What you should be watching – Anime recommendations Summer 2019

posted in: Anime, Highlights, WYSBW | 0

Looking like a pretty decent season as Anime goes, and compared to last season where I was only following 4 series, I think i’ll have a lot to watch this summer.
See below for some of the better ones.

Fire Force / Enen no Shouboutai

Fire force is from the creator of soul eater, and is about a supernatural fire fighting crew – why do they need powers? because the fires are corrupted humans who have spontaneously combusted and become living infernos.
It’s a dumb premise but it has that Soul Eater charm and a very competent animation studio.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season / Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo

It’s a romantic/drama/comedy about girls in a literary club who start to wonder about sexual relations etc. A little bit dirty, but mostly endearing, and so far probably actually my favourite this season.

Vinland Saga

Vinland saga has so done a good job of world building and finally seems to be getting started at Episode 3. About a boy trapped behind enemy lines with vikings and stuff. It actually kind of reminds me of the recent God Of War – with a Kratos and Atreus situation.
Time will tell if this one will live up to expectations, but I’ve heard someone say that the manga is one of the best they’ve read.

Dr Stone

I’m actually a little apprehensive about recommending Dr Stone because i’m not convinced its going to be good, but it certainly seems to have the most hype around it this season, and many have said that the manga is really good. So far i’m enjoying it, but the characters and progression all seem a little too convenient for the main character.

In terms of plot, everyone gets turned to stone and a few thousand years pass, and some science teacher basically intends to go from caveman era to ??? using the power of science. It all plays out a bit like watching anime version of ‘Primitive technology’ from youtube

Honorable mentions:

I’m not sure I want to fully recommend these, but i’ll mention them anyway as they’ll appeal to some tastes:

Cop Craft
Like a mafia/cop tale except his partner is some sort of elf princess or something? Think supernatural cop drama and you’re almost there. First episode was good but i’ve not seen the second yet.

Hensuki
One for the pervs, seems to be a harem show but every girl has a fetish, the first episode has a girl that puts a collar on and asks to be treated like a dog – and the second episode is even more extreme. I’ll just leave it at that.

Okaa-san Online
Almost certainly going to be bad in the long run, but seems to be the best of the trash isekai shows this season. Main character goes into a game world and his mum tags along and is OP as hell.

How heavy are the dumbbells you lift?
A bunch of girls who go to the gym and lift. It’s not particularly good but I feel inspired to hit the gym every time I watch, so theres that at least. Also the opening and ending are catchy as hell.

Barcelona 2019 – Day 2 – Gothic Quarter, walkabout, Castle, Magic Fountain

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Day 2 turned out to be absolutely mental, especially compared to the rest of our group. Once again we were among the first to awake, even though we woke up around 9am, nobody else was really stirring. Cath declined to go out with us for morning exploration so off we went to find breakfast. The first place we had on list turned out to be closed or out of business so we ended up at a place nearby called Cremat 11 for some amazing breakfast, I had a fluffy batch of pancakes with crispy bacon on the side, served with caramelized banana and berries, so lush.

Pancakes with caramelised banana, berries and crispy bacon @ Cremat 11

We’d walk over to Ciutadella Park and barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triomf to meet the others, and had a nice walkaround in the sun with everyone. The fountain in the park was particularly impressive, especially with the pure blue skies as a backdrop.
The Gothic quarter was right next door and so seemed like an obvious next destination, a few of the group wanted to go to the Chocolate museum so we went inside there to have a look around. My expectations for the chocolate museum were super low, so i guess I was impressed by it all? there were lots of chocolate models and scenes, including drogon from GoT and some scenes from the smurfs, asterix, etc, it was almost like one of the comic book museums we went to in Brussels. We had a little snack/smoothie afterwards and saw the outside of the cathedral (couldn’t go in because of my slutty shoulders on show).

At this point (1:30pm ish) the others wanted to go back to the apartment and then go to the beach (again), this being our last full day we decided to split off and do some more sightseeing, each trip to and from the apartment was half an hour we didn’t feel like losing.
And so off we continued, on our own, we’d hit up the ‘Palau de la Música Catalana’, ‘Plaça de Catalunya’ and do some window shopping in some of the nearby shops to cool off (we came across some crazy hippie shop, pics below)

A few stops on the metro and a ride on Barcelona’s funicular later, we were riding up the cable car to Montjuic castle. The castle gardens and structure were interesting, with flower arrangements and old cannons still in place, but the views were really what you were paying for with that castle entrance fee – that and the breeze, being on top of the mountain the wind was super strong and actually just what you want after a hot day, we’d walk about and take in the views for an hour and a half or so before getting a cable car all to ourselves for the return journey back to the city.

Given that we arrived late on day 0 compared to everyone else (they already went to the beach on Day 0) we felt like we hadn’t seen much of it yet, so we took a bus down to check out the beachfront shops and walked out down the pier to chill on the marina, before eventually heading to the beach to meet up with the others, hoping to get dinner or similar.
We found them (or rather, Cath found us) still sunning away and playing in the water at 8pm or so, their plans were to go back to the apartment again to shower and freshen up before dinner, considering there are 7 of them – travelling for half an hour and then waiting for 7 people to get ready when there are only 2 showers? – Didn’t really feel like waiting around for 2 hours and so even though we just reunited, we split off again to continue our adventure.

Final location for the day and one of the highlights of our trip, the magic fountain situated around plaza espanya and near the museum. The fountain runs shows from 9:30 to 10:30 – we were surprised to see massive crowds already forming at 8:40 when we arrived, how big was this show going to be exactly?
Given that we hadn’t properly eaten since 10am or so, we were pretty hungry now and so went off to find dinner in the nearby converted bullring – now a shopping center, the inside was surprisingly modern and really nice looking, i wish we had more time to look around, but in a rush we just ended up grabbing some tapas in a restaurant on basement level (which was very average to be honest).
By the time dinner was finished and we got out, it was 9:50 or so and the sun had finally set, the main road towards the magic fountain had exploded into life, with lit fountains on both sides of the street, security staff and loads of people, with the big fountain at the back lit up in rotating colours in front of the museum. It was really impressive and felt surprisingly intimate and romantic despite how busy it was. We’d stick around for a while to watch before heading home, grabbing some churros and packing for our departure early next morning. Fully exhausted.

