase ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ is not always adhered to on the web and this puts PR teams in a challenging position. Can they reply in front of a large public audience without damaging a brand… and can they use creativity to gain recognition on the net?

The world of PR has gone bonkers this week with companies discussing tech issues in slang and videos being made to explain a women’s time of the month. Here is the top three PR stories going viral.

Opening Bout: Round 1 – @Tunde24_7 Vs 02
Street slang. You either love it, or hate it. It’s like a non edible version of marmite… but no matter what your opinion on the matter is, you cannot deny 02’s Twitter team grabbed a PR opportunity by the scruff of the neck and came out fists raised high. User @Tunde24_7 tweeted the phone network last week in street slang, angry that his Wifi wasn’t functioning as he expected. Instead of a standard reply, the social team wrote back in the same language while also assisting the customer. Check out this link ting fam: http://ow.ly/eyfUx

Mid Card: Round 2 – BodyForm Vs (Probably) Single Male
Women enjoy their periods… or at least that’s the view of one very naive male who contacted the BodyForm Facebook page the other day, much to the delight and enjoyment of their 5198 fans. Instead of the traditional reply, the team creatively put together a YouTube video response from ‘the boss’ explaining in detail about the workings of the female anatomy and why a period occurs. Pure comedy gold. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpy75q2DDow

Main Event: Round 3 – Thomas Cook Vs Thomas Cook
In a technological age where anybody can hit internet stardom from the comforts of their bedroom, the very last thing leading holiday operator Thomas Cook needed was another PR disaster. Unfortunately, that’s what happened when a quick witted member of the LowCostHolidays social team jumped on this recent post by a customer sharing TC’s name. Find out how it went down here: http://imgur.com/a/Lyo8S

Do you think the social teams should be creative in their replies, or do you feel that they are essentially not taking the customer seriously? Have your say in the comments below… fam.

It’s Finally Here….

WARNING: POST BELOW CONTAINS SENTANCES OF SERIOUSNESS AND HONESTY

Over 13140000 seconds have passed since I nervously breached the doors of the STA Travel Kingston branch and booked my trip to Australia’s East Coast. March 2012, the month which I’ll forever remember (hopefully for the right reasons) was officially cemented with my place on a Contiki Tour in a country which I’ve dreamed about as a child. Its reward for overcoming illness and re-evaluating the direction I was heading in life and the remaining few hours before I board my first 13 hour flight cannot come any quicker!

I will be infrequently tweeting my adventures (follow me @AdzFlowers) with highlights, popular attractions & awesome photographs. I’ll also be documenting my trip on camera which will be edited together for your enjoyment upon my return in October. I understand some of you may have considered unfollowing due to the lack of posts, however I do encourage you to keep me on your lists as you’ll not want to miss out on all the travel stories when I return!

For the meantime, I just wanted to share my recent story of heroics in aid of a well known charity which is close to my heart.

A few days have passed now from the moment I crossed the finish line and I’ve used it to reflect on my personal achievement. The grueling 37 mile ride was perhaps one of the toughest challenges of my life so far but every moment (both positive and negative) will be fondly remembered as a learning curve. Every penny raised will help save the lives of those suffering with Cancer in the United Kingdom.

The ride started in Richmond (London) and worked it’s way through Surrey until we arrived a short walk from the historic Windsor Castle. The course itself was varied passing through forests, along rivers and over hills. The weather wasn’t exactly kind either, with strong winds and brief spells of rain either side of warm sunny spells creating a muggy atmosphere which was hard to ride through, not least because of the outfit I’d chosen…

Our fund raising target was to reach £500 but as the event loomed, we’re struggling to hit three hundred. I’d accidently let slip that I’d participated in a previous ride in fancy dress and somehow I was convinced that I should suit up again providing we hit £600. Of course, when news spread our funds soon rocketed sky high and our total ended on £1037, a mammoth amount.

We blasted through our target

So, being me… I donned a zombie outfit. (see pic at foot of page)

What I will say though is that riding on public roads really gave me an appreciation for safety. I passed a young male who had passed out from exhaustion, saw the aftermath of a car which had pulled out into an older lady as well as witnessing first hand a cyclist going straight into the back of a car. The outcomes could have been much worse for all involved and it really hammers home the message of wearing protection (not condoms!) during any road event.

