Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mid-Holidays news update

If I want to sum up my holidays I’d say that I spent a third of it playing Nintendo Wii with ‘JJ’ (Santa Christmas gift), one third eating or sleeping and another third doing various other things like watching DVD movies. I know that the Wii is probably not the coolest technology any more, since it was released more than 5 years ago, but:

1. It’s a much appreciated gift from lovely friends
2. It’s really fun competing against your boyfriend at Mario Kart (even if you do lose most of the times)!
3. There are some really enjoyable games you can play with friends at wii, although I can’t see myself dancing at Abba songs anytime soon…

The food we cooked on Sunday was simply superb. We had 3.5 kilos of slow cooked pork, grilled vegetables, two types of potatoes, quails with rice and a chocolate yule for desert! Needless to say that we didn’t manage to finish everything. There was even no point at serving the cheese platter we had also bought for the occasion. We had pork the day after and the day after that (in different variations)! I don’t think I can have pork in the foreseeable future. I’m not going to feel bad about the amounts of food consumed though.

What else we tried that day was having champagne with breakfast right after opening our Christmas presents! As an idea it didn’t sound bad, however it backfired. It gave to both of us headaches during the afternoon. JJ managed to sleep it off but I wasn’t that lucky.

What else happened last week? Oh yeah, my company’s Christmas party. That experience was… let’s say interesting. The other members of my intimate team didn’t go but I felt I had to, being the newbie of the company. I wanted to practice my social skills, have small talk with the managers etc. The place they had booked was a function room in a bar in central London. The music was very loud, mostly disco or pop and there were visual effects as well! Some food was served in bowls like fish balls, gnocchi and small pieces of turkey! I was interested to see what the food would be, because the invitation mentioned ‘bowl food’ and I had no idea what that was. Probably that’s a posh word to say ‘type of finger food’. There were unlimited amounts of beer and wine as well!

So, it didn’t take long since people got drunk and started behaving like fools on the dance floor. After a couple (or more) drinks I joined the fun and moved to the rhythm on the dance floor as well. However the situation got a bit out of hand, that is why I said that the experience was interesting. For example it was a bit weird watching a sixty five year old director jumping up and down screaming the ‘I’m the only girl in the world’ theme or another manager informing us what the ‘single ladies’ want to do, etc! Don’t get me wrong, in one hand I was very happy that they were enjoying themselves so much, but on the other it felt a bit embarrassing. Overall, the party was fun and I laughed a lot. I’m not sure if I’m going next year though unless I make sure that people I know well join me.

Other than that, on a very different subject, my Nokia N8 broke down last week. I have to admit that I wasn’t generally ecstatic about it, but it served its purpose. I believe that the N8’s hardware was really good, fashioning a very good camera, memory, screen and speed. Its operation system is a mess though and the latest promised UI upgrade was yet again delayed for some months. Nokia is now more concerned about attracting new customers with their Windows phone than releasing a previously promised upgrade.

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk with my elbows on it, when I dropped the phone I was holding. The distance was small and I had dropped it in the past again but I think that angle of the collision broke the screen. I’ve now sent it to service to see if it can be fixed, but I’m not very optimistic. The screen was functioning in a way that I could stop the alarm I had previously set, but it still remained completely black! That can’t be a good sign. That Nokia was the first smartphone I had and I was used to the extra functions. I fear I might need to replace it, although I am not going for an iphone. I was thinking of a cheaper Samsung Galaxy Ace till I can renew my contract next July. I’ve read that it is a decent phone. Do you know / own it?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!!

I hope you're having / had some really nice time with loved ones!
How was your Christmas Eve?

I've been having a great time with 'JJ'. It's our first Christmas together! The previous years we were away with family.  This year however we're together in the house we share together. We haven't planned anything too special for today. We're going to spend it here enjoying each other's company and eat lots and lots of food. To give you an idea we already have a huge pork leg in the oven! It will take more than 3 hours to be cooked. Yes, it is that big but I can't stop here. We also have quail, sides, starters, desert etc...

I have various other anecdotes to share with you but I have to help at the kitchen!
Lots of love. Merry Christmas...

Monday, 19 December 2011

Gift Ideas

This is the time to be joyful, playful and also willing to spend lots of money. Unfortunately, we can’t help it. Gifts need to be exchanged this time of the year… So, in case you haven’t done so, it’s the final days to go out there and buy them. Although I do pity you if you still have some shopping to do! Have you seen how crazy it’s out there?

Last days Christmas shopping...

Anyway, I’m here with a small post to give you a few ideas on what to buy and what not to buy (especially to me)…

The object I’d like to show you is something not many gay people have tried, for many many reasons! And that’s liquid pussy! The following picture is not very good because I didn’t want to make a scene in the Japanese restaurant. Yes, that’s my hand and I couldn’t stand still because I was laughing. Maybe this is something very common in Japan but I hadn’t seen it before and I did find it funny.

