Saturday, 29 December 2012

Restaurant Review: Giraffe, Kings Cross

I recently went to the Giraffe restaurant in Kings Cross, London for the second time within 2 months and I have to say, I really like it here!! I love the relaxed atmosphere especially as it is located right within Kings Cross station and the service has always been very good, and fast!
My boyfriend and I ordered the exact same thing as we did the first time. He got the Green Chicken Curry which he really likes (sorry can't review this personally but it looks good right?!) and I got the 6" hot dog with sweet mustard onions. This was actually an accidental order, I just wanted normal onions because I hate mustard (think I am slightly allergic to it - can one be slightly allergic to something though? My tongue swells a little?) ...but as I couldn't actually see mustard as how I know it, I tried it anyway! I could feel the slight tingles on my tongue but it was so delicious I couldn't leave it! I would definitely order this again, and again, and again! I think the hot dog was just under £5 which is also very reasonable. 
I'd really recommend this place (if you ever come across it- there aren't many) if you want 'quality fast food' and to have it in a nice setting.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A New Day Dawns.

I don't usually blog about the Etsy Treasuries I am in, but when I was shown this one, I was completely in awe of the entire composition of it! I loved how it ombre'd from dark to light, and had my newly listed Vintage 1950s yellow net dress! It has been created by Maxwell, a fellow Etsy shop owner. Lovely work!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day.

I was SO close to going out to do some shopping today but with the London Underground going on strike and seeing this photo, I am pretty glad I decided to stay at home, in peace and quiet!
Click here to see some of the photos I took yesterday, including some amazing cakes my brother's girlfriend's parents made! I also wanted to show this Russian Doll carafe my sister got for me, it is the cutest thing! The head acts as a cup. It is from http://fredandfriends.com/ ...where they have tons of other exciting things!! I am definitely buying a few other bits and bobs from them!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Flickr.

Since getting my new phone, I've been using Apps more than ever! There are some great Russian language Apps out there that have helped me remember the language, ready for when my lessons resume in the New Year, eBay and most recently I just had to download the Tetris App!

Anyway, the point of this post is about photos. New phone + amazing camera = lots of photo fun and easy upload!
I recently joined Instagram as I loved their filters and thought that was the best outlet for random photos I would take on my phone. However, after the whole 'Instagram are going to sell our photos' debacle, and before they released a statement confirming that this was a misunderstanding, I had already started looking for alternatives.

Tadaa seemed to be the App that jumped out the most so I installed it and was completely blown away by all the different things I could do to a photo...it totally usurped Instagram! Then I came across the new Flickr App. I've been with Flickr for years but became very inactive on it as I had the free account and was very limited to the amount of photos I could upload with no organizing options. At the time, I also didn't have a camera phone so there weren't that many exciting things to upload. Anything exciting, I would have used my digital camera and published it onto my blog, and that was it.

So, I installed the Flickr App, loved their filters and photo editing options, and decided that this would be my new outlet! Here is a preview of my photostream:


Also, after reading a few things about Flickr and speaking to someone who regularly used it, I also decided to upgrade my account to Pro...so I no longer had limitations! After a few days playing with it, I wish I'd done this years ago! ... and now with the new App, I can now easily upload 'nice but do I really need to blog about them' photos and/or extra photos that I found would be too overwhelming to be on my blog, such as my MCM Expo adventures - I have about triple the amount of photos every time I go there, in comparison to what I post on my blog..so now you can see even more!! This is definitely a case of something I needed being right under my nose!

Friday, 14 December 2012

iPhone 5.

