Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Links of London

Links of London always captures that spirit of fun and excitement with a range of jewellery and gift items to celebrate any occasion. Whether you are looking to add some festive cheer to your home or find the ideal gift for someone special, Links of London has the perfect piece.

Friendship Bracelets

Christmas is a time for giving and reaching out to others in need. Featuring a Links of London Purple & Pink Friendship Bracelet, the hand woven bracelets have been created in the new season colours of deep green with forest green and burgundy with plum.


To remind us of the magic of Christmas, Links of London has created an exquisite array of festive charms. Links of London has all kinds of cute and amusing Charms. Add one to your Links of London charm bracelet or create an entire bracelet full of new charms.


Links of London has taken the item of a candy bracelet and made it into real jewellry. Links of London Sweeties are fun and beautiful. Following its launch in 2002 the Sweetie bracelet has become a Links of London Icon. It is slinky, tactile and versatile and a great alternative to the traditional charm bracelet.

There are a lot of Links of London stores in London. Links of London has a good Store Locator to help you find them. Though you may have to zone around a bit to find the bit of the world you want to see.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mind The Gap

Mind the Gap is a book about magic and murder and thievery. But really, it's about the world under the city of London. The Tube Tunnels and the misplaced fallout shelters and the deep shelters for hiding away from the Blitz. We all want to be Indian Jones and who wouldn't want to find a whole hidden world right under their feet?

Like all stories that feature children as the heroes, Mind the Gap opens with out hero's mother being killed by the mysterious Uncles in their BMWs. Jazz, the girl who has a heightened sense paranoia, is chased by the bad guys. She hides the best place she can think to hide-in the tubes of The Underground.

She soon enough runs into Mr. F and his gang of children pick pockets. The Artful Dodger would have felt right at home in the London Underground. One thing leads to another. Jazz becomes a good thief. Ghosts are hanging out in the many tunnels and forgotten passages of London. Jazz has special powers she doesn't understand. All kinds of strange and wonderful things happen.

The ending is a bit quick and dirty and everything is wrapped up in one fell swoop. For a while there I was dreading those three little words I hate to find at the end of a book-To Be Continued. But that didn't happen. The villi ans were all sorted out and the good guys, such as they are, carry on.

Larry Niven wrote a series of short stories about a world where The Magic Goes Away. In this reality there was a lot of magic in the good old days, and some of it is still around in certain objects of power. There is a lot of that here, with the magic of London residing in the lost tunnels of the forgotten subway lines and storage rooms.

Mind the Gap was a quick and easy read and the ending was not quite what I expected. The running around and under London was what made it a fun book.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cleopatra's Needle, London

Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for each of two Ancient Egyptian obelisks formerly in Alexandria and re-erected in London and New York City during the nineteenth century. -wikipedia

Cleopatra's Needle is one of the countless little odds and ends that can found in and around the city of London. Statues and monuments litter the city and it is easy walk past Cleopatra's Needle and think it is just one more bit of art in a city overflowing with art.

The needles are genuine Ancient Egyptian obelisks, though they are somewhat misnamed as they have no particular connection with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt-they were already over a thousand years old in her lifetime.

The London needle is in the City of Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges. Cleopatra's Needle was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by Mehemet Ali, the Albanian-born viceroy of Egypt, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London.

Cleopatra's Needle is one of those Free Things to do in London.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spotted Dick and Root Beer

Spotted dick is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currants), commonly served with either custard or butter and brown sugar.-wikipedia

One of the fun things about London is the slightly odd names that many of the foods have. Fish and Chips is pretty easy to understand-fried fish and potatoes. Bangers and Mash is a little more confusing-sausage and potatoes. Bubble and Squeak is greens and potatoes.

I made the mistake of ordering a Root Beer while in a restaurant in London and was brought a nice tall Beer. The waiter said that he had never heard of a Root Beer. A&W Root Beer seems to have made some inroads in London recently, but I am not sure how popular it will be with the locals.

I went into a restaurant in London with a deli counter and a lot of items listed on a chalk board. One of the items was Spotted Dick. There was a pretty girl behind the counter so we asked her, what is Spotted Dick?

