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A Monster Calls Theatre Adaptation by Sally Cookson

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“I did not come to heal her, the monster said. I came to heal you.” – A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

I am a fan of the novel by Patrick Ness as well as the movie adaptation that’s why when I found out that there will be a play based from the book, I knew I had to watch it. I’ve been putting it off for a while because I couldn’t find anyone I can watch the play with. However, two days ago, tickets went on sale! I just can’t pass up the opportunity, so, I bought a single ticket and watch it all by myself. I’m so glad I did.

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So, I went to The Old Vic, got my tickets at the box office and went inside the theatre. The first thing I noticed is the air conditioning. It was a hot day, and I’m incredibly grateful that the theatre is air conditioned. The interior of the theatre is beautiful too, taking photos are not allowed but I took a snap of the ceiling because it’s just too pretty. I was seated at the stalls row P18. I was so lucky because it was right in the middle with a decent leg room. It was perfect, until the young lady in front of me came. She is slightly taller than me with her hair tied high. Her hair obstructed my perfect view of the stage, good thing she stays still for long periods, so I had to tilt my head a certain way for long periods as well so that I can see the play. LOL. It wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed the show very much.

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Throughout the show, all I can think about is how versatile the actors were. They are the ones pulling the ropes, making sure that the ropes will look like a tree and keeping the actors safe and steady while hanging in the ceiling. The costumes and the stage props are minimalist, but it worked. It worked perfectly, it makes you focus more on the story and the emotions of the actors. If you haven’t read the book, A Monster Calls is about a thirteen year old boy Conor, his ill mom, and a monster that visits him at midnight. The concept was created by Siobhan Dowd who later died of cancer that’s why Ness wrote it instead. It’s a heart wrenching and sometimes funny depiction of how a child of thirteen views death and loss.

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I absolutely loved the theatre adaptation, its simple yet powerful. I was a sobbing mess towards the end of the show. A Monster Calls is a must-see play. The show is closing on the 25th of August, there’s still time to watch it!

Have a great day ahead!

Novel

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Trip to Paris!

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I went to Paris… I can’t even… adjjdhfshfld

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To this day, I’m still quite amazed that I have been to Paris, France. 3-4 years ago, I would have never imagined that I will travel to France for a holiday. Anyway, I had a blast in Paris.

My room mates and I have been planning to travel outside the UK for quite sometime now. Since, we are not British citizens, travelling to Europe will require a Schengen visa. After a thorough research, we decided that our first Schengen country will be France. After completing all the requirements and paying the necessary fees, we got our Schengen visa valid for a year.

We traveled by air, from Gatwick to Paris. It was a short flight, the air time was less than 2 hours. As soon as we arrived, we used the metro to travel to our hostel in Gare du Nord. Here’s a tip, to save up on fare fees, buy a 5-day Navigo pass, you can use that to travel using the metro and buses. That’s what we did, however, we were charged 3x than what we expected. We were quite annoyed by that. We arrived early in the airport and the main ticket office doesn’t open until noon, so, we had to buy our tickets on those machines you can find right about anywhere in the train stations. So, yeah, that part was quite irritating… if you are planning to go to Paris, better buy your metro pass online.

As soon as we checked in, we dropped our bags and went to our first destination: Trocadero & Eiffel tower. It was a sight to behold, we took a lot of photos like a proper tourist. The weather though… it was so hot! I can’t even smile on some photos anymore because I was already tired and sweaty. We originally planned to have a dinner in a nice restaurant, but when we lost some of our budgeted money due to the Navigo pass scam, we decided to just buy some cooked food at Carrefour and eat in our hotel to save some money. We bought a baguette and one whole roasted chicken. We slept early that night because we were exhausted. It was a good day though.

Day two, we went to Arc de Triomphe, Champ Elysees, Grand Palais, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral. Seine River, and Latin Quarter. We walked and walked and walked, my feet was aching at the end of the day…and my skin got darker by the hour. LOL. We took loads of pictures and enjoyed French food.

Day three: Disneyland Paris. Enough said. It’s the happiest day on earth, and on that day, the hottest as well. I’m pretty sure I’m three shades darker than when I arrived. Anyway, we stayed since the park opened until it closed. We waited for the fireworks, and boy, it was worth it!

Day four is our flight back to London. We had a hearty breakfast in a diner near out hostel. It was pricey but a good one, The coffee was so damn good. When we got back to London, we just had to eat rice. Four days and three nights with no rice is not good for our body and soul… We’re Asians, what do you expect? LOL.

