Sunday, 8 April 2012

Finding good coffee in London... Yum :)

I'm not a coffee *geek* nor am I intending to be one, but I do enjoy a good smooth flatwhite...

Where do I find a good coffee?
  • For starters, a couple of years ago, I stopped going to the big chains in London (Starbucks, Nero, etc) and looked out for independent cafes. Lucky for me Dose Espresso opened up en route to work which made avoiding the chains an easy option. 
  • As I explored London cafes, I realised that those with a La Marzocco coffee machine would generally serve a very nice cup of coffee. Having had the opportunity to visit the factory in Florence and learning that each machine is hand-made, starting at no less than ££££ digits, I realised that those that own this piece of machinery knew what they were doing. 
  • Lastly, the iPhone app called London Coffee Map made my life locating great cafes a whole lot easier. The app uses GPS to locate closest cafe and provides me with information about opening times, reviews, and a link to google maps. Perfect!

Lantana Cafe (Simple decor and relaxing atmosphere)

Here are some other London Coffee websites worth checking out:
Please let me know if you come across any great finds in London!

La Marzocco Factory in Florence

Saturday, 7 April 2012

HSMP/TIER1 valid for 4 years & 11 months = ILR dramas

It took me over a year to find the answers to my problem when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). As a couple of other friends were in the same situation, I thought I’d share my experiences online for others to learn from. To clearly explain the problem, here is my one of my letters to UK Border Agency (UKBA):
Dear UKBA,
Can you please provide me with information as to whether or not it is possible to to apply for settlement (ILR) if the HSMP/Tier1 is to expires exactly at 4 years and 11 months? (short 27 days of 5 years). Toillustrate the question:
-         HSMP date = 19/5/2006
-         5 years from the HSMP = 19/05/2011
-         Able to apply for settlement 28 days prior 5 years: (19/05/2011 - 28days) = 21/04/2011
-         HSMP/Tier1 VISA is valid until the SAME date = 21/04/2011
So, the question is, based on the dates alone, would I be able to apply for ILR if I make an application at the public enquiry office (PEO) on 21/4/2011? Ideally, I would like to book an appointment at the PEO to apply for ILR on this date, however, if this option is not appropriate, I would like to find out what do to extend the leave to remain.
I have found this forum/letter that suggests I there may have been an error with my leave to remain:
Paragraph 9 of "Migrants who currently hold HSMP leave and have either applied for an extension of stay or will need to do so in the future " states:
 "If an applicant meets these requirements we will grant them:
 a. Three years' leave; or
 b. Enough leave to enable the applicant to complete the qualifying period for settlement, whichever is the greater."

This letter made recommendations for this individual to submit their passport with a cover letter explaining the error:
I am wondering if I should follow the same instructions? (Note: I am based in central London)
I anxiously look forward to a response urgently as I would like to know if I could book an appointment at the PEO for the exact date.

After 3 attempts at writing snail mail letters to UKBA and not getting the response I had hoped for (turnaround time of approx 6-8 weeks!) I decided to write another email to

I had the same LONG generic response, but this time, I read the all of the fine print in the email and stopped at: "If you have read this message and looked on the UK Border Agency website, but you have not found the information you require, please re-send your enquiry with "FAQ" in the subject/title line to:"
One day after changing my subject to FAQ, I received a most welcoming response:
From: IND Public Enquiries <>
Date: Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM
Subject: RE: Require urgent information about ILR and HSMP error

Thank you for your enquiry.
Please be advised that from the information that you have provided, you will be eligible to submit your application on 21 April 2011. As your current leave also expires on the same day, please ensure that you either submit your application in person at our Public Enquiry Office on 21 April 2011 or submit your application via postal route using Royal Mail Recorded/Special Delivery service as date of posting is deemed as date of application.
Please visit the following website to make an appointment at one of the Public Enquiry Offices listed below:
Full details of the service they provide can be found on the UK Border Agency website at:
Please note, if you are unable to secure an appointment, you should send your application by post to the address on the form before your current leave to remain expires. Application forms can be downloaded from the UK Border Agency website at:
I hope that this information will be of assistance to you.
Yours sincerely,
Amrit Haria, Immigration Group, UK Border Agency
If you intend to reply to this e-mail please ensure that you re-send all the information from your original enquiry.
On the day of my appointment, there were no questions asked about applying exactly 4 years and 11 months from my qualifying period! Having said that, I had a friend in almost the same situation, but was told she had to extend her TIER1 a second time! All I can say is, if you are reading this in detail, then I wish you the best of luck. :) 

Other useful information saved during my research:

Why all the hype with Hunger Games? Watch Battle Royale!