Barcelona 2019 – Day 0 + 1 – Sagrada, Monumental, Park Guell, Beach

Day 0 – Arrival

My latest travel would take me to Barcelona for 2 and a bit days, departing from gatwick on the Thursday and leaving on the sunday morning.
Our outbound flight was delayed unfortunately – I have no kind words for Vueling airlines and would honestly advise others to avoid at all costs.

Despite leaving the house around 10am, we would only arrive at our Airbnb in Barcelona at around 6pm local time, this trip has been dubbed ‘Book Club on Tour’, there are approx 9 of us in this bookclub and we meet up maybe once a month or so to mostly eat and drink, on occasion we discuss a book though this is usually something we can actually read on the day – so it’s a very serious book club as you can tell.
The first night everyone was so tired from travelling that we decided to order in – which turned out to be a disaster on multiple levels as the deliveroo guy was given the wrong phone number, and then when it eventually did turn up, it was painfully overpriced and plain awful, a selection of tapas which – I think it could probably make better myself to be honest.
We got the short straw when it came to the airbnb as well, having arrived last we effectively got the bitch room, a small windowless room with no air-conditioning and some awful single beds, sleeping over the next 3 nights would be rough, and unsurprisingly, we would turn down multiple group plans of “lets go back to the apartment and rest in our rooms”.

Day 1 – Sagrada, Monumental, Park Guell and Beach

Cordelia and I were among the first to wake up on the Friday, Cath was also awake. Eager to get out and actually see some of Barcelona aside from the apartment, we set out to find some breakfast and do some early sightseeing, the other 6 could catch up later. Tripadvisor directed us to a nice little brunch spot not too far from our apartment, called Billy Brunch, small and cosy with friendly staff, we had some amazing eggs benedict, I thought i’d order some sausages as well to get some protein in and they gave us 5 for 2.5eur which was a nice surprise.

We’d hit up the famed Sagrada Familia cathedral next as it was nearby, still not set to be completed until 2032, the Sagrada is truly a baffling architectural piece – being under construction so long that it already has an old and new side despite the whole thing itself not being finished, you can really see the differences in construction and weathering, to the point where I wonder if it’ll have 3 distinct sides/ages by the time it’s done.
I think the most exciting bit of construction finally finishing is that people will be able to photograph it without the ugly cranes

The other 6 members of book club I believe were still in the apartment at this point I believe, so rather than going back we headed to the next nearby flag on our google maps which was ‘Monumental’
I wasn’t actually sure what Monumental even was when we approached, its name isn’t particularly descriptive and from the decor outside I actually thought it was a synagogue – upon further inspection though it was an old bull ring – still holds some shows apparently, but for the most part it is now a bullfighting museum and landmark. Tickets were fairly cheap and I’m really glad Cath initiated us actually going inside because it was pretty interesting and relatively empty inside, Cath gave us a little history on bullfights (unexpected bullfighting expert?) and we walked about and took some nice pictures, the sky was so very blue in contrast with the arena, i think it made for some nice shots.

We had tickets booked for Park Guell in the afternoon, so we headed there next, I had been before and as far as my memory serves nothing much had changed, unfortunately there was a fair bit of renovation work being done to patch up mosaics, but it was still nice.

We headed back to the abnb to freshen up a little before heading out to the beach for the remainder of the afternoon and stayed until early evening, had a nice walk around the beach and watched George dig his big hole.
Eventually we headed off down the beachfront to find some Paella – and find it we did! Tasty stuff! We had some churros afterwards at a place a few doors down from our apartment – open 24hours (thank god I don’t live nearby or I would be obese)

Life – May 2019

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Fairly uneventful month…

 

Chiropractor

As I get older, I feel like my back pain is getting worse, I imagine going to the gym is both helping and contributing to the issue but who knows which side is winning out.
I colleague of mine recently went to a chiropractor and had good results so I thought I’d go and check one out myself.
https://www.surbitonchiropractic.com/ – This is the one I went with in the end, a really friendly american guy who has apparently been practising for years – the treatment and diagnosis was interesting, he says I have a disk bulge in my lower back, my right leg is slightly longer than my left, and a stiff neck.
He proceeded to knead my back like bread and try and roll my spine back in to place, and did his best agent47 neck snap on me as well – which, “Jesus Christ” actually just blurted out of my mouth while I was on the table. Never experienced a bone click like that – and regardless of the treatment efficacy, worth it for that experience alone.

I’ve not been back since, and unfortunately not seen much of an improvement – I only found out afterwards that Chiropractic is apparently a form of alternative medicine – and while i’m sure it’s more effective than homeopathy or anything involving chakras, I do think some of the logic seems flawed. Who knows, maybe it does work, but I don’t think I want to pay the extra £480 on 12x 20 min sessions to find out.

 

Eurovision

Had a little Eurovision party over at a friend’s place, which has always pretty much just been an excuse to sit around and eat/drink.
We thought we’d be exciting and make some gyoza from scratch – both vegetarian and pork versions.
Was a pretty fun little exercise, I don’t think I’ve made gyoza before so looking up some recipes online and adapting it myself was pretty fun, as well as trying our hardest to fold/crimp them properly. They came out pretty well in the end, and the gyoza meat mix works impressively well just for making mince pork patties in general.

 

Dental

Minor note – Had my first dental checkup in like 5 years which didn’t result in a filling or being told they need to amputate my mouth. Sometimes, it’s the little wins.

Keto begins

Countdown to my next short holiday in Barcelona began a few weeks ago, and I told myself I was going to burn some fat before going – my ‘eat whatever I want’ diet has been going pretty great for weight training and bulking up, I think I’ve certainly put on some muscle – however the bodytrax scales at my local gym also say that my body fat % is the highest it’s ever been as well, skirting around 18%.

So, it’s back on the keto for a month, it’s hard going, but im almost used to the lifestyle at this point, and it really is a good way to keep away from the sugar and sweets – though god is it upsetting when it’s the boss’s birthday and he brings in 48 krispy kreme donuts.

We’ve been on a mad hunt for sugar-free treats and ended up buying a bunch of sugar-free jelly, and ‘wheyhey’ ice cream which is basically carb free (all polyols).

