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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

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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

A quick trip to Oxford

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This happened last month… I was in Aylesbury at my Aunt’s house and the day was really nice. So, we made a decision to visit Oxford. All I can say is that it’s really beautiful. I’d love to go back in the summer.

 

My UK application timeline.

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Hello London! Photo by: Novel Sanchez

Hi guys!

How are you all doing? I’ve been getting good questions lately regarding my UK application experience, so, I figured I should share my application timeline:

April 12, 2017 – I left Saudi Arabia. Before leaving the country for good, I was already determined to go to the UK. I have emailed several agencies in the Philippines and I asked what are the requirements. I made sure that I have the following documents before I left KSA: Certificate of Good Standing, Police Clearance, Letter of Recommendations, and Certificate of No Objection.

May 1, 2017 – Invited for an interview with the King’s College Hospital recruitment team at Omanfil Manpower Agency in Manila. We had a calculation exam the previous day and I passed the interview on the first of May. FYI: At the time, you can only secure an interview if you have taken the UKVI/IELTS exam or you’re already booked to take the exam. I had to book my exam as soon as possible to be interviewed, haha.

May 6, 2017 – I took the UKVI exam. 13 days later, the result came out and I passed! I immediately signed up at the NMC website to book my CBT.

June 6, 2017 – I took the CBT exam in Makati and got the result in the afternoon. I luckily passed.

July 6, 2017 – It took me a while to complete all the documents needed so that I could move on to the next step in the portal. College docs, PRC docs, medical exam, my bar coded forms for my references had to be sent in Riyadh… I’m lucky I was able to finish it all in a month’s time. All my documents were received and I finally entered the queue on the 6th of July.

August 30, 2017 – I got a feedback and was asked to resubmit a document. Apparently I needed a letter of declaration from the translator. Since, I already know that I wont get it from the translator I paid in Saudi Arabia. I had to go to the National Center for Muslim Filipinos to translate my documents all over again. I paid extra cash for a declaration letter. They bled me dry guys. I had to pay though, otherwise my application will be delayed.

August 31, 2017 – I re-uploaded the scanned documents in the portal.

September 6, 2017 – I finally got a decision letter from the NMC! Yay!!!

September 8, 2017 – I had an early PDOS because I had to go for a two week vacation in La Union. Having fun while waiting for the Certificate of Sponsorship.

October 4, 2017 – COS arrived! *happy dance*

October 11, 2017 – Visa Appointment!

October 12, 2017 – Re-medical, apparently the medical exam is only valid for 3 mos… I am already broke…jk.

October 30, 2017 – PDOS 2!!! Refund guys, I got a refund for my UKVI and IOM. They gave us our tickets as well. Exciting!

November 2, 2017 – Flight to London! Yay!

November 6, 2017 – Induction at King’s College Hospital.

November 13, 2017 – My first day at Surgical Assessment Unit.

January 23, 2018 – OSCE day at the Northampton University

January 25, 2018 – OSCE passer! *cue tears of joy* I then paid my registration fee.

January 26, 2018 – UKRN! Finally got my pin from the NMC.

The entire application is not easy. It will take time, effort and a lot of money too. Don’t be discouraged though, if you really want to go to the UK, I’m sure you can endure and surpass all of this hurdles too! The process may be longer or shorter for others, it really varies. So, if you feel like sharing your UK application timeline…share away! Post it in the comment section.

At Coffee Geek and Friends. Photo by KMD

Have a great day ahead!

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