Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hyper Japan 2014 - London Earl's Court

Ah, it's another year, another summer and another Hyper Japan event! Woohoo!!

Wasn't going to go this year, but felt like people were asking (@grocerygems and a classmate learning Japanese with me). Hmmmm... it took me long to decide, so I eventually asked Miss Pinky if she wanted to come along with Mr Picky and Master H. They all said yes! But then the day before we were to go we found out that Master H couldn't go (his mum is strict) because he has football practice. :( So sad. I haven't seen Master H for a long time... Can't skip one training session...

This year it was a little different, I got my £8 tickets from the main site (forgot to wait for the Groupon and Amazon 2 for 1 vouchers).

This year it was in Earl's Court One and also we decided to go to the morning Saturday session because last years queue was horrendous. We got to Earl's Court just before 9.30am (which was the time I was aiming for). It was a long queue when we got there, not sure if the doors had opened yet, but when we got to the end of the end of the queue, it actually started shifting, and we got closer and closer to the door within 5 minutes. That was quick!! This year was better organised! Better queuing system, better service!. Wow. Such a big difference after a year. (I really cannot complain this year :D).
At Earl's Court - court 1

The queue

 Maps are everywhere.

So from here onwards are the pictures for this years Hyper Japan. Was really, really happy I did not miss this out. ^_^

Friday, 25 July 2014

London Zoo - Regents Park

I love London Zoo!! It's one my favourite hot spots to go to. Did I ever mention anywhere on this blog that I wanted to be a zoologist in the past? If I had studied hard enough I think I would have made it, but The Geek was lazy and liked computers at the time of A-level studying... I still love the ecology side of biology and I love seeing animal behaviour (it was my favourite topic in Biology).

Haven't been to London Zoo for a good 2-3 years, at that time I went with Master H and Miss Pinky (that was a mission!). This time I went with MummyGeek and we used the 2For1 National Rail offer which is probably the cheapest way to get into London Zoo if you're going with someone. It's very simple to use. Go to the 2For1 website, then choose your day trip, create a login and then download and print the voucher. You must have a valid national rail orange ticket on the day that you're going (single, return and travelcards are acceptable). Unfortunately Oyster Cards and annual tickets are not acceptable for this offer... So I just bought two of the cheapest single tickets I could get. So in total I spent just over £30 for two people! Not bad.

Normal prices are around £24 per person on the day of purchase or you can purchase cheaper tickets online. Expensive but worth it (it's better than going to the Shard for an hour).

Here are some of my favourite pictures I took during the day (I even bumped into one of my colleagues, her husband and children at the Aquarium... it was an awkward moment. LOL. ¬_¬"").
Love this picture!

I wanted to see the gorillas last time I went, but they were all sleeping at that time. This time I was lucky to see this gorilla... So shy though and kept moving away from the crowd.
So shy!

Keep walking away...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

London River Bus - Route RB1

I have never been on a river bus in London before, I can't even remember when Transport for London first introduced them! MummyGeek has never been on a boat in London, so I said I would take her on one (this was like last month). I had to search online a bit, but some of the information was not very great...

Everyone travelling on a river bus must pay a fare, it's not free. If you have an Oyster Card with money on it then use it as paying by cash is more expensive. You actually get a small discount if you're paying by Oyster Card. I paid £6.12 for a single fare going from Bankside to Woolwich Arsenal. MummyGeek got a bigger discount because she's over 60 and has one of those over 60 travel passes. Lucky sod. Can't wait till I'm over 60.

I think if you have a one day travelcard you can go on it as many times as you want.
Information board

Types of routes from Bankside

Ticket office / booth... sorry these two peeps were in the way

Lots of different fares on there

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Toyota Aygo - "Go Fun Yourself" Poster Ad

Ok, I really was going to post about something else other than ads after the last post, but I really had to show this one to you all before I move on.

I love all things Japanese, but this Toyota Car poster ad just made me shake my head for some reason... "Go Fun Yourself"?? Uh, are they taking the mickey out of "Go F*** Yourself". I'm a naughty geek who thinks that. ¬_¬"" (I'm just joking - my friends Mr Bear and Miss Pinky would be naughtier than me!).
Toyota - "Go Fun Yourself"
But yeah, one would think of changing words to something like this. I for one would have said something on the lines of "Have Some Aygo Fun" or "Aygo Fun Yourself" or "Aygo Aygo Fun". Hahahahah! 