 

 

 

Lights – Skin and earth tour 2019

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Had the pleasure of finally going to see Lights ( https://www.iamlights.com/ ) in London, I remember seeing the tickets go on sale for the last time she was in the UK but decided not to go for whatever reason (probably because I didn’t want to go alone) – wasn’t going to let that stop me this time, though to my surprise, Cordelia said she wanted to come as well despite only really listening to some of the music via my car stereo.

We got there pretty early and had to spend aaages waiting outside the venue, and then a further 2 hours or so waiting around the stage for the action to start.
The support act was a girl called Lizzy Farrall – who was lively and full of spirit, but unfortunately the audio levels were all over the shop – microphone turned up so much you couldn’t hear the lyrics, drums and guitar so loud they drown everything else out. Felt pretty bad for her honestly because she was asking us to sing along and nobody knew the lyrics (because nobody had heard of her) and even if we wanted to, we could barely understand anything she was screaming into the mic.

Finally at 9pm – ( right on time I might add, I hate when musicians make you wait for ages or don’t come out until everyone is cheering and screaming for 10 straight minutes) Lights came out and totally rocked it.
Was really an impressive show, the talent was real – I don’t even think she needed the microphone her voice was so powerful, and she was also performing while playing guitar or piano.
She played through more or less the entirety of the skin and earth album, as well as a healthy dose of songs from previous albums (Last thing on your mind, Toes, Banner, Running with the boys, up we go) and then some unexpected covers: Lovefool and Cher’s Believe – the latter of which turned the song from a dance song to a slower more powerful version and was honestly really cool to vibe to.

Life – April 2019

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Yikes! That was a crazy fast month! Practically in May now. Where did all the time go?

 

New House!

So I’ve moved out of my single room shared house place, and into a rented 2 bedroom house. A house! how exciting, I hope I get to own a house someday but jesus they are so expensive. The particular place we’re living in, I looked online and it’s probably around the £300k mark – which is a bit depressing considering how small it is. Ah well.

Price wise for us, not too bad at least? Relatively speaking? Rent is £1200 a month, which is actually the very lower end of non-shithole places in southwest london. The place came unfurnished, and as we didn’t have any furniture, it was a real stressful move in week because we literally had no bed, nothing to sit on, etc, literally all we had was kitchen stuff and a TV cabinet, I had to sleep on the floor for a good week or so, eventually after some shopping around, we hit up IKEA and basically bought everything we needed, and then I grabbed a new desk chair off amazon. The total price of all the furniture was maybe around £1300? Which isn’t toooo bad I think, considering how long they will hopefully last?

Here are some pictures! I’m basically fully moved in and comfy now.

 

New Games + The Long long weekend

So I took 2 days off either side of the double bank holiday, which lead to a delicious 8 day weekend – though, I had nothing to do!
Thankfully, with a little help from some friends and family I suddenly had a plethora of games to play, literally spoilt for choice. I had been waiting to get my hands on some of these for a while so I literally spent the whole 8 days just vegging out and gaming, to the point where my eyes started to hurt.

Sekiro – Goddamn what a game, they really doubled down on the combat portion and as a result some of the things I really enjoyed about Dark souls got pushed aside, stuff like character customization and builds, or being able to choose weapon. The counter for this at least is some of the most fun boss fights and some really satisfying combat, it’s nice to not have to worry about a stamina gauge either. At points however the game does seem to devolve into boss rush mode, which I wasn’t really a fan of, mostly because it can be easy to get stuck on them. I’m currently about 20 hours in, and almost at the end I think? With just a small handful of bosses left. I really struggled on Genichiro Ashina but surprisingly managed to breeze through a lot of the bosses after that (and by breeze I mean only dying 1-5 times)

Resident Evil 2 (2019) – Turned out to be waaaay harder than I expected – I kind of had to play through on hardcore mind you, as the normal mode doesn’t even have ink ribbon saving, which just seemed sacrilegious – I think having ink ribbons and limited saves really enhances the survival aspect of the game, as you need that fear of dying to be properly immersed in the game – dying and having to repeat 15 minutes of gameplay and exploring is much scarier than dying and reviving at a checkpoint at the start of the room.
I’ve completed Claire A and have Leon B yet to beat, Mr X stressed me out so much that I actually ended up playing Sekiro to ‘cool down’. Really enjoyed the game though and certainly recommend to anyone looking for a legit survival horror experience, I still don’t think it beats the original REmake, but it’s certainly the best one in a long time for me.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Coming into this game late, I can certainly see both sides of the arguments for and against it. Yes, it’s a really good game, the world is gigantic, the missions are fun and the stories are interesting, but the overanimation of many factors really bogs the game down and makes some things a bit tedious, there are also some really strange design choices and options missing for the player. I have no idea how far through the story I am, but i’ve just been run out of Saint Denis if that helps people who have played it. I do kind of wish there were more things to buy like in GTA5, after doing some heists and so on I’ve bought everything in the camp and have so much money I don’t really know what to do with it, it’s made a lot of activities like hunting seem a bit pointless.

 

TV

So many spoilers out there!
Avengers Endgame was awesome, and the recent episode of Game of Thrones was absolutely mad as well.
Likely going to see Detective Pikachu and John Wick 3 in the cinema next month as well.

In terms of anime this season, really slim pickings unfortunately, i’m only properly following One punch man s2 and some trash harem show (Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai), though apparently Attack on Titan is resuming now?

 

Quitting D&D for now…

I think i’ve had enough of playing D&D with my work group for now, I’ve always been a fast learner and playing D&D has made me realise that I am an incredibly impatient – like this isn’t news to me don’t worry, I already knew I was impatient but the severity only recently hit me as I sat twiddling my thumbs waiting for colleagues to choose who to attack and how. People who make me wait have always been at the top of my shitlist.
So, goodbye, Combo, the level 5 Human Barbarian
You had some good times, with your immense wealth, your 16 longswords and your disgusting damage numbers, you’ve done well, now it’s time for some retirement.

Anime Recommendations – Winter 2018/19

posted in: Anime | 0

So it’s been ages since I’ve done one of these, I don’t really have the time to go through every single shitty show nowadays, though I still do manage to watch a lot of them unfortunately.
I suppose moreso I don’t have time to blog and tell you about every single shitty show i’ve watched.

I’m pretty lazy so from now on i’ll probably just use these posts to inform what’s actually good and worth your time each season – though obviously tastes may vary.

Winter 2018/2019 Shows

So, whats good this season?

