everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

London colours

This is the last short post from London – just wanted to include some of the more colourful photos that I snapped as we wandered around.

Tights for sale at Notting Hill. Legs not for sale.

Notting Hill houses – some look like the result of a neighbourhood dare.

An old guy was out on the balcony of the bottom floor apartment here – love that he has brightened up the bland council housing with an amazing garden.

Van? What van? There’s nothing parked here, officer.

Wen-Bao, you are a peculiar looking baby, being sold by the mean book man at the Portobello Market.

And to finish, the world-famous EverydaySparks photo of bumble bees in Holland Park. Well, someone contacted me to ask if they could post it on the Holland Park Facebook page – technically, that makes it world-famous!

Buzzing around in Holland Park.

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Choccywoccydoodah

No, I’m not jet-lagged. Choccywoccydoodah is the name of a very cool chocolate and cake shop in the UK and we visited its London store for afternoon tea. If you can imagine Willy Wonka and the Cake Boss joining forces and then increasing their over the top-ness by the power of 10, you’ve pretty much got the idea. It’s a bit crazy.

Here are some of the cakes that were on display. Yep, they’re all cakes.

And then there was the upstairs cafe, with another giant cake on display (the rose one in this picture) along with a huge range of amazing-looking cakes on sale by the slice. Pretty much enough to induce a sugar coma just by looking at them. Most of the cakes were made of several layers, with a whole heap of marshmallows or sweets on top for good measure.

Like this one. It was a chocolate, gingerbread, coconut cake. But you can’t really see it, because the huge slice appeared on a plate under chocolate drizzle and ice cream. We also ordered a chocolate flapjack, in case one piece of cake wasn’t enough. We hadn’t realised the one piece of cake would be as big as my head.

Needless to say, we rolled out of the shop after eating as much as we could. Which really wasn’t all that much.

You can have a look at the amazing work of Choccywoccydoodah here. And just a tip – if you’re going for cake, don’t have breakfast, lunch or dinner that day.

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Things wot I saw in London

Here are some more pics from London – this time, less of the touristy postcards & more of the EverydaySparks.

Firstly, Wimpy Bar. I thought the name was funny and there was a certain sense of irony that the wimpy bar had closed. Then a man sidled up to me while I was taking the photo and said that the Wimpy Bar used to be the McDonald’s of London, back in the day. (The day before McDonald’s, presumably.) He said there were still a few Wimpy Bars around the UK,  but most had closed as they couldn’t keep up with the bigger burger chains. I nodded and smiled at him, because in my experience it’s a fine line between a helpful stranger and a crazed lunatic. He must have sensed my disbelief as he grabbed his jumper where there was some sort of logo and said, “I’m a tourist guide with [somewhere]”. Oh, alrighty then, must be true – thanks Wimpy trivia man.

And here’s a great – if a little slow – way for your wedding party to get around London. The driver appeared to be a little underwhelmed by the festivities, but am sure he perked up when the tipsy guests started singing Land of Hope and Glory on their way home from the reception…

It was actually Fashion Week in London and we passed quite a few wacky looking outfits, but I’m not sure if they were fashionistas or just crazy loons. I think this lady with her incredibly bright pink hair was just a London local going about her business on a sunny day. You go, girl.

And just a tip – if you’re going to St Paul’s Cathedral, pay heed to the signs that warn you about the climb to the viewing spots. Even though I didn’t wear my trusty running shoes The Pinkies, I thought I’d be fine to climb up the stairs to reach the top…but it was hard going and we decided that 2/3 of the way to the top would be fine for this visit. Here’s a photo of the view from there – feel free to use it to show your friends and relatives to save yourself the climb.

And finally, if you’re in London and you see these machines, don’t believe them – they’re quite misleading.

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Allo allo allo

Short and sweet – here are some photos of our day walking around London. My feet tell me that we walked around a lot of London, but it was such a lovely day that it seemed a shame to spend it underground. Here’s the next instalment of my London travel diary – promise there are no more of that scary Mary, Queen of Scots.

Part of Buckingham Palace. (I think.)

Near St James Park. (I think.)

Something something building.

Big Ben. Sure about that one.

Nice day, thanks London.

Lots of people about. Lots and lots.

Everyone dressed up for the Olympics.