Besides that I think the car looks a bit too cartoony... Need to see the real thing!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Citroen Relay Poster Advert - Thumped, Pounded, Pummelled... but never beaten

Just one more before I move onto some other stuff... LOL!! Blimey car adverts have turned into this! 

It's a small mini van and not an actual fancy car poster advert which we have seen in the past few months. What did the old Citroën Relay look like in the first place? Apparently it's now "thumped, pounded, pummelled... but never beaten" in mini van standards I presume.
Thumped, Pounded, Pummelled... Citroën Relay
Not that interesting but something different to all the car ads we've seen so far.

Friday, 18 July 2014

McDonald's Poster Adverts

I never talk about McDonald's advertising much because they are all ok to me, although when Justin Timberlake came out with the Lovin' It theme (probably more than a decade ago) I kind of shook my head and thought, really, are McDonald's really going ahead with this and branding it. Oh dear.

I think these poster ads have been out before but I thought I'm seeing three in one go, an think they are quite amusing!

I don't mind pinching one of those fries. For real!
Pinch those fries!!
Never really liked the Quarter Pounder, it's a big version of a cheese burger really, but yeah this is the beefy one!
Do you like the beefy one?
And obviously the Big Mac is "the famous one"... I like it because of the sauce. 
Big Mac - The Famous One
What about you, what do you like about McDonald's?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Nissan Juke Poster Advert

This was out a few weeks ago... You see, car advert after car advert... It's all about the cars this year. I wonder if they'll be a car that's environmentally friendly and then what would the poster look like?

Does this car thrill you? It says "New Nissan Juke, tested to thrill". What's so thrilling about this car? I don't drive, so I wouldn't know.

Let's forget about the car for a moment, it's actually quite clever and a tiny bit scenic (but not that scenic). I feel like an analyst here... ¬_¬"". Can you see the metal chains beneath the car, whilst those are rolling the car is moving I bet... but then you think, the road looks as if it's going to go downhill... It's going to be thrilling going downhill! Yeah I'm thrilled. Are you?
It's a nice ad, not sure about the road... and p.s. I can't read the small writing at the very bottom... Who's going to stand there and read all of that?! Poster ads with small writing at the bottom should not be placed so high up on a building! Tut tut.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Lexus Poster Advert - Amazing Control

Trying to get through all these adverts now...

There are so many car adverts this year that I can't seem to catch up. Impossible for me to catch up!

I saw this one after eating at Lemon Tree in Sydenham and I thought this looked so beautiful and elegant for a car advert. You can vaguely see the ballerina who is posing with "amazing control", which I assume the car can do as well. Sit, pose and have amazing control. Heheh. 

It's a pretty advert for a car, but feel they could have used more car than ballerina to build a balance in the poster advert.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ultramodern Buses in Grey

Very, very short post today... Do you like these ultramodern buses in grey?

Bleurgh. No way. Keep them in red!

p.s. Get those frigging air con fixed. I'm sure they were fine last year!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cocoro Japanese Restaurant - London Coptic Street, Holborn

Right next door to Bi Won is a Japanese restaurant called Cocoro こころ (kokoro? which could mean "heart"), and obviously you know I went in there to eat. ¬_¬""" The Geek must eat! Was so hungry after another lesson in Japanese, and all I could think about was eating... How sad!

I knew I had to try this place because it said Japanese curry and ramen. To be honest I haven't tried out the curry yet, and I will definitely try that out one weekend (whenever that will be).

I was greeted by a very friendly waitress, and I have to say service is super, super polite. More than your average restaurant in the UK. Basically the waitresses will keep checking up on you, and I'm munching away and it's really hard to answer. (● ̄(エ) ̄●)
On this very first visit, I wanted to try out the ramen so I chose the tonkotsu ramen. Soup was creamy, noodles were al dente and pork was ok. Nothing directly from the fridge, as in there were no cold bits which was a relief.
Tonkotsu ramen

al dente ramen
I was obviously greedy because I ordered the salmon and avocado roll which is cut into 6 pieces. It was super delicious and I'm salivating right now... I want sushi. I always want sushi!
Salmon and avocado roll
This first visit cost me £14.80. Not too bad but definitely a little expensive... I also asked for tap water!