Mob Psycho 100 – 2

If you saw the original Mob Psycho you know what to expect here, there’s a little less character progression though Reigen does get a little arc of his own, the majority of the season however seems to have been building up to where it is now – where out of nowhere it’s gone balls deep with Mob and friends defending to city from a team of Esper Terrorists – there hasn’t been as many ‘oh shit’ moments as the first season yet but definitely solid.

 

Promised Neverland

Has to be seen to be understood, watch the first episode.
Best psychological / battle of wits shows I’ve seen in some time, even though the whole “we’re all 12 years old” thing is kind of unbelievable.

 

The Quintessential Quintuplets

Ok I admit, this one is pure trash, but I love it so i’m putting it here anyway. It’s a pretty generic harem show but i’ve gotten totally sucked into rooting for my favourite.
#TeamMiku

 

 

Domestic Girlfriend

Bit of a forbidden love triangle story this one, ever slept with a girl and then the next day find out that your dad has remarried and said girl is now your step-sister?
and the other girl whom you’ve fancied for ages is now also a step-sister? Awkward.

 

 

Life – Feb/Mar 2019

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I started writing this thinking I had plenty to talk about and it turns out I really don’t.

It’s kind of shocking how uneventful life has been lately, but sometimes boring is good too.

 

 

Budapest

Was great fun! Cordelia took me there as a birthday present, there wasn’t really enough there to keep us fully occupied for the 5 days or so we were there, but it was a nice change of pace to have a holiday where we can come back to the hotel and have a nap without feeling like we’re wasting the day away.

 

Another exam down

Passed my 70-740 Microsoft Exam, one of three for the Server 2016 qualification. It was pretty hard, I actually thought i was going to fail when I was mid exam, though I somehow managed to pass with 82%

 

Apex Legends

Oh my god Apex came from seemingly nowhere and has eaten maybe 100 hours of my life, I’ve never really seen the appeal of battle royale games due to my short experience playing Fortnite but this is completely different. It’s a shame i’m not very good at the game of course, maybe it’s my age catching up to me?

 

New home

I’m moving again at the end of this month, to a small 1.5 bedroom house, really looking forward to not having to share with other people, I can totally deal with cleaning up mess, but I fucking hate cleaning up after others. I’ll be sure to post some pictures after i’m moved in.

 

 

 

Budapest 2019

posted in: blog, holiday | 0

So, initially I actually wanted to try and use my phone to do a vlog or video overview of my holiday, but I don’t think I really took enough footage to do this, coupled with the fact I don’t actually have any gopros etc, didn’t shoot any of my meals, and apparently I don’t even have Sony Vegas on my computer.

So instead, have a quick summary, some pictures, and some travel tips

 

Oh, I want to add that this is the first holiday in literal years where i’ve not taken my Canon DSLR with me, all these pics were just shot on my new phone, is it super obvious? I didn’t touch them in post either, I know the phone does some weird filters and stuff also so some shots aren’t artistically mine!

 

Day 1 – Arrival, Airbnb, went for dinner and then went to sleep because I felt a bit ill

Day 2 – Walked around the park, saw Vajdahunyad Castle, did a loop around the outside of the spa, saw Heroes Square, home for a nap, Went out to catch the sunset over the danube, walked along the danube for a bit just taking in the sights, saw the Budapest eye, went to Caviar & Bull (£90 per person, most expensive meal of my life, #3 on tripadvisor)

Day 3 – Went over to the castle district, Fishermans Bastion (very cool), walked around trying to find some gardens before it started raining, went to Central Market to have a look around, was going to eat there but way too busy, went to a local hungarian place for Goulash, Went out to a huge ruin bar, there was a small food cart street nearby where we tried Langos (traditional hungarian snack) and some chimney cake

Day 4 – 6am Wakeup to go to the famous Budapest Spa (no pictures), went over to St Stephens Basilica, food at Meatology (#6 on tripadvisor) where I had an amazing pork belly burger, long walk across to the other side of budapest to see the church in a cave, dinner at a Thai place

Day 5 – Lazy morning, tasty BBQ beef sandwich at Smokey Monkeys BBQ (#11 on tripadvisor), went to the highly disappointing 3d museum (0/10 would not recommend) and then went over to see the parliament building before starting to make our way back home.

 

 

Travel tips:

  • Széchenyi Spa ‘Cabins’ are actually just a changing room that you can use to lock your stuff in, the lock seems pretty robust and so you’re probably safe, they say you need to have slippers but nobody called us out on it
  • Cash is king for smaller businesses, but larger restaurants and chain stores do all take card – the rate on ,my revolut card was actually much better than the exchange rate when we tried swapping cash.
  • Budapest is very walkable, but I do suggest grabbing some travel tickets, we used 10 in 5 days (each), the shuttle bus tickets are separate
  • Budapest is pretty affordable as long as you don’t go fine dining, most nice meals with a drink will cost less than £10 per person, if you want to go really budget you can easily do £5 per person per meal. We saw beer as cheap as £2 for a litre.
  • Whilst you can technically get lunch at Central Market, I’d recommend making a plan B as it was mental while we were there

Life – January 2019

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It’s been a busy but somewhat uneventful month, I’ve spent most of the last 2 weeks just grinding through.

Healthy Mind and Body

My new years resolution is to get a six pack, i’ve actually wanted one for as long as I can remember but it’s too difficult as I just love food too much, portion control is definitely not my strong point, particularly as i’m so good at cooking (if i do say so myself). I’ve been trying to control my calorie intake to about 1800 a day, hitting the gym 2-5 times a week and doing intermittent fasting where possible. So far there hasn’t been much change, but we have a body analyser thing at the gym, and i’ve ordered a tape measure, so hopefully i’ll start seeing some positive results soon – it’s a bit of a struggle though as work have ordered in free pizza twice in the last fortnight, and i’m a sucker for that.
I’ve also decided to push myself and go for another MCSA certification, picking up a CBTnuggets subscription which is a painful $84 a month – more than 4 times what I spend on gym. If it helps me get the cert then I guess it’s money well spent, and it does seem like a good resource, but it’s certainly not a cheap service.
I’ve been trying to claw time to do it by coming into the office early for half an hour, doing half an hour over lunchbreak, and then half an hour after work – followed by 90 minutes of gym, and then coming back home to collapse due to exhaustion – on days I need to cook dinner or go food shopping as well I want to cry.

