Lines We Forget (J.E. Warren)

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Love never comes easy, especially to those who aren’t prepared for it…

Twenty-four-year-old musician Charlie Stone has always played the classics. It’s just another day of playing the same old songs until he notices her — Anna Garrett, a beauty with cold-bitten, rosy cheeks and a coffee cup clutched in her hands.  

Five songs later, and she’s still standing there. He vows to steal her heart the only way he knows how. 

In the heart of London, chance encounters are few and far between, but a warm melody can bring people together…  

New day, same old disappointments. Anna Garrett believes her luck at finding love has stalled before it’s even started when she’s stood up for a second date with a friend of her housemate.
But when she sees a handsome musician playing his heart out, everything changes. Memories come flooding back. As she listens to the music, Anna realises she must take matters of love and luck into her own hands.  

When opposites attract, sparks fly…  

After a series of wonderful, unconventional dates, feisty Anna and hopeless romantic Charlie declare their love for each other. But their newfound bond is rocked to its core by a New Year’s Eve party gone awry that threatens to throw them off course. 

Finally, a bright future appears to be within their grasp. But when Anna’s world fractures and distance comes between them, the real work begins.  

Will their love go on in perfect harmony, or become another old song full of Lines We Forget?


When the author asked me if I would like to review this book, I was super happy. New adult is right up my alley, and the premise sounded good, and it was in London? Sign me up! So as you can imagine, I really really wanted to love this book… I didn’t though.

The writing was the main reason I couldn’t quite enjoy this book. The book is told on the 3rd person, present tense, and so far so good, my problem was that it was a very complentative and introspective writing, with very little dialogue and very deep and emotional thoughts. Which is fine, actually, it was kind of beautiful at times, but I also found it slow, sometimes boring and unnecessary. To be honest it’s just not what I’m looking for while reading a contemporary romance.

Now, the story itself is interesting, it’s the story of a relationship, its ups and mostly downs, during 2 years. Charlie and Anna meet, they date, they fall in love, and they have to face real, day to day obstacles in their relationship. Is there’s one thing that this relationship is, is REAL. This also means that there are a lot of small things and conflicts, and not major ones, which made the first 60% of the book really slow.

I liked Charlie, he was a romantic and shy guy, a little lost and he was relatable. I couldn’t find any connection to Anna, however, I actually finished the book still uncertain about her and how I felt about her. And while their relationship was sweet at times, I was never 100% sold on it.

In the end, I had a lot of problems with this book, I found it slow and somewhat boring. I do think it is a real portrayal of a relationship, with small issues taking their toll on the day to day, such as lack of money, distance, or even the weather, but ultimately is not what I look forward to read in a contemporary romance. I do think it’s definitly a “me” problem and not a book problem, because I can totally see how this book might appeal to a lot of you. So, my suggestion is read it, maybe you’ll fall in love with it. 🙂

Wandering About: London (2013)

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Back in 2013 I want to London for a week. In a stroke of luck, I was able to string a conference and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary in a single week. It was pretty cool how that worked out. For my first 2 days in London I attended a conference celebrating the 30th anniversary of my field of research, and I loved it, because being that kind of celebration, we had really big wigs in there :D.

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If you were following me back in 2013 – a.k.a, the first year of my blog – you might know that I actually posted everyday about the trip. You can check it out here:

So today, I’m just posting my favorite pictures of this trip :), but check out the links above for a blow by blow of the trip.

If you don’t know by now, London is my favorite place on Earth. Yeah, it’s cold and wet and grey and I love it. I never feel more at home as I do when I’m wandering through London. I’ve been there a few times since I was 11 yo, and it’s always amazing and I always miss it.

I also went for the first time to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, and I loved it. I’ve been there since, but the place is totally worth it, it’s truly magical.

And finally I went to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, and that was totally bonkers. I never went to a con or anything like that, so this was different. I watched the 50th Anniversary Special Episode there, and wow, that was definitly something!

 

NEWS: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

WOW! I did not see this one coming! JK Rowling has just announced that a new play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming to London’s West End on Summer 1026.