Guess it was an olympic sport – ping pong tables were all over town. Even the hipsters were at it.

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Confession: I love Eurovision.

If you have read this blog before, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I love the annual Eurovision song contest. That’s right, let me say it again – loud and proud: I LOVE EUROVISION! It’s not cool, I know, but I have been a fan since I first saw it and couldn’t quite work out whether it was real. It is real. And it is spectacular.

When you’re all the way on the other side of the world here in Australia, it can be tough to keep up with current European trends – you know, fashion, music, makeup, design etc. And if you watched the Eurovision song contest, I think it’s safe to say that you would form a very strange impression of many of our European cousins, indeed. With costumes and performers and music that often seem like they’re from another planet, nevermind another continent, the contest brings together many countries from Europe to share their particular sort of ‘special’ with the world. And whether they’re singing in their native tongue or in that kooky language of English, it’s often tricky to work out what they’re singing. Which is usually for the best. But the common language is cheesy ballads or techno dance beats, daring costumes, big hair and big smiles.

This year, the 57th annual Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Baku, in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. It’s the home country of last year’s winners – Eldar & Nigar (or Ell & Nikki, as they were rebadged), who won the contest with their captivating duet, “Running Scared”. It featured a lot of arm-waving dancers in white. But that was last year – this year in Baku, the theme is Light Your Fire and the two semi-final shows are on this week, with the grand final on Saturday 26 May. There are 43 countries on display this week in the Baku Crystal Hall and I strongly suggest you check out the Eurovision website to share the magic. There are plenty of photos and videos. But in the meantime, here are some of my highlights:

The lady representing Greece is singing a song called Aphrodisiac. I definitely hear her rhyme it with ‘maniac’, but I’m not sure what else.

These two chaps are representing Austria. They are rappers and call themselves Trackshittaz. Judging by their press photo, they are big with the laydeez of Austria. It is interesting to listen to rap in another language. Sounds kinda like a lot of angry swearing.

Then there is this lady representing Albania. She has a very powerful voice and a bird’s nest full of dreadlocks on her head. A force to be reckoned with.

Oh, and guess who’s representing the UK? 78 year old Engelbert Humperdinck. Uh huh.

Now, this is coming close to my favourite. It’s the entry from San Marino. And I’m not proud to say that I had to look that up to find out that it is also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, located on the Italian peninsula, east of the Apennine Mountains. The population is just over 30,000 and I’m not sure what life is like in San Marino – but their entry in Eurovision is this young lady singing The Social Network Song. And in a rehearsal that I saw, she was using her laptop as a prop on stage.

Not to be outshone, Moldova’s entry looks a little like Colin Farrell.

And then there’s the Romanian entry. Their press photo gives you a pretty good idea of what they’re about. It’s an interesting number, with a foxy lady out the front of a 1980s band jumping around the stage – I think they are playing their instruments, and if so, the guy on the piano accordian should be complimented for his ability to dance around while keeping the music pumping.

For the first time, Ireland will be represented by the same act as last year – Jedward, the spikiest heads in the business. These two boys are like aliens from out of space with their crazy costumes and flammable hair-dos. They do have sweet voices, which will no doubt be tested as they cartwheel and back flip across the stage. Yes, really. I think they came 8th last year, which was a pretty good showing, so let’s hope that they can bring some joy to the Emerald Isle with a top 5 finish in Baku.

And now, the end (of this post) is near, so I’ll leave you with the intriguing entry from Georgia. Anri Jokhadze is the first male to represent Georgia in the Eurovision contest. And he’s singing his pop song, I’m a Joker. Yes, Anri, you’re a joker – I can tell by your press photo. But you’re so much more, according to the lyrics from your song, which include: I’m a joker; I’m a rocker; I’m a shocker; I’m a poker. Also, I’m a talker and straight-walker; I’m a broker, evil-blocker. Then, I’m a slaker, Trouble-breaker, Fortune-maker, Care-taker. And the song ends on a frightening note for all of the HR professionals in Georgia (and beyond): I’m just a womanizer, Let me be your supervisor. You’ve been warned.

If you’d like to find out more about this magical event, check out the official Eurovision website, which is where all of these official pics from the European Broadcasting Union were sourced. I’m excited!

Oh, and this guy is representing Slovakia. I do not know what he is singing.

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