The second thing is something enjoyed in pairs in groups, but definitely not by a family. It’s something that was on the papers, the Evening Standard, a week ago. Gaybanker beat me to it and presented it as well but I couldn’t help myself. It’s presented by a website called! You can order there custom made condoms! Made for your pleasure! They come in 95 different variations / sizes. Just think of the fun you can have taking other people’s measurements!

Finally, on my walk through the shops last Sunday, I came across the following items. I do apologise for how bad the pictures are, but I really didn’t like to be seen taking them! Please, don’t you ever EVER buy me something like this! Seriously, if you want us to stay friends!
The first is either Peter Andre’s or Michael bubble’s calendar!!!

The send is Justin Bieber’s or One Direction’s action figure!

One Direction or Justin Bieber? No, thank you 

Michael or Peter? No thank you

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Road trip

As narrated at my previous posts, we had guests staying over at our place. They were here for a total of 12 days, which were more than enough to visit the most important monuments, museums and central areas of London, especially at the pace they were running around. So, we decided that it would be nice if they could travel a bit outside the Capital to see Britain’s countryside. We rented a nice cool car (Audi A1) that JJ would drive and made plans about which places to visit.

The first day we spent in Warwickshire. We drove up M40 and firstly visited the Warwick Castle. I hadn’t been there before but I was told it was nice. I found it more than that. The Castle sits on the edge of the hill next to Warwick overlooking the Avon River. It was built in the 11th century and a symbol of power for many years. Now it is run by Mme Tussaud’s and a visitor can take a glimpse of the way of life in the castle. As you can see it is beautifully preserved and the views from the tower are breath taking. I highly enjoyed the experience.

The entrance to the Castle

The views from the high tower

The cage they used to lock people

                                   Henry VIII                                                      A guard

After spending a couple of hours at the Castle we decided to visit the village. However, it was getting slightly late, the weather wasn’t very good and since it was Sunday evening the place looked a bit miserable and deserted. I think that on a bright sunny day the architecture of the village would be sufficiently portrayed and its beauty more apparent. We did pay a visit to the medieval Church of St. Mary’s that’s prominent in the village.

After Warwick we drove down to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Stratford-Upon-Avon is much bigger than Warwick. There’s a lovely big pedestrianized high street where the Shakespeare museum and house are located. When we arrived there, the museum was closed but we did take some pictures of the house and walked around the area. Unfortunately it started raining, a lot! We got drenched on the way to the car. While driving back, it seemed like buckets of water were being thrown on our windshield. Fortunately the motorway wasn’t very busy and drivers were careful. It’s so dangerous going on high speed on such conditions. We arrived home safe and sound though.

Shakespeare's house

The next day we drove to Oxford. One of the girls studied there many years ago and we had to pay a visit. The weather was good and we enjoyed walking around. I hadn’t been there either. I’ve been to Cambridge many times but not to Oxford. The latter is quite bigger and the university buildings are distributed in the City and not joined together like Cambridge.  However, the grandeur and history of the place is obvious.


On the way back from Oxford, we stopped at Windsor. It’s one of my favourite places outside London. I love the old train station and walking around the high street or towards Eton. Unfortunately, once again we arrived late and there was a drizzle. Not many people were around and the place looked a bit gloom.

My guests left yesterday! I believe they had an amazing time and I’m very happy for that. I’ll probably see them soon on my visit to my hometown, this holiday season.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Guests, the sequel

It’s been really fun having the girls over. They are the best guests ever. They’ve been really easy and they haven’t caused any troubles (knock on wood). They’ve been even helping at the household chores like washing dishes, tidying their stuff and going to the supermarket. These are things that some people take for granted but not all guest are so well behaved.

They’ve seen most of London attractions already and they’ve taken more than a 1000 pictures! I was thinking about what people did before the invention of the digital cameras! How did we cope having such a limitation of a few photos that might not even come up clean or nice? 

The other day we went to see the ‘Phantom of the Opera’. I don’t know why but I hadn’t seen it before. I do like theatre plays and I do occasionally watch musicals but I haven’t seen many Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber shows till now. Although I do appreciate that he has some talent, I tend to find him overdramatic.

For example, last year there was a TV show for girls to audition for the role of Dorothy of ‘Wizard of OZ’. It was a bit like X-Factor but the winner would get the main role on the West End show. Sir Andrew was a judge amongst other 2 people. You should have seen at least an episode! It was so tacky that it was really fun to watch! Sir Andrew was siting among the other two judges but not in the similar chairs as them! He had a throne for himself, a very tacky, over the top decorated one! The only thing missing was a tiara and a sceptre! Also, what was hilarious was the way the disqualified contestants left the stage! They took their Dorothy shoes off, gave them to Sir Andrew and said their goodbyes. Then, they would climb on a half-moon that would carry them over and out of the stage above the remaining girls! While sitting on the moon they would sing for the last time and cry their way out! So overdramatic!