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Based on an original, new story by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne will receive its world premiere in London’s West End in the summer of 2016 at the Palace Theatre.

Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, will be directed by John Tiffany with movement by Steven Hoggett, set designs by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Imogen Heap, sound by Gareth Fry and special effects by Jeremy Chernick.

I’m truly happy about this, Harry Potter lives! Time to start making some plans to visit London next summer…

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Hey, I’m back (and I can’t set foot in another bookstore…)

I’m home… after almost a week gone (that didn’t quite go as I expected), I’m back and hard at work again. The trip to the UK was ok, it was nice to see the friends, it was great to go to Oxford, the Phantom of the Opera was pretty good, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour was amazing as always. I didn’t quite spent as much time in London as I had hoped for, neither did I see much, but hey, I do know London quite well, so…

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Oxford was pretty great, we went to the Bodleian Library, which by itself is pretty amazing, to top it off, they actually filmed Harry Potter there and our guide was amazing. The next day we made our way to London, to see the change off the guard and a walk through Camden, this was great because although we saw little of the change of the guard, we actually saw the QUEEN!!! Not too shabby!

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(yeah, Speedy’s… Sherlock‘s filming location near Euston Square!)

The Harry Potter studio tour was on its Animal Actors Week, so there were actually Fangs and Hedwigs around the studios.

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All and all, the most pleasurable moments I had on this trip were my hours at several bookshops… It started back at Blackwell’s in Oxford… OMG, that place is amazing… all I know is that when I left Oxford I had already bought 6 books… yeah, 6! I ended up with 9 new books and having to dispatch my bag (I had no space left, otherwise I would also have bought an amazing edition of The Lord of the Rings that I found at Waterstones).

books(I’m so in love with my Little Women book… seriously, it’s not just the cover, it’s the whole book… gorgeous!)

On my way to London!

Oh yeah! Well, I’m not currently on the go, but I will be in couple of hours =). I think I haven’t said enough times how much I love that city! Either way, I’ll be going today and I’ll stay until February 23rd.

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Last time I went it was for a conference and Doctor Who 50th anniversary. This time I’ll be visiting some friends who have moved there last year. I’ll be staying in Reading (70 km from London) with them. I know London pretty well, but there are always things to do and new stuff to see.

The first stop will be Oxford! I’m pretty excited about this because I was only there once when I was about 11 years old, so I remember nothing! I’m so psyched about going to Oxford University and visiting some places used to film the Harry Potter movies!!

The next day we’ll be going to London, probably visit Camden and some other places, but late that night we’re going to The Phantom of the Opera!! =D This will not be my first Phantom, as I watched it on Broadway last year, but still, I am pretty happy about it.

While most of the other days we’ll decided what we’re going to do then, on the 21st we have a day booked, we’re going to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter, again, I’ve been there in 2013, but I’ll probably have more fun now that I’m not going alone 😉 !

Another thing that I’m really looking forward to is watching Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’ll premiere here later this month, but I really want to watch it in the UK!

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Now I’m getting back to work, just a few more hours…

London: Day 5

My fifth day in London, the 22nd November, was my day for parks and markets.

I went through the Camden markets (stables, Camden Town, Camden) and then I went through Regent Park, heading to 221B Baker Street to have a look at Sherlock’s shop museum (the museum itself I left for some other time).

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Then I headed to Notting Hill, to Portobello road market. Around here I got into a Brazilian cafe, where I saw “pastéis de nata” indicated as typically brazilian… well, they’re not, they are very much portuguese. Then crossed through Hyde Park, which I always find fascinating. I only know two cities in the world that have such huge park in the middle of them that you totally forget that you’re even in a city!

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At night (which means after 4pm basically), I went to Tower Hill and crossed the Tower Bridge. The London Eye photo is from another day, when I crossed the Westminster Bridge.

After that I went to the hotel, I changed hotels on this day, because of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who (before I got the ticket to watch the episode on Celebration). So, I went, bought my dinner, and sat down on my king size bed eating and watching the Ultimate Guide of 50 years of Doctor Who.