I surely did not try enough of their food, so I went for more! This time I tried out there takoyaki which was nice and hot but bearable. I like takoyaki! It's a little dark in the restaurant so the pictures are not completely great.
Yummy yummy takoyaki

Close up

Inside my last takoyaki
I actually ordered the Hawaiian sushi dish but then the waitress came back and asked what sushi dish I wanted without explaining why I couldn't have the Hawaiian one... Strange... so I ordered the Chirashi sushi set which was a little expensive but this was what I had originally wanted.
This was very tasty, loved the salmon roe and the fresh sashimi on top. I ate the whole lot, and I think it was worth its money.
Chirashi Sushi

Close up

From the top
I got a miso soup along with the sushi... ^_^
Miso soup
This second meal cost me £24.70!!! Argh, went over budget second time round.

My geeky rating: 5/5

Good points:
- Super polite service (please don't be irritated, it's just the Japanese way)
- Good food
- Fresh

Bad points:
- A bit expensive for sushi but ok for ramen and some of the sushi rolls (forgot to check if there was any service charge)

Address: 25 Coptic St, London WC1A 1NT
Telephone: 020 7436 0550

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

London's Oyster Cards

You know what? I've been wanting to post about London's Oyster Cards for a while because I see a lot of tourists or foreigners and even the British getting confused with them or don't know how to use their basic travelling tool.
Adult Oyster Cards in use since 2003
It's a geek post, so bear with it.

I'm sure there are loads of posts about Oyster Cards, and this is just one to add to it!

As you may know now, London buses DO NOT accept cash any longer. It's a bit unfair but it initiates people to travel cheaper using their Oyster Card (you're going to see a lot of usage of these two words in this post >_<"").

Types of Oyster Card

So here's a list of all the basic information you need to know about Oyster Cards... boring I know...

1. Children under the age of 11 travel free on most transport in London but must have adult supervision or will need a photocard if they look older than 10 or won't travel with adult supervision.

2. Children over the age of 11 up to 15 must get a photocard, so you will hear on the bus a different sound when they touch in on the bus. They also travel for free. Humph.

3. Teenagers who are 16+ and also college students who are 18+ get a discounted pass but obviously they will need to get a photocard. They can travel for free on buses and trams. Lucky sods.

4. Adults must have a normal Oyster Card - there are several types of payments that one must opt for (or you can get a couple of Oyster cards and chose one for top up and one for passes) and you must pay a £5 refundable deposit for one.
a. Top up - you can top up in Newsagents, Underground, train stations, tram stations or online. You can set up an auto-topup online so you don't have to constantly remember to top up as soon as your money runs out.
b. Bus passes (weekly, monthly or annually)
c. Travelcards (daily, weekly, monthly or annually)

5. 60+ Oyster Cards are for those who are at the age of 60 or over and don't qualify for a Freedom Pass - seniors can apply online via the TFL website. You will need your passport and bank account with the 16-digit on your bank card or you can pay at the post office once you've downloaded the letter, but you must have proof of your name and address e.g. bank statement. (MummyGeek is over the age of 60, so that's how I know).

6. The Freedom Pass are those who are of or near to pension age. Seniors will need to check online or on the application form to see if they're at that age to get one. If you're a senior you will need to fill the form and pay a £10 fee. It gets sent to your local council to process and it will be sent to you in the post to your address. You will need two passport pictures for this too! (DaddyChef has one XD).

Yeah my parents are over 60!

7. There are other types of discounted Oyster Cards like those who are on benefits, with disabilitues, studying or are war veterans... check the website.

8. And finally tourists can get a visitor Oyster Card. I think it's a lot cheaper but the deposit is £3 and non-refundable. 

Your London Oyster Card can be used on the train, bus, underground, tram, river bus, DLR and overground. Unlike in Hong Kong (they are called Octopus Cards) you can't use it to pay bills at stations or use them for vending machines... that's where your bank Connect card comes into place. If you're not willing to fork out for an Oyster Card you can still purchase paper tickets at any train station or underground for daily, weekly, monthly or annual travelcards, single and return fares! Travelcards can be used on buses depending on which zone you have bought for... The more zones you purchase for, the more you will have to pay. T_T (I generally HATE the annual fee rises - it kills the January fun).