"You want a Spotted Dick?"

"What is it?"

"It's a spotted dick."

"Yes, but what exactly is a spotted dick?"

"It's a spotted dick."

This seemed to go on for a while and even the other shop worker managed to get the girl to say Spotted Dick a couple of times. We thought this was too funny for words. We didn't try the spotted dick, but did have fun saying the name.

Being easily confused I was also at a bit of loss when asked at a fast food place if my order was Dine In or Take Away-the American version is Here or To Go. There is something a bit more classy about that whole Dine In or Take Away thing though.

The Best of British has a great page on British Food and Drink.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

London for Free

London for free includes the many parks and public spaces that fill the city. Trafalgar Square is free to visit, though you might want to buy some corn to feed the gazillion pigeons that hang out there. London's parks are beautiful places and it is easy to wander through one on your way from one great London attraction to another. Among my favorite London parks-
Saint James Park
Regent's Park
Hyde Park.

Many of London's world class museums are free and are a great place to get out of the weather. My favorite of London's free museums is The British Museum, famous for it's mummys and seemingly unlimited catalog of amazing items. Other great free London museums include
Imperial War Museum
Natural History Museum
Science Museum

You can see Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and St Paul's Cathedral for free. Most tour books have excellent walking tours which will lead you by a lot of the famous London attractions. For me just being in London was a fairly exciting event, so wandering around aimlessly and taking photos of everything in site was a good, free activity for me. It is better to have a plan of action though and map out a few of the must sees before you spent too much time just walking. There is a lot to see and do in London, and it's a good idea to think about what you want to do.

A few websites to find more London For Free Stuff-

London for Free-a nice site that is well laid out and has a wealth of information on all things free in London. Walks, Outdoor Activities, Indoor Activities and London Day Trips.

London4Free-a lot of interesting information on the many free things to do in London. Also covers such things as cheap places to stay in London, cheap things to eat in London, and cheap travel to London and around London.

Free London-From Time Out London. Lots on info on free things to do and discount things to do in London. A fun site to wander around and see what's on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

London's Best Night Clubs

I'm not much into night clubs myself, but I am big on surfing the web. So I have done a bit of surfing and found a few of the best London night clubs that have good websites and look like fun places to spend the odd night out.

Cafe de Paris-Dress appropriately, have fun, and if your good looking, maybe you'll end up on their website. I like the Cafe de Paris website-this looks like a very interesting night club. Very posh.
Cafe de Paris, 3 - 4 Coventry Street, London. W1D 6BL

Mahiki-Right, what says London more than a Hawaiian style Tiki Club? The website is a lot of fun with tons of Tropical Themed Pin Up Girls and a list of drinks such as a Zombie, Jolly Roger, or Dark and Stormy.
1 Dover Street Mayfair London W1S 4LD

Ronnie Scott's-A Jazz Club in London. Jazz is one of those art forms that seems to forever be on the way out or on the way back in. I grew up with cartoons filled with jazz music, from the Peanuts specials to a ton of Looney Tunes. Ronnie Scott's has been around since 1959 and shows no signs of slowing down. The website has a nice list of Jazz links and offers a jazz Podcast.
47 Firth St, London W1D 4HT

seOne London-London's largest night club-30,000 square feet and a capacity of 3,000. Sounds like a nice intimate place. Another website with photos of club visitors having a good time, mostly young and on the wild and crazy side.
Weston st, London Bridge SE1 3QX

Egg London-A night club that has a swimming pool in the warmer months has to a fun place to visit. Three areas hold 800 people. Playing the best in House, Techno, Minimal, Electro music.
196-200 York Way, London, N7

For more of the Best Nightclubs in London check out TruGroovez and first4London.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Absolut IceBar London

ABSOLUT ICEBAR LONDON is the first permanent bar made of ice in the UK located in the heart of Mayfair in London. Experience the extreme - ABSOLUT ICEBAR LONDON is kept at minus 5 degrees all year round and everything inside is made out of crystal clear ice transported especially from the Torne River in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden. -Absolut Icebar London

I've always been a big fan of odd little dodads that can be found on the web. One such bit of silliness allows you to put whatever you want-well, the spaces are limited- on an Absolut Vodka bottle. London Thoughts fit nicely, don't you think? Which got me to think about London and Absolut Vodka, so-

Absolut IceBar London

Consisting of a single chamber, guests are allocated 45 minute slots inside the Icebar, which is entered through an air locked entrance specially designed to maintain the –5 degree centigrade environment.