If my story of triumph over minor self inflicted adversity has inspired you in anyway, then please feel free to donate via our fund raising page: http://www.justgiving.com/Hotels4U

 

Image

We all survived the elements in aid of Cancer Research UK

I’m now heading over to Australia for 3 weeks and will be writing about my exploits upon my return.

That’s it from me for now though. Adios, Au Revoir, Ciao…. Goodbye!

Adz

Camden Town: More than a Town, Less than a City

Good morning to you all and for many, the last day of the working week. It’s shaping up like another wonderfully grey day and my neck hurts. Not that these two things are related in any way, but perhaps I’ll be able to milk some sympathy in the comments below?

It’s been almost a week since I departed the psychedelic, diverse world of Camden Market and the lingering stench of weed still lingers in the memories. So if this blog post is more eccentric than usual, then at least I have a reason!

What To Do:

As the name pretty much says (as it bitch slaps you in the face, laughing like the monobrowed baby from the Simpsons), Camden is packed, stacked and racked full of markets mixing locally produced jewellery with highly detailed gothic ornaments, alternative clothes and pretty much anything else you can think of. Trust me, if you can imagine it, chances are it’ll be there. When you arrive, you’ll need to decide where to start. Populating the main high street are a variety of recognised brands but you’ll want to frequent the side roads to make the most out of your visit. Don’t be a commercialised baby!

The sections to explore are: Camden Stables, Camden Lock Market, Camden Lock Village and Camden Market but feel free to check out the smaller markets which pop up on different days.

This horse had a mare…

Food:

I’m saying nothing on this other than to check out the photo below and make it your personal business to eat one of the many options of street food during your visit. Incredible. :)

McDonalds, take note!

Haggle:

One of my favourite reasons to visit Camden, (other than drooling over the vast amount of unique content) is so that I can practise a skill which no university can teach. Not even you Oxford! It’s the ancient and mysterious art of haggling, a skill which sees the customer (you) dictate the price which you’d be willing to stump up. It’s kinda like a surreal reality game show hosted by Noel Edmonds without his fluffy beard. Each time you place one of your size 12 feet onto the stage, a shotgun fires into the air announcing yet another victory. Go you! Anyway, you answer Noel’s questions with pretty much anything and CHING CHING, you’re rolling in the money which smells of weed.

Anyway, you barter (and banter if you want) with the owner until you both reach a price you agree on. Simples, right? Worst case scenario, you’ll have learned how to save your own life when you negotiate with aliens who’ll be invading Earth shortly. 2012 and all that. Most stalls take cash payments only, probably a good thing as it’s easy to overspend so pack the credit card in the deepest, darkest regions of your bag.

When you’ve found something you like (not weed!), ask how much the item is and if they’re willing to lower the price. Some stalls will happily lower the costs immediately  especially if you linger around looking at something in particular. Others are tougher than the resulting mutated offspring of an African rhino, a powerful polar bear and the   giant pussycat which survived Hiroshima and grew into a lion!  The harder the owner, the more fun you’ll have. After all, who doesn’t like a challenge? The key is to firmly show an interest, but indicate that you’re unsure of the price. Often if you walk away, you’ll be called back with a better offer.

Tip: If you’ve seen the same item on another stall for a lower price, tell that to the owner or see if they’d be willing to throw in something else as a makeweight!

Aba-original artwork!

Nightlife:

Another popular feature is the extraordinarily good night life. Whoop Whoop! Despite high prices for both entry and alcoholic drinks (it’s London), you’ll be sure to find a fantastic and memorable watering hole to drink the night away and poison the liver.

The Electric Ballroom is one of the best music venues in the city with a host of rock bands performing both original and popular covers on a nightly basis. (Fun but random fact: The venue has been open for almost 70 years!) I bought tickets to see Theory of a Deadman last year (2011) and was blown away by the intimate yet powerful experience. The speaker system is second to none and there is a wonderful atmosphere as music lover’s rock out in all sorts of crazy attire. Oh, and there are girls with fishnet stockings. Mmmm. If that’s not for you, check out KoKo.

It was a ballroom blitz!