London: Day 4 – Harry Potter Day!

My fourth day in London, Thursday 21st November, was my Harry Potter day, that is, it was the day I made the journey to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter and saw Hogwarts!

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To my surprise, the whole entrance in the studio and everything is extremely well organized. I hardly waited in any lines. I got there, went to retrieve my entrance ticket, and proceeded to the hall with access to the shop and bar, to wait my time of entrance. I got into the shop and immediatly realized that I was in big trouble, because I wanted to buy everything… =/ Also had time to try another amazing latte from Starbucks: Gingerbread Latte (this and eggnog are the flavours we don’t get around here). The entrance was decorated with an amazing Christmas tree, covered in snow and photos of all the characters around the walls. There was also a Ford Anglia hanging from the ceiling and a giant Time-Turner.

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Getting in, we are first led to a room where we hear the story of how the first book was brought to screen and then we go to a theatre where the three main characters explain to us that this studio was their home for 10 years, how they were a family and the most important people in this “world” are the ones we never get to see. Finally, the screen comes up to reveal the doors to the Great Hall!

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Smaller than it appears on the movies, but still huge for a movie set, the Great Hall is amazing, with all it’s details, stone floor, fireplaces and Christmas decorations. At the end of the Great Hall, we can see the clothes worn by the main Professors. Snape is the only professor who never changes his wardrobe throughout the 8 movies (except for the side of his cape, for the dramatic effect of HP & the Deathly Hallows pt 2), given that Alan Rickman felt that his character would maintain his clothes unchanged.

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After leaving the Great Hall, we go to the sound studios, where the rest of the sets and props are. Amazing to see how they accomplished to film such a variety of scenes on back to back sets of completely different places. All sets were decorated for Christmas.

Just a small guide to the picture below (from left to right, top to bottom): Ron’s bed in the boy’s dormitory, Leaky Cauldron’s inn corridor, The Burrow, several articles os WW and other printed stuff from the art department, several props such as the golden snitch or the deluminator, notices from Umbridge’s reign over Hogwarts, Magic is Might statue from the Ministry of Magic, access to Dumbledore’s office.

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When I say the Magic is Might monument, I almost teared up… so sad! But the display of the wands has to be my favourite piece in there (if you see the full size picture, you can read all the names)! Also, when I “grow up” I want to own all the wands and display them like this…

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After we see a lot of sets, clothes, wigs, props, brooms and how they work, the Ministry fireplaces and all that, we are then taken outside to see the exterior sets. There we see nº4 Privet Drive, the Potter’s destroyed house, Hogwarts bridge, the 3 decker Knight bus, the chest pieces from HP1, Tom Riddle’s grave and statue featured in HP4 and we have Butterbeer. I had read a lot of things about butterbeer, mainly that it wasn’t good, but I loved it. True that it’s a bit sweet, but it’s unlike anything I ever tasted before… although, several hours later and three meals after, I still had that sweet taste in my mouth.

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Then, we enter the exposition of the mechanics and prosthetics and so on, where we see a lot of creatures used in the movies as well as the prosthetics of all the goblins, etc. I had no idea that they used a mechanical head for some shots of Hagrid (given his size), or that Lupin’s werewolf was not totally CGI, or that all the creatures such as the dragons, basilisk, etc, were at least partially built and they moved! Mandrakes, Mer people, giant’s heads, Buckbeak, Dobby, Goblins and dying Voldemort, amongst other things.

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Then we take a few steps and we’re on Diagon Alley (full of Muggles)!

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Ollivander’s, Flourish and Blotts, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, Eeylops Owl Emporium and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shops are some amongst many others that we can see.

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From then, we enter the world of architecture, art and models. It’s amazing the amount of planning and time that went to the planning and building of the amazing and fantastic world of Harry Potter.

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And then we finally get to Hogwarts! And I was loving the studio tour so far, bur this, well… this is something else! It’s Hogwarts!

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Words cannot really express how amazing this is, it’s totally magical!

