Travel tips, food and advice for Singapore

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Returned from Singapore this morning after a painful 18 hours or so of travel, long time readers (if I even have any) may know that this is the third time I’ve been, and so not going to bother doing traditional holiday blog posts, however i’ll probably upload some pictures.

I guess i consider myself somewhat of a seasoned veteran of Singapore now, and so, for anyone interested to go, here are some tips and tricks, as well as must sees/do’s during your stay on the island.

Must do list

In no particular order, attractions you definitely have to see are..
There are of course tons of other attractions, but the ones listed below are the must do’s imo.

Gardens by the bay
The conservatories in particular are $20 SGD and air conditioned inside, I’ve been at least twice and it’s still breathtaking inside, well worth the entry price, flower dome is more traditional (and runs some limited time exhibitions) and cloud forest is just stunning.
The rest of the park is mostly free, and also stunning, the supertrees are unreal up close. Check the website as they frequently run events in the park. The marina bay sands mall food court nearby is your best bet for lunch if you want to dine on the cheap.

Light and water shows
Do them all if possible, well worth your time.
– Gardens by the bay supertree show – 7:45pm and 8:45pm , runs 15 mins, free, plenty of viewing space but come a little early to find a good spot, there is a nearby grass bit which gets filled up early but I think being in the heart of it all is more fun.
– Marina Bay Sands show (Spectra) – 8pm and 9pm, runs 15 mins, free, loads of public seating, good spots will go early but easily viewable from far. There is a walkway in front of the seating area which you can use if you get desperate but you’ll probably get sprayed by the water.
– Sentosa Wings of Time – 7:40pm and 8:40pm, runs 20 mins, 15 Sentosa Tokens. Gates open 1 hour prior, free for all seating, aim for as front and center as possible.
– Changi Jewel rain vortex – Once per hour on the XX:30, from 7 to 11, runs 5 mins, free. You’ll be at the airport at some point, so watch it while you’re there.
– Suntec City Fountain of wealth
Not a full show, but a lovely free fountain at a shopping mall, go during the day to complete ritual for good luck, and/or go at night and take the stairs to street level to stare at the water/light patterns for a while. No specific show or music, but very pretty.

Eat at the hawker centers and try all of the signature dishes
Feel free to use this as a checklist, would advise trying the relevant dishes from the stalls listed later in this post:
– Hainanese Chicken Rice – $4-7 – Simple chicken and rice, but done to perfection
– Char Kway Teow – $3-6 – Wok fried flat noodles with veg/meat
– Laksa – $3-6 – Coconut based spicy curry noodles
– Kaya Toast – $1-5 – Crispy toast with sweet coconut jam and butter
– Congee – $2-5 – Breakfast rice porridge, try eating with You Tiao
– Ice Kacang – $2-5 – Shaved ice with various toppings
– Black pepper / Chilli Crab – Self explanatory, seems rare
– Nasi Lemak – $2-5 – Coconut rice, meat, chilli and various toppings
– Satay – $0.50-$1 per stick – BBQ meat on skewer, served with peanut dip

Sentosa Island
Sentosa market themselves as the island of fun, and it’s hard to disagree. Activities are unfortunately quite expensive and 2 days on the island can easily run you $150 per person, I’d recommend looking into the Sentosa Fun Pass, we did Universal and 80 tokens which is $140.
Here are some personal island highlights
Adventure Cove – 35 tokens – Really fun few hours, plenty of slides, best lazy river i’ve been to, and includes snorkelling with fishes. Lockers are $10 you can just about cram 2 ppl’s worth of stuff in. Bring some slippers as the floor will grate your feet away quickly otherwise.
SEA Aquarium – 35 tokens – Best Aquarium I’ve been to, and i’ve seen a few.
Segway – 10-20 tokens – A fun way to use up any remaining tokens and great experience if you’ve never done it before.
Universal Studios Singapore – Great fun, though a little small, you’ll still need almost whole day for it just because of the ride queues though. Battlestar Cyclon is a really good rollercoaster.
Luge – $24-30 – Gravity based karts with multiple downhill tracks, really good fun. Use the chairlift to go back up and try a different course, they have 4.

Other Tips

All public transport can be done with the EZlink card, this includes to/from the airport ($2) , buses, all metro ($0.80-$2.30) , and the Sentosa express ($4). I’ve seen people using monzo cards to tap in/out but I think the EZlink card is safer personally. You can get it from stations.

Hotels – I recommend staying in Chinatown, the metro station has 2 of the most common lines, and it’s walking distance to both the Maxwell and Amoy hawker centers which will save you a bunch of money on breakfast/lunch. If you’re looking for a hotel I can vouch for the Bliss Hotel, but it can be quite expensive (though, that’s Singapore in general to be fair).
As an added bonus, there is a supermarket, Din Tai Fung (famous dumplings) and Daiso (Japanese actually good poundshop) in the nearby Chinatown point right by the MRT.