The Atmosphere
Inside the chamber everything is constructed of ice imported from northern Sweden. Guests mingle, protected against the chill thanks to the silver capes, gloves (and even warm shoes, if requested) which are provided at the cloakroom. The other worldly atmosphere of the Icebar is complemented with chill out music piped through speakers which are set into the walls of ice.

The Pub
Absolut vodka cocktails are served in an oversized ice cube of a glass by ski-suited barmen from behind a visually stunning ice bar. Capable of inspiring a sense of wonder in even the most hardened of cynics, part of the Icebar’s appeal lies in quality drinks served up in dramatic surroundings. Guests relax on ice stools dotted around tables made of ice whilst enjoying artwork nade, of course, from frozen water.

The Drinks
Appropriately named cocktails include Absolut Icy River, Absolut Aurora Borealis and signature cocktail Absolut Below Zero, although non-alcoholic cocktails are also available. The only deterrant to trying the entire list is the price. Entry costs £15.00 per person and includes one free drink but after that, shots priced at £6.00 (£3.00, non-alcoholic) can quickly mount up to a sizeable bar tab-but hey, how often do you get to be in a bar made of ice?

Mon - Weds 3:30 pm - 11:00 pm,
Thurs 3.30pm - 11.45pm,
Fri 3.30pm - 12.30am,
Sat 12:30 pm - 12:30 am,
Sun 3.30pm - 10.15pm

31-33 Heddon Street
London W1B 4BN
Heddon Street is located just off Regent Street and is a 5 minute walk from either Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus tube stations.

Big Ben Happened in London 1859

what happened in London on September 7th 1859

You gotta love Google Trends-this is just the type of oddball thing that pops up from time to time. When those Recite Song Lyrics Shows were all the rage a while back, you could count on all the songs being in the top ten of Google Trends. Lots of games show type questions end up on Google Trends.

The Clock Tower owes its existence to a fire in 1834 that destroyed most of Parliament. A commission was set up to choose a new building design from 97 submissions and a clock tower dominated Charles Barry's winning plan. The clock swung into action in 1859.-UK Parliament

What happened in London on September 7th 1859, the next logical questions is who cares? Well, it seems the answer is that Big Ben started keeping time on this date. Or about that time anyway. The 1859 part seems to be fit, the September 7th-not so much. But I like the whole idea that London is on Google Trends. By the way, Big Ben is not the clock's official name, the proper name for Big Ben is the Great Bell.

What happened in London on September 7th 1859 was number two on Google Trends and must have been a trivia question on a game show or a morning show. Of course, with all the Trendy blogger such as myself looking for something to blog about-we are keeping this silly question on Google Trends and not finding any answer to the question.

What happened in London on September 7th 1859? Beats me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cat Power Covers David Bowie fo Lincoln Ad

David Bowie has always been one of my favorite really odd performers. I've always admired someone that put an album out every year, whether he needed to or not. And lets be honest, there were a lot that he didn't need to. But the one or two tracks that were good, well, they were really good. David Bowie was born in London and London Boy is a collection of some of his earlier works.

Cat Power is not from London, they are from Miami. But their cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity is really well done. The new Lincoln commercial has only a snippet of the song and I have not found the full single anywhere, if there is a full single. I don't know if they are running this in London, I don't even know if they sell Lincolns in the U.K., but I like the song and thought I would share it here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Brideshead Revisited London in The Good Old Days

. . .a happy childhood, and though its toys were silk shirts and liqueurs and cigars and its naughtiness high on the catalogue of grave sins.-Charles, Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited on PBS was the first time I ever saw Jeremy Irons and took note of him. Jeremy Irons has played a thoroughly depressed fellow in most of the films I have seen him in. Maybe it's all he can play. But this somber and serious demeanor is perfect for the story of an unusual friendship in prewar Britain. There was a recent movie made of Brideshead Revisited-I have not seen it yet, but it is not possible for it to be as good as the tv show was.