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Just before we reach the shop, we go through the “inside of Ollivander’s shop”, with some Easter Eggs. You’re supposed to find the names of the actors and so on, on the boxes of wands! I found: Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, JK Rowling, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Evanna Lynch, Matt Lewis, Natalia Tena, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Mark Williams and Ralph Fiennes.

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Off we go to the gift shop! So, remember my problem of not knowing which wand to choose? I ended up buying four wands… yes, four!!! But just one for me =(. My eldest niece asked me for the Harry Potter wand and my youngest niece just wanted a wand… so, if I was bringing wands for both of them, I had to get one for my nephew…

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Hermione’s is mine, is just so gorgeous! Harry Potter’s for my niece, Bellatrix’s for my other niece (she sometimes reminds me of Bella… and the wand is just beautiful). For my nephew I picked up Voldemort’s because I honestly fell in love with the wand and I’m secretly hoping that he won’t want it…

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I also bought a box of bertie botts every flavor beans and a chocolate frog, for Christmas =)

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I got back to London relatively early, so I went for the complete HP package and went to Kings Cross, but platform 9 3/4 was packed with people and I could get a decent shot without anyone in it.

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That was it! My Harry Potter day =D!!!! AMAZING!!!!! So happy I went to the studios, I honestly think I will be back there each time I go to London… also, I now have a goal of owning every wand that is on sale… they’re precious!

London: Day 3

My conference ended, so Wednesday, 20th November, was a day to visit the city!

I managed to sleep in a little and then proceeded to watch The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Got off at Green Park, stopped in the park for coffee – big mistake, given that there are no trash cans around the Palace, did you know that?! I had to walk all the way to Buckingham Palace Road to dispose of the coffee cup.

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The band played a theme from James Bond, but I didn’t see much, I mainly saw the top of people’s heads. When I was finally ready to leave, given that I wasn’t seeing much and it had started to rain a bit, it started to hail, heavily!!! And I couldn’t go anywhere, because the guard was still leaving the Palace so no one could go through!!! Nice… I had to go to a gift shop to buy an umbrella, although I was already soaking wet!

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I went then to Hyde Park Corner do proceed to Harrods and the Museums. I got in Harrods and I got lost! Man, that place is a labyrinth, I don’t know how anyone gets around in there knowingly… I found what I wanted though, the Harry Potter and Doctor Who merchandise.

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Yeah! That’s a Marauder’s map and a Gryffindor sword. And a real life size of a Nimbus 2001…

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The prices though are sky high in there, the wands (from the Noble collection) are somewhat 8 to 10 pounds higher than on other places.

From then I went to the Science Museum. The museum has a great space and a great collection, but focus to much in engineering and medicine =/… Still totally worth it! Here is the DNA molecule model, built in 1953 by Watson and Crick!!

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And a model of the pig Insulin, from 1967!

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I then went to the next door, to the Natural History Museum, where they have outside an espetacular ice ring.

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I have serious mixed feelings about this museum. No doubt they have a spectacular collection of several species of birds and other animals, but they are stuffed animals and when you think of it, it’s kind of creepy!

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If you don’t get what those are, they are hummingbirds.

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Then I went (again) to Oxford street, where I’m totally in love with John Lewis department store, mainly the fourth floor, where they have an array of beautiful yarns and sewing machines, and the ground floor, where there is an amazing array of mixers and baking accessories… Heaven!

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London: Day 1 & 2

I got off to a rocky start! My plane was delayed for over 2h30min, which meant that I arrived at Gatwick around 8:15 pm!!!

I finally managed to get to the hostel around 10pm, got into my room and was unpleasantly surprised by my bed – let me clarify that at the time of the booking, I requested a bottom bunk, so when I get to the room and see that the bunk beds have 3 levels and I’m on the middle, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. The room was complete and I was exhausted, so I went to sleep, thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. It was, I don’t know why exactly, but I slept terrible – I was cold at first, because the window was open (for the smell of over 12 pairs of shoes), then in the middle of the night it was extremely hot, someone had closed the window and now there was the body heat and breathing of 12 full grown adults… that was the first night!