Overall, the experience was nice. I wish it wasn’t too hot, but it’s summer, there’s nothing I can do about the weather. I loved exploring Latin Quarter the most, there’s just so many to see… the arts, buildings, restaurants, and the people. Will I come back to Paris? I might…, only because my little cousin’s birthday is coming up soon and she wants to spend it in Disneyland Paris…even though she’s been there 9x. If it isn’t for her birthday, I probably will go on other parts of France. Paris is too expensive! LOL.

 

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great weekend!

Novel

Harry Potter Studio Tour: London

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I have always been a huge Harry Potter fan, and since I came here in the UK, I knew I had to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour located in Watford. My cousin is also a fan and he’s been my enabler through the years when it comes to my HP addiction. Since he lives in the UK, he usually send me books and Harry Potter related items, whenever a new one is released. A couple of years ago, my cousin Alan and my sister went to Universal Studios in California and they looked like they had so much fun. I missed it because I was still in Saudi then and I don’t have the freedom to go out and get a US visa. Anyway, my sister bought me a Gryffindor shirt which I love, I wear it often. When I finally got a job here in the UK, my cousin arranged everything so that I can finally go to Harry Potter Studio Tour. All I had to do was show up! He had to book the tour two months in advance because apparently there are a lot of HP fans all over the world who comes to the UK for this studio tour.

A day before our trip to HP Studio Tour, I traveled to Aylesbury because that’s where my Aunt and cousins live. I stayed at my aunt’s house and spent some time with my little cousin Andrea. The following day, my cousin (Alan) picked me up at 4PM and we drove to Watford for approximately 40 minutes, maybe a bit longer… I’m not sure. Anyway, we got there early and collected our tickets. It was a gloomy day, but my cousin took great photos outside the studio.

Once we got in, the first thing I noticed is the Marauder’s Map on the wall. They looked great and I just had to have a photo. It’s a bit tricky to get a good shot because people are walking in and out of the hallway, but I have my cousin whose quite the photographer these days, so, I had a nice photo with one of the most popular quotes in the book.

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I won’t recount everything that I’ve seen in the studio tour, in case you’re going there too. Here are my favorites:

Chamber of Secrets colorful faucets

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Special effects corner


Flying car and Sirius‘ motorbike photo-op

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Butterbeer

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Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Bridge

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Forbidden Forest

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Diagon Alley

Privet Drive

Professor Dumbledore’s Office

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Hogwarts miniature towards the end of the tour

I’m sure I have left something out, but yeah, I enjoyed most of it. I didn’t even realize that we stayed there for three hours! The only thing that I find lacking in this tour are the rides… Not a single ride was available in the Harry Potter Studio Tour London. I was told that there are rides in the studio tour in Hollywood… However, the props that are displayed in the studio tour in London are the actual stuff they used in the movie as opposed to the one displayed in the US which are replicas. So yeah, my next goal is to go to the studio tour in Hollywood, and hopefully in Tokyo. I know, i’m such a geek. LOL

 

Good night muggles!

Novel

DREAMGIRLS: West End

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Hi everyone! We are still experiencing heatwave here in London, and boy, it is hot! I plan not to leave the house today and make some cold drinks at home. Yesterday, I had to go out because I didn’t want to miss the last day of the Kimchi and Chips: HALO installation at the Somerset House. I went there at around 2PM and I stayed for a few minutes, I can’t stand the heat! I would have opened my umbrella for the shade if it isn’t embarrassing! British people never use umbrellas on a sunny day, like we always do in the Philippines, haha. Come to think of it, they rarely use umbrellas if its drizzling, they only use them when its raining hard. I digress. This post is about the amazing show I watched last night.

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Kimchi and chips: Halo at the Somerset House, London

At 7PM I queued for my theatre ticket at the Savoy Theatre Box Office. There’s a lot of people but the service was quick and I was seated in no time. My seat was in the Dress Circle F8 which offers a clear view of the stage and a decent leg room. I find the theatre charming, it’s small but it wasn’t too cramped. My only issue was that it becomes warm inside the theatre during the show. They had to open the exit doors during the intermission to let the air in. Other than that, I think the Savoy Theatre is beautiful.

At 7:30, the show began. I have seen the movie version of Dreamgirls which I loved and I thought no one can top that. I was wrong. The play was brilliant! The lights, the props, and most of all the cast, were amazing. It’s my first West End theatre show, and I absolutely enjoyed it. After watching the Dreamgirls, I decided that I will watch more plays in the future.