 

Cordelia’s birthday

it was the gf’s birthday last weekend, we went to the dino golf down the road, basically an 18 hole minigolf kind of thing with luminous green water features and animatronic dinosaurs, they also play the jurassic park theme practically on loop, it was goofy, cold and pretty expensive, but good fun all the same, I won in our group, kind of made me miss playing Albatross 18.
We went to a chinese restaurant in kingston for dinner called Yimchai which was actually surprisingly good, there was a good authentic selection of food and the taste was pretty spot on from what I had. We’ve already booked to go again at Valentines. I got her a silver pendant with a garnet hung in the middle – her birthstone, she seemed to like it.

 

 

Other smaller things:

  • We’re going to see Dragonball Broly film tomorrow, which should be a laugh
  • Mum bought a house, going to help on the weekend.
  • Got back into Payday2, great game, so much content, I just wish I had people to play with as the randoms can be a bit trash.
  • Had to get my tyres and some bulbs changed for my cars MOT, £250ish in total, painful, but then I spoke to a friend who said that a single tire cost him £100 and considering I had all 4 done, I guess I got off lucky due to my car.

 

My GOTY 2018

There was simultaneously too much to play this year, and not really enough.
Whilst I didn’t play a lot of the new games this year, for the most part I just didn’t want to, outside of a few (RDR2, Donut County, Tetris Effect)
Thanks to my brother I did at least manage to play a lot of the large PS4 releases, however on PC i spent most of the year just playing older games and wrestling with my backlog, whilst trying to play all of the humble monthly games.

 

So, here are my personal top 5 picks of the year – You can see a list of games I would have liked to try, but didn’t get to below, as well as games which I did play but didn’t make the list.

 

 

5. God of War 2018 (PS4)

God of War was just an all around good game, I don’t really think it did anything too special but what was there was all well refined and good.
I think it won a soundtrack award, but i’ll be honest I don’t remember anything about that, however I do remember smashing a lot of undead face, and the incredible first boss fight. GoW was also much more of a story driven game than previous titles (from what I remember anyway), which some people will find offputting but I kind of enjoyed the downtime between fights.

 

 

4. Yakuza 6 (PS4)

The Yakuza series in general will unfortunately go unrecognized again this year, but Yakuza 6 was a surprisingly good game. The story is one of the better ones in my opinion, and the new characters introduced are all interesting and quirky in their own ways. The switch to the new engine breathes new life into the series, helping to reduce downtime and allow you to explore with more freedom without worrying about being bogged down with load screens, as well as speed up fighting random thugs on the street as you can transition from exploring to face smashing seemlessly, with only a brief pause to transition out. The minigames are good fun this time round also, with an RTS squad battle one, a fishing minigame which plays like a sega lightgun game, a baseball simulator, and others which i haven’t the space to talk about (the camgirl chatroom minigame is fantastic though).

 

3. Return of the Obra Dinn (PC)

Obra Dinn is unlike anything you’ve ever played or seen before – The art style is obviously the most common thing you’ll see or read about this game, but the gameplay is the real treat here. For those unaware (I wasn’t), Obra dinn is a puzzle detective game, where you basically travel through time and see 3d pictures of each person’s final moments, over the course of the game you then have to piece together what happened to them, and who everyone in the scene is – this may be by something obvious, a crewmate saying “Jack, watch out!” for example may easily slap a name on them, but for the most part, the game really makes you work for it.
Obra dinn runs at about 8-10 hours and is truly a unique ride, you need to check this out.

 

 

2. Celeste (Multi)

I bought Celeste on a whim after being bored one day and seeing the game on sale, and i’m so glad that I did.
The main story is a decent length for this sort of game, and is a brilliant blend of challenge and new mechanics, without messing with the core mechanics of your character – the game will pass you through chapters, introduce a mechanic and then pull and replace it with a different one to keep things fresh. I enjoyed the story and thought there was a surprising amount of character development considering the amount of text in the game could probably fit on a single A4 paper.
The soundtrack is also really memorable, and does that thing where the music subtly changes over time based on your progress, I love that shit.
If you go into the game blind, you will be shocked at the additional content, the game and challenge just keeps going for hours after you’ve completed the main campaign, after the 175 strawberries to the B-Side Challenge levels you’re looking at maybe 20-30 hours of solid platforming satisfaction.
Be warned that the game is brutally hard (i’m at 6000 deaths and counting), but the achievement of clearing a hard room is on par with reaching a bonfire in Dark Souls or winning a fight with magic pixel health.

 

1. Monster Hunter World (PC)

It would be hard to not give first place to Monster Hunter World, which I personally spent around 200 hours with during the month of it’s PC release.
I’ve never really understood or gotten into the previous monster hunter games, but the latest entry with it’s lush graphics and quality of life improvements really sucked me in. I spent a good amount of time playing the game on my own but by far the standout experience was playing as a full group of 4 and experiencing the content fresh for the first time without using guides, without worrying about builds or tier lists, just pure “how do we kill it, and how do we not get killed by it”. MHW was genuinely the most multiplayer fun I’ve had in a long time – the horror of seeing Diablos explode out of the desert, making fun of the commander’s voice, and trying not to get carpet bombed by blazblue, are all moments i’ll remember for a long time.

 

 

Didn’t play list:

AC Odyssey, Gris, Obra Dinn,into the breach, Hitman 2, A way out, Red Dead 2, The messenger, Forza horizon 4, Tetris Effect, Guacamelee 2, Octopath Traveler, Frost punk, CrossCode, Wandersong, Iconoclasts, COD blops4, Overcooked 2, Far Cry 5, La-Mulana 2, Pokemon Lets go, Battletech, Shadow of the tomb raider, Detroit Become Human, Battlefield 5, Fallout 76, Donut County,

 

Didn’t make list:

Smash Ultimate, Deltarune, DJmax Respect, Florence, Spiderman, Dead Cells, Subnautica, Lethal League Blaze

 

Life – December 2018

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And so 2018 comes to a close.
This year was fairly uneventful as they go, aside from the 3 holidays

 

Christmas!