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(St James Park)

  

So on Monday I woke up quite early to get to the conference meeting: “Ancient DNA: the first three decades” at The Royal Society. It took me awhile to get myself oriented around the conference site, but I managed. And WOW! I could have spent the day hearing Dr Carles Lalueza-Fox (Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Barcelona, Spain) and Professor David Reich (Harvard Medical School, USA) talking about Neanderthals and Denisovans. At some moment, talking about the cut marks present on the Neanderthals from El Sidron, which are a sign of cannibalism, Dr Lalueza said: “Apparently, if you’re a cannibal, you can’t miss the tongue” – because of a specific cut mark that indicated the removal of the tongue. After presenting the data that indicated that there was some inbreeding between late Neanderthals and fairly modern Humans, someone asked Professor Reich: “So, you’re saying that they copulated?”, Reich avoided the word, maintaining the term of inbreeding, but he eventually said an undertoned “yeah” when the person in question didn’t gave up on the subject.

The afternoon was dedicated to microbes and diseases, with a fascinating talk about the “Ancient Pathogen Genomics” of the Y. pestis (black plague) and the M. leprae (leprosy) from Dr Johannes Krause (University of Tübingen, Germany). I find this subject fascinating and the papers are something else!

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When I ot back to the hostel, I was in desperate need to charge my phone! I’m a travelled girl, and I always carry around my universal charger, but it happens that due to the disposition of the electic sockets of my bunk bed, the charger didn’t fit, I looked around the room and nothing, the only electric sockets that exist are on the beds, and are all the same. So I came down to the common room, but the waiting list to charge stuff was quite big – I guess a lot of people has the same problem – so I complained in the reception desk, because it isn’t my fault that the sockets are not prepared to receive adaptars. So they lend me one small one!

Today morning I asked if I could change to the bottom bunk, and said yes… not all is lost!

The conferences today were somehow less on my area of interest – sure, the subject was mainly domestication (correlated to the Neolithic revolution), on subjects as crops and chicken. The second talk on chickens though, blew us all away! Dr Greger Larson (Durham University, UK) gave the funniest I ever heard. He started his talk explaining why Professor Dr Ian Barnes should be stopped and how he was glad that for once, Ian was not invited to speak at this conference and he then explained why: Dr Ian Barnes has better stories, better data, better everything, and he’s funnier that everyone in that room combined (and mind you, there were more than 200 people there). Following this, he explained that it’s not because something is fixed that it means that it’s old, explaining then how several kind of media would report such news! – Hilarious!!!! Super funny, made his point on his results, criticizing at the same time some of the huge problems on the way we get our information nowadays:

Daily Mail: “Shocking waste of taxes on study that proves all 100 million UK chickens are dirty foreign birds”.
Editors of high profile journals: “Chickens are first and best domesticated animal”. (Extra brownie points for getting two superlatives into one paper!)
BBC: “Yeti proven to be giant chicken”. 2bps of 16S perfectly matches a chicken.

To end an amazing presentation, Dr Larson “contacted” Dr Ian Barnes to comment on the “Yeti proven to be giant chicken” conclusion:

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Sadly, the conference came to an end today!

Now back at the Hostel (now on the bottom bunk, charging my PC and phone at the same time in the common room), I’m planning my day tomorrow! On the plans are the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the Natural History and Science Museum, and the British Museum. Hyde Park and Harrods are also on my plans.

AH, and I tried the delicious eggnog latte from Starbucks! =D

OHHHH, AND IT’S FREAKING COLD!

London, 17 years ago…

If there’s a place in the world I would be happy living in, is London!

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The first time I went to London was in 1996, when I was just 12 years old – MAN, I’m feeling old!

I immediately fell in love with the city. True, although it was Summer, it rained a portion of the days, it was never exactly summer hot, the sky was almost always grey… but I guess that is part of why I loved it so much.

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London is beautiful! Full of light and movement and old traditions that make the UK quite unique. I’ve been in London twice after that, once in 2002 and then in December 2009, with my sister-in-law and my niece. But my impending trip next month it’s gotten me really excited! I love London!

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