Bars are popular with the younger generation and they’re not in short supply here. There are a wide variety, including gym bars, crossbars, crowbars and even a few cheeky industrial bars. Hang on…

Highlights include The Worlds End (cheerful name, that), Hobgoblin (Spiderman villain), Hawley Arms and the Camden Head – One of the oldest pubs in the area.

Tips:

  • Budget. It’s easy to overspend in Camden (I’ve done it many times!)
  • Keep valuables close. Nasty thieves unfortunately thrive.
  • Don’t feel pressured to buy. Haggle or move on.
  • You can sometimes find similar items at better prices in other areas of the market. Walk around first, and then decide which stall to buy from.
  • If you’d like to take photos of items on display, ask!  Most vendors will be OK with it but there are some who’d rather you didn’t.

Tick tock… better select fast!

Getting here:

Unless you have a futuristic teleportation device (do you?!) then chances are you’ll need to find a suitable method of transport. Fortunately, Camden Town is reasonably simple to get too and any valid travel card will give you a few more options in case standing nose first in someone’s armpit isn’t for you. (Yuck!) Camden Town has its very own train station located on the edge of the busy high street with a selection of banks and cash points opposite. You’ll need to find an underground station with access to the Northern Line (black) and central transport hubs such as London Waterloo or Kings Cross St. Pancras will get you there in less than 20 minutes! Speedy!

Unlike most markets which open one day a week, Camden remains open every day apart from Christmas allowing more time for punters like you to visit and blow your hard-earned cash!

Leather – More uses than just S&M

Did You Know:

- The late singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse was a resident and frequently hung out in a number of pubs and clubs including her favourite, the Hawley Arms.

- Rock band Madness (Our House, It Must Be Love) came from Camden, as did former Buffy actor Anthony Head.

- A huge fire ravaged Camden in 2008, destroying a number of markets and damaging the Hawley Arms pub. Over 100 fire fighters tackled the blaze which eventually led to the redesign of Camden.

Pretty romantic…

Do you LAVE Camden? What do you like buying in the market? Have any haggle tips to share? If so, hit us in the comments (not the groin!)

50 Shades of Mercedes-Benz: Pure Car Porn

Edit: I’m deeply saddened to hear about the insane act of mindless violence which took the lives of innocent movie fans this weekend. No family should ever have to face the death of a child, especially when that life was taken away by the selfish act of another. Although I cannot change what took place, I can share my condolences and play a small part in raising awareness about an age old law which allows citizens to ‘bear arms’ – This is outdated and needs changing Too many have died at the hands of criminals and mentally competent yet unstable individuals, and these are violent acts which could have easily been prevented with the restriction and vetting of every person who requests a firearms licence. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, and my prayers are for the recovery of the 50+ who were left injured. For more information on what took place, please visit the BBC website here.

“She sits there, ever so silent. A lingering shadow, somehow still able to stand out in a spotlight. She waited, teasing me to take control and leave my unwashed finger prints all over her sleek body. She was a good girl but her silence and composure told me that she wanted to be dirty tonight. Not a single word was uttered between us and yet I felt compelled to touch every inch of the material wrapped tightly around her body. I edged closer, breathing hard as I ran my fingers along her side. My fingers felt every nook and cranny, each indent brought me closer to a sexual arousal that I’d never experienced. This feeling was empowered by overwhelming perfume and as I battled my natural urges, she increased my torture with a cheeky flash of a wink that only I could see. She was a cocktail of leather, velcro and chrome and that figure was to die for. How could something so ridged, be so soft?

Oh darling, you completely own me like the God who watches over Earth.

I leant closer. She wasn’t intimidated. She knew what was about to happen and wanted me in control. I was nervous, my hands clammed up and sweat began to trickle down my forehead. This was it. With a deep breath, I slowly entered her, trying to remain as gentle as possible. It was the perfect fit, and I could tell she was enjoying the gentle rocking as liquid poured from the exhaust…”

Moving swiftly on…

You could be forgiven for thinking that Mercedes-Benz World is the utopia for motor enthusiasts young and old, however I’m delighted to confirm that the showroom and driving experiences more than cater for those with little understanding of these ample sized metallic travel boxes. 
Free entry to any museum is always an encouraging start to any review and this is certainly the case here. You’ll stroll through a gigantic wall of glass into an eye popping yet emphatic visual journey of discovery, passing through the history of Germany’s greatest export & educating yourself with the technological developments which enabled MB to become one of the most expensive and sought after cars on the planet.