Did I mention that I watched it for free? I got the ticket at work, I suppose it was in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS. They only offered 70 free tickets and I managed to get one. I watched the show alone but I had so much fun. There was a nice French lady in the front row who chit-chatted with me during the intermission. We marveled at the beauty of the Savoy and the amazing pipes of Effie White when she sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” I highly recommend this show, you should watch it when you find yourself in London.

Have a great day ahead!

Novel

Good and affordable action camera

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Hi everyone!!! June has been amazing so far. My cousin and I went to Harry Potter Studio tour in Watford on the 16th and I had so much fun. I’ll post some of the pictures and video later. This post is mostly about the new action camera I bought for this trip.

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I initially wanted to buy a GoPro but my budget wont allow me to get one. I searched the internet for an alternative, so, I ended up with the Apeman A80 camera. It’s surprisingly good for only 68 pounds! The packaging is nice, it comes with a box full of gears that you usually buy separately if you buy a GoPro. I had to buy a memory card and selfie stick but its still less than 100 pounds in total. It also comes with two rechargeable batteries. You can buy a charging dock for your batteries separately and its around 11-12 pounds. If you don’t want to buy one, that’s alright, you can charge the camera via USB. It usually takes 3 hours to fully charge the battery.

Here’s a link to the raw video sample: Raw.

I’m not a huge fan of the still photos due to the fish eye effect, however, its not too bad for a a camera this cheap. Here are some samples:

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I love this camera despite its flaws. I never worry if I accidentally drop it in the river Thames or lose it because it did not cost me lots of money. Also, it’s cute and tiny that it can fit in a small bag. It wont take a lot of space in your luggage if you are travelling. This camera comes highly recommended due to affordability. Quality wise, it doesn’t suck.

Thanks for dropping by!

Novel

6 months in the UK!

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I can’t believe it’s been 6 months. Time surely flies. I was walking back home after buying a bunch of pens in Poundland (I bought a dozen about two months ago, and I lost most of them) and it occurred to me that today’s the 3rd of May. Exactly six months from the day I arrived in this country. It’s been a crazy 6 months, so many things happened that I’m still recovering from the mental stress. Still, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work and live here. There are days that I still feel amazed that I’m actually walking in the streets of London, jogging in the park… those menial stuff that I have never imagined I will be able to do in this beautiful city, I can do now, and it’s just awesome.

So, if you are reading this and you are a nurse who wants to live in the UK too, my advise is, never give up. The steps to get here are not easy, you will feel discouraged some days, but keep on working hard, you’ll get here eventually. Once you’re in the UK, you still have to go through a lot to get the elusive NMC pin, just keep on praying hard and stay focused on your dream, you’ll live your dream in the end.

To all my batch mates at King’s College Hospital, Happy 6 months!

 

Spring in London

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It’s been a while guys, hello! April has been a very intense month for me. On April 1, I got a call early in the morning that our house in the Philippines was on fire. My family is safe, which is great. The house is currently on renovation. Material things can be replaced, we are still grateful that no one was harmed. Our pets are okay too.

I joined NHS Professionals¬† recently so that I can start “banking”. To get a “bank” shift means to get extra shifts. Through NHSP, you can bank at any area within your trust or other participating trust. It’s really up to you. You can choose where to bank.¬†I was told that you get paid more at NHSP and you get paid weekly. I haven’t started banking yet. I did book banks at my current unit, which wont be until the third week of May. Joining is quite simple, you just need to fill up some forms online, you will also need to visit their office personally to sign the contract. If you are interested in signing up, you can read more information¬†here.

For anyone in the Philippines who are very interested in working at King’s College Hospital, Omanfil International Manpower are conducting interviews for Medical, Endoscopy and Pediatrics posts. Don’t overthink, just send your resume! =) Check out their Facebook page here.

It’s Spring here in London, there are days that are warm and sunny, but we get wet and gloomy days a lot. Yesterday my roommates and I went out because the weather was so nice. This morning, I woke up and it was drizzling outside. I was thinking of going out this morning because I didn’t run yesterday, but this weather is making me feel lazy.

Anyway, here are some photos of our walk around the city yesterday…

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I resisted shopping because I’m broke AF. I had fun though, and the bubblewrap gelato was amazing. It’s worth it!

Have a great day ahead!

Novel

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