London Part 8: National Portrait Gallery and Covent Garden

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We headed to the National Portrait Gallery next (just outside is the Mermans fountain). My sister is a great lover of art and this is the place to be. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to look at everything in details, which just goes to prove how much there is to see.

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Lots of famous painters are here from all periods of history and you can see the change of subject matter and styles as the displays get more modern. It is hard to navigate, so I would suggest paying £1 for a map. If you have a great interest in art, I would also suggest getting an audio guide for a small charge. Unfortunately, there were no more guides in English at the time. The museum is free to enter so it makes a great and inexpensive spot to visit.

Nearby is Nelson’s Column.

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During out short trip, I wanted to go to Covent Garden – it is very good for shopping. In particular, I wanted to go to Artbox, a shop that sells lots of cute items from Japan and Korea. Artbox now features a Tofu Cute concession stand…my favourite online shop for snacks and cute stuff!

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Everything is really cute that it took me a long time to decide what to buy! Items in this shop are a little more on the dear side because they are imported from Japan and Korea, but they are really unique.

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Then we headed off to Shoryu Ramen to eat. Look, each table has garlic on the side!

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When we first entered, we were taken aback when all the staff loudly greeted us in Japanese and someone sounded the gong. It is certainly something I have never experienced in the UK before!

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Heh heh.

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My sister was feeling brave and ordered the flight of sakes (£6.50 for 3). The waiter talked about the taste of each one and recommended the order they should be drank in.

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I went for the summer set menu at £22. This includes a Japanese inspired cocktail (Yuzu Mojito)…

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Chicken Hirata bun…

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and Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu. The broth was so lovely!

The food was delicious and the service was friendly and warm. I was left feeling so full I sadly had no room for dessert, which looked really good! As we left, everybody said bye to us in Japanese!

 

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Waku Waku DIY Candy

Japanese DIY Candy sets are very popular – some are very inventive and clever in their ways to help you make some sweet candy! I recently got a few sets from my Tofu Cute Lucky Bag. Today’s post is the Waku Waku DIY Candy set, which allows you to make soft chewy animal lollipops.

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Included in the set are some plastic moulds, 4 lollipop sticks and two tubes of soft candy – one pink strawberry and one yellow lemon flavoured. Instructions are in Japanese on the back of the packet, but there are pictures diagrams too. If you need things making clearer, there are various tutorials on Youtube which are helpful – just search Waku Waku DIY Candy.

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So the aim is to use the soft candy tubes, which are like modelling clay, to make the pattern of the lollipop (in this edition we have a panda and a giraffe). This included making tiny balls for the eyes, paws and ears – which is very fiddly! Then complete with the alternate colour to make the body. Fill in the other half and then compress the two sides together, insert the lollipop stick and hey presto, you should have a ultra cute animal sweet!

My problem is that I am not a refined person nor very nimble with my fingers so I ended up with a bear-like monster. It doesn’t look like the one on the packet at all haha.

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The second animal to make is the giraffe, and if you thought making the balls for the eyes and paws was tricky, take a look at the back of the giraffe! Lots of time and patience required! I ended up with something like this…

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This feels like one of the more trickier DIY candy sets – in theory it sounds simple, but in practice, it was a little difficult and quite frustrating. Someone with a steady hand and patience might like this and get good results but not for me. The taste of the animal sweets was quite nice – very fruity. The moulds are quite cute in themselves too.

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Japanese DIY Candy sets are quite varied and there are some that I have tried which I quite like. The fun is more in the making of the sweets but I didn’t quite like this one, but it tasted ok.

Tofu Cute Maneki Neko Senpai Lucky Snack Bag

I ordered this lucky snack bag from http://www.tofucute.com. This is the senpai size priced at £29.99

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In this bag I got:

3 × Glico Pretz biscuits – blueberry cheesecake, butter and match a and vanilla

3 × Glico Pocky – mango mousse, cookies and cream and chocolate banana

1 x Hi Chew Grape Sweets

2 x Puccho Candy – Apple and Soda

2 x DIY candy sets – Horadekita (Apple) and Naru Naru Gumi No Mi Tree (Soda)

1 x Gudetama gummy sweets

1 x Kabaya Shaka Shaka Sweets

1 x Meiji Wattapachi Grape Popping Candy Floss

2 x Kit kat sets – bakeable sweet potato and kumamon green tea

A good selection – in particular I like the Puccho sweets and the new flavours of Kit Kat.

Tofu Cute Snack Surprise!

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For those who love Japanese snacks, this lucky cat bag from http://www.tofucute.com is a must have! Available in four sizes, ranging from the chibi size at £12.99 to the sumo size at £49.99, these bags contain a wide range of biscuits, sweets and chocolates.

Tofu Cute says that the actual value of the goods is greater than the price you pay, plus you get a cute kitty drawstring bag.

Last month, I ordered a sugoi bag at £19.99. I was amazed at what I received: a box set of ichigo Kit Kat, pack of two strawberry cheesecake Kit Kat, Meiji Melty Kiss blueberry chocolates, Tohato Caramel Corn, Lollipop DIY candy set, Kabaya panda chocolate biscuits, mango Pocky, grape flavoured chews and chocolate Pepero biscuits. There are good favourites such as the Kit Kat and Pocky and new things I liked. I really enjoyed the panda biscuits and the Caramel Corn. This is why it is so great – it gives you a chance to try new things!

Having finished everything I have ordered a Senpai bag and I am so excited! >○<