One of the many prestigious cars on display

Hit the Tarmac & Take the Kids Too!

Visiting MB World would definitely not be complete without a grilling test of your driving abilities. To enjoy one of these adrenaline pumping experiences, you will to make sure you have a valid driving licence (confusingly, children can drive without a licence) so ensure you turn up about half an hour before so you have time to fill out the boring legal documentation, standard for any experience of this type. 
There are a selection of tracks and skills to choose from including a 4×4 Off Road test (I did this one), drifting in wet conditions and even a totally awesome and pretty cool (sorry) ice track (Sweden only). Keeping with the family friendly tradition which most museums abide by, there are even courses for your little Jenson Button’s who’ll also be able to take to the road in normal sized vehicles, perfect for those not yet able to legally drive on public roads. Before you panic about danger and legality issues which could arise, be assured that owners of private land such as MB can enable unlicensed drivers as long as there is a responsible adult with driving experience alongside.  

Once complete, it’s time to really put the pedal to the metal!

For prices and to book your drive, just pop over to the Mercedes-Benz website.

Iconic

Museum

It would be shameful to rock up to MB World and not take in the glorious array of historical articles and physical objects which bestow the Mercedes-Benz heritage. One of my primary concerns going in was that it would just be a tall, rather attractive building with cars randomly scattered across the room. I was wrong. From an educational movie in their own indoor cinema, to facts and even interactive games (Gran Turismo 3), you’ll be sure to be kept entertained as you wonder around. Even better, those with high power DLR’s will have a field day capturing the various characteristics of each model and design to show off on Facebook and Twitter upon return home. You could even challenge your little tykes to see who the better driver is on the gaming machines… You’d be surprised!

Drifts on the wet track!



Getting There

Of course, having large spaces for driving does take it’s toll and you will need to find a suitable mode of transport to get you into the land. For those with a car, simply follow the A3 leaving at the first exit and turn left onto the A245 roundabout towards Weybridge. After 1.5 miles, take the right on the second roundabout and you’re there.
If you take the train from Waterloo, make sure to leave at the Weybridge station and either walk or take a bus down the road until you arrive at Mercedes-Benz World.
Personally, I’d advise driving or arranging a cab as you will need to drive through their grounds to reach the reception!

Have you had an off road experience or perhaps you’ve driven through an exotic location packed with danger? Whatever you’ve done, pop me a comment below!

Natural History Museum in London

Riddle me this… Why is it, that young impressionable children adore one of histories most ferocious, demonic and terrifying creatures despite it having the appearance of a badly replicated Picasso drawing? Quite how the giant T-Rex managed to not only dominate the world (Hitler take note) but become a favourite in the eyes of adolescents thousands of years into the future is beyond even the capabilities of my wild imagination. The concept baffles. For those not in the know, the T-Rex was essentially a giant lizard (simular concept to Godzilla) with a massive head with teeth the size of a small adult. Pretty scary huh?

Mean, green, meat eating machine! (Image by zmescience)

Not so when you learn more. The T-Rex had a pea sized brain and it’s arms were about as useful as a boat that can’t float on water. Tiny little things that couldn’t even be used to scratch itself which leads me to this rather complex question… how did the T-Rex itch?

We’ve all been there. You’re stomping around a mud hole during a particularly hot day and soon a rude mosquito lands on your face. You sit there, trying to ignore the tingling sensation that slowly trickles from your brain down through your back and arms until you reach the point of orgasm… you slap that little bugger until you’re feeling ‘normal’. Now imagine you had arms with the same measurements as your big toe, glued to your chest. Yeah… now you see my point!

Note – The Disney film ‘Meet The Robinsons’ included a hilerious T-Rex joke. Check it by clicking here!