Christmas was a little weird this year, as my parents sold the family house and are a bit all over the place right now, I woke up on christmas day alone in my room – unsure whether or not I should open the few presents I had, or bring them to my mum’s place or leave them or what.
I ended up opening up – I got a really nice superdry rucksack, a superdry tshirt, Codenames pictures (boardgame), a steam gift card, a mug, a Yakuza series tshirt, a comic book by hiimdaisy, a bunch of cash (because buying presents is hard), some chocs/biscuits, a glass chopping board which looks like a chipset, and some socks.

We went to my mums sister’s place this year, and had a lovely dinner, followed by some gambling (went from £2 to £7, yay) and jackbox, Hailey was being a bit of a diva this year and got into a strop because nobody was paying enough attention to her, and someone thought it would be a good idea to buy them instruments (harmonica, keyboard and a recorder) so my ears were ringing by the end of the night just because of all of the noise.
Boxing day morning me and brother just hung out, we were trying to find something to play, try doing a bit of Resi6 and promptly ended up buying Lethal League Blaze instead, which we blasted for a few hours. The eve was spent at an Aunt on my dads side, and was mostly uneventful, my cousin recently bought Jackbox 5 so we went through and played all of the games in that, some of them were really good but we didn’t really have enough people for it to be a party.

 

Ham house Christmas walk

Cordelia booked us on a ghost tour of Ham House – it was mostly uneventful unfortunately, though the interior was nice. I wasn’t really expecting much, but it was purely a ghost story kind of walk, rather than a haunted house kind of experience. I remmeber going to a ghost walk a long time ago as a kid and they had actors burst out of coffins and all sorts, but the Ham House ghost tour was just “sometimes you can hear this….” followed by everyone going silent, and nothing happening. Bit disappointing, especially given the high price of admission (£25 pp)

 

 

Book Club Christmas Dinner

‘Book club’ threw a Christmas dinner on the weekend before Xmas, it was all surprisingly organised, with teams for mains, dessert, drinks and decor – I was on the mains team, but the host ended up preparing basically everything so my only real role was to deal with the turkey – which was almost a disaster, the turkey I bought and had been defrosting for 2-3 days was still part frozen, so we ended up having to source a replacement. I was taught how to rub butter underneath the skin of the turkey, which was a very odd sensation, literally crawling in it’s skin – all turned out to be good in the end though, however it was much harder and more tiring to carve than I expected.

 

 

Brussels 2018 – Day 2 + 3 – Atomium, Little Europe, Christmas Markets, Comics!

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Day 2

 

Day 2 would have us head away from the city in search of the gigantic Atomium – the Atomium is probably the only actual attraction which I had seen before and was aware of that was in Brussels, however after taking the tram over, I was still unprepared for the sheer size of this thing. Pictures make it look big but honestly when you are travelling towards it, you can really see it tower in the distance, especially as that portion of Belgium lacks many tall buildings, making it look even more surreal.
We opted not to go inside, even though you can, there are some exhibits and such inside but the entry fee seemed a little steep for what we believed to be inside, similarly I’m not convinced that Belgium has a city skyline to die for and so the observation tower at the top probably wouldn’t have been worth it either (I suppose everywhere is small beans now anyway since visiting the Burj in Dubai).

We did however take a trip next door to Little Europe, basically a small representation of all of the major landmarks in Europe – however after journeying through the choice of what was and wasn’t present seemed a bit odd, for example, for the UK they had a P&O Ferry labelled ‘Pride of Dover’, yet didn’t fancy putting in Stonehenge, London Eye, Tower of London, or even Buckingham palace? I feel like I’ve seen a lot of Europe and yet still didn’t recognise half of the buildings on show. Still, it was an easy way to kill an hour or two and gave us some food for thought on future holidays.

We’d catch the metro back into the city and end up walking around for a bit looking for lunch, eventually ending up in a coffee shop for a bagel and drink.
Our next stop was the Comic Book Museum – Belgium is (apparently) famous for it’s comics, and has a large culture around them, with muiltiple museums and street murals dedicated to comics. The comic book museum was interesting but also a little alien to us as majority of the strips were in french – we did discover a love for Boerke however – a belgian comic which doesn’t have text and so perfect for foreigners like us. Here’s an example of the kind of tone majority of the strips are – https://meng.s-ul.eu/PiIjMOWN

We’d spend the remainder of the day walking around and just taking in the sights, by chance following a string of small christmas markets and signposts, we came across the main christmas market – we were actually kind of disappoiinted in how small the christmas market seemed to be – having only seen the one at Beurs around the museum, but it turns out that was just a small one, this second Christmas market went on for ages.

Eventual dinner at Mozart, which specialises in bottomless ribs, highly recommended, for 18eur you get eat as much as you like ribs coated in a sweet bbq sauce and accompanied by veg and jacket potato

 

~~~

Day 3

 

We didn’t really know what to do on our final day in Brussels, we had already done all of the A-list attractions, and majority of the B-List attractions we were interested in.
We had to check out by 11am which was a bit of a pain as our train was at 7pm – for anyone else who runs into a similar situation, you can store luggage at Brussels Gare du Nord for 5eur all day.

Cordelia decided to take us to the MOOF Museum, or Museum of Original Figures – basically models and figures from comic books and some stuff from graphical novels and manga, it was short but interesting, I didn’t think it was worth the money personally however.

Belgian meatballs are apparently a thing? Or one restaurant wants to make it a thing at least, we had one for lunch – literally just one huge one in a small pan of sauce and accompanied by chips, it was pretty good to be fair, the sauce made from a cherry beer (though there were other options).

I’ll be honest not much else really happened for the rest of the day, we went to Poechenkelder on recommendation of a friend, which was a small quirky bar near the Mannekin Pis – who had a wardrobe change over night it seems. Cordelia got to try Kwak Beer which was recommended to her, and it came in a really weird glass which was almost like a round bottom flask – it needed its own wooden apparatus to prevent it from falling over. We had waffles, we saw the pissing dog, and walked around the Christmas market some more before eventually heading back to the station to go home.

Brussels 2018 – Day 0 + 1 – 3 laps round the city centre

Day 0

We arrived later than expected on the monday, by the time we actually arrived in Brussels and caught the tram to our Airbnb, it was going into 7:30-8:00 in the evening, initially we were planning to drop our bags and then head back into the city for food and exploration but we were way too tired for that. Instead we ended up just chilling in the airbnb, and grabbing food from a local grill shop – to Cordelia’s surprise, she ordered a kebab sandwich thing and then shovelled a portion of chips into the roll as well, I grabbed a kebab meat platter thing with salad and chips, pretty unhealthy but tasted damn good.
The airbnb itself was well sized, though we think the host is leeching wifi from somewhere else, as the signal was atrocious, I was hardly able to connect and Cordelia couldn’t get wifi at all.