Remember the original "Oyster Card" originated from Asia! I think it was South Korea who first used it but Hong Kong have more uses for it! 
Two of my Oyster Cards that need returning
How to use your Oyster Card

Once you have the correct Oyster card, to use it is very simple...
- On the bus - touch on the yellow pad once
- On the train/underground/tram/DLR - touch once going in at the gate, and then once during your exit... You DO NOT need to touch in or out if you are interlinking with another London train or underground route. Only touch out on your last stop
- On the river bus - at the ticket machine / window or on the boat - touch in/out is only once
- If you're using a paper ticket, you just need to show the bus driver or slot the paper into the gate machine

Returning your Oyster Card

If you have had many Oyster Cards over the many years because they were once free, or because you found it on the streets or the fact that every year you buy an annual card and they post you another one... or for whatever reason, you can return the ones that you don't use.

You just need the following (this was only a recent change, well since January / February, so this might not be on the TFL website):
1. Proof of ID e.g. passport or drivers license AND (not any or's here)
2. Proof of address with your name on it e.g. bank statement, utility bill

You will get any money leftover on your Oyster card and you will get your deposit back.

I've returned a few so that's how I know! I have a couple of more to return too.

Lost or Stolen Oyster Card

I've been unlucky twice because I have lost mine twice. :( If your card is registered and you have an account on the TFL website then you can easily cancel your card you have lost and re-order another one. It is sent straight away and you'll get it within a week or so... Unfortunately you'll just have to use a Top Up Oyster Card in the meantime or buy a paper ticket.

Hope this has been a long and useful post for those who don't take public transport or for those travelling to London for the first time and also for seniors who need a bit of advice!!!

It helps to have experience in all of this. ^___^

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lemon Tree Indian Restaurant - London Sydenham

I don't know why I don't go to more Indian restaurants. I LOVE CURRY. It's my ultimate favourite dish and when I smell curry I feel I need to eat loads of it. :D

Miss Pinky and Mr Picky hadn't seen me for a very long time (well it isn't that long). All of us have been really busy, and it was about time I made a visit to meet Mr Picky's mother (that's right, I met his mother)... Anyway, let's not get into that story!

After the little visit, it was decided we would eat out and I left it to both Miss Pinky and Mr Picky to choose the place to eat. They chose Lemon Tree as it's one of their favourites. That's ok with me! I love Indian food. XD
Lemon Tree Sydenham
Ok, it took me a little while to decide what to eat as I wanted something not too spicy but filling enough to completely finish.

First I chose the chicken pakoras. They are my absolute favourite starters. I could eat loads of these but I know I shouldn't. When they came out I thought they looked like onion bhajis, but I smelt them and they definitely did not smell of onions! They were absolutely delicious. I could have had more of these!!
Chicken pakoras
I think this is Miss Pinky's tandoori chicken leg. She liked it. I don't know what it tastes like.
Chicken tandoori
I forgot whose main dinner this was. I think it's Mr Picky's lamb rogan josh. I can tell why he liked this because it was very sweet but also very spicy!
Lamb rogan josh
I forgot what Miss Pinky ordered but it was very spicy!!
Forgot what this is...
This is part of my chicken biriyani. Tastes good!
Chicken biriyani
This is the chicken biriyani sauce that came with it. It wasn't too spicy and it had loads of vegetables in it. I think this is what I needed on a Friday night!!
Biriyani sauce
This is some sort of spinach Miss Pinky ordered... not sure what it is. I didn't try it. ¬_¬
Spinach dish
But I did taste the naan bread!! Wow, I have not tasted naan bread like these before. They tasted nice, hot and sweet! Sweet naan bread... I would have these again if I came back to this place. :D
Sweet naan bread
Now these are the onion bhajis. ^_^
Onion bhajis
Can't remember the exact cost came to, but it was definitely over £60. Around £20ish per person including drinks.

My geeky rating: 5/5

Good points:
- Good service
- Brilliant food, but you might have to wait as they take a little long to prepare
- Not too expensive... reasonable pricing

Bad points:
- A bit on the slow side
- A bit cramped with the seating

Address: 144 Sydenham Road, London SE26 5JZ
Telephone: 020 8659 7858