Last week I had the pleasure of significantly boosting my historical knowledge with a trip to the London Natural History Museum alongside my adorable friend Emily (Follow her @EmillyDenise). It’s fair to say that my skills in this area are lacking so it I welcomed a day trip to this highly respected and well maintained place of learning. I must have been in my early teens the last time I visited and quite a lot has changed. A bit like seeing Grandma for a family dinner then catching her without a wig, false teeth and prop up bra as you make your way to the bathroom, stepping over a sea of moving carpet. She calls them cats by the way.

What Can I Expect?

Free entry ensures those on a tight budget can still enjoy a wonderful day out with the family with the only additional costs going towards tickets for special limited time exhibitions. From diamonds to dinosaurs, and spiders to storms, there is literally something which will appeal to everyone. I must add that the architecture of the building is phenomenal. I’m not generally a fan of admiring a building. After all, they are predominately just bricks stacked really, really well. There is a unique charm to each room which really gives you a feeling off utter appreciation for the hard work which went into the design and build. I might take lessons on brick laying. My Tetris score is rubbish!

At time of writing, the two stand out exhibits include ‘Animal Inside Out’ where unique yet controversial work has been adapted from Gunther von Hagen’s original showing the intricate details which make up each life form. Adult tickets cost £9 with children at £6. There is also the option of a family ticket and that’s £27. Not bad! (Exhibit runs 06 Apr 2012 – 16 Sep 2012)

Explore the insides of natures most beautiful creatures.

Another exhibition worthy of mention is the fascinating story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s adventures to the ice cold Antartica. Tickets cost £9 for adults and £5.50 for children. Family tickets cost £26 smackers. (Exhibit runs 20 Jan 2012 – 02 Sep 2012)

How Long Will I Be Here?

This will vary from person to person (obviously) but essentially boils down to your interests and your appreciation for the world. I’m the type who’ll walk into the Tate Modern, walk around and be back out within an hour. Ask me which painting was my highlight and I’d be hard pressed to recall anything in particular. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the art, but I step into this fast forward zone and I’ve reached the end before I’ve taken a breath. On the other hand, I’m quite content leisurely strolling through a London attraction such as the London Sea Life Centre or Madame Tussauds. For the average Joe or Joanne, you’re probably looking at between two and three hours. Apart from the main animal and dinosaur exhibits, you’ll also be able to visit the ‘Vault’ (comprising of a large number of rocks and diamonds), feel Mother Nature’s rathe or even explore the beauty of the human body, complete with interactive games for both young and old.

View of the main hall

How Do I Get Here?

Unless you’re a multi billionaire, complete with Iron Man tuxedo, Leonardo Dicaprio good looks and backed up by a regiment of flying monkeys riding Red Bull fuelled rhinos, chances are you’ll need to find a method of transport which won’t break your bank. You can check out one of my earlier posts on 7 Ways to Travel London for ideas on getting around the capital. The safest and most convenient option is to jump on one of London’s tube trains as there are two stations within a short walking distance to the museum. Your best bet will be to take the District, Circle or Piccadilly lines (depending on line maintenance) to South Kensington however Gloucester Road is also an option for those a little less fussy.

So in closing, a visit to any museum is a guilty pleasure for any of us… yes, even you Mr Steroid Freak! So tell me, which museum is your favourite and why? Kudos for the most inspired.

‘Till next time.

Adz

Castles, Palaces and Rambles

Good morning all. I awoke from my slumber having had the most wonderful and ludicrous dream. There I was, sitting on a muddy riverbank along the River Thames awaiting for hours for the Queen’s barge to arrive. Nothing overtly worrying about that scenario. Certainly not worth the troubled ginger kid sneaking in his sneakers towards what appeared to be a florissant pink crane. As the Queen (and 200 other boats) arrived, a loud glug was heard and the river disappeared into some some tiny hole taking the Queen and all his floating family along with her! Waiting all that time for the Queen to vanish down a drain was a slight kick in the teeth. Worse still, I then had to put up with the child pointing at me with a stick yelling ‘monster!’ from atop his slightly camp crane. Strange.

I’ve moved off topic a little, but I felt I needed to place a public service post warning you of the potential dangers of letting a small ginger kid climbing up a crane when Royalty is around. You’ve been warned. Anyway, I paint a very different picture from what’s going on this bank holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom is currently experiencing it’s second period of heavy rain and grey skies… although in true British fashion, that’s not stopped a huge number of patriots lining the streets and downing the nearest alcoholic beverage as some sort of salute to the Queen and her (often hilarious) husband Prince Philip.