Anyway, last Tuesday we went to see the ‘Phantom’! It was generally very good. The girls loved the experience. Even the girl who doesn’t know how to speak English could follow the story and enjoyed the singing and dancing! It was generally impressive how many different sets there were and how many costumes changed! Of course there were some moments I thought: ‘OK, this is going a bit too far’ but I had a really nice night out!

In general it’s been a bit tiring having guests to take out every day after work but it’s been great fun! During the weekend we’re renting a car so we’ll drive outside the city. We haven’t confirmed the destinations yet but there are many options to choose from.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Sometimes having guests can be a pain. Especially when they are being difficult, not appreciating the effort you put to make them have a great time and having a complaint about almost everything. I think most people and some point had guests like that over.

Luckily that is not the case for me now. The girls arrived as expected Friday night. I’ve known them for many years and I knew that they can be a bit peculiar about their eating or living habits. However, they’ve pleasantly surprised me.  They’ve been so happy and excited to be in London and delighted with everything. They loved my new living arrangements and the room me and JJ prepared for them. They’ve also loved JJ whom they met for the first time.

a random encounter at Tower of London

Since, I’m not working during the weekend I decided to show them around. I tried to take them to as many places as possible since I know my way around the city by now and they would benefit from having a local ‘guide’. On Saturday we started with Notting Hill and Portobellon Road Market. From there I took them to the city centre and we walked in places around Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Soho, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the pedestrian bridge of Embankment overlooking Big Ben and the London Eye.

The spice shop at Portoballo Market

On Sunday we started from London Bridge going west towards Tower Bridge, Tower Hill, St. Catherine’s Docks and then returned to Monument and St. Pauls. From there we took the tube to Holborn to walk around Covent Garden and then we headed towards Westminster to finish our walk through the South Bank Christmas Fair around BFI and National Theatre.


Charring Cross Station
All these are quite a few destinations and I have to admit that we did walk the past two days a lot! However, they’ve highly enjoyed it or this is how it looks like! I’ve tried to infuse them some of the love I have for the country and the city. I’ve told them stories of the great London fire, the notorious Henry VIII or various other little bits of history I know. London can be a fascinating city and it’s nice to be reminded of that through the eyes of a tourist.

One of the girls had never been to London before and she doesn’t generally travel abroad much. I think she’s only been to Finland once many years ago. She can’t speak any English. She simply loves the experience though. She must have taken around 400 photos during these two days only. She takes pictures of EVERYTHING! It’s quite funny! What’s even funnier are the ‘conversations’ she’s having with JJ. She can understand only some English words from movies and TV series. She is quite extravert though, so she’s trying to talk to JJ using body and sign language. They do  enjoy themselves.

St. Paul's

5 on the fifth

Welcome to the '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading to the 5th of each month. It's organised by Stephen from 'The State of the Nation UK' and I am very sorry to say that this, is according to Stephen, the very last onw. I'm being very honest when I say I'll miss it. I quite enjoyed this kind of photo project each month...

This month's theme is 'Winter Weekend'. Since winter is associated with Christmas, the photos I have are Christmas oriented to get everybody in the mood

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Worlds AIDS day

I've mentioned GMFA before on this post.
GMFA is the UK's leading charity dedicated to gay men's health. Their mission is to improve gay men's health by increasing the control they have over their own lives. Towards that goal I was contacted by them to post a video that promotes the service. Please see below:

Speaking of GMFA, today is 'Worlds AIDS day'. It's the day of the year that AIDS should be talked about. Of course it shouldn't be the only day of the year that we must remember our sexual health. However, this day gives a nice opportunity to do that. 

Think about some simple questions:
Do you know your status? Do you use condoms? Do you put yourself in jeopardy? Do you know how HIV is spread? 

It's very easy to get tested and learn your HIV status. Especially in the UK there are lots of places where you can get tested anonymously and quickly. Is there a reason you keep postponing it?

I felt like I needed to make a contribution towards that cause. So, I became a volunteer for GMFA. I've been a volunteer in the past but then I only did administrator work. Now, for GMFA I wanted to do more. So, I took the public facing training last week and today was my first time contributing. So, I met a fellow member from GMFA and we went to a night pub called 'Royal Vauxhall Tavern' to talk to people and raise money for the cause.

To be completely and utterly honestly honest I'll start with the 'bad' of volunteering. The whole thing was not very well organised. The person I was supposed to meet wasn't there. The t-shirt I was supposed to be given to wear wasn't there. The bar manager asked me for an ID that I wasn't told to bring and almost kicked me out. Finally there weren't many freebies to give to the people donating money or even a second money bucket.

The good: After putting all these bad things behind me, I truly enjoyed the experience. My fellow GMFA member was a veteran and knew how to talk and mingle with people. There were people donating money and thanking us for the work that the charity does. I was surprised to find out how open people can be and how generous. At the end of the night I felt very good about myself and proud. I didn’t do much but at least I did something…