~~~

Day 1

An early start for us, considering we went to bed at like 9pm with not much to do, we popped out to the local supermarket to stock up on drinks and get breakfast for the next few days, before heading out to the central Brussels.

The city was fully christmas’d up, with plenty of decorations and lights around the street and shopfronts, as expected all around central brussels were waffle shops, loaded waffles lining the window frame and topped with fruit, chocolate and cream. Chocolate shops were in equal abundance, we went into a few just to grab some samples – can confirm, pretty damn good chocolate.

We spent the majority of the first day doing all of the A-list Brussels attractions, hitting up Grand Place and taking in the views of the buildings lined with gold, the town hall, Notre Dame du Sablon and St Michael’s cathedral were all also equally grand and impressive though obviously only so much I can say about them.
We accidentally stumbled upon the mannekin Pis, which is (rather worryingly) Brussels main attraction? A statue of a small boy taking a piss, he was naked during our visit – for those unaware, Brussels has an unhealthy obsession with statues that piss – along with the Mannekin Pis, they have Jeanekke pis (a girl doing a squat piss) and one of a dog taking a piss on a pole as well.

We also spent a good hour or so in the Delirium Cafe, previously held a guiness record for most beer on offer in a bar, it has since lost it but still serves some 200 different drinks, including 3 types of ‘Delirium’ beer, all of which sit around the 8.5% to 9.5% range.  The Bar we went to was only one of many, they are all kind of down an alley together, and I think all the bars have the same owner so it’s literally just a dead end alley filled with bars on both sides. The decor was pretty interesting, with ceiling filled by beer trays, even all of the lighting was provided by beer lamps.

Dinner at a small place called Baogo, which served burgers but on chinese bao buns, I had a pulled pork one with coleslaw and it was pretty damn good.
On the way back towards the station and christmas market we stumbled into a light show happening in Grand Place – music playing and the entire square lit up in a variety of colours, the size of the crowd was insanity. We’d wander around one of the Christmas markets (Beurs) for a bit before heading home, exhausted from a full day of walking around the city.

 

10 Years since Warwick University

posted in: blog, Uni stuff | 0

Just came back from our big 10 year anniversary reunion meetup, we rented a house on the border of Wales and England for the weekend and went to reminisce about easier times, drink lots and just try and forget how old we’ve become.

It was really good fun and so nice to see everyone again, getting the entire group together, at times it really did feel like nothing had changed, everyone still split into their smaller groups, the heavy drinkers downed their drinks, the usual suspects were useless at boardgames and ring of fire as normal.
Christina and Ian did some ‘organised fun’ which actually turned out to be really good – a quiz featuring general university fact knowledge, a ‘what happened next’ round with pictures, a university era ‘name that track’ round, an elaborate lab / bakeoff setup where we had to try and recreate a university favourite cocktail from their individual components, and a round where we had to write our first opinion of someone, and then we went around and guessed who they all related to etc.

The house was nice, if a little dusty,  I do wish there were more bedrooms though, we had 13 beds and only 4 bedrooms – I narrowly missed one of the better rooms which unfortunately meant I had to go into the room with all of the noisy people. I retired early on the first night due to too much alcohol, and was promptly woken up at 5am by a combo of incredibly loud snoring courtesy of Ronak and Sonal – I actually anticipated people would snore so I had already put my earplugs in but it was genuinely a case of as soon as they fell asleep, I got woken up. After 5 minutes of thinking if I could fall asleep in that noise, I ended up having to relocate to the lounge and sleeping on a spare duvet, thankfully not as bad as you might think, but the floor was pretty hard.

On the second day we went for a hike in the forest, really hilly around that area, and it had been raining the previous day, so conditions were pretty ripe for people to slip over or get coated in mud, thankfully no major casualties, though after half an hour of walking we did decide to take a shortcut down a very steep slope which ended up in a few of the girls falling over (Liz and Annie). Later that night we played Codenames (infamous ‘sport 3’ incident courtesy of Sonal) and Murder in the Dark which was really fun but slightly ruined by Luke and Ian being too drunk and basically just trying to ruin the game for everyone else – we were basically all just stumbling around in the pitch black trying not to grope each other.

I thought i’d take this opportunity to also list some of my personal favourite memories from my university days:
– My first night drinking on the piazza with a bunch of strangers
– Sprinting full pelt through the cryfield corridors
– Corridor slip and slide (even if Jamie ruined it)
– The first time I went to Oceana in birmingham
– The outdoor slip and slide
– Waiting for Gemma in her room and her appearing in a towel and screaming
– Roaming around cryfield and going into someone’s garden, after heavy snow, with Gemma
– Playing around with Ben’s DJ setup and learning how to do a basic mix
– Playing Halo with Duncan and learning the MLG map callouts to be able to understand and play with him better
– Many nights playing Rock Band/ Guitar Hero
– The entirety of the Ibiza holiday, which I still remember vividly – from our ridiculous long walk to take the girls home, to water party, to London bar and Kate teaching Phil how to pick up girls, to getting way too drunk in the russian bar and being woken up by a european guy trying to sober me up with a glass of water.
– Ed having to ‘Wait’
– Royal Fish Bar and their battered chips
– Visiting the girls house and laughing at how ridiculous their hallway shower was
– Ronak’s house party, drinking too much and passing out in the biomed bed, waking up mid coma to see Gem half dressed
– Walking up that damn hill every morning to get to lectures
– Many nights in ‘Crash’
– playing Mao in one of the first weeks with Tim, Luke and others
– ‘Sitting in the dark and talking about our feelings’
– Going to a halloween house party dressed as an ensemble of tetris blocks
– Seeing ‘Drag me to Hell’ at the student cinema and us all pissing ourselves laughing and screaming because of how loud it was
– Frog Disection during labs
– Playing with the liquid nitrogen for my final year project
– Ronak’s bed in the tree
– Eventually heading over to Gemma for a long talk on the night I broke up with Frances, after aimlessly walking around Leamington in the cold dark. It was a shitty night, but im glad I had someone to talk to.
– My 21st birthday party,. where we somehow made an absurd mess after deciding to antique people with flour
– Standing outside the kitchen window one night, and scaring the shit out of Ian – his double take after he saw me outside in the dark is something i’ll never forget.
– The few times I heard others having sex in the house – gross but hilarious and something I suspect I won’t forget.
– Archery Club
– The random time we were invited to play Octopush in the swimming pool
– Pub Golf night
– The ridiculous room pranks, from the alien egg in Ian’s room, to ronak’s room being filled with plastic spoons, to entire rooms being relocated to common areas.
– Trying to freeze duncan’s toothbrush in a block of ice

 

 

Life – Oct 2018

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Ooops.
That awkward moment when you forget about your blog for 3 months.