Watched Hunger Games today and walked away slightly disappointed. No, I haven't read the book, but I couldn't help wanting to compare it to Battle Royale... A movie very high in my all-time favourites list.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Free your iPhone... Jailbreak it!

Many of you have asked me why and how to jailbreak their iPhones... 

Why? Watch this video...

  • Below is my jailbreaking list of links, tips and tweaks. 
  • Please remember BACKUP your iPhone before you attempt anything. I highly recommend using  iTunes: Right-click on the iPhone in iTunes, and click on both "Transfer purchases" and "Backup iPhone". Please see my iPhone Backup blog post for more details.
  • Once your phone has been backed up and then jailbroken, you can "RESTORE" your device. This will place all the data and apps back onto your device (SMS, settings, etc...)

Jailbreaking Information

Post-Jailbreaking Information

NOTE:   Items marked with ">" are sources and cydia tweaks I have installed

Cydia Sources:
In Cydia, click Manage > Sources > Edit > Add:
> (currently offline)
>   (for in-app purchases: DLC)

If you cannot add it manually, look under:
Cydia Homepage  > More Sources...

Other sources I've used before:

Installed / Recommended Cydia Tweaks  [list updated 05/02/2013 for iPhone 4S 5.1.1]
(Note: I tend to choose packages from BigBoss repo, then iHacksRepo, then others)
> OpenSSH
> AppSync for iOS 5.0+, AppStorelous3
> Installous 5 (currently taken down)
> vShare, Zeusmos, AppCake+ HD, HiPStore
> Speed Intensifier
> SBSettings
> Backgrounder,  KillBackground
> Lockinfo (cracked) (need repo as it needs WeePreferenceLoader)
> OpenNotifier & OpenNotifier Premium
> iFile cracked, No Update
> MarkThatMessage Cracked, Merge
> 3G Unrestrictor 5, ContactPrivacy, User Agent Faker
> SwiftShiftCaret
> Springtomize 2 iOS5+, Infinifolders, MultiIconMover
> FastLock, AnyAttach, Applocker, Notificator, Switchy
> iCleaner, AptBackup, iBye, OpenBackup
> CameraTweak Cracked, Photo Info
> TetherMe Cracked
> User Agent Faker, BatteryLogger Plus
> Wifi Analyzer, Wifi Passwords
> Ushare, EmojiPro, Smart 3G, YTOpener, Nownow, Appinfo

Change root and mobile password
1. Open mobile terminal
2. Enter "su root" then hit return
3. Enter "alpine" (This is the default password) then hit return
4. Enter "passwd" then hit return
5. Enter YOUR NEW PASSWORD then hit return
6. Enter YOUR NEW PASSWORD AGAIN then hit return

This will now take you back to the root directory
7. Enter "passwd mobile" then hit enter
8. Enter YOUR NEW PASSWORD then hit enter
9. Enter YOUR NEW PASSWORD AGAIN then hit enter
Now your done. Close mobile terminal

Block ads with modified host file
Install OpenSSH and iFile (via Cydia)
(You can also use cyberduck, diskaid, ispirit or any other iphone folder browser)
Download this replacement hosts file.
Use iFile to navigate to /etc/ and BACKUP your 'hosts' file by renaming it.
Use iFile to setup a "web server" to upload the host file into the iPhone
Restart your iPhone!

"SAFARI USERS READ: downloading this file saves it as a .txt and won't work. Please use Firefox or another browser. Thanks to drzcharlie for pointing this out! Will keep this file updated to block as many ads as i can please let me know what needs adding. I know theres a few adblock on here but most of them were crap, this works loads better and uses less memory and space"