The contract to my iPhone 3GS had expired in November and I was very much looking forward to an upgrade! I had come to hate the 3GS as many people I knew had 4, so I often noticed the huge difference in look and function. My phone felt so heavy in comparison and I didn't like the soft, curved edges of the phone either...and what bugged me the most was that the camera function was awful so I still had to carry my digital camera around with me, as well as having my phone.
Although I um'd and ah'd about it at first, I decided to go straight to upgrading to the iPhone 5, instead of the Samsung Galaxy, which, if the Orange website hadn't crashed when I was checking out, I would have got it...but it gave me more time to think about it. I do a lot of things online and use my phone a lot - whether I'm checking the weather, train/bus times/delays, map/directions, games/music, email...everything! So I was certain that I would get a lot of use out of it.
So, now that I have the phone, I noticed a HUGE difference! The iPhone 3GS felt like a brick and the screen looked like I was looking through another screen, to actually see anything. I was so glad with my upgrade!
I am still learning the new functions as I can't be bothered reading about them, but I'm coming across them all the time! The screen is longer and a much higher quality. I like how the earphones fix into the bottom, rather than top - this had always annoyed me.
I do like to keep new things in good order, so I did keep the plastic covers (although annoying!) on for a week until my Darth Vader case arrived! I love it!
Most importantly, the camera quality is excellent! I have flash!!! It is now actually better than my digital camera which I was going to upgrade, but now I don't need to! See below an example of an unedited photo taken with the phone, I am so impressed!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Erte 2013 Calendar.

I still like to use a traditional calendar each year (instead of my phone) and have opted for yet again, Erte!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tiramisu.

Tiramisu is one of my most favourite desserts, if I'm not having it in a restaurant, then I have bought some from a supermarket to have at home. It is also my mother's favourite dessert, so we can never really have enough of it in our household! So, I decided to try and make some instead of constantly buying it! I loosely followed a recipe from BBC.co.uk so pop over and have a look, but here is how I made it!
 I've never separated the (6) egg yolk from the white before but it was so much easier than i thought! This was the first step. I then added the (200g) sugar - however, this was supposed to be caster sugar but I only had granulated - after having tasted the final thing, I don't think this affected it - but if any cooks out there want to enlighten me, please do! I then added the 250g of mascarpone.
I then had to whip the 250ml of double cream, however, I couldn't find the whisk, so ended up having to do it with a fork which was very laborious! This was also the case with having to whip the egg whites, I felt like it took forever to change consistency! Once the double cream had a thicker consistency, it was added to the mixture, folded in, then the now-frothy-egg-whites was added.
I then got a container and used up a third of the mixture to line the bottom. Sponge finger biscuits were then dipped in a decaffeinated coffee and Marsala wine mixture (I was supposed to use espresso but didn't have any, so used what I found!) and laid them on top of the mixture. This was repeated a second time with the last third of the mixture on the top. It was then left in the fridge for 24 hours.
I then covered the top with cocoa powder and a heavy layer of grated dark chocolate! My sister and I then had a serving each and it was yummy! However, after my second serving (a few hours later), I have made a mental note to make a few adjustments the next time I make it. I noticed that it was a tad too slimy, and I am thinking that I should use less double cream, or make sure it is properly whipped. Also, I originally wanted to add some vanilla essence but had forgotten, so this would be included next time! To help with making it less slimy - I would use many more of the sponge fingers, and pack them in very tightly. And lastly, even though the sponge fingers were dipped in the wine mixture, I would leave them in for a much shorter time! It's a little too strong for me as I got a headache a while after eating it!...and I'm so sure it's from the wine!!
Anyway, I'm so glad I tried making Tiramisu as it is incredibly easy and would save me a lot of money!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Earworms.