On to more pressing matters and I thought now would be the ample time to give a run down of the three best British Palaces and Castles in the UK which you can visit! 

Buckingham Palace

The most notable and well known of her Majesties houses of residence, Buckingham Palace is the iconic structure which has carried the Royals for centuries and was the host to the recent exchanging of vowels between Prince William and his beautiful wife Princess Kate!

Unlike the next two featured in my list, Buckingham Palace is off limits to the public so viewing is often restricted to peering through giant metallic gates. As a result, this leads to millions of tourists all climbing over each other trying to get the best view. Be warned – this is unlike no crowd experienced before. Bring a shield, or at least call Prince Philip for backup!

London is one of the top cities in the world with reliable (if a little old) public transport zipping you from A to B. Although we’re still waiting for the Bullet Train, our tube network is more than adequate on moving ‘bus’ loads of people around. The main station which sees all the action is Waterloo and from there you’ll be able to take a train to the Palace. The nearest tube stations are Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and Green Park. You’ll then have a little walk ahead of you so give yourself plenty of time if you’re going to….

The highlight however must be the opportunity to watch the Changing of the Guard, a vividly colourful display of blood red and nightmare black as hulking men (note – men do not turn into Hulk!) in uniform march about in unison! It’s quite an experience and one which should sit proudly on your bucket list. Go on… give it a cheeky tick!  

Image

Buckingham Palace by shining.darkness via Flickr

Useless Pub Fact: There are a total of 1,514 doors and 760 windows within the Palace… and I complain about my house keeping duties! 

Windsor Castle

How many of you knew that Windsor Castle was the official residence of the Queen and that this castle is the largest occupied in the world? A tourist landmark in itself, Windsor Castle can be found hugging the skyline in the small town in Surrey. The castle is a hugely popular tourist attraction (after Buckingham Palace) and is one of the few which allows many of the rooms to be frequented by the general public. 

A stunning visual, the fort was designed as a power base for the then Government and to offer respite for Royals during times of civil unrest, where unruly types would go about shouting mean things and pointing fingers – was there not a single mum to tell them it’s rude?! Unfortunately a major fire swept through the castle back in 1992 (those were the days…) which damaged a large section of the castle. Careful renovation took place to restore the buildings great rooms to it’s former glory and you’ll be hard pressed to see the difference! 

Image

Windsor Castle by gailf548 via Flickr

Finished the tour early? Fear not! There are plenty of family friendly attractions such as Legoland, Theatre Royal Windsor, Great Brothers (boat trip) and Windsor Great Park which are all located just a short drive from the castle ensuring that the entire family enjoys the day out! 

Thinking about popping the BIG question to your loved one? Why not check out this month by month list of times and places to propose! How can they resist your charms? 

 

Hampton Court Palace

My ‘local’, Hampton Court Palace is perhaps my favourite palace in the United KIngdom. Once home to the infamous King Henry V111 (the dude who cut off his wives heads), now one of the many homes of our Queen. Rich in culture and smothered with gold, HCP is quite the experience for those a little less fortunate. I can’t even marry into the family because Harry and William have no sister… how selfish. Anyway, go explore the grounds from £16.95 per adult or £8.50 for a child. People of short stature can try get away with paying the lower price. If you succeed, let me know! Did I mention you can meet and greet with Henry’s six wives when you take an evening tour. Rumour has it that their floating bodies appear to those who believe the most. Spooky! 

Image

Hampton Court Palace by edwin.11 via Flickr

If you manage to navigate and survive the long corridors and the torture from the guides, then why not get loose your head (cough cough) in the famous Palace Maze! Claustrophobes be warned, it gets dark and rather narrow in parts. It’s not for you! Luckily, Mr Henry and co thought ahead to situations like this and decorated the Palace grounds with a stunning garden full of wonderfully smelly flowers from across the globe. It’s literally to die for… 

What does the Diamond Jubilee mean to you? Did you come out and celebrate or were you quite happy to pass it by?  

(Edit: Long delay in posting this blog… was attacked by a giant kitten. It hurt. I now have a scar on my hand. Pray for me). 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 471 other followers