Money/Budget per day:
Hawkers and small businesses/cafes/food courts are often cash only.
Most restaurants and brick and mortar stores will take card, we used our monzo as often as possible and had no problems.
We exchanged $350 for 9 days and that was about right – no alcohol, but heavy food spend, and spend on souvineers.

– Hawker Centers $2 to $8 for food, you can easily get a good meal for $5 but some seafood dishes or premium dishes can be around $10. A typical noodle/rice and meat is usually $4/5/6 for S/M/Large respectively
– Drinks – $2 fruit juice in many hawker centers, $4 bubble tea at shops, special drinks max at around $7.
Alcohol seems very expensive, $10 for beer seems the common rate, even buying at a 7-Eleven isn’t much cheaper.
– Clothes – Can be cheap at bugis street market ($10-$30), relatively normal priced everywhere else

Not to sound like a little bitch but…
Vaguely plan for air-con during your sightseeing.
Singapore is hot and humid AF (lows of 28^C at night), malls are very common so be sure to make use of them every now and then to cool down – heat stroke is a very real thing, sit down and get a drink/snack every now and then to prevent yourself from literally burning out.
I would say carry water, but I hate warm water so just make sure you have some cash on you for vending machines etc. if you are out on a park or beach day.

Have some spare suitcase space for souvineers or things to bring back. It also sounds really stupid, but if you are from the UK i’d really recommend visiting a Daiso, it’s basically Japanese poundland, everything is $2 but jesus they have so much useful shit in there, it’s like a small supermarket and IKEA rolled in to one and you’ll be shocked at some of the products which just make a ton of sense but we don’t have easily available here.

Make a day of the airport
We had no idea, but the mall at Changi airport is absurd, I think you could genuinely spend a whole day at that airport – Waterfalls, nature walks, interactive exhibits (the sales rep claimed 90 mins), bars on the rooftop garden, extra exhibits/activities on the top floor, free food samples at some shops, a pokemon center, loads of dining…
We were there for maybe 2 or 3 hours and it went by so fast, not allotting more time to explore the airport is my biggest regret of the holiday.

Food Reviews

We were lucky enough to try a fair few of the Michelin bib hawker stalls during our 2019 visit, and also got to try some other popular places… Here are my recommendations.

Tian Tian Chicken Rice
$5 – Maxwell food Center
The chicken was really tender and the skin delicious, rice flavourful, add some spice and it’s easy to see why theres frequently a queue here.

A Noodle Story
$8/11/14 – Amoy Food centre
Best meal we had in Singapore maybe? Big queue as soon as it opens so get there early. Spring noodles, Wontons, pork slice, perfect boiled egg, prawn wrapped in potato, oh yeah. Order extra prawns because they are incredible. The small size is enough for most people.

Hong Kee Beef Noodle
$5? – Amoy Food centre
Bit like a pho? Amazing beef broth with beef slices and noodles. Really friendly staff. one of the few places in this hawker centre open on a sunday so I recommend fitting them in for your sunday lunch.

J2 Famous curry puff
$1.50 per – Amoy food centre
Flakey pastries filled with curry potato or a black pepper saucy chicken, holy shit so good. Must try for sure.

Din Tai Fung
$30-50 per person – Chain store
Famous dumplings, you have to try the Xiao Long Bao at least once in your life. We ordered a few carbs but they were pretty mediocre tbh, so if on a budget i’d actually advise just sticking to the dim sum stuff and then maybe having second meal after if you’re still hungry.

Monster Curry
$12~20 pp – Chain store
Didn’t expect this one to be so good tbh, gigantic plate of curry rice, big cutlet, good taste, good spice, good price point. Spice level of 2 was about right for me, I wouldnt dare go past 3 unless you’re a real spice lord.

Best Satay 7+8
$0.70 per stick – Lau Pa Sat / Satay street
There are like 8 different satay places next to each other, all harassing for your business – except 7+8, who already have all the business. Tasty, plenty of sauce, good char, if you order the prawns they are already deshelled which is nice.

328 Katong Laksa
$5 – East Singapore
Few different locations to try this one, you can find them all online.
The laksa here is really creamy and almost thick, they cut the noodles so you can just eat it with a spoon. I’m not sure if its worth the travel on its own as it was pretty far out, but if you’re in the area its definitely worth a visit.

Ramen Champion
$10-25 – Bugis+ shopping mall
We really enjoyed this place, we went in expecting a restaurant but its actually a small japanese themed food court almost, with a few different mini restaurants inside. The ramen at place right at the back was awesome, and the snow ice from the drinks/desserts counter was one of the best we’ve ever had.

Silverstone Classic

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Was lucky enough to get some free tickets to the Silverstone classic event this weekend (apparently normally £70 entry?). I can’t say i’m really into cars that much at all, but seemed like a fun day out and something a bit different so we made the drive up and spent a half day looking around.

Was really interesting, never been to anything like it before, so many car brands ive never heard of (many of which stopped making cars ages ago) and loads of old and new vehicles and strange shapes and sizes.

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

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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

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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