God, time goes fast though huh? We’re almost towards the end of the year and I’m going to be a very old man soon.

So uh..
Whats happened in the last few months?

 

Parents have sold the house

Obviously not our choice or decision, but one which had to be made, I’m going to have to head back in a few weeks to clean up the last of my stuff so they can properly move out.
I don’t live at home anymore anyway, but mum is moving to Orpington while dad is staying in Essex.
I’ve not actually seen the new house, but it’s only a 2 bed.

 

My stuff broke

Not having great luck with tech this year, I had a hard drive suddenly die on me, then my keyboard, and my power supply did some really funky stuff as well, where it just wouldn’t turn on, and then after a few days started working as normal – I decided to RMA it anyway because it’s still in warranty, I’d rather take my chances with a new unit than keep this one which has stopped working in the past.

 

I gamed my heart out

Yikes, probably one of the main reasons why I forgot to blog post, I’ve just been so overwhelmed with games lately.
We absolutely binged Monster Hunter World for a good month, and that was some of the most fun I’ve had in years, it was great being able to play with everyone again into the early hours of the morning, and it’s been so long since I’ve played a game that I’ve actually taken time off work to get more hours in.
Unfortunately a lot of the hype has died down now and there’s only 2 of us playing (down from 6), which is a real shame as I still enjoy the game, but playing with randoms isn’t as much fun – I guess my own expectations have gone up as well and I get more annoyed with people who have no idea how to play.

Since then, I’ve also been playing the fantastic Hat in Time DLC, and more recently have started up Opus Magnum, and The Surge – both of which seem really good and will probably keep me occupied for a fair while.

Oh I guess there was also God of War which I finished, and I’ve been playing some Spiderman and Yakuza 6 on PS4 as well – all courtesy of my brother who buys too many games.

 

Other stuff

uhhh…
– I sold my Sega Saturn for a hundred something quid
– I spent 2 weeks commuting to Watford for work (emergency on-site cover)
– We had a small LAN party thing at work
– I went Axe Throwing and came 2nd place in our group of 12
– I became a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
– I went to a trampoline Park and realised how unfit I am

 

 

 

Life – July 2018

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Been a while since one of these, so long that i’m not really sure what to put in here.

Meeting old friends

Managed to catch up with some of my oldest friends, people I’ve known since secondary school / college. We unfortunately don’t really meet up as much as we should so it was a nice change. It’s mad how quickly everyone can drift apart in such a short time, similarly it seems crazy how much things can change in only a few years. We had a lovely dinner at Patty & Bun (still the best burger chain, imo) and then had a nice little romp through central london.

 

Back to studying

Been working hard towards finally getting some microsoft certifications, i’m currently aiming for an MCSA in office365, mostly because it’s the shortest path to getting qualified. After a few weeks of study I passed the 70-346 exam this week, meaning I just need to pass one more to become properly certified.
On the plus, technically by just passing one exam, you turn into a microsoft certified professional. Yay.

 

Games

Man, i’ve had hardly any time to game lately, I honestly have no idea where all my time is disappearing to, I suppose between full time work, trying to study for exams and cooking/cleaning and doing normal living stuff, doesn’t leave me much time to do what I want.
I’ve finally managed to finish off the holiday photos from my recent Taiwan and Dubai trip, so hopefully I can claw back a little more time there.
I’ve borrowed the fantastic God of War from my brother, which I wasn’t actually expecting to enjoy as much as I am, I thought it would be another overrated Dark souls lite style game but i’ve really enjoyed just exploring the world they have created. It surprisingly feels a lot like the gameplay of the recent Tomb Raider games, but with the combat mechanics more closely matching a (easy) souls game, I love that it gives itself leeway to throw Kratos to different environments as well – though saying more would be spoilers.
I’ve been really missing Rainbow6 siege but it feels like I just don’t have the time nor reflexes for it anymore, perhaps this is a sign of getting old? I feel like I just can’t be bothered to play games that frustrate me to a huge degree.
I picked up Titan Quest as my mind numbing game, something to do while listening to music to just unwind after a day at work. I totally forgot how long it is, I’m coming towards 10 hours now and i’m still at the start of Act 2, and i think there are 3 or 4 including the DLC. I’m playing a warrior with some fire enchants and am currently around the level 15-20, if anyone wants to team, let me know.

 

Gym switch

I’ve officially left the Easygym, and will be starting up at the Virgin active at the start of next month. You don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone, it used to feel like a chore but since I haven’t been able to go, I’ve been really itching to just pick some heavy shit up and put it back down again. Y’all know how it is, right?
The new gym will have a steam room and a room full of punching bags and stuff, which sounds fun. One more week to go.

Mayfield Lavender

posted in: A day in pictures, blog | 0

On the Sunday, we went to the nearby Mayfield Lavender farm, a huge field of growing lavender bushes. We wanted to go last year actually, but time restraints meant that by the time we got around to visiting, the Lavender had mostly been harvested. It was pretty busy when we went, not surprising I guess, for a hot Sunday with the sun in the sky. They forgot to charge us entry to the car park, so I spent the money on getting a small tub of Lavender ice cream instead – which, I’ve never really eaten lavender, but it somehow tastes exactly as you’d imagine.
Would definitely recommend a visit for those nearby, though those scared of, or allergic to bees should probably steer clear – we were wandering through the lavender bushes and somehow found ourselves in the middle of a really overgrown field of it, and there were bees fucking EVERYWHERE. That buzzing around your head, coupled with the thought of there being no escape, even the most direct route out was a good few minutes walking through thick lavender and involve kicking bees out of the way as you move through, I never realised I was so scared of bee’s until that point.

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