I hate the name as it reminds me of a Sci-Fi film I watched as a child, where an alien puts a deadly worm into their enemy's ear, which kills them. I don't remember what film it was but I do remember that they looked a bit like Klingons, but I'm sure it wasn't a Star Trek film?...anyway, it gave me nightmares for months and has embedded itself into my memories!
However, the point of this post is to talk about Earworms, the language trainer. I recently had my last Russian lesson and suddenly had this fear of forgetting everything I'd learnt as I am currently unsure if they will continue after the New Year! I mean, I already forgot 90% of it after a week if I don't read through any of the literature! So, after speaking to a friend about it, she recommended Earworms, which is what she had used to teach herself Spanish.
I was definitely up for it and felt convinced at the fact that it taught you through music...music attaches itself to me very easily (does that make sense?) so this method seemed like the only other way I could remember a new language, as well as being taught in a classroom.
I decided to go for the App version (£6.99) of it as I am always using my phone, and thought it would be great to listen to on the way to work, therefore I would be using it every day!
I've been using it for a week now, and although I could not suppress my giggles at the start in regards to the very corny music and being told to 'sit back & relax', I am SO impressed with it!! It has totally worked and I have also been doing about 5-10 minutes worth in the evenings because it is so easy to switch on and off...no hassle whatsoever. My little sister has also been doing it with me for fun and even she has picked up a few phrases.
The phrases are split into themes (which is also how I was taught) and talks you through the generic words. This has helped with pronunciation and the thing I struggle with the most, reading Russian. I can do it, but I am extremely slow. Earworms is definitely helping me become conditioned to the fact that the Russian letter that looks like an english'n' is actually a 'p' sound...or the Russian letter that looks like a reverse 'n' is an 'l' sound...so this leads me onto a very small point about the App, I wish it had the alphabet on it! ...it would almost be perfect for beginners if it had this!
Nevertheless, this is a damn good program, and I am so tempted to get all of the other languages to play with!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent.

One of my Advent Calendar Pouch buyers recently sent me her display of them! It was so nice to see them in use and I loved how she did it! I am so over the traditional Christmas tree now! 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Glitter.

Made these new glitter notebooks a while ago but still haven't had the time to list them in my Etsy shop yet! Here is a sneak preview of the emerald via Instagram which really helps bring out the glitter!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Instagram.

I have succumbed yet again to another piece of social media - how do people keep up with it all?!! The selling point of Instagram to me was actually the photo filters, they make boring photo subjects look so much more exciting!! Here was my first and most current photo, a cupcake I received at work from a freelancer I was working with. It was absolutely delicious!...and if I can find the business card that came with it, I can let you know who made it!
instagram.com/nuvonova/

Monday, 26 November 2012

Chromeo.

I love listening to some of the random radio stations on iTunes, and came across Chromeo. I'd never heard of them before but I loved the song that was playing - 'When the night falls'...which has the funniest video too!
I then listened to some of their other songs on YouTube and loved pretty much all of them!! I can't believe I hadn't come across them much earlier on as they've been around for quite a while now!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Refreshing my website.

I've had my dot-com site for a while now and after going on it a few weeks ago,I noticed how ugly it actually looked! It looked so old fashioned and I felt it was time for a revamp! I was originally using Weebly as a starting point for my website but felt very limited with the tools I had in making my site the best I could... and also, there were a few times when I needed to go on, but the server had been down due to upgrades etc ...and as Weebly is American, the times were never convenient for me, naturally.
I then came across a UK-based site called Moonfruit. The site looked really fun, more in-line with my taste, and I liked that it was in my time zone. After browsing some of the websites made via Moonfruit and feeling pretty impressed with it all, I decided to give it a try...and here it is!
nuvonova.com
At first, it was so strange!! I felt like I was in Photoshop as I was able to position anything I wanted, anywhere! I wasn't able to do this with Weebly (at the time). It's totally flexible and I can't remember anything I wasn't able to do. There are a few things that I am currently stuck on but I think it's a case of just figuring it out myself, but overall I found it much more user-friendly. I also have my own little direct shop!  I think you would agree that the new site looks much better?!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa.

I have recently come to realise that I have too many shoes...too many that I don't wear! I am in the midst of clearing them out and will be selling them via my ASOS Marketplace store at some point. Anyway, it hasn't stopped me buying more (the money I make from selling my old ones will hopefully fund my newer ones!)...and when I spotted the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa shoes on Sale on ASOS.COM, I had to get them! I have wanted the Skyscraper III and Lady Dragon VII Globe shoes for over a year now but the price never justified my use for them. I actually bought them both to try on and keep the one I liked the most, but I loved them both! I have already worn the Lady Dragon ones and they are pretty comfortable - probably more comfortable for people who wear heals more often, but I coped fine in them. They are really light because of the use of rubber and smell like bubblegum! I have now also just spotted some new ones on the site - Lady Dragon IX! So cute!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dragon Age Origins.