In conjunction with the new movie there is a new aduio book-read by Jeremy Irons. My only complain about this audiobook is that it was recorded at inaudible levels. Even with the sound all the way up on my car stereo I could not make out Jeremy Irons deep and depressing tones over the sounds of the road. Still, I have been listening to it when not on the freeway and I find it to be brilliant.

Brideshead Revisited is one of those novels about how a man's life is over, really over, by the time he is forty. Everything of any significance has already happened and all that lays ahead in the future is death and loneliness-not necessarily in the order. Brideshead Revisited is just a light summer read. Not.

The great quality of Jeremy Iron's voice is his ability to perfectly capture that longing for the past, that painful nostalgia for what was once and can never be again. Like visiting a cherished childhood amusement park which has been closed and left to rust and rot. How could it be that this place was once so happy and now is not.

So it is that everything in the story is tainted with sorrow, even those passages which might otherwise have been happy. The recounting of the glory days with Sebastian are not so glorious as they might otherwise have been. We know, at least, that Charles-our hero, does not seem overly happy in his current life as a company Capitan in a battalion that will never see any action.

The great and powerful Flight family fall into Charles young life and change its course forever. Charles is gay/straight/frankly unlovable and totally unsympathetic. And yet, here among the cardboard cutouts of the Flight Family, Charles is the only real person. His love for Sebastian is unending, but he never tries to reconnect with him or help him with his drinking problem. His love with Julian is merely an echo of his love for Sebastian. He marries and has two children, but he cares nothing for the wife or children. Its a story filled with sorrow and lost opportunities.

Charles is not just a loser in love, he is also a loser in his many friends, and a loser in his faith and his lack of faith. He is an Agnostic, which means he doesn't have the faith of an Atheist. The two main story lines twisting through Brideshead Revisited are love and religion. Charles is bad at both. His refusal of both make him miserable, but it is hard to image that anything could ever really make Charles happy.

London plays a recurring part in Brideshead Revisited, as our heros move in a circle with London at it's core. While the Brideshead estate is not in London, the rich and insane Flight family has property in London. Charles and Sebastian met at Oxford and they spend a lot of time riding trains in and around London. There is that fairy tale quality about London between the Wars and that beginning of the tragedy that is London during World War Two. The outside world is always threating to intrude upon Charles is tiny world, but it never really does. Charles is self contained and remains so-though he clearly wants to be something more.

This is one of those stories that makes me think of London, it is a great book. Jeremy Irons does a great job of creating the feel and tone of the TV show he starred in all those years ago. Great Stuff.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

An Award from Leet

Leet is a very talented artist I first ran across while using Entrecard. My favorite of Leet's works is My Kinda London. Looks like my kinda London as well. I am a fairly solitary blogger in a world of social networks and countless 'friends.' I don't often do memes. I seldom bother with those little widgets that tell me what kind of Cartoon Character I Am. And I don't usually pay that much attention to the varied and sundry Awards that are floating around. I have seen one or two awards that I thought would be cool, but that I would be unlikely to win.

So here I am in the Great Blog Spirit of Link Love and an Award Meme-at least I don't have to find out what kind of Cartoon Character I am-I have been given the coveted Butterfly Award-For The Coolest Blog I Ever Know. It's so tempting to change the wording there just a bit. . .

The Rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.

3. Link 10 other bloggers whom you wanted to share this award to.

So now all I have to do is find Ten Worthy Blogs-hmm

1. Britishspeak
2. Where the Walls are Soft
3. splinters
4. London Sightseeing-Ding Dong
5. A Postcard a Day
6. Here and Now-4 Angel
7. Victorian Times
8. When Things Get Dark
9. The Insane Writer
10. Molly Brogan-Author

and one more just for fun-Etsy's Dark Side Street Team

Here be some of the coolest blog I ever know. I'm sure there are more goth girl blogs out there, but I just haven't found them. Just as well, really. And no, they are not all goth girls-mainly just British Speak.