Back in September, my boyfriend got me a couple of 'must-play' games for my brand spanking new PC... and I've only just managed to start playing them!
He suggested I start with Dragon Age because 'it will take me forever to complete' ...and so I have! He knew and I knew, that it would also take forever for me to 'design' my character, but I had so much fun doing it! The options are the most detailed ones I have ever come across so far... I could change the width and depth of her cheekbones, the size of her nose, the spacing of her eyes, the fullness of her lips, her hair style, her eyebrow colour, her lip colour, the size and placement of her ears....there was so much!!! 
As I've had very long hair for a very long time, and with a secret desire to shave it all off...I decided to project this onto my character, especially as I also didn't like any of the hairstyle options. In contrast, I have given her dark, Gothic make up. I think she looks pretty good!! The only other thing though is that I wish you could change the body as much as you could with the face and jewellery would have been great too, such as piercings...I think I would have made her look like Hellraiser if this was the case. Nevertheless, the customising options are vast and I am just being picky now!
When it comes to picking a character class, I will always go for the one with magic, preferably dark magic such as a Necromancer type class but overall, just anything with magic! I have often found myself becoming bored if I am playing a warrior class and furiously hitting things with a sword or an axe. As a mage, I can cast shields, heal myself and other people, attack with different elements, poison the enemy, drain their energy...there is just so much to do!!!! So here I am, a bald, female mage. I haven't gotten very far into the game yet, I am still doing small quests within the starting place, but it's very in depth and you do need patience and time to really be able to get into the game. Hopefully I will have much more exciting looking screenshots to show the next time I blog about it!!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Teapigs.

I absolutely love a good English Breakfast tea with 1.5 teaspoons of sugar and milk, but since I started Muay Thai, and being told/reading somewhere that it doesn't matter how much you exercise, if you're not eating properly, then nothing is going to change!...so, I decided to become a bit more aware of what I was putting into my body. However, I don't believe in depriving yourself of things you enjoy so I haven't exactly stopped eating things I know are unhealthy, but instead I have added healthy things to my diet instead. I started with introducing my taste buds to Green Tea! I know, not the biggest step (especially for someone who dislikes salad), but I drink a lot of tea so thought it would be better to balance my tea drinking with another, healthier type of tea. I first came across the Teapigs brand when I ordered some Green Tea in Suda (I think), only because it helps me digest faster, therefore I have enough space left to get onto dessert ha! It was really nice and the Teapigs label was conveniently still hanging off the teabag so I made a mental note to remember to see what else they had. 
A few days later, I ordered a pack of Mao Feng Green Tea from Amazon and thoroughly enjoyed it, and found I was having it much more often than my normal tea. I don't know why I didn't do it in the first place but decided to go onto the main Teapigs site to browse their products. It's a lovely little site with other things besides tea to buy. I got a box of Jasmine Pearls which is delicious and I was so happy to see that they also offered a mix 'n' match option across all (21) their flavours for a great price (for 12)! My boyfriend also likes green tea so I purchased a little gift set for him (and me!) to try as a top-up Christmas present! I can't wait to try the Chocolate Flake flavour!!
I also came across Matcha Green Tea which is basically the super-duper version of green tea...apparently one cup is equivalent to 15 cups of normal green tea! I haven't tried it yet so will review it as soon as I do....
Lastly, from a design point of view, I absolutely love the Teapigs branding, it was definitely one of the influencing factors that made me purchase from them as there are tons of traditional green tea brands out there, but Teapigs seems like the only fun and quirky one! The tea 'temples' are also such a high quality in an organza-esque bag and 'hand-rolled tea tips'.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Россия...

...means Russia in Russian! I have started Russian lessons and it is so much fun!! I've always wanted to learn it, as well as Mandarin, Spanish, Swedish, Italian and probably a few more ...but it is truly expensive to learn a language unless you purchase self-learning packages but I know that I can not be taught a language this way, I need a traditional classroom environment which luckily, my full-time occupation has made available for employees at a discounted price.

Admittedly, the first reason for wanting to learn Russian is because I have always had a fondness for the Russian Mafia in films. They always make the best villains and I find them most memorable and effective! To name a few - Eastern Promises (highly recommend!), Nikita (TV Series), Bad Boys, James Bond and Batman. It would just be incredible to understand them and would make my viewing experience much more enjoyable! Besides that, the language itself is of course beautiful and I wanted to learn something that was completely alien to me...i.e. not French or German. The alphabet is a little tricky and some words are so hard to pronounce/remember but I am so eager to learn!! I will give an update on how I am doing at a later date!!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Distant Worlds - Final Fantasy - 25th Anniversary.

The Distant Worlds 25th Anniversary event, as expected, was great! The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were amazing and like the last time I came to Distant Worlds concert, wished I had stuck with playing the cello as a child! I also see this as a great way to get a child interested in learning an instrument, associate it with something they like!! Admittedly, I preferred the songs played the last time I came, as did my boyfriend, but it was still a lovely evening and I had also brought my little sister along who really enjoyed it!
Susan Calloway blew me away, she has one of the best voices I've ever heard in my life! One true highlight of the evening though was when they played One-Winged Angel which is one of the most popular Final Fantasy songs, but this time they wanted the audience to sing-a-long! This was hilarious and a complete fail - not the Orchestra/Choir, but the audience! The song is too difficult and it doesn't help with it being in Latin!...but I was in tears throughout the whole song because there was a guy sat behind me who was truly doing his best to sing the song (which I have to say is all sung with a very high note) and I could hear the pain he was causing his throat! I'm sure he knew I was laughing at him (but everyone is so nice!) and sitting next to my sister who could also hear him did not help the matter! We were still giggling two songs after it! 
The Distant Worlds concerts are always such a delight to attend and hopefully in the future I will attend the ones that aren't just in London!!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

MCM Expo Comic-Con October 2012

After attending Destination Star Trek London and left feeling quite disappointed, I COULD NOT wait for MCM Expo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although I had a cold, I still made myself go and thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hours I was there for. Here are some of my favourite costumes of the day including Gangnam-style Sonic, Game of Thrones, Hell-Girl and some great Final Fantasy ones!
There were many new things at this event for me to see and I was impressed that they are clearly continuing to surprise visitors each time! I loved these little anime booths for you chill out and watch some anime!! This is such a great and simple idea that I hadn't spotted previously especially if you're there for the entire day and need a couple of breaks! There were also a lot of places to test out some of the newer games and it didn't feel as busy as it previously did because they had clearly provided much more choice and a rearrangement of the areas really helped making navigating throughout the floor very easily and stress free! Of course, some of the high profile games such as Assassin's Creed did have a queue but they were orderly and didn't get in my way! I spotted someone playing the new Dragonball Z game which looked brilliant!
Another new part of the event was food!!! I never noticed that this was missing because there were many food shops a short distance from the main venue, but now that it's here, I hope it will stay! Who wants a burger when you can get this! There were several Asian food stalls but 'Poko Poko' looked the yummiest! There were easy stir fried noodles and prawn tempura. The queue was really long but well worth the wait!!! There was also a large eating/general hang out area which was a great idea as my mother had pointed out the last time that there was hardly anywhere to sit unless you wanted to go and listen to a talk, just for the sake of sitting down. There was also a mini stage next to this with entertainment. Everything seemed so relaxed and everyone around me looked like they were having a great time.
 I can't remember the name of this company but they were serving Kakigori (japanese shaved ice with syrup) and it looked delicious. I went for the Prawn Tempura (above) at the time as I wanted a proper meal rather than dessert but I'm sure if I had stayed for longer, I would have come back to this stall!
Then I came across the Wagashi Japanese Bakery which had one of my favourite things, Dorayaki (pancakes with a filling)! I was really happy to see them doing so well and we bought about 10 to share (sister and mother). We went back to buy more to take home with us but they had sold out of a lot of the flavours we wanted which was a shame but I hope to see them again in May 2013!
There was also A LOT of sweets to buy! Overall, so much to see and do at MCM Expo, I know I can always rely on a great day out whenever I go!